Nothing to add to the conversation but I am blown away by the depth of the analysis. One of the things I love most about the ASOIAF books is the way they stand up to multiple re-reads, always offering another layer to peel back. I read TOAFK 25 years ago but this has prompted me to add it to my reading list for another well deserved go round. @CowboyDan - thank you for the time and effort you put in to this. Same to FeatherCrystal and so many others. I don't know how I managed to not read this thread until now but I'm happy as hell to have found it..