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  1. Was Catelyn "drowned" after releasing the Kingslayer? And therefore immune to drowning (like followers of the drowned god)? There's a cliche line from movies that goes, "He sleeps with the fishes," to indirectly convey that a person or body has been dropped into the sea. Here we see that Catelyn has been ordered to sleep with the fishes: Another death for Catelyn will come at the bedding for her brother, Edmure. Perhaps Catelyn was already dead, because of this earlier symbolic drowning. (She also saw herself drowning in the green of Renly's shiny enamel armor, I believe.) And we know that what's dead can never die. I wonder about the significance of the "Ser Robin" name here, as well. Jon Arryn raised Ned and Robert, with the latter becoming king. "Robin" is the nickname of Jon's son: perhaps it is not a coincidence that this person sent to retrieve Jaime (the Kingslayer) is also named Robin. Maybe the Arryns play an important role as kingmakers in Westeros. An historic Lord Arryn was the first lord to bend the knee to the arriving Targaryens, iirc. Robert Baratheon's parents drowned, allowing him to become Lord of Storm's End. Does Catelyn "drowning" clear the way for her children (or another heir) to move up in the succession for ... Riverrun?
  2. @Stormy4400 The topic of Marillion's song for Sansa is an excellent one, and I can't remember another thread discussing it, so nice catch. The excerpts you helpfully provided seem to cluster around a theme of death or disuse, in my opinion. I don't see the "side road" motif that you suggest although I could be persuaded with more evidence. What comes across to me is the sense that a person or thing has stepped out of the road (a journey or path is often a literary metaphor for living a life) and become - at least temporarily - removed from the journey. There is still a destination ahead and there is an implication that the person can get back on the path. (In these books, rebirth is a regular occurrence and it can take many forms.) I'm trying out the idea that singers "invent" characters into new roles: a hero becomes a hero because a singer writes a song about him. So Marillion writing a song for Sansa may be a way of telling the reader that Sansa has been off the road (on the roadside) but she is about to rise again (i.e., become a rose). I never know how far to take the anagram thing but I experimented with "roadside rose" to see if there might be a hidden message in the title. The first one that came up is "dead sororise." What the what? This might fit well with other important symbols in the books - "dead" could confirm that something on the roadside has experienced a death of some kind. The "-rise" in the second word could tell us that the dead person or thing will rise. Or maybe the salient bit is "-ise," part of the ice/eyes wordplay that tells us a sword and/or eyes are part of the symbolism. "Soror" is a Greek root word for sister, like "sororities" in college. Is Marillion turning Sansa into Dark Sister? That seems like a good fit for the trained liar and schemer that Littlefinger is educating. Marillion as a smith is an interesting idea. He once possessed the shadow cat cloak that came into Tyrion's possession shortly before he was imprisoned at the Eyrie. When Lysa tries to kill Sansa, Marillion is singing a song about a lady sewing in her garden. Is that an Arya allusion, refering to the sword called Needle? I think Marillion may be a magical version of Tyrion: his name includes the word "lion," he tries to have sex with Sansa (I know Tyrion does not do this, but he is her husband and could if he wanted to), he is badly maimed and he seems to have died or been imprisoned in an ice cell but maybe not because Sweetrobin can still hear him. One of those interesting unexplained situations that GRRM likes to include to keep us guessing or digging into the symbolism. But there are lots of other possibilities for "roadside rose" anagrams, including red door, odor, maybe something to do with the sea or the "dire" of direwolf. Another complete anagram is "adored osiers." An osier is a type of willow tree - Sansa is a parallel for the Willow character at the inn at the crossroads. Marillion is wrong about Sansa being a baseborn girl, of course, so I look at that to see whether GRRM might have buried a clue there about what is going on with this song. "Lion grabber"? Does Sansa bewitch lions in order to grab them? Will she be a grabber at a later point? Hmm. Azor Ahai slayed a lion in an attempt to temper the blade of his sword. But who knows. Robin, barrel, barber - all of these things play a role in the books but it's hard to say whether the author deliberately linked them to this moment in Sansa's arc, or if it is just a coincidence. So thank you for raising an interesting topic. Worth exploring in greater depth, for sure.
  3. Not sure this is what you are looking for, but I like to notice and to imagine what will happen with the original archetypes GRRM has created for his world; how they have/will come into play for characters in the current generation: The Butcher King The Shrouded Lord The Rat Cook milk brothers wet nurses murderous twins (Erryk and Arryk Cargill, for instance) the kingmaker fireball (someone already questioned the purpose of Quentyn Martell's arc, above. I recommend reading up on Quentyn Ball and his "son," Glendon Flowers). The Maiden Made of Light The Titan of Braavos The Sea Lord The Bear and the Maiden Fair (credit to @sweetsunray for teaching me about this one) The Dornishman's Wife mummers cutpurses stable boys millers cooks maimed singers The King's Justice handmaidens Alchemists / Wisdoms fool knights the grieving mother the innkeeper's family hedge knights mystery knights The Weeper vanished uncles children as monsters or abominations Black Pearl of Braavos eunuchs the legitimized bastard Mountain Clans woods witches second sons champions (in trial-by-combat) tourney winners Clarence Crabb people who die in trees people who eat eggs There are many more, of course. And I'm looking at characters, primarily, not at things such as the Iron Throne, the Sea Stone Chair or trebuchets, lanterns, lemon trees, red doors, burning (or otherwise damaged and lost) books, rusted armor, specific foods and sigils. Some strike me as completely original, others are borrowed from literature or pop culture but are used in original ways. For instance, he has said that he was influenced by the novel Ivanhoe, in which a king is disguised as a mystery knight. That doesn't seem like a trope, to me, because it's not a metaphor. It is a literary figure or type, perhaps, that GRRM borrows and makes his own. Some I haven't figured out yet. I'll give you a figurative groat if you can fully explain the function and meaning of stable boys to me. Why did Dunk mistake Egg for a stable boy on their first meeting? Why was Arya's first kill a stable boy? Why does a stable boy leer at Sansa's too-small dress just before she is outfitted for a new one for her surprise wedding? Is Mya Stone a stable boy? Hodor is a stable boy and the catspaw hides in the stable at Winterfell. GRRM has also taken pieces from world history or mythology and done some original things. Instead of one Isis, Osiris and Horus, what if there are several? Instead of a Celtic person being reborn in a person from his own family line, what if a person could be reborn in other ways? Instead of the warrior hero receiving a sword from the Lady of the Lake, what if the hero and the lady are both in the lake (or bath) and both receive swords? I find GRRM's storytelling endlessly fascinating. No shortcomings, as far as I am concerned. I'm glad there are thousands of other readers, critics and viewers who agree with me.
  4. I don't have a specific location or landmark in mind. Just thinking of the return of the Others, the direwolves below the Wall, etc.
  5. Here's a link. I'm interested to note that "Tom O Sevens" is hidden within the name "Symon Silver-Tongue." But other things are hidden within the name: lemons, storm, monster and "must serve," off the top of my head. One of the points we pondered in that thread was that singers invent heroes by telling their stories. So Ser Creighton making up a story about himself as a hero might fit with the idea that he embodies the singer Symon Silver-Tongue. Figuratively, if not literally. Yes! I do love this. And it helps us to figure out Ser Creighton Longbough's role in ASOIAF. I believe that Jaime embodies the myth of the Golden Bough, using a branch (his kingslayer arm, later made into a gold hand) to slay the old king at the base of a tree (the Iron Throne) and then taking that seat for himself. By killing Aerys and taking his seat on the throne, Jaime is the rightful king. (So it is delightfully ironic that his son, Joffrey, is perceived as a bastard and illegitimate son of nominal King Robert when, in fact, he is the oldest son of rightful King Jaime and would be a perfectly acceptable heir by Targaryen incest standards.) I think you are right that GRRM wants us to pair up Symon and Creighton as two manifestations of the same character or allegorical figure. For one thing, the words "butcher singer" are hidden within the name Ser Creighton Longbough. But the name also contains words such as Bronn, Long Night, goose, egg, gorgon, coughing, ghost, birch tree, colors, hero and a rich range of other possibilities. (I know anagrams can be a deep rabbit hole and difficult to pin down if they are not perfect; in this case, I think GRRM's "singer stew" tells us to cut up the pieces and throw them in a pot, the way that letters are thrown into a pot when sorting out anagrams.) The goose anagram may relate to Brienne's later insights obtained at The Stinking Goose tavern and that name contains the word "stoke" that ties into Bronn's marriage into House Stokeworth as well as the stoking of a fire. If the Birch anagram is correct, that also ties into the Bronn / Stokeworth parallel as Falyse Stokeworth is married to Balman Birch. "Colors" fits with a theory I have been nursing about The Blackwater as a place that absorbs all colors (like the color black) but then reconfigures them and throws them out again in new combinations (somewhat similar to a prism bending and revealing light as rainbows). I think the Blackwater would not have been able to reconfigure colors without the magic of wild fire. This rebirth of colors may be the opposite of Melisandre's birth of shadows after burning the ship mast / gods of the Seven. But Creighton Longbough claims to have been a hero of the Blackwater. Who do we know who was also imagined (but not really) a hero of the Blackwater? Renly. His armor was worn by Ser Garlan Tyrell and people thought it was Renly's ghost. And who do we know who really did fight valiantly at the Blackwater? Bronn. He is rewarded with a knighthood and marriage into House Stokeworth. I think I've mentioned elsewhere that I see Bronn as a "brown character" who represents the fertile earth (or maybe he is fertilizer). House Stokeworth provides the food supply for King's Landing and Lollys, impregnated by "half a hundred" small folk, represents the crops that will eventually be harvested. A major motif throughout the books is the death of leaves and other living things to create topsoil or to nourish the earth in order to provide fertile ground for new seeds that start the cycle anew. Long story short: the Blackwater brought together dead Renly in green with brown Bronn to restore the fertility cycle of crops and seasons. The baby's name will be Tyrion. I believe that the map of Westeros is supposed to be Mycah, the butcher's boy whose chopped-up body parts are delivered to his father in a bag (butchered like Symon). The island continent is reconfigured (brought together again as a united seven kingdoms) to make noseless Tyrion. The north represents his big head and you can imagine The Fingers, The Neck and other pieces of a body. I suspect that Duskendale is a place for people to be recycled after they have lost or used up their colors. Kings guard members wear white cloaks, devoid of color. Duskendale is the home of House Darklyn, which has provided more members of the kings guard than any other family. When Brienne goes there, she immediately finds someone to paint her shield: she needs new colors, too. It's possible that the doe skin jerkins common to Ser Creighton and Symon Silver-Tongue are simply doeskin / Dusken wordplay, telling us that these characters are going to a place where they can regain their colors. It's interesting that Joffrey had a fawn skin jerkin, made out of Tommen's pet fawn. I had thought the meaning was that he was a fake Baratheon, covering himself with the skin of a deer. I think that's true, but there may be another layer of meaning, if the doeskin / Duskendale wordplay is a hint. Maybe Joffrey had also lost his color - he does set aside Widow's Wail, which is the name of a blue flower, and picks up Ser Ilyn's silver sword. In heraldry, silver and white are both referred to as argent and may represent an absence of color. It's interesting that Jonquil is the name of a flower (and is Sansa's code name) and that Ser Dontos (the sole "survivor" of the Defiance of Duskendale) wears his House colors when he helps Sansa escape the Red Keep - the flowers are blossoming again as Joffrey dies. By the way, I think Bronn killing Ser Balman Birch and the sacrifice of Falyse Stokeworth to make Ser Robert Strong is another side of the same fertility stew that results in the baby Tyrion being born to Lollys. Ser Gregor Clegane is reborn as Robert Strong. The baby of Lollys and Bronn is on Team Tyrion; Robert Strong is on Team Cersei. She even tells us in her POV that she feels like a baby being picked up by its mother - like Joffrey felt in her arms - when Robert Strong picks her up after her walk of shame. Back to Creighton Longbough. I think he is one manifestation of the mentor who helps Brienne at various points along her Hero's Journey. He feeds her, and I think it's significant that the meal is trout. Tyrion requests small fish (among other symbolically important foods) at the Winterfell breakfast where he discusses with his family whether Bran will live. Ser Duncan the Tall sees a small fish in the Chequy Water stream just before he kills Ser Lucas Longinch and dies himself (he recovers). Walda Frey Bolton says that Edmure Tully's manhood is like a fish and we later learn that Brynden "Blackfish" Tully has escaped Riverrun by swimming under a portcullis (like a sperm fertilizing an egg?). Are Ser Creighton and Ser Illifer symbolically impregnating Brienne when she accepts their trout? If they are like Renly and Garlan, this might make sense. We know that Brienne loved Renly and she danced with him when she was younger. He put a cloak over her shoulders, symbolic of a Westeros wedding, after she defeated his lover, Ser Loras, in the melee at Bitterbridge. Garlan dances with Sansa at her wedding to Tyrion. Garlan's wife is noticeably pregnant at the same wedding feast. Who will be Brienne's offspring? Possibly Podrick Payne, connected to tongueless Ser Ilyn Payne who is probably parallel to Symon Silver-Tongue. He becomes visible to Brienne in the ruins of House Hollard, ancestral home of Ser Dontos. And maybe Ser Hyle Hunt, who seems to be born - becoming visible to Brienne - when Dick Crabb dies. It's all about rebirth and fertility - the cycle of life.
  6. In support of my "Borroq-as-Robb-Stark" theory: When Jon was planning to desert and join Robb Stark's army, he remembered the snow melting in Robb's hair and he tried to imagine Robb's smile and what he would say when he saw Jon. He couldn't quite picture the moment of reunion and then he immediately starts to think about desertion and what it means. The thoughts of Robb were preceded by Jon Snow acknowledging that he is a bastard and will always be a bastard, "the silent man standing in the shadows." GRRM loves irony. Instead of Jon Snow standing in the shadows, we see Borroq in the Shield Hall, in a dark corner. When he met Jon Snow, snow was melting on his boar and he said, "Brother," and he had an ugly smile - in my opinion, the smile that Jon Snow had not been able to picture in his earlier imagined reunion with Robb. Borroq / Robb is the Stranger, not Jon Snow, relishing the company of the dead. A new thought, drawing on some of the comments in this thread, is that Borroq / Robb is able to command shadows, like Melisandre. Not for nothing was his direwolf called Grey Wind. I think shadow weapons are an unspoken weapon of mass destruction or, at least, magical power. There may be more than one kind of shadow weapon: Melisandre's shadow babies but also dragons and possible unexpected things such as birds flying out of a pie. "Quiet as a shadow" was part of Arya's training with Syrio Forel, and this training allowed her to catch the elusive old one-eared tom cat at the Red Keep, where she describes cats as "ragged shadows prowling the midden heaps." Speaking of quiet, I think it's also significant that, as @sweetsunray points out, Borroq is part of the rearguard when he arrives to pass through the Wall. I think there may be wordplay on rearguard and "ear guard" along with Gared and dagger. Jon Snow thinks of Ned killing the deserter (Gared) just as he imagines his reunion with Robb in the AGoT passage cited above. Gared lost his ears to frostbite because, apparently, he had no ear guard. The old black tom cat caught by Arya has one ear. Maybe Arya killing the singer Dareon is also symbolic of her silent killing technique. She silenced him. He was also a deserter. The importance of quiet and shadows as weapons of the Stranger could also be linked to the hints people are seeing to Brienne's quest to the Whispers (not to mention her stop at the Quiet Isle). The sound of the waves against the base of the ruin seem like whispers. The advisors of Ser Clarence Crabb are dead heads (like the beheaded deserter in Jon's flashback to Gared's death) and they are not loud - they are whispering. I wonder whether the quiet and the "waves as whispers" helps to explain more of the "under the sea" wisdom of Patchface. What if the Free Folk are "Reef" folk? Maybe travels beyond the Wall represent an "under the sea" sojourn, and the Free Folk are an army that emerges from the sea? When Ygritte shows Jon Snow the stars, it could be similar to Davos finding starfish (and crabs) when he is stranded on a rock near the Blackwater. I'm wandering away from Borroq and his boar, I realize. I do think his arrival signals that Jon Snow or his after-death allies will have command of a shadow weapon or some kind. Maybe we will round out the Stranger symbolism and see Benjen turn up at the Shadow Tower.
  7. This feels right to me - although there are more layers to the cat symbolism, including the important Rhaenys / Balerion association with the old tom cat - and would explain some other details in the wordplay and symbolism. Robb is acclaimed as the King In The North - KITN. Joffrey kills a pregnant mother cat, exposing her kittens in utero. He thinks this will impress Robert, but Robert is disgusted by it. Cersei makes excuses for Joffrey's behavior. I think the symbolism is about the death of Catelyn but the larger point is to look at a cycle of killing which may represent a cycle of seasons: Ned killed Lady, who was Sansa's pet. Sandor says the Starks use direwolves for wetnurses. The killing was desired by Cersei and ordered by Robert. Joffrey will eventually kill Ned using as executioner the King's Justice who said Tywin was the "real" king. A Gold Cloak told Arya that the black tom cat, thought to be Rhaenys' kitten, Balerion, was the "real" king. That cat stole a hot pigeon (roast quail) out of Tywin's fingers. Robert "bursts" (from laughter) when the cat takes the quail. This foreshadows Robert's death, when his entrails will burst from his belly. When Sansa imagines marrying the Tyrell heir, Willas, she imagines sitting with him in a garden, with puppies in their laps. Of course, Willa is the name of the Dayne wetnurse who (readers believe) kept Jon Snow fed after the death of Lyanna. Robert believes she was the mother of Jon Snow. Killing a Stark wetnurse brings us back to Sansa's wolf, Lady. Joffrey, who I think of as Jaime's mini-me, will die after eating Tyrion's hot pigeon pie. Tyrion's squire, Pod, was nearly killed by Tywin for eating stolen food. He is spared and assigned to serve Tyrion, including bringing food to him and, eventually, Tyrion's wife Sansa. He is a Payne, like the King's Justice, which makes him part of the Reyne / Payne / Dayne and possibly Jeyne symbolic group. (Is Princess Rhaenys also part of that group?) When Roose Bolton kills Robb Stark, he says, "Jaime Lannister sends his regards." Symbolically, Roose is acting as Jaime's disembodied kingslayer hand. The signal for this regicide is the Reyne song about the cat with long claws. Jon Snow is given a sword called Long Claw. Aside from the cycle of killing kings, what other symbols are cat-related? The black tom cat (Balerion) at the Red Keep seems to like Sansa - he rubs up against her legs - and he is finally caught and kissed between the eyes by Arya. Compare that to this moment: Are we supposed to compare the tom cat and Tommen? One may be Rhaenys / Balerion, passing the baton to Sansa and Arya as the next generation of princesses. The other may represent the dead Joffrey, surprised when Cersei kisses him instead of his wife, Margaery, having that intimate contact with him. (Note: there's something going on here with jerking and the garment called a jerkin - Arya notes that the old tom cat's claws rake her leather jerkin and that she has to jerk her head back to keep her face clear of his claws. Tommen is jerking the mouse toy for the kittens. However, Tommen had a pet fawn before he had the kittens. Joffrey had it killed and skinned to make himself a jerkin. The fawn jerkin seems symbolic of Joffrey's false Baratheon identity - like a skinchanger inhabiting the deer sigil. But it is significant that the fawn - and therefore the jerkin? - belonged to Tommen.) Here are some of the wordplay hints and literary analysis that may help to explain the cat symbolism: Ser Pounce - serpents. This is such a brilliant name for this kitten because it sounds like a knight but, at the same time, it represents dragons, which means a symbolic Targaryen. Sansa encounters the old black cat at the top of the serpentine steps, which is an important symbolic location in the Red Keep. Lady Whiskers - The last time we discussed Tommen's kittens, I was pretty sure that this referred to Queen Selyse Florent, who is usually described as having facial hair. I still think this is true, but I have come to understand that the Florents and Tyrells are competing to be the successors to House Gardner and thus the rulers of High Garden where green and peaches and summer reside. The whiskers are part of the shaggy / sharp paired opposites that GRRM uses throughout the novels - Selyse is a shaggy queen and Olenna is a sharp queen (Queen of Thorns) - Florent vs. Tyrell. Stannis vs. Renly / Joffrey / Tommen. Boots - I think the earlier comments are correct that we associate Bran with boots because he mentions that skinchanging Hodor is like wearing old boots. We also associate boots with Arya, who takes boots from the singer Dareon (who comes from the Reach, like the Florents and Tyrells) but the boots do not fit her. Actually, checking the boot references in her POVs, she comes across a lot of boots that don't fit her. She wears some of them and finds coins in the toes of others. The boot motif could link to the jerkin symbolism since both are made of leather and are part of the skinchanging symbolism. (As an anagram, boot is probably also related to the Tobho Mott symbolism which ties into smiths, Flea Bottom, Hot Tomb, Gendry, the melting of Ice, etc. Boot Thom? That makes sense with a tom cat named Boots.) Mice - ice. I know, I know, I see ice everywhere. (When I wrote the word "regicide" a few paragraphs ago, I even wondered whether GRRM was playing around with "grey ice die" by having Roose Bolton, whose eyes are like grey ice, kill the king.) But linking mice to ice would also support the several comments on this thread that assert that mice are spies. This is because of the ice / eyes wordplay. It would also support this "sword that slays the season" symbolism I see in the cycle of the winter king killing the summer king and then summer killing winter in an endless cycle - the cat (Long Claw) kills the mouse and then the sword (Ice / mice) kills the cat. Ser Pounce catches the mouse and then Lady Whiskers takes it from him. Cersei says that Ser Pounce must learn to defend himself - perhaps he will be able to take the next mouse away from Lady Whiskers. Mouser - Summer. I think this is a really important potential insight into the meaning of Tommen's kittens. They are mousers; they kill mice. If the kitten named Boots represents Bran, I wonder whether it will be a mouser? Because Bran loves his direwolf and it is named Summer. If the cats of the Red Keep represent past and present kings and members of the court, a future king would probably have a cat or kitten waiting in the wings. (Recall Robb as KITN.) Another source of information about Bran's relationship to Tommen's pets is that Bran and Tommen engaged in practice combat at Winterfell and that Bran knocked Tommen down half a hundred times. That wasn't jousting, though, which is the most important combat game for literary analysis purposes when determining the succession for the throne. We later see Tommen at Joffrey's name day tourney, riding his pet pony and jousting with a dummy made of straw. In other words, a bale. This takes us into the Bael / Baelor / Baelish / Balerion / Able name group but also allows us to recall two guards assigned to Bran at Winterfell: Alebelly (Bael is hidden in his name) and Hayhead. The quintain with the straw foe ("Tommen's opponent was a child-sized leather warrior") spins around and knocks Tommen off his pony. Symbolically, Bran's champions - a bale of straw and a hayhead - defeat Tommen in jousting. Sometimes the winner takes the loser's mount so there is yet another pet that Tommen would forfeit. tl;dr: Tommen's kittens represent the cycle of summer and winter kings who take turns ruling the land by killing each other in an endless cycle. The cats kill mice but mice are part of team Ice (because they rhyme) and cats can be killed by swords such as Ice. (Rats may be part of team Stark, if my "almost anagram" theory is correct.) Jaime pushed Bran off of a tower; Nymeria bit Joffrey; Cersei had Lady killed; Joffrey may have sent the catspaw to kill Bran but the catspaw cut Catelyn's hand instead. Catelyn took Tyrion prisoner. Tyrion's champion, Bronn (who is described as cat-like) defeated Lysa's champion who she described as he husband's right hand. Bloody Mummers (rhymes with Summer) maimed Jaime; Joffrey killed Ned; Joffrey was replaced by his look-alike brother, Tommen; Bran may "kill" Tommen.
  8. Maybe we have stumbled onto an element of the mysterious game called come-into-my-castle. Tyrion tells us that it it a game for high-born children: In a long-ago thread, this forum sorted out that there is a massive game of Chutes and Ladders (Snakes and Ladders) going on in the Red Keep. Maybe having the right high-born child as a ward (or a squire?) is part of the game of come-into-my-castle. At this point, only GRRM knows how the game is played, although he has given us hints. I'm pretty sure that Freys are door-openers. This is why Hodor, who is really named Walder, has to accompany Bran on his journey. We see Hodor opening the door of the Winterfell crypt after the fire and putting Bran and his traveling companions through the transom at the Queen's Crown when they couldn't get the door to open. I'm guessing that Lord Walder's series of wives will tell us which families have attained a sort of borrowed door-opening power by marrying into the Frey family. (His first wife was a Royce, and we see Ser Waymar Royce in the opening scene of AGoT at a moment when a long-closed door has been opened.) Bran sends turnips and beets to the Walder wards. I have concluded that turnips, also known as neeps, symbolize an entrance to the underworld because of the wordplay on "Pennytree = Neep Entry." Bran, perhaps with the help of Rickon and Catelyn, has empowered these particular Walder Freys to guard or control an entrance to the Underworld (probably represented by the Winterfell crypt). But Ned empowered Theon to be a ward / door opener. Or maybe it wasn't Ned: Old Nan may also be a Frey: she is Hodor's grandmother (great grandmother?) and she says "mayhaps" at least once. If she is also a door-opener, Theon may have gained some of his power when he leapt "into" her. We see him flow over the walls when he leads his Ironborn in the takeover, so maybe that is a special power that only he can wield as a former Stark ward. Maybe there is wordplay on "door" and "ward" - or should I say "dawr"?
  9. We learn that Ned's ward, Theon, is leaving Robb in ACoK, Catelyn I: But Catelyn has substituted two wards of her own before Ned's ward is released: John has turned into a ward - a STEWard - in AGoT, Jon VI: Ned's sword is taken away and Arya is suddenly caught in a "wolf trap," perhaps lending credence to the idea of wards and swords as protection: Of course, the wolf trap hand belongs to Yoren, a member of the Night's Watch. I definitely think there's something going on with wards and swords serving as protective seals or shields. When we pin down the timing and the details, it looks as if there are two wards at Winterfell before Theon is released by Robb. The new wards are young Freys, however, and are Catelyn's wards, not Ned's ward.
  10. When I saw the title for your thread, I thought you had abbreviated Rainbow Guard to RBG. (It took a second to see that you had written RGB.) That group includes six colors (there is no indigo guard) and each color seems to have attributes such as flowers, birds, bugs and/or fruit associated with it. This would tend to support Renly's status as a god of flora and fauna or summer king. But Renly has not got a monopoly on red, blue and green symbolism or on other colors. I don't think each color has only a single meaning or function: blue can be a sky color or a sapphire color or the blue fork of the Trident. On the other hand, the blue sigil of House Arryn is associated with a seat (castle) made of marble imported from Tarth. So maybe GRRM is trying to give us hints about a consistent meaning for blue and there may be similar overlapping elements for other colors. Red is a fire color for instance, but why does Melisandre have red eyes and why do weirwoods have red leaves? Combinations of colors may also have meanings. In the Dunk & Egg thread in the re-read forum, I theorized that orange and argent (white or silver) are Targaryen colors - maybe because the orange is a fire color and the "argent" is part of the garnet / Targ wordplay. House Ashford uses these colors in their sigil and I believe this is a sign to readers that a significant Targaryen plot twist will take place at their tourney. What we know of The Trident may help us to solve the red, blue and green clues. Rhaegar was killed by Robert at the Ruby Ford of the Red Fork. Rubies came off of his armor and eventually washed up on the Quiet Isle. Catelyn and Robb died at the Green Fork. Maybe we need to see the Blue Fork in the next books to finally understand why the three forks are associated with these colors.
  11. Moon's turn / Tourney / Bend the knee / the letter J I had started to wonder why GRRM often uses the word "tourney" but rarely "tournament" to describe the contests involving jousting and other mock combat. (Primarily Starks, with an emphasis on Sansa, use the word "tournament.") Then I finally watched the first episode of "Fire and Blood" (because it was available as a free sample online) and noticed that the jousting lists and the camera view are set up in such a way that we can see the mounted knights turn to make another run at their opponent after each pass. I wondered whether there is a deliberate emphasis on the word "turn" in each tourney. This fits with the idea that GRRM uses tourneys as major turning points in the story: Dunk and Egg at Ashford Meadow and at Whitewalls, Rhaegar and Aerys (and Lyanna) at Harrenhal, Renly and Loras and Brienne at Bitter Bridge, Ned and The Hound (and many others) at the Hand's Tourney. We can see the foreshadowing of who will be defeated and who will take away a prize in each match or in the overall contest - some people literally fall from power while others gain in social status due to surprise victories - Ser Jorah, Ser Barristan, Brienne, Glendon Flowers. I find it fascinating that Jaime was appointed to the kingsguard at Harrenhal but then sent away, preventing his participation in the key contests at that turning point. Joffrey receives "groom's gifts" to support a tourney knight but he never gets to use them. Tyrion declines to be Joffrey's champion but later participates in the mummer jousting to keep the sailors amused and discourage them from harming him and Penny and the dog and pig. So some of the symbolism involves who gets to participate at all or their reasons for participating. My wordplay radar tell me that the symbolism of a "tourney" is probably linked to the "bend the knee" phrase (turn knee) that is unique to ASOIAF. Men in the north do not become knights and the free folk are disdainful of northmen who "bend the knee" by pledging to support the Targaryen monarch. Perhaps the underlying literary meaning is that northmen (and others) should stay out of the "game" of thrones that is embodied in each tourney. Staying away from tourneys is Ned Stark's instinct, but he has to acquiesce to King Robert's insistence that there should be a Hand's Tourney with an expensive prize. Catelyn is similarly disdainful of Renly's tourney at Bitter Bridge ("The knights of summer, Catelyn thought." - ACoK, Catelyn III). We know that Bran wanted to be a knight, in spite of the traditions of the north and that he had not heard the story of the little crannogman until Meera tells it to him. Readers are fairly sure that the Knight of the Laughing Tree in Meera's story is a Stark of some kind - certainly the weirwood sigil seems likely to represent a northern House. So Meera is stoking Bran's dream of an honorable and victorious tourney knight from the north in spite of the tradition of Starks and Stark bannermen staying out of the fray. (Get it? Fray / Frey, also a synonym for melee.) Bran is no longer able to bend his knees, of course, so readers will have to stay tuned to see how the tourney / bend the knee symbolism will work for his arc. Perhaps also worth noting: after he leads Brienne to The Whispers, the first thing that happens to Nimble Dick is that his knee is smashed by Shagwell's morningstar weapon. No more bending the knee for Dick Crabb. Yet another layer of meaning: I think the turn / tourney symbolism could be part of the larger symbolism of the passage of time and the messed up seasons in Westeros. GRRM has coined the phrase "a moon's turn" to stand in for the word "month". The idea of turning as the passage of time could help us to sort out other clues connected to words such as wind (a strong breeze but also a verb describing what one does to the "spring" of a clock to keep it running), hands (hour and minute hands), the Night's Watch and the City Watch, Dawn, the Morningstar, rise and set, and the flow of a river (a traditional expression for the passage of time). I even wonder whether the name "Tommen" is supposed to be wordplay on "moment," another word associated with the passage of time. We have heard Theon described as a turn cloak and we see other people and things turning (or refusing to turn) at key moments in the story. I explored "whirled" and "world" as a wordplay pair a while ago, iirc. These words also tie the idea of turning to the passage of time (the rotation of the earth). A search on the word "whirled" can also show the significant moments when characters whirl or encounter whirling. (I think there is also a pun on "whirled peas" and "world peace," with pea soup and hummus / humus as major symbolic elements.) Finally, I think this set of symbols may relate to the letter J, particularly in relation to the names of key characters. "Jousting" starts with the letter J but the letter itself is shaped to make a turn - a change of direction. Someone pointed out long ago in this forum that Jon and Joff could somehow represent "on" and "off" - like flipping a switch to get one or the other but never both at the same time. Jojen has two letters J, which might explain why he has magical visions - he can look in two directions or "see" in both light and dark. Joanna Lannister, Janos Slynt, Jorah and Jeor Mormont, Jon Arryn. I think these are all key characters with some special powers that brought about turning points in the story.
  12. I don't want to derail this fascinating discussion of shit and butts, but I did think of another portmanteau that might have important meaning in the series: Gregor + Sansa = Gregor Samsa. The main character of Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis is named Gregor Samsa. One day he wakes up and he has turned into a giant cockroach. There are a lot of bugs in Sansa's POVs: fluttering in her tummy after seeing the high council looking like butterflies; moth eggs (actually seed pearls) on the dress she chooses to wear for her escape from the Red Keep; she compares dust motes to tiny golden insects. The German title of Metamorphosis is Die Verwandlung. I wonder whether Wenda the White Fawn is somehow linked to wordplay with Die Verwandlung. Jaime thinks about wanting to be Ser Arthur Dayne but turning out to be The Smiling Knight - a transformation - just before he gives Oathkeeper to Brienne so she can go find Sansa. He also says that The Smiling Knight was the previouls generation's equivalent of Gregor Clegane. My guess is that the death of Ser Gregor and return of Sansa will signal a "metamorphosis" for one or more characters. Sansa is already in the process of turning Sweetrobin into the Flying Knight.
  13. Yes it has the same meaning on this side of the pond. I thought of another variation GRRM might have used in those closely-presented ASoS chapters: The Hound hits Arya with the flat of an axe to keep her from saying too much. Would a mature author at the height of his powers make a pun on "butt axe" and "buttocks"? There are a number of references to axes in those surrounding chapters, so the Hound's axe might be part of a different motif.
  14. We'll have to look at Brynden "Blackfish" Tully as well. Not only is he a pretty close parallel to Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers, but he sort of "cleans the sewer" by setting Hoster Tully's pyre/boat on fire as it floats. He swims under the grate to escape Riverrun. He also spent years overseeing the Moon Gate (not the Moon Door) at the Eyrie.
  15. Excellent insights. I think this must be right. In terms of parallels, I think we have to add Arya into the mix. She is in the lower level of the Red Keep, emerging from the mouth of a dragon skull (kissed by fire?) when she overhears two men that readers believe to be Varys and Ilirio Mopatis discussing the death of the hand and other treasons. She becomes lost in the tunnels and ends up emerging from a sewer. I like the thought of Patchface as a parallel, too. At the same time this sewer scenario is playing out offstage in Dany's POV (or closely juxtaposed in the book), Tyrion is on trial with Oberyn Martell stepping in as his champion. In Jaime's POV, he is returning to King's Landing after Joffrey's death and sorting out his relationship with Cersei, deciding to get a gold hand and to fight with his left hand, establishing his command over the kings guard and to giving Oathkeeper to Brienne. The Jaime stuff seems like cleaning up aspects of his past while setting the groundwork for his future commitment to honor. And since we know he has had shit for honor, this is a direct match to cleaning out a sewer. I think the Tyrion trial chapters are also part of the sewer clean-up: his first choice of champion is Bronn, who I believe to be a brown part of the green/brown symbolism of the life cycle of plants (leaves and compost feeding each other). He wants Bronn to defeat Ser Gregor Clegane (Green Grace Log) who is a green character. Bronn refuses because he is now serving as fertilizer for house Stokeworth, the bread basket for King's Landing. The man who steps up as champion is Oberyn Martell. I realized that Oberyn must be part of the "bore" group of names - always showing up when it's time for a king to die. (If I'm right about the word "grace" being hidden in an anagram of Ser Gregor's name, he is a symbolic king.) With his last name in the mix, Oberyn Martell could also be part of the "Bael" group of characters - a fool / king who gains entry surreptitiously and then impregnates the princess or symbolically "fathers" the next generation. (I think Prince Baelor in the Dunk and Egg stories is a father figure for Dunk and Petyr Baelish is a father figure for Sansa / Alayne.) As for the battering ram and sex against the wish of the woman, this passage is helpful in understanding Oberyn and Tyrion combined into one battering ram: Oberyn is talking about having lusty sex with Cersei and Ellaria, and then switches gears to talk about Cersei wanting Tyrion beheaded. It dawned on me that GRRM is saying that noseless Tyrion is like a big penis. He has cleared out the sewers at Casterly Rock and now he has battered down the door at King's Landing like Joso's Cock. (Or so Cersei believes - Tyrion didn't actually kill Joff, as far as we know, and he was acting Hand of the King, not the actual Hand, so he didn't really have power, even though he sat on the throne.) But all of this ties back into bowls of brown, the favorite food of small folk in Flea Bottom. Tyrion and Bronn put a singer into the stew at a pot shop. Arya caught a pigeon to sell to a pot shop (but it fell from her belt and she lost it). Joffrey died from eating pigeon pie. I think Joffrey's time had come - he was a moon boy and it was time for the moon to set. Just as the transition from brown to green and back to brown is an endless cycle, it was Joffrey's time to die (and Jaime arrived back in town immediately after his death). Arya dreams of Nymeria dragging Catelyn's body out of the Green Fork just about the time that Jaime lets Brienne come out of the tower cell where he had put her for her own safety until she could explain to Ser Loras just what happened when Renly died. (Renly and Ser Loras are green characters and Brienne will team up with brown characters Dick Crabb and Ser Hyle Hunt as well as seed character "Pod" Payne.) And the moon boy / moon symbolism takes us back to sewers because of the traditional crescent moon on an outhouse door - the moon door. Sansa is stuck at the Red Keep until the fool Ser Dontos shows her the way out - symbolically leading her through the "sewer" (and she is a sewer - the other meaning and pronunciation - having learned embroidery from Septa Mordane). When they emerge, he delivers her to a Bael character who starts to nurture the seeds that have been planted (butterflies in her tummy, put there by Joffrey). Here's a wordplay theory to tie it all together: maybe GRRM uses "shit story" as an anagram of "history." The characters have to clear out the "shit" from past history (clear a sewer) in order to evolve to the next level. This might also explain why a character named Mushroom is an historian: mushrooms live in the dark and feed on shit. I think this is coming together! This just broke a dam for my attempts to analyze The Sworn Sword. Like Tywin, Ser Eustace Osgrey is constipated: his home is even named Holdfast. He spends his days looking at old relics and remembering the glory of his ancestors. The brown character, Ser Bennis of the Brown Shield, hangs around doing nothing. Dunk is the fool who becomes the ram. He crosses "her moat" (a mother). The log jam is symbolically broken, Ser Bennis disappears with a lot of the family heirlooms, the water flows, and the next generation can begin to nourish the fields (the berry patch as well as the small folk named after beans and vegetables as well as the melons rotting in the fields). This also makes sense with the wolf / fowl / flow wordplay discussed earlier in this thread.
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