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Tana Snow

Why wouldn't the four Brazen Beasts let Quentyn and his companions passed?

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The day's word was supposed to be dog. Why wouldn't they let them pass?

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"They may ask for a word," the Tattered Prince had warned them when he handed over the bundle. 'It's dog."

"You are certain of that?" Gerris had asked him.

"Certain enough to wager a life upon it."

The prince did not mistake his meaning. "My life."

"That would be the one."

"How did you learn their word?"

"We chanced upon some Brazen Beasts and Meris asked them prettily. But a prince should know better than to pose such questions, Dornish. In Pentos, we have a saying. Never ask the baker what went into the pie. Just eat."

Just eat. There was wisdom in that, Quentyn supposed.

 

Edited by Tana Snow

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33 minutes ago, Tana Snow said:

The day's word was supposed to be dog. Why wouldn't they let them pass?

 

Well like it says in the quote you gave they tortured some Brazen Beasts to get the password, if these men where missed before they got to the door, the word might have been changed.

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21 minutes ago, direpupy said:

Well like it says in the quote you gave they tortured some Brazen Beasts to get the password, if these men where missed before they got to the door, the word might have been changed.

Maybe they just had orders not to let anyone into the pit regardless of whether or not they had the code; or maybe the code was changed in the time between them getting it and using it which is quite possible considering Barristan's coup was going down at the same time. Maybe the Brazen Beasts captured by the Windblown just lied.

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I think this is the other passage relevant to your question:

Four Brazen Beasts stood guarding the door. Three held long spears; the fourth, the serjeant, was armed with short sword and dagger. His mask was wrought in the shape of a basilisk's head. The other three were masked as insects.
Locusts, Quentyn realized. "Dog," he said.
 
The serjeant stiffened.
 
That was all it took for Quentyn Martell to realize that something had gone awry. "Take them," he croaked, even as the basilisk's hand darted for his shortsword.
 
He was quick, that serjeant. The big man was quicker. He flung the torch at the nearest locust, reached back, and unslung his warhammer. The basilisk's blade had scarce slipped from its leather sheath when the hammer's spike slammed into his temple, crunching through the thin brass of his mask and the flesh and bone beneath. The serjeant staggered sideways half a step before his knees folded under him and he sank down to the floor, his whole body shaking grotesquely.
 
Quentyn stared transfixed, his belly roiling. His own blade was still in its sheath. He had not so much as reached for it. His eyes were locked on the serjeant dying before him, jerking. The fallen torch was on the floor, guttering, making every shadow leap and twist in a monstrous mockery of the dead man's shaking. The prince never saw the locust's spear coming toward him until Gerris slammed into him, knocking him aside. The spearpoint grazed the cheek of the lion's head he wore. Even then the blow was so violent it almost tore the mask off. It would have gone right through my throat, the prince thought, dazed.
 
Gerris cursed as the locusts closed around him. Quentyn heard the sound of running feet. Then the sellswords came rushing from the shadows. One of the guards glanced at them just long enough for Gerris to get inside his spear. He drove the point of his sword under the brass mask and up through the wearer's throat, even as the second locust sprouted a crossbow bolt from his chest.

The last locust dropped his spear. "Yield. I yield."

"No. You die." Caggo took the man's head off with one swipe of his arakh, the Valyrian steel shearing through flesh and bone and gristle as if they were so much suet. "Too much noise," he complained. "Any man with ears will have heard."
 
"Dog," Quentyn said. "The day's word was supposed to be dog. Why wouldn't they let us pass? We were told …"
 
"You were told your scheme was madness, have you forgotten?" said Pretty Meris. "Do what you came to do." (ADwD, The Dragontamer)
 
In terms of plot, the wiki suggests this explanation: " The Tattered Prince had given them the code word to be used by the Brazen Beasts that day (dog), but with Barristan Selmy's coup occurring at the same time, the Brazen Beasts guarding the door are not aware of the code word." That may be more conjecture than confirmed fact - the first set of guards outside the dragon lair had accepted the password; the next set did not.
 
The Brazen Beasts wear a variety of animal masks, which is why Quentyn's group could easily disguise themselves using some of the same masks provided by the Tattered Prince. It's possible that the first or second group of guards were also imposters - possibly they either accepted or rejected the code word because of their secret identities or loyalties.
 
In terms of literary interpretation, there are a lot of interesting things going on here. The word "dog" obviously appears throughout the books in meaningful ways: dogs at Winterfell are scared of the direwolves and won't fight them in the feast hall for bones; The Hound guards Joffrey but loves Sansa and guides Arya; Ramsay Snow / Bolton has a pack of dogs named after women he has tortured and killed; dogs show up to sniff the dead bodies of Weese and Joffrey; there is probably wordplay around the words "dog" and "god" (and possibly "dragon"). So the codeword working in one instance but failing at the next door is probably linked to the larger motif of dogs and their meaning or role in the books. (If anyone works out all of that symbolism, please post about it in this forum!)
 
Re-reading this time around also raises the possibility that this passage echoes Tyrion and the Shy Maid's passage through the Sorrows. The boat passes through without incident the first time but finds that it must pass through a second time and is suddenly attacked by the plague-carrying greyscale victims. In that situation, fAegon froze when he was threatened by the stone man with the broken leg; Tyrion jumped in front of fAegon, saving "the prince" but getting himself knocked overboard until he is saved by Jon Connington. In this passage, Quentyn freezes as the guards draw weapons but Gerris hits one of the "locusts" in the face with his warhammer and soon dispatches other guards with the help of Caggo and his Valyrian steel blade.
 
As with many of the parallel plot situations or echoes in the books, I don't think the author wants us to find a one-to-one correspondence; he wants us to see that history doesn't repeat itself but it does rhyme. So fAegon is like Quentyn in that they are both princes (maybe) and would-be suitors for Daenerys, and they both freeze in these surprise attack situations. But Tyrion isn't really like Gerris Drinkwater in any obvious way. And Jon Connington pulls Tyrion out of the river, contracting greyscale in the process, but we don't have an obvious match for him in the Quentyn scene unless it's Ser Barristan, who watches over the burned Quentyn in his deathbed.
 
I think a better guess might be that there are two "princes" in the Shy Maid scene at the Sorrows: fAegon and Tyrion. Just as Gerris saves prince Quentyn from the Serjeant, Tyrion saves fAegon from the stone man and then Connington saves Tyrion from the river (or the Shrouded Lord).
 
Just to complicate things, I hadn't made the connection before this reading, but the phrases, "Yield. I yield" are associated with the death of Lommy Greenhands. This occurs just as Gendry, Arya and Hot Pie are taken into Harrenhal along with many small folk rounded up from the countryside. In that scenario, you could make a case that Gendry and Arya are two princes (or a prince and a princess). I suspect there is symbolism of Westeros first men royalty connected to Lommy, however, because he has the name Greenhands like the legendary Garth Greenhands.
 
Further complications arise from the names Gerris Drinkwater and Quentyn, connected to "kingmaker" Quentyn "Fireball" Ball, who died while taking a drink of water. (I believe he was shot in the throat, similar to Lommy who was stabbed in the throat.) ADwD leaves us with the impression that Quentyn Martell died in a fireball. Quentyn Ball also saved a "prince," preventing the kingsguard from taking Daemon Blackfyre and thus enabling the Blackfyre rebellions to go forward.
 
Your question is a good one! It links to a lot of interesting parallel ideas, as you can see. I have been thinking that there should be a good discussion of guards in this forum - King's, rainbow, Night's Watch, City Watch, guards of jail cells, wardens, etc. Quentyn Ball was a rejected kings guard wannabee, and he went and guarded another would-be king when he was not given the position he felt he had been promised. The scene you brought up and the parallels from other passages show us a lot of guarding behaviors. Maybe some other people will have ideas about guarding and we can have that discussion here or in another thread.
 

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After Hizdahr relieved Skahaz, he gave command of the Brazen Beasts to his cousin. Those regular Brazen Beasts expected Dog. But Skahaz's Brazen Beasts employed for coup expected locust. So, those Brazen Beasts that blocked Quentyn were Skahaz's. 

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7 hours ago, Tana Snow said:

The day's word was supposed to be dog. Why wouldn't they let them pass?

 

If you ask me what 2+2 equals, and I say 15 that is going to draw some raised eyebrows.

 

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What LM said -- the conspiracy to arrest Hizdahr led the Brazen Beasts to be part of Skahaz's conspiracy, with a different code word than what the regular bunch had.

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