Seams

Armor old, armor new; armor borrowed, armor blue?

42 posts in this topic

On 1/11/2018 at 10:35 PM, Seams said:

I have had a thought that helmets might symbolize egg shells after reading The Hedge Knight, in which Baelor's helmet is partially crushed by a blow from a mace. (The wiki reminds me that Baelor's armor was also borrowed.) Perhaps helmet / egg symbolism applies only to Targaryen armor, however.

There's also Mance's 'turtle' from which rabbits, as we've discussed a symbol of fertility, 'hatch' forth after the shell is shattered:

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A Storm of Swords - Jon IX

They heard the thump as it struck the Wall on the way down, and then, much louder, the crash and crack of splintering wood, followed by shouts and screams. Satin whooped and Owen the Oaf danced in circles, while Pyp leaned out and called, "The turtle was stuffed full of rabbits! Look at them hop away!"

 

On 1/11/2018 at 10:35 PM, Seams said:

Why does the author go to the trouble of telling us (sometimes in great detail) that some people don't wear their own armor?

Skinchanger allusion?  'Armor' is basically a protective second skin.  It's a disguise of sorts leading to mistaken identity -- one person posing as another, e.g. when Bran skinchanges Hodor in order to become a knight -- but there's also that mysterious process at work whereby the person wearing the armor takes on the characteristics of the person who previously wore the armor:

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A Dance with Dragons - Prologue

Dogs were the easiest beasts to bond with; they lived so close to men that they were almost human. Slipping into a dog's skin was like putting on an old boot, its leather softened by wear. As a boot was shaped to accept a foot, a dog was shaped to accept a collar, even a collar no human eye could see. Wolves were harder. A man might befriend a wolf, even break a wolf, but no man could truly tame a wolf. "Wolves and women wed for life," Haggon often said. "You take one, that's a marriage. The wolf is part of you from that day on, and you're part of him. Both of you will change."

Other beasts were best left alone, the hunter had declared. Cats were vain and cruel, always ready to turn on you. Elk and deer were prey; wear their skins too long, and even the bravest man became a coward. Bears, boars, badgers, weasels … Haggon did not hold with such. "Some skins you never want to wear, boy. You won't like what you'd become." Birds were the worst, to hear him tell it. "Men were not meant to leave the earth. Spend too much time in the clouds and you never want to come back down again. I know skinchangers who've tried hawks, owls, ravens. Even in their own skins, they sit moony, staring up at the bloody blue."

Given that armor=skin, who then would you say is behind the Others..?  The implication is that they are proxy warriors operating on behalf of some other unseen agent:

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A Game of Thrones - Prologue

A shadow emerged from the dark of the wood. It stood in front of Royce. Tall, it was, and gaunt and hard as old bones, with flesh pale as milk. Its armor seemed to change color as it moved; here it was white as new-fallen snow, there black as shadow, everywhere dappled with the deep grey-green of the trees. The patterns ran like moonlight on water with every step it took.

...

Behind him, to right, to left, all around him, the watchers stood patient, faceless, silent, the shifting patterns of their delicate armor making them all but invisible in the wood. Yet they made no move to interfere.

 

A Game of Thrones - Catelyn I

The gods of Winterfell kept a different sort of wood. It was a dark, primal place, three acres of old forest untouched for ten thousand years as the gloomy castle rose around it. It smelled of moist earth and decay. No redwoods grew here. This was a wood of stubborn sentinel trees armored in grey-green needles, of mighty oaks, of ironwoods as old as the realm itself. Here thick black trunks crowded close together while twisted branches wove a dense canopy overhead and misshapen roots wrestled beneath the soil. This was a place of deep silence and brooding shadows, and the gods who lived here had no names.

But she knew she would find her husband here tonight. Whenever he took a man's life, afterward he would seek the quiet of the godswood.

Armored trees.  Martial trees, in the vein of Tolkien's Ents, as proposed by @Wizz-The-Smith.  Trees as greenseer warriors -- the Others as their manifestation offering greater mobility than the rooted trees:

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A Dance with Dragons - The Wayward Bride

"To the walls," Asha Greyjoy told her men. She turned her own steps for the watchtower, with Tris Botley right behind her.

The wooden watchtower was the tallest thing this side of the mountains, rising twenty feet above the biggest sentinels and soldier pines in the surrounding woods. "There, Captain," said Cromm, when she made the platform. Asha saw only trees and shadows, the moonlit hills and the snowy peaks beyond. Then she realized that trees were creeping closer. "Oho," she laughed, "these mountain goats have cloaked themselves in pine boughs." The woods were on the move, creeping toward the castle like a slow green tide. She thought back to a tale she had heard as a child, about the children of the forest and their battles with the First Men, when the greenseers turned the trees to warriors.

 

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How do the borrowed armor situations compare with Arya wearing a hand-me-down dress from Lady Smallwood's daughter and Sansa / Alayne wearing inherited clothes from Lysa Arryn?

Arya is also given the iron-studded leather jerkin, a kind of 'armor' with its studs.

Re your titular question surrounding 'armor blue' (amor blue?):  Sansa wears clothes from Lysa -- pronounced LIES-ah -- fashioning herself in the 'hand-me-down' lies of others (more constructively, she refers to this as 'armoring herself in a lady's courtesy').  On the day of the Trident debacle -- yes, ***trigger warning***, Trident discussion coming up..! -- she came to give her treacherous non-testimony decked out in the colors of the Eyrie, not Stark colors.  In fact, Sansa appears so often in 'blue,' it appears to be the color of lies and treachery (cf. PK Jane's 'Blue Falcon' motif) -- like the 'false flowers' Rhaegar bestowed on her aunt Lyanna.  Apropos, Ned calls his sister 'Lya' -- also pronounced 'LIAR,' or 'LYRE'.

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A Game of Thrones - Eddard III

"They were not the only ones present," Ned said. "Sansa, come here." Ned had heard her version of the story the night Arya had vanished. He knew the truth. "Tell us what happened."

His eldest daughter stepped forward hesitantly. She was dressed in blue velvets trimmed with white, a silver chain around her neck. Her thick auburn hair had been brushed until it shone. She blinked at her sister, then at the young prince. "I don't know," she said tearfully, looking as though she wanted to bolt. "I don't remember. Everything happened so fast, I didn't see …"

"You rotten!" Arya shrieked. She flew at her sister like an arrow, knocking Sansa down to the ground, pummeling her. "Liar, liar, liar, liar."

What was Lya lying about?

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If we consider those cases alongside the armor, we should probably discuss Bran and his traveling companions taking swords from the Winterfell crypt. Brienne takes a used shield with the sigil of House Lothston. The hedge knight Ser Illifer the Penniless calls it a liar's shield because he knows that all of the Lothstons are long dead. I've wondered in the past whether some of the armor symbolism is just and extension of the fabric and sewing motifs in the books. Some of these examples make me think that they do overlap.

Yes, nice association (I also liked how you've previously linked the 'chainmail' to textiles and textuality in the literary sense); I'd agree with that (also corroborated by the example of 'Mance's turtle', wildling armor which has been fashioned together with different pieces of wood and hide, like a patchwork). 

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A Storm of Swords - Jon IX

The wildlings had skinned one of the dead mammoths during the night, and they were lashing the raw bloody hide over the turtle's roof, one more layer on top of the sheepskins and pelts. The turtle had a rounded top and eight huge wheels, and under the hides was a stout wooden frame. When the wildlings had begun knocking it together, Satin thought they were building a ship. Not far wrong. The turtle was a hull turned upside down and opened fore and aft; a longhall on wheels.

 

On 1/12/2018 at 8:54 AM, Lollygag said:

Since mismatched armor is so connected to Tyrion, perhaps there’s a connection to his mismatched eyes? While armor is a shield, the eyes are the opposite, so open and defenseless that they’re windows to allow others to see our souls.

Nice.

A case in point (check out the mouth-eyes mismatch):

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A Game of Thrones - Sansa II

When Sansa finally looked up, a man was standing over her [he's the armored giant looming over the girls in Bran's vision], staring. He was short, with a pointed beard and a silver streak in his hair, almost as old as her father. "You must be one of her daughters," he said to her. He had grey-green eyes that did not smile when his mouth did. "You have the Tully look."

"I'm Sansa Stark," she said, ill at ease. The man wore a heavy cloak with a fur collar, fastened with a silver mockingbird, and he had the effortless manner of a high lord, but she did not know him. "I have not had the honor, my lord."

 

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A Game of Thrones - Bran III

Over them both loomed a giant in armor made of stone, but when he opened his visor, there was nothing inside but darkness and thick black blood.

 

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The Winds of Winter - Alayne I

"I don't know how," she said miserably.

"Oh, I think you do," said Littlefinger, with one of those smiles that did not reach his eyes.

LF's 'armor' as the 'mask of sanity' a psychopath wears:

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A Game of Thrones - Eddard XV

I failed you, Robert, Ned thought. He could not say the words. I lied to you, hid the truth. I let them kill you.

The king heard him. "You stiff-necked fool," he muttered, "too proud to listen. Can you eat pride, Stark? Will honor shield your children?" Cracks ran down his face, fissures opening in the flesh, and he reached up and ripped the mask away. It was not Robert at all; it was Littlefinger, grinning, mocking him. When he opened his mouth to speak, his lies turned to pale grey moths and took wing.

 

A Feast for Crows - Sansa I

He saved Alayne, his daughter, a voice within her whispered. But she was Sansa too . . . and sometimes it seemed to her that the Lord Protector was two people as well. He was Petyr, her protector, warm and funny and gentle . . . but he was also Littlefinger, the lord she'd known at King's Landing, smiling slyly and stroking his beard as he whispered in Queen Cersei's ear. And Littlefinger was no friend of hers. When Joff had her beaten, the Imp defended her, not Littlefinger. When the mob sought to rape her, the Hound carried her to safety, not Littlefinger. When the Lannisters wed her to Tyrion against her will, Ser Garlan the Gallant gave her comfort, not Littlefinger. Littlefinger never lifted so much as his little finger for her.

Except to get me out. He did that for me. I thought it was Ser Dontos, my poor old drunken Florian, but it was Petyr all the while. Littlefinger was only a mask he had to wear. Only sometimes Sansa found it hard to tell where the man ended and the mask began. Littlefinger and Lord Petyr looked so very much alike. 

 

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6 hours ago, Lady Dacey said:

"Borrowed" boots, mail shirt and helm, and Gendry gets a "borrowed" long sword! 

ACOK, Arya II 

Come morning, when Praed did not awaken, Arya realized that it had been his coughing she had missed. They dug a grave of their own then, burying the sellsword where he'd slept. Yoren stripped him of his valuables before they threw the dirt on him. One man claimed his boots, another his dagger. His mail shirt and helm were parceled out. His longsword Yoren handed to the Bull. "Arms like yours, might be you can learn to use this," he told him. A boy called Tarber tossed a handful of acorns on top of Praed's body, so an oak might grow to mark his place.

@Seams, doesn't this make you think about Loras burying Renly and the Elder Brother burying the Hound?

I think Martin is saying something when someone claims  the boots, but Yoren gives the sword to Gendry.

It's curios that this Praed character is only mentioned twice, with no introduction whatsoever, and the first time is also grave-related! 

Arya noticed the first grave that same day; a small mound beside the road, dug for a child. A crystal had been set in the soft earth, and Lommy wanted to take it until the Bull told him he'd better leave the dead alone. A few leagues farther on, Praed pointed out more graves, a whole row freshly dug. After that, a day hardly passed without one.

Gendry might be on to something telling us it's better to leave the dead alone... wise boy 

Nice catch! That is most interesting.

Did you see the comment I put up last night about the similarities in the Elder Brother / Hound and Ser Loras / Renly burials? I put it in Curled Finger's discussion of Brienne's honor because someone there had brought up the Elder Brother / Hound burial there, but maybe I should have posted it in this thread instead.

I bet Yoren giving the sword to Gendry is meant to be an echo of Mormont giving a sword to Jon Snow. But I believe that Brienne took Renly's sword (she used it to defend herself against the other Rainbow Guard members) when Renly died. Layer upon layer of internal allusion going on here.

And you are also right on to connect the "claimed" and "parceled out" clothes and boots to this borrowed armor motif, I think. Praed was a sellsword who had been hired by Yoren to help protect the wagon train. So this seems to be a situation

The detail about Tarber planting the acorns probably plays into the idea that Renly and The Hound are reborn after their burials - after this acorn gesture, we next see Tarber pulling root vegetables from an abandoned garden passed by Yoren's wagon train. Seems like something to do with pulling out of a grave a living thing that had been buried . . . Davos talks about his load of onions representing "life" when he delivered them to the besieged Storm's End. I wonder where this planting / harvesting image might be leading us?

Fascinating.

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