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Mourning Star

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  1. Yes the Age of Heroes/Long Night were well before the Andal invasion... but, the Age of Heroes likely begins with the Pact and the breaking of the Arm of Dorne, and ended with the Long Night, and the "Last Hero". However, my point was that even from around the time of the Long Night there is evidence of a people more advanced than the First Men, but this is clearly long before the Andals or Rhoynar were driven from Essos by the rise of Valyria. Just the simple idea that the Others hated iron, tells us that they had iron in Westeros the last time the Others came (long before the Andals) and this is supported by the ancient iron swords in the Stark crypts, which are below a round tower with gargoyles (both indicative of non-First Man construction), in addition the Starks were once a sea power (another technology at odds with what we know of the First Men). Given the tales from Essos about the Long Night and the stories of Bran the Builder, I'd suggest that the origins of House Stark are not purely the First Men.
  2. Personal favorites: Syrio was Jaqen Hagar the whole time and the real Syrio died with the Sealord who signed Viserys's pact with Dorne. Dany is the daughter of Lyanna and Rhaegar Mance Rayder (the shadowcat) sent the "catspaw" assassin who tried to kill Bran, while Mance was in the library, he then burned, looking for what led him to digging in the Frostfangs. Dalla and Val are the children of Mors Umber's kidnapped daughter. The three eyed crow isn't Bloodraven, it was Old Nan all along. Bloodraven and his singer allies north of the Wall caused the return of the Others. Singers who kept the pact might be found on the isle of faces in the God's Eye. Craster was the son of Aemon, making the baby switch Jon pulled an ironic case of keeping the kingsblood at the Wall. The first faceless man was a Valyrian Dragonlord, and the Doom was an inside job. Illyrio is Salador Sann, Salador Sann is Illyrio. Vary's tale of mummers and his castration was his time with the Faceless Men. Godswoods were built to wall in the trees, thus the "watchers on the walls", plural, of the Nights Watch Oath. The original sword Ice is better known as Dawn. Valyrian Steel is an imitation of this first blade, also called Lightbringer. One might also note that the Starks seem to have had iron and round walls, both technological advances said to have not come to Westeros until the arrival of the Andals much later. The Last Hero was Azhor Ahai was the Night's King, and Nissa Nissa was his corpse bride.
  3. I think Mance saying Dalla is "blameless" is basically a tell that he is lying... Note, that it is exactly what Ned, honest Ned, says when lying about Cat: And the only other time "Blameless" gets used? When Tyrion is talking to his uncle about Joff's death, and you'll note Tyrion's Lady (Sansa) was far from blameless. I don't understand where the idea that Val patched up Mance comes from. I think it's associated with the First Men who made the pact, they are the old gods after all, but you don't see Northmen using Weirwoods as their symbols, only the Blackwoods who were chased out of the North. I don't follow, you are suggesting they are not sisters at all? Mance introduced them? what?
  4. Nice catch! Although technically a gift is not an inheritance since she would have been alive when she gave the gift presumably... but that doesn't really change your point. I do think a Weirwood brooch fits with the daughter of a free folk wise woman.
  5. Side Note: I also find this interesting especially given the Song about Brave Danny Flint
  6. Presumably they were asked to by Stannis? I think the better question is why Old Flint and Norrey come themselves, and the answer is to judge Jon Snow for themselves. Stannis wanted to name Jon lord of WInterfell, and Robb may have made him his heir. The Liddles, at least, also know Bran is alive. Not really. Stannis asks them to send a wet nurse to keep his captive alive. Doesn't seem unreasonable or remarkable to me. Or they just did it for Stannis. I don't understand your point here... what do you mean inherited Dalla's outfit? White is the major color of the Old Gods. We see it all over the North. White bearskins notably make up Mance's tent and, notably here, are worn by the Umbers. Brooches are among the treasures Jon takes from the wildlings. They may not use family sigils, but they use brooches...
  7. I think it's actually very easy to see how Mance's first visit could result in meeting Dalla North of the Wall. Qorgyle's name first appears in Storm of Swords. When Mance says he joined Qorgyle as part of the escort to WInterfell. Qorgyle was Lord Commander and so presumably they came from Castle Black. Since Mance was actually stationed at the Shadow Tower, this means he probably first traveled to Castle Black before going to WInterfell. This also implies he would have to return to the Shadow Tower from Castle Black, and this is the second mention of Qorgyle (the rest are about Arron Qorgyle or the election of Jon as Lord Commander): This tells me that in all likelihood, after the visit to Winterfell Mance would have returned to the SHadow Tower as part of a patrol, and it was as part of this patrol, I would suggest, that he was attacked by the Shadowcat. And then Mance was cared for, got his red slash cloak and returned to the Shadow Tower, where he left in the morning... Earlier we have Quorin saying this: We know Mance doesn't wear a crown, and the explanation that it was because he has wildling blood is just bigotry. It's like blaming him for having a brother of the watch as a father. I am more inclined to think he had multiple reasons, but it was the woman (Dalla) that made him desert. I feel it best fits the plot and the message of the series.
  8. It’s not a reference to crow food at all imo… I think it’s telling us that the songs aren’t literally about Mance, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t used as telling references. Mance is notoriously called “the best of us, and the worst as well” by the Halfhand. “He never learned to obey”, and meanwhile “all men must serve” is the other half of “all men must die”… which is used in the Dornishman’s Wife song. I take it this is the reasoning behind Val's being a princess? I have no idea what you are talking about here. I’m pointing out that it seems like Mors is a Dornish name, and Mance changed the song from the Dornishman’s Wife to the Northman’s Daughter, and Mors had a daughter taken by wildlings. Yes. However, if he met Dalla after the first trip to Winterfell, that would be about 10 years ago approx.? Even if less than 10 years, it's rather a long time to wait to start raising a family. Mance was mostly grey-haired when Jon met him, suggesting he was not the youngest of men. Why would the couple wait so long? There's moon-tea, miscarrages etc. but it still seems odd in a world where most couples strive to have children soon after marriage. Mance was facing down every would be king in the north. Plenty of other characters are married for extended periods without having children. We have no idea if they had stillborn children or what the situation was. I don’t see an issue here.
  9. How did Jon betray the Night's Watch? What oath did he break? How did he drag them into conflict? Seems to me the Night's Watch betrayed him. Jon is not the first Lord Commander to answer an invitation to Winterfell.
  10. I obviously can't be certain of any of this, but it's fun to speculate, and I agree with much of what was said above. Dalla and Val's mother was the wise woman who's village Mance was brought to when he was injured by the shadow cat, and Dalla was the woman who cared for him, sowing the red silk into his cloak. I would also agree that this wise woman was the daughter of Mors "Crowfood" Umber, who was "taken" by wildlings. The name Mors belongs to a handful of other characters in ASoIaF, all of whom come from Dorne. Most notably, Mors Martell was the prince, and first husband of Nymeria of Ny Sar and founded the current royal line of Dorne, his grandson Mors II, and Doran's dead brother. Mors Manwoody, heir to Kingsgrave, accompanied Oberyn to King's Landing. (A Qorgyle is also among Oberyn's entourage.) I would point out that Mance changing the "Dornishman's Wife" to the "Northman's Daughter" may have been a play on Mors's name. I would also agree with the point that Mance probably met Dalla and Val on his return from Winterfell, the first time. Mance probably went back to Castle Black with Qorgyle from Winterfell, and then was sent on a patrol back to the Shadow Tower when he was attacked by the Shadow Cat. I would also point out that while hair/eye color may not always be proof positive of heritage, it is used explicitly as an indicator of such, repeatedly. As it turns, I don't think we never get the coloring of an Umber. Finally, some may still disagree, but for those of us convinced that the "catspaw" assassin who tried to kill Bran was an accomplice of Mance "the shadowcat" (he said he climbed the wall alone, but then later we see wildlings climbing together using a rope, and Mance has motive for lying) who was secretly in Winterfell at the time, when the Library was also burned (and Mance's next stop was to dig up ancient graves in the Frostfangs), it is worth noting that the assassin's hair/eye coloring matches Val's.
  11. "It only so happens your friend here is only mostly dead. There's a big difference between all dead and mostly dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. All dead, well there's only one thing you can do... Go through his pockets and look for loose change!"
  12. I’m going to go ahead and credit Gandalf, haha! “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
  13. This is a fun one to play with. All men must die. All men must serve. It’s the conclusions we draw from it that are so interesting to me. First, these are descriptions of the human condition. Everyone dies, and also serves others as well as being servants to their own needs and desires. If we use these phrases to reflect on ourselves further, we might consider that since we are all mortal, and eventual death is inevitable, there are more important things than just trying to stay alive, namely the service we preform in life, which can affect the world long after we have died. I think this sentiment is repeatedly highlighted throughout the series. If we look at these phrases and apply them to others, we can form a different interpretation. One I would describe as expressing equality. Mortality is the great equalizer, and also that we men, despite being imperfect, will just have to do (“must serve”). I can almost hear Stannis through gritted teeth saying that his followers are all fools and lickspittles, but they will just have to be enough. While I’m talking about a grander purpose than who wears a crown, the image works for me. We’re all going to die, but until then, we are the best we’ve got. I think there is the literal cynical view. Interpreting these phrases as vengeance against mankind and a wish to enslave them. Particularly given that the Others are using literal dead men as servants. I would see this as the view that should be opposed, the inhuman view. In a less fantastical sense one could argue that all life is built on death, and it’s the service of the innumerable generations who died before us that sees us where we are today. At the end of the day, perhaps these phrases are one of the big lessons of the series. Life is temporary and what is most important is the service we can do others in the time we have. As for the word play… well, I’ll make another comment!
  14. Or maybe the daughters are just needed to make more sons?
  15. "breaking the wheel" isn't a thing in the books and doesn't fit with the rest of the story in the least. If anything, the seasons in the story represent a broken wheel in need of mending, not whatever breaking the wheel is supposed to mean. The story is all about hard choices, and getting everything doesn't fit that mold. I agree that she will not remain in the House of White and Black, the question I have is how far will she get before she leaves and on what terms. How much will she have given up by then? I think the "giving one's seed" in exchange for power is a common theme of sacrifice in the series and we might see it reflected in Arya's story here. I agree she will take her needle, and her identity, and her self determination (metaphorically her ability to "sow" her own fate, if you will) with her when she leaves. Will she have the power to change faces too? I'm not so sure. I'm a believer that Syrio was a faceless man the whole time, and the same one as Jaqen. I wouldn't be surprised if he was there to kill Ned, and learning this might be what precipitates Arya's departure. If I had to guess, the real Syrio Forrel died trying to defend the Sealord of Braavos who signed Viserys's marriage pact, and Phario Forel knows this. But obviously I'm speculating wildly.
  16. I'm not sure I can make and hard earthshattering predictions here... but I would look back to the start of the story first: "You had best run back to your room, little sister. Septa Mordane will surely be lurking. The longer you hide, the sterner the penance. You'll be sewing all through winter. When the spring thaw comes, they will find your body with a needle still locked tight between your frozen fingers." It's easy to see how this is the metaphorical "needle", aka a sword, being used to describe Arya's future. She'll still be wielding the sword come spring. This is compared to the alternative, sowing a sigil, or making a House. Which dovetails well with the other easy pun here. "Sowing" as in planting seeds. Made most obvious in the Greyjoy saying, "we do not sow". It even fits with all the penis/sword comparisons tbh. I think we see that Arya, consciously or not, has traded a "ladies" future of sowing and babies for that of the sword. (One might note that Bran seems to have lost both his ability to have children and use a sword, but I digress). Jon chuckled. "Perhaps you should do the same thing, little sister. Wed Tully to Stark in your arms." "A wolf with a fish in its mouth?" It made her laugh. "That would look silly. Besides, if a girl can't fight, why should she have a coat of arms?" Jon shrugged. "Girls get the arms but not the swords. Bastards get the swords but not the arms. I did not make the rules, little sister." It is also worth noting that it is the gift of the sword (and Arya practicing her "sowing") that results in her loosing her Direwolf, her family "arms". As for looking to the future... Will Arya lose her ability to have children to the House of White and Black? Will she be required somehow to give up the sword in exchange for getting her "arms" back? Will she come to learn mercy over vengeance? Will there be a play on the "true seeing" and "opening your third eye", ? Time will tell. I think these metaphors very much spill over from one arc to the next, and often important meanings are given in one plot arc that are relevant to another. This theme of swords/needles and sowing seed/sigils/swordplay is a fantastic one that pops up repeatedly.
  17. Jory Cassel always reminded me of Duncan Idaho… which obviously means he will return from the dead to become the main character soon enough! Haha
  18. Wait what? Waymar Royce died fighting, so I would definitely say he died in battle. The other Others didn't come to finish Royce off until after he was defeated, disarmed, and blinded, up until that point they seemed to honor the fight as a 1v1 duel. I guess you are saying a duel isn't a battle, but that doesn't seem a reasonable semantic line to draw here, to me. Yes. I think they are the same sword, and all Valyrian Steel is an imitation (including the "new" Ice) of the original magic sword. One could even see how it's only a small step from there to average steel being an imitation of Valyrian Steel. Mind you, the last time the Others were rumored to exist, the men of Westeros didn't have steel at all. They may or may not even have had iron, and are said to have primarily used bronze. It is no surprise then that the Others would be wary of a man raising a sword of a new material against them if they were defeated by a special sword last time. Even further I would argue they are right to worry, although they should be concerned with Valyrian steel not just mundane steel. Because the original Red Sword of Heroes, Lightbringer, was the same sword as the original Ice. It is the Sword that Slays the Season. "It is the sword that slays the season," he replied, and soon after the white raven came from Oldtown bringing word of autumn, so doubtless he was right. -Clash of Kings, Bran I To be honest, I'd be surprised if Nissa Nissa doesn't end up also being the corpse bride of the Night King. It is certainly interesting! As is your nicely written piece there. I don't know that I agree with all of it, but I enjoyed it. The connections between the prologues is interesting. As is that between comet and sword. I would suggest the prologues alternate between ice and fire, and start as Dante started, in a dark wood where the easy way was lost (and I would predict the story will end as he did, recognizing "The love that moves the sun and the other stars."). The first line of each book is below: Game of Thrones, Ice: "We should start back,” Gared urged as the woods began to grow dark around them. “The wildlings are dead.” “Do the dead frighten you?” Clash of Kings, fire: The comet's tail spread across the dawn, a red slash that bled above the crags of Dragonstone like a wound in the pink and purple sky. Storm of Swords, ice: The day was grey and bitter cold, and the dogs would not take the scent. Feast for Crows, fire: “Dragons,” said Mollander. He snatched a withered apple off the ground and tossed it hand to hand. Dance of Dragons, ice: The night was rank with the smell of man. The warg stopped beneath a tree and sniffed, his grey-brown fur dappled by shadow. A sigh of piney wind brought the man-scent to him, over fainter smells that spoke of fox and hare, seal and stag, even wolf. Those were man-smells too, the warg knew; the stink of old skins, dead and sour, near drowned beneath the stronger scents of smoke and blood and rot. Only man stripped the skins from other beasts and wore their hides and hair.
  19. Honestly, I'm not so sure that there isn't a little more to this. After all, the next line is: In battle the blade burned fiery hot. Once Azor Ahai fought a monster. When he thrust the sword through the belly of the beast, its blood began to boil. Smoke and steam poured from its mouth, its eyes melted and dribbled down its cheeks, and its body burst into flame. So we know it changes temperature, and this change seems to be related to the wielder or situation the wielder is in. I would suggest that the cold/hot nature of the sword is a reflection of the wielder and not inherent to the magic sword itself. And that, the Red Sword of Heroes is one and the same blade as the original Ice. Hesperus is Phosphorus (greek names for the morning and evening star, both of which are in reality the planet Venus, love. Also, a very relevant phrase in philosophy relating to the semantics of proper names which reminds me of the chapter titles), the morning star (lucifer in latin, meaning lightbringer) and the evening star (vesper, "the west", future form: vesperos, at least reminiscent of "westeros" if not an inspiration) are one and the same.
  20. I almost added an entire section about swords/sigils and being one's "father's son". But I found I ended up writing something completely different than what I set out to. Oh well, here it is! A sigil is an symbol sown on cloth. (I'm taking liberties conflating sowing and stitching, but there it is.) And sowing is done with a needle, which we see used as a metaphor for swords. "You Westerosi are all the same. You sew some beast upon a scrap of silk, and suddenly you are all lions or dragons or eagles. I can take you to a real lion, my little friend. The prince keeps a pride in his menagerie. Would you like to share a cage with them?" The lords of the Seven Kingdoms did make rather much of their sigils, Tyrion had to admit. "Very well," he conceded. "A Lannister is not a lion. Yet I am still my father's son, and Jaime and Cersei are mine to kill." "How odd that you should mention your fair sister," said Illyrio, between snails. "The queen has offered a lordship to the man who brings her your head, no matter how humble his birth." A Dance with Dragons - Tyrion I A few immediate takeaways. The Starks have literal dire wolves and Dany has literal Dragons, the skin shifting talent even allows for them to "be" the animals, in a sense. There is more going on here than just literally sewing sigils on cloth. The metaphor of sewing a sigil with a needle and carving (creating by force) a kingdom/house with a sword is wonderful. Cersei offering a lordship (and thus a sigil on a cloth) to the man who swings the sword and beheads Tyrion, regardless of who their father is, plays on this. The parallels to the Blackfyre plot abound, from sigils to swords. It's worth comparing to Jon's quote about the bastard getting the sword and Mormont giving him a sword not making him his family. But he had not left the Wall for that; he had left because he was after all his father's son, and Robb's brother. The gift of a sword, even a sword as fine as Longclaw, did not make him a Mormont. Nor was he Aemon Targaryen. Three times the old man had chosen, and three times he had chosen honor, but that was him. Even now, Jon could not decide whether the maester had stayed because he was weak and craven, or because he was strong and true. Yet he understood what the old man had meant, about the pain of choosing; he understood that all too well We are our choices, not our sword or our sigil or our family or our oaths. The gift of Blackfyre did not make Aegon a Targaryen, but he was still his father's son. "A dragon is one thing, a dream's another. I promise you, Bloodraven is not off dreaming. We need a warrior, not a dreamer. Is the boy his father's son?" -The Mystery Knight This theme is actually used for both Blackfyre and Fireball's son's in The Mystery Knight. We get this lesson from Dunk: I thought if I showed them all how good I was, they'd have no choice but to admit I was my father's son. But they won't. Even now. They just won't." "Some never will," Dunk told him. "It doesn't matter what you do. Others, though… they're not all the same. I've met some good ones." He thought a moment. "When the tourney's done, Egg and I mean to go north. Take service at Winterfell, and fight for the Starks against the ironmen. You could come with us." The north was a world all its own, Ser Arlan always said. No one up there was like to know the tale of Penny Jenny and the Knight of the Pussywillows. No one will laugh at you up there. They will know you only by your blade, and judge you by your worth. Dunk isn't the fastest thinker in the Westeros, and confusing the two basically becomes a plot point: A jumble of words came rushing back to him: beggar's feast you've laid before us… is the boy his father's son… Bittersteel… need the sword… Old Milkblood expects… is the boy his father's son… I promise you, Bloodraven is not off dreaming… is the boy his father's son? We do eventually come to the conclusion that the Fiddler is the heir to his father and House Blackfyre. Which is to say, heir to nothing, sword or no. He does not bear the sword! If he were his father's son, Bittersteel would have armed him with Blackfyre. And all this talk about a dragon… madness, madness and folly. But, back to the main series. Ned didn't get the chance to pass on his sword, but if we are being honest, it's passing on his lessons that makes them his "sons" (even if not by blood). He looks like a Tully, she thought, yet he's still his father's son, and Ned taught him well. While I'm pretty sure Jon is a Stark, we have reason to believe he isn't Ned's biological son, which makes some of these quotes even better: Robb and Bran and Rickon were his father's sons, and he loved them still, yet Jon knew that he had never truly been one of them. He raised Longclaw over his head, both hands tight around the grip. One cut, with all my weight behind it. He could give her a quick clean death, at least. He was his father's son. Wasn't he? Wasn't he? And this can be contrasted to Jaime and Joff as well: Remember Jaime at thirteen? If you want the boy to be his father's son, let him play the part. Where Joff is actually playing the part of being Robert's son. This theme also includes this wonderful bit which in retrospect screams to us: "It would have been kinder to leave her with a bastard in her belly," said Tyrion bluntly. The Westerlings stood to lose everything here; their lands, their castle, their very lives. A Lannister always pays his debts. "Jeyne Westerling is her mother's daughter," said Lord Tywin, "and Robb Stark is his father's son." This Westerling betrayal did not seem to have enraged his father as much as Tyrion would have expected. Lord Tywin did not suffer disloyalty in his vassals. He had extinguished the proud Reynes of Castamere and the ancient Tarbecks of Tarbeck Hall root and branch when he was still half a boy. The singers had even made a rather gloomy song of it. Some years later, when Lord Farman of Faircastle grew truculent, Lord Tywin sent an envoy bearing a lute instead of a letter. But once he'd heard "The Rains of Castamere" echoing through his hall, Lord Farman gave no further trouble. And if the song were not enough, the shattered castles of the Reynes and Tarbecks still stood as mute testimony to the fate that awaited those who chose to scorn the power of Casterly Rock. "The Crag is not so far from Tarbeck Hall and Castamere," Tyrion pointed out. "You'd think the Westerlings might have ridden past and seen the lesson there." "Mayhaps they have," Lord Tywin said. "They are well aware of Castamere, I promise you." "Could the Westerlings and Spicers be such great fools as to believe the wolf can defeat the lion?" Every once in a very long while, Lord Tywin Lannister would actually threaten to smile; he never did, but the threat alone was terrible to behold. "The greatest fools are ofttimes more clever than the men who laugh at them," he said, and then, "You will marry Sansa Stark, Tyrion. And soon." A Storm of Swords - Tyrion III And if that wasn't thick enough, The Hound lays it on even thicker: "Then I'll take as much gold as I can carry, laugh in his face, and ride off. If he doesn't take me, he'd be wise to kill me, but he won't. Too much his father's son, from what I hear. Fine with me. Either way I win. And so do you, she-wolf. So stop whimpering and snapping at me, I'm sick of it. Keep your mouth shut and do as I tell you, and maybe we'll even be in time for your uncle's bloody wedding." Jaime goes on to directly give us a parallel to Tywin (Ned could be trusted, Tywin could not): "My Sworn Brothers were all away, you see, but Aerys liked to keep me close. I was my father's son, so he did not trust me." And this brings us back to the dragons. Because, I saved the best for last. "Some truths are hard to hear. Robert was a . . . a good knight . . . chivalrous, brave . . . he spared my life, and the lives of many others . . . Prince Viserys was only a boy, it would have been years before he was fit to rule, and . . . forgive me, my queen, but you asked for truth . . . even as a child, your brother Viserys oft seemed to be his father's son, in ways that Rhaegar never did." "His father's son?" Dany frowned. "What does that mean?" The old knight did not blink. "Your father is called 'the Mad King' in Westeros. Has no one ever told you?" "Viserys did." The Mad King. "The Usurper called him that, the Usurper and his dogs." The Mad King. "It was a lie." "Why ask for truth," Ser Barristan said softly, "if you close your ears to it?" He hesitated, then continued. "I told you before that I used a false name so the Lannisters would not know that I'd joined you. That was less than half of it, Your Grace. The truth is, I wanted to watch you for a time before pledging you my sword. To make certain that you were not . . ." ". . . my father's daughter?" If she was not her father's daughter, who was she?" In conclusion, this theme leads me to believe Dany is not the biological daughter of Aerys Targaryen. Edit: I think it's no coincidence that the "father's son" quotes surround the Usurper and his dogs. With that said, I would be remiss if I didn't point out some other uses throughout the story, now that I have come this far. In total, "father's son" appears in 24 sections, 6 of those in The Mystery Knight. Besides the quotes above, there are some others of note. "Lord Robb went to visit the godswood, my lady." It was what Ned would have done. He is his father's son as much as mine, I must remember. Oh, gods, Ned … A reminder from Cat that a child has two parents; "Don't call me the boy," Robb said, rounding on his uncle, his anger spilling out all at once on poor Edmure, who had only meant to support him. "I'm almost a man grown, and a king—your king, ser. And I don't fear Jaime Lannister. I defeated him once, I'll defeat him again if I must, only . . ." He pushed a fall of hair out of his eyes and gave a shake of the head. "I might have been able to trade the Kingslayer for Father, but . . ." ". . . but not for the girls?" Her voice was icy quiet. "Girls are not important enough, are they?" Robb made no answer, but there was hurt in his eyes. Blue eyes, Tully eyes, eyes she had given him. She had wounded him, but he was too much his father's son to admit it. And a reminder of the importance of women to the whole baby making process. He might have cried then, but he couldn't. He was the Stark in Winterfell, his father's son and his brother's heir, and almost a man grown. Here, as with several places, "father's son" is also tied to being a "man". I would include Aemon's whole "kill the boy" speech. I would say that a large part of being a "man grown" is about making your own choices. Yet Edric Storm was three inches taller and broader in the chest and shoulders. He was his father's son in that; nor did he ever miss a morning's work with sword and shield. Those old enough to have known Robert and Renly as children said that the bastard boy had more of their look than Stannis had ever shared; the coal-black hair, the deep blue eyes, the mouth, the jaw, the cheekbones. Only his ears reminded you that his mother had been a Florent. The bastard son of Robert Baratheon, a house founded by a bastard, Edric Storm is (I would argue) will be the "heir" of Robert. He has been sent into exile so he won't be killed because of his blood. "This," Qyburn said. "For years now, the Night's Watch has begged for men. Lord Stannis has answered their plea. Can King Tommen do less? His Grace should send the Wall a hundred men. To take the black, ostensibly, but in truth . . ." ". . . to remove Jon Snow from the command," Cersei finished, delighted. I knew I was right to want him on my council. "That is just what we shall do." She laughed. If this bastard boy is truly his father's son, he will not suspect a thing. Perhaps he will even thank me, before the blade slides between his ribs. "It will need to be done carefully, to be sure. Leave the rest to me, my lords." This was how an enemy should be dealt with: with a dagger, not a declaration. "We have done good work today, my lords. I thank you. Is there aught else?" "One last thing, Your Grace," said Aurane Waters, in an apologetic tone. "I hesitate to take up the council's time with trifles, but there has been some queer talk heard along the docks of late. Sailors from the east. They speak of dragons . . ." Turncloaks! (See now its all relevant...haha... oops) And finally, speaking of Turncoats. Prince Quentyn was listening intently, at least. That one is his father's son. Short and stocky, plain-faced, he seemed a decent lad, sober, sensible, dutiful … but not the sort to make a young girl's heart beat faster. And Daenerys Targaryen, whatever else she might be, was still a young girl, as she herself would claim when it pleased her to play the innocent. Like all good queens she put her people first—else she would never have wed Hizdahr zo Loraq—but the girl in her still yearned for poetry, passion, and laughter. She wants fire, and Dorne sent her mud. You could make a poultice out of mud to cool a fever. You could plant seeds in mud and grow a crop to feed your children. Mud would nourish you, where fire would only consume you, but fools and children and young girls would choose fire every time. Quentyn chooses fire!
  21. "Old Nan has been telling you stories again. In truth, the man was an oathbreaker, a deserter from the Night's Watch. No man is more dangerous. The deserter knows his life is forfeit if he is taken, so he will not flinch from any crime, no matter how vile. But you mistake me. The question was not why the man had to die, but why I must do it." A Game of Thrones - Bran I I think it is often overlooked just how much of the underlying meaning of the series relates back to the start. I also think there is an interesting relationship here to be examined between "oath" and "cloth" and that it is one aspect of the larger examination of choice and the relationship between our "inheritance" from our ancestors, both genetic and material, our loyalty, and our own self determination. The emblematic groups representing "oaths" in ASoIaF are each represented by a color "cloth" which they don when joining the order. Black for the Nights Watch, White for the Kingsguard, and grey for the Maesters. It is also an easy leap to see the connection to "men of the cloth" being priests irl. Religious peoples of ASoIaF may also fit this mold, worshipers of R'hlor being red, Drowned God's men being green/blue/grey, Septons wear white (and crystals/rainbows), Silent Sisters in grey, and perhaps even the "green" men of the isle of faces. The importance of family "arms" is also worth noting here. "That would look silly. Besides, if a girl can't fight, why should she have a coat of arms?" Jon shrugged. "Girls get the arms but not the swords. Bastards get the swords but not the arms. I did not make the rules, little sister." A Game of Thrones - Arya I We do not get to make the rules, just our own choices. When we talk about a man's "cloth" and duty, we must also address the family. The Nights Watch replacing a man's family when he joins is repeatedly highlighted, as is the Maester giving up their family name, and the Kingsguard giving up their colors. All swear not to have children. I believe we get a number of nice metaphors using cloak/cloth and oath/duty. Jon Snow trading his black cloth for a sheepskin is a great one. The proverbial "wolf in sheep's clothing" who turns his cloak on the surface but not in his heart. Still, Ned's wisdom applies here, he is extremely dangerous, and his duplicity may well have thwarted Mance taking Castle Black. Nor would Jon flinch from any crime, he was ready to kill Mance under a banner of truce when sent to do such as an assassin by the watch, knowing his life would in turn be forfeit. The line between desperate criminal and noble sacrifice can be slim. Mance has his own oath/cloth story. His Night's Watch oath/cloth were torn (but perhaps not completely lost), and the gaps filled with red silk. And he says he deserts the watch so he can choose what cloth to wear. Unlike many of the Nights Watch, for whom it is a "second chance" due to being criminals of some sort, Mance was basically born into it. We could even go back to the prologue and note how Royce was mocked for the quality of his cloth, but when push came to shove he died a man of the watch, keeping his oath. Jaime also provides a great example, with his choice to wear the gold armor when stabbing Aerys in the back, although he does still wear the white cloak: Jaime reached for the flagon to refill his cup. "So many vows . . . they make you swear and swear. Defend the king. Obey the king. Keep his secrets. Do his bidding. Your life for his. But obey your father. Love your sister. Protect the innocent. Defend the weak. Respect the gods. Obey the laws. It's too much. No matter what you do, you're forsaking one vow or the other." He took a healthy swallow of wine and closed his eyes for an instant, leaning his head back against the patch of nitre on the wall. "I was the youngest man ever to wear the white cloak." "And the youngest to betray all it stood for, Kingslayer." "Kingslayer," he pronounced carefully. "And such a king he was!" He lifted his cup. "To Aerys Targaryen, the Second of His Name, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm. And to the sword that opened his throat. A golden sword, don't you know. Until his blood ran red down the blade. Those are the Lannister colors, red and gold." A Clash of Kings - Catelyn VII And, as we come to learn, what really caused Jaime to kill Aerys wasn't even loyalty to his father, it was because Aerys planned to have the city burned. I have to think that the end of this line of thinking isn't that because oaths can contradict that they are meaningless, but rather that at the end of the day it's the choices that matter more than the promises/oaths/cloth we wear to show our loyalty. The choice to side with "humanity" over lion or dragon might be Jaime's single biggest redeeming feature. Basically what we get from all of these examples is that things are more complicated than they may first seem. There may be times when breaking your oath, deserting, or turning your cloak are justified. There may even be times when no matter what you choose you are breaking an oath. The choosing is hard, as Aemon tells Jon. And we haven't even gotten to the Maesters yet: The maester was a small grey man. His eyes were grey, and quick, and saw much. His hair was grey, what little the years had left him. His robe was grey wool, trimmed with white fur, the Stark colors. Its great floppy sleeves had pockets hidden inside. Luwin was always tucking things into those sleeves and producing other things from them: books, messages, strange artifacts, toys for the children. With all he kept hidden in his sleeves, Catelyn was surprised that Maester Luwin could lift his arms at all. A Game of Thrones - Catelyn II The Maester's grey cloth, with all it's pockets, is characterized by secrets. And I would hazard to guess there is also an ancient connection to the Nights Watch and House Stark, but I digress. They are the knights of the mind, and like the knights of the Kingsguard or the nights watch, they share in a purpose larger than themselves, and set aside personal gain to serve that purpose. But he had not left the Wall for that; he had left because he was after all his father's son, and Robb's brother. The gift of a sword, even a sword as fine as Longclaw, did not make him a Mormont. Nor was he Aemon Targaryen. Three times the old man had chosen, and three times he had chosen honor, but that was him. Even now, Jon could not decide whether the maester had stayed because he was weak and craven, or because he was strong and true. Yet he understood what the old man had meant, about the pain of choosing; he understood that all too well. A Game of Thrones - Jon IX Bastards get the swords but not the arms... but perhaps at the end of the day, no matter the cloth you wear or the oaths you swear, what is important is trying to serve something greater than yourself. Why does Ned have to swing the sword? Because he cast the sentence, and he takes responsibility for his choice and action, and does it in service to justice. "The blood of the First Men still flows in the veins of the Starks, and we hold to the belief that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man's life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die." "One day, Bran, you will be Robb's bannerman, holding a keep of your own for your brother and your king, and justice will fall to you. When that day comes, you must take no pleasure in the task, but neither must you look away." A Game of Thrones - Bran I
  22. Why? The jeweled hilt? Not ridiculous, just not a lot of evidence.
  23. I don't disagree that the material of Dawn is special. But that doesn't mean magic (or human sacrifice) wasn't used in it's forging. I think Valyrian Steel is an attempt to recreate that first magic sword. Not certain but seems possible, however... this is different from the Last Hero. The last Hero's sword broke, and he sought out the Children in the hopes that their magic could win what the armies of men had lost. No, at this point the armies of men had already lost. There is no evidence of the Children being smiths. If anything I would argue it seems the Azor Ahai forging story likely caused the Long Night, this was probably the Blood Betrayal. We also have a tale of dragonslaying You will notice that this is not what happened to the only Other we have seen killed. Could it just be more extreme because magic red sword burns hotter than little obsidian knife? Possibly, but it could also be a dragon being killed here, unclear. Maybe. I think the issue is the order of events though. Neither the First Men Nor the Children of the forest can make steel. I guess I wasn't clear. They are both potentially destructive extremes, but are also parts of human nature. War and hate and violence and power mongering do not bring about peace. I can guarantee you the endgame solution is not for a hero to just kill the magic baddie. First, Melisandre is pretty obviously wrong here right? Her throwing gender into the mix should make that obvious if nothing else does. Her black and white world view is pretty objectively horrible, and we are not supposed to agree with what she is saying. The root of the trouble is the war she is talking about, and encouraging. You don't solve the human condition by killing all humans. And the solution to a dichotomy between fire and ice isn't just to eliminate the extremes! "My heart," Davos said slowly, "is full of doubts." Although I do think what you describe is the Maester approach, get rid of everything magical, as flawed as that sort of thinking may be. Dates are not accurate when you are talking about legends form thousands of years ago. On that I agree. I don't think this says that Valyria was around during the Long Night. Also, the TV shows are meaningless at this point when we talk about the books, so I would rather not get into discussing them, let alone the canceled ones. Nothing I have ever seen indicates that Valyria existed during the Long Night. And it directly contradicts your claim that the Last Hero could be Azor Ahai: It is also written that there are annals in Asshai of such a darkness, and of a hero who fought against it with a red sword. His deeds are said to have been performed before the rise of Valyria So on the one hand yes, I think the Children are the root of magic, both fire and ice. I agree they once existed in Essos, as evidenced by the House of the Undying and the Ifequevron. One the other, Children do fight, they do wage war, and they don't all just sit around singing sad songs. Again, like with Mel's nonsense, you have to question what you are being told. Bran highlights this by pointing out that Men would seek vengeance, which is obviously what the Children did as well. Not counter, sing with! The solution isn't a war, it's peace. I disagree. Again, I think you are off here about Valyria. IMO, The seasons are out of whack because the elements are not in harmony.
  24. I would question if Joramun was human. And would suggest that he may have been a giant, perhaps even king of the giants. "Giants have no kings, no more'n mammoths do, nor snow bears, nor the great whales o' the grey sea. That was Mag Mar Tun Doh Weg. Mag the Mighty. You can kneel to him if you like, he won't mind. I know your kneeler's knees must be itching, for want of some king to bend to. Watch out he don't step on you, though. Giants have bad eyes, and might be he wouldn't see some little crow all the way down there by his feet." Giants have no kings, now.. but did they once? I would suggest it's possible that the giants of Nan's tales might not just be bedtime stories after all, and the giants we have seen so far may just be what's left, and not the "great mountain giants" at all. Ooooooh, I am the last of the giants, my people are gone from the earth. The last of the great mountain giants, who ruled all the world at my birth. Oh the smallfolk have stolen my forests, they’ve stolen my rivers and hills. And the’ve built a great wall through my valleys, and fished all the fish from my rills. In stone halls they burn their great fires, in stone halls they forge their sharp spears. Whilst I walk alone in the mountains, with no true companion but tears. They hunt me with dogs in the daylight, they hunt me with torches by night. For these men who are small can never stand tall, whilst giants still walk in the light. Oooooooh, I am the LAST of the giants, so learn well the words of my song. For when I am gone the singing will fade, and the silence shall last long and long. Given the many parallels to Norse Mythology, and the giant wall made of ice said to be built with the help of giants, and the reference to "halls of stone" in the song, I might suggest that the Giant's built their castles from ice, which is why we do not see evidence of them remaining. A huge sword named Ice, does ring some bells too... In Old Nan's stories, giants were outsized men who lived in colossal castles, fought with huge swords, and walked about in boots a boy could hide in. These were something else, more bearlike than human, and as wooly as the mammoths they rode. The Giants in castles from the stories seem to be from the same period where Others were around. She remembered a story Old Nan had told once, about a man imprisoned in a dark castle by evil giants. He was very brave and smart and he tricked the giants and escaped . . . but no sooner was he outside the castle than the Others took him, and drank his hot red blood. I think that it's even possible that the Barrow of the First King is that of Joramun, king of the giants.
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