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ravenous reader

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  1. Haha. As one of his best readers, you know he doesn’t like closure...
  2. “I am my own champion, my own fool, and my own harpist.” (ASOS Jon X) “Words Are Wind...”
  3. Thanks! That’s a fair way of framing it. @Unchained has written an interesting essay on the subject, exploring how unconscious, rather than conscious, wishes/prayers may manifest — Answered Prayers. According to his ingenious reading, Dany unconsciously offered up her unborn baby as a sacrifice, in order to save her own life, and possibly Drogo’s. After all, she was so desperate, she was willing to pay any price to bring him back from the brink of death, as you point out. When one is so desperate, one becomes apt to make reckless choices. Inviting Mirri Maz Dur to work black magic on her behalf was the equivalent of wielding a ‘sword without a hilt’ (in other words, ignoring Ned’s injunction, that the wo/man who passes the sentence, should swing the sword). One of GRRM’s oft-overlooked themes is questioning the culpability of the watcher — the one for whom killing is done by proxy. In the current day, the prevailing ethos tends to provide exculpation by virtue of calling everyone a victim (for whom Daenerys is the champion-by-projection); however, GRRM is not so ready to give those who stand by, however passively, a free pass: Lyanna and Jon? @Frey family reunion
  4. The lives of Dany’s 3 male kin are currency, exchanged for dragons. Fittingly, in-world ‘Dragons’ are gold coins, underscoring the blood magic price paid! In Viserys’ execution/murder, this relation is visually dramatised by the ‘gold medallions’ — i.e. gold coins — melted down, in exchange for Viserys’ life, similarly dissolved. Controversial question: if Dany’s kin — brother, son & spouse (sacrifice chronology corresponding to dragon birth order) — are currency for dragon creation, does it follow that Daenerys is in any way complicit/implicated in kinslaying? Because, ultimately, that’s what I believe ‘waking the dragon’ entails — kinslaying. Did she dare dabble in the dark arts, in the name of ambition... Or is she a righteous, rather hapless victim, as the rabid SJW crowd would have it? Nice analysis! Analogously, weirwood magic (sinking into the greensea) vs. ‘seeing beyond the trees’. I believe the ‘son who will cross the greensea’ is Bran — he’s the stallion who will mount the world. As evidence, consider that the prophecy of the stallion ‘riding’ is given in the corresponding chapter (A Game of Thrones - Daenerys V) to Bran riding out of Winterfell ‘like the wind’: Indeed. But, as I’ve mentioned above, I think ‘waking the dragon’ has a darker meaning — i.e. kinslaying. As discussed, signifying a blood price... A Crown, like a Dragon, is a coin! ‘Kissed by fire’, like Viserys — probably not a good omen! Interestingly, both Daenerys and Bran experience kisses of fire in their magic transformations via shade-of-the-evening and weirwood bole respectively (‘taste of molten gold’ [visceral reliving of Viserys’ death — see @40 Thousand Skeletons] and the ‘last kiss his [red-haired, kissed-by-fire] mother gave him’, evoked by putative ‘Jojen paste’ sacrifice). You’ve heard of @Wizz-The-Smith’s COINS/SCION wordplay? Not made explicit in the text per se, but captures the theme of trading in ones relatives, including, especially children, for power (‘blood of my blood’... power of my power). The intersection of crown/crone is demonstrated by Stannis’s shrinking and greying, with depletion of his reproductive power, like a Crone, after having killed his brother in the name of power, making the ‘deal with the devil,’ selling his soul a la Macbeth. This is the most interesting aspect of GRRM’s moral equation, in that the one stealing power from his/her brother must in turn give up his/her own reproductive potential, for which removing the ‘belt’ is possibly a metaphor (think of wearing ones purse on ones belt, like a codpiece, the modern-day ‘fannypack’!) Similarly, when Bran falls from the tower, having had his 3rd eye opened with the ‘terrible knowledge’, the gold kernels of corn simultaneously fall from his pocket, symbolising his lost ‘seed’ (cf. Greek gods, Zeus); likewise, Dany is famously barren after the birth of the dragons (having given up her human son in exchange for her dragon child/ren). Do you think the constellation ‘Orion’s Belt’ (like Orion, Drogo is the Warrior archetype) may inform our interpretation? There is an intriguing biblical passage from Job 38, KJV: Killing = presuming to seize the ‘fire of the gods’ for oneself (not achieved with impunity):
  5. Regarding magical transformation, drowning, or, more accurately, near-drowning is a metaphor for greenseeing, as per the ‘greensea’ pun I’ve identified. Meta-wise, the reader's experience of drowning in sea/see symbolism reinforces the symbolism of (near-)drowning as a greenseeing metaphor! Read my response in @hiemal’s classic Nennymoan thread, inspired, so many moons ago, by the quintessential near-drownee, Patchface, and my curiosity to crack the meaning of his riddles, particularly the reiterated phrase held in common among the riddles, ‘under the sea’... If you don’t want to read the whole thing — it’s lengthy, I know I know — then see purple headings 'Drowning as a metaphor for greenseeing' & 'Bran's phenomenology of greenseeing':
  6. I’ve noticed that italics are used to indicate a telepathic communication (e.g 3EC to Bran, or Jon hearing Bran’s silent shout in the weirwood sapling dream, or Viserys appearing to Dany on the Dothraki Sea); or more prosaically, offering a window on a character’s inner, private thoughts (e.g Jaime thinking the truth, often being at odds with what he says), if that helps. If you quote the Cersei passage you have in mind, I could take a look.
  7. Color symbolism is tricky. How do you account for the 'grey-green' continuum? How does 'black' figure into this schema? I think black represents the hyphen between green and grey! Black is the burning of green, leaving the grey residue of ash in its aftermath.
  8. Lions are listed alongside direwolves as among the animals a magically-endowed person might skinchange. A lion housed at Casterly Rock (a 'hollow hill' greenseer-king venue , according to @Wizz-The-Smith's theory) would literally be a 'cave lion.' Also, Varamyr controls a shadow cat, which is basically a mountain lion, so we're certainly supposed to consider Lannisters and their ancestors having such magical ability potentially. The language used to describe someone such as Lann the Clever, or the curious tale of Lord Loreon Lannister vs. Hooded Lord Morgon Banefort, also has a greenseer flair. I'm not sure what you're questioning here?
  9. "Dragons are a symbol of peace and rebuilding..." Likewise, @LmL says fire and blood is "neutral." We really inhabit the 'post-truth' alt-universe now! Martin likes playing his games, coyly equivocating on the periphery. However, nothing is 'confirmed,' until it's written. Dany represents Vietnam and Iraq --blonde and boobified, but horror, nonetheless... Despite such sultry modifications, these so-called 'liberations' are not going to end well, poppet. And, as @Mithras quoted above, the word 'seem' coming from GRRM is hardly a clincher! Keep reading.
  10. The obvious analogy for the 'rider and horse combining as a single entity' is skinchanging, with the rider-mount represented by skinchanger-host duo. Taking it a step further, we may extend the analogy to the greenseer-weirwood 'marriage,' per Norse mythological tradition of the shamanic ascent of the World Tree being at once an act of mounting tree (Yggdrasil) and horse (Sleipneir). In line with this idea, GRRM personifies the trees in the godswood as 'vaulting sentinels'. In Old Norse, 'drasil' meant both 'horse' and 'gallows tree', the 'horse' functioning as a psychopomp, enabling the human to transcend his or her limitations, leaping across space and time, even journeying through death and back. The kenning for Yggdrasil is 'wind-swept tree'... ODIN'S RUNE SONG 1. Hung I was on the windswept tree; Nine full nights I hung, Pierced by a spear, a pledge to the god, To Odin, myself to myself, On that tree which none can know the source From whence its root has run. 2. None gave me bread, none brought a horn. Then low to earth I looked. I caught up the runes, roaring I took them, And, fainting, back I fell. 3. Nine mighty lays I learned from the son Of Bolthorn, Bestla's father, And a draught I had of the holy mead Poured out of Odreir. 4. Then fruitful I grew, and greatly to thrive, In wisdom began to wax. A single word to a second word led, A single poem a second found. 5. Runes will you find, and fateful staves, Very potent staves, very powerful staves, Staves the great gods made, Stained by the mighty sage, And graved by the speaker of gods. Stanzas 138-142 in Hollander's translation of the Havamal, The Poetic Edda When Dany is gifted her 'Silver' (horse) at her wedding (analogous to the ritual awakening of Bran's powers in marriage to the trees), she tells Khal Drogo that he has given her 'the wind' -- a greenseer portal/vehicle, and overall 'greenseer code', as @Wizz-The-Smith and @evita mgfs have shown in their classic 'Bran's Growing Powers' thread. This does not mean that Dany is *literally* a greenseer, but she is nevertheless clothed in the language of the greenseer archetype. In many ways, she is set up to be Bran's counterpart. Moreover, the *silver* horse, which allows her to jump the fire (i.e. tricking death), is associated symbolically via clever wordplay with the sun disappearing --'*sliver* of sun' -- in the vein of the 'naughty greenseer' archetype causing the Long Night, in the process of reaching for the fire of the gods (see @LmL's Mythical Astronomy template). In the progression of events, it is Dany's riding, in turn giving Drogo a smile (red smiles frequently symbolizing death in ASOIAF), which leads to the sun setting, and Dany 'losing track of time' (another weirnet/greenseer nod, and perhaps an allusion to the flow of the seasons going awry). This might be foreshadowing that Dany's hubris exercised via Drogon will eventually be catastrophic for Westeros (sun sets in the west). Given the sinister undertones to all this horseriding symbolism, is it any wonder, then, that the trusty stableboy Hodor, whom Bran ultimately succeeds in skinchanging, is frequently compared to a horse, and that we expect him as underworld gatekeeper to 'hold the door' between life and death..? 'Abomination.' Mounting, climbing, riding, vaulting, leaping, flying and the like, therefore have connotations of transgression. Tropes of sexual coercion as well as sexual commerce (in which there might be varying degrees of willingness in the transaction vs. the straightforward rape trope imagery above) are typically used by the author to explore the harnessing of one mind and/or body to/by another -- and the price forfeited in the exchange. Whether the reader approves or not is immaterial; the 'whores/horse' pun is deliberate. I love this reading. Well, she certainly dared seize a certain red sword... @LordBluetiger, who also previously discussed Blake's poem, has pointed out that the Words of House Marbrand, 'Burning Bright,' is probably a reference to it: When the stars threw down their spears And water'd heaven with their tears: Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee? Tyger Tyger burning bright, In the forests of the night: What immortal hand or eye, Dare frame thy fearful symmetry? Of course, in the context of ASOIAF, it is not the tiger burning bright, but the dragon or the tree (blazing leaves of the weirwood), the latter reflected in the Marbrand sigil. As I mentioned above, 'horse as tree' alludes to Yggdrasil-Sleipnir. Breaking down 'chestnut' -- the nut, seed, or kernel which resides in the chest is a heart (hat tip @Isobel Harper who has drawn our attention to the potential relevance of the myth of Idun) -- so it might be code for heart tree! Likewise, a case might also be made for 'blood bay' as weirwood, with their bloodstained foliage and appetite for human sacrifices. Nice points about Ned as overreacher. As @The Fattest Leech has noted, GRRM uses the word 'reach' across many of his novels to indicate communication via telepathic '3rd-eye' powers. Thus, the naming of 'The Reach' might be a clue to a greenseer-king history in the area. ( @40 Thousand Skeletons this might be of interest). Of all the characters, Bran most epitomizes the archetype of overreaching Prometheus or Icarus. The following poem, inspired by the painting 'Landscape With the Fall Of Icarus' by Bruegel, not only captures shades of GRRM's sensibility in its observation of the banality of human suffering, but obviously reminds me of Bran -- especially the part about the boy disappearing into the *greensea*. Musée des Beaux Arts by W.H. Auden About suffering they were never wrong, The old Masters: how well they understood Its human position: how it takes place While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along; How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting For the miraculous birth, there always must be Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating On a pond at the edge of the wood: They never forgot That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse Scratches its innocent behind on a tree. In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry, But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky, Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
  11. The author conceived of the ASOIAF saga on the back of a vivid, indelible image he had of the kids finding the direwolves in the snow (as well as a boy falling from a tower). The dragons were added later as an afterthought, on the recommendation of a friend. The upshot: the Starks are central to this 'Bildungsroman' (coming-of-age story). They have the first word -- and they will have the last. He is partial to the Starks over the Targaryens, the latter representing everything GRRM disdains. Don't read any further. And don't watch the TV series.
  12. It's almost as if the author, unable to finish his magnum opus, is making bloody sure no one else is going to be able to construct a cohesive narrative or provide a satisfying ending either! It's the revenge of the 'death of the author', acting 'beyond the grave'... "Those are the Stones of the Silent God, and there the entrance to the Patternmaker's Maze. Only those who learn to walk it properly will ever find their way to wisdom, the priests of the Pattern say."
  13. "There where it is we do not need the wall: He is all pine and I am apple orchard. My apple trees will never get across And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’ Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder If I could put a notion in his head: ‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it Where there are cows? But here there are no cows. Before I built a wall I'd ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offense. Something there is that doesn't love a wall, That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him, But it's not elves exactly..." ROBERT FROST, from 'Mending Wall'
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