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Blue-Eyed Wolf

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  1. Jumping in after a long time away. Yeah, there is Jyana Reed, Howland's wife, listed in the appendix. Some lords do trust their lady wives to handle defense in their absence. Ned trusts Catelyn to call the banners for him, be his voice in the North, and effectively rule Winterfell until his return. Meera has martial skills, which indicates the crannogmen are pretty comfortable with women as fighters. Who's to say Mrs. Reed wasn't up in a tree plunking poisoned arrows into the enemy too? The task of bottlenecking Ironborn and Lannisters in the Neck is not an arena of conflict with major dramatic importance. It's sufficient that Theon can just tell us that it's happened off-page after the fact. This makes perfect sense to use a currently off-page character like Jyana to be in charge of something like that. I think we can safely assume they probably have other leaders in their ranks too. When it comes to HR, I gotta say for a character who is: central to the core story's secrets has an established history and deep friendship with Ned's generation was a key witness to the events of the Tourney of Harrenhal saved Ned's life at the Tower of Joy by helping defeat Arthur Freakin' Dane, the greatest swordsman of his day. is shown to be not the average crannogman for leaving the Neck, going on his own adventures, and fighting alongside the Starks during RR. probably experienced grief and guilt by failing to rescue his friend Lyana, who I would argue was the Stark he felt the most emotional attachment to (KotLT). is an Isle of Faces-trained magician no less. leaving him just hanging out in the Neck for 5 books is a super lame-ass waste of a really interesting and important character, his knowledge, and his skillset. This is not the guy who would put his only children on the line to help Ned's sons and sit on his ass while Ned's daughters are in danger. He's not going to sit around and wait for any potential orders to arrive by messenger. And Robb isn't going to use guerilla fighters on the field anyway. It is literally in his characterization that he does not stay home where it's safe. He marches to his own drummer and goes where the action is, as shown in his backstory. Learned all the magic from his people? Well, gotta go spend a year at Green Man University to learn more. What's that over there? Big people throwing a tourney? Cool, gotta go check it out. When war comes, he adapts to fighting alongside the big people when crannogmen are supposed to be at a severe disadvantage. Dollars to donuts, when GRRM reveals HR, we'll learn he was NOT parked in the Neck all this time doing boring off-page stuff. Badass, worthy-of-his-talents stuff, yes. Boring, anyone-else-can-do stuff, no.
  2. Thanks for the shoutout! Right. We also know from Varamyr that a dog is the easiest to skin change as it is already accustomed to humans. I believe that if Sansa had remained in close contact with Bryen's old blind dog on the Fingers, she very well might have started having dog dreams. They were already bonding, and the dog was sleeping in her bed, but she was only staying at the Fingers for about two weeks IIRC. Then there's the whole scene where the "sad old hound" tries to growl and scare off Marillion, but Lothor Brune steps in to stop his attempted rape. Her knee-jerk reaction was to think Lothor was Sandor in the dark until she heard his voice. So that's a lot like her in other instances of calling for Lady. She even says to the dog, "I wish you were Lady." We're definitely being hammered over and over with this association between dogs, wolves, Sandor, and Lady. So, what does that mean as far skinchanging is concerned? Well, I don't think there's any evidence that Sansa outright skinchanged Sandor. We know from Hodor and Thistle that this is a highly unpleasant, violent experience for the person losing control over their mind and body. We would have seen the evidence if this was the case; however, I think it's more of like what Leech describes with the "etching" or imprinting emotions on to each other. Twice, Sansa wears Sandor's cloak, which is not only a marriage symbol, symbolically it's like slipping on his skin. Varamyr describes skinchanging like a marriage. She says she kept that "skin," placing it in her cedar chest, which is a reference to a bride's "hope chest," which contains items she'll be taking with her to her new home. Sansa also shed her old southron "skin" when she took off the gown she wore to Joffrey's wedding and stuffed it in the bole of the tree in the godswood (a sacrifice to the Old Gods). She then donned a dress of simple but practical wool which includes a green cloak. Her and Sandor's clothing having mirrored each other on more than one occasion, and she's seen him wear an olive green cloak before. Since the First Men wed before a weirwood tree, it's like Sansa is putting on her own marriage cloak before she leaves KL with Littlefinger (it blocks his cloak when he tries to put it on her aboard the Merling King). So I don't think the Lady-Sandor connection is about literal skinchanging, but about the spiritual partnership between the direwolves and the Stark child. In the language of the marriage ceremony, husband and wife are "one flesh, one heart, one soul." As for literal skinchanging, I agree with @The Weirwoods Eyesthat she is still capable of awakening that ability. It makes sense that Sansa would take the longer and more winding path back to it as she moves further North. A flight animal, like a bird of prey, seems to be the most likely candidate. How though? Well, my guess is that she gets a little assist from Bran. We know from Varamyr and Bran's chapters that once an animal has been skinchanged, it's like breaking them to a saddle. Bran is powerful enough to break in a wild bird of prey to make the process easier and help his sister catch up. The bird association with Sansa is obvious, but it also makes sense on another level. Hawking is the only type of hunting in which ladies are allowed to participate. It's an elegant and genteel sport of both the north and south, one that is fitting with Sansa's experience and characterization. Side note, I wonder if we'll get a Ladyhawke reference from George because that's just too darn perfect. Sandor/Navarre = wolf, Sansa/Isabeau = hawk or falcon.
  3. Not sure if this has been mentioned before, but I think I found an early inspiration for the Hound and Braith Bretan of "The Dying of the Light." George has listed The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester (published 1957) as one of his favorite sci-fi novels in more than one post on his LJ. The main character, Gully Foyle, is consumed by a burning need for revenge that is his main motivator for his actions. In the course of the story, he is captured and his face is given this shockingly horrific bestial tattoo. His personality early on his described as brutish and blunt. Later in the process of removing the tattoo with acid he receives equally horrific scarring that flares up when he becomes emotional. Gully also tormented by visions of The Burning Man, which is himself on fire. Some very interesting cover art for the novel too.
  4. This song is just giving me all kinds of ASOIAF feels. Not one thing in particular, but it's so beautiful and the lyrics capture some of the central themes. The existential crisis and the human heart at war with itself. Nature, nurture heaven and home Sum of all, and by them, driven To conquer every mountain shown But I've never crossed the river Braved the forests, braved the stone Braved the icy winds and fire Braved and beat them on my own Yet I'm helpless by the river Angel, angel, what have I done? I've faced the quakes, the wind, the fire I've conquered country, crown, and throne Why can't I cross this river? Angel, angel, what have I done? I've faced the quakes, the wind, the fire I've conquered country, crown, and throne Why can't I cross this river? Pay no mind to the battles you've won It'll take a lot more than rage and muscle Open your heart and hands, my son Or you'll never make it over the river It'll take a lot more than words and guns A whole lot more than riches and muscle The hands of the many must join as one And together we'll cross the river It'll take a lot more than words and guns A whole lot more than riches and muscle The hands of the many must join as one And together we'll cross the river (Nature, nurture heaven and home) It'll take a lot more than words and guns (Sum of all, and by them, driven) A whole lot more than riches and muscle (To conquer every mountain shown) The hands of the many must join as one And together we'll cross the river (Braved the forests, braved the stone) It'll take a lot more than words and guns (Braved the icy winds and fire) A whole lot more than riches and muscle (Braved and beat them on my own) The hands of the many must join as one And together we'll cross the river And together we'll cross the river And together we'll cross the river Nature, nurture heaven and home And together we'll cross the river And together we'll cross the river Nature, nurture heaven and home And together we'll cross the river And together we'll cross the river
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