ravenous reader

POEMS (or other sundry quotes) that remind you of ASOIAF -- V2

18 posts in this topic

Hi everyone and welcome to our V2 POEMS thread!

Thank you to all for making our first POETRY thread such a great success -- what a stimulating discussion we've had!   @Pain killer Jane, @LmL, @Blue Tiger, @Wizz-The-Smith@Cridefea, @Unchained, @Durran Durrandon, @hiemal, @YOVMO, @Walda, @Isobel Harper, @Tijgy, @Meera of Tarth@LynnS, @Bironic@Seams, @King Merrett I Frey, @Frey family reunion, @The Fattest Leech, @Lykos, @dannicus, @Feather Crystal, @Cowboy Dan, @SummerSphinx, @Jon's Queen Consort, @aDanceWithFlagons, @Good Guy Garlan , @cgrav, @LiveFirstDieLater, @Dorian Martell's son, @Lady of Harmony, @Quoth the raven, @Weirwood Ghost, @Blackwater Revenant, @Voice, and last-but-not-least @40 Thousand Skeletons --

With all your thoughtful contributions, you've enriched our appreciation of the text, and my life on a personal note, more than you could know.  Although I'm a bit sad that the thread has been locked (probably due to its length with over 400 posts and more than 20 pages...), I'm also pleased by and proud of its resounding popularity, ultimately having attracted more than 15000 views, which attests to poetry's enduring resonance; hence, its ability to answer the call of the 'human heart in conflict with itself,' if not solve all of GRRM's mysteries!

I originally was moved to start such a thread in response to a tacit challenge issued by my dear friend the dragon (aka @LmL), with whom I've memorably hashed though the symbolic undergrowth and taken many celestial flights, one day questioning poetry's relevance to the enterprise before us of attempting to decipher GRRM's meaning, or at least achieve a deeper understanding of the text.  As I recall, he had dismissed Shakespeare -- which is ironic, given that GRRM right at the beginning of the journey places a nod to William Shakespeare via 'Will,' as the main protagonist and 'naughty greenseer' archetype from whose point of view we experience the GOT Prologue.   At the time, I found LmL's curious 'resistance to poetry' amusing (irony always amuses me), given that I've encountered few frequenting these parts so evidently demonstrating as much poetic flair in their writing as he! 

Yes, the poetic can be found in the most surprising of places, and people (even those who protest against it...); and, as such, possesses the power to pierce through our preconceptions and prejudices, enabling us to see in a new light, to catch a glimpse, however briefly, of the elusive truth of both the other and our very self.  Another whom I've found to be refreshingly poetic (or perhaps he's just adept at operating 'the Google' to rapidly locate fitting poetic ripostes to all my clever offerings...;)) is @Dorian Martell's son.  He has introduced me to several thought-provoking poems I had never hitherto encountered.  In our recent interchange -- you could call it a 'love-hate affair' -- Dorian wittily argued with both me and John Donne (the latter one of the most renowned poets of all time specifically for the elegant construction of his witty metaphysical arguments), sparked by my unwelcome attempt to compliment Dorian on his wit ('nope', you can't win with that one...)!

This is a sample of our (poetry) duel:

 
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On 10/29/2017 at 7:34 PM, ravenous reader said:

P.S.  There is not a soul on the forum(s) who can match your wit.  That must be lonely...;)

 

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On 10/29/2017 at 7:56 PM, Dorian Martell's son said:

what are you talking about? my wit is miniscule compared to some here

 
 
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On 10/29/2017 at 8:09 PM, ravenous reader said:

 
 
THE PROHIBITION.
by John Donne

 

 

            TAKE heed of loving me ;
At least remember, I forbade it thee ;
Not that I shall repair my unthrifty waste
Of breath and blood, upon thy sighs and tears,
By being to thee then what to me thou wast ;
But so great joy our life at once outwears.
Then, lest thy love by my death frustrate be,
If thou love me, take heed of loving me.

            Take heed of hating me,
Or too much triumph in the victory ;
Not that I shall be mine own officer,
And hate with hate again retaliate ;
But thou wilt lose the style of conqueror,
If I, thy conquest, perish by thy hate.
Then, lest my being nothing lessen thee,
If thou hate me, take heed of hating me.

            Yet love and hate me too ;
So these extremes shall ne'er their office do ;
Love me, that I may die the gentler way ;
Hate me, because thy love's too great for me ;
Or let these two, themselves, not me, decay ;
So shall I live thy stage, not triumph be.
Lest thou thy love and hate, and me undo,
O let me live, yet love and hate me too. 

 

 
 
To which Dorian deftly countered with:
 
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It lies not in our power to love or hate,
For will in us is overruled by fate.
When two are stripped, long ere the course begin,
We wish that one should love, the other win;

And one especially do we affect
Of two gold ingots, like in each respect:
The reason no man knows; let it suffice
What we behold is censured by our eyes.

Where both deliberate, the love is slight:
Who ever loved, that loved not at first sight? 
 
CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE
 

(As a little bit of trivia, it's funny that Kit Harington was named by his parents for Christoper -- nicknamed 'Kit' -- Marlowe and recently performed in Marlowe's play 'Dr Faustus'!)

 

Anyway, with all this talk of 'love and hate,' we'd better invite both Shakespeare and GRRM to also have their say on the topic (note the playful oxymorons):

 

Here’s much to do with hate but more with love.

Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate,

O anything of nothing first created!

O heavy lightness, serious vanity,

Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms!

Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health,

Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!

This love feel I, that feel no love in this.

Dost thou not laugh?

 

-- Romeo, from Romeo and Juliet, Act 1 Scene 1

 

 

A Storm of Swords - Bran II

"Because they're different," he insisted. "Like night and day, or ice and fire."

"If ice can burn," said Jojen in his solemn voice, "then love and hate can mate. Mountain or marsh, it makes no matter. The land is one."

"One," his sister agreed, "but over wrinkled."

 

This may actually be my favourite ASOIAF quote -- I think 'one-but-over-wrinkled' perfectly describes the style/construction (described as a 'fractal' concept by @LmL) of GRRM's writing, as well as the philosophy behind it!

 

For those of you unfamiliar with the first poetry thread, you might like reading my original introduction to that, which I've replicated here as follows, in order to get an idea of what it's about:

Spoiler

 

As some of you may have noticed, I like poetry and will sometimes quote a poem in the middle of a post -- which might seem bizarre to you at times.  Nevertheless, "Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle. Who knows?" (AGOT-Jon II); so it's neither unusual nor outlandish for some of GRRM's themes to have been reflected in other literary works, including poems.  Moreover, GRRM is an extremely well-read and allusive author, who enjoys giving a reverent, sometimes cheeky nod to other authors who have shaped his vision, borrowing from them in spirit, and sometimes even going so far as quoting snippets from them verbatim, so it's fun to pick up on those literary references.  

I invite you to join me in sharing poems (or other quotes from the literary canon and/or popular culture, e.g. quoting lyrics from songs, etc.-- the original meaning of 'song' was 'poem') that remind you of ASOIAF for some reason, whatever reason-- your creativity is welcome, so don't worry about 'derailing' this thread!  This is one thread I predict can not be derailed, since as I said, 'many roads lead to the same castle,' so I predict we'll be circling back on ourselves arriving back where we started, many times over, circling in on the elusive heart of the castle.

You may quote your poem without leaving an explanation; or if you prefer you may leave a brief (or lengthy...) accompanying comment, explaining the rationale behind why you associate that particular excerpt with ASOIAF, which I'd always be most interested in reading.  

As I mentioned above, the original meaning of 'song' is poetry, since bearing historical witness in the oral tradition (before written records were widely available) was easier for the bard to remember in rhyme.  First and foremost, 'The Song of Ice and Fire' is a 'song' -- a kind of poetic utterance -- and importantly though GRRM is the one 'singing' it, it's not a piece for one.  It's not a solo; it's a dialogue for many voices.  This may surprise you, but it's dawned ;) on me that the most important word in the title is neither 'song' nor 'ice' nor 'fire,' as is commonly presumed -- it's 'AND.'  This is something we can only do together.  Paradoxically, even when we're out of tune, off-time, brazenly dissonant, or singing our own song, we're part of and -- for better or for worse -- can never exit this song, not even when we die.

The etymology of 'poetry' also reveals something interesting about our enterprise in this respect:

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Poiesis. Poïesis (Ancient Greek: ποίησις) is etymologically derived from the ancient Greek term ποιέω, which means "to make". This word, the root of our modern "poetry", was first a verb, an action that transforms and continues the world.

Poetry is not merely an artifact; it's the way we tell our stories -- and thereby make ourselves and our world.

Have fun.  Remain good-humored and open-minded to each other's contributions.  And remember -- we all proceed from one another's thoughts as well as preceding others to come --so in the end no one really has exclusive ownership of any given thought, and that should give us pause to always be respectful of one another, which is a way of paying respect to ourselves and the long tradition out of which we emerge and has brought us here where we find ourselves now.

 

 

[P.S.  In hindsight, it turns out that I was right about the castle, as I predicted... ]

 

So -- WHAT IS POETRY? -- As I've mentioned, poetry takes many surprising forms and expressions and resists neat pigeonholing.  Here are three definitions of poetry which I enjoy pondering, as offered by three well-known poets -- the first in particular dedicated to those of you who profess to 'dislike it' (poetry and/or my thread/s... :)), in which Moore famously described poetry as the seemingly contradictory 'imaginary gardens with real toads in them...' (which is kind of apt, considering GRRM claims to be a 'gardener'...):

 

Poetry

I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond
      all this fiddle.
   Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
      discovers that there is in
   it after all, a place for the genuine.
      Hands that can grasp, eyes
      that can dilate, hair that can rise
         if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
      they are
   useful; when they become so derivative as to become
      unintelligible, the
   same thing may be said for all of us—that we
      do not admire what
      we cannot understand. The bat,
         holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless
      wolf under
   a tree, the immovable critic twinkling his skin like a horse
      that feels a flea, the base-
   ball fan, the statistician—case after case
      could be cited did
      one wish it; nor is it valid
         to discriminate against “business documents and

school-books”; all these phenomena are important. One must
      make a distinction
   however: when dragged into prominence by half poets,
      the result is not poetry,
   nor till the autocrats among us can be
     “literalists of
      the imagination”—above
         insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them,
      shall we have
   it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand, in defiance
       of their opinion—
   the raw material of poetry in
      all its rawness, and
      that which is on the other hand,
         genuine, then you are interested in poetry.

MARIANNE MOORE

 

 

"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?” 

EMILY DICKINSON

 

 

"Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance."

CARL SANDBURG

 

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A Game of Thrones - Arya II

"Just so. Now we will begin the dance. Remember, child, this is not the iron dance of Westeros we are learning, the knight's dance, hacking and hammering, no. This is the bravo's dance, the water dance...

 

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A Game of Thrones - Prologue

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."

Allow me to let you in on a secret hiding in plain sight -- Ice is Water! -- therefore their magics must be related, as reflected in the symmetry of GRRM's word choices, so dancing with a sword of ice 'alive with moonlight' decked in icy armor likened earlier in the Prologue to 'moonlight running on water' is doing the 'water dance'.  It's the 'dance' of the greenseers, and it's poetry in motion (it's also related to 'the killing word,' but I won't bore you with that today...):

 

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A Dance with Dragons - Tyrion V

"The conquerors did not believe either, Hugor Hill," said Ysilla. "The men of Volantis and Valyria hung Garin in a golden cage and made mock as he called upon his Mother to destroy them. But in the night the waters rose and drowned them, and from that day to this they have not rested. They are down there still beneath the water, they who were once the lords of fire. Their cold breath rises from the murk to make these fogs, and their flesh has turned as stony as their hearts."

 

The World of Ice and Fire - Ancient History: Ten Thousand Ships

The largest army that Essos had ever seen soon assembled at Chroyane, under the command of Prince Garin. According to Beldecar, it was a quarter of a million strong. From the headwaters of the Rhoyne down to her many mouths, every man of fighting age took up sword and shield and made his way to the festival city to join this great campaign. So long as the army remained beside Mother Rhoyne, the prince declared, they need not fear the dragons of Valyria; their own water wizards would protect them against the fires of the Freehold.

I bet you the so-called 'water wizards' or 'greensea-ers,'  as I like to call them, are also responsible for calling forth the Others!  (P.S.  Note the allusion to Amergin's Invocation)

Here's a further clue that 'water-wizardry' is none other than 'greenseeing,' and moreover that the Others emerge from the weirwood net.  Note that in this passage Osha functions symbolically as a Night's Queen / Other stand-in -- that's why GRRM has Summer sniff her suspiciously, because that's what direwolves do (they can 'smell the cold') to check if someone emerging from the underworld realm is (un)dead!:

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A Clash of Kings - Bran II

Hodor knew Bran's favorite place, so he took him to the edge of the pool beneath the great spread of the heart tree, where Lord Eddard used to kneel to pray. Ripples were running across the surface of the water when they arrived, making the reflection of the weirwood shimmer and dance. There was no wind, though. For an instant Bran was baffled.

And then Osha exploded up out of the pool with a great splash, so sudden that even Summer leapt back, snarling. Hodor jumped away, wailing "Hodor, Hodor" in dismay until Bran patted his shoulder to soothe his fears. "How can you swim in there?" he asked Osha. "Isn't it cold?"

"As a babe I suckled on icicles, boy. I like the cold." Osha swam to the rocks and rose dripping. She was naked, her skin bumpy with gooseprickles. Summer crept close and sniffed at her. "I wanted to touch the bottom."

 

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A Clash of Kings - Jon IV

The direwolf circled the fire, sniffing Jon, sniffing the wind, never still. It did not seem as if he were after meat right now. When the dead came walking, Ghost knew. He woke me, warned me. Alarmed, he got to his feet. "Is something out there? Ghost, do you have a scent?" Dywen said he smelled cold.

 

The idea of 'smelling cold' is an example of the literary device (and psychiatric phenomenon) of 'synesthesia' which, as suggested below, GRRM might be using to suggest a visionary / magically altered state of mind:

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Synesthesia

In description, a blending or intermingling of different sense modalities. While synesthesia appears in ancient literatures, including both the Iliad and Odyssey, it became especially popular in the 19th century through the work of poets such as Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud and the symbolist movement. Examples of synesthesia include Baudelaire’s “The Ragpickers’ Wine,” where he writes of “the dazzling, deafening debauch / of bugles.” In her heavily synesthetic poem “Aubade,” Dame Edith Sitwell describes the “dull blunt wooden stalactite / Of rain creaks, hardened by the light.” In George Meredith’s “Modern Love: I,” a woman’s heart is made to “drink the pale drug of silence.” Synesthetic effects include textual amplification, complication, and richness. Some poets, notably Percy Bysshe Shelley, have used synesthesia to suggest visionary states.
 

 

Edited by ravenous reader

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Wow! This is great stuff, @ravenous reader

I did not look into your poetry thread during the maiden run. I know little and less about poetry and felt like it would be over my head. I also had no idea that it would involve making these great connections like this 'water wizardry' idea! Of course it is foolish to think that you could possibly make a post that didn't have some sort of brilliant catch, insight, or connection. Silly me! Now I have to go back and read through the first run! 

Now this thread will have that cute little star next to it, forcing me to click on it to read what's been happening. I'm looking forward to learning a little about poetry and, of course, more about A Song of Ice AND Fire.

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I've been very curious about the Black River deep in the caverns:

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A Dance with Dragons - Bran III

 

The caves were timeless, vast, silent. They were home to more than three score living singers and the bones of thousands dead, and extended far below the hollow hill. "Men should not go wandering in this place," Leaf warned them. "The river you hear is swift and black, and flows down and down to a sunless sea. And there are passages that go even deeper, bottomless pits and sudden shafts, forgotten ways that lead to the very center of the earth. Even my people have not explored them all, and we have lived here for a thousand thousand of your man-years."

 

Kubla Khan By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Or, a vision in a dream. A Fragment.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree:

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

   Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round;

And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,

Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;

And here were forests ancient as the hills,

Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

 

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted

Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!

A savage place! as holy and enchanted

As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted

By woman wailing for her demon-lover!

And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,

As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,

A mighty fountain momently was forced:

Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst

Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,

Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:

And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever

It flung up momently the sacred river.

Five miles meandering with a mazy motion

Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,

Then reached the caverns measureless to man,

And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;

And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far

Ancestral voices prophesying war! 
 

   The shadow of the dome of pleasure

   Floated midway on the waves;

   Where was heard the mingled measure

   From the fountain and the caves.

It was a miracle of rare device,

A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice! 
 

   A damsel with a dulcimer

   In a vision once I saw:

   It was an Abyssinian maid

   And on her dulcimer she played,

   Singing of Mount Abora.

   Could I revive within me

   Her symphony and song,

   To such a deep delight ’twould win me, 

That with music loud and long,

I would build that dome in air,

That sunny dome! those caves of ice!

And all who heard should see them there,

And all should cry, Beware! Beware!

His flashing eyes, his floating hair!

Weave a circle round him thrice,

And close your eyes with holy dread

For he on honey-dew hath fed,

And drunk the milk of Paradise.

https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.264298

 

Edited by LynnS

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Just because every poetry thread deserves some Horatius:

 
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And in the nights of winter,
  When the cold north-winds blow,
And the long howling of the wolves
  Is heard amidst the snow;
When round the lonely cottage         570
  Roars loud the tempest’s din,
And the good logs of Algidus
  Roar louder yet within;
 
When the oldest cask is opened,
  And the largest lamp is lit;         575
When the chestnuts glow in the embers,
  And the kid turns on the spit;
When young and old in circle
  Around the firebrands close;
When the girls are weaving baskets,         580
  And the lads are shaping bows;
 
When the goodman mends his armor,
  And trims his helmet’s plume;
When the goodwife’s shuttle merrily
  Goes flashing through the loom;         585
With weeping and with laughter
  Still is the story told,
How well Horatius kept the bridge
  In the brave days of old.

 

My all time favorite poem...

http://www.bartleby.com/360/7/158.html

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Oh fun @ravenous reader! In my own little way I am happy for the closed thread. As winter will lead to spring anew, so we have a new poetry thread from you. Allow me to leave this little tidbit which I believe is reminiscent of the greenseers and/or possibly Bloodraven and is from good ole Sappho

 

He seems to me, that man, almost a god—
the man, who is face to face with you,
sitting close enough to you to hear
your sweet whispering

And your laughter, glistening, which
the heart in my breast beats for.
For when on you I glance, I do not,
not one sound, emit.

But my tongue snaps, lightly
runs beneath my flesh a flame,
and from my eyes no light, and rumbling
comes into my ears,

And my skin grows damp, and trembling
all over racks me, and greener than the grass
am I, and one step short of dying
I seem to myself.

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When people wrestle with the idea of gods and what they mean, and when I recognize the urge to insist on concrete certainty for stories that are deliberately mysterious, especially in their relationship between humans and nature, this section from Wallace Stevens's "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction" comes to mind. It would be good advice to a Red Priest looking for someone to burn alive:

It Must Be Abstract

I

Begin, ephebe, by perceiving the idea
Of this invention, this invented world,
The inconceivable idea of the sun.

You must become an ignorant man again
And see the sun again with an ignorant eye
And see it clearly in the idea of it.

Never suppose an inventing mind as source
Of this idea nor for that mind compose
A voluminous master folded in his fire.

How clean the sun when seen in its idea,
Washed in the remotest cleanliness of a heaven
That has expelled us and our images . . .

The death of one god is the death of all.
Let purple Phoebus lie in umber harvest,
Let Phoebus slumber and die in autumn umber,

Phoebus is dead, ephebe. But Phoebus was
A name for something that never could be named.
There was a project for the sun and is.

There is a project for the sun. The sun
Must bear no name, gold flourisher, but be
In the difficulty of what it is to be.

 

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Hey there @ravenous reader  :D

Awesome job with the first poetry thread, it was a resounding success and extremely enjoyable reading.  I look forward to the development of this new version and to reading more of your great ideas/thoughts.   

Seeing as we have previously discussed your green sea/greensee - weirwood net catch, plus my hills connections, I thought this an apt poem to leave in your new thread.  :cheers:
 

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The Sea And The Hills  --  Rudyard Kipling

Who hath desired the Sea? -- the sight of salt water unbounded --
The heave and the halt and the hurl and the crash of the comber wind-hounded?
The sleek-barrelled swell before storm, grey, foamless, enormous, and growing --
Stark calm on the lap of the Line or the crazy-eyed hurricane blowing --
His Sea in no showing the same his Sea and the same 'neath each showing:
His Sea as she slackens or thrills?
So and no otherwise -- so and no otherwise -- hillmen desire their Hills!

Who hath desired the Sea? -- the immense and contemptuous surges?
The shudder, the stumble, the swerve, as the star-stabbing bow-sprit emerges?
The orderly clouds of the Trades, the ridged, roaring sapphire thereunder --
Unheralded cliff-haunting flaws and the headsail's low-volleying thunder --
His Sea in no wonder the same his Sea and the same through each wonder:
His Sea as she rages or stills?
So and no otherwise -- so and no otherwise -- hillmen desire their Hills.

Who hath desired the Sea? Her menaces swift as her mercies?
The in-rolling walls of the fog and the silver-winged breeze that disperses?
The unstable mined berg going South and the calvings and groans that declare it --
White water half-guessed overside and the moon breaking timely to bare it --
His Sea as his fathers have dared -- his Sea as his children shall dare it:
His Sea as she serves him or kills?
So and no otherwise -- so and no otherwise -- hillmen desire their Hills.

Who hath desired the Sea? Her excellent loneliness rather
Than forecourts of kings, and her outermost pits than the streets where men gather
Inland, among dust, under trees -- inland where the slayer may slay him --
Inland, out of reach of her arms, and the bosom whereon he must lay him
His Sea from the first that betrayed -- at the last that shall never betray him:
His Sea that his being fulfils?
So and no otherwise -- so and no otherwise -- hillmen desire their Hills. 

 

    

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Go and catch a falling star, 
Get with child a mandrake root, 
Tell me where all past years are, 
Or who cleft the devil's foot, 
Teach me to hear mermaids singing, 
Or to keep off envy's stinging, 
And find 
What wind 
Serves to advance an honest mind. 

If thou be'st born to strange sights, 
Things invisible to see, 
Ride ten thousand days and nights, 
Till age snow white hairs on thee, 
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me, 
All strange wonders that befell thee, 
And swear, 
No where 
Lives a woman true, and fair. 

If thou find'st one, let me know, 
Such a pilgrimage were sweet; 
Yet do not, I would not go, 
Though at next door we might meet; 
Though she were true, when you met her, 
And last, till you write your letter, 
Yet she 
Will be 
False, ere I come, to two, or three.

by John Donne

 

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Thou fair-haired angel of the evening, 
Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains, light 
Thy bright torch of love; thy radiant crown 
Put on, and smile upon our evening bed! 
Smile on our loves, and while thou drawest the 
Blue curtains of the sky, scatter thy silver dew 
On every flower that shuts its sweet eyes 
In timely sleep. Let thy west wing sleep on 
The lake; speak silence with thy glimmering eyes, 
And wash the dusk with silver. Soon, full soon, 
Dost thou withdraw; then the wolf rages wide, 
And the lion glares through the dun forest. 
The fleeces of our flocks are covered with 
Thy sacred dew; protect with them with thine influence.

by William Blake
Edited by LiveFirstDieLater

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On 11/1/2017 at 9:44 PM, OtherFromAnotherMother said:

Wow! This is great stuff, @ravenous reader

I did not look into your poetry thread during the maiden run. I know little and less about poetry and felt like it would be over my head. I also had no idea that it would involve making these great connections like this 'water wizardry' idea! Of course it is foolish to think that you could possibly make a post that didn't have some sort of brilliant catch, insight, or connection. Silly me! Now I have to go back and read through the first run! 

Now this thread will have that cute little star next to it, forcing me to click on it to read what's been happening. I'm looking forward to learning a little about poetry and, of course, more about A Song of Ice AND Fire.

Hi Other!  Welcome to our poetry thread :).  I'm sure you'll like engaging with poetry.  Poetry is about the capacity to hold two or more competing interpretations in mind at once -- the 'AND' of which I spoke... -- and, as we've ascertained in our 'Bran coma dream' discussion, entertaining alternate viewpoints, even assuming perspectives different to your own, comes naturally to you!  I'm glad you like my 'water=ice wizardry' idea.  Besides water (liquid) and ice (solid), the other phase of water, namely water vapour... 'mist' and 'fog'... (gas), is also manipulated by the greenseers, as @Wizz-The-Smith and @evita mgfs have noted:

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How many eyes does Lord Bloodraven have? the riddle ran. A thousand eyes, and one. Some claimed the King's Hand was a student of the dark arts who could change his face, put on the likeness of a one-eyed dog, even turn into a mist. Packs of gaunt gray wolves hunted down his foes, men said, and carrion crows spied for him and whispered secrets in his ear.

The Mystery Knight

Bloodraven is associated with using mist as a weapon -- so he's skinchanging water, as it were!

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The ground was so far below him he could barely make it out through the grey mists that whirled around him, but he could feel how fast he was falling, and he knew what was waiting for him down there. Even in dreams, you could not fall forever. He would wake up in the instant before he hit the ground, he knew. You always woke up in the instant before you hit the ground.

And if you don't? the voice asked.

The ground was closer now, still far far away, a thousand miles away, but closer than it had been. It was cold here in the darkness. There was no sun, no stars, only the ground below coming up to smash him, and the grey mists, and the whispering voice. He wanted to cry.

Not cry. Fly.

...

Bran was falling faster than ever. The grey mists howled around him as he plunged toward the earth below. "What are you doing to me?" he asked the crow, tearful.

Teaching you how to fly.

The three-eyed crow is associated with 'grey mists'.  Moreover, the 'grey mists howl,' as if they were wolves.  That's a Stark thing -- perhaps @LiveFirstDieLater is correct that the three-eyed crow is not Bloodraven; moreover, perhaps @LynnS is onto something with her suggestion that the three-eyed crow is Jon Snow.  Either Jon, Bloodraven, or another Lord Commander of the Night's Watch -- a 'crow' is a Night's Watchman;  'the crow,' using the definite article, is the leader; and a 'three-eyed' one is a greenseer.  The other alternative to consider is the Night's King.

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 The nightfires had burned low, and as the east began to lighten the immense mass of Storm's End emerged like a dream of stone while wisps of pale mist raced across the field, flying from the sun on wings of wind. Morning ghosts, she had heard Old Nan call them once, spirits returning to their graves

ACOK - Catelyn IV

 

Edited by ravenous reader

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On 11/1/2017 at 11:44 PM, LynnS said:

I've been very curious about the Black River deep in the caverns:

The cave is 'timeless' and 'time is a river'...

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The caves were timeless, vast, silent. They were home to more than three score living singers and the bones of thousands dead, and extended far below the hollow hill.

 

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Time is different for a tree than for a man. Sun and soil and water, these are the things a weirwood understands, not days and years and centuries. For men, time is a river. We are trapped in its flow, hurtling from past to present, always in the same direction. The lives of trees are different. They root and grow and die in one place, and that river does not move them...

I see you and @Lyanna<3Rhaegar were chatting about the potential 'Einstein-Rosen Bridge' allusion.  Revisiting that discourse, I was reminded of this quote by Stephen Hawking, which @Little Scribe of Naath once showed me, in which he also uses the analogy of time as a river:

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Time flows like a river and it seems as if each of us is carried relentlessly along by time's current. But time is like a river in another way. It flows at different speeds in different places and that is the key to travelling into the future. This idea was first proposed by Albert Einstein over 100 years ago. He realised that there should be places where time slows down, and others where time speeds up. He was absolutely right. 

[As you may have noticed, the forum's 'strikethrough demons' have obstinately struck through most of the rest of the text I wrote for you...I will try to repost later when I am feeling less 'ravenous'... :cheers:]

Edited by ravenous reader

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My formatting woes continue... :angry:

I will try to repost later.

 

Edited by ravenous reader
Forum's 'strikethrough demons'

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Hi @LynnS -- trying to post again :) (this website sometimes drives me bloody crazy...:bang:):

On 11/1/2017 at 11:44 PM, LynnS said:

I've been very curious about the Black River deep in the caverns

The cave is 'timeless' and 'time is a river'...

Quote

The caves were timeless, vast, silent. They were home to more than three score living singers and the bones of thousands dead, and extended far below the hollow hill.

 

Quote

Time is different for a tree than for a man. Sun and soil and water, these are the things a weirwood understands, not days and years and centuries. For men, time is a river. We are trapped in its flow, hurtling from past to present, always in the same direction. The lives of trees are different. They root and grow and die in one place, and that river does not move them...

I see you and @Lyanna<3Rhaegar  were chatting about the potential 'Einstein-Rosen Bridge' allusion.  Revisiting that discourse, I was reminded of this quote by Stephen Hawking, which  @Little Scribe of Naath once showed me, in which he also uses the analogy of time as a river:

Quote

Time flows like a river and it seems as if each of us is carried relentlessly along by time's current. But time is like a river in another way. It flows at different speeds in different places and that is the key to travelling into the future. This idea was first proposed by Albert Einstein over 100 years ago. He realised that there should be places where time slows down, and others where time speeds up. He was absolutely right. 

Could the 'black river' connecting to the 'sunless sea' refer, at least on a symbolic level, to a kind of magical portal, perhaps even a time portal?  In AGOT, we are introduced to the black pool at the foot of the heart tree, in which the weirwood broods on its own reflection.  Therefore, the suggestion is that the black water functions like a reflecting mirror or looking glass into another dimension; think of an obsidian scrying mirror used by the seer for purposes of divination (interestingly, in the context of our present discussion, the first scrying mirrors were black pools of water).  The upshot is that the black water smacks of mysticism and is connected to 'seers' and 'seeing' -- indeed, the mysterious flights of 'consciousness' itself!

According to my green sea/ see pun (see discussion at the end of POEMS V1 for a summary), the 'sunless sea' is an allusion to 'dark seeing' aka 'green seeing.'  

Likewise, Coleridge is referring to the visionary power of the poet -- the greenseer analogue here (just as the weirwood net is clearly configured as a living library of undead voices) -- who can create 'sunny dome and caves of ice' out of thin air, by the sheer force of his poetic voice, 'inner vision' or 'song' alone. 

I also believe the 'milk of paradise' is an allusion to opium, the poet's drug of choice, under the influence of which he had the vision inspiring this mesmerizing poem  -- morphine and other opioids are famous for inducing dreams; in fact, the root 'morph-' (='form'/'shape') of 'morphine' refers to this 'world-shaping' or 'shapeshifting,' if you will!  Because an overdose takes one dangerously close to death, and in many cases proves fatal, we can also interpret the 'black river' as the perilous verge carrying one down to 'the sunless sea,' which we can appreciate must refer to the 'underworld' or realm of death (Patchface's 'under the sea'). 

But as @Durran Durrandon astutely pointed out, being swept 'under the sea' is not synonymous with death, nor a final voyage, but rather refers to achieving a 'life-in-death' state (basically, the 'immortality' afforded by entering the weirnet).  Coleridge, like GRRM, seems to be intimating that one needs to take a risk and die a 'death' of sorts, in order to 'see through the veil,' accessing truth (a 'terrible knowledge' ), and produce poetry having in essence made 'the voyage back' to life, in order to write down the poem and transmit the experience to others.  The metaphor used for the transformation by rebirth is one of being 'drunk', or 'drowning'.

For example, here where Cat catches a glimpse of herself foreshadowing her fate as Lady Stoneheart (representing an instrument of the old gods, as indicated by the direwolf Nymeria-warged-by-Arya functioning as the psychopomp or 'end-of-life doula' or midwife to 'pull her out' of the green river, bringing to mind the greenseers...There's also a curious time inversion paradox of sorts at work here, as Arya, Cat's daughter, is symbolically 'giving birth' to her own mother!)

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A Storm of Swords - Arya XII

That night she went to sleep thinking of her mother, and wondering if she should kill the Hound in his sleep and rescue Lady Catelyn herself. When she closed her eyes she saw her mother's face against the back of her eyelids. She's so close I could almost smell her . . .

. . . and then she could smell her. The scent was faint beneath the other smells, beneath moss and mud and water, and the stench of rotting reeds and rotting men. She padded slowly through the soft ground to the river's edge, lapped up a drink, the lifted her head to sniff. The sky was grey and thick with cloud, the river green and full of floating things. Dead men clogged the shallows, some still moving as the water pushed them, others washed up on the banks. Her brothers and sisters swarmed around them, tearing at the rich ripe flesh.

The crows were there too, screaming at the wolves and filling the air with feathers. Their blood was hotter, and one of her sisters had snapped at one as it took flight and caught it by the wing. It made her want a crow herself. She wanted to taste the blood, to hear the bones crunch between her teeth, to fill her belly with warm flesh instead of cold. She was hungry and the meat was all around, but she knew she could not eat.

The scent was stronger now. She pricked her ears up and listened to the grumbles of her pack, the shriek of angry crows, the whirr of wings and sound of running water. Somewhere far off she could hear horses and the calls of living men, but they were not what mattered. Only the scent mattered. She sniffed the air again. There it was, and now she saw it too, something pale and white drifting down the river, turning where it brushed against a snag. The reeds bowed down before it.

She splashed noisily through the shallows and threw herself into the deeper water, her legs churning. The current was strong but she was stronger. She swam, following her nose. The river smells were rich and wet, but those were not the smells that pulled her. She paddled after the sharp red whisper of cold blood, the sweet cloying stench of death. She chased them as she had often chased a red deer through the trees, and in the end she ran them down, and her jaw closed around a pale white arm. She shook it to make it move, but there was only death and blood in her mouth. By now she was tiring, and it was all she could do to pull the body back to shore. As she dragged it up the muddy bank, one of her little brothers came prowling, his tongue lolling from his mouth. She had to snarl to drive him off, or else he would have fed. Only then did she stop to shake the water from her fur. The white thing lay face down in the mud, her dead flesh wrinkled and pale, cold blood trickling from her throat. Rise, she thought. Rise and eat and run with us.

 

Beautifully illustrating this concept, @Blue Tiger recently highlighted the following quote, whereby we can neatly identify that journeying 'north of the wall,' into 'the drowned forest,' and 'under the sea' are all synonymous symbolically:

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A Clash of Kings - Jon III

A blowing rain lashed at Jon's face as he spurred his horse across the swollen stream. Beside him, Lord Commander Mormont gave the hood of his cloak a tug, muttering curses on the weather. His raven sat on his shoulder, feathers ruffled, as soaked and grumpy as the Old Bear himself. A gust of wind sent wet leaves flapping round them like a flock of dead birds. The haunted forest, Jon thought ruefully. The drowned forest, more like it.

He hoped Sam was holding up, back down the column. He was not a good rider even in fair weather, and six days of rain had made the ground treacherous, all soft mud and hidden rocks. When the wind blew, it drove the water right into their eyes. The Wall would be flowing off to the south, the melting ice mingling with warm rain to wash down in sheets and rivers. Pyp and Toad would be sitting near the fire in the common room, drinking cups of mulled wine before their supper. Jon envied them. His wet wool clung to him sodden and itching, his neck and shoulders ached fiercely from the weight of mail and sword, and he was sick of salt cod, salt beef, and hard cheese.

 

 

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A Dance with Dragons - Bran III 

The caves were timeless, vast, silent. They were home to more than three score living singers and the bones of thousands dead, and extended far below the hollow hill. "Men should not go wandering in this place," Leaf warned them. "The river you hear is swift and black, and flows down and down to a sunless sea.And there are passages that go even deeper, bottomless pits and sudden shafts, forgotten ways that lead to the very center of the earth. Even my people have not explored them all, and we have lived here for a thousand thousand of your man-years."

 

Kubla Khan By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Or, a vision in a dream. A Fragment.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree:

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

   Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round;

And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,

Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;

And here were forests ancient as the hills,

Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

 

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted

Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!

A savage place! as holy and enchanted

As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted

By woman wailing for her demon-lover!

And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,

As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,

A mighty fountain momently was forced:

Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst

Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,

Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:

And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever

It flung up momently the sacred river.

Five miles meandering with a mazy motion

Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,

Then reached the caverns measureless to man,

And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;

And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far

Ancestral voices prophesying war!  
 

   The shadow of the dome of pleasure

   Floated midway on the waves;

   Where was heard the mingled measure

   From the fountain and the caves.

It was a miracle of rare device,

A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!  
 

   A damsel with a dulcimer

   In a vision once I saw:

   It was an Abyssinian maid

   And on her dulcimer she played,

   Singing of Mount Abora.

   Could I revive within me

   Her symphony and song,

   To such a deep delight ’twould win me, 

That with music loud and long,

I would build that dome in air,

That sunny dome! those caves of ice!

And all who heard should see them there,

And all should cry, Beware! Beware!

His flashing eyes, his floating hair!

Weave a circle round him thrice,

And close your eyes with holy dread

For he on honey-dew hath fed,

And drunk the milk of Paradise.

 

With the 'sunny dome' and 'caves of ice' Coleridge juxtaposes fire and ice. 

Here are two in our story who can be said to have 'drunk the [dreadful] milk of Paradise':

 

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A Dance with Dragons - Bran III

"For the next step. For you to go beyond skinchanging and learn what it means to be a greenseer."

"The trees will teach him," said Leaf. She beckoned, and another of the singers padded forward, the white-haired one that Meera had named Snowylocks. She had a weirwood bowl in her hands, carved with a dozen faces, like the ones the heart trees wore. Inside was a white paste, thick and heavy, with dark red veins running through it. "You must eat of this," said Leaf. She handed Bran a wooden spoon.

The boy looked at the bowl uncertainly. "What is it?"

"A paste of weirwood seeds."

Something about the look of it made Bran feel ill. The red veins were only weirwood sap, he supposed, but in the torchlight they looked remarkably like blood. He dipped the spoon into the paste, then hesitated. "Will this make me a greenseer?"

"Your blood makes you a greenseer," said Lord Brynden. "This will help awaken your gifts and wed you to the trees."

Bran did want to be married to a tree … but who else would wed a broken boy like him? A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees. A greenseer.

He ate.

It had a bitter taste, though not so bitter as acorn paste. The first spoonful was the hardest to get down. He almost retched it right back up. The second tasted better. The third was almost sweet. The rest he spooned up eagerly. Why had he thought that it was bitter? It tasted of honey, of new-fallen snow, of pepper and cinnamon and the last kiss his mother ever gave him. The empty bowl slipped from his fingers and clattered on the cavern floor. "I don't feel any different. What happens next?"

Leaf touched his hand. "The trees will teach you. The trees remember." He raised a hand, and the other singers began to move about the cavern, extinguishing the torches one by one. The darkness thickened and crept toward them.

 

 

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A Dance with Dragons - Bran III

There he sat, listening to the hoarse whispers of his teacher. "Never fear the darkness, Bran." The lord's words were accompanied by a faint rustling of wood and leaf, a slight twisting of his head. "The strongest trees are rooted in the dark places of the earth. Darkness will be your cloak, your shield, your mother's milk. Darkness will make you strong."

The moon was a crescent, thin and sharp as the blade of a knife. Snowflakes drifted down soundlessly to cloak the soldier pines and sentinels in white. The drifts grew so deep that they covered the entrance to the caves, leaving a white wall that Summer had to dig through whenever he went outside to join his pack and hunt. Bran did not oft range with them in those days, but some nights he watched them from above

 

 

 

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A Clash of Kings - Daenerys IV

"One flute will serve only to unstop your ears and dissolve the caul from off your eyes, so that you may hear and see the truths that will be laid before you."

Dany raised the glass to her lips. The first sip tasted like ink and spoiled meat, foul, but when she swallowed it seemed to come to life within her. She could feel tendrils spreading through her chest, like fingers of fire coiling around her heart, and on her tongue was a taste like honey and anise and cream, like mother's milk and Drogo's seed, like red meat and hot blood and molten gold. It was all the tastes she had ever known, and none of them . . . and then the glass was empty.

"Now you may enter," said the warlock. Dany put the glass back on the servitor's tray, and went inside.

 

 

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A Feast for Crows - Samwell III

Aemon's hand crept across the blankets, groping for Sam's arm. "We must go to the docks, Sam."

"When you are stronger." The old man was in no state to brave the salt spray and wet winds along the waterfront, and Braavos was all waterfront. To the north was the Purple Harbor, where Braavosi traders tied up beneath the domes and towers of the Sealord's Palace. To the west lay the Ragman's Harbor, crowded with ships from the other Free Cities, from Westeros and Ibben and the fabled, far-off lands of the east. And everywhere else were little piers and ferry berths and old grey wharves where shrimpers and crabbers and fisherfolk moored after working the mudflats and river mouths. "It would be too great a strain on you."

"Then go in my stead," Aemon urged, "and bring me someone who has seen these dragons."

"Me?" Sam was dismayed by the suggestion. "Maester, it was only a story. A sailor's story." Dareon was to blame for this as well. The singer had been bringing back all manner of queer tales from the alehouses and brothels. Unfortunately, he had been in his cups when he heard the one about the dragons and could not recall the details. "Dareon may have made up the whole story. Singers do that. They make things up."

"They do," said Maester Aemon, "but even the most fanciful song may hold a kernel of truth. Find that truth for me, Sam."

"I wouldn't know who to ask, or how to ask him. I only have a little High Valyrian, and when they speak to me in Braavosi I cannot understand half of what they're saying. You speak more tongues than I do, once you are stronger you can . . ."

"When will I be stronger, Sam? Tell me that."

"Soon. If you rest and eat. When we reach Oldtown . . ."

"I shall not see Oldtown again. I know that now." The old man tightened his grip on Sam's arm. "I will be with my brothers soon. Some were bound to me by vows and some by blood, but they were all my brothers. And my father . . . he never thought the throne would pass to him, and yet it did. He used to say that was his punishment for the blow that slew his brother. I pray he found the peace in death that he never knew in life. The septons sing of sweet surcease, of laying down our burdens and voyaging to a far sweet land where we may laugh and love and feast until the end of days . . . but what if there is no land of light and honey, only cold and dark and pain beyond the wall called death?"

He is afraid, Sam realized. "You are not dying. You're ill, that's all. It will pass."

"Not this time, Sam. I dreamed . . . in the black of night a man asks all the questions he dare not ask by daylight. For me, these past years, only one question has remained. Why would the gods take my eyes and my strength, yet condemn me to linger on so long, frozen and forgotten? What use could they have for an old done man like me?" Aemon's fingers trembled, twigs sheathed in spotted skin. "I remember, Sam. I still remember."

He was not making sense. "Remember what?"

"Dragons," Aemon whispered. "The grief and glory of my House, they were."

"The last dragon died before you were born," said Sam. "How could you remember them?"

"I see them in my dreams, Sam. I see a red star bleeding in the sky. I still remember red. I see their shadows on the snow, hear the crack of leathern wings, feel their hot breath. My brothers dreamed of dragons too, and the dreams killed them, every one. Sam, we tremble on the cusp of half-remembered prophecies, of wonders and terrors that no man now living could hope to comprehend . . . or . . ."

"Or?" said Sam.

". . . or not." Aemon chuckled softly. "Or I am an old man, feverish and dying." He closed his white eyes wearily, then forced them open once again. "I should not have left the Wall. Lord Snow could not have known, but I should have seen it. Fire consumes, but cold preserves. The Wall . . . but it is too late to go running back. The Stranger waits outside my door and will not be denied. Steward, you have served me faithfully. Do this one last brave thing for me. Go down to the ships, Sam. Learn all you can about these dragons."

Sam eased his arm out of the old man's grasp. "I will. If you want. I only . . ." He did not know what else to say. I cannot refuse him. He could look for Dareon as well, along the docks and wharves of the Ragman's Harbor. I will find Dareon first, and we'll go to the ships together. And when we come back, we'll bring food and wine and wood. We'll have a fire and a good hot meal. He rose. "Well. I should go, then. If I am going. Gilly will be here. Gilly, bar the door when I am gone." The Stranger waits outside the door.

Aemon, uncharacteristically insecure, struggling with his demons as he faces his own mortality and the 'unknowingness of the unknown' that comes with anticipating ones own death, as well as his (and therefore GRRM's...) expressed aphorism 'even the most fanciful song may hold a kernel of truth,' as he and Sam debate the existence of dragons, reminds me of the following Shakespeare quotes:

 

Hamlet. To be, or not to be- that is the question
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer 
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune 
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, 
And by opposing end them. To die- to sleep- 
No more; and by a sleep to say we end 
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks 
That flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation 
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die- to sleep. 
To sleep- perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub! 
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come 

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, 
Must give us pause. There's the respect 
That makes calamity of so long life. 
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, 
Th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, 
The pangs of despis'd love, the law's delay, 
The insolence of office, and the spurns 
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes, 
When he himself might his quietus make 
With a bare bodkin? Who would these fardels bear, 
To grunt and sweat under a weary life, 
But that the dread of something after death- 
The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn 
No traveller returns
- puzzles the will, 
And makes us rather bear those ills we have 
Than fly to others that we know not of? 
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, 
And thus the native hue of resolution 
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, 
And enterprises of great pith and moment 
With this regard their currents turn awry 
And lose the name of action.

Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act III Scene I

 

 

HIPPOLYTA

'Tis strange my Theseus, that these
lovers speak of.

THESEUS

More strange than true: I never may believe
These antique fables, nor these fairy toys.
Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
Are of imagination all compact
:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.

Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!

HIPPOLYTA

But all the story of the night told over,
And all their minds transfigured so together,
More witnesseth than fancy's images
And grows to something of great constancy;
But, howsoever, strange and admirable.

Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act V Scene I

 

 

[Hamlet's ghost appears to his friend Horatio after Hamlet's death...]

HORATIO

O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!

HAMLET

And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I Scene V

 

 

Edited by ravenous reader
Forum drives me bloody crazy

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Well, hello @ravenous reader, thanks for the invite to tinker with words.

There is a jackalope waiting for me to finish him for an order, so this first post may be a bit brief...

To any possible naysayers that assume someone like our GRRM would never dip his toe in poetry, I invite them to read many of GRRM's older work such as Dying of the Light, A Song for Lya, Under Seige, Fevre Dream, and a few more. Fevre Dream is a wonderfully written story about vampires along the river with the usual metaphors and themes he reuses in ASOIAF, including ships as stand-ins for humans, stars, eclipses, and a few key players we see take stage in ADWD in particular. We follow a gruff oaf of a man who you cannot help but love (and maybe tear up a little) by story's end. Certainly a man who has no "use" for poetry, only to find out that actual poems are the secret to unlocking a key mystery.

George uses Lord Byron in particular in this story, and this one specifically among a few others:

The Destruction of Sennacherib

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.
 
   Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.
 
   For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!
 
   And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride;
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.
 
   And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail:
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.
 
   And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!
 
The poem relates to the Biblical account of Sennacherib's attempted siege of Jerusalem. According to the story as related in 2 Kings, the Assyrian army came "against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them." When the Assyrians were besieging Jerusalem, Hezekiah prayed to YHWH in the Temple, and Isaiah sent the reply from YHWH to Hezekiah to the effect "I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake" (2 Kings 19:34), and during the following night the Angel of YHWH (מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה) "smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand" (i.e. 185,000), so by morning most of the Assyrian army was found to have died, mysteriously, in their sleep (2 Kings 19:35), and Sennacherib went back to Nineveh. The Assyrian Siege of Jerusalem is historical (dated 701 BC), but the Assyrian annals report that the result was the payment of tribute by Jerusalem, with Hezekiah remaining in office as a vassal ruler.

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On 11/2/2017 at 1:48 PM, YOVMO said:

Oh fun @ravenous reader! In my own little way I am happy for the closed thread. As winter will lead to spring anew, so we have a new poetry thread from you.

It even rhymes!  :)

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Allow me to leave this little tidbit which I believe is reminiscent of the greenseers and/or possibly Bloodraven and is from good ole Sappho

 

He seems to me, that man, almost a god
the man, who is face to face with you,
sitting close enough to you to hear
your sweet whispering

And your laughter, glistening, which
the heart in my breast beats for.

For when on you I glance, I do not,
not one sound, emit.

But my tongue snaps, lightly
runs beneath my flesh a flame,
and from my eyes no light, and rumbling
comes into my ears
,

And my skin grows damp, and trembling
all over racks me, and greener than the grass
am I, and one step short of dying

I seem to myself.

Thank you @YOVMO!   Beautiful poem by Sappho, which truly captures the experience of being taken over by some overwhelming passion, which in our story's context is a subject which much consumes our author, both in his preoccupation with all the tales reiterated across time of star-crossed lovers dooming themselves, their families and their nation alike; as well as the 'third-eye' initiations for which GRRM frequently uses an erotic trope, including that of rape, disturbingly (but I suppose that's to be expected when describing various permutations of mind- and bodysnatching, mutual inter-penetration and 'hymenal violations', which skinchanging basically is!). 

Returning to the poem -- indeed, it's revealed that it's the beloved, the object addressed by the speaker, not the man sitting near her, who is 'almost a god' (besides evoking the greenseers, there's also a Targaryen echo there, isn't there...) with the power she is able to wield over the speaker with her 'sweet whispering' and 'glistening laughter' (apropos, 'whispering' is GRRM-code for greenseers), striking her/him deaf ('rumbling comes into my ears'), dumb ('my tongue snaps'), blind ('from my eyes no light') and epileptic ('trembling all over racks me')...or maybe s/he's just having an orgasm... ;).

My favourite line of the poem has to be the exquisite description of being 'greener than the grass...and one step short of dying', which of course reminds me of drowning in that deep green sea/see, GRRM's principal metaphor for greenseeing, which is the province of the 'drowned god'; or, together with the prior allusion to being set alight ('lightly runs beneath my flesh a flame...') something green taking flame, like a tree, or a greenseer...  I like to call it the 'ignition of knowledge'!  It may seem counterintuitive (given that greenseers are generally considered 'team ice'), but greenseers must be set on fire, at least symbolically, if magic is to take root.  This is why the Winterfell library -- a symbol of the weirnet (books are made from trees, after all, and they 'remember'...) -- is burned while Bran is lying in his coma having his 'coma dream' in which his third eye is prodded to open.  During the dream, Bran's tears, upon glimpsing the 'terrible knowledge' lying in Winter's heart, are described as 'burning' on his cheeks.  Likewise, upon awakening, the sensation localized over his forehead where the three-eyed crow struck (the third eye) is described as 'burning'.  And Bran himself is represented by the lightning-struck tree-sword, the broken bran(ch) in the AGOT Prologue, or the boy who climbed too high and was struck by lightning.  The burning Brand(on)...

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He looked deep into the heart of winter, and then he cried out, afraid, and the heat of his tears burned on his cheeks.

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

AGOT -- Bran III

 

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and the black-haired woman dropped a basin of water to shatter on the floor and ran down the steps, shouting, "He's awake, he's awake, he's awake."

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

And then there was movement beside the bed, and something landed lightly on his legs. He felt nothing. A pair of yellow eyes looked into his own, shining like the sun. The window was open and it was cold in the room, but the warmth that came off the wolf enfolded him like a hot bath. His pup, Bran realized … or was it? He was so big now. He reached out to pet him, his hand trembling like a leaf.

When his brother Robb burst into the room, breathless from his dash up the tower steps, the direwolf was licking Bran's face. Bran looked up calmly. "His name is Summer," he said.

AGOT -- Bran III

There again we have the pattern of the burning green(seer) -- Bran is described as a 'trembling leaf' with Summer's fire enveloping him.

 

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A Dance with Dragons - The Discarded Knight

Ser Barristan let Reznak's oily words wash over him. His years in the Kingsguard had taught him the trick of listening without hearing, especially useful when the speaker was intent on proving that words were truly wind. Back at the rear of the hall, he spied the Dornish princeling and his two companions. They should not have come. Martell does not realize his danger. Daenerys was his only friend at this court, and she is gone. He wondered how much they understood of what was being said. Even he could not always make sense of the mongrel Ghiscari tongue the slavers spoke, especially when they were speaking fast.

Prince Quentyn was listening intently, at least. That one is his father's son. Short and stocky, plain-faced, he seemed a decent lad, sober, sensible, dutiful … but not the sort to make a young girl's heart beat faster. And Daenerys Targaryen, whatever else she might be, was still a young girl, as she herself would claim when it pleased her to play the innocent. Like all good queens she put her people first—else she would never have wed Hizdahr zo Loraq—but the girl in her still yearned for poetry, passion, and laughter. She wants fire, and Dorne sent her mud.

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

Note that poetry is compared to fire.  Also, if 'words are wind', and wind fans a fire into a great conflagration, then words have more power than the idiom would at face-value suggest..!

 

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A Dance with Dragons - The Kingbreaker

"She will weep and tear her hair and curse the Yunkai'i. Not us. No blood on our hands. You can comfort her. Tell her some tale of the old days, she likes those. Poor Daario, her brave captain … she will never forget him, no … but better for all of us if he is dead, yes? Better for Daenerys too."

Better for Daenerys, and for Westeros. Daenerys Targaryen loved her captain, but that was the girl in her, not the queen. Prince Rhaegar loved his Lady Lyanna, and thousands died for it. Daemon Blackfyre loved the first Daenerys, and rose in rebellion when denied her. Bittersteel and Bloodraven both loved Shiera Seastar, and the Seven Kingdoms bled. The Prince of Dragonflies loved Jenny of Oldstones so much he cast aside a crown, and Westeros paid the bride price in corpses. All three of the sons of the fifth Aegon had wed for love, in defiance of their father's wishes. And because that unlikely monarch had himself followed his heart when he chose his queen, he allowed his sons to have their way, making bitter enemies where he might have had fast friends. Treason and turmoil followed, as night follows day, ending at Summerhall in sorcery, fire, and grief.

Her love for Daario is poison. A slower poison than the locusts, but in the end as deadly. "There is still Jhogo," Ser Barristan said. "Him, and Hero. Both precious to Her Grace."

'Westeros paid the bride price in corpses.'  I wonder if the emergence of the Others -- the army of corpses visited upon Westeros -- can also be attributed to '[something someone did] for love...'?

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The World of Ice and Fire - The Fall of the Dragons: The Year of the False Spring

As cold winds hammered the city, King Aerys II turned to his pyromancers, charging them to drive the winter off with their magics. Huge green fires burned along the walls of the Red Keep for a moon's turn. Prince Rhaegar was not in the city to observe them, however. Nor could he be found in Dragonstone with Princess Elia and their young son, Aegon. With the coming of the new year, the crown prince had taken to the road with half a dozen of his closest friends and confidants, on a journey that would ultimately lead him back to the riverlands. Not ten leagues from Harrenhal, Rhaegar fell upon Lyanna Stark of Winterfell, and carried her off, lighting a fire that would consume his house and kin and all those he loved—and half the realm besides.

But that tale is too well-known to warrant repeating here.

Getting carried away and carried off by passion is characterized as an out-of-control wild fire and functions as a central narrative-driver.  Rhaegar and Lyanna's affair leading to Robert's Rebellion is based on the abduction by Paris of Helen, another man's wife, which allegedly sparked the events of the Trojan War according to mythological accounts.  The fact that the seduction, or rather abduction, is framed as a rape is reminiscent of the Yeats' poem I've presented below, which depicts the rape by the god Zeus of Leda, to whom he appears in the guise of a swan, subduing her to his will with his beak and pinions (remind you of anything..?!).  With a romantic fatalism reminiscent of GRRM's view on these matters, Yeats delivers the devastating line 'A shudder in the loins engenders there / The broken wall, the burning roof and tower / And Agamemnon dead,' whereby the rape is ultimately held responsible for all ensuing repercussions historically, including the Trojan War and the death of Agamemnon, with Helen and Clytemnestra the progeny of the rape triggering the calamities, respectively. 

Frankly, the reason I think GRRM is so caught up with these destructive love triangles is not so much based on mythology but on his own personal history, namely his best friend stealing away his girlfriend Lisa (whose treachery we probably have to 'thank' for creations such as 'A Song for Lya' and the character 'Lyanna'...), leaving him to pick up the pieces of his fragmented heart through his writing.

'A tale too well-known that it doesn't warrant repeating...' -- yet he repeats it, mirroring how humans persist in hurting each other and don't seem to learn from history.  The one side 'keep plucking the same string on the harp,' while the other side 'turns a deaf ear to his pleas...'  Thus, the same song is sung without resolution.  Meantime, someone always gets burned...

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A Dance with Dragons - Daenerys VI

"The Yunkai'i resumed their slaving before I was two leagues from their city. Did I turn back? King Cleon begged me to join with him against them, and I turned a deaf ear to his pleas. I want no war with Yunkai. How many times must I say it? What promises do they require?"

"Ah, there is the thorn in the bower, my queen," said Hizdahr zo Loraq. "Sad to say, Yunkai has no faith in your promises. They keep plucking the same string on the harp, about some envoy that your dragons set on fire."

"Only his tokar was burned," said Dany scornfully.

 

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The World of Ice and Fire - Ancient History: The Dawn Age

Their song and music was said to be as beautiful as they were, but what they sang of is not remembered save in small fragments handed down from ancient days. Maester Childer's Winter's Kings, or the Legends and Lineages of the Starks of Winterfell contains a part of a ballad alleged to tell of the time Brandon the Builder sought the aid of the children while raising the Wall. He was taken to a secret place to meet with them, but could not at first understand their speech, which was described as sounding like the song of stones in a brook, or the wind through leaves, or the rain upon the water. The manner in which Brandon learned to comprehend the speech of the children is a tale in itself, and not worth repeating here. But it seems clear that their speech originated, or drew inspiration from, the sounds they heard every day.

Actually -- that's a tale I'd like to hear in full (whenever GRRM uses this coy construct 'not worth repeating,' it's his way of marking out something for us to which to pay particular attention, and moreover to question the details surrounding what we've been told about that event).  I consider the acquisition of the magical speech to be the central mystery of the series!  I agree with  @Voice that Brandon the Builder did not simply 'acquire' this language; he may have made off with it and used it for some abomination which wasn't part of the original deal with the Children.  A further thought I've had recently, inspired by a discussion with @LmL  is that the language or 'song' he captured might actually represent a person, specifically a stolen child (think of Aemon Steelsong...steal song...).  You could also think of this as a stolen sword, as swords, people, and songs are frequently interchanged symbolically.

'Stealing a song' might also be a euphemism for a rape, possibly resulting in the conception of a child, such as the one enacted here, at least symbolically (attention 'San-San posse': please read that again...'symbolically'...before you overreact...).  The sexual innuendo and overtones of 'mock rape' are overwhelming:

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A Clash of Kings - Sansa VII

"Why did you come here?"

"You promised me a song, little bird. Have you forgotten?"

She didn't know what he meant. She couldn't sing for him now, here, with the sky aswirl with fire and men dying in their hundreds and their thousands. "I can't," she said. "Let me go, you're scaring me."

"Everything scares you. Look at me. Look at me."

The blood masked the worst of his scars, but his eyes were white and wide and terrifying. The burnt corner of his mouth twitched and twitched again. Sansa could smell him; a stink of sweat and sour wine and stale vomit, and over it all the reek of blood, blood, blood.

"I could keep you safe," he rasped. "They're all afraid of me. No one would hurt you again, or I'd kill them." He yanked her closer, and for a moment she thought he meant to kiss her. He was too strong to fight. She closed her eyes, wanting it to be over, but nothing happened. "Still can't bear to look, can you?" she heard him say. He gave her arm a hard wrench, pulling her around and shoving her down onto the bed. "I'll have that song. Florian and Jonquil, you said." His dagger was out, poised at her throat. "Sing, little bird. Sing for your little life."

Her throat was dry and tight with fear, and every song she had ever known had fled from her mind. Please don't kill me, she wanted to scream, please don't. She could feel him twisting the point, pushing it into her throat, and she almost closed her eyes again, but then she remembered. It was not the song of Florian and Jonquil, but it was a song. Her voice sounded small and thin and tremulous in her ears.

Gentle Mother, font of mercy,

save our sons from war, we pray,

stay the swords and stay the arrows,

let them know a better day.

 

Gentle Mother, strength of women,

help our daughters through this fray,

soothe the wrath and tame the fury,

teach us all a kinder way.

 

She had forgotten the other verses. When her voice trailed off, she feared he might kill her, but after a moment the Hound took the blade from her throat, never speaking.

Some instinct made her lift her hand and cup his cheek with her fingers. The room was too dark for her to see him, but she could feel the stickiness of the blood, and a wetness that was not blood. "Little bird," he said once more, his voice raw and harsh as steel on stone. Then he rose from the bed. Sansa heard cloth ripping, followed by the softer sound of retreating footsteps.

When she crawled out of bed, long moments later, she was alone. She found his cloak on the floor, twisted up tight, the white wool stained by blood and fire. The sky outside was darker by then, with only a few pale green ghosts dancing against the stars. A chill wind was blowing, banging the shutters. Sansa was cold. She shook out the torn cloak and huddled beneath it on the floor, shivering.

How long she stayed there she could not have said, but after a time she heard a bell ringing, far off across the city. The sound was a deep-throated bronze booming, coming faster with each knell. Sansa was wondering what it might mean when a second bell joined in, and a third, their voices calling across the hills and hollows, the alleys and towers, to every corner of King's Landing.

In the encounter between Sansa and the Hound, the 'little bird' is the one who is coerced into singing, the one from whom something is stolen against her will (strangely, after having sung the song, the power dynamic shifts, as if the song had empowered Sansa and disarmed the Hound).  However, in the Yeats poem, 'Leda and the Swan,' it is the bird who is the aggressor, representing the visitation of a god, just as in the eye-opening, rather violent encounters between Jon and the Eagle, and Bran and the Crow.  The final stanza, in particular, reminds me of Bran's 'terrible knowledge,' which also feeds back into having been set on this greenseeing journey following becoming entangled in Cersei and Jaime's illicit passion in the first place -- or perhaps we have to go further back in history in order to locate the origin of the abominable 'curse of the Starks'?  In exchange for having been violated, the victim acquires some forbidden knowledge -- a steep price to pay for the 'fire of the gods'.  The rape trope GRRM is using is undeniable.

 

Leda and the Swan

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
                    Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

 

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Leda and the Swan is a story and subject in art from Greek mythology in which the god Zeus, in the form of a swan, seduces Leda. According to later Greek mythology, Leda bore Helen and Polydeuces, children of Zeus, while at the same time bearing Castor and Clytemnestra, children of her husband Tyndareus, the King of Sparta. In the W. B. Yeats version, it is subtly suggested that Clytemnestra, although being the daughter of Tyndareus, has somehow been traumatized by what the swan has done to her mother (see below). According to many versions of the story, Zeus took the form of a swan and seduced Leda on the same night she slept with her husband King Tyndareus. In some versions, she laid two eggs from which the children hatched.[1] In other versions, Helen is a daughter of Nemesis, the goddess who personified the disaster that awaited those suffering from the pride of Hubris.

...

Ronsard wrote a poem on La Défloration de Lède, perhaps inspired by the Michelangelo, which he may well have known. Like many artists, he imagines the beak penetrating Leda's vagina.[23]

"Leda and the Swan" is a sonnet by William Butler Yeats first published in the Dial in 1923. Combining psychological realism with a mystic vision, it describes the swan's rape of Leda. It also alludes to the Trojan war, which will be provoked by the abduction of Helen, who will be begotten by Zeus on Leda (along with Castor and Pollux, in some versions of the myth). Clytaemnestra, who killed her husband, Agamemnon, leader of the Greeks at Troy, was also supposed to have hatched from one of Leda’s eggs. The poem is regularly praised as one of Yeats's masterpieces.[24] Camille Paglia, who called the poem "the greatest poem of the twentieth century," and said "all human beings, like Leda, are caught up moment by moment in the 'white rush' of experience. For Yeats, the only salvation is the shapeliness and stillness of art."[25] See external links for a bas relief arranged in the position as described by Yeats.

Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío's 1892 poem "Leda" contains an oblique description of the rape, watched over by the god Pan.[26]

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) also wrote a poem called "Leda" in 1919, suggested to be from the perspective of Leda. The description of the sexual action going on makes it seem almost beautiful, as if Leda had given her consent.

In the song "Power and Glory" from Lou Reed's 1992 album Magic and Loss, Reed recalls the experience of seeing his friend dying of cancer and makes reference to the myth, "I saw isotopes introduced into his lungs / trying to stop the cancerous spread / And it made me think of Leda and The Swan / and gold being made from lead"

Sylvia Plath alludes to the myth in her radio play Three Women written for the BBC in 1962. The play features the voices of three women. The first is a married woman who keeps her baby. The second is a secretary who suffers a miscarriage. The third voice, a girl who is pregnant and leaves her baby, mentions "the great swan, with its terrible look,/ Coming at me," insinuating that the girl was raped. The play is about the disconnection of women in society and challenges societal expectations of childbirth.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leda_and_the_Swan

 

The poem by Ruben Dario is also pretty good:

 

  LEDA

El cisne en la sombra parece de nieve; 
su pico es de ámbar, del alba al trasluz; 
el suave crepúsculo que pasa tan breve 
las cándidas alas sonrosa de luz. 

Y luego en las ondas del lago azulado, 
después que la aurora perdió su arrebol, 
las alas tendidas y el cuello enarcado, 
el cisne es de plata bañado de sol. 

Tal es, cuando esponja las plumas de seda, 
olímpico pájaro herido de amor, 
y viola en las linfas sonoras a Leda, 
buscando su pico los labios en flor. 

Suspira la bella desnuda y vencida, 
y en tanto que al aire sus quejas se van, 
del fondo verdoso de fronda tupida 
chispean turbados los ojos de Pan.

 

 

The swan composed of snow floats in shadow,
amber beak translucent in the last light.
The white and innocent wings in the glow
of the short-lived dusk are rose-tipped and bright.

And then, on ripples of the clear blue lake,
when the crimson dawn is over and done,
the swan spreads his wings and lets his neck make
an arch, silver and burnished by the sun.

Grand, as he ruffles his silken feathers,
this bird from Olympus bearing love’s wound,
ravishing Leda in roiling waters,
thrusting at petals of her sex in bloom...

When at last her sobbing is heard no more,
the stripped, mastered beauty lets out a sigh.
From some tangled green rushes by the shore,
sparkle-eyed Pan watches and wonders why.

Rubén Darío, 1892
Translators: Steven F.White & Greg Simon

 

Should one remain unconvinced, further examples of GRRM's trope of the exercise of 'third-eye' power as rape/assault:

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A Dance with Dragons - Prologue

Thistle had returned to him. She had him by the shoulders and was shaking him, shouting in his face. Varamyr could smell her breath and feel the warmth of it upon cheeks gone numb with cold. Now, he thought, do it now, or die.

He summoned all the strength still in him, leapt out of his own skin, and forced himself inside her.

Thistle arched her back and screamed.

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.A great elk trumpeted, unsettling the children clinging to his back. A sleeping direwolf raised his head to snarl at empty air. Before their hearts could beat again he had passed on, searching for his own, for One Eye, Sly, and Stalker, for his pack. His wolves would save him, he told himself.

That was his last thought as a man.

True death came suddenly; he felt a shock of cold, as if he had been plunged into the icy waters of a frozen lake. Then he found himself rushing over moonlit snows with his packmates close behind him. Half the world was dark. One Eye, he knew. He bayed, and Sly and Stalker gave echo.

Varamyr and Thistle.

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A Storm of Swords - Jon II

"Oh, hundreds," she said furiously. "You know nothing, Jon Snow. You—JON!"

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

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

Jon Snow and the Eagle (skinchanged by Orell).

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A Storm of Swords - Bran IV

. . . he slipped his skin, and reached for Hodor.

It was not like sliding into Summer. That was so easy now that Bran hardly thought about it. This was harder, like trying to pull a left boot on your right foot. It fit all wrong, and the boot was scared too, the boot didn't know what was happening, the boot was pushing the foot away. He tasted vomit in the back of Hodor's throat, and that was almost enough to make him flee. Instead he squirmed and shoved, sat up, gathered his legs under him—his huge strong legs—and rose

Bran and Hodor.

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A Game of Thrones - Bran II

"Seven," Bran said, shaking with relief. His fingers had dug deep gouges in the man's forearm. He let go sheepishly.

The man looked over at the woman. "The things I do for love," he said with loathing. He gave Bran a shove.

Screaming, Bran went backward out the window into empty air. There was nothing to grab on to. The courtyard rushed up to meet him.

 

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A Game of Thrones - Bran III

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

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

"What are you doing?" he shrieked.

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

Bran and the three-eyed crow.

Dissecting the symbolism on closer inspection of this passage, we can appreciate that the greenseer awaking (i.e. representing the opening of the 'third-eye') is a world-shattering event, as evidenced by the thrice-repeated incantatory 'He's awake, he's awake, he's awake' and the shattering bowl like the hatching of an egg, e.g. reminiscent of the cracking of Drogon's egg which 'broke the world'.  Moreover, it's suggested that a greenseer awaking is responsible for the 'hammer of the waters' (the basin of water dropping on the floor and shattering).

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A Clash of Kings - Bran II

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

"Fly or die!" cried the three-eyed crow as it pecked at him. He wept and pleaded but the crow had no pity. It put out his left eye and then his right, and when he was blind in the dark it pecked at his brow, driving its terrible sharp beak deep into his skull. He screamed until he was certain his lungs must burst. The pain was an axe splitting his head apart, but when the crow wrenched out its beak all slimy with bits of bone and brain, Bran could see again. What he saw made him gasp in fear. He was clinging to a tower miles high, and his fingers were slipping, nails scrabbling at the stone, his legs dragging him down, stupid useless dead legs. "Help me!" he cried. A golden man appeared in the sky above him and pulled him up. "The things I do for love," he murmured softly as he tossed him out kicking into empty air.

As I've hinted, some world-breaking 'abomination' was executed 'for love'...

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A Dance with Dragons - Bran III

"Your blood makes you a greenseer," said Lord Brynden. "This will help awaken your gifts and wed you to the trees."

Bran did want to be married to a tree … but who else would wed a broken boy like him? A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees. A greenseer.

He ate.

Bran was coerced into 'marrying the tree'!  He was sold into slavery like the 'pleasure slaves' carrying the 'tear' tattoo under their eye -- that's one important interpretation to consider for why a single salty tear tracks down Bran's cheek when he crosses the Black Gate (the price for Bran's death-in-life was Monster's life-in-death).  Bran as the greenseer is to service the trees, making Bloodraven's cavern a brothel of sorts (the sordid nature of the arrangement is graphically illustrated by Bloodraven's 'worm-riddled' body, pinioned and penetrated 'through his breeches' and upper thigh by the probing weirwood roots -- I've called it 'Japanese tentacular porn'...).  GRRM's dodgy 'rape trope' continues... (don't blame me, people; our author is perverse! :devil:)

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A Dance with Dragons - Bran III

There he sat, listening to the hoarse whispers of his teacher. "Never fear the darkness, Bran." The lord's words were accompanied by a faint rustling of wood and leaf, a slight twisting of his head. "The strongest trees are rooted in the dark places of the earth. Darkness will be your cloak, your shield, your mother's milk. Darkness will make you strong."

The moon was a crescent, thin and sharp as the blade of a knife. Snowflakes drifted down soundlessly to cloak the soldier pines and sentinels in white. The drifts grew so deep that they covered the entrance to the caves, leaving a white wall that Summer had to dig through whenever he went outside to join his pack and hunt. Bran did not oft range with them in those days, but some nights he watched them from above.

 

 

 

 

YOU WANT IT DARKER

If you are the dealer, I'm out of the game
If you are the healer, it means I'm broken and lame
If thine is the glory then mine must be the shame
You want it darker
We kill the flame

Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name
Vilified, crucified, in the human frame
A million candles burning for the help that never came
You want it darker

Hineni, hineni
I'm ready, my lord

There's a lover in the story
But the story's still the same
There's a lullaby for suffering
And a paradox to blame

But it's written in the scriptures
And it's not some idle claim
You want it darker
We kill the flame

They're lining up the prisoners
And the guards are taking aim
I struggled with some demons
They were middle class and tame
I didn't know I had permission to murder and to maim
You want it darker

Hineni, hineni
I'm ready, my lord

Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name
Vilified, crucified, in the human frame
A million candles burning for the love that never came
You want it darker
We kill the flame

If you are the dealer, let me out of the game
If you are the healer, I'm broken and lame
If thine is the glory, mine must be the shame
You want it darker

Hineni, hineni
Hineni, hineni
I'm ready, my lord

Hineni
Hineni, hineni
Hineni

LEONARD COHEN

 

 

Edited by ravenous reader
Forum's 'strikethrough demons' at work...('drives me bloody crazy...')

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In @LmL's latest essay, Visenya Draconis, which I recommend reading, he makes a superb poetry catch I had not noticed before  -- although I was generally aware of GRRM's interest in the famous Frost poem, I hadn't realized he'd directly quoted (well, to be exact, paraphrased) a line from the poem via Cat (P.S. I can't believe LmL is officially talking poetry, tee-hee...;))!  I'll quote the whole section here...

 

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Vhagar is also Great, and Would Suffice

This next section is brought to you by two newly created Priestess of Starry Wisdom: Priestess Manami of the Jade Sea, the Merry Deviant, Keeper of Winter Roses, and Priestess Hey Big Lady, Royal Seamstress of House Arryn


I have to say that in general, I do not talk very much about the personalities of characters when speaking of symbolism, because I think one of the main ways in which Martin disguises the fact that he has so many characters with similar symbolism is to give them different personalities. When George wants to use someone’s personality to reinforce their symbolism, I have observed that he will do it with the descriptor words used for a person, and that’s the case with Visenya and Rhaenys and their relationships with Aegon. TWOIAF will be our source for this information, and it tells us that:

By tradition, he was expected to wed only his older sister, Visenya; the inclusion of Rhaenys as a second wife was unusual, though not without precedent. It was said by some that Aegon wed Visenya out of duty and Rhaenys out of desire.

George R. R. Martin often cites a famous poem by Robert Frost as the partial inspiration for the title of the series, and as it’s very short, I’ll just quickly read it to you:

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice. 

In other words, desire is aligned with fire, for obvious reasons, and thus it seems meaningful that Rhaenys was wed for desire. This poem is also a good insight into the motivation of the Others, by the way – it has to do with old hated and old grudges, I would think.

Martin puts a shout-out to the famous Robert Frost poem in the mouth of Lady Catleyn as she foreshadows her Lady Stoneheart identity in ACOK:

“Send my daughters back unharmed?” Catelyn smiled sadly. “There is a sweet innocence about you, child. I could wish . . . but no. Robb will avenge his brothers. Ice can kill as dead as fire. Ice was Ned’s greatsword. Valyrian steel, marked with the ripples of a thousand foldings, so sharp I feared to touch it. Robb’s blade is dull as a cudgel compared to Ice.” 

Ice can kill as dead as fire – that’s basically a paraphrasing of Frost. Even better that she speaks of Ned’s Ice, which was forged in dragonfire, as that’s kind of a symbol of both ice and fire.

Returning to Visenya and Rhaenys, TWOIAF gives us a full description of the personalities of the two queens, and it generally holds with the pattern:

Visenya, eldest of the three siblings, was as much a warrior as Aegon himself, as comfortable in ringmail as in silk. She carried the Valyrian longsword Dark Sister, and was skilled in its use, having trained beside her brother since childhood. Though possessed of the silver-gold hair and purple eyes of Valyria, hers was a harsh, austere beauty. Even those who loved her best found Visenya stern, serious, unforgiving, and some said that she played with poisons and dabbled in dark sorceries.

Although it isn’t a hard and fast rule, I have noticed that many of the ice moon queens are warrior women: Visenya, Lyanna (who was almost certainly the Knight of the Laughing Tree), Brienne the Blue of the Sapphire Isle, or even Val the Wildling, although to be fair, all wildling women are basically warrior women.

In any case, it’s not hard to see that Visenya’s personality is a bit cold. I mean, “harsh, austere, stern, serious, unforgiving” – are we talking about the Starks and the Northmen here, or Visenya?

There’s an interesting line about Visenya in the new Sons of the Dragon short story that just came out recently, which is as follows:

On Dragonstone, the Dowager Queen Visenya had grown thin and haggard, the flesh melting from her bones.

This is just before she dies, and of course the obvious thing of note here being the flesh melting idea, as if she were an Other stabbed with dragonglass. That’s even suggested by the wording here – “on dragonstone, the Dowager Queen Visenya…” as if she impaled on dragonstone, with dragonstone implying dragonglass. You might say it like this: ‘Impaled on the dragonglass, the Other queen grew thin and haggard, the flesh melting from her bones.’ It could also be an innocuous use of the phrase “melting from her bones,” but it does line up with everything else, so I’m inclined to believe it’s clever wordplay.

Moving from descriptions of Visenya to descriptions of her relationship with Aegon, TWOIAF also tells us that “In their later years, their relationship—never a warm one to begin with—had grown even more distant.” So there you have it. Not a warm relationship. Sons of the Dragon also gives us this tidbit about the building of the Red Keep:

To oversee the design and construction of the new castle, he named the King’s Hand, Lord Alyn Stokeworth (Ser Osmund Strong had died the previous year), and Queen Visenya. (A jape went about the court that King Aegon had given Visenya charge of building the Red Keep so he would not have to endure her presence on Dragonstone.)

That kind of gives you the idea, I think. True or not, it typifies the way people viewed their relationship.

Then we get the description of Rhaenys and her relationship with Aegon, which is essentially just the opposite:

Rhaenys, youngest of the three Targaryens, was all her sister was not: playful, curious, impulsive, given to flights of fancy. No true warrior, Rhaenys loved music, dancing, and poetry, and supported many a singer, mummer, and puppeteer. Yet it was said that Rhaenys spent more time on dragonback than her brother and sister combined, for above all things she loved to fly. She once was heard to say that before she died she meant to fly Meraxes across the Sunset Sea to see what lay upon its western shores. Whilst no one ever questioned Visenya’s fidelity to her brother/husband, Rhaenys surrounded herself with comely young men, and (it was whispered) even entertained some in her bedchambers on the nights when Aegon was with her elder sister. Yet despite these rumors, observers at court could not fail to note that the king spent ten nights with Rhaenys for every night with Visenya.

I think this bit about Rhaenys being with Aegon far more often is indicative of the fact that it was the sun / fire moon eclipse alignment which occurred when the Long Night fell – the ice moon is sort of standing off to the side or something, while the sun and fire moon get their groove on. It’s similar to Trystane Truefyre, the fire moon king in the Moon of Three Kings story, setting up shop in the Red Keep, while Gaemon Palehair occupied the Hill of Visenya. Speaking in more literal terms, you can see that the passion between Aegon and Rhaenys is real, a seeming diametric opposite to Visenya and Aegon. Aegon and Rhaenys are hot for each other, I think it’s safe to say!

aegon-rhaenys-visenya-by-amok.jpg?w=1040

Aegon and His Sisters by Amok

When we consider a dragonrider queen, we must also consider her dragon of course, as the dragon is simply an extension of the rider in the same way that a sword is the extension of a swordsman… or swordswoman, in Brienne’s case. As you might have guessed, the dragons Aegon’s two queens ride tell the moons of ice and fire story as well. Aegon rides the black dragon, indicative of his dark solar king status, while the dragons ridden by the two queens have coloring that is suggestive of lunar symbolism. Rhaenys rides “Meraxes of the golden eyes and silver scales,” with silver being a moon color and gold typically a color for sun and fire – a good mix for the fire moon which drank the fire of the sun. Vhagar’s color takes a bit of work to figure out, but the key is this description of Vhagar from the Princess and the Queen, George’s short story which catalogs the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons in more detail that TWOIAF:

No living dragon could match Vhagar for size or ferocity, but Jace reasoned that if Vermax, Syrax, and Caraxes were to descend on King’s Landing all at once, even “that hoary old bitch” would be unable to withstand them. 

Hoary means “greyish white,” or “white with age,” and its synonyms include “snowy” and “frosty.” Thus we can probably assume that Vhagar is a white or greyish white dragon, and most tellingly, the word “hoary” carries with it the connotation of snow and ice. Thus, Vhagar is a highly suitable mount for Visenya the ice queen.

Better still – and this is one of my favorite bits of symbolism, actually – we find that 120 years later during the Dance of the Dragons, Vhagar is ridden by Aemond One Eye Targaryen, who has replaced his wounded eye with a blue star sapphire. Thus, if Vhagar is indeed a hoary white dragon, Aemond’s blue star eye makes this pair an perfect analog of the ice dragon constellation, which is described thusly in ACOK:

“Osha,” Bran asked as they crossed the yard. “Do you know the way north? To the Wall and . . . and even past?”

“The way’s easy. Look for the Ice Dragon, and chase the blue star in the rider’s eye.” 

Pretty cool, right? I’m not one to believe that George would place a rider with a blue star eye on top of the hoary white dragon w ithout intending us to think of the ice dragon in some sense. I mean, it’s just too perfect – Aemond One Eye literally has a blue star sapphire in his eye. That makes Vhagar the ice dragon, at least in a sense, and Vhagar was first the mount of Queen Visenya. You can see how this stuff starts to stack up – this is a major clue indicating we should associate Visenya and Vhagar with ice, at least in the symbolic sense.

It’s also worth noting that Dany’s dragon named Viserion is the cream-colored one, which is basically close enough to say “white dragon.” Viserion, the whitish dragon, and Visenya, who rode a whitish dragon.

And unless you’ve been living under a rock and not going on the internet, like ever, you know that the HBO show chose to have the their version of “Night King” transform Viserion into some kind of blend between a wighted dragon and an ice dragon. I don’t know if that will happen in the books, and I’m not really here to discuss the show vs. book canon dynamic, but at the very least, we can say that making the white-colored dragon the “wighted dragon” or “ice dragon” makes a lot of sense.

It may be that George derived the name “Vhagar” from the name of the star Vega, which is the fifth brightest star in the sky. Vega is classified as “blue-tinged white main sequence star,” and it appears in the northern sky – in 12,000 BCE, it was actually the pole star, and eventually it will be again, due to the cycle of the precession of the equinoxes. Thus, it makes for a good contender to be not only the inspiration for Vhagar, but also part of the inspiration for the blue star which is the eye of the rider of the ice dragon constellation.

It seems pretty clear that the primary inspiration for the ice dragon blue star would be another occasional pole star, Alpha Draconis, which means “head of the serpent.” It’s a blue-white supergiant located in the head of the constellation Draco which was the pole star from 3940 BCE to 1790 BCE. It’s easy to conclude that Draco itself is the Ice Dragon constellation, particularly with that blue star in its head, but I think George might have drawn from Vega as well.

I’ll also note that Vega is part of the constellation Lyra, the lyre – which is basically a harp. It’s often thought of as the harp of Orpheus, a sad guy who wandered around playing his harp, kinda like Rhaegar. Perhaps Lyanna, who shed a tear for Rhaegar’s harping and singing, has a name drawn from “Lyra.”

 

Edited by ravenous reader

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On ‎11‎/‎13‎/‎2017 at 4:17 PM, ravenous reader said:

 

On ‎11‎/‎2‎/‎2017 at 1:48 PM, YOVMO said:

Oh fun @ravenous reader! In my own little way I am happy for the closed thread. As winter will lead to spring anew, so we have a new poetry thread from you.

It even rhymes!  :)

I couldn't resist. I'm a dork.

 

On ‎11‎/‎13‎/‎2017 at 4:17 PM, ravenous reader said:

Thank you @YOVMO!   Beautiful poem by Sappho, which truly captures the experience of being taken over by some overwhelming passion, which in our story's context is a subject which much consumes our author, both in his preoccupation with all the tales reiterated across time of star-crossed lovers dooming themselves, their families and their nation alike; as well as the 'third-eye' initiations for which GRRM frequently uses an erotic trope, including that of rape, disturbingly (but I suppose that's to be expected when describing various permutations of mind- and bodysnatching, mutual inter-penetration and 'hymenal violations', which skinchanging basically is!). 

I am so glad you like it. As for the inclusion of "rape" it may not be as disturbing as you thing if we consider the etymology of the word itself. After all, the word rape, while never positive for sure, for most of its history wasn't necessarily sexual. The root of the word is the latin word rapere. meaning simply "to snatch, to grab, to carry off" To Carry a woman off by force was considered Rape according to roman law but sexual intercourse was not necessarily implied. Think of Bernini's sculpture The Rape of Proserpina depicting Proserpina being abducted by the god pluto and taken to the underworld. Zero sex is insinuated there. The same goes with the Rape of the sabine women. There was a being carried off but it is specifically noted that Romulus gave the women free choice and no forcible sex was had. Now we can obviously say that there is consent and there is consent, but the larger point about the ancient world and the etymology is being made here.

In middle English rape could refer either to kidnapping or the modern meaning of rape with the sexual connotation, but the sexual aspect wasn't implied merely in the use of the word as it is today. There is a poem called The Rape of the Lock by alexander pope where he is specifically referring to the theft or carrying away of a lock of hair.

Furthermore, and maybe even more importantly for us, is that there is another word that, like rape, has its root in the latin rapere which is the word Rapture used in the bible. The rapture, of course, is when the chosen or the good or the people who paid their dues or whatever are snatched up, taken, carried off by Christ to heaven.

The idea that rape specifically connoted a sexual component is an incredibly new idea and between George's love of history, love of etymology and progressive politics I think it is very easy to say that he may use this erotic trope of rape in star-crossed lovers and third-eye initiations in a way that matches the biblical use of rapture or the classic and historical use of rape....to take, to snatch, to grab, to carry away.

I got very interested in the history of the word rape reading ASOIAF because there is just so much rape in the stories that I felt that looking at it should be important. Now, of course there is rape the way the modern mind sees it....the mountain and the inn keepers daughter (or indeed most of what the mountain does) but there is also this other sense of being taken whether it is bran being taken by bloodraven or even Jamie being taken by a sense of honor and duty. (I have meant to look back at the attempted rape of Brienne and the TAKING of Jamie's hand and see if I can make some kind of connection where Jamie paid the rape debt and had his hand taken and as such is rewarded but haven't done so yet.)

I often wonder about grrm and whether he packs important things into very graphic and disturbing moments almost as a way to keep people from them. When something is as disturbing as rape it is often hard to poke around it and investigate it and it is doubly hard to speak about it because you never want to be a crass lout. That said, there is so much rape in this story in both the modern and in the classical/etymological/biblical sense that it almost demands a closer reading even when it seems disturbing and often times when we comb through the difficult parts we come out at the end unscathed and wiser for the journey.

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Returning to the poem -- indeed, it's revealed that it's the beloved, the object addressed by the speaker, not the man sitting near her, who is 'almost a god' (besides evoking the greenseers, there's also a Targaryen echo there, isn't there...) with the power she is able to wield over the speaker with her 'sweet whispering' and 'glistening laughter' (apropos, 'whispering' is GRRM-code for greenseers), striking her/him deaf ('rumbling comes into my ears'), dumb ('my tongue snaps'), blind ('from my eyes no light') and epileptic ('trembling all over racks me')...or maybe s/he's just having an orgasm... ;).

I don't think an orgasm is such a bad suggestion. Maybe, however, it is closer to what the French call le petite mort (often times confused with the orgasm but better explained as the moment before the moment...similar to the moment of God's finger touching adam in that painting they got over there on the ceiling of that nice church in Italy and reflects the line in the Sappho poem about being "one step short of dying"). This is also something we can discuss in terms of a taking for sure -- of course, I don't think we have to pick one or the other and rather that both is a better answer.

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My favourite line of the poem has to be the exquisite description of being 'greener than the grass...and one step short of dying', which of course reminds me of drowning in that deep green sea/see, GRRM's principal metaphor for greenseeing, which is the province of the 'drowned god'; or, together with the prior allusion to being set alight ('lightly runs beneath my flesh a flame...') something green taking flame, like a tree, or a greenseer...  I like to call it the 'ignition of knowledge'!  It may seem counterintuitive (given that greenseers are generally considered 'team ice'), but greenseers must be set on fire, at least symbolically, if magic is to take root.  This is why the Winterfell library -- a symbol of the weirnet (books are made from trees, after all, and they 'remember'...) -- is burned while Bran is lying in his coma having his 'coma dream' in which his third eye is prodded to open. 

I have never made the connection to the winterfell library fire like this and absolutely love it!

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During the dream, Bran's tears, upon glimpsing the 'terrible knowledge' lying in Winter's heart, are described as 'burning' on his cheeks. 

There is a ton of back up for this.

Right from the start in the AGOT prologue Gared says that "nothing burns like cold' and Will's description of the Other's eyes were "a blue that burned like ice" In Jon I ACOK "dead othor with burning blue eyes" One of the most interesting ones is the description of Rhaegar in Jamie VI of ASOS "Prince Rhaegar burned with a cold light, now white, now red, now dark"

 

So yeah, the burning cold is a really big and important theme here

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Likewise, upon awakening, the sensation localized over his forehead where the three-eyed crow struck (the third eye) is described as 'burning'.  And Bran himself is represented by the lightning-struck tree-sword, the broken bran(ch) in the AGOT Prologue, or the boy who climbed too high and was struck by lightning.  The burning Brand(on)...

Brandon the Burner....

 

Edited by YOVMO

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On 11/13/2017 at 1:17 PM, ravenous reader said:

I agree with  @Voice that Brandon the Builder did not simply 'acquire' this language; he may have made off with it and used it for some abomination which wasn't part of the original deal with the Children. 

 

Welcome to the dark side. :devil:

These Starks are not like other men, who trembled and froze and remember their origin as "the Long Night".

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