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The Raven by Poe and ASOIAF


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First of all, hear this wonderful poem of Edgar Allan Poe from the voice of Ser Cristopher Lee here.

Somebody posted the last POV of Jon by Poe here. The full text is also given below:

Once upon a Night’s Watch dreary,
While I pondered weak and weary
Over many a cumbersome scroll from Lord Commanders of yore,
In the yard I hear jeering, clapping,
My direwolf his water lapping,
And the sound of black wings flapping,
And suddenly there is a rapping,
Rapping upon my chamber door.
'Tis the Maester’s seasonal chore…
The end of Autumn and nothing more.

Ah, distinctly I remember, the creaking of the timber,
The tower glowing like an ember,
And on they came, like waves upon the shore.
Our green boys some still unshaven,
Our cloaks blacker than the raven,
Yet none dare ever call us craven... "

You know nothing," I heard her implore.

For the rare and fire-kissed maiden lay bleeding upon the floor.

Nameless here forevermore.

Presently my heart starts beating,
Recalling all the moments fleeting
Every of her jape and torment
Stirred my desire that lay dormant.
And all at once my honor crumbled,
Inside the cave where we both stumbled

I approached shyly as she undressed,
And broke my vows upon her breast.

Everything done has been done before,
And there’s too many lost in this long war,
And I fear there will be many more…

"You know nothing", she would implore.

My direwolf on the floor is napping,
And yet still I hear a rapping,
Of Clydas patiently tapping,
I rise, no longer able to ignore.
And the gaunt face that greets me,
Solemnly entreats me
To let him pass beyond my chamber door.
As he enters my safe haven,
And offers corn unto my raven,
I ask him what he came here for.

As he explains, his voice starts quaking,
And his outstretched hand starts shaking,
A message sealed in pink comes to the fore.

Titled “Bastard” and nothing more.

I feel an awful dread a waking,
And as I read a sweat starts breaking,
He thinks the Stark home his for the taking.

By the gods, how much longer must I endure?

Quorked the Raven “Forevermore”

On Northern throne he is still seated,
And claims Stannis has been defeated,
And with his wicked bastard blade
Saw that the Rayder’s wives were flayed
And offers me a coward’s trade.

Aye, I’ll trade for the Rayder Mance,
But with sword and axe and torch and lance,
He’ll soon find the true cost of war…

“You know nothing” I heard her implore

I speak to my men, my spirits soaring,
Like a fountain, my words come pouring,
Then I hear a thunderous roaring,
Roaring outside my chamber door.

“Tis the wind and nothing more”

As I approach, I hear a thrashing,
Of Ser Patrek’s head a bashing,
Crashing against my chamber floor.

Tis our giant making war.
Only this and nothing more.

Upon my person, a hand is grabbing,
And suddenly a knife is stabbing,
My throat, my belly, my shoulder blade,
“For the Watch” I hear, and start to fade.

All around, the world grows colder,
And I weep for what I ne'er told her,
To lay my head upon her shoulder,
Is all I want and nothing more.

Quorked the raven “Nevermore”

People are awesome :bowdown:

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  • 1 year later...



Will and Gared may be dispensable, “generic” rangers on a fatal mission whose lives are forfeit because of their inexperienced commander Ser Waymar Royce, but Martin names them with purpose as a way to honor and thank two authors who inspire his prose fiction in A Song of Ice and Fire Series. The appearance of the names Will and Gared in the first “Prologue” of a voluminous series of novels speaks to the degree of gratitude Martin owes his sources.

First, Will is short for “William”, or for “William Shakespeare”, the celebrated English writer whose works still have universal appeal hundreds of years after his death. It is no secret that Martin borrows from “the bard”, and among Shakespeare’s many poetic plays that Martin alludes to in conflicts, plot elements, and language, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar ranks high as the source material Martin prefers, putting his own “spin” on ideas and themes throughout his fantasy novels.

To convey Will’s association with Shakespeare, Martin includes details pertaining to Will’s crime of poaching a deer that parallels similar events Shakespeare biographers debate happened to young Will Shakespeare before his arrival in London.

Martin says of Will’s crime:

“Will had been a hunter before he joined the Night’s Watch. Well, a poacher in truth. Mallister freeriders had caught him red-handed in the Mallisters’ own woods, skinning one of the Mallisters’ own bucks, and it had been a choice of putting on the black or losing a hand” (AGoT).

Likewise, William Shakespeare trespasses on Sir Thomas Lucy’s property to kill a deer. In the article “In Search of Shakespeare: The Poaching Myth 1598”, a PBS.org author writes:

“Though the tale is widely discredited today, three seventeenth-century accounts claim that Shakespeare was once beaten and imprisoned for poaching [a deer]. The alleged crime took place on land belonging to Sir Thomas Lucy - one of Walsingham's and Elizabeth's chief enforcers”. [http://www.pbs.org/shakespeare/events/event83.html].

Although Will and Will share like crimes, their punishments are quite different. Ranger Will chooses an option that will take him a lifetime to repay, but he prefers becoming a Sworn Brother of the Night’s Watch over losing his hand, which is an early allusion to the stigma associated with disfigurement in Martin’s world of ice and fire.

Second, the name “Gared” has an unusual spelling, one not Americanized with a “J”. However, Martin aspires to create memorable characters, and he alters spellings of familiar names to give them a medieval flare. Analyzing the spelling of “Gared” requires some mental creativity: when readers divide “Gared” into two syllables, GAR / ED, and transpose them, one with the other, the “revised” appellation is EDGAR, the first name of American author and poet Edgar Allan Poe.

Of course, the obvious inspiration Martin takes from Poe is Lord Commander Mormont’s talking raven, a character that owes a debt of gratitude to Poe’s poem “The Raven”. The title bird flies in a window and perches on a bust of Athena, and he punctuates any question the narrator poses by saying hauntingly “Nevermore!” The narrator asks the raven if he will ever see his dead lover Lenore: quothe the raven, “Nevermore!”

Furthermore, Poe’s favorite thematic inclusion in several of his short stories is the death of a beautiful woman. In Martin’s I & F Series, the death of Lyanna Stark haunts Ned and figures in many other character arcs throughout the novels.

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