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  1. I suspect the bloody mouths imagery is also connected to the sigil of House Lonmouth, skulls and kisses. The consensus in this forum is pretty strong that Lem Lemoncloak is actually Ser Richard Lonmouth, a close friend and Rhaegar loyalist. He seems to have turned into a bloodthirsty executioner for Lady Stoneheart after wearing the Hound's helmet. Does the helmet represent a skull? If so, where is the kiss to go with the skull? (Maybe it's the "unkiss" that Sansa remembers from her encounter with the Hound in her bedchamber.) Besides Richard, the only other named individual Lonmouth was Joffrey, who was the lover of Laenor Velaryon, husband of princess Rhaenyra. Joffrey died when his helm cracked by a blow from a morningstar during a tourney. While Joffrey had represented Laenor in the tourney, the blow was delivered by Criston Cole, a former supporter of Rhaenyra but now fighting with the sponsorship of Queen Alicent, the rival queen in the Dance of the Dragons. So Joffrey's story might show both the kisses (his relationship with Laenor) and the skull (a cracked helmet). The words of House Lonmouth are, "The choice is yours." Is the choice between skulls and kisses? Death and love? Or? This red mouth motif needs some more exploration, so thank you for keeping this going. Maybe we can look at cracked helms and, specifically, blows from a morningstar, when we finish with the red lips. The morningstars probably relate to Dawn and Morne. Brienne defeats Ser Loras with a morningstar in the melee at Bitterbridge and Ser Dontos uses a melon morningstar on Sansa's head when he tries to divert Joffrey's wrath after Robb's victory over Lannister forces.
  2. Seams

    The Sleeping Lion

    Nimble Dick tells Brienne a story about his legendary ancestor, Clarence Crabb, known as Crackbones: "Crackbones fought a dragon too, but he didn't need no magic sword. He just tied its neck in a knot, so every time it breathed fire it roasted its own arse." (AFfC, Brienne IV) Here's a little more context for Lord Grandison: Beesbury died a few years later. That gave her some small comfort in her present pass; she could not be forced to marry him if he was dead. And the Lord of the Crossing had wed again, so she was safe from him as well. Elden Estermont is still alive and unwed, though. Lord Rosby and Lord Grandison as well. Grandison was called the Greybeard, but by the time she'd met him his beard had gone snow white. At the welcoming feast, he had gone to sleep between the fish course and the meat. Drey called that apt, since his sigil was a sleeping lion. Garin challenged her to see if she could tie a knot in his beard without waking him, but Arianne refrained. Grandison had seemed a pleasant fellow, less querulous than Estermont and more robust than Rosby. She would never marry him, however. Not even if Hotah stands behind me with his axe. (AFfC, The Princess in the Tower) I think the knot-tying detail is another parallel to the dragon, with Dick Crabb's anecdote as confirmation. Nimble Dick is a story-teller, like Old Nan, and a singer. So we know that GRRM wants us to pay attention to his stories and find hints about things to come. Since Dick says that everyone on Crackclaw Point is a good dragon man, I suspect that Clarence is a symbolic Targaryen. The story about him tying a dragon's neck in a knot might refer to some Targ-on-Targ conflict such at the Dance of the Dragons or the Blackfyre rebellions. By contrast, Arianne declines to tie Grandison's beard in a knot and she finds him likable. Something tells me that the Grandison story might foreshadow a future meeting between Arianne and fAegon / Young Griff. Will she decide that the time is right to wake the dragon? "Tying the knot" is an idiom for getting married. Will Arianne want to tie the knot with fAegon? I don't know why GRRM would choose to make Grandison's sigil a sleeping lion, though, if all of the details and hidden meanings point to dragons.
  3. Seams

    The Sleeping Lion

    I'm sorry you've drawn not one but two of the unoriginal "Where is Winds?" comments, mistakenly believed to be clever by a handful of people who don't come to the forum to share ideas. You have spotted an interesting detail and raised a good question. To me, the Grandison words and sigil are clearly a reference to Viserys, who was secretly betrothed to Arianne. He was not the sleeping lion, but the sleeping dragon, and he constantly warned Daenerys not to wake the dragon. (An anagram of "Hugh Grandison" could be "dragon hushing".) It's been awhile since I've read the Arianne chapters so I'm not fresh on the details. It seems GRRM wants us to compare the sleeping lion to the sleeping dragon, for some reason. I may be completely lost in my little anagram obsession lately, but I noticed that "Rouse me not" can be rearranged to spell "morose tune." Potentially relevant HBO reference: The fact that Grandison was at a feast is probably also significant. We have seen important deaths and betrayals and dreams involving feasts. I know that GRRM has used tourneys to foreshadow the power struggle for the Iron Throne. Betrothals also seem significant in combining sigils and special qualities unique to certain houses (watch out for anyone married to a Royce or Fossoway). Maybe he uses the failed betrothal here, as well as the feast, to show us how the Martells have tried different things to navigate their way into the center of power in Westeros. We know that they offered betrothals between Elia and Oberyn for Jaime and Cersei, but were rejected. On the other hand, this fake betrothal attempt may have been payback for that rejection by the Lannisters: we are told that Doran already had a betrothal in mind for Arianne and was pretending to seek suitors in order to cover the secret engagement to Viserys. The failure to wake the sleeping lion with a betrothal for Arianne may underscore Doran's secret long game of surreptitiously working to outsmart the Lannisters without their knowing it.
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    Brienne and the Wizard of Oz

    There is also Wizard of Oz imagery in Dany's arc, particularly the scene were she flies above the rainbow on Drogon's back. There is a colored brick road and Brazen Beasts wearing lion, tiger and bear masks: Others have found Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass allusions in various POVs.
  5. Sure! Bring it on. The ice / eyes pun is so important in the series - understanding all of the pale eyes characters is probably a good exercise, and certainly relevant to patterns of death. (Now I'm also think of a pale / impale pun . . . )
  6. I had just been thinking about a Craster / Rohanne Webber comparison, based on this passage: "You'd best not take any food or drink at Coldmoat, ser. The Red Widow poisoned all her husbands." "I'm not like to marry her. She's a highborn lady, and I'm Dunk of Flea Bottom, remember? He frowned. "Just how many husband has she had, do you know?" "Four," said Egg, "but no children. Whenever she gives birth, a demon comes by night to carry off the issue. Sam Stoops's wife says she sold her babes unborn to the Lord of the Seven Hells, so he'd teach her his black arts." "Highborn ladies don't meddle with the black arts. They dance and sing and do embroidery." "Maybe she dances with demons and embroiders evil spells," Egg said with relish. "And how would you know what highborn ladies do, ser? ... " (The Sworn Sword) Egg goes on to tell Dunk about Shiera Seastar's habit of bathing in blood and his own sister's use of a love potion, so he seems to know about highborn ladies practicing magic. The Craster scenes in the book were all filtered through our unreliable narrators, but I have wondered for some time whether Craster's wives were actually in charge at Craster's Keep, with Craster as the stud for the breeding program but not really the mastermind of the situation. If so, that puts Gilly in a power position and her little Monster becomes the new Craster. Agreed. The green / gold eye thing is helpful in pinning down Tywin's murderous intent, something I couldn't entirely pin down in an earlier post about Tywin's possible role in Joffrey's death. (This link takes you to my old post about Tywin as Joffrey's murderer. It's old and I no longer hold with all of the details, but I think it's still a possibility worth pondering. And it is consistent with your idea here.) And if you think Tywin, as a descendant of Rohanne Webber, might also be using dark magic to advance his interests, this thread might offer some evidence in support of both his murderous impulses and his shared interests with his great-grandmother, Rohanne: The river and shit connection to weirwoods isn't clear to me, but one link might be the pun on wolf / flow / fowl. The marriage of Stark to Tully may be a marriage of a wolf to a river, or flow. Each of the Stark children is also associated with a fowl - Arya with swans or the name "squab" she takes at one point or other birds mentioned in her arc; Sansa is Sandor's "little bird," Jon is a crow, Bran talks to a three-eyed crow, etc. Weirwoods are associated with the direwolf Ghost, with the albino / red wine scar of Bloodraven and with the mysterious pools at Winterfell which flow through the walls of the keep. Maybe you can find your explanation there. I think GRRM may use some of the bowel movement references to create a "male pregnancy" situation, in support of his vast death-rebirth motif. Tyrion "killed" his mother in childbirth, but he also killed Tywin in the midst of trying to move his bowels. Tyrion notes that the difficult b.m. is achieved as Tywin dies. Dunk & Egg spoiler alert: in The Mystery Knight is further evidence for the link between birth, or rebirth, and defecation. The mound of shit at Craster's Keep may therefore be appropriate evidence of the baby factory in operation at that site. Certainly Tyrion achieves an important milestone in his rebirth with the death of Tywin. Speaking of bowels, a pun on bowl / bowel might offer an additional clue about the shit / weirwood link. In Flea Bottom, people eat bowls of brown, which Tyrion calls "singer stew." The singers give Bran a bowl of weirwood paste, not brown. There are also references to bowls of trees - another name for a stump or trunk. A further note: leaf / flea is probably deliberate wordplay, with Flea Bottom and Leaf, the CotF singer who guides Bran. The "bottom" in Flea Bottom might be another part of the shit motif as well as a rebirth motif: orphans such as Dunk and Davos and Hot Pie and Lommy Greenhands seem to emerge from the streets of Flea Bottom without having any parents or known origin. Following up on another of your points: the Rhoyne isn't entirely a cesspool. Recall that Septa Lemore swims in the river (Tyrion notices her stretch marks, indicating a past pregnancy) and Tyrion has a good rebirth swim in the river, emerging to sew his special motley outfit using clothes provided by Illyrio at Connington's direction with Lemore's help. Only the section near the Bridge of Dream is contaminated, if I understand correctly. Or maybe the mist described by Ysilla marks the areas that are problematic. (I just noticed that line about "searching for a sun" in the Ysilla excerpt you cited. Interesting possibilities there with fAegon / Young Griff and/or Tyrion as "sons" of the Targaryens, both fostered by Jon Connington and the others in the crew of the Shy Maid.) The connection between Lady Stoneheart and the Shrouded Lord is a good one. I think the stone man who knocks Tyrion off the boat and into the river is a symbolic Ned Stark. If he contracted grey scale because he was kissed by the Shrouded Lord, that would be a perfect parallel with Ned and Catelyn. The dead Stark lords are all turned to stone when they are interred in the Winterfell crypt, of course, and we are told that Ned's bones never reached Winterfell. Maybe his soul is stranded at a metaphorical bridge, like the colony of grey scale sufferers living at the Bridge of Dream.
  7. Seams

    Out of Context Quotes

    I think there is a "The Piss that was Promised" thread somewhere in the archives. People have definitely been discussing this. The privy shafts almost certainly connect to a "Chutes and Ladders" metaphor that was discussed in another thread. One of the many games that GRRM incorporated in the symbolism for the Game of Thrones. In some countries, the game is known as "Snakes and Ladders," and he acknowledges that by including the serpentine necks of dragons and serpentine steps in the game. If privy shafts are chutes, I suspect that weirwood trees are ladders - we see Will in the prologue, Bran (via Summer) and Arya and Wex Pyke climbing trees or trying to climb trees at various points. Dany tries to grow trees. Sansa finds no tree at the Eyrie. And it's just a short hop from ladder to bladder . . . There could also be wordplay around step and sept and septic system . . .
  8. I'm lovin' this. I like the "impulse to kill" explanation, but I think your next insights might be even more to the point: these sourleaf characters seem to be "evil twins" or remote agents or -- dare I say it? -- daemons of characters we have seen elsewhere. Bran and Arya both taste blood in their mouths when their wolves make a kill. Maybe the chewers of sourleaf are like those direwolves, out ranging and making kills that provide a (false) sense of "nourishment" for a major character. You mention the pious dwarf as a symbolic Tyrion, and I think that is correct. He is also a guide for Brienne, telling her about Nimble Dick Crabb's boasting about fooling a fool and (iirc) the Stinking Goose. There's something symbolic about Brienne taking his seat and the dwarf eats her food, as I recall. There could also be a clue in the rhyming "sparrow" and "arrow," as Tyrion later seems to have some crossbow discussion with Snatch. Is this sour leaf / red mouth group a closed loop? Interlocking loops? Tyrion kills Tywin with a crossbow. The pious dwarf (sparrow / arrow) launches Brienne on her quest. (Tyrion begins his quest after killing Tywin.) The pious dwarf is beheaded as bounty hunters search for dwarf heads to present to Cersei, hoping to cash in on the reward she offers for Tyrion's death. Tyrion meets up with Snatch, who is the new embodiment of Tyrion's loyal champion, Bronn. Snatch may be a player in the upcoming invasion of Westeros, which Tyrion intends as the means to topple Cersei from power. Recall, also, that Tyrion and Bronn first encounter each other at the inn at the crossroads, where Masha Heddle was the proprietor. But here's a different, related loop, if you think sour leaf and lemons might be linked: Cersei does not like washing her mouth with lemons, even though it's supposedly good for her teeth. Emmon Frey (one of the three Emmon lemons in the books) is the Frey most closely linked to the Lannister family and he is a red-mouthed chewer of sour leaf. The Freys were the blood thirsty implementers of the Red Wedding. Therefore, Emmon Frey is a symbolic direwolf for Cersei. Emmon wants Edmure Tully to die so his claim to Riverrun will be free of challengers. Brynden "Blackfish" Tully escapes Riverrun, apparently living up to his trout sigil by swimming out into the Trident under a gate. (There has to be deliberate symbolism around the "Trident," meaning "three teeth" and the dental hygiene associated with lemons.) Lem Lemoncloak wades into the Trident to retrieve a duck shot with an arrow (ASoS, Chap. 13, Arya II). He hopes it will be cooked with lemon, but there are no lemons. Later on the same journey, Arya obtains clean drinking water from a trout-shaped fountain to ease the suffering of caged northmen, sentenced to death for rape. She pours the water into their cracked and bleeding mouths. Anguy then kills the men with arrows to put them out of their misery (ASoS, Chap. 29, Arya V). This is fun. Here's another loop: Sour leaf chewer Ser Bennis of the Brown Shield wounds one of the servants of the Red Widow, cutting his cheek with the tip of his sword. He later downplays the wound, saying that it's just a little claret -- a type of wine -- on the man's cheek. Brynden Blackwood has a wine stain birthmark on his cheek. Biter (whose name may be wordplay on "bitter") bites Brienne's cheek at the inn at the crossroads. where we earlier saw sour leaf chewer Masha Heddle. Brienne is a descendant of Ser Duncan the Tall, who voluntarily sustains a cheek injury in an attempt to avoid worse bloodshed with the Red Widow. Masha might be part of the Asha and Osha group of rhyming characters. Masha's nieces, Willow and Jeyne, take over the inn after Masha dies, and they are almost certainly intended as parallels of Arya and Sansa. So it would make sense that Masha is a parallel, too. Maybe she is a symbolic Catelyn? I just looked at the character profile for Snatch on the wiki, and the parallel to Bronn is fascinating. Tyrion says, "Bronn's meaner bastard shadow, or I'm Baelor the Beloved." I'm starting to suspect that shadows are the big dark magic weapon of mass destruction in ASOIAF. Melisandre knows how to conjure them in strategic ways, but there are a lot of other shadows we should probably be watching. Tyrion wears a shadow cloak when he descends to the dank cellar of the alchemists to see the stockpile of wildfire grenades. So this Snatch could be a very interesting companion as Tyrion's arc moves to its next stage. This is a long shot, but I also wonder about a parallel between Snatch and the fool Patchface, with the vaguely rhyming name. Patchface talks about "silver seaweed" in one of his cryptic speeches. In an early attempt at anagramming for clues, I wondered whether silver seaweed might represent "wise red leaves." If Patchface himself is not a parallel for Snatch, he might at least be telling us what we can learn from characters who chew sourleaf. You've been looking at the red mouths more closely than I have, so I suspect you have many more insights. I look forward to learning more.
  9. I agree that the word "pale" has a particular connection to cold. I didn't look at characters as much as places, and it looks like I moved onto other things before pinning down a definite explanation. Maybe your analysis of pale eyes will zero in on GRRM's hidden meaning.
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    Was the second shadowbaby necessary?

    This topic really piqued my interest, and I was hoping to come up with something about Ser Cortnay that would explain why his death occurred under such specialized circumstances. I hit on a possible explanation today, but it tied in with something I had already written on a recent thread about the Royce family. In a nutshell, I saw a pattern where a Royce must die for a would-be king's ambitions to move forward. I think Ser Cortnay is a symbolic Royce and he died so Stannis could continue his drive to power. Here is the link to the larger post, if anyone is curious.
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    Yohn Royce was a fool

    A recent thread questioned why the second shadow baby had been necessary; whether the siege at Storm's End could have been ended in a different way. The first shadow weapon had been used to kill Renly, the second was used to kill Ser Cortnay Penrose, castellan of Storm's End, a Renly loyalist and the guardian of young Edric Storm (one of Robert Baratheon's out-of-wedlock children). I thought this was a good question so I took a closer look at Ser Cortnay to see whether I could spot any quality in him that warranted this specialized assassination. The possible answer I see brought me back to this Royce theory. Ser Cortnay Penrose is a near anagram of "Royce Runestone" or "Runestone Sorcery" or "Nestor Royce". The Royce sigil and seat and armor involve runes - an ancient form of writing. The Penrose sigil shows writing quills and their motto is, "Set down our deeds." (Which offers more anagram possibilities involving "stone words" and possibly "seeds".) Ser Cortnay was very vocal about what he saw as the disloyal members of Renly's Rainbow Guard who switched their allegiance to Stannis after Renly's death. Robar Royce was a member of that guard and died wearing his rainbow cape. Robar Royce believed Catelyn when she said that Brienne had not murdered Renly. Cortnay Penrose also says it is a lie that Brienne killed Renly, and says he has known her since she was a kid and that she adored Renly. So the writing symbolism in the sigils, the Renly loyalty, the Rainbow Guard interest and the support for Brienne are common to both Ser Cortnay and Ser Robar. If my previous post was correct, and a would-be king needs to sacrifice a Royce in order to gain power, Ser Cortnay might be a stand-in for the Royce sacrifice needed by Stannis on his drive for power. That might explain why Royce had to die at the hand of the shadow baby. We know that House Royce has famous ancient armor that is covered with runes. The runes are supposed to provide protection, but we know that Royces have been defeated in tournaments while wearing the armor. I suspect the famous rune armor does not provide protection against conventional weapons, but against dark magic. And the opening line of Ser Cortnay's introduction (ACoK, Chap. 42, Davos II) reads, "Ser Cortnay Penrose wore no armor." I think this foreshadows his vulnerability to the darkly magical shadow weapon that will kill him. If the anagram is a clue, the possible parallel between Ser Cortnay and Lord Nestor is also interesting. Littlefinger gives Lord Nestor a hereditary seat, the Gates of the Moon. Stannis takes Storm's End from Ser Cortnay (it already belongs to Stannis, as the surviving Baratheon, but Cortnay possessed it as Renly's appointed castellan). In Nestor's orbit, who would be the parallel to Edric Storm? I'm thinking it could be Alayne / Sansa, or Harry the Heir or Sweetrobin. None of the three is under Nestor's direct control, but Nestor plays a key role in allowing Littlefinger to retain custody of the Arryn heir. Ser Robar was a guard at Renly's door when he died. Both Ser Cortnay and Lord Nestor are gatekeepers helping or hindering ambitious men.
  12. I have an alternative tin foil theory. Aerys set up the so-called "defiance" so he could have a year to live as a spy within his own kingdom. Alternatively, Aerys was held long enough to create and train a glamor to return to King's Landing and rule in his place. (I think Barristan says that Aerys was never the same after Duskendale.) So the heroic one-man rescue by Ser Barristan may have been a set-up along with the hostage-taking itself. The Darklyns were super loyal vassals of the Targaryen kings - seven members of the House served as members of the kings guard, more than any other House. If they were asked by the king himself, they might have undertaken this task of hiding the king and providing a cover story out of loyalty to the Iron Throne. The innkeeper at the Seven Swords and possibly Nimble Dick are the best we can do to get a reading on current Darklyn sentiment, and we get hints that the Darklyns would hate the kingslayer (Jaime) and that the local people are still "dragon men." So I think the Darklyns remain loyal, even after being put to death, if that's possible. (Ser Dontos is a fan of Renly but the Ghost of Renly, represented by Garlan Tyrell, is a Targaryen man, in my opinion - it's complicated. If Mollander in the AFfC prologue is the son of Dontos, as one persuasive theory posits, he proposes a toast to Daenerys as the rightful queen, perhaps providing further evidence of Darklyn / Hollard loyalty to the Targaryens.) It does seem like a suicide mission to pretend to kidnap and hold the monarch hostage. I admit that could scuttle this whole line of speculation. If the initial request came from the king and assurances were made that no one would be punished, the Darklyns might have agreed to the scheme under those conditions. When the king was swapped with someone else or when he simply wanted to kill everyone who knew the real story behind the defiance, the Darklyns paid with their lives. (Sort of like Ser Dontos dying after Littlefinger was finished with him.) But the Darklyn loyalty to the throne might mean that they undertook the mission even though they knew it would lead to their deaths. Symbolically (you knew this was coming, didn't you?), the outcome of the Defiance is like the pyre on which Dany's dragons are hatched: a mysterious foreign woman is burned (Serala of Myr, wife of Lord Denys) and a "king" dies (the reader is reminded several times that the Darklyns were ancient kings before the conquest). The hatching dragon would appear to be Aerys in a symbolic rebirth. (Although you could make a case for Ser Dontos.) I suspect this particular rebirth might connect to the "monarch" butterfly symbolism of going into a cocoon as a worm, remaining dormant and then emerging as a butterfly. Ser Jorah was the knight standing by for Dany at Drogo's pyre; Ser Barristan played a more active role at the "pyre" where Aerys was reborn. I would also compare the rescue of Aerys to the theft of the dragon egg in the Dunk & Egg story The Mystery Knight. Ser Barristan and Ser Jorah undertake a similar mission together through the sewers of Meereen. Oh - there you go - a suicide mission and a sewer side mission. That could be our clue to compare these incidents. Dany walking into the funeral pyre was also suicidal -- except the fire didn't kill her, for some reason.
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    Davos' breaking point.

    I'm seeing lots of little clues that Davos has an important destiny in the books. (In a recent thread, I noted that there are parallels between Davos and Bran.) I suspect Melisandre is well aware of something special about Davos and she keeps Devan nearby not just to keep him safe, but because he may have a special bloodline that Melisandre wants to use and control. It's not just Davos's wife and two younger sons who are vulnerable. Something involving Melisandre and Devon could be one of the tests in store for Davos. I'm also wondering whether the Skagos mission is a wild goose chase. I have a strange suspicion that the boy who presented himself as Wex Pyke might not be Wex Pyke. What if he is Rickon? There's no wolf lurking nearby, and our last glimpse of Rickon was of a whiny baby, but maybe we underestimate him. Even if Wex Pyke is who he says he is, there's something fishy about this trip to Skagos. As for loyalty, I think Davos will be loyal to Stannis until one or the other of them dies. If Stannis dies first, Davos will think about him often and reflect back on the things Stannis taught him, sort of like Dunk constantly remembering the things Ser Arlan taught him, Brienne remembering lessons from Ser Goodwin, and Bran remembering Old Nan's stories. It might be that Stannis is teaching Davos how to be a king.
  14. Very interesting. That might deserve a whole discussion of its own. Tyrion avoids the lion because Dany intervenes, right? So which other characters narrowly avoid being killed by wild animals? Brienne is rescued from the bear by Jaime. Jon is attacked by Orell's eagle. He avoids being killed and the eagle is later killed by Melisandre (or so she claims). Roose Bolton goes wolf hunting from Harrenhal. He doesn't seem to make a narrow escape, but does kill a bunch of wolves (maybe the same ones Arya encountered one night when she went off to make water while traveling with Yoren). Oh but your point is partly that the lion is also the Lannister sigil. Joffrey remarks at one point that Dany's brother, Viserys, was killed by dragons because gold coins are called dragons and Viserys is killed with molten gold. He tells Sansa it's the same as if Robb had been killed by wolves. So I bet those are linked to Tyrion in the lion's den. Good observation.
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    Out of Context Quotes

    How appropriate!