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  1. Archmaester_Aemma

    Six and One, Half Dozen of the Others

    The 1 seems to represent either the Night's King or his corpse bride or the crone (who may also be the corpse bride) in a lot of these scenes - I'm going to go through each of these in a doc and see what I can come up with. For some of them, I'm not entirely sure where the +1 is and I don't have the books to hand to look at the surrounding context to see if it's in there, so I'll just make a note of them. Thanks for putting together this resource @Darry Man!
  2. Archmaester_Aemma

    Reading the flames I: Fire vs Flame

    The Grey Spaces This is a nice segue to highlight that, whilst “fire” may be associated more with protection and procreation, the result of this may not necessarily be good. “Fire is always hungry” (Leaf to Bran; Bran II, ADWD) and “it consumes, and when it is done there is nothing left” (Beric to Thoros; Arya VIII, ASOS). Fire births Daenerys’ dragons that are “death and devastation, a flaming sword above the world” (Dany III, ADWD), and Rorge and Biter led the horrific raid of Saltpans which was “the work of some fell beast in human skin” (Jaime IV, AFFC). And who knows what on earth Jaqen/Pate is up to at the Citadel, but it probably isn’t ‘good’. Consider how it is “fire” that destroyed Winterfell during Ramsay Snow’s sack: Here, “fire” has completely destroyed everything within the castle that will be useful for continuing to live. So, why is it associated with “fire”? Because Bran is born! Specifically Bran, one of the most powerful greenseers ever to exist, is born. Consider that Maester Luwin equates Winterfell to a stone tree (Bran II, AGOT), so Winterfell on fire is like a stone tree on fire: weirwoods are trees with leaves like “bits of flame”, so they are burning trees that turn in to stone: so Winterfell on fire is akin to a weirwood tree. As Winterfell is set on fire, Bran is hiding in the crypts and it is here he learns to consciously skinchange Summer: in symbolic terms, Bran is in the realm of the dead, underneath a weirwood tree, and this facilitates the opening of his third eye. (The crypts are also associated with birth as it is here that Bael the Bard concealed the daughter of Lord Stark until she bore Bael’s child.) Then Hodor opens the door to the crypts, “making enough noise to wake a dragon” in the process (thus equating Bran’s emergence from the realm of the dead to the birth of Dany’s dragons), and the destruction of Winterfell is surveyed. LmL goes in to some detail analysing these gargoyles in both his Tyrion Targaryen essay and his A Burning Brandon essay, but I will point out some of the symbolism here for those who haven’t read it (although I have no idea how you’re keeping up with this essay without that knowledge base). 1) These are the gargoyles that Bran straddled to overhear Jaime and Cersei going at it in the First Keep, so he could be viewed as riding them. 2) These gargoyles subsequently gain moon meteor symbolism by falling in a nightmare that Bran has (Bran IV, AGOT) and in the quote above, so Bran has ridden the moon meteors. 3) The crows pecking at the corpse invokes the imagery of the little boy who climbed to high and had his eyes pecked out by crows – Bran fulfils this symbolic myth perfectly (Old Nan ftw!). 4) Bran wonders how he is alive at all, implying he has transcended death , which is fitting given that he has just emerged from some crypts after everyone (including the reader) thinks he’s dead. In essence, what we are seeing is the creation of a greenseer which, according to LmL, likely requires the death and rebirth/resurrection of the greenseer. In the case of Winterfell’s destruction by “fire”, the entire scene is devoted to Bran’s rebirth as a powerful greenseer to be, and as such the procreative overtones lent to this scene by “fire” are necessary. However, consider the cost – Winterfell is an empty shell (holla, dragon eggs), with death and devastation all around, leaving nothing but an “ember in the ashes”. Along the same vein, the destructiveness of “flames” is not necessarily a bad thing. Obsidian is called “frozen flame“ and destroys the Others, as in it completely annihilates them. Here, you can see the destructive force of “flame” working to full effect: the Other just melts away into the ether/absorbed into the dragonglass, as if it never existed. Throughout Sam I, ASOS, “flame” is made use of to destroy the Others and the wights, as Mormont’s repeated shouting of “Give them flame!” suggests. However, it would be difficult to argue that it is a mistake to use the destructive force of “flame” to destroy the legions of the undead and their masters. Conclusion So, hopefully I have provided enough evidence to demonstrate that “fire” and “flame” are used to represent different concepts by Martin. That is, “fire” tends to be associated with protection or procreation, and “flame” with destruction. As small asides, I demonstrated that adjectives can qualify a “fire” or “flame” noun choice: for instance, “flickering” is an adjective almost exclusively used to describe or represent moon meteor metaphors and the influence these have on creating or transforming god-like beings and that “flames licking” tends to be associated with the mutual destruction of the sun and moon to create the moon-meteors. If all that hasn’t been enough to convince you, then tough luck – it’s taken me a year to get my act together enough to complete this, so I’m not hunting around for anything more. In subsequent parts, I will analyse the colours of fire and what, if anything, this all actually means for the series.
  3. Archmaester_Aemma

    Reading the flames I: Fire vs Flame

    The Burning Tree: Flame This is only one side of the burning tree story. This is the chapter in which Amory Lorch attacks the Night’s Watch as part of Tywin’s scorched earth policy against the Riverlands (“Tell them I want to see the Riverlands afire from the God’s Eye to the Red Fork”: Tyrion IX, AGOT). As such, and in contrast to the Jon VIII ACOK quote, the “flames” are causing the destruction and death of the tree, and this is consistent with Martin’s choice of words. Other uses of “flame” within this chapter are mostly associated with “licking”: So, firstly the flames are reaching for the night sky. Then torches fly through the air, and these flying torches are described later as “trailing long tongues of flame”,which should evoke images of flames licking the air. Finally: That the flames lick has some very sexual connotations, especially when taken in conjunction with the following quotes: Sorry for that last one, but it is one of the most demonstrably sexual images of the lot, and also sounds hella painful, like the sex and swordplay motif. As I have previously stated, sexual or procreative language ought to appear in association with “fire” and not “flame”, so it appears to be in direct contrast to my original proposition. However, a closer look using asearchoficeandfire.com demonstrates that flames lick, not fire: of the 18 hits produced by “fire lick”, only 3 showed fire licking in contrast to 22 of 25 “flame lick” results. When analysing the “flame lick” quotes, they could usually be categorised as follows: Direct “Lightbringer and its forging” metaphors = 9 Burning humans = 8 (10 if you count statues of humans/human-like figures) Torches = 6 Battles/fighting = 6 Intentional human sacrifice = 5 So, other than “torches”, note how all of these categories are immediately, noticeably destructive. Blood sacrifice and the complete annihilation of Nissa Nissa was required to forge Lightbringer (“…her blood and her soul and her strength and her courage all went into the steel…” Davos I, ACOK); burning humans is a destructive act and so is war. The “torches” category may seem benign, until you realise that torches are often metaphors for the moon meteors, as can be seen in the Arya chapter we are analysing. As such, we can see that symbolism surrounding “licking flames” almost entirely relate to the the destructive act that was a necessary precursor to the creation of Lightbringer i.e. the mutual destruction of sun and moon, or the sex and swordplay sacrifice of Nissa Nissa. Given the destructive nature of events in this chapter, it was difficult to interpret occurrences of “fire” within this chapter. Most references to “fire” was of firelight reflecting on armour: I believe this is related to the wider concept of fiery clothing as described by LmL in his essay, ‘The Grey King and the Sea Dragon’. He draws attention to the fact that the followers of R’hllor often try to look like fire themselves – think of Melisandre walking around in her scarlet silk and bloodred velvet dress, or Moqorro with his face tattooed with flames. This would then suggest that these men are wearing fiery armour, which would make them the “warriors of fire” or “fire knights”. So the “warriors of fire” in the Arya chapter can be equated to Azor Ahai Reborn, via Mel naming Stannis a “warrior of fire” and via Tyrion calling the Fiery Hand “fire knights”, the Fiery Hand in turn representing the thousand moon meteors that fell from heaven. And Arya’s “warriors of fire” are the same guys loosing “flame-licking torches” (read: the same guys destroying the moon to release moon-meteors) to robe trees in flame like fire sorcerers. Sounds eerily reminiscent of Jon, with his flaming sword branches, resurrecting dancing fire sorcerers inside trees – you know, the scene we were talking about for the entirety of the last section. Now, given that these guys have AAR symbolism, armouring them in “fire” as part of a rebirth cycle would be apt. Another unexpected use of “fire” comes in the description of the barn being on fire, despite the fact that the barn and the animals within are being destroyed. I had a couple of potential justifications for this. Firstly, the fire means that the Night’s Watch recruits are able to escape from Ser Amory’s men using the tunnel in the barn; in essence, the fire is protecting them from death by Ser Amory Lorch et al. Secondly, and more importantly for a symbolic analysis, this may be a continuation of the parallels between this chapter and Drogo’s pyre in Dany X, AGOT. Consider the following: As I hope this collection demonstrates, there are a lot of similarities in Martin’s use of language and imagery between the two chapters: this is consistent with the prevalent “flame licking” imagery in Arya IV, ACOK, cueing us in to the LB symbolism in this chapter. So, why would George use “fire” to describe the burning barn? Consider the following parallel: Here, we are witnessing the birth of Dany’s dragons. And in Arya’s chapter, this: In both chapters, we have three loud sounds associated with cracks and thunder (the cracks are even italicised), and with that three monsters are born into the world (“Mother of Dragons, Daenerys thought. Mother of monsters.” Dany II, ADWD; “If they slept, they might open their eyes to find Vargo Hoat standing over them with Shagwell the Fool and Faithful Urswyck and Rorge and Biter and Septon Utt and all his other monsters.” Arya I, ASOS). Given the consistency of the parallels between Arya IV, ACOK, and Dany X, AGOT, we have to acknowledge that Rorge, Biter, and Jaqen are thus equated with Dany’s dragons in some way. There’s even some Azor Ahai Reborn symbolism in there, Rorge and Biter linking them to hellhound meteors with their dog-fighting history and the acquisition of the Hound’s helm (and they also have a weird adoptive father-son relationship) and Jaqen, who ends up aligned to the old gods and in the service of the death goddess (Arya prays to the old gods for help at Harrenhal and then Jaqen appears). As such, attached to the three in the barn is the connotation of (re-)birth and procreation; thus, the association with “fire” is apt.
  4. Archmaester_Aemma

    Reading the flames I: Fire vs Flame

    The Burning Tree: Fire The proposed fire/flame dichotomy is also employed within some of Martin’s metaphors. One that stood out to me as soon as I saw it was this: This fire is built as Jon and Qhorin are attempting to outrun the wildlings back to the Fist of the First Men to let Mormont know about the wildlings. Given that this is a fire, my working hypothesis suggests we should find it being associated with (pro)creativity in a multitude of ways. Firstly, the fire warms the black brothers “like melting butter”; as Thoros explained, “life is warmth, and warmth is fire”, so a warming fire should be life. A quick look on asearchoficeandfire for all items within the extended publications showed the “warm fire” produced 76 results, of which 51 equated fire and warmth to some degree, whereas “warm flame” produced a mere 15, of which only 3 equated flames and warmth. From this, we can gather that fire and warmth are associated more than flames and warmth; thus, by extension, fire and life are associated more than flames and life. Similarly, the association between life and fire is furthered when “fire” is placed in antithesis to death. When the fire is dying, Qhorin states “The fire will soon go out, but if the Wall should ever fall, all the fires will go out.” If the Wall falls, then the Others will march south and the last time that happened “cold and death filled the world” (Bran IV, AGOT): a direct contrast to “life is warmth, and warmth is fire”. In fact, Melisandre makes this connection to Jon in ASOS: Note, here how R’hllor’s “fire” is equated to both life and fire, as Thoros too pointed out, and it is placed in antithesis to death and cold. Furthermore, descriptions of the fire are littered with allusions to procreation and marriage, thus emphasising the life-giving nature of “fire”. For instance, Qhorin Halfhand describes the fire as “as shy as a maid on her wedding night, and near as fair”, despite the fact that “he was not a man you’d expect to speak of maids and wedding nights”: by pointing out how out of character it is for Qhorin to speak like this, GRRM is also ensuring that we notice this turn of phrase, thus suggesting its importance. Jon also wonders “if ever a kiss had felt as good” when warming his hands on the fire, and then sees “fiery dancers … whirl and spin in their glowing gowns of yellow, red and orange”. These same fiery dancers were also hired for the alchemical wedding* in Drogo’s pyre: “The flames writhed before her like the women who had danced at her wedding, whirling and singing and spinning their yellow and orange and crimson veils” (Dany X, AGOT). There is sufficient similarity in the two descriptions – dancers, whirling, spinning, same colours – to invoke the image of weddings during the Jon VIII, ACOK chapter: again, reinforcing this message of procreation, as expected. *This is the term LmL uses to describe Dany’s transformative experience in Drogo’s pyre. In the interest of full disclosure, this fire is referred to as “flames” on four occasions. Firstly: I believe this occurs as part of an extended Lightbringer-forging metaphor. Firstly, these flames are rising up, presumably suggesting to us that they are rising up to challenge the gods. Notably they are doing this as the sun is setting and the moon rising, implying the Long Night. Why specifically the Long Night? Well, “flickering” is a very specific descriptor and this fire has that descriptor attached to it three times in the space of one chapter. So, what else does “flickering” describe? These all represent the thousand flickering falling star moon meteors that fell to earth when celestial Lightbringer was forged. We then have the weapon related imagery that matches with the comet/moon meteor Lightbringer imagery: the Red Viper acting as the solar figure wielding a poisoned spear against the Moon Mountain that Rides, and Jaime wielding a flaming sword in the caverns below Casterly Rock. The flickering light also transforms inanimate god-like figures and creates shadows that move and creep. All of this imagery relates to the forging of Lightbringer. More importantly, the flickering aspect relates to the destructive aspects of Lightbringer’s forging: the rain of flaming swords/falling stars that blotted out the sun and half-alive, half-dead twisted gods and creeping shadow emanations. As such, the consistency of the imagery surrounding the word “flickering” necessitates the use of the word “flame”, even when the rest of the fire is so consistently associated with procreation. The next two uses of the term “flame” come in quick succession and, as such, the same explanation can be used for both: The “warmth fades” from the fire and if life is warmth and warmth is fire, then a fire with fading warmth is a dying fire and thus could aptly be described with the term “flames”. To prevent the fire dying, Jon feeds the flames with some broken branches, which fits the broken sword motif of Lightbringer. Jon feeding branches to the “flames” presumably turns them into flaming swords (therefore moon meteor) symbols; again, aligning the “flames” with the destructive aspects of Lightbringer’s forging. It is interesting that these destructive flaming broken sword branches lead us back to the quote that opened this section: The wording here would seem to suggest that the destructive flaming broken sword branches lead to the creation of burning trees (i.e. weirwoods) and the resurrection or waking of the tree and the fire sorcerors inside. Turns out that is pretty much the exact scenario LmL is laying out in his Weirwood Compendium series, so it bodes well for the accuracy of both our interpretations that it is reflected in the minutiae of Martin’s language choices as well.
  5. Archmaester_Aemma

    Reading the flames I: Fire vs Flame

    Points of View This duality can also reflect the characters situational differences in the use of “fire” or “flame” in depictions of the same image. Consider “King Renly’s shade” arriving at the Battle of Blackwater with his deep green armour and fiery antlers: Here, Renly the fiery resurrected horned lord is the saviour of the city, a benevolent protector of its residents i.e. Dontos and Sansa in this scene. This is reflected in the golden “fire” of his antlers. In contrast, to the losing side, Renly’s appearance was catastrophic, and so his antlers were alive with the destructive “flame”. Given that this is exactly the same physical image and that the only difference is the characters’ perception of how the battle turned out for them personally, I think Martin’s choice of language is intentional, especially given how neatly this word choice fits with what I am proposing. Repentant (now Lord) Renly’s antlers of fire come to save King’s Landing from his brother’s attempted usurpation of the throne and protect the city from being sacked; versus King Renly of the flaming antlers, treacherous usurping brother come from the dead to attack the rightful King Stannis from the rear and encourage the defection and rout of Stannis’ men.
  6. Archmaester_Aemma

    Reading the flames I: Fire vs Flame

    This is going to be an extensive multipart series investigating the colour symbolism surrounding fire and flames in ASOIAF – I will be reading the flames *ba dun tss*. Yes, that's about as far as my punnery goes - sorry. My approach: The essays will probably read something like an A-level English Literature essay, because that is the extent of my training in literary criticism, but I think it will be more fun, because it’s ASOIAF. In these essays, I will get very, very involved in the symbolism and patterns tied to Martin’s choice to use specific words or word pairs in relation to one another – colours being of primary importance for this series, but I have some other single-word or phrase patterns that I want to analyse. I think that this type of analysis is fruitful because it is the primary literary technique I got taught about in school and I’ve managed to write a hell of a lot of coherent material by doing so, but I know that not everyone likes to analyse ASOIAF that way. Of course, I am totally cool with that, but this is just fair warning that this is my approach and that if you don’t like that then you probably won’t like my essay(s) and I didn’t want you to feel let down that I’m not actually talking about prophecy or trying to pin down the explicit structure of magic (if such a thing exists). Similarly, I don’t manage to get far in the way of plot predictions either, for two reasons. Reason One: individual words don’t tend to matter from a plot perspective. They can tell us a lot about particular scene dynamics and who is playing what role and what that means for Character A at that particular moment in time, but it doesn’t hold much predictive power for the series as a whole. Reason Two: the colour symbolism only started making coherent sense after reading the theory proposed by LmL, linked here. As such, most of the predictions that I did find are also present in his theory and he does a far better job of presenting The Big Picture and the larger themes and real-world influences that feed in to that, so on cases where we agree, I will most likely just cite him. However, as I said, we can learn a lot about the role of people within scenes by playing in to within each scene. We can learn about the importance of the scene itself to the narrative and how exactly that scene works in reference to character arcs and things like that: it may not have predictive power on an overarching narrative level, but sometimes important devils are hidden in those details. Brief summary of Lucifer means Lightbringer’s theory LmL's theory suggests that there were once two moons in the sky and that the second moon was struck and destroyed by a comet whilst in eclipse position, causing thousands of meteors to rain down on Planetos/Terros/ASOIAF earth. The debris from this collision and the collisions of the moon meteors with the planet collected in the atmosphere and caused the darkness remembered as the Long Night. These events are reflected in a variety of in-world myths, such as the Qartheen myth of the origin of dragons (the moon wandering too close to the sun is the moon in eclipse position and the moon birthing dragons is a frequently used real-life mythological depiction of meteors) and the myth of Lightbringer's forging, with Azor Ahai (the sun) wielding Lightbringer (the comet) against Nissa Nissa (the second moon) to create a flaming sword (another real-world depiction of meteors and comets). This sequence of events also appears to have played out on earth too, with the Azor Ahai figure sacrificing a Nissa Nissa figure to enter the weirwood trees and become a greenseer. Given that both myself and LmL are looking at Martin’s use of symbolism generally (although granted from different perspectives and with different aims), there are many crossovers and my interpretations are therefore heavily influenced by LmL’s. This essay: I will be looking very specifically at Martin's choice to use the words "fire" and "flame" and what this may mean. I believe there is a fundamental difference in the way George R.R. Martin utilises the words “fire” and “flame” in ASOIAF, one that mirrors the traditional duality of a protective or creative force and a treacherous or destructive force, respectively. TL;DR: “Fire” tends to be used to describe the (pro)creative process and “flame” the destructive. This is echoed within magical processes (such as resurrection), characters points of view and within extended Lightbringer forging metaphors. This is not entirely a one-to-one relationship as descriptors (e.g. “flickering” relates to destructive moon meteors) or context (e.g. fire destroys during Ramsay’s sack of Winterfell but is associated with the re-birth of Bran as a greenseer) can clarify the “fire” or “flame”. Contents: (will be edited to link to the particular post within the thread so you can follow the essay before going back to read the comments if you want ) Resurrection by fire and flame (below) Points of View The burning tree: fire The burning tree: flame The grey spaces Resurrection by fire and by flame Firstly, let's consider two of the known examples of fire resurrection we have in the series, Beric Dondarrion and Lady Stoneheart. Beric Dondarrion is resurrected with “fire”: Notably, the only occurrence of the word “flame” occurs when Thoros performs what he thinks just another death rite i.e. a ritual associated with the affirmation of the destructive force. These “flames” transform into “fire” as Beric Dondarrion’s life is restored to him, reflecting Beric’s transcendence of death having acquired God’s fire. This all comes about from a fiery kiss which causes Beric to shudder awake. The word choice here invokes a lot of sexual imagery and thus procreative imagery, which is to be expected if my interpretation of “fire” is correct. This line of symbolism is nothing new, thus it is not much of a stretch to see it here as well. Dondarrion, having acquired the fire of the gods via this fiery kiss, goes on to protect the Riverlands as a champion of the smallfolk, as expected if my proposed dichotomy is correct. In direct contrast, Lady Stoneheart is resurrected by “flames”. As Thoros tells Brienne: Given that Lady Stoneheart is essentially an avenging spirit wandering the Riverlands and hijacking the Brotherhood without Banners to wreak her bloodthirsty vengeance on all those connected to the death of her children, I think there’s a strong case to be made for the possibility that she represents destructive forces within the world; unsurprisingly, this aligns with being resurrected by “flames”, not “fire”.
  7. Archmaester_Aemma

    The secret code in numbers?

    I don't know about all the ages but there are certain numbers that crop up over and over again in a symbolically relevant fashion. Some are obvious - 3 like the three heads of the dragon of the Targaryens, a likely reference to the three primary dragon meteors resulting from @LmL's hypothesised moon disaster. Similarly with "thousand(s)" of anything. Similarly, the 12 + 1 pattern is heavily associated with the Last Hero and his twelve companions and there are numerous instances of this in the series (see @LmL's Green Zombies series for the proofs). 7 is heavily ice associated. The Faith of the Seven uses crystal, which is a description applied to both the Wall and to the Others' swords. The Kingsguard have cloaks of snow and scales like hard ice (The Kingbreaker, ADWD) and there are seven of them. There are seven involved in the confrontation in AGOT Prologue: I slice it up as 5 Others, Ser Waymar and Will looming over all, but it could be 5 background Others, the Other Waymar fights and Ser Waymar himself. The Eyrie is made of white and blue marble (ice colours, marble as an icy stone) and has seven towers. The Starks are the family at the heart of the North, with all of their concomitant icy symbolism, and they are a family of seven. Finally, the last one I have spotted seems to be 9, but I'm not sure what to make of it exactly. There are 9 rivers in the riverlands which is itself a crossing over point and home to the Trident (dropping a 3 reference within it too). Varamyr has 9 deaths - 8 animal ones and his true death (in which he accidentally causes Thistle to look like a weirwood tree). There are 9 sword points to the King of Winters crown, made of iron and bronze to fight against the cold. There's the weirwood grove of nine in which all old gods worshipping black brothers take their vows. And there's the Knight of Ninestars in the Vale and he is specifically described as having icy blue eyes and a beak of a nose. ASOIAF is actually referenced in the literature section of the number 9 for having 9 Westerosi regions (The Seven Kingdoms + Dorne and Crownlands) and the 9 Free Cities. Not entirely sure how to interpret it, but there could be a link there to the Nine Worlds of Norse myth and thus a link to Yggdrasil and thus weirwoods?? There's one specific quote I wanted to address from the quote pool you pulled. There is actually a three, two, one counting down pattern here, if you add Ghost. 3 sons are also 3 brothers, potentially linking them to the 3 brothers of the Night's Watch who found the Others in the Prologue of AGOT. I am relatively in favour of this interpretation, as the Prologue is literally the chapter before, and one of those brothers was killed in this very chapter, plus the Starks are heavily linked to the Night's Watch. One of these pups (Grey Wind) is later beheaded for its owner betraying their oath, reminiscent of Gared's beheading for desertion. Then there are the two daughters, a potential reference to the two moons that used to be in the sky (if you subscribe to @LmL's moon destruction theory anyway). This also matches with one moon being fiery (Sansa with her kissed by fire hair) and icy (Arya, who is likened to Lyanna numerous times, with Lyanna serving as an ice moon figure). Sansa's wolf is dead, in accordance with the fire moon being the moon that was destroyed to cause the Long Night (per @LmL's theory). And finally there is the One, Ghost. Jon is equated with being the wanderer or the Stranger on numerous occasions and seems likely to be (one of) the Azor Ahai Reborn figure(s). What this sequence means, I'm less sure of. Is it just telling us about key players in the War for the Dawn? This scene also has an obscure 9 reference, in that 9 people are gathered around the scene: Bran, Robb, Jon, Theon, Jory Cassell, Ned, Hullen, Harwin and another man (who remains unnamed). Not sure if that is at all relevant, but hey ho.
  8. Archmaester_Aemma

    Venus of the Woods (The Weirwood Goddess)

    Once again, thanks for the fantastic essay @LmL So, I had several ideas during the course of reading the thread, but they kind of comingle so I'm just going to info dump/spitball, and I'll try to reference the person who inspired the thought, but I may get mixed up so sorry if I misquote/misreference/misinterpret people. With that disclaimer: @Pain killer Jane Blood is also associated with fire and water too: And blood is red rain multiple times too... The blood as milk idea is intriguing from the sense that, symbolically, milk is associated with icy/snowy things a lot. So, blood is related to both ice and fire - is this why blood magic is so powerful and dangerous? It is the union of ice and fire, the abominable sword without a hilt? Speaking of unions of fire and ice, there was mention of Val as potentially having a hand in Jon's resurrection. Her colouring is that of ice and fire as well. Here, we see Val dressed entirely in white, much like the Kingsguard and therefore, potentially, the Others. Note that her clothing is could be regarded as related to skinchanging: wool, leather, bearskin, weirwood - is this telling us that the Others are skinchangers too? If their origin is in the weirnet, I assume so. This connection would be reinforced with her blue eyes. Her hair (elsewhere described as a long golden braid) tells us that she is, in a sense, kissed by fire too: I go in to some detail elsewhere exploring the relationship between gold hair, fiery crowns, and how this indicates the acquisition of the fire of the gods. A long golden braid reminds me of the tale of Rapunzel (taken from wikipedia): However, Val is pretty heavily ice associated, in contrast to the blood/fire or Ghost's red/white colour pairing. And not her contrast to Ygg-ritte (can't believe I missed that pun for years): Val, the icy moon maiden, is penned up (like an animal - so skinchanging) in the celestial tower by Stannis, the Night's King (again with Rapunzel). Things described as lovely appear to have moon maiden/shy maiden symbolism: Margaery is "lovely as a dawn"; Cersei is "lovely to look at but cold" (note that she shares Val's gold hair/white skin colouring), Lysa is lovely as she marries Jon Arryn and thus becomes a kissed-by-fire moon maid sheathed in ice, Tyrion describes Tysha as lovely, Sansa is described as lovely twice, and the maidens and sorcerors in Drogo's pyre are "lovely, so lovely" and "the loveliest things [Dany] had ever seen"; music is a lovely thing for girls; and that's just AGOT. So Val has the concomitant shy moon maid symbolism. But she does not need to smile - is this to do with her icy connotations? i.e. if the Others were the first in the wwnet and fiery AA pushed them out by carving faces (Yg(g)ritte's smile making her come alive), then the previous icy inhabitants did not need faces? or is it that the ice moon is still in the sky and thus has not had its face carved yet? Speaking of Ygg-ritte's smile making her face come alive, is this part of the white tree/wight tree pun? This would fit with @sweetsunray's proposition that the solar figure (Rhaegar) was trying to rescue his beloved (Lyanna) from the underworld (weirnet) - because rescuing someone from the underworld would require a resurrection and thus a wighting, right? So what comes alive with music? All moon meteor and therefore weirnet activation symbols, which fits with singing/horn blasts as the trigger for the comet steering. Note that the last of these, Grey Wind, heralds the attack on Jaime Lannister at the Whispering Wood. Jaime, with his kissed-by-golden-fire hair, is wearing his golden armour and wielding his golden sword, but is sheathed in his icy KG cloak - so we're seeing the ice and gold-fire symbols here. He is being painted silver i.e. whitewashed by the moon (thanks @Pain killer Jane for point that out to me on my other thread) and is attacked by Robb, the King of Winter, at the head of an army wielding lances of silver flame. There's probably a lot more there, but I'm too tired to think properly haha Final thing for the pairing of milk/honey ice/fire symbolism, before I go to bed, is porridge. So faith is better with milk (ice) and honey (= gold = fire). Porridge is, of course, made from oats, and oats are often used for horse feed. So, milk (ice) and honey (fire) is used to flavour the (astral) horse feed and make faith better. And this astral horse feed goes flying - a la greenseers and meteors - and tries to take out a maester in the trunk of his body (trunk being an official medical term for the torso/chest). And what does Sansa get fed when her moon blood is on her? Sorry that all of the above isn't a little more coherent, but hopefully someone can make more of that mass of symbolism than I can.... night all
  9. Archmaester_Aemma

    The kissed-by-fire Lannisters: golden hair and the fire of the gods

    Isn't that what the naughty greenseer/Azor Ahai types do? They are not gods, but they want to be god-like so they steal the fire of the gods breaking the natural order of the world. That is Lann the Clever, stealing L'Oreal shade 053 Golden sun unnaturelle to hide his roots (tree pun accidental) By addressing gold hair on its own, I didn't mean to imply a lack of red/gold connection, but I'm in the process of disentangling the connotations of individual fire colours at the minute and I haven't gotten to the stage where I'm piecing the jigsaw puzzle back together yet. Red-gold does make sense in light of what I've interpreted individual colours as so far: red as (blood) magic and old as LB. Is this also a Grey King thing? That's not quite what I meant: I was talking more methodologically, in that one line of evidence in books of this scale is insufficient to draw a sweeping conclusion. Having said that, I am in the process of writing up a series of essays about Martin's use of language surrounding fire and fire colour, and I believe that all of the fire colours are dissociable and have different meanings but that these all cohere to tell the story of the forging of LB. That is why many Lightbringer symbols are red AND orange AND yellow/gold (depending on whether the fire itself is mudane or magical) - because these are the three key aspects of the tale: blood sacrifice, a fire in the night and the fire of the gods. This is something I had also gleaned from my colour analyses and, again, I did not mean to imply that they are the same. I was just pointing out the confluence of symbolism that all points to the fire of the gods surrounding people of gold hair. No, that is just me misreading it I think. It works far better to have consistent sixes than some sixes and a random five haha besides, we never actually see Will ice-transformed so 6 Others + Royce still makes the magic 7. Those are all really interesting connotations: the only reason I stuck with the crown imagery is because, in the essay this was originally supposed to be part of, the fiery crown just kept popping up, so it was easier to stay consistent. So I found my initial plan for this, and it actually had the hands of gold in there, although less coherent and with fewer insights. So we have the Cymmeri wife who forges magical armour (skinchanging), the Gipps wife who whitewashes her hair and carries a wicker shield, and the Zoqora wife who drove the chariot of (presumably) solar king figure Huzhor Amai, who saved the world wearing the skin of another human (a cloak made from the pelt of the king of the Hairy Men) - a perverse sable cloak?
  10. Archmaester_Aemma

    The kissed-by-fire Lannisters: golden hair and the fire of the gods

    That's pretty interesting - it's also a mutual destruction/separation of lovers caused by disrespecting a god... I can't think of much worse disrespect than trying to steal their fire, knowledge and supernatural abilities haha
  11. Archmaester_Aemma

    The kissed-by-fire Lannisters: golden hair and the fire of the gods

    That would certainly fit with the jealous/wrathful moon maiden figure... the poisoned apple of Snow White's stepmother too? That's been echoing around my head too but without a solid textual foundation.
  12. I’m currently working on an analysis of fire colour and what it may mean and I found myself going off on a not-particularly-relevant-for-my-analysis-but-cool tangent: golden hair is kissed by fire, much like red hair. NB: for this to be a coherent essay, you will need to have familiarity with the symbolism outlined in @LmL's Mythical Astronomy of Ice and Fire. Not just the physical second moon theory, but the symbolic motifs underpinning the conclusions, because I can't explain them all for length and potential accidental plagiarism reasons, and I will be referring to a lot of them. We know that the key Lannisters in ASOIAF have golden-hair. Less focused upon is how this golden hair is related to the sun or touched by the sun in many scenes: There is a common myth that explains why this might be the case, relayed to us in the very first book: Anyone familiar with LmL’s symbolism will recognise the familiar “challenging the gods” tale. On this occasion, Lann tricks the solar deity and acquires the fire of the gods to brighten his hair. Note how golden hair in the previous quote series is likened to having a crown of gold upon one’s head: so, by the process of symbolic transference, we can see that Lann the Clever crowned himself with the fire of the gods. However, it would be a mistake from just this to refer to golden hair as “kissed by fire” in a similar way to red hair. So I searched “gold hair” in asearchoficeandfire.com and this is the complete list of characters with gold hair. Lannisters: Joffrey, Cersei, Jaime, (formerly) Tywin, Tyrion (black and gold: Sansa III, ASOS) The blood of Old Valyria (silver-gold): Daenerys, Rhaego (HotU vision), Aurane Waters, King Aerys II, Aerion Brightflame, Lysono Maar (Lyseni spymaster for Golden Company) House Dondarrion (red-gold): Beric Dondarrion, Ser Manfred Dondarrion (The Hedge Knight) Other: one of Victarion’s sacrifices (red-gold hair; Victarion, ADWD), Lynesse Hightower, Tyene Sand, Rown Goldtree It appears that all of these characters have some sort of LmL’s Azor Ahai symbolism. The Lannisters Azor Ahai symbolism I've just touched upon. The Blood of Old Valyria appear to be descended from the Great Empire of the Dawn and they are magical dragon riders. House Dondarrion appears to exist solely to provide Azor Ahai metaphors: Beric is resurrected multiple times and fights with a burning sword whilst his House sigil is a lightning bolt that opportunely struck enemies when a member of House Dondarrion’s sword was broken in two. The Other section will require a bit more detailing. I haven’t been able to classify the symbolism of the seven whores Victarion burns, so this is just spitballing really, but there is something there related to sevens. Seven is a number which appears to be associated with ice: think the Faith of the Seven, the sevens stars Hugor of the Hill pulled from the heavens to make a crown (there’s that fire of the gods as a crown thing again), there are seven ice-transformed beings in the Game of Thrones prologue (5 Others, Ser Waymar Royce and Will), seven towers of the Eyrie (an ice castle in the icy moon mountains), seven members of the Kingsguard etc etc. So seven women, trained in the seven sighs, are burned to death to appease both R’hllor and the Drowned God (and the Drowned God is likely a representative of the fire-transformed moon goddess/mermaid): is this a foreshadowing of fire transforming the ice moon? Anyway, if I am right about golden hair being kissed by fire, a woman with gold hair acting as a blood sacrifice is a symbolic parallel to Nissa Nissa. The rest are a little more straightforward. House Hightower is one of a few very old Houses in the Reach, and it has been hypothesised that they may be descendants of the Great Empire of the Dawn. As such, this links them to Azor Ahai, the Bloodstone Emperor. Tyene Sand is the daughter of a septa and Oberyn Martell. As such, she is the result of a union between ice and fire (remembering that the Faith is heavily associated with ice, and Oberyn with fire or the sun’s fire). Another notable blond-haired, blue-eyed woman is Brienne of Tarth, whose sigil contains golden suns and silver moons. So ice and fire, moon and sun, Nissa Nissa and Azor Ahai, and the result of their union. And where is Tyene now? She’s going to infiltrate the Great Sept of Baelor: the fire-transformed offspring is entering one of the symbols of the ice moon, as part of the endlessly cyclical nature of Martin’s symbolism. Finally, we have Rowan Gold-tree and we are going to devote quite a bit of time to her. This is from the wiki: So, we have a love that is poisoned (by betrayal): check for “a love that kills/sex and swordplay”. An apple is a potent symbol of the fire of the gods: think of the fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden that is frequently depicted as an apple, and this has been reflected in ASOIAF symbolism too. So check for more Azor Ahai symbolism. This fire of the gods apple is then wrapped in Rowan’s kissed by golden fire hair, and out emerges Rowan’s tree burning with the sun’s golden fire. As LmL explains far better in his most recent essay, a rowan tree (which we could conceivably call this golden tree belonging to Rowan) is a type of ash tree, a famous mythological ash tree is Yggdrasil, and one of the most vivid callouts to Yggdrasil in the novels is the weirwood tree. Notably, the weirwood tree is crowned with fire, as its leaves are described as “bits of flame”, and it is a fantastic representation of the fire of the gods i.e. enormous magical power. Why would Rowan plant a tree in response to being jilted? I would suggest that this is part of a jealous or vengeful Nissa Nissa motif: think Cersei jealous of Jaime's maleness and of the miller's wife in Theon's dream biting his penis off with her vagina teeth (Theon V, ACOK). In the case of Rowan, she brings down the fire of the gods (as a moon-meteor apple) infused with the sun's fire (her golden hair) to create a burning tree (the weirwood): otherwise known as the events that caused the Long Night. If her lover was a solar figure, that would then "kill" him, as the Long Night killed the sun. What of Rowan Gold-tree’s family? Her father was Garth Greenhand, who planted the three intertwined weirwoods at Highgarden, sat in a throne of living wood (like a greenseer), acted as a Corn King and horned god and so on and so forth. All in all, he’s a pretty important guy, for his symbolism if nothing else: LmL devotes a long section of one of his essays to this. One sentence in particular jumped out to me in light of this essay is the following: Note that if something golden is analogous to something being on fire, a golden hand would be a fiery hand, and a fiery hand is one of the many moon-meteor-explosion motifs. Why did this jump out to me? Kissed by golden fire, Jaime Lannister, who smells of ash (ash being a weirwood symbol) when the morning sun is in his hair (indicating fire transformation) (Cersei I, AFFC), wants to be referred to as the fiery hand, in the same manner as an old King of the Reach and descendent of Garth Greenhand. Why? Because, as a Lannister, he is also a descendant of Garth Greenhand. So Rowan Gold-tree, who used her kissed by fire golden hair and planted a golden fire rowan tree from a fire of the gods apple, may have had a son, Lann the Clever, who challenged the gods to steal the sun’s fire and use it as a crown. Once again, we have this cyclical symbolism that so embodies Azor Ahai and Azor Ahai Reborn. Earlier, I pointed out the parallel between Lann using the sun’s fire to crown himself and Hugor of the Hill being crowned with seven stars: Hugor of the Hill you say? Sounds a lot like a Westerlands bastard name to me. And it turns out that Lann the Clever, founder of the primary House of the Westerlands, is a bastard. A closer look at Hugor of the Hill and it turns out that he, too, is saturated with Azor Ahai symbolism. His crown of stars was a celestial gift from the Father and he was gifted a beautiful willowy maid (with willow as yet another tree with assorted Yggdrasil and therefore weirwood connotations) by the Maid and this woman bore many children for Hugor (like many children that are born of Lann the Clever, Garth Greenhand, the Grey King, The Night’s King and Durran Godsgrief). His sons had armour forged by the Smith himself, so conceivably this is magic armour, much as one of Huzhor Amai’s three wives forged awesome armour for him: note that Huzhor Amai is a hero figure whose name is phenomenally similar to Azor Ahai and that this has been potentially linked to the Great Empire of the Dawn. Furthermore, the Pentoshi sing of someone named Hukko, tought to be a parallel of Hugor, who slew the seven swan maidens and lured blood people into the Velvet Hills as a blood sacrifice to the Seven: sounds a lot like the darker Garth Greenhand who demanded blood sacrifice to change the seasons, as a dark corn king should. Finally, Azor Ahai Reborn symbol par excellence, witty trickster (like Lann the Clever) Tyrion Lannister, takes the name Hugor Hill. In a very abrupt conclusion (because I never know how to finish these things off), I believe I have sufficiently demonstrated how heavily golden hair is related to Azor Ahai symbolism and, given that much of this symbolism is related to fire transformation, I think we can safely say that golden hair is a symbol of being kissed by fire too. If you got all the way down here, thanks for reading. Comments would be appreciated, and potential implications for the actual story even more so (because I'm super bad at that)