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ravenous reader

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  1. On 9/23/2018 at 6:34 AM, Seams said:

    Sansa could never understand how two sisters, born only two years apart, could be so different. It would have been easier if Arya had been a bastard, like their half brother Jon. She even looked like Jon, with the long face and brown hair of the Starks, and nothing of their lady mother in her face or her coloring. And Jon's mother had been common, or so people whispered. Once, when she was littler, Sansa had even asked Mother if perhaps there hadn't been some mistake. Perhaps the grumkins had stolen her real sister. But Mother had only laughed and said no, Arya was her daughter and Sansa's trueborn sister, blood of their blood. Sansa could not think why Mother would want to lie about it, so she supposed it had to be true.

    (AGoT, Sansa I, Chapter 15)

    You know how GRRM likes foreshadowing? And irony? That passage about Arya being a trueborn Stark, who does not look like Sansa, is in Sansa's first POV.

    If Arya is trueborn, what if Sansa is the bastard?

    This would be an attractive prospect, were it not for Cat's POV, in which she explicitly recalls not seeing Baelish at all between the Riverrun duel and when she came to King's Landing to seek clarity about the dagger wielded by Bran's would-be assassin.  

    The only way the OP's thesis could make sense, is if one argues that Cat is an unreliable narrator in the manner of Sansa's self-deceptive 'Unkiss', which might be stretching credulity.

    Sansa betrayed her family, but that doesn't mean she's not genetically a Stark.


    AGOT Cat VII

    That fight was over almost as soon as it began. Brandon was a man grown, and he drove Littlefinger all the way across the bailey and down the water stair, raining steel on him with every step, until the boy was staggering and bleeding from a dozen wounds. "Yield!" he called, more than once, but Petyr would only shake his head and fight on, grimly. When the river was lapping at their ankles, Brandon finally ended it, with a brutal backhand cut that bit through Petyr's rings and leather into the soft flesh below the ribs, so deep that Catelyn was certain that the wound was mortal. He looked at her as he fell and murmured "Cat" as the bright blood came flowing out between his mailed fingers. She thought she had forgotten that.

    That was the last time she had seen his face … until the day she was brought before him in King's Landing.


  2. On 9/27/2018 at 11:51 PM, Lord Varys said:

    Bran also sees and speaks through the Winterfell weirwood, so he, too, can reach through the Wall. And at this point he doesn't have any visible roots.

    From this observation, one may conclude that the magical connection bypassing the ward across the Wall involves harnessing that provided by the subterranean shortcut of @Wizz-The-Smith's hollow hills, independent of trees, as he's radically suggested. Bloodraven himself hints as much, when he refers to Bran learning to see 'beyond the trees' themselves.

    Recall that Brandon the Builder -- who is suggested to have been a greenseer -- commanded at least three of the four elemental magics, namely of earth (stone), water, and air (wind). Thus, trees are not needed. They are a gateway, but not essential to magic per se.


    Brandon the Builder sought the aid of the children while raising the Wall. He was taken to a secret place to meet with them, but could not at first understand their speech, which was described as sounding like the song of stones in a brook, or the wind through leaves, or the rain upon the water. The manner in which Brandon learned to comprehend the speech of the children is a tale in itself, and not worth repeating here. But it seems clear that their speech originated, or drew inspiration from, the sounds they heard every day.

    In case it's not obvious, 'song' is a euphemism for magic. I've referred to this faculty as 'the killing word,' in an homage to 'Dune.'


    Also, if Bloodraven talks through Mormont's raven and had it involve itself in Jon's election - not to mention the entire direwolf-and-stag charade early on in AGoT - then apparently greenseers can make use of their skinchanging powers beyond the Wall while non-greenseeing-skinchangers can't.

    This makes sense. To this I'd add, that only greenseers located underground can circumvent the ward. 


    Also, what about Jon's dream from Bran back in ACoK when he was north of the Wall and Bran still south of the Wall?

    To date, I have not yet read a convincing account of what exactly happened there, though there have been oh-so-many threads claiming to deal with the subject!

    I see one of two scenarios being plausible:

    1)  Either Bran contacted Jon in real time from ACOK in the crypts, using the subterranean route to magically bypass the ward across the Wall...

    2) Or Bran contacted Jon from the future (i.e. Bran's ADWD to Jon's ACOK), when they would've both been on the same side of the Wall.

    Personally, I favor the latter, though I realize time hijinks are not everyone's cup of tea. The clue for this interpretation lies in the insertion by GRRM of the weirwood in the vision growing in rapid fast-forward before Jon's eyes, which is a marker of time passing in the forward direction with respect to the viewer; analogous to the trees Bran saw in his greenseeing vision,  shrinking and dwindling into death, the further he went into the past.


    Or the wights targeting the important leaders in the Watch? Surely it must be the Others/magic in them that directed them to targeting them.

    And how is that one can carry a wight through the Wall but not fly a dragon across the Wall? Shouldn't the wight react the way Silverwing there and actively try to get not through the Wall, like Silverwing didn't want to follow her rider's directions?

    Great observation. To my knowledge, no one has yet answered this question!

    Perhaps, again, the answer lies in that the dragons were controlled by their rider above the Wall (dragonriding/bonding as metaphor for skinchanging), whereas the wights may have been animated by a force, likely greenseers, operating from underground.


    You mean like the Harmund II did with the Drowned God? Never thought about, but it doesn't seem to be likely that stuff like that happened.

    To me it seems the First Men practices are a very different form of religion, one that didn't care much about prayers and the like. They have no priests, no caste to observe degrees of piety. With them no longer sacrificing, even devoted followers of the old gods don't seem to be doing much with their religion aside from assembling in the godswood for certain rituals.

    Well, they could always fly around the Wall. But it really puts things into perspective. If the wanted to fly to the Heart of Winter for an air attack it would most likely not work by flying above the Wall.

    Not sure what you want your point there is?

    Lord Alaric isn't cold. He just pretends he is. He is like Ned aside from the fact that his facial expression froze one winter while he was playing the lord.

    I recommend everyone read @Voice's excellent thread, in which he posits that Orell's/Varamyr's eagle was zapped by the magic ward in the Wall, and not by Melisandre at all. This might be analogous to what would happen to a dragon bonded to a rider flying over the Wall (without being granted permission to cross by the Black Gate, who it would seem is the authority tasked with controlling the magical-mundane border crossing -- think of it as a toll gate --across the hinge)!


  3. @Seams said:


    ...the youngest and favorite child of Alysanne, Gael, was nicknamed The Winter Child. I suspect that Gael was the child of Alysanne's lover, whoever he might have been, not of King Jaehaerys. (Although I have also wondered whether Alysanne had a baby while she was up north and left it to be raised by a noble family, ala Jon Snow.) Gael supposedly drowned herself after being seduced and abandoned by a traveling singer. To me, this sounds like an Ashara echo. There may also be a Bael allusion, as Gael rhymes with Bael.

    The next time we see the Queenscrown is when Bran, Meera, Jojen and Hodor spend a night there after deciding against sleeping in the ruined inn nearby. What if this is a clue about why the King's Guard members were at the Tower of Joy?

    For the purposes of his symbolic relations, GRRM often employs inversions. Thus, at the Tower of Joy the hostages (Lyanna and baby Jon) are on the inside of the tower, with the savior/s (Ned aided by Howland Reed) on the outside; whereas at Queenscrown the hostages (the silent old man and adult Jon) are on the outside, with the savior/s (Bran plus the Reeds) on the inside! Similarly, Jon is moving South, in contrast to Bran who is journeying North, with their paths fatefully crossing at Queenscrown. Bran goes under the Wall, while Jon climbs over it, etc.  

    This kind of inversion is in line with what you've already identified on the 'Upstairs Downstairs' and 'Direwolves don't Cry' threads, in which one character's ascent is matched with another character's descent. 

    The equivalent of the Kingsguard are therefore the Wildlings, who increasingly view Jon with suspicion, and advocate killing him. This would dovetail with the 'heretic' view that Lyanna and Jon were meant to be sacrificed by the Kingsguard on Rhaegar's orders in some kind of dragon-hatching, second-lifing blood magic ritual.

    Accordingly, the execution scene of the old man, and the impending threat against Jon, reads like a ritual sacrifice, complete with the Magnar of Thenn uttering words in the old tongue, echoing all the other magical incantations with which GRRM so frequently plays -- culminating in a lightning intervention.


    Perhaps they could have stayed at a place nearby (another inn?) but decided it was too vulnerable.

    On a thread focused on the old man killed at that inn by Ygritte, I shared some ideas about the Queenscrown and the nearby inn.

    My later thought was that the silent old, white-haired man at the inn represents Jon's direwolf, Ghost, and that his death is a sort of Aslan-type sacrifice to the White Witch, Ygritte. If the old man represents Ghost, however, he is part of a chain of symbols because my reading of the AGoT scene where Jon is the only one to hear the white wolf pup is that the white pup is the rebirth of the dead mother wolf, the one with the antler in her throat. The Lyanna imagery seems pretty strong.

     I am on board with @Voice's reasoning, as set forth in his thread 'Lyanna Stark A Gift from Old Gods.'


    I know this sounds tenuous to anyone who doesn't read the books for their hidden symbolic meanings, but I think the gist of this is that Ygritte is killing "Lyanna," but at a nearby building or ruin, not at the tower. "Lyanna" makes that sacrifice (although the old man does not seem entirely resigned to this fate) so that Jon can escape.

    If this is a correct interpretation, maybe Lyanna's bed of blood was not at the Tower of Joy, but was at a nearby ruin of some kind, maybe an inn.

    Jon's escape from the wildlings is also facilitated by Bran's wolf, Summer. Is there an equivalent for Bran's wolf in the Tower of Joy scenario?

    Ned plays the role of the wolf who rescues his nephew in the eleventh hour ('hour of the wolf..?!), but is too late to save Lyanna. 


    Maybe this is Ashara, taking Lyanna's baby to safety while Lyanna is dying. I admit, this is largely speculation: if Ghost is Lyanna, then Summer might be the other mysterious young woman connected to the Rhaegar arc.

    Does the fact that Bran and his traveling companions do not choose to sleep at the inn, thereby saving their own lives from a wildling attack, also become an echo for the Tower of Joy scene? There are four people in the Queenscrown tower - Bran and three people essentially assigned to guard him, as Robb's heir. Are Hodor, Jojen and Meera the equivalent of the three King's Guard members?

    There's still a lot to puzzle out in these scenarios but I think the Queenscrown could offer a very useful set of hints about the Tower of Joy.

    I agree.

  4. On 8/31/2018 at 4:25 PM, Ckram said:

    @SiSt, @The Weirwoods Eyes, @kissdbyfire, thanks for the answers. I was well aware of the meaning of "weir" as in "dam." In the books translated into my language the name wierwood is something like damwood, and I consider it a successful translation case.

    However, I am trying to focus on the other meaning of the expression, in the sense that "weirwood = werewood" would imply that white trees could have shapeshifting habilities, such as a werewolf or lychanthrope.

    As a non-native speaker, I do not usually bet that the solutions to the book mysteries are hidden behind English ambiguities, wordplays, and puns. They may be, I just do not like the idea they are - especially since foreign versions would never succeed make a satisfactory translation. However, in this case, the unfolding is indeed interesting, regardless of the linguistic question.

    When it comes to unpicking GRRM's wordplay, it's important to realize that equivocation is the name of his game (as evidenced by the fact that when asked a direct question, he inevitably gives a non-committal answer) -- i.e. all meanings of any given word or phrase may apply at once; in other words, the meaning is overlayed. So, posters getting their knickers in a twist, self-righteously insisting on one meaning over another, or rigidly privileging a literal in favor of a metaphorical interpretation, or vice versa, are usually missing the plot. 

    That said, I think the weirs are first and foremost a nod to Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead. I am also convinced the direwolves, the crown of ice blue roses, the ripples on a windless night, the turtle/terrapin mythology, Dark Star, etc. are all Grateful Dead-inspired references. 

    GRRM admits to listening to their albums a lot, and concedes he always has lyrics/songs of theirs 'rattling around his head', so I imagine when he has writer's block, he pops on one of their records in the background, and the vivid images inevitably seep out onto the page, albeit in GRRM's reworked form!


    In fact, if weirwood are lycanthrope plants, it would mean that they once had the human form, or even that it has the ability to take human form even now.

    As for the first scenario, I have in mind a South American indigenous legend about a species of tree that would have first sprouted from the body of a woman murdered for having relations with a warrior from an enemy tribe.

    As for the second scenario, I imagine that a weirwood that takes the human form would be a kind of monstrous hecatoncheir, or a single human body with thousands of minds.

    Following this same line of thinking, I wonder if martial pines and sentinel trees also would not be plants capable of assuming a mammalian form, or even if they were people in the past and now are "resting" in a tree shape.

    In short, it leads me to think the Old Gods may actually have existed and become trees. And that the green men of the Isle of Faces may have turned into the very weirwoods on the island, but can come back to human if somebody or something "wakes" them.

    That South American legend you mentioned sounds interesting. Can you tell us more about the one you have in mind? 

    It's possible that, as @LmL and his fellow 'mythheads' have suggested, Nissa Nissa may have been a Child of the Forest, whose sacrifice to the trees served as a door or portal, facilitating access to the weirwood magic by 'man' -- by which is meant humans in general, starting with a very specific human greenseer, whom we may interpret as the Azor Ahai figure, the treacherous lover-warrior from another tribe.

    The signature of this pivotal relationship Ur-drama is everywhere in ASOIAF. GRRM has said that ultimately he is writing about the human heart in conflict, so while fungi, meteors, aliens, and the like are undoubtedly of interest to explore, the importance of the human relationships for setting things in motion should not be overlooked. The central dialectic for GRRM in my opinion revolves around betrayal (oathkeeping vs. oathbreaking).


    Brandon the Builder sought the aid of the children while raising the Wall. He was taken to a secret place to meet with them, but could not at first understand their speech, which was described as sounding like the song of stones in a brook, or the wind through leaves, or the rain upon the water. The manner in which Brandon learned to comprehend the speech of the children is a tale in itself, and not worth repeating here. 

    As I and other theorists such as @Voice have noted, 'speech' or 'song' of the children is a euphemism for magic spells, so this passage is referring to the acquisition of magic by the progenitor of House Stark (song of stone, wind, and water covers three of the four elemental magics).  

    What would you say was 'the manner' via which he gained access to the magic? And why is this manner 'not worth repeating'?

  5. 3 hours ago, Voice said:


    A very conventional analysis.  :cheers:

    Mayhaps one day you will invent a round disc that will fit this heavy barrow of mine. 

    Seriously though, westeros.org is missing out if they don't start marketing these sorts of insights on rubber stamps.

    Jon = Blue Flower, in particular, would be perfect for stamps and stencils, coloring books, flash cards, stuffed toys...

    Bran is the blue flower, the chink in the wall, the bitter bloom. 'The things I do for love' -- I'll explain it later...

  6. On 3/20/2018 at 10:16 AM, Pride of Driftmark said:


    Red! The Blood of Angry Men! Black! The Dark of Ages Past! Red! A World about to Dawn! Black! THE NIGHT THAT ENDS AT LAST!

    -ABC Cafe/Red and Black, Les Miserables

    Welcome to our Poetry thread, @Pride of Driftmark -- I like it!


    A Storm of Swords - Tyrion IV

     "The colors are strange," he commented as he turned the blade in the sunlight. Most Valyrian steel was a grey so dark it looked almost black, as was true here as well. But blended into the folds was a red as deep as the grey. The two colors lapped over one another without ever touching, each ripple distinct, like waves of night and blood upon some steely shore. "How did you get this patterning? I've never seen anything like it."

    "Nor I, my lord," said the armorer. "I confess, these colors were not what I intended, and I do not know that I could duplicate them. Your lord father had asked for the crimson of your House, and it was that color I set out to infuse into the metal. But Valyrian steel is stubborn. These old swords remember, it is said, and they do not change easily. I worked half a hundred spells and brightened the red time and time again, but always the color would darken, as if the blade was drinking the sun from it. 


    On 3/21/2018 at 7:17 PM, HoodedCrow said:

    You might add the Turtle Soup confessional to the noxious soups, although it was not lethal. Tyrion was risking death by mocking.

    Hello fellow Corvid; welcome to the Poetry thread. The turtle soup confessional is a great example, uniting mocking and cess pool motifs, my favorites...  Pity it only took place in the show and not in the text, but at least D&D got the gist of it, giving GRRM the nod with their take on the 'bowl of brown'...




    "Rats wouldn't eat my mother's cooking. There was this pot shop, though. No one ever made a bowl o' brown like them. So thick you could stand your spoon up in the bowl, with chunks of this and that. You ever have yourself a bowl o' brown, Halfman?"

    "A time or two. Singer's stew, I call it."


  7. I haven't read the whole thread, so sorry if it's been covered -- the literal castrations as well as symbolic emasculations are very important. I can't offer a definitive exegesis, but @Crowfood's Daughter has related the castration motif to the Fisher King wound, the 'dolorous stroke.'  

    We get references to being 'unmanned' as early as the Prologue, in which that word is repeated twice, so it's key. Further examples include Theon, Varys, other eunuchs such as the Unsullied, Cersei's penis envy directed vs her brothers, viciously cutting them down to size, (not so nimble) Dick who is decapitated with a morningstar, and Yellow Dick's gruesome fate, one might saying 'biting his own tail' like the dragon in the ouroboros, among others.  Then, more controversially, what about Daenerys who magically lobotomised her husband, got him to bite a pillow (in an inversion of what he used to do to her), and then usurped his position, bells, braids and all..?  Not to mention Tormund's missing member jokes, and the subtext of all the lost and broken swords and swordhands.

    GRRM has protested that he's Into 'boobies not wieners', contradicting South Park's insinuation that he's 'obsessed with wieners' -- is that why he's apparently so obsessed with removing them..?

  8. 14 hours ago, Lollygag said:

    I think shit and piss actually deserve a through examination. Can’t imagine why that’s not happened yet!

    @Pain killer Jane and I have been pioneers, endeavouring for some time to engage the fandom in shitty discourse -- but LmL persists in censoring our efforts, in favor of more savory topics, LOL! It has become a running joke on twitter...

    It's sometimes uncomfortable for fans to acknowledge how GRRM's work does not always make for pleasant, nor especially 'politically correct' reading, a case in point being his obsession with excrement and his treatment of prostitution. People on twitter have even been cowed into using the politically correct term 'sex worker', to avoid a dissection of GRRM's explicit use of the term 'whore' -- which poetically has been linked to 'hoar', with implications for the Long Night, as @Darry Man has shown. See his excellent thread, showcasing his original idea, 'Where Whores Go':


    I suspect old traditions one hasn’t been able to move past for some reason are portrayed as shit and piss sometimes when those traditions are things one would wish to move on and not stick around. As such, the weirwood being a container of the past might be likened to a privy, especially if that past isn’t so pleasant and not as gone as one would wish.

    Think of a Port-a-Potty at festival times. :ack::shocked::wacko:

    I love your explanation, Lolly!  The weirwood remembers. It is the rejected, yet indelible, Shadow of the collective unconscious, as described by Jung. GRRM is alluding to this idea, e.g. in the choice of the name "Riverrun", which, as @Daendrew followed by @sweetsunray have highlighted, is a reference to the first word of James Joyce's classic 'Finnegans Wake', linking up with the last sentence of the novel, to give:

    a way a lone a last a loved a long the / riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.

    I won't parse the whole passage, suffice to note that among the many layered meanings of 'commodious', a commode is a toilet, and 'commodious recirculation' is therefore a description of the polluted river as a sewer system -- with the ultimate message being that the vicious cycle of history has much in common with a cess pool, in which we all float like turds, carried by the current.

    Think of the sludgy brown mudflats fed by the river at the Quiet Isle, which receives, and regurgitates all things, corpses and gems alike (Seams' buries/rubies wordplay applies).  Not coincidentally, the Azor Ahai trickster, naughty greenseer figure, Tyrion is Master of Sewers, served with ingeniously unblocking the 'bowels' of Casterly Rock. Make of that what you will.

    GRRM is also making a comment on how humans frequently treat other human beings like shit. He is a cynical romantic -- like Jaime.

  9. On 6/13/2018 at 11:12 AM, Seams said:

    I think it's probably connected to the "shit for honor" phrase associated with Jaime. He kicks over his slop bucket when Catelyn comes to see him in his cell in Riverrrun. Ser Arthur Dayne Ser Ilyn Payne has a similar bucket in his cell beneath the Red Keep.

    Edit: The House Arryn motto is "As High As Honor," providing a further hint about the moon door / outhouse door and "shit for honor" connection.

    It may also imply a "goose that laid the golden egg" allusion - we get a lot of eggs in ASOIAF, and the ability to lay those eggs would be valuable. It all comes together, then, when Ser Hyle Hunt helps Brienne meet Nimble Dick Crabb at a place called The Stinking Goose. (The Dunk and Egg story, the Mystery Knight, also involves a valuable egg obtained via a privy shaft.)

    All good points -- but why specifically is the weirwood/weirnet compared to a privy or cess pool? 

    On 6/13/2018 at 4:54 PM, Azarial said:

    All of this now has me wondering how it ties in the name Jon, since Jon Arryn was supposed to be honorable but John is a nickname for a toilet.

    Life mimics art -- it's called 'the John' because John Harington, the ancestor of Kit Harington who plays Jon in the show, invented the flush toilet!

  10. On 6/8/2018 at 3:28 AM, Bitterblooms said:

    I think in caricatures of outhouses they are drawn with crescent moons on the door 


    Edit: oops, now I see someone has beaten me to it :)

    This idea of the weirwood/weirnet as privy, cesspool, or brothel is very interesting. There is an abundance of symbolism supporting these associations (despite such compelling evidence, my observation thereof, now bolstered by @zandru's superb find, has aroused controversy among the more prudish and/or politically correct). What message is GRRM trying to convey by doing this, do you think?

  11. 17 hours ago, zandru said:

    Maybe this is out of place in all the seamy sexual innuendo, but in Game of Thrones, Tyrion 5


     A narrow weirwood door stood between two slender marble pillars, a crescent moon carved in the white wood.

    It's the ever popular "Moon Door" aka The King's Justice. But ... the description also matches the traditional outhouse, or privy.

    Why is that reminiscent of a privy (besides the suggestive fact that it's called a *moon* door...)?

  12. On 5/10/2018 at 9:12 PM, Lost Melnibonean said:

    "Why, Your Grace, I'm the Kinslayer," the fool said.

    "It's Kingslayer, fool of a fool," Renly said, and the hall rang with laughter.

    Catelyn II, Clash 22

     Jaime will be a kinslayer before ASOIAF ends, when he slays his sister and fulfills the valonqar prophecy.

    Perhaps Jaime's already a kinslayer...


    The brazier warmed a chamber at the bottom of a shaft where half a dozen tunnels met. On the floor he'd found a scuffed mosaic of the three-headed dragon of House Targaryen done in tiles of black and red. I know you, Kingslayer, the beast seemed to be saying. I have been here all the time, waiting for you to come to me. 

    The beast *seemed* to be saying...because Jaime misheard the dragon...who said, "I know you KIN-slayer"! It's waiting for him to come, and it knows him, because he's one of them. If Jaime is Aerys's bastard, then he might be a Waters instead of a Lannister -- adding another level of irony to Jaime's impatience with encountering the gaoler Rennifer Longwaters with his longwinded tales detailing his drop of dragon's blood.

    From a psychoanalytic perspective, the subterranean descent -- i.e. critical stage of the Hero's Journey -- is quintessentially a quest for self-knowledge. Down there, Jaime is encountering clues to none other than his own identity. 

  13. 14 hours ago, Seams said:

    Oral and R'hllor.

    Orell -- R'hllor...sounds like a kind of  pun/anagram? Also -- Perhaps unintentional, yet nevertheless pertinent, your 'Oral' pun! The bottomless hunger of some of the 'demigods' -- think of the burnt remains of children found in the mouth of the weirwood, or Bran and co passing through the mouth of the weirwood (Black Gate) as if they are being consumed.


    Orell is the wildling skinchanger who is killed by Jon Snow. His body is thrown into a crevice so the shadow cats can crack his bones, preventing creation of another white walker.

    Orell's human consciousness goes into his eagle, though, and survives there with great anger toward Jon Snow. Melisandre claims credit for slaying the eagle, which bursts into flames while flying above Stannis' army at Castle Black.

    What I'm thinking is that a number of people in the story are sort of demigods - they keep coming back until both their body AND their human consciousness (spirit?) are slain. This might fit with Luddagain's idea of matching up major characters and Norse deities. I think this demigod status might match up with king's blood, which would explain why Melisandre needs king's blood to perform her strongest magic - she may be making thralls out of these demigods, forcing them to do her bidding. (Or, at least, she is eliminating foes.)

    Was it necessary for Jon Snow and Melisandre to team up in order to defeat Orell? Is a mortal hero necessary to kill the body of a demigod while another demigod (sorcerer? witch?) has to kill the consciousness?

    Yes, I would agree teamwork will be necessary. Perhaps Jon doing the brawny ground- legwork, teaming up with Bran the legless doing the brainy weirnet battle on the virtual 'flying' plane (I also think this final battle will entail skinchanging a dragon). 

    I prefer @Voice's theory that the magic in the Wall, not Melisandre, zapped the eagle by disrupting the skinchanger-host bond, which might be a hint that the war in the mind is fought over a third party's mind (PS @By Odin's Beard, this is how one acknowledges the posters who've inspired you, by citing sources, instead of co-opting ideas and passing them off as your own...). 

  14. On 3/17/2018 at 8:10 AM, Corvo the Crow said:

    Anyone has any idea where the name Lyarra comes from?

    Lyarra, Lyanna, Lya, Lysa, Alyssa, Nissa, Melissa, Me-Lisa-'ndre (have I forgotten any?) are all, in my opinion, inspired by GRRM's real-life love Lisa Tuttle (from which the Tully name also derives) who jilted him for another man ('mystery man X' -- I'd be ever so grateful if someone could supply his name!), hence inspiring various permutations of the signature love triangle which peppers the pages ad nauseum.

    If you're into puns, as I am, then you'll be willing to entertain the compelling possibility that it's also a wordplay on 'LIES/LIAR' or 'LYRE', given GRRM's unusual pronunciation of the 'Y'/'I' as 'aI' instead of the ubiquitous 'I:'.

  15. 20 hours ago, hiemal said:

     Dolorous Edd's Corpse Wine mishmashed with Hornwood Lady's Fingers.

    Hmmm- soup is an alchemical process. Bowl o' Wildfire?

    Exactly. In alchemy, the first stage 'nigredo' is about cooking up a dark night of the soul...it sounds like 'soup of the evening', wouldn't you say..?! :P


    In alchemy, nigredo, or blackness, means putrefaction or decomposition. Many alchemists believed that as a first step in the pathway to the philosopher's stone, all alchemical ingredients had to be cleansed and cooked extensively to a uniform black matter.[1]

    In analytical psychology, the term became a metaphor 'for the dark night of the soul, when an individual confronts the shadow within' (from wikipedia)


    20 hours ago, hiemal said:

    Speaking of Frost:

    Mending Wall

    Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
    That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
    And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
    And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
    The work of hunters is another thing:
    I have come after them and made repair
    Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
    But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
    To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
    No one has seen them made or heard them made,
    But at spring mending-time we find them there.
    I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
    And on a day we meet to walk the line
    And set the wall between us once again.
    We keep the wall between us as we go.
    To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
    And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
    We have to use a spell to make them balance:
    "Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
    We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
    Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
    One on a side. It comes to little more:
    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 neighbours."
    Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
    If I could put a notion in his head:
    "Why do they make good neighbours? 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 offence.
    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, and I'd rather
    He said it for himself. I see him there
    Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
    In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
    He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
    Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
    He will not go behind his father's saying,
    And he likes having thought of it so well
    He says again, "Good fences make good neighbours."

    That poem is one of my favorites. @Voice likes it too -- he has queried what the Wall is 'walling in or walling out' exactly, 'heretically' questioning why it was built in the first place.  Mostly, I love this poem because Frost is so disingenuous, so walled-off from the truth of himself being the one who loves a wall. 

    20 hours ago, hiemal said:
    On another note:
    Have I pitched you the idea that Melisandre is a GRRM'esque mishmash of the Iliad's Cassandra and Amelia Bedilia? Poetry and children's nonsense. Not entirely unlike Patchface his nennymoans.

    No, I'm unfamiliar with Amelia Bedilia. Pray tell!

  16. 1 minute ago, The Fattest Leech said:

    Ya know what, it just might be that one. And wow, that was quick!

    Thank you RR :cheers:

    Yeah well, me and the trees have a long acquaintance, and this happens to be one of my fave quotes.  Normally, I'm the devil's secretary, but for you I'll make an exception! :cheers:

    P.S. I love the connection of a song to a promise to a child -- and a payment owing to the trees.

  17. 3 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

    Ack! I need help. (silence, fools!)

    Anyway, can someone help this ol'gal out with a quote? Somewhere in the books, probably the World book, there is a sentence or two that explains in some type of wording that the trees hate fire.

    It may say the trees fear flames, or some jamble jumble like that, but that is the essence of the text.

    Thanks :cheers:


    Yes, I have spent about three days now on the search site :blink:

    Hi Leech.  Not this one..?


    A Storm of Swords - Arya VIII

    "She will leave on the morrow, with us," Lord Beric assured the little woman. "We're taking her to Riverrun, to her mother."

    "Nay," said the dwarf. "You're not. The black fish holds the rivers now. If it's the mother you want, seek her at the Twins. For there's to be a wedding." She cackled again. "Look in your fires, pink priest, and you will see. Not now, though, not here, you'll see nothing here. This place belongs to the old gods still . . . they linger here as I do, shrunken and feeble but not yet dead. Nor do they love the flames. For the oak recalls the acorn, the acorn dreams the oak, the stump lives in them both. And they remember when the First Men came with fire in their fists." She drank the last of the wine in four long swallows, flung the skin aside, and pointed her stick at Lord Beric. "I'll have my payment now. I'll have the song you promised me."

    And so Lem woke Tom Sevenstrings beneath his furs, and brought him yawning to the fireside with his woodharp in hand. "The same song as before?" he asked.

    "Oh, aye. My Jenny's song. Is there another?"


  18. On 3/10/2018 at 3:32 PM, hiemal said:

    Lewis Carrol's mock turtle ode (House Estermont of Greenshit?)

    Beautiful Soup, so rich and green,
    Waiting in a hot tureen!
    Who for such dainties would not stoop?
    Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
    Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!

    Beau--ootiful Soo--oop!
    Beau--ootiful Soo--oop!
    Soo--oop of the e--e--evening,
    Beautiful, beautiful Soup!

    Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish,
    Game or any other dish?
    Who would not give all else for two
    Pennyworth only of Beautiful Soup?
    Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?

    Beau--ootiful Soo--oop!
    Beau--ootiful Soo--oop!
    Soo--oop of the e--e--evening,
    Beautiful, beauti--FUL SOUP!

    Hi Hiemal!  'Soup of the Evening...' LOL.  Got me thinking about all those sinister bowls of soup associated with death:



    A Storm of Swords - Jon VI

    The one-armed armorer was hard headed, tough, and well seasoned in war. Ser Wynton Stout, on the other hand . . . well, he had been a good man once, everyone agreed, but he had been eighty years a ranger, and both strength and wits were gone. Once he'd fallen asleep at supper and almost drowned in a bowl of pea soup.



    A Clash of Kings - Arya IX

    All morning she watched the Bloody Mummers strip the dead of their valuables and drag the corpses to the Flowstone Yard, where a pyre was laid to dispose of them. Shagwell the Fool hacked the heads off two dead knights and pranced about the castle swinging them by the hair and making them talk. "What did you die of?" one head asked. "Hot weasel soup," replied the second.



    A Clash of Kings - Arya IX

    Then she heard the ugly sound of Rorge's voice. "Cook," he shouted. "We'll take your bloody broth." Arya let go of the spoon in dismay. I never told him to bring them. Rorge wore his iron helmet, with the nasal that half hid his missing nose. Jaqen and Biter followed him into the kitchen.

    "The bloody broth isn't bloody ready yet," the cook said. "It needs to simmer. We only now put in the onions and—"

    "Shut your hole, or I'll shove a spit up your ass and we'll baste you for a turn or two. I said broth and I said now."



    A Storm of Swords - Arya IX

    If I jumped over the side, the river would wash me away before the Hound even knew that I was gone. She looked back over a shoulder, and saw Sandor Clegane struggling with his frightened horse, trying to calm him. She would never have a better chance to get away from him. I might drown, though. Jon used to say that she swam like a fish, but even a fish might have trouble in this river. Still, drowning might be better than King's Landing. She thought about Joffrey and crept up to the prow. The river was murky brown with mud and lashed by rain, looking more like soup than water. Arya wondered how cold it would be. I couldn't get much wetter than I am now. She put a hand on the rail.



    A Storm of Swords - Jaime III

    At Maidenpool, Lord Mooton's red salmon still flew above the castle on its hill, but the town walls were deserted, the gates smashed, half the homes and shops burned or plundered. They saw nothing living but a few feral dogs that went slinking away at the sound of their approach. The pool from which the town took its name, where legend said that Florian the Fool had first glimpsed Jonquil bathing with her sisters, was so choked with rotting corpses that the water had turned into a murky grey-green soup.

    Jaime took one look and burst into song. "Six maids there were in a spring-fed pool . . ."

    'Grey-green soup' -- Green sea/green see pun...Symbolically, drowning in the river, pool or soup, is like 'going into the trees.'  Moreover, the uncomfortable truth or 'terrible knowledge' that the weirnet is nourishing to others who 'drink of that green fountain' of knowledge fed by sacrifice.



    A Dance with Dragons - Tyrion V

    "The conquerors did not believe either, Hugor Hill," said Ysilla. "The men of Volantis and Valyria hung Garin in a golden cage and made mock as he called upon his Mother to destroy them. But in the night the waters rose and drowned them, and from that day to this they have not rested. They are down there still beneath the water, they who were once the lords of fire. Their cold breath rises from the murk to make these fogs, and their flesh has turned as stony as their hearts."

    The stump of Tyrion's nose was itching fiercely. He gave it a scratch. The old woman may be right. This place is no good. I feel as if I am back in the privy again, watching my father die. He would go mad as well if he had to spend his days in this grey soup whilst his flesh and bones turned to stone.



    A Dance with Dragons - The Prince of Winterfell

    The mists were so thick that only the nearest trees were visible; beyond them stood tall shadows and faint lights. Candles flickered beside the wandering path and back amongst the trees, pale fireflies floating in a warm grey soup. It felt like some strange underworld, some timeless place between the worlds, where the damned wandered mournfully for a time before finding their way down to whatever hell their sins had earned them. Are we all dead, then? Did Stannis come and kill us in our sleep? Is the battle yet to come, or has it been fought and lost?



    A Game of Thrones - Prologue

    "It was the cold," Gared said with iron certainty. "I saw men freeze last winter, and the one before, when I was half a boy. Everyone talks about snows forty foot deep, and how the ice wind comes howling out of the north, but the real enemy is the cold. It steals up on you quieter than Will, and at first you shiver and your teeth chatter and you stamp your feet and dream of mulled wine and nice hot fires. It burns, it does. Nothing burns like the cold. But only for a while. Then it gets inside you and starts to fill you up, and after a while you don't have the strength to fight it. It's easier just to sit down or go to sleep. They say you don't feel any pain toward the end. First you go weak and drowsy, and everything starts to fade, and then it's like sinking into a sea of warm milk. Peaceful, like."

    "Such eloquence, Gared," Ser Waymar observed. "I never suspected you had it in you."



    A Clash of Kings - Jon V

    "As you wish." Mormont lifted the flap of the tent and Qhorin Halfhand stooped and stepped through.

    Edd stood over the kettle swishing the eggs about with a spoon. "I envy those eggs," he said. "I could do with a bit of boiling about now. If the kettle were larger, I might jump in. Though I would sooner it were wine than water. There are worse ways to die than warm and drunk. I knew a brother drowned himself in wine once. It was a poor vintage, though, and his corpse did not improve it."

    "You drank the wine?"

    "It's an awful thing to find a brother dead. You'd have need of a drink as well, Lord Snow." Edd stirred the kettle and added a pinch more nutmeg.



    A Dance with Dragons - Jon X

    Ser Malegorn offered his arm, and Queen Selyse took it stiffly. Her other hand settled on her daughter's shoulder. The royal ducklings fell in behind them as they made their way across the yard, marching to the music of the bells on the fool's hat. "Under the sea the mermen feast on starfish soup, and all the serving men are crabs," Patchface proclaimed as they went. "I know, I know, oh, oh, oh."

    Melisandre's face darkened. "That creature is dangerous. Many a time I have glimpsed him in my flames. Sometimes there are skulls about him, and his lips are red with blood."



    A Dance with Dragons - The Iron Suitor

    Maester Kerwin pressed the dagger deep. This time it hurt, but blood welled up as well as pus, blood so dark that it looked black in the lantern light.

    Blood was good. Victarion grunted in approval. He sat there unflinching as the maester dabbed and squeezed and cleaned the pus away with squares of soft cloth boiled in vinegar. By the time he finished, the clean water in his basin had become a scummy soup. The sight alone would sicken any man. "Take that filth and go." Victarion nodded at the dusky woman. "She can bind me up."

    Even after the boy had fled, the stink remained. Of late, there was no escaping it. The maester had suggested that the wound might best be drained up on deck, amidst fresh air and sunlight, but Victarion forbade it. This was not something that his crew could see. They were half a world away from home, too far to let them see that their iron captain had begun to rust.



    A Storm of Swords - Tyrion IV

    "You don't." Tyrion turned his horse. "Give him three days, then inform him that Hamish the Harper has broken his arm. Tell him that his clothes will never serve for court, so he must be fitted for new garb at once. He'll come with you quick enough." He grimaced. "You may want his tongue, I understand it's made of silver. The rest of him should never be found."

    Bronn grinned. "There's a pot shop I know in Flea Bottom makes a savory bowl of brown. All kinds of meat in it, I hear."

    "Make certain I never eat there." Tyrion spurred to a trot. He wanted a bath, and the hotter the better.



    A Dance with Dragons - Bran III

    "For the next step. For you to go beyond skinchanging and learn what it means to be a greenseer."

    "The trees will teach him," said Leaf. She beckoned, and another of the singers padded forward, the white-haired one that Meera had named Snowylocks. She had a weirwood bowl in her hands, carved with a dozen faces, like the ones the heart trees wore. Inside was a white paste, thick and heavy, with dark red veins running through it. "You must eat of this," said Leaf. She handed Bran a wooden spoon.

    The boy looked at the bowl uncertainly. "What is it?"



    A Storm of Swords - Tyrion VIII

    His fingers moved across the strings of the high harp, filling the throne room with sweet sound. "From his throne of bones the Lord of Death looked down on the murdered lord," Hamish began, and went on to tell how Renly, repenting his attempt to usurp his nephew's crown, had defied the Lord of Death himself and crossed back to the land of the living to defend the realm against his brother.

    And for this poor Symon wound up in a bowl of brown, Tyrion mused.



    A Dance with Dragons - Tyrion XII

    "Your mother's cooking?"

    "Rats wouldn't eat my mother's cooking. There was this pot shop, though. No one ever made a bowl o' brown like them. So thick you could stand your spoon up in the bowl, with chunks of this and that. You ever have yourself a bowl o' brown, Halfman?"

    "A time or two. Singer's stew, I call it."



    A Dance with Dragons - Davos I

    "I am, my lord."

    "A pity. Gella's not. Homely women make the best wives. There's three kinds of crabs in there. Red crabs and spider crabs and conquerors. I won't eat spider crab, except in sister's stew. Makes me feel half a cannibal." His lordship gestured at the banner hanging above the cold black hearth. A spider crab was embroidered there, white on a grey-green field. "We heard tales that Stannis burned his Hand."



    A Dance with Dragons - Tyrion XI

    "Water will help the master," Penny said. "That's what the healer said, it must be so. Sweet fresh water."

    "Sweet fresh water didn't help Nurse." Poor old Nurse. Yezzan's soldiers had tossed him onto the corpse wagon last night at dusk, another victim of the pale mare. When men are dying every hour, no one looks too hard at one more dead man, especially one as well despised as Nurse. Yezzan's other slaves had refused to go near the overseer once the cramps began, so it was left to Tyrion to keep him warm and bring him drinks. Watered wine and lemonsweet and some nice hot dogtail soup, with slivers of mushroom in the broth. Drink it down, Nursey, that shitwater squirting from your arse needs to be replaced. The last word Nurse ever said was, "No." The last words he ever heard were, "A Lannister always pays his debts."


    On a lighter note, there's this poem by Shel Silverstein previously contributed by @The Fattest Leech:


    How about this for a common theme that runs through the series? A willing sacrifice that has bowels/boles, singing, wooden spoons, salt, a sun location reference, and farewell.


    by Shel Silverstein 


    I have nothing to put in my stew, you see,

    Not a bone or a bean or a black-eyed pea,

    So I'll just climb in the pot to see

    If I can make a stew out of me.

    I'll put in some pepper and salt and I'll sit

    In the bubbling waterI won't scream a bit.

    I'll sing while I simmer, I'll smile while I'm stewing,

    I'll taste myself often to see how I'm doing.

    I'll stir me around with this big wooden spoon

    And serve myself up at a quarter to noon.

    So bring out your stew bowls,

    You gobblers and snackers.

    Farewelland I hope you enjoy me with crackers! 


  19. On 11/2/2017 at 2:21 PM, GyantSpyder said:

    When people wrestle with the idea of gods and what they mean, and when I recognize the urge to insist on concrete certainty for stories that are deliberately mysterious, especially in their relationship between humans and nature, this section from Wallace Stevens's "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction" comes to mind. It would be good advice to a Red Priest looking for someone to burn alive:

    It Must Be Abstract


    Begin, ephebe, by perceiving the idea
    Of this invention, this invented world,
    The inconceivable idea of the sun.

    You must become an ignorant man again
    And see the sun again with an ignorant eye
    And see it clearly in the idea of it.

    Never suppose an inventing mind as source
    Of this idea nor for that mind compose
    A voluminous master folded in his fire.

    How clean the sun when seen in its idea,
    Washed in the remotest cleanliness of a heaven
    That has expelled us and our images . . .

    The death of one god is the death of all.
    Let purple Phoebus lie in umber harvest,
    Let Phoebus slumber and die in autumn umber,

    Phoebus is dead, ephebe. But Phoebus was
    A name for something that never could be named.
    There was a project for the sun and is.

    There is a project for the sun. The sun
    Must bear no name, gold flourisher, but be
    In the difficulty of what it is to be.


    You talk about "the urge to insist on concrete certainty for stories that are deliberately mysterious" as pertains to the relationship between humans and their gods, which might equally apply to the relationship between GRRM and his readers!  Toward the end of this quest in which we are engaged, we may have to conclude of GRRM:

    A symbol was all he could hope to convey,

    An intimation, a shot of ray,

    A meaning I was supposed to seek,

    And finding, wasn't disposed to speak...



    One More Brevity

    I opened the door so my last look

    Should be taken outside a house and book.

    Before I gave up seeing and slept

    I said I would see how Sirius kept

    His watch-dog eye on what remained

    To be gone into, if not explained.

    But scarcely was my door ajar,

    When, past the leg I thrust for bar

    Slipped in to be my problem guest,

    Not a heavenly dog made manifest,

    But an earthly dog of the carriage breed;

    Who, having failed of the modern speed,

    Now asked asylum -- and I was stirred

    To be the one so dog-preferred.

    He dumped himself like a bag of bones,

    He sighed himself a couple of groans,

    And head to tail then firmly curled

    Like swearing off on the traffic world.

    I set him water, I set him food,

    He rolled an eye with gratitude

    (Or merely manners it may have been),

    But never so much as lifted chin.

    His hard tail loudly smacked the floor

    As if beseeching me, “Please, no more,

    I can’t explain -- tonight at least.”

    His brow was perceptibly trouble-creased.

    So I spoke in terms of adoption thus:

    “Gustie, old boy, Dalmatian Gus,

    You’re right, there’s nothing to discuss.

    Don’t try to tell me what’s on your mind,

    The sorrow of having been left behind,

    Or the sorrow of having run away.

    All that can wait for the light of day.

    Meanwhile feel obligation-free.

    Nobody has to confide in me.”

    ‘Twas too one-sided a dialogue,

    And I wasn’t sure I was talking dog.

    I broke off baffled. But all the same,

    In fancy, I ratified his name,

    Gustie, Dalmatian Gus, that is,

    And started shaping my life to his,

    Finding him in his right supplies

    And sharing his miles of exercise.

    Next morning the minute I was about

    He was at the door to be let out

    With an air that said, “I have paid my call.

    You mustn’t feel hurt if now I’m all

    For getting back somewhere or further on.”

    I opened the door and he was gone.

    I was to taste in little the grief

    That comes of dogs’ lives being so brief,

    Only a fraction of ours at most.

    He might have been the dream of a ghost

    In spite of the way his tail had smacked

    My floor so hard and matter-of-fact.

    And things have been going so strangely since,

    I wouldn’t be too hard to convince,

    I might even claim, he was Sirius.

    (Think of presuming to call him Gus)

    The star itself, heaven’s greatest star,

    Not a meteorite, but an avatar,

    Who had made an overnight descent

    To show by deeds he didn’t resent

    My having depended on him so long,

    And yet done nothing about it in song.

    A symbol was all he could hope to convey,

    An intimation, a shot of ray,

    A meaning I was supposed to seek,

    And finding, wasn't disposed to speak.


  20. 38 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

    Whether the "actual" laurel had thorns is not relevant. All that matters is what the author is telling us. Listen to the storyteller--this is a work of fiction, not a history. (There was no laurel. There was no Rhaegar. There was no Lyanna. There was no Eddard. There is only The George and our understanding of what he is telling us.) 

    In the beginning, there was Lisa [Tuttle]...

  21. On 2/2/2018 at 9:52 PM, ravenous reader said:

    “I have Grateful Dead lyrics rattling around in my head all the time,” he said, when questioned about the references. “Ripple is one of my favorite songs of all time ... [quotes song] ‘There is a road, no simple highway.’”

    I guess, when the author of 'the Song [of ice and fire]' says that 'Ripple' is his favorite song, we ought to pay attention...


    A Clash of Kings - Bran II

    Hodor knew Bran's favorite place, so he took him to the edge of the pool beneath the great spread of the heart tree, where Lord Eddard used to kneel to pray. Ripples were running across the surface of the water when they arrived, making the reflection of the weirwood shimmer and dance. There was no wind, though. For an instant Bran was baffled.

    And then Osha exploded up out of the pool with a great splash...

    I've just discovered the above is a paraphrase of the Grateful Dead lyrics!



    If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
    And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung
    Would you hear my voice come through the music
    Would you hold it near as it were your own?

    It's a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken
    Perhaps they're better left unsung

    I don't know, don't really care
    Let there be songs to fill the air

    Ripple in still water
    When there is no pebble tossed
    Nor wind to blow

    Reach out your hand if your cup be empty
    If your cup is full may it be again
    Let it be known there is a fountain
    That was not made by the hands of men

    There is a road, no simple highway
    Between the dawn and the dark of night

    And if you go no one may follow
    That path is for your steps alone

    Ripple in still water
    When there is no pebble tossed
    Nor wind to blow

    You who choose to lead must follow
    But if you fall you fall alone

    If you should stand then who's to guide you?
    If I knew the way I would take you home

    -- Written by Jerome J. Garcia, Robert C. Hunter



  22. For @Rusted Revolver a man who 'knows no fear' of pun nor oxymoron, venturing into territory where even angels fear to tread... (and for @LmL who is fond of transitively distilling my supposed 'word salad' into gems...) B)


    It's well known -- and GRRM admits himself -- that he is a fan of the Grateful Dead:

    “I have Grateful Dead lyrics rattling around in my head all the time,” he said, when questioned about the references. “Ripple is one of my favorite songs of all time ... [quotes song] ‘There is a road, no simple highway.’”




    Dark star crashes
    pouring its light
    into ashes

    Reason tatters
    the forces tear loose
    from the axis

    Searchlight casting
    for faults in the
    clouds of delusion

    shall we go, 
    you and I
    While we can?
    the transitive nightfall 
    of diamonds

    Mirror shatters
    in formless reflections
    of matter

    Glass hand dissolving
    to ice petal flowers

    Lady in velvet
    in the nights of goodbye

    Shall we go,
    you and I
    While we can?
    the transitive nightfall
    of diamonds

    spinning a set the stars through which the tattered tales of axis roll about the waxen wind of never set to motion in the unbecoming round about the reason hardly matters nor the wise through which the stars were set in spin


    -- Words by Robert Hunter; music by Garcia, Kreutzmann, Lesh, McKernan, and Weir

    (lyrics start around 6:00)



    "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees Is my destroyer.

    The force that drives the water through the rocks Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams Turns mine to wax..."


    The following poem from which these arresting seminal quotes are drawn is dedicated to the gentle fire-maege @Archmaester_Aemma :) who has highlighted the 'green fire'-'cherry red' color association present in Lightbringer's forging. 

    Note, this 'green-red force' is at once a destructive as well as generative principle, driving death together with life.  The force that 'drives' also 'dries' out life, or 'sucks it dry' (with sexual connotations...'the lips of time leech to the fountainhead...at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks...love drips and gathers...calms her sores'), a bittersweet paradox with which Dylan Thomas grapples in the poem.

    Thomas also seems to be referencing Wiliam Blake's 'sick rose' and the insidious 'worm' concept, to which @hiemal memorably introduced us in the POEMS V1 thread!


    First, consider these quotes in terms of Lightbringer forging symbolism, focusing on the color signature:


    A Clash of Kings - Davos I

    Stannis Baratheon strode forward like a soldier marching into battle. His squires stepped up to attend him. Davos watched as his son Devan pulled a long padded glove over the king's right hand. The boy wore a cream-colored doublet with a fiery heart sewn on the breast. Bryen Farring was similarly garbed as he tied a stiff leather cape around His Grace's neck. Behind, Davos heard a faint clank and clatter of bells. "Under the sea, smoke rises in bubbles, and flames burn green and blue and black," Patchface sang somewhere. "I know, I know, oh, oh, oh."

    The king plunged into the fire with his teeth clenched, holding the leather cloak before him to keep off the flames. He went straight to the Mother, grasped the sword with his gloved hand, and wrenched it free of the burning wood with a single hard jerk. Then he was retreating, the sword held high, jade-green flames swirling around cherry-red steel. Guards rushed to beat out the cinders that clung to the king's clothing.

    "A sword of fire!" shouted Queen Selyse. Ser Axell Florent and the other queen's men took up the cry. "A sword of fire! It burns! It burns! A sword of fire!"



    A Clash of Kings - Catelyn VII

    "The pyromancers roasted Lord Rickard slowly, banking and fanning that fire carefully to get a nice even heat. His cloak caught first, and then his surcoat, and soon he wore nothing but metal and ashes. Next he would start to cook, Aerys promised . . . unless his son could free him. Brandon tried, but the more he struggled, the tighter the cord constricted around his throat. In the end he strangled himself.

    "As for Lord Rickard, the steel of his breastplate turned cherry-red before the end, and his gold melted off his spurs and dripped down into the fire. I stood at the foot of the Iron Throne in my white armor and white cloak, filling my head with thoughts of Cersei. After, Gerold Hightower himself took me aside and said to me, 'You swore a vow to guard the king, not to judge him.' That was the White Bull, loyal to the end and a better man than me, all agree."

    "Aerys . . ." Catelyn could taste bile at the back of her throat. The story was so hideous she suspected it had to be true. 



    A Dance with Dragons - Jon III

    Beneath the weeping Wall, Lady Melisandre raised her pale white hands. "We all must choose," she proclaimed. "Man or woman, young or old, lord or peasant, our choices are the same." Her voice made Jon Snow think of anise and nutmeg and cloves. She stood at the king's side on a wooden scaffold raised above the pit. "We choose light or we choose darkness. We choose good or we choose evil. We choose the true god or the false."

    We choose 'life or death'...?  Dylan Thomas's more nuanced view, one shared by GRRM, demonstrates the fallacy in this dichotomy, just as 'red' and 'green,' rather than standing in opposition to each other, can each symbolise death as well as life, depending on the context.


    Mance Rayder's thick grey-brown hair blew about his face as he walked. He pushed it from his eyes with bound hands, smiling. But when he saw the cage, his courage failed him. The queen's men had made it from the trees of the haunted forest, from saplings and supple branches, pine boughs sticky with sap, and the bone-white fingers of the weirwoods. They'd bent them and twisted them around and through each other to weave a wooden lattice, then hung it high above a deep pit filled with logs, leaves, and kindling.

    The wildling king recoiled from the sight. "No," he cried, "mercy. This is not right, I'm not the king, they—"

    Ser Godry gave a pull on the rope. The King-Beyond-the-Wall had no choice but to stumble after him, the rope choking off his words. When he lost his feet, Godry dragged him the rest of the way. Mance was bloody when the queen's men half-shoved, half-carried him to the cage. A dozen men-at-arms heaved together to hoist him into the air.


    "FREE FOLK! " cried Melisandre. "Behold the fate of those who choose the darkness!"

    The Horn of Joramun burst into flame.

    It went up with a whoosh as swirling tongues of green and yellow fire leapt up crackling all along its length. Jon's garron shied nervously, and up and down the ranks others fought to still their mounts as well. A moan came from the stockade as the free folk saw their hope afire. A few began to shout and curse, but most lapsed into silence. For half a heartbeat the runes graven on the gold bands seemed to shimmer in the air. The queen's men gave a heave and sent the horn tumbling down into the fire pit.

    Inside his cage, Mance Rayder clawed at the noose about his neck with bound hands and screamed incoherently of treachery and witchery, denying his kingship, denying his people, denying his name, denying all that he had ever been. He shrieked for mercy and cursed the red woman and began to laugh hysterically.

    Jon watched unblinking. He dare not appear squeamish before his brothers. He had ordered out two hundred men, more than half the garrison of Castle Black. Mounted in solemn sable ranks with tall spears in hand, they had drawn up their hoods to shadow their faces ... and hide the fact that so many were greybeards and green boys. The free folk feared the Watch. Jon wanted them to take that fear with them to their new homes south of the Wall.

    The horn crashed amongst the logs and leaves and kindling. Within three heartbeats the whole pit was aflame. Clutching the bars of his cage with bound hands, Mance sobbed and begged. When the fire reached him he did a little dance. His screams became one long, wordless shriek of fear and pain. Within his cage, he fluttered like a burning leaf, a moth caught in a candle flame.

    Jon found himself remembering a song.

    Brothers, oh brothers, my days here are done, the Dornishman' s taken my life,

    But what does it matter, for all men must die, and I' ve tasted the Dornishman' s wife!

    Val stood on the platform as still as if she had been carved of salt. She will not weep nor look away. Jon wondered what Ygritte would have done in her place. The women are the strong ones. He found himself thinking about Sam and Maester Aemon, about Gilly and the babe. She will curse me with her dying breath, but I saw no other way. Eastwatch reported savage storms upon the narrow sea. I meant to keep them safe. Did I feed them to the crabs instead? Last night he had dreamed of Sam drowning, of Ygritte dying with his arrow in her (it had not been his arrow, but in his dreams it always was), of Gilly weeping tears of blood.

    Jon Snow had seen enough. "Now," he said.

    Ulmer of the Kingswood jammed his spear into the ground, unslung his bow, and slipped a black arrow from his quiver. Sweet Donnel Hill threw back his hood to do the same. Garth Greyfeather and Bearded Ben nocked shafts, bent their bows, loosed.

    One arrow took Mance Rayder in the chest, one in the gut, one in the throat. The fourth struck one of the cage's wooden bars, and quivered for an instant before catching fire. A woman's sobs echoed off the Wall as the wildling king slid bonelessly to the floor of his cage, wreathed in fire. "And now his Watch is done," Jon murmured softly. Mance Rayder had been a man of the Night's Watch once, before he changed his black cloak for one slashed with bright red silk.

    Up on the platform, Stannis was scowling. Jon refused to meet his eyes. The bottom had fallen out of the wooden cage, and its bars were crumbling. Every time the fire licked upward, more branches tumbled free, cherry red and black.



    The force that through the green fuse drives the flower

    Dylan Thomas, 1914 - 1953

    The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
    Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
    Is my destroyer.
    And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
    My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.
    The force that drives the water through the rocks
    Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
    Turns mine to wax.
    And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
    How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.
    The hand that whirls the water in the pool
    Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
    Hauls my shroud sail.
    And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
    How of my clay is made the hangman’s lime.
    The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
    Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
    Shall calm her sores.
    And I am dumb to tell a weather’s wind
    How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.
    And I am dumb to tell the lover’s tomb
    How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.