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Mourning Star

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  1. In HP Lovecraft's story, Hypnos, (@Odin's Beard, sorry if you mentioned this one already, I didn't see it!) a sculptor meets "the only friend of one who had never possessed a friend before", a stranger with wide luminous eyes. The stranger comes home with him, and they explore worlds beyond human comprehension in their sleep, and cease to age. Eventually, the mysterious friend passes through some barrier on one of their journeys which the narrator cannot follow. Upon waking the man is filled with terror, says that they must sleep as little as possible, and looks at the sky with fear. In particular the constellation of the Corona Borealis. He begins to age rapidly, and the two sleep barely an hour a night. Finally, after the money and drugs they had been using run out, one night the man seems to be unawakenable, and the narrator sees a terrible vision seemingly streaming down from the sky in unnatural light on his friend. The man has a fit, and when the neighbors and police come find him, they tell him he had no friend at all, but there on the couch where he lay is a magnificent statue labeled Hypnos in greek, supposedly portraying a young narrator. A lot to unpack here, and I highly recommend the relatively short read (linked above), as no summary ever does this kind of thing justice. Hypnos is the greek personification of sleep, the brother of Thanatos (death), and child of Nyx (Night) and Erebus (darkness). He lives in a cave in the underworld by the river Lethe (forgetfulness) and surrounded by poppies and other soporific plants. Boreas (the north wind) was one of the Anemoi (winds), and the child of Eos (dawn) and Astraeus (the starry one, god of dusk), as are the other three cardinal winds, and the five wandering stars (planets): Phainon (Saturn), Phaethon (Jupiter), Pyroeis (Mars), Eosphoros/Hesperos (Venus), and Stilbon (Mercury). Boreas is usually depicted as a winged old man, although some descriptions ascribe him snakes for feet. Corona Borealis is a constellation whose name translates roughly to northern crown. It is associated with the myth of the minotaur's labyrinth. In particular it is the crown given by Dionysus to Ariadne after she is abandoned by Theseus whom she had betrayed her father and country to help by providing a sword and ball of string he uses to slay the minotaur and escape (or in an alternate version the crown is given to her before she helps Theseus and he uses the light of the crown to find his way out of the maze). The Latin author Hyginus linked it to a crown or wreath worn by Bacchus (Dionysus) to disguise his appearance when first approaching Mount Olympus and revealing himself to the gods, having been previously hidden as yet another child of Jupiter's trysts with a mortal, in this case Semele. Older still, in Mesopotamian myth the constellation was associated with Nanaya, a Mesopotamian love goddess whose association with Inanna (a Venus goddess) has been debated. I find it of particular note that the crown/cradle is one of the constellations specifically called out in ASoIaF: And, just to end on a fun fact, because I'm not exactly sure where I'm going with all this... The word "clue", comes from "clew" meaning a ball or thread of yarn, and is a reference to a tool used to solve a puzzle, like Theseus using Ariadne's string to escape the Labyrinth, aka following the clew.
  2. I don't think that is really the point though... It's not that oaths and vows have nothing to do with honor and morality, it's just that they aren't all the same thing. Jaime killing Aerys is the definition of dishonorable, like literally it would be the textbook example. Whether it is amoral is a different question, and that is important! Jaime did what he thought was right, not his duty, and certainly not what was honorable. Much like how Ned kept Jon a secret: Aemon makes the mistake of conflating duty with what is right here, and this tells us a lot about his character, but the distinction is important. The danger here is trying to see the world in absolutes. Life is complicated and people have to decide what they believe is right when faced with hard choices. exploring these choices is what makes for such a good story. Ned would rather die than betray his honor, but will give up his honor for the sake of his loved ones. Jaime trying to argue that all vows are meaningless because he swears so many is neither honorable nor moral. Pretending none of it matters because the choices are hard is also a mistake. While it's a mistake to see the world as white and black, it's also a mistake to think morality is completely relative. Just because everyone makes mistakes, life is complicated, and there are hard choices doesn't mean one can just throw up their hands and pretend none of it matters. The oaths matter, the duties matter, the lives of innocents matter, love matters, and so does trying to do what is right, even when the choices are difficult.
  3. I'd rather you didn't respond to my posts at all in the future, but if you do, please at least try to be honest when you are quoting me. Go back and look, this quote was used to show that the crow is acknowledging it has wings. And, for the record, "acknowledge" was literally your word I was quoting there. Obviously, the answer is that otherwise the dialogue doesn't make any sense. I'm really not using any interpretation here at all: Saying, "There are different kinds of wings", after demonstrating flying so Bran could see, means it knows Bran is seeing its wings, and, after all, there have to be wings in the first place for there to be a different kind to refer to. This passage simply does not make sense if the crow thought Bran was asking if it was a brother of the Night's Watch. The crow knew it appeared as a crow in Bran's dream. Fact.
  4. I most certainly do! Although, I'm inclined to like the idea that Bran saw behind the veil there for a moment at the end of the dream and that the serving woman with long black hair is how Old Nan sees herself. Now, is the serving woman the same one he sees later in the vision of the heart tree? Then there came a brown-haired girl slender as a spear who stood on the tips of her toes to kiss the lips of a young knight as tall as Hodor. It seems possible, but I just don't know.
  5. It would seem that Melisandre is actually an old woman pretending to be young and beautiful with magic. And there is the waif who appears to be a child but is actually an old woman. What if the opposite was also possible? A woman who is actually kept young by magic but appears to be old? I love this! As a bit of a tangential connection, Martin clearly alludes to a number of Aesops Fables, and so far "rushlight" has only been used once in the entire series: The Farthing Rushlight: A Rushlight in love with its own brilliancy, once boasted that its light was brighter even than that of the sun, the moon, and the stars. Just then a door opened, and a puff of wind blew it out. On lighting it, its owner said: "Cease now your boasting. Be content to shine in silence. Heavenly lights do not blow out. Know that not even the stars need to be relit." A false light can only lead us further into darkness... Anyway, fun stuff!
  6. I have to be honest, I really didn't like the wheel of time... so while I get the references I don't find much value in them (or at least I won't be much help discussing). The Simarillon, and Tolkien in general, on the other hand I think we pretty clearly can see influenced ASoIaF, and I'm certainly a fan. And since @LynnS mentioned the Brooding Weirwood looking into the pool in the Winterfell Godswood (which can be paralleled to the Norse Well of Mimir perhaps?), I always loved the song of durin, which starts: The world was young, the mountains green No stain yet on the Moon was seen No words were laid on stream or stone When Durin woke and walked alone He named the nameless hills and dells He drank from yet untasted wells He stooped and looked in Mirrormere And saw a crown of stars appear Stain on the moon - moon cracking like an egg? nameless hills and dells, streams and stones - nameless gods of the wood? And mirrormere - the black pool? And the crown of stars? We look up at the same stars, and see such different things. The King's Crown was the Cradle, to hear her tell it I have long suspected that Bloodraven believes he should have been king, and perhaps he still does. I think that is what he broods over, the perceived wrongs done to him.
  7. The crow does acknowledge it: "You have wings," Bran pointed out. Maybe you do too. Bran felt along his shoulders, groping for feathers. There are different kinds of wings, the crow said. So, to be clear... You are honestly suggesting that after Bran calls the crow a crow, says it has wings, feels for wings on his own back, and the crow responds that "there are other kinds of wings", that it doesn't know it's appearing as a crow? lol I'm here to discuss the text, if you are just going to deny the words on the page then there is no reason for us to interact further.
  8. Come on... be more honest: "You have wings," Bran pointed out. Maybe you do too. Bran felt along his shoulders, groping for feathers. There are different kinds of wings, the crow said. The Crow knows it has wings with feathers, it knows how it appears, and stating that there are "different kinds of wings" is literally differentiating between types of wings. Even if you want to argue that the crow is talking about some non-feathered wing, it still requires that the crow knows it has feathered wings itself, aka how it appears in the dream! It is completely disingenuous to suggest otherwise. “Are you really a crow?” Bran asked. I mean... you even quoted it... It is a fact that the crow knows it was a crow in the falling dream. Bran calls it a crow and the crow references different types of wings. And, it's a fact that Bloodraven didn't know what Bran meant when asked directly if he was the three eyed crow. So, Bloodraven isn't the crow from Bran's dream, fact. It really is that simple, even though there is a mountain of other corroborating evidence and symbolism which supports this conclusion.
  9. Fantastic stuff! I would add that that the apple being the fruit of the tree of knowledge in Christian mythology is well known, but apples also play an important role in classic greek and norse myth as the food of immortality, in the story of Bran the Blessed of Irish Mythology, and King Arthur (Avallon is the Isle of Apples). Now that you are pointing out the Clarence Crabb and Crab stew connections to the tree, it does make me wonder if there is a crab apple connection!
  10. Evidence, what I present is evidence, and there is a lot. That Bloodraven is not the Three Eyed Crow is right up there with R+L=J in theories that I consider fact. You disagree, awesome! That's why people are on forums like this, to discuss ideas and interpretations. But, to be taken seriously, you need evidence of your own, or at least a compelling argument. Leaning on nonsense like the crow not knowing it is a crow when it talks about it's own wings in the very first dream sequence is not believable, as it is inconsistent with the text. I present as fact what I believe to be fact, which is all anyone can do. Apologies if a lack of equivocation on my part is somehow perceived as a fault by you.
  11. Yes, I believe what I’m saying to be fact. And yet he says “once” in reference to being a member of the watch? this clearly implies he is no longer. and he isn’t dead… and he isn’t at his post… so he has broken his oath. “No man is more dangerous”, Ned told Bran in his very first chapter, the first chapter of the whole series. The monsters cannot pass so long as the Wall stands and the men of the Night's Watch stay true, that's what Old Nan used to say. This is not possible, the three eyed crow discusses the difference between having literal bird wings and metaphorical ones in Bran’s falling dream… it knows it appears as a crow. it is evidence. Part of a huge pile. Did you ever hear the children’s story, “are you my mother?” It’s not much of a leap to see a pattern, especially when the non-response was so highlighted for us by Bran’s doubts right there on the page in both cases. Because it isn’t used that way enough already in the series? Honestly, this doesn’t make sense… yes we know wildlings call nights watchmen crows. Better question, can Bloodraven even talk through dreams? I mean, he says he wasn’t able to reach his siblings, and the brooding Weirwood struggled to speak in Bran’s dreams, and Bloodraven says he “saw” Bran, and “watched” bran, but somehow forgot the whole speaking thing along with appearing as a crow? Maybe the author is trying to convey something? Lol This makes no sense to me. Bran knows he’s a tree when he dreams of being a tree. He knows he’s a wolf when he dreams he’s being a wolf. The crow knows it has wings when speaking to Bran in his dream… but you think Bloodraven is just oblivious? Literally makes no sense. Bloodraven only has one physical eye. When Bran appears to Jon as a Weirwood he has three eyes. His two normal eyes and a third in his forehead. If you mean “makes sense” or “consistent” when you say “overly literal” then sure… one plus one is two. Although, this story is full of overly literal, joke is on the reader, moments. The crow opened its beak and cawed at him, a shrill scream of fear, and the grey mists shuddered and swirled around him and ripped away like a veil, and he saw that the crow was really a woman Hopefully we get a new book one day and you can eat crow! Again, for the hundredth time, this explanation doesn’t fit the text. The crow in Brans dream knows it’s a crow. All I can do is point out what is there for anyone to see. If you made a compelling argument you might change my mind, but obviously I doubt that will happen.
  12. I suspect that there is a bit of a switcheroo going on with the Norse Mythology references… and that the characters who parallel the classic villains (Loki and his children: Fenrir the wolf, Jormangr the Wyrm, Hel the half dead, as well as Surtr and his flaming sword, etc.) will in fact parallel the heroes of ASoIaF. Meanwhile Bloodraven has a lot of Odin symbolism, Jaime as Tyr, Cersei as Freya, Cat as Frigg, etc. I love this. I’m pretty sold on the idea that the three eyed crow was Old Nan all along, and so the crow/crone symbolism is not surprising in the least. Add in a pinch of the fates, with her weaving and her stories, not to mention the toothless mouth and the extra “eye” in her needles going click click click as she speaks (the crow has a voice “as sharp as swords”), and I think it’s a classic case of the truth was in front of the reader the whole time.
  13. Nooooooope. First, there is not symbolism that the three eyed crow is Bloodraven, because he isn’t. Bloodraven was “once” a member of the Nights Watch, and he, just like Sam, when asked by Bran if he is the three eyed crow, leaps to the wrong conclusion and assumes it’s a reference to the Nights Watch. This isn’t a reason to think Sam is the three eyed crow any more than Bloodraven, in fact it’s indicating neither is the crow. Speaking of eyes… the number is relevant, and again doesn’t fit with Bloodraven: A three-eyed crow should have three eyes. He has only one, and that one red. Bran could feel the eye staring at him, shining like a pool of blood in the torchlight. Where his other eye should have been, a thin white root grew from an empty socket, down his cheek, and into his neck. Instead it would appear in line with Bloodraven appearing as the Brooding Weirwood in Bran’s Dreams (one eyed Bloodraven with an extra eye is the two eyed tree… not a three eyed crow), which sometimes shares the dream with the crow and sometimes doesn’t, showing they are distinct entities. I am willing to bet the farm that Bloodraven isn’t the three eyed crow and it’s mind blowing to me that this is even still up for debate! Bran has already literally asked Bloodraven straight up of he was the three eyed crow and Bloodraven didn’t even understand the question!!!
  14. Bloodraven’s personal sigil is a white wyrm (dragon). And, just a friendly reminder, a raven isn’t a crow, and Bloodraven isn’t the three eyed crow. The frozen spires are the Weirwoods above Bloodraven’s Lair, and the bones of the dreamers are impaled on the points of their roots. And because I love all the outside references you are pulling in here, I will point to one from a different source, The Prophesy of Merlin, in which a white dragon and a red dragon do battle under the earth (causing the usurper’s castle to keep falling down).
  15. I still don’t know what transformation you are talking about… what does it actually mean to be cleansed by fire? What is being cleansed? I think this is a trap. Much like how the series starts with a lesson about fear, and how one can only be brave when you are afraid… not knowing fear is a fault. The whole idea that someone would try to purge themselves of perceived faults is not a good thing. That she is a zealot and seeing the world as purely white and black, good and evil, is a huge mistake. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Melisandre is a clearly misguided individual. Building a worldview around some two sided cosmic war is not only stupid, it leads to making horrible choices. And let’s be honest, it’s Davos who tells us the truth, your heart should be full of doubt.
  16. It's funny to come out with such different interpretations... I think people tend to think Melisandre is either someone willing to do what is necessary to defeat evil, or is somehow representing this great dualistic struggle. I think that, like pretty much every human character, her motivations are personal. I think she is a wildly misguided religious zealot who does great evil in the name of good, and I would be immensely surprised if she is ever redeemed, especially as it sure seems like she will end up supporting Euron. I don't think she is inherently evil, but she has clearly suffered and fallen for a world view that leads her to do great harm. Maybe? It's a description of something, but I'm not at all so sure it's comparable to Mel or Beric. Dany is special, Dany is unburnt, it was a miracle. We see from the bit you quoted that she is not consumed by the fire. However, I do not think the same can be said for others, like Mel and Beric. So here is where I think we are reading this from wildly different perspectives. I don't think that the religion is telling us about the real thing at all, but rather it is obfuscating the truth (and the past). "The power and the glory" are from the doxology at the end of the Lord's Prayer in Mathew 6:13, part of The Sermon on the Mount, one of the most famous sections of the New Testament (although, perhaps interestingly, not in Luke, and may in fact be a more modern addition to the rest of the verse). For the Anglican churches, it is even part of the evensong (evening prayer). I find it of particular interest that there is relevant theological debate over this section: And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. -The King James Bible, Mathew 6:13 Is it god that leads man into temptation? That would seem to be the literal translation, but obviously causes philosophical issues (the nature of evil being one of the big philosophical/theological debate points). Not to mention debates over the "original" translation. Even better in relation to R'hloo, is this implication about "temptation" if we remember that "fire" is synonymous with "desire" in Frost's "Fire and Ice" from which the series A Song of Ice and Fire get's it's name, and the ending of the world. From what I've tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire On that we agree! I am super suspicious of this sort of stuff though... It seems more to me that it's beric being burned away to keep his flesh alive. Not only that, while I'm not sure I trust Aemon's assessment of everything in this series, this section certainly seems relevant and hits home: Anyone claiming to know what happens after you die should be held in the highest suspicion. And this is another of those major theological discussion points. As it happens, we do see what happens to Varamyr's "soul" in his prologue chapter, and it certainly doesn't require any purification by fire. You lost me... but it's fun to speculate! I think this is more a case of the "Seven" representing Mankind and R'hloo burning/consuming, and the whole "if you aren't one of us you are an enemy" mindset is horrifying. I see nothing here about rebirth. To me this, like the burning of the Godswood at Stormsend, seem like great crimes. I don't know that I agree at all here, nor am I convinced that Azor Ahai wasn't the villain of this story. What? It's more revealing about her, that she sees the world as black and white, than her observation is a meaningful representation of the world. I have no idea where you are getting the seven of light vs seven of darkness bit... I do not think this is a story about good versus evil in that traditional sense. No, when it comes to shadows, I'm more inclined to listen to Varys: "Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less." "So power is a mummer's trick?" "A shadow on the wall," Varys murmured, "yet shadows can kill. And ofttimes a very small man can cast a very large shadow." Faith, religious or otherwise, is a source of power, and Melisandre is a kind of mummer even by her own description. I love mythological references but you've completely lost me here.
  17. I don't follow your thinking here... I agree that Melisandre's "rituals" are in large part show, but not entirely, the wind which brought Stannis to the Wall was real enough, as were the shadow babies who killed Renly and Penrose. But, TBH Danny doesn't seem to know much about the "mysteries" either, and I'm not sure what you mean by spiritual awakening or meaning here. Hell, I still have grave doubts about whether any of this was madness or wisdom. But, the astronomical and mythological references abound. The birth of dragons waits for the sun to go down and the first star to come out, in this miraculous case instead of the normal Evenstar (Venus/Love), it is the comet of fire and blood. It is an exceptional moment outside the normal order of things. As an aside, I can't help but think of JRR Tolkien's poem in The Lord of the Rings (based on "The Wanderer") when discussion this scene: Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing? Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing? Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing? Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing? They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow; The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow. Who shall gather the smoke of the dead wood burning, Or behold the flowing years from the Sea returning?
  18. She knows she is putting on a show, but I still think she is deluding herself as well. It doesn't leave behind anything, like say bones or a body which could be turned into a wight. The dead are consumed, a clean end. It fits with the general theme of ice preserving and fire consuming. One isn't good and the other evil, they are both necessary and are dangerous when taken to the extreme. Part of our living world. Dany is clearly special, and her not being consumed by the fire, and instead emerging with living dragons is certainly miraculous, but I'm not sure it can be used as any sort of standard. But, it is a good example of how the cleansing nature of fire can be both good and bad. Cleansing one's self of weakness and doubt can certainly be positive. But when religious fanatics start preaching about cleansing the world I think it's time to fill one's heart with doubt... He jabbed his bony finger back at comet and castle. "There comes the Harbinger! Cleanse yourselves, the gods cry out, lest ye be cleansed! Bathe in the wine of righteousness, or you shall be bathed in fire! Fire!" - "In Volantis, thousands of slaves and freedmen crowd the temple plaza every night to hear Benerro shriek of bleeding stars and a sword of fire that will cleanse the world. I think we need to be careful about conflating all the sources of "light". Starlight and fire may not represent the same thing. She saw sunlight on the Dothraki sea, the living plain, rich with the smells of earth and death. Wind stirred the grasses, and they rippled like water. Drogo held her in strong arms, and his hand stroked her sex and opened her and woke that sweet wetness that was his alone, and the stars smiled down on them, stars in a daylight sky. "Home," she whispered as he entered her and filled her with his seed, but suddenly the stars were gone, and across the blue sky swept the great wings, and the world took flame. The "living plain", with both sunlight and earth/death, a balance. Wind and grass like water... So fire (sunlight), earth, wind, and water... I think it's no mistake that the four elements here are all represented in the image of the "living plain". And love (and sex) represented by the stars, the morning star (and evening star) are actually the planet Venus (love) and this theme of stars representing love is a major theme not just in this series but in many of it's major inspirations, in particular Dante. 'The Seasons of My Love.' Sweet and sad, if you understand the words. The first girl I ever bedded used to sing it, and I've never been able to put it out of my head." Tyrion gazed up at the sky. It was a clear cold night and the stars shone down upon the mountains as bright and merciless as truth. "I met her on a night like this," - She saw crimson firelions and great yellow serpents and unicorns made of pale blue flame; she saw fish and foxes and monsters, wolves and bright birds and flowering trees, each more beautiful than the last. She saw a horse, a great grey stallion limned in smoke, its flowing mane a nimbus of blue flame. Yes, my love, my sun-and-stars, yes, mount now, ride now. - "Willas has a bad leg but a good heart," said Margaery. "He used to read to me when I was a little girl, and draw me pictures of the stars. You will love him as much as we do, Sansa." - "Be quiet, I haven't given you leave to speak. You enticed him, just as your mother did that night in Riverrun, with her smiles and her dancing. You think I could forget? That was the night I stole up to his bed to give him comfort. I bled, but it was the sweetest hurt. He told me he loved me then, but he called me Cat, just before he fell back to sleep. Even so, I stayed with him until the sky began to lighten. Your mother did not deserve him. She would not even give him her favor to wear when he fought Brandon Stark. I would have given him my favor. I gave him everything. He is mine now. Not Catelyn's and not yours." - "Yes. And yet Summerhall was the place the prince loved best. He would go there from time to time, with only his harp for company. Even the knights of the Kingsguard did not attend him there. He liked to sleep in the ruined hall, beneath the moon and stars, and whenever he came back he would bring a song. When you heard him play his high harp with the silver strings and sing of twilights and tears and the death of kings, you could not but feel that he was singing of himself and those he loved." - "And that was the fault in him," she would add, "for all men must know fear." A woman was his downfall; a woman glimpsed from atop the Wall, with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars. Fearing nothing, he chased her and caught her and loved her, though her skin was cold as ice, and when he gave his seed to her he gave his soul as well. - Griffin's Roost had been his, eventually, if only for a few short years. From here, Jon Connington had ruled broad lands extending many leagues to the west, north, and south, just as his father and his father's father had before him. But his father and his father's father had never lost their lands. He had. I rose too high, loved too hard, dared too much. I tried to grasp a star, overreached, and fell. The examples are honestly too plentiful to give full evidence to here, but I tried to pick out a variety, fire and ice, happy and sad, true and false... honestly I just think it's a fantastic topic, so sorry for rambling! The important part is that it is all very human and seemingly at the crux of pretty much every major part of the story. The song of ice and fire isn't just about war it's about love.
  19. The sun which blinds you from seeing the other stars... the god of flame and shadow who consumes other gods... I do not think this is the kind of savior any man should wish for. It isn't Lightbringer, it is a false sword and a false light, only a glamour, and misguided faith only leads further into darkness. "Now do you see my meaning? Be glad that it is just a burnt sword that His Grace pulled from that fire. Too much light can hurt the eyes, my friend, and fire burns." - I remembered that, so I allowed myself to hope . . . perhaps I wanted to . . . we all deceive ourselves, when we want to believe. Melisandre most of all, I think. The sword is wrong, she has to know that . . . light without heat . . . an empty glamor . . . the sword is wrong, and the false light can only lead us deeper into darkness
  20. I'm not so sure about this conclusion, although related, I do not think we should conflate the sun with the "lightbringer", especially given all the astronomical and mythological references in the series. In general, I think that "light bringer", "the light that brings the dawn", and "the morning star" can all be seen as referencing the same thing. The Sword of the Morning is also a constellation of stars. This appears to me to be clearly distinct from the Sun. In classic greek myth, it's probably worth noting, the Titans Hyperion and Theia had three children, Helios (Sun), Selene (Moon) and Eos (Dawn). Eos in turn, with the Titan Astraeus ("of the Stars") became the mother of the Anemoi ("winds"), of the virgin goddess of justice, Astrae ("starry one"), and most importantly here, of the Morning Star, Eosphoros ("the dawn-bringer"). That brightest of stars appeared, Eosphoros, that most often heralds the light of early-rising Dawn - Homer, The Odyssey 13.93
  21. I'm not sure I agree with this parallel, but I think there is a pretty decent chance these three women are all related (by blood). Her daughters had long ago married and moved away and died.
  22. Don't forget Squire Dalbridge! As you say, there are plenty of characters who are old enough to have been around when Aegon V was king.
  23. I've certainly seen a lot of ways one can interpret this conversation! The old woman smiled at him toothlessly. "My stories? No, my little lord, not mine. The stories are, before me and after me, before you too." She was a very ugly old woman, Bran thought spitefully; shrunken and wrinkled, almost blind, too weak to climb stairs, with only a few wisps of white hair left to cover a mottled pink scalp. No one really knew how old she was, but his father said she'd been called Old Nan even when he was a boy. She was the oldest person in Winterfell for certain, maybe the oldest person in the Seven Kingdoms. Nan had come to the castle as a wet nurse for a Brandon Stark whose mother had died birthing him. He had been an older brother of Lord Rickard, Bran's grandfather, or perhaps a younger brother, or a brother to Lord Rickard's father. Sometimes Old Nan told it one way and sometimes another. In all the stories the little boy died at three of a summer chill, but Old Nan stayed on at Winterfell with her own children. She had lost both her sons to the war when King Robert won the throne, and her grandson was killed on the walls of Pyke during Balon Greyjoy's rebellion. Her daughters had long ago married and moved away and died. All that was left of her own blood was Hodor, the simpleminded giant who worked in the stables, but Old Nan just lived on and on, doing her needlework and telling her stories. I tend to think it points to Nan being the Three Eyed Crow. And I love the toothless smile, needles (with their eyes) going click click click as the crow speaks in a voice a sharp as swords. I do think it may be worth noting that Nan doesn't say the stories are "after" Bran though.
  24. It's a conspiracy! If we look at the context however, perhaps there are clues for why it was written this way, although I'm not claiming to be able to make sense of it all: The heads had been dipped in tar to slow the rot. Every morning when Arya went to the well to draw fresh water for Roose Bolton's basin, she had to pass beneath them. They faced outward, so she never saw their faces, but she liked to pretend that one of them was Joffrey's. She tried to picture how his pretty face would look dipped in tar. If I was a crow I could fly down and peck off his stupid fat pouty lips. The heads never lacked for attendants. The carrion crows wheeled about the gatehouse in raucous unkindness and quarreled upon the ramparts over every eye, screaming and cawing at each other and taking to the air whenever a sentry passed along the battlements. Sometimes the maester's ravens joined the feast as well, flapping down from the rookery on wide black wings. When the ravens came the crows would scatter, only to return the moment the larger birds were gone. Do the ravens remember Maester Tothmure? Arya wondered. Are they sad for him? When they quork at him, do they wonder why he doesn't answer? Perhaps the dead could speak to them in some secret tongue the living could not hear. I think it's worth noting that it isn't just "unkindess" that is out of place here, but a "quarrel" is the term for a group of sparrows. Obviously, both crows and sparrows are terms used to refer to groups of men in the series. And we see highlighted here that ravens and crows are distinct. Arya is imagining herself as a crow, and perhaps it could be said she is imagining murdering Jof here... I can only speculate, but it does seem like there is something there... perhaps it is part of a larger metaphor using birds in the series. However, a flock of ravens is referred to as a murder repeatedly, and when I tried to look this up it seems like it might not just be Martin who uses the term this way. He also uses "murder" for crows... "Tommen, when you say your prayers before bed, tell the Mother and the Father that you are thankful you are still a child. Being king is hard work. I promise you, you will not like it. They peck at you like a murder of crows. Every one wants a piece of your flesh." So I honestly don't know how much to try and read into this... clearly the only reasonable answer is more and too much!
  25. After rereading these books too many times, if there is one hill I am wiling to die defending, it is that Old Nan is more than she seems! I cannot disagree with you enough, nor can it be overstated how Old Nan is important. Oh my sweet summer child.. what stupidity? TBH I don't understand what your point here even is besides saying something obviously misguided to stir the proverbial pot. She is literally telling children stories, that doesn't make them stupid or without wisdom. We see the Others do literally hunt people through the woods and take Craster's sons... Nan's stories might require interpretation at times, and shouldn't always be taken literally, but she is reliably more trustworthy than any other source of information. Secret knowledge, absolutely, but what true enemy? I think you will find that the greatest enemy of mankind is mankind. It should also be noted that I don't think anyone suggests she is omnipotent, and she certainly didn't "let" things go sideways. Theon knocked her over... Theon led the way up the stairs. I have climbed these steps a thousand times before. As a boy he would run up; descending, he would take the steps three at a time, leaping. Once he leapt right into Old Nan and knocked her to the floor. So you think she was just a noname commoner? Is that your conclusion here? Just a nobody telling nonsense stories? I have to be honest, I don't know how you read this series, and have the wise old woman who's eye/hair color are not given and come to the conclusion she is a nobody... lol Though Old Nan did not think so, and she'd lived longer than any of them. "Dragons," she said, lifting her head and sniffing. She was near blind and could not see the comet, yet she claimed she could smell it. "It be dragons, boy," she insisted. Bran got no princes from Nan, no more than he ever had. I think the safe money is that Old Nan is the three eyed crow and a Targaryen.
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