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Heresy 146

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Welcome to the latest edition of Heresy, the thread that takes a different look at the Song of Ice and Fire.



So what’s Heresy all about about and why has it been running for so long?



The short answer is that there is no settled Heretic stance on anything. Instead it is a free-flowing discussion largely concerned with the Wall and the Heart of Darkness which lies beyond, but also looking at the story holistically and in the context of what else is happening in Martin’s world. The Heresy itself if there is one is simply a way of thinking that clallenges the easy assumptions that the Others are not the ultimate enemy and that it only awaits the unmasking of Jon Snow as Azor Ahai and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne for the story to reach its conclusion in a great battle on the Trident pitting Dany’s amazing dragons against the icy hordes.



Instead, some of us suspect that the white walkers do not represent an evil empire of the snows, an icy version of a Dothraki khalasar about to embark on the last hurrah of the blue-eyed horde, and likewise that the dragons and their riders are not to be the saviours of Westeros, but rather a threat at least equal to that posed by the boys in the North. It is nevertheless just a point of view, and no more than that. We argue about it, just as we argue about most things.



If new to Heresy you may also want to refer to to Wolfmaid's essential guide to Heresy: http://asoiaf.wester...uide-to-heresy/, which provides annotated links to all the previous editions of Heresy, latterly identified by topic.



Don’t be intimidated by the size and scope of Heresy, or by some of the ideas we’ve discussed over the years. We’re very good at talking in circles and we don’t mind going over old ground again, especially with a fresh pair of eyes, so just ask, but be patient and observe the local house rules that the debate be conducted by reference to the text, with respect for the ideas of others, and above all with great good humour.



And don’t forget Snowfyre’s health warning:



WARNING: Mental exercise is essential for a healthy life. But if you do not already exercise your mind, you should seek the advice of your doctor prior to beginning this or any other mental activity. Not all thought exercises are suitable for everyone, and any use of your imagination may result in injury to preconceived worldviews. Consult with your doctor before embarking on theories with The Snowfyre Chorus or other self-acknowledged Heretics. If you experience pain or discomfort during consideration of any theory, stop immediately and consult your doctor. The creators, producers, participants and distributors of Heresy-related theories cannot guarantee that component ideas are proper for every individual, or "safe" for his or her preconceived narrative expectations.

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And to start it off, an OP by Wolfmaid:




This OP is going to be relatively short so,let’s go right to the World book which speaks of many tales surrounding Garth Green hand, but the one I wish to focus on is his role as “High King” of the First Men. Specifically, the tales that says he preceded the arrival of the FM by thousands of years and was the only FM and Man in Westeros having close relations with the Giants and COTF. Garth Green hand or Garth the Green was said to be a god (WB, PG.207).The stories go unto say that Garth was green everywhere; hair, skin with antlers like a Stag, while other stories say he just dressed this way.



The world book also points to a darker deified version of Garth; he demanded blood sacrifices from his worshippers to ensure a good harvest and that he himself dies every Autumn when the trees lose their leaves only to be reborn in the Spring (pg,207). It is a forgotten version but important enough to be mention. For those of you who may not have been privy to previous discussions in Heresy a long standing belief is that the story of the Oak and Holly King is being played out here .Now beyond our own connections we have it in writing that this theme is definitely the case. This version of the story is also consistent with themes of blood sacrifices in this story being used to perform some magic or to placate some gods.Garth Green hand is also credited in legends to be the figure that …well civilized the FM. Turning them from Hunter and gatherers to farmers .He purportedly tried unsuccessfully to teach the elder races the same.


In story there is another figure(s) that emerged in ASOIAF that has some essence of Garth Greenhand.



The first is the “Horned king/Lord” who in story was a King beyond the Wall. We got nothing except he came before Bael the Bard and that he felt sorcery was a sword without a hilt. Out of story he is another version of the Oak King in some traditions. We also have this striking imagery of Garth, which is very reminiscent of the Green men on the isle of faces. He is also describes as wearing Antlers along with some of the Wildlings we see today among the Free Folk.


Then we have the mysterious order of the Green Men who live on the Isles of Faces.


Text:


“Finally, the wise of both races prevailed, and the chiefs and heroes of the First Men met the greenseers and wood dancers amidst the weirwood groves of a small island in the great lake called Gods Eye.There they forged the Pact……... So the gods might bear witness to the signing, every tree on the island was given a face, and afterwards the sacred order of green men was formed to keep watch over the Isle of Faces.


“The pact and the order of the green men was made afterward to tend to the weirwoods and protect the isle (WB, pg.8) Going on further though nursery tales claim the Green Men are horned and have dark green skin Maesters thing it’s more likely they wore green garments and wore horned headdresses (pg.8).


“In the south, the last weirwoods had been cut down or burned out a thousand years ago, except on the Isle of Faces where the green men kept their silent watch (AGOT,Cat).


“The lad knew the magics of the crannogs,” she continued, “but he wanted more. Our people seldom travel far from home you know. We're a small folk, and our ways seem queer to some, so the big people do not always treat us kindly. But this lad was bolder than most and one day when he had grown to manhood he decided he would leave the crannogs and visit the Isle of Faces.”


“No one visits the Isle of Faces.” objected Bran. “That's where the green men live.”


“It was the green men he meant to find. So he donned a shirt sewn with bronze scales, like mine, took up a leathern shield and a three-pronged spear, like mine, and paddled a little skin boat down the Green Fork.”


Bran closed his eyes to try and see the man in his little skin boat. In his head, the crannogman looked like Jojen, only older and stronger, and dressed like Meera.


“He passed beneath the Twins by night so the Freys would not attack him, and when he reached the Trident he climbed from the river and put his boat on his head and began to walk. It took him many a day, but finally he reached the Gods Eye, threw his boat in the lake, and paddled out to the Isle of Faces.”


Did he meet the green men?”


Yes,” said Meera, “But that's another story, and not for me to tell. My prince asked for knights.”


“Green men are good too.”


They are,” she agreed, but said no more about them.


Story of the KOTLT


“Was he green?” In Old Nan’s stories, the guardians had dark green skin and leaves instead of hair. Sometimes they had antlers too, but Bran didn’t see how the mystery knight could have worn a helm if he had antlers. “I bet the old gods sent him.”


Later, when Bran meets Sam in the Nightfort speaking of Coldhands:



Was he green?” Bran wanted to know. “Did he have antlers?”


The fat man was confused. “The elk?” “Coldhands,” said Bran impatiently. “The green men ride on elks, Old Nan used to say. Sometimes they have antlers too.”


Carl Jung sums up pretty well the essence of the Green Man in myth.” The Green Man rises to counter a lack in men’s attitude toward the natural order, reminding mankind of the balance that should be maintained between humanity and nature.” So with the above in mind the.


Points of discussion.



1. Given the stories about him, particularly him going to ground Oak/Holly King style. Could Garth have become a Green Seer? Could the carvings of human faces on the Weirwoods be homage to his influence and relationship with the COTF?


2. If the legends are true and Garth Greenhand preceded the other FM by Thousands of years ,was not only the First Man ( pun intended) period in Westeros and he had a close relationship with COTF and Giants; might the “Order of the Green Men” established later had some connection to him and that relationship.



Duck and cover Crackpot….For the hell of it.


I take it from the descriptions of the Green Men and their names their ranks consist of only men. So how does this silent order maintain its ranks? Are these Antlered men seen taking the babes be Wildlings, Others. Do they ultimately end up on the Isles of Faces swelling the ranks of those that keep watch?



Looking forward to the discussions…Happy HERESY.





Dany the Dragonlord and the Dragonbond


The Cold the Wight and the Wight Walker


Those who sing



Heretics: Aiming to misbehave since 2011 "The cold winds are rising, and the dead rise with them." - Tyrion There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.--Sherlock Holmes



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Great OP and much to ponder. Just one quick addition for now:

The first is the “Horned king/Lord” who in story was a King beyond the Wall. We got nothing except he came before Bael the Bard and that he felt sorcery was a sword without a hilt.

The preview text of the World book suggested that this gentleman, despite his reservations about sorcery, used it to pass the Wall.

Can't speak for anyone else, but this struck me as the sort of thing that would have come straight from GRRM and that could easily be significant.

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Interesting. I'm wondering about House Baratheon and their Antler sigil. Who did they appropriate that from and is it a knowing gesture to the past.

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Great OP and much to ponder. Just one quick addition for now:

The preview text of the World book suggested that this gentleman, despite his reservations about sorcery, used it to pass the Wall.

Can't speak for anyone else, but this struck me as the sort of thing that would have come straight from GRRM and that could easily be significant.

OOO i missed that one but now isn't that interesting tidbit and we may want to think that the Horned Lord's statement maybe shouldn't be taken as he may not have used it himself.Just that he recognizes that care and wisdom need to be taken into consideration when handling.

Interesting. I'm wondering about House Baratheon and their Antler sigil. Who did they appropriate that from and is it a knowing gesture to the past.

Yeah its probably weird that the Stormlands with all that "stormy" backstory about goddess of the Wind and such would end up with a Stag as it's sigil. :dunno:

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Later, when Bran meets Sam in the Nightfort speaking of Coldhands:

Was he green?” Bran wanted to know. “Did he have antlers?”

The fat man was confused. “The elk?” “Coldhands,” said Bran impatiently. “The green men ride on elks, Old Nan used to say. Sometimes they have antlers too.”

A great overall summary, and an interesting little exchange from aSoS that I'd forgotten. I wonder if the contrast between what Bran expected and what he gets with Coldhands is because this is "business as usual" for the Singers in winter, and Coldhands is a winter appropriate envoy, or if it's a sign that things are amiss.

Instead of being ferried by a Green Man, he's ferried by a walking corpse; ferried to a cave with more bones than living residents, overseen by a Targaryen bastard who is both a kinslayer and a violator of guest right (edit:BR violates guest right with Aenys Blackfyre), the two things we're told are most likely to land you on the Old Gods' shit list.

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Mistah Kurtz - he dead

A penny for the Old Guy

I've been rereading ACOk and for some reason an Arya chapter where they were burying their poacher, Mister Kurz, made me think of the authors most influenced by Conrad and it led me to this poem by Eliot. That the second line apparently refers to a British tradition (please BC correct me if I'm talking out my ass) of buying fireworks to light an effigy of Guy Fawkes makes me think of the burning scarecrow lord Beric our novel's revolutionary. (perhaps subtly referenced by Anguy the Archer?)

The idea of men leading a pointless and hollow existence at the banks of a river (River Styx?) calls to mind the Night's watch pointless existence on the banks of their own frozen river, the Wall.

Even the opening lines could serve as a rejoinder to the Night's watch Oath

I am the sword in the Darkness

I am the watcher on the walls

I am the shield that guards the realm of men

We are the hollow men

We are the stuffed men

leaning together

heads filled with straw. Alas!

Which also is reminiscent of the "scarecrow sentinels" of the Nightswatchmen placed on top of the Wall during Mance's "invasion".

I thought it was interesting that the title of the poem (The Hollow Men) was inspired by a combination of Hollow Hills and Broken Men. Both themes or motifs that Martin works rather deeply into his story.

The title also recalls a certain pattern in Martin's use of knights, men, suits of armor and honor - especially in Sansa's narrative (true knights vs hollow knights), but possibly thrown into higher relief by contrasts in Arya's story (ie, hollow knights vs. knights of the hollow hill).

Some interesting things going on in and between the following texts:

-----

...Ned followed. Littlefinger led him into a tower, down a stair, across a small sunken courtyard, and along a deserted corridor where empty suits of armor stood sentinel along the walls. They were relics of the Targaryens, black steel with dragon scales cresting their helms, now dusty and forgotten...

-----

[Littlefinger] leaned back and looked Ned full in the face, his grey-green eyes bright with mockery. "You wear your honor like a suit of armor, Stark. You think it keeps you safe, but all it does is weigh you down and make it hard for you to move."

-------

"...what is your answer, Lord Eddard? Give me your word that you'll tell the queen what she wants to hear when she comes calling."

"If I did, my word would be as hollow as an empty suit of armor. My life is not so precious to me as that."

"Pity." The eunuch stood. "And your daughter's life, my lord? How precious is that?"

A chill pierced Neds heart. "My daughter..."

-----

[Cersei] had insisted that Joffrey strip Blount of his white cloak on the grounds of treason and cowardice. And now she replaces him with another man just as hollow.

------

"There is a tool for every task, and a task for every tool."

Tyrions anger flashed. "Lord Janos is a hollow suit of armor who will sell himself to the highest bidder."

"I count that a point in his favor. Who is like to bid higher than us?"

-----

Ser Dontos shoved open a heavy door and lit a taper. They were inside a long gallery. Along the walls stood empty suits of armor, dark and dusty, their helms crested with rows of scales that continued down their backs. As they hurried past, the taper's light made the shadows of each scale stretch and twist. The hollow knights are turning into dragons, [sansa] thought...

.

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A great overall summary, and an interesting little exchange from aSoS that I'd forgotten. I wonder if the contrast between what Bran expected and what he gets with Coldhands is because this is "business as usual" for the Singers in winter, and Coldhands is a winter appropriate envoy, or if it's a sign that things are amiss.

Instead of being ferried by a Green Man, he's ferried by a walking corpse; ferried to a cave with more bones than living residents, overseen by a Targaryen bastard who is both a kinslayer and a violator of guest right (edit:BR violates guest right with Aenys Blackfyre), the two things we're told are most likely to land you on the Old Gods' shit list.

This is a very, very good point and I'm surprised it hasn't come up before. BR is the last person I would expect the Old Gods to accept as one of their greenseers. He has violated both of their two big rules and is basically rewarded for it? I imagine the Rat Cook would call that pretty unfair.

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Interesting. I'm wondering about House Baratheon and their Antler sigil. Who did they appropriate that from and is it a knowing gesture to the past.

The discussion about House Durrandon and later Baratheon's sigil and the description of Garth and the horned greenseers reminds me of the presentation of Herne in the British show Robin of Sherwood in the 1980s, which aired in Britain around the same time that Martin was working for the Twilight Zone. In a number of episodes the show focused on how the native inhabitants needed to use and really protect the magic, even magical talismans, against Norman invaders. I wonder if the concurrent productions influenced Martin in any ways.

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This is a very, very good point and I'm surprised it hasn't come up before. BR is the last person I would expect the Old Gods to accept as one of their greenseers. He has violated both of their two big rules and is basically rewarded for it? I imagine the Rat Cook would call that pretty unfair.

While Bloodraven seems to have great power through the Weirwoods and the way he has connected with Bran, perhaps his existence as a greenseer is not the reward that we assume it is. He suggests this to Bran when he discusses seeing those he loved in the past and being unable to really interact with them or make events from his own past and life better. His knowledge of the past could leave him as a futile witness, at times. There is no doubt that he is quite powerful.

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This was an excellent OP. One other reference with Garth is that he planted the oak tree which was later used for the Oakenseat throne by House Gardener. With the other references to Garth as an avatar of the Oak King, this could be another nod from Martin.


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Was just reading over The Hollow Men. At the risk of sounding like a broken record and/or a paranoid schizophrenic, I got some serious House Dayne vibes from it.

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other kingdom
Remember us - if at all - not as lost

Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death's dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind's singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death's dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises

Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves

Let me be no nearer
In death's dream kingdom...

...Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom

This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man's hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.
Is it like this
In death's other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness

Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.

Dawn?

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms...

...Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death's twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.

A star and a rose. Hmm.

Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning.

Ok, ok I'm crazy. Lock me up and throw away the key. :P

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The preview text of the World book suggested that this gentleman, despite his reservations about sorcery, used it to pass the Wall.

Can't speak for anyone else, but this struck me as the sort of thing that would have come straight from GRRM and that could easily be significant.

Yes, this quick mention in the World Book seems to run counter to the Horned Lord suggesting that magic is dangerous or unwieldy. If someone with that type of perspective would still use magic to pass the Wall then he must have one heck of a purpose to get on the other side, and I don't think it would be fleeing from the Others and WWs like Mance and his current group claim they are. This type of purpose would surely be referenced by Mance or someone else.

Also, the title Horned Lord makes me think again of the Green Men. Could one have somehow risen to be King Beyond the Wall or might he have invoked their powers, that being the sorcery he uses?

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This is a very, very good point and I'm surprised it hasn't come up before. BR is the last person I would expect the Old Gods to accept as one of their greenseers. He has violated both of their two big rules and is basically rewarded for it? I imagine the Rat Cook would call that pretty unfair.

There are two things about the whole situation nagging me.

The first is that, in reality, we know almost nothing about the Singers, save for the small window that Leaf has granted us, and some legends. For example, is there any reason to believe that they're any more of a unified people than men are? Surely decisions such as the Pact and the Breaking of Dorne must have been controversial, or divisive. Are these Singers in the northern mound a reflection of the Singers as a whole, or are they up there doing their own thing?

The second is just how much influence a Greenseer truly has, especially if they're viewed as a sort of simultaneous king and intermediary with the Old Gods. If Bloodraven says "You know, guys, I've been chatting with the Old Gods, and they say we're not meeting the sacrifice quota," do they take him at his word?

Sure, we've seen throats being cut before the weirwoods, and it's implied that there was a lot of sacrifice involved to break the Arm of Dorne, but I wonder if what we've seen in BR's cave is the status quo. Is that hundreds of years worth of sacrifices, or has BR been up to something that might necessitate some extra blood?

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There are two things about the whole situation nagging me.

The first is that, in reality, we know almost nothing about the Singers, save for the small window that Leaf has granted us, and some legends. For example, is there any reason to believe that they're any more of a unified people than men are? Surely decisions such as the Pact and the Breaking of Dorne must have been controversial, or divisive. Are these Singers in the northern mound a reflection of the Singers as a whole, or are they up there doing their own thing?

Nice point, I wonder if originally the Singers were able to communicate through a variety of different animals. Just as the Starks acquired, possibly through intermarriage with the Warg King, the ability to skinchange direwolves, maybe the Singers were divided into tribes or castes based on the separate animals they used, possibly a singer group for the almost extinct or extinct unicorns. The massive extermination of the Children by the Andals may have led to some of these tribes becoming extinct, and so the ability with some creatures was lost.

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There are two things about the whole situation nagging me.

The first is that, in reality, we know almost nothing about the Singers, save for the small window that Leaf has granted us, and some legends. For example, is there any reason to believe that they're any more of a unified people than men are? Surely decisions such as the Pact and the Breaking of Dorne must have been controversial, or divisive. Are these Singers in the northern mound a reflection of the Singers as a whole, or are they up there doing their own thing?

The second is just how much influence a Greenseer truly has, especially if they're viewed as a sort of simultaneous king and intermediary with the Old Gods. If Bloodraven says "You know, guys, I've been chatting with the Old Gods, and they say we're not meeting the sacrifice quota," do they take him at his word?

Sure, we've seen throats being cut before the weirwoods, and it's implied that there was a lot of sacrifice involved to break the Arm of Dorne, but I wonder if what we've seen in BR's cave is the status quo. Is that hundreds of years worth of sacrifices, or has BR been up to something that might necessitate some extra blood?

The narrow survival of Moat Cailin at the Neck could be evidence of a group of Singers slowing, delaying, or negating the magic of the group trying to perform a second breaking.

Even more humorous from Bloodraven would be an exchange with Leaf, "You know, the Gods demanded four, but I got them down to three, the things I do for love."

There are so many questions about the Bloodraven's cave. There are other Singers, but with his title as "last" we assume that he is the only greenseer to dwell there? Was there a gap between his ascension to greenseer and the previous one? Would sacrifices happen here if there was no greenseer present?

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Yes, this quick mention in the World Book seems to run counter to the Horned Lord suggesting that magic is dangerous or unwieldy.

He might have made his statement about sorcery being a sword without a hilt after he had passed the Wall and things went wobbly for him. I noted in an earlier Heresy thread that Dark Narnia seems to lack fauns. Clearly, I was mistaken. I propose henceforth to refer to the Horned Lord as Mr. Tumnus.

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I noticed in the last thread a mention in one of Jon Snow's crypt dreams about hearing drumming coming from the feast hall, where his family was at a feast, but he wasn't invited (if he saw what Theon saw, perhaps he wouldn't feel so bad about being excluded).



This recalled the House of Undying to me, particularly the scene in which Daenerys could hear pipes and flutes behind one of the doors, which recalled a entry to the land of faerie. Daenerys does not open that door, of course, following Pyat Pree's instructions.



Anyone got anything about what the drumming means (beyond the obvious feasting in the Great Hall)? What I mean to say is: do faeries drum as well?


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A great overall summary, and an interesting little exchange from aSoS that I'd forgotten. I wonder if the contrast between what Bran expected and what he gets with Coldhands is because this is "business as usual" for the Singers in winter, and Coldhands is a winter appropriate envoy, or if it's a sign that things are amiss.

I think its Winter. Remember that what we're told early on that the children lived in their wooden cities and in hollow hills. As to the first I would suggest that we're looking at villages up in the tree-tops like those refugees Arya encounters while travelling with the Brotherhood, but just as the refugees are about to lose their easy concealment because winter is coming and the leaves will soon go, so the children moved down below when the leaves fell. I doubt though that the caves fell out of use during the summer because of the importance in a lot of the stuff GRRM is drawing on of going into the Earth [hence the songs of the Earth] in order to properly commune both with it and with the dead.

I don't therefore think that there's anything amiss and its possible that Coldhands is indeed a green man - an undead servant of the children and that's why he's different from the other corpses we've encountered.

ETA: as to Bloodraven - remember that he's really a Blackwood, and that just as Jon is a son of Winterfell through his mother, so Bloodraven is a son of Raventree Hall through his mother.

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Hi all, first post. Have been lurking Heresy since about number 50 but just wanted to add a small contribution to the current discussion.

I find the connection between the green men and horns really interesting and the horned lord and so on, and above it was mentioned that the antler that killed the dire wolf could really be a reference to green men rather than baratheon in its symbolism. Something I remember distinctly is in aGoT when Ned is remembering Robert he thinks of him as like a great horned god. Sorry I don't have the exact quote. This to me seems deliberate but perhaps someone else has an idea of what GRRM is trying to do here.

Anyway, really enjoy the discussions.

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