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Blue-Eyed Wolf

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  1. Hey @M_Tootles! I just wanted to let you know that I'm just finishing up a crazy week and I'll be able to sit down and read everything at some point over the weekend.
  2. Hey @redriver If you want a condensed, organized version of this thread, it's in my essay linked in my signature. You are exactly right to notice the First Men / Old Gods connection on his sigil. Iron and bronze are metals associated with the First Men. The water and earth can apply to HR/SS's travels, but also Meera says her father could "change earth to water and water to earth with no more than a whispered word." When Jon speaks about his wolf with the same coloring, he says he belongs to the Old Gods. It's the distinct coloring of the weirwood faces. Furthermore, he says he is the Mad Mouse because the average mouse runs away from danger. He's a contradiction and not like others of his kind. Much like Meera says her father is bolder and braver than the average crannogmen who are shy and stay close to home. We've seen the contradictory weirwood sigil before with the Knight of the Laughing Tree. Weirwood faces don't laugh or smile. They're always depicted as pained or frightening in expression. Other than a mention of being at the Tower of Joy, the only story that features HR in the series is the story of the KotLT and the Harrenhal tourney. It's such an important piece of history that solidifies HR's loyalty and friendship to the Starks so loyal he would send his only children and heirs to help Bran after Ned dies. It makes sense that when HR enters the story, he will have references to that pivotal event.
  3. Blue-Eyed Wolf

    Littlefinger Sired Sweetrobin

    So Robert is born sometime in 292. It's possible, because we have no one saying how long he stayed in Gulltown, just when he started. Tyrion says in ACOK: So that puts his time in Gulltown about 289. He's there long enough to noticeably increase revenues, but "soon" suggests this happens rather quickly. This motivates Jon to bring LF to KL. George can't math too well, so we'll give him the benefit of the doubt LF really took less than 2 years to increase revenues "threefold" (or "tenfold" by Lysa's telling). As long as he's there by 291 or early 292, it can still work for him to be the father.
  4. Blue-Eyed Wolf

    Littlefinger Sired Sweetrobin

    I don't know where I stand on the idea, but I think Littlefinger as the father does have some merit. I think it makes good thematic sense in many ways to add to the tragedy. One very good reason I can think of for Lysa not blurting out that SR is LF's, is that it would declare her son a bastard. If he's not Jon's, then he's not Lord of the Eyrie, she isn't regent, and LF can't be Lord Protector. Both of their positions and the power they enjoy hinge upon SR always being Jon's. No one can ever have a reason to suspect Robert's paternity, especially when his hair doesn't match either parent. In the period after Lysa retreats back to the Eyrie, her behavior has alienated her vassals. Refusing to enter the Wot5K, relishing the lords courting her while having no intention of marrying one of them, marrying LF instead, spoiling the near universally hated Marillion, etc. If it ever got out Lysa cuckolded the much loved Jon Arryn, I don't think those lords would have a problem ousting Lysa and LF at that point and installing Harrold Hardyng immediately. So it's imperative to live that lie as if it were the truth. I can see LF as occasionally having secret sex with Lysa in KL to keep her on the hook with promises of "someday." Obviously by LF instructing her to poison Jon in KL and with him probably providing the Tears of Lys, they have had secret meetings at least a few times. For fearful Lysa to take such a risk, I'm sure he had to sweeten the deal to assure her they would be together. Lysa can be extremely petulant and demanding by her insistence on marrying and having sex the very night she arrives on the Fingers, which he eventually acquiesced to out of necessity. Remember Lysa essentially raped an extremely drunk Petyr at RR. She's not one to take no for an answer. She's the one who convinced Jon to bring him to KL from Gulltown. I'm sure she also helped him ascend to master of coin eventually. It would be consistent with her character to push for sex while he needs her help in KL. While this conversation is about sending an assassin for Dany, LF has a curious analogy for it: Just get it done and over with. It's almost like LF is affirming to himself that this will end in a steel kiss, so suck it up for now. Petyr eating the seed is a powerful symbolic image, as pomegranates have strong sexual connotations. We also saw something like this before with Cersei: No doubt Robert would force himself on Cersei, but everytime she would devour his heirs. The boar tusk reference to Robert's death is kinda like the promise that one day this will end with a "steel kiss" no? There's the parallels of the unwanted sex that must be borne, but the secret destruction of the heirs. Black haired heirs Cersei cannot allow to exist that would expose her infidelity as well as her taking vengeance against Robert. We have the bastard children being passed off as Robert's children. Cersei must live the lie that these children are Robert's. Her position as regent depends on it. Except with Littlefinger, he wouldn't feel anything for his own flesh. He prefers the pretend bastard daughter he imagines he had with Cat and desires to place her in the Arryn seat. There's some parallels here, but with a few twists.
  5. Blue-Eyed Wolf

    References and Homages

    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.
  6. Blue-Eyed Wolf

    Harwin is the Hooded man

    I agree. I'm not 100% on this, but I feel Harwin is the top candidate for many of the reasons you stated. I really feel his motivation and mission is an Arya centric one, not a revenge murder mission. Harwin is already established in the story has having a personal connection to Arya, most importantly he's spent one-on-one face time with her. As you said, he's a character that has shown deep emotional attachment to the Starks. He's the one that pleaded to revive Catelyn. Not because he thought she'd turn into a revenge-driven revenant, but simply out of grief at her horrific fate and defilement of her body. It reminds me of the way Arya asked Thoros if he could revive her beheaded father. You noted that Harwin knows the layout of WF, which is important. But I think what gives Harwin an advantage over other candidates is that he can positively ID Arya. Also that Arya knows him and would trust him. We know that LSH and the BwB are actively looking for Arya. Before they hang Merritt Frey they ask him about the Hound having Arya. The Heddles and Gendry are stationed at the inn at the crossroads, one of Arya's last known sightings with the Hound. They're collecting orphans from the area so there's a hope that Arya will be found among them. So they are following up on leads and it makes sense they'd check out any lead they got. One of those leads would be the news that Roose is marrying his son to Arya. This is using some information from the ASOIAF timeline. We know from Jon VI, ADWD that Roose is announcing his son’s marriage to Arya in letters calling for the Northern vassals to swear fealty circa mid-April. So word of “Arya Stark” being in the North and her marriage to Ramsay Bolton is getting around and it would be big news. Brienne’s capture by the BwB happens in mid to late May where Harwin was present. Theon first meets the hooded man at the beginning of August. That’s enough time for even a single rider travelling at an average speed to get to WF from the Trident region (8-10ish weeks). So I don’t see how he can be ruled out based on time and distance. He may not have had the opportunity yet to get a good look at her since Jeyne has been confined and now she's left with Theon. It's going to be interesting to see what happens with the HM because we've now lost the POV inside the castle at least until Stannis retakes it. We may find that he's affected the plot somehow off page during this time.
  7. Blue-Eyed Wolf

    Re-reading Sansa's last chapter, ASOS

    @The Fattest Leech Thanks for the tag! I will will be following along!
  8. Blue-Eyed Wolf

    ASOIAF in everyday life... Gooble Gobble...

    I know right! There needs to be an app for this. Not a dating app. I just want to swipe right and hook up with someone to talk about ASOIAF ships or just the books in general.
  9. Blue-Eyed Wolf

    ASOIAF in everyday life... Gooble Gobble...

    So my coworker told me he was going on a date with this new guy and he was a big ASOIAF fan. I got a little too... invested in these two working out. Especially when he was showing me a text message that said he ships Sansan, Gendry x Arya, and Val x Jon. My coworker is only lowkey interested in the show and had to ask me who Val was. I admit I had no chill at that point. Seriously, I wanted to meet this guy! When they didn't really hit it off I was actually a bit sad about it.
  10. Blue-Eyed Wolf

    A Who Sent the Catspaw Theory

    Hey @Seams! Glad to see your input. I love that you brought up the dragonbone hilt! Not enough attention gets paid to hilts and pommels. Lemme just address this first: So here's the passage: It doesn't read to me that Joffrey honestly thinks dragonbone is too plain for him... it's that he just got busted by Tyrion who is telling him he knows about the dagger and he's making an excuse. He was caught off guard, was about to react then switched gears to distance himself from the attempted murder weapon. I am going to adjust my opinion a bit on why Joffrey picked that dagger. You're right he probably didn't chose it because it was cool looking. It still has significance to the distant dysfunctional father he desperately wants to identify with for paternity's sake. It was the dagger Robert won at Joffrey's 12th nameday tourney. In many years of parental neglect and moments of abuse, Robert being present to celebrate Joffrey's birthday probably felt like real moment of acknowledgement as his son. At 12 Joffrey is getting closer to manhood where comparisons to the father are going to be more frequent and scrutinizing, especially as he is Robert's heir. He probably chose the dagger because it's Robert's dagger from an event that links them as father and son. And even more personal significance about the dagger at the tourney feast: Robert shows "Uncle Jaime" the dagger to rub it in his face that he lost! As I said I do believe Joffrey deep down knows about the incest, but cannot express that rage except in his acting out and patterns of largely unconscious choices. Seems like everyone was betting on Jaime, except Robert. The dagger in question represents Uncle Jaime being punished by Robert, "salting his wounds. As far as Jaime's real karmic punishment for what he actually did to Bran goes, he did lose his sword arm, the same arm that did the shoving out the window. That's really interesting. Robert wants every last Targaryen eradicated from the world and he fears what Dany's marriage to Khal Drogo could mean. His reign began with the murder of dragon children and I think as a karmic justice he was denied legitimate children of his own body. He did fear a Dothraki invasion early on while everyone thought it impossible. It could be a Dothraki (literary) connection as well as they highly value bows made of it. It's lighter and more flexible than steel, but also stronger, doesn't burn, and has a high iron content that makes it dark. There might be something there to figure out in the symbolic sense. I can't quite wrap my brain around it yet either. It might be comparable to a dragon's tooth and a hidden dagger: It's a good weapon for someone without much martial skill don't you think? It's super sharp and lightweight. You can do a lot of damage without much force. As you said Littlefinger wields it pretty deftly. The dark handle makes me think of "daggers in the dark" The dagger is still in play as far as the future of the story goes and it came full circle back to the original owner. It was the dagger he pulled from Ned Starks's belt to hold to his throat: And then used to cut fruit for Sansa with the blood orange being particularly relevant: It has to be the same dagger. No other dagger would be as significant as the dagger held to her father's throat when they discuss the assassination of Joffrey. Especially with the image of LF tilting his head back and exposing this own throat as he explains how it was all done. I'm also thinking about Joffrey's penchant for finding humor in animals and sigils killing or eating their own kind. Send a dog to kill a wolf, he wants to serve Robb's head to Sansa to eat it, etc. then there's: It wasn't actually gold dragons that killed Viserys, but we get the idea. Gold = dragons = Targaryens. Dragons killing a dragon. None of these things actually work out like Joffrey says. Yes a dragon tried to kill a dragon, but it was Viserys who was the aggressor on Dany. Funny enough, even Dany comments that the Usurper owes Drogo a lordship for killing Viserys as he has decreed as a reward. The catspaw was paid in silver stags using a stag's dagger by a wannabe stag. Perhaps what "stinks" about the catspaw is the lie surrounding the dagger. The main lie is that LF says Tyrion won the dagger at the tourney, not Robert. Sleeping in the stables could mean there's a "horseshit" here, but not the kind the character's might think. It's the truth that gets doubted and the lie that gets believed, even when there are gaping holes in the false story. Smelling is often linked to detecting the truth in the story. The catspaw stinks of horseshit, but it's the sweet minty breath of Petyr that is believed. It's actually more like the wannabe stag is really a cat that sent a catspaw to kill a Cat who got misdirected into blaming the wrong cat. It's this incident that sets the lions to begin to questions and turn on each other.
  11. Blue-Eyed Wolf

    Dissecting Names

    I like all your interpretations! Especially with linking Asha to the ash tree, which is also linked to Yggdrasil. Much of the concept of a weirwood probably comes from Yggdrasil, an ash tree mixed with Celtic animism. Ash also fits well with the fire motif of the burning red leaves. It also connects her to her brother Theon, whose name means godly and who is now heavily connected to weirwoods in the later part of his story.
  12. Blue-Eyed Wolf

    Dissecting Names

    Fun topic to speculate on! We have multiple in universe variations on Garth names starting with Garth Greenhand, who is strongly tied to real world pagan concept of the greenman or green god. Characters with a garth type name tend to be related to the themes of the cycle of life, death, rebirth, fertility and sacrifice. Also movement between the worlds of life and death as he is a psychopomp. @LmL 's Mythical Astronomy of Ice and Fire goes into the significance of Garth names and IIRC does make a connection to the gar (fish) and spear. Lommy Greenhands comes to mind and he took a spear to the throat. I do remember he pointed out that a commonly used method for catching fish was called a weir or a fishgarth. I did have my guess on this one. Starting with Sansa. I don't think the meaning of the name itself is important. I think he just wanted a soft-sounding name that went with the character's personality. George does like to play around with couples with similar sounding names. Tyrion and Tysha, Elys and Alys, etc... What's important is the "dor." I linked some attributes of Sansa's story to some aspects of the Norse goddess Freya, which literally means "lady." Not all aspects, as Arya is also linked to Freya too. Freya possessed a falcon feather cloak that shape-shifts the wearer. Think of Sansa in disguise and protected under the falcon of Arryn. Freya's husband, Óðr, (also considered another version of Odin) is someone she is mostly separated from as he has left her to go on a long journey. She weeps tears of red gold for him. There's an obvious red connection to Sansa and weeping as Alyssa's tears pour from the Giant's Lance. The valley below the mountain is described as red and gold in autumn. as well. She choses to wear a ribbon of autumn gold, which mimics Clegane colors of the three dogs that died in the autumn yellow grass. It's the only time "autumn" is used to describe gold or yellow in the series. And we know Sansa wonders what became of Sandor and still feels a romantic/erotic connection to him. Freya has been accused of being lusty and promiscuous, usually by Loki who has some Littlefinger parallels. As Sansa is now the bastard Alayne, there's also the stigma of being born of lust and having loose sexual morals. As for Sandor's Odin / parallels, there's both dying on / against a tree to be reborn with wisdom and knowledge. Sandor is of course working through his issues on the QI. Odin is a warrior-poet type god who does sometimes have a cruel streak. They both have a special horse. So my guess is the origins and connection between the names might be Sansa = Lady = Freya, Odin/ Óðr = Freya's husband. Smoosh the names together. San + Odin/ Óðr = Sandor, Sansa's husband, given two cloaks already by him. AS for Gregor, I got a little guess too. Sandor also shares some parallels or a reverse image of Brynden Rivers aka Bloodraven. THere's half their faces marked: one with a port wine stain, the other burned. BR's hair is straight and white, Sandor's is straight and black. BR lost an eye due to his brother, Aegor Rivers, aka Bittersteel. Sandor's scarring was caused by his brother Gregor, aka the Mountain. The connection might not be a deep one but maybe George was recycling some of the similar ideas between brothers with a blood feud. Gregor/Aegor have some similar enough sounding names.
  13. Blue-Eyed Wolf

    A Who Sent the Catspaw Theory

    Thanks. Yes a lot of what Joffrey does and the choices he makes are not something I would say are totally conscious choices on his part. My understanding was initially he chose such a conspicuous dagger because he is a kid and thought "this dagger is effing sick!" That's pretty believable when you consider juvenile crime is often impulsive, sloppy, and not particularly well thought out. Especially believable when it comes to Joffrey's intelligence and maturity level. But you bring up an interesting point about the princely dagger being an extension of himself, or representing his self-image. It's very well known the Lannister side of his family has always coveted Valyrian steel and Tywin makes sure Joffrey and Jaime finally get their swords from Ice. Owning Valyrian steel speaks of legitimacy in paternity as it would normally be something inherited from father to son. I agree. Isn't this so sad considering what lengths Ned will go to on Robert's behalf and the love he bears him? Ned got to see a little glimpse of his friend's true nature when he couldn't be bothered to spare innocents when Ned pleaded out of love for their friendship and the love he bore Lyanna. Then Ned kinda puts the incident out of his mind for a while and goes back to thinking of Robert as a true friend. So many strong parallels to Joffrey/Sansa in ignoring the red flags. Like father, like daughter. How tragic that Ned risked himself to hopefully ensure Cersei's children would be saved and how on Robert's deathbed he wanted to spare his friend the truth and a broken heart... when Robert thought Ned's son should just die already because his paralysis and coma was such a buzz kill for the party. Robert may have been pretty drunk, but in vino veritas. When his inhibitions are lowered, his true character comes out from under the superficial charm. The rapist, the physical abuser, the irresponsible, lazy ruler, the guy that professes love constantly but means none of it to anyone. That "we are too weak" would definitely speak to Joffrey's sense of what strength is: bold, decisive, ruthless action. Strength is not having the "soft hearts" of women. This is not at all merciful. It's callous and basically says your life isn't worth living if you can't be a strong, able-bodied man. He's comparing Bran to a lame horse or dog. Just as in training yard, JOffrey complains about the howling wolves keeping him up at night. It's an unpleasant annoyance that should be put down and the one who does it proves he is not "too weak" to lose their resolve. And we know Joffrey takes pleasure in killing animals, which I suppose makes him feel like the hunter that Robert is. Altogether I think the profile makes it more than clear that Joffrey could act completely on his own. The sloppiness of it is totally consistent with a juvenile crime and his psychological profile. As for his part, Littlefinger is taking a risk in telling a lie that can be discredited when you look into it, but when has LF ever been risk averse? He loves dancing close to the edge of being exposed for the thrill of getting away with it. He's taking advantage of the already existing Lannister suspicion (Lysa's letter and the poisoning of Jon Arryn which he prompted) and playing on Cat's brotherly love for him, all of which is reasonably credible as far as Cat knows. LF knows a good opportunity when he sees it. The catspaw plot was icing on the cake. If it wasn't the catspaw, you can bet he would have taken advantage of any other scenario that arose from starting the conflict. And he continued to instigate by whispering in Joff's ear to execute Ned. He doesn't have to precisely control everything. Just set the ball in motion and give it a few kicks now and then, while fully knowing there are other player involved who will do what they may. It's not a grand conspiracy, it's serendipity where the catspaw meets LF's existing machinations. Maybe that is a little too convenient timing and feels heavy-handed of the author for some tastes, but it's nothing wildly implausible or damaging to the overall plot. I see no reason to project a grand conspiracy onto a plot where none is required to make it work.
  14. Blue-Eyed Wolf

    A Who Sent the Catspaw Theory

    I do think it is reasonable that Joffrey would be motivated by Robert's offhand remark when you look at the dysfunctional family dynamics. This was discussed a while ago on another thread (I can't remember the OP) and it led to some interesting clues about Joffrey's psychology. It may seem like I'm going off topic, but bear with me. Recall the incident with the pregnant female cat that Joffrey cut open to take out the kittens. He brought those fetal kittens to Robert who responded by hitting Joffrey so hard he knocked out his baby teeth. So Joffrey can't be more than 6-7 years old when we typically start to lose our baby teeth. It always struck me as to why Robert hit Joffrey that hard over that. It sounds like a direct punch or a backhand hit to knock his teeth out. Sure, it must have been a disgusting sight, but Robert is a battle hardened warrior. He’s definitely seen more gruesome things on the battlefield. His over reaction could not have been out of disgust alone, but an intense visceral rage and not because Robert is this great animal lover either. Think about it. Little Joffrey is showing Robert the kittens… look at the kittens, Robert!!! The pregnant female cat is a reference to the mother lioness Cersei. Jaime and Cersei were never careful or discreet about their affair. The incest is one of the worst kept secrets. Servants notice things and they talk. Even a young child can witness some things and put two and two together when he sees the pregnant mother cat. Joffrey has obviously seen his mother pregnant with his siblings. Medieval children would be raised with a matter of fact understanding of where babies come from because of living so close to livestock and other animals. So the punch probably didn’t come from the fetal kittens, but maybe something young Joffrey unwittingly said to Robert as he presented them. Even though Jon Arryn was going to go to Robert with the incest accusation, I think it’s wholly possible deep down Robert suspected something before. By nature he is someone that avoids unpleasantness and anything that undermines his self image. A man like Robert I can believe reacted violently to the mere suggestion that his wife was cuckolding him right under his nose with his brother-in-law and someone appointed to his own kingsguard. Should such a thing be acknowledged to be true, it would be utterly humiliating. After Robert's reaction and Joffrey get a little older, there would be more understanding of incest and that it is considered an abomination. It would also cause a huge underlying resentment towards Cersei and Uncle Jaime for making him a bastard and an abomination; however, he is still young and still feels powerless against his mother's dominating personality. Like Robert, this would not be something Joffrey could ever admit to out loud, but bury inside. What he can do at that young age is to heavily identify with his father, the stag. To prove to himself, not just other people, that he is Robert's son. This isn't about love for Robert, it's about denying the truth. We can see his efforts to impress and identify with his father not just in arranging for the catspaw to finish off Bran. He also kills Tommen’s fawn (a mini-stag symbol) and claims the skin and the Baratheon identity for himself. Even every time he says “Mother says I must…” we can feel the resentment there. As time goes on and Joffrey becomes king, he feels his own absolute power as he ceases to listen to Cersei anymore. And he continues to torture cats like when he’s shooting them with his new crossbow. Not coincidentally, this also occurs at a moment he has his kingsguard physically and sexually abuse Sansa. He is transferring his hatred of his mother to women in general as false creatures. Sansa is a “traitor” to him afterall. His first unsupervised outing with Sansa in AGOT definitely had date rape vibes with his plying her with alcohol that she isn’t used to. And Jaime is not excluded. While Sansa is a hostage, Joffrey knows that Jaime’s life depends on Sansa’s safety. He doesn’t care. It’s in his M.O. to use proxies to torture others. So by causing Sansa pain, he can theoretically cause “Uncle Jaime” pain. He wants Robb to know how Sansa is suffering probably so some retaliation will be visited upon the imprisoned Jaime. He also has no respect for his grandfather Tywin and openly mocks him too. This is all distancing himself from the Lannister identity that was thrust upon him by his mother. Yes I know there are definitely traits Joffrey shares with his mother, some things he cannot easily escape and much of what Cersei taught him has stuck. It’s too easy to assume Joffrey is as completely stupid as the POV characters who hate him think he is. He’s definitely not one to think things through, but there’s reason to suspect he knows some shameful family secrets and he’s acting out his anger in ways that he can without admitting the truth. When he even threatens to rape Sansa after she is married to Tyrion, he makes it clear he is emulating his father: Everything he does, he connects it to being like his father whether it's boasting of his skill as a warrior, being ruthless and strong, or being a sexually aggressive man. So looking back on the catspaw incident, it makes sense why Joffrey would latch on to the idea that he's man enough to carry out what his father said ought to be done with Bran. Even if it's something he would share with no one else, in his private thoughts he can say "yes, I am my father's son. I did what he would do." This is completely believable to me as Joffrey's sole motivation because that drive to emulate Robert is remains so consistently extreme over time. Me personally, I don't believe LF had anything to do with it, but I'm just saying the "daddy issues" motive actually does make satisfying sense to Joffrey's character. I think the problem with the catspaw plot is you can really feel the heavy hand of the author needing to kick off the story, but it doesn't bother me and I don't think the overall plot suffers for it. *edit* I will say Robert knowing deep down the truth also explains his neglect of TOmmen and Myrcella too. These are great playful, happy kids who would have been the types to give Robert the adoration he constantly seeks. He avoids them completely. He's caught in a position where he cannot not acknowledge them as his kids, but he also probably doesn't want to look at them and doubt they are his.
  15. Why the Burn of Glamor Magic Fits Sandor's Development Sandor's story doesn't start with a blessing of fire. More like a curse for what his brother did to him, the injustice of the cover up, and the consequences of rewarding such a pile of garbage. Sandor is left with severe PTSD compounded by the fact that he has largely had to keep his trauma buried inside for most of his life. His panic attacks come because he was never able/allowed to process his trauma at the time it occurred. Let's look at his story in relation to his anxiety being triggered and how it escalates. This is actually a good thing in a way, because exposure and revisiting the trauma to decrease its discomfort over time is a treatment for PTSD. From the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs and the National Center for PTSD on Prolonged Exposure Therapy: Just talking about the burning triggers a panic attack. Tested by Wildfire. Seeing Men Burning. Stannis is burning the kingswood, but it is Tyrion's plan to fight with wildfire. Sandor has been assigned to lead sorties on the shoreline where wildfire will be heaviest. To his credit, he did fight for hours in the battle, doing his duty. Stannis's men never broke through; however, after seeing too many men burning to death he finally broke. He proceeds to get extremely drunk, leaves the battle, is declared craven, and generally hits a downward spiral. Tested by the Lord of Light. Feeling the Fire. This time it's not just seeing other men getting burned by wildfire, it's being up close and personal with the magic fire in Beric's blood. Sandor does fight well enough to win (even not noticing the fire for a moment), but then as soon as it's over he regresses into his 6 year old self. On the ground, weeping and begging for help. I've already discussed most of the fight in the previous post, but there's two important features that stick out. "Painted dogs" are referenced on the shield and Sandor receives a pretty bad burn on the arm where the flesh melts off. Burning painted dogs. Burned Men and Painted Dogs are names of two related clans in the Mountains of the Moon and this points to... The Next Logical Step? Making Peace with Fire and Embracing It The Painted Dogs are an older clan that the Burned Men descend from. Thus the Burned Men: So from the Painted Dogs we have boys willingly risking themselves of being burned to bring gifts to the fire witch (i.e making peace with fire) which evolved into the Burned Men, willingly burning themselves to prove their courage (i.e. embracing fire). On a side note, as someone in the comments of the original essay pointed out, the African painted dog (also called a painted wolf) has a mottled coat of mostly black and yellow. They are native to savannas and grassland type areas where they hunt antelope. Their only major predators are lions. This might possibly be inspiration for House Clegane and the three dogs that died from a lion attack in the yellow grass.