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ravenous reader

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  • The Poetess of the Nennymoans
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  1. Dorian, your reputation in the forum has been rated 'mostly harmless'...LOL (perhaps it's time to revise your desire for 'revenge')!

  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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'!
  5. The search function has also disappeared!
  6. 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!
  7. Yeah, making someone laugh and tickling someone has that double meaning.
  8. Tried to message you.  Is that not possible?

  9. 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:
  10. In addition to 'Tor' meaning gateway or portal, it can also mean 'scoring a goal' (e.g. in a game such as football=soccer) as well as being a 'fool' or 'idiot' in German. By kneeling to Aegon, Torrhen provided a gateway or free passage for the Targaryens to the North, which can be interpreted as a score by Aegon or Torrhen or both, depending on ones perspective (in this analogy, the Neck would be the entrance to the goal and Torrhen the goalie!). Certainly, GRRM does wish us to ponder whether refusing to yield is always the winning option when faced with the other alternative of perpetuating the 'bloodsport'. Although Torrhen no doubt spared his own people much bloodshed by this gesture, he was also inevitably derided for a fool on account of having relinquished his honor, crown and independence to the invaders. I like @Pain killer Jane's pun of 'Tor(he)n' (silent 'h') with 'torn,' whereby Torrhen was torn between his pride and his pragmatism. It's also ironic that in yielding -- which likely 'tore' him up personally -- he helped mend the fabric of the realm into one, this being a symbolic demonstration of GRRM's theme of personal sacrifice done for the greater good. I believe @Seams has also previously mentioned the pun of 'annealing' with 'kneeling,' so Torrhen kneeling can be interpreted as an important step in the forging of a peace, serving to knit the realm into one, the one who 'kneels' removing internal stresses and strengthening it just as one 'anneals' in the forging of a sword. Perhaps you ought to mention it to @Wizz-The-Smith. He does so love identifying a new hill, hollow preferably! @Tijgy has also pointed out that the name 'Brandon' can also mean a hill. So GRRM definitely wishes to identify those Starks with hills.
  11. I like Sam as 'scared crow'/'scarecrow'! Indeed, Cressen was most brave swallowing that poison for the sake of the realm. Unfortunately, he didn't realise he couldn't use poison to fight against the dead.
  12. Much food for thought! Thank you very much also for your fascinating underwater connections on the 'Hollow Hills' thread. It is also a play on another theme; Lamp ray. Specifically the Crone's Lantern shining in the darkness and the constellation of four stars that enclose a golden haze. That is a Davos quote from aSoS. I especially love that scene because he looks out of the northern window and sees a half moon, the Galley sailing West, the Crone's lantern enclosing a yellow haze and the Ice Dragon's eye pointing North. That reminds me of the 'Lonely Light' of the 'Farwynds' (itself a pun on 'far winds'...by which the islands are connected to the power of the old gods and greenseeing). The westernmost Iron islanders are known for being skinchangers of seals and whales, for which they're referred to as 'sea wolves' (to which we can apply my 'sea/see' pun, together with the Stark allusion, yielding yet another greenseeing connection). Perhaps lamprey, lamb prey and lamp ray are all connected by the idea of sacrifice in exchange -- payment -- for the boon that may come of it, such as the power of skinchanging or greenseeing. In Asian mythology, the rabbit in the moon pounds the elixir of immortality for the moon goddess. In other versions, it pounds rice cakes. And rabbits while being symbols of fertility and thus them being equated with immortality fits as procreation is nature's form of immortality. Good point! The rabbit 'rice cakes' are the Asian version of the chocolate Easter bunny or indeed Easter eggs which are consumed to celebrate the gift of eternal life! By the way, there's also the Chinese product 'White Rabbit candy' which was found to contain dangerous levels of melamine and formaldehyde...the taint of eternal life. Regarding procreation as nature's immortality, perhaps that's why Patchface says that under the sea 'the old fish eat the young fish' -- perhaps referring to the abomination of child sacrifice --and Varys adds 'the big fish eat the little fish and I keep on paddling'...Notably, Varys has sacrificed his procreative ability -- his 'little fish' as sperm and his 'eggs' as testicles --in a black magic ritual conferring some kind of power in exchange. In both of these, rabbits are equated with procreation. The first one more than the second. Lances are just as swords often equated to the penis. So the Wild Hares tying the dead rabbits to their lances, is a little on the nose for death and life. And can we stop and say something about their names; the Wild Hares. First off the group thinks of themselves as young wolves thus probably mimicking the Winter Wolves. Secondly they are named Hares not Rabbits. Hare = hair. To add to that, heirs! Also, the image of tying the hares/hairs/heirs to the end of their lances in a dual symbol of life and death is reminiscent of Rhaegar presenting the wreath of blue roses (like a death wreath as well as a symbol of Spring) to Lyanna at the end of his Lance, thereby marking Lyanna for death -- as well as a birth. Nice one. What do you make of this: In exchange for Dany's living sacrifices, including that of her unborn son, after which she apparently forsook further fertility (much like Varys), Dany received her 'children' the dragons who seem to have inspired some kind of magical upswing in Essos. Interestingly, there is a profusion of fertility as well as eating, including cannibalistic, imagery in this passage associated with the explosion of magic, particularly greenseeing abilities ('eater of eyes can see again'). Tying into the theme of sacrifice for spiritual power and immortality, I wonder if the 'Garden of Gehane' alludes to the biblical 'Garden of Gethsemane' where Christ famously prayed, and was tempted, the night before the crucifixion (he's also described as the sacrificial Lamb of God...'lamb prey' becomes 'lamp ray' the risen Light of God). The Garden of Gethsemane is also associated with the 'Last Supper' in which Jesus demonstrated the meaning of Communion for the first time, and with Jesus's betrayal at the hands of his own 'brothers.' Agreed. Incidentally, the word 'Gethsemane' is derived from the Aramaic for 'oil press,' presumably referring to the olive oil that is obtained from the olive trees growing there. Thus, olive trees (the lamb prey equivalent) are sacrificed to produce olive oil, which can be used as lamp fuel to produce light (lamp ray). Interestingly, the olive trees growing there, like the weirwoods, are considered sacred and among the oldest in the world: Interesting. 'The Neck is the key to the kingdom.' (ACOK-Theon II)
  13. Indeed; I had actually intended to mention the Lannister motto in this context, although I neglected to do so. How do Lannisters mostly pay their debts? In blood: by inflicting 'ill and pain' (Il 'n Payne?) on others! It's no coincidence that one of their main allies in doing so is a 'Pay-ne.' Regarding the 'le bon pain' vs. 'ill pain' pairing, the Lannisters prefer stingily withholding the former while generously doling out the latter. Significantly, the King's Landing 'bread riots' took place under Lannister tenure. On attempting to flee the Red Keep, Arya encounters the two aspects of the 'pain' in the kitchen -- how fitting -- the baker and the butcher side by side: What's more, one person's 'bad pain' can be another person's 'good pain'! This is the point I was making above regarding the Lannister economy, whereby inflicting 'bad pain' on others actually serves to nurture them. Cersei, Tywin, and Tyrion all seem to feed off the 'bad pain' of others, simultaneously seizing control of the 'bread basket' of the kingdom for themselves (the Tyrell alliance which brought the fertile Reach under Lannister control, together with the decimation of the Riverlands' farming and transport infrastructure) -- who controls 'le bon pain' controls the kingdoms. Whenever they do see fit to 'feed' others, it usually takes the cynical form of 'Singer's Stew' or mushrooms in a shoe. Nice catch with Bran as a type of grain! (That one, though obvious now that you mention it, seems to have flown over my head) All types of grain are potential symbols of sacrifice and rebirth, including bran, barley, wheat, corn and rye (remember that the blackbirds or 'naughty boys' who were baked in and then flew out of the pie of the evil ditty 'sing a song of sixpence' which we discussed previously were associated with a 'pocketful of rye'). Ultimately, the sacrificial motif is linked to the seed -- it all comes back to 'the seed is strong' which I still find very mysterious (what do you think Jon Arryn meant by it?) Encompassing many of these ideas, there's the traditional folk song of John Barleycorn dating since the 16th century, from which I'm sure GRRM drew inspiration (he even includes a character 'Tom Barleycorn' in the Night's Watch). Then there's this rather ominous reference: Thanks Seams! Likewise, I always enjoy your posts. You never fail to open up rich new seams of possibility in a sometimes otherwise barren landscape . By the way, although I don't always comment, I've read and been inspired by many of your posts. Recently, for example, I came across an excellent one speculating on Patchface as Robert Baratheon, something to which I'm not partial but for which you nevertheless presented an imaginative case. It's a pity no-one replied to your post; I'm still very intrigued by Patchface...ha ha, as if I hadn't written enough on that topic... 'Carnivals' above water are one thing; 'carnivals' below another set of 'wild rides' entirely! Regarding 'lemon cakes,' I see Isobel Harper and LmL are having a bit of fun turning sweet into decidedly unsavory..! In this respect, the unwitting, budding anagrammatists might actually be closer to the mark than they had intended, since lemon cakes are a kind of oxymoron being sweet and sour at once, the sugar possibly masking the acid undertones and therefore alluding to a certain underlying conflict and/or attendant hypocrisy at work in any scene in which the lemon cakes are inserted and consumed. Indeed, 'lemon cakes' (which it occurs to me rhymes with 'snakes'!) might be a case of someone 'trying to have their cake and eat it too', in other words avoiding having to make a hard choice between two irreconcilable options or parties that inevitably results in a disappointment and having to choose one over the other anyway, even if this choice is made unconsciously or by default, e.g. by cowardice. Incidentally, the color yellow -- the color of a lemon and certain 'cloaks'-- has traditionally been associated with cowardice, treachery and 'deserters', including by GRRM explicitly: For example, I can think of at least one clear case of 'lemon cakery' that is directly related to disloyalty and 'desertion', followed by the des(s)erter in question getting her just (and rather bitter) de(s)serts! Allow me to present to you the queen of lemon cakes, Sansa Stark: The foreshadowing here is so sad. At this point in her life, Sansa still believes that she can have Lady as well as the other 'lady' in question -- Cersei. But, as Arya correctly informs her the queen is not a nice person, nor does she like wolves. So -- if it comes down to a choice between lemon cakes and Nymeria -- Arya's choice is clear. And it's not because Arya is not tempted nor has no taste for lemon cakes; her taste for integrity is just more developed than her sister's: There is a difference between 'lemons' and 'lemon cakes.' Whereas 'lemons' signify an unpleasant awakening -- represented here by Arya's experience of 'third-eye' opening which undergoes rapid progression in various forms throughout her apprenticeship at the HOBAW -- nevertheless this revelation of the lemon at the 'heart of true seeing,' as Syrio termed it, is somehow more honest than sugar-coating the truth. 'Lemon cakes' are therefore similar to lies, particularly self-deception, although the lies may be initiated by another -- lemon cake as garden-of-Eden-type-serpentine seduction! Persuading someone to become a deserter or turncloak often involves offering them an enticing dessert, which as we can see is Littlefinger's modus operandi presenting Sansa with rare fruit platters and 'sweets' in the Eyrie -- a bit of 'pie in the sky' there I'd say..! 'Lemon cakes' should never be taken lightly, as the Old Bear reminds us: So, uncompromising truth-tellers and down-to-earth pragmatists like Mormont and to a certain extent Arya (were it not for that flighty wolfbloodedness) see lemon pies for what they are. In the regrettable Trident episode, Sansa, however, doesn't want to admit the possibility of being separated from her wolf by falling in with the lemon-cake-plying Lannisters. This oversight -- basically choosing symbolic 'lemon cakes' over her own family's interests -- leads to one Lady's death essentially at the hands of another less ladylike lady. Cersei is the 'sourpuss' beneath the saccharine facade. Not recognising it in time is a deadly proposition, as Sansa tragically discovers to her detriment. We all know how the story unfolded from this point on. Sansa's aversion to face the truth lurking behind the lemon cake led to her lying by omission in front of the court, a betrayal of the Starks which in turn led to her losing her wolf. Mormont was right -- lemon cakes can kill! She got her 'just deserts or desserts' for being a 'deserter' to the clan and paid the price, leaving her with a very sour or bitter taste in her mouth. You would have thought Sansa would've learnt from this experience. Perhaps her eyes were opened regarding the Lannisters. This insight notwithstanding, she seems to be hellbent on recapitulating the 'lemon cake' pitfalls with Littlefinger, and having been groomed by him and Cersei, learnt how to ply the same trade herself on others, manipulating Robert Arryn here for example: Is the repetition of 'lemony lemony' supposed to reinforce the idea of 'le money' in connection with lemon cakes? Persuading someone to become a deserter of sorts -- here she's trying to persuade him to abandon the stronghold of the Eyrie in which he feels safe for an uncertain fate at the base of the mountain -- often involves an element of seduction as I've mentioned, or indeed bribery. This feeds back (pun intended) into our discussion of pain and payment.
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