Bears, Direwolves, other things, and Lightbringer in General (ASoIaF) Posted August 28 · Edited August 28 by Nadden At the beginning of our story a recently anointed Knight and newly sworn Brother of the Night’s Watch Ser Waymar Royce journeys north into the haunted forest where he appears to face off one on one in a duel to the death. He’s wounded then seemly butchered. I believe his broken sword tells us more. There’s an old childhood saying that goes like this, “Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye”. The saying is a pledge by a person swearing the oath that they are indeed telling the truth. And should they be lying than they hope to die and that their death would be verified by a needle in the eye. Long ago the idea of sticking “a needle in the eye” was done on corpses. It was a custom to make sure that someone wasn’t still alive before they were buried. Children simply took the idea and used it as part of a pledge to tell the truth. Leave it to kids to take something so morbid and attach it to a noble pledge to ensure honor. In our story there’s a moment just before Waymar is seemly butchered that he, figuratively, gets “a needle in his eye”. I’ll explain… Martin must have had this pledge in mind while writing the AGOT, Prologue. After Waymar appears to be butchered, Will eventually finds his courage. He climbs down from the tree. He sees Waymar lying facedown dead and the end of his sword a few feet away. Warily looking around, Will knelt to snatch up the broken sword and when he rose as did Waymar. It’s at this point that we see the figurative needle in his eye. Here’s the quote, Quote “His fine clothes were a tatter, his face a ruin. A shard from his sword transfixed the blind white pupil of his left eye.” (AGOT, Prologue) From this passage it’s not immediately obvious that the shard is, figuratively, a needle. Our author obscures this detail in a bygone passage. Here it is, Quote “A scream echoed through the forest night, and the longsword shivered into a hundred brittle pieces, the shards scattering like a rain of needles. Royce went to his knees, shrieking, and covered his eyes. Blood welled between his fingers.” (AGOT, Prologue) The phrase “like a rain of needles”, a simile, directly compares the scattering “shards” of Waymar’s sword to “a rain of needles”. One of the shards from that sword finds its’ way into Waymar’s eye. That shard is from the “rain of needles”. Thus, figuratively, a needle in his eye. Martin’s deliberate separation of the literal object from its figurative counterpart seems to give weight to the idea that this is an important connection being made. The simile, “like a rain of needles” comes while Waymar’s longsword is shattering or being destroyed but the lone needle is not reveal until Waymar’s apparent resurrection. The placement of the two aspects of this idea may be telling as it parallels Waymar’s death and resurrection. In fact, it’s Waymar‘s death pose which may give us the “Cross my heart,…” moment, the first part of the that old childhood pledge of honor. But what seems certain at this point is that Waymar broke his promise.