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yolkboy

Sapphires = Secrets

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I have multiple problems with this, although I find it very interesting and really appreciate the time and effort you put into it. I have read the whole thread and do understand the context of the passages, I just don't necessarily agree with all of your examples. Also, I find most of your subsequent explanations more defensive than expansive and, with a three page thread at this point, saying " It's just I had to explain very very simple concepts to people over and over. " is a bit dramatic and condescending, no?

Anyway, at its heart I really like this theory. However, my belief is you would have been much better served with examples of 19-20/26 than going for a "slam dunk" and including the guesses and conjecture. My biggest issue is you include things as fact that AREN'T CANON. This is a particular pet peeve of mine so I apologize for the caps and the crazed voice that happens in my head as I type that. For example, you use fAegon's lineage as proof of a secret twice. I understand we have theories, we have great theories, and a lot of possible related prophecies and wonderfully fun speculation. But until GRRM puts it in a book all it is, is speculation. Right now it is as likely Aegon is Rhaygar's son as it is he is the descendant of a banana loaf. We don't know. Until we do you can't call it proof. Now Illyiro has a lot of secrets and this doesn't discredit that, but using non-canon as evidence weakens a theory instead of strengthening it.

There are also a few examples that I find to be reaching. Most of these I find have to do with the Arryn's or the Eyrrie. They have sapphires like Lannisters have rubies, they are a sign of wealth and privilege and the right color. This doesn't discredit the theory by a long shot, but the specific examples seem weak compared to some of the other evidence. However, those that some people have big issues with (Mance and Gerion chiefly) I actually think are the most likely to have secrets - the characters we know the least about have the most potential for future intrigue.

On the whole I think this was an excellent OP and has lots of merit. You put a ton of work and research into it and that I really applaud. But the job of anyone reading a theory is to poke holes in it and this one has lots of holes. That doesn't mean its not great recognition of clues or that it isn't true. It just means you can't call something proof based on retrospective observation. Its selection bias and it ends up leading you, as was mentioned above, where you want to go instead of where GRRM wants you too. But again, great work!

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While I applaud the effort taken by the OP on this and think it's an interesting theory, I'm not entirely sold. I think there are many interpretations which would fit a vast majority of these instances pretty well. For instance, if you look at the sapphire as a signifier of characters who are trying to be something they're not or are being portrayed as something they're not, it works pretty well. It doesn't have to be a secret. Loras is trying to be Rhaegar reincarnated with his sapphire armor a proxy for ruby armor. Lysa is trying to be an Arryn when in her heart she's still a Tully of Riverrun. Robin is trying to be the Lord Paramount of the Vale when he's just a sickly little boy. Brienne's connections with sapphires comes from the one part of the story where she is treated like the young Lady of Tarth and not like a knight. Illyrio and Varys are foreigners acting like Westerosi. A lot of the commonfolk are wearing jewels and otherwise acting like nobility. Even the dead men with sapphire eyes are pretending to be dead when they're actually wights.

I agree with other posters on this thread that you could take almost any infrequently used word and ascribe the meaning to secrets because almost every other scene in ASOIAF is about the uncovering or concealment of secrets.

Personally, I think sapphires have different meanings depending on where they are shown. I don't think it is one thing. For Brienne, they represent the false promise of home. There are no sapphires on Tarth and Brienne can't rely on her family to save her nor is she likely to find any solace on Tarth. In the North, they are symbolic of the Wights/winter. In the Vale, they represent House Arryn. In KL and elsewhere, they represent a kind of showy "new money" sort of wealth. For the Ironborn, they're a status symbol.

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snip

RE condescending - yes I became impatient with answering the same question multiple times, when the answer was in the very first line of the OP. :dunno: Do you think that's encouraging for OP's in general?

RE unproven theories - all you can do with a theory is prove it to the best of your ability, showing knowledge of the text. Lots of things aren't provable. R+L=J isn't. When someone presents a theory that leans on R+L=J are you going to argue that it's not canon? Not that faegon has the weight of evidence of RLJ, but see my point. If you look at it from another angle, if the sapphire pattern is correct, taking all the non-faegon examples into account, then the faegon theory is strengthened.

RE Arryns at the Eyrie. Of course they mean wealth. But they can mean other things too. GRRM writes the most multi-layed books I've ever read by a long way. I don't know how this would make those examples weaker anyway - we see 3 sapphires at the Eyrie, and there's 3 pertinent secrets. What's the problem?

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I think the explanation for this is that sapphires are not the only symbol for secret or deception in the series. There is Arbor gold, for example. There may well be others. It's just that GRRM can't use things like sapphires or Arbor gold in every scene in which there is some sort of secret.

It maybe even be that sapphires are just a fraction of something larger concerning the color blue. I mentioned up thread that Griff and YG dye their hair blue to hide their identities. And then you have blue roses, which are intertwined with the mystery of Jon Snow's identity.

Yes my crackpot that Daario Naharis is hiding something, thats why he dyes his hair. Maybe he has valyrian features.

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For instance, if you look at the sapphire as a signifier of characters who are trying to be something they're not or are being portrayed as something they're not, it works pretty well.

Yolkboy, this is what I meant when I was saying that you had to refine the theory. Secrets is too general of a case as there are so many overlapping secrets which may apply in any given scene.

But as you see in the 'Not Dead Just Broken's post, he has clarified the 'secret' represented by sapphires to be 'hiding one's true self'. That's a much more testable condition, and one in which it is easier for the readers to look at a passage and say 'Sapphires.Check. HiddenSelf.Check'. That's not something you can do with a catchall term like 'secrets'.

In fact, I think he may have actually hit on that 'je ne sais quoi' that was the true meaning behind the sapphires. Not secrets, but FalseSelfs.

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It maybe even be that sapphires are just a fraction of something larger concerning the color blue. I mentioned up thread that Griff and YG dye their hair blue to hide their identities. And then you have blue roses, which are intertwined with the mystery of Jon Snow's identity.

I think you're on to something here. Also add the final room of the house of the undying

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RE condescending - yes I became impatient with answering the same question multiple times, when the answer was in the very first line of the OP. :dunno: Do you think that's encouraging for OP's in general?

I do understand being frustrated. But when multiple people question an aspect of something, maybe it is because they are valid questions instead of that they don't understand. I'm not trying to attack the theory, and I don't think the other people who raise questions and concerns are either. Its more a matter of refining and reshaping the original premise... which again was excellent. It just seemed that it was going to turn into a fight and get shut down which would be a shame since it deserves lots of discussion.

RE unproven theories - all you can do with a theory is prove it to the best of your ability, showing knowledge of the text. Lots of things aren't provable. R+L=J isn't. When someone presents a theory that leans on R+L=J are you going to argue that it's not canon? Not that faegon has the weight of evidence of RLJ, but see my point.

I actually do argue its not canon if someone presents it as fact because it isn't yet. Not being canon doesn't mean its not true but it also can't be stated as fact. I agree R+L=J based on what I know so far but I can't take that and then base subsequent theories on it without qualifying that it is based on conjecture. Its done so frequently around here that things become sort of pseudo canon and people seem to forget what is actually true. My point is its not proof, and if you want to put the most solid argument forward it should contain as little debatable information as possible

RE Arryns at the Eyrie. Of course they mean wealth. But they can mean other things too. GRRM writes the most multi-layed books I've ever read by a long way. I don't know how this would make those examples weaker anyway - we see 3 sapphires at the Eyrie, and there's 3 pertinent secrets. What's the problem?

You are right they can mean multiple things. It was more the examples of what people were hiding in these scenes that seemed weaker than the fact that they were wealth related. No one in the Vale actually things SR would be a competent Lord. Lysa had them all at court with her sweet baby on display. Its a bit of shutting the barn door after the horse is out. Its less of a problem and more that I have a science background and am trained to be critical of new hypothesis. My point is simply that if this was a thesis, you would not yet be able to successfully defend it. Its not done yet.

Edited for formatting errors

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Addressing the claim that "sapphire = secret pertaining to this scene" is so broad as to be unfalsifiable: I think it's very important to check whether that is the case (very much so: my minor was theory of science and my heart sings every time I see someone questioning falsifiability), but on consideration and test I think it very decidedly isn't unfalsifiable.

For the simple reason that analogous theories of equal falsifiability can be falsified.

The first (and considering the conclusion only) one I tested was "bacon = secret pertaining to this scene". If you don't trust me that it's not cherry picked, I encourage you to try a random word of similar frequency yourself.

In AGOT, bacon is mentioned in several scenes:

1) Tyrion talking to the twins about Bran, his fall and his tale when he wakes up. Check.

2) Luwin reports that Bran is still unchanged. Uncheck.

3) Sansa hears that Ned went with the king to hunt aurochs and thinks that she has never seen one herself. Uncheck.

4) Rast refuses to hold back when sent against Sam. Uncheck.

5) Jon prepares to desert. At least with a broader definition, let's count it as check (cause he doesn't want to be seen and stuff).

Let's move on to ACOK:

6) Bran feasts his brother's bannermen, Luwin thinks he's done well. Uncheck.

7) Jon tells Gilly that it's extremely unlikely that they'll take her with them and it's not his decision anyways. Uncheck.

8) Jon breakfasts with the rangers. One of them boasts that he slept with three of Craster's women during the night, so I'll count that as a check even though that boast isn't very central to the scene.

9) Mormont tells Jon not to feed his bird, as he just gave it bacon, Jon sitreps. Uncheck.

10) Rangers return and sitrep (without any visible deception). Uncheck.

...

I'm gonna stop here, because it becomes quite obvious that even if you're very eager to find a connection of bacon to secrets, it's never going to be anywhere near as tight as the correlation between sapphires and secrets. I got 3 hits out of 10 and for the sake of argument tried to go out of my way to find hits. Maybe someone better at bendy thinking will get a slightly higher number... but nothing near the sapphire's perfect score I wager, unless "pertaining to the scene" is just replaced by "somewhere in the same book". Not sapphire grade.

Tl;dr: While it's very commendable to check whether a theory is falsifiable, this one passes that test easily. While a refinement may be possible (no idea about that), it's not necessary to make the theory meaningful - it already is.

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Addressing the claim that "sapphire = secret pertaining to this scene" is so broad as to be unfalsifiable: I think it's very important to check whether that is the case (very much so: my minor was theory of science and my heart sings every time I see someone questioning falsifiability), but on consideration and test I think it very decidedly isn't unfalsifiable.

For the simple reason that analogous theories of equal falsifiability can be falsified.

The first (and considering the conclusion only) one I tested was "bacon = secret pertaining to this scene". If you don't trust me that it's not cherry picked, I encourage you to try a random word of similar frequency yourself.

In AGOT, bacon is mentioned in several scenes:

1) Tyrion talking to the twins about Bran, his fall and his tale when he wakes up. Check.

2) Luwin reports that Bran is still unchanged. Uncheck.

3) Sansa hears that Ned went with the king to hunt aurochs and thinks that she has never seen one herself. Uncheck.

4) Rast refuses to hold back when sent against Sam. Uncheck.

5) Jon prepares to desert. At least with a broader definition, let's count it as check (cause he doesn't want to be seen and stuff).

Let's move on to ACOK:

6) Bran feasts his brother's bannermen, Luwin thinks he's done well. Uncheck.

7) Jon tells Gilly that it's extremely unlikely that they'll take her with them and it's not his decision anyways. Uncheck.

8) Jon breakfasts with the rangers. One of them boasts that he slept with three of Craster's women during the night, so I'll count that as a check even though that boast isn't very central to the scene.

9) Mormont tells Jon not to feed his bird, as he just gave it bacon, Jon sitreps. Uncheck.

10) Rangers return and sitrep (without any visible deception). Uncheck.

...

I'm gonna stop here, because it becomes quite obvious that even if you're very eager to find a connection of bacon to secrets, it's never going to be anywhere near as tight as the correlation between sapphires and secrets. I got 3 hits out of 10 and for the sake of argument tried to go out of my way to find hits. Maybe someone better at bendy thinking will get a slightly higher number... but nothing near the sapphire's perfect score I wager, unless "pertaining to the scene" is just replaced by "somewhere in the same book". Not sapphire grade.

Tl;dr: While it's very commendable to check whether a theory is falsifiable, this one passes that test easily. While a refinement may be possible (no idea about that), it's not necessary to make the theory meaningful - it already is.

Yes, thinking about this, I can perhaps see why people might initially think there might be an elements of coincidence in the pattern at first glance. I should say, having looked for patterns is a lot of different items and descriptives recently, doing many laborious pdf searches and readings, I can assure everyone it's really difficult and rare to find such strong and repeated connections.

Not long ago there was an excellent thread by apple martini, regarding the different 'food codes'. You can see even the strongest links had far less repetition and consistent examples than this one, with 26/26. The only other item code, to my knowledge, to have such a strong pattern was the wonderful arbour gold thread, with 18/20. I don't think finding these patterns is easy as some people might be guessing, and your point about the secret pertaining to the scene is exactly why this correlation is interesting to me personally.

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Yes, thinking about this, I can perhaps see why people might initially think there might be an elements of coincidence in the pattern at first glance. I should say, having looked for patterns is a lot of different items and descriptives recently, doing many laborious pdf searches and readings, I can assure you it's really difficult and rare to find such strong and repeated connections.

Not long ago there was an excellent thread by apple martini, regarding the different 'food codes'. You can see even the strongest links had far less repetition and consistent examples than this one, with 26. The only other item code, to my knowledge, to have such a strong pattern was the wonderful arbour gold thread. I don't think finding these patterns is easy as some people might be guessing, and your point about the secret pertaining to the scene is exactly why this correlation is interesting to me personally.

While Food code relies much more on interpretation (and tends to be complex, and therein unconvincing to many), the sapphire = secret is easy to see and validate.

The sapphire =scene specific problem is what I had initially, but then I saw that all the sapphire instances are being validated. That is enough imo.

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While Food code relies much more on interpretation (and tends to be complex, and therein unconvincing to many), the sapphire = secret is easy to see and validate.

The sapphire =scene specific problem is what I had initially, but then I saw that all the sapphire instances are being validated. That is enough imo.

Well I hope when the next book comes out, and a sapphire shows up on page, there's a few people out there reading it in a different light now. I'm looking forward to seeing the s word come up and seeing if the pattern is repeated, and figuring out the secret of the scene. :ninja:

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[mod note] Please keep your personal bickering out of the thread. I have to say this is the first time such academic collaboration has resulted in an on-board argument that I know of, but as a former academic it somehow doesn't surprise me. :P Anyway, board arguments are not supposed to be fodder for getting out the popcorn, so don't waste bandwidth with those posts either. Thanks.[/mod]

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While Food code relies much more on interpretation (and tends to be complex, and therein unconvincing to many), the sapphire = secret is easy to see and validate.

correlations are never easy to validate, and they are rarely what they seem. especially in a case like asoiaf forum analyses where the problem of mass significance is very apparent. given the amounts of correlation digging that is going on on the forums; significant correlations, that are actually random, will appear.

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correlations are never easy to validate, and they are rarely what they seem. especially in a case like asoiaf forum analyses where the problem of mass significance is very apparent. given the amounts of correlation digging that is going on on the forums; significant correlations, that are actually random, will appear.

That is so my statistician friend. That is why we try to remove outliers, subjectively; those being the people whose opinions are either intentional trolls or stubborn illogical counters, and then try to get the consensus from the filtered data. :D

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One of the ways that you can reinforce this idea, is to predict which characters SHOULD have some sort of sapphire linkage, but either they haven't been introduced, or they haven't yet been acting in an obsfucated manner. So if you were to go with the notion that sapphires indicate that there is some sort of 'falseness' about what a character is pretending to be, then we should be able to guess at some future scenes in which the sapphire linkage might appear. THEN if the linkage does show up, it helps dispell the notion that 'secrets' are just being linked up to mentions of sapphires ex post facto.

So if the hypothesis is true, then I would expect that at some point we should see sapphires associated with the following characters:

1. Sarella/Arellas/Sphynx - At some point when the conversation deals with who she is, I would expect some sort of sapphire association.

2. Ser Robert Strong - Right now, he was introduced as Ser Robert Strong, and just tangentially referred to. When we actually see some interaction and the obvious questions regarding a certain 8' tall dead man... I expect sapphires.

3. Rikken Stark - I don't expect Rikken to return as Rikken, but to be disguised in order to protect him until it is safe to reveal him.

4. Pate - This is quite literally a false face situation.

5. House of Black and White - Arya did guess that there would be a room with sapphires (false faces?) so I would expect to see the reference again.

Those are just a few characters where I can predict that they will be involved in hiding their true selves, but I'm sure there are more. If the linkage between sapphires is so strong, we should be able to predict at least one occurance.

In addition, if the hypothesis is true, it seems that the sapphires occur in repetition. You have them showing up around Brienne/Jaime many times, Lady Arryn, Renly/Loras, and Illyrio are all referenced more than once. So I expect the trend to continue.

Anyone else care to make any predictions?

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Great thread, and props to the people who worked on it. I love these secret code threads!

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By the way and apropos nothing, I went and tried to find what sapphires are classically meant to symbolize irl. There is little the different websites can agree on, but wikipedia mentions that they are the traditional gift for a 65th wedding anniversary. Pretty exactly 65 years before our novels start, Walder Frey married his first wife. Coincidence?

(Yes.)

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