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ravenous reader

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  • The Poetess of the Nennymoans
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  1. This is an important one: The above, taken together with Hazzea, Craster and your observation about “this seems/seam’s an old place,” would suggest the sheep symbolizes child sacrifice in exchange for magic. The Night Fort is essentially a kitchen atop a weirwood tree… in which children are fed to the tree across the Black Gate — the mouth, or oven door.
  2. Be careful whom you might call with your prayer: @Unchained’s essay “Answered Prayers” elaborates.
  3. Gar-ed functions as the symbolic messenger of the Others — a white raven (inverse raven = Ed-gar Allan Poe, nevar-more) heralding Winter’s advent (hat-tip @evita mgfs for the Gared/Edgar wordplay that @Frey family reunion mentioned in this thread). As @Seams has pointed out, Gared, in having sacrificed his ear to frostbite, symbolically ‘has the ear of the Others’ (or perhaps they have his, more accurately?!); i.e. he is privy to the words of Winter, as @Voice has poetically put it. Moreover, Gared recalls how he has “had the cold in [him],” conferring a surprising “eloquence”. Hence, the ‘cold’ can be thought of as more than an inert element; it is a magical, transfiguring language or music (The Song Of Ice…). I have argued previously that it is none other than a dialect of ‘the song of the earth’ or ‘True Tongue’ — a greenseeing faculty. Note, ears as “stumps” may allude to a tree stump as well as compromised human limbs. To my ear, there is an echo of both crippled Bran as well as Jaime post swordhand-stump receiving the pivotal greendream at the hinge of his ‘redemption arc,’ when he presses his head/ear to the weirwood stump! Accordingly, Gared is a symbolic skinchanger-greenseer or greenseer Hand. Greenseeing is essentially arcane knowledge and hence manipulation of the language of nature (or, in other words, skinchanging the elements, as it were), but that doesn’t make him an actual greenseer, @Nadden. Basically, Gared as emissary of the Others came to deliver a message to the Warden of the North that “Winter is Coming”! In other words, Ned failed to heed the words of his own house, and instead literally and figuratively ’went South’ from there (hat-tip @sweetsunray for the latter pun). “Who else?” Who Other indeed, he says, as he contemplates Ice! Ironically, it is Ned who couldn’t be reached by Gared’s words, not the other way around! Ned cannot understand the True Tongue — “it was all meant for Brandon…,” you see: Ned failed to hear the message and rashly killed the messenger of Winter — for which the karmic comeuppance paid was ultimately his own beheading by Ice. Whatever anyone else tells you, GRRM is not as touted “a grey author.” In fact, he delights in casting moral judgment on his characters, as can be inferred by how he chooses to punish them in a manner uniquely befitting their ‘crimes.’ That’s a good catch, namely that people can function as hilts not only blades! So if “sorcery is a sword without a hilt… [having] no safe way to grasp it,” then perhaps there are certain characters who can facilitate the flow of magic by serving as magical conduits. It’s likely that what is involved is a skinchanger-host duo, analogous to how Euron ‘piggy-backs’ on the efforts of the dragonhorn-blower, who is sacrificed in the process. My impression is that ‘handling’ of another person in this manner — by turning them into a weapon handle, additionally referencing GRRM’s recurrent theme of ‘Corpse-handling’ in previous works, as @The Fattest Leech has taught me — would constitute an abomination (hilt hilt it rhymes with guilt…); particularly judging by Ned Stark’s famous admonition that “the man who passes the sentence should [also] swing the sword.” When Bran skinchanges Hodor, for example, Hodor is functioning as the hilt while Bran’s mind is the sword. A wooden hilt could represent the weirwood, which would then be a reversal of the relationships in my outline above. The hilt — or weirnet Bran — controls a dragon blade (Jon, or perhaps actual dragon to be warged by Bran). @By Odin's Beard what do you think? As I’ve discussed with @Wizz-The-Smith and @LynnS, the icy Wall itself is described as “a sword to the east and snake to the west” — i.e. the Wall itself is a sword without a hilt! The treacherous, rolling, meandering course to the west is created by the underlying foundation of ‘hollow hills’ and speculated associated guiding line of weirwoods (Cheers, Wizz!) upon which the Wall was built. Therefore, the hilt or anchor capable of grounding the ice blade might very well be the weirnet. Again, a person as hilt, specifically a greenseer, is suggested by the talking tree-man embedded in the Black Gate. …like a blade rises from the hilt in which it is embedded… The turns of phrase “climbed the knife edge” and “leaping from hill to hill as far as the eye could see” is coded language for greenseers, epitomised by Bran(don) Stark, the ‘eye’ in question symbolising the 3rd eye of greenseeing! ‘Hilt/holt’ (=wood/forest) & blade (=ice). The sword-hilt configuration at the Wall is reminiscent of the imagery in the scene showing how Bran uses the sentinel tree in the godswood as a foothold to gain access to the Tower in AGOT: Is “swinging from gargoyle to gargoyle” the equivalent of swinging a dragonsteel sword? We can now appreciate how swinging the sword by means of a wooden hilt thereby provides access to a secret language, or forbidden, “terrible knowledge”…! Bran is always overhearing people, foreshadowing his greenseer fate: Bran is a broken knife/sword, who having lost his original hilt (= his legs grounding him to the earth and facilitating the exercise of his will in the ‘usual’ mundane manner) must now learn a new-old way of “singing the song of earth”…. ‘Singing/swinging’ is another key (s)wordplay. Broken, Bran is now in need of fashioning a new hilt to enable him to s(w)ing that (s)word — symbolically synonymous with ‘"You will never walk again, Bran," the pale lips promised, "but you will fly"’. The tree is the link which provides the grounding and bridging in lieu of his lost legs. That said, the connection forged between hilt and blade is nevertheless a fraught one, as hinted in the name and associated sigil of ‘Hellholt.’ By some theories, the Others can be interpreted as the icy reflections/projections of greenseers (as echoed by symbolic ravens like Bloodraven or Bran, which means ‘raven’). In the Prologue, Will up-the-tree functions as a symbolic greenseer who, however inadvertently, summons the Others with his whispered prayer, as I elaborated in my essay ‘The Killing Word’ parsing the Prologue. The “emerge[nce]” of the Others “from the dark of the wood” can be conceptualised as his materialised will(power)…Get it? Will/will! Related, a recent post by @Tucu cited this apposite quote: I agree completely with @evita mgfs’s brilliant assessment that the constellation of the three brothers in the Prologue all representing antecedent authors is a meta-commentary on GRRM’s ethos, as a writer himself following in their footsteps, surrounding the creative power of words. In the same vein, the weirnet is likened to a library. So, let’s end as it began (“we should start back…” hat-tip @Rusted Revolver) — with Will… — WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’
  4. One of my favorite topics, ever since @evita mgfs suggested it! Definitely time-travel hijinks involved, as indicated by the marker of the tree ‘growing in fast-forward’(analogous to that growing/going in reverse in Bran’s vision):
  5. Dorian, your reputation in the forum has been rated 'mostly harmless'...LOL (perhaps it's time to revise your desire for 'revenge')!

  6. Why would Arya say the line 'that's not you,' if she wasn't Arya and hadn't said it to Ned in another context which she was recalling ironically in that moment, the rationale for which as explained to us by the writers themselves following the episode, just in case we had failed to appreciate their cleverness? How would the waif know enough about Arya to know to say that line to a wolf she'd never seen before in the middle of the woods with no one else to hear, feigning an emotion that never actually came to pass? Are you suggesting the waif has access to ALL of Arya's childhood memories, including every line she ever uttered to her father verbatim? (in the books, wearing a mask gives one access to very limited fragmentary flashes of memory of the previous inhabitant of the face; though similar symbolically, it's not qualitatively equivalent to skinchanging). If this is the waif and she's nevertheless using that line, because D&D think it's a catchy callback for their own 'meta-' purposes, then the whole thing is just silly. Fooling a direwolf in this manner wouldn't be possible in the books, but who knows with the dastardly droll D's -- I've given up trying to pry apart their (increasingly non-existent) internal logic (the circumstances surrounding Bran's recent (d)evolution is a case in point), although I sincerely admire your intelligent efforts to bring coherence to their gotcha moments! In the books, it's quite clear that animals in general are not fooled by the masks of faceless men: On the other hand, Melisandre did succeed in fooling Ghost somehow with her 'Bene Gesserit Voice'-like trick.
  7. Of course you're free to defend your appreciation of D&D's script -- just as I'm entitled to cast a more critical eye upon it. It's not about 'right and wrong'; it's about 'logical and illogical' -- and by that distinction I'm not referring to you being illogical, but to the gaping holes in D&D's story. If their script were so good, they wouldn't need to explain the story after the fact, nor would they need you to kindly explain it on their behalf (likewise, if the chemistry between the lead actors were so convincing, they wouldn't have to tell us that the characters find each other attractive...). Talking about the story is not the same thing as telling it. If it made sense, it would speak eloquently for itself as written, without all this exposition on the sidelines; and all these recent Bran threads and videos aghast at the change in the character would not exist. People are perplexed, because the narrative is disjointed and perplexing. That said, in principle I can understand, however, why being hooked up to the weirnet, the collective hivemind tree consciousness, would cause one to lose ones humanity over time. In fact, I've explicitly described GRRM's peculiar characterisation of greenseeing using the metaphor of drowning or dissolving in a fluid medium, resulting in the dissolution of boundaries across person, time and space, and therefore threatening ones previous identity. Currently, Bran is adrift in that 'green sea'. Who's to say what a 'normal' response is? What I can judge, however, is that there was nothing grossly 'abnormal' about Bran's reactions, facial affect, speech patterns, and general social demeanor back then (it's precisely because nothing stood out that we weren't having this conversation back then, were we?). For example, he made more eye contact back then and his verbal responses were more appropriate to the conversation. He was certainly not blunted the way he is now. He may not have smothered his uncle in kisses, but no one would deny he was excited to see him and displayed curiosity in his uncle's story. He was certainly not cruel to Meera. Now, however, Bran does not seem to be paying attention to what is happening in front of him, being elsewhere occupied in his thoughts! I surmise GRRM in his stinginess when it comes to giving away his ideas, being unwilling to rain on his own parade, has refrained from coaching D&D through the logic of his thought process, depriving them of a cohesive plot. He has only supplied them with the bare minimum of certain isolated 'end-goal' posts, one of which is probably that Bran 'goes over to the dark side' and has some sort of twisted relationship to the Night's King -- so this is D&D's slapdash interpretation of how that happened. I have no doubt that GRRM will provide a more satisfying and nuanced account, should he ever get around to writing it.
  8. No it doesn't. He was not emotionally blunted nor socially dysfunctional in season 6 episode 6 when he met his uncle Benjen with Meera, at which point he already had all the world's knowledge at his fingertips -- in the short trip from the Wall to Winterfell, he's *somehow* acquired the emotional sensibility of an autist/psychopath?! I understand that you're buying into D&D's convoluted explanations given in retrospect to fill in the gaps left by their lack of continuity, but the fact remains there's precious little attention paid to logical character development and narrative cohesion. Let's just enjoy it for what it is, without having to pretend we're watching the unfolding of anything approaching meaningful storytelling anymore! How interesting -- and great question there at the end! You're not the only one to have thought of Dune in connection with the greenseers, so I don't think you are 'going off the rails' at all. Fittingly, even one of my own threads on the book forum is entitled 'the killing word'!
  9. The search function has also disappeared!
  10. And in the end -- it's all about asking/giving 'a penny for your thoughts...' Because it's about the price paid for the acquisition of knowledge!
  11. Yeah, making someone laugh and tickling someone has that double meaning.
  12. Tried to message you.  Is that not possible?

  13. That's fascinating. I wish I knew more about chess, since there are probably multiple hidden chess motifs and moves we might identify. For example, it's been drawn to my attention that if a pawn crosses the board it can become a queen (essentially adding an extra queen to a game which previously only had two), which if you think about it is what Baelish intends doing with Sansa his prime piece in the game! Regarding 'rooks' and 'rookeries', great catch connecting (scare)crows to chess! Like 'rooks' in chess, the crow or scarecrow figures also come in 'black' and 'white,' e.g. the black vs. white ravens, or the black Night's Watch brothers facing off against the white (br)Others on the other side of the board ...'under the sea the crows are white as snow...' Maybe Bran is a bit of a chess grand master himself considering he's a greenseer for whom a powerful chess piece like the rook would be emblematic, considering his association with crows and broken towers struck by lightning and noting how he 'perches' like a raven, crow or scarecrow on the 'bridge connecting the second floor of the rookery with the fourth floor of the belltower...' That sounds like code to me for something of uncertain significance, perhaps even a checkmating chess move! Any ideas? I've read the rook is often instrumental in bringing about 'checkmate' in the chess endgame, which is precisely what we've been anticipating regarding Bran and his role in the impending Long Night/War for the Dawn. The 'bell tower' might symbolise the embattled King -- bells are often rung for the death of kings, executions, rebellions, a king under siege in the case of the Battle of the Bells, the transfer of power, etc. -- so 'sending a rook to the belltower' might be a checkmate move? Although the rook begins the game relatively hemmed in in its options, as the game progresses it acquires greater freedom of movement and becomes ever more deadly, perhaps reflecting Bran's progress from cripple to major player! In line with your scarecrow suggestion, rooks in chess have also been depicted as 'warders,' 'watchers' or 'beserkers' (wolfskin-wearing warriors associated with Odin) depending on the chess set, and fittingly in heraldic depictions the crenellated battlements may morph into horns, evoking @LmL's 'horned greenseers' and more specifically the outward-curving horned headdress of a court jester or fool such as Patchface, bringing us back to the scarecrow trilogy 'clever bird clever man clever fool'! That's a fun one! Do you think there might be an allusion to the whole red-on-black dragon vs. black-on-red dragon? A door is a kind of shield, herald or sigil, so painting a black dragon on a red door would seem to indicate illegitimacy. Is Dany illegitimate? Although I'm not sure why he's doing this, GRRM employs quite a few counterintuitive pathways of this sort -- 'long' vs. 'short' way; 'front' vs. 'back' door, etc. For example, there are two ways into Bloodraven's cavern -- the steep, direct route from south to north, or the flatter, roundabout route north and then backtracking south:
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