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About sweetsunray

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    House Rave, For the Critical Watch

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  1. sweetsunray

    Jon and the sigils at the Tower of Joy.

    I get into the symbolism of the Hightower bull and beacon on a tower, the bat and Dawn into my first two chthonic essays: https://sweeticeandfiresunray.com/2015/10/07/persephone-of-the-winterfell-crypts/ https://sweeticeandfiresunray.com/2015/10/30/the-cursed-souls-of-eddard-and-robert/ Much of elements regarding Lyanna make her a type of Persephone. The first essay goes over the evidence for that, such as the rape-stealing part of the tale, her ending up as a type of queen of the Underwold (the sole female statue inside the crypts), the flower wraith, false spring with Lyanna's first public appearance at Harrenhal, etc... It stands to reason that much of Persephone related symbolism reappears at the ToJ. A bat was the animal symbol for Persephone, quite obviously since Bats live in caves, which are traditionally seen as entrances into the underworld. Torches symbolize Demeter's search for her abducted daughter Persephone. If a Persephone-Lyanna died at the ToJ by birthing a child, then we'd also have symbolism related to children linked to Persephone. I go over this in the second essay. George seems to have been inspired by Orpheus' hymn of Melinoe for Ned's dreamof the ToJ. Melinoe was an underworld moon daughter of Persephone who gave people nightmares. Compare this to the structure of Ned's dream: His own bannermen appear as shadows, grey wraiths on misty horses with shadow swords = weird shapes, forms, now shadowy But the three Kingsguard’s faces burn clear = now plain to the eye Arthur Dayne’s Dawn is pale as milkglass, alive with light = now shining in the darkness Ned and his men come together with the three Kingsguard in a rush of steel and shadow, Lyanna screaming his name, and a storm of rose petals blowing = hostile encounter He wakes to moonlight = gloom of night 3 x “now” appears in the dream: “Then or now“, “Now it begins,” and “Now it ends.” The Melinoe nightmare pattern continues when Ned wakes from the dream, as if George is underlining a progressive RL nightmare for Ned, and indeed it's in this chapter that Ned is made Hand again and Robert decides to go off on his hunt. The more important child of Persephone in Greek myth is her son: Dyonisus. He was twice born. He's born, dies and then reborn. One of the forms that Dyonisus took to escape Hera's wrath was that of a Bull (Hightower's moniker). House Hightower’s sigil is that of a torch or beacon upon a tower and their words are, “We Light the Way”. The torch is a symbol for Demeter’s search for her daughter, but also for the third epiteth of Dionysus – Iacchus, the torch bearing, divine child, a star to bring light to the night. The Hightower sigil basically says, “The torch bearer, the divine child,” is up there on the Tower of Joy, and the House’s words reaffirm this interpretation. Arthur Dayne is twice referred to as the Sword of the Morning who wields the pale greatsword Dawn, which is alive with light in the darkness. Like, dusk, dawn is the moment that does not belong to either night and day. It heralds the end of the night and the start of the day, and yet belongs to neither – an in between moment. Again this would fit the scheme of Dionysus as Iacchus, who brings light in the night, but belongs to the ‘in between’ world, who can go to and fro. A light in the darkness mostly calls forth the image of moon- and starlight, with the moon and stars being the lanterns that “light the way”. And Dawn’s light is pale, miky white, like a moon or star.
  2. True. It's not explicitly stated that they follow Old Gods, but it was a Royce who united the houses against the Andal invasion in the Vale and was proclaimed king for it. Though he lost that battle at the spot where the Gates of the Moon were built and his kin knelt to the Arryn and Andals as rulers of the Vale region, it is not stated that they or any of the other houses who knelt to the Andals had to give up their faith. They still hold the rune shield as a prized memorandum of their origin, still send sons to the Wall as honorable, managed to arrange a marriage to a Stark daughter a few generations ago, etc. The Andal invasion of the Vale was not anti-Old Gods, but purely a territorial war. The clans of the Mountains of the Moon weren't chased off their lands for following Old Gods, but because they refused to accept Andals as lords or king. As a consequence they have had the least contact with the Faith, but as the Starks themselves reveal, having a septon, sept and thus being taught about the Faith does not necessarily alter the gods they follow. Bran wanted to be a knight and Ned Stark would have allowed Bran to become one, even one who does his vigil within the Faith's requirements, even though both obiously follow the Old Gods. Ned Stark was fostered to Jon Arryn at the Vale, and thus obviously taught about the Faith, yet he follows the Old Gods. So, just because the sons of a Royce are knights and dubbed Sir, does not disprove they do not keep to the Old Gods anymore. The indirect evidence is mixed, hence I'd regard them as a house that assimilated enough Andal culture so their children could rise high in Andal culture, but equally held on to their First Men roots and traditions, which would include Old Gods.
  3. sweetsunray

    How powerful were the Manderlys in the Reach?

    Thanks! @Joey Crows The Blackwoods claim it with insistence, and there is runic evidence for it. And then there's Maester Yandel who tries to frame it as doubtful, including a fellow maester's translation abilities. Now, why would a House that has always been part of a realm south of the Neck, claim and lie they are Northern exiles? Being an exiled House after all isn't the best of PRs, especially in a neck of the woods that's been conquered by Andals. Lying about it, just makes no sense. Meanwhile being truthful makes every bit of sense, especially from Northerners - they have a rather typical Northern pride scoffing at PR, be proud they stem from Northern stock even if it means you're an exiled House. As for Maester Yandel and him throwing a shade of doubt on such claims and runic translations (I effing doubt maester Yandel can translate runes himself), we should never forget a part of his agenda. He wrote tWoIaF to gift to a king whose mother Cersei Lannister is a regent and hates Starks and the North deeply. Maester Yandel has to keep his head after all. And he does that in a clever way. First he uses tidbits of dislike from some Stark towards the IT and Targs to portray them as always rebellious. For example, on the match between Torrhen's daughter and the misfortunate first Lord Arryn in the united realm, Yandel holds a magnifying lens onto the anger of her brothers over it, but ignores Torrhen's agreement to it. More, Yandel claims there are "letters" (but not who wrote the letters, when he easily does cite the source of letters whenever he otherwise can), and tries to make something that is uncertain and likely hearsay sound as something sure and some big protest. Yandel uses the exact same tactic when it comes to the New Gift. In F&B the negotiations for the New Gift between Alaric Stark and Alysanne Targaryen are portrayed in a way we recognize the hard bargaining tactics that Starks are known for (in aSoIaF exemplified by Jon making a deal with Tycho Nestoris). In tWoIaF, we have no mention whatsoever of Alaric, but instead Yandel picks out a much later Lord Stark who didn't like what his predecessor agreed to, this time with the confirmed source of letters written to the Citadel itself by the brother of Alaric's descendant to protest against the deal made. What does this to do with Yandel trying to put a seed of doubt on the Blackwoods' claim? Well, in aSoIaF, the Lannisters made peace with the rebelling Blackwoods. Jaime brokers it in aFfC, but it requires a stamp by King Tommen, to whom the book tWoIaF is gifted. This poses a conundrum - on the one hand you have Blackwoods who bent the knee to King Tommen and (in name) Tommen forgiving them, and on the other hand they insist on being Northern stock, the part of the realm that Yandel tries to portray as natural rebels. So, what does Yandel do? He creates a doubt on this claim, so that Tommen isn't discredited for forgiving the Blackwoods.
  4. sweetsunray

    How powerful were the Manderlys in the Reach?

    Don't recall the reason for it ever explained, but the Blackwoods are an exiled House from the North
  5. sweetsunray

    Fake Aegon, Real Aegon, and Quentyn Martell

    For blue, purple, grey and green eyes it's completely normal. There is no specific pigment that makes these colors in eyes. It's completely pigment unrelated. In fact, the lenses are translucent, with a black back layer behind the lens to absorb light and prevent the lens from being a giant aperture blurring vision. The color and hue of blue, purple and green is similar to how ocean water has a color. When you take a bucket of sea water it looks translucent. But when you look across the rim of the boat, it might appear deep blue, or green-blue, etc. It depends on tiny miniscule matter that is dissolved in water, and the size of the molecules of the matter scatter in-falling light in a particular way, because that scattered light has a wavelength smaller than the dissolved molecules in the water. The scattered light with shorter wavelength is then reflected back to the surface, ending up in your eye to be percecived as a certain hue of blue, green, etc. The melanin in the lens of an eye comes in only 2 colors: yellow and brown. So, only amber and brown eyes are actually pigmented. Hazel eyes are only partially pigmented (around the aperture of the lens, the pupil), but towards the outside of the iris they lack pigmentation. So, they have greenish eyes with a starry brown or amber center around the pupil. The blue, purple, grey and green of eyes is therefore determined on the molecular struture of the iris, since that is what makes the in-falling light scatter. George knows that these eye-colors are constructed colors and not pigmented colors, because he regularly points out that the colors seem to shift depending on the amount of surround light and color of clothing worn. These are typical for non-pigment based colors. A slightly thicker lens already would have an impact on what hue of these constructed colors will be perceived by observers.
  6. sweetsunray

    Who is Haldon Halfmaester?

    Thanks, Seams! I will address this for now with a short note, and will reply deeper afterwards (in a few days, very busy for work atm) Yes, there are certainly parallels between Arya's chapter where she ends up being captured by the BwB and Tyrion becoming part of Team Aegon. I take another angle for the Duck presense. As I showed in my bear-maiden essays (in the thread on this forum, not ever managed to getting around Arya's bear-maiden stuff on my blog), that particular chapter is written following the pattern of catching a bear (with Gendry as the bear character) and Arya the accompanying bird-partner. And how those who catch a bear are then instantly rewarded with a game catch. That's after all the bear-hunter's goal: capture a bear once a year, for luck with the other game the rest of the year. We see this with the duck suddenly appearing for the 3 bear hunters (seeker, caller, killer) to be caught. Now in pretty much every arc there's a bear character, minor charachters as well as secondary POV and main POV. Now in bear folklore, the bear has a swan-maiden he pines for, but his own "spirit" is a bird too. George has either an actual bird or a character with a bird name as companion. Hence you have the obvious bear Jeor Mormont and his talking raven. That's why Small Paul (described like a giant, who Jon says are bearlike) wants himself a talking bird. And in death, he does end up with a raven (eating his flesh). No, Lark isn't the companion of Small Paul. He's the mean larking spirit of Chett (an angry vengeful corrupted bear). That's why Arya calls herself "squab" after Lem & co ask whether there's a bear hiding behind the wall (yes, Gendry). And that's why George chooses Willow for the Arya stand-in at the orphan's inn in aFfC and NOT a bird name. Willow isn't a replacement for the swan he misses. So, we have a character called a Duck in this party, and so there's a bear too. Tyrion's nicknamed a giant from almost the very beginning, and when he wears a "bearskin" at the Wall, Jon thinks of him as a little bear. But something's happening here. The Duck is a gamebird, a bird you hunt. And Tyrion has gradually moved to turning into a hunter himself (he quarreled his own father with a bow). Bear characters normally hate the bow, because that's the weapon with which they are normally killed in a bear hunt. When bear characters pick up a bow themselves, they are the hunted becoming the hunter. In this way Tyrion and Samwell are similar, though Samwell isn't yet whereTyrion is. So, with Duck and Tyrion, you get a situation of "who's catching who here?" Aegon's team believe themselves to have caught a little bear, but the bear end up playing games with them and most likely will be their failure, rather than their success. And indeed it's by playing cyvasse that Tyrion manages to discover Young Griff's identity, and when he reveals it, they're sent right back to the bridge with the stone men, and Connington ends up with grey scale, while in yet another game Tyrion convinces Aegon of conquering Westeros without Dany. In this way I agree that bows also stand for a penis, or "acquring balls". In the Wayland the Smith legend, the captured (hidden bear) character Wayland is feathered, his tendosn cut, and made to work for the king without being rewarded with a bride/princess. The cutting of the tendons was a euphemism that they emasculated the captured bear. That king wronged Wayland, because that's not the proper way to capture a bear. You capture him with 3 hunters, one with a bow, quarrel him with a symbolical death (this is what Anguy does: he actually shoots an arrow, saying he missed on purpose and could have killed her if he wanted to), you give him his maiden, have a wedding feast, and bury the bear so his bird spirit can return to the heavens, until he's born anew. Wayland's legend is what a bear does if you abuse a captured bear. Ultimately he will take revenge. Wayland did this by luring the king's two sons to his island prison, and then cut the boys' heads off, in that way acquiring his "tendons" back to flee with wings. George invented the bear acquiring bow skills as a replacement of that scenario with bears he wants to keep in the grey area, and not go all Chett, Ramsay or Gregor. When, Tyrion quarreled his father, he took his balls back, after his father, the regent (a stand in king so too speak) still refused to give him his maiden. And he was never properl caught. Instead he was smuggled overseas in a wine barrel. Now, Illyrio does try to offer Tyrion a woman, wines and dines him, but neither Illyrio, Duck, Haldon or Connington held a bow to Tyrion, and none of them have the woman he wants to give. More, he's got to stay sober and is stuck on a boat, away from women, while there's a beautiful woman swimming naked every day, but he's not allowed to touch her. So, that scene where he blows a "kiss" at the young maiden on the road, and she starts crying, that's a bear-maiden scene of the song. The maiden doesn't want a bear/dwarf. She wants a knight. As the frustration and anger of wrong-way captured bear builds, it can eventually lead to lashing out, like a corrupted bear, and we see this when he rapes the bedslave. It takes another sick bear to capture Tyrion, and then they're both captured by slavers, getting worse and worse, with Tyrion poisoning his captors, almost getting eaten himself if not for a Targaryen princess/Queen of Mereen to prevent it. And yes, you can see how women who dress up as men want a bow: to get balls, so they can hunt in stead of being the hunted. Oops, that was longer than I intended.
  7. sweetsunray

    Who is Haldon Halfmaester?

    Oberyn has the patience to seek his moment to avenge himself against the Mountain. Besides, Oberyn isn't the one doing the raising of Aegon. He lets someone else do it. Lemore is indeed part of the company for a long time. It's not explicitly said how old Arianne was when she went with Oberyn to visit Tyene's mother, but it sounds pre-teen age. That would match the timeline for Aegon being only 5 or 6 at the time. Oberyn's free company wasn't the Golden Company, and neither Lemore nor Oberyn would fully trust the whole company with the secret. Why shouldn't he do a marriage pact for Quentyn and Arianne? This pact dates from before Oberyn could even learn about Aegon's survival, before Connington allegedly died, before Illyrio made a pact with the GC. And there's no reason for Oberyn nor Doran to shun Dany, or forget about her, just because there's Aegon. Regardless of the existence of Aegon (or Dany for that matter), Dornish Law still applies to Arianne. She's the eldest child of the Prince of Dorne, who is the eldest of the siblings Doran-Elia-Oberyn. And why put your eggs all in the same basket. Viserys was dead in aSoS, and Dany lost somewhere in the green sea of the Dothraki. So, that failed and Varys and Illyrio still hadn't brought Aegon out, and that might have taken a while yet, despite the fact that there had been a civil war between Lannisters and Starks and Tullys. Strike the iron when hot, and stir the hornet's nest by advocating Myrcella, so that the Lannisters self-destruct.
  8. The Royces still follow Old Gods, though a less bloody version of it. I'm not saying they are a dominant culture in the Vale, nor in the Riverlands. I agree that the Starks haven't had a female ruler yet, but they don't mind women fighting. Alaric Stark is rather proud of the fact that he had a fierce Mormont wife.
  9. Self-fulfilling prophecy: Just like many factions in this story, the Others have a prophecy that foretells their destruction by a Stark, LC and very young, around the time of the appearance of the comet (or n number of times it appears). When Aegon's born, there was a red comet, and that's when the Others started to prepare to prevent the prophecy from happening. They swell their numbers with whatever happens to Craster's sons and by taking out small wildling targets. The wildlings get scared enough and begin to gather (safety in numbers) and form rare alliances, including giants, and elect Mance Rayder as their king to get them at the other side of the Wall, which they expect to do with force or tearing down the wall, for the crows will never let them pass. Mance starts looking for the Horn of Joramun in graves, never finding it, but the big horn of the giant might be something the crows will believe to be genuine, and thus will let them pass. The digging of the graves didn't "wake" the Others, but it was a response by the wildlings to get the wall between themselves and the Others. Meanwhile the Others expect the prophesied Stark to have joined the NW already, and when young Waymar (looking like a Stark) is spotted, this is their opportunity to end the prophecy before it begins. They fear him and his blade, hence they start out cautious and confront him with a large number of them. But the sword breaks, putting them at ease and they kill him. A prophecy was never so easily dispatched off. Except once Waymar's a wight they learn he isn't a Stark at all. Bummer. They begin to take out ranging parties, both to lure more ranging parties to look for the missing ones, all the while the Others hope to catch the fated Stark. They come across Benjen's party. He's a Stark, but wrong age. He ain't the one. But from the wighted men of Benjen's ranging party or Benjen himself, they learn that his young nephew just joined the NW. The random search is over. They know who and where he is, and they send an assassin team. Since the prophecy talks of him as an LC, that's what they have the wights attempt to do: kill the LC, but the target was Jon. Others just didn't know he wasn't LC yet. Unwittingly they overplayed their hand: now the NW knows the Others are back in operation. More, by accident Jon refigures out that fire kills wights. Then a large faction of the NW go on the great-ranging, an army of brothers, including Jon, and they gather at the Fist. To get to the boy they need to kill that NW army, and so the Others head down the Milkwater to make as big a wight army. They don't dare to attack the Fist themselves, because it's not clear to the Others that the NW has no idea how to kill them, especially since one may have spied on Jon finding the obsidian arrows. Because the Others are off to make their wight army, they don't know that Jon is sent away with Qhorin Halfhand from the Fist. Nor do they know later, because Qhorin takes the Skirling Pass (not the Milkwater). The Others return with their army of wights and have them attack the Fist en masse. During the attack, the NW defend themselves with fire, but never use obsidian. As the NW flee, and they still don't have Jon killed they go in pursuit, but the Others think it is safe to expose themselves to the NW brothers and kill them themselves. But in one of those confrontations, Samwell accidentally discovers the power of the dragonglass. While the Others pursue the NW brothers and figure out how to deal with the remainder at Craster's, Jon reaches the Fist together with the wildlings. Jon is sent out by Mance to climb the Wall, but at a location far out of Craster's direction. At Craster's Jeor gets killed and Samwell flees. He's the one who might tell the Wall of the attack at the fist and inform the NW of the use of obsidian. So, now Sam has to be hunted down too. He needs to be hunted with wights, instead of Others, because he knows how to use dragonglass. Meanwhile, the Others find no Jon even amongst the pickings at Craster's. Total fail. And so Jon ends up safely back at the Wall and Sam manages to survive with the help of Coldhands. Jon's elected LC and begins to make changes to the NW to help defend against the Others. Now, the Others have only one option: outright war. So, they're gathering as big an army as they can.
  10. sweetsunray

    Who is Haldon Halfmaester?

    So? A character's background and purpose to be at a place may be personal, and does not need to be necessary political. It doesn't mean that she might have a crucial act to perform in Oldtown that has to do with Sam or Euron, and her actually being a woman may even be a deciding factor. Sarella as Alleras seems to fit the trope of "no man can harm .xyz, but a woman can" thingy. And of course, where Arya, Brienne and evidently Brave Dani expressed desire to do something of importance other than be a marriage pawn, we should expect there to be more women trying to do so, sometimes necessarily disguised as men to receive recognition, and yes functions as a parallel seed to help figure out Haldon, though you don't need Sarella=Alleras for that. And one of the reasons that Tyrion hasn't figured out Haldon, despite him being acutely observant otherwise, is because he has a blind spot when it comes to women. He was blind about Shae, blind about Sansa and he is blind to Haldon's nature. He doesn't figure Lemore out either, but I don't think he has enough data to figure it out. Both identities are irrelevant to him. The agent for Dorne in all of this is Lemore (and possibly Haldon) imo (and not Ashara). The Viper was in Essos with different free companies so he has friends and connections in the Golden Company. He somehow got wind of Varys recruiting people and why. Since Aegon's Elia's kid, and Elia and Oberyn were close, he wanted people he could trust in there. Tyene's mom was barred from being a septa because of her affair and child with Oberyn, so he visits Tyene's mom in the Reach with Arianne and Tyene (a cover to make it appear it was only a family visit), and recruits her to become Aegon's Septa (she dyes her hair as cover) and send him word whether this is legit or not. Arianne cannot recognize Haldon, but she would recognize Lemore when she arrives in Storm's End. For Arianne and consequentionally Doran, Lemore's word will seal the deal whether she believes Aegon to be the real thing and send word "dragon" to Doran.
  11. Dragonlords already have PR against them... most people descend from the Rhoynish who survived the massacre brought to them by Valyrian dragonlords in Essos. Some Houses like the Daynes were First Men, but they too don't seem eager to switch sides.
  12. sweetsunray

    Who is Haldon Halfmaester?

    If Doran knows his brother is dead, he also knows Shae is dead and doesn't have a hint of summer islander in her. Sarella's mother is a summer islander. And she's portrayed as curious with an archeological bend to investigate. It's not "their game" but "her ... game".
  13. sweetsunray

    Who is Haldon Halfmaester?

    As for beign distracted away from the gravedigger... once pointed out to you, and you checked it, you can argue it's "too much on the nose" as well. Once you figure it out or someone points it out to you, it becomes obvious. On a first read, Alleras cannot be as obvious as you claim it to be though, since it's a prologue chapter, and you haven't been introduced to Doran, Arianne, anyone from Dorne, and you know nothing about Sarella's "games"in Oldtown. It's only through the Dornish chapters that you figure out that Alleras is one of the Viper's children.
  14. sweetsunray

    Who is Haldon Halfmaester?

    Where did I say 'probably'? I will repeat and clarify what I was going for: when you are first introduced to Young Griff you realize he's supposed to be a hidden Targ and that he will claim to be Aegon, the son of Rhaegar. Whether you believe it or not is something that imo George leaves up to the reader and will never clear up imo. He allows for enough room to make the non-believers think "but what if he was the real Aegon", while he sheds just enough doubt to make believers think "meh, I get why people don't believe it." Aegon gets that extra layer of mystery, because he's an important political side character and he was supposed to be dead. The other side characters, such as Haldon, Duck, Lemore, Connington, Sarella aren't meant to be difficult for the reader. They're a little bit of fun thrown in there, a little mystery for most readers to figure out (strokes the reader's ego).
  15. sweetsunray

    Who is Haldon Halfmaester?

    I agree Daario is the Blackfyre. But I mean for Aegon... it's quite obvious that Young Griff is Aegon from the get go.