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  1. Just a head's up, the answers to certain riddles are included at the end. First the Mother and then the Son: the Power of Queensblood and the Importance of the Corn King In previous essay sections, I discussed the power of queensblood and the true nature of the gods of Ice and Fire, all of whom are expressions or aspects of the three-headed god, Trios. I showed how easy it is for a god or man, coveting more power than he deserves, to convince himself that he is special, above the laws of gods and men, and to rationalize that the sacrifice of others is a necessary step along his ascension to (vain)glory, a justified means to a splendid end. Stannis Baratheon, convinced by Melisandre that he is “chosen” of the god R’hllor to fulfill prophecy and change the face of the world, shaping history, culture, and even religion in the fashion that he, alone, sees fit, is a prime example of the seductive power of sacrifice of others rather than the frightening prospect of voluntary ascencion to sacrificial kingship for the benefit of the realm (that is, facing head-on the horror of graciously accepting and even advocating the powers of heroic sacrifice of self, requiring the willful silencing of one’s own survival instinct for the greater good). This is exemplified by his willingness to sacrifice Edric Storm in his (and his “red woman’s”—Melisandre, the titular “queen” in the “queen’s men” that gather round Queen Selyse Baratheon and her) effort to “wake the stone dragon.” As red-handed usurper characters, followers of the corrupted solar deity’s “old way,” they believe murder of women and children to be a fitting way to achieve their foul and sorcerous agenda, for there is a fell power in shedding the blood of innocents, a power that once stemmed from the anti-consequentialist creator deity and the bounties begat in its willingly-shed sacred blood; this becomes indicative of perhaps the most important hidden theme and narrative in A Song of Ice and Fire: the Fisher King and the Forced Sacrificial King as corruption of the righteous power of sacrificial kingship. Evidence optional, as it is a brief review of queensblood as revealed to us by the characters Stannis Baratheon (the red-handed usurping solar deity), Melisandre (the fiery, vengeful, moonmaid and mother of dragons, weeping tears of blood), and Ser Davos Seaworth (the green boy and “green hand” character; note that Davos too has a “death” and “resurrection” sequence, during the Battle of the Blackwater: he’s thrown overboard in the burning waters, a (wild)fiery hell in shades of jade and ruby and gold, whereupon he “drowns” and washes back up on the Merling King’s spires; it is a pitiful little island hell he is given, where he faces the prospect of a gruesome death by thirst or starvation or even suicide, but soon is rescued by Salador Saan’s men, only to learn/confirm that four of his sons have died in the wildfire blaze, the battle was lost, and Stannis has fallen deeper into Melisandre’s sorcerous hands, heeding only her dark and dangerous whispers. The fiery moonmaid (Melisandre) then consigns Davos to another hell, the black pits of the dungeons of Dragonstone, his symbolic “entombment,” whereupon she later releases him, urging the solar king and “R’hllor’s chosen,” Stannis Baratheon, not to burn him for his crimes, because he has a greater role to play in the wars to come, those wars being “the war for the dawn” that belongs to the “promised prince.”). What does all this lead to, in the end, what is the power in queen’s blood? The queen’s blood in question spilled here are her tears, spilled in mourning for her slaughtered green boy prince, and when she weeps, she sings as well, and gives him one last kiss… And he awakens, the dead green boy prince (a dead green boy turns brown and black, of course) and arises as a revenant, to have the vengeance his mother prayed for. The power in queen’s blood is the curse of the kinslayer, that the blue winter shall rise, and the Others shall take him. Evidence optional, a brief review of others Stannis Baratheon may burn or might have burned if driven to this need. Vulnerable characters include: Mance Rayder, and Aemon Battleborn (his son, the “wildling prince” as he is called by Stannis and his followers), Maester Aemon Targaryen, Gilly’s son “Monster” by Craster (should he be mistaken for Aemon Battleborn, with whom Jon Snow swapped him for the latter’s protection), Gerrick Kingsblood and his three daughters, descended of Raymund Redbeard’s brother (who Selyse Baratheon proclaims “the true king of the Wildlings” with “baseborn” and “bastard” Mance Rayder as a “usurper” of the title “King-Beyond-the-Wall”), Asha Greyjoy and Theon Greyjoy (descendants of the “Grey King” from the Age of Heroes and the “Kings of Salt and Rock” who ruled the sovereign Iron Islands, as well as being heirs to Balon “Twice-Crowned” Greyjoy, who proclaimed himself king of the Iron Islands and ascended the Seastone Chair, although Stannis does not recognize his sovereignty, nor any “king” from the War of the Five Kings), and Jon Snow himself (descended of the old Kings of Winter and Kings of the North—a larger kingdom than the former—and, unbeknownst to him, heir to Robb Stark, King of the North and of the Trident, as well as, also unbeknownst to him, the Kings of Westeros on the Iron Throne, descended of Aegon the Dragon, the blood of Old Valyria, the blood of the dragon; furthermore, in Stannis and Mance Rayder’s absence, he took oaths of fealty from the Free Folk and all their leaders, which may have made him a “King-Beyond-the-Wall” figure). What does all of this amount to? What becomes of Nissa Nissa and her promised prince? What does it really look like, when a man sacrifices the woman he claims to love to achieve his sorcerous, black agenda? Stannis attempts to forge Lightbringer at Melisandre’s urging (perhaps itself a self-fulfilling prophecy, as Melisandre saw a vision of this ritualistic farce in her flames—as she tells us she is most competent searching for “herself” in the flames, and any “danger” that might be presented to her—like a true moonmaid, of course—and made a deliberate attempt to “re-create” her vision, thereby fulfilling it, even if it did not predict what she presumed it did: that is, Stannis Baratheon is “R’hllor’s chosen” to wield Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, to fight the war for the dawn, when indeed it may have in fact warned her of the danger to herself and to others of following this dark and damned path of trying to “create” her own Azor Ahai Reborn), but he does not know what Lightbringer is or what its forging means. He is not alone in this, of course, as men and gods alike have forgotten the tragedy of the deity’s corruption and abandonment of the sacred destiny (the three-headed dragon god, the triune deity: Creator, Preserver, Destroyer). However, Stannis Baratheon is unique (being a member of a select group of characters, peoples, and organizations) that deliberately attempt to bring about prophecies and visions that they do not understand, to their detriment, and to that of the world entire. Lightbringer’s forging was not a half-hearted ritual full of “mummer’s tricks” (Melisandre indeed fools the onlookers during this ritual farce, by coating the blade with wildfire to make it burn, which is why the flames along the blade plunged through the wooden Mother’s heart are described as “jade-green flames swirling around cherry-red steel” and why the blade that results is “burnt and blackened” and “a proper mess” when the squires roll it up, just as the cheap flaming swords Thoros of Myr used to wield were destroyed in the process, to the dismay of his armorer, Tobho Mott—as Gendry tells us during his encounter with the Brotherhood without Banners. Melisandre has used a mummer’s trick to deceive viewers into joining the community of the faithful—she herself admits as much, that she is skilled in putting on a show to trick people into believing, and tells the reader that she carries a trunk full of powders and potions and other mummery tools for this purpose; by the time she reaches the Wall, her trunk is already less than half full, which further tells the reader that we must look for instances in which she might have used these tricks and tools to fool even us. This “forging of Lightbringer” sequence is likely a prime example of this, as well as the “burning of the leeches” full of “kingsblood” sequence that was meant to “cause” the deaths of three kings, Joffrey, Balon, and Robb; another, more minor, incidence of this mummery is when she fools Jon Snow into seeing Ygritte when he looks at her, perhaps with her powder to bring on “lust” so they might make shadowbabies with his kingsblood, his seed and his soul, as well as when she lures Ghost to her, counter to Jon Snow’s command, to convince him that his Direwolf trusts her. During this forging sequence, then, she takes away the “burnt and blackened” sword and returns with a dazzling fake sword, likely powered by the ruby in its hilt.) We see also during this scene: “The burning gods cast a pretty light… wreathed in… shifting flames,” which is an ultimate celestial image of the “burning” and bright solar and lunar deities with their life-giving light and their flaring “manes” and “crowns”—the breathtaking corona of celestial body at eclipse. These godly icons are carved from the “masts of the ships that carried the first Targaryens from Valyria,” underlining for the reader the “prophetic” and “godly destiny” that drove the Targaryens from their ancestral homeland, to a land where they would conquer to become kings and queens, and for which they would breed the ultimate prince, the long-awaited prince that was promised, who will wake the dragon from stone and drive death and darkness before them. The first paragraph continues by telling the reader how this prophecy will come about, and how the celestial event that long preceded it unfolded, wherein the maiden “lays athwart” the warrior, in an embrace both loving and violent, and the mother shudders as “the flames came licking up her face” with “a longsword…thrust through her heart… its leather grip… alive with flame,” (Nissa Nissa giving her “fire” to the blade Lightbringer). The father is “the first to fall”—not necessarily the first to die, but the first to “fall” and be consumed by the fires, the first to stray from his original celestial purpose and drag the rest down with him into the blackest, foulest pits of hell and damnation. Our attention is then drawn to the Stranger (the son), whose hand begins to “writhe and curl” and the “fingers blackened… reduced to… glowing charcoal,” like the black hands of the wights (the Stranger’s unwilling resurrection, the blood congealing in his hands and feet). A gruesome scene. We also see, amidst Davos’s ruminations about why he believes he owes Stannis fealty (having raised him up to knighthood and employed him and his sons, likely via his position as Master of Ships, as it is a “war galley” that Davos sails, along with his sons), that Davos is now able to “hunt red deer in his own woods.” This is curious to me because the stag is the sigil of House Baratheon, and, with it being a “red” deer that Davos now “hunts,” I cannot help but think of Stannis Baratheon (Davos’s chosen lord, despite Cape Wrath’s location in the Stormlands, where Renly rules), who encases his deer in a “burning heart” of the god R’hllor (and therefore might be thought of as a “burning hart”), nor can I help but wonder if this means Davos will eventually turn on Stannis or choose a new lord to profess fealty to (betraying him, perhaps, in a moment of need because of something Stannis, Melisandre, or Selyse does that reviles him, as he oft wonders just how much he owes Stannis—“Should I speak the words as well? Davos wondered. Do I owe Stannis that much? Is this fiery god really his own?”). Which brings us back to the king, as Davos clutches his fingerbones in the pouch about his neck “for luck,” lest Stannis should lose his war, as well as Davos’s justifications for Stannis’s behavior (the loss of his fingers after he risked his life to smuggle food to the starving garrison at Storm’s End, for example—“It was just,” Davos tells himself, but he will soon come to struggle with many of Stannis’s decisions, especially as Stannis detours down a dark and dangerous path, the “Old Way” of the red solar god.). As he ruminates on Stannis, the “pale flames licked at the grey sky” (the transformation of the Mother from her fiery aspect to her icy aspect, with “pale flames” the key phrase to clue the reader in to the change) and “dark smoke” rises up with “wind” whipping it into the eyes of the onlookers who “blinked and wept and rubbed their eyes” and one man can be heard “cursing” (as does the grieving, merciless Mother in the heavens above). This is only “a taste of things to come” Martin warns the reader, and “many and more will burn before this war was done.” Now comes forth red-eyed Melisandre, robed in “scarlet silk and blood velvet” with her ruby burning at her throat to profess the ancient prophecy of Azor Ahai Reborn. An upcoming essay, entitled "Look to the Skies: the Definitive Guide to the House of the Undying Ones" will clarify for the reader what the prophecy of ice and fire is, what it means, who it talks about, and how nearly all of the prophets/prophecies given the reader in ASoIaF are tied together, speaking of one event (and how it pertains--cover to cover--the tale of Ice and Fire). It will break down the House of the Undying Ones in a never-before-seen way, explain the entire chapter in detail, reveal the fates of our dragons and lions, take a look at Bran III Game and Bran III Dance, Patchface, the Ghost of High Heart, and Maegi Spicer, as well as many of the dreams/visions our characters have had and misunderstood in a big way. You won't look at the prophecy or the series in the same way again, so keep your eye open for the link! For now, we are going t move along and dig into the heart of some important ideas and clarify some important history that is essential reading for understanding ASoIaF and its prophecies and visions, its themes and symbols. A reading of the scene above (Stannis's "forging of Lightbringer" farce) highlights for the reader the flimsy, half-assed nature of Stannis Baratheon's ascension to godhead as Azor Ahai Reborn and the trivial, even laughable quality of his "hero's blade," the symbol of his divine authority--similar in meaning to the scepter as symbol of royal authority bestowed by sacred grace. Let's take a closer look at Lightbringer, the symbol of Stannis Baratheon's divine authority and holy power, and the passages that undercut and undermine this sacral power and authority: Martin draws the reader’s attention to Thoros of Myr’s green-flaming swords, dipped in wildfire and destroyed by it, the same trick that Melisandre uses to fool onlookers and readers during the Lightbringer’s Forging sequence, and that “everyone (should) kn(ow) there was no true magic to it,” warning us that “in the end (Stannis’s) fire (will) gutter out” and that he might even end up “brained” with a “common” weapon, for all his vainglory and flashy optics and so-called “magical” support and backing, even by the “one true god” himself. Something is wrong with the sword called “Lightbringer” in Stannis’s possession… and the simple answer to the question (what is wrong?) is that the sword is a paltry fake. The songs and histories, the myths and legends, have turned “Azor Ahai” into a venerable hero, an archetypal hero to be emulated, a selfless hero willing to make the greatest sacrifice of all for the greater good of all. The songs and histories, the myths and legends lie. Perhaps the people who wrote them (and even the gods before them) forgot: the greatest sacrifice of all is sacrifice of self, and no one retains the right to make forced sacrifice of others to achieve his goals, and should they take this path regardless they are to be reviled as cravens and held in contempt as the blackest of all villains, who are mere “beasts in human skin,” lacking in any moral value or redeeming quality or heroic virtue. This is what the true forging of Lightbringer actually looks like: a man choosing to slaughter not only an innocent, but also the woman, the person, he claims to love most in the world, all for selfish gain, because he fancies it will make him “the stuff of heroes.” But Martin is adamant in the end, that Lightbringer’s Forging is utterly antithetical to the heroic, and that no man who was a hero (in even the most mundane capacity) would even consider to ascend to heights of “heroism” in this way, because he knows that the price paid and the journey itself matter even more than the destination, he knows that the ends—however glorious they are imagined to be—do not justify the means. So, what answer is given to the Azor Ahai archetype and his “old way” of usurpation, slaughter, sorcery, and forced human sacrifice? What is there in the narrative to balance the cosmic scales? Where is the justice, the righteousness, the selflessness? Where is the sacred? It can be found in the true “old way,” the way of the Creator deity, the Corn King, the Sacred Sacrificial King. This was the “old way” when Azor Ahai’s “old way” had yet to be conceived in the blackest pit of his rotten, corrupt heart. And yes, even here, something went terribly wrong with the “old way” of the Creator deity, he is not blameless in the cycle of violence that erupted from the corruption of the Triune Deity, he too played his part. Above (in previous essays) I explained to you the riddle of the sphinx and the power of queensblood and the meaning of Trios of the Three Heads. We need to revisit them all now. Now it’s time to explore these concepts in more depth, which is why it was integral to establish the Four Body Problem (to review, see above: The Three-Headed Problem: Sun, Moon, Earth). If you have not read or understood the above essays, turn back now! For the rest of you, I have a brain teaser: If the song of ice and fire is the dragon has three heads, then why is it “the prince that was promised’s” song and not “the triune deity’s” song? Do you know the answer? The Four Body Problem should give you a hint: once, there were two moons in the heavens, in addition to one sun, moving about in the “firmament” of the face of the earth. Do you see it now, the dragon? (answer in spoiler tag, for those who’d like time to work it out themselves) Evidence NOT optional; open this spoiler tag!!! Speaking of tricksy birds, let’s talk about what this actually means: There is one god. The god is triune. The god has three heads but only two eyes. The god has a song, a song of ice and fire. The god is the prince that was promised. The god is the Dragon, the green giant, the Corn King, and the Sphinx. Remember, the Sphinx is the riddle, not the riddler! So who was the Corn King and what was his Promise, before everything went to hell, and the god that was triune and singular fell into eternal war with itself, tearing itself apart? Let’s take a step back to Trios one more time, keeping in mind the clever riddle of the Four Body Problem… Destruction—Fire-Eye of the God (Sun + dwarf Fire Moon; at total solar eclipse)—the god below: Daenerys Targaryen Preservation—Ice-Eye of the God (Sun + large Ice Moon; at total solar eclipse)—the god below: Aegon VI “Young Griff” Targaryen Creation—Dragon Earth, Corn King, Promised Prince—the god below: Jon Snow Let’s also take a look back at the riddle of Rhaegar’s rubies. Here are Rhaegar’s seven rubies: <> <> <> <> <> <> <> Make the three-headed dragon out of them. I hope you all have worked out the solution! If you’re still teasing it out, here’s another hint: Martin is a tricksy, tricksy bird! And now for the answer to the riddle, as promised, and without further ado: (answer in spoiler tag, for those who’d like time to work it out themselves) Evidence NOT optional; open this spoiler tag!!! I hope this is all clear now, because it’s exceedingly important. If you don’t understand this picture, please take your time to ponder it before moving on. You have to understand where the god started out before you see how it strayed and what small hope there is of getting back on track (where this essay series heads next, in quite some depth and detail). Taking all of this into account, what is Jon’s role as Corn King and Creator aspect of the Triune Deity? Let us start breaking down his place in the prophecy of ice and fire by asking and answering a few simple questions. What is a Corn King? What do the Faces of the Green Dragon, Trios, look like? Why did the three aspects of the deity have a falling out? The deities above? The deities below? What are the results of this falling out? What and who are the (three) Fisher Kings and why are they symbolized by the Trident? Why are the Brothers (King of Summer and King of Winter) at war? Why isn’t the King of Spring represented like his siblings? What is the significance and symbolism of corn, especially to the Corn King himself? UP NEXT: the hidden theme and narrative in the series that is “perhaps the most important hidden theme and narrative in A Song of Ice and Fire,” which is “the Fisher King and the Forced Sacrificial King as corruption of the righteous power of Sacrificial Kingship.” We'll explore the Corn King, identify the First King, identify the ancient "deities below" and examine the roles they played in the original War for the Dawn, take a look at the Baratheon Brothers (Robert, Stannis, Renly), Garth the Green, the Grey King, and more. It was all intended to be one essay, but it grew far too long, so I had to break it down into more manageable parts.
  2. TheSeason

    Who (or what) is the Three-Eyed Crow?

    ETA: Although I'd been working on my response, I didn't post it, and @LynnS beat me to it! to you, my lady. I'm kind of torn between naming Bran himself (reaching back into his own dreams) or Jon Snow the three-eyed crow (reaching out to Bran from the death cycle as the Corn King). There's a surprising amount of evidence that can be read in support of the latter, especially in the symbols and themes surrounding the Corn King and Jon Snow's place in the prophecy (and that of the ancient Corn King, naturally) of ice and fire detailing the roles of the deities below. Bloodraven, meanwhile, in addition to not understanding what/who the three-eyed-crow is, appears to watch Bran "knowingly" from the heart tree at Winterfell, even in his dreams, but remains unable to communicate through it (or so he claims). In Bran's coma dream, there are multiple parties reaching out to him or watching him learn to fly--the three-eyed-crow, who teaches him how, opens his third eye, and demands "corn" as a sacrifice (his seed and his soul), the heart tree watching at Winterfell (it meets his eyes and watches him "knowingly" but never speaks or instructs him in any way), and Bran himself, perhaps. (The heart tree was "brooding over" its own reflection in the godswood black pool prior to meeting his eyes, which could also indicate that Bran too is peering through the heart tree simultaneously, if from another point in time). The three-eyed-crow is death itself (or reads like it, anyway), but if it's Bran himself (who is not death) it feels odd that he would speak to himself in the third person that way ("Bran" the crow calls him), but it's possible. I think there's a distinction though, with Bran being, well, "bran" and much like the seed an earthly deity (Corn King) would demand in exchange for such godly powers and an extension on life from someone standing at the portal to death/hell. In reading the earlier chapters (Bran I and Bran II, Game), Bran is also very friendly with the crows, and feeds them corn, but he's not a kindred spirit with them. Bran is more a "raven" character than a "crow"* (and there is a distinct difference in the symbols of each--which also makes Bloodraven seem much more "Mormont's Raven"** and the "Winterfell Heart Tree" and maybe some of the ravens at Raventree than "the Three-Eyed-Crow"). The "crow" is tied as tightly (symbolically, thematically) to death, the Corn King, and the green giant, as can be, and the crow is clearly the one with the power over life and death, dispersing the "grey mists" that acted as the "veil" that blinded him (even to his own peril) and drew him down (into death, hell). Bran peers into "the heart of winter" with the crow's guidance, and is deathly afraid, but also learns why he must "live" (again, the crow acting as the psychopomp and the avenue by which the "reborn" emerge from the depths of death and hell), at which point the crow gives him his words ("Because winter is coming.") to strengthen his resolve. *As Bran's name, derived from Bran the Blessed, can mean either "raven" or "crow," I think Martin went ahead and chose "raven" for Bran's association, and with good reason. Meanwhile, his brother, Jon Snow, is associated with the crow, also with good reason--hearkening again back to that symbolic distinction between them, and, of course, "the crow calls the raven black," they being two halves of the same coin. I've also heard the argument that because the "crow" speaks without quotation marks that he's speaking directly in Bran's mind and therefore must be Bran's own thoughts. I'm not certain I buy that interpretation, because the crow is clearly a power bestowing of that power to another (Bran), so can be read as an unearthly voice or manifestation of that power. As far as crows go, the most important and most frequently-identified character with the crow is Jon Snow (and other brothers of the Night's Watch, which is Bloodraven's sole claim to being any type of "crow," in his own words!), who, as Mance says, plays the "tricksy bird" and a "liar" (as Old Nan would say). There's so much more to it than that, but... Still deciding (but leaning toward the Corn King is the Three-Eyed-Crow is Death for now). **Unfortunately, and adding to the confusion, Bloodraven is also associated with "mist" and "carrion crows" (said to be his spies), and ravens also can eat corn, and Mormont's Raven in particular appears to favor corn over meat (which is noted as strange), and even demands corn of Jon Snow, who he also proclaims "Corn...King... Snow, Jon Snow, Jon Snow," (lest we should be too confused about what role he is to play there, especially right before letting the Free Folk below the Wall, having indebted himself--to the IBB--to feed them, and--naturally--getting himself killed in the process). At this point, we all just want to throw our hands in the air, I'm sure, right back where we started. The thing is, I'm convinced it's not just a duo acting in this cycle (Bran, Jon Snow), but it is in fact a trio acting in cycle or in concert (Bran, Jon Snow, Bloodraven), which makes more sense with the nature of the deity, although it can (and does!) blur the lines between them quite a bit. You can see below the evidence of how this trio impacts and influences one upon the other upon the other, and therefore how their symbols becomes blurry and confusing--because sometimes they do share symbols. However, it must be said that Bloodraven, in particular, has either one eye (sometimes even skinchanging one-eyed animals!), two eyes (one physical red eye, one "third" eye, or the two physical eyes of creatures he might skinchange), or a thousand and one eyes--never three. It's a startling lack. As far as "mists" go... I'm noticing (maybe) some slight distinctions: "grey mists" (like the ones in Bran's dream), "morning mists" or otherwise mist above water, etc., "pale" mists or "pale white mists" (like the mist of Alyssa's tears), "mists of time," "misting" (such as breath and blood, and other natural occurrences), dream/vision "mists" such as "ribbons of mist" and Rhaegar "crowned in mist and grief" (Jaime's dream, much like the "grey wraiths made of mist" from Eddard's), Sons of the Mist (a Mountain of the Moon clan), "mists of evening" (very rare!), people "made of mist" (in Cersei's dream visiting Maegi Spicer), alleys "shrouded in mist and mystery" (Sam, Feast), "mist" that seems like "pale, sorcerous flame" about fingers (Jon of Mel), "skulls that turned to mist" (Mel's vision), "mists of memory" and "seas of shadow" (Bran, Dance), Eddard dissolving like "mist in a morning sun" (Bran's vision through weirwood), "mist of centuries" (Bran, Dance), crescent moon in dark sky "half-obscured by mist" like an watchful eye (Theon, Dance) and a "godswood grey and ghostly, filled with warm mists and floating lights" (Theon, Dance; but mist over hot springs), again in godswood "tendrils of mist" (Theon, Dance), "mists of Braavos" (Arya, over water, distorting sound), "red mist" (Jon, Dance, blood; also from Arya, Storm), "white mist" Others and "how do you fight a mist, crow?"*** (Tormund asks of Jon, Dance), "dim mists of the Dawn Age" (WoIaF), "pale blue mists" that move over water and "mists so cold" and "freezing mists" (Others/Ice Dragon, Shivering Sea, WoIaF), world ends at (Mossovoy) "giving way to a realm of mist, then a realm of darkness" and "then to realms of storm and chaos where sea and sky become one" (WoIaF, East of Ib). We've got magical mists (e.g., "grey mist" becomes "pale, sorcerous flame" and "skulls that turned to mist" both in association with Melisandre, her visions, and her magic/mummery), dream/vision mists, mist as metaphor for or allusion to time, morning, evening, memory, mystery, and death, as well as Others/Ice Dragons, colored mists (usually magical and/or coupled with another category) "grey," and "white," and "pale blue," and "pale/pale white," mist, mist in godswoods or other woods and over rivers, seas, canals, hills, and plains (that may or may not carry symbolic/thematic significance to the individual scene), and plain ordinary mists--people's breath, rivers/other water sources, fogs, blood, etc. It might be worth it to review each category and break down its symbolic and thematic meaning, and other allusions linked to them. "Travel through mist" (on boat, horseback, foot, etc.) might be an interesting category to define in terms of symbolic/thematic power, as well, as it happens a lot. As well as "obscured by mist" and "viewed through mist." ***Quite an ironic question, if Jon Snow really is the Three-Eyed-Crow, who indeed fought a mist ("grey mists" of death) as a crow, in teaching his brother to fly, opening his third eye, and giving him strength for the coming of winter (having guided him to peer deep into the heart of winter)! Also fittingly, as Jon Snow would be unaware of this connection until the moment of his death, Bran also opens Jon Snow's third eye (or Ghost's, depending how you read the passage) when visiting him from the Crypts of Winterfell as Ghost stood above the Milkwater in the Frostfangs (spying upon the Free Folk, nearly killed by Orell's eagle), giving us a bit of a paradoxical loop: Jon Snow opens Bran's third eye so Bran can later open Jon Snow's third eye so Jon Snow can formerly open Bran's third eye! Of course, we must also not forget, that Jon Snow was the first Stark descendent to "hear" his (silent!) Direwolf singing to him (Bran I, Game), having made the sacrifice (of Ghost) so his siblings might have and bond with their Direwolves instead ("Lord Stark!" Jon tells Ned, pointing out that there are five pups, three male, two female, like his children, and that "The direwolf is the sigil of your House. Your children were meant to have these pups, my lord." To which Ned, understanding, answers, "You want no pup for yourself, Jon?" and even young Bran knows what he is giving up, as he says, "The direwolf graces the banners of House Stark... I'm no Stark, Father" Only then does Ghost sing to him, urging him to come back for him. Of course, Ghost was alone, apart from the others, the first to "open his eyes" whilst all his siblings were "blind"--eyes closed--and set aside for Jon Snow, as he was meant to have "Ghost" out of all the direwolves, and it would not have done had Robb or Bran picked up the albino pup for themselves--not that I think such a thing would have happened; they were each meant to have the pup they got, naturally, but it could also be read as "luck of the draw." Theon Greyjoy mocks Ghost as if he were the runt of the litter "An albino,"--more like the alpha of the litter--and the first to "die" accordingly, to which Jon goes frosty and proclaims, "I think not, Greyjoy... This one belongs to me." The other albino bastard in this tale does manage to live quite a bit longer than one might ordinarily expect, as well, and he was certainly no runt!).
  3. TheSeason

    Disliking Tyrion Lannister

    Tyrion does say that his father "made [him] go last" the first time he tells the story, but I'm not convinced that he wasn't simply trying to lessen his role in the event (especially given Bronn and Shae's reactions to the tale). Tyrion often tries to make his role in things out to be better than it was. What Tyrion says happened is that "[his] cock betrayed [him]" and he proceeded to rape his wife. He makes no claims to having a sword held to his throat, as you insist. If that is what happened--and I don't believe it is--you would be correct, Tyrion would have been sexually assaulted by his father in that situation. However, Tyrion absolutely does victim blame Tysha, and feels relieved that she was "a whore" who was only interested in him for money, for which he feels the treatment she suffered (at the hands of his father, his father's garrison, and yes, himself too) was fully deserved and his part in it justified--because if it isn't justified, then Tyrion has to accept that he is a raper and a monster. He needs to victim blame her, so he does not have to examine his own faults and failings and the extent of his depravity. Why does Tysha have to be "innocent" to be considered a victim, underserving to be gang-raped and insulted with coin for her suffering? Why is it only upon learning that Tysha was in fact not a whore, nor interested in him for money, that he finally deigns to recognize her as a victim? Was she not a victim before? Would gold-digging or being a sex worker somehow mitigate the trauma she suffered, especially at his hands, the hands of her husband (It doesn't matter whether she was a gold-digger or a whore, she was lawfully his wife, by his choice). And, yes, Tyrion is still calling and treating her like a whore. He's not looking for his "wife" or his fellow "victim," he's willfully repeating his father's narrative (that Tysha was a gold-digging whore), and actively "searching" for her in whatever brothel or sex-slave pillowhouse he happens to bypass (wherein he conveniently gets to rape more women who humiliate and revile him). He might subconsciously think of her as a person, but he consciously thinks of her as a whore. And he very much needs to continue repeating this narrative as well, because if he really examines himself, warts and all, he just might kill himself. He's clinging to these old narratives like a lifeline, and while that's perfectly understandable, it also illumines his moral failings and depravity (by highlighting the ways he still victimizes Tysha in his own mind as a survival mechanism). Tysha's gang-rape was a lesson, and the lesson was well-learned. Tyrion learned (wrongly) that he was inherently unlovable, just like his father wanted, and proceeded to act accordingly. And Tyrion learned that a man who has been slighted, humiliated, reviled, and made to feel small by a woman can reassert and redefine the balance of power in the relationship by raping and degrading her (another way in which he is just like his father), and that doing so can make him feel good (at least momentarily) about himself again. Tyrion also learned that not only "smallfolk" but also women were beneath him (just as Tywin intended). Tyrion's relationship with Tysha has always been all about him, about his needs and his psychological development and his destructive and depraved behavior. Tysha made him feel like a hero when he rescued her from her would-be rapers. Tysha made him feel loved and worthwhile in their brief relationship and marriage. Tysha provided him his first and most formative sexual experiences (wherein Tyrion also knew his "whore" of a wife was somehow in fact simultaneously "a virgin" when they first made love, whereupon he became attracted to "innocence" in women!)--including the sexual violence that he learns to fall back on in order to re-establish control and esteem in relationships with a woman. Tysha's gang-rape gave him a bizarre fascination with whores (in fact, a Madonna-Whore complex, same as Tywin's), and the delusion that he can make whores love him, and the obsession with buying a woman's love and affection (or demonstrations to that effect) as means of satisfying his needs, relating to women, degrading women when they make him feel small, and tempting his father to (sexual) violence against those whores. Tyrion's thoughts about Tysha after Tywin's murder remain all about him, about his needs, and his psychological development, his destructive and depraved behavior, and the little dance he's doing with himself (in Dance) to examine (in small part) or exceed his monstrosity and depravity, to become truly and permanently unlovable and "the monster they [or we] think [he is]." He still has resentment and bitterness directed at Tysha--only this time for "revealing" that monstrosity and depravity to him, for holding up a mirror to his ugliness, rather than for making him feel small. I never stated that it "takes away from Tysha's suffering" to suggest that Tyrion has suffered in some capacity. You're trying to put words in my mouth, there. Tyrion is desperately trying to convince himself that he was equally a victim and suffered equally as much as Tysha did as means to escape his feelings of guilt and the full realization about exactly what he did (and failed to do). He needs to do that, to stay sane and to stay alive. Tysha and her gang-rape are such important figures in Tyrion's life and psyche that he cannot (yet) completely examine them (because that means examining his part to play); the man is already hanging on by a thread, and while there are some faults, failures, and depravities he's willing to ponder, there are others (Tysha) that are so traumatic that he might not even survive the peek. The fact is, Tyrion raped Tysha, and freely admitted that he raped Tysha. We can agree to disagree about the level of "force" applied to him here. We can also agree that it was a traumatic experience for Tyrion as well as for Tysha. Just as it should not take away from the fullness of Tyrion's trauma to acknowledge the depth and extent of Tysha's suffering, or vice versa, it should not take away from the fullness of Tyrion's trauma to acknowledge Tyrion's part in causing Tysha's suffering. Maybe you ought to deign to ask someone a question before you presume that only you have a worthwhile understanding of something. Your condescension is uncalled-for. I never blamed Tyrion for things he did not do. I pointed out that Tyrion is capable of rape (you agree with me that he's done it at least twice) and was insincere in his offer not to rape Sansa, which gave rise to my doubts about his ability to keep his promise (a promise he never bothered to think through before making it, as it was intended to lull Sansa into a false sense of security, whereupon he thought they would consummate their marriage at some point in the future), as well as highlighted the extent of the danger that Sansa was actually in, as evidenced by his attempted rape of Sansa (where others have made light of what Sansa endured that night, as you seem to be doing by boiling down his attempted rape to "he didn't rape Sansa," as if his attempt was not monstrous or traumatic in itself). Tyrion never had any direct interaction with Tommen that was alarming, no. You are technically correct, there, but it goes against the spirit of the discussion. Tyrion threatened Tommen harm, and he was preparing himself to go through with that harm before he learned he was impotent to do so (lost possession of Tommen, who was now, thankfully, back in the care of his mother, grandfather, and others who would protect him from the harm Tyrion presented). That's why he was relieved that he had lost possession of Tommen; he was willing to harm the boy if it meant he could "win" against Cersei. There's no need for Tyrion to feel relieved that Cersei thwarted him in his threats of harm against his nephew if he was not willing to carry out those threats, is there? As for the last part, I do not even know what you are talking about. Please explain. I happen to disagree with you, with good reason, and I fail to see how that is "comical." Again, your condescension is really grating. Have you even spoken to me before? I disagree that Sansa thinks Tyrion was kind. The text is "Kind?" With a question mark. She's asking herself a question. She never answers that question, or examines it in any depth, but decides that she cannot tell her aunt (who hates him) such a thing, anyway. Her aunt wouldn't believe it, either. Moreover, the treatment that Tyrion gave Sansa (all detailed in the text) are in no way "kind." He might appear kinder to an abused child by not being one of her principal abusers, one of the people who most often verbally and physically abused her. Joffrey also sexually abused her--but so does Tyrion. I'm judging Tyrion on his deeds (rather than what any one character might have to say about them), which are absolutely unkind. "Polite" (sometimes) might be a better word choice than "kind" to use, and if that is how Sansa meant "kind," then your interpretation is mostly the correct one (barring the attempted rape or the condescension in his speech). I also disagree that Tyrion could not have harmed Tommen. The text, including his own thoughts (since you hold them in such high esteem), indicates otherwise. His relief that he was impotent to hurt Tommen should speak for itself. So should his mentality of "But if I don't, Cersei wins." It's only when his father calls him on it (threatening harm to his own House, his own kin) that he tries to back-track and lie (that he never would have gone through with it)--again showcasing how he tries to paint himself in a better light than he belongs in (another habit he learned from Tywin)--likely to avoid his father's anger or punishment for his actions. I have not disregarded the text, but yes, I have reached conclusions opposing to your views. Jaime was a well-meaning fool who rarely thought things through, had delusions about his father and sister (and their capacity for cruelty), and honestly thought he was helping his brother out. When he learned what really happened to Tysha and Tyrion that night, he absolutely should have come clean about the lie, but probably didn't have the heart. But Tyrion treats Jaime as if the lie was malicious in nature, or that Jaime knew beforehand what would happen when he agreed (also pressured by Tywin, but you don't seem to be letting him off the hook for that) to tell that lie at all. Tyrion was hurt and angry, and maybe he wasn't thinking clearly--probably had been brooding on all the wrongs done against him (especially by his own family) during his night in the Black Cells awaiting his execution. Even so, it was Tyrion's choice to end the relationship with Jaime, including telling malicious lies or hurtful truths (Cersei's infidelities) to be cruel, and admitted to murdering Joffrey, his brother's son. He promised vengeance. Choosing peace and forgiveness is also an option, one that Tyrion opted not to take, and that is his fault, something he should own. He deliberately set a collision course by which he hopes to kill his brother (for crimes that do not warrant death). Then he proceeded to murder Tywin--who is Jaime's father, too--and while I do not necessarily fault Tyrion for snapping there (where Tywin is concerned), coming on the back of a lifetime of abuse, I also have to acknowledge that Jaime (who Tyrion made complicit in his patricide because he sprung him from prison) and Cersei, and the other Lannisters, are also entitled to justice (or vengeance, as the Lannister ethos of "paying debts" is concerned) for Tyrion's crimes (murdering Tywin, and--they think, due his confession--the murder of Joffrey). That blade is double-edged. If Tyrion is entitled to be avenged against (members of) House Lannister for wrongs done against him, so are they entitled to be avenged against Tyrion for wrongs done against them. As for Shae, he absolutely was not kind to her. He entered into a business relationship with her, and poisoned it with his delusions of love (having asked her for the girlfriend experience!). He endangered her life without her consent (Tywin having threatened to "hang" the next whore he found in his bed, and having explicitly forbidden Tyrion to take Shae to King's Landing). He struck her when she angered him. He isolated her in that manse (because he endangered her life without her consent) and then grew jealous, angry, and resentful of the company she kept there. He took back and withheld her payment for her services, and forced her to live as servant to two ladies--first Lollys Stokeworth and then his wife, so she would be convenient to bed when he wanted in between changing Sansa's linens and emptying her chamber pot. Shae had plenty of reason to want vengeance against Tyrion (if that's the reason she testified against him at trial; she might have simply asked for her jewels and other payment back, mistakenly from Cersei, and found herself in the lion's (Cersei's Tywin's) clutches thereafter; or she may have been righteously angry with him and took the first opportunity for revenge; it's impossible to tell, as Cersei never revealed the exact details of their conversation). Furthermore, Tyrion didn't kill Shae because she testified against him, but because she humiliated him, because he had delusions of their romantic involvement, and because he was wrongfully possessive of her (finding her in Tywin's bed). Shae is unique amongst the people who testified against him in the treatment Tyrion gives to her--and part of that is probably ease of access (she was there), but the other part of that hinges upon his abusive (business) relationship with her, his romantic delusions, his hang-ups about being unlovable, and his typical disgusting and misogynistic treatment of the women who hurt, humiliate, or revile him, damaging his sensitive ego. Similarly to Shae, we have Alayaya, also demonstrative of Tyrion's depravity where women are concerned. They too had a business relationship. He uses her to hide Shae (pretending that she's the whore he visits), and similarly endangers her life without first getting informed consent on the matter. He willfully uses her to protect Shae, but when Alayaya is harmed in the process (naturally identified as "his whore" because that's what he put out there), he feigns ignorance that she was in any danger, when we as readers know that the danger was the reason why he needed her at all. In the meanwhile, he also becomes unreasonably possessive of her, and irritated with Bronn (and others) for visiting the brothel and having sex with her--never mind that Bronn's business relationship with Alayaya is much healthier than Tyrion's. That said, Tyrion did not act on his unreasonable possessiveness, and I only mention it to highlight his delusional thought processes where women--or sex workers, in particular--are concerned, and how such thought processes can impact any relationship. Tyrion hardly had any contact with Alayaya, and knew little about her (a handful of facts and that she was learning to read), and still his delusional possessiveness started to shine through. We do not know whether Tyrion and Tywin's business relationship could have improved, since Tyrion failed to meet his father's expectations and disappointed him (threatening his own kin) and disobeyed him (bringing Shae to court). Tyrion was not as successful as Hand of the King as he puts forth. Yes, Tywin is a hypocrite, and no he would never love or admire Tyrion (as I said, the relationship would never develop to the extent Tyrion hoped it would; he was delusional in his goals, there), but when Tywin found himself backed into a corner and with no one else to turn to for leadership in House Lannister, support in the war, and to hold their crumbling dynasty together--he recognized Tyrion's competence and intelligence and asked him for help; furthermore, he gave him few restrictions (and those Tyrion refused to meet), and left it for Tyrion to prove his worth. Tyrion proceeded to make some big mistakes, and for that we can only blame Tyrion, not Tywin's hypocrisy. Tyrion began undermining Cersei's authority before determining that Cersei could not function as a partner. These were his first acts as Hand--rooting out Pycelle as Cersei's spy and imprisoning him (never mind that Pycelle was in the right to inform the Queen Regent that the Hand of the King was not acting in concert with her, undermining her authority, and putting forth his agenda without bothering to seek her consent. Cersei is the ruler here and Tyrion was meant to further and enforce her policy.), meanwhile making enemies of members of the Small Council, replacing her other agents in power (e.g. Jonos Slynt), poisoning her, placing spies in her private chambers (e.g., Lancel), overtaking her projects in their infancy instead of working with her to refine them (e.g., the wildfire), promising her children in marriage without her consent (all he had to do was discuss Myrcella's safety with her honestly; not to mention sending her to Dorne might be a mistake--there, she's a hostage, just as Cersei said she would be, and she ended up maimed--or killed, depending on how you read that event--and she probably would have been safer at Casterly Rock with the other Lannisters sheltering through the war), kidnapping her children and threatening them harm (Tommen)... We can't excuse all of this as Cersei makes poor decisions and doesn't listen to reason, or she's unable to control Joffrey, so Tyrion was right to walk all over her, despite the fact that she's Queen Regent and he's her servant as acting Hand of the King. As I said before, Cersei was willing to work with Tyrion (in her desperation to get Jaime back and keep her children safe) and she did listen to Tyrion/reason (Myrcella is proof of that). Tyrion started the vile competition, he broke their business contract, he undermined Cersei's authority, spied on her, poisoned her, threatened her children. Their bad business relationship is his fault; he initiated it. If instead he had tried to work with her, saw that it wasn't working out, and attempted another (if more devious) path, you might have a point here, but that's not what happened. What would it have hurt Tyrion's position as acting Hand to give the Queen Regent some respect and dignity, to reinforce rather than undermine her authority, to serve and make her look good? The Hand of the King is supposed to be a ruler's helpmeet, not the ruler himself. Tyrion walked into King's Landing and made a power-grab as if he didn't quite understand that his position was temporary. And what then, having antagonized Queen Regent and King both? Cersei quite rightly suspected Tyrion of murdering Joffrey, after the way he treated and threatened her and her children previously (not to mention the worsening effect her delusions and paranoia about the prophecy must have had--although that largely feels like a retcon to me), but of course she (and Joffrey) had more enemies than she realized. These accusations and the consequences are a continuation of the narrative and theme. When Tyrion was in power he was careless with those he considered beneath him, and when that power was stripped from him, those he'd mistreated all ganged up to have him hanged. It's a beautifully complex narrative and Tyrion is a beautifully complex character, and I'd never want to diminish that by overlooking how his mistakes might have contributed to his downfall. As for this: I'm sure the reason Tyrion & Cersei have a bad relationship is Tyrion's fault as well though. Once again, you're trying to put words in my mouth. Where did I say that? Tyrion is at fault for his bad working relationship with Cersei. Tywin and Cersei are at fault for initiating the bad familial relationship with Tyrion. Frankly, you're the one who seems unwilling to accept the complexities of these relationships. I stated clearly that Cersei and Tyrion are both vile people (especially toward each other), and they both share some of the blame for their bad relationship and their depraved treatment of each other. You keep trying to excuse Tyrion of every wrong he ever committed, whilst simultaneously--and falsely!--accusing me of blaming Tyrion for everything, even things he did not do, putting words in my mouth and misrepresenting my points and arguments. I don't know who you're so frustrated with, but it isn't me. I think you're reading my rebuttals in the wrong context here (that I think Tyrion is only bad), and I don't know where that's come in (I was explicit in my post otherwise, and was a fan of Tyrion's for the first book-and-a-half, warts and all). It definitely feels like your frustration has been building with other people and you took it out on me based on this misunderstanding. That isn't really true, is it? Aside from Sansa's feelings, there are plenty of reasons not to consummate the marriage--Tyrion thinks of Sansa as a child, Tyrion doesn't want to be a raper (as you disagree that he is yet, I present it in this light), Sansa could become pregnant at great risk to herself and offspring (with either or both dying in the process, or Sansa becoming sterile, and then what will happen to his "claim" to the North?), Tyrion hopes to make the best of this relationship (he does, although that is a delusion, and he is discounting how he is wronging Sansa by thinking they could become a "couple") and accepts that Sansa needs time to heal and warm up to him... They are making an exception for Sansa, however. Powerful people who have their rather than her best interests in mind have arranged this marriage for the political expediency (of exterminating her family and stealing her birthright). That's the same exception they made for little Lady Ermensande (the marriage is such a travesty and a "joke" that people call the young bridegroom "the Nursemaid" for wedding a one-year-old child, although he did so against his will, too). Heartless and cruel powerful people make such exceptions where they can because they can. They know it's wrong, but they don't care that it's wrong. They care about advancing their own interests and political expediency is a convenient guise to advance them under. That's the exception. Elsewise, Westerosi parents and guardians (who love their children and have their best interests at heart) make young betrothals and wait to wed their children until those children reach adulthood, whereupon the marriage can be freely consummated. These arranged marriages are often in hopes of advancing the child's best interest alongside the rest of the family's. They want their kids to be whole, hale, and happy, but also provided for (insofar as a feudal society with land tied to wealth and birthright) and protected. When Ned first arranged Sansa's betrothal to Joffrey, he had no idea what was in store for her (although Robert did, the jerk), and, upon learning, planned to break the betrothal and seek another elsewhere--for Sansa's happiness and welfare. Even Walder Frey tried to arrange advantageous betrothals for his children and grandchildren. Even Olenna Tyrell (and others) were satisfied with Renly but dissatisfied enough to kill Joffrey in favor of Tommen, advancing Margaery's best interests alongside Mace Tyrell's (et. al's?) desire to make her queen (they presumed). The Tywin Lannisters of Westerosi society are the exception--although Tywin not quite as much as it first appears: he wanted better for Genna than her Frey (and at such a tender age), he wanted Cersei to marry Rhaegar, who she still adores (but settled for Robert, and they made each other miserable), and considered wedding Jaime and Lysa (not knowing about twincest), as well as could not tolerate Tyrion's marriage to Tysha (putting forth Sansa and the North in her stead, securing him a "claim" to the North, and Tyrion wanted a "claim" more than a "wife"), as well as advanced the interests of his brothers' children: Joy Hill (Westerling), Lancel (Darry-Frey), Tyrrek (the baby Ermensande), and even his married sister, Genna (Riverrun), so she and her children, and his brothers' children, no longer had to depend solely on the goodwill of Casterly Rock. Joanna also tried to advance the interests of her children (and perhaps sate Tywin's "royalty"-lust in the process) by wedding her children to the Martell siblings, the children of her best friend, the Princess of Dorne. Some of these matches are one-sided matches that only advance the interests of Lannisters (Sansa, Ermensande, maybe the Westerling match) and that's where the abuses come in (two children, one orphaned and the other soon-to-be orphaned and held hostage, and a vassal who lost a child participating in his Stark scheme--as he never warned them about the Red Wedding to come).
  4. Interesting! I wondered if Euron (in particular) covered his eye as a hint to his "half-trained" history as a greenseer (only "half" or partly exposed to the darkness, with only a "half-opened" third eye). I take the boiling of the Gods Eye (when the dueling/dancing dragons died in it) as a hint to the true nature of the Gods Eyes (one fiery--the one that was blinded--one icy--the one that remains). Although the Gods Eye is a clear blue lake (sometimes with frost or ice on its surface), we see its as burnished or coppery (shining in the sunshine) and fiery/boiling (during the Dance). The god has two eyes (two versions of total solar eclipse), one "blinded" in pursuit of fell, sorcerous knowledge and power (the solar deity overreaching himself, resulting in a fall, like Icarus, like Bran--and, I think, like Euron too). That Euron's other eye is called his "smiling eye" also puts me in mind of the celestial event -- the "red smile" given to the Horned King (promised prince) by his father's--and technically his mother's--own hands (significant, as it is the moon that horns)! I don't remember Turnberry. What's the context? Doubtless by the tip of her lord husband's sword! In all seriousness, however, I think the presence of Lyanna's statue and apparent lack of an iron sword guarding her crypt is of the utmost significance, giving her the freedom to curse Ned (and Robert) from the afterlife with her "tears of blood" (the power of queensblood in action, being that she is now Queen of Winter, the Underworld, and Death, like a proper icy moonmaid she-hellhound). Martin's treatment of the ladies of ice and fire frustrates and angers me to no end. Despite his tendency to point out that the woman matters too, he's certainly forgotten it himself in a great many ways. Even symbolically and thematically he hides the significance of the woman behind and in relation to the men in her life (despite that her story in the celestial event is the most important and impactful!). I am definitely giving him the side-eye there. Great point @Seams and @Blue Eyed Wolf. I read the "Dead Ladies Club" post before and whole-heartedly agreed.
  5. I'm about to update my essay series (Deconstructing the Prophecy of Ice and Fire: the Triune Deity at War with Itself) with an essay that discusses my thoughts on the power of queensblood in relation to the significance of the Corn King, identifying the ancient "deities below" of the Three Headed Dragon (including the Grey King and the evolution of the Ironborn faith), who are Fisher Kings and Sacred Sacrificial Kings--symbolized by the river Trident. In the meanwhile, you might want to read this part of the series, that establishes the power of queensblood (not kingsblood). The next essay in the series (following the upcoming update) also addresses queensblood in relation to "black blood" as a symbol and theme, and the use of "women's weapons." This section of the essay is fairly brief, establishing exactly what "queensblood" is and what its "power" actually is (not something that should be sought out or invoked, ever, that's for sure!): The upshot is, "queenblood" is "tears of blood" and a "curse," which I go into in much more detail in the upcoming essay "The Sacrificed Goddess Sang the Song: Agony and Ecstasy and Tears of Blood" (wherein I discuss "black blood," poison, and the "cult of ice and fire"--the Faceless Men of the House and Black and White--linking the "iron coin" also to "the iron price" of the Ironborn. The Ironborn faith is a goldmine in understanding the celestial event, the deities below (past and present), and the prophecy of ice and fire--multiple iterations of a singular prophecy). The rest of the essays will expound upon the theme, identifying the Horn of Joramun, the Ice Dragon (it's no mistake the "blue" color of the eye switches between dragon and rider in the constellation!), the "Promise" of the Prince, explaining why "Kinslaying" is worse than "Kingslaying," explaining the hidden role the Mother plays in the celestial event (the most important role), making sense of Night's Watch vows and Jon Snow's crypt dream, explaining the sphinx and its significance (I previously explained the riddle of the sphinx), and discussing the prophecy of ice and fire and the roles the current "deities below" (Dany, Aegon "Young Griff," and Jon Snow, with Tyrion acting as perfumed seneschal/Stinky Steward) shall play in it. The table of contents (and ultimate conclusion) is here, presented first (the series is very long in places): If you are still interested, I will post a link here when I update. I have never considered the Rhoyne as a "menstrual stream" before. That's a great insight! Lol. Yeah! Humans might not think so logically (and they don't, in-universe), but authors tend to, and I meant it more in a meta context. Martin doesn't present the "original sin" here as the woman's fault because he knows it wasn't. What makes you think it was the "second event" of the cycle? I'd like to hear your thoughts there. (Mine are in the first post, linked above, in the spoiler tag at the end). More like sin by "corn" (seed and soul) than "cherry" (it wasn't so much her "virginity" that mattered, so much as him giving his "seed and soul" whether she wanted it or not). I don't believe the Amethyst Empress was a virgin either. I think she had already married (another brother, perhaps). Nor was the "Fisher Queen" in the other Blood Betrayal cycle (the Fisher Kings/Sacred Sacrificial Kings/Three Dragons of the Trident) a virgin, either, but also already married (to two other brothers!). Keep in mind, however, in my argument although the deity is triune (three brothers) it is also singular (the brothers are one), same as the deities above. I also don't believe virginity has any significance or power (except, perhaps, to the characters), in particular, but that "sacral virtue" (as of a Sacred or Sacred Sacrificial King/Queen) is what holds that significance and power. I don't believe the weirwoods (or undying ebony/yronwood) trees produce fruit--and I think that is deliberate--as the "greenseer" is the "strange fruit" (as in the Billie Holiday song) of the tree, the human sacrifice linked to and feeding the bones and soul of the earth itself. The sin is not necessarily the "blood sacrifice" to the trees (when it is a willing sacrifice! I intend to talk a bit about the hidden theme--which I think is most significant in series--of Forced Sacred Sacrificial Kingship/Queenship being a corruption of the righteous power of sacred sacrificial kingship (originally queenship)) but "usurpation" by "forced human/godly sacrifice" (often by means of sorcery). There was a "before" method and an "after" method (voluntary sacrifice, forced sacrifice of others) that marked the original sin and the fall from grace (for gods and men alike), the "true old way" and the "new old way" that I mentioned in the previous post. I don't think your crackpot that the "Children" (or rather the greenseers bonded to the trees) are the "strange fruit" of the trees is so far off the mark! In the true old way, they were very much Corn Kings (and (John) Barleycorn Kings!).
  6. TheSeason

    Disliking Tyrion Lannister

    Sansa didn't just "see Tyrion's penis" in that episode like some people are claiming, like she just happened to walk in on him while he was changing. Sansa was forcibly married. Sansa was nearly raped. Sansa fully expected to be raped (having internalized the societal customs of marital rape, by which a woman relinquishes her "right to say no" to her husband, that were instilled in her by her mother, father, and septa). Sansa tried not to resist her rape (like she imagines good girls are supposed to do once they're married, whether they had any say in the marriage or not), but her revulsion at what Tyrion was doing to her showed through anyway. As it should have. This is a traumatic event for any female, whether she is adult or child, and we should not discount the depth of the trauma she endured because--they were married and he had a "right" to rape her, but didn't, for which he pats himself on the back and touts his own moral virtues (never mind the brutality of what he has just done exposing his moral failings). Being almost-raped is just as traumatic for a woman as being raped. She has been stripped of her rights, her dignity, her power, her voice, her bodily integrity... all when Tyrion forced her to disrobe, disrobed himself, touched her against her will, exposed his erect penis to her, and tried to work up the nerve to go through with her rape (like daddy said so). No, we should not take Sansa's word for it that Tyrion was "Kind?" Even she really isn't certain. Is it "kind" not to rape the child-bride you forcibly wed in hopes of exterminating her family and stealing her birthright? No. No, it's not "kind" at all. It's barely skirting the edge of "basic human decency" (because he still forcibly married someone he considered a child, exposed himself and touched her in preparation to rape her, and then had the audacity to pat himself on the back for not raping her like his father told him to, and hold it against her that she was reviled by and did not sexually want him). Sansa is clearly internalizing all the abuses she suffered. Tyrion might "appear" kind(er) than the other Lannisters--because he doesn't lop off her father's head and murder everyone she's ever known, strike her, force other people to strike her, strip her naked in public (although in the bedchamber, sure!), call her stupid and other names to belittle her (although he's plenty condescending), charge people to rape her, etc. He still holds her hostage (despite promises to release her, a truce which he "breaks" as soon as he is able, sending people to forcibly retrieve his brother so he wouldn't have to give up his hostage anyway), upholds her (physical and verbal) abusers in power, forcibly marries her, exposes himself, touches her against her will, and nearly rapes her, holding it against her when she shows how unwilling she is to be raped by him in their "marriage bed." None of these things fall within the realm of "kindness" and should not be lumped in with other "good deeds" he might have done. Tyrion is fully capable of rape. He's done it at least three times already--once with the "wife" he claimed to "love" (and proceeded to victim blame, as if she deserved to be gang-raped for being a gold-digger and a whore; and when he learns that she was "innocent" all along, he still proceeds to call her a whore--despite murdering his father for the same--and only seeks her out as means to alleviate his own guilt and convince himself that he suffered just as much as she did). I don't doubt that he eventually could have raped Sansa (giving him enough time, he'd either get drunk enough or angry enough or feel humiliated enough to do it), his second child-bride (in his bigamist marriage, too). Tyrion enjoys raping women--to take back the power in a relationship and satisfy his insecurities and feelings of humiliation, same as his father--and fantasizes about doing it. And Tyrion feels plenty humiliated by Sansa (and for her sake). He wants to rape Cersei. He could have scourged Tommen, or worse, even, who some have argued should be added to his list of "good deeds" or positive relationships! Tyrion is lying to himself here when he says he could not have harmed Tommen (whipped him or worse). He would have done it. Because "If [he didn't], Cersei wins," and he could not stand to lose to Cersei in this (who he despises so much he wants to rape her to bring her back down to size for making him feel small and unloved and humiliated all throughout his life). That's why it was a "relief" that he did not have possession of Tommen any longer. If he had, he would have talked himself into going through with it (just as he will eventually work up the courage to rape Sansa, provided she did not escape from him). Tyrion cannot stand to lose (especially not to Cersei) or to be humiliated (especially not by Cersei or Tywin), and he cannot stand the revulsion of women, in particular, so Sansa was caught in a lose-lose situation. With Tywin (who is just like Tyrion) urging him to be a man and rape Sansa, get her with child, and steal her birthright already because it's all he's going to get--no Casterly Rock!--all the pieces were in place for this rape to happen (just as Tyrion gave in to Tywin's urging to rape Tysha to avenge himself upon her and take back his power and restore the honor of House Lannister of Casterly Rock). As for Myrcella, he even briefly flirts with traveling to Dorne to use her as a pawn against her mother--to which Illyrio (of all people!) scolds him, wondering what he has against that sweet child, because "to queen her is to kill her," which Tyrion full-well knew as he considered the possibility. His "fondness" for these children is not what "spared" them in either of these moments of depravity. It was his impotence to do so (having lost possession of Tommen, having been shipped across the Narrow Sea far from Myrcella and having another avenue of vengeance dangled before him that was "easier" to walk). This is only a "flirtation," sure, but he's flirting with disaster, and Myrcella would suffer the consequences for his vile actions. It's not that he considered doing this at all that's so disgusting--it's that he considered doing it whilst fully understanding what the consequences would be for the niece he claims to be so "fond" of (perhaps even love). He's willing to make this "futile gesture" at the cost of Myrcella's life because it "would make [Cersei] weep bitter tears, at least," and that's the important part to him (not his fondness for Myrcella or Tommen, but "win[ning]" against Cersei. It appears Cersei (of all people!) actually does have a better understanding of just what her "vile" little brother is capable of (and Jaime deludes himself, despite being correct in Tyrion's innocence of Joffrey's poisoning) and is right to fear what shenanigans he might get up to as it concerns "avenging" himself against her (in particular). This is only in-part a self-fulfilling prophecy (of sorts). Cersei's been plenty vile and cruel to Tyrion too, which makes him equally vile and cruel in their competitive relationship--however, if Tyrion did not have these urges or was not capable of such vile and cruel deeds, it could become a bit of a non-starter (with Tyrion avoiding Cersei, or having to be pushed to extremes before being willing to fight back). It's that they're both vile, cruel people that makes their competition so brutal, dangerous, and deadly. As for the discussion about whether Tyrion was slut-shaming Cat or whether it was a "calculated move" on his part to disarm her. He was slut-shaming Cat, and he enjoyed it. No, he was not "required" to be "nice" to her, and yes, he was being victimized by her on paltry evidence, but no, that does not give him the right to slut-shame and humiliate her. That isn't what decent human beings do. There were plenty of ways to address the issue of Littlefinger (and whether or not Cat should trust his word) without degrading her in the process--which only serves to make her less inclined to trust him or listen to what he has to say, because, what woman holds in any regard the man who slut-shamed, humiliated, and degraded her? How does that make his defense more compelling? Tyrion slut-shamed Cat because he's an angry, egotistical, mean-spirited, smart-mouthed person who enjoys degrading others (especially women, and especially those who have injured his pride in some way). Everyone (just about) was offended by Tyrion's behavior on the High Road (excepting some of the seediest characters, like Bronn, but even like-minded, raper Marillion had the good sense to feign disgust), and one man was so outraged he wanted to slit Tyrion's throat for assaulting Lady Stark's honor that way. That hardly reads like a "calculated move" to undermine her position, and indeed there were only two things that succeeded at that--first, the discussion about the dagger, the actual evidence against him (not Catelyn Stark's "ripe breasts" and "sweet mouth" and "the heat between [her] legs," but the evidence that didn't make sense, as he argues) and the faithless, money-hungry nature of sellswords (Bronn, who defected because he couldn't expect "fair" wages from Catelyn Stark or to be taken into her service; if she paid him better, rather than thinking herself "above" him and "owed" his (and everyone's) services, he probably would not have defected, risking his life for gain, when he could get similar wages and treatment by serving Catelyn instead). As you see above, Tyrion nearly gets himself maimed or killed by slut-shaming Catelyn Stark (and even Marillion had the good sense to pretend to be disgusted by it!). It wasn't a calculated move. He nearly had her when talking about the dagger (the actual evidence against him, based on a lie) but lost her completely when he slut-shamed her with that explicit talk; until then, she had been willing to listen, even asked him "Why would Petyr lie to me?", but shuts down completely ("Catelyn Stark stared at Tyrion with a coldness on her face such as he had never seen...'His passion was a tragedy...real...pure...nothing to be made mock of. He wanted my hand... You are a truly evil man, Lannister.'") And does Tyrion have the good sense to back-track a bit and speak to his (conservative, duped) audience? No, he calls her a "fool" and doubles down ("it is not your hand that he boasts of, it's those ripe breasts of yours, and that sweet mouth, and the heat between your legs."), whereupon he really almost gets his throat slit. If it were a calculated move, instead of pure spite, he should have realized his gaff by her response to "Why, every man at court has heard him tell how he took your maidenhead, my lady." It was clear by her answer and body language (coldness...trust in Baelish's tragic, real, pure love and wholesome intentions for her... denouncing him as evil) that she wasn't aware of Baelish's duplicitousness and deviousness, and if he really wanted to convince her of something (trusting Baelish is a mistake), he shouldn't have proceeded to slut-shame her, whereupon he loses her interest, her trust, her goodwill, and her willingness to listen to or consider carefully his arguments. She continues to listen to him, but because he's lost her trust, she's no longer willing to act on any of his claims--and that's what he needed her to do. Tyrion does manage to regain some of that trust (not enough, ironically) by rescuing her from some of the Mountians of the Moon Clansmen as they fall upon them--but it could be argued that he really seems to luck out here. It's the danger of their travel that wins him more freedoms, even his own blade, and the ability to befriend Bronn, not his ability to persuade Cat of his innocence of the crime laid at his feet. I think that's a deliberate choice by the author, that Tyrion's smart mouth and offensive behavior toward women enables him to shoot himself in the foot time and time again, even when his life depends upon him keeping his mouth shut (it happens again with Alayaya and Shae, for example). I know someone mentioned Allar Deem a few times, as putting forth Tyrion's notion of "justice," but I can only agree with you in part. Tyrion killed Allar Deem (who wielded the blade), having him thrown into the Narrow Sea to drown, but Allar Deem was only a minion of a minion (Jonos Slynt gave him the order, having gotten that order from Cersei). While Jonos Slynt was also dispatched to the Night's Watch, he did not lose his life for his crime the way his minion (Allar Deem) did, and this was really only a means to an end for Tyrion (who wanted Slynt removed from the Gold Cloaks--to replace him with his own man (Ironfist--although it can be argued Ironfist was more "Varys's man," who commended him to the office)!--and from the Small Council--where he'd be a pain in his behind--and from Cersei/Joffrey's pocket--where he would carry out orders Tyrion did not wish carried out, possibly against him!). Furthermore, Cersei, naturally, remains unscathed. What's worse--we only just witnessed Tyrion's outrage at his own legal mistreatment, his demand for a fair trail (instead of a kangaroo court), and his scolding of Cat, Lysa, and the lords of the Vale for their idea of "justice" (see quote), so it's pretty hypocritical of him to dispense "justice" in the same cruel and unfair manner as the people he's looking down on from that high horse of his. Allar Deem has the same rights as Tyrion--a fair trial with presentation of evidence and an impartial judge to hear his case, or, failing "the King's Justice," a right to Trial by Combat (whereupon he might be freed, similarly to the Hound, who freely admitted to slaughtering Micah to the Brotherhood without Banners when Arya accused him, but was found "not guilty" by "the gods"--strength alone--because Joffrey gave him the order and/or Micah ran--technically making him a fugitive from justice). Tyrion, furthermore, is meant to be an even higher official than either of the Tully sisters, Catelyn Stark or Lysa Arryn having authority solely within their domains, the North, the Vale of Arryn, and maybe (although I should think legally not!) in the Riverlands by the good will and mercy of their relatives. Tyrion is meant to be the acting Hand of the King (in Tywin's stead, and just like his father, who later condemns him in a mockery of a trial, and in other rulings, Tyrion proves to have no true concept of or concern for the dispensation of justice), held to a higher standard than lesser lords, the second most powerful person in the realm whom any-and-all can turn to uphold the King's Justice and the King's Peace, but he fails in this regard. This isn't real justice. It's a mockery of justice, but it serves to let Tyrion pat himself on the back and walk around the Red Keep like he's better than the other corrupt and brutal people of the court (like his sister, for one, without whom none of those children would have been murdered), and pretend to himself that he actually cares (about justice, about the realm, about the people--the "smallfolk") when his actions largely say otherwise. I don't think Allar Deem can be used to hold Tyrion up on a pedestal, as if he is somehow interested in the dispensation of justice or the moral virtue of the realm when he really isn't. As you see, within Tyrion's own thoughts ("He was highborn, the son of the most powerful lord in the realm, the brother of the queen. He could not be denied a trial."), his concept of "justice" is only "might makes right" (learned from Tywin, of course), and this proves his falseness as any representative or dispenser of justice or upholder of moral virtues. (He will later learn how "might makes right" in place of "justice" really feels once all his support and power--as highborn, as son of the most powerful lord in the realm, as brother of the queen (who all want him killed!)--is stripped away and he can no longer talk (or threaten) himself out of a kangaroo court, a dungeon, fetters, slanders and defamations, and condemnation and death.) That said, I'm not arguing that Tyrion has no good deeds to his name (saving Cat's life and fighting alongside her on the High Road to the Eyrie is one such), just that he has fewer good deeds to his name than has been put forth. Some of these "good deeds" and "positive relationships" really boggled my mind, so I wanted to put forth my understanding of them. It would be silly--and unfair--for me to argue that Tyrion has no potential to do good, to be good, or to form positive relationships (his relationship with Jaime was one, until that soured; his relationship with his favorite uncle, Gerion, was definitely another, although we did not get to see that in the series; his relationship with Kevan might have been fairly positive--or at least neutral--until Kevan came to believe he poisoned Joffrey (likely only because Tywin believed it, and Kevan fails to think for himself where his brother is concerned); his relationships with Tommen and Myrcella might have been positive relationships if he hadn't ruined them, even if neither Tommen nor Myrcella are aware of just how much danger they were in, or how cruel their uncle could be (to them)). I'm sure there have been others (these are just off the top of my head). But what stands out to me is that Tyrion is self-destruction and almost-always poisons his relationships in some way (Jaime, Tommen, Myrcella, Tysha, Shae--although I would consider that solely a business relationship he ruined by presuming upon her for a romantic relationship, thereby taking back or withholding payment as means to keep her financially dependent upon him; he even managed to ruin the "one chance" his father was willing to give him to prove himself worthy, capable, smart, competent, loyal, and an asset to House Lannister, having entrusted him with "the dynasty" he was trying to build! That could have been the "start" of a "more positive" relationship with Tywin, although it would not run as deep as he hoped it would (love, admiration), and he blew that by threatening House Lannister--Tommen--endangering its future, establishing a whore as his mistress (the one thing his father asked him to sacrifice--and with good reason, it turns out!), and "ruining" his business relationship with the Queen Regent--she was willing to work with him to get Jaime back, as bizarre as that seems (she was that desperate), and keep Joffrey under control, but he began competing with her and undermining her authority from the start; a fine way to ruin a business relationship, though they'd never have a more meaningful relationship, each despising--and fearing--the other.). I think this is a deliberate choice by the author, as well as Tyrion's obliviousness to his self-destructive and poisonous behavior, because if he were fully aware of it (as in Dance), he'd be far less likeable (and Martin needs him to be likeable). Tyrion has good qualities alongside the bad, though. He's intelligent (if only he could focus that intelligence properly and not become sidetracked by delusional relationships--as with Shae--or competitive vindictiveness--as with Cersei), funny (when not being mean-spirited), sometimes charming, and he does at times go out of his way to be kind or friendly (he goes out of his way to befriend Jon Snow, for instance, at the start of Game; the gift he gives to Bran is more a favor to Jon Snow* and if he had deigned to stay at Winterfell after giving it, he might have been able to win over Robb, too, and get to the bottom of his bizarre--from his PoV--unwelcome.). Tyrion is a compelling personality, and persuasive when he puts his mind to it (I just wish it were more often geared toward the good than to deviousness). He could also prove to be a capable politician (if he'd focus and learn to set aside his differences, compromise, and work with people he hates--these things trip him up in his efforts as Hand). I do not like his relationships with or thoughts about women, his rapes, attempted rapes, and rape fantasies, and his misogyny, and cannot say anything good about any of his relationships there (Tysha, Shae, Alayaya, Sansa, or even Penny); Tyrion thinks he's unlovable, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy in his approach to women, which makes him unlovable, thereby distorting for the worse his cycle of abuses. *Going back to Cat on the High Road... I do wonder why Tyrion did not talk to her about the saddle, as that, more than slut-shaming her, would make her stop to listen (a kindness to her favorite child), whereupon they could discuss the dagger and Littlefinger's other lies (his claims to have bedded her, although that is more slut-shaming vengeance than an outright lie, as he really thinks he did bed her). It really doesn't matter if we as readers have "modern" or "21st century" views. No one can completely divorce themselves from the context of their moral upbringing, nor should they try. Why should a reader permit a fictional character or society to dictate what they think is moral or amoral, right or wrong, good or evil? In every work of fiction, it is for the reader to determine their moral standards and whether the fictional characters meet or fail to meet them. Readers are meant to judge, characters are meant to be judged. Yes, by our own standards. It's all the same as when we judge people in other countries or time periods by what they did and failed to do. Nor do I have a problem with the people of a future time period judging me by their moral standards. That's their prerogative, too. It's silly to think that one must judge another by the other's moral standards--Dany, for example, had no problem judging the slavers of Slaver's Bay for their actions and by her own moral standards (slavery is morally wrong, even if it is legal); why should I judge Dany by her own moral standards? By that logic, all I can do is agree with her every action. I don't. Dany, in her self-righteousness, made a mess of Slaver's Bay, caused untold suffering, and committed quite a few crimes and war crimes herself, as well as failing to live up to her own high moral standards. There were also times she took into account her faults and failures, tried to make amends, tried to bring peace... It's also a bit like gluing back together the vase she shattered (although I'm not confident she'll continue trying), but she did make the effort. Taking into account someone else's moral bar doesn't mean I must have to lower mine to account for it (their failings and faults). If someone does something you find monstrous, you should never be afraid or reluctant to denounce it monstrous. That silence borders on complicity (in the real world), and permits people to get away with their wrongs. It's not good for anyone to bend over backwards to accommodate someone else's moral failings. That said, as far as removing Sansa's age from the equation because it's acceptable in or common practice in Westeros... We shouldn't really. In Westeros Sansa becomes an adult at age sixteen, not when she reaches menarche. Even in Westeros she is considered a child, and therefore a child-bride, and certain exceptions (e.g. consummation) should be made for child-brides (or bridegrooms) by any guardian or spouse (who are supposed to act for the child's best interest and welfare). Just because the concerned parties--the adults, "guardians" (captors), and "spouse" (another captor)--make exceptions for their own political expediency and welfare ahead of Sansa's (they being the ones with all the power) does not mean we should make further exceptions for them (excusing their amorality, abuses, and bad behavior), as might does not make right, as the villains in this event would have us believe. We all know when something is right or wrong, whether or not someone else (the characters, society, customs or laws, in this instance) tells us so.
  7. TheSeason

    Disliking Tyrion Lannister

    Child Brides are a very real phenomenon--a dangerous and disgusting, inhuman practice that continues to this day, along with other methods of exploiting women and children (like sexual trafficking or sexual slavery--just because a child isn't "married" to her sexual abuser does not mean she shouldn't be counted as party to these vile traditions and abuses, as some of them are much more "informally" arranged "unions."). You can "meet" some child brides here, including pictures of them at their "weddings" or with their newborn babies. http://abcnews.go.com/International/photos/pregnant-child-brides-15157730/image-15157834 On YouTube you can see videos of child brides, some of them at their "weddings." You can learn more about child brides at some of these other sites, too: (Girls Not Brides) https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/about-child-marriage/ Child marriage is any formal marriage or informal union where one or both of the parties are under 18 years of age. Each year, 15 million girls are married before the age of 18. That is 28 girls every minute. 1 Every 2 seconds. From Girls Not Brides, linked above. (National Geographic) https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/13/130313-child-brides-marriage-women-sinclair-photography/ It's an interview with Stephanie Sinclair, who photographed child brides. A quote from the above link: "Whenever I saw him, I hid. I hated to see him," recalls Tahani, pictured here, of the early days of her marriage to Majed, when she was 6 and he was 25. The couple live in Yemen. Stephanie Sinclair, VII/National Geographic (Photographer) How many children and teenage girls are ready for marriage? Yet the practice is shockingly prevalent: One out of nine girls in developing countries will be married by age 15, according to the United Nations. An estimated 14.2 million girls a year will become child brides by 2020 if nothing changes. To take another peek into "the secret world of child brides," check out Sinclair's work, hosted on NatGeo here: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/06/child-brides/sinclair-photography You can also read an article about an eight-year-old Yemeni child bride (identified only as Rawan, of Hardh, Yemen, a poverty-stricken rural area* that borders Saudi Arabia) who died from the trauma of her consummation here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2415871/Yemeni-child-bride-8-dies-internal-injuries-night-forced-marriage-groom-40.html *Poverty, isolation, ancient traditions and inequalities in gender roles often play a huge part in stripping children of their human rights and human dignity, stealing their innocence, and forcing them into marriage. There's a lot of information about this inhuman practice online if you wish to google it ("child brides" will turn up sufficient evidence) as well as plenty of books about the practice, if you'd like to visit your local library. There are plenty of people in this world who are getting away with marrying children or forcing children to marry (whether to adults--most likely--or to other children), as well as trafficking them in other inhuman ways. These children have suffered enough without us simply denying their experience. There are also plenty of more "modern" or "western(ized)" places in the world where having sexual contact with or marrying minors is culturally inappropriate yet still technically legal (a bizarre set of contradictory criteria that comes of updating worldviews far more often than we update our laws), which is what I think @Banner Without Brothers was trying to point out. There are places in the world where a sixteen-year-old girl is considered unfit to drink alcohol but (legally) suitable to marry. There's plenty wrong with that as well.
  8. I see. I haven't read anything else by Martin, so I cannot comment on or analyze his re-usage of certain symbols and themes. The maesters definitely appear to suppress or outright deny magical information or practices/rituals--and even appear to maintain at least one magical ritual (the glass candles), perhaps expressly for the purpose of identifying maesters who are capable of lighting them, so they can isolate (like Maester Aemon Targaryen or Maester Marwyn) or outright kill them (Cressen kills Melisandre in exactly the manner Marwyn claims the (Arch)maesters-in-Collusion are said to operate, warning Sam that he might become a victim of this practice; of course, Cressen does this well prior to Marwyn explaining the practice, so many readers don't make this connection*). They also maintain their arcane knowledge course (the Valyrian Steel link), possibly to weed out maesters with magical potential and also to produce discouraged and disillusioned maesters (like Maester Luwin, Maester Coleman--Sweetrobin's master, and whoever was Maester when Euron was young, who counseled him that he couldn't "fly.") who went into the course eager to learn and exited abashed, conforming, and maybe even humiliated for their efforts. *Martin does this again with Dany's "waking dragons from stone" moment (fulfilling the first half of the prophecy dedicated to her--I think the prophecy is dedicated to three dragons, Dany, Aegon/Young Griff, and Jon Snow, and the perfumed seneschal/stinky steward, Tyrion, as most explicitly identified in Moqorro's vision, although that it only one iteration of this prophecy, which crops up over and over), which happens at the end of Game, prior to Melisandre giving voice to the prophecy in Clash (and misidentifying Stannis as the personage of the prophecy, as she sees--and again misinterprets--a vision of herself orchestrating the false Lightbringer ceremony with the ritual burning of the Seven at Dragonstone). The problem with the maesters is that they're not scientists as we understand the term, more "collectors" or "archivists" of pre-existing knowledge. Generations of maesters learn the same knowledge but never contribute anything of significance to expanding that knowledge base for future generations. That's a huge problem, and helps to cripple Westerosi progress and advancement. The other half of the problem includes the feudal system itself, which gives the common man little-to-no right to the fruits of his labors, which means a lord can simply "take" a worthy new invention as part of his "tax," which gives the commoner no incentive to put in the effort to improve upon the current technology, since only his "lordly betters" will benefit from the work. The lord may throw the commoner a bone, if he's well-meaning enough, but he's not required to, so he will reap the primary rewards and the commoner will stew in his bitterness over being "gifted" the lord's leavings (out of the goodness of his lord's heart! ). The maesters are more concerned with maintaining and expanding their power base than their knowledge base (the "grey rats" becoming the "masters" rather than the servants, as Barbrey Dustin argues), with all the hang-ups that come along with this focus. Perhaps this has something to do with their unique bond or alliance with House Hightower. I'd really like to know what pigeon pies the council of Archmaesters really have their fingers in... but I believe the Grandmaester (Pycelle) is more their tool to control the crown than a major party to the conspiracy, because he is just another maester "servant" (just bound to the Red Keep/Iron Throne) and would require plausible deniability. The lower-level maester-servant types (like Luwin, Cressen, Pycelle) often demonstrate some affection for and loyalty to the lords they are bound to (Luwin-Stark kids/Bran and Rickon, Cressen-Stannis, Pycelle oddly bonds with Tywin Lannister, the King's Hand, rather than any of the kings he served, and goes above-and-beyond for House Lannister due to that loyalty), which could really put a damper on the conspiracy if they were in large part active and high-ranking members of it (though I do believe Cressen was an active member, and maybe Maesters Walys Flowers and Luwin--who, it seems, came from Riverrun with Cat, demonstrating loyalty to the "Tully" agenda and the Stark kids, but not necessarily to Jon Snow, although he may not have gone out of his way to be cold or cruel to Jon, unlike Cat; he does seem to want Jon Snow out of the house, though, perhaps for Cat's sake, or for her children's, as it's difficult to tell). Very cool! I will have to keep an eye open (lol) for the Myrish distortions. Do you have any specific examples to point me to first? Thanks! :-) Also @hiemal sorry if I've derailed the thread. I know none of this is really party to the scope of your OP. And about the eclipses... aren't they covered (but hidden) by the myriad references to the Gods Eye or the blinding of the God's Eye? Also covered with R'hllor (the fiery eye composed of the fiery dwarf moonmaid and the solar disc) and the Great Other (the black icy eye with pale corona composed of the large silver moonmaid and the solar disc) are deities corresponding to the two eyes of the god. The symbolic "mane" might be another allusion to it (being the corona), as well as the "crown" (fiery--burning eye--or crystal--icy eye), as well as "the curtain of light at the end of the world" (could be read either as the aurora borealis or foreshadowing of the coming eclipse event//allusion to the ancient eclipse event).
  9. This always stood out to me as really bizarre. I always thought of it as Martin making an anachronistic flub in his eagerness to set a certain scene or make a certain point. You think the Maesters have this all figured out already? Interestingly, Taena (who Robert would have loved "for an hour" in his philandering, and who Cersei imagines she is raping, as Robert raped her) is from Myr, and the entire story did kick off with the "gift" of a Myrish Lens (tube/telescope) that eventually led to the discovery of the twincest bastards and treasons ("pale sticky princes") and culminated in the death of Robert ("let herself imagine that her fingers were a boar's tusks, ripping the Myrish woman apart from groin to throat.") to protect said bastards from the consequences of the twincest treasons. The green giant and the bones of the earth (the trees)! Notice they devoured bulls entire, "horns" and all. And who are the "Last of the Giants" that "ruled all the world" and whose "song" (in "the Old Tongue") is being overtaken by "silence" after being hunted to death with "dogs" (What kind of god let's a dog piss on him?) and "torches" by "smallfolk" who've "stolen [their] forests" and "rivers and hills?" Are the giants "gone from the earth" or "gone down into the earth," I wonder, and waiting to be once again "woke(n)... from the earth" at the sounding of the Horn of Joramun (the moonmaid's cry that "broke" the world)? One way or another, giants certainly are "a holy terror!" They may not be served a "basket of roots" for supper, but they have other uses for such.
  10. There is. The message got flipped around (told in bizarre reverse) over the generations. The important thing lost in translation is that it's queensblood that holds the power (or at least held the initial power), shed during the blood betrayal. Just like the kingsmoot was originally a queensmoot (like Asha puts forth) and the Drowned God is really a Drowned Goddess(!) and the Old Way is really the Blood Betrayal/Usurpation pretty much point-by-point of the solar deity overthrowing the lunar deity (and is, therefore, ironically the "New" Way). Actually, the Ironborn have a very bizarre interpretation of that event, taking the slain goddess for their deity, but lauding and honoring the usurping slaughterer solar deity thereafter (and the "that which is dead cannot die, but rises again harder and stronger" is all about the green giant, her son, so naturally they loathe the "green lands" and "green land lords")! When we see "black blood" or "night and blood," we're also getting a wink toward the power of queensblood at work. Interesting thoughts! Perhaps the Blood Betrayal and the Usurpation of the rightful queen takes the place of Original Sin* (which may or may not have included rape--sometimes it appears to include forcible rape and sometimes rape by coercion/lie) which may be why the "bride"/queen/mother is not faulted for the deed. The female party can hardly be claimed more susceptible to temptation when it is the male party that first fell to sin and started the cycle of violence. Forgive my copypasta: Notice "incest" (the solar deity's rape of his sister-"bride" lunar deity) is counted one of the seven deadly sins (taking the place of "pride" whilst "murder" takes the place of "wrath")! *If "incest" is part of the Original Sin of the gods above, perhaps reaching for that godly power or knowledge--corresponding more accurately to eating of the forbidden fruit(s) of the Tree(s) of Knowledge (weirwoods) and Life (undying ebony/yronwood trees)--is part of the Original Sin of the gods below (which also includes in itself a Blood Betrayal and Usurpation--the slaughter of the First King, which is where the "three brothers" comes into play, with their many echoes, e.g., Robert, Stannis, and Renly). Interesting. I've been reading "blood of the dragon" as "blood of the Fisher Queens" (God-on-Earth "traveled about his domains in a palanquin carved by a single pearl and carried by a hundred queens, his wives") of late, they who were the first worshippers of the lunar deity and blessed with certain powers (e.g. greenseeing, skinchanging) as well as who were taken captive and forcibly wed by the GEoDs (who wanted to bond with the most fearsome and destructive beast ever, the dragon) to breed the first Dragonlords. "Blood of the dragon" in the heavens is, of course, the black blood of the moon, but as it must have a corresponding factor on earth, the Fisher Queens appear to be the starting point. (This is where the "holy" blood of the priests also comes in, that Euron is seeking for whatever abominable ritual he wants to perform, because the first queen, the moon, was also a goddess, and therefore her blood is holy blood.) As such, it makes perfect sense that any Dragonlords would want to hoard the "blood of the dragon" for themselves, driving them to commit incest, like the solar deity they worshipped (the man-wreathed-in-flame, man-and-mount-aflame), as means to keep their women--and mounts--close. Moon blood--queensblood--becomes the source of their power, then. An interesting thought, but I'm not certain how to tie virginity or its lack to the monstrous stillbirths. Dany was a virgin when she wed Drogo and conceived Rhaego (much to Viserys's chagrin), but Rhaenyra didn't give birth to a "monstrosity" until her second marriage, with Prince Daemon, and previously had three healthy children in her first marriage (the maybe-Strongs/maybe-Velaryons). Didn't she also proceed to have a healthy heir with Prince Daemon, too? (Can't recall.) Then there's Maegor the Cruel, who had "monstrosities" with some of his wives, some of whom had been married before and of proven fertility (in his desperation to have an heir). How can we tie Maegor's stillbirths to virginity or its lack at all, since he's the Targaryen/Dragonlord in the equation and some of his brides may not even have ties to the "First" First Men Dragonlords (GEoDs) like the Hightower bride (who may or may not be in that camp)? Virginal purity is important in Westeros for women, but not for men, so Maegor really seems to throw a spanner in the works here.
  11. TheSeason

    In support of N + A = J

    Oh, definitely. Individual evidence is much easier to dismiss than a preponderance of evidence, especially when personal biases come into play, and we all have them. I suppose for me, my personal bias comes in when evidence (individual or as a whole) reads too much between the lines and presupposes an author's intent for an argument, which brings credibility of evidence under intense scrutiny--a curious mixture of my background studying literature, history, and biological sciences, lol. Some people (not you!) don't really understand where the burden of proof actually lies in an argument, and expect critics to disprove it--or, rather, prove the negative, which simply cannot be done--but it's not always their fault. We used to teach children how to debate and propose and scrutinize their hypotheses at a young age, but now we've moved such curricula so far back in the educational process that some people either don't get it at all or have lost interest or have become set in their ways in how they open and carry on discussions, etc. We also don't teach kids as much objectivity as we should, so personal feelings can easily become mixed up in the process, and no one is as thick of skin as they initially believe they are (before feeling a bit of the heat! lol). Nor do we teach kids how to think critically, critique constructively, or break bad news (we teach professionals how to be the bearer of bad news in their capacity as civil servants--doctors, lawyers, politicians--although sometimes they prefer to avoid the inevitable backlash, law enforcement, etc., but we don't teach everyone, which we should; for instance, lots of people don't know how to do something as necessary as break up, simply because no one ever taught them how to break bad news! Some parents prefer to lie and buy a new goldfish in secret than tell their kid their fish died, some parents don't know how to tell their kids no, or discipline them, because they prefer the positive feedback of being more a "friend" than a "parent," etc., and all that stems from this inability to "be the messenger" because no one taught us how) and, of course, how to accept and process bad news or criticism. There's a lot of friction we run up against when trying to have an open conversation, especially about more "passionate" topics (politics, religion, moral values, etc.), and a lot of times people try to avoid the backlash by dipping toes into the water to test the temperature before wading in or walking on eggshells. Personally, I don't have anything against the idea that Dany isn't who she thinks she is. It could either add to or subtract from the thematic narrative (none of the dragons are who they think they are, for instance: Aegon/Young Griff, Jon Snow, and even Dany) depending upon how it's accomplished and why it's included. I've read lots of Lemongate, R+L=D, R+L=J and then R+L=D, R+L=J+D, Rhaella+Bonnifer Hasty=D "Storm"born, R+A=D, plus R+L=J+A or R+L=A and then J, R+A=Aegon, Elia+Arthur=Aegon, Illyrio+Serra=Aegon, R+Ashara=Aegon, even N/B+Ashara=Aegon and Aerys+L=J, Robert+L=J, R+Ashara=J, N+A=J, B+A=J, Ned+Lyanna=J, Brandon+Lyanna=J, Benjen+Lyanna=J, even Rickard+Lyanna=J, N+Wylla=J, N+FishD=J, pretty much the whole gamut of "These are not the babes you're looking for!" So far, I haven't seen anyone propose RhaeRhae (Rhaella+Rhaegar=J/D/A), though, and why not? Those incestuous Targs! A pitiable woman like Rhaella needs the comfort of a real man, and Rhaegar was in desperate need of a purple-eyed sister-bride to get his incestuous groove on. Or, something. Lol. Then there's Quaithe=Ashara/Shiera Seastar Lemore=Ashara/Serra, etc., to add into the mix. And BlR+ShSstr=Mel, Aerys+JoL=C+J/T and also Aerys+JoL=C+J and then T (basically, Tywin has no trueborn children whatsoever), and even some strange chimeric AeT+JoL+LlewynMartell=T or AeT+JoL+TyL=T. There are even theories about the parentage of "Darkstar" GeDay, Allyria Dayne (N+A or B+A), Daario Naharis (Blackfyre either via Illyrio+Serra, or some other combo), and others of lesser importance to the narrative. I try to keep an open mind and scrutinize each theory on its own merits, even when it sounds silly or strange or wrong at first blush (like, when a theory is poorly summarized at introduction and it makes you cock an eyebrow, so you need a close reading of the evidence to make proper sense of the summary presented).
  12. TheSeason

    A Tyrosh torture device called "valonqar"

    I'm not certain I understand your response. "Languages in the Free Cities" is one of the main and first points of your argument, and in that section your conclusion of the dialects' evolution hinges solely on vocabulary, with the emphasis that the word in particular for this discussion, "valonqar," may have a distinctly different meaning from one city to another. You then build on that point in "Maggy's Valyrian," concluding that the use of the word may have been specific to the Vulgar Valyrian of a Free City rather than High Valyrian and the original meaning, and then move on to "Tyrosh's Valonqar" in particular, and what you think its unique cultural context is. In "The Translation" section, you also make a distinction between the literal meaning and the greater cultural contexts of the word, emphasizing that it may or may not mean, literally, "little brother." I understand you're not arguing that "valonqar" doesn't mean x, but so much of your argument rests upon that "valonqar" might mean x, and y, and z, distinct to each city, or x/xy/xyz with compound meaning in certain cities. So, I think it's fair to examine whether loanword-type words, with very specific cultural and contextual meaning, evolve that way at all. I don't know that the Free Cities should or even would have a different meaning for the word "valonqar," because I'm not certain that's how dialects evolve, but I do concede that in a Free Cities with a singular standardized meaning for "valonqar" (assuming it's a loanword-type word with no translational value in other languages that might influence their cultural developments) that naming the spiffy new torture device "valonqar" is well in the realm of possibility, especially if it taps into that context (although even if not). Blue Tooth has a specific meaning, for instance, but that didn't stop us from slapping that name on a spiffy new technology. I'm not certain that the existence of such a device would explain or result in a man claiming "I've brought you your (insert name of torture device)" as a way of saying "I've brought you the thing that's torturing you," especially when "the thing that's torturing you" is a person, and he's bringing that person's head by means of offering "justice." Unless, of course, this would be an idiom that grew around that device, which is also possible, although it's my understanding that idioms are sometimes sloppily translated (again because of the want for coherent translational value). So supposing, that might even account for the strangeness of the statement, if it were intended the way you suggest it, although I don't know how anyone else (in world or out) should be able to make that leap to understanding. Just because the Free Cities are nine distinct dialects of Vulgar Valyrian on the way to nine distinct languages doesn't necessitate that every word (every root word) has evolutionarily diversified in some capacity. Vocabulary is only one part of what makes a dialect, so even where these dialects evolved from High Valyrian might have many roots or vocabulary in common, knowing these similarities doesn't necessarily permit you to cobble together a coherent sentence.
  13. TheSeason

    A Tyrosh torture device called "valonqar"

    An interesting take, and one I never considered. The personification of valonqar in the prophecy gives me some pause, though. Maegi Spicer says "wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you," which (as you admitted) does read like domestic violence in some way. To make such a curious twist, though, we would need many more clues, for people to get it and not feel cheated, I think, but I don't think sufficient background is there yet. Also, if "valonqar" really is a loanword (from High/Vulgar Valyrian to Common Tongue) with a specific cultural or contextual meaning, I'm not certain how likely it is that its meaning would drift so much in the daughter cultures of Valyria, that each Free City might have a different meaning of or use for the word (and is that really how dialects form, anyway? It sounds backwards to me--like a dialect should emerge from diversifying evolution, from various cultural influences, perhaps, so they might use different words to mean the same thing, e.g. "ale," but don't develop different meanings from a word like valonqar with a rich cultural or mythology context and therefore a very firm/standardized meaning.). Are the kind of words that are likely to become loanwords as fluid in evolution as other kinds of words? That is, is a word like "valonqar" (if the assumption is taken as truth) rightfully fitting into the same category as a word like "beer" or "ale" (a word Tyrion suggests might be different from one Free City to the next)? I'm not very familiar with how languages evolve, so maybe you could explain how likely a loanword-type of word (e.g., valonqar) is to evolve whilst still maintaining that specific original context or subtext. It's seems that the loanword-type of word would be farther down a dialect evolutionary tree (a root word rather than a branch word, if you know what I mean). Like the regional dialects (of the U.S.)--is it "soda" or "pop" or "sodapop" or "fizz(y)" or "cola/Coke," you know (for comparison to Tyrion's "ale")? Those words feel very different to "umami" or "matcha" or "Pyrrhic" or "schadenfreude" or "hoi polloi" or "kitschy" or "faux pas" or "Kindergarten" or "zeitgeist" or "aficionado." Ah, just thinking out loud. That's a very different problem to one Free City slapping a word with an already firm meaning (loanword-type "valonqar") onto a spiffy new torture device that fits that cultural/contextual meaning in some way. Still, an interesting turn of thought to consider, and quite fun. Thanks for sharing!
  14. TheSeason

    Villains and heroes in game of thrones.

    Your meta argument and even Martin's quotes above both feel a little reductive for me. In your meta you said "There are no villains. It's people trying to survive." That might work in some cases, but it's too broad a statement, and may be more rarely "true" than at first it seems. How was the Mountain "trying to survive" when he raped the innkeeper's daughter because her father insisted she wasn't a whore, insulted the family with coin for their presumption to refuse him the gratification of her "services" and assert her personhood, and then insult them again by demanding change because she wasn't even "worth" the coin he gave, and forcing the father to "thank [him] for [his] custom?" How was he trying to survive when he murdered a man--one of his own soldiers--for snoring too loud (lots of folks have migraines, but no one gets to murder someone for making their head hurt), or when he raped and battered Pia for talking too much? Was Roose Bolton "trying to survive" when he had the serving women who bedded Lannister soldiers at Harrenhal (including, again, poor Pia) stripped naked and pilloried so any man who wished could rape them to his satisfaction (despite the fact they were likely willing to "provide" the same "services" to the Stark and Frey men who occupied their castle and home as to the Lannister men)? Was oh-so-pious Bonnifer Hasty "trying to survive" when he expelled Pia (again, poor girl) from Harrenhal, the only home she'd ever known, during his occupation purely because he deemed her a whore for bedding--and being raped by--the soldiers who occupied her home (against her will and against the will of the rightful mistress, Lady Whent)? What ever happened to "the Mother's mercy?" Martin too is being reductive in those quotes, but I do see some denial as well, in his refusal to admit that an archetypal "hero" or "villain" can be interesting, nuanced, and complex. Heroism and villainy are rarely things people turn off and on with a switch--hero today, villain tomorrow--like he presented (conflating the concept or moral judgment of a person at whole with various "acts" committed). Nor is redemption something that can "account for" mistakes made, like there's a running tally or we're trying to balance a literal scale; redemption requires a lot of introspection and examination of one's own motives, mistakes, missed opportunities, moral values, and more beside, and inherently requires, amidst that introspection and examination, understanding one's choices, why one made them, why one didn't make other choices, one's potential and personal tendencies to be heroic or villainous, and acceptance of one's faults and failings and limitations, as well as recognizing one's talents, skills, successes, and positive traits (like moral values) that one can tap into. It requires changing your thinking as well as your doing, and choosing to make more positive choices than negative. That's an incredibly difficult process to accomplish, and those who dare to undertake it are to be lauded for it... but redeeming yourself also requires the understanding that you are not entitled to forgiveness for your bad deeds. Redemption cannot be an imposition on someone else. Redemption is a conscious choice to improve not only yourself but also the world, in the hopes that fewer people will suffer as you suffered or brought suffering, and that fewer people will make the mistakes you've made. A man (like the Nazi guard) who stands by to witness as someone starves to death (and is active or passively aggressive in making it happen) who goes on to feed the hungry for the rest of his life, may be redeemed for (some of) his choices but not necessarily even forgiven for them--because no one is entitled to forgiveness from someone who is unwilling or unable or too hurt to forgive; forgiveness is a healing act, but it is something fore-given, not something taken and assumed/presumed. Redeeming oneself and being forgiven are two very different things (another conflation Martin made), and anyone on the path to redemption must come to accept that forgiveness may not be awaiting at their destination, but also revel in that the journey is itself worthy of the effort of the undertaking. Taking Michael Vick, for his example, what a lot of people see with him is the common instance of someone who says sorry and makes amends only because they were caught, scolded, and/or punished for their wrongs, as if the redemptive journey was forced upon him, which is why there are many people who are unwilling to forgive him. That said, we also need to learn to accept that lots of people do bad things until they're caught, whereupon only then do they start to examine the depth and impact of their own choices and behavior. I don't want to get into what I, personally, think of Michael Vick, but I do think there is some (positive) value in a willingness to listen when caught, scolded, and punished (whether this is his particular case or no), because that is one way people learn from their mistakes. That said, the other major denial I see in Martin's quotes is this: it's impossibly difficult to (strive to) be heroic where there is no one or nothing (such as a system) villainous that you are in contention with. It's impossibly difficult to (claim to) walk a middle ground when there are no extremes (heroism, villainy, in this instance) on either side of you. These concepts aren't merely social constructs and abstractions of real life. While it might be wrong to try to paint everyone as either utterly black or utterly white (as the saying goes), it's also wrong to deny that some people are more good/bad, more heroic/villainous, more moral/amoral than others, too. And in some special cases, these judgments are of something so extreme that we fall back upon the concept itself--evil, good/saintly--to label that person or thing. Martin writes about heroes and villains, whether he wants to admit to it or not. It's part of the storytelling tradition because it's part of real life (art imitating life). He might claim he does not write a specific subset of hero or villain (and I vehemently disagree with him there), but to suggest that they are not present at all is a very bizarre claim, indeed. How is anyone to ever be heroic if there is no person or system that is (being) villainous? What does "heroism" even entail in such a situation, I would like to ask him, because I don't understand? If Ned was being "heroic" to try to spare or save the lives of children in Game, then there had to be at least one person or system being "villainous" opposite him, to beg or require of him that "heroism" at all. As we cannot blame Ned for being heroic opposite someone or something villainous (to save or spare the lives of children who are endangered) as that is what "heroism" entails, even as it (might have) led to his death, and other destructions, we cannot deny that the persons or things he strove so heroically against were "villainous" and condemn them for it (by endangering the lives of children and establishing a need and space for an "heroic" answer at all). Martin likes the dynamism of the struggle between good and evil, but appears to dislike that it is a struggle between good and evil. Like Martin said, these are all complex topics, so when even he reduces them to the bare bones or makes inappropriate conflations we shouldn't be afraid to call him on it. That's my take, anyway. :-}
  15. TheSeason

    In support of N + A = J

    Ah, no, I wasn't worried or anything. Just wanted to make sure you understood I wasn't trying to dismiss you out of hand. I really enjoyed talking with you over there, but I realize I probably wasn't clear enough about why I brought that point up in the first place. I had never actually considered that it might be a smuggler's ship when reading, though I remembered Davos describing his black little boat and its black sail as he smuggled the food to Storm's End. I had the impression they were sailing with the royal fleet, so I presumed the black sails had the red dragon of their house painted on it, but, you know... how's the saying go? By night all (sails) are black. Lol. Especially when they're already black with a bit of red (trimmings/ornamentation).