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  1. Braavos - the navy is described as the wooden wall of the city, true also of Athens (in a prophecy, no less). So Braavos is like Athens, like Rhodes, like Venice. It's plain to see multiple inspirations coming inward, but ideas don't flow the other way - Braavos can't tell us anything about Athens/Rhodes/Venice, because, which, when, how? The books don't hold a mirror up to our cultures (no Booker Prize for grrm, not ever; they're not that kind of book). It's true that GRRM writes in a realistic, immersive kind of way a lot of the time, but he's also pretty constant about thuggishly knocking the reader out of immersion - so, Tyrion fights like a hero, maesters are experts on everything, dynasties last a thousand years, the North is habitable, the castles exist, the Yunkai army... So the reader has to deal with the real and the unreal stuff simultaneously. I've got to say, this forum has produced a ton of solid knowledge from the 'real' approach - the world-building is solid enough for that - but the 'unreal' side can't be ignored either; it's just not been played through yet. We are roughly speaking in the presence of sorcery always - and Planetos is distorted to extremes by it.
  2. Braavos is Venice, with its canals, and the Arsenal that could build a ship in a day. But also Rhodes and the Colossus - so not limited to just one thing.
  3. WTF is this? Rose, you show an amazing lack of self-awareness.
  4. Last one is High Heart. It is a very cool observation that seers from different schools can see the same events; they are definitely touching the same ultimate something, but I'd probably call it destiny instead of truth. Like Maggy the Frog - was Cersei's destiny set in stone before she even met Maggy? That would make reading the future a bit pointless, so I think what happened was that the prophecy set Cersei's life running on rails towards her doom. I also think that if Cersei was clever and lucky enough she could shift her fate towards another interpretation of the prophecy (like Renly smashing Stannis at KL), or miss it entirely. It might also be that sorcery can load the dice a bit, towards one interpretation or the other. Maybe the scales of fate were tipping against the three kings anyway (of course) and the HotU reflected that (Undying and Rhllorism both agree that some visions never come to pass). Mel throws three leeches into the balance and may be becomes will be. Bennaro was rubbish. Dany could have died a dozen ways before he woke up and sent her a red priest. She has dragons, for heaven's sake, you don't need any kind of magic to see that.
  5. Whichever way she did it, it wasn't luck. She staked her credibility with Stannis on getting all three right. Just one would have been an ambitious prediction. I think this is just possible. She was very, very keen on getting hold of Edric - I might be wrong, but wasn't Edric the sticking point preventing the surrender of Storm's End? So she spent a whole shadow baby to get Edric Storm. Baratheon king's blood must be really good. Also the leech spell wasn't as powerful as it might have been, because she knew it wouldn't make any difference to Stannis (by which she probably means herself and AA and the Battle for the Dawn stuff). Kings die easily and get replaced even more easily.
  6. Good observation. I can sort of remember that quote too - the laurel was only what Lyanna was due. I can't find it now . Sometimes I think the books are specially written to be immune to search engines, keywords all split up over the page. ETA ok, might not be the main series. The wiki's Lyanna page has it, with a reference to the World of Ice and Fire (which I have not read, so I'm a bit mystified where I saw it).
  7. You can 'open' a grave - or at least I've heard that way, so I won't insist on crypts. I favour a fairly literal interpretation - there has been a steady flow of ghost references in the books so far. Also an increase in magic and sorcery, which we are told always comes at a price of blood or life or similar. Ghosts could be the victims/beneficiaries of that.
  8. So a good alternative might be that a hunter's moon is any moon that is very bright, so that night hunting is a possibility. Probably only of interest to poachers though. Maybe it's the last harvest they can be certain of. Once the white ravens announce the end of summer, no-one seems to have any idea how long the 'autumn' will last. I think Pycelle hoped for a long warm autumn with many harvests. Jaime was advising lords in the riverlands to get planting even though the weather was definitely wintery. It seems totally random.
  9. Jon's arc is in the north, yes? So he does need supernatural abilities, because mere mortals just freeze to death in winter. All the dragonglass in the world can't help you if you're freezing to death. To avoid cheapness, the hero usually endures a severe trial or pays a heavy price for his/her powers. Dany walked into the pyre. AA murdered his much-loved wife. Bran became a cripple and lost his dreams of knighthood. Beric lost his life story, his identity. All part of the journey, all pushing the story forward. Jon brushing off the daggers with only light injuries would be cheap, and to no purpose. Jon in a painless coma - in the world of the supernatural undead, but just for a visit, to be restored to health and kingship and happy-ever-after with lovely Val - well, that feels cheap to me too. It feels like an insult to Bran and Brienne and Davos and all the people who really paid and won't be restored. However, cheapness is the defining characteristic of Jon's arc so far. He got his VS sword cheap. He got his high command cheap. He got the friendship of the Wildings cheap. It is simply not true to say he earned these remarkable things. The going rate for saving a lord's life is a promotion, or a tower or something equivalent. Sandor's grandfather didn't get a priceless heirloom, nor did Pod. The rank of Lord Commander usually goes to someone with experience. And the wildlings usually repay treachery with death. As I see it. I think I get it. Jon is really, truly loved by his genuine gods. He is that hero out of legend. So not only all the lovely plot gifts (not forgetting the special wolf), but also super-strength, and top level fighting skills (must be god-given - when we first knew him, he was about level with Robb, who was about level with Joffrey). But - none of the god-stuff has been clarified yet, and it's been such a long time, impatience with Jon's story has turned into real, active dislike. And that's not an irrational hatred of long-faced boys, it's just I can't digest his arc on face value. GRRM, give us the twist!
  10. Winter is not coming - or not very much anyway - and most of the story is the usual game of thrones. Jon has only minor injuries and will be back to business as before. Stoneheart's role in the books is to be a morality lesson for Arya, ending in a kinslaying execution. Brave words, seeing as we've already been through the Sorrows twice.
  11. "The greatest fools are ofttimes more clever than the men who laugh at them." (Tywin, ASOS) and Sad and desperate and bleak as it is, the really devastating thing is that there's no easy answer to it. Sandor thinks this way because that's what his life's been like.
  12. I looked up the quotes for the psycho-active drugs at the various places: In each case the effect is neutral or nasty at first, and then attractive in a really profound way (and it's nice to see what the the characters truly feel inside). Some of the effects are just impossible - the taste of molten gold, or a mother's last kiss, the smell of Hodor laughing. They are all mind-altering drugs and it's a bit disturbing that the kindly men talks so much about soothing totally reasonable fears. The candles are described further here: Things loved and lost - true in all three cases.
  13. Spiral stairs in castles are nearly always clockwise and up - believed to obstruct swordsmen invading from below. The library stairs (on the outside) would work the same way - so always up is always turning right. The HotU colours are a bit odd - indigo and black and purple are colours associated with Targs. Indigo appears in the chapter as the colour of Rhaegar's eyes - possibly a sign that Rhaegar's soul was gripped by prophecy (as Mel's is by fire) - and possibly a sign that Dany will find herself in conflict with Rhaegar's legacy in some way. Also the HotU is serpentine in shape, drinking up the sun like the legendary dragons. If it's a dragon, why is it hostile to Drogon and Dany? Because dragons fight? Last strange thing is that even though the Undying are blue and cold, they are incredibly combustible, like cold fuel that's been set alight: 'Their flesh was crumbling parchment, their bones dry wood soaked in tallow. They danced as the flames consumed them; they staggered and writhed and spun and raised blazing hands on high, their fingers bright as torches.' It feels like most of the orange flame came from them (isn't Drogon's flame mostly black anyway?) It's a big contrast with the godswood at Winterfell, which we're told almost completely resisted the huge fire there: 'A few pines along the edge of the wood had been scorched, but deeper in the damp soil and green wood had defeated the flames. "There is a power in living wood," said Jojen Reed, almost as if he knew what Bran was thinking, "a power as strong as fire." Doesn't look Dany will find friends among the trees either. Stannis is blue too - blue eyes, and I think I remember blue shadows under the eye, or blue jawline from the stubble. He might be blue fuel too.
  14. I suppose he had accepted the crown by this stage, so his allies were literally demanding his attention.
  15. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Ok, there is no doubt in my mind that Johanna was the victim of one or both men - based on the known cruelties of both men. Also, I thought Johanna's reaction to the twins' early twincest games was a bit excessive - they were very young - so I suspect she was terrified of Tywin's rage if he found the twins showing Targ traits.
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