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  1. I like the logic of Ramsay and Mance as mirror images - GRRM does love juxtaposition and irony, so your prediction could fit with the author's sense of poetic justice. But he has given us a number of ways that Ramsay's end could "fit" in the context of various story lines. Ramsay could be attacked and killed by his pack of hunting dogs. He hunted women for sport and then named his dogs after these poor tortured women. The two Snows are also set up as a pair: Jon and Ramsay are the only characters in this generation to bear that surname. GRRM may have set them up as "brothers" who will fight to the death. This could also fit with the story of the Night's King, where two Stark brothers fought each other. Theon's revenge. As you point out, this might be too obvious for GRRM to use. The King Cleon parallel. Like Ramsay, Cleon was a butcher who used a cleaver as a weapon. He is killed by his own soldiers but dug up and tied to a horse after a vision by the Green Grace of Astapor indicates he will lead Astapor to victory over the Yunkai'i. But there are other butcher kings in ASOIAF and the Cleon story may be intended as foreshadowing for someone other than Ramsay. The Miller's boys parallel. Ramsay's mother was the wife of a miller. Ramsay has the idea to murder the miller's sons to make it look as if Bran and Rickon Stark have been killed. Ramsay's death could somehow tie back into the death of the miller's boys. Lady Hornwood's revenge. Ramsay forced the widowed Lady Hornwood to marry him so he could steal her land and estate. He locked her in a tower where she starved to death after eating her own fingers. Some northern woman might stand in as a "reborn" Lady Hornwood, killing Ramsay in a gruesome way by way of avenging the death of Lady Hornwood. Speaking of northern women exacting revenge, one might imagine long odds that Lady Dustin will find a way to get revenge for the death of her nephew, Domeric Bolton. fArya / Jeyne Poole's revenge. Ramsay has tortured his bride. His death might come about in a way that shows Jeyne exacting revenge. As her real name is Poole, we might see Ramsay drown in the pool of the Winterfell godswood. But it might be the real Arya who exacts revenge on behalf of fArya.
  2. Very nice catch. This helps to explain the whole subplot about Ser Clarence Crabb and Crack Claw Point and The Whispers. (Recap: Ser Clarence is a legendary figure who carries the heads of defeated foes back to his ancestral home where his woods witch wife reanimates the heads and lines them up on shelves so they can serve as advisors to Ser Clarence.) Brienne suspects that Dick Crabb is a deserter, which I take as an anagram of "red trees." Dick tells Brienne that, "We're all good dragon men, up Crackclaw way" (Feast, Brienne IV). I'm told that dragons and worms are often equivalent (in literary symbolism). As in your story, Dick Crabb lures Shagwell, Timeon and Pyg to The Whispers, telling them (falsely) they will be able to catch a ship to Essos from there. When Brienne and Dick arrive, Shagwell drops down from a weirwood tree. During Tyrion's visit at Castle Black, the higher officers enjoy a feast of fresh crab, delivered in barrels of snow from Eastwatch. I wondered why Aliser Thorne declined to eat the crab - maybe he is the one guy who fails to fall for the "whispers" of the crabs and will be able to resist a crab / weirwood takeover in the climax of the story. I'm also thinking of Davos eating crab stew (Sister Stew) when he passes through the Sister Islands. I had previously assumed this was like Bran eating weirwood paste in Bloodraven's cave. Maybe it is similar but Davos has immunity because he grew up in Flea Bottom and has eaten bowls of Brown? The only character we know has eaten Brown is Arya, but I inferred that Davos must have also eaten it during his childhood.
  3. I've been thinking about this, too. Trying to decode the scene where Aliser Thorne travels to King's Landing to beg for more support for the Night's Watch. He brings the disembodied hand of Jaffer Flowers, I believe, to show the court that The Others are real, but the hand "dies" while Thorne waits to be granted an audience with Tyrion, the acting Hand of the King. I wonder whether we are supposed to compare Tyrion and the dead wighted hand to Jon Snow and Othor's hands? Aliser Thorne is the Master at Arms at Castle Black, so Tyrion, as "hand" misses his chance to get an arm. That particular arm might allude to Joffrey, as Jaffer is somewhat close to the name Joffrey, and the name Flowers is used for bastards from the West. The ingesting of "hands" came in an earlier scene: Tyrion and Ser Aliser had a confrontation over Tyrion ingesting crab claws. Ser Aliser did not eat any crab, as I recall, and he challenged Tyrion to a duel which Tyrion turned into a joke. Tyrion is sitting on the Iron Throne when he receives Ser Aliser. I have always thought there is wordplay on Thorne and throne, but I'm not sure what it means except, here again, we have a chair made out of swords and Ser Aliser is the Master at Arms. And I'm not sure what it means that Tyrion refuses to engage with Thorne or the dead hand he carries, unlike Jon Snow, who combated Othor and "ingested" his dead hand. Maybe it's just foreshadowing that Jon will play a role in defeating the Others and Tyrion will not? Tyrion sends Ser Aliser away with minimal support and he jokes (yet again) that they should provide shovels to the Night's Watch so they can properly bury their dead. The shovel remark links this Ser Aliser scene to the Hound, if you believe that Sandor Clegane is the Gravedigger on the Quiet Isle. So we see Rorge (in the Hound helmet) attacking Brienne; Lem Lemoncloak (in the Hound helmet) hanging Brienne and Ser Aliser offered shovels to allow him to be a better gravedigger (also a Sandor allusion). Thoros, who revives Brienne, is renowned for defeating The Hound three times (in tourneys). All linked to smiths, kisses of fire (Lem is suspected of being Lonmouth, the knight of Skulls and Kisses) and flaming swords. But thorns are also associated with roses and Brienne hates roses. Where is this all taking us?
  4. I think this is a great approach to gaining insight about the swords Dawn and/or Lightbringer. Jeor Mormont posed the question to Jon Snow, "do you carry a grumkin in your pocket to magic up your sword?" Melisandre has used tricks from her pockets to magic up a sword for Stannis. Another priest of R'hllor, Thoros of Myr, uses cheap swords treated with wildfire as a gimmick to create a flaming sword that scares horses of melee competitors. (It may be important to note that this often works for Thoros: he has defeated Sandor Clegane three times and is beaten at Joffrey's name day tourney by Yohn Royce only after his sword sputters out.) Beric Dondarrion, a follower of the Lord of Light, uses his own blood to light his sword on fire. Comparing Melisandre and Thoros might lead to sword insights because of their common "kissed by fire" symbolism: We know that Thoros "kisses" Beric to bring him back to life and Beric eventually kisses Catelyn to bring Lady Stoneheart to life. So the magical weapons may require a kiss of fire to reach their full potential. To my mind, a kiss of fire could allude to the forging process which alternates heat and cooling (along with hammering) to temper the blade. This could bring us back to Azor Ahai or, on a more general plane, it could encourage us to examine "smiths" who turn people into weapons. My current line of thinking draws again on that distinction offered by Greek mythology (and cited by @Mourning Star earlier in this thread): that dawn and dawn-bringer are not the same person or entity. Jon mistakes Melisandre for Ygritte, but he has told us that Ygritte was kissed by fire while Melisandre actually IS fire. Could this mean that Ygritte is a sword while Melisandre is the smith? Or is Melisandre truly just fire, a tool of the smith, and there is another power behind her who is the smith? I have been pondering Rorge and Biter in connection with the sword / smith distinction. An SSM describes the back story for Rorge and Biter: So Biter is a weapon, of sorts: this fits with my suspicion around the wordplay of "biter" and "bitter," with bitter alluding to Bittersteel, the exiled supporter of the Blackfyre bloodline and the Great Bastard brother of Bloodraven. The wordplay around Rorge is probably linked to House Rogare and Rogar Baratheon, both of whom are famed for their intermarriages with House Targaryen. The wordplay might even extend to Rhaegar and Rhaego and related names. But I'm thinking the fundamental, underlying allusion is to the word "forge." This would make sense if Rorge was the one who found and raised Biter to be a fighter: he is a smith who made a weapon. Here's how Jaqen H'ghar introduced his fellow prisoners to Arya: Sounds like a weapon, doesn't he? The smith / weapon metaphor gets particularly interesting, to me, when Rorge and Biter finally die. The location is the inn at the crossroads, a significant location for turning points in the plot of ASOIAF (and probably in Westeros history). Rorge and Biter and their fellow travelers previously killed the innkeeper. Rorge is wearing the Hound's helmet so he can be seen as a "reborn" Hound (although readers soon meet others with that symbolic role). Brienne kills Rorge but is gravely maimed and almost dies before Gendry kills Biter by running his sword through the back of Biter's head. We know that Gendry is a smith. Is running his sword through Biter's head similar to Azor Ahai running his sword through the body of Nissa Nissa? We are often reminded that Brienne is a giant; the smith Donal Noye was killed by a giant (although he killed the giant at the same time). Jaqen told us that Biter can't speak but Brienne imagines a tongue coming out of his mouth until she realizes that it is the blade of Gendry's sword. Thoros of Myr is the healer who saves Brienne from the wounds she suffered in this combat. So interesting that Thoros declined to revive Catelyn / Lady Stoneheart but he does revive Brienne, who was sworn to Catelyn's service. If Thoros is a smith, it's almost as if there are two swords - Catelyn and Brienne - but Thoros has made only one of them. The idioms "spreading like wildfire" or "a double-edged sword" may apply, though: Thoros kissed the "weapon" Beric Dondarrion and Beric used that magic to create the weapon Lady Stoneheart. Melisandre may be a smith for Stannis and/or she may have taken over the role from Ygritte or even Lord Commander Mormont in turning Jon Snow into a weapon. But one of her clearest "smith" performances is in the death of Mance Rayder / Rattleshirt. She uses flames, one of the important tools for a smith. It appears that she has burned Mance to death, but she has actually made him into a weapon: a glamor who (it appears) is forced to do her bidding as an agent to liberate fArya from Winterfell. These ideas all come from a fairly recent line of thinking, though, as I mentioned. There are some aspects of the smith / weapon theory I haven't figured out: Jon Snow takes over and sleeps in Donal Noye's quarters when he becomes Lord Commander, as Mormont's tower has not yet been repaired after the fire there. So is Jon Snow a sword or a smith? The situation of Jon Snow as an heir of Donal Noye reminds me of Ser Arlan of Pennytree as one of the smiths who shapes Ser Duncan the Tall as a weapon (and as a giant?). Dunk becomes Ser Arlan's heir, using his sword, war horse and other meager possessions. But is Dunk a smith? Is he shaping his squire, Egg, to become a weapon, or are they both being shaped by Bloodraven? If my anagram obsession is relevant here, "Donal Noye smith" could be a Dayne allusion, which makes his role particularly relevant in sorting out the ongoing meaning of the Dawn sword in ASOIAF. Note, too, that Noye was the smith at Storm's End before he lost an arm, and he made Robert's hammer that killed Rhaegar. Many threads in this forum have explored the notion of Mance Rayder as a symbolic Rhaegar. Does that tie Donal Noye to Melisandre again, as his hammer creation killed Rhaegar and her fire "killed" Mance?
  5. Maybe we need to broaden that theory about direwolf bites: I suspected that Stark children take on characteristics of people bitten by their direwolves; an expanded biting theory could be that Stark kids take on characteristics of people bitten by their direwolves, weirwoods or themselves? If the notion is correct that Jon is melding with wighted Othor in the fight at Mormont's chambers, the wight's hand down his throat would support the idea that Jon is taking on the characteristics of Othor by ingestion, among other forms of contact. In the passage you cite, Arya is separated from her wolf but perhaps substitutes the weirwood and is able to "ingest" some of the qualities of Jaqen H'ghar vicariously through the tree. When Jon Snow visits the wildling village known as Whitetree, he sees a couple of burned human skulls in the mouth of the weirwood tree there. Maybe this is a "the dragon has three heads" moment for Jon, like the moment when Daario presents Dany with the heads of the reluctant sellsword leaders. (In Brienne's arc, Hyle Hunt collects and carries the three heads of Shagwell, Timeon and Pyg to show to Randall Tarly.) The skulls burned in the tree combine the fire and weirwood elements of Jon's bloodlines. Or maybe it's not just Stark kids being nourished. Maybe there is an old gods ritual involving biting and characters feed the old gods when they are mouthed by direwolves, weirwoods or Jon Snow. I wonder what it means that Arya steps through the open mouth of one of the dragon skulls in the lower level of the Red Keep? Tyrion and Shea are the only other characters we see interacting with those skulls. Of course everyone's childhood sweetheart, Biter, should come into the analysis. He is a finger eater after the Weasel Soup attack on the dungeon guards at Harrenhal. One of the suspected wordplay pairs involves the words "biter" and "bitter." So the character Bittersteel should also be in the mix, along with the implication that steel can bite. (When Jaime gives Oathkeeper to Brienne and when Brienne gives a sword to Dick Crabb, both recipients react as if they think the sword is going to bite.) Then again, the wighted Othor might have been trying to pull Jon's beating heart out of his chest. I saw a theory about that at one point (was it yours?) and it sounded like a good explanation. In response to some of the debate about the nature of Lightbringer, I would offer that line about the wall. The Wall is a wall but it is also a sword and a snake. It's also important that Jon mentions the Wall running along a knife edge: people have provided examples of edges of blades that reflect light - Jon's obsidian dagger; when Jaime gives Oathkeeper to Brienne, "A finger of reflected light ran red along the edge." In other cases, the blades themselves seem to give off light (or, at least, color). In Jaime's dream: "The fire took on the color of the steel itself so it burned with a silvery-blue light, and the gloom pulled back." (ASoS, Jaime VI) So we should probably look for clues about Lightbringer by seeing which swords reflect light and which are sources of light. Or maybe a sword can be both a reflector and a light source, depending on circumstances or the eye of the beholder. The Greek myth notes from @Mourning Star are helpful: Dawn is not the same person as dawn-bringer, although they are related. I would note, too, another possible wordplay pair: "dawn" and "Wand." Wand is the German word for Wall. This could be one answer to Quaithe's, "To go north, you must journey south" prophecy. In Dorne, it's a sword and it's called Dawn. In The North, it's a "Wand" and it's called The Wall. And The Wall is possessed by Jon Snow. Interesting, isn't it, that a smith gives the Wall to Jon Snow. I like the anagram "Smith Donal Noye = Dayne Monoliths" or "Dayne moon's hilt." On planet earth, we know that the moon can be a light bringer when it reflects light from another source. The Wall isn't made of stone, but it might qualify as a monolith, loosely defined. The Wall does seem to be more of a reflector than a glower:
  6. "Defeat" and "de-feet" is probably an intentional pun. Dunk is not "defeated" in the Trial of Seven (and, thus, keeps both of his feet). And I bet the connotation of "feat," as you point out, is part of the mix. So clever, that GRRM.
  7. This quote really grabbed my attention, but not in the same way it spoke to you. I am focused on the last line, where Melisandre says, "take it into your hand." Melisandre thinks she is talking to Stannis, in this stage-managed scene where she hopes to persuade the audience that he is the reborn Azor Ahai. But readers quickly suspect that Melisandre's visions have more to do with Jon Snow than with Stannis and this seems to be another example. That line may refer to Jon Snow putting his hand in the fire in Mormont's bed chamber, grabbing the burning drapes to better insure that wighted Othor is destroyed by the flames. But the underlying magic that speaks to me is that a flaming sword can be "taken into the hand" of the reborn warrior / smith known as Azor Ahai - the warrior and the sword become one. Jon Snow's hand is badly burned by the flaming curtains. Rereading AGoT, Chap 52, Jon VII, the subtle language may be telling us that Jon Snow is absorbing Othor into his body in various ways - Othor slams into him, Othor jams its fingers down Jon's throat, Othor's face is against Jon's face (like the transfer of a face among the Faceless Men?), Ghost tears at Othor's gut (like Bran's direwolf, Summer, eating flesh that Bran can taste?). More support for these "arm as sword" and "clash as embodiment" notions may come from Ghost's partnership with Jon in defeating the wight. I have suspected for a long time that Stark kids take on the characteristics of people attacked by their direwolves: Rickon's wolf bites Maester Luwin, Robb's wolf bites fingers off of Great Jon Umber, Jon Snow's wolf bites Qhorin Halfhand as Jon battles his mentor in the pre-arranged combat witnessed by the wildlings. In the Othor scene, we see Ghost attacking the arm - biting the five "heads" (fingers) off of the crawling, disembodied hand. (So interesting to compare this to Stannis cutting the fingers off the hand of Davos Seaworth!) Like the forging of a sword, fire is used to complete the melding of Othor and Jon. On the surface, Jon is defeating the wight with fire; in the subtext, they are melting together and Jon is praying, "Let it burn." Later we see Lannister red and Stark grey melded together to make Oathkeeper and Widow's Wail. Maybe this idea of melding characters to make new "weapons" can help us to understand some of the other unexpected combinations of characters who team up for a given purpose. The fire that Jon grabs to set the drapes aflame is the lantern carried by Jeor Mormont. Important to note that the Night's Watch brothers nickname the comet, "Mormont's Torch." Shortly after that comet nickname is mentioned in the text, Jon will grab a torch to light his way on the trail to the obsidian cache. I think Jeor Mormont is the mentor / smith in Jon's arc, performing the "smith magic" necessary to forge Jon into a new sword. If Melisandre's hint to us can be believed, and a hand can represent a sword, this would help to make sense of other details in the books. Jaime often refers to his missing sword hand. The infected wound of his stump is cured by Qyburn, who remarks that Jaime also has an inflamed eye (which I take as a reference to a flaming sword because of the eye/Ice symbolism). Like Jon Snow, Victarion Greyjoy suffers a serious hand injury that is cured by fire - Moqorro, a priest of R'hllor. (Note that Moqorro loses several assistants - nicknamed "Fingers" by Tyrion - during the storm aboard the Selaesori Qhoran.) Melisandre would approve of the R'hllor connection. Interestingly, Catelyn also suffers a serious hand injury when she fights off the catspaw with help from Bran's wolf, Summer. (Hmm. Jon fights a wighted hand, Catelyn fights a catspaw.) Much later, Catelyn is "revived" by followers of Red R'hllor. We have seen Cersei burning the Tower of the Hand. I suspect this is part of the wounded hand symbolism. I don't know whether the burning itself is enough to put Cersei in the company of hand-wounded Jaime, Victarion, Catelyn and Jon, or whether there has to be a follow-up healing by followers of the Red God. (Maybe Cersei's time in the dungeon of the Great Sept counts as the equivalent of her healing by fire. Interesting, too, that no one wants to serve as Hand of the King while Cersei is regent. Finally the position goes to Mace Tyrell, who immediately starts to rebuild the Tower of the Hand.) I may be mistaken, but I suspect that GRRM threw in the reference to the "gathered host" in the Melisandre scene as an anagram hint about "the red Ghost" (with the letter A left over) of Jon Snow's wolf. The wolf's eyes and tongue (described in the Othor scene) are red. I believe that Melisandre also gives us the lines about magic being like a sword without a hilt, which seems to match up with a number of these hand injuries. But all of this ties in neatly with the sword known as Long Claw. Claws are weapons that are parts of hands. Mormont gives the sword to Jon Snow as a direct result of Jon's actions to attack (meld with) the wight in Mormont's bed chamber. If Jon is supposed to take the sword "into" his hand, the presentation of Long Claw would seem to confirm the success of this effort. "Claw" and "walk" have seemed like a wordplay pair to me, and I suspected that Jon Snow was being presented to us as the "Wall King" who is frequently shown "walking." So Long Claw (long walk?) fits with that symbolism, too. But I am also seeing a logic in Brienne's long walk with Nimble Dick and Pod to Crack Claw Point. Some key moments in Brienne's story seem to be about fixing the problems created by Starks: returning Jaime to King's Landing, killing Rorge and Biter (turned loose by Arya). She and Jaime kill a bear at Harrenhal and she walks past the seat of House Brune (sounds like bruin?) on her long walk to Crack Claw Point. So there is some kind of Mormont / bear symbolism in her story and it doesn't seem congenial. Jon Snow squeezed through a passage in the stones at the Fist to go find the obsidian cache that is part of the Lightbringer symbolism in his arc. Brienne squeezes through an overgrown stone gap to get into the ruins of the Whispers, seat of House Crabb, where she and Pod work together to kill Pyg, Timeon and Shagwell. She had kept Oathkeeper sheathed until the moment she arrived at The Whispers. Does Brienne's clash with enemies at Crack Claw Point foreshadow a clash between Brienne and Jon Snow, wielder of Long Claw? (There are many "Are you well" references associated with Jon Snow around the Othor and the obsidian cache scenes, perhaps tying him to Shagwell and his companions, Pyg and Timeon. All of them were part of severing Jaime's sword arm. Timeon also emerges from a well.) All of which feeds into another line of thinking: that there is not one single, Azor Ahai or Prince that Was Promised. I think Jon Snow and Brienne each embodies part of the "heroic" resolution of the problems of Westeros. I suspect Jaime, Catelyn, Tyrion, Victarion, Davos and Dany will also play important roles. I'm going to start looking more at the people who take swords "into" their hands to see who carries Dawn, Lightbringer, the Morningstar, the moon (there are lots of references to blades reflecting light), the sun, the comet, the stars or, more simply, fire. "What the hand dare seize the fire?" - William Blake
  8. Agreed. I don't know why GRRM even puts old people in his books. They are obviously one-dimensional characters and have no special powers or hidden backstories. If Old Nan were really important to the story, she would have Turkish Delight candies to give to Bran. I plan to wait for the Reader's Digest version of the last two books instead of wasting my time looking for depth, allusion and themes hidden behind the characters and events. I hope the abridged versions will also take out the horror cliches, such as Hello? Wake up, GRRM! How many times do we have to see that kind of everyday scenario in a novel before the author realizes that it is simply old and dull? I hope the author will stop trying to fool us. Maybe he could even clarify with a preface when a character is introduced: "This character is a straightforward, single-purpose character. There is no hidden meaning beyond what a self-confident hipster undergrad can glean from a first reading. Do not hurt your brain by trying to make connections among the complicated arcs of disparate characters from the novels and the legends and histories within the novels. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."
  9. Myths / Smith Legend / Leg end = foot Rain / Reyne / Rhaenys / Rhaena Very new ideas and not yet entirely confirmed by passages from the books. While walking the dogs today, I started wondering whether myths and smiths are a wordplay pair in ASOIAF. Smiths are people who make things or just workers in general: "According to Septon Meribald, the Smith can also be refer to as the Farmer, the Fisherman, the Carpenter, or the Cobbler as they all represent workers" (Wiki, citing AFfC, Brienne V). Catelyn prays to the Smith to help Bran; Davos makes offerings to the Smith before launching a new ship. If GRRM sees stories as something that can be crafted, then a link from smiths to myths could be a really interesting hint to readers. I wish I could remember who it was in this forum that pointed out that "named" chapters are probably parallels or replays of Westeros legends. If true, a connection between myths and smiths could help us to understand more about GRRM's structure of the books and the potential metaphor between weapons and armor (produced by smiths) and stories or myths. But. The word myth appears only three times in the books. All three uses of the word are in The World of Ice and Fire. The word "myth" never appears in the novels. I wonder whether GRRM avoids the word "myth" because it too strongly implies that a story is untrue; he is more likely to present a story as possibly true and possibly rumor - the unreliable narrator. Because the World book has co-authors, I wonder whether these uses of the word "myth" were introduced by the other writers and are not part of a deliberate word pair with the important smith archetype in the books. Even if GRRM did introduce the use of the word in the World book, it is not associate at any point with smiths. My gut tells me that GRRM's wordplay is usually more deliberate. A link between legends and leg ends would be a giant step (so to speak) toward solving a longtime mystery: the symbolism of feet. If "leg end" is another word for a "foot," we may finally have a way to make sense of the foot references in the books. I noticed long ago that GRRM has fun with references to feet, but I couldn't figure out what they mean. The septon could neither read nor write, as he cheerfully confessed along the road, but he knew a hundred different prayers and could recite long passages from The Seven-Pointed Star from memory, which was all that was required in the villages. He had a seamed, windburnt face, a shock of thick grey hair, wrinkles at the corners of his eyes. Though a big man, six feet tall, he had a way of hunching forward as he walked that made him seem much shorter. His hands were large and leathery, with red knuckles and dirt beneath the nails, and he had the biggest feet that Brienne had ever seen, bare and black and hard as horn. "I have not worn a shoe in twenty years," he told Brienne. "The first year, I had more blisters than I had toes, and my soles would bleed like pigs whenever I trod on a hard stone, but I prayed and the Cobbler Above turned my skin to leather." (AFfC, Brienne V) I would have done better to challenge Raff the Sweetling, with a whore upon my back, Jaime thought as he shook mud off his gilded hand. Part of him wanted to tear the thing off and fling it in the river. It was good for nothing, and the left was not much better. Ser Ilyn had gone back to the horses, leaving him to find his own feet. At least I still have two of those. (AFfC, Jaime V) Edmure Tully had collapsed facedown on the scaffold when Ser Ilyn's blade sheared the rope in two. A foot of hemp still dangled from the noose about his neck. Strongboar grabbed the end of it and pulled him to his feet. "A fish on a leash," he said, chortling. "There's a sight I never saw before." (AFfC, Jaime VI) Dunk wonders whether it would have been worthwhile to lose a foot if it meant sparing the life of Prince Baelor; Septon Meribald has bare, black feet that are "gnarled and hard as tree roots," squishers have webbed feet. And then there are feet as units of measure: Ser Clarence Crabb and Gregor Clegane were eight feet tall. If the theory is correct, I suspect that references to feet tell us we are dealing with something out of a legend. "Legend" is a word that appears 100 times in the books (so far) and may also appear in hidden ways such as references to "Gendel" and Gorne. Tall characters may be legendary figures - the have more "feet" than the average man. But a Jaime POV tells us the White Book of the King's Guard is two feet tall and one-and-a-half feet wide - perhaps signaling that there are legends of heroism contained within. I recently pondered whether GRRM intended for readers to compare the region of Dorne to a "foot" on the "body" of Westeros. If so, wordplay on feet and legends might help us to understand the unique relationship between these lands and the rest of the seven kingdoms. Prince Doran suffers from gout, of course, and is unable to use his feet. A cure for his gout might signal the beginning of a healthier relationship between Dorne and the rest of Westeros. The possible rain / Reyne / Rhaenys / Rhaena wordplay is the least developed of the puns in this post. I have been searching for clues about a very fundamental layer of the ASOIAF story: if ice and fire are important, what are the other basic elements of this world? Blood? Water? Light? Color? Stone? Wind? Dirt? Jewels? Glass? Shadow? Seeds? Roots? Rain? I have long been intrigued by possible hidden meanings in the trio of Aegon the Conqueror and his sister wives, Visenya and Rhaenys. Why did Rhaenys disappear? Why did Aegon like her better than Visenya? Why did her descendants survive as the Targaryen rulers? Are there clues in the other "Rhaen-" queens and ladies that could provide insights about Rhaenys? It struck me recently that there might be hints in the sound-alike "Rhaen-" names and the rain motif built around the Reynes of Castamere. Maybe the word "reign" should also be in the mix, if we are examining Targaryen queens. We know that the author intended a pun on "rain" and "House Reyne," as the song The Rains of Castamere refers to the drowning of that House as punishment for their disrespectful behavior toward House Lannister. If there is a link between rain, House Reyne and the Targaryen queens, my guess is that it has to do with the imbalance of seasons and the cycle of plant growth and death. (See my other posts about green and brown symbolism for more thoughts about this.) Does Tywin's treatment of House Reyne amount to the banishing of rain? He diverts a river into their home - maybe the symbolism involves flooding, not drought. But that would not be a very subtle cause and effect, so I suspect there is something less obvious but still related to that fundamental layer of Westeros conflict, older and deeper buried than the conflict over the Iron Throne.
  10. There is more than one way to make an heir in ASOIAF. Taking on a ward (often a sort of hostage), a squire, a milk brother, an apprentice, recognizing a bastard or a child of a relative, etc. In the case of Arthur Dayne, Jaime becomes his "heir" in a way, because Ser Arthur uses the sword Dawn to dub Jaime into knighthood after Jaime's all-night vigil in the sept. When his sword touches Jaime's shoulders, the sharp edge draws a little bit of blood. The blood is a sign of the magical bond between Dayne and Jaime. (One thing that fascinates me about dubbing as a way of creating or recognizing an heir is that Rhaegar dubbed Gregor Clegane into knighthood. So many questions about this relationship.) Reading the symbolism that accompanies Jaime and Ser Arthur, what we're seeing is, I believe, the cycle of the sun over the course of a day. Dayne and his sword are associated with sunrise: dawn. Jaime wears gold armor and he appears to symbolize the sun. Lannister colors are crimson and gold - the colors of the setting sun. As the sun sinks below the horizon, it chooses a successor to carry the sword for the next generation (the next "day"). It doesn't take a close reading of the text to understand the symbolism of The Smiling Knight. Jaime says, "And me, that boy I was ... when did he die, I wonder? When I donned the white cloak? When I opened Aerys's throat? That boy had wanted to be Ser Arthur Dayne, but someplace along the way he had become the Smiling Knight instead" (ASoS, Jaime VIII). The symbolism of smiling could benefit from a deeper analysis: Theon is known as a smiler and his horse is called Smiler. That horse is set on fire when Ramsay burns Winterfell and takes Theon hostage, turning him into Reek. When Stannis is at The Wall, presuming to act as king in the presence of the Night's Watch, he asks Jon Snow whether he would like to have a smiler or a slayer as the new lord to take over Winterfell. (So we are given a hint that smilers and slayers are opposites but possibly complimentary qualities. Very intriguing given that Jaime is known as the Kingslayer and Sam Tarly is nicknamed Slayer.) When Arya hides the sword Needle under the stone steps by the canal, she notes that it reminds her of Jon Snow's smile. Usually the gift of a named weapon goes from father to son and signifies the recognition of an heir: Aegon IV giving Blackfyre to Daemon Rivers was the cause of the succession crisis that launched numerous rebellions. I think that Kraznys mo Nakloz is a symbolic King Aerys when he hands over to Dany the whip known as The Harpy's Fingers, recognizing her as the heir of House Targaryen. There are other transfers of weapons that are more complicated: Shea and Penny help to outfit Tyrion with armor that is scrounged from piles of mismatched armor belonging to a company - I think this can be compared to the baby of Lollys Stokeworth being fathered by half a hundred small folk when she is raped during the bread riots. Brienne takes a sword that belongs to Renly when she witnesses the shadow killing him in his tent. She loses that sword along the way somewhere but gains a couple of other swords, including Oathkeeper. She finally gives a sword to Nimble Dick, who has been nagging her about getting a sword for himself. As soon as he has the sword, however, a morningstar smashes his knee and the sword flies out of his hands, vanishing in the grass. (Lots of symbolism in the arming, disarming and death of Nimble Dick.) It's ironic, of course, that the Smiling Knight says he wants Ser Arthur Dayne's sword and that Ser Arthur then gives it to him by stabbing him to death. But the symbolic "giving" of the sword has taken place and the heir that is recognized is symbolic Jaime. The recognition of an heir with Ice / Oathkeeper / Widow's Wail is kind of complicated. Tywin gave Ice to Ser Illyn Payne but he then takes the sword back. It appears that Tywin Lannister is favoring Jaime and Joffrey with the Valyrian steel swords he has commissioned from Tobho Mott. When Tyrion notes that Tywin has not given him a blade, Tywin tells him to take a blade from the collection of King Robert, suggesting that his uncle Gerion had given Robert a dagger with an ivory and sapphire handle that might be a good choice for Tyrion. It seems like an insult, of course, that Tywin is giving the splendid new blades to Jaime and Joffrey but snubbing Tyrion. But we know that uncle Gerion went missing when he went in search of Bright Roar, the ancestral sword of House Lannister - Gerion is (symbolically) the holder of Bright Roar. Reading the subtext, Tywin telling Tyrion that he should have a dagger associated with Gerion is actually an honorable way of recognizing Tyrion as an heir of House Lannister, worthy of possessing a king's blade (since it went to King Robert after leaving Gerion's hands). (A slight digression: I think the dagger with the ivory handle may be symbolic of the boar that killed King Robert as boar's tusks are a kind of ivory. Through wordplay, the name "Bright Roar" can also become something like "right boar," tying House Lannister as a whole to this kingslaying that was attributed in large part to Cersei providing fortified wine to Robert before he foolishly, drunkenly hunted the wild boar.) But my point is that Jaime giving the new sword to Brienne is part of the next, new cycle of sunrise and sunset. The sigil of House Tarth is suns and moons. Brienne's father is called the Evenstar, which sounds like evening star and suggests sunset. My guess is that we will never see The Evenstar "on stage" in the books and that he is symbolic, again, of Jaime. (Setting sun = Lannister. Also, the town on the east end of Tarth is called Morne. The Eyrie, home of the warden of the East, is made of marble from Tarth. Lannisters are the wardens of the West.) Like a father, Jaime gives Brienne a named sword. The OP cites the excerpt of Jaime and Brienne's conversation when Jaime gives Oathkeeper to Brienne. She starts to raise the topic of Joffrey and Jaime immediately thinks that Joffrey was never his son. In other words, he never felt the need to give Joffrey a sword, recognizing him as his heir. Instead, he gives the sword to Brienne, recognizing a different kind of heir. Aside from Oathkeeper and Renly's sword, what is the first weapon associated with Brienne? A morningstar. She uses it to defeat Ser Loras in the melee at Bitterbridge, securing her place in Renly's Rainbow Guard. It's not Dawn, but the meaning is the same. (Another tangent: Ser Dontos is also associated with the morningstar. He uses a morningstar made of a ripe melon to try to protect Sansa from Joffrey's violence after Rob Stark's victory at the Whispering Wood. There is a lot of symbolism around Dontos and Sansa as Florian / Jonquil and the Maiden and Ser Galladon of Morne and the gift of a sword.)
  11. You've done an amazing job of pulling together a lot of loose ends to present a coherent explanation of your ideas. Very interesting, with lots of nice catches: the spider nickname for Varys possibly indicating his descent from Rohanne Webber, for instance, or why GRRM would tell us that Bloodraven has two sisters unless he wanted us to fit them into the puzzle about who married whom? Some of your terrific insights were shared in earlier posts but I continue to admire your brilliant analysis of the likely role of Quentyn Ball as the guardian of the son of Daemon Blackfyre, for instance. That explains so many loose ends! I am in agreement with you on probable plot twists such as Littlefinger's hidden heritage (Blackfyre or Brightflame for sure, in my mind) but you have come up with some intriguing details about specific lines in his family tree that would explain his ties to House Corbray and his excitement about becoming the Lord of Harrenhal, for instance. Wonderful to see that tied up in a single package. When I was looking at the symbolism of butterflies, I realized that "The Bastard of Uplands" was possibly a symbolic reference to Jon Snow. I suspect GRRM uses the mysterious bastard characters in both symbolic and literal ways to give readers a trail to follow without directly revealing information that would spoil later plot twists. Your "unmasking" of the Bastard of Harrenhal sounds like one of those cases and would help to explain the widespread obsession in Westeros with control of Harrenhal. Unsurprisingly, in this complicated game of ASOIAF literary interpretation (shall we call it the Game of Tomes?) there are a few places where my predictions or interpretations depart from yours. When you share your idea that Shiera Seastar could have been present at the birth of Dany's baby (part 11 of your posts), you cite this as evidence about the presence of Shiera: I don't see shadows or wings as strongly or uniquely associated with Shiera, so shadowy wings in Dany's dream would not serve as a sign for me that Shiera was a presence in the tent. ASOIAF characters often refer to "dark wings, dark words," so we could infer that the shadowy wings symbolize the arrival of bad news. If GRRM wanted to signal that Shiera was hovering or even manifested in a new guise, the symbols I would look for would be cloth of silver and the colors of her distinctive blue/green eyes and her necklace of sapphires and emeralds. Or a person who shares all or part of her name. Melisandre is associated with shadows: even though she celebrates light and warns against the terrors of the night, her light is usually created with fire and Stannis tells us that it casts shadows. The so-called shadow babies (I would call them shadow weapons) are also associated with Melisandre. I don't think there is a strong association between Shiera and Melisandre, although they both seem to practice dark magic. Now I would love to have a thread to explore the connections and contradictions between Danelle Lothston and Shiera Seastar on the one hand, and Melisandre and Catelyn Tully on the other hand. My examination of the symbolism tells me that Catelyn is to rainbows as Melisandre is to Shadows. I suspect GRRM has set up a similar compare/contrast situation with Danelle and Shiera. (And possibly also with the swords Blackfyre and Dark Sister.) This discussion might also include Missy Blackwood / Barbra Bracken and even Catelyn's transformation from Catelyn to Lady Stoneheart. But I digress. I also don't share your suspicion that Dany's baby Rhaego is literally alive and hidden from her. In my "only death can pay for life" calculations, Dany's brother Viserys, husband Drago and baby Rhaego are the three lives that were sacrificed to make possible the birth of her dragons. Aside from the names of the dragons, one of the clues for me is the word "pyromancer." This word usually refers to magical wizards who have been forced out of power (except to make wild fire) by the maesters. But wordplay can turn this word into "pyre romance." My thinking is that the magic that allowed the dragon eggs to hatch, finally, was the sacrifice of Dany's most beloved people - Drogo literally on the pyre, where Dany experiences a final sexual encounter with him. Aegon V may have been thinking along these lines with the fire at Summerhall and the deaths of many Targaryen family members. His dragon-hatching effort was thwarted, however, by the escape of Rhaella and Rhaegar. I realize that Mirri Maz Duur and a stallion also die in the pyre, but I think they represent other elements in the magic recipe for dragon hatching. Just before he emerges from the crypt, Bran "eats" horse meat when his direwolf, Summer, eats from the carcasses of horses that die in the burning of Winterfell. At the urging of Qhorin Halfhand, Jon Snow eats horse blood mixed with oats just before he passes beneath the waterfall and takes the tunnel through the mountain where he meets Rattleshirt and kills Qhorin. So the horse symbolism and eating of horse flesh is not unique to Dany's rebirth scene. I would compare the burning of Mirri Maz Duur to deaths of other sheep or lambs (she is one of the Lamb Men), the torture death of Lady Darklyn after the Defiance of Duskendale, and the death of the puppeteers in Qyburn's making of Ser Robert Strong. I do think Rhaego "lives on" symbolically - similar to Renly living on in symbolic ways after his death - but his life force was switched with the life force of one or more of the "stone" dragon eggs, allowing them to hatch. Other places my predictions differ from yours: I suspect the salient bloodline for Ser Barristan Selmy is as a Ser Duncan the Tall descendant. But he was a bastard who was born in King's Landing and sent out to House Selmy (or possibly House Darry) to be raised as a respectable noble child. (I suspect a similar story for Brienne.) If fAegon/Young Griff is not the real Aegon, also have a sneaking suspicion he might be Tyrion's son by Tysha: the author goes to some trouble to tie in the Pisswater Prince story to the lowborn foundling substituted for Prince Aegon. Tyrion is strongly associated with pissing and making water. My goal here wasn't to nitpick your yeoman's effort to pull together your comprehensive and thoughtful theories. In many ways, we end up with similar predictions around major plot elements, even if we arrive at them through different paths. I am grateful that you have gone to the effort to write up your ideas so we can see what it looks like when loose ends come together into a united story line. GRRM has told us this is what will happen as the books reach their conclusion and you are the first person I have seen who has tied together so many of the disparate threads into a cohesive story line. Your notion of the Johanna Swann story as a common starting point is brilliant and original. I am listening to the audiobook of Fire and Blood and the Coryanne Wylde story has so much in common with your Johanna Swann theories that I think GRRM must have intended for readers to make the connection. You are the first and only person to have recognized Johanna's story as an important clue to bloodlines and family connections, however. I applaud your skills as a sleuth. I look forward to reading your continued ideas and insights. Thank you for sharing them!
  12. I didn't imagine the body parts all over Westeros, the author did. The fruit-based similes surprised me when I was sorting out the color code in Renly's Rainbow Guard but, once I started looking for them, I found many examples throughout ASOIAF. I don't think GRRM has gone mad (nor have I). I just think he is enjoying creating layers of meaning in the books. I suspect most of his added layers or metaphors come back to the off-kilter seasons in ASOIAF and the need to get the planet back to a regular seasonal cycle. As for his writing outside of ASOIAF, I am certainly not an expert. I have listened to the audiobook of Dying of the Light, however, and I found that he was exploring some of the same metaphors in that book (written in 1977) as he is in ASOIAF: a rogue planet that has had a period of summer and light but which is now entering a period of cold and dark; flying pods shaped like various sigils; a war-like people (Dothraki? sell swords? the Unsullied? all of the highborn Houses of Westeros?) who bond with brothers (Night's Watch? Robert and Ned as wards?) and a lost love who has partnered with someone else (Lyanna apparently eschewing Robert for Rhaegar). There are fourteen cities on the rogue planet Worlorn, not the seven kingdoms of Westeros, but the metaphor of a bag of body parts may be relevant there, too. In Westeros, GRRM is not trying to recreate the same Worlorn world with a medieval veneer, but the point is that I do see him using the metaphorical continent he has created for ASOIAF in ways that are similar to his earlier work I admit, I don't think his writing was as polished in Dying of the Light as it is in ASOIAF but the layers are there. I thought I no longer had to warn away the misguided self-worshiping snarky hipsters of this forum, but apparently they still need to see the standard disclaimer to stay away from my threads with banal inane commentary. Here is one of the comments I used on another thread:
  13. Something finally clicked for me with a mention of House Toland. Toe land? Ghost Hill, the seat of House Toland, is located at what looks to be a "toe" of Dorne, the eastern tip of the mainland. The area containing Ghost Hill is referred to as the Broken Arm, however, which was "broken" when the Children of the Forest used the Hammer of Waters to break the land bridge ("arm") that had connected Westeros and Essos. Islands created by the breaking of the arm are known as the Stepstones. To me, Dorne looks like a big foot. If the visual and metaphorical names were consistent, that east end of Dorne should have a name relating to toes, logically (to my mind) connecting the foot to the nearby step stones. The Fingers, the Neck, the Reach, Missy's Teats, The Fist, The Gods Eye; perhaps even Flea Bottom: many locations on the continent are named for body parts. The author's descriptive passages add to the body metaphors with The Eyrie built on the "shoulder" of a mountain, for instance, or Stonesnake telling Jon, ""The mountain is your mother ... Cling to her, press your face up against her teats, and she won't drop you." Add in The Green Blood, The Milkwater and Pisswater Bend for some bodily fluids to extend the metaphor. Some of the metaphors sound like straight up personification. It would not be surprising in a world where trees have faces that the land itself has some features that can be compared to body parts. A number of my posts have wondered about GRRM's comparisons of fruits and body parts: grapes = eyes, melons = heads, lemons = teeth (or mouths), peaches = cheeks, plums = lumps, oranges = feet. While the author's fruit code seems to be consistent, I don't yet understand its purpose. Does it help to clarify the symbolism if we think of body parts as elements of the Westeros landscape in addition to the connection between body parts and fruit? Or does that further confuse both the landscape and the fruit puzzles? And I realize that GRRM doesn't limit himself to body parts; he uses a lot of descriptive metaphors to tell us about the land: names such as The Mountains of the Moon, The Stormlands, The Eyrie and Griffin's Roost are metaphorical without referencing body parts. I don't think these other metaphors contradict the possible "map as body" symbolism. In fact, we can probably find examples of people who look like moons or birds, tying these apparent non-body metaphors back into the body symbolism. (I also think there may be wordplay on "finger" and "Griffin," so some of the body parts could be hidden by anagrams or puns.) The challenge is to determine whether the body metaphors are intended to add up to a single, coherent body or whether, like butcher's boy Mycah, "that he'd cut him up in so many pieces that they'd given him back to the butcher in a bag, and at first the poor man had thought it was a pig they'd slaughtered." Aegon the Conqueror is lauded as the man who united the Seven Kingdoms. So even if Westeros is a bag of body parts, the goal may be to reassemble the parts into one kingdom. Here are a few of the excerpts that might help in sorting out whether Westeros is supposed to be a human body. Tyrion's large head and the largeness of The North: Tyrion Lannister, the youngest of Lord Tywin's brood and by far the ugliest. All that the gods had given to Cersei and Jaime, they had denied Tyrion. He was a dwarf, half his brother's height, struggling to keep pace on stunted legs. His head was too large for his body, with a brute's squashed-in face beneath a swollen shelf of brow. One green eye and one black one peered out from under a lank fall of hair so blond it seemed white. Jon watched him with fascination. (AGoT, Jon I) "In the south, the way they talk about my Seven Kingdoms, a man forgets that your part is as big as the other six combined." (AGoT, Eddard I) Fools that drown in the bogs of the Neck and Joffrey losing the ability to breathe: "That's true," said Jojen. "Andals and ironmen, Freys and other fools, all those proud warriors who set out to conquer Greywater. Not one of them could find it. They ride into the Neck, but not back out. And sooner or later they blunder into the bogs and sink beneath the weight of all that steel and drown there in their armor." (ASoS, Bran II) A fearful high thin sound emerged from the boy's throat, the sound of a man trying to suck a river through a reed; then it stopped, and that was more terrible still. "Turn him over!" Mace Tyrell bellowed at everyone and no one. "Turn him over, shake him by his heels!" A different voice was calling, "Water, give him some water!" The High Septon began to pray loudly. Grand Maester Pycelle shouted for someone to help him back to his chambers, to fetch his potions. Joffrey began to claw at his throat, his nails tearing bloody gouges in the flesh. Beneath the skin, the muscles stood out hard as stone. (ASoS, Tyrion VIII) Dunk wondering whether it would have been better to lose a foot and some foot/orange imagery in Dorne: Each time a battle is lost or a crop fails, the fools will say, 'Baelor would not have let it happen, but the hedge knight killed him.'" Dunk could see the truth in that. "If I had not fought, you would have had my hand off. And my foot. Sometimes I sit under that tree there and look at my feet and ask if I couldn't have spared one. How could my foot be worth a prince's life? (The Hedge Knight) In the shade of the orange trees, the prince sat in his chair with his gouty legs propped up before him, and heavy bags beneath his eyes . . . though whether it was grief or gout that kept him sleepless, Hotah could not say. ... He was still groping for some words to say when another orange fell with a heavy splat, no more than a foot from where the prince was seated. Doran winced at the sound, as if somehow it had hurt him. (AFfC, The Captain of the Guards) Dunk's contemplation of the trade-off between his foot and the life of Prince Baelor was another clue for me about the landmass of Dorne being a foot: Prince Baelor was half Dornish because his grandfather, King Baelor cared so much about a peaceful truce with Dorne that he arranged for his son, Prince Daeron, to marry a Dornish princess. King Baelor made a point of walking to Dorne as part of his work for peace. The key plot element about Dunk's foot made more sense to me when I started thinking of Dorne as a foot, and the effort of the two Baelors to either bring Dorne into the Seven Kingdoms or to prevent Dunk from losing his foot. Prince Doran is unable to walk. Does that tell us that Dorne as "the foot" of Westeros is at a critical point when it might break with the rest of the continent? I wonder whether the Greenblood river is symbolic of Prince Doran's gout, with the acid built up in his swollen joints draining ineffectively and leaving him in chronic pain. Does anyone care to provide additional examples of matching excerpts featuring land and body parts? What does it mean that Tyrion loses his nose? How does Jaime's maimed arm fit with the map metaphors?
  14. You inspired me. I went to the wiki to learn more about Ser Pounce and his cohorts (boots and Lady Whiskers). Here's what I found: Queen Margaery Tyrell gives King Tommen I Baratheon three black kittens,[2] which he names Boots, Lady Whiskers, and Ser Pounce. Dorcas makes Tommen a mouse from scraps of fur and ties it on a fishing pole. The kittens love to chase it and Tommen likes nothing better than jerking it across the floor as the cats pounce on it.[3] Ser Pounce catches a mouse but Lady Whiskers steals it from him. When Tommen tells this to his mother, Queen Regent Cersei Lannister, she replies, "Ser Pounce must learn to defend his right. In this world the weak are always the victims of the strong."[4] Here's one possible interpretation of the literary clues: Ser Pounce = serpents. In the layers of meaning in these books, there are numerous stand-ins for dragons. Serpents are among the dragon symbols. Lady Whiskers = Selyse Florent Baratheon. We are reminded often that Selyse has facial hair. Boots. During her "Cat of the Canals" incarnation, Arya kills Dareon, the Night's Watch deserter, and takes his boots. They don't fit her. (This is in AFfC, which is when all of Tommen's kitten action is relayed to the reader.) There is also a significant "boots moment" in Bran's arc, when he is skinchanging into Hodor at the Nightfort: So the third kitten could be a clue to the reader that someone is skinchanging into Tommen's kitten. Getting an inside look at the king at play? The mouse made from scraps of fur may also be symbolic. When Cersei insisted that one of the direwolves had to die as punishment for biting Joffrey, she said, "The king I'd thought to wed would have laid a wolfskin across my bed before the sun went down." After Ned killed Sansa's direwolf, Lady, he made sure that the wolf's pelt and bones were taken to Winterfell and not given over to Cersei. In my opinion, Lady's pelt symbolized Lyanna. The king Cersei thought to marry was Rhaegar but she settled for King Robert. Neither Rhaegar or Robert delivered the wolf pelt to Cersei. It's possible that the toy mouse made of fur returns to this symbolism but with an interesting twist. It is first caught by Ser Pounce. If he represents serpents, he could stand for House Targaryen or, more specifically, Rhaegar Targaryen. But the mouse is stolen from Ser Pounce. Lady Whiskers gains control of the ball. Lady Whiskers is a Baratheon by marriage, so this could represent the Baratheon takeover of the iron throne from House Targaryen. That doesn't feel quite right, though: the kittens are trying to catch a fur mouse, not the iron throne. If the mouse is Lyanna, why would Selyse Florent Baratheon want Lyanna, even on a symbolic level? What if the point is that the mouse made from scraps of fur represents what is left of Lyanna? We all suspect that Jon Snow is her legacy and that he is a strong candidate to be rightful king. Selyse Florent would like to produce an heir to the throne but her one child has an affliction and doesn't promise a strong line of succession for her husband, Stannis Baratheon. Further complicating the symbolism is that Houses Florent feels some rivalry toward House Tyrell as heirs of House Gardener, the longtime rulers of The Reach. In some of the literary analysis, Houses Rowan, Oakheart, Tyrell and Florent may be somewhat interchangeable as representatives of Garth Greenhand and House Gardener and the Reach. So "Lady Whiskers" stealing the fur mouse may represent the larger ambition of the Reach (either House Florent or House Tyrell) to produce and control the next heir to the Iron Throne.
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