Cowboy Dan

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

35 posts in this topic

3 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

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.

Indeed! Although due to the nature of the Breaking that I posited, I think it won't be as simple as side X wins and sides A,B, and C lose. Depending on where these lands break apart, side A wins and side B loses in one place, side L wins and side M loses in one place, et cetera, et cetera. Perhaps both Stark and Lannister win in their own respective lands although with (one would imagine) some heavy losses.

3 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

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.

Reminds me of a convo I had with a user over on the subreddit. He said he wasn't a fan of this forum due to certain users that treat the series like an "RPG source book" which got a hearty chuckle out of me. Symbolism isn't for everyone, hell, half the time in discussing symbolism I feel like a kid playing with legos while everyone else is using bulldozers and cranes and shit.

Just blows my mind sometimes the way people see these things (like your break down for instance). But I've got a feeling some of the way I see things will blow some minds as well. We all have our strengths and weaknesses.

I definitely agree and am looking forward to reading more on your inversion re-read/theory after this is all done to see if I can help shed some light or bring a new perspective to the subject. I really enjoyed the one chapter I participated in. ^_^

3 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

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!

I was expecting a slow response but it is a bit more muted than I anticipated. If someone like you who wants to read along is taking this long, then no wonder it's taking others a while. Thanks for the words of encouragement! :wub:

I'm just looking forward to having it all out and done with, it's been almost two years in the making from when I put together my first fledgling A+J=J+C post over on the subreddit and that had months of work beforehand. I am starting to empathize a bit more directly with GRRM and getting that monkey off his back. Hell, I don't even have millions of fans/dollars or a magnum opus to worry about! Just a big ass analysis for fun.

I want to get back to your second post, particularly surrounding the word 'chink' as it only appears six times in the series and at first glance appears to jive with what you're saying! It seems to be part of a cluster but like I said, since I lack the tangential symbolism it makes my head spin a bit. Your explanation clears it up a bit but let me think on and look into it a bit more.

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2 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

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

Yeeesssss!! I knew you'd be on board once you got to that part. :)

I haven't read your theory in a while so take the following with a grain of salt. Part IV is tentatively titled "The Breaking of the Round Table and the Breaking of the World". The fourth book in TOAFK, The Candle in the Wind, involves the dissipation of Arthur's Round Table, which isn't solid but empty in the center, a nice hollow moon/egg symbol. Like the sigil for House Toland, it's a circle, but if this circle breaks then I'm not sure if things will simply go backwards as you posit.

Over in LmL's current thread there was discussion of a sequence of events. In the next Part I'll be showing this sequence over a bunch of different scenes but every time it appears, the sequence is disordered. It's not simply inverted, retrograded, or the like as would work in a standard musical composition but all the "notes and chords" are completely out of order and randomized. That would be my only real contention with the idea of the Wheel of Time, that maybe there's not a simple reversal going on but a total smashing apart and re-ordering of events.

Like I said, grain of salt. I look forward to catching up on your writings once I'm done here so I have a more educated understanding of your stance on the titled chapters.

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Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, Cowboy Dan said:

Yeeesssss!! I knew you'd be on board once you got to that part. :)

I haven't read your theory in a while so take the following with a grain of salt. Part IV is tentatively titled "The Breaking of the Round Table and the Breaking of the World". The fourth book in TOAFK, The Candle in the Wind, involves the dissipation of Arthur's Round Table, which isn't solid but empty in the center, a nice hollow moon/egg symbol. Like the sigil for House Toland, it's a circle, but if this circle breaks then I'm not sure if things will simply go backwards as you posit.

Over in LmL's current thread there was discussion of a sequence of events. In the next Part I'll be showing this sequence over a bunch of different scenes but every time it appears, the sequence is disordered. It's not simply inverted, retrograded, or the like as would work in a standard musical composition but all the "notes and chords" are completely out of order and randomized. That would be my only real contention with the idea of the Wheel of Time, that maybe there's not a simple reversal going on but a total smashing apart and re-ordering of events.

Like I said, grain of salt. I look forward to catching up on your writings once I'm done here so I have a more educated understanding of your stance on the titled chapters.

My thoughts about the wheel of time are still evolving, so don't go back and reread my old posts, because I really should update them. I think I have been inserting updates as comments.

Funny you mentioned "hollow earth", because @WeaselPie has a hollow earth theory, and the opening sequence of the mummer's version does seem to visually show a hollow or concave world. The astrolabe that flies all over the screen as they show the different houses also seems to imply that the sun is in the center with the houses ingraved on the "straps" (for lack of a better description) encircle it. Or maybe it's an eye in the center? It would be cool if the astrolabe had an eye in the center like Bran's third eye.

I agree that the sequence doesn't necessarily have to be exactly in reverse, because we seem to have a cluster-fuck with Jon representing not only the Nights King, but he may end up being the King in the North that would not kneel.

 

I'm talking about the book version here while the mummer's version already has him as KotN while a white walker is Nights King.

If you've read Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, his fantasy world is said to be broken. Most of the main characters have special powers of some type and can travel to other ages, have been reincarnated, and can meet and travel in dreams. You mentioned House Toland's sigil being a circle representing the wheel of time, but Master Flagons brought to my attention that there is a Lord Trebor Jordayne of House Jordayne of the Tor which is a clear reference to Robert Jordan, the author of the Wheel of Time series…Trebor is Robert in reverse. House Jordayne of the Tor is one of the principal noble houses of Dorne. The Tor (which is also the name of Jordan's publisher) is placed on the southern coast of the Sea of Dorne. Their blazon is a golden quill on checkered dark and light green. Their words do not appear in the books, but in a semi-canon source they are stated to be "Let it be Written".

 

 

Edited by Feather Crystal

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On 8/17/2017 at 10:55 PM, Feather Crystal said:

My thoughts about the wheel of time are still evolving, so don't go back and reread my old posts, because I really should update them. I think I have been inserting updates as comments.

Haha fair enough. You're still doing the re-read though, right? Is that the best place to find your most recent comments/thoughts?

On 8/17/2017 at 10:55 PM, Feather Crystal said:

I agree that the sequence doesn't necessarily have to be exactly in reverse, because we seem to have a cluster-fuck with Jon representing not only the Nights King, but he may end up being the King in the North that would not kneel.

Cluster-fuck is a great description. This stuff gets confusing! Since I'll be talking about stolen identity a bit this sort of dualistic role played by the same individual occurs in a lot of places. Like King Arthur, one's mind becomes 'muddled' trying to sort it all out.

I'm trying to stay away from show discussion here and stick to the books but I've certainly noticed some interesting symbolism in the show. Perhaps I will create a show topic after this is done and point to some of the stuff I've noticed.

Spoiler

For instance you mentioned the Night King. Joffrey has his golden stag antler crown with points like fire but is poisoned and chokes to death. His body, once laid in the sept, has the stones of blue eyes and a blue shaft of light (blue/orange lights are ice/fire symbolism in the show) shining down on him. He's symbolically representing the undead Night King there.

RE: WoT stuff. We've talked a bit about it before and I agree that asoiaf is influenced by or at least homages WoT directly. I haven't read it myself so any conjecture on my part in relation to WoT is shooting in the dark.

As for the reincarnation stuff that's pretty interesting! I mentioned Jaime echoes Daemon a lot. In one instance Jaime thinks how Tyrion, not Jaime, is the one that goes to brothels and frequents whores, which is a Daemon trait. It feels like Martin nudging the reader saying "Jaime may drink and gamble with his men like Daemon but Tyrion is the one that visits whores as Daemon did. You notice that?" Not sure what it could mean, just an interesting observation.

 

On 8/17/2017 at 7:17 PM, Feather Crystal said:

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.

As I'll be getting to and pointing out in today's entry the cluster of the blue flower, honey/bees, sweet poisons, etc. are all indicative of the godhead. The fact that Bael left the blue flower seems to me to imply it is not representative of sex or stealing a maidenhead, since he did steal her but left the flower. Not only did he take her maidenhead, he stole her entirely and the blue flower was a ruse to draw attention from his real goal, the product of the Stark bloodline.

Rhaegar likewise stole Lyanna, the daughter of the Stark bloodline, in order to (presumably) give her a child, only after giving her the crown of blue roses. If it was symbolic of taking her maidenhead wouldn't Rhaegar be taking the blue roses instead of giving them to her?

I definitely agree that blue is indicative of death but the Blue Bard also uses blue rosewater to sweeten his clothes and is stolen (imprisoned) himself in a reversal of Bael's story. He tells the lies Cersei wants but is captured by the Faith and goes mad. As I've pointed out I think Jon goes mad, so it all seems to relate indirectly.

Also blue, particularly "pale blue" (in opposition to "pale pink") which I'll get to, is very often used to denote the Others/wights and those blue roses/flowers. Perhaps blue is not referring to organic death but the un-death of those subsumed by the godhead?

 

I definitely want to get into 'chink' more but not atm. I will say there is a use of 'chink' with Catelyn at the Battle of the Whispering Wood which is followed shortly by her thinking of Robb as the baby that Ned left behind before going to war. Seems to fit with your whole sex, betrayal, death, birth order. Ned/Cat have sex, Starks/Robert are betrayed by Aerys and Brandon/Rickard are killed while Lyanna/Cat have children on far sides of the realm. Also Dany has that same order: her & Drogo have sex, MMD betrays Drogo, Drogo becomes vegetative (brain death) and the child is born (but dies). The same order may occur with the birth of dragons but I'd have to look back at it, I'm a bit fuzzy.

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Saturn comes back around to show you everything,
Let's you choose what you will, will not see and then,
Drags you down like a stone or lifts you up again,
Spits you out like a child, light and innocent.
-The Grudge, Tool, Lateralus

The Fiery Rainbow Man

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We'll kill you off and then make a clone,
Yeah, we got spines, yeah, we have bones,
This is how it's always gone,
And this is how it's goin’ to go
-Lampshades on Fire, Modest Mouse, Strangers to Ourselves

    What better place to begin than the prologue of AGOT?

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The Other slid forward on silent feet. In its hand was a longsword like none that Will had ever seen. No human metal had gone into the forging of that blade. It was alive with moonlight, translucent, a shard of crystal so thin that it seemed almost to vanish when seen edge-on. There was a faint blue shimmer to the thing, a ghost-light that played around its edges, and somehow Will knew it was sharper than any razor.
Ser Waymar met him bravely. "Dance with me then."
"Will had to call out. It was his duty. And his death, if he did. He shivered, and hugged the tree, and kept the silence."
Will rose. Ser Waymar Royce stood over him.
His fine clothes were a tatter, his face a ruin. A shard from his sword transfixed the blind white pupil of his left eye.
The right eye was open. The pupil burned blue. It saw.
The broken sword fell from nerveless fingers. Will closed his eyes to pray. Long, elegant hands brushed his cheek, then tightened around his throat. They were gloved in the finest moleskin and sticky with blood, yet the touch was icy cold. -Prologue, AGOT

    And with that iconic prologue confrontation, Martin began the Mad Dance. Will's failure to call out and warn young Waymar would lead to his own death but in his failure to do so cemented Waymar's fate. The dead, particularly those risen by the Others, seem to recall and hold their grudges against the living that contributed to their death. This recurs in the ADWD prologue with Thistle and Varamyr, which I will return to, as both prologues are symbolically connected. But for now let's look at a cluster I enjoy regarding crystals that give way to rainbows, which are hidden by mists or haze and just what each of those symbols entails. It is not often that I can find a direct order of events in using this method and I will point out at the end of this essay what lead me to this particular conclusion (although I have already shown my hand on that front).

Let us begin with the dancing shadows during Mirri Maz Duur's heavily symbolic scene:

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No, Dany wanted to say, no, not that, you mustn't, but when she opened her mouth, a long wail of pain escaped, and the sweat broke over her skin. What was wrong with them, couldn't they see? Inside the tent the shapes were dancing, circling the brazier and the bloody bath, dark against the sandsilk, and some did not look human. She glimpsed the shadow of a great wolf, and another like a man wreathed in flames. -Daenerys VIII, AGOT

    Dany wails like Nissa Nissa and we have the shadows in their mad dance. The shadowy wolf I believe is meant to be Jon Snow and the man wreathed in flames, which is Jaime Lannister. They both play the Warrior, one of Ice, the other of Fire. Let us continue with this wreath of flame.

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The High Septon himself stood behind him, a squat man, grey with age and ponderously fat, wearing long white robes and an immense crown of spun gold and crystal that wreathed his head with rainbows whenever he moved. -Arya V, AGOT

    We have the long white robes, as Jaime has embraced the White of the KG, he literally has a crown (hair) of 'beaten' or 'spun' gold, along with Joffrey and Cersei. The crystal is pretty obvious, it is a clear gem that can diffract light (turns white light into a rainbow) and of note: originally comes from a Greek word that means 'ice' and 'rock crystal', but interestingly the crystalline atomic structure also appears in snow. Naturally Jon and Jaime are intrinsically tied as I have pointed to but why is snow and ice attached to the crystal for the fire character? Before I answer that let's look more at this symbolic cluster to show this for Jaime.

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Joffrey moved into the sunlight in response to Rodrik's summons. His hair shone like spun gold. -Arya I, AGOT

    Jaime ruminates upon Tyrion's parting words that "Cersei is a lying whore, she's been fucking Lancel and Osmund Kettleblack and probably Moon Boy for all I know" so he begins to imagine just that. The idea of a queen also being a whore is another recurring motif, such as when Jeyne Poole masquerading as Arya, she promises to marry Theon and be his whore if that's what he wants, as long as he helps her escape.

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He pictured that chest pressed against his sister's, that hair scratching the soft skin of her breasts. She would not do that. The Imp lied. Spun gold and black wire tangled, sweaty. -Jaime I, AFFC

Her eyes were green, her hair spun gold. He could not tell how old she was. Fifteen, he thought, or fifty. -Jaime VII, AFFC

    The final quote is Jaime's last and most vivid dream so far in which he speaks to Joanna. There are only 13 uses of spun gold, 5 of which are regarding hair and the other examples often involve the crystal crown of the Faith of the Seven, which create the rainbow of the Seven. One use that is particularly noteworthy however:

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The woman with him could not have been more than a third his age. She was so lovely that the lamps seemed to burn brighter when she passed. She had dressed in a low-cut gown of pale yellow silk, startling against the light brown of her skin. Her black hair was bound up in a net of spun gold, and a jet-and-gold necklace brushed against the top of her full breasts. As they watched, she leaned close to the envoy and whispered something in his ear that made him laugh. "They should call her the Brown Pearl," Mercy said to Daena. "She's more brown than black."
"The first Black Pearl was black as a pot of ink," said Daena. "She was a pirate queen, fathered by a Sealord's son on a princess from the Summer Isles. A dragon king from Westeros took her for his lover." -Mercy, TWOW

    The wreathed fiery rainbow man I am pointing to is often associated with these colors: brown and black. This is because one character in the role is the burned man, while the rebirthed version is the brown mud character, as I pointed to mud and fire being elements that are dichotomously opposed as well as the eponymous ice and fire. Let us return to Jaime, though:

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Look at him. Not quite so tall, his features not so fine, and his hair is sand instead of spun gold, yet still . . . even a poor copy of Jaime is sweeter than an empty bed, I suppose. -Tyrion VII, ACOK

    Because, just as Gary Pitkin is a copy of Elvis, Jaime will be copied himself. Although as we see with Beric, a dead character that is brought back may be a poor copy of themselves, since they can lose much of their memories and personal ego that makes a person who they are. Let's move on to the wreath:

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The burning gods cast a pretty light, wreathed in their robes of shifting flame, red and orange and yellow. Septon Barre had once told Davos how they'd been carved from the masts of the ships that had carried the first Targaryens from Valyria. -Davos I, ACOK

    Red yellow and orange are consistent fire symbolism, used to describe the fiery robes of the Red Priests. The fact that the gods' statues are carved from the masts of the ships connects them to the Old Gods of the North and the godhead of the weirwoods. There are echoes of this idea of the gods in the trees in the Summer Isles as well, with Talking Trees Town. This mimics the forgotten truths of the Maesters using ravens to deliver messages by written word instead of skinchanging them as Bloodraven teaches Bran to north of the Wall. Instead of speaking through the trees, as Bran sees through them and through time, the Summer Islanders have forgotten this truth and instead carve their histories into the trees' trunks. Catelyn and Sansa tend to have these moments where they have glimpses of magical insight that go away but the one time I want to point out is this same motif, the moving forest of ghosts (reminding me of the Haunted Forest north of the Wall).

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They were in a long line, an endless line, and as they burst from the wood there was an instant, the smallest part of a heartbeat, when all Catelyn saw was the moonlight on the points of their lances, as if a thousand willowisps were coming down the ridge, wreathed in silver flame.
Then she blinked, and they were only men, rushing down to kill or die. -Catelyn X, AGOT

    Notice the wilowisps, which are, according to Wikipedia, 'atmospheric ghost lights' that in Latin literally translate to "foolish fire" (the Drunk Fool I mentioned and will return to shortly is part of this cluster) and is sometimes known as jack-o'-lanterns, friar lantern's or hobby lanterns. These willowisps are interchangeable symbols with lanterns and fireflies (which are sometimes referred to as lantern bugs) representing the lights that arrive or disappear with the morning mists, bringing or hiding the retreat of this ghost army. Flies are referred to as "the dead man's revenge" by Daario and the fireflies are essentially fire wights, symbolically speaking. Although these willowisps are wreathed in a silver flame, which gives them moon connotations: the silver-gold hair of the Targaryens are the moon and sun colorings respectively. I am not going to show this here, there are ~200 uses of "sunlight" and "moonlight" but their color designations as gold for the sun and silver for the moon are extremely consistent throughout the series, as a cursory search will back up.

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The king's pavilion was close by the water, and the morning mists off the river had wreathed it in wisps of grey. It was all of golden silk, the largest and grandest structure in the camp. -Eddard VII, AGOT

    Here we have that wreathed (will-o-)wisps among the morning mists. The fact they are over the river is also important, as this moment is all regarding the battle near or over a river. Think of the Battle of Blackwater Bay ("Men wreathed in green flame leapt into the water") and the battle between Tywin & the Northern forces near the Kingsroad at the Battle of the Green Fork. The entirety of The Sworn Sword novella is committed to the theft and battle regarding the "Chequy Water," a stream, which is simply a smaller version of a river. Afterward TSS has imagery matching the Field of Fire due to Bennis' betrayal and torching of the woods, using that firefly symbolism I previously mentioned. Back to the wreath though:

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Then the skinchanger threw back his head and screamed.
The sound was shocking, ear-piercing, thick with agony. Varamyr fell, writhing, and the 'cat was screaming too . . . and high, high in the eastern sky, against the wall of cloud, Jon saw the eagle burning. For a heartbeat it flamed brighter than a star, wreathed in red and gold and orange, its wings beating wildly at the air as if it could fly from the pain. Higher it flew, and higher, and higher still. -Jon X, ASOS

    There's that red, yellow (gold) and orange symbolism with the wreath along with the clouds, which are sometimes a mist or haze. The eagle is another symbolic substitute for the dragon, as I have argued Jaime is a dragon himself. Don't take my word for the connection though:

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History calls the struggle between King Aegon II and his sister Rhaenyra the Dance of the Dragons, but only at Tumbleton did the dragons ever truly dance. Tessarion and Seasmoke were young dragons, nimbler in the air than their older brothers had been. Time and time again they rushed one another, only to have one or the other veer away at the last instant. Soaring like eagles, stooping like hawks, they circled, snapping and roaring, spitting fire, but never closing. Once the Blue Queen vanished into a bank of cloud, only to reappear an instant later, diving on Seasmoke from behind to scorch her tail with a burst of cobalt flame. Meanwhile, Seasmoke rolled and banked and looped. One instant he would be below his foe, and suddenly he would twist in the sky and come around behind her. Higher and higher the two dragons flew, as hundreds watched from the roofs of Tumbleton. One such said afterward that the flight of Tessarion and Seasmoke seemed more mating dance than battle. Perhaps it was.
The dance ended when Vermithor rose roaring into the sky.
Almost a hundred years old and as large as the two young dragons put together, the bronze dragon with the great tan wings was in a rage as he took flight, with blood smoking from a dozen wounds. Riderless, he knew not friend from foe, so he loosed his wroth on all, spitting flame to right and left, turning savagely on any man who dared to fling a spear in his direction. One knight tried to flee before him, only to have Vermithor snatch him up in his jaws, even as his horse galloped on... -The Princess and the Queen

    The whole passage reeks of skinchanging and has too many parallels and similarities to be simple coincidence. Of note Varamyr begins twisting on the ground as Vermithor begins twisting in the sky. As Varamyr goes temporarily mad so does the riderless Vermithor, fighting anyone and everyone in his current vicinity. The neck wounding is another key motif tied to this wreathed character. Recall the Whispering Heads in the Crownlands, which whisper, as the godhead of the Weirwoods do. There is also the yellowed skull, which is tied to exiled princes. Bloodraven is also described as having a yellowed skull in his weirwood throne.

There is the Golden Company run by Bloodraven's bastard brother Aegor Rivers, Bittersteel, whose chief goal is to return from exile to Westeros. They are "Ghosts and liars… Revenants from forgotten wars, lost causes, failed rebellions, a brotherhood of the failed and the fallen, the disgraced and the disinherited." Here's a great candidate for a ghost army of solar fire and of course they are in service to an exiled Prince believed to be long dead, Aegon VI. This also fits well with Jaime's golden symbolism, as he's also a fallen knight, has failed to protect his son/king, disgraced by his murder of Aerys and disinherited by Tywin when he makes clear his choice to be LC of the KG and decides not to inherit Casterly Rock. He has also been foreshadowed to die in his weirwood stump dream.

    You see how this all gets out of hand rather quickly if you are not already tapped into these indirect word choices and repeat patternings. Much of this implicit meaning can slip by a reader unaware, akin to Hemingway's or Faulkner's use of the Literary Iceberg Theory. I must admit while I have found some key clusters there are others where I know I am looking at something but just can't put together what the hell it means, as I don't have enough of the tangential symbolism in the particular cluster. Most of the real story is hidden in plain sight but the reader must do the work to pull all of this hidden meaning out of the work themselves, to learn the puzzle and be able to understand the language that is being spoken. To the wreath once again:

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One arrow took Mance Rayder in the chest, one in the gut, one in the throat. The fourth struck one of the cage's wooden bars, and quivered for an instant before catching fire. A woman's sobs echoed off the Wall as the wildling king slid bonelessly to the floor of his cage, wreathed in fire. "And now his Watch is done," Jon murmured softly. -Jon III, ADWD

    Of course, Mance isn't dead, this is actually Rattleshirt, the Lord of Bones, which ties this back to the stolen identity and false murder of a king. Remember what Ned thinks back in AGOT that "The king dies... and the Hand is buried." Jon is the black bastard, the rightful king that prowls in the shadows. Jaime is nearly offered the position of Hand by Robert to spite Ned and in AFFC is offered the same by Cersei, whereupon he makes the joke about being a Hand without a hand.

With that in mind let's look at the deaths of Renly Baratheon, killed by a shadow with his brother's face, and Qhorin Halfhand's death. I believe the Halfhand was meant to serve as a foreshadowing of Jaime when the time skip was still intended; he would have spent several years perfecting his swordsmanship with his off-hand just as Qhorin did and Qhorin has a lot of Sword of the Morning symbolism, hence theories that he may be Ser Arthur Dayne which I believe is mistaking the symbolic parallel for a literal one.

I must admit I may be doing the same at certain points or taking literal parallels as symbolic. Such is the nature of the web of symbolism being employed.

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While the Halfhand slept, Jon sat with his back to the cave wall, listening to the water and waiting for the dawn.
At break of day, they each chewed a half-frozen strip of horsemeat, then saddled their garrons once again, and fastened their black cloaks around their shoulders. During his watch the Halfhand had made a half-dozen torches, soaking bundles of dry moss with the oil he carried in his saddlebag. He lit the first one now and led the way down into the dark, holding the pale flame up before him. Jon followed with the horses. The stony path twisted and turned, first down, then up, then down more steeply. -Jon VII, ACOK

Recall Jaime's dream in which he similarly goes down a stone passage that twists around to be given a sword of pale fire by Tywin, a dream I also pointed out mimics Jon's own dream of descending into the Crypts of Winterfell. Let's skip ahead to the fight:

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He shifted to a two-hand grip, quick enough to deliver a stroke of his own, but the big ranger brushed it aside with contemptuous ease
...
Even when Ghost's teeth closed savagely around the ranger's calf, somehow Qhorin kept his feet. But in that instant, as he twisted, the opening was there. Jon planted and pivoted. The ranger was leaning away, and for an instant it seemed that Jon's slash had not touched him. Then a string of red tears appeared across the big man's throat, bright as a ruby necklace, and the blood gushed out of him, and Qhorin Halfhand fell.
Ghost's muzzle was dripping red, but only the point of the bastard blade was stained, the last half inch. Jon pulled the direwolf away and knelt with one arm around him. The light was already fading in Qhorin's eyes. "...sharp," he said, lifting his maimed fingers. Then his hand fell, and he was gone. -Jon VII, ACOK

    This also calls back to the first prologue, with the Other's parry that is almost lazy. Jon plays the part of the shadow among shadows and oathbreaker that kills the Hand, leading to his fall and disappearance. With that in mind let's watch another shadow kill a would-be king.

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"I beg you in the name of the Mother," Catelyn began when a sudden gust of wind flung open the door of the tent. She thought she glimpsed movement, but when she turned her head, it was only the king's shadow shifting against the silken walls. She heard Renly begin a jest, his shadow moving, lifting its sword, black on green, candles guttering, shivering, something was queer, wrong, and then she saw Renly's sword still in its scabbard, sheathed still, but the shadowsword...
"Cold," said Renly in a small puzzled voice, a heartbeat before the steel of his gorget parted like cheesecloth beneath the shadow of a blade that was not there. He had time to make a small thick gasp before the blood came gushing out of his throat.
"Your Gr—no!" cried Brienne the Blue when she saw that evil flow, sounding as scared as any little girl. The king stumbled into her arms, a sheet of blood creeping down the front of his armor, a dark red tide that drowned his green and gold. More candles guttered out. Renly tried to speak, but he was choking on his own blood. His legs collapsed, and only Brienne's strength held him up. She threw back her head and screamed, wordless in her anguish.
The shadow. Something dark and evil had happened here, she knew, something that she could not begin to understand. Renly never cast that shadow. Death came in that door and blew the life out of him as swift as the wind snuffed out his candles. -Catelyn IV, ACOK

    Notice that same neck wound, the blood pouring out and the utterance of a single word, "sharp" and "cold" respectively, which when brought together brings to mind the translucent sword the Other wields in the prologue. Brienne of course begins to replace her affection for Renly with Jaime in her dreams, making the connection a bit more direct. There is a number of times throughout the series that Jon Snow is connoted with the snowy white cloaks of the Kingsguard and that same snow-white is connoted with death.

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The hooded cloak he wore was as white as freshly fallen snow... -Cersei II, AFFC

Before them went Ser Rolly Duckfield, a snow-white cloak streaming from his shoulders. -The Griffin Reborn, ADWD

The mail was gilded, finely wrought, the links as supple as good leather, the plate enameled, hard as ice and bright as new-fallen snow. -The Kingbreaker, ADWD [Barristan POV chapter]

The three Kingsguard came first, like ghosts in their gleaming white enamel armor, long white cloaks trailing behind them. Even their shields were white, blank and clean as a field of new-fallen snow. -The Hedge Knight

A trickle ran down onto his face, bright as blood. "Snow, that was the one. Such a white name . . . like the pretty cloaks they give us in the Kingsguard when we swear our pretty oaths." -Catelyn VII, ACOK

Notice Jaime is connected to blood before he mentions Jon's name, due to their blood connection and the foreshadowed murder I am pointing to.

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He was sleeping when Catelyn entered, his hair and beard as white as his featherbed, his once portly frame turned small and frail by the death that grew within him. -Catelyn I, ACOK

When Varamyr pushed at it, the snow crumbled and gave way, still soft and wet. Outside, the night was white as death; pale thin clouds danced attendance on a silver moon, while a thousand stars watched coldly. -Prologue, ADWD

Beneath he had no face; only a yellowed skull with a few scraps of skin still clinging to the cheeks, and a white worm wriggling from one empty eye socket. "Kiss me, child," he croaked, in a voice as dry and husky as a death rattle. -Arya I, ADWD

There's that yellowed skull I mentioned and Bloodraven is, akin to the Kindly Man here, missing an eye and associated with the white graveworm tendrils of the weirwoods.

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The battering ram crashed down into the mud, forgotten in an instant as its handlers fled or turned to fight. Tyrion rode down an archer, opened a spearman from shoulder to armpit, glanced a blow off a swordfish-crested helm. At the ram his big red reared but the black stallion leapt the obstacle smoothly and Ser Mandon flashed past him, death in snow-white silk. -Tyrion XIV, ACOK

The ram is a star-sword Lightbringer symbol. The ram represents Jaime as the deceased mud character that gets forgotten in the presence of a Snowy-cloak clad death bringer.

We are talking of Jon Snow as the Kingsguard character and Jaime as the king he betrays -- a nice Greek Hubris-styled punishment for Jaime's kingslaying. This potentially implies, in conjunction with the fact that Qhorin asked Jon to follow the enemy's orders to kill him, this death is necessary or agreed upon between Jon and Jaime. Though it will still have consequences for Jon.

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"Our vows are taken for life. Only death may relieve the Lord Commander of his sacred trust."
"Whose death, Ser Barristan?" The queen's voice was soft as silk, but her words carried the whole length of the hall. "Yours, or your king's?" -Sansa V, AGOT

To drive all of this home, let's look at Jaime's last chapter from AFFC when winter comes to the Riverlands and Jaime wakes from the most intensely vivid dream he's had so far:

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He woke in darkness, shivering. The room had grown cold as ice. Jaime flung aside the covers with the stump of his sword hand. The fire in the hearth had died, he saw, and the window had blown open. He crossed the pitch-dark chamber to fumble with the shutters, but when he reached the window his bare foot came down in something wet. Jaime recoiled, startled for a moment. His first thought was of blood, but blood would not have been so cold.
It was snow, drifting through the window.
...
He found himself wondering what his father would do to feed the realm, before he remembered that Tywin Lannister was dead. -Jaime VII, AFFC

Snow mistaken for blood then Jaime finds himself thinking about his father, a deceased Hand. Subtle enough to be overlooked alone but not too subtle when it's all lined up. Next is the cluster of mist/haze/fog/dew symbolism that obscures the disappearance of this fiery rainbow character.

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"The dragon has three heads." He went to the window seat, picked up a harp, and ran his fingers lightly over its silvery strings. Sweet sadness filled the room as man and wife and babe faded like the morning mist, only the music lingering behind to speed her on her way. -Daenerys IV, ACOK

Dawn caught Jaime almost unawares. As the glass in the dome began to lighten, suddenly there were rainbows shimmering off the walls and floors and pillars, bathing Lord Tywin's corpse in a haze of many-colored light. The King's Hand was rotting visibly. His face had taken on a greenish tinge, and his eyes were deeply sunken, two black pits. Fissures had opened in his cheeks, and a foul white fluid was seeping through the joints of his splendid gold-and-crimson armor to pool beneath his body.
The septons were the first to see, when they returned for their dawn devotions. They sang their songs and prayed their prayers and wrinkled up their noses, and one of the Most Devout grew so faint he had to be helped from the sept. Shortly after, a flock of novices came swinging censers, and the air grew so thick with incense that the bier seemed cloaked in smoke. All the rainbows vanished in that perfumed mist, yet the stench persisted, a sweet rotten smell that made Jaime want to gag. -Jaime I, AFFC

Note the sweet smell that gags Jaime, as if choking him. Also of note are the music of Rhaegar's harp and the singing of the septons that accompanies this obscuring mist. This coupling recurs at the river funeral pyre of Hoster Tully:

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As the boat emerged from beneath the high sheltering walls of the castle, its square sail filled with wind, and Catelyn saw sunlight flashing on her father's helm. Lord Hoster Tully's rudder held true, and he sailed serenely down the center of the channel, into the rising sun.
"Now," her uncle urged. Beside him, her brother Edmure—Lord Edmure now in truth, and how long would that take to grow used to?—nocked an arrow to his bowstring. His squire held a brand to its point. Edmure waited until the flame caught, then lifted the great bow, drew the string to his ear, and let fly. With a deep thrum, the arrow sped upward. Catelyn followed its flight with her eyes and heart, until it plunged into the water with a soft hiss, well astern of Lord Hoster's boat.
Edmure cursed softly. "The wind," he said, pulling a second arrow. "Again." The brand kissed the oil-soaked rag behind the arrowhead, the flames went licking up, Edmure lifted, pulled, and released. High and far the arrow flew. Too far. It vanished in the river a dozen yards beyond the boat, its fire winking out in an instant. A flush was creeping up Edmure's neck, red as his beard. "Once more," he commanded, taking a third arrow from the quiver. He is as tight as his bowstring, Catelyn thought.
Ser Brynden must have seen the same thing. "Let me, my lord," he offered.
"I can do it," Edmure insisted. He let them light the arrow, jerked the bow up, took a deep breath, drew back the arrow. For a long moment he seemed to hesitate while the fire crept up the shaft, crackling. Finally he released. The arrow flashed up and up, and finally curved down again, falling, falling... and hissing past the billowing sail.
A narrow miss, no more than a handspan, and yet a miss. "The Others take it!" her brother swore. The boat was almost out of range, drifting in and out among the river mists. Wordless, Edmure thrust the bow at his uncle.
"Swiftly," Ser Brynden said. He nocked an arrow, held it steady for the brand, drew and released before Catelyn was quite sure that the fire had caught . . . but as the shot rose, she saw the flames trailing through the air, a pale orange pennon. The boat had vanished in the mists. Falling, the flaming arrow was swallowed up as well . . . but only for a heartbeat. Then, sudden as hope, they saw the red bloom flower. The sails took fire, and the fog glowed pink and orange. For a moment Catelyn saw the outline of the boat clearly, wreathed in leaping flames.
Watch for me, little cat, she could hear him whisper. Catelyn IV, ASOS

This is a pretty straightforward Lightbringer scene but note how there are four not three arrows which are fired. The first three are fired by Edmure who would normally be the Azor Ahai character but Brynden is the one that fires the final arrow lighting the fiery rainbow man's boat through the mists. There are hints of this three with a fourth tacked on elsewhere in the series as well. When defending the Wall against Mance's turtle (which houses a battering ram) Jon and his cohorts hurl four boulders down on the attacking force. There are four glass candles of obsidian, three black and one green. In A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (U.S. version) on page 320 there is an image of a shadowed dragon with four upraised swords in the foreground, three of which are aimed straight up and a fourth off at an angle. This angle will recur as part of the Breaking imagery in Part IV when I get to the maps.

The point here is that I think the AA story of three forgings is incomplete and is told by the perspective of those left behind by this rainbow character. The AA story is told by the people who choose the Edmure analogue character as their hero, the individual that only fires the first three arrows. The Blackfish always did serve as a sort of outcast in the Tully family, it would make sense that he is symbolically playing the part of the outcast/exiled AA character, whose deeds are lost to history.

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No sign of the morning coming,
No sight of the day.
You've been left on your own.
You are a rainbow,
Rainbow in the dark.
-Rainbow in the Dark, Dio, Holy Diver

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The Drunk Fool

    Let us look at several other scenes that have a recurring motif I have dubbed "the drunk fool". The archetype is a character that attempts to kill a king and gets "crowned," resulting in his death. I will be getting into Dionysian Feasts in the next part but I would like to point out that in the fashion of Dionysus there is a split : drunkenness begins with bravado, as courage from the gods, but too much drink can lead one to madness or what we'd call blacking out. This interchangeable nature of madness and drunkenness is at play in the symbolism of the series as well. Let us begin with the earliest example of this character, with Viserys in Vaes Dothrak.

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Viserys had believed that the realm would rise for its rightful king . . . but Viserys had been a fool, and fools believe in foolish things. -Daenerys II, ACOK

He was a fool about that, and so much else, Dany thought. -Daenerys I, ASOS

He stopped beside the largest of the three firepits, peering around at the faces of the Dothraki. There were five thousand men in the hall, but only a handful who knew the Common Tongue. Yet even if his words were incomprehensible, you had only to look at him to know that he was drunk.
Khal Drogo rose, spat out a dozen words in Dothraki, faster than Dany could understand, and pointed. "Khal Drogo says your place is not on the high bench," Ser Jorah translated for her brother. "Khal Drogo says your place is there."
Viserys glanced where the khal was pointing. At the back of the long hall, in a corner by the wall, deep in shadow so better men would not need to look on them, sat the lowest of the low; raw unblooded boys, old men with clouded eyes and stiff joints, the dim-witted and the maimed. Far from the meat, and farther from honor. "That is no place for a king," her brother declared.
"The blade… you must not," she begged him. "Please, Viserys. It is forbidden. Put down the sword and come share my cushions. There's drink, food… is it the dragon's eggs you want? You can have them, only throw away the sword."
"Do as she tells you, fool," Ser Jorah shouted, "before you get us all killed."
Viserys laughed. "They can't kill us. They can't shed blood here in the sacred city … but I can." He laid the point of his sword between Daenerys's breasts and slid it downward, over the curve of her belly. "I want what I came for," he told her. "I want the crown he promised me. He bought you, but he never paid for you. Tell him I want what I bargained for, or I'm taking you back. You and the eggs both. He can keep his bloody foal. I'll cut the bastard out and leave it for him." The sword point pushed through her silks and pricked at her navel. Viserys was weeping, she saw; weeping and laughing, both at the same time, this man who had once been her brother.
"What did he say?" the man who had been her brother asked her, flinching.
...
When the sun of her life reached her, Dany slid an arm around his waist. The khal said a word, and his bloodriders leapt forward. Qotho seized the man who had been her brother by the arms. Haggo shattered his wrist with a single, sharp twist of his huge hands. Cohollo pulled the sword from his limp fingers. Even now Viserys did not understand. "No," he shouted, "you cannot touch me, I am the dragon, the dragon, and I will be crowned!"
At the last, Viserys looked at her. "Sister, please… Dany, tell them… make them… sweet sister…"
...
When the gold was half-melted and starting to run, Drogo reached into the flames, snatched out the pot. "Crown!" he roared. "Here. A crown for Cart King!" And upended the pot over the head of the man who had been her brother.
The sound Viserys Targaryen made when that hideous iron helmet covered his face was like nothing human. His feet hammered a frantic beat against the dirt floor, slowed, stopped. Thick globs of molten gold dripped down onto his chest, setting the scarlet silk to smoldering … yet no drop of blood was spilled. -Daenerys V, AGOT

        So if we take the idea that Jon will kill Jaime and take his place, this scene is chock full of nods to Viserys playing that role. Notice that Viserys' wrist is shattered, implying Jaime's missing hand. The broken arm is another recurring motif I'll be getting to later on. In Jon's first chapter he sits at the back of the room during the Winterfell feast, as Viserys is commanded to by Drogo. This bothers him so much he points this out to Mance as justification for leaving the Night's Watch. He thinks to himself it would be the only reason Mance would believe, presumably because it is the truth.

Just as Viserys is denied a seat at the high bench and told to sit in the shadowed corner, far from the rest of the feasters, Jon is relegated to the same position in his first chapter. They are both denied their place as 'rightful king' but when Viserys tries to take the crown, gets killed for his trouble. Tyrion when speaking to Illyrio, is told regarding Myrcella “In Volantis they use a coin with a crown on one face and a death's-head on the other. Yet it is the same coin. To queen her is to kill her.”

Notice the phrase "sweet sister" which is used to describe Cat, Dany (by Viserys) and Cersei, although once Viserys and Cat die it is almost exclusively relegated to Cersei. She has already begun to feel estranged from Jaime and considers him to not be the brother she once loved. It should be remembered in the Twilight Zone episode Gary pretends to be Elvis' deceased twin brother.

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"I love you too, sweet sister."
How could I ever have loved that wretched creature? she wondered after he had gone. He was your twin, your shadow, your other half, another voice whispered. Once, perhaps, she thought. No longer. He has become a stranger to me. -Cersei III, AFFC

        The stranger of course invoking the death god of the Seven, implying that Jaime will be her death or that she will be the cause of Jaime's death. Drogo committed the act of killing Viserys but it was performed in defense of Daenerys.

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half-mad Easy who fancied himself Florian the Fool reborn -Jon VII, ASOS

"Your poor Florian is fat and old and drunk, I'm the one should be afraid. I used to fall off my horse, don't you remember? That was how we began. I was drunk and fell off my horse and Joffrey wanted my fool head, but you saved me. You saved me, sweetling."
He's weeping, she realized. "And now you have saved me." -Sansa V, ASOS

    Poor Dontos Hollard also plays the part of the Drunk Fool, quite literally a drunk that is turned into the Court Fool by Joffrey. He supplies the poison necklace to Sansa which Joffrey drinks and chokes to death (just like Qhorin and Renly with their neck wounds) due to the wine he drinks.

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Dress dark, he'd said, yet under his brown hooded cloak he was wearing his old surcoat; red and pink horizontal stripes beneath a black chief bearing three gold crowns, the arms of House Hollard
...
One bolt took Dontos in the chest as he looked up, punching through the left crown on his surcoat. The others ripped into throat and belly. It happened so quickly neither Dontos nor Sansa had time to cry out. When it was done, Lothor Brune tossed the torch down on top of the corpse. The little boat was blazing fiercely as the galley moved away. -Sansa V, ASOS

    Notice it punctures the crown on his surcoat, which is an indirect way for GRRM to show a head wounding. There is also the neck wound I have been harping on and the one in the gut, which sometimes accompanies it. Catelyn gives that throat wound to the fool Jinglebell at the Red Wedding (where nearly everyone was drunk). The boat catching fire is a nod to the pyre of Hoster Tully. Let's take a look at the black bastard tomcat I pointed out as symbolically representing Jon Snow earlier.

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When she was three steps away from him, the tomcat bolted. Left, then right, he went; and right, then left, went Arya, cutting off his escape. He hissed again and tried to dart between her legs. Quick as a snake, she thought. Her hands closed around him. She hugged him to her chest, whirling and laughing aloud as his claws raked at the front of her leather jerkin. Ever so fast, she kissed him right between the eyes, and jerked her head back an instant before his claws would have found her face. The tomcat yowled and spit. -Arya III, AGOT

One damp cold morning when he was feeling slightly stronger, a madness took hold of him and he reached for the Dornishman's sword with his left hand and wrenched it clumsily from its scabbard. Let them kill me, he thought, so long as I die fighting, a blade in hand. But it was no good. Shagwell came hopping from leg to leg, dancing nimbly aside when Jaime slashed at him. Unbalanced, he staggered forward, hacking wildly at the fool, but Shagwell spun and ducked and darted until all the Mummers were laughing at Jaime's futile efforts to land a blow. When he tripped over a rock and stumbled to his knees, the fool leapt in and planted a wet kiss atop his head. -Jaime IV, ASOS

In these parallel scenes we see Arya whirl just as Shagwell dances nimbly (those fiery dancers LmL likes to point out, which I believe are inspired by the Whirling Dervishes of Sufism and the dancing of Dionysian practitioners -- to be discussed shortly) kisses this dirty mud character on the forehead. Shagwell is also described as hopping from leg to leg, which is a tell tale sign of this fool.

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Jinglebell hopped from foot to foot, his own crown ringing. -Catelyn VII, ASOS

Ser Dontos laughed and hopped from one leg to the other, almost falling. -Sansa VII, ACOK

"Clever bird, clever man, clever clever fool," said Patchface, jangling. "Oh, clever clever clever fool." He began to sing. "The shadows come to dance, my lord, dance my lord, dance my lord," he sang, hopping from one foot to the other and back again. -Prologue, ACOK

    Once again, I could throw up a number of more quotes evidencing fools hopping around but I'm already too long in the tooth as it stands, so I'll leave it to these few direct connections.

To leave us off, recall how Dontos said he was always falling off his horse. In the Tourney of the Hand scene I quoted in the first part, Jaime falls in the dirt and the laughing of Robert, a veritable giant of a man, is louder than anyone else. The laughter is important because right before the drunk fool scene where Jaime stumbles and falls in the dirt, he is given horse piss to drink by the Brave Companions and they all laugh so loudly it hurts his ears. A similar occurrence happens near the Drunk Fool Patchface:

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"In the dark the dead are dancing." Patchface shuffled his feet in a grotesque dance step...
Wun Wun gaped at him with fascination, but when the giant reached for him the fool hopped back away, jingling. "Oh no, oh no, oh no." That brought Wun Wun lurching to his feet. The queen grabbed hold of Princess Shireen and pulled her back, her knights reached for their swords, and Patchface reeled away in alarm, lost his footing, and plopped down on his arse in a snowdrift.
Wun Wun began to laugh. A giant's laughter could put to shame a dragon's roar. -Jon IX, ADWD

    Notice the giant's laughter, like Robert at the Tourney of the Hand. The dead are dancing in the dark, which are these shadow dancers that crop up all over the place. He falls on his ass which will recur in the next section and we've already seen Jaime fall on his ass trying to kill the fool Shagwell.

The difficulty is that in certain scenes these roles are very distinct and the symbolic underpinnings are very consistent but in others they are swapped around, almost arbitrarily. For instance the Hound plays the fire character with a ruined face but in the prologue to AGOT Waymar plays an ice character that has his face ruined by his shattered ice sword. For an example I have already pointed to: Viserys is the drunk fool while also playing the part of the rainbow man with the golden crown but this may be due to being both "ice and fire", the integration of these two roles into the same character. As Arthur thinks at the end of TOAFK the mind becomes "muddled" when taking it all in, trying to suss it all out.

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Posted (edited)

The Dionysian Feast
and
The Psychic Resonance of the Broken Godhead

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The universe is hostile,
So impersonal,
Devour to survive,
So it is, so it's always been.
-Vicarious, Tool, 10,000 Days

    Our eyes light up, we have no shame at all,
Well, you all know what I'm talkin’ about,
The room lights up, and we're still dancing around,
We're havin’ fun, havin’ some fun now!
-Lampshades on Fire, Modest Mouse, Strangers to Ourselves

         Throughout the series we have seen these greenseer godheads in different locations, fueled by priests of their order and connected by way of a "heart". This heart would be the weirwoods ("heart trees") for the Old Gods of the North and for the Undying of Qarth it is the flaming heart they sit around. LmL has been tapping into all of this with his astronomical bent, as I am also of a mind that they all come from one of these comets, or the "heart" of a fallen star. For instance Dunk's shield has that shooting star over an elm tree which he witnessed at the Tourney of Ashford Meadow and is what signals his inevitable intertwining with Targaryen history.

    Before we get into these godheads and what their purpose to the story is, let's talk about some real-world mythological inspiration. I tend to stay away from this sort of thing unless it's very clear of the similarity and influence on the series. The mythological inspiration I speak of is the Dionysian Feast. Dionysus is the god of wine in the Greek tradition. Each year public and private initiation rites are performed which would eventually be placed to coincide with the fermentation and planting of the grapes that would become wine, one in Winter and one in Spring.
As part of these rites, a symbolic death and rebirth would take place amidst the ecstatic festivities because at these rites, sex and wine would rule the day in a veritable feast of worldly pleasure. Specifically though, the death would occur with the sacrificed individual being buried alive in a 'Night Journey' and visiting the underworld. In the final stages of the rites the individual is rebirthed. At the same time as the rebirth the practitioners would reach an elevated state of consciousness in which they would be said to 'stand outside of themselves' and gain communion with their god, which was meant to be a literal possession by Dionysus. In one account those who refused this violation would go mad permanently. 

Dionysus was both considered good and evil, as a pleasure to mortals, or as a bittersweet gift. He is known for masking himself in a false form then doling out the rewards and punishments to those who either spurned or accepted whatever he promised in the context of the particular story. His holy mountain birthplace and home was named "Mt. Nysa". Anyone remotely versed in Azor Ahai Lightbringer lore should have a huge alarm bell going off right about now. To anyone acquainted with LmL's essays, Dionysus is often transformed into a goat or bull (the R+L=Lightbringer essay that I pointed out emphasizes the Mithraic tradition of sacrificing a White Bull in a renewal rite. Due to this, Dionysus is sometimes referred to as "The Horned Hunter" just as we see the use of the Horned Lord in ASOIAF) before being devoured by his adherents, which was later reprised in the Christian Faith with the Eucharist, more commonly referred to as Communion.

In the Sufi tradition of Islam, practitioners called "Whirling Dervishes" (whirl is a recurring key word in the series) spin for hours in dance in order to induce a meditative ecstatic trance and reach higher states of consciousness. They would do this in order to shed individual ego by listening to the music (A Song of Ice and Fire, anyone?), focusing on their God, spinning in repetitive circles and some state it is meant to represent a connection with the Cosmos, that the dancers represent the planets rotating around the sun -- which fits very well with LmL's whole Mythical Astronomy series. Oh and guess what? The Cult of Dionysus practiced essentially the same thing in their feast rites. So we have a ritual that is both a feast and a dance. This should bring to mind the names of the fourth and fifth books, A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons, which is sometimes shortened to FeastDance, since they occur in chronological lockstep.

As I pointed out there are a number of times Dionysus is featured in a story where he pretends to be another character then punishes or rewards those who follow or refuse him. I will be focusing on the version of the story that appears in Edith Hamilton's Mythology. In this story Dionysus and his revelers arrive to bring the Festival to Thebes which he wishes to make the home of his cult but Pentheus, the King of Thebes, finds their behavior offensive and issues they be imprisoned. Dionysus is taken prisoner but lets his followers free. Pentheus is warned by Tiresias, the blind prophet and speaker of the gods, not to fight against Dionysus as it is an affront to the gods. Pentheus ignores him since Tiresias is garbed as the Dionysian followers are. Dionysus implores Pentheus not to imprison him, as it is futile, but he does so anyways and Dionysus escapes to confront him again.

Pentheus, enraged, goes out into the hills where Dionysus' followers are, whom are now joined by Pentheus' wife and daughter. Dionysus then drives the wife and daughter mad, making them believe Pentheus is a mountain lion whereupon they rip him limb from limb and Dionysus returns their sanity. They are horrified by what they have done but accept the punishment as divine.

Throughout the series characters black out and forget what happens in key moments or see visions that are not of their physical reality. The most familiar example to readers would likely be Daenerys' visions from MMD's poultice leading her to wake the dragons from their eggs at the end of AGOT. In ACOK she also drinks Shade of the Evening and gets magical visions in the House of the Undying.

In certain practices of the Dionysian rites the social status of practitioners would be reversed. This would allow women and slaves who were low on the social hierarchy a chance to fulfill roles of power. Naturally Daenerys is a good figurehead for this, freeing the slaves of Slaver's Bay and giving them their freedom. There is also the Unmasking of Uthero that announced Braavos' status to the world, which was founded by escaped slaves. In Dionysian Rites there was an emphasis on shedding masks and total liberation, just as the Braavosi who were previously slaves announced their liberation to the world in a masked festival.

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Sealord Uthero Zalyne put an end to that secrecy, sending forth his ships to every corner of the world to proclaim the existence and location of Braavos, and invite men of all nations to celebrate the 111th festival of the city's founding. By that time all of the original escaped slaves were dead, along with all of their former masters.
...
The anniversary of the Uncloaking is celebrated every year in Braavos with ten days of feasting and masked revelry—a festival like none other in all the known world, culminating at midnight on the tenth day, when the Titan roars and tens of thousands of revelers and celebrants remove their masks as one. -Braavos, The World of Ice and Fire

The most fascinating part of this to me is that the wine ingested during the Dionysian Rites were of low alcohol content leading some scholars to believe entheogens were added to the wine (there was much emphasis by the practitioners on the additives to the wine such as honey and not focusing on the grapes exclusively). An entheogen is a hallucinogenic or psychedelic substance which induces an altered state of consciousness. This wine would be closer to psychotropic mushrooms, ayahuasca, peyote, LSD or the like than traditional wine. In the series we see this entheogenic wine used at these godhead ceremonies repeatedly: Miri Maz Duur gives Daenerys a potion to drink before Drogo's attempted rebirth wherein she has visions leading to the birth of her Dragons. She is also given Shade of the Evening at the House of the Undying (which Euron quaffs regularly since he is attempting to attain godhood as the Storm God by his own admission) and Bran ingests the Weirwood Paste in Bloodraven's cave to attune with the Old Gods. Let's watch these godheads and Mad Dancers in action:

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One was full of singers, enthroned like Brynden in nests of weirwood roots that wove under and through and around their bodies. Most of them looked dead to him, but as he crossed in front of them their eyes would open and follow the light of his torch, and one of them opened and closed a wrinkled mouth as if he were trying to speak. "Hodor," Bran said to him, and he felt the real Hodor stir down in his pit.
Seated on his throne of roots in the great cavern, half-corpse and half-tree, Lord Brynden seemed less a man than some ghastly statue made of twisted wood, old bone, and rotted wool. The only thing that looked alive in the pale ruin that was his face was his one red eye, burning like the last coal in a dead fire, surrounded by twisted roots and tatters of leathery white skin hanging off a yellowed skull. -Bran III, ADWD

The last coal in the fire LmL has posited as a symbol for Azor Ahai and there are a number of times where this character or symbol is swallowed by a mouth described as a fiery or watery hell. An example of this I won't delve into here is Sam killing the wight, in which he shoves the last burning ember of his fire down the wight's throat to kill it, shattering its teeth just as the Mountain's fist does to Oberyn.

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A long stone table filled this room. Above it floated a human heart, swollen and blue with corruption, yet still alive. It beat, a deep ponderous throb of sound, and each pulse sent out a wash of indigo light. The figures around the table were no more than blue shadows. As Dany walked to the empty chair at the foot of the table, they did not stir, nor speak, nor turn to face her. There was no sound but the slow, deep beat of the rotting heart.
...
She is not breathing. Dany listened to the silence. None of them are breathing, and they do not move, and those eyes see nothing. Could it be that the Undying Ones were dead?
...
They wanted her, needed her, the fire, the life, and Dany gasped and opened her arms to give herself to them...
But then black wings buffeted her round the head, and a scream of fury cut the indigo air, and suddenly the visions were gone, ripped away, and Dany's gasp turned to horror. The Undying were all around her, blue and cold, whispering as they reached for her, pulling, stroking, tugging at her clothes, touching her with their dry cold hands, twining their fingers through her hair. All the strength had left her limbs. She could not move. Even her heart had ceased to beat. She felt a hand on her bare breast, twisting her nipple. Teeth found the soft skin of her throat. A mouth descended on one eye, licking, sucking, biting... -Daenerys IV, ACOK

    As I stated in Part I, Jaime plays the quail that Tywin tries to eat (symbolically of course) and the tomcat, symbolic of Jon, steals the quail before it can be devoured. Here we have Daenerys quite literally about to be devoured by the godhead and throughout the series one can see traces of this in the symbolism of hands, fingers, teeth, tongues (often swords and spears), and tongueless mouths which try to (and sometimes do) claim character's lives. It is my position that this is the godhead attempting to subsume characters by way of this cannibalistic feast across space and time.

In the HotU scene Drogon eats the heart (which has it's own reprisals: Daenerys eats a stallion's heart in a 'forgotten truth' imitation of the same ritual by the Dothraki; Khrazz tells Barristan when he plays the Kingbreaker that Khrazz will eat the old man's heart; there are more examples but you get the point) and burns the Undying alive in which they are described as dancing. Of course dragons are "death and destruction, a flaming sword above the world," so we have a metaphoric flaming sword piercing the heart of this godhead. It is a very nice Azor Ahai scene played by Dany. Let's look at a couple other scenes where Dany uses her 'flaming sword' to wreak havoc.

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Dany mounted her silver. She could feel her heart thumping in her chest. She felt desperately afraid.
...
She glimpsed old Grazdan turn his grey head sharply. He hears me speak Valyrian. The other slavers were not listening. They crowded around Kraznys and the dragon, shouting advice.
...
"There is a reason. A dragon is no slave." And Dany swept the lash down as hard as she could across the slaver's face. Kraznys screamed and staggered back, the blood running red down his cheeks into his perfumed beard. The harpy's fingers had torn his features half to pieces with one slash, but she did not pause to contemplate the ruin. "Drogon," she sang out loudly, sweetly, all her fear forgotten. "Dracarys."
The black dragon spread his wings and roared.
A lance of swirling dark flame took Kraznys full in the face. His eyes melted and ran down his cheeks, and the oil in his hair and beard burst so fiercely into fire that for an instant the slaver wore a burning crown twice as tall as his head. The sudden stench of charred meat overwhelmed even his perfume, and his wail seemed to drown all other sound. -Daenerys III, ASOS

    So many things overlapping in this scene. Dany can feel her heart, contrasting the Undying scene where it "ceases to beat". The turning of the head will return in an Arya scene (and has already occured a few times in choice quotes), the crowding of the slavers mimics the Others in the Prologue of AGOT performing their butchery and we will also see is mimicked at the Red Wedding. She takes the whip and turns Kraznys' face into a ruin, just as Ser Waymar Royce's shattered sword turns his into a ruin. The eyes melting and the burning crown is highly reminiscent of Viserys' own crowning by Drogo.

Lastly: A dragon is no slave. This is the purpose of the Breaking and the Azor Ahai Lightbringer forging ritual: freedom from the godhead and its machinations.

These godheads though are a collective consciousness of those who have been sacrificed in the past. When Bloodraven teaches Bran to skinchange into the ravens he tells him to ignore the remnants of the person still in the raven. Essentially they imprint and this never goes away fully so they are in a sense enslaved to the godhead.
Recall the flaming heart in the House of the Undying and the heavy use of indigo.

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The man had her brother's hair, but he was taller, and his eyes were a dark indigo rather than lilac. -Daenerys IV, ACOK

"They arrived in the night on the Indigo Star, a trading galley out of Qarth."
...
A slaver, you mean. -Daenerys VI, ASOS

    Rhaegar with his indigo eyes, after reading some particular piece of information, enacted the events that lead to Robert's Rebellion. If he was acting on prophecy, as is believed by a good number of people, he would also be enslaved to the will of one of these godheads, albeit indirectly.
If one of these godheads were to be destroyed, to break, what would occur? Well my guess is each individuated consiousness within the godhead would look for a new host and find anyone or anything that could serve as a fitting analogue to whatever action they were performing at the time of this breaking in order to save themselves. This is why we see the same fractaled events over and over again. It is the will of the godhead echoing out through spacetime with an animalistic desperation to self-preserve but as I have pointed out, due to time loops, this has already occurred and proved futile. In fact this breaking and subsequent release of energy throughout time may have been what caused the very events to lead to the final breaking in the first place. Time travel gets weird to talk about.

So let's look at these same events broken apart and rearranged during key climaxes throughout the series.

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One man took it on himself to be a hero.
He was one of the spearmen sent out to drive the boar back to his pen. Perhaps he was drunk, or mad... The hero leapt onto his back and drove the iron spearpoint down at the base of the dragon's long scaled neck.
...
The dragonslayer lost his footing and went tumbling to the sand. He was trying to struggle back to his feet when the dragon's teeth closed hard around his forearm. "No" was all the man had time to shout. Drogon wrenched his arm from his shoulder and tossed it aside as a dog might toss a rodent in a rat pit.
...
His head turned. Smoke rose between his teeth. His blood was smoking too, where it dripped upon the ground. He beat his wings again, sending up a choking storm of scarlet sand. Dany stumbled into the hot red cloud, coughing. He snapped.
"No" was all that she had time to say. No, not me, don't you know me? The black teeth closed inches from her face. He meant to tear my head off. The sand was in her eyes. She stumbled over the pitmaster's corpse and fell on her backside.
...
She scrabbled in the sand, pushing against the pitmaster's corpse, and her fingers brushed against the handle of his whip. Touching it made her feel braver. The leather was warm, alive. Drogon roared again, the sound so loud that she almost dropped the whip. His teeth snapped at her.
Dany hit him. "No," she screamed, swinging the lash with all the strength that she had in her. The dragon jerked his head back. "No," she screamed again. "NO!" The barbs raked along his snout. Drogon rose, his wings covering her in shadow. Dany swung the lash at his scaled belly, back and forth until her arm began to ache. His long serpentine neck bent like an archer's bow. With a hisssssss, he spat black fire down at her. Dany darted underneath the flames, swinging the whip and shouting, "No, no, no. Get DOWN!" His answering roar was full of fear and fury, full of pain.
...
Daenerys Targaryen vaulted onto the dragon's back, seized the spear, and ripped it out. The point was half-melted, the iron red-hot, glowing. She flung it aside. Drogon twisted under her, his muscles rippling as he gathered his strength. The air was thick with sand. Dany could not see, she could not breathe, she could not think. The black wings cracked like thunder, and suddenly the scarlet sands were falling away beneath her.
Dizzy, Dany closed her eyes. When she opened them again, she glimpsed the Meereenese beneath her through a haze of tears and dust, pouring up the steps and out into the streets.
The lash was still in her hand. She flicked it against Drogon's neck and cried, "Higher!" Her other hand clutched at his scales, her fingers scrabbling for purchase. Drogon's wide black wings beat the air. Dany could feel the heat of him between her thighs. Her heart felt as if it were about to burst. Yes, she thought, yes, now, now, do it, do it, take me, take me, FLY! -Daenerys IX, ADWD

    There's the mad dance, the broken arm, the snapping of the head and the cloud, which is soon referred to as a haze. He tries to tear her head off where she stumbles, as the drunk fool does, and falls on her butt. But she picks up the whip and strikes him in the face, as she did with Kraznys. Notice the whip is described as alive, just as the Other's translucent sword in the AGOT prologue is, and there's the roar that causes the POV character to wince away. She freezes just as her heart stops in HotU, the thunder crack of Nissa Nissa fame, which a ghostly Drogo makes when he uses a flaming whip to birth dragons. To further tie it back to that ritualistic scene with the chapter-ending line:

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Yes, my love, my sun-and-stars, yes, mount now, ride now. -Daenerys X, AGOT

The tie-in is reiterated in her next chapter.

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The fire burned away my hair, but elsewise it did not touch me. It had been the same in Daznak's Pit. That much she could recall, though much of what followed was a haze.
...
Below, she saw men whirling, wreathed in flame, hands up in the air as if caught in the throes of some mad dance. A woman in a green tokar reached for a weeping child, pulling him down into her arms to shield him from the flames. Dany saw the color vividly, but not the woman's face. People were stepping on her as they lay tangled on the bricks. Some were on fire.
Then all of that had faded, the sounds dwindling, the people shrinking, the spears and arrows falling back beneath them as Drogon clawed his way into the sky. Up and up and up he'd borne her, high above the pyramids and pits, his wings outstretched to catch the warm air rising from the city's sun baked bricks. If I fall and die, it will still have been worth it, she had thought.
North they flew, beyond the river, Drogon gliding on torn and tattered wings through clouds that whipped by like the banners of some ghostly army. -Daenerys X, ADWD

    The fact she is not burned relates to the dragonglass candle, which "burns but is not consumed" when magically lit on fire. The falling and dying should bring to mind Bran's initial coma vision in which he see thousands of dreamers, impaled on spikes below and must fly (learn to awaken his skinchanging powers) in order to wake before dying. I didn't include the quotes due to brevity (the irony is not lost on me) but when she frees the Unsullied she directly links the battle to Rhaegar crossing the Trident, of crossing a river. There's that cloud/haze of the ghost army which will become very important in part IV. 

    I bolded the use of "don't you know me?" in the previous example because it means essentially the same things as the phrase: "have you forgotten who I am?"

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Daario shrugged. "Most queens have no purpose but to warm some king's bed and pop out sons for him. If that's the sort of queen you mean to be, best marry Hizdahr."
Her anger flashed. "Have you forgotten who I am?"
"No. Have you?" -Daenerys IV, ADWD

    This thematically relates to the whole "Dragons Plant No Trees" revelation Dany has in the wastes. She must embrace Fire and Blood to serve as the Arthurian ideal, as Aegon the Conqueror Reborn, who will conquer in order to try and bring wisdom to the conquered. But she would not be the one to create life but the one to make way for it by destroying the existing structure in an archetypal, cosmogonic world-ending process. It is also a phrase which starts our next mad dance scene:

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Sam saw the Old Bear's face go red. "Have you forgotten who I am? Sit, eat, and be silent. That is a command."
No one spoke. No one moved. All eyes were on the Lord Commander and the big clubfooted ranger, as the two of them stared at each other across the table. It seemed to Sam that Karl broke first, and was about to sit, though sullenly...
...
"Bloody bastard!" Sam heard one of the Garths curse. He never saw which one.
"Who calls me bastard?" Craster roared, sweeping platter and meat and wine cups from the table with his left hand while lifting the axe with his right.
"It's no more than all men know," Karl answered.
Craster moved quicker than Sam would have believed possible, vaulting across the table with axe in hand. A woman screamed, Garth Greenaway and Orphan Oss drew knives, Karl stumbled back and tripped over Ser Byam lying wounded on the floor. One instant Craster was coming after him spitting curses. The next he was spitting blood. Dirk had grabbed him by the hair, yanked his head back, and opened his throat ear to ear with one long slash. Then he gave him a rough shove, and the wildling fell forward, crashing face first across Ser Byam. Byam screamed in agony as Craster drowned in his own blood, the axe slipping from his fingers. Two of Craster's wives were wailing, a third cursed, a fourth flew at Sweet Donnel and tried to scratch his eyes out. He knocked her to the floor. The Lord Commander stood over Craster's corpse, dark with anger. "The gods will curse us," he cried. "There is no crime so foul as for a guest to bring murder into a man's hall. By all the laws of the hearth, we—"
"There are no laws beyond the Wall, old man. Remember?" Dirk grabbed one of Craster's wives by the arm, and shoved the point of his bloody dirk up under her chin. "Show us where he keeps the food, or you'll get the same as he did, woman."
"Unhand her." Mormont took a step. "I'll have your head for this, you—"
Garth of Greenaway blocked his path, and Ollo Lophand yanked him back. They both had blades in hand. "Hold your tongue," Ollo warned. Instead the Lord Commander grabbed for his dagger. Ollo had only one hand, but that was quick. He twisted free of the old man's grasp, shoved the knife into Mormont's belly, and yanked it out again, all red. And then the world went mad.
Later, much later, Sam found himself sitting crosslegged on the floor, with Mormont's head in his lap. He did not remember how they'd gotten there, or much of anything else that had happened after the Old Bear was stabbed. Garth of Greenaway had killed Garth of Oldtown, he recalled, but not why. Rolley of Sisterton had fallen from the loft and broken his neck after climbing the ladder to have a taste of Craster's wives.
...
"Tarly." When he tried to speak, the blood dribbled from the Old Bear's mouth down into his beard. "Tarly, go. Go."
"Where, my lord?" His voice was flat and lifeless. I am not afraid. It was a queer feeling. "There's no place to go." -Samwell II, ASOS

    The two staring at each other ties into the warg fight between Bran and Varamyr. There is the hair pulling/throat cutting and drowning in blood, a drunk fool motif. The scratching of the eyes and the breaking of guest right invokes the Red Wedding and Varamyr skinchanging Thistle. We have a one-handed man, a belly wound and the world going mad. Then Sam blacks out and recalls (only afterward) vaguely what happened, as the world was in this metaphorical haze just as Dany witnesses at Daznak's Pit. There is the decapitation (Mormont says he will have Dirk's head but his head is the only thing mentioned, implying the decapitation but in reverse; after it seems Mormont is dead he begins speaking, echoing the Whispering Heads of Crackclaw Point) and the broken neck. Oddly Sam, the self-professed coward, is not afraid, just as Dany wasn't when she walked into Drogo's funeral pyre, while freeing the Unsullied, and claims she mustn't be afraid when facing Drogon at Daznak's Pit.

    But this isn't the first time Sam has been toyed with mentally. When he kills the Other, he hears the voices of those he believes to be dead.

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The wights had been slow clumsy things, but the Other was light as snow on the wind. It slid away from Paul's axe, armor rippling, and its crystal sword twisted and spun and slipped between the iron rings of Paul's mail, through leather and wool and bone and flesh. It came out his back with a hissssssssssss and Sam heard Paul say, "Oh," as he lost the axe. Impaled, his blood smoking around the sword, the big man tried to reach his killer with his hands and almost had before he fell. The weight of him tore the strange pale sword from the Other's grip.
Do it now. Stop crying and fight, you baby. Fight, craven. It was his father he heard, it was Alliser Thorne, it was his brother Dickon and the boy Rast. Craven, craven, craven. He giggled hysterically, wondering if they would make a wight of him, a huge fat white wight always tripping over its own dead feet. Do it, Sam. Was that Jon, now? Jon was dead. You can do it, you can, just do it. And then he was stumbling forward, falling more than running, really, closing his eyes and shoving the dagger blindly out before him with both hands. He heard a crack, like the sound ice makes when it breaks beneath a man's foot, and then a screech so shrill and sharp that he went staggering backward with his hands over his muffled ears, and fell hard on his arse.
When he opened his eyes the Other's armor was running down its legs in rivulets as pale blue blood hissed and steamed around the black dragonglass dagger in its throat. It reached down with two bone-white hands to pull out the knife, but where its fingers touched the obsidian they smoked.
Sam rolled onto his side, eyes wide as the Other shrank and puddled, dissolving away. In twenty heartbeats its flesh was gone, swirling away in a fine white mist. Beneath were bones like milkglass, pale and shiny, and they were melting too. Finally only the dragonglass dagger remained, wreathed in steam as if it were alive and sweating. Grenn bent to scoop it up and flung it down again at once. "Mother, that's cold."
"Obsidian." Sam struggled to his knees. "Dragonglass, they call it. Dragonglass. Dragon glass." He giggled, and cried, and doubled over to heave his courage out onto the snow.
Grenn pulled Sam to his feet, checked Small Paul for a pulse and closed his eyes, then snatched up the dagger again. This time he was able to hold it. -Samwell I, ASOS

    A crystal sword, a hissing like Drogon at Daznak's, the sword being lost. Sam falls more than runs towards the Other, as Dany ran toward Drogon. He hears the dead and closes his eyes (just as Dany did at Daznak's) which is a method for opening one's third eye, to give one's self to the will of the godhead in the Dionysian fashion. The use of "do it now" just as Dany repeats in the two scenes equating Drogo and Drogon. There is the painful roar (a screech this time) and the cut throat. The mists, which melt away, the dragonglass is alive just as the whip was, just as the Other's Prologue sword was and invokes the Nissa Nissa sacrifice, that this Other literally goes into the dragonglass dagger. Only after Sam throws up (as Strong Belwas did at Daznak's due to the poisoned locusts) can Grenn hold the dagger, as I believe this is symbolically throwing up the entheogenic wine that attunes one to a godhead. He is no longer 'under the influence' and no longer serves as a conduit for this godhead, symbolically speaking.

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She saw Smalljon Umber wrestle a table off its trestles. Crossbow bolts thudded into the wood, one two three, as he flung it down on top of his king. Robin Flint was ringed by Freys, their daggers rising and falling. Ser Wendel Manderly rose ponderously to his feet, holding his leg of lamb. A quarrel went in his open mouth and came out the back of his neck. Ser Wendel crashed forward, knocking the table off its trestles and sending cups, flagons, trenchers, platters, turnips, beets, and wine bouncing, spilling, and sliding across the floor.
...
A man in dark armor and a pale pink cloak spotted with blood stepped up to Robb. "Jaime Lannister sends his regards." He thrust his longsword through her son's heart, and twisted.
...
Slow red worms crawled along her arms and under her clothes. It tickles. That made her laugh until she screamed. "Mad," someone said, "she's lost her wits," and someone else said, "Make an end," and a hand grabbed her scalp just as she'd done with Jinglebell, and she thought, No, don't, don't cut my hair, Ned loves my hair. Then the steel was at her throat, and its bite was red and cold. -Catelyn VII, ASOS

The Freys mimic the Others in their cold butchery, Wendel crashes forward as Craster does, there's the sword through the heart and Cat as a madwoman.

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The young rainbow knight stared at this madwoman with pale and frightened eyes. "Stannis? How?"
...
Her own voice sounded wild and crazed to her, but the words poured out in a rush as the blades continued to clash behind her. "A shadow with a sword, I swear it, I saw. Are you blind, the girl loved him! Help her!" -Catelyn IV, ACOK

Abomination. Was that her, or him, or Haggon? He never knew. His old flesh fell back into the snowdrift as her fingers loosened. The spearwife twisted violently, shrieking. His shadowcat used to fight him wildly, and the snow bear had gone half-mad for a time, snapping at trees and rocks and empty air, but this was worse. "Get out, get out!" he heard her own mouth shouting. Her body staggered, fell, and rose again, her hands flailed, her legs jerked this way and that in some grotesque dance as his spirit and her own fought for the flesh. She sucked down a mouthful of the frigid air, and Varamyr had half a heartbeat to glory in the taste of it and the strength of this young body before her teeth snapped together and filled his mouth with blood. She raised her hands to his face. He tried to push them down again, but the hands would not obey, and she was clawing at his eyes. Abomination, he remembered, drowning in blood and pain and madness. When he tried to scream, she spat their tongue out.
The white world turned and fell away. For a moment it was as if he were inside the weirwood, gazing out through carved red eyes as a dying man twitched feebly on the ground and a madwoman danced blind and bloody underneath the moon, weeping red tears and ripping at her clothes. Then both were gone and he was rising, melting, his spirit borne on some cold wind. He was in the snow and in the clouds, he was a sparrow, a squirrel, an oak. A horned owl flew silently between his trees, hunting a hare; Varamyr was inside the owl, inside the hare, inside the trees. Deep below the frozen ground, earthworms burrowed blindly in the dark, and he was them as well. I am the wood, and everything that's in it, he thought, exulting. A hundred ravens took to the air, cawing as they felt him pass.
...
The last to look was the thing that had been Thistle. She wore wool and fur and leather, and over that she wore a coat of hoarfrost that crackled when she moved and glistened in the moonlight. Pale pink icicles hung from her fingertips, ten long knives of frozen blood. And in the pits where her eyes had been, a pale blue light was flickering, lending her coarse features an eerie beauty they had never known in life.
She sees me. -Prologue, ADWD

    Interestingly pale pink and pale blue (representative of the dawn and dusk respectively) are used in tandem only once elsewhere in the series, at the Tower of Joy, albeit indirectly. As Ned passes out in the street he describes the Red Keep as "pale pink stone" which turns the color of blood. The chapter ends and in the following chapter his dream of the ToJ begins. It closes with the line "A storm of rose petals blew across a blood-streaked sky, as blue as the eyes of death." The blue roses are described as "pale blue" a number of times, once I have already pointed out, and twice more in Ned chapters before the end of AGOT. The connection is deliberate from the outset of the series. Does this imply that skinchanging was involved at the ToJ or perhaps some similar chain of events to Varamyr's prologue which also uses pale pink and blue in conjunction? All guesses would be purely speculative until we are given the puzzle pieces surrounding the ToJ but it does make one wonder.

There is a lot of match up with Cat & Thistle, clawing at their own faces and going mad but more specifically Catelyn is the only named character other than Thistle described as a madwoman. Of course Thistle implies the fragrant rose, the sweet poison of the godhead. Of most importance though is how Varamyr becomes everything in the natural world. He skinchanges not only the animals but the wood its self. I believe this is the mechanism by which the Breaking of the World occurs but I won't be getting further into that until the next part.
 

Edited by Cowboy Dan

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Posted (edited)

Part 3.5

There are three scenes I want to add before getting to the next part. Like I said initially: there's lots to keep track of. Even with outlines some of the really important stuff escapes me.

Let's start with some more Jon/Jaime parallelism. Specifically we are going to talk about the chapter in which Dany has conquered Meereen which involves a lot of rumination on the nature of gods.

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Up here in her garden Dany sometimes felt like a god, living atop the highest mountain in the world.
...
The honey drew flies, but a scented candle drove them off. The flies were not so troublesome up here as they were in the rest of her city"
...
"Flies are the dead man's revenge." Daario smiled, and stroked the center prong of his beard. "Corpses breed maggots, and maggots breed flies." -Daenerys VI, ASOS

Before I go on, let's check out this set up. Dany sees herself almost as a god above the city. As I have pointed out flies are symbolic for wights. The corpse is the godhead, like the dead warlocks said to be the Undying, or the Black Gate weirwood tree Bran encounters where he thinks, "It looks dead... If a man could live for a thousand years and never die but just grow older, his face might come to look like that." As I've been pushing I am of the mind these are the gods of Westeros, the undead connected to a collective consciousness by means of an entheogenic wine -- or a comparable substance.

Here we see these corpses, the Undying or the Old Gods, which then breed maggots -- for the weirwoods these are the white tendril roots, the "graveworms" Bran sees or the red bloody worms which crawl up Catelyn's arms in her dying moment of madness. From these flies arise the undead wights. These wights are attracted to honey which is the sweet poison, the blue rose of the godhead, as I have stated before. These disparate godheads are locked in a shadow war of sorts so their pawns, the wights (or flies), would naturally be attracted to the metaphorical honey of a rival godhead.

In this chapter she uses the prows of her captain's ships to create battering rams in order to break in to Meereen's gates. As I pointed out before the ship's masts are a symbol for gods so we have Dany using her own godhead weapon to have warriors break down the doors to the city while other warriors enter the sewers (underworld) and free the slaves (wights under godhead control) from their symbolic 'chains'.

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The dragon has three heads. There are two men in the world who I can trust, if I can find them. I will not be alone then. We will be three against the world, like Aegon and his sisters. -Daenerys VI, ASOS

As I have been presenting, I believe these two men to be Jon and Jaime. But will they stay in her good graces? Will she be able to trust them forever? This very chapter gives us some insight -- using Barristan and Jorah as stand-ins -- implying no, that will not be the case.

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Ser Barristan walked with his head held high, but Ser Jorah stared at the marble floor as he approached. The one is proud, the other guilty. The old man had shaved off his white beard. He looked ten years younger without it. But her balding bear looked older than he had. -Daenerys VI, ASOS

Before continuing on I'd like to point out Jaime has been growing his beard and his hair has been turning white. As I pointed out as well when a Targaryen is "reborn" (either literally or metaphorically) they shave their hair. It is possible that Jon getting resurrected will involve his hair burning and Jorah, a fellow Northman, serves the parallel well.

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"When I sent you down into the sewers, part of me hoped I'd seen the last of you. It seemed a fitting end for liars, to drown in slavers' filth. I thought the gods would deal with you, but instead you returned to me. My gallant knights of Westeros, an informer and a turncloak." -Daenerys VI, ASOS

She sends them into the sewers (as I pointed out is symbolic of the underworld: as Jon and Jaime's respective crypt/sewer dreams mirror one another) in hopes that the gods deal with them. Although this doesn't match my earlier supposition that Jaime dies -- or if it does, it may imply his death is not lasting.

Jaime is the turncloak Kingsguard, having killed Aerys. This marks Jon as the informer but what will Jon do in the future to place him in that role in relation to Daenerys?

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"Viserys did." The Mad King. "The Usurper called him that, the Usurper and his dogs." The Mad King. "It was a lie."
"Why ask for truth," Ser Barristan said softly, "if you close your ears to it?" He hesitated, then continued. "I told you before that I used a false name so the Lannisters would not know that I'd joined you.
...
"I am no maester to quote history at you, Your Grace. Swords have been my life, not books. But every child knows that the Targaryens have always danced too close to madness. Your father was not the first. King Jaehaerys once told me that madness and greatness are two sides of the same coin. Every time a new Targaryen is born, he said, the gods toss the coin in the air and the world holds its breath to see how it will land."
...
"So I am a coin in the hands of some god, is that what you are saying, ser?"
"No," Ser Barristan replied. "You are the trueborn heir of Westeros. To the end of my days I shall remain your faithful knight, should you find me worthy to bear a sword again. If not, I am content to serve Strong Belwas as his squire."
"What if I decide you're only worthy to be my fool?" Dany asked scornfully. "Or perhaps my cook?"
"I would be honored, Your Grace," Selmy said with quiet dignity. "I can bake apples and boil beef as well as any man, and I've roasted many a duck over a campfire. I hope you like them greasy, with charred skin and bloody bones."
That made her smile. "I'd have to be mad to eat such fare. Ben Plumm, come give Ser Barristan your longsword."
But Whitebeard would not take it. "I flung my sword at Joffrey's feet and have not touched one since. Only from the hand of my queen will I accept a sword again."
"As you wish." Dany took the sword from Brown Ben and offered it hilt first. The old man took it reverently. "Now kneel," she told him, "and swear it to my service."
He went to one knee and lay the blade before her as he said the words. Dany scarcely heard them. He was the easy one, she thought. The other will be harder. When Ser Barristan was done, she turned to Jorah Mormont. "And now you, ser. Tell me true." -Daenerys VI, ASOS

Jaime is known for his kinglsaying, but due to his own inability to face his shame, kept the truth from Ned Stark. But did anyone ever ask Jaime why he did it? When he is in the bathhouse with Brienne he freely explains what occurred. Partly this is due to his own delirium, partly his bond with Brienne and partly due to his own loss of identity. He is trying to sort out who he is and verbalizing his thoughts seems to give some sense of solidity to him.

My point here is that, as far as we readers know, no one has ever explicitly asked Jaime why he killed Aerys excepting Brienne. It is assumed he did it to support his father in turning against the Targaryen regime. If Daenerys were to ask him outright would he hide the truth or would he brazenly explain the Mad King was mad and deserved his death before he could consume King's Landing in flame? It certainly fits his M.O., since he freely explains he meant to murder Bran when (drunkenly) speaking with Catelyn Stark in his cell at Riverrun.

Like Barristan feels after Robert's Rebellion, Jaime has failed Rhaegar and his children and this seems to haunt him, per his weirwood dream. What better way to make amends than to follow in his previous LC's footsteps and serve Daenerys? Naturally this assumes Barristan won't be around anymore, as he would never allow Jaime to serve Daenerys while he lives. It would also give some parallelism to Jon from Daenerys. Just as Ned promised he would tell Jon more of his mother then died, Barristan also promises to tell Dany more of Rhaegar but may not be able to fulfill that promise.

Barristan, just as Lancelot does, dons a false name in order to remain unrecognized, furthering the connection of Barristan in this chapter as a Jaime stand-in. The mention of charred skin and bloody bones should remind one of Aerys' phrasing "charred meat and cooked bone". Instead of cooked bone it is bloody though, instead of fire it is blood. This also brings to mind the Rat Cook and Dany says she would be 'mad to eat such fare'. More fun little connections to be made.

Of most interest to me is how she asks Barristan to kneel and offers him a sword. In a number of choice quotes I've included (and many more I have not) a character is brought to one knee in a fight and either loses their sword or rises again to continue the fight (or sometimes both). This brings to mind Tywin's dictum that one should help a defeated enemy to their feet in order to make them a friend. Conversely Brienne is told by her trainer how a man on his knees killed the best knight he knew, all because the knight hesitated in delivering the killing blow. This choice to either kill or redeem a man on his knees is a choice Dany fails to make in dealing with Jorah and actively regrets.

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The big man's neck was red; whether from anger or shame she did not know. "I have tried to tell you true, half a hundred times. I told you Arstan was more than he seemed. I warned you that Xaro and Pyat Pree were not to be trusted. I warned you—"
"You warned me against everyone except yourself." His insolence angered her. He should be humbler. He should beg for my forgiveness. "Trust no one but Jorah Mormont, you said . . . and all the time you were the Spider's creature!" -Daenerys VI, ASOS

Of course Jorah denies it until Barristan points out he was at the small council meetings in which Jorah was named as the source. He uses the assassination attempt of the poisoned wine (should ring a bell by now) to claim his loyalty to Dany. She is, naturally, outraged regardless. 

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"No... no." He shook his head. "I never meant... forgive me. You have to forgive me."
"Have to?" It was too late. He should have begun by begging forgiveness. She could not pardon him as she'd intended. She had dragged the wineseller behind her horse until there was nothing left of him. Didn't the man who brought him deserve the same? This is Jorah, my fierce bear, the right arm that never failed me. I would be dead without him, but... "I can't forgive you," she said. "I can't."
"You forgave the old man..."
"He lied to me about his name. You sold my secrets to the men who killed my father and stole my brother's throne."
"I protected you. I fought for you. Killed for you."
Kissed me, she thought, betrayed me.
"I went down into the sewers like a rat. For you."
It might have been kinder if you'd died there. Dany said nothing. There was nothing to say.
"Daenerys," he said, "I have loved you."
And there it was. Three treasons will you know. Once for blood and once for gold and once for love. "The gods do nothing without a purpose, they say. You did not die in battle, so it must be they still have some use for you. But I don't. I will not have you near me. You are banished, ser."
...
"You have until dawn to collect your things and leave this city. If you're found in Meereen past break of day, I will have Strong Belwas twist your head off."...When Dany glanced back, the knight was walking as if drunk, stumbling and slow.
...
But Daario is right, I shouldn't have banished him. I should have kept him, or I should have killed him. She played at being a queen, yet sometimes she still felt like a scared little girl. -Daenerys VI, ASOS

All pretty straight forward but I want to reiterate the decapitation. In the next scene I will get to involving Pate from the AFFC Prologue he tries to get a golden dragon, which has the three-headed dragon on one side but the "head of some dead king" on the other. There's that three dragons and one dead dragon (Targ) to create four dragons that I've been harping on about. In this scene it is pointed that Jorah will have his head torn off, which is the decapitation motif I've mentioned.

The next sequence I want to get into is another extremely important prologue, the one that begins the Feast/Dance. This chapter begins with dragons and arrows being shot at apples into mists over the Honeywine river. How's that for a smattering of symbolism I've been talking about?

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"Dragons," said Mollander. He snatched a withered apple off the ground and tossed it hand to hand.
...
"The apple," Alleras said. "Unless you mean to eat it."
"Here." Dragging his clubfoot, Mollander took a short hop, whirled, and whipped the apple sidearm into the mists that hung above the Honeywine. If not for his foot, he would have been a knight like his father. He had the strength for it in those thick arms and broad shoulders. Far and fast the apple flew...
...but not as fast as the arrow that whistled after it, a yard-long shaft of golden wood fletched with scarlet feathers. Pate did not see the arrow catch the apple, but he heard it. A soft chunk echoed back across the river, followed by a splash.
...
He drained the dregs of his tankard. The torchlit terrace of the Quill and Tankard was an island of light in a sea of mist this morning. Downriver, the distant beacon of the Hightower floated in the damp of night like a hazy orange moon, but the light did little to lift his spirits.
...
"There's another apple near your foot," Alleras called to Mollander, "and I still have two arrows in my quiver."
"Fuck your quiver." Mollander scooped up the windfall. "This one's wormy," he complained, but he threw it anyway. The arrow caught the apple as it began to fall and sliced it clean in two. One half landed on a turret roof, tumbled to a lower roof, bounced, and missed Armen by a foot. "If you cut a worm in two, you make two worms," the acolyte informed them.
"If only it worked that way with apples, no one would ever need go hungry," said Alleras with one of his soft smiles.
...
Alleras drew his bowstring back to his ear, turning gracefully to follow the target in flight. He loosed his shaft just as the apple began to fall.
"You always miss your last shot," said Roone.
The apple splashed down into the river, untouched. -Prologue, AFFC

This chapter seems to be retrograded -- that is to say the melody is played backwards -- in terms of arrows striking apples as representations of the forging of Lightbringer. Whereas in the Hoster Tully sequence the final blow is the one that lands in the mist and the first arrow is missed, this scene has everything reversed in relation to that order. The arrows are made of golden wood and scarlet feathers: Lannister colors. The golden wood should bring to mind the goldenheart bows of the Summer Isles, which will be returned to early in Part IV.

Also of note is the comment of how nice it would be if apples could be like worms and split in half to create two more. This indirectly implies the bifurcation of the second forging, which we see with the apple, and would ultimately create four apples in this sequence -- even though only three arrows are fired. The apple is wormy, implying the graveworm tendrils of the weirwoods and the underworld journey of Jon and Jaime, which keeps reprising its self.

Before this apple is mentioned (or afterward if viewed in sequence) is the "false light", an island in a sea (just as Jaime & Brienne's swords are described in Jaime's dream) leading men into darkness. Of course this false light, the orange moon of the Hightower here, fails to comfort Pate, before the final arrow (first in the chapter) is fired. Of course the last arrow (first in the sequence) is the one that misses, striking the water, the metaphorical 'first forging' of Lightbringer.

In this chapter Pate plays the role of the thief, which should bring to mind the Wildling tradition of "stealing" a woman in order to make her your wife. Specifically Pate is trying to get a golden dragon in order to buy Rosey's maidenhead. In doing so he steals an iron key from Maester Gormon in exchange for a golden dragon from the Alchemist, the Faceless Man we know better as Jaqen H'ghar. When drinking, his friend Mollander, refers to Rosey as their rightful queen but when Armen is alarmed Mollander states "I was proposing a drink, not a rebellion." Since the drunk fool is involved in attempting to dethrone and steal the king's crown perhaps a rebellion is exactly what is implied, metaphorically speaking. He steals the iron key from the lockbox Gormon himself had previously broken open. The black iron key ties into some interesting places but most specifically I would like to point out in LmL's most recent essay he pointed to the weirwood cage and the "iron cage" is a very specific from of this metaphor in use. Pate is essentially giving the key of the godhead to the alchemist -- in a symbolic sense.

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The mists were lightening to the east. Dawn, Pate realized.
...
By the time he reached the other side, the eastern sky was turning pink.
...
When the first shaft of sunlight broke through the clouds to the east, morning bells began to peal from the Sailor's Sept down by the harbor. [...] They made a mighty music.
...
As the night's mists burned away, Oldtown took form around him, emerging ghostlike from the predawn gloom.
...
And beyond, where the Honeywine widened into Whispering Sound, rose the Hightower, its beacon fires bright against the dawn. From where it stood atop the bluffs of Battle Island, its shadow cut the city like a sword.
...
He was on one knee, trying to wipe the mud off his robes, when a voice said, "Good morrow, Pate."
The alchemist was standing over him.
...
Must he make me say it? "I suppose I am a thief." -Prologue, AFFC

I decided to cut out all the unnecessary bits so I could hone in on all the recurring symbolism in order. The pink of dawn is lightening (lightning) the sky, the bells "peal" just as Patchface's bells "peel" to make music among the mists, as music ushers along both Hoster Tully's pyre and Daenerys' HotU vision. We have the ghosts in the mist which will be the focus of the Field of Fire Breaking imagery in Part IV and a shadow sword that cuts the city its self. Next we have Pate falling, muddying himself, just as Jaime does repeatedly. He calls himself a thief using an exact phrase uttered only twice more in the series -- both times in the same chapter -- by Jaime himself to Brynden and Edmure Tully, cementing his connection to this thief.

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Must he make me say it? "I do not have them." -Jaime VI, AFFC

Must you make me say the words? -Jaime VI, AFFC

Pate plays the thief so he can exchange the key for a golden dragon, which connects very directly to Jaime, whom I have posited is a golden dragon himself. Perhaps Jaime will wind up stealing a golden dragon in the form of Viserion later in the series? Ultimately this is portrayed to be done for love, for the maidenhead of Rosey whom Pate dies thinking about. The only maiden I can think of Jaime would perform such an act for is the descendant of everyone's favorite lunk, Brienne the Beauty.

I pointed out that Daemon is a parallel to Jaime and saves Nettles by warning her of the queen Rhaenyra's wrath, letting her fly away on her "mud brown" dragon, Sheepstealer. Daemon is also rumored to have miraculously survived his fall into the God's Eye after his fight with Aemond One-Eye, which hints at Jaime's descent to (and potential return from) the underworld.

Pate is then killed by the Faceless Man calling himself 'the alchemist', who steals his identity in order to stay above suspicion in Oldtown. This is the same reprisal of the idea that Jaime has his identity stolen by Jon. The alchemist, as Jaqen, has a scar around his right eye -- just as Jon does due to the skinchanger Orell's eagle, which tries to take out his eye previously, and ties Jon to the Aemond One-Eye/Daemon fight.
I have mentioned the warg fight between Bran and Varamyr, who is in the body of his grey wolf One Eye. Let's look at that scene briefly and we'll be set up for Part IV, in order to wrap up the bulk of this little mock dissertation of mine.

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Men. The stink of them filled the world. Alive, they had been as many as the fingers on a man's paw, but now they were none. Dead. Done. Meat. Cloaked and hooded, once, but the wolves had torn their clothing into pieces in their frenzy to get at the flesh. Those who still had faces wore thick beards crusted with ice and frozen snot.
...
The younger male backed away. The direwolf could smell the fear in him. Tail, he knew. But the one-eyed wolf answered with a growl and moved to block his advance. Head. And he does not fear me though I am twice his size.
Their eyes met.
Then the two rushed together, wolf and direwolf, and there was no more time for thought. The world shrank down to tooth and claw, snow flying as they rolled and spun and tore at one another, the other wolves snarling and snapping around them. His jaws closed on matted fur slick with hoarfrost, on a limb thin as a dry stick, but the one-eyed wolf clawed at his belly and tore himself free, rolled, lunged for him. Yellow fangs snapped closed on his throat, but he shook off his old grey cousin as he would a rat, then charged after him, knocked him down.
...
The prey as well. He went from man to man, sniffing, before settling on the biggest, a faceless thing who clutched black iron in one hand. His other hand was missing, severed at the wrist, the stump bound up in leather. Blood flowed thick and sluggish from the slash across his throat. The wolf lapped at it with his tongue, licked the ragged eyeless ruin of his nose and cheeks, then buried his muzzle in his neck... -Bran I, ADWD

These bodies are men of the Night's Watch, clad all in black, as it is mentioned all cloaks are black by night (or in the Long Night -- all men must fight together or fall). The fact Bran is twice his size brings to mind the Mountain and the Hound fight which Robert ends by yelling "stop this madness". There is a faceless thing (The Alchemist, the Faceless Man) clutching black iron in his hand, just as Pate gives Jaqen the black iron key.

The dead Night's Watchmen are said to be the fingers on a man's paw (hand) and most of the rest of it is very straight forward if you've been following along closely. Although I will expand on the rat mention. Jorah & Barristan serve as Dany's "sewer rats" in their underworld journey beneath Meereen and Drogon rips a man's arm off at Daznak's Pit, which is likened to throwing a rat in a pit.

 

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Armies gather on the battle-plain
All will fall and earth will die in flame
...
The battle rages, but they fight in vain
When all is done it must begin again
-Freya, The Sword, Age of Winters

Edited by Cowboy Dan

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@Feather Crystal It seems I lied, I won't be getting to pale blue/pink heavily until Part IV, things got a bit mixed up in my head.

I want to remedy my previous statement, regarding flowers and maidenheads, as it seems you are right! I have added three scenes, particularly the AFFC Prologue, in which Pate (the "spotted pig boy" that gets sacrificed against his will -- another connection you seem to have nailed) becomes a thief in order to buy Rosey's maidenhead for a golden dragon. He even thinks about using his current silver to buy a donkey and abscond with her without paying the gold which would be more in line with your statements regarding Bael the Bard.

Since there can be multiple layers to the hidden meaning around a single symbol it seems you were right as well, regarding blue roses and a woman's "first flowering". My bad!

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    I decided to wait a day for this posting. Events pushed me back by a couple hours yesterday and threw off my expected time table. I could have posted this late last night but then I would have stayed up far past the time I would like and still would not have been able to go back and edit previous parts, add Table of Contents, etc. I also wanted to finish photoshopping the maps but I still need to finish that. They should be added tomorrow or Sunday. Also, after a good night's rest I recalled a couple important pieces I needed to add in. I did that quite a bit with this part so it feels the most disjointed to me personally and most in need of a good gutting and restructuring. That would take a few days more and I'd rather not fall too far behind the promised delivery date so here is the current incarnation.

 

Naturally there are a couple things I forgot to add earlier on so I’ll be doing that here, to shuffle back in later.

    I believe Martin is doing some fun things with additive and subtractive color mixing in the series. Since I’ve been talking about Jon and Jaime as dual lightbringers let’s analyze their respective orders under this lens. We have the White Swords and the “sword in the darkness”. As LmL has pushed quite a bit, there are both the white and black lightbringer swords, either giving off or drinking the light.

In subtractive color mixing using dyes, paints, inks, etc. the three primary colors cyan, magenta, and yellow combine to create black. The Night’s Watch works this way: they accept any and all recruits who will serve the realm. Metaphorically the colors all absorb and do not reflect any light, making it appear black. Subtractively in this manner black is the absence of color in the light being perceived by one’s eyes. The Night’s Watch may serve the realm but are exiled, as an outcast order which protects but ultimately has no direct influence on the realm.

For the Kingsguard the opposite is true. They accept only the best and brightest, beholden to the king directly, not the realm. The KG are deeply entrenched in the politics of the realm at the heart of Westeros in King’s Landing and several members have caused or ended wars nearly single-handed such as Ser Criston Cole or Ser Duncan the Tall. The three primary colors for additive color mixing, used in lights, such as the monitor you are viewing this on, are red green and blue (the colors of the three forks of the Trident).

Returning to the three colors for subtractive mixing of cyan, magenta, and yellow these are the colors of the sun at important points in the day. Cyan and magenta could be seen as a light blue and light pink, such as pale pink or pale blue, which are heavily associated with the dawn and the dusk (or night) respectively. Jaime is the only character associated with this pale pink on two occasions (the rest are singular connections), while pale blue is most heavily associated with the blue roses of the North along with both the Others and their undead wights. The phrase “blue dusk” appears six times in the series, further cementing this dichotomy, whereas the sun high in the sky would be associated with the yellow (or gold) that is left in the middle, at high noon, coincidentally the only time of day the sun is visible in Asshai, which is perpetually cloaked in darkness.

    Another connection to Jaime as a dragon, which ties in to Dany's delirium-induced Quaithe vision in ADWD. This also ties to TOAFK as both series lean on the concepts of forgetting and remembrance, in ASOIAF most memorable to me are the phrases "The North Remembers" and "The Dragon Remembers".

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"Remember who you are, Daenerys," the stars whispered in a woman's voice. "The dragons know. Do you?" -Daenerys X, ADWD

On the floor he'd found a scuffed mosaic of the three-headed dragon of House Targaryen done in tiles of black and red. I know you, Kingslayer, the beast seemed to be saying. I have been here all the time, waiting for you to come to me. And it seemed to Jaime that he knew that voice, the iron tones that had once belonged to Rhaegar, Prince of Dragonstone. -Jaime I, AFFC

As I pointed out heavily in Part I Jaime's "place" is as the dead king in the crypts.

 

 

The Breaking of the Round Table and the Breaking of the World

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Everything is everything
The more I talk about it, the less I do control
Everything means everything
Can't understand a word, half of the stuff I'm sayin'
-Everything is Everything, Phoenix, Alphabetical

We're gonna throw a party, All the ghosts of trees are coming out
Don't look any direction, Wait until the light's inside of the clouds
You're gonna wanna see this, Don't bring your camera around
Watch sun and sawdust align
The Ground Walks, With Time In A Box, Modest Mouse, Strangers to Ourselves

But the clouds are clearing up, And I've come revelling
Burning incandescently, Like a bastard on the burning sea
-Moth's Wings, Passion Pit, Manners

A Return to Arthur's Ideals

    Before I delve too heavily into this part we will first return to that last chapter of The Candle in the Wind and Arthur’s ruminations. We'll begin with his ruminations on nations, wars, and (what seems to me) the seed that created these godheads in the asoiaf lore. Then we'll tackle the origin of the "lightbringer" in TOAFK and the legendary ideal of Arthur’s, his ineffable “Candle in the Wind”.

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On the face of it, it seemed unlikely that one Leader could force a million Englishmen against their will. [...] A leader was surely forced to offer something which appealed to those he led? He might give the impetus to the falling building, but surely it had to be toppling on its own account before it fell? If this were true, then wars were not calamities into which amiable innocents were led by evil men. They were national movements, deeper, more subtle in origin. And, indeed, it did not feel to him as if he or Mordred had led their country to its misery. If it was so easy to lead one's country in various directions, as if she was a pig on a string, why had he failed to lead her into chivalry, into justice and into peace? He had been trying. Then again—this was the second circle—it was like the Inferno—if neither he nor Mordred had really set the misery in motion, who had been the cause? How did the fact of war begin in general? For any one war seemed so rooted in its antecedents. Mordred went back to Morgause, Morgause to Uther Pendragon, Uther to his ancestors. It seemed as if Cain had slain Abel, seizing his country, after which the men of Abel had sought to win their patrimony again for ever. Man had gone on, through age after age, avenging wrong with wrong, slaughter with slaughter. Nobody was the better for it, since both sides always suffered, yet everybody was inextricable. -Ch. 14, The Candle in the Wind

    Of course Cain and Abel harks back to the oldest brotherly betrayal in the Christian tradition, which seems to have left its mark on Martin's epic, well, everywhere really. But more importantly is the idea of people not wanting to be ruled by leaders whose intentions might be more helpful than their own desires if these intentions are out of accord with their own desires.

A fantastic example of this is the Kingsmoot: Asha recognizes the Old Way is an untenable position that will only end in their own destruction and they will never have their neighbors' lands which they covet. But this is not what the Ironborn as a whole want. They want to rape and reave unchecked on the open sea, the whole world be damned.

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Perhaps wars were fought because people said my kingdom, my wife, my lover, my possessions. This was what he and Lancelot and all of them had always held behind their thoughts. Perhaps, so long as people tried to possess things separately from each other, even honour and souls, there would be wars for ever.
...
Perhaps wars only happened between those who had and those who had not. As against this, you were forced to place the fact that nobody could define the state of "having." A knight with a silver suit of armour would immediately call himself a have-not, if he met a knight with a golden one. 
But, he thought, assume for a moment that "having," however it is defined, might be the crux of the problem
I have, and Mordred has not. 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. -Ch. 14, The Candle in the Wind

    Here we have the seed for the godhead, a collective consciousness. People must give up their individual lives (to sacrifice or be sacrificed) in order to attune to this consciousness, to give up all that they held to in life in order to live on in another manner and affect the lands they love or the people they hate. In Bran's original coma dream he thinks on the coming storm which none of them could see, this war between the living and the dead which we have been marching inexorably toward since the prologue of AGOT. No one can stop it or alter its course any more than one can check the rising waters of a flood.

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It is a meeting of the Haves and Have-Nots in force, an insane clash between bodies of men, not between leaders. But let that pass. Assume the vague idea that war is due to "having" in general. In that case the proper thing would be to refuse to have at all. Such, as Rochester had sometimes pointed out, was the advice of God. There had been the rich man who was threatened with the needle's eye, and there had been the money changers. That was why the Church could not interfere too much in the sad affairs of the world, so Rochester said, because the nations and the classes and the individuals were always crying out "Mine, mine," where the Church was instructed to say "Ours."
If this were true, then it would not be a question only of sharing property, as such. It would be a question of sharing everything—even thoughts, feelings, lives. God had told people that they would have to cease to live as individuals. They would have to go into the force of life, like a drop falling into a river. God had said that it was only the men who could give up their jealous selves, their futile individualities of happiness and sorrow, who would die peacefully and enter the ring. He that would save his life was asked to lose it.
Yet there was something in the old white head which could not accept the godly view. Obviously you might cure a cancer of the womb by not having a womb in the first place.  Sweeping and drastic remedies could cut out anything—and life with the cut. Ideal advice, which nobody was built to follow, was no advice at all. Advising heaven to earth was useless. -Ch. 14, The Candle in the Wind

    He continues the rumination as a general treatise on human selfishness (we are selves after all -- it is a natural response to living as an individual human being) leading to the larger problem of wars which Arthur has attempted to solve. In order to do so, he claims, men must give up their lives, must say "ours" as the godly (or godhead) view. Although Arthur himself is unable to reconcile this with his own thoughts on humanity, it is untenable, even horrifying, likening it to cutting out life altogether.

To go into the godhead is like he says, to go into the force of life, like a drop in a river. Recall Jaime in his white plate surrounded by that river of red. How can one survive in such a state, how does one retain their individual humanity as a drop in a river? It seems an impossible task.

Bloodraven teaching Bran gives this more immediacy, not as an abstract but a literal event. He tells him to skichange a raven and when Bran does, Bloodraven tells him not to mind the person whose consciousness is bound to the raven, whom Bran can sense. The utter lack of care may be necessary for the greenseer but it is completely alienating, otherizing, to any person under his thrall. it is to be a river and not mind the drop, to be a god and not mind the soul. It is disgusting. The more one thinks about its implications, the more revolting the whole affair of godhood in this universe becomes.

To return to the more human element at play in this excerpt are the thoughts on "Haves and Have-Nots", which seems to be the cause of many, if not all the wars in Westeros as well. The Sand Snakes are revolting against Doran in Dorne. The Tyrells surreptitiously work against the Lannisters, who are their supposed allies, in order to gain the crown. The Boltons were complicit in betraying the Starks in order to gain Winterfell and control the North. Dany supplants the slave trade in Meereen but the Sons of the Harpy live in rebellion due to having their chief supply of income and worth in the world taken from them.

Of course the thoughts on wars being steeped in their antecedents can be traced as well, most notably with the War of the Five Kings tracing back to Robert's Rebellion. Many wars can be traced back to previous conflicts, the numerous Blackfyre Rebellions beginning with Aegon IV and many of the conflicts against Targaryen reign can ultimately be attributed to Aegon's original conquering.

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It seemed as if the only hope was not to act at all, to draw no swords for anything, to hold oneself still, like a pebble not thrown. But that would be hateful.
...
The blessing of forgetfulness: that was the first essential. If everything one did, or which one's fathers had done, was an endless sequence of Doings doomed to break forth bloodily, then the past must be obliterated and a new start made. Man must be ready to say: Yes, since Cain there has been injustice, but we can only set the misery right if we accept a status quo. Lands have been robbed, men slain, nations humiliated. Let us now start fresh without remembrance, rather than live forward and backward at the same time. We cannot build the future by avenging the past. Let us sit down as brothers, and accept the Peace of God.
Unfortunately men did say this, in each successive war. They were always saying that the present one was to be the last, and afterwards there was to be a heaven. They were always to rebuild such a new world as never was seen. When the time came, however, they were too stupid. They were like children crying out that they would build a house—but, when it came to building, they had not the practical ability. They did not know the way to choose the right materials. -Ch. 14, The Candle in the Wind

The Bracken-Blackwood monolgue between Jaime and his young ward nails this sentiment precisely. War begins due to some old wound until the fighting becomes unpalatable. A peace is made by way of marriage thus reconciling the warring parties. But the old wounds are pricked again and the process begins anew. Neither side is willing to forget, to embrace each other as equals despite sharing the same blood, and so the endless cycle self-perpetuates.

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Arthur proved that he was not quite done, by lifting his head. There was something invincible in his heart, a tincture of grandness in simplicity. He sat upright and reached for the iron bell. "Page," he said, as the small boy trotted in, knuckling his eyes.
...
"Oh, page?"
"My lord?" 
"What is your name?"
"Tom, my lord," it said politely.
"Where do you live?" "Near Warwick, my lord."
"Near Warwick." The old man seemed to be trying to imagine the place, as if it were Paradise Terrestre, or a country described by Mandeville.
"At a place called Newbold Revell. It is a pretty one."
...
"Tell me, Tom, what do you intend to do tomorrow?"
"I shall fight, sir. I have a good bow."
...
"Shall I take the letter now?"
"No. Wait a minute. I want to talk to somebody, only my head is muddled."
"Shall I fetch a glass of wine?"
"No, Tom. Sit down and try to listen. Lift those chessmen off the stool. Can you understand things when they are said?"
"Yes, my lord. I am good at understanding."
"Could you understand if I asked you not to fight tomorrow?"
"I should want to fight," it said stoutly. 
"Everybody wants to fight, Tom, but nobody knows why. Suppose I were to ask you not to fight, as a special favour to the King? Would you do that?"
"I should do what I was told."
"Listen, then. Sit for a minute and I will tell you a story. I am a very old man, Tom, and you are young. When you are old, you will be able to tell what I have told tonight, and I want you to do that. Do you understand this want?"
"Yes, sir. I think so."
"Put it like this. There was a king once, called King Arthur. That is me. When he came to the throne of England, he found that all the kings and barons were fighting against each other like madmen, and, as they could afford to fight in expensive suits of armour, there was practically nothing which could stop them from doing what they pleased. They did a lot of bad things, because they lived by force. Now this king had an idea, and the idea was that force ought to be used, if it were used at all, on behalf of justice, not on its own account. Follow this, young boy. He thought that if he could get his barons fighting for truth, and to help weak people, and to redress wrongs, then their fighting might not be such a bad thing as once it used to be. So he gathered together all the true and kindly people that he knew, and he dressed them in armour, and he made them knights, and taught them his idea, and set them down, at a Round Table. There were a hundred and fifty of them in the happy days, and King Arthur loved his Table with all his heart. He was prouder of it than he was of his own dear wife, and for many years his new knights went about killing ogres, and rescuing damsels and saving poor prisoners, and trying to set the world to rights. That was the King's idea."
"I think it was a good idea, my lord."
"It was, and it was not. God knows."
"What happened to the King in the end?" asked the child, when the story seemed to have dried up.
"For some reason, things went wrong. The Table split into factions, a bitter war began, and all were killed."
The boy interrupted confidently. "No," he said, "not all. The King won. We shall win."
Arthur smiled vaguely and shook his head. He would have nothing but the truth.
"Everybody was killed," he repeated, "except a certain page. I know what I am talking about."
"My lord?"
"This page was called young Tom of Newbold Revell near Warwick, and the old King sent him off before the battle, upon pain of dire disgrace. You see, the King wanted there to be somebody left, who would remember their famous idea. He wanted badly that Tom should go back to Newbold Revell, where he could grow into a man and live his life in Warwickshire peace—and he wanted him to tell everybody who would listen about this ancient idea, which  both of them had once thought good. Do you think you could do that, Thomas, to please the King?"
The child said, with the pure eyes of absolute truth: "I would do anything for King Arthur."
"That's a brave fellow. Now listen, man. Don't get these legendary people muddled up. It is I who tell you about my idea. It is I who am going to command you to take horse to Warwickshire at once, and not to fight with your bow tomorrow at all. Do you understand all this?"
"Yes, King Arthur."
"Will you promise to be careful of yourself afterward? Will you try to remember that you are a kind of vessel to carry on the idea, when things go wrong, and that the whole hope depends on you alive?"
"I will."
"It seems selfish of me to use you for it."
"It is an honour for your poor page, good my lord."
"Thomas, my idea of those knights was a sort of candle, like these ones here. I have carried it for many years with a hand to shield it from the wind. It has flickered often. I am giving you the candle now—you won't let it out?"
"It will burn."
"Good Tom. The light-bringer. How old did you say you were?"
"Nearly thirteen."
"Sixty more years then, perhaps. Half a century."
"I will give it to other people, King. English people."
...
"I will ride post, mate, so that the candle burn." -Ch. 14, The Candle in the Wind

    And there you have it. The light bringer, as in the Luciferian or Promethean sense, is a keeper of knowledge, a page yet to be written. Arthur tells him of the idealized version, of Arthur as the talisman, as the standard of England, almost as a god to those who so devoutly believe in his idea of the Round Table. But Arthur also tells him of the point to not get the legendary ideals mixed up with the real persons, to separate the myths from the men (and women) of Arthur's time.

I might add the young page, Tom of Newbold Revell of Warwickshire is none other than Thomas Malory, creator of La Mort D'Arthur, the text and creator White references heavily throughout the books. Perhaps we will see a young squire named Terence (or Tim) White at the end of Martin's series.

This all brings to mind the comment on how the glass candles are burning and the coming conflict will be a time for gods and heroes. But the gods are the heroes. There is no division between the two camps. They are simply individuals given supreme status in the minds of their followers and the tales told of them.

This is an idea I had a while back and I still don't know how much water I feel it holds but the idea is that the Dawn Age and the Age of Heroes are of the same stories but bifurcated in this Arthurian sense. One is the remembrances of the heroes that fought the War for the Dawn, that participated in the magical wars, lost to time, portrayed as they were, humans. The other, the stories told through the trees, through magic its self, are of these same figures but highly symbolized, given a sense of ethereal, other-worldly status in the manner of prophecy and dream, to the point of deification.

Edited by Cowboy Dan

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The Breaking of the World

    The godhead is a collective consciousness, a vast multiplicity of individuals who work towards a common goal influencing the land they preside over. I posit that this was the original event leading the Golden Empire of the Dawn to break apart and this breaking was not metaphorical nor a slow process over centuries or milennia but the breaking of this godhead which literally split the land asunder in a brief cataclysm. Maester of Valyria has been working toward this breaking in his own essays on the matter -- which is what compelled me to look over the maps more deeply and develop my ideas of exactly where and how the land has split, along with why it was over a short span of time. Of course I will be using my own method of word analysis to show the effects of this process.

Let's look at the forgotten truth example of this, not from Asshai as has been put forth elsewhere, but in its dichotomous opposite, the Summer Isles (aside: there may be a word play with Sumeria here, which is an ancient, advanced civilization that was wiped out in a cataclysm and whose technologies (or magic in this case) were lost to the world at large).

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Throughout their long history, the Summer Islands have been united under a single ruler no more than half a dozen times, and never for long. Today, each of the smaller islands has its own ruler, styled as a prince or princess in the Common Tongue; the larger islands (Jhala, Omboru, and Walano) oft have several rival princes.
Nonetheless, the isles are by and large a peaceful place. Such wars as are fought there are highly ritualized, with battles that resemble tourney mêlées, wherein bands of warriors meet on battlefields chosen and consecrated in advance, at times deemed auspicious by their priests. They fight with spears and slings and wooden shields, just as their forebears did five thousand years ago; the goldenheart bows and yard-long shafts carried by their archers into battle against foes from across the sea are never used against their own people, for their gods have forbidden this.
Wars on the Summer Isles seldom last longer than a day, and do no harm to any but the warriors themselves. No crops are destroyed, no homes are put to the torch, no cities are sacked, no children are harmed, no women are raped (though warrior women oft fight beside their men in the line of battle). Even the defeated princes suffer neither death nor disfigurement though they must leave their homes and palaces to spend the remainder of their days in exile. -The Summer Isles, TWOIAF

        The resemblance to the tourney melee is important: the Tourney at Ashford Meadow is an example of following this same ritual in action (the outcome of which is that symbolic Cain and Abel brotherly betrayal: Maekar accidentally murders his own brother Baelor and ultimately usurps the crown – the killing blow he landed he suspiciously does not recall) or the Tourney of the Hand in AGOT, which has recurrent echoes I have referenced a couple of times now. Each island has its own rulers and customs, just as Braavos does. This again echoes the Post-Breaking Arthurian ideal for how lands and peoples should rule themselves, as individuated counties, instead of countries.

The goldenheart bow is important, a symbol for the sunspear or a flaming sun-sword, the lightbringer analogue and ties to young Tom, White's light bringer wielding a bow. Essentially this ritual is a godhead fight in action, only the warriors (figurehead representatives of conflicting godheads) fight for a short span -- only a day -- although this is the Long Night in action. People are swallowed up in the mist/haze which brings madness and death, so these warriors likely were originally killed or disfigured in the fight, as opposed to the current incarnation of the ritual which is meant to be bloodless. It is a forgotten truth so some leeway is required in speculating on the original nature of this ritualized tourney. But, as Arthur thinks, the forgetting is essential.

The exile is important as well, as I believe this is the winners exiling the very lands in which their counterparts reside as one would send a ship out to ocean. The ocean wasn't literally an ocean but the land its self, just as the Dothraki plains are referred to as "The Great Grass Sea". This is the "island of light in a sea of darkness" we see in Jaime's dream and the discomforting orange moon Pate views in the AFFC Prologue. Of particular note as well is the constellation of the Crone's Lantern, "four bright stars that enclosed a golden haze", which would naturally be surrounded by the blackness of the night sky.

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The Summer Islanders are a dark people, black of hair and eye, with skins as brown as teak or as black as polished jet. For much of their recorded history, they lived in isolation from the rest of mankind. Their earliest maps, as carved into the famous Talking Trees of Tall Trees Town, show no lands but the isles themselves, surrounded by a vast world-spanning ocean. -The Summer Isles, TWOIAF

    I submit that this was not a world-spanning ocean though. Where in the hell would all the extra land come from that we don't now see in the maps of the known world? I would hazard a guess in the fashion of the Dothraki Sea, this ocean was the land, a Pangaea-like contiguous continent, which was physically separated by magic, due to the division of men and their desire to preside over their own lands with their own laws and customs.  The idea that the land, a kingdom signified by a people and its rulers can be likened to a ship or boat is not my own invention, take Maester Pylos' word for it.

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Davos reflected on those words as he climbed the steps of Sea Dragon Tower to the maester's chambers below the rookery. He did not need Salla to tell him that he had risen too high. I cannot read, I cannot write, the lords despise me, I know nothing of ruling, how can I be the King's Hand? I belong on the deck of a ship, not in a castle tower.
He had said as much to Maester Pylos. "You are a notable captain," the maester replied. "A captain rules his ship, does he not? He must navigate treacherous waters, set his sails to catch the rising wind, know when a storm is coming and how best to weather it. This is much the same."
Pylos meant it kindly, but his assurances rang hollow. "It is not at all the same!" Davos had protested. "A kingdom's not a ship... and a good thing, or this kingdom would be sinking. I know wood and rope and water, yes, but how will that serve me now? Where do I find the wind to blow King Stannis to his throne?" -Davos V, ASOS

        One of my contentions is that the process of Princess Nymeria leaving the Rhoyne with her ten thousand ships to find a new land for her people is another imitation of this forgotten ritual. The reason they were allowed to live peacefully on Dorne is because the Greenblood was once part of the Rhoyne. Thus their descendants, the Orphans of the Greenblood, becomes more literal than symbolic. Let's look at the events leading to Nymeria's own exile.

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Thousands burned, but thousands more sheltered in the shallows of the river, whilst their wizards raised enormous waterspouts against the foe's dragons. Rhoynish archers brought down two of the dragons, whilst the third fled, wounded. In the aftermath, Mother Rhoyne rose in rage to swallow Volon Therys.
...
And the dragons came... Against their fires, the Rhoynar could not stand. Tens of thousands burned whilst others rushed into the river, hoping that the embrace of Mother Rhoyne would offer them protection against dragonflame...only to drown in their mother's embrace. Some chroniclers insist that the fires burned so hot that the very waters of the river boiled and turned to steam. Garin the Great was captured alive and made to watch his people suffer for their defiance. His warriors were shown no such mercy. The Volantenes and their Valyrian kin put them to the sword—so many that it was said that their blood turned the great harbor of Volantis red as far as the eye could see. Thereafter the victors gathered their own forces and moved north along the river, sacking Sar Mell savagely before advancing on Chroyane, Prince Garin's own city. Locked in a golden cage at the command of the dragonlords, Garin was carried back to the festival city to witness its destruction.
At Chroyane, the cage was hung from the walls, so that the prince might witness the enslavement of the women and children whose fathers and brothers had died in his gallant, hopeless war...but the prince, it is said, called down a curse upon the conquerors, entreating Mother Rhoyne to avenge her children. And so, that very night, the Rhoyne flooded out of season and with greater force than was known in living memory. A thick fog full of evil humors fell, and the Valyrian conquerors began to die of greyscale. (There is, at least, this much truth to the tale: in later centuries, Lomas Longstrider wrote of the drowned ruins of Chroyane, its foul fogs and waters, and the fact that wayward travelers infected with greyscale now haunt the ruins—a hazard for those who travel the river beneath the broken span of the Bridge of Dream.)
...
Down the river Nymeria led this ragged fleet, past ruined and smoking towns and fields of the dead, through waters choked with bloated, floating corpses. To avoid Volantis and its hosts, she chose the older channel and emerged into the Summer Sea where once Sarhoy had stood. -Ten Thousand Ships, TWOIAF

    Of course there is the Shrouded Lord who rules over the infected Stone Men, believed by some to be Garin himself. These stone men are those  who were forcibly inducted into this godhead just as the Others perform resurrections with the wights, who bring the cold, just as greyscale and the Stone Men lie in the foggy mists of The Sorrows. The golden cage invokes the Jaime-as-Daemon symbolism I touched on previously, hinting that Jaime may get the chance to become "Goldenhand the Just" as he wishes but will get killed in doing so.

Recall that Jaime sees the grey-green soup of bloated bodies at Maidenpool, another example of people who literally 'go into the land' upon death to join a godhead. When Nymeria is travelling she also arrives at the Islands of Naath which is protected by the butterflies during the day, causing sickness to those who are not descendants of their particular godhead.

If we're talking about a kingdom sinking this has been posited by the maester Yandel, although without the magical bent (big surprise there).

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Moreover, such power is beyond even what the greenseers are traditionally said to have been capable of...and even those accounts appear exaggerated. It is likelier that the inundation of the Neck and the breaking of the Arm were natural events, possibly caused by a natural sinking of the land. -The Coming of the First Men, TWOIAF

Naturally I disbelieve the maester's stance on just about everything regarding magic, as they have a hard-line agenda to push rationalism and disregard the supernatural explanation. Not saying this is bad, simply that it makes understanding magic nearly impossible from the maester perspective. Listening unequivocally to them on that front would be akin to blindly believing Cold War-era Soviet propaganda on the benefits and drawbacks of capitalism (or vice versa).

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"And Whitewalls?" asked Butterwell with quavering voice.
"Forfeit to the Iron Throne. I mean to pull it down stone by stone and sow the ground that it stands upon with salt. In twenty years, no one will remember it existed. Old fools and young malcontents still make pilgrimages to the Redgrass Field to plant flowers on the spot where Daemon Blackfyre fell. I will not suffer Whitewalls to become another monument to the Black Dragon." -The Mystery Knight

But there is nothing at the Redgrass Field! Well, except the dead followers of the Blackfyres. A monument, he says?

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There were no buildings to be seen, no people, only the grass and the road, lined with ancient monuments from all the lands the Dothraki had sacked over the centuries. -Daenerys IV, AGOT

Stolen heroes and the gods of dead peoples brooded in the darkness beyond the road. Alongside the procession, slaves ran lightly through the grass with torches in their hands, and the flickering flames made the great monuments seem almost alive. -Daenerys V, AGOT

As her litter passed beneath the stolen monuments, she went from sunlight to shadow and back again. Dany swayed along, studying the faces of dead heroes and forgotten kings. She wondered if the gods of burned cities could still answer prayers. -Daenerys VI, AGOT

Even more enigmatic to scholars and historians is the great square fortress of black stone that dominates that isle. For most of recorded history, this monumental edifice has served as the foundation and lowest level of the Hightower, yet we know for a certainty that it predates the upper levels of the tower by thousands of years. -Oldtown, TWOIAF

    We see a monument as both the dead heroes and forgotten gods but interestingly is tied to the black stones that crop up all over the world. If you're interested in that you will need to look elsewhere. I don't have the space or requisite research to go into that front. Although of note: in The Sworn Sword, Ser Eustace, who served the Blackfyres and had his line extinguished, has a similar construction in his keep with the bottom section being made of a black stone. The top third is of recent reconstruction, likely due to being destroyed in the past, just as the tower in Winterfell is missing its top third (the same one that Bran was pushed from).

    If it hasn't become clear yet, I believe that the Others along with the Dragons are of the same origin utilizing these godheads. The Shrouded Lord and other archetypal undead gods fulfill the same compartmentalized purpose. While dragons are "fire made flesh", the Shrouded Lord is of water and stone, and the Others are the Ice Dragons.

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They tell of pale blue mists that move across the waters, mists so cold that any ship they pass over is frozen instantly; of drowned spirits who rise at night to drag the living down into the grey-green depths; of mermaids pale of flesh with black-scaled tails, far more malign than their sisters of the south.
Of all the queer and fabulous denizens of the Shivering Sea, however, the greatest are the ice dragons. These colossal beasts, many times larger than the dragons of Valyria, are said to be made of living ice, with eyes of pale blue crystal and vast translucent wings through which the moon and stars can be glimpsed as they wheel across the sky. Whereas common dragons (if any dragon can truly be said to be common) breathe flame, ice dragons supposedly breathe cold, a chill so terrible that it can freeze a man solid in half a heartbeat.

Sailors from half a hundred nations have glimpsed these great beasts over the centuries, so mayhaps there is some truth behind the tales. Archmaester Margate has suggested that many legends of the north—freezing mists, ice ships, Cannibal Bay, and the like—can be explained as distorted reports of ice-dragon activity. Though an amusing notion, and not without a certain elegance, this remains the purest conjecture. As ice dragons supposedly melt when slain, no actual proof of their existence has ever been found. -The Shivering Sea, TWOIAF

Before I get further into this, we have already seen the crystal heavily associated with the Others, their pale blue coloring and when Sam slays the Other it turns into a puddle then its bones melt and dissipate to mist, leaving no trace.

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"Rhaegar was the last dragon," he told her. He warmed translucent hands over a glowing brazier where stone eggs smouldered red as coals. One moment he was there and the next he was fading, his flesh colorless, less substantial than the wind. -Daenerys IX, AGOT

The other two pulled away from her breasts and added their voices to the call, translucent wings unfolding and stirring the air, and for the first time in hundreds of years, the night came alive with the music of dragons. -Daenerys X, AGOT

Their span was three times their length, each wing a delicate fan of translucent skin, gorgeously colored, stretched taut between long thin bones. -Daenerys I, ACOK

So there you have it : Dragons and Others are essentially the same thing. All things are interconnected in this series in the most circuitous, roundabout fashioning due to the nature of the Sierpinsky Gasket and the disparate wills of these broken godheads that, as I posit, were once themselves connected.

The essence of the working idea (and that's what it is currently: an idea) is that magic from these godheads is a purely assimilative process that binds everything possible to its self, creating a new creature, an amalgamated beast of sorts. The dragons are posited by Yandel to be this sort of amalgamation. The Meereenese have their own amalgamated beast in the form of the Harpy, there are the manticores, Valyrian Sphinxes and all sorts of strange beasts all over the world that seem to be pastiches of existing real-world animals. The Questing Beast from the Arthurian Cycle is likewise an amalgamated beast and is involved in a couple scenes in TOAFK that just scream Mythical Astronomy symbolism, it's all pretty fascinating stuff.

Essentially whatever this magic is binds beings together that should not be able to inter-breed, creating some new thing. This process occurs too much though and certain bloodlines can no longer interbreed with other more naturally occurring bloodlines. Hence the Targaryen practice of "keeping the bloodline pure" by wedding brother to sister. They were worried about the inability to continue creating heirs. I'll get back to this idea regarding bloodlines a bit more when I get to the Ib/Skagos/Lands of Always Winter location similarities.

I have touched on Bloodraven's desire to end the Blackfyre Rebellion, preventing another monument, another blood seal from being created. But the way he arrives is in the same manner that the land is ripped apart in rebellion.

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It was only a few heartbeats later, as Dunk and Ser Kyle were helping Glendon Ball off his horse, that the first trumpet blew, and the sentries on the walls raised the alarum. An army had appeared outside the castle, rising from the morning mists. "Egg wasn't lying after all," Dunk told Ser Kyle, astonished.
...
The light of the rising sun glittered off the points of five hundred lances and ten times as many spears. The night's grey banners were reborn in half a hundred gaudy colors. -The Mystery Knight

Here is that ghost army, which disappears (or in this case materializes) in order to signal the breaking of a realm, a rebellion without reconciliation (although this is flipped, as the rebellion is quelled in this example) and the spears in their multi-colored fashion seems to imply a rainbow of sorts. Fog and dew is also associated with this mist/haze cluster and keys in on the idea of this ghost army disappearing to leave a land while also being associated with madness -- or a waking nightmare.

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What good are prophecies if you cannot make sense of them? If I marry Hizdahr before the sun comes up, will all these armies melt away like morning dew and let me rule in peace? -Daenerys VI, ADWD

This was a bad place, rank with despair and death. Ysilla is not wrong. This fog is not natural. Something foul grew in the waters here, and festered in the air. Small wonder the stone men go mad. -Tyrion V, ADWD

When she saw the Usurper's rebel host across the river they were armored all in ice, but she bathed them in dragonfire and they melted away like dew and turned the Trident into a torrent. Some small part of her knew that she was dreaming, but another part exulted. This is how it was meant to be. The other was a nightmare, and I have only now awakened. -Daenerys III, ASOS

The days and the nights blurred together in a haze of pain. He would sleep in the saddle, pressed against Brienne, his nose full of the stink of his rotting hand, and then at night he would lie awake on the hard ground, caught in a waking nightmare. Weak as he was, they always bound him to a tree. It gave him some cold consolation to know that they feared him that much, even now. -Jaime IV, ASOS

There is the haze in a waking nightmare and they bind him to a tree, as Bloodraven does so willingly, to (only symbolically in Jaime's case) attune to the weirwood network.

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The beacons that burned along the shores of the Three Sisters were supposed to warn of shoals and reefs and rocks and lead the way to safety, but on stormy nights and foggy ones, some Sistermen would use false lights to draw unwary captains to their doom. -Davos I, ASOS

As I have been harping on Jon Snow is the shadow that kills the sun and steals his golden identity as the drunk fool, which could be referred to as imitation (or "fool's") gold, tying back to the ghost army of willowisps, (as a reminder: also called "foolish fire"). Although I think there is a possibility Jon Snow performs this action in order to purposefully separate a disparate people, fulfilling the Arthurian ideal by performing "a hateful and dangerous action for the sake of decency". It would line up with his constant ruminations as a shadow hiding his true face and as an oathbreaker.

If he does so in becoming an Other (whether willingly or forcibly), he could separate the Lands of Always Winter from the North, once linked to one of these godheads, as it seems currently there is no potential for integration between these ice dragons and common men. In this context he would play the part of the false lightbringer Stannis wields.

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The sword is wrong, she has to know that... light without heat... an empty glamor... the sword is wrong, and the false light can only lead us deeper into darkness, Sam. -Samwell IV,  AFFC

Now to return to the idea that the mists cause time to take longer than actually expected. It is not that time is literally being changed, simply that due to their madness, a single day (or night, as in The Long Night) seems to last for years or perhaps generations.

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The world, Reek told himself, this is what the world smells like. He did not know how long he had been down there in the dungeons, but it had to have been half a year at least. That long, or longer. What if it has been five years, or ten, or twenty? Would I even know? What if I went mad down there, and half my life is gone? But no, that was folly. It could not have been so long. The boys were still boys. If it had been ten years, they would have grown into men. He had to remember that. I must not let him drive me mad. He can take my fingers and my toes, he can put out my eyes and slice my ears off, but he cannot take my wits unless I let him. -Reek I, ADWD

    In the throes of madness one loses track of time and there are a number of times throughout the series where a character thinks on an event only weeks, months or a year ago that seemed as if they occured "a thousand years ago". This is why I think the timelines are skewed heavily: the land splits and everyone trapped in the mist go mad forgetting too much of their past lives, even how long they've lived, which is why there are all these legendary figures that supposedly live for centuries or milennia.

The maesters are not aware of this, or at least the ones who are cannot spread this information freely, so there are a number of times in TWOIAF where Yandel points out the proposed timelines do not make sense. One of these black stone structures is an example: it is said to be of Valyrian construction but was from before the time of the Valyrians. It is more likely, assuming my theory, that the structure is from the same place as Valyria, when Valyria was part of a larger kingdom. Due to the Breaking and the subsequent in-universe belief that more time passed than actually did, it would be reported that the structures were older than they actually are.
The monuments or blood seals that seem to seed locations for the Breaking are in three key locations currently, two of which we have looked into in this essay: The Tower of Joy in the Dornish Mountains, The Red Wedding at the Twins along the Trident and finally, Oldtown. Oldtown is the only event yet to occur but Euron has already seized the Shield Islands and informed us of his intention to attack, in his attempt to become the Storm God.

Before we get too deep into the world-wide Breaking evidence I'm going to propose a major location for the Breaking: Dorne. Between the ToJ and Oldtown is a direct line where this breaking will take place. This is not only due to the maps but also a vision concerning Aerys, which Cersei will likely carry out.

There are mentions of the "caprices of the Mad King" in TWOIAF and Cersei has been mimicking these caprices almost directly.

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His Grace was full of grand schemes as well. Not long after his coronation, he announced his intent to conquer the Stepstones and make them a part of his realm for all time. In 264 AC, a visit to King's Landing by Lord Rickard Stark of Winterfell awakened his interest in the North, and he hatched a plan to build a new Wall a hundred leagues north of the existing one and claim all the lands between. In 265 AC, offended by "the stink of King's Landing," he spoke of building a "white city" entirely of marble on the south bank of the Blackwater Rush. In 267 AC, after a dispute with the Iron Bank of Braavos regarding certain monies borrowed by his father, he announced that he would build the largest war fleet in the history of the world "to bring the Titan to his knees." In 270 AC, during a visit to Sunspear, he told the Princess of Dorne that he would "make the Dornish deserts bloom" by digging a great underground canal beneath the mountains to bring water down from the rainwood. -Aerys II, TWOIAF

Before and after this quote Aerys' fleeting affection for his royal affairs is mentioned. Of course Cersei has this same behavior during the infamous "Myrish swamp" scene, in which she grows bored in the middle of the act, even quicker than Aerys. It also ties to Dany in her scene with Missandei in which she recognizes the lack of passion but unlike Cersei, 'finishes her duty', so to speak.

With the exception of the second Wall I suggest all of these have come or will come to pass (and if that's the case a second Wall may not be so far-fetched). She has denied the Iron Bank its due and decided to build a war fleet of ten dromonds, said to be large warships. Of course this fleet is stolen by the young Aurane Waters, who she at first is quite attracted to, for his Targ-like qualities. Not only does he steal the fleet but sets himself up as a modern day Rogue Prince in the Stepstones, rebelling openly against the crown, in opposition to Aerys' original desire. Cersei also regularly complains of the stinks of King's Landing and has a vision of a white city across the Blackwater Rush.

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"Would that we could do the same to the rest of this foul castle," said Cersei. "After the war I mean to build a new palace beyond the river." She had dreamed of it the night before last, a magnificent white castle surrounded by woods and gardens, long leagues from the stinks and noise of King's Landing. -Cersei III, AFFC

Lastly and most relevant to this section: she will, as Aerys tried to, "make the Dornish deserts bloom." Like most prophecy this is not literal, she's not going to plant a bunch of forests in Dorne and become Cersei Appleseed. She's going to create (or at least take part in) the Breaking event that brings the ghost army of fire, which are seen with their banners as blooming flowers of their own.

Before I go on I wanted to add in the parallel to another mad Targaryen, Aerion Brightflame. When she learns of a puppet show depicting the lion of Lannister getting defeated she claims it is treason, just as Aerion claims when attacking the Dornish girl Dunk inevitably saves.

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[H]e told Gilly, who had never seen banners before.
...
"They're all bright as flowers." Gilly pointed. "I like those yellow ones, with the fire." -Samwell IV, ASOS

Nothing lived, except the flies. Flies could live through anything, it seemed.

"The Field of Fire must have looked like this," Ser Eustace said. "It was there our woes began, two hundred years ago. The last of the green kings perished on that field, with the finest flowers of the Reach around him." -The Sworn Sword

Of course in the Hoster Tully funeral scene when his boat finally catches fire in the mists Cat sees "the red bloom flower" and I've already quoted a few scenes throughout these essays where spears or banners are seen as fire points with similar Field of Fire imagery going on.

Edited by Cowboy Dan

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The Land and their Gods :
Heroes and Villans, Gods and Demons

    Before I get to the maps I’ve rigged up to show this process of the Breaking more directly we’re going to look over the striking similarities between peoples along the Northeastern coast of Westeros and the Northern coast of Essos, which I contend were once directly connected.
The giants of the North are noted for their “square teeth”, used to describe the giants twice and each of these people only once (the only other use of the phrase in the entire series is a scene in TMK to describe a horse).

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They're not wearing skins, Jon realized. That's hair. Shaggy pelts covered their bodies, thick below the waist, sparser above. The stink that came off them was choking, but perhaps that was the mammoths.

The giant's lips split apart to reveal a mouth full of huge square teeth, and he made a sound half belch and half rumble. -Jon II, ASOS

A huge, hairy, foul-smelling folk (some maesters believe the Skagosi to have a strong admixture of Ibbenese blood; others suggest that they may be descended from giants), clad in skins and furs and untanned hides, and said to ride on unicorns, the Skagosi are the subject of many a dark rumor. It is claimed that they still offer human sacrifice to their weirwoods, lure passing ships to destruction with false lights, and feed upon the flesh of men during winter. -The Stoneborn of Skagos, TWOIAF

Naturally the square teeth connect them but there’s the same stench and they are directly said to be potentially descended from giants due to their similarities. We’ll get to the Ibbenese shortly but first let’s look on the complete opposite end of Essos in Sothoryos. This may seem to contradict my previous assertion but you have to think of Essos as having two arms which broke: one to the North, which is now the Land of Always Winter, and another to the South, forming the enigmatic continent of Sothoryos. The Children, like the Giants, have connections to both the northern coast but also to the Talking Trees Town in the Summer Isles, well south of Westeros proper.

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The Sothoryi are big-boned creatures, massively muscled, with long arms, sloped foreheads, huge square teeth, heavy jaws, and coarse black hair. Their broad, flat noses suggest snouts, and their thick skins are brindled in patterns of brown and white that seem more hoglike than human. Sothoryi women cannot breed with any save their own males; when mated with men from Essos or Westeros, they bring forth only stillbirths, many hideously malformed.
...
Many are cannibals... -Sothoryos, TWOIAF

The Sothoryi, like the Skagosi and the giants have the sloped foreheads and of course the same square teeth. Most interesting though is the inability to interbreed. This matches up quite well with Daenerys giving birth to Rhaego, her malformed stillborn child which had descriptions likening him to a dragon, due to the bat-like wings. There are a few times in Targaryen history this occurs and someone better versed in genealogy can likely trace these disastrous births to determine more regarding which bloodlines are compatible (or incompatible) with dragonblood over the years.

My guess is this is what secret magic the Valyrian Freehold held to ride dragons: the knowledge that a person can bind themselves to one of these godheads that create these amalgamated beasts (in this case dragons) in order to be connected directly by blood. This is done by way of skinchanging, which in a sense is a small scale collective consciousness with only two members (or in Varamyr's case seven). Returning to the peoples divided by the Breaking let us look to the Ibbenese.

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The Ibbenese stand apart from the other races of mankind.
...
Their faces, characterized by sloping brows with heavy ridges, small sunken eyes, great square teeth, and massive jaws, seem brutish and ugly to Westerosi eyes, an impression heightened by their guttural, grunting tongue; but in truth the men of Ib are a cunning folk—skilled craftsmen, able hunters and trackers, and doughty warriors. They are the most hirsute people in the known world. Though their flesh is pale, with dark blue veins beneath the skin, their hair is dark and wiry. Ibbenese men are heavily bearded; wiry body hair covers their arms, legs, chests, and backs. Coarse dark hair is common amongst their women, even on the upper lip. (The persistent myth that Ibbenese females have six breasts has no truth to it, however.)
Though the men of Ib can father children upon the women of Westeros and other lands, the products of such unions are often malformed and inevitably sterile, in the manner of mules. Ibbenese females, when mated with men from other races, bring forth naught but stillbirths and monstrosities. -Ib, TWOIAF

The description of the eyes is important because a giant (I believe Wun-Wun but I haven't checked) is noted for having small, sunken, rat-like eyes.

Only three languages are described as “guttural”: Dothraki, Ghiscari and the Old Tongue spoken by the giants.

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His words sounded gruff and guttural, but Jon heard the music in it and recognized the Old Tongue. Leathers spoke for a long while. When he was done, the giant answered. It sounded like growling, interspersed with grunts, and Jon could not understand a word of it. –Jon VII, ADWD

The Old tongue being the outlier as a Westerosi language seems to imply that it originated from across the Narrow Sea.

It all relies around blood, around tying your blood and another's species to the same godhead. Afterward whoever is the key individual in the greenseer position is seen as a god and would spread their "seed" quite literally in the fashion of Garth Greenhand. This is why so many different characters that don't seem to necessarily have blood connections to magic, like the Dragonseeds in the Dance, are able to ride dragons.

The blood has proliferated so much that it is near impossible to state who does or doesn't have any magical bloodlines at all. Look at the Stark kids, they all seem to be skinchangers of at least some degree (except Sansa due to Lady dying before the link could be cemented). Bloodraven, despite being the most enigmatic character around, is the most magically feared and becomes a greenseer himself. In The Mystery Knight he makes a joke to Dunk about this idea but I think this is Martin kind of laying the truth bare for us in such a way that we aren't inclined to accept it. It sounds a bit ridiculous and that's why he directly tells Dunk the fact of the matter.

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"We'd all be bastard sons of old King Aegon if half these tales were true."
"And who's to say we're not?" -The Mystery Knight

I would like to point out I believe Dunk to be a bastard Targaryen as well so this is a pretty funny little line if that assumption winds up being true. There are a few times where Dunk gets this feeling and looks over to a character and they look back, like with Rohanne Weber (who appears in his dreams) or Lady Butterwell. The same happens with Sansa at court in KL but for the most part I haven't found too many instances of this outside of the D&E novellas. This is evidenced by Dany's unborn child Rhaego and the unborn dragons in their stone eggs.

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They were so beautiful, and sometimes just being close to them made her feel stronger, braver, as if somehow she were drawing strength from the stone dragons locked inside.
She was lying there, holding the egg, when she felt the child move within her… as if he were reaching out, brother to brother, blood to blood. "You are the dragon," Dany whispered to him, "the true dragon. I know it. I know it." And she smiled, and went to sleep dreaming of home. -Daenerys IV, AGOT

This is the chapter ending line, which are usually quite important. As I stated Targs are part dragon themselves so these unborn child are quite literally reaching out to their fellow bloodlines, assuming I'm on point there.

Like Aegon IV we see Walder Frey doing the same thing albeit within his own household, producing heir after heir. This sort of proliferation of the bloodline seems to be an inherent inherited trait and is a fantastic way to spread the magic all over your land: more blood to be spilled, more connections to be made, more children to be birthed.

Let us look at the Children and their remnants left on Essos, the Ifequevron.

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"They were a people dark and beautiful, small of stature, no taller than children even when grown to manhood. They lived in the depths of the wood, in caves and crannogs and secret tree towns. Slight as they were, the children were quick and graceful. Male and female hunted together, with weirwood bows and flying snares. Their gods were the gods of the forest, stream, and stone, the old gods whose names are secret. Their wise men were called greenseers, and carved strange faces in the weirwoods to keep watch on the woods. How long the children reigned here or where they came from, no man can know. -Bran VII, AGOT

The gods the children worshipped were the nameless ones that would one day become the gods of the First Men—the innumerable gods of the streams and forests and stones. -The Dawn Age, TWOIAF

…[A] densely wooded region that had formerly been the home of a small, shy forest folk. Some say that the Ibbenese extinguished this gentle race, whilst others believe they went into hiding in the deeper woods or fled to other lands. The Dothraki still call the great forest along the northern coast the Kingdom of the Ifequevron, the name by which they knew the vanished forest-dwellers.

The fabled Sea Snake, Corlys Velaryon, Lord of the Tides, was the first Westerosi to visit these woods. After his return from the Thousand Islands, he wrote of carved trees, haunted grottoes, and strange silences. A later traveler, the merchant-adventurer Bryan of Oldtown, captain of the cog Spearshaker, provided an account of his own journey across the Shivering Sea. He reported that the Dothraki name for the lost people meant "those who walk in the woods." None of the Ibbenese that Bryan of Oldtown met could say they had ever seen a woods walker, but claimed that the little people blessed a household that left offerings of leaf and stone and water overnight. -East of Ib, TWOIAF

The similarities are striking to say the least. The Ifequevron of course protect those who leave leaf, stone, and water just as the Children worship the Gods of forest, stones, and streams. They both carve into the trees, just as the Summer Islanders have their recorded histories carved into the trunks at Talking Trees Town. I will also return to the phrase "strange silence" shortly.

I shouldn’t have to explain at this point but I would say that the Children did not quite flee to other lands, they literally separated their lands using the Hammer of the Waters. Yandel even points out this does not fully make sense and is contested as it is currently interpreted, since the First Men were already on what is now the mainland of Westeros.

I would speculate they were trying to get away from the Ibbenese that were trying to conquer and eradicate them indefinitely. It is possible they were already mixed together so one side ended with the extermination in Essos while the other side became the Westerosi conflict to be known as the war with the First Men and ended with the Pact of the Isle of Faces, ceasing hostilities.

I wish to add one last excerpt from TOAFK regarding god(s) and silence. It is the beginning to the dialogue of Lancelot explaining his Grail Quest to Arthur and Guenever.

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"Arthur, you mustn't feel that I am rude when I say this. You must remember that I have been away in strange and desert places, sometimes quite alone, sometimes in a boat with nobody but God and the whistling sea. Do you know, since I have been back with people, I have felt I was going mad? Not from the sea, but from the people. All my gains are slipping away, with the people round me. A lot of the things which you and Jenny say, even, seem to me to be needless: strange noises: empty. You know what I mean, 'How are you?'—'Do sit down.'— 'What nice weather we are having!' What does it matter? People talk far too much. Where I have been, and where Galahad is, it is a waste of time to have 'manners.' Manners are only needed between people, to keep their empty affairs in working order. Manners makyth man, you know, not God. So you can understand how Galahad may have seemed inhuman, and mannerless, and so on, to the people who were buzzing and clacking about him. He was far away in his spirit, living on desert islands, in silence, with eternity." -Ch. 32, The Ill-Made Knight

Of course in asoiaf we see the whispers of the gods regularly, chiefly from the rustling leaves and whispering winds of the Old Gods of the North. We have also witnessed Aeron Damphair, the prophet of the Drowned God, hear his god speak to him through the waves. Euron is attempting to kill and supplant the Drowned God on the Iron Islands with his flagship The Silence. If you've read The Forsaken TWOW chapter you should be able to understand quite well what this entails in the current context.

My point being that the Kingdom of the Ifequevron has "strange silences" and as Dany ruminates while passing through Vaes Dothrak: do the dead gods still speak to their followers? The silence implies no, no they do not.

Before getting to the maps I want to touch more directly on the idea that the gods are attached to the lands themselves, aside from the Children quotes I have already mentioned.

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If there were gods in this trackless wilderness of stone and sand and red clay, they were hard dry gods, deaf to prayers for rain. -Daenerys I, ACOK

No soft blanket of grass welcomed them here, only the hard dusty ground, bare and strewn with stones. No trees stirred in the wind, and there was no stream to soothe her fears with the gentle music of water. Dany told herself that the stars would be enough. "Remember, Drogo," she whispered. "Remember our first ride together, the day we wed. Remember the night we made Rhaego, with the khalasar all around us and your eyes on my face. Remember how cool and clean the water was in the Womb of the World. Remember, my sun-and-stars. Remember, and come back to me." -Daenerys X, AGOT

Only the stars, only that cursed starry wisdom is available to Dany at her rebirthing of Drogo. But she foolishly thinks it will be enough despite telling Drogo to remember their khalasar, the water and the mountains when none of those are available to her.
As I posited earlier the theft of the river in The Sworn Sword is a big symbolic conflict for the fight over the land a godhead rules over (and actually has a peaceable resolution, thank god for Dunk).

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Dunk had been so intent on Bennis that he hadn't noticed. Beneath the warped wooden planks of the bridge only sand and stones remained. That's queer. The stream was running low when we left, but it was running.
...
The silvery gray planks creaked heavily as Dunk walked out onto the bridge, to frown down at the sand and stones below. A few small brown pools glistened amongst the rocks, he saw, none larger than his hand. "Dead fish, there and there, see?" The smell of them reminded him of the dead men at the crossroads.
"I see them, ser," said Egg.
Dunk hopped down to the streambed, squatted on his heels, and turned over a stone. Dry and warm on top, moist and muddy underneath. "The water can't have been gone long." Standing, he flicked the stone sidearm at the bank, where it crashed through a crumbling overhang in a puff of dry brown earth. "The soil's cracked along the banks, but soft and muddy in the middle. Those fish were alive yesterday." -The Sworn Sword

The sidearm throw is another interesting through line that seems to match with the stones, the moon meteors, the bow shot. I don't have anything particularly intelligible to say regarding that, just a seed to be planted.

Martin has repeatedly used the statement that no one wakes up thinking about what evil thing they will do today. He states people are heroes of their own stories and villains are simply heroes of the other side. In the same vein demons are also gods, simply gods of the other side.

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Archmaester Haereg takes a very different view, suggesting that the true crime of the "black-blooded" kings was neither impiety nor demon-worship, but tolerance. For it was under the Hoares that the Faith of the Andals came to the Iron Islands for the first time. -The Black Blood, TWOIAF

What kind of major assholes would see tolerance as demonic? Well the type of people that enjoy the Old Way, that revel in war and death. To allow a god (or gods) that preach forgiveness would certainly be seen as evil by such a people.

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What mad cruel god would give a man eyes and tell him he must forever keep them shut, and never look at all the beauty in the world? Only a monster god, a demon of the darkness. -Samwell IV, AFFC

>PLACEHOLDER FOR MAPS [Note to reader: My photoshop skills are a bit rustier than I expected so I'll be working over the weekend to get those done and added in.]

You will notice there are hands in the maps all over the place I have highlighted. These are possible locations where these Breaking events occurred and left their mark as they reach desperately for the lands that they were once connected to.

You will also notice the burning hand of Valyria and there are the Broken Arm motifs all over the place as well. This is most clearly evidenced between Jon (who burned his hand fighting a wight in AGOT) and Jaime (who had his sword hand cut off). Likewise Euron and Victarion are set up for this same motif: Victarion has his burning volcanic arm, courtesy of Moqorro. Victarion thinks on a comment regarding Euron: 

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Victarion found himself remembering Baelor Blacktyde's words as well. "Balon was mad, Aeron is madder, and Euron is maddest of them all." -The Reaver, AFFC

Euron himself states the connection to the broken armed character.

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A king must needs be open-handed, he tried to tell himself, but another voice whispered, Euron's gifts are poisoned. -The Reaver, AFFC

Victarion also opens and closes is hand at one point, just as Jon does throughout the series. He always flexes his burned hand whenever thinking about fighting or going to war, to keep it limber. This ties to the TWOW play The Bloody Hand and in meereen Dany is given a bloody gauntlet to signify war with her previously conquered cities. Euron also has his hand filled with blood right before he vows to steal Daenerys, as the archetypal Wildling-esque Thief, in a chapter ending line no less.

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When Victarion opened his hand, his palm was red with blood. "I'll go to Slaver's Bay, aye. I'll find this dragon woman, and I'll bring her back." But not for you. You stole my wife and despoiled her, so I'll have yours. The fairest woman in the world, for me. -The Reaver, AFFC

The idea of the gods being mad is all over the place. Simply searching mad god yields plenty of results on that front.

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That made her laugh. "Men are mad and gods are madder," she told the grass, and the grass murmured its agreement. -Daenerys X, ADWD

I want to make a quick digression back to the notion that Jaime will be a king of sorts by the end, rather fitting for an individual that ran from power every opportunity to seize it. Like Cincinnatus or in the American myth of the Founding Fathers, George Washington, a man who takes power because it is necessary and gives up the mantle once his duty is done.

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She fumbled in the water, found a stone the size of her fist, pulled it from the mud. It was a poor weapon but better than an empty hand. From the corner of her eye Dany saw the grass move again, off to her right. The grass swayed and bowed low, as if before a king, but no king appeared to her. -Daenerys X, ADWD

Here we have the stone serving as this symbolic mud character which I have evidenced heavily is Jaime and the grass bows, as if before a king. The king is not in sight because she holds his symbol in her hand. Back to the maps.

As I stated before all this hand imagery is likely due to reaching for the heart of the fallen star, which is in simple terms a magic stone from space. This ties back to the event that marked Arthur's crowning as king: pulling a magic sword from a magic stone. So Lightbringer is Martin's Excalibur of sorts, but as I've explained repeatedly, this is not for a single king to rule over a single land justly and wisely forever. This is not a fairy tale.

I submit that this is also the reason the Others are advancing for the first time in who knows how long. They are attempting to reach the culmination of this crowning moment and be the ones to attain the power during the next ritualized godhead fight.

But what exactly would cause this particular personification of the land shown in the maps? Well, we've already gone over it in Varamyr's prologue: an individual quite literally skinchanging an entire landmass. Varamyr himself states Jon Snow is more powerful than he knows and we know Bran is tapped to be the next greenseer, who are said to be capable of unimaginable magical power. As I've argued before we don't really know where the roof on Bran's power is: just as we began to see his development under Bloodraven, witnessing him glimpse through time we are taken away from his POV for the rest of ADWD.

If Bran is the one to skinchange the land, at least in part, it explains these hands digging into the sea quite well: he has no use of his legs and (assuming no outside help) must quite literally claw his way across the ground by dragging himself with both hands outstretched in the same manner.

I would also like to put forth the notion that due to this event we may see the Eyrie as the white city across the Blackwater Rush. It has been set up to have an "avalanche" occur, due to a comment in a Catelyn chapter early on. I'm not the first to notice this potential for the Eyrie to fall from its heights and the idea has been discussed elsewhere before, although I personally haven't seen discussion of its fall in relation to King's Landing.

It makes a fair amount of sense as well: it is a massive castle of white stone seated atop a mountain above the clouds and serves as a nice comet sword, which would appear to fall from the heavens no less. I must admit the logistics make wonder how the fuck that would actually happen but I suppose logic only takes you so far when it comes to world-altering levels of magic.

So in conclusion: will this breaking, this destruction of the godhead(s) result in magic leaving the world as it does in LotR? Or will this simply be creating a new cycle, a new status quo, a new magical entity that holds a brighter hope regarding a more sensible use of war and might? Personally I lean towards the latter, eternal optimist that I am.

In many world traditions, spiritual, religious and secular there is emphasis on the interlinked nature of destruction and creation. The question that stands, if this is the case, is what will this new creation be, what will be the outcome of the Breaking and the Field of Fire? An answer we can only paw and speculate at until it is written of course.

 

This marks the end to my rambles. If you've made it this far I hope you've enjoyed it! There will be one last part, an "outro" to this melody I've played for you fine forum folk. It shouldn’t match the size of any of the parts to precede it (I've been wrong regarding such claims before so we'll see) but contains what I whole-heartedly believe to be the most potent revelations to come out of these essays regarding Martin’s mythos. It will be posted sometime within the month... whenever I feel the time is right.

In the meantime feel free to discuss or ask questions.

 

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Put those words to a song, And you still might get it wrong
It's always better if you taste the real thing
-Sing When No One's Around, The Reign of Kindo, Play With Fire

The wheel's still spinning and it's coming around,
All it takes is a spark to burn it all down
-A Mouth Full of Hollow Threats?, RX Bandits, ...And The Battle Begun

How'd we lose our place, Who decided our fate
Decay until we we're erased, Idly wasting away?
Well, the nightmare's ending soon
-The Moon / Awake, The Dear Hunter, Act V: Hymns with the Devil in Confessional

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On 8/1/2017 at 11:27 PM, Cowboy Dan said:

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

This is interesting to me in another context...  The oath of the Night's Watch which I interpret as three key players:

The sword in the darkness/the fire that burns against the cold - Jon Snow

The the watcher on the walls/the horn that wakes the sleepers - Sam Tarley  

The shield that guards the realms of men/the light that brings the dawn - Jaime Lannister
 

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A Storm of Swords - Jaime VIII

Yet here he was.

The table itself was old weirwood, pale as bone, carved in the shape of a huge shield supported by three white stallions. By tradition the Lord Commander sat at the top of the shield, and the brothers three to a side, on the rare occasions when all seven were assembled. The book that rested by his elbow was massive; two feet tall and a foot and a half wide, a thousand pages thick, fine white vellum bound between covers of bleached white leather with gold hinges and fastenings. The Book of the Brothers was its formal name, but more often it was simply called the White Book.

Within the White Book was the history of the Kingsguard. Every knight who'd ever served had a page, to record his name and deeds for all time. On the top left-hand corner of each page was drawn the shield the man had carried at the time he was chosen, inked in rich colors. Down in the bottom right corner was the shield of the Kingsguard; snow-white, empty, pure. The upper shields were all different; the lower shields were all the same. In the space between were written the facts of each man's life and service. The heraldic drawings and illuminations were done by septons sent from the Great Sept of Baelor three times a year, but it was the duty of the Lord Commander to keep the entries up to date.

 

When you speak of 'clusters'; there are more references to shields in Jaime's POV than any other.  The same with Jon and swords, Sam and the horn and the wall.

The Kingsguard (brotherhood) is an inversion of the Night's Watch with their snow-white shield, garments and armor.  Jaime  sits at the head of a table made of weirwood in the shape of a shield.  Well, my goodness... why weirwood?  LOL  Not exactly the Round Table, but close enough.

I came across a YT interview recently where Martin discusses the pace of his writing where he may only ponder a phrase or a word.  Of course, now I can't find it but it comes to mind in this discussion of clusters.
 

Quote

 

A Feast for Crows - The Captain Of Guards

"What do you mean to do about his death?"

The prince turned his chair laboriously to face her. Though he was but two-and-fifty, Doran Martell seemed much older. His body was soft and shapeless beneath his linen robes, and his legs were hard to look upon. The gout had swollen and reddened his joints grotesquely; his left knee was an apple, his right a melon, and his toes had turned to dark red grapes, so ripe it seemed as though a touch would burst them. Even the weight of a coverlet could make him shudder, though he bore the pain without complaint. Silence is a prince's friend, the captain had heard him tell his daughter once. Words are like arrows, Arianne. Once loosed, you cannot call them back. "I have written to Lord Tywin—"

 

 

Quote

 

On Speculation and Theories of How A Song of Ice and Fire Will End:

“I’ve been planting all these clues that the butler did it, then you’re halfway through a series and suddenly thousands of people have figured out that the butler did it, and then you say the chambermaid did it? No, you can’t do that.

I’ve wrestled with this issue, because I do want to surprise my readers. I hate predictable fiction as a reader, I don’t want to write predictable fiction…I want to surprise and delight my reader and take them in directions they didn’t see coming. But I can’t change the plans. That’s one of the reasons I used to read the early fan boards back in the 90s but stopped. One, I didn’t have the time, but two is this very issue. So many readers were reading the books with so much attention that they were throwing up some theories and while some of those theories were amusing bullshit and creative, some of the theories are right. At least one or two readers had put together the extremely subtle and obscure clues that I’d planted in the books and came to the right solution.

So what do I do then? Do I change it! I wrestled with that issue and I came to the conclusion that changing it would be a disaster, because the clues were there. You can’t do that, so I’m just going to go ahead. Some of my readers who don’t read the boards, which thankfully there are hundreds of thousands of them, will still be surprised and other readers will say: ‘see, I said that four years ago, I’m smarter than you guys’.”

 

http://www.pajiba.com/trade_news/george-r-r-martin-claims-female-fans-want-more-gay-sex-scenes-and-talks-the-song-of-ice-and-fire-ending.php

Edited by LynnS

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Hey, LynnS, glad to see you're reading along. Always a pleasure to hear from you!

14 hours ago, LynnS said:

The sword in the darkness/the fire that burns against the cold - Jon Snow

The the watcher on the walls/the horn that wakes the sleepers - Sam Tarley  

The shield that guards the realms of men/the light that brings the dawn - Jaime Lannister

Interesting catch. This is the kind of thing I love about the series. I feel I find some pretty interesting connections but then I see something that makes me think, "Welp! Never would have gotten that."

I did mention the etymology of Lannister with Lann in Latin also meaning scales, the natural shield of dragons, so that matches up really well! Jaime was mentioned by Ned and Barristan that he should have taken the Black, which seems to support the notion.  As for Jon I have argued he is mostly relegated to the shadows which would make him, as you point out, a sword in the darkness.

14 hours ago, LynnS said:

Well, my goodness... why weirwood?  LOL

Haha good catch. Keep reading and you'll see my take on why that is. :) 

14 hours ago, LynnS said:

I came across a YT interview recently where Martin discusses the pace of his writing where he may only ponder a phrase or a word.  Of course, now I can't find it but it comes to mind in this discussion of clusters.

I would be very interested to see that interview but it seems to contradict other claims he's made on how he returns to a chapter over and over again until he gets it just right. Sounds (to me anyway) like the work ethic of someone who does seek that type of precision.

 

As for the last quote I have seen that before and it's a good one. Of course I hope I'm right about the broad strokes and I'm sure I am getting at least some of the details wrong or mixed up. But hey, maybe it's all just amusing bullshit.

Looking forward to anything else you might add as you wend your way through the post.

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On 8/21/2017 at 6:46 PM, Cowboy Dan said:

Haha fair enough. You're still doing the re-read though, right? Is that the best place to find your most recent comments/thoughts?

Cluster-fuck is a great description. This stuff gets confusing! Since I'll be talking about stolen identity a bit this sort of dualistic role played by the same individual occurs in a lot of places. Like King Arthur, one's mind becomes 'muddled' trying to sort it all out.

I'm trying to stay away from show discussion here and stick to the books but I've certainly noticed some interesting symbolism in the show. Perhaps I will create a show topic after this is done and point to some of the stuff I've noticed.

  Reveal hidden contents

For instance you mentioned the Night King. Joffrey has his golden stag antler crown with points like fire but is poisoned and chokes to death. His body, once laid in the sept, has the stones of blue eyes and a blue shaft of light (blue/orange lights are ice/fire symbolism in the show) shining down on him. He's symbolically representing the undead Night King there.

RE: WoT stuff. We've talked a bit about it before and I agree that asoiaf is influenced by or at least homages WoT directly. I haven't read it myself so any conjecture on my part in relation to WoT is shooting in the dark.

As for the reincarnation stuff that's pretty interesting! I mentioned Jaime echoes Daemon a lot. In one instance Jaime thinks how Tyrion, not Jaime, is the one that goes to brothels and frequents whores, which is a Daemon trait. It feels like Martin nudging the reader saying "Jaime may drink and gamble with his men like Daemon but Tyrion is the one that visits whores as Daemon did. You notice that?" Not sure what it could mean, just an interesting observation.

 

As I'll be getting to and pointing out in today's entry the cluster of the blue flower, honey/bees, sweet poisons, etc. are all indicative of the godhead. The fact that Bael left the blue flower seems to me to imply it is not representative of sex or stealing a maidenhead, since he did steal her but left the flower. Not only did he take her maidenhead, he stole her entirely and the blue flower was a ruse to draw attention from his real goal, the product of the Stark bloodline.

Rhaegar likewise stole Lyanna, the daughter of the Stark bloodline, in order to (presumably) give her a child, only after giving her the crown of blue roses. If it was symbolic of taking her maidenhead wouldn't Rhaegar be taking the blue roses instead of giving them to her?

I definitely agree that blue is indicative of death but the Blue Bard also uses blue rosewater to sweeten his clothes and is stolen (imprisoned) himself in a reversal of Bael's story. He tells the lies Cersei wants but is captured by the Faith and goes mad. As I've pointed out I think Jon goes mad, so it all seems to relate indirectly.

Also blue, particularly "pale blue" (in opposition to "pale pink") which I'll get to, is very often used to denote the Others/wights and those blue roses/flowers. Perhaps blue is not referring to organic death but the un-death of those subsumed by the godhead?

 

I definitely want to get into 'chink' more but not atm. I will say there is a use of 'chink' with Catelyn at the Battle of the Whispering Wood which is followed shortly by her thinking of Robb as the baby that Ned left behind before going to war. Seems to fit with your whole sex, betrayal, death, birth order. Ned/Cat have sex, Starks/Robert are betrayed by Aerys and Brandon/Rickard are killed while Lyanna/Cat have children on far sides of the realm. Also Dany has that same order: her & Drogo have sex, MMD betrays Drogo, Drogo becomes vegetative (brain death) and the child is born (but dies). The same order may occur with the birth of dragons but I'd have to look back at it, I'm a bit fuzzy.

I'm sorry that I haven't had the time to keep up, but I'll keep poking away...

The blue roses of Winterfell are flowers - so if you pluck one they die. I do appreciate the association you've made with the godhead, because when believers of the old gods die they join the godhead. The white walkers and wights have blue eyes which seems to connect ice magic to their creation, which could be a connection back to the godhead and the act of dying in order to resurrect someone to a different sort of life.

I understand the temptation to believe Rhaegar stole Lyanna, but I am not a believer. It is of course the official Westeros story and approved by King Robert Baratheon, but I believe Lyanna's kidnapping replicated an origin story of an earlier Storm Lord, Duran lord of Storm's End who took the maidenhead of a divine being, Elenei, daughter of the god of the sea and goddess of the wind. Elenei chose to give up her maidenhead and marry Duran, and that choice included giving up her divinity and becoming mortal. Thus the act of relinquishing her maidenhead, her "blue rose" led to her mortality. The story does not mention a child. I think we're so focused on the child that Bael left that we overlook the rest of the story.  Recall that Littlefinger blames the "singer" in Lyssa's death, but we know it wasn't his fault, which makes me wonder if the Bael story isn't a coverup for incest?

Could it be then that the blue rose is more closely associated with sacrificing "something" in order to achieve a different sort of life? "Death" has to be included in order to achieve this different sort of life. Elenei gave up her magical divinity and became a mortal human. She's a parallel inversion to the Other that the 13th Lord Commander saw from atop the Wall. And Duran built walls that could withstand angry gods. Later on we learn the Nights King's followers are sacrificing to the Others. What were they sacrificing? I think we can confidently conclude they were sacrificing human lives, and maybe even children if we're to recall Craster's "I'm a godly man" belief that causes him to sacrifice his sons. 

It's the Stark blood that is special for ice magic, and I do acknowledge that it could be meaningful for Rhaegar to want a child with skinchanging ability, but my biggest obstacle with this is the fairy tale trope this route would take and I don't believe GRRM would take the standard trope route! I think he wants us to believe it, but that he wants to surprise us with a twist. 

 

 

Edited by Feather Crystal

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