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  1. Thank you. That's a plausible and well-argued theory.
  2. Just learnt a little more about labyrinths and mazes. It is the mazes that have the dead ends. Labyrinths are convoluted paths with no branches or alternate routes. You can get lost in a maze. There is no way of getting lost in a labyrinth. So Ariadne's clew and Daedalus' advice ("Always forward and down, neither left nor right") were equally superfluous in Theseus' quest. And the Minotaur chose to live there. Which, like the legend as a whole, makes no sense at all. Mind blown. Although there is a parallel with Dany in the House of the Undying (Dany=Theseus, Pyat Pree=Daedalus/Ariadne, the Undying=the Minotaur). In fact, Dany's arc in general might be based on the story of the labours of Theseus.
  3. There are probably going to be a lot of major character deaths in Winds of Winter. He needs to set these deaths up to have the disastrous impact they deserve, ensure that they are most untimely by our reckoning. But he needs to ensure they don't die before they have been to the places they need to visit, seen the people they need to see, sired the heirs they needed to sire, discovered the secrets they needed to discover, sent the messages they needed to send. Otherwise, mysteries like Ned's promise to Lyanna and what happened at the Tower of Joy and (especially) why, are going to be 'resolved' the way the mystery of the dragonbone dagger was resolved- with a character who was out of the loop deducing it from whatever they could recall. Or worse, whatever they were told/saw in a dream/learnt from a tree or a crow. Worst case of all: told by a raven who was skinchanged by a guy that was shown a dream by a tree. I would honestly rather L+R remained in its current state than have it 'resolved' by dreams and portents. My guess is he has to time the killing of Tyrion, Dany, Jaime,Cersei, Brienne, Stannis, Sansa, Arya,Rickon and Bran so that Penny, JonCon, Illyrio, Jorah, Asha, Sam, Arianne,Nym, Hota and Barristan can know enough to carry the narritive load for A Dream of Spring. Eta: Or maybe he has too many paid gigs with deadlines due to find time to finish Winds in 2022.
  4. Although we have not seen this go spectacularly wrong yet. Escorting Cersei on her Walk of Shame is all we have yet seen the Poor Fellows do, and as Brienne saw on her way to Duskendale, they had formed without royal sanction before they arrived with the bones of the martyrs in King's Landing. The worst thing done to Cersei, her capture, was at the hands of a score or a couple of dozen unarmed septas. The worst thing done to Osney, a scourging he came to and submitted to of his own somewhat coerced will. The Warrior's Sons wouldn't have re-formed without Cersei's proclamation. But again, all we have seen them do is form and protect the Great Sept of Baelor. Perhaps escort Tommen to his blessing, if that has happened off-page. Lancel has given up Darry for them, but at the moment, the only clear consequence of that has been the annulling his marriage to Gatehouse Ami. That is a bit humiliating for Amerie, but not obviously a perilous mistake. Especially if Lyle Crakehall, a solid Lannister bannerman, becomes Castellan for the Frey widow of Darry. We also don't know yet of any dire consequence of Ser Bonifer and the Holy Eighty-Six taking over Harrenhal. True, history and the foreshadowing don't favor any of them. In fact, while the old-time Warrior's sons boasted great knights and sorcerers, they seem to deserve at least a brief mention in this thread. "Rebel and Burn" seems to have been their entire gameplan. But for this new incarnation, we have to wait and see what happens in Winds of Winter in order to have a fair appreciation of just how bad an idea it was to revive them, and whether the High Sparrow was as stupid as Cersei to suggest it.
  5. Oh Barristan. Such a good Queensguard, such a bad Hand. I just know he has handed Meereen to Skahaz, who, if he is not the Harpy, will be, just as soon as all the warriors but his Brazen Beasts leave the city and he slams the gates shut behind them. Barristan has an endearing level of self-awareness. It is a rare quality, and one that does nothing to improve his battle plans. King Mine-by-rights is much better at commanding armies, and gives the stealth missions to stealthy people like Davos and Melisandre. If Dany ever meets him again, I don't think she will thank him.
  6. Vargo Hoat's plan to work for Tywin, double cross Tywin, take Harrenhal for Bolton, take Tywin's son prisoner, cut off his hand, use it to get a lordship from a guy that's already dead and couldn't give him a lordship without killing his own son, killing the Maester of Harrenhal and giving Tywin's son his personal medic, staying in Harrenhal when Bolton left. The Brave Companions are a notably small company, indicating that anyone who could leave had left before they arrived in Westeros. They had enemies in Essos. Zollo would rather cross the salt-water than face his fate in Essos, or attempt to rejoin a Khalasar. They have escaped slaves - not just any slaves, but Unsullied owned by the Red Temple at Volantis. They might have recruited Qyburn,Timeon, Ut after they arrived in Westeros? I can see that the maester and the septon would follow a crew like the Brave Companions the way vultures and hyenas follow weakening animals. It looks like Hoat was forced by extingencies into making one poor choice after another from the time they left Essos to the time they raided the Crossroads Inn. From the outside, the Brave Companions seem to work just the same with and without Hoat's leadership. I am pretty sure a lot of Hoat's commands were direct orders from Tywin, who seems to have decided that he had the right not to pay them. I also think Tywin knew what he was doing when he made Lorch Castellan of Harrenhal. The Brave Companions were part of how Tywin communicated and co-ordinated with Bolton, and Gregor's forces another part, until they set up their MaesterNet (which required both Bolton and Tywin have access to castles that Ravens could fly to.) So a lot of Hoat's lousy planning might be due to Bolton's lies, and Tywin's commands. Other could have been seen as wise if the consequences had played out another way. Cutting off Jaime's sword hand was an act of tactical genius that worked to keep Jaime ransomable and the Brave Companions safe - but they underestimated Tywin. Hoat could not have foreseen that he would needed better medical attention than he got when Brienne bit his ear off. Gregor's crew seem to be as expert in lopping off limbs as Qyburn. They kept Hoat alive in spite of the sepsis from the ear bite. Or maybe the notion that the ear had killed him was Timeon's misapprehension. He perhaps would rather invent a grudge against Brienne for killing the commander he deserted, than put the blame on Gregor. Perhaps he thought he might have a chance of passing as one of Gregor's men, if he could escape Brienne and Randyll Tarly. For planned idiocy, Balon takes the crown. And Euron paid the Iron Price for that crown. I know Victarion sees Euron as a strategic genius, but that is Victarion. It seems to me that the people Euron burns hardest are the strongest supporters of his cause, and his kin, who have cultural prohibitions against killing him. This strikes me as inherently self-limiting behaviour. He is Balon's true successor. Even Theon can't compete against that level of idiocy.
  7. This is the main contention - that the main plot is going to bring Daenerys and her dragons to Westeros, to unite the Dothraki, and sack King's Landing and reclaim (or melt) the Iron Throne as the Stallion that Mounts the World, to make the true fiery sword of the Prince that was Promised to lift the Long Night and fight the Others , and maybe marry Jon Snow and die in childbirth or like Nissa Nissa at the Wall. None of which can happen while Dany stays in Essos. And when the latest books feature Dany not at all, or chilling in Meereen, it is interpreted as putting her story arc in a holding pattern. Tyrion's story has also lost its urgency since he killed his father. In fact it is downright irritating -constantly muttering about where whores go upon establishing that his first wife wasn't one. Tysha is so obviously a flimsy subplot that is headed nowhere. If she is the Sailor's wife (and Ah ha! a whore after all) then Yna has already prophesied he'll be dead when they next meet. (Mind you, he might have died and come back stronger after meeting Prince Garin). As if we'd forget he murdered Shae, hit Penny, creepily sqeezed Sansa's boob after deciding no to molest her, threatened his sister with rape. But Tyrion as a character is more than a hard bargin for women. We know that the Tysha thing is a very minor subplot, a red herring, a dead end that sheds no light on what he is doing and where he is going. Even without Tysha, his jaunt into slavery and flirtation with Penny and the Second Sons is a wild goose chase until and unless he becomes Dany's Hand and rides a dragon back to Westeros, taking Dany and her Unsullied and freedmen and Dothraki hoards with him. Then there is Arya, in assassin school, being nobody. Again, in a holding pattern. She needs to meet up with Nymeria, remember who she is, get the pack back together. Again, won't happen in Essos. These are not the only characters in a holding pattern. Bran is being eaten by a tree, Davos is imprisoned every time he gets off a ship, Brienne was on a seaside tour until she met the woman she swore her sword to. Sansa is some stupid princess in some stupid tower. But at least they are in Westeros, where the central story has to happen. I guess ADwD had to have a period of time where Bran learns to be a wizard and Dany learns to rule and ride dragons, Arya learns to assassinate and Jon to command an army, Sansa learns to negotiate with Lords, and Rickon learns to warg in the Old School Stark style. But I also think that GRRM, the man that killed the main character, might not be telling the story we expect him to tell. As you point out, the Meereenese chapters are carefully written, the characters as multidimensional as the Westerosi. If the Long Night descends and Westeros becomes a howling wilderness where the Others with their ice-spiders hunt down everything with warm blood, where is every survivor destined to end up? Maybe Westeros will come to Dany (and the free cities, and the slave cities, and anywhere that still has a little light, food, or safe harbor.) Yes, I would throw the book at the wall (ie. My bedroom wall), but it is not like I haven't done that before, either.
  8. There's Jon (ADwD, Ch 29 Jon VIII) and there's Jeor (AGoT Ch 48 Jon VI) Before Jon becomes a brother of the Night's Watch, he knows the name ends in 'ar'. He hears Jeor (a northerner) pronounce it 'ar' Ever since he joined the wildlings, Jon thinks of the Septon as merely a drunkard, even when he is sober or absent. Jon is the only one who says the word as a mocking homonym for 'cellar door' (well, him and the appendices after ASoS.) Melisandre gives the man his correct name, showing no contempt for his human failings, does not mock the officer or his office as mortal envoy of the false gods. . Jaime and Tyrion both first think of the oldest Kettleblack as "Ser Oswald". Perhaps remembering the Kingsguard used to have knights like Ser Oswell Whent, before the rise of Ser Osmund Kettleblack. When Tyrion asks if Cercei met Penny in Braavos, Penny tells him (ADwD, Ch 33 Tyrion VIII) This could be GRRM retconning an unfortunate slip of the ASoS pen into an ADwD plot point. Who did Oppo meet? The Kingsguard knight, or his father? And who does Tyrion think he met? I would guess, the wrong one. Tyrion misremembers the son's name and doesn't know the father exists. Or that they are both quietly allied to Petyr Baelish. . As well as PoV characters remembering names after their own fashion, there are names that are deliberately close rather than the same in spelling, used to indicate kinship to more illustrious people, without causing offence. (AFfC, Ch 21 The Queenmaker) (AFfC, Ch 14 Brienne III) Then there are people like Rennifer Longwaters and his ancestors (AFfC Ch 8 Jaime I) Oakenfist was the legitimised Velaryon bastard who was known in his lifetime as Alyn of Hull. Bastardry is stigmatising, no inheritance, suspicions of bad blood. But a bastard name means ones noble sire acknowledges the blood is his own. Or at least, some noble family has claimed the child. So a bastard name implies an education, in letters and in arms, and patronage. Jon Snow was likely groomed for command because Winterfell would support him. Just as Benjen probably became head ranger because his brother would heed his plans. We know how people like Ser Hugh of the Vale and Ser Duncan the Tall get their names, created with their knighthoods. Disguising the absence of a surname or eliding one that would shame him. Although it seems odd to me that Jon Arryn's squire had no family name he wished to guild with glory, nor any desire to attach himself to the Arryns or King Robert, who both liked him well enough to knight him. I can understand the opposite situation better: no mother ever called her child Kegs or Spare Boot. But they were not sent to the wall for the honour of their father's name. And then, there's what happens when High Valyrian names are pronounced in the Valyrian of the Free Cities or Slaver's Bay, or the regional accents of the common tongue of Westeros. The only example I can think of is (ASoS Ch 47 Arya IX) The Sandsnake is given the diminutive Nym, not Nan, so that might be a sign that Northerners pronounce it differently. In English, Nan is a diminutive of Anne, which is a very common name. Exactly the sort of thing one would call a servant. Possibly even if they were not named Anne (in the same way that carriage drivers would be referred to as "James" regardless of who drove the carriage). The Valyrian and the Ghiscari have glyphs (they might even be the same glyphs). From what Tyrion can read of Benerro's fire glyphs, each one (or at least, each one he can decipher) represents a word rather than a syllable or a sound. Which means the written language would be no guide to pronunciation. The unsullied can read Ghiscari glyphs, at least so far as remembering their name requires them to. Presumably they can also pronounce the names in Astapori Valyrian, to avoid being "culled". But those names can also be correctly pronounced in as many different languages as the unsullied speak. It reminds me of when the Astapori named Dany 'Mhysa' (ASoS Ch 42 Daenerys IV) So Serra/Seara and Dalla/Daella. being really the same names is a very reasonable interpretation. (Unless you are claiming that Mance's wife lived 236 years and is Daella Targaryen. But you aren't.) GRRM does so much with names, revealing and erasing identities, it is almost certain, if he meant the names to be the same, he would have the characters quite different, and the outcome of their story.
  9. It was behind the outermost wall of Highgarden. I don't know if it was or could be guarded, or how, but they would have to get past the wall first. Then, there was the second wall. Maybe they could hope it wasn't or couldn't be used to decimate the diggers. Two walls with only a moat between them seemed to work for Winterfell, until they were scaled by Theon, who opened the gates for the Flayed Men. I guess the same could happen if Highgarden was poorly defended, but at least the thorns would slow them down. And Highgarden has a third wall.
  10. If I understand the Tyrells, their brier labyrinth would be a particularly thorny one, and even if the foliage was scorched away and the branches were charcoal, their thorns would remain. So your question reads more like "why would you use barbed wire as a defence mechanism" The obvious answer is that, even after it was burnt, pushing through the maze would be harmful for the horses, and slow work even for men. Where I live there is a thorny shrub called wait-a-while that has fine dangling whips of recurved thorns that catch on to your pack or clothing fast, and you have to carefully unpick each thorn to get yourself free, or your hat or whatever. At least it isn't poisonous, as some thorns are. But it is very effective at slowing you down. And when you see it, you avoid it. Thorns were enough of an issue in the Vietnam war to be used as a justification for napalm. A flimsy pretext, maybe, but most US army ordnance works better on open desert plains. And pitched battles with cavalry and siege engines also work better without acres of thorns and false paths and booby-traps. Another advantage of the maze - if you know the way, you can get horses and yourself through safely, undetected. Burning the maze would ruin any element of surprise. Invaders would have to wait until the fire burnt out before they could cross. The wood in the maze could be green and require a lot of starter fuel to catch. There is a high wall to negotiate before you could light it. You can't navigate it while it is burning, or just producing lots of smoke. It will still be a hinderance when it is burnt. Some mazes (eg. Louis XIV one at Versailles) incorporated water features, which could make it harder to burn and even if the hedge part was thoroughly burnt, the maze of irrigation channels would still stand (minus any wooden bridges that would normally allow a crossing.) Elaborate water features are a renaissance thing, but GRRM has a number of post-medieval technologies and these include the elaborate fountains, canals, and waterworks of Qarth, Ghoyan Drohe, Asatapor, Meereen, Braavos, and Highgarden. So I would suppose the Highgarden labyrinth would have irrigation features, just like the other parts of the garden. There would be at least one entrance to the castle that wasn't through the maze. Renly brought his great host of the chivalry of the South to Highgarden. The normal activities of a castle require cart access (although the King's wheelhouse was too large to fit through the main gates of Winterfell). I would expect that horsemen would be able to enter the gates two by two if not four by four. Highgarden also has tourney-mad horse-breeding inhabitants. It would be too tedious to have to navigate a maze every time one of the boys wanted to attend a tourney. More than any of these considerations, house Gardener built Highgarden as a centre of government, not as a defensive outpost. The point of the castle was to draw envoys in and impress them with pomp. Not to keep invaders out and distress them with fire. That is why they have a huge sept and elaborate groves and collonades full of strolling players. That is why their defensive labyrinth is also an entertainment feature. Also, the difference between a labyrinth and a maze - a labyrith implies tunnels, dead ends, and monsterous beasts confined within it. It is not just a maze, but a maze intended to confine beasts while allowing the keepers in and out.
  11. The captain's sister in Duskendale, at the house with the painted doors, across from the Seven Swords. (AFfC, Ch 9 Brienne II) I suspect Bloodraven informs her dreams, and knows Dunk's shield as well as Brienne, or better. It is as ill-omened as the Lothsom bats. Elms are a symbol of death in English folklore and in ASoIaF, and as Dunk noted. the star is falling, heralding sunset. But the Elm is dressed in green leaves, making the bearer a knight of summer. If the falling star foretold the death of Prince Baelor Breakspear, and the Humfreys Hardyng and Beesbury, it was seen and brought good luck for Dunk (or at least, secret royal patronage and an able body that was alive and completely his). Tanselle also painted over a sigil with wings, from an extinct house. The captain's sister might simply have been an imaginative child, to hear Mad Danelle's giant bats scrabbling at the shutters. Or this might be another clue that her dreams are prophetic. Even if she is only foreshadowing things in Brienne's arc, she seems kind of essential for that. And her foreshadowings seem to relate to King Robert's death (the boar), the Florents and the Sparrows, as well as Harrenhal.
  12. Later in the same chapter Turion makes it clear he does in fact know this (ADwD, Ch 57 Tyrion XI) Yes. Totally agree there. Although I am not convinced it is as bad as being a chatel by law. I'm inclined to doubt Littlefinger's casual claim that Cersei sold a servant of Casterly Rock who had twins to King Robert into slavery (AGoT, Ch 35 Eddard IX), and Jaime's one about putting the Tullys in oubliettes (AFfC, Ch 44 Jaime VII). I remember the times Tyrion displays a complete ignorance of what servants actually do, and the confidence in the superiority of his judgement when it comes to how much pepper his cook Morec puts into the rabbit stew, or when he applies it to winning his master some gold at cyvasse in his life as a slave, or decides the problem is more slaves like Nurse than masters like Yezzen, even while he despises Penny for accepting the yoke of slavery so well. It reminds me that Tyrion despised Penny before she was a slave, for caring how her audience reacted to her act, and for her efforts to placate and ingratiate herself to "big people" in self-effacing and self-deprecating ways. Tyrion has been brought up to comport himself as one of the biggest of the big people, in a family where effacing and deprication were what Lannisters should do to anyone they caught disrespecting them. He is as thin-skinned as Cersei or Tywin when it comes to being mocked, and as constantly on guard ready to attack the first hint of an insult with his own corrosive mockery. It isn't the kind of background that gives him an appreciation of humility and what it can get you. But yeah, those are not qualities that make the Lannisters great masters. Although, family pride does seem to be the reason Tywin and Tyrion make good Hands of the King, why Jaime is a brilliant battle commander, and how Cersei excels at queening for King Robert (when we see her through the eyes of Sansa, Eddard, Jaime, and occasionally even Tyrion can rsee Cersei doing a good job. Her own view seems more designed to show the reader how completely wrong she is at everything and about everything.) Anyway, if I was a waiter, I would be booking the Lannisters into someone else's section, no matter how ridiculously big they tip. Still, Tyrion's apologetics for slavery do read like the author is trying to convince us there is a lens through which slavery would seem an acceptable institution from a slave's perspective. Like the misogyny that Cersei ventilates, I find it very difficult to believe that somebody actually serving as a slave would be able to except themselves and despise all the other slaves for being so content to 'chose' to serve the man. A person in that situation would not be quick to overlook the violence and coercion that their masters so dishonestly dissemble and so easily gloss over, and would have a better understanding of why slaves might 'chose' to live in these degrading situations. But GRRM at the very least wants us to accept that Tyrion can see that there are slaves that would rather be slaves, even when he is a slave. And Tyrion's complaints while in slavery are often things like his cramping legs, which is a thing that afflicts him even when he climbs onto the Iron Throne. And there's that very problematic niggle that maybe GRRM does believe that that most slave owners "treated their chattels decently enough". I am not sure. There's also Dany's "breaker of chains" thing - like it really does seem that these slave revolts are all thanks to her coming along and commanding armies of house elves to revolt for her. That the Unsullied and her freedman companies ( or at least the Mother's Men) and key people like Missandei would rather be her slaves than be free. But you know, this is an author that uses shock value to engage the reader. Give him a metaphorical puppy and he'll hold a metaphorical knife to its throat just to get your attention. And don't think he won't use it even when you give him what he demands. Nobody is safe. Controversial, unpalatable and 'wrong' points of view engage readers much faster than ones like "torture is bad" or "human rights are universal even when they are violated, even in times when violation of human rights was the law". So maybe he gives outrageously wrong opinions rather than adopt a preachy, dogmatic, boring tone because it gets us to the same point with better effect. Except, I am not sure it does, or that it is GRRM's intention when he employs apologetics like this. In interviews he often talks about grey characters, and how villians don't see themselves as evil. He doesn't often point out that sometimes the truth is all on one side, and nobody knows that better than the side whose ends are served by promoting blatent lies. We know he is an athiest, but we don't know if the gods he has created in the book are intervenionist. Even when he claims in interviews they are not When Davos ends up on the Merling's spear,, or Drogo mounts his steed to ride into the heavens, when a shadow-baby chucks Penrose over the parapet at Storm's End, it is hard to tell if we are supposed to accept the supernatural as real, or have a skeptical look for more human causes (like we do when the Weirwood knows Theon's name. As if Bran communicating with Theon through the weirnet is somehow less preternatural than the Old Gods knowing Theon's name.) He often identifies as a liberal. Sometimes he speaks as if that was a pluralistic choice between liberal and conservative world views. But sometimes he writes as if it was a pluralistic choice between libralism and radicalism. Or as if liberalism was a 'sensible centre' between conservatism and radicalism. I'll stop before I get too far off-topic.
  13. Thanks for pointing that out. But it's not when the Walders play it with Rickon, nor when Margaery plays it with Alysanne Bulwer. Nor when Arya plays it. Even as a double entendre, it is obviously not a 'nice' metaphor about emotional intimacy. It is about opportunistically staking a claim to the property that Sansa is, and might inherit. Or of destroying Margaery's Royal claim, by having a commoner take her maidenhead before any of her crowned husbands. Whenever it is used as sexual innuendo (and especially when referring to virgins) there is a palpable threat of force. Smashing her portcullis like an enemy is the goal. Or coercing her into raising it against her own interest. The game is not about being emotionally open and vulnerable with someone you ally and protect, can trust and be trusted by. More like tricking a wary fool into trusting a callous and predatory villian like you just long enough to overpower them, betray them, and take everything they have. I would also note re. dinner that food is noticeably absent in proportion to the sexual innuendo in these scenes. Even when Arya and Rickon play Come-into-my-castle without the heavy sexual entendre, the pies are stolen rather than eaten. Sansa and Tyrion are both without appetite when the game is mentioned in their scenes (Tyrion drinks, however). Osmund and Tanea use the game to comment on Margaery's inaccessibility. We (and Cersei) don't get any direct information from Margaery, and the direct information we get from Osney contradicts them. While Osmund and Tanea encourage her to believe that Osney's charms might have the desired effect if Margaery were less well policed, Osney himself gives a frank admission of failure - the only kiss he can see himself getting from Margaery is the one Cersei might allow him after she chops off her head! The alliances these references to Come-into-my-casle are really about are Cersei's, especially the ones she can't see forming right under her nose, like Osmund and Tanea singing the same song. Like Dorcas and the Swyft girl spying on her, and poisoning her wine (although perhaps not knowingly). Like Tommen turning Tyrell on her. In these chapters we see Cersei alienate Pycelle and Lord Gyles and the Iron Bank, happy about trading Senelle for Dorcas, throwing money at Aurane (who allows all her ships to have Tyrell names), and trusting Tanea and the Kettleblacks, and Qyburn. Considering taking on someone like Darkstar as Tommen's master of arms, for the sake of snubbing Loras. Cersei's quarrel with Tommen for the rule of the kingdom is a theme in both these chapters. In the first one, Tommen starts by demanding to sit on the throne and attend the small council, and ends up begging for a kitten. In the other, we learn that Tommen has acquired three kittens from Margaery, after making three small but kingly demands to his mother. There are a number of castles contested in these chapters: Lord Gyle's Rosby for example. Cersei sends Loras to Dragonstone, where his pretty face has been burnt off by the portcullis, supposedly. She allies with White Harbor when the head and hand of the onion knight appears on its walls. She anticipates her friend Roose Bolton taking Moat Cailin, Torren's Square, and Deepwood Motte from the Ironborn. Mace is flinging stones at the walls of Storm's End. None of these castle-takings is overtly sexual, but I think they are relevent to the game Tanea and Osmund are playing when they talk to Cersei about Come-into-my-castle, nonetheless. Cersei remembers Greenstone and the infidelities she and Robert committed there. Come-into-my-castle seems all about tricking and betraying, when there's a sexual meaning. And ending up with everything but your nipples on the castle walls if you lose. When Petyr Baelish breaches the walls of Sansa's snow castle, he kisses her in full view of Lysa, his wife, whose actual castle he is in. He follows up by tossing Lysa out the Moon Door and taking over the Eyrie as Lord Protector (technically he became Lord Protector when Lysa came in his castle). The Walders playing Come-into-my-castle with Rickon alludes to the betrayal and treachery of the Red Wedding (and perhaps also foreshadows Rickon's return to Winterfell- we shall see). The Red Wedding is another instance of sexual trickery, with a reluctant bride, and the castle being taken is Riverrun, not the Twins Sansa didn't let anyone into her castle - Littlefinger strode over her snow-castle walls and got his kiss without her complaisence, SweetRobin's giant assaulted her walls. Tyrion decided to wait until she was willing. He never claimed ownership of Winterfell, as his father insisted he must, by taking Sansa's virginity. The castle he wants is Casterly Rock, but like Lann the Clever, he isn't planning to take it through a true alliance with the current owner (Cersei), but by trickery. He mentions he wants to "rape and kill" Cersei, too. SweetRobin has to wait while Harold Hardyng tries to take the Eyrie and Alayne from him - that marriage was arranged by Littlefinger without prior consultation with Sansa. It seems Harry hadn't been consulted either , given she was tasked to "win his boyish heart". The incentive Sansa is offered for winning his frankly callous and fickle heart is Winterfell, through a stream of improbabilities that give Littlefinger no clear reason to bother. Littlefinger says it doesn't matter that Sansa is married, because Alayne isn't, but she'll come to the wedding in a direwolf cloak... The metaphor is about treachery, theft, and betrayal, especially when it is about sex. But also when it isn't. I think the two things the game really teaches noble children are which of their bannermen are the most trusty, and how little they can trust even them. Superficially, though, I am not so sure how, but I guess it would teach children the correct styles and modes of address for bannermen, bannerlords, the King, lord and men loyal to him but not to you, and so on (I guess this is the "courtesy" aspect - that the styles you give a person depend on how their family stands with respect to yours). And the other would be identifying houses by their colors, sigil, words, seats, swords, and so on. However, when I look, the styles and titles have more to do with what GRRM wants the character to reveal than showing any type of relationship or particular address. People in Planetos tend to range from informal to incredibly rude whenever they address someone. Cersei especially. So it is difficult to devine what politeness and rank would require.
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