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pobeb

Tyrion is a Gargoyle

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Theory:



Tyrion is a metaphorical gargoyle.



Evidence:




The Hound tells Arya:


“Bugger Joffrey, bugger the queen, and bugger that twisted little gargoyle she calls a brother."



Cersei tells Sansa:


"You are a lovely girl. It seems almost obscene to squander such sweet innocence on that gargoyle.”



Tyrion, as he thinks of Penny:


They hacked off her brother’s head in the hope that it was mine, yet here I sit like some bloody gargoyle, offering empty consolations.



Tyrion's first encounter with Jon in Winterfell



Tyrion Lannister was sitting on the ledge above the door to the Great Hall, looking for all the world like a gargoyle.





As the Battle of the Blackwater is unfolding, Tyrion watches atop the battlements in deep thought:


Motionless as a gargoyle, Tyrion Lannister hunched on one knee atop a merlon.



Earlier in ACoK, we see many gargoyles in Dragonstone, described to be brooding (similar to Tyrion in the above quote):


the gargoyles (...) rose twelve feet tall on either side of him, a hellhound and a wyvern, two of the thousand that brooded over the walls of the ancient fortress.



Bran dreams of gargoyles after his fall:


The gargoyles watched him ascend. Their eyes glowed red as hot coals in a brazier. Perhaps once they had been lions, but now they were twisted and grotesque.



Davos' interaction with one of these gargoyles:


Out front squatted a waist-high gargoyle, so eroded by rain and salt that his features were all but obliterated. He and Davos were old friends, though. He gave a pat to the stone head as he went in. “Luck,” he murmured.


This passage (to me at least) seems to be clearly paralleling the gargoyle to Tyrion; the height (waist-high), the obliterated features (Tyrion's nose being cut off), the pat on the head for "luck" (as Tyrion explains in ADwD).




Now this is how it applies to the greyscale situation:



Littlefinger quips to Tyrion about Shireen's greyscale:


Littlefinger gestured languidly. “A trade envoy from Lys once observed to me that Lord Stannis must love his daughter very well, since he’d erected hundreds of statues of her all along the walls of Dragonstone. ‘My lord,’ I had to tell him, “those are gargoyles.’”


Also, the greyscale infected people of the Sorrows are referred to as Stone men. Gargoyles are made of stone.




In the prologue, Maester Cressen also has these thoughts of gargoyles:


(The gargoyles) had been here so much longer than he had, and would still be here long after he was gone. If stone tongues could speak . . .


Stone tongues?



When he opened his mouth to curse them all, black water filled his lungs, and the dark closed in around him.



Tyrion opens his mouth, and swallows liquid greyscale (the Rhoyne)



“How long must I continue to torture myself? When will we be certain that I’m clean?”


“Truly?” said the Halfmaester. “Never. You swallowed half the river.




Now, when I first saw this I thought, "Ok, so if Tyrion is a gargoyle, and I know he basically swallows liquid greyscale later in the story... Is Maester Cressen’s passage foreshadowing the eventuallity that he will, in fact, contract greyscale?"




Then I read the very next couple of lines, and saw this:



Such folly (...) Talking gargoyles and prophecies in the sky. I am an old done man, grown giddy as a child again (...) What had he come to, when superstition filled his head as if he were an ignorant fieldhand?




The prologue paints a pretty stark contrast throughout its length: Magic vs the Disbeliever



This ultimately ends in Melisandre vs Cressen, in which Cressen dies; all because he refused to accept that magic was real and coming back into the world.



This is important because, as I've shown, Cressen also refuses to believe in "talking gargoyles" and "prophecies in the sky".




Remember, Tyrion's most powerful weapon is his mouth (talking). Please also note that a dragon's most powerful weapon is also their mouth. As Septon Barth writes:


“Death comes out of the dragon’s mouth,” Septon Barth had written in his Unnatural History, “but death does not go in that way.”


Death doesn’t go in that way? Tyrion surviving despite contracting greyscale wouldn’t just confirm that Tyrion is a “gargoyle”, but more importantly - a Dragon.



It would explain why Dragonstone is guarded by a thousand gargoyles. Some of these gargoyles were wyverns - a wyvern is a winged beast with the head of a dragon.




Gargoyles are considered protectors. Our metaphorical gargoyle, Tyrion, protects King's Landing against Stannis' siege.



Contrast that to a time when the protectors were absent, and Stannis' siege was successfull; the siege of Dragonstone:


Daenerys Stormborn, she was called, for she had come howling into the world on distant Dragonstone as the greatest storm in the memory of Westeros howled outside, a storm so fierce that it ripped gargoyles from the castle walls and smashed her father’s fleet to kindling.


Hey... wait a minute... didn't Dany (a dragon) flee shortly after these gargoyle protectors were thrown from the walls?



Maybe this explains the mystery behind what Bran sees, when he wargs Summer, after the sack of Winterfell:


The smoke and ash clouded his eyes, and in the sky he saw a great winged snake whose roar was a river of flame. He bared his teeth, but then the snake was gone.





Theon, in Winterfell, during the Bolton occupation:


The entrance to the crypts was in the oldest section of the castle, near the foot of the First Keep, which had sat unused for hundreds of years. Ramsay had put it to the torch when he sacked Winterfell, and much of what had not burned had collapsed. Only a shell remained, one side open to the elements and filling up with snow. Rubble was strewn all about it: great chunks of shattered masonry, burned beams, broken gargoyles. The falling snow had covered almost all of it, but part of one gargoyle still poked above the drift, its grotesque face snarling sightless at the sky.



"... And you. A small man with a big shadow, snarling in the midst of all.”



Snarling? An amiable fellow like me?”





So, we have some very, very interesting parallels to consider here. Let's analyze the presence of gargoyles and their role in determining the outcome of a siege.



In King's Landing, the besieged (Tyrion) deceives the besieger (Stannis) by trapping his fleet in range of the wildfire bomb. Here, our gargoyle (Tyrion) remains intact and thus prevents the siege.



In Winterfell, the besieged (Theon) is instead deceived by the besieger (Ramsay), resulting in the sacking of the castle, and destruction of the gargoyles guarding the First Keep. Later, Summer sees a dragon (winged serpent) fleeing the scene.



In Dragonstone, the Targaryen fleet is destroyed along with the gargoyle defenders. Later, Dany (a dragon) flees the scene.




Anyone noticing the key element absent in the Dragonstone siege?



Deception



Deception has played a role in most every siege: from the Lannisters sacking KL, to Stannis killing Cortnay Penrose, to the northmen sneaking around as trees when reclaiming Deepwood Motte from Asha, to the fall of Meereen via the sewers.



GRRM uses patterns generously enough to help map our way from clue to clue.



The pattern with sieges seems to be: outcomes are decided on some deceptive turning-point.



So, if this is true, what form of deception was used to successfully siege Dragonstone?



Some conveniently magical, fleet-destroying, gargoyle-toppling storm?



Or... did someone destroy that fleet and topple those gargoyles before Stannis arrived?


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pretty solid

thick

joocy

A++

Thanks.

Honestly, I've never seen a thread dedicated to dissecting Tyrion's parallels with gargoyles, and how it impacts his character. So, I was excited to put this together. Glad you enjoyed it!

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That "perhaps they had once been lions" is a great find. More and more I'm thinking he's the stone beast and the smoking tower is the Tower of the Hand


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There's been talk of it in the foreshadowing threads but ultimately the stone beast is a lie Dany must slay, like Stannis is AA or (f)Aegon. What lie is there in Tyrion being the stone beast breathing shadow flame for Dany to slay? And if he's not that stone beast what's the point of the gargoyle references? Simply that he will get Greyscale?


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There's been talk of it in the foreshadowing threads but ultimately the stone beast is a lie Dany must slay, like Stannis is AA or (f)Aegon. What lie is there in Tyrion being the stone beast breathing shadow flame for Dany to slay? And if he's not that stone beast what's the point of the gargoyle references? Simply that he will get Greyscale?

I'm not sure.

Yesterday, I couldn't pair Tyrion with the stone beast in Dany's visions, but writing these gargoyle examples up is making me rethink my stance.

Tyrion could be that same beast. Or it could be the stone (greyscale) griffin (beast) breathing shadowfire (spreading fAegon propoganda). And slaying the lie could mean both exposing Aegon as a Blackfyre (shadowfire) and exposing Jon Connington's hidden greyscale.

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Gargoyles on medieval cathedrals had several functions.

First, the obvious as mentioned above, to spill out water, meaning to deduct rainwater from cathedral walls in order to preserve the stone.

Then in their grotesque looks they were meant as sign to the often illiterate population of hell and evil in afterlife that may befall the sinners.

(apart from that: the stone mansions had a lot of fun depicting themselves or shaping grotesque caricatures of less liked rulers or neighbours high up under the cathedral's roof where, apart from those working there, not many could enjoy the pun, very private jokes, schadenfreude at its best)

Third, and an aspect that has not been mentioned so far: Gargoyles symbolized fending off evil spirits from the buildings and the city, they were protectors precisely by their grotesque and absurd looks, deducting evil spirits out of buildings and keeping dark forces away.

Gargoyles stand guard, warding off unwanted spirits and other creatures and If they're hideous and frightening enough, it was thought they would be especially effective in scaring off all sorts of other threatening creatures. Perhaps it was even believed that some came alive at night protecting people when they were most vulnerable. Better still, the ones with wings could fly and protect the village as well as the church.

And here a more ancient reference to a link between gargoyles and dragons, actually the contrary of the protecting aspect:

legend has it, that a fierce dragon named La Gargouille described as having a long, reptilian neck, a slender snout and membranous wings lived in a cave near the river Seine. The dragon caused much fear and destruction with its fiery breath, spouting water and the devouring of ships and men. Each year, the residents of Rouen would placate Gargouille with an offering of a victim, usually a criminal, though it was said the dragon preferred maidens. Around 600, the village was saved by St. Romanis, who promised to deal with the dragon if the townspeople agreed to be baptized and to build a church. Romanus subdued the dragon by making the sign of the cross and then led the now docile beast back to town on a leash made from his priest's robe. La Gargouille was then burned at the stake, it is said that his head and neck were so well tempered by the heat of his fiery breath, that they would not burn. These remnants were then mounted on the town wall and became the model for gargoyles for centuries to come.

Who is Tyrion here?

The one who fends off evil, the gargoyle as protector? Romanus or the dragon La Gargouille?

As you wrote, Pobeb, Tyrion's most important weapon is his mouth, meaning his wits. And in gargoyles the emphasis on depicting a grotesque mouth is part of their image, threatening, devouring and washing out the evil at the same time, from high above right under the sky.

Quotes from http://northstargallery.com/gargoyles/aboutgargoyles.htm

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Great post! Also, the word Gargoyle comes from the Latin word for gullet or swallow and it's also related to the French word for gargle!

Gargoyles were used as water spouts to divert rain-flow away from walls to protect the mortar....interesting!

Will Tyrion save The Wall or has he already, by counselling Jon Snow?

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Tyrion's introduction has him perched above the entrance of the grear hall of Winterfell where Jon (and the reader) meet him for the first time. The exact words were that he looked for all the world like a gargoyle. The association is established the first time we ever see him.

A gargoyle is a very good fit regarding the stone beast, the smoking tower would be the tower of the hand as it WS burned down by Cersei and there is the lie that he is kingslayer to slain. As for the shadow fire, I think Tyrion's infalmatory mouth and his ability to sow chaos effortlessly could fit.

Gargoyles on medieval cathedrals had several functions.

First, the obvious as mentioned above, to spill out water, meaning to deduct rainwater from cathedral walls in order to preserve the stone.

Then in their grotesque looks they were meant as sign to the often illiterate population of hell and evil in afterlife that may befall the sinners.

(apart from that: the stone mansions had a lot of fun depicting themselves or shaping grotesque caricatures of less liked rulers or neighbours high up under the cathedral's roof where, apart from those working there, not many could enjoy the pun, very private jokes, schadenfreude at its best)

Third, and an aspect that has not been mentioned so far: Gargoyles symbolized fending off evil spirits from the buildings and the city, they were protectors precisely by their grotesque and absurd looks, deducting evil spirits out of buildings and keeping dark forces away.And here a more ancient reference to a link between gargoyles and dragons, actually the contrary of the protecting aspect:

Who is Tyrion here?

The one who fends off evil, the gargoyle as protector? Romanus or the dragon La Gargouille?

As you wrote, Pobeb, Tyrion's most important weapon is his mouth, meaning his wits. And in gargoyles the emphasis on depicting a grotesque mouth is part of their image, threatening, devouring and washing out the evil at the same time, from high above right under the sky.

Quotes from http://northstargallery.com/gargoyles/aboutgargoyles.htm

I think Tyrion's apparently demonic aspects is what allows him to ward off a lot of evil towards the throne as he acts as a scapegoat for more or less everything that goes on in King's Landing. He also managed to defend King's Landing against Stannis wracking up a impressive body court in the process.

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Plus, on numerous occasions Tyrion says that his mouth would be the death of him.



Crackpot - Tyrion is the corpse on a ship with grey lips, smiling sadly, and the Perfumed Seneschal was the Selessori Qhoran, but it represented greyscale like the Pale mare represented the bloody flux.


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Um no, Tyrion is a dwarf. :cool4:



Interesting points about Gargoyles and Tyrion. The swallowing the river this would seem deadly - but he's okay - so far.


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yes this one is great find



if he was a secret Targ like many believe then that could mean beast breathing shadow fire so danny is meant to slay the lie that tyrion is son of tywin....i really dont know but it can be possible


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Gargoyles on medieval cathedrals had several functions.

First, the obvious as mentioned above, to spill out water, meaning to deduct rainwater from cathedral walls in order to preserve the stone.

Then in their grotesque looks they were meant as sign to the often illiterate population of hell and evil in afterlife that may befall the sinners.

(apart from that: the stone mansions had a lot of fun depicting themselves or shaping grotesque caricatures of less liked rulers or neighbours high up under the cathedral's roof where, apart from those working there, not many could enjoy the pun, very private jokes, schadenfreude at its best)

Third, and an aspect that has not been mentioned so far: Gargoyles symbolized fending off evil spirits from the buildings and the city, they were protectors precisely by their grotesque and absurd looks, deducting evil spirits out of buildings and keeping dark forces away.

And here a more ancient reference to a link between gargoyles and dragons, actually the contrary of the protecting aspect:

Who is Tyrion here?

The one who fends off evil, the gargoyle as protector? Romanus or the dragon La Gargouille?

As you wrote, Pobeb, Tyrion's most important weapon is his mouth, meaning his wits. And in gargoyles the emphasis on depicting a grotesque mouth is part of their image, threatening, devouring and washing out the evil at the same time, from high above right under the sky.

Quotes from http://northstargallery.com/gargoyles/aboutgargoyles.htm

Great post! Also, the word Gargoyle comes from the Latin word for gullet or swallow and it's also related to the French word for gargle!

Gargoyles were used as water spouts to divert rain-flow away from walls to protect the mortar....interesting!

Will Tyrion save The Wall or has he already, by counselling Jon Snow?

I think it's interesting that gargoyles were hooked to drains, and their mouths served as spouts; which, I imagine, funnel dirty or unclean water away. If you look at Westeros as one of these buildings, and Tyrion as a gargoyle defender, perhaps his funneling of the unclean water (greyscale) is foreshadowing his help in preventing the greyscale from spreading in Westeros.

Might open a door for him running into Griff again.

Remember that Tyrion was in control of Casterly Rock's drains and cisterns. If I remember correctly, he did a remarkably good job.

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If there were a thread of the year award I would nominate this one. There's so much yes here that I don't even have time to dissect it all right now. :cheers: Fine work.


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