Lew Theobald

Curious Character Parallels

49 posts in this topic

I have found two separate cases, where there are curious parallels between 2 different pairs of separated characters.  I shall present each case in the form of a puzzle.  Note that (unless I mess this up somehow) each case has TWO correct answers to it.

PUZZLE #1

(1).  I am very large, being about 6'8" or 6'10". 
(2).  I either am, or appear to be, about 29 years old.
(3).  I have sustained severe injuries on one side of the face. 
(4).  I object to being called "Ser". 
(5).  I have sustained a sword wound to my upper thigh. 
(6).  I have sustained injuries to my forearm. 
(7).  My eyes are either blue by daylight, or grey by torchlight. 
(8).  I am a superb sword fighter. 
(9).  I have served on a kingsguard, but am not a knight. 
(10).  I won a tournament, in which the climax involved Loras Tyrell and an alleged dirty trick. 
(11).  I fled from my kingsguard employment, and am considered a fugitive by former allies.. 
(12).  I have been seen wandering the midlands in the company of a child; most recently at the Crossroads Inn. 
(13).  I was badly injured in a fight at the Crossroads Inn against multiple adversaries, after which I was denied mercy by a vengeful Stark female. 

Who am I?  Or, who accurately, who are we?

Give up?  I am

Sandor Clegane and/or Brienne of Tarth

PUZZLE #2

(1) My first name rhymes with “baldric”; my last name rhymes with “brain”.
(2) I am about 12 years old; 
(3) I am very shy; 
(4) I have lost my father; 
(5) I have served as a squire for a Lord; 
(6) I have loyally stayed with my Lord, in a battle at or near a river involving fiery missiles; 
(7) I have saved my injured Lord, by pulling him from a river; 
(8) I am familiar with Dornish heraldry; or at least it may be inferred that I am; 
(9) I have lost the lord I squired for; 
(10) I was last seen in the Riverlands, with the Brotherhood Without Banners;  
(11) My whereabouts are currently unknown. 

Who am I?  Or, more accurately, who are we?

Give up?  I am

Edric Dayne and/or Podrick Payne

FINALLY

When you solve the puzzles, I'd like your thoughts.  What do these parallels mean?  What is GRRM up to?  Or does anyone imagine these parallels are mere coincidence?

Edited by Lew Theobald

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#1 is Sandor Clegane, the Hound, and Brienne of Tarth.

 

#2 is Edric Dayne and Podric Payne.

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#1: Sandor & Brienne

(now gonna read clues for #2)

#2: Pod & Edric Dayne (although Tyrion is not a lord)

Edited by kissdbyfire

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49 minutes ago, kissdbyfire said:

(although Tyrion is not a lord)

Maybe by some definitions.  But he certainly gets referred to as one often enough.

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2 hours ago, Lew Theobald said:

What do these parallels mean?

The Hound and Brienne are pretty obvious. They're both in the story primarily as examinations of the concepts of knighthood and honor, and we're meant to compare and contrast them (and probably to use them both as counterpoints to main character Jaime, although obviously Brienne serves that role more directly than Sandor, except maybe early in AGoT).

Brienne wants to be a knight, but never can be, and doesn't need to be because she already embodies the ideals of knighthood better than most knights. Sandor lost his desire to be a knight when his brother burned him for playing with a knight toy, and abandoned it for good when that same brother was knighted.

Brienne hasn't yet faced the same test that Jaime faced (and that has defined his life ever since) of conflicting oaths, and is about to do so early in TWoW (or already has, but we haven't seen the results yet). Sandor doesn't need that test, because he's already worked out that neither honor nor morality spring from vows of service. But his conclusion was that neither honor nor morality are attainable in the first place—until he found himself compelled to try to save Sansa, which put him on the (long, difficult) road to redemption.

Brienne has a hard time figuring out who she can and can't trust, probably because of the way she was treated by men as a young woman. Sandor has the same problem, because he grew up in a family that he couldn't trust. But they both deal with it in different ways. Brienne thinks she's a reasonably trusting person and is wrong; Sandor thinks he trusts no one and is just as wrong.

Brienne is still teaching Pod how to be a knight so he can be honorable and good. Sandor is teaching Arya how not to be a knight so she can survive.

And so on.

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1 hour ago, falcotron said:

They're both in the story primarily as examinations of the concepts of knighthood and honor ...

Yes, I do think that the idea of knighthood is somehow involved.  This might help explain why the other couple in puzzle #2 is a pair of a squires.

But I think that symbolism cannot be the primary explanation.  

Some of the similarities are so superficial.  When Sandor objects to being called "ser" he means he is not a knight, and when Brienne objects to being called "ser", she means that she's a woman.   The dirty trick that helped win Sandor the tournament was totally different from the dirty trick that helped win Brienne the tournament.  Yet somehow, for some reason, it has been set up that it is possible to use the same words to describe them.

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Nice! Great parallels. I wonder what they mean for the big picture. Brienne & Sandor started at opposite ends of the spectrum. Maybe they will both wind up in the middle? 

I can't think of anything the Edric/Podric parallels could be pointing to. 

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4 hours ago, Lew Theobald said:

I have found two separate cases, where there are curious parallels between 2 different pairs of separated characters.  I shall present each case in the form of a puzzle.  Note that (unless I mess this up somehow) each case has TWO correct answers to it.

PUZZLE #1

(1).  I am very large, being about 6'8" or 6'10". 
(2).  I either am, or appear to be, about 29 years old.
(3).  I have sustained severe injuries on one side of the face. 
(4).  I object to being called "Ser". 
(5).  I have sustained a sword wound to my upper thigh. 
(6).  I have sustained injuries to my forearm. 
(7).  My eyes are either blue by daylight, or grey by torchlight. 
(8).  I am a superb sword fighter. 
(9).  I have served on a kingsguard, but am not a knight. 
(10).  I won a tournament, in which the climax involved Loras Tyrell and an alleged dirty trick. 
(11).  I fled from my kingsguard employment, and am considered a fugitive by former allies.. 
(12).  I have been seen wandering the midlands in the company of a child; most recently at the Crossroads Inn. 
(13).  I was badly injured in a fight at the Crossroads Inn against multiple adversaries, after which I was denied mercy by a vengeful Stark female. 

Who am I?  Or, who accurately, who are we?

Give up?  I am

  Hide contents

Sandor Clegane and/or Brienne of Tarth

 

PUZZLE #2

(1) My first name rhymes with “baldric”; my last name rhymes with “brain”.
(2) I am about 12 years old; 
(3) I am very shy; 
(4) I have lost my father; 
(5) I have served as a squire for a Lord; 
(6) I have loyally stayed with my Lord, in a battle at or near a river involving fiery missiles; 
(7) I have saved my injured Lord, by pulling him from a river; 
(8) I am familiar with Dornish heraldry; or at least it may be inferred that I am; 
(9) I have lost the lord I squired for; 
(10) I was last seen in the Riverlands, with the Brotherhood Without Banners;  
(11) My whereabouts are currently unknown. 

Who am I?  Or, more accurately, who are we?

Give up?  I am

  Hide contents

Edric Dayne and/or Podrick Payne

 

Impressive. Most impressive. 

4 hours ago, Lew Theobald said:FINALLY

 

FINALLY

When you solve the puzzles, I'd like your thoughts.  What do these parallels mean?  What is GRRM up to?  Or does anyone imagine these parallels are mere coincidence?

I got nothin. 

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2 hours ago, Lew Theobald said:

Maybe by some definitions.  But he certainly gets referred to as one often enough.

Yeah, I agree. 

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1 hour ago, falcotron said:

The Hound and Brienne are pretty obvious. They're both in the story primarily as examinations of the concepts of knighthood and honor, and we're meant to compare and contrast them (and probably to use them both as counterpoints to main character Jaime, although obviously Brienne serves that role more directly than Sandor, except maybe early in AGoT).

Brienne wants to be a knight, but never can be, and doesn't need to be because she already embodies the ideals of knighthood better than most knights. Sandor lost his desire to be a knight when his brother burned him for playing with a knight toy, and abandoned it for good when that same brother was knighted.

Brienne hasn't yet faced the same test that Jaime faced (and that has defined his life ever since) of conflicting oaths, and is about to do so early in TWoW (or already has, but we haven't seen the results yet). Sandor doesn't need that test, because he's already worked out that neither honor nor morality spring from vows of service. But his conclusion was that neither honor nor morality are attainable in the first place—until he found himself compelled to try to save Sansa, which put him on the (long, difficult) road to redemption.

Brienne has a hard time figuring out who she can and can't trust, probably because of the way she was treated by men as a young woman. Sandor has the same problem, because he grew up in a family that he couldn't trust. But they both deal with it in different ways. Brienne thinks she's a reasonably trusting person and is wrong; Sandor thinks he trusts no one and is just as wrong.

Brienne is still teaching Pod how to be a knight so he can be honorable and good. Sandor is teaching Arya how not to be a knight so she can survive.

And so on.

Sounds good. The George uses Dunk and Davos too. He has Maester Luwin state it succinctly...

Quote

"To be a knight, you must stand your vigil in a sept, and be anointed with the seven oils to consecrate your vows. In the north, only a few of the great houses worship the Seven. The rest honor the old gods, and name no knights . . . but those lords and their sons and sworn swords are no less fierce or loyal or honorable. A man's worth is not marked by a ser before his name. As I have told you a hundred times before."

 

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Fun. Nice job.

4 hours ago, Lew Theobald said:

When you solve the puzzles, I'd like your thoughts.  What do these parallels mean?  What is GRRM up to?  Or does anyone imagine these parallels are mere coincidence?

Well, in my opinion, I think what you did was to point out a great example of how George likes to use his own themes in his books. The end result of the different inspirations he draws from. I say this often, and he does it from his old books in to ASOIAF as well, and now we can see a great example in the current world.

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1 hour ago, Lyanna<3Rhaegar said:

Nice! Great parallels. I wonder what they mean for the big picture. Brienne & Sandor started at opposite ends of the spectrum. Maybe they will both wind up in the middle? 

Maybe each will wind up the opposite opposite end.

Quote

I can't think of anything the Edric/Podric parallels could be pointing to. 

Well, Pod and Brienne are already associated.  Does this foreshadow an Edric / Sandor association?  And what does that imply?

Edited by Lew Theobald

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1 hour ago, Lew Theobald said:

Yes, I do think that the idea of knighthood is somehow involved.  This might help explain why the other couple in puzzle #2 is a pair of a squires.

Good point. I haven't put nearly as much thought into the story and themes around Edric as these other characters, but it looks like it could be rewarding to try.

39 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

The George uses Dunk and Davos too. He has Maester Luwin state it succinctly...

Oh, that's an interesting connection, especially after his whole tease about Brienne being Dunk's descendant. And he shares some of these connections, while being the exact opposite on others (e.g., he desperately wants people to call him Ser).

In particular, do we know if Dunk was ever properly knighted before he joined the KG? I know Ser Arlan never knighted him, but he misled Egg into believing otherwise (and outright lied about it to Ashford's steward), so it may well be that nobody ever did so.

1 hour ago, Lew Theobald said:

But I think that symbolism cannot be the primary explanation.

Why not? Everyone but the main characters is there for two purposes: their effect on the main characters, and the themes they let GRRM explore. I don't think there's going to be some major plot twist where some character confuses the two. And what you're dismissing as symbolism here is the way GRRM ties these characters together so he can explore the knighthood themes.

Sure, it's redundant to make this many separate connections, but redundancy is good, especially for things you expect most readers to only pick up subconsciously—otherwise they may well not pick it up at all. You can find such redundancy in most non-hack literature, including other words by GRRM and all over this series.

For example, a friend of mine is trying to get me to watch a video that points out ten times similar wording used to demonstrate Brienne's inner beauty and Cersei's outer beauty. And without even watching it, I'll bet most of the comparisons are valid but also superficial, but they won't sell me on their conclusion (which I'm guessing is that Brienne therefore must be the only possible candidate for the younger and more beautiful one who will bring Cersei down).

1 hour ago, Lew Theobald said:

Yet somehow, for some reason, it has been set up that it is possible to use the same words to describe them.

Are you suggesting that there actually is going to be some plot twist involving some character hearing a description of Sandor with all kinds of details and thinking it's about Brienne instead leading to some wacky and/or tragic misunderstanding?

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Your pairs are in indeed eerily alike in detail as well as broad stroke. I have never examined any pairs in this detail but I have thought there is a lot of repetition of types. e.g. Jon Connington with his romanticism and exile is quite a similar type to Jaime.

There was thread once pointing out a disconcerting similarity between Cersei and Lisa - if you take away the difference in looks - they both occupied a sort of 'evil stepmother' role in regard to Sansa, they are both smothering their children, they have both got some power now they are widowed but proceed to mess things up...

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8 hours ago, Lew Theobald said:

Maybe each will wind up the opposite opposite end.

Well, Pod and Brienne are already associated.  Does this foreshadow an Edric / Sandor association?  And what does that imply?

Yes! Although I have a hard time seeing Brienne getting to the point Sandor was - but it could happen. 

An Edric/Sandor pair would be great

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14 hours ago, Lew Theobald said:

(1).  I am very large, being about 6'8" or 6'10". 
(2).  I either am, or appear to be, about 29 years old.
(4).  I object to being called "Ser".

The parallels are of course there, but I don't think any of these particular ones are true for Brienne. She's not that tall, she's more like 19 than 29, and considering she's a woman she seems to tolerate being called "ser" a surprising amount. You'd think after the tenth "Ser? My lady?" she'd have got fed up of it, but apparently not...

Edited by Ser Petyr Parker

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1 hour ago, Ser Petyr Parker said:

She's not that tall, she's more like 19 than 29, and considering she's a woman she seems to tolerate being called "ser" a surprising amount. You'd think after the tenth "Ser? My lady?" she'd have got fed up of it, but apparently not...

Brienne is 4 inches taller than Renly, who is almost as tall as King Robert.

Brienne is roughly 19, but, when last seen by Jaime, she seems to have aged 10 years.  Hence, she appears to be about 29.  Hence the wording of the puzzle ("am, or appear to be").

Both do object to being called "Ser" (but in different contexts and for different reasons, and without necessarily denying that they tolerate it on other occasions).  I leave it to you to decide what the parallel means.

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19 hours ago, Lew Theobald said:

I have found two separate cases, where there are curious parallels between 2 different pairs of separated characters.  I shall present each case in the form of a puzzle.  Note that (unless I mess this up somehow) each case has TWO correct answers to it.

When you solve the puzzles, I'd like your thoughts.  What do these parallels mean?  What is GRRM up to?  Or does anyone imagine these parallels are mere coincidence?

They are definitely not coincidence. In other threads, people have pointed out that GRRM subscribes to the "history doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme" school of thought. (The statement is attributed to Mark Twain, I think, but scholars doubt he used those precise words).

I've shared the idea that chains and ring mail in the stories are a metaphor for the author's idea of storytelling: each ring is the same shape as all the others, and connected to all the others, but each one is its own ring. So a maester's chain contains similarly-sized and shaped rings made of different materials, and each represents a different kind of knowledge. Ring mail is connected in several directions - horizontally and vertically to create a fabric - a fabric used for protection. Tyrion's giant chain across the Blackwater is an interesting defensive and destructive chain that I haven't quite figured out - if chains represent storytelling, does the Blackwater chain foreshadow Tyrion's future role as an historian?

As @falcotron points out, repetition (or allusion, archetypes, rhyming - whatever you want to call the various literary tools used to create pattern) is a hallmark of thoughtful literature.

I hadn't noticed before that knights (or non-knights) and squires might be singled out for parallel roles. I have seen that crone figures seem to have things in common - they are associated with dressing people and are often accompanied by fools or singers. And I've speculated that there is a pattern to the "Will" characters - Willas Tyrell, Wylla the wet nurse, possibly Willow Heddle - and/or the Jeyne/Jenny characters. Maybe GRRM has put more detail into the similarities of parallel knights, or maybe you just did a better job of pointing out those similarities than I have done.

Another of my favorite sets of parallel characters might fit with your examples and help us get to GRRM's purpose in creating these patterns:

1) To achieve my dream job, a female family member was sacrificed.

2) I wanted to pledge/prove myself to a monarch, but I was rejected.

3) My death or near death is associated with getting a drink of water.

4) I am (or might very well be) a kingmaker.

Well, I'm not nearly as skilled as the OP in creating riddles. Or maybe my reach exceeds my grasp. So I won't hide the people I have in mind here: Quentyn "Fireball" Ball, Glendon "Fireball" Flowers and Quentyn Martell.

1) QB forced his wife to join the Silent Sisters to smooth his path to the Kings Guard. Glendon's sister gave up her virginity in a brothel so a knight would grant knighthood to Glendon. QM's sister wasn't sacrificed, but she thought she was. This is not a perfect fit for clue #1, obviously. It might be that Quentyn giving up his dream of marrying an Yronwood sister is the story element that fits this part of the pattern. Or his mother's departure from Dorne. Or maybe we haven't yet seen the sacrifice that goes with Quentyn Martell's arc.

2) QB wanted to be in the Kings Guard but was not offered a spot after being strung along. Glendon was prevented from showing his full prowess as a knight and winning a dragon's egg and was instead framed for theft of the egg. QM was rejected as a husband by Dany.

3) QB was shot in the throat while getting a drink of water before the battle of Redgrass Field. The Glendon Flowers connection to drinking water is a little more complex - I count the death of Alyn Cockshaw in a well as the "drink of water" element for Glendon's story. Glendon had defeated Alyn in jousting during the tournament. QM has a close friend named Gerris Drinkwater. (If Quenty survived his dragon encounter in ADWD, I suspect the pattern I've outlined here will indicate that Gerris is the burned-beyond-recognition guy who died in Dany's bed. "Fireball" being another element in common among these three characters.)

4) QB turned to the Blackfyres when he was rejected by the Targaryens, helping to persuade Daemon to seek the throne and rescuing him from the Kingsguard of Daeron II at one point. Glendon was badly treated by the Blackfyres and will now probably be a Targaryen loyalist. (But his failure to obtain the dragon egg may also represent that he was failed to reach his Targaryen goal.) Arianne compares her brother, Quentyn, to Criston Cole, known as the Kingmaker. Quentyn was rejected by a Targaryen and his sister is now on her way to cut a deal with fAegon. Draw your own conclusions about a possible Blackfyre connection there.

Like chain mail, though, there may be connections in other directions. To the pattern you identified for Brienne / The Hound, for example: Glendon isn't the Knight of Flowers, but his bastard surname is Flowers and he is an amazing tournament fighter, like Ser Loras. There is also a ball / juggling connection, I suspect, that links QB and Glendon "Fireball" Flowers to other jugglers such as Littlefinger, Butterbumps and the direwolf Ghost. The fireball element, of course, alludes to the comet sited all over the planet in ASOIAF and taken as a sign of things to come. As a witness to the impaling death of the Green Grace of Astapor, Quentyn Martell is also linked to a Butcher King motif I've been trying to sort out (and that would, once again, link him back to Gregor and Sandor Clegane). So parallels abound.

Good topic! I'll be interested to see which other parallel characters the forum can identify.

Edited by Seams

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20 hours ago, falcotron said:

Are you suggesting that there actually is going to be some plot twist involving some character hearing a description of Sandor with all kinds of details and thinking it's about Brienne instead leading to some wacky and/or tragic misunderstanding?

I would not use those words, but I don't think we can rule out that this is a setup for some kind of fake-out, 

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