Black Crow

Heresy 205 bats and little green men

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Welcome to Heresy 205, the latest version of the quirky thread where we take an in-depth look at the story and in particular what GRRM has referred to as the real conflict, not the Game of Thrones, but the Song on Ice and Fire and the apparent threat which lies in the North, hidden in those magical Otherlands which lie beyond the Wall. The thread is called Heresy because we miserable heretics were the first to challenge the orthodoxy that the Wall is the last best hope of mankind; to question whether the three-fingered tree-huggers really are kindly elves and question too the popular assumption that Jon Snow is some bloke prophecied out east known as Azor Ahai, who is going to ride out of the sunrise on a dragon, save the world by immolating the lot and then ascend the Iron Throne to reign over dust and ashes. Instead we’re increasingly wondering whether the Starks might have a dark secret in their past, which we’re beginning to suspect may be gaunt, with characteristic long Stark face and is very very cold. Winter after all is coming and it aint going to be pretty.

 

We don’t all agree on this, or anything else for that matter, but as a free-ranging discussion we can safely claim to have been around for a while now and discussed an awful lot of stuff over the years since the thread cycle started in late 2011. Some of the ideas have been overtaken by events and some seemingly confirmed by the earlier stages of mummers’ version before it firmly moved into weird fan-fiction, but this remains very firmly a book-based thread no matter what might happen in that parallel but very different story told by the mummers.

 

So dig in, enjoy yourself and if it comes to a fight just remember the local house rules; stick to the text, have respect for the ideas of others and above all conduct the debate with great good humour.

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Think I'll just set up here at the bar... and listen along. 

I do enjoy these conversations.  :cool4:

:cheers:

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bats and little green men

Am I right in thinking this means the theme of this edition is Harrenhal and local territory?

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just continuing the current conversation...

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OK, just by way of stirring things a little, what do we actually know of the Mad Mouse?

We, or rather Brienne, first encounter him as a hedge knight/sellsword/bounty hunter named Ser Shadrich of the Shady Glen, supposedly looking for Sansa with a view to claiming the reward. His story is that he was on the losing side at the Blackwater and so needs the money.

He's short, about five foot and older and while his stature at first suggests a boy, he's older than he looks.

In the conversation with Sansa/Alayne he responds to the question as to whether he'll try out for the Winged Knights by saying that a mouse with wings would be absurd. Yet as I pointed out when the extract was first published [one of my finer moments] in German there is indeed such a thing as a winged mouse; der Fleidermaus - a bat.

One bat suggests a Lothston, but we're told the last of them were killed long years ago. Nevertheless its possible, but on the other hand it could also be a reference to the Whents of Harrenhal.

Given that someone small of stature has been on the run ever since the Harrenhal tournament...:commie:

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We also have Mad Danelle with the similar name to Mad Mouse, both with red hair.  It fits, but is it meaningful?

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All depends on the possible meaning, but yes a good catch. Ser Shadrich has indeed got red hair, which strengthens the Lothston connection.  

Providing him with more of a [secret] backstory does open the likelihood that he's more important than he at first appears. Some delving more deeply into Mad Danielle and her allegiances could be fruitful

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50 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

the likelihood that he's more important than he at first appears

Well, I think given the financial situation he mentioned, and his conscious knowledge of Brienne's search for Sansa, he's probably going to play a role in Sansa's future story.  He may chaperone her somewhere she wants to go, for the promise of cash, or possibly just return her to those in King's Landing (same motive on his part).  So that seems pretty important.

3 hours ago, Black Crow said:

Given that someone small of stature has been on the run ever since the Harrenhal tournament...

If you mean he might have been the KotLT, there are at least a couple of points that seem tricky to me:

1) What was Shadrich's motive to require the three knights he defeated to teach their squires honor?

2) If Shadrich was the KotLT, what was Howland's motive to tell the story of the KotLT to his children so many times they literally memorized every detail?

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I am thinking that Shadrich is merely another parallel to Howland and the Knight of the Laughing Tree mystery. Alot of common elements are there. I've added Ser Shadrich to some of Pretty Pig's most excellent work where she compares Howland at the Harrenhal tourney to Arya's Weasel Soup plan that helped the northern captives escape imprisonment from Harrenhal. I admit Ser Shadrich's connection to Harrenhal is slight. Har, get it? "Slight", "mouse"...OK enuf o'dat. Like Black Crow stated a flying mouse is a bat, and an old house of Harrenhal, House Lothston, had a bat for a sigil, and Brienne carried an old Lothston shield...carry on then.

KEY:  H = Howland , A = Arya, S = Shadrich

 

H:  The castle of Harrenhal is now filled with people who have arrived for the tournement.

A:  The castle of Harrenhal is now mostly empty; the people have departed for battle.

S:  Shadrich has become a symbol representing Harrenhal, because of the reference to a flying mouse, which could be a bat (Lothston, Harrenhal, etc)

 

H:  A guest from a noble northern house, Howland is persuaded to sit at the table with the other guests of high birth.   He mingles with the members of other northern houses.

A:  A captive from a noble northern house, Arya is forced to sleep and dine in the cellar. Arya cannot mingle with members of other northern houses, because they are imprisoned in the dungeons.

S:  Shadrich is with Brienne when they stopped for the knight at the Old Stone Bridge Inn. His meal and stay are paid for by his employer, a merchant, while Brienne pays for herself and the two penniless hedge knights Creighton and Illifer. I guess you could say they are all staying the night with a symbol of Harrenhal.

 

H:   At Harrenhal there is singing and dancing and merriment, sounds of people having fun.

A:   At Harrenhal there is eerie silence and ghostly noises broken by sounds of general work.

S:   There were only six locals sitting at a table at the inn when Shadrich and Brienne’s party arrived. They hear the sounds of a roast spitting and crackling over a fire.

 

H:   Howland does not actively seek aid in getting revenge upon the three squires; instead, his friends the wolf maid and the pup offer to help him (their “father’s man”) challenge the squires by providing materials/assistance.

A:   Arya actively seeks help in fulfilling her plan (setting free her “father’s men”) by going to Hot Pie and Gendry for materials/assistance; they refuse her.

S: Ser Creighton, Ser Illifer the Penniless, and Brienne came upon a merchant who was protected by Ser Shadrich. The merchant produced a crossbow and called, “You will forgive me if I am suspicious, but the times are troubled, and I have only good Ser Shadrich to defend me.

 

H:  A young crannogman, small of stature and naïve to the ways of the big outside world.

A:  A young girl, small of stature and naïve to the ways of the big outside world.

S: A wiry, fox-faced man, cocksure though no more than five foot two.

 

H:   With pledges of support of his new friends, Howland goes to the lake’s edge after the night’s festivities are over, casts his gaze to the Isle of Faces with its grove of weirwoods, and “said a prayer to the old gods of north and Neck .  .  .”

A:   Without pledges of support of her old friends, Arya goes to the godswood of Harrenhal in the dark of night and says a silent prayer in front of the wicked & twisted heart tree.

S:  No mention of a prayer for our Ser Shadrich. You could turn this around and state that Shadrich didn't pray.

 

H:  Howland wishes (we assume, this is indirectly stated in Meera’s retelling) to have vengeance upon those who wronged him, but in a way that he won’t shame himself and his people. He desires to be brave.

A:  Arya wishes to have vengeance on those who wronged her, and to restore pride to herself and her shamed (captured) people. She desires to be brave.

S: Shadrich is unafraid of the three knights (Creighton, Illifer, and Brienne) who he refers to as “old”, “fat”, and “a woman”. He mocks Brienne by noting, “You’re a strapping healthy wench, I’d say.” After Brienne says, “A giant, compared to some.” He laughed. “I am big enough where it counts, wench.” He also explains that while a common mouse will run from blood and battle, a mad mouse seeks them out.

 

H: King Aerys offers ransom for capture of the Knight of the Laughing Tree

A: Arya holds Jaqen’s life ransom until he helps her release the northern captives

S: Shadrich tells Brienne he’s looking for Sansa in order to claim Vary’s “plump bag of gold”.

 

H: Lyanna ends up missing - Rhaegar blamed for her abduction.

A: Arya has gone missing from Kings Landing. She escaped by disguising herself as a boy.

S: Sansa has gone missing. Ser Dontos blamed for her absence. Later, Brienne is the that’s gone missing - hiding from Shadrich.

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6 hours ago, Black Crow said:

OK, just by way of stirring things a little, what do we actually know of the Mad Mouse?

We, or rather Brienne, first encounter him as a hedge knight/sellsword/bounty hunter named Ser Shadrich of the Shady Glen, supposedly looking for Sansa with a view to claiming the reward. His story is that he was on the losing side at the Blackwater and so needs the money.

He's short, about five foot and older and while his stature at first suggests a boy, he's older than he looks.

In the conversation with Sansa/Alayne he responds to the question as to whether he'll try out for the Winged Knights by saying that a mouse with wings would be absurd. Yet as I pointed out when the extract was first published [one of my finer moments] in German there is indeed such a thing as a winged mouse; der Fleidermaus - a bat.

One bat suggests a Lothston, but we're told the last of them were killed long years ago. Nevertheless its possible, but on the other hand it could also be a reference to the Whents of Harrenhal.

Given that someone small of stature has been on the run ever since the Harrenhal tournament...:commie:

One of the more mundane theories I have regarding Shadrich’s origin is that he was one of the household knights of House Piper.

Quote

“Five knights and twenty men-at-arms went with Marq to the Twins,” said Piper. “Are they your guests as well, Frey?”

”Some of the knights, perhaps.  The others were served no more than they deserved.  You’d do well to guard your traitor’s tongue, Piper, unless you want your heir returned in pieces.”

Quote

Karyl Vance turned to Jaime.  “Lord Piper spoke from grief.  Marq is his first born son.  Those knights who accompanied him to the Twins were nephews and cousins all.”

And we learn that the Lord of House Piper and his children are known for their red hair and runty stature:

Quote

“He understands that well enough,” said Lord Piper.  he was a short, rotund, bow legged man with a bush of wild red hair, the father of one of Jaime’s squires; the resemblance to the boy was unmistakeable.

Quote

Garrett had lit the braziers, and their glowing coals filled Jaime’s tent with a ruddy heat.  Ser Daven shrugged out of his cloak and tossed it at Little Lee.  “You a Piper, boy?”  He growled.  “You have a runty look to you.”

”I’m Lewys Piper, if it please my lord.”

”I beat your brother bloody in a melee once.  The runty little fool took offense when I asked him if that was his sister dancing naked on his shield.”

”She’s the sigil of our House.  We don’t have a sister.”

”More’s the pity.  Your sigil has nice teats.  What sort of man hides behind a naked woman, though?  Every time I thumped your brother’s shield, I felt unchivalrous.”

Now combine this with the Mad Mouse’s choice of sigil, which seems to be a nod to the legend of the Rat Cook and the curse of violating Guest Right, and it isn’t a stretch to guess that Shadrich may be one of the Piper household knights, perhaps a cousin to the main branch.

Now of course this doesn’t mean that he isn’t also descended from House Lothston.   Both houses being from the Riverlands it seems very possible that perhaps a maternal line of House Lothston survived through marriages into other Houses in the Riverlands.

And perhaps this would be a parallel to another extinct House, House Blackfyre.  We learn that both houses were killed off, at least through the paternal line:

Quote

Illyrio brushed away the objection as if it were a fly.  “Black or red, a dragon is still a dragon.  When Maelys the Monstrous died upon the stepstones, it was the end of the male line of House Blackfyre.”  The cheesemonger smiled through his forked beard.

 

Quote

Ser Illifer crooked a bony finger at her shield.  Though its paint was cracked and peeling, the device it bore showed plain:  a black bat on a field divided bendwise, silver and gold.  “You bear a liar’s shield, to which you have no right.  My grandfather helped kill the last o’ Losthon.  None since has dared to show that bat, black as the deeds of them that bore it.”...

Ser Illifer paid him no mind.  “A barefoot man looks for a boot, a chilly man a cloak.  But who would cloak themselves in shame?  Lord Lucas bore that bat, the Pander, and Manfred o’ the Black Hood, his son.”

So perhaps like Maelys the Monstrous, Manfred o’ the Black Hood was the last male descendant of the house, but perhaps their bloodline lived on through a female line (or a bastard).

Finally, the last aside, is the offense that Lord Piper’s son took when Ser Daven Lannister asked if the naked woman on his shield was his sister.  It’s odd that he took offense to that considering he supposedly had no sister.  I wonder if perhaps he did have an illigetimate sister.

 

Edited by Frey family reunion

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Mad Mouse could be a Piper or a Lothston, but that doesn't mean he has a hidden agenda.   GRRM hides many details for careful readers, but they aren't central to the plot.   The 'winged mouse' has to mean something.  But he is just a hedge knight who probably doesn't know his own ancestry.   I wouldn't be surprised if we see a very similar Sir Lothston in a Dunk and Egg story, and that is the whole reveal.

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There was no time to think it through, only the moment and the sound of her own voice ringing in her ears. "You in the corner," she said to an older man she had not noticed until now. "Is that the black bat of Harrenhal I see embroidered on your surcoat, ser?"

Cat V - a GoT

Ser Oswell Whent was on one knee, sharpening his blade with a whetstone. Across his white-enameled helm, the black bat of his House spread its wings. Between them stood fierce old Ser Gerold Hightower, the White Bull, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.

Eddard X - a GoT

He found an old shield in the armory, battered and splintered, the chipped paint still showing most of the great black bat of House Lothston upon a field of silver and gold. 

Jaime VI -  aSoS

Bat, not bats. A lot of people think Whent always uses 9 bats and Lothston 1. From reading this I get the impression Whent uses 1 bat as a common sign (compared to the 9 on the heraldry shield) and the difference is more the field: yellow for whent and yellow/white for Lothstone. 

I wanted to discuss the yellow field of Whent with the yellow/white(snow) field of Lothstone but while checking the sources claiming (the wiki) that Whent has a yellow field I found .... them non existent. There is no indication what so ever in Cat V about the color of house Whent. Could someone clarify the source ?

Edited by SirArthur

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Don't have a source but its possible that the bat sigil may be connected in some way with Harrenhal itself, given that we have two [supposedly] different houses associated with the place bearing it.

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I'm not always sure if the content of sigils is important for the story or if sigils are more of a trick of GRRM to transport images into the reader's mind. It is entirely possible to switch the sigils of Tyrell and Lannister and the way we see or witness the story is different. This may not work with Targaryens and the only reason it is not working with Starks is because of the direwolfs. And in case of the bat(s) I am not sure if they hint at huge caves under Harrenhal. Or if bats are there to transport the image of Harrenhal. The name itself transports an image of a huge lordly hall. And the bat just increases the image. It is entirely possible to imagine bats living under the roof of a huge building. 

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I think bats are meant to connotate dark imagery of haunted mansions, death, vampires and their need for blood. Weirwoods drink blood, and weirwood forests went into the rafters and beams of Harrenhal which covers three times as much ground as Winterfell. The construction took forty years, and thousands of captives died in the quarries laboring to provide the stones to build the towers. That's a lot of blood. Did it feed any of the weirwoods used in the construction? Can severed weirwoods retain any of the spirits they once contained? Think about what bats can do. They navigate in the dark even though their eyesight is poor. This "seeing" in the dark seems like a connection to greenseers. 

Edited by Feather Crystal

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4 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

I think bats are meant to connotate dark imagery of haunted mansions, death, vampires and their need for blood. Weirwoods drink blood, and weirwood forests went into the rafters and beams of Harrenhal which covers three times as much ground as Winterfell. The construction took forty years, and thousands of captives died in the quarries laboring to provide the stones to build the towers. That's a lot of blood. Did it feed any of the weirwoods used in the construction? Can severed weirwoods retain any of the spirits they once contained? Think about what bats can do. They navigate in the dark even though their eyesight is poor. This "seeing" in the dark seems like a connection to greenseers. 

And this is already a lot of interpretation. Death, vampires.. How so ? Only a regional bat subspecies even drinks blood. There is no known dead weirwood that drinks blood. Dead weirwood is not explicitly associated with magic and only the Black Gate plays a part in the story so far. Mostly it is made into furniture and weapons. However if it would have interpreted abilities, a lot of weapons would start having "ghost" associations. That is not the case.

 What is true is, that Harrenhal shares similarities with the Nightfort: weirwood trees, dead weirwood, a ruin and Bran thinks there are ghosts (at the Nightfort). 

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I don't know whether much interpretation is necessary, Mad Danelle sounds a bit like Elisabeth Bathory, bats and ancient castles shriek of Dracula and so on. I don't think we need necessarily look for specific plot issues here, but rather note that we have a sinister atmosphere swirling around the castle and the two families most closely associated with it. 

Don't get me wrong however; Ser Shadrich lies well down the pecking order of characters, but like a lot of minor characters he looks as though he's more than just deep background, but may be in a position to facilitate things for more important characters. The question is what and before we can even begin to ask that we need to think about his true allegiances and whether they have anything to do with a certain nearby island

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Or GRRM just needed to come up with a hundred different heraldry signs and bats made the list.  It isn't unusual for a great house and their vassal to adopt similar heraldry,  I can dig up other examples from the world book.

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51 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

I don't know whether much interpretation is necessary, Mad Danelle sounds a bit like Elisabeth Bathory, bats and ancient castles shriek of Dracula and so on. I don't think we need necessarily look for specific plot issues here, but rather note that we have a sinister atmosphere swirling around the castle and the two families most closely associated with it. 

Don't get me wrong however; Ser Shadrich lies well down the pecking order of characters, but like a lot of minor characters he looks as though he's more than just deep background, but may be in a position to facilitate things for more important characters. The question is what and before we can even begin to ask that we need to think about his true allegiances and whether they have anything to do with a certain nearby island

Ser Shadrich has quite a gap from when he leaves Brienne's company as a merchant's hired guard until the next time he pops up in the story as one of three hedge knights Littlefinger hired and introduces to Sansa. He admitted to Brienne that he was looking for Sansa, and now it seems he's found her.

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1 hour ago, Brad Stark said:

Or GRRM just needed to come up with a hundred different heraldry signs and bats made the list.  It isn't unusual for a great house and their vassal to adopt similar heraldry,  I can dig up other examples from the world book.

True, which is why I suggested a common connection between the Lothstons, Whents and Harrenhal; but at the same time GRRM is very keen on sigils having significance - they aren't allocated randomly.

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