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  1. What kind of searches have you tried? I would think something like "Rhaegar Trident camps" or just "Trident camps" or "Rhaegar camps" plugged into the search site would help you zero in on what you seek. https://asearchoficeandfire.com/
  2. House Glover seems to be part of the glove symbolism. Ethan being spared may be part of the rules of The Game of Thrones that are not explained to readers. Other glove or Glover moments come at turning points: Ser Waymar wearing moleskin gloves when he duels the Other in the Prologue; Jon Snow wearing moleskin gloves over his burned hand when he tries to desert from the Night's Watch; Ser Jorah giving gloves to the Widow of the Waterfront before she assigns him and Tyrion and Penny to a doomed voyage; Roose Bolton plans to have gloves made out of wolf cubs he killed in a hunt. Arya sees Robett Glover among the captives entering Harrenhal (ACoK, Arya IX): Arya receives fingerless gloves from the sailors on the Titan's Daughter. Littlefinger tells Sansa to take off her gloves after he kisses her but she refuses; Lysa is unhappy to see that Sweetrobin is not wearing gloves in the same scene. Theon puts on and takes off gloves numerous times. After he is maimed, he wears gloves until Lady Dustin asks him to take them off, iirc. Gloves seem like an important link between the major motif around hands (Hand of the King, Jaime's gold hand, Cold Hands, the maimed hands ranging from Davos to Qhorin, etc.) and skinchanging - slipping into an animal skin. But why would wearing or sparing or giving gloves occur so regularly in the series? Am I right in linking it to major turning points? Or does it just signal that something is disguised? Glovers have a gauntlet sigil, however, so that may have special meaning aside from skinchanging. "Throwing down a gauntlet" means challenging someone to a fight, often a duel. So Ethan's survival may have been a message from Aerys to signal that he is challenging the North to a fight. In ASOIAF, gauntlets are often referred to as lobstered gauntlets. This ties them into the shellfish motif. So what is the deeper meaning of gloves? And is Ethan's survival part of a larger theme?
  3. That also seems like an allusion to this: Interesting that Lady Sybelle is in a godswood but Alyssa was in a place where there is explicitly no godswood. Both women seem to have lost many family members to violence. There is also an element of futility for each - Sybelle's prayers are not heard (or so the unreliable narrator believes?) and Alyssa's tears never reach the Vale. And Catelyn compares herself to Alyssa. Will she be the exception? Saving some of her family members?
  4. I'm thinking this probably also applies to The Sworn Sword, in which Dunk makes a big point of describing the too-hot baths that Egg prepares for him in the basement level at Holdfast but then the sleeping arrangement unique to Dunk and Egg on the roof of the tower. Ser Eustace says "Mayhaps" three times in the story. In the other two Dunk & Egg stories, the word appears only once. Maybe it's a necessary ingredient for a king to be in an underground "tomb" or dungeon as well as the top of a tower. Tyrion is the only major character to go into the underground wild fire storage area of the alchemists but he also spends time in the ice cells at the Eyrie as well as the Tower of the Hand. I believe Tyrion, Shae and Arya are the only major characters known to visit the dragon skulls in the lower level of the Red Keep.
  5. Oh dear. The show got embedded in my head, yet again. I will rethink some of this but a lot of it still applies, I think. Tobho Mott offers a helmet and Robb Stark gets Grey Wind's head. Ned severs the head of Lady the direwolf.
  6. Your analysis is fascinating and seems to pull out some really key points. Like others in this thread, I agree that "mayhaps" has to do with a double-cross by the speaker who utters it. But my notion about the "Mayhaps" clue is that it relates to crossing: a river or a boundary of some kind. Comments here have noted the proximity of some of these "mayhaps" comments to doors. I believe that doors and shields are related in ASOIAF. The unicorn / griffin knights on either side of Tobho Mott's door sound like the crest of the British royal family, except they have a unicorn and a lion, I believe. A griffin is part lion but the larger point is that the doorway is like a sigil. Shields are also painted with house sigils. The very nice catch about Renly's armor and the contrasting garments of the three strangers in Sansa's POV (Barristan in white enameled scales, Renly in forest green steel plate and Ser Ilyn Payne in iron grey chain mail and leather) might give us a new link between "mayhaps" and the Underworld. This makes sense, as I think many of the mystical "crossings" in ASOIAF are based on the Celtic idea of the Otherworld that is parallel to the mainstream world. Not to get too far off on a tangent, but the three strangers are kneeling before Cersei when Sansa sees them. She is in her wheelhouse. I think she is a sort of White Witch character here, with the sleigh. We know that C. S. Lewis starts us off in a Narnia that is under the spell of an ice queen. I think there is a parallel here. And the King's traveling group can't cross from the Stark-controlled area back into King's Landing until this ritual of the three strangers welcoming the ice queen (ice is part of Cersei's name) has occurred. (P.S. Sansa wants to ride in Cersei's wheelhouse, and Arya does not.) This is a fantastic catch. As in ancient Celtic (and a lot of other) legends, a thing is significant in ASOIAF if it happens in a group of three. But the nature of the three questions is so important as foreshadowing, and I've never seen anyone highlight them before in this forum. As you note, the three questions are about Renly's armor, whether the Hand (Ned) wants a blade and whether the direwolf is his sigil. I suspect that Mott is almost doing a "Wizard of Oz" thing here, offering a heart, brain and courage to friends of Dorothy, except Mott is offering these things to Ned. The forest green armor (as well as the mentions of the Knight of Flowers) may tell us that the armor symbolizes the return of summer. As you note, this armor outlasts the original wearer but goes on to rally the troops at the Blackwater and win the battle. We know that GRRM has given us another significant green vs. black civil war in the Dance of the Dragons. Renly is wearing the green armor when he dies. Brienne has just helped him to put it on, and she is associated with sapphires, as is Tobho Mott. The shadow cuts through the armor and Renly's final word is, "Cold." Readers have all assumed that Melisandre generated the shadow baby that killed Renly because Davos witnesses her generating the shadow baby that invades Storm's End and kills the castellan that Renly put in place. But what if the shadow in Renly's tent is Ned Stark? Winter is coming, Renly. We know that Ned supports Stannis as the heir of Robert. And the second question from Mott was whether the hand wanted a blade. At that point, Ned didn't need a blade. But it's also interesting that Renly's breast plate is sliced open by a shadow, not a blade. A shadow doesn't need a blade, either. The other evidence supporting the possibility of Ned (or a spirit he sends forth) as Renly's killer is linked to Mott's third question: whether the direwolf is the sigil of House Stark. He immediately follows the question with an offer to make a scary direwolf helmet. You know who ends up wearing a scary direwolf helmet? Robb Stark, after the Freys say mayhaps and cut off his head and sew the head of Grey Wind onto the neck of his corpse. The Grey Wind allusion is apt because the sigil of House Stark is not the entire direwolf, it is the head of a direwolf. But the visit to Mott's shop is undertaken for the purpose of seeing Gendry - the recycled version of Renly. Gendry looks like his father, but Brienne thinks he is a dead ringer (so to speak) for Renly. Ned has already beheaded Lady, the direwolf belonging to Sansa. He sent the wolf's bones back to Winterfell and they are interred in the lichyard, not in the crypt. I think this is significant. The bones are still in this world, not in the underworld. So the spirit can freely roam the earth, presumably. (Another tangent: I bet Ned is the hooded man who speaks to Theon at Winterfell. Maybe Ned's bones are already at Winterfell, or he can use the bones of the direwolf, Lady, to gain entry to his old seat.) This is also a fantastic catch. In the past, I assumed that the secret behind Mott's name was the almost-anagram "hot tomb." I think of the Winterfell crypt as a "forge" where dead Starks are recycled into new young Starks. That's why Stark children (and Theon) go down there to play. But a double meaning is terrific for Tobho Mott. The inciting incident for all of the action in this series is Jaime pushing Bran off of the Old Keep at Winterfell. The old Motte. Bran's identity is shaped by playing in the crypt but also by falling from the Keep. Both Hot Tomb and Top 'o' Mott. To make a long story short, I think Tobho's real magic is his ability to get warriors to slay the season. He prepares Ned to slay Renly (summer) and has prepared the next summer (Gendry), who is working in his back room. Ser Ilyn (dressed in grey in Sansa's first POV) will slay Ned but Grey Wind/Robb will rise again. Symbolism haters will hate this, but I think Ser Ilyn and Ned are linked: both use the sword Ice to administer the King's Justice. Catelyn frees Jaime from a dungeon and then Jaime frees Ser Ilyn from a dungeon. Catelynn will rise again as Lady Stoneheart (see the Brax fate, described earlier in this thread - Brax sank like a stone; Catelyn drowns in a river and emerges as a stone) and go after the Frey "Lords of the Crossing," ending their control of that important crossing. Mayhaps. We do know that Rickon invited the Walders - Catelyn's wards - to play in the Winterfell crypt. I suspect the one remaining Walder ward of Catelyn (I can never remember which one is still alive) will be the sole Frey survivor because creepy little Rickon ensured that he absorbed some Underworld mojo in the Stark crypt. The cycle will continue.
  7. I wouldn't be surprised if Symeon Star-Eyes or Symon Silver Tongue are part of the allusion. Any other characters in the "Simon" name group? Oh yes, the wiki tells me there are many Symon, Symond, Simon and Simeon characters. Discovering what they have in common might take some time. All truth-tellers? All prophets?
  8. More characters to ponder in the smiler / slayer wordplay group: Jon Snow arranges for Alys Karstark to marry into The Thenns. If you look at it sideways, "The Thenns" could be an anagram of "hen nest." This could introduce the idea of slayer as layer, and bring us back to our important egg motif. Jon Snow may be creating a smiler/slayer that better serves the needs of the North and of Winterfell, doing an end run around Arnolf Karstark as well as Horpe and Massey. Stannis told Jon Snow that he should choose one, but Jon Snow seems to have a different idea. Maybe the smiler / slayer pairing is the outward expression of Jon's mixed Targ / Stark heritage. MELISandre also has to be part of the smile / slime / miles wordplay. Duh. Don't know why that one didn't occur to me when I drafted that initial post. "Ander" means "other" in German, so her name could somehow unite the ideas behind smiler (which I'm counting on this forum to figure out) and The Others.
  9. Slay / Alys I almost threw this into the puns and wordplay thread, but I could use some help sorting out the meaning, if we can find it. Stannis asks Jon Snow a key question in ADwD: He is talking about Richard Horpe and Justin Massey. Horpe is a bloodthirsty killer, so he is the slayer. Massey is glib and tells jokes, so he is the smiler. But I think Stannis may be surrounded by additional smilers and slayers. If so, this becomes interesting because I suspect this symbolic pair may come up over and over again throughout the books in characters such as Rorge and Biter, Theon (smiler) and Sam Tarly (slayer), Tyrion (smiler) and Jaime (kingslayer). When I realized that the name Alys could be part of the "slay" motif, this opened a new line of information that could help to explain the paired words. Of course, I consider Alys to be part of the name group that includes Lysa, Alyssa, Alysanne and Alysane. The "smiler or slayer" question from Stannis is about who should be the new Lord of Winterfell. Horpe and Massey both hope to be appointed to the perceived vacancy, but Stannis is leaning toward Arnolf Karstark. Before the question can be resolved, Alys Karstark appears at Castle Black. She appears to fulfill the vision described by Melisandre, although Jon had assumed that Arya would be the girl in the snow. This mistaken assumption by Jon Snow is a clue to the reader that Alys and Arya are symbolically linked. Does this mean that Arya is a slayer? That would be consistent with her Faceless Man training under way in Essos. And my initial guess is that Jon Snow is the smiler in that symbolic pair, because Arya says that the sword Needle, that she hides under a stone step, represents Jon Snow's smile. Or perhaps the point is that Arya is both a slayer and a smiler, once she recovers her sword. But the symbolism gets more complicated when you bring in more wordplay. If "smile" is significant, I'm guessing that we should keep an eye out for limes, miles and slime. And GRRM isn't going to make all of the references obvious. For instance, I searched on slime and found that it may be associated with the chewing of sourleaf, which causes people to have discolored red mouths and teeth. But the clearest explanation seems to come from a Dunk & Egg character, Ser Uthor Underleaf, known as The Snail, who seems like a proto-Littlefinger to me. He tries to get Dunk to participate in fixing the outcome of some jousting matches: Snails leave trails of slime. Fair enough. Where should we look for symbolic snails? There's a character named Ser Clayton Suggs who is sometimes in conflict with Justin Massey. (For instance, Clayton wants to burn Asha Greyjoy as a sacrifice to R'hllor, but Justin intervenes and saves her.) Ser Clayton's name as an anagram potential hides both "slug" and "escargot" among its letters. (But also argent and garnet, two words I associate with Aegon characters and secret Targs.) There's also a nail motif that has an interesting arc across all of the books, so we would have to run down snails and nails if we really want to get to the bottom of this. (Which is an example of why I think GRRM's use of wordplay is like a suit of mail, which connects links going in all directions to make fabric.) But I guess my goal for this thread would be to puzzle out the smiler / slayer characters around Stannis and Jon Snow, if we can. Horpe, Massey, Alys Karstark, Clayton Suggs, Arnolf Karstark -- others? I wonder whether Asha is a smiler by virtue of her connection to Theon, a known smiler? And if we are going to examine limes, miles and slime, we should also sort out layers, perhaps sailors, and all the alys / alyssa / alysanne stuff I mentioned earlier. Maybe also characters such as Larys Strong and Raylon Bracken. And I don't want to muddle this too much -- I'm lying! I actually love muddling -- but this phrase intrigued me as I was looking at that Stannis excerpt describing Justin Massey: @GloubieBoulga is no longer active in the forum, but she had an interesting theory that Rorge and Biter are symbolic versions of Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon. If Robert is Biter, and he and Massey both like female "flesh," this could be a helpful clue for us in sorting out the symbolism around Rorge/Biter and Smiler/Slayer. (Biter eats some of Brienne's flesh before Gendry kills him.) But this also put me in mind of Ramsay Bolton's pack of dogs. Ramsay bites fArya / Jeyne Poole - apparently he has an appetite for female flesh. But he has also hunted women and fed them to his dogs. Meanwhile, Bran and his traveling companions are (we suspect) eating the Night's Watch mutineers who killed Craster and Mormont. I suspect this is part of the smiler / slayer symbolism and part of the larger question of who will be the Lord of Winterfell.
  10. “It is the little grey cells, mon ami, on which one must rely.”– Hercule Poirot @SerDuncan I'm glad you are seeing some of the same motifs and themes I am seeing in these characters. Re-reading that moment where Jon Snow stabs half a honeyed chicken, gives birth to it, then feeds it to his wolf, I was reminded that Bran ingests a lot of honey. Perhaps he is like a bee, nurtured to become bee royalty? This is the scene that immediately came to mind: Of course, sweet and bitter comprise one of GRRM's wordplay pairs. If Bran eats a lot of honey, does he balance it out with bitter foods as well?
  11. I suspect this is one meaning but it's not the only meaning of "dance" in ASOIAF. This doesn't seem like battle, although I might be wrong: To me, the interesting thing about Sansa during this dance is that she says, "Thankfully, it was time to change again. Her legs had turned to wood, though, and Lord Rowan, Ser Tallad, and Elinor's squire all must have thought her a very clumsy dancer." It was time to change and her legs turn into wood. To me, this is a more interesting interpretation of dance - it is an activity used to change people. That fits with the dancing taking place in the Jon / Alys interaction, too, I think. The "anon" may have been chosen because it has the unique quality that it can evoke past, present and future (especially if used incorrectly by Alys, but with the apparent intention of referring to something that took place in the past). But I suspect that "anon" might also allude to the name Old Nan. Since she and her stories have a mysterious timelessness, this may fit with the type of change we are seeing in the Jon / Alys wedding dance (and possibly in the Sansa / Garlan wedding dance).
  12. I found that thread. It's not the one I had in mind. I did try google, thank you. Edit: I think I found it. This may also be relevant: The point I remembered from Macgregor's thread was, "On your good "Thoughts on Bran/Brandon the builder" thread, you figured out that the phrase "a thousand years ago" or even just "a thousand years" was a signal that the reader could expect a reference to an ageless archetype or legend come back to life."
  13. Yes. Also yes. Very much so. If I'm right that "anon" could be wordplay on "anno," this may all link to the phrase "a thousand years ago," or even ("a thousand years") that was identified as a code phrase GRRM uses to signal an event that occurs repeatedly throughout history or in a cyclical way in Westeros. (I think I'm recalling that correctly.) I tried just now to find the thread where this was worked out, but the internal ASOIAF search engine seems to be limited. I thought the idea about this came from @Macgregor of the North, but I may be mistaken. But there may be more than one meaning linked to the word.
  14. That was my immediate response, too. If it's done well, I suppose it requires students to make an effort to dig into the symbolism and world-building. But I know the author does not approve of that whole approach to story-telling.
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