Cowboy Dan

[Finished -- for now.] The Mad Dance, Pt. IV: The Breaking of the Round Table and the Breaking of the World

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Alternatively Titled: The Once and Future Kings of Ice and Fire
 

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It took a little longer than we hoped,
But it was worth it,
You know it takes a village to raise a scheme,
To patch the holes of a mausoleum.
-The Revival, The Dear Hunter,
Act V: Hymns with the Devil in Confessional

Happy 21st nameday, fandom! Today marks 21 years since A Game of Thrones was released to the world. Since we are of drinking age now, I feel it's high time to throw a feast for all of the dedicated fans in our long wait.

I am going to tag those that showed an interest in whenever I got around to finishing this or whom I have referenced their work. I may have missed someone, sorry if I did, just let me know. @Feather Crystal @LmL @ravenous reader @BryndenBFish @glass_table_girl @Kingmonkey @Lady Gwynhyfvar @sweetsunray@Sly Wren@Maester of Valyria

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Part I will focus on Jaime/Cersei as Targaryens, along with being a (metaphorical) dual lightbringer sword and The Once and Future King as it relates to the series.

Part II focuses on Jaime's influence from Lancelot, Jon's influence from Mordred, both Jon and Jaime's Dragon Dreams and the fractal symbolism which I refer to as a "Sierpinsky Gasket". If you're wondering whether this wall of text is worth your time but don't want to read everything to find out, I recommend skipping ahead to the end of Part II in the section "Martin’s Sierpinsky Gasket : The Mad Dance ; or : A Treatise on Clustered Symbolism".

Part III begins with the two roles I alluded to in Part II, "The Fiery Rainbow Man" and "The Drunk Fool". Most importantly I offer a mythological explanation to the Sierpinsky Gasket, a Dionysian Feast of epic proportions. Essentially this Dionysian Feast occurs at the breaking moment and due to the nature of the godhead being able to attune across space-time, it is breaking in different locations, making its imprint felt throughout the series.

Part IV revolves around the locations for the Breaking of the World, the origin of the Lightbringer in TOAFK, the nature of "dragons" (anyone magically attuned to a godhead through bloodlines) and involves the origins of these magical conflicts.

I'll be delving heavily into the symbolism of the series so if that's not your bag this probably isn't the thread for you. That said, I think there's enough I will be pointing to that even if you disagree with my premises or conclusions there will be plenty of food for thought for all. I imagine the massive length will turn some off but I am attempting an extremely ambitious write-up here and I have a lot of quotes to back up the ideas for anyone less acquainted with the books, so the work can stand on its own, and for those hardened evidentialists/skeptics on the forum. I try to let the work speak for its self and only guide the reader between the evidence, although I will get a bit speculative at points, as is the nature of a comprehensive attempt at analyzing an unfinished series. For those already steeped in the hidden web of symbolism a fair amount of my work to come, on what I refer to as "clustered symbolism", will be at least somewhat familiar.  I am hoping to prove the nature of the fractal in the series (which I will refer to as a "Sierpinsky Gasket", the pre-cursor to the fractal), the Breaking of the World and the Forging of Lightbringer are all due to the same event which has echoed through space-time to affect the entire series. Also I will be going into the indelible mark that has been made by T.H. White's The Once and Future King (shortened to TOAFK) on the construction of A Song of Ice and Fire.

I've decided to break this up into four parts, in true lightbringer fashion, as the word count is staggering. Ultimately I am trying to synthesize much of what is known along with what I've discovered independently into a cohesive whole that attempts to explain some of the key mysteries of the series. I do not believe I have everything figured out but I have enough to be confident in introducing this beast of a topic.

I'm consistently pushing the notion of A+J=J+C because I don't see it as a theory but as a thing that is happening. By the end I hope I will have won over anyone who reads the essay to this view or at least put some serious doubts in the heads of disbelievers. I'll be staying away from the oft-tread arguments made, as there is so much to mine that I have not seen discussed (although it may have been discussed somewhere I haven't seen). This theory, despite the title, does not preclude Jon Snow's status as a Lightbringer or being a Targaryen but relies on it. Naturally I will be going into TOAFK and throughout the essay I will come back to how Martin is playing into and ruthlessly deconstructing the Arthurian Cycle by way of White's re-envisioning of one of the oldest fantasy tales. It will also explain why numerous hidden kings is not only possible but central to the message Martin is making in repsonse to that cycle. This is due to White's premise on the nature of kings and the lands/people they preside over. I will offer an explanation as to why Tyrion is not a Targaryen but has what I refer to as "half-assed dragon symbolism", intended to misdirect the reader.

This essay is intended to be comprehensive but not exhaustive. There's a hell of a lot to keep track of! I could keep refining it before posting but I simply cannot pass up the opportunity of presenting this on the 21st nameday of the series, considering I'll be getting into drunkenness and Dionysian Feasts. This is very much a first draft but I intend on sticking it out and putting it on my own wordpress or the like once I have it in a more finalized version.

The method of analysis I like to champion is the use of hidden meanings and concepts which are tied to specific key words or phrases which can then be used interchangeably with other key words/phrases, allowing a lot of variation with the same base recurring events. I liken it to a skeleton key one can use to unlock many of the hidden doors and mysteries of the series. I am by no means the first person to do this but I believe I have honed in on it as Martin intends its use. Before I kick all this off let's look at the use of "beaten gold" with this method in mind.

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In Westeros, few but the blood of the dragon had eyes that color, or hair that shone like beaten gold and strands of silver woven all together. -The Sworn Sword

Egg had the purple eyes of old Valyria, and hair that shone like beaten gold and strands of silver woven together. -The Mystery Knight

Speaks for its self, only Targaryens have hair of beaten gold. But when we see whose hair is described this way the hidden intent becomes painfully obvious.

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There came Ser Jaime Lannister with hair as bright as beaten gold... -Eddard I, AGOT

His hair curled, as Jaime's did, but her brother's hair was beaten gold, like hers... -Cersei I, AFFC

Lady Joanna gave birth to a pair of twins, a girl and a boy, "healthy and beautiful, with hair like beaten gold." -Aerys II, TWOIAF

Wait, so only Jaime and Cersei have hair of beaten gold? HUH. The other two uses of beaten gold preclude hair though.

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Sunfyre’s scales still shone like beaten gold in the sunlight, but as he sprawled across the fused black Valyrian stone of the yard, it was plain to see that he was a broken thing, he who had been the most magnificent dragon ever to fly the skies of Westeros. The wing all but torn from his body by Meleys jutted from his body at an awkward angle, whilst fresh scars along his back still smoked and bled when he moved. Sunfyre was coiled in a ball when the queen and her party first beheld him. As he stirred and raised his head, huge wounds were visible along his neck, where another dragon had torn chunks from his flesh. On his belly were places where scabs had replaced scales, and where his right eye should have been was only an empty hole, crusted with black blood. -The Princess and The Queen

Sunfyre is a fantastic parallel to Jaime, a golden dragon that has his wing torn off and is unable to fly, as Jaime has his hand cut off and is unable to fight (despite being considered one of the most capable fighters in Westeros). The black blood, the hand (wing) and neck injuries should be familiar to those that keep up with LmL's essays.

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And through the smoke another wedge of armored riders came, on barded horses. Floating above them were the largest banners yet, royal standards as big as sheets; a yellow one with long pointed tongues that showed a flaming heart, and another like a sheet of beaten gold, with a black stag prancing and rippling in the wind. -Jon X, ASOS

This is Stannis, playing the part of the imitative fire character risen from the dead (like Renly's Ghost on the Blackwater), since Jon believes he is Robert at first -- who has been dead for some time. The Baratheon branch is rumored to have begun due to Orys, a bastard half-brother to Aegon I Targaryen. Even if this is false, there is recent Targ blood in the three Baratheon brothers' lineage so the connection to Jaime and Cersei having Targaryen blood stands regardless. I won't expand on that, as I am terrible at keeping up with genealogies and it's easily searchable info.

I hope I have your attention because this is a long ride we are in for. Before tearing into this series I am going to start with TOAFK and the profound influence it has had on the construction of ASOIAF.

Edited by Cowboy Dan

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Posted (edited)

The Once and Future King

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Our predecessor left this box
And something's clawing around,
I think it really wants out.
-The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box, Modest Mouse,
Strangers to Ourselves


    Starting with the obvious: GRRM wrote an episode of The Twilight Zone titled "The Once and Future King" which has a number of key recurring conflicts that echo throughout the series but I will be getting to that further down the line. Sweetsunray has a great essay on The Bear and the Maiden Fair in which she posits the bear is killed and there are "missing verses" where this occurs. This is directly taken from the Unicorn Hunt in TOAFK (the unicorn is actually a rhinocerous -- I'm guessing that's what we'll actually find on Skagos) where the Orkney boys use a maiden to lure a rhino so he can lay his head in her lap (lick the honey from her hair -- hee hee, snicker snicker) when they kill the poor thing and take its head because, well, the Orkney kids had some pretty bad role models growing up. Kingmonkey has had a pretty great revelation in his post titled The Puppets of Ice and Fire involving the repeated conflicts throughout the series and how some characters even recognize this to some extent as they occur but are compelled along, almost as if they are puppets. Arthur in his ruminations at the end echoes this sentiment precisely:

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He protested to himself in contradiction: it is not fair to put it like that, as if Mordred or I were the movers of the storm. For indeed, we are nothing but figureheads to complex forces which seem to be under a kind of impulse. It is as if there was an impulse in the fabric of society. Mordred is urged along almost helplessly now, by numbers of people too many to count... -Ch. 14, The Candle in the Wind

For if there was such a thing as original sin, if man was on the whole a villain, if the bible was right in saying that the heart of men was deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, then the purpose of his life had been a vain one. Chivalry and justice became a child's illusions, if the stock on which he had tried to graft them was to be the Thrasher, was to be Homo ferox instead of Homo sapiens.

Behind this thought there was a worse one, with which he dared not grapple. Perhaps man was neither good nor bad, was only a machine in an insensate universe—his courage no more than a reflex to danger, like the automatic jump at the pin-prick. Perhaps there were no virtues, unless jumping at pin-pricks was a virtue, and humanity only a mechanical donkey led on by the iron carrot of love, through the pointless treadmill of reproduction. Perhaps Might was a law of Nature, needed to keep the survivors fit. Perhaps he himself... -Ch. 14, The Candle in the Wind

Home ferox and Homo sapiens translate to "fierce man" and "wise man" respectively. 

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"I can see that you spoke in ignorance, and I bitterly regret that I should have been so petty as to take offence where none was intended." -Ch. 3, The Sword in the Stone

"What is my lord suggesting?"
"Little and less. Don't take offense where none was meant, ser." -Jaime II, AFFC

The line is almost directly lifted from White's work.

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If you look down and are not frightened of heights (the Society for the Preservation of This and That have put up some excellent railings to preserve you from tumbling over), you can see the whole anatomy of the inner court laid out beneath you like a map. You can see the chapel, now quite open to its god, and the windows of the great hall with the solar over it. You can see the shafts of the huge chimneys and how cunningly the side flues were contrived to enter them, and the little private closets now public, and the enormous kitchen. If you are a sensible person, you will spend days there, possibly weeks, working out for yourself by detection which were the stables, which the mews, where were the cow byres, the armoury, the lofts, the well, the smithy, the kennel, the soldiers' quarters, the priest's room, and my lord's and lady's chambers.
...
This place was, of course, a paradise for a boy to be in. The Wart ran about it like a rabbit in its own complicated labyrinth. He knew everything, everywhere, all the special smells, good climbs, soft lairs, secret hiding-places, jumps, slides, nooks, larders and blisses. For every  season he had the best place, like a cat, and he yelled and ran and fought and upset people and snoozed and daydreamed and pretended he was a Knight, without stopping. -Chapter 4, The Sword in the Stone

To a boy, Winterfell was a grey stone labyrinth of walls and towers and courtyards and tunnels spreading out in all directions.
...
When he got out from under it and scrambled up near the sky, Bran could see all of Winterfell in a glance. He liked the way it looked, spread out beneath him, only birds wheeling over his head while all the life of the castle went on below. Bran could perch for hours among the shapeless, rain-worn gargoyles that brooded over the First Keep, watching it all: the men drilling with wood and steel in the yard, the cooks tending their vegetables in the glass garden, restless dogs running back and forth in the kennels, the silence of the godswood, the girls gossiping beside the washing well. It made him feel like he was lord of the castle, in a way even Robb would never know.
It taught him Winterfell's secrets too.
...
Most of all, he liked going places that no one else could go, and seeing the grey sprawl of Winterfell in a way that no one else ever saw it. It made the whole castle Bran's secret place. -Bran II, AGOT

Both see their castle as a labyrinth, know its secret places and look down on it from above, feeling even greater than the lord that rules it ("open to its god" in TOAFK, whereas Bran thinks he sees more than even Robb, who will one day be the Lord). There is the systematic naming of all the important locations and in each chapter they begin their lessons in magic. For Wart (Arthur's nickname as a child) he is turned into a fish shortly afterward, where he meets the King of the Moat and gains his first brutal lesson in Might, or Force Majeur. Bran is pushed from the tower, plunging him into his coma that forcefully awakens his ability to skinchange. I also find it rather amusing that in the TOAFK it is mentioned railings are erected to prevent a tumble, as Bran takes a tumble from the tower after witnessing Jaime and Cersei at a tumble of their own. This wordplay of 'tumble' is similar to the 'dance' double meaning Martin likes to employ all over the place.

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"To kill each other? An army of geese to kill each other?"
She began to understand this idea slowly and doubtfully, an expression of distaste coming over her face. When it had sunk in, she left him. -Chapter 18, The Sword in the Stone

Thirty yards from shore, three black swans were gliding over the water, so serene ... no one had told them that war had come, and they cared nothing for burning towns and butchered men. -Arya V, ACOK

They reconcile and Arthur continues his education but the point is that war is a foreign concept, inspiring revulsion in Lyo-Lyok (the goose Arthur talks to). This one is not quite as direct, we see swans instead of geese but the sentiment remains.

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>"Another friend of mine," said Merlyn immediately, in his most learned voice, "maintains, or will maintain, that the question of the language of birds arises out of imitation."
...
"It is like this," said Merlyn. "The kestrel drops upon a mouse, and the poor mouse, transfixed with those needle talons, cries out in agony his one squeal of K-e-e-e! Next time the kestrel sees a mouse, his own soul cries out Kee in imitation."
...
"The hawks scream like their prey. The mallards croak like the frogs they eat, the shrikes also, like these creatures in distress. The blackbirds and thrushes click like the snail shells they hammer to pieces. The various finches make the noise of cracking seeds, and the woodpecker imitates the tapping on wood which he makes to get the insects that he eats." -Chapter 17, The Sword in the Stone

The Other said something in a language that Will did not know; his voice was like the cracking of ice on a winter lake, and the words were mocking. -Prologue, AGOT

Just as Merlyn posits animals learn to speak in languages based on their surroundings, the Others speak to Will in a language based on their own their own surroundings.

There is also quite a bit of focus on Hadrian's Wall early on in Arthur's kingship, which is the inspiration for The Wall. Under Hadrian's Wall are a number of tunnels that can be used by defenders to ferry back and forth or beat a hasty retreat unseen in case of being overcome by their northern enemies. In ASOIAF, we have Gorne's Way, which was the Wildling discovery of the tunnels beneath the Wall which were used to sneak past their defenses, although since the Night's Watch were aware of these tunnels they were waiting for their northern enemy and able to defeat them.

There is the Merlyn/Bloodraven connection, both are a sorceror who goes underground, is kept prisoner of his own will and teaches a young boy in the ways of living through other animals (though not necessarily in that order). But a fun wordplay that is less obvious involves slightly altering Merlyn's name to get the name of another enigmatic magician. Turn the a>e and l>w, then Merlyn the wizard becomes Marwyn the mage. There is also Meryn Trant, whose first name is simply Merlyn lacking the letter L.

Another interesting possible import in terms of names comes in the name of the country Dorne. In TOAFK King Pellinore marries the Princess of Flanders. When they are discussing their marriage plans and the names of their children, the fourth child's name eludes him but is returned to later. The child's name is Dornar. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Martin originally intended to name the Dornish the Dornar. The connection would have been a bit too obvious if it wasn't changed though.
Yet another name import comes with the Tower of Joy. The accepted story is that Rhaegar kidnapped (or ran off with) Lyanna and took her to ToJ to sire a child. Whether this was his plan or not is less important in the current context but that basic plot is essentially what occurs regarding Lancelot and the Joyous Isle, also named Joyous Gard. In the clustered symbolism I'll be employing, both the tower and the island are connected indirectly. Sometimes an island is referred to as a boat and captaining a boat is compared by Maester Pylos to commanding a kingdom from a castle tower. Lancelot is tricked by Elaine into sleeping with her and siring a child, as he believed her to be Guenever. They agree to raise the child there in secret, just as Lyanna births a child in secret at the Tower of Joy.
There is an essay written by the well-known user BryndenBfish (with guest glass_table_girl) titled Dances with Wolves: Analyzing the Martial Language of Sansa’s Story. Sansa is currently in the Vale under the tutelage of Littlefinger to marry Harry the Heir and must use her "women's weapons" to fight this battle. Of course she is not Sansa but masquerading as Alayne, Littlefinger's bastard daughter. In TOAFK, Lancelot is tricked by Elaine (Elaine>Alayne) into having sex with her, believing Elaine to be Guenever and she gets pregnant with his child, Galahad. Lancelot denies her initially (not knowing shes's pregnant), returning to Camelot to continue his affair with Guenever but Elaine is in love and not one to give up easily.

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She was coming to capture Lancelot from Guenever, an expedition of which everybody except herself could feel the pathos. She had no weapons to fight with, and did not know how to fight. -Ch. 16, The Ill-Made Knight

Just as Sansa initially lacks these weapons but must gain and learn to use them, Elaine completely lacks the ability to win the fight for her beloved's heart. She does leverage her child quite well to coerce Lance into submitting but this was done out of luck, not intent.

In what is so short it almost seems a throw-away line, Martin recreates the key issue at the climax of TOAFK. In it, Mordred, Arthur's bastard son, accuses Guenever of adultery (which now that Arthur has created laws to bind force would be considered treason against the crown) with Lancelot, who had twice until that point defended her against the claim in a trial by combat. In AGOT, Bran II : "or Prince Aemon the Dragonknight championing Queen Naerys's honor against evil Ser Morgil's slanders." Change the names to Lancelot championing Guenever against the evil Sir Mordred's slanders and you have the same essential plot. The obvious remark, since I've been harping on imported names, is that of Mordred > Morgil. Arthur is bastard son to Uther Pendragon, making Lancelot a sort of (Pen)dragon knight himself.
The real difficulty comes in how Martin takes all of it and flips things, changes details and moves things around to muddy the waters. Lady Gwynhyfvar described this process as a "topological salad" of sorts, he just cuts it all up and rearranges it in all these fascinating ways which can certainly make getting to the bottom of things difficult.

For instance, Lancelot wanted to become a knight to help the king and then fell in love with the queen. Aemon is believed to have already loved Naerys and joined the KG after her marriage to a king (and brother) he did not get along with. Where Lance and Arthur were the best of friends, Aemon and Aegon feuded repeatedly. It's the same basic story but specific motivations are completely flipped around to totally alter the context and how the conflicts ultimately play out. Conversely Jaime is already in love with Cersei and takes his post as a Kingsguard in order to be closer to her and cares nothing for the kings he serves, as opposed to the loving devotion of Lance.

Back in 1999 Martin responded to fan queries regarding Morgil's slanders.

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"Well, the singers embroider everything, but there was a Ser Morgil and he did accuse Naerys of various things... probably adultery and treason with Aemon, but I haven't nailed all that down yet..."

The only thing that he points out is it probably has to do with adultery and treason, precisely what Mordred accuses Guenever of.

It's been pointed out before that Martin's Lords do not behave like Lords are reported to historically but far more brutally and despotically (not that some of these things didn't happen but they did not occur on such a national, pervasive scale). The Westerosi Lords  behave in line with the Lords and Dukes of White's Gramarye, more like gangsters brutally enacting their will over the less fortunate, those less capable of exerting power. The machinations of Might, or Force Majeur and turning it to Right is not simply a theme in White's work but an overriding, all-encompassing crisis for Arthur and his Round Table.

There is so much in TOAFK that can be tied to ASOIAF it is kind of insane so I stuck to the most obvious and direct parallels that stuck out to me. I honestly wouldn't be surprised, with how much of TOAFK set off ASOIAF bells in my head during my read, if every chapter from TOAFK has some parallel or impact on this series. That claim might sound a tad ludicrous but by nature of a fractal, every chapter in the series has events or conflicts that can be tied to an event or conflict elsewhere in the series. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that Martin did the same in utilizing TOAFK as a sort of blueprint for ASOIAF. This possibility isn't necessary for my argument to stand, I am simply musing on how much there is going on in relation to TOAFK. 

I will continue to use key themes from TOAFK that crop up in ASOIAF in order to help make sense of what exactly it seems Martin is trying to accomplish or say in playing off of the Arthurian Cycle.

Edited by Cowboy Dan

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J + A = Lightbringer

      For those who aren't aware, I am standing on the shoulders of the now-defunct user Schmendrick who wrote a great write-up (one of the first I read after finishing the series, coincidentally) titled R + L = Lightbringer. I won't be relying on his essay but I agree with and build on the same ground of his hypothesis that: 

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The “hero’s magical sword” is one of the biggest clichés in fantasy. We all know that George doesn’t like clichés. He likes to avoid or subvert them. George presents Lightbringer to us as a typical magical sword, but he also subtly hints that it is actually something more … unexpected. Lightbringer is a person, not a sword.

    In ACOK this metaphor is used to evidence the idea that a person can me made of metal, utilizing the Baratheon brothers. I've already mentioned Jaime and Cersei as a metal, "beaten gold".

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"Robert was the true steel. Stannis is pure iron, black and hard and strong, yes, but brittle, the way iron gets. He'll break before he bends. And Renly, that one, he's copper, bright and shiny, pretty to look at but not worth all that much at the end of the day." -Jon I, ACOK

    In TOAFK, particularly during The Ill-Made Knight (the third book, centering around Lancelot) there is a recurring use of "true name" and "true face", that any true knight would not hide either. Martin uses this but also plays with it: The Knight of the Laughing Tree is an example of a true knight who hides both and whose identity is still subject to debate. We also see this regarding Dunk in The Mystery Knight and with Coldhands, north of the Wall.

    Back to "true steel" with individuals compared to swords. The name "Lannister" comes from the Latin words Lann & Ster. Lann translates to "sword" and "scales" (as in the natural shield of dragons or fish) & "star"respectively. Swords can naturally be used offensively or defensively, to cut or parry and scales, which are a shield, can be used to block an opponents strike or to bull/ram them offensively. Naturally I'm expecting the response that this could refer to Tyrion, not Jaime and Cersei but I will let Tyrion's own words would disagree with the notion.

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My mind is my weapon. My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer, and I have my mind … and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." -Tyrion II, AGOT

        Throughout the series, Cersei is directly tied to the emeralds that match her eyes. Of the 29 uses of emerald, 14 are directly tied to Cersei or her children. A few uses are descriptive of wildfire and Tyrion refers to it as "Cersei's wildfire" at one point. Renly is likewise associated with the emeralds a handful of times and as I will get to later, he is playing the same role as Jaime on a number of occasions, who has the same deep green emerald eyes as his twin. This is pretty typical of GRRM's use of particular words to create an underlying connection. The difficulty is that, as with wildfire and Renly, the connection is not readily apparent or consistent at first glance but once one begins mapping out these clusters the connections become clearer. Conversely, sometimes the connection becomes very apparent with words/phrases of low hit counts in the search but there will be a minority of aberrations that seem wildly out of place, for instance "beaten gold" as I showed seems most direct with hair but the other two take a little more work to suss out. An example of this using emerald : Cersei is heavily equated with emerald and wildfire is only described using emerald a couple times. But in Sansa's chapter during the Battle of the Blackwater both jade and emerald are tied to wildfire, so you can start understanding when you see emerald jade or wildfire the other is implied symbolically. 

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The reds and yellows of common flame warred against the emeralds and jades of wildfire, each color flaring and then fading, birthing armies of short-lived shadows to die again an instant later. -Sansa VII, ACOK

You can employ this method to then look into jade (although I don't recommend it, there are 101 hits so it becomes easy to lose the threads and throughlines) to find other connections in the cluster. I am not doing this with this particular cluster, simply explaining how one can start using this method in their own understanding of the series. I won't be getting really heavy into this sort of thing until Part 3.

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Cersei beckoned to her page for another cup of wine, a golden vintage from the Arbor, fruity and rich. The queen was drinking heavily, but the wine only seemed to make her more beautiful; her cheeks were flushed, and her eyes had a bright, feverish heat to them as she looked down over the hall. Eyes of wildfire, Sansa thought. -Sansa VI, ACOK

His sister liked to think of herself as Lord Tywin with teats, but she was wrong. Their father had been as relentless and implacable as a glacier, where Cersei was all wildfire, especially when thwarted. -Jaime II, AFFC

Cersei felt too alive for sleep. The wildfire was cleansing her, burning away all her rage and fear, filling her with resolve. -Cersei III, AFFC

Note the use of "burning away", as this ties Cersei to her Dance counterpart, Rhaenyra Targaryen.

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Broken by the loss of one son, Rhaenyra Targaryen seemed to find new strength after the loss of a second. Jace’s death hardened her, burning away her fears, leaving only her anger and her hatred. -The Princess and The Queen

Essentially the same occurs, their fear is burned away but Cersei has only lost one son (and is set to lose another per the Valonqar prophecy) so her rage gets burned away as well. If you look at the pictures in TWOIAF by Magali Villeneuve of Rhaenyra and Cersei there is a striking resemblance (allowing exception for eye color), just as Daenerys is said to look just like Naerys Targaryen. If you look through her galleries on her Deviantart she is quite talented and draws a wide variety of facial features and hair styles so the similarities are unlikely to be coincidental or due to a lack of artistic range. But let's focus on the connections to Aerys, since we're talking wildfire for now.

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>The green light of the wildfire had bathed the face of the watchers, so they looked like nothing so much as rotting corpses, a pack of gleeful ghouls, but some of the corpses were prettier than others. Even in the baleful glow, Cersei had been beautiful to look upon. She'd stood with one hand on her breast, her lips parted, her green eyes shining. She is crying, Jaime had realized, but whether it was from grief or ecstasy he could not have said.

The sight had filled him with disquiet, reminding him of Aerys Targaryen and the way a burning would arouse him. -Jaime II, AFFC

Schmendrick pointed this out in his original essay as well. Cersei here plays the part of Nissa Nissa with her look of grief and ecstasy. Although I am focusing more on the wildfire aspect and connection to Aerys here.

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"Not Robert the Second," Tyrion said. "Aerys the Third." -Tyrion VI, ASOS

By the end the Mad King had become so fearful that he would allow no blade in his presence, save for the swords his Kingsguard wore. His beard was matted and unwashed, his hair a silver-gold tangle that reached his waist, his fingernails cracked yellow claws nine inches long. Yet still the blades tormented him, the ones he could never escape, the blades of the Iron Throne. His arms and legs were always covered with scabs and half-healed cuts. -Jaime II, AFFC

The fool was always cutting himself on the blades and barbs of the Iron Throne. -Jaime II, ASOS

Cersei also denies any sword but the White Swords and dreams of the torment of the Iron Throne, as Aerys lived in life.

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No swords had been allowed inside the feast save for those the white knights bore.

My son is safe, Cersei told herself. No harm can come to him, not here, not now. Yet every time she looked at Tommen, she saw Joffrey clawing at his throat. -Cersei III, AFFC

The barbs and blades of the Iron Throne bit into her flesh as she crouched to hide her shame. Blood ran red down her legs, as steel teeth gnawed at her buttocks. When she tried to stand, her foot slipped through a gap in the twisted metal. The more she struggled the more the throne engulfed her, tearing chunks of flesh from her breasts and belly, slicing at her arms and legs until they were slick and red, glistening. -Cersei I, AFFC

There is another passage in TWOIAF involving the caprices of the Mad King that are being mimicked by Cersei. I will include those way down the line, once we've hammered out more of this essay. There's a consistent coloring for their eyes of emerald/jade for wildfire and golden hair of the sun. In Daenerys' "wake the dragon" vision she sees these same colorings on the dead dragon kings.

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>Ghosts lined the hallway, dressed in the faded raiment of kings. In their hands were swords of pale fire. They had hair of silver and hair of gold and hair of platinum white, and their eyes were opal and amethyst, tourmaline and jade. -Daenerys IX, AGOT
 

Some of these dead dragon kings have the same colorings of Jaime and Cersei and wield pale fire swords. Note the platinum white coloring as well, as it will return. The Targaryen colorings are their hair of silver-gold (sometimes a secondary coloring on their armor), purple for their eyes, and black & red (house sigil colorings). Jaime is often shown as a sun symbol, always with gold as a consistent coloring but he has been shown to silver twice now.

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"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. -Jaime III, AFFC

Even at a distance, Ser Jaime Lannister was unmistakable. The moonlight had silvered his armor and the gold of his hair, and turned his crimson cloak to black. He was not wearing a helm. -Catelyn X, AGOT

This is the only time I have found where Jaime wears a red cloak and it turns black, while his hair goes from gold to silver, Targaryen colors all around. With that in mind, let's go back to his initial introduction to the series via Jon.

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>Ser Jaime Lannister was twin to Queen Cersei; tall and golden, with flashing green eyes and a smile that cut like a knife. He wore crimson silk, high black boots, a black satin cloak. On the breast of his tunic, the lion of his House was embroidered in gold thread, roaring its defiance.
...
This is what a king should look like... -Jon I, AGOT

Black red and gold but the golden lion is roaring in defiance, almost as if it is claiming its separation from the Targaryen colorings of black and red which Jaime directly states later.

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"Kingslayer," he pronounced carefully. "And such a king he was!" He lifted his cup. "To Aerys Targaryen, the Second of His Name, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm. And to the sword that opened his throat. A golden sword, don't you know. Until his blood ran red down the blade. Those are the Lannister colors, red and gold." -Catelyn VII, ACOK

Cersei had been a queen, the next thing to a goddess... -Epilogue, ADWD

His blood was the blood of old Valyria, the blood of dragons and gods. -Cersei V, AFFC 

Jaime had come walking through that mist naked as his name day, looking half a corpse and half a god. -Brienne II, AFFC

And then they would look at Daemon Blackfyre—grown tall and powerful, half a god among mortal men... -Daemon II, TWOIAF

Interesting use of "half a god" to tie Jaime to Daemon I Blackfyre, which are the only two uses of that phrase in all the books. As I have already pointed out, Cersei has parallels with Rhaenyra and Jaime has direct ties not only to Daemon Targaryen but two other Daemons as well, which I will evidence shortly.

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The funeral procession departed King's Landing through the Gate of the Gods, wider and more splendid than the Lion Gate. The choice felt wrong to Jaime. His father had been a lion, that no one could deny, but even Lord Tywin never claimed to be a god. -Jaime II, AFFC

...like their dragons the Targaryens answered to neither gods nor men. -Catelyn IV, ACOK

That would show the realm that the Lannisters are above their laws, like gods and Targaryens. -Jaime III, ASOS

Jaime specifically ruminates that Tywin was not one to think of himself as a god but himself directly thinks of behaving as the Targaryens do, placing themselves above gods and men.

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On Dragonstone, where the Targaryens had long ruled, the common folk had seen their beautiful, foreign rulers almost as gods. Many maids deflowered by Targaryen lords accounted themselves blessed if a "dragonseed" was planted in their womb... -Aegon II, TWOIAF

These happy bastards were said to have been “born of dragonseed,” and in time became known simply as “seeds.” -The Princess and the Queen

"He is your son..."
"He is my seed... -Jaime IX, ASOS 

Joff was no more to me than a squirt of seed in Cersei's cunt. -Jaime IX, ASOS

There's quite a few more example of this but you get the point by now, I hope. The interesting thing about this is how it evidences Martin's ability to obfuscate and misdirect the reader so deftly. The great mystery from the first book has not yet been discovered in-universe, as Ned was incorrect in his understanding of Jon Arryn's parting words. It is not the Lannister seed that is strong but "the seed" : the dragonseed!

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Elaena, the youngest, was more willful than Rhaena, but not as beautiful as either of her sisters. While in the Maidenvault, it is said she cut her "crowning glory"her long hair, platinum-pale with a streak of gold running through it—and sent it to her brother, pleading for her freedom with the promise that, shorn as she was, she would now be too ugly to tempt any man." -Baelor I, TWOIAF

Dany, when she births dragons and later at Daznaks' Pit has her hair completely burned off. This is a Targaryen tradition, as Aegon V 'Egg' cuts his hair to hide his silver-gold hair. After his defeat at the Whispering Wood then release, Jaime likewise cuts his hair. Cersei likewise is imprisoned by the High Septon and has her hair cut. The kicker? The word "shorn" is used only 8 times in the series, once in the world book but 4 times, half of the uses, are contained in Cersei's Walk of Shame chapter, tying her to yet another Targaryen.

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Septon Barth speculated on the matter, referring to a Valyrian text that has since been lost, suggesting that the Freehold's sorcerers foretold that the gold of Casterly Rock would destroy them. -The Westerlands, TWOIAF

This is meant to refer to the "hair of gold" we see in the deceased kings during Daenerys' visions. As with prophecy the answer is never direct, it is not the currency of The Rock that would destroy Valyria but the golden hair that destroys the silver-gold hair of the blood of old Valyria.

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A dozen quips came to mind, each crueler than the one before, but Jaime only shrugged. "I dreamed of you," he said. -Jaime V, ASOS

GRRM confirmed a while back what some fans have suspected that (due to the parallelism between the two) Brienne of Tarth is a descendant of Ser Duncan the Tall, who is told the same phrase by both a Targaryen and a Blackfyre.

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"I dreamed of you," said the prince.
"You said that at the inn."
"Did I? Well, it's so. My dreams are not like yours, Ser Duncan. Mine are true. They frighten me. -The Hedge Knight

"I dreamed of you, Ser Duncan. Before I even met you. When I saw you on the road, I knew your face at once. It was as if we were old friends." Dunk had the strangest feeling then, as if he had lived this all before. I dreamed of you, he said. My dreams are not like yours, Ser Duncan. Mine are true. -The Mystery Knight

Jaime and Jon both have these dragon dreams and night terrors throughout the series but I won't delve further into that until Part II.

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"Fitfully, good lady. I dreamed of you again." A waking dream. -Tyrion IV, ADWD

This is a great example of one of those half-assed connections Tyrion has. Whereas each time "I dreamed of you" is used by a Targaryen are of actual dreams, Tyrion here is mentioning a masturbatory daydream of Septa Unella. But as I stated this is not to imply Tyrion does not have some dragon blood (otherwise why the connections to them?) or that he will not have a very large part to play in the end game.

Jaime and Cersei have the deep green eyes of emerald, whereas Tywin's eyes are always described as pale.

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His eyes were a pale green, flecked with gold. Tyrion VII, AGOT

Lord Tywin studied his son's disfigured face, his pale green eyes unflinching. -Tyrion I, ASOS

Lord Tywin studied his grandchild in silence, gold flecks shining in his pale green eyes. -Tyrion VI, ASOS

This might seem thin on its own but Tyrion uses the same basic notion to help suss out Aegon VI's identity.

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>Like his sire, Young Griff had blue eyes, but where the father's eyes were pale, the son's were dark. -Tyrion IV, ADWD

Tyrion has been given the tools to suss out where someone's bloodline really comes from, despite what they might claim or believe themselves. I contend he will also, with his extreme knowledge and love of books, be able to learn from the tome Jon Arryn read to discover he also has some dragon blood in him.

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>"My mother said my father had a drop of dragon blood."
"Two drops. That, or a cock six feet long. You know that tale? I do." -Tyrion XI, ADWD

This is due to his ancestor, Ossifer Plumm, having died before consummating his marriage, and it is rumored Aegon the Unworthy was the real father. This would mean that he distantly has Targaryen blood on both sides. Tyrion, if I am correct, has this exact thing occur for him but he has yet to glean the information that will lead to this revelation. The thing is, since Joanna and Tywin were cousins, they both have the same grandparents : Gerold Lannister and Rohanne Weber. I believe he derives his two drops of Dragon blood from Rohanne on both sides. But more on Rohanne in a future post.

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>They liked the fire, he sensed. He'd thrust the torch into the mouth of one of the larger skulls and made the shadows leap and dance on the wall behind him. -Tyrion II, AGOT

I believe Tyrion, like Tywin, will serve as the power behind the throne. He will be able to use this knowledge to make the dragons dance, like Littlefinger, to manipulate the players of the game into doing what he wants, at least to some degree. He is, as Varys says, a small man that can cast a very large shadow.

Some of you may be thinking "really? Another fricking Targ bastard?" Yes! First, I will refer you back to the comment about dragonseed, that having a Targ bastard would make your child descended on one side of what some see as a godlike people. Next: this ties into the Arthurian Cycle again. In that time marriages were of course arranged, as they often are in Westeros. It was considered not unacceptable (at least in TOAFK -- I am no medieval scholar) to have a mistress who might sire a child at some point. It's not exactly like they had great birth control methods.

There's also the fact that Arthur is cursed in a sense due to his bloodline, the ultimate tragedy of his reign.

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Even if you have to read it twice, like something in a history lesson, this pedigree is a vital part of the tragedy of King Arthur. It is why Sir Thomas Malory called his very long book the Death of Arthur. Although nine tenths of the story seems to be about knights jousting and quests for the holy grail and things of that sort, the narrative is a whole, and it deals with the reasons why the young man came to grief at the end. It is the tragedy, the Aristotelian and comprehensive tragedy, of sin coming home to roost. That is why we have to take note of the parentage of Arthur's son Mordred, and to remember, when the time comes, that the king had slept with his own sister. He did not know he was doing so, and perhaps it may have been due to her, but it seems, in tragedy, that innocence is not enough. -Ch. 14, The Queen of Air and Darkness

The epigraph used at the beginning of the Queen of Air and Darkness (in which Arthur sleeps unknowingly with his half-sister Morgause and sires a bastard) is the poem by A.E. Housman titled "The Welsh Marches" which deals with the mixing of Welsh and English blood and the irreconcilable nature of their past conflicts. How does one deal with being two halves of a people that are deeply entrenched in ancestral wrongs and feuds? "The Welsh Marches is an imprecisely defined area along and around the border between England and Wales" according to Wikipedia.  Here is the part of the poem used as an epigraph:

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When shall I be dead and rid
Of the wrong my father did?
How long, how long, till spade and hearse
Put to sleep my mother's curse? 

Reminds one of Rhaegar Targaryen, no? With that in mind, let's see some more ruminations from Arthur regarding these irreconcilable bloodlines and lands.

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He began to think again, but now it was as clearly as it had ever been. He remembered the aged necromancer who had educated him—who had educated him with animals. There were, he remembered, something like half a million different species of animal, of which mankind was only one. Of course man was an animal—he was not a vegetable or a mineral, was he? And Merlyn had taught him about animals so that the single species might learn by looking at the problems of the thousands. He remembered the belligerent ants, who claimed their boundaries, and the pacific geese, who did not. He remembered his lesson from the badger. He remembered Lyo-lyok and the island which they had seen on their migration, where all those puffins, razorbills, guillemots and kittiwakes had lived together peacefully, preserving their own kinds of civilization without war—because they claimed no boundaries. He saw the problem before him as plain as a map. The fantastic thing about war was that it was fought about nothing—literally nothing. Frontiers were imaginary lines. There was no visible line between Scotland and England, although Hodden and Bannockburn had been fought about it. It was geography which was the cause—political geography. It was nothing else. Nations did not need to have the same kind of civilization, nor the same kind of leader, any more than the puffins and the guillemots did. They could keep their own civilizations, like Esquimaux and Hottentots, if they would give each other freedom of trade and free passage and access to the world. Countries would have to become counties—but counties which could keep their own culture and local laws. The imaginary lines on the earth's surface only needed to be unimagined. The airborne birds skipped them by nature. How mad the frontiers had seemed to Lyo-lyok, and would to Man if he could learn to fly. -Ch. 14, The Candle in the Wind

The emphasis on man learning to fly should bring to mind a couple major magical moments, Bran awakening from his coma dream and Daenerys birthing dragons. Euron who drinks Shade of the Evening like water echoes the same sentiment, that man will only learn to fly if he were to jump from some tall tower.

So Arthur says we must unimagine the lines of the world? We have already seen this and it is evidenced by the painted table of Aegon the Conqueror, who himself is an example of this Arthurian ideal in action. He is a king who forged the Seven Kingdoms in conquest, as Arthur forged the British Isles into one rule.

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>Stannis touched the Painted Table. [...] He swept a hand across it. "This talk of Seven Kingdoms is a folly. Aegon saw that three hundred years ago when he stood where we are standing. They painted this table at his command. Rivers and bays they painted, hills and mountains, castles and cities and market towns, lakes and swamps and forests... but no borders. It is all one. One realm, for one king to rule alone." -Davos IV, ASOS

I believe this is the nature and purpose of the Breaking of the World : to divide the lands that cannot reconcile their differences and split them into separate kingdoms. Rather bittersweet of an ending, wouldn't you say? We will have many characters who rule or are in positions of power, though not over a united Seven Kingdoms, but a broken one.

This Arthurian ideal is already at play in GRRM's Earth: the city of Braavos. It serves as a microcosm of a Post-Breaking Earth where culture and customs are disparate but preserved and living in harmonious discord. GRRM once stated he loves the idea of Braavos so much he has said he can write an entire book detailing Arya's adventures there, just to give you an idea of how important the city is.

Edited by Cowboy Dan

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Posted (edited)

Jaime as Lightbringer


    Jaime is heavily associate with the gold of the sun. Remember the "true steel" quote and how Renly was copper, pretty to look at but not worth much later in the day? But the issue is that Jaime is not copper, he is the gold of the sun.

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What of copper?"
"A pretty metal, but fickle as a woman. Gold, now… gold is sincere." -Daenerys III, ADWD

Cersei is the metaphorical copper. Pretty to look at but ultimately lacking in redeeming qualities. Whereas Jaime was faithful and sincere to Cersei, she cheated on him regularly and spurned him, acting like a right bitch after he lost his hand.

Particularly of interest though is that he is associated heavily with the pale pink of the dawn. Specifically, this is first used in the paragraph of the first chapter (excluding the prologue) of A Storm of Swords which is considered by many to be the climactic high point so far, book-wise.

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An east wind blew through his tangled hair, as soft and fragrant as Cersei's fingers. He could hear birds singing, and feel the river moving beneath the boat as the sweep of the oars sent them toward the pale pink dawn. After so long in darkness, the world was so sweet that Jaime Lannister felt dizzy. I am alive, and drunk on sunlight. A laugh burst from his lips, sudden as a quail flushed from cover. -Jaime I, ASOS

He is moving toward the pale pink dawn (interestingly the Others, associated with dusk and the night, first attack in force in the preceding prologue) and is drunk on sunlight. He is literally playing the part of a lightbringer sword, drinking sunlight! You can't get more direct than this. In the next scene he plays a Lightbringer, he is at Tywin's wake.

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Plumm wore purple, Prester ermine, Moreland russet and green, but each had donned a cloak of crimson silk, in honor of the man they were escorting home.
Behind the lords came a hundred crossbowmen and three hundred men-at-arms, and crimson flowed from their shoulders as well. In his white cloak and white scale armor, Jaime felt out of place amongst that river of red. -Jaime II, AFFC

Here he is playing the white sword (as he is literally a White Sword of the Kingsguard) surrounded by those waves of night and blood LmL likes harping on about. He also mentioned scenes where a Lightbringer is stuck in the ground and left behind. With that in mind, let's look at the Tourney of the Hand from AGOT.

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The Hound just managed to stay in his saddle. He jerked his mount around hard and rode back to the lists for the second pass. Jaime Lannister tossed down his broken lance and snatched up a fresh one, jesting with his squire. The Hound spurred forward at a hard gallop. Lannister rode to meet him. This time, when Jaime shifted his seat, Sandor Clegane shifted with him. Both lances exploded, and by the time the splinters had settled, a riderless blood bay was trotting off in search of grass while Ser Jaime Lannister rolled in the dirt, golden and dented.
...
Jaime Lannister was back on his feet, but his ornate lion helmet had been twisted around and dented in his fall, and now he could not get it off. The commons were hooting and pointing, the lords and ladies were trying to stifle their chuckles, and failing, and over it all Ned could hear King Robert laughing, louder than anyone. Finally they had to lead the Lion of Lannister off to a blacksmith, blind and stumbling. -Eddard VII, AGOT

I pointed out how Jaime is connected to two Daemons already, by way of "I dreamed of you" and being called "half a god" by Brienne. This fall in the dirt or mud is also tied to yet another Daemon, Daemon II Blackfyre.

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"No," he heard Lord Peake cry out in anguish. "Noooooo." For half a heartbeat, Dunk almost felt sorry for him. He opened his eyes again. Riderless, the big black stallion was slowing to a trot. Dunk jumped out and grabbed him by the reins. At the far end of the lists, Ser Glendon Ball wheeled his mare and raised his splintered lance. Men rushed onto the field to where the Fiddler lay unmoving, facedown in a puddle. When they helped him to his feet, he was mud from head to heel.
"The Brown Dragon!"
someone shouted. Laughter rippled through the yard as the dawn washed over Whitewalls. -The Mystery Knight

So here Jaime plays the same part as Daemon II Blackfyre, getting covered in dirt/mud to become a brown dragon rather than a golden one. But mud isn't such a bad thing to be, truly.

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Arya rolled headfirst into the tunnel and dropped five feet. She got dirt in her mouth but she didn't care, the taste was fine, the taste was mud and water and worms and life. Under the earth the air was cool and dark. -Arya IV, ACOK

You could make a poultice out of mud to cool a fever. You could plant seeds in mud and grow a crop to feed your children. Mud would nourish you, where fire would only consume you, but fools and children and young girls would choose fire every time. -The Discarded Knight, ADWD

Jaime wears the white of the KG but is a Lannister, a house connoted with red and gold (as he points out to Catelyn in his cell). Early in the series he starts as red and goes to white but the gold always stays. I will get into this more in the next part when I explore Jaime as a Lancelot import. So early in the series he is associated with the red and gold of house Lannister but is covered in dirt, as Daemon is covered in mud.

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Her hair was a tangle of brown and red and gold, autumn colors... -Bran II, ADWD

LmL mentioned in one of his essays a summer king who goes to winter and this is Jaime without a doubt, as we are watching his "fall" from a horse and is indirectly connected to fall colors. He has been associated with the deep green of emerald as Cersei is, which are summer colors.

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Her curling blond hair moved in the wind, and her eyes were green as the leaves of summer. -Eddard XII, AGOT

>"The first time I saw Riverrun, I was a squire green as summer grass," Jaime told his cousin. -Jaime V, AFFC

>The king's armor was a deep green, the green of leaves in a summer wood, so dark it drank the candlelight. Gold highlights gleamed from inlay and fastenings like distant fires in that wood, winking every time he moved. -Catelyn IV, ACOK

Here is Renly, playing that same role I mentioned, just before he gets killed by Stannis' shadow assassin. One of my contentions is that Jaime will have his fall and die but be reborn. This would mimic Daenerys birthing dragons and Jon Snow's death/rebirth, assuming he is resurrected in TWOW.

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Though she walked through a green kingdom, it was not the deep rich green of summer. Even here autumn made its presence felt, and winter would not be far behind. The grass was paler than she remembered, a wan and sickly green on the verge of going yellow. After that would come brown. The grass was dying. -Daenerys X, ADWD

But the problem is that will he be reborn in fire or ice, will he forget what he knows like the Lightning Lord or remember like Thistle and Waymar Royce seem to?

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>One of them wore the ruins of a crimson cloak, but Jaime hanged him with the rest. It felt good. This was justice. Make a habit of it, Lannister, and one day men might call you Goldenhand after all. Goldenhand the Just. -Jaime III, AFFC

Jaime embraces the KG whites, eschewing the Lannister crimson (although he does wear the crimson at appropriate events) at the end of ASOS, which are associated with winter on a couple occasions.

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He had donned the winter raiment of the Kingsguard... -Jaime VIII, ASOS

Even mantled in the winter wool of the Kingsguard... -Jaime V, AFFC

The forging of Lightbringer has a fair amount of sexual subtext involved so I don't think it's much of a stretch to say one of the lenses through which it can be viewed involves the marriage and production of children.

Jaime was originally intended to marry Lysa Tully (fish sigil; water forging) but this failed to catch, no marriage or children produced, as Jaime joined the KG to be with Cersei. His second forging was with Cersei (lioness) who did not marry but produced three children, all of whom will die per the Valonqar prophecy, which would be catching fire (golden hair) then going out. The third is yet to occur.

Although it is in reversed order chronologically, Jaime has thought about and used his golden hand to crack someone across the face, which would be the the cry Nissa Nissa gives leaving a crack across the face of the moon (character).

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No good for throttling eunuchs, but heavy enough to smash that slimy smile into a fine red ruin. He wanted to hit someone. -Jaime III, AFFC

Jaime was sorely tempted to crack him across the mouth with his golden hand. A few missing teeth would put an end to his smiles. -Jaime VII, AFFC

Jaime's golden hand cracked him across the mouth so hard the other knight went stumbling down the steps. -Jaime III, AFFC

Edited by Cowboy Dan

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Cowboy I am in the process of reading this, just wanted to let you know. I am not at all a fan of Jamie and Cersei as Targs, but that's ok because I am not certain about it, and mostly because I got love and respect for you. And as you say, the symbolism is always relevant even if we come to different interpretations. I love one-eyed Sunfyre, our Odin-ized solar king. The scene with Sunfyre and Moondancer colliding and merging and falling to the ground is just such exceptional mythical astronomy. 

Let me just throw something out regarding hair color. I think there is an argument to be made that it is Lann the Clever who brought eastern / dragon genetics to the Lannister line. Lann came from the east and stole gold from the sun to color his hair - that's the stealing the fire of the sun motif, and specifically tied to his hair color. I like that you've keyed in on the specific beaten gold language, I had not noticed that. I did notice however that the Lannister's hair is always described as gold, and never blond, and that the Targaryens and Valyrians have hair of gold, silver, and platinum white. But the key to this idea is that the kingly ghosts with gemstone eyes that Dany sees in her wake the dragon dream - the ones we interpret as her ancestors (and all Valyrian's ancestors) from the Great Empire of the Dawn, whose emperors were named after gemstones (including the four named in Dany's dream as the eyes of these kingly ghosts). The kingly ghosts have hair of silver, gold, and platinum white, and one of them has eyes of jade. It could be merely a symbolic way to tie these ghosts to the various dynasties - jade eyes for the Jade Emperor - but it could be implying Great Empire of the Dawn people with green eyes and "Valyrian hair." That could be Lann, and thus the Lannisters have "gold" and not blond hair. 

Now I don't think that necessarily means any Lannister can be a dragonrider. We can't assume all GEotD people were "dragon-blooded" by any means. However, we have to observe that both Tyrion and Cersei have symbols and descriptions which could be interpreted as dragonish, like Jaime comparing Cersei to the mad king with her pyromaniac tendencies, or Tyrion's dragon dreams and dragon obsessions, and perhaps these are clues about the Lannister lineage instead of a secret Targ theory. Now I do think Tyrion is a Targ - looking forward to your rebuttal of this - but I'm open to the idea it's just in their lineage.

The other clue is that the more obvious Westerosi lineages that came by sea from the east - the Hightowers and Daynes in the Southwest, and the Ironborn in the West - basically surround the Lannisters and Casterly Rock. The logical way to see this is that the GEotD people had settlements all up the west coast, from Starfall to Oldtown to Casterly Rock to the Iron Islands.  

Anyway, just a thought. I am not sold on Lann as a GEotD immigrant, but I think it's a decent possibility. It makes more sense than the "Landal" theory imo.

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Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, LmL said:

I am not at all a fan of Jamie and Cersei as Targs, but that's ok because I am not certain about it, and mostly because I got love and respect for you. And as you say, the symbolism is always relevant even if we come to different interpretations. I love one-eyed Sunfyre, our Odin-ized solar king. The scene with Sunfyre and Moondancer colliding and merging and falling to the ground is just such exceptional mythical astronomy. 

You should know I have a great respect for you as well, my friendly dragon. Without your work to show me just how deep this series runs I would never have thought about taking a crack at analyzing the series myself. So thanks for all the great work!

I feel like there's a comment here about accepting hard truths a la Tyrion Targ. I know it's unpopular and not what most readers want but when the evidence is all lined up it's too hard for me to ignore. As I said before elsewhere, I originally intended to prove Tyrion was a Targ but as I read more it just didn't fit with what I saw in the books. But that's the brilliant part about the way the series is written in my eyes, that so many people can be looking at the same thing and draw on a multiplicity of interpretation. Martin is a master of misdirection and I am sure I fall prey to that from time to time as well.

That said, I think there is always a danger of mixing the symbol for the substance and vice versa. I am looking forward to counterpoints to my arguments because If I can see where the holes in my theory are I can re-assess what ground I stand on, making the theory stronger, or if that's not possible, adjust appropriately.

I'll be getting into the maps at the very, very end but I'll give out a tidbit here. If you crack open the World Book to Page 4, the map of the Known World, you'll see the shadow of a three-headed dragon over Westeros (Jon, Jaime, Cersei) and a one-headed dragon over Essos (Dany). Assuming Jaime & Cersei are the Targs, there are four heads of the dragon currently and offers an explanation as to why Rhaegar tells Dany in her HotU vision "the Dragon must have three heads," one of them has to go.

7 hours ago, LmL said:

I think there is an argument to be made that it is Lann the Clever who brought eastern / dragon genetics to the Lannister line. Lann came from the east and stole gold from the sun to color his hair - that's the stealing the fire of the sun motif, and specifically tied to his hair color.

I'm going to jump ahead a little here and talk about the 1986 Twilight Zone episode titled The Once and Future King, which GRRM wrote. Summed up: an Elvis impersonator, Gary Pitkin, travels back in time to meet Elvis (the king of rock 'n' roll who is in a truck for the Crown Electric Co., a thunderbolt/lightning symbol) but he does not play the music Elvis is famous for. They fight and Gary accidentally kills Elvis, then steals his identity in order to create the music Elvis is known for. When he first goes to play the music it is at "Sun Studio". This is the archetypal "imitative fire character" I mentioned briefly and Lann the Clever is likely playing the same role, since he literally steals the sun's fire. When you read my thesis on the Breaking at the end of the essay it will also explain why I think there are imprints of the GEotD all over the place, in locations that don't make a lot of sense.

As for the blond thing, I looked into it and that descriptor is used a few times for Cersei and Joffrey (by extension Jaime, Myrcella and Tommen would have the same blond hair, due to their "blood", since the parents are twins) but I will concede it is an exception to the usual coloring.

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"Lord Stannis will land, proclaim himself king, and lop off her son's curly blond head … and her own in the bargain, though I truly believe she cares more about the boy." -Eddard XV, AGOT

Sansa sat with her hands in her lap, watching how the queen moved and laughed and tossed her blonde curls. -Sansa III, ASOS

Joffrey's dead. She could almost see him, with his blond curls and his mean smile and his fat soft lips. -Arya XIII, ASOS

The rest of your points I believe I touch on at some point in the essay so I will wait until you've caught up and see if you still have those misgivings.

Edited by Cowboy Dan

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@LmL

Hahaha I just realized why you said you loved me. I was thinking, "I know I've been gone a while but that's a weird thing to say..." Don't worry, I have a good sense of my self-worth. It's just part of a bit. I figure if you wanna catch a song, better start singing along.

Have you not heard Them Crooked Vultures? I feel like with the musical influences you have you might enjoy them.

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Posted (edited)

Just stopping by to say that I have been reading and following along, but lately I just haven't had the time to go in depth with my explanations. Hopefully I'll be able to circle back to provide supporting evidence for my theories, but right now I have to say I really like the parallels between Jaime and Daemon. I remain a Jon Targaryen disbeliever though, as I believe since he's supposed to have "more of the north in him" that he may be a child of incest himself as a product of Brandon and Lyanna. This would explain more than a few things including Brandon's actions when learning of her abduction, Ned's guilty conscience...withholding Jon's birthright from him, which at the same time protected him somewhat from Catelyn since he would displace her children as heirs to Winterfell, and kept the abomination of incest secret. It also may have helped him "see" Cersei and Jaime's incestuous relationship too. 

I think there are hints that Jaime and Cersei are Targaryens, but it would be contradictory to my inversion theory, because I believe the wheel of time is running in reverse including the sequence of human invaders. Before it was First Men, Andals, Rhoynar/Dornish, then Targaryen. The reverse then is Targaryen, Dornish/Rhoynar, Andals, First Men. Robert Baratheon displaced Aerys Targaryen, then Cersei's children. I guess Cersei could be included as a Targaryen? Arianne represents the Dornish. Jon Con's Aegon is the Rhoynar, If Cersei is Targaryen then the Faith will represent  Andal rule, and it'll end with First Men rule before returning to just the land. Someone will rebuild or maybe no one. This reversal of time occurred during the Year of the False Spring and the Tourney at Harrenhal. This is when time flips. But...this is not the thread to delve further into this! 

I look forward to the discussion your topic is sure to spark!

Edited by Feather Crystal

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20 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

I remain a Jon Targaryen disbeliever though, as I believe since he's supposed to have "more of the north in him" that he may be a child of incest himself as a product of Brandon and Lyanna. This would explain more than a few things including Brandon's actions when learning of her abduction, Ned's guilty conscience...withholding Jon's birthright from him, which at the same time protected him somewhat from Catelyn since he would displace her children as heirs to Winterfell, and kept the abomination of incest secret. It also may have helped him "see" Cersei and Jaime's incestuous relationship too. 

Ah! Get out of my head! :P I had the same notion when I was re-reading, it has a certain logic to it character motivation-wise. I just didn't want to muddy the waters with something I didn't have good evidence of or could easily find if asked. There were a couple things that made me think it possible but I don't want to get too into that here.

In the next part I am going into Jon as the Ice Warrior character, contrasting Jaime as the Fire Warrior character and why they mirror Morded and Lancelot from TOAFK, respectively. Mordred was Arthur's bastard child by way of his half-sister Morgause so it is possible the connection is a bit more literal. But I think there's a hand motif for the dragons, 4 fingers and a thumb, inspired by your re-read thread. Assuming Jon, Dany, Jaime, Cersei as the main Targs and Aegon VI as the false (the thumb) it fits well. It doesn't work with Aegon as the real one due to some literal map (fore)shadowing I mentioned to LmL just upthread.

No worries about taking a while, I understand its a large course and you've got your own things you do. I understand it might contradict other theories, we're all trying to cut out our own little piece and sometimes things overlap. It can't be helped when we're all focusing on different things that draw different conclusions.

That said, I pointed out pretty early on Orys Baratheon was rumored to be Aegon's bastard half-brother, if true, would give the Baratheon branch Targ ancestry. But there were also recent marriages to Targs so they have Targ blood in the line regardless. It'd be a solid ironic punishment against Robert, that due to his blind hatred he tried so hard to wipe out the Targs, then wound up marrying one and placing three Targ-descended children back in the line of succession, meanwhile having some amount of Targ blood himself. Meaning we haven't lost the Targaryen rule yet. As for the rest of your theory, I will have to look into it more once I'm done here. As you can imagine this thing is rather unwieldly and taking up a lot of my free time.

20 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

I look forward to the discussion your topic is sure to spark!

Indeed, I'm finally trying my hand at this thing. It's certainly slow to catch due to the size. Hopefully it'll get some help and gets fanned so we can see how big this fire can really get :D

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I know I said I would post each part every 10 days but the last few days have been really hectic. I got into an accident again today, although this time I was the one that got rear-ended. Everything is fine though! Just some damage to the cars, no physical harm on either side.

Due to this I have not been able to put the finishing touches on Part 2 and this weekend just got a bit busier. I will hopefully have the next part posted by Sunday or Monday at the latest and the remaining parts should be on schedule for the original time frame. Was expecting a slow response due to the size of the thing but not this small. I'm not losing steam though, life is just throwing some curveballs as it sometimes will.

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And onto Part II. I have decided to break up longer passages, cut down on the quotes a bit and simply explain where possible in order to try and save room. It is still rather lengthy but not quite as long as the first part. I cut out two parts regarding archetypal roles which I have dubbed “The Drunk Fool” and “The Fiery Rainbow Man”. This would have gone pretty heavily into the webbed symbolism of the Sierpinsky Gasket, the introduction of which is where this part ends.

There is this new Kialo competition going on where users can create a GoT/ASOIAF debate for money and I don’t want someone profiting off my biggest ideas yet to come. This series has given me more than I can say and I am simply trying to give back, free of charge. I wouldn’t feel right competing for money or letting someone else earn money off of something I intend to give freely. Due to this, Part II is a bit shorter than expected but Part III will be the largest entry by far and I'll do what I can to cut it down where possible in the mean time. I have Part III about 90% finished so it should be on time for the 21st, which is coincidentally the day of the Solar Eclipse!

Addendum Part I


I'll shuffle this back in later but I've discovered a strong backing to my hypothesis of the Breaking of the World. The fifth book T.H. White wrote as his re-telling of the Arthurian Cycle, The Book of Merlin, which details the fight between Arthur and Mordred. Here is the summary from Wikipedia, as I have not read it yet.

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The book opens as King Arthur prepares himself for his final battle. Merlyn reappears to complete Arthur's education and discover the cause of wars. As he did in The Sword in the Stone, Merlyn again demonstrates ethics and politics to Arthur by transforming him into various animals.

The last chapter of the book takes place only hours before the final battle between King Arthur and his son and nephew Mordred. Arthur does not want to fight after everything that he has learned from Merlyn. He makes a deal with Mordred to split England in half. Mordred accepts. During the making of this deal, a snake comes upon one of Mordred's soldiers. The soldier draws his sword. The opposing side, unaware of the snake, takes this as an act of betrayal. Arthur's troops attack Mordred's, and both Arthur and Mordred die in the battle that follows.

Guenever joins a convent, and remains there till death. Lancelot becomes a hermit and dies a hermit. His last miracle was making the room that he died in smell like heaven.

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Posted (edited)

Part II : Jaime and the Broken Lance, Black Bastards and The Sierpinsky Gasket
    

Quote

Did you hear the news today? They say the danger’s gone away,
But I can see the fires still alight, And burning into the night,
There’s too many men, Too many people,
Making too many problems, And there’s not much love to go round,
Can’t you see this is a land of confusion?
-Land of Confusion, Genesis, Invisible Touch


       Jaime and the Broken Lance

    To begin with Jaime, let's get into the colors that are connected to him. Specifically the colors mentioned when he is imprisoned by Catelyn, speaking of murdering Aerys.

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A golden sword, don't you know. Until his blood ran red down the blade. Those are the Lannister colors, red and gold." -Catelyn VII, ACOK

    Early on in his journey Jaime directly connects himself to the red and gold of his house. He loses his hand and during the bathhouse scene is cleansed of the mud clinging to him. After returning to King's Landing he distances from Cersei due to her abusive behavior and has the chapter in White Sword Tower where he sees his half-empty page and can write whatever he wants to in the White Book. He is free to choose his own path in order to determine his future.

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"NO!" Jaime had heard all that he could stand. No, more than he could stand. He was sick of it, sick of lords and lies, sick of his father, his sister, sick of the whole bloody business.
...
"You are my son—"
"I am a knight of the Kingsguard. The Lord Commander of the Kingsguard! And that's all I mean to be!" -Jaime VII, ASOS

    He has learned from Brienne what it means to be a true knight. He begins to stand against those who are not interested in helping those who are unable to help themselves but use them for their own selfish ends, even if they are his own family.

As I stated in Part I Jaime turns from red to white in a very clear symbolic scene.

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His palfrey was a blood bay, his destrier a magnificent grey stallion. It had been long years since Jaime had named any of his horses; he had seen too many die in battle, and that was harder when you named them. But when the Piper boy started calling them Honor and Glory, he laughed and let the names stand. Glory wore trappings of Lannister crimson; Honor was barded in Kingsguard white. -Jaime III, AFFC

    The underpinning is that he turns away from his house's legacy, refuses to continue "covering himself in glory" and chooses the honorable path of a Kingsguard. But change isn't so simple and there are several scenes in which he wears crimson colors again such as at Darry when confronting Lancel, or at Riverrun, where "a darker need had brought him [t]here."

The siege of Riverrun is important because he can no longer use his sword and begins to use his words, along with playing up his dishonorable Kingslayer persona in order to cease hostilities without any casualties. Despite his parallels to Lance this is an example of the Arthurian ideal of White's in action, that he is willing to perform "a hateful and dangerous action for the sake of decency".

I am going to add a single TWOW quote which evidences this notion in ASOIAF and is rather non-spoilery.

Spoiler

"As I cannot be the hero, let me be the monster, and lesson them in fear in place of love." -Mercy, The Winds of Winter

    When taken into context that he can no longer use his right hand but must use his left, the Left Hand Path (LHP) practiced in certain magical doctrines comes to mind. Rules are often not codified, serve more as guidelines, and center around eschewing social convention, along with the status quo. The left in many religions and languages holds very negative connotations, particularly for men.

Interestingly the left is almost always associated with the feminine aspect, with creation and the moon. Perhaps this is trying to imply that in order to create, one must serve as that symbolic cosmogonic storm, to destroy long-held ideas and beliefs in order to make way for new ones.

He has never desired power, even after killing Aerys and given the opportunity to place an heir on the throne he abdicates his responsibility. Although Jaime has been consistently offered and connected with being a Hand, once even connecting himself to Ser Criston Cole of the Dance.

Perhaps he must take up the mantle of leadership against his own desire in order to properly continue his development. Once he loses his hand and metaphorically starts embracing the LHP, he disconnects from his family and begins to turn much of his attention toward the enacting of justice, as King Arthur did in his quest to turn Might toward Right.

There are a number of parallels surrounding Jaime & Cersei to Daemon & Rhaenyra of the Dance. Of course there is the fact they are the Green party, while Cersei is heavily associated with the green of emerald and Jaime likewise has the same eye coloring. Whereas Daemon was exiled, bringing the Stepstone Islands to heel under the IT and then returned to KL to marry Rhaenyra, the opposite is true of Jaime. Cersei rebukes his offer of marriage then exiles him to the Riverlands to bring a lawless land to heel under the Iron Throne.

This explanation is to show that Jaime, like Lancelot, is an exemplar knight that constantly struggles with himself. He wishes to be like Ser Arthur Dayne but winds up as the Smiling Knight and makes an active attempt to use both of these ideals to better ends. 

Quote

One reason why he fell in love with Guenever was because the first thing he had done was to hurt her. He might never have noticed her as a person, if he had not seen the pain in her eyes.
People have odd reasons for ending up as saints. A man who was not afflicted by ambitions of decency in his mind might simply have run away with his hero's wife, and then perhaps the tragedy of Arthur would never have happened. An ordinary fellow, who did not spend half his life torturing himself by trying to discover what was right so as to conquer his inclination towards what was wrong, might have cut the knot which brought their ruin. -Ch. 6, The Ill-Made Knight

    First off, being 'afflicted by ambitions of decency' is a fantastic way of describing Jaime's arc and attempt towards redemption. The mention of someone running away with the hero's wife brings to mind Rhaegar running off with Lyanna and sparking Robert’s Rebellion then eventually tWotFK. Lastly, the use of cutting a knot is tied to Jaime quite a few times.

Tyrion thinks Jaime would always cut a knot where others would untangle them. But Jaime loses his sword hand and is unable to continue cutting through his problems, so must learn to untangle these knots. Jaime begins to use his words as I have pointed out, while Lancelot after his fall becomes reliant on the Word of God. Jaime doesn't name his horses as I evidenced and Lance similarly gets extremely emotional to the point of anger on a couple occasions due to a knight killing his horse. This is a big Breaking motif: think Dany sacrificing the stallion in order to resurrect Drogo.

Despite Jaime's status at the beginning of the series as one of the greatest swordsman in Westeros, we first see him fight and take a fall at the Tourney of the Hand. He also loses and is captured at the Battle of Whispering Wood, which leads to losing his sword hand. Like Lance, Jaime's development is not in his prowess but in his fall from and (potential) return to grace.

The third book, "The Ill-Made Knight", revolves around Arthur turning his knights toward the spiritual quest of the Holy Grail and chiefly follows Lancelot's journey. He is defeated three times during his quest, first by his own son Galahad, in which he states he had the finest fall he ever had, along with being one of his only falls. Earlier in the story he takes on the pseudonym "la chevalier mal fet" which has a few translations:

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"The Ugly Knight would be one meaning, or the Knight Who Has Done Wrong." He did not tell her that it could also mean the Ill-Starred Knight—the Knight with a Curse on Him." -Ch. 22, The Ill-Made Knight

Looking at you LmL, with your fascination regarding the Church of Starry Wisdom. Particularly of interest, the religion is described as "sinister" which is a word associated with LHP. In Latin, sinister means "left" but took on connotations over time meaning "evil" or "unlucky". Perhaps this starred wisdom was, like Lancelot, cursed?

Quote

"That was the time when they began to break me."
"My poor Lance."
"It was the best thing that ever happened. In the morning, do you know, I heard the little fowls singing—and that cheered me up. Funny to be comforted by a lot of birds. I never had time for bird's-nesting when I was small. You would have known what kind of birds they were, Arthur— but I couldn't tell. There was one very small one, which cocked its tail in the air and looked at me. It was about as big as the rowel of a spur."
"Perhaps it was a wren."
"Well, then, it was a wren." -Ch. 32, The Ill-Made Knight

Made me think of a user whose contributions I admire quite a bit on this forum, Sly Wren.

Lance has a dream in which he is defeated, just as Jaime is defeated in his weirwood stump dream by the revenants of Rhaegar and his Kingsguard. Lancelot confesses his affair with Guenevere to a priest but when attempting to confess to Arthur, stops himself short. Arthur believes he is referring to Elaine and the secret is kept.

Years later Lancelot is seduced by Guenevere into resuming their affair and unknowingly creates the events leading to the Breaking of Arthur's Round Table, since Mordred will be able to entrap them. This is not only due to Lancelot but also Guenevere for seducing him and Arthur for not punishing or confronting them for their transgressions -- due to his love for the two of them.

This seems to imply Jaime's redemption relies (at least in part) on his potential to stay disconnected from Cersei. If he returns to her, we may see him fall from grace once more. In the current state of the story that seems less than likely.

Honestly I could go on about Jaime & Lancelot’s arcs way too much. Perhaps one day I will do a more detailed character analysis on the two, they’re just so fascinating and understanding their struggles has helped shine some understanding on some of my own personal struggles in life. Ya know, sans child-throwing, incest and affairs with queens. Not really in my wheelhouse.

Edited by Cowboy Dan

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Black Bastards : Mordred and Jon Snow

    Jon Snow's arc revolves around the archetypal Jungian shadow, that is to say, the unrecognized aspects of one's personality. Whereas Jaime directly confronts his own shadow in a sort of Dark Night of the Soul and Tyrion admits his love for the game of thrones, Jon Snow is in denial of his desires. i suppose it would be more accurate to say he recognizes his desires but has been conditioned to feel wanting what he wants is wrong and he constantly fights against his own inner desires.

After the murder of Qhorin Halfhand, the Free Folk in his presence call Jon out as a warg. Varamyr likewise notices Jon's inherent skinchanging ability, thinking Jon is "still fighting his nature when he should have gloried in it."

This is typical for Jon's arc, as he rarely admits what he wants since as a bastard he was told it was wrong of him to want power due to his status. At the end of AGOT and ADWD Jon attempts to leave the Night's Watch with very different results. This matches with Maester Aemon's warning that he had three chances to choose between family and duty but regretted his decision to stay for duty. Jon has chosen twice but been rebuked twice. It is not much of a stretch to say he will leave once he gets resurrected.

The blind old maester is not the only Aemon Jon is connected to. He is connected to Prince Aemon the Dragonknight when he has a flashback of Robb telling him that he cannot be Lord of Winterfell. Most interestingly is that during this flashback he is sparring with a fellow NW member but essentially blacks out and goes into a rage, only waking from his dream when he has nearly beaten the fellow bloody. This evidences Jon's hidden desire to be Lord of Winterfell but is denied due to his status as a bastard, especially once you take into account the dream where he wears black ice armor and a flaming sword, only to kill Robb.

This sense of blacking out and being given a dream, not even while sleeping but while waking, is another piece for an idea I championed a while back I dubbed “subtle skinchanging”. I will be getting to and evidencing this notion heavily in Part III once we get to what this Breaking moment is and what causes it.
Contrast Jon with Ned, who is haunted by the deaths of Aegon & Rhaenys Targaryen. The reader must read between the lines to determine Ned's disdain for the murder of children, as he doesn't actively spell out for the reader "man I REALLY hate seeing dead babies". Jon on the other hand must constantly reminds himself Winterfell is not his birthright when Stannis offers it and thinks "The Night's Watch takes no part" to himself regularly. Those are not the thoughts of a man confident in his decision but one attempting to convince himself he is making the correct choice.

On two occasions Jon is directly tied to madness, such as the madness that leads Mordred to attempt usurping Arthur's throne and marry Guenevere. Once he is fighting with his fellow NW members and while defending the Wall he "laughed like a drunk or a madman, and his men laughed with him." The other is a phrase only uttered by the Mad King, "charred meat and cooked bone". Jon Snow is the only other character to use both phrases in conjunction, as Aerys did.
Mordred is head of the Thrashers, a Gestapo-like Military Police clad all in black, just as Mordred is consistently decked out in black. Jon Snow, like Mordred, could be called a "black bastard".

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"That's the real king of this castle right there," one of the gold cloaks had told her. "Older than sin and twice as mean. One time, the king was feasting the queen's father, and that black bastard hopped up on the table and snatched a roast quail right out of Lord Tywin's fingers."

But Arya spells out exactly who the Black Bastard really is, albeit unbeknownst to herself, as she tries to convince Ned of what she heard in the dungeons:

Quote

"Jon's the bastard, I bet."
"Jon? Arya, what are you talking about?
-Arya III, AGOT

Of course Ned and Arya don't get how important the connection is but the astute reader picks up what connection Martin makes between the beginning and end of the chapter. Jon is the bastard indeed, Arya:

Quote

"The black bastard what gutted Orell," said Rattleshirt, "and a bloody warg as well."
-Jon I, ASOS

But they were all dead now, even Arya, everyone but her half-brother, Jon. Some nights she heard talk of him, in the taverns and brothels of the Ragman's Harbor. The Black Bastard of the Wall, one man had called him.
-The Blind Girl, ADWD

"Your first payment. Had those from my father and him from his. Now they're yours, you thieving black bastard."
-Jon XI, ADWD

Jon Snow is the only character to ruminate on oathbreaking as much as Jaime does. The two of them dominate the search results for the series far and above any other candidate. Jaime’s oathbreaking, like Jon’s, was to serve a greater purpose so I don’t think these connections to Mordred are as bad as they may initially imply. Of course Martin loves showing the greyness of morality and that villains may not be as terrible as some people are led to believe by the opposing side. I would hazard a guess that Jon as a mad Mordred isn’t as damning as it may sound.

Mordred likes to skulk around in the shadows as he plots Arthur’s downfall. Jon Snow thinks of himself as a shadow, as “the silent man standing in the shadows who dares not speak his true name” and once as a "shadow among shadows". In White’s work there is a strong emphasis on true faces and names, that a true knight would not hide either (such as Lance taking a false name). Naturally Martin is not one to stick to such outdated hard-lined moralism. We’ve seen true knights hide their name/face throughout the series to behave as a true knight would. For example Dunk hides his identity in The Mystery Knight. The Knight of the Laughing Tree stands up for Howland Reed and this character's identity is still unknown. Lastly there is the undead NW member in service to Bloodraven, lovingly nicknamed Coldhands who helps Bran & cohorts.

Mordred also has some Last Hero number symbolism going on. When he attempts to entrap Lancelot and Guenever for their affair he has twelve companions. Lancelot kill his companions but refuses to kill Mordred though, due to an oath he gave to Arthur and which seals the fates of himself and Guenever.

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Jon & Jaime : Waking Dragons & Sleepless Nights

    Jon and Jaime have a great deal of parallelism and occasional inversions throughout their respective arcs. Let's look at them side by side, boiled down to their essence.
1)    Jon joins the Night’s Watch at a young age, an ancient order no longer respected tasked with protecting the realm and wear cloaks of one color : black.
       Jaime joins the Kingsguard at a young age, a revered but relatively recent order tasked with protecting the king and wear cloaks of one color : white.

2)    Both orders require vows that prevent members from holding lands or titles

3)    Upon making it to his new station, Jon becomes disillusioned with his new ‘brothers’, many of whom are dishonorable
       Upon making it to his new station, Jaime becomes disillusioned with his new ‘brothers’, who behave honorably in their duty to the king at the expense of other knightly vows.

4)    Jon becomes an oathbreaker at the order of Qhorin, betraying the vows of his order in order to save the citizens of Westeros from the unexpected threat of Mance’s wildling army.
       Jaime becomes an oathbreaker of his own volition, betraying the vows of his order by killing Aerys to save the citizens of King’s Landing from the unexpected threat of Aerys’ Wildfire Plot.

5)    After change in leadership (death of Jeor), Jon is punished by senior officers Slynt and Thorne but is exonerated of his oathbreaking.
After change in leadership (death of Arthur Dayne), the new LC Barristan Selmy recommends punishment but is exonerated of his oathbreaking by Robert.

6)    Jon is taken prisoner by the enemy, the Wildlings, and is taught to understand an unfamiliar, hostile people by a woman, Ygritte.
       Jaime is taken prisoner by the enemy, the Starks/Tullys, and is led through unfamiliar, hostile terrain by a woman, Brienne of Tarth.

7)    Jon leaves Ygritte behind to return to his post and after dreaming of her, stays at the Wall.
       Jaime leaves Brienne imprisoned at Harrenhal and after dreaming of her, returns to Harrenhal to rescue her.

8)    Both become LC of their orders after the dismissal/death of the previous LC. Jon is elected, while Jaime is given the position by default, as the eldest living member.

9)    Jon is offered release from his vows and to claim his birthright Winterfell by a man with the authority of a king, Stannis, but denies the offer, staying true to his vows.

Jaime is offered release from his vows and to claim his birthright Casterly Rock by a man with the authority of a king, Tywin, but denies the offer, staying true to his vows.

Recall that Daeron the Drunken points out the scary and terrifying nature of Dragon Dreams, to the point he drinks to blot them out.

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Even when Ghost leapt up on the bed to nuzzle at his face, he could not shake his deep sense of terror. He dared not go back to sleep. Instead he had climbed the Wall and walked, restless... -Jon VII, AGOT

>I will not sleep tonight, Jon thought.
Yet he must have dozed. [...] "It's me, Ghost," he murmured, trying not to sound afraid. Yet he was trembling, violently. -Jon VII, AGOT

>And when at last he did sleep, he dreamt, and that was even worse. In the dream, the corpse he fought had blue eyes, black hands, and his father's face, but he dared not tell Mormont that. -Jon VIII, AGOT

>Sleep came at last, and with it nightmares. He dreamed of burning castles and dead men rising unquiet from their graves. -Jon VIII, ACOK

>"No. I've dreamt enough this night." He wondered how long it was till dawn. Somehow he knew that if he closed his eyes, he would be back in that dark wet place again.
...You need to sleep. To rest."
That is the last thing I mean to do. -Jaime VI, ASOS

>He closed his eyes, and just as quickly snapped them open. I must not sleep. If he slept, he might dream. -Jaime I, AFFC

While we're talking dreams I want to point out the mirrored dreams between Jon and Jaime which I have discussed before elsewhere which are extremely important.

Quote

Jon shook his head. "No one. The castle is always empty." [...] That always scares me. I start to run then, throwing open doors, climbing the tower three steps at a time, screaming for someone, for anyone. And then I find myself in front of the door to the crypts. It's black inside, and I can see the steps spiraling down. Somehow I know I have to go down there, but I don't want to. I'm afraid of what might be waiting for me. The old Kings of Winter are down there, sitting on their thrones with stone wolves at their feet and iron swords across their laps, but it's not them I'm afraid of. I scream that I'm not a Stark, that this isn't my place, but it's no good, I have to go anyway, so I start down, feeling the walls as I descend, with no torch to light the way. It gets darker and darker, until I want to scream." -Jon IV, AGOT

Only this time the dream had gone further than before. In the dark he'd heard the scrape of stone on stone. When he turned he saw that the vaults were opening, one after the other. As the dead kings came stumbling from their cold black graves, Jon had woken in pitch-dark, his heart hammering. -Jon VII, AGOT

...[W]henever he had bested Robb at swords or sums or most anything. Who are you? that look had always seemed to say. This is not your place. Why are you here? -Jon XII, ASOS 

You can't be the Lord of Winterfell, you're bastard-born, he heard Robb say again. And the stone kings were growling at him with granite tongues. You do not belong here. This is not your place. -Jon XII, ASOS

Now let's see jaime's mirrored dream below Casterly Rock.

Quote

>The Rock, he knew. He could feel the immense weight of it above his head. He was home.
...
Around him stood a dozen tall dark figures in cowled robes that hid their faces. In their hands were spears. "Who are you?" he demanded of them. "What business do you have in Casterly Rock?"
They gave no answer, only prodded him with the points of their spears. He had no choice but to descend. Down a twisting passageway he went, narrow steps carved from the living rock, down and down. I must go up, he told himself. Up, not down. Why am I going down? Below the earth his doom awaited, he knew with the certainty of dream; something dark and terrible lurked there, something that wanted him. Jaime tried to halt, but their spears prodded him on.
...
There were watery caverns deep below Casterly Rock, but this one was strange to him. "What place is this?"
"Your place." The voice echoed; it was a hundred voices, a thousand, the voices of all the Lannisters since Lann the Clever, who'd lived at the dawn of days. But most of all it was his father's voice, and beside Lord Tywin stood his sister, pale and beautiful, a torch burning in her hand. Joffrey was there as well, the son they'd made together, and behind them a dozen more dark shapes with golden hair.
"Sister, why has Father brought us here?"
"Us? This is your place, Brother. This is your darkness." Her torch was the only light in the cavern. Her torch was the only light in the world. She turned to go.
...
Their blades made a little island of light, but all around them stretched a sea of darkness, unending.
...
Then his sword went dark, and only Brienne's burned, as the ghosts came rushing in.
"No," he said, "no, no, no. Nooooooooo!" -Jaime VI, ASOS

Jon is alone with "No one", implying the faceless men who hide their faces and Jaime is prodded on by shadowed figures with spears. Jaime asks 'who are you', what business they have there, just as Jon is asked who he is and told that the crypts are not his place. Jon has no torch whereas Cersei is Jaime's only torchlight.

Both are scared out of their minds of what awaits in the crypts below their ancestral homes, where they both encounter their ancestral line. They reach this underworld, one by way of a twisting passageway and the other by a spiral staircase. Both are deathly afraid of what awaits them and scream when they enter the darkness. The island of light in a sea of darkness will become important in Part III when we get into the Breaking event.

Quote

>The blond boy had been trying to grow a beard. Pale yellow peach fuzz covered his cheeks and jaw above the red ruin the knife had made of his throat. His long golden hair was still wet, as if he had been pulled from a bath. By the look of him, he had died peacefully, perhaps in sleep, but his brown-haired cousin had fought for life. His arms bore slashes where he'd tried to block the blades, and red still trickled slowly from the stab wounds that covered his chest and belly and back like so many tongueless mouths, though the rain had washed him almost clean. -Catelyn III, ASOS

I believe this is representative of Jon and Jaime entering into the godhead through way of death. The golden blond child has the neck wound and accepts his fate ("this is your place") whereas the Jon stand-in fights and symbolically attempts to escape ("this isn't my place").

I believe this is due to Jon saving Jaime from the godhead, as a shadow among shadows. Once he makes his move to protect Jaime he is killed by the shadows that see his true intentions. But hey, resurrection is still a thing so I doubt he'll stay dead. Like Beric, after one too many times resurrected, how warped would Jon become by this?

PS: Thanks to LmL for this find. If you hadn't brought up the blond hair I wouldn't have found this particular piece to the puzzle yet. Much love, buddy.

Recall the black bastard tomcat quote in which he steals the quail from Tywin at the feast. Jaime in his heavy lightbringer intro. of ASOS is equated to a quail : "A laugh burst from his lips, sudden as a quail flushed from cover." This all fits very well with a fantastic chapter ending passage from The Sword in the Stone involving Arthur and Ser Kay.

Quote

So, as the arrow topped the trees and climbed into sunlight, it began to burn against the evening like the sun itself. Up and up it went, not weaving as it would have done with a snatching loose, but soaring, swimming, aspiring to heaven, steady, golden and superb. Just as it had spent its force, just as its ambition had been dimmed by destiny and it was preparing to faint, to turn over, to pour back into the bosom of its mother earth, a portent happened. A gore-crow came flapping wearily before the approaching night. It came, it did not waver, it took the arrow. It flew away, heavy and hoisting, with the arrow in its beak.
...
"It was a witch," said Kay. -Ch. 6, The Sword in the Stone

This brings to mind the Golden Crow of Eastern mythologies. It is a three-legged crow that would eat the grasses of immortality, translated in Chinese to "ground sun" or "spring grow". There were ten of these sun crows and one time all of them came out at once, causing the world to burn. Houyi, the celestial archer, saved the world from being devoured by them when he shot down all but one of these crows.

In the Japanese tradition it is construed as a sign of divine intervention, a sign of rebirth and rejuvenation that cleaned up after great battles to symbolize a new renaissance after great tragedies. It is either a raven or a jungle crow and is a symbol of guidance for the Emperor at the time, which led to prosperity for his people.

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Martin’s Sierpinsky Gasket : The Mad Dance ; or : A Treatise on Clustered Symbolism

    Here’s where I can start getting to the really fun stuff. A while back I was discussing with a Lit. friend of mine, a huge David Foster Wallace fan, the nature of the hidden web of symbolism in the series. His response? “Oh yeah, that’s a Sierpinsky Gasket.” To which I flipped my proverbial shit. What the hell, there’s a name for it!? The more I thought on it I felt, of course, there’s gotta be a name for it.

For those who aren’t aware, as I wasn’t at the time, this is a Sierpinsky Gasket. It was created as a triangle that could expand or contract to contain an infinite number of smaller or larger triangles in the same patterning and served as a pre-cursor to the fractal. The real beauty of the Sierpinsky Gasket when used in Fiction? It occurs in every single chapter.

David Foster Wallace’s grand work was Infinite Jest, a post-modern door-stopper that serves as a mystery more than anything and he stated in an interview he had roughly four “projects” going on in the book. The user hollowaydivision over on the subreddit wrote a pretty fantastic post, the same day I posted my first part coincidentally, stating that GRRM’s series is a “Post-Modern Detective Meta-Fiction” and I would have to agree with the notion.

Funnily enough, Wallace’s Infinite Jest was published precisely six months before AGOT was released. I think this may be like the idea of Multiple Discovery, that since the requisite information is available to the public separate inventors/creators can come to the same or similar conclusions separately.

A noted example of this is Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, both of whom had reached similar conclusions regarding the evolutionary process. Although I bet a fair amount of you have never heard of this Wallace until now, as he was content to live in Darwin's shadow, away from the limelight.

I remember reading some information regarding Einstein’s Theory of Relativity that a number of scientists were working toward the same conclusion in limited capacities but he was the first to put it all together and publish his work, so he's the one we all remember.

I imagine GRRM and DFW are likely in a similar boat, just that DFW was more of an “architect” -- as GRRM likes to state the dichotomy -- and was able to finish his post-modern epic utilizing the Sierpinsky Gasket/fractal in a single installation.

I’m certainly not the first person to recognize the fractal nature of the series but I am trying to be the first to get to the crux of just what the point of utilizing such a structure is. I have ideas on that front but you’ll have to wait until Part III for my speculation and breakdown of the purpose of this Gasket.

 

        An Insight into Clustered Symbolism

 

    Showing how this Gasket works exhaustively is not my intent, as I have stated before. I am simply trying to show some examples that scream out to me as obvious connections in order to get other readers to be able to use this process for themselves. Let us begin with the use of the word ‘exult’, a very consistent key word usage.

Quote

I am walking, he thought, exulting. Part of him knew that it was only a dream... -Bran I, ACOK

Robb will kill you all, she thought, exulting. -Sansa III, ACOK

Exulting, she shook it back and forth in her mouth, scattering the warm red droplets amidst the cold black rain. -Arya I, ASOS

Some small part of her knew that she was dreaming, but another part exulted. -Daenerys III, ASOS

He's going to lose, she told herself, exulting, as Lord Beric's flaming sword whirled and slashed. -Arya VI, ASOS

Margaery Tyrell is done, she thought, exulting. -Cersei X, AFFC

I am the wood, and everything that's in it, he thought, exulting... That was his last thought as a man. -Prologue, ADWD

This time he took the wight's head off at the neck, and for half a moment he exulted… until a pair of dead hands came groping blindly for his throat.
...
What will happen if it kills me? the boy wondered. -Bran II, ADWD

In each one of these examples a character is dreaming (sometimes as a skinchanging experience) or daydreaming of a victorious outcome but the brutal reality is quite different. Sansa's is ended by the Red Wedding. Beric is killed by Sandor. Cersei's is ended by the Walk of Shame. Varamyr loses his humanity. Bran nearly dies during his fight. You get the point. It is very consistent each time in such a small pool.

Now I am going to evidence this with a cluster in a small capacity.

Feather Crystal pointed out to me once that oranges are symbolic for life. I cannot state with certainty if this is true, although it makes sense, as the ‘peel’ of the oranges are often associated with death. This could work in two ways : any microbes or insects trying to get past the peel may die (or starve by failing to get nourishment) but if the peel is, well, peeled, then the orange its self will die. The first several uses are very clear on this death connection.

Quote

His father peeled off his gloves and handed them to Jory Cassel... -Bran I, AGOT

"Kill him, Robb," Theon Greyjoy urged. "Take his head off."
"No," her son answered, peeling off his bloody glove. -Catelyn X, AGOT

Ser Jorah broke the dry mud with his knife, pried the chunks from the flesh, peeled off the leaves one by one. -Daenerys VIII, AGOT

Mormont peeled the shell off a boiled egg. "Your father is dead, lad. Do you think you can bring him back?" -Jon IX, AGOT

And the cowbells peeled in his antlers, singing fool, fool, fool while the red woman looked down on him in pity, the candle flames dancing in her red red eyes. -Prologue, ACOK

These are the first five uses of peel in the series. Ned beheads the deserter Gared. Theon wants to kill Jaime after being captured. Drogo dies due to the corruption in his wound. Mormont speaks of Ned's death and lastly Cressen chokes to death as Patchface's cowbells peel in his ears.

As you continue to go down the list the hits become less clear. Only about a third of uses relate to death. In the other uses is ‘death’ implied, is Martin using other overlapping symbolism to confuse the reader or does he simply drop the connection altogether so as to obfuscate or throw off the readership? Personally I lean toward the first and second possibilities but I cannot answer this question with comfortable certitude.

Despite my uncertainty on an emphatic answer, this type of symbolic intent is readily consistent throughout word choice usage. What I find truly fascinating though is when several of these specific word choices’ symbolic import overlap to create one of these clusters. Let’s view one of these clusters piecemeal then view a quote that slams them all together.

Quote

A blue flower grew from a chink in a wall of ice, and filled the air with sweetness. -Daenerys IV, ACOK

The accepted interpretation of this line regards the blue flower representing a rose. This would be representative of Jon Snow, as Lyanna’s son, who is heavily associated with the blue rose of the North. I want to focus on “sweetness” here in this context.

Quote

"Sweet smells are sometimes used to cover foul ones." -Daenerys II, ACOK

When we see a sweet smell the reader can determine it can hide a foul smell underneath. Sweet is often used along with poison to give this a more sinister edge.

Quote

...fill Lord Rickard's ears with poisoned words as sweet as honey. -The Prince of Winterfell, ADWD

A sweet offer... yet sweets can be poisoned. If I were the prince, something more would I require before I should reach for this honeycomb. -Tyrion IV, ACOK

Going back to the blue rose with this idea of sweetness serving to hide poison this blue rose becomes much less appealing as a positive symbol for Jon.

Quote

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

As Ned reaches for the sweet smelling rosy crown, he gets pricked. The rose and its thorn serve as a parallel to sweet poison. I chose the two quote where sweet poison occurs with honey as well. When settling the Bracken-Blackwood dispute Jaime states it is a “sweet that will make him fat and rot his teeth” (rot is sometimes a substitute for corruption which appears shortly).

This ties into the Bear and the Maiden Fair hypothesis SSR set forth, that the bear goes for the maiden’s honey and is killed for it, just as Ned is stabbed by the thorn when reaching for the sweet rose. Returning to blue flowers, from Wikipedia:

Quote

In some cultures, blue roses are traditionally associated with "blue" royal blood, and thus the blue rose can also denote regal majesty and splendor. Due to the absence in nature of blue roses they have come to symbolize mystery and longing to attain the impossible, with some cultures going so far as to say that the holder of a blue rose will have his/her wishes granted.

Blue roses are artificial, represent reaching for the impossible and denote royalty. The nature of attaining the impossible would be like entering into one of these greenseer godheads. With that in mind, let’s look at one of the few godheads we have seen firsthand, at the House of the Undying.

Quote

Above it floated a human heart, swollen and blue with corruption, yet still alive. It beat, a deep ponderous throb of sound, and each pulse sent out a wash of indigo light. The figures around the table were no more than blue shadows. -Daenerys IV, ACOK

Blue is often associated with Jon Snow (as the Ice Warrior, hence why I can understand why a good section of fans believe Jon is not a Targ but all North by blood) along with the shadows I have already mentioned. Jon is described as hiding his true face but Drogo hides his face behind a 'copper mask' to Dany. The copper is his skin, so think of the Faceless Men using another’s face to hide their own.

Quote

His face was a copper mask, yet under the long black mustache, drooping beneath the weight of its gold rings, she thought she glimpsed the shadow of a smile. -Daenerys V, AGOT

Since we have witnessed the undertow of the deathly peel, the sweet smell covering foul ones and the blue corruption of the godhead’s fiery heart, let's see the full quote of Drogo's dying, as it is loaded with these hidden meanings.

Quote

...[H]e began to scrape away the black leaves and dried blue mud from Drogo's chest... Ser Jorah broke the dry mud with his knife, pried the chunks from the flesh, peeled off the leaves one by one. A foul, sweet smell rose from the wound, so thick it almost choked her. The leaves were crusted with blood and pus, Drogo's breast black and glistening with corruption.
...
Khal Drogo thrashed, fighting some unseen enemy. Black blood ran slow and thick from his open wound. -Daenerys VIII, AGOT

There is the mud, which I pointed out at the end of Part I, is associated with life in opposition to the destructive nature of fire but since it is cracked and dried it is no longer life-giving. The leaves connect to the Old Gods of the North and the godhead Bran ultimately taps into with Bloodraven. The "sweet smell rose" implies that fragrant blue rose which attempts to choke her, as Will does to Waymar in the AGOT Prologue. Sansa is also believed to be the "maid at a feast with purple serpents in her hair, venom dripping from their fangs," as she supplies the poison (venom) necklace that chokes the life from Joffrey and is herself referred to as "soft-spoken, sweet-smelling Sansa," by Tyrion earlier in ASOS.
Now that I’ve shown a passage with several hidden meanings that tie into other passages, let’s go real wide with it. So wide in fact we are going to leave the series behind for a moment.

Edited by Cowboy Dan

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Into The Twilight Zone

Quote

Pack up again, head to the next place,
Where we'll make the same mistakes
-Lampshades on Fire, Modest Mouse, Strangers to Ourselves

    In Martin’s writing for The Twilight Zone he penned a 1986 episode titled “The Once and Future King”.

Quote

Exit one Gary Pitkin, singer, impersonator, and restless subject of a dead king named Elvis Aaron Presley. A frustrated young man, born twenty-five years too late, who is about to find his own place to dwell, down at the end of lonely street, in a neighborhood called...the Twilight Zone.

    Gary Pitkin is an Elvis impersonator that just so happens to look exactly like Elvis. The episode begins with Gary playing “Heartbreak Hotel” (think Nissa Nissa being stabbed through the heart) and speaks with his manager Sandra backstage. She recounts meeting Elvis when she was younger and he gave her a scarf. She goes on to tell Gary she booked him to play in Vegas. Gary becomes enraged saying Vegas killed Elvis and he doesn’t have to make the same mistakes as Elvis just because he plays the same music.

He drives home but on the way is driven off the road by a drunk driver which destroys his car. This character is the “drunk fool” archetype I will get to in the upcoming section : think Aerion Brightflame who kills his opponent’s horse at the Tourney of Ashford Meadow and later, as an exiled prince, drinks wildfire.

Gary wakes and hitchhikes, to be picked up by a driver in a truck for the Crown Electric Co. Gary recognizes the driver as Elvis himself, as he has travelled back in time but thinks it is a hallucination. He pretends to be Elvis’ deceased twin and goes on to tell Elvis of his future as King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. After showcasing one of his hits and dancing around, Elvis claims Gary is a devil sent to tempt him. They get in a fight where Elvis smashes his guitar against a wall. Gary then pushes Elvis away where he falls onto the broken neck of his guitar which stabs him through the heart.

Gary proceeds to bury Elvis (as Jaime is consistently shown being left in the mud for dead) and decides to pass himself off as Elvis in order to preserve his legacy as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. He goes to Sun Studio and records his first album. The episode flash forwards to Elvis sitting in a hotel room with Sandra where he tells he felt he never fooled Elvis’ mother and was haunted by his ghost but attempted to live Elvis’ life as well as he remembered. He gives her the scarf she mentioned at the beginning of the episode and the episode ends.

Quote

A round of hollow applause for Gary Pitkin, who tried to pay a blood debt in sequins and B-movies, and discovered, to his sorrow, that sometimes you're called back for one encore too many... in the Twilight Zone.

    The style of time travel used here is what is referred to as a "Stable Time Loop," which is essentially Self-Fulfilling Prophecy applied to time travel. What occurs in a prophecy like this is that a character hears something they dread and wish to avoid but in attempting to do so naturally cause the prophecy to come about. This is most obvious with Cersei's paranoia and descent into madness per the Valonqar prophecy.

In the Twilight Zone episode Gary wishes to remedy Elvis' mistakes but once he goes back in time he must write the very music that inspired him to want to be an Elvis impersonator. Despite his wish to not make the same mistakes, he ultimately lives out Elvis' life without making any drastic alterations. We have seen Bran glimpse into the past and even whisper to individuals, such as Theon at the Godswood or touching Jon in the third eye during a dream, which seems to speed along his magical development. 

It would be rather pointless to introduce a method to affect the past and not employ it in the series, although by nature of Stable Time Loops, a character is not given nigh-infinite power to change the past. They have already changed their past and are bound by their own causal chain to create the very events that lead them to wanting to travel in time and alter that causal chain in the first place.

Quote

"Have you ever seen the arms of House Toland of Ghost Hill?"
He had to think a moment. "A dragon eating its own tail?"
"The dragon is time. It has no beginning and no ending, so all things come round again." -The Soiled Knight, AFFC

 

Quote

It’s been much too long, I feel it coming on,
The feeling’s in my bones
...
You know you need it, Hey, I need it too
You know you need it, It's good for you,
We gonna move
-Too Long, Daft Punk, Discovery

Edited by Cowboy Dan

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Posted (edited)

Hi Cowboy Dan. Just stopping by to let you know that I have been reading and following along. I really enjoyed the red/black and white parallels between Jaime and Jon. The Lannisters versus the Starks are GRRM's version of the two rival branches of the real world House of Plantagenent with the Lannister's being the red-rosed House of Lancaster, and the Starks being the white-rosed House of York. Their conflicts are inspired of the War of the Roses. In the real War of the Roses the final victors were House of Lancaster, but I think most readers are hoping that GRRM has a victory for House of York - aka House Stark in our fantasy story.

GRRM has been stressing this red and white theme of opposing forces over and over and over and I am surprised by anyone that doesn't understand that the parallel inversions are more than just a literary construct. We were being trained and prepared to decipher the titled chapters. These titled chapters are meant to be interpreted like Melisandre reads her flames. Read what he's saying, but also think about what he might be saying if everything were a mirrored inversion.

I'm not quite caught up on the thread. I haven't quite gotten to Sierpinsky Gasket yet, but I'll try to contribute when I have something constructive to say.

Keep your chin up!

Edited by Feather Crystal

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On 8/15/2017 at 1:52 AM, Cowboy Dan said:

Feather Crystal pointed out to me once that oranges are symbolic for life. I cannot state with certainty if this is true, although it makes sense, as the ‘peel’ of the oranges are often associated with death. This could work in two ways : any microbes or insects trying to get past the peel may die (or starve by failing to get nourishment) but if the peel is, well, peeled, then the orange its self will die. The first several uses are very clear on this death connection.

Quote

His father peeled off his gloves and handed them to Jory Cassel... -Bran I, AGOT

"Kill him, Robb," Theon Greyjoy urged. "Take his head off."
"No," her son answered, peeling off his bloody glove. -Catelyn X, AGOT

Ser Jorah broke the dry mud with his knife, pried the chunks from the flesh, peeled off the leaves one by one. -Daenerys VIII, AGOT

Mormont peeled the shell off a boiled egg. "Your father is dead, lad. Do you think you can bring him back?" -Jon IX, AGOT

And the cowbells peeled in his antlers, singing fool, fool, fool while the red woman looked down on him in pity, the candle flames dancing in her red red eyes. -Prologue, ACOK

These are the first five uses of peel in the series. Ned beheads the deserter Gared. Theon wants to kill Jaime after being captured. Drogo dies due to the corruption in his wound. Mormont speaks of Ned's death and lastly Cressen chokes to death as Patchface's cowbells peel in his ears.

As you continue to go down the list the hits become less clear. Only about a third of uses relate to death. In the other uses is ‘death’ implied, is Martin using other overlapping symbolism to confuse the reader or does he simply drop the connection altogether so as to obfuscate or throw off the readership? Personally I lean toward the first and second possibilities but I cannot answer this question with comfortable certitude.

Despite my uncertainty on an emphatic answer, this type of symbolic intent is readily consistent throughout word choice usage. What I find truly fascinating though is when several of these specific word choices’ symbolic import overlap to create one of these clusters. Let’s view one of these clusters piecemeal then view a quote that slams them all together.

Quote

A blue flower grew from a chink in a wall of ice, and filled the air with sweetness. -Daenerys IV, ACOK

The accepted interpretation of this line regards the blue flower representing a rose. This would be representative of Jon Snow, as Lyanna’s son, who is heavily associated with the blue rose of the North. I want to focus on “sweetness” here in this context.

Quote

"Sweet smells are sometimes used to cover foul ones." -Daenerys II, ACOK

When we see a sweet smell the reader can determine it can hide a foul smell underneath. Sweet is often used along with poison to give this a more sinister edge.

Quote

...fill Lord Rickard's ears with poisoned words as sweet as honey. -The Prince of Winterfell, ADWD

A sweet offer... yet sweets can be poisoned. If I were the prince, something more would I require before I should reach for this honeycomb. -Tyrion IV, ACOK

Going back to the blue rose with this idea of sweetness serving to hide poison this blue rose becomes much less appealing as a positive symbol for Jon.

Quote

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

As Ned reaches for the sweet smelling rosy crown, he gets pricked. The rose and its thorn serve as a parallel to sweet poison. I chose the two quote where sweet poison occurs with honey as well. When settling the Bracken-Blackwood dispute Jaime states it is a “sweet that will make him fat and rot his teeth” (rot is sometimes a substitute for corruption which appears shortly).

This ties into the Bear and the Maiden Fair hypothesis SSR set forth, that the bear goes for the maiden’s honey and is killed for it, just as Ned is stabbed by the thorn when reaching for the sweet rose. Returning to blue flowers, from Wikipedia:

Quote

In some cultures, blue roses are traditionally associated with "blue" royal blood, and thus the blue rose can also denote regal majesty and splendor. Due to the absence in nature of blue roses they have come to symbolize mystery and longing to attain the impossible, with some cultures going so far as to say that the holder of a blue rose will have his/her wishes granted.

Blue roses are artificial, represent reaching for the impossible and denote royalty. The nature of attaining the impossible would be like entering into one of these greenseer godheads. With that in mind, let’s look at one of the few godheads we have seen firsthand, at the House of the Undying.

Quote

Above it floated a human heart, swollen and blue with corruption, yet still alive. It beat, a deep ponderous throb of sound, and each pulse sent out a wash of indigo light. The figures around the table were no more than blue shadows. -Daenerys IV, ACOK

Blue is often associated with Jon Snow (as the Ice Warrior, hence why I can understand why a good section of fans believe Jon is not a Targ but all North by blood) along with the shadows I have already mentioned. Jon is described as hiding his true face but Drogo hides his face behind a 'copper mask' to Dany. The copper is his skin, so think of the Faceless Men using another’s face to hide their own.

Quote

His face was a copper mask, yet under the long black mustache, drooping beneath the weight of its gold rings, she thought she glimpsed the shadow of a smile. -Daenerys V, AGOT

Since we have witnessed the undertow of the deathly peel, the sweet smell covering foul ones and the blue corruption of the godhead’s fiery heart, let's see the full quote of Drogo's dying, as it is loaded with these hidden meanings.

Quote

...[H]e began to scrape away the black leaves and dried blue mud from Drogo's chest... Ser Jorah broke the dry mud with his knife, pried the chunks from the flesh, peeled off the leaves one by one. A foul, sweet smell rose from the wound, so thick it almost choked her. The leaves were crusted with blood and pus, Drogo's breast black and glistening with corruption.
...
Khal Drogo thrashed, fighting some unseen enemy. Black blood ran slow and thick from his open wound. -Daenerys VIII, AGOT

There is the mud, which I pointed out at the end of Part I, is associated with life in opposition to the destructive nature of fire but since it is cracked and dried it is no longer life-giving. The leaves connect to the Old Gods of the North and the godhead Bran ultimately taps into with Bloodraven. The "sweet smell rose" implies that fragrant blue rose which attempts to choke her, as Will does to Waymar in the AGOT Prologue. Sansa is also believed to be the "maid at a feast with purple serpents in her hair, venom dripping from their fangs," as she supplies the poison (venom) necklace that chokes the life from Joffrey and is herself referred to as "soft-spoken, sweet-smelling Sansa," by Tyrion earlier in ASOS.
Now that I’ve shown a passage with several hidden meanings that tie into other passages, let’s go real wide with it. So wide in fact we are going to leave the series behind for a moment.

In The Captain of Guards - AFFC chapter 2, the over-ripe blood oranges that are dropping/plopping around Doran Martel symbolize that he's waited too long to act on his deceitful plans. I say "deceitful", because he had a secret pact to marry his children to Targaryen heirs which would have been viewed as treason by the Lannister's. (Just a quick aside...this pact seems contrary for a House that should have been angry with House Targaryen IF Rhaegar had set Elia aside. But this is neither here nor there with regards to the current discussion of orange symbolism!) In the afor named chapter the over-ripe bursting oranges are also symbolic of the Tarbecks. And here may be how you made the association with "life", because the Tarbecks were annihilated by Tywin before he drowned out the Reynes of Castamere. Tywin laid siege to the Tarbecks and killed them by using catapults until their castle collapsed on top them. 

Another use of oranges as symbolism comes in The Queenmaker - AFFC chapter 21 where Myrcella split an orange with Spotted Sylva, while Garin ate olives and spit the stones at Drey. What an odd sentence you might say. You may be familiar with another assertion of mine that "spots" are associated with betrayal, usually followed by death, then the association of betrayal and death after the word "orange" might have caught your attention. Then the act of eating olives and spitting the "stones" at someone might be interpreted as "eating or taking life" followed by the word "stone" which has been associated with reproduction. Think "stone apple". Circle back to "split an orange" and visualize what it might look like when you split an orange. You peel it first, and then when you start to separate the flesh it sort of looks like the female genitalia. Put it all together and it very much sounds like (in this order) sex, betrayal, death or deadly injury, and lastly birth of a child.

Moving on to the "blue flower" symbolism, recall that Bael plucked the blue rose. When a young woman flowers or gets her first menstrual cycle you could say that "plucking" is just another word for saying Bael took her virginity. The blue flower is not the baby. The baby is what was left as payment for plucking the flower. Some women die in or shortly after childbirth thus the "blue" symbolism of the flower. The color blue in this story is symbolic for death. Therefore the blue flower is the plucked woman that lost her maidenhead and died as a result of childbirth. So how do we interpret the blue flower in the chink in the wall of ice in Dany's vision? How would the death of a woman fill the air with sweetness? Would thinking about the word "chink" bring any insight? A chink is a narrow opening, but it can also mean the opposite. You can add a chink to fill a narrow opening like when you put a folded napkin under a shorter table leg. I don't have a good explanation for Dany's vision, but I think GRRM wants us to think the blue flower is Jon. It's an easy and sweet jump to make, but I'm not so sure it's the correct conclusion.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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On 8/15/2017 at 2:00 AM, Cowboy Dan said:

It would be rather pointless to introduce a method to affect the past and not employ it in the series, although by nature of Stable Time Loops, a character is not given nigh-infinite power to change the past. They have already changed their past and are bound by their own causal chain to create the very events that lead them to wanting to travel in time and alter that causal chain in the first place.

Quote

"Have you ever seen the arms of House Toland of Ghost Hill?"
    >He had to think a moment. "A dragon eating its own tail?"
    >"The dragon is time. It has no beginning and no ending, so all things come round again." -The Soiled Knight, AFFC

 

TIME LOOPS! Amen, brother! ba-de-ba-de-ba-de-ba-da, that's all folks!

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