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BRAN’S GROWING POWERS AFTER his FINAL POV in ADwD

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Welcome! Please help me find more evidences of Bran’s progression as a greenseer beyond his POVs, which end, ironically, by returning Bran and the readers to the beginning, Bran’s first POV in AGoT. Both his first and last POVs share commonalities, specifically Bran attending executions.



BRAN’S GROWING POWERS AFTER his FINAL POV in ADwD



Bran’s POV’s gradually become fewer and grow farther apart over the five of seven completed novels promised in George R. R. Martin’s series A Song of Ice and Fire. A good way to illustrate this is through comparing the number and frequency of Bran’s multiple POV’s in the first novel A Game of Thrones with the most recently published fifth novel A Dance with Dragons, in which Bran’s last POV appears not even halfway through the novel.



Martin invites A Song of Ice and Fire readers especially to hunt elsewhere in ADwD and the gift chapters from The Winds of Winter to find intimations of the newest, greenest of the greenseer’s growing powers.



Those POV’s Martin attributes to Theon, or to his nom deplumes - the Prince of Winterfell, the Turncloak, and the Ghost in Winterfell - teem with Bran’s presence as he exercises his green-magic powers, many of which Martin suggests in Bran’s lessons with greenseer Bloodraven and the representative Singer(s) who Bran and Meera call Leaf.



One of many examples is that Bran learns to use the ravens [among other means] to speak. Martin demonstrates Bran’s progress, from “screams” to words.



BR teaches and Bran learns to fly. But when Bran attempts to speak employing the raven’s voice, he screams:



“When he [bran] tried to speak, it came out in a scream” (ADwD 450).



In Theon’s POVs to follow, a raven opines its dissatisfaction with events by punctuating them with a scream.


On Ramsay’s wedding night, when he begins his degradation of his bride and Reek, a raven in the godswood “screams”.


In The Turncloak, when Theon walks the walls of Winterfell, he finds himself in what had been Maester Luwin’s rookery, a raven issues a “scream” of guarded welcome.


“. . . ravens looked down . . . muttering to one another. From time to time, one let out a raucous scream” (540).


Later, a raven speaks the name “Theon” and another the word “Tree”.


In AGoT, Martin describes Bran’s fall, emphasizing his “scream” by using it as an introductory participial defining Bran’s action:


Screaming, Bran went backward out the window into the empty air” (AGoT 85).


In A Clash of Kings, Bran reacts to Rickon’s betrayal with screaming:


“Rickon even showed them [the Frey wards] the deep vaults under the earth where the stonemason was carving father’s tomb. “You had no right!” Bran screamed at his brother when he heard. ‘That was our place, a Stark place!’ But Rickon never cared” (ACoK 78).


Note in ADwD, when Lady Dustin’s retainers break open the crypts, the door “hinges screaming” (544) as if in disapproval.


In The Prince of Winterfell, Bran speaks the name Theon through manipulating the leaves of the heart tree:


“The night was windless, the snow drifting straight down out of a cold black sky, yet the leaves of the heart tree were rustling his name. ‘Theon.’ They seemed to whisper ‘Theon.’”


Moreover, Bran masters using the tree’s mouth to speak:


“. . . Bran,” the tree murmured” (616).



Through these examples, Martin marks Bran’s wizardry advancing as he gives voices to the heart tree’s leaves and mouth, to assorted ravens, and to the door hinges leading into Winterfell’s crypts. Moreover, by associating screaming with Bran in earlier novels, the author unifies and emphasizes the ‘finding a voice’ motif.


Edited by evita mgfs

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Martin strongly insinuates that the greenseer Bran divinely inspires Reek to hasten his redemption, granting him mercy and blessing him with strength and courage, even promising him salvation.



“Please,” he murmured through broken teeth, “I never meant . . .” The words caught in his throat. “Save me,” he finally managed, “Give me . . .” What? Strength? Courage? Mercy?” (ADwD 542).



Bran’s powers have grown exponentially since his last POV, and he bends Theon to his will without needing to skinchange with him.



Theon is physically weak. Martin says,



“Reek moved like an old man. His flesh hung loosely on his bones, and Sour Alyn and Ben Bones said he twitched” (427).



“Reek was loose grey skin and brittle bones, a white-haired starveling” (ADwD 420).



Moreover, when Roose Bolton presents Theon to Lady Dustin, she mistakes him for “this old man” (ADwD 432). Theon’s legs shake as he climbs the stairs to Barrowtown, and he must stop to rest.


But Lady Dustin adds, “Oh, gods be good” (ADwD 433), AND THEY ARE!



Bran is the force that calls Theon to change.



Bran stimulates Theon’s appetite so that he is well-nourished and has consumed calories for energy to restore his muscle tone and make him strong. Theon must hoist Jeyne Poole over his shoulder and climb stairs with her weight on his back, a feat he accomplishes.



Theon walks the castle ramparts for hours day and night, and he monitors the intensity of the mounting snowfall, which makes travel on foot treacherous as an icy surface builds.



Theon’s daily and nightly walks serve to build his endurance, and balancing on icy surfaces helps with his agility. Theon’s feet take him on tours throughout Winterfell where he visits haunts familiar to Bran.



Bran draws Theon to the godswood through powers similar to mental telepathy, a logical extension of Bran’s greenseeing magic. Guiding through divination, Bran moves Theon’s feet, compelling them forward.



“His [Theon’s] feet took him” (ADwD 541) to “a seldom-used stairway”, a place that speaks to the former Bran-child who memorizes Winterfell’s nooks and crannies.



Theon travels independent of “thought” or intention. Martin reversing the order of expected sentence patterns, specifically the Subject + Verb, lends itself to a “pause”: FEET is the subject and TOOK the verb, odd choices of feet as implies that the feet “took over” in order to advance Theon’s movements and to emphasize Theon’s mindless decisions in ADwD. He magically arrives at the godswood, asking confusedly:



“Why did I come here? These are not my gods. This is not my place” (ADwD 542).



A bewildered Theon questions himself. Green magic allows Bran to bring Theon to him.



Bran even prompts Theon’s responses, evident when Theon escorts Lady Dustin through the Winterfell crypts:



Theon heard himself say, ‘My lady, why do you hate the Starks?’” (546).



Bran obviously wants an answer to this question, and he gets much more besides. Theon’s revelation that he aspired to be a Stark is a confession that further wins him Bran’s support.

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HOMERIC CONVENTIONS: DIVINE INSPIRATION



Athena divinely inspires Odysseus WITHOUT skinchanging with him. Bran’s powers will move well beyond needing to share another’s skin in order to persuade him or her to take action.



In Homer’s great epics, the immortal gods and goddesses regularly interfere in the lives of their favorite mortals.


Odysseus is a long-suffering Greek hero whose ingenuity and polished speaking skills win goddess of war and peace Athena’s affections.



On occasion, Athena appears to Odysseus in the guise of another, but she mostly influences Odysseus from afar, divinely inspiring him with brilliant ideas and military stratagems. She hides and protects him in a mist, she sends him guidance through her father Zeus, Ino, and Hermes. She holds his tongue and calms his raging fury. She transforms his appearance with magic, at times making him taller, more muscular, and styling his golden locks of hair like hyacinths. Or she may age his features and cripple his limbs so that no one will recognize him. She may be a bird, or she may be at Odysseus’ side disguised.



If readers think of Athena metaphorically, she is an invisible force whispering ideas in his ear that Odysseus believes are his own conceptions, albeit divine wisdom from the immortals.



In a similar fashion, Bran divinely inspires Theon in his POVs set at Winterfell.



I searched the world wide web for Bran’s appearance and or influence on Theon in ADwD, and I could not find anything – not a thread on Westeros or elsewhere- that discusses Bran influencing Theon’s transformation from Reek to Theon.



Lots of threads debate whether or not Bran will skinchange with Theon [Why?], and how Theon will be sacrificed for his king’s blood to feed the roots of the heart tree [Why?].



Bran’s wolf blood, the blood of the First Men, contains the magic of his greenpowers. Besides, if Bran tastes blood from a dead man 1000’s of years in the past, Bran may not need another human sacrifice to bolster his powers “in the present”.



In my cross-referencing the novels and writing academic essays on GRRM, I have traced how the direwolves of House Stark inspire their owners immediately following their tasting hot blood after a kill, usually a human kill.

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I usually don't comment much, but I think this is an absolutely amazing idea, to explore the not-so-easily seen presence of Bran in the chapters. Please continue with your analyses, they're wonderful. :wideeyed:


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These are wonderful observations and I agree. I think the crown jewel of Theon's transformation by Bran is this piece:



The night was windless, the snow drifting straight down out of a cold black sky, yet the leaves of the heart tree were rustling his name. “Theon,” they seemed to whisper, “Theon.”

The old gods, he thought. They know me. They know my name. I was Theon of House Greyjoy. I was a ward of Eddard Stark, a friend and brother to his children. “Please.” He fell to his knees. “A sword, that’s all I ask. Let me die as Theon, not as Reek.” Tears trickled down his cheeks, impossibly warm. “I was ironborn. A son … a son of Pyke, of the islands.”

A leaf drifted down from above, brushed his brow, and landed in the pool. It floated on the water, red, five-fingered, like a bloody hand. “… Bran,” the tree murmured.


That leaf brushing Theon's face is like a gentle and forgiving caress.


I think Theon is George's way of handling the Oedipius myth. Theon is our Oedipius parallel.


Raised away from his home

Had great daddy issues with both Ned and Balon.

Attempted to commit unintended incest with "Esgred"

The younger miller's boy was probably his, so there we have the unintended kinslaying

Ruled in his late "father"s place

Paid heavy price for his sins and crimes


I think as a final phase of his transformation, Theon will be blinded (by the Weeper at the Wall). Because of his broken mind, he was already very susceptible to the supernatural. After the blinding, I expect him to be fully open to Bran's revelations. I expect a raven or two standing on his shoulders and serving as his eyes (along with Bran's). This way, he will turn into a prophet of Bran.


As the prophet of Bran, one thing Theon will do is to go to the Iron Islands and nullify the decisions of the last kingsmoots like Torgon the Latecomer did once. Then, he will warn the ironborn to leave the Old Way for the "Drowned God" would surely destroy them. Aeron will insist on his folly as the priest-king and Bran will destroy Pyke with a Hammer of Waters. There are subtle foreshadowing for this scenario.

Edited by Mithras

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These are wonderful observations and I agree. I think the crown jewel of Theon's transformation by Bran is this piece:

The night was windless, the snow drifting straight down out of a cold black sky, yet the leaves of the heart tree were rustling his name. “Theon,” they seemed to whisper, “Theon.”

The old gods, he thought. They know me. They know my name. I was Theon of House Greyjoy. I was a ward of Eddard Stark, a friend and brother to his children. “Please.” He fell to his knees. “A sword, that’s all I ask. Let me die as Theon, not as Reek.” Tears trickled down his cheeks, impossibly warm. “I was ironborn. A son … a son of Pyke, of the islands.”

A leaf drifted down from above, brushed his brow, and landed in the pool. It floated on the water, red, five-fingered, like a bloody hand. “… Bran,” the tree murmured.

That leaf brushing Theon's face is like a gentle and forgiving caress.

I think Theon is George's way of handling the Oedipius myth. Theon is our Oedipius parallel.

Raised away from his home

Had great daddy issues with both Ned and Balon.

Attempted to commit unintended incest with "Esgred"

The younger miller's boy was probably his, so there we have the unintended kinslaying

Ruled in his late "father"s place

Paid heavy price for his sins and crimes

I think as a final phase of his transformation, Theon will be blinded (by the Weeper at the Wall). Because of his broken mind, he was already very susceptible to the supernatural. After the blinding, I expect him to be fully open to Bran's revelations. I expect a raven or two standing on his shoulders and serving as his eyes (along with Bran's). This way, he will turn into a prophet of Bran.

As the prophet of Bran, one thing Theon will do is to go to the Iron Islands and nullify the decisions of the last kingsmoots like Torgon the Latecomer did once. Then, he will warn the ironborn to leave the Old Way for the "Drowned God" would surely destroy them. Aeron will insist on his folly as the priest-king and Bran will destroy Pyke with a Hammer of Waters. There are subtle foreshadowing for this scenario.

:agree:

i don´t know about blinding... but only a godly man may sit the seastone chair.. and Theon means godly.

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These are wonderful observations and I agree. I think the crown jewel of Theon's transformation by Bran is this piece:

The night was windless, the snow drifting straight down out of a cold black sky, yet the leaves of the heart tree were rustling his name. “Theon,” they seemed to whisper, “Theon.”

The old gods, he thought. They know me. They know my name. I was Theon of House Greyjoy. I was a ward of Eddard Stark, a friend and brother to his children. “Please.” He fell to his knees. “A sword, that’s all I ask. Let me die as Theon, not as Reek.” Tears trickled down his cheeks, impossibly warm. “I was ironborn. A son … a son of Pyke, of the islands.”

A leaf drifted down from above, brushed his brow, and landed in the pool. It floated on the water, red, five-fingered, like a bloody hand. “… Bran,” the tree murmured.

That leaf brushing Theon's face is like a gentle and forgiving caress.

I think Theon is George's way of handling the Oedipius myth. Theon is our Oedipius parallel.

Raised away from his home

Had great daddy issues with both Ned and Balon.

Attempted to commit unintended incest with "Esgred"

The younger miller's boy was probably his, so there we have the unintended kinslaying

Ruled in his late "father"s place

Paid heavy price for his sins and crimes

I think as a final phase of his transformation, Theon will be blinded (by the Weeper at the Wall). Because of his broken mind, he was already very susceptible to the supernatural. After the blinding, I expect him to be fully open to Bran's revelations. I expect a raven or two standing on his shoulders and serving as his eyes (along with Bran's). This way, he will turn into a prophet of Bran.

As the prophet of Bran, one thing Theon will do is to go to the Iron Islands and nullify the decisions of the last kingsmoots like Torgon the Latecomer did once. Then, he will warn the ironborn to leave the Old Way for the "Drowned God" would surely destroy them. Aeron will insist on his folly as the priest-king and Bran will destroy Pyke with a Hammer of Waters. There are subtle foreshadowing for this scenario.

:bowdown: :bowdown: THANK YOU FOR RESPONDING! I admire your work and your ideas so much, I am honored by your visit!

Yes! You addressed a very important scene that even parallels Jon Snow's wolf dream in ACoK where he sees Bran in the weirwood - and Bran reaches to touch him with his red-hand as well. This is so important that Ghost speaks for the first and only time thus far in the novels. I realize that Bran is in the WF crypts - many posters argue against this dream as having any significance because it does not fit the time line. But I do not think the timeline will matter to Bran, whose powers are surpassing his teacher's.

I have tons of evidence, all cross-referenced with the other novels in the series. I believe Martin reveals a great deal in AGoT that speaks to events to come later in the series.

Please keep returning and adding your thoughts!

I just posted on another thread about Arya blinding Trent with her clam schuckers - then going blind herself, and I said the blinding is soo a part of the Ancient Greek theatre "spectacle" - just like Oedipus, who blinds himself. I am absolutely sure you already know all of this!

I see Aemon as Tiresias, the blind prophet of Thebes, who warns Oedipus not to seek the truth! The incest theme in Oedipus' myth is also part of the series, as I am sure you know. Aemon also "sees" event though he is blind.

I actually have been sidetracked today - I had another idea about the godswood during the wedding, and

I have been excited writing and researching to get it together! I probably won't get it up for another week. but I am comparing

the godswood scene with the party scene from Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby's party, Chapter 3. My mother actually published her scholarship tracing the Catholic Mass throughout the party - and Martin's blood motif seemingly leads to the holy sacrament called the

transubstantiation of Christ, when the HOST becomes the body of Christ and the wine the blood of Christ. Gatsby and Bran are both magicians mounting a theatrical performance by creating an ambience that is ultimately an illusion, a trick.

Sorry for rambling! PLEASE return with your awesome ideas!

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Wow! Excellent observations! I wonder if he's doing that with anyone else

:cool4: SER BEARDSLY: THANK YOU SOO MUCH! I have worked hours - well almost a year - getting this together.

Please return and share your ideas as well! And yes, Bran is appearing in the gift chapters - as I referenced obliquely because I was afraid of creating a spoiler. Bran learns to SPEAK, and he develops a vocabulary of words!

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I usually don't comment much, but I think this is an absolutely amazing idea, to explore the not-so-easily seen presence of Bran in the chapters. Please continue with your analyses, they're wonderful. :wideeyed:

:cheers: SHY MAID: THANK YOU! PLEASE RETURN AND SHARE YOUR IDEAS.

I will be posting how Bran controls the WIND and manifests himself in the grey mists, the stones of WF, the wirwood, and much more!

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:agree:

i don´t know about blinding... but only a godly man may sit the seastone chair.. and Theon means godly.

:agree: LORD TOO FAT: GREAT CATCH!

If you are a Manderly fan, he plays a part in Bran's scheming - remember how he told the tale of the Rat Cook?

I will be proving that "words are wind" - the old gods - Bran and company - hear ALL that the northern and southron folk say - and that bodes ill for those trapped in WF - and I do think they will be trapped.

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EVIDENCES AND ANALYSIS: BRAN'S MAGIC AND THE WIND

THE WIND in Martin’s ASoIaF

“WORDS ARE WIND”

The WIND is a powerful force in Martin’s series ASoI&F, and one I nearly overlooked because I instead focused on the mystery of the White Walkers appearing in conjunction with the COLD. After carefully deconstructing passages in search of recurring language patterns associated with WINTER, the weather, the White Walkers, and the COLD, I could not ignore the relationship that the wind shares with the enigma that is the old gods, that is the heart tree, and that is winter.

In AGoT, Bran finds peace in the godswood with his direwolf Summer. Sitting beneath the heart tree, Bran prays to the old gods, asking them to protect his brother Robb and his retainers on their journey south:

"If Robb has to go, watch over him," Bran entreated the old gods, as they watched him with the heart tree's red eyes, "and watch over his men, Hal and Quent and the rest, and Lord Umber and Lady Mormont and the other lords. And Theon too, I suppose. Watch them and keep them safe, if it please you, gods. Help them defeat the Lannisters and save Father and bring them home."

Immediately following Bran’s prayer, Martin personifies the wind by endowing it with a voice that “sighs” and with leaves that “stir” and “whisper”:

A faint wind sighed through the godswood and the red leaves stirred and whispered. Summer bared his teeth.”

Evidently, as is often the case, an animal will sense a presence or hear a sound that a human might not be able to sense. Summer baring his teeth indicates that he hears “something” out-of-the-ordinary that Bran as yet cannot hear.

Osha makes her presence known by asking Bran:

"You hear them, boy?" AND "They are my gods too . . . Beyond the Wall, they are the only gods."

Bran quizzes Osha: "Tell me what you meant, about hearing the gods."

"You asked them and they're answering. Open your ears, listen, you'll hear."

Bran listened. "It's only the wind," he said after a moment, uncertain. "The leaves are rustling."

"Who do you think sends the wind, if not the gods? . . . They see you, boy. They hear you talking. That rustling, that's them talking back" (577).

Martin establishes that the old gods send the wind that causes the leaves in the heart tree to rustle, or to “talk back”. Bran consequently understands that he will need to develop the insight to understand what the old gods are trying to communicate to him. More importantly, once Bran becomes a part of the godhood, he will have the wind at his disposal to make his presence known. Now, there is textual evidence that suggests that Bran can and does communicate with Jon Snow and Theon Greyjoy, but it depends on how the language choices are interpreted.

In ADwD, when Bran first slips his skin to go into the roots of the weirwood, he finds himself looking through the eyes of the heart tree in Winterfell’s godswood where Bran sees his father cleaning Ice:

“Lord Eddard Stark sat upon a rock beside the deep black pool in the godswood, the pale roots of the heart tree twisting around him like an old man’s gnarled arms. The greatsword Ice lay across his lap, and he was cleaning the blade with an oil cloth.

Winterfell,” Bran whispered.

His father looked up. “Who’s there?” he asked, turning . . .” (457).

Bran returns from his “weirnet” visit to tell his companions what he has experienced. Lord Brynden’s advice to Bran echoes that which Osha says to him in AGoT:

A man must know how to look before he can hope to see . . . Those were shadows of days past that you saw, Bran” (ADwD 458). Then, Lord Brynden explains that “time” is different for trees. Regardless, Bran insists his father heard him, to which BR says, “He heard a whisper on the wind, a rustling amongst the leaves” (ADwD 458).

Bran sees his father in the “past”, which retards his abilities to speak with him.

So, is it possible that Bran’s powers exceed BR’s in that those whom he speaks to in the “present” might be able to hear what the rustling leaves have to say in real time? This seems to be the case if we look at some of Martin’s language choices at “Winterfell” in ADwD.

Bran attends the wedding of Ramsay Bolton and “fake” Arya by watching through the eyes of the weirwood, from which he observes the mummer’s farce of a marriage. It is Theon who notices the heart tree’s expression, presenting a far different countenance from the “long and melancholy” features it wears in scenes depicted in AGoT.

“The weirwood’s carved red eyes stared down at them, its great red mouth open as if to laugh. In the branches overhead a raven quorked” (488).

The mouth indicating a laugh suggests that at least Bran can see some humor in the blasphemy playing out in the godswood. Or mayhap Bran is ruminating on an appropriate and viable plan for vengeance.

Moreover, Bran commands the attention of Theon Greyjoy, who is aware of supernatural forces that he suspects are taunting him. But the mischievous entity controlling the winds is Bran, and he has a bit of fun tormenting his late father’s ward, the turncloak who betrayed the Starks.

“It had been a lifetime since any god had heard him. He did not know who he was, or what he was, why he was still alive why he had ever been born.

Theon,” a voice seemed to whisper.

His head snapped up. “Who said that?” All he could see were the trees and the fog that covered them. The voice had been as faint as rustling leaves, as cold as hate. A god’s voice, or a ghost’s? How many died the day that he took Winterfell? How many more the day he lost it? The day that Theon Greyjoy died to be reborn as Reek. Reek, Reek, it rhymes with shriek.

Suddenly he did not want to be here.

Once outside the godswood, the cold descended on him like a ravening wolf had caught him in its teeth. He lowered his head into the wind and made for the Great Hall, hastening after the long line of candles and torches. Ice crunches beneath his boots, and a sudden gust pushed back his hood as if a ghost had plucked at him with frozen fingers, hungry to gaze upon his face” (489).

Martin describes the “cold” descending upon Theon “like a ravening wolf had caught him in its teeth.” The simile comparing the cold to a wolf definitely suggests a very STARK influence in the godswood. The airy force which is commanded by Bran seemingly taunts Theon in a mischievous way that definitely hints at Bran.

Note that a “sudden gust” [of wind], which IS Bran, pushes back Theon’s hood as “if a ghost had plucked at him with frozen fingers” and the ghost is “hungry to gaze upon his face.”

Martin creates an eerie ambience in the godswood with the persistent mention of the color “grey” and the mists, and these “mists” appear in Bran’s three-eyed-crow dream in AGoT, wherein Martin describes a grey mist that surrounds and seemingly protects Bran until he returns to his bed, then it dissipates. Six times is the grey mist referenced in Bran’s dream, so the appearance of the mist indicates the presence of Bran and the three-eyed-crow.

“He had never seen the godswood like this, though – grey and ghostly, filled with warm mists and floating lights and whispered voices that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere” (487)

“The mists were so thick that only the nearest trees were visible . . .”

“Then the mists parted, like the curtain opening at a mummer show to reveal some new tableau” (487).

I cannot help wondering if the WIND is a force that is part of Bran’s powers and that Bran, either consciously or unconsciously, is governing IT to a purpose.

One other note about the WIND: it appears that the WIND is also behind Jon turning back to find his direwolf Ghost:

“Halfway across the bridge, Jon pulled up suddenly.

“What is it, Jon?” their lord father asked.

“Can’t you hear it?”

BRAN COULD HEAR THE WIND IN THE TREES, the clatter of their hooves on the ironwood planks, the whimpering of his hungry pup. But Jon was listening to SOMETHING ELSE” (AGoT 20).

Apparently, the wind in the trees, which indicates the old gods, is the power that harkens Jon to return and to find his direwolf pup Ghost.

The oft-repeated expression “words are wind” takes on a deeper meaning IF the powers that are the old gods are, or will be using the wind to cause problems with drifting snows, as we see at Winterfell, the Wall, and Stannis’ army’s location.

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MARTIN’S MEANING in his GREY MISTS/FOG MOTIF


Martin does make good use of the grey mists and fog as an evolving motif that recurs in the novels of A Song of Ice and Fire. Not every mention of grey mists and fog has symbolic significance; however, several key POV’s share commonalities related to the grey mists and fog that help to unify and advance themes and plotlines.


The “grey” mists/fog appear early in A Game of Thrones, and through Bran Stark’s POV, Martin establishes a relationship between “future-greenseer” Bran and the mists and fog, so when the grey mists and/or grey fog recur in other narratives, it is more remarkable than coincidence.


In “The Prince of Winterfell from A Dance with Dragons and in “Mercy” from The Winds of Winter, the grey mists and fog insinuate Bran’s far-reaching presence as he flexes his muscles, experimenting with his powers of greensight. Nature inspires the grey mists and fog, and the grey mists are part of Lord Brynden’s visits to Bran’s dreams. It stands to reason that Bran’s magic will allow him to manipulate the mists and fog – and to manipulate other forces related to nature. He will also visit the dreams of others like Lord Brynden as Three-Eyed Crow”.


Martin employs the “grey mists” five times in Bran’s 3EC dream; thereby through repetition Martin seemingly designates them as symbolically meritorious. The color “grey” is associated with House Stark and their banners, with the grey stone walls of Winterfell, with the statues in the crypts, with the landscape of the north, and with the direwolves of all but one “Stark” sibling, a few among many examples. Throughout Bran’s dream, these mists serve as a protective “armor” that blankets Bran, keeping him safe from further harm during his “falling”, his “flying”, and his “landing”.


Five examples from Bran’s 3EC dream follow:


GREY MISTS #1


“The ground was so far below him he could barely make it out through the grey mists that whirled around him, but he could feel how fast he was falling, and he knew what was waiting for him down there”.


In the above passage, Martin mentions the “grey mists” for the first time in Bran’s 3EC dream. The “grey mists” whirl around Bran, spinning quickly, which hinders his ability to see the ground below him. Bran feels himself plummeting, gaining speed, and death awaits him. But the “grey mists” protect him from dizziness and confusion.


The grey mists and/or fog impedes clear vision, a theme reaffirmed in Theon and Arya’s POV’s later; since Syrio and the kindly man emphasized “seeing” what is there and not what the heart wants to see, Arya – and by association Bran, Theon, and others – may be “symbolically” blind to their own faults, or to the darkness of the paths they are taking.



Martin repeats verbs in his comparisons of the mists/fog in other POV’s.



GREY MISTS #2


“The ground was closer now, still far far away, a thousand miles away, but closer than it had been. It was cold here in the darkness. There was no sun, no stars, only the ground below coming up to smash him, and the grey mists, and the whispering voice. He wanted to cry”.


Not cry. Fly.


"I can't fly," Bran said. "I can't, I can't . . . "


How do you know? Have you ever tried?


The cold in the darkness may suggest imminent death if Bran does not fly, for many of those who die “feel the cold”.


Note the second time “grey mists” are referenced, as well as the “whispering voice”- we have both a visual image and an auditory image. Martin evokes all the senses during this fall, even our own feelings of fear regarding falling.


***********************************


GREY MISTS #3


“Bran was staring at his arms, his legs. He was so skinny, just skin stretched taut over bones. Had he always been so thin? He tried to remember. A face swam up at him out of the grey mist, shining with light, golden. "The things I do for love," it said.


“Bran screamed.


“The crow took to the air, cawing. Not that, it shrieked at him. Forget that, you do not need it now, put it aside, put it away. It landed on Bran's shoulder, and pecked at him, and the shining golden face was gone”.


A face swims up out of the grey mist, and we know the implication of this shining golden light and the words, “The things I do for love.” Bran is remembering that because of Jaime Lannister’s push, Bran would not be falling.


The crow orders Bran not to think of that, and when the crow lands on Bran’s shoulder and pecks at him, the golden face disappears.


The crow wants Bran to concentrate all his energies on flying, not reliving his fall. He can visit the memory later when the situation is not as dire as this.


The grey mist appears for the third time, and it seems to bring the image of Lannister to light, but it still safeguards Bran as he falls.


GREY MISTS #4


“Bran was falling faster than ever. The grey mists howled around him as he plunged toward the earth below. "What are you doing to me?" he asked the crow, tearful”.


Teaching you how to fly.


"I can't fly!"


Note for the fourth time “the grey mists” are referenced, this time “howling” around Bran as he plunges toward the earth below. The fact that Martin personifies the grey mists with “howling” suggests the howling of the direwolves of House Stark, which leads credence to this “grey mist” being somehow aligned with a Stark force, since it is represented as “grey” and howls like a wolf.


GREY MISTS 5


“The crow opened its beak and cawed at him, a shrill scream of fear, and the grey mists shuddered and swirled around him and ripped away like a veil, and he saw that the crow was really a woman, a serving woman with long black hair, and he knew her from somewhere, from Winterfell, yes, that was it, . . .”


Martin mentions the “grey mists” for the fifth and final time, and these mists “shudder,” “swirl”, and “rip” just like a VEIL, so Bran, via the protective veil, is returned safely to his bed in Winterfell.


THE GREY MISTS in “THE “THE PRINCE OF WINTERFELL”ADwD


In A Dance with Dragons, Martin mentions the “[grey] mists” repeatedly in the “The Prince of Winterfell” POV, and they transform the godswood into an eerie site for a wedding. The title “The Prince of Winterfell” actually refers to, or had once referred to Theon and Bran. After Ramsay speaks his vows, the title passes to him.


Reek/Theon, as a ward of Lord Eddard Stark’, is necessary to authenticate “Arya Stark”, and to give Arya “away” to her bridegroom. Lord Bran Stark himself , the “true” Prince of Winterfell”, makes his presence in the godswood known [for the readers] through the expression on the weirwood’s face, through the murder of ravens, through the wind whispering through the leaves, calling “Theon” , and through the “grey” and “ghostly” mists commandeering the godswood.


Likewise, in Arya’s “Mercy” POV, Martin stresses the “grey fog” so much that it seemingly becomes a character indigenous to Braavos. Arya intuits that this day’s manifestation of fog unique, even exceptional for Braavos.


Martin intimates a strong connection between Theon and Arya’s mist/fog, one that points to its source – Bran, whom Martin has divulged carries a grey aura – like mist/fog and even air/wind in his 3EC dream – is now able to reach out to Theon through the heart tree of Winterfell and to Arya through dreams of hunting with her wolf, where she sees a tree watching her.


EXAMPLE #1 and EVIDENCES


From ADwD:


He [Theon] had never seen the godswood like this, though – grey and ghostly, filled with warm mists and floating lights and whispered voices that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere” (487).


From “Mercy” TWoW:


She had never seen a thicker fog than this one. On the larger canals, the watermen would be running their serpent boats into one another, unable to make out any more than dim lights from the buildings to either side of them”.


“Half-light filled the room, grey and gloomy”.


Neither Theon nor Arya have ever seen their current environs so very much transformed by mists and/or fog. For Arya the mists dim lights from buildings, and for Theon the lights’ origins are enigmatic as they seem to come from everywhere and nowhere.


The fact that both Theon and Arya seek out a light – and mark, or try to mark, the location of illumination – this sign is hopeful for it hints that both of them have a shot at redemption. Since both are symbolically blinded by the mists/fog and both are searching for “light”, which is emblematic to “enlightenment” or “knowledge”, Martin suggests that they may acquire all that they need to make changes for the betterment of self and others, but only if they cast off the grey in their eyes and acknowledge the truth.


Martin bathes the godswood in a “grey” and “ghostly” ambience, and “grey” is representative of the Starks who live in the “grey” north, who often have “grey eyes”, who live in a castle made of grey stone and are buried in the crypts that are marked with grey stone statues.


Grey is a color with complex symbology, but in the instances of the “grey” in the godswood, grey fog in Braavos, and Martin’s death imagery, the GREY MISTS/FOG may symbolize “death”. Consequently, those present for the fraudulent nuptials are marked for death by the “grey mists”. In “Mercy”, a certain Lannister guard is marked for death.



EXAMPLE #3 and EVIDENCES


From ADwD:


“Up above the treetops, a crescent moon was floating in a dark sky, half-obscured by mist like an eye peering through a veil of silk(ADwD 486).


From AGoT:


“The crow opened its beak and cawed at him, a shrill scream of fear, and the grey mists shuddered and swirled around him and ripped away like a veil. . .” (AGoT).


Martin compares the mists to a silk veil, which echoes his first comparison of the [grey] mists to a “veil” in AGoT, when Bran first dreams of the Three-Eyed Crow.


A “crescent moon” is an eye “peering through a silk veil.” The veil covering the eyes suggests a “mask” designed to disguise someone’s appearance. The concept of a “mask” arouses the description of Braavos as a city of “masks and whispers”.


“No One”, aka Arya of House Stark, resident of the House of Black and White located in Braavos, parallels her brother Bran watching through the eyes carved in the trunks of weirwoods, only Arya watches through the hooded “skins” from those who died in the temple.


EXAMPLE #3 AND EVIDENCE


From ADwD:


The mists were so thick that only the nearest trees were visible; beyond them stood tall shadows and faint lights. Candles flickered beside the wandering path and back amongst the trees, pale fireflies floating in a warm grey soup(487).


From “Mercy” TWoW:


“If the fog was thick there was nothing to see but grey, so today Mercy chose the shorter route to save some wear on her poor cracked boots”.


“Braavos was a good city for cats, and they roamed everywhere, especially at night. In the fog all cats are grey, Mercy thought. In the fog all men are killers”.


Both excerpts describe the mists and fog as “thick” and touch upon the difficulties of discerning with certainty what is not far in front of them.


Theon’s narrative presents details, and he conveys the extent of the opaqueness of the fog with an example that he could only see trees directly in front of him. Martin chooses language that is poetic, especially when aligned with his language choices for “Mercy”. Theon’s POV covers “shadows and faint lights”, “Candles flickered,” a path wandered, “pail fireflies” floated”, and the fog is “warm pea soup”. Arya’s diction, in stark contrast, is matter-of-fact. Martin’s word choices for her are not immersed in modifaction.


To Arya, her cracked boots beg her attention, and she avoids walking to excess if it can be avoided to spare her well-used footwear. Arya’s ability to disassociate herself from events and from people around her is a symptom that bodes ill for Arya’s future. She also is classifying cats and men as they rank in conjunction with grey fog.


The mists are “a warm grey soup”, a phrase Martin coins in his world of ice and fire that is similar to a popular phrase that compares a dense fog to the thickness of pea soup.


EXAMPLE #4 AND EVIDENCE


From ADwD:


Then the mists parted, like the curtain opening at a mummer show to reveal some new tableau” (487).


From “Mercy” TWoW:


“The fog opened before her like a tattered grey curtain to reveal the playhouse. Buttery yellow light spilled from the doors, and Mercy could hear voices from within”.


“The mists seemed to part before her and close up again as she passed”.


Martin engages the theatre arts, or the performance arts, as a motif throughout the novels in his series. References to theatre arts occur often in Martin’s texts, although not all mention of the theatre arts are rich in symbolic significance.


Here are two examples of visual images that Martin uses quite often: a curtain parting to reveal “something” significant. In ADwD, Martin like curtains to expose the wedding of Ramsay and “Arya” as a fraud.


In “Mercy”, Martin describes the fog as “opening”, employing the simile comparing the fog to a “tattered GREY curtain”. The poor condition represents the “poor quality” of the moldy costumes and performance choices of the Gate mummers. The “tatters” could be emblematic of Arya’s choices and her situation. Who had once been a strong-willed, opinionated girl-child who loved having her hair messed up by her half brother Jon Snow is now older, tougher, wiser, and deadly. Arya Stark’s life is in tatters, as are the lives of her family. Arya was once a girl from Winterfell , and her crooked stitches foreshadow her future in Braavoa with its crooked streets and alleys of Braavos.


Curtains work for a while to conceal what rests behind them. In Theon’s case, he is a witness to a fraudulent marriage since he knows that “Arya Stark” is “Jeyne Poole”. He remains mute, too frightened to act.


Bran’s presence is felt through the mists parting, and the young lord witnessing a horror. It will be Bran who assists in guiding Theon to see “the truth” and who is “father confessor” to his sins.


EXAMPLE #5 AND EVIDENCE


From ADwD:


“All the color had been leached from Winterfell until only grey and white remained. The Stark colors. . . Even the sky was grey. Grey and grey and greyer. The whole world grey, everywhere you look, everything grey except the eyes of the bride” (489).


From “Mercy” TWoW:


Braavos was lost in fog”.


“Braavos was a good city for cats, and they roamed everywhere, especially at night. In the fog all cats are grey, Mercy thought. In the fog all men are killers”.


Martin’s language, once again by comparison, narrates each POV, but Martin deliberately changes his tone, style, and diction to distinguish Theon from Arya. Theon’s POV has impressive verbs, like “leached”, followed by how the whole world is GREY. Once more, Theon owns poetic qualities, and his passage grow more and more tense every time he uses the word grey,


On the contrary, “Mercy’s” POV states the facts, and she does not elaborate with colorful details.


EXAMPLE #6 AND EVIDENCE


From ADwD:


“ It [the godswood] felt like some strange underworld, some timeless place between two worlds, where the damned wandered mournfully for a time before finding their way down to whatever hell their sins had earned them” (487).


From “Mercy” TWoW:


“The last bridge was made of rope and raw planks, and seemed to dissolve into nothingness, but that was only the fog. Mercy scampered across, her heels ringing on the wood”.


“She could see the green water of the little canal below, the cobbled stone street that ran beneath her building, two arches of the mossy bridge… but the far end of the bridge vanished in greyness”.


The thick mist educes otherworldliness. “Underworld” is the Greek Hades, where the dead souls “wander mournfully”, but eventually Hermes locates his charges to escort them to the afterlife.


Likewise, the fog in Braavos causes things to “vanish” in the “greyness”, and “to dissolve into nothingness” – “greyness” and “nothingness” intimate a state after death, which suggests a grey and gloomy underworld.


Homer describes the souls of the suitors as chattering like “bats” on their arrival to Hades’ Gates, their escort Olympian Hermes, who passes on his charges to Charon, the boatman, whose job it is to transport the dead cross the River Styx, after which they are judged. This determines their assignments for eternity. When a soul dies, whether good or bad, he or she goes to Hades for judgment.


Many scholars on Westeros have compared Arya to mythological figures associated with the dead. In Homeric mythology, Hermes guides the dead, Charon boats them. Arya is similar to either, and with her nearness to and her relationship with water, she may be an inspiration drawn from many cultural mythologies that attempted to understand death and the soul’s passage to the afterlife.



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In the godswood she found her broomstick sword where she had left it, and carried it to the heart tree. There she knelt. Red leaves rustled. Red eyes peered inside her. The eyes of the gods. "Tell me what to do, you gods," she prayed.

For a long moment there was no sound but the wind and the water and the creak of leaf and limb. And then, far far off, beyond the godswood and the haunted towers and the immense stone walls of Harrenhal, from somewhere out in the world, came the long lonely howl of a wolf. Gooseprickles rose on Arya's skin, and for an instant she felt dizzy. Then, so faintly, it seemed as if she heard her father's voice. "When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives," he said.

"But there is no pack," she whispered to the weirwood. Bran and Rickon were dead, the Lannisters had Sansa, Jon had gone to the Wall. "I'm not even me now, I'm Nan."

"You are Arya of Winterfell, daughter of the north. You told me you could be strong. You have the wolf blood in you."

"The wolf blood." Arya remembered now. "I'll be as strong as Robb. I said I would." She took a deep breath, then lifted the broomstick in both hands and brought it down across her knee. It broke with a loud crack, and she threw the pieces aside. I am a direwolf, and done with wooden teeth.

From Clash of Kings, her last chapter. Could be a memory or could be time-travelling Bran. (I like the latter better.)

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:agree:

i don´t know about blinding... but only a godly man may sit the seastone chair.. and Theon means godly.

Ever considered the similarities between the narrative of Theon and the Grey King, and the story of Cain and Abel?

Edited by SacredOrderOfGreenMen

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From Clash of Kings, her last chapter. Could be a memory or could be time-travelling Bran. (I like the latter better.)

:bowdown: :bowdown: Wow! Thanks for sharing. This makes my head hurt - and I think it is a possibility!

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In the Dunk and Egg stories..mist is associated with Bloodraven who is believed to be able himself into a mist ,or use mist to obscure what he's doing. From The Mystery Knight...


Some claimed the King's Hand was a student of the dark arts who could change his face, put on the likeness of a one—eyed dog, even turn into a mist. Packs of gaunt gray wolves hunted down his foes, men said, and carrion crows spied for him and whispered secrets in his ear.


and...


An army had appeared outside the castle, rising from the morning mists. ...


.... A single white dragon announced the presence of the King’s Hand, Lord Brynden Rivers.


Bloodraven himself had come to Whitewalls.


So I sense the presence of both Bran and Bloodraven in WF and later in the TWoW Theon chapter. If Bran is learning to magically manipulate mist, he's learning from an adept.


I haven't settled on one or the other of the following in my mind, yet , but it seems that either (1) what had been impossible for Bloodraven (Bran is told he will not be able to make himself heard) becomes possible through their joint efforts... or that (2) Bran's talent as a greenseer is so prodigious he will be able to surpass his master. Perhaps it's a little of both, because even if Bran should eventually surpass BR, I don't think it will be quite yet ... And of course, even their joint efforts still might not be enough to allow them to be heard, generally. ...Theon's fragile mental state, now so open to / aware of the supernatural, makes him an ideal recieiver for Bran's transmissions, but the spearwives standing behind him don't hear Bran.


I think this sensitivity to the supernatural traces back to his true dream of the feast of the dead before the sack of WF, and that dream was surely influenced by Bloodraven, since it showed him deaths he could not have heard of. Following the dream...


Come dawn, he dressed and went outside, to walk along the outer walls.A brisk autumn wind was swirling through the battlements. It reddened his cheeks and stung his eyes. ... ... The red leaves of the weirwood were a blaze of flame among the green. Ned Stark’s tree, he thought, and Stark’s wood, Stark’s castle, Stark’s sword**, Stark’s gods. This is their place, not mine. ... ... On their iron spikes atop the gatehouse, the heads waited. Theon gazed at them silently while the wind tugged on his cloak with small ghostly hands.


This is a precursor of what is to come for Theon in ADWD in Winterfell.


** Why is "Stark's sword" included here ? No Stark sword is visible, and Ned's sword went with him to King's Landing. But Theon has seen Ned use his sword to mete out justice after Ned passed judgement... and I think he has a sense of what judgement and justice would be appropriate in his own case. In ADWD, at "Ned's tree", he doesn't ask for forgiveness... “A sword, that’s all I ask. Let me die as Theon, not as Reek.”


Still, considering what happens after Bran is fed the weirwood seed paste (and it's only that), I do think Bran will be progressing by leaps and bounds... After returning to his sleeping chamber, disconnected from the tree, he has a "dream" that is no dream, but a spontaneous re-connection to history witnessed by the WF heart tree.


Since you bring up the Mercy chapter for comparison, I was just thinking about it the other night, having recently learned that it was intended to be included as Arya's last chapter in ADWD, but was pushed forward to TWoW at the last minute. So the WF mist and the fog in Braavos would have been experienced in closer relation to each other by the reader....The "Prince of Winterfell" chapter, with all of its grey, grey, grey = Stark, Stark, Stark imagery, would have come first, as well as " the Turncloak" and possibly "Theon" , in both of which we at least have the reminder that Jeyne's eyes are not grey.(Those chapters are split by "A Ghost in WF" , which has no direct reminder..but it does have references to Ned, and Stark ghosts.)


On the Arya side of the comparison, "The Blind Girl" and "The Ugly Girl", with the night wolf and the spontaneous warging of the cat were always designed to come first.


!! Spoilers for mercy chapter ahead !!


For me, it was instructive to look at all the references to fog in order.


She could see the green water of the little canal below, the cobbled stone street that ran beneath her building, two arches of the mossy bridge… but the far end of the bridge vanished in greyness,


I see this as a long-term foreshadowing. It's logical (for me) to make the extension from her building, to her street, her bridge. This is the path leading away from the buildling that houses her now. Two arches of the bridge are visible, her life in Westeros and her life in Braavos - distinct from each other, but part of the same bridge that she must cross, vanishing into (leading to) Greyness - her identity as a Stark.


The mists seemed to part before her and close up again as she passed.


Says to me that she's aware she's on a secret mission, her approach to and departure from any given spot are cloaked in fog and because the word "mists" is used, I certainly wouldn't rule out that she has some assistance.. but whose, exactly, is a mystery.


Braavos was a good city for cats, and they roamed everywhere, especially at night. In the fog all cats are grey, Mercy thought. In the fog all men are killers.

She had never seen a thicker fog than this one.


The cats are important ..she's been "Cat" and has seen through the eyes of "Cat", as well as the eyes of the cat in Pynto's.. she used knowledge gained as "Cat" to escape as The Ugly Girl. In the dark, in fog, even with Mercy's face, dressing as "Cat" might be a good escape plan.


In "The Queesguard" chapter, we find an echo : Barristan and Skahaz meet at night, in secret...


“A cat?” said Barristan Selmy when he saw the brass beneath the hood. When the Shavepate had commanded the Brazen Beasts, he had favored a serpent’s-head mask, imperious and frightening.

“Cats go everywhere,” replied the familiar voice of Skahaz mo Kandaq. “No one ever looks at

them.”


"In the fog all men are killers." Shows that she already knows she will cause a man to be seen as a killer..her killer. She will create another kind of fog to assure it. ... "She had never seen a thicker fog than this one." may again suggest she has some unseen help.


Mercy passed an old man with a lantern walking the other way, and envied him his light. The street was so gloomy she could scarcely see where she was stepping.


Having some familiarity with the Tarot, the old man immediately made me think of the Hermit - among the various meanings: inwardly seeking your path, seeking enlightenment, being on a solitary journey. Because he's going the other way , it portends that Arya will have to change direction at some point. In Arya's present, she has a mission to accomplish, but she can "scarcely see where she's stepping" - she's not yet 100% sure how she'll do it.. Unlike the Ugly Girl's mission, there's no time to observe habits, etc.. she'll have to identify an opportunity, or create one quickly.


The last bridge was made of rope and raw planks, and seemed to dissolve into nothingness, but that was only the fog. Mercy scampered across, her heels ringing on the wood. The fog opened before her like a tattered grey curtain to reveal the playhouse.


This bridge is not a bridge that's made to last .."Only the fog" makes it seem to lead into nothingness..( Perhaps only the fog makes her appear to be no-one) She has no concerns now about the fog (if she ever did have) but the tattered curtains suggest shredding or dissolving and show that things will now become clearer for her. The playhouse is her stage in a sense, and she's making her entrance.


(Eventually, we get to "The gods have given me a gift.") From here on, she's completely at ease, even a bit reckless in the fog.. the real fog is her friend and she's confident of the fog she's creating.


Mercy took him by the hand, led him through the back and down the steps and out into the foggy night.


Hand in hand, they went racing through the fog, over bridges and through alleys and up five flights of splintery wooden stairs.


So, yes I do think Bran might be keeping tabs on her , but I think Bloodraven was doing so long before Bran got to the cave of the CoTF.

Edited by bemused

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In the Dunk and Egg stories..mist is associated with Bloodraven who is believed to be able himself into a mist ,or use mist to obscure what he's doing. From The Mystery Knight...

Some claimed the King's Hand was a student of the dark arts who could change his face, put on the likeness of a one—eyed dog, even turn into a mist. Packs of gaunt gray wolves hunted down his foes, men said, and carrion crows spied for him and whispered secrets in his ear.

and...

An army had appeared outside the castle, rising from the morning mists. ...

.... A single white dragon announced the presence of the King’s Hand, Lord Brynden Rivers.

Bloodraven himself had come to Whitewalls.

So I sense the presence of both Bran and Bloodraven in WF and later in the TWoW Theon chapter. If Bran is learning to magically manipulate mist, he's learning from an adept.

I haven't settled on one or the other of the following in my mind, yet , but it seems that either (1) what had been impossible for Bloodraven (Bran is told he will not be able to make himself heard) becomes possible through their joint efforts... or that (2) Bran's talent as a greenseer is so prodigious he will be able to surpass his master. Perhaps it's a little of both, because even if Bran should eventually surpass BR, I don't think it will be quite yet ... And of course, even their joint efforts still might not be enough to allow them to be heard, generally. ...Theon's fragile mental state, now so open to / aware of the supernatural, makes him an ideal recieiver for Bran's transmissions, but the spearwives standing behind him don't hear Bran.

I think this sensitivity to the supernatural traces back to his true dream of the feast of the dead before the sack of WF, and that dream was surely influenced by Bloodraven, since it showed him deaths he could not have heard of. Following the dream...

Come dawn, he dressed and went outside, to walk along the outer walls.A brisk autumn wind was swirling through the battlements. It reddened his cheeks and stung his eyes. ... ... The red leaves of the weirwood were a blaze of flame among the green. Ned Stark’s tree, he thought, and Stark’s wood, Stark’s castle, Stark’s sword**, Stark’s gods. This is their place, not mine. ... ... On their iron spikes atop the gatehouse, the heads waited. Theon gazed at them silently while the wind tugged on his cloak with small ghostly hands.

This is a precursor of what is to come for Theon in ADWD in Winterfell.

** Why is "Stark's sword" included here ? No Stark sword is visible, and Ned's sword went with him to King's Landing. But Theon has seen Ned use his sword to mete out justice after Ned passed judgement... and I think he has a sense of what judgement and justice would be appropriate in his own case. In ADWD, at "Ned's tree", he doesn't ask for forgiveness... “A sword, that’s all I ask. Let me die as Theon, not as Reek.”

Still, considering what happens after Bran is fed the weirwood seed paste (and it's only that), I do think Bran will be progressing by leaps and bounds... After returning to his sleeping chamber, disconnected from the tree, he has a "dream" that is no dream, but a spontaneous re-connection to history witnessed by the WF heart tree.

Since you bring up the Mercy chapter for comparison, I was just thinking about it the other night, having recently learned that it was intended to be included as Arya's last chapter in ADWD, but was pushed forward to TWoW at the last minute. So the WF mist and the fog in Braavos would have been experienced in closer relation to each other by the reader....The "Prince of Winterfell" chapter, with all of its grey, grey, grey = Stark, Stark, Stark imagery, would have come first, as well as " the Turncloak" and possibly "Theon" , in both of which we at least have the reminder that Jeyne's eyes are not grey.(Those chapters are split by "A Ghost in WF" , which has no direct reminder..but it does have references to Ned, and Stark ghosts.)

On the Arya side of the comparison, "The Blind Girl" and "The Ugly Girl", with the night wolf and the spontaneous warging of the cat were always designed to come first.

!! Spoilers for mercy chapter ahead !!

For me, it was instructive to look at all the references to fog in order.

She could see the green water of the little canal below, the cobbled stone street that ran beneath her building, two arches of the mossy bridge… but the far end of the bridge vanished in greyness,

I see this as a long-term foreshadowing. It's logical (for me) to make the extension from her building, to her street, her bridge. This is the path leading away from the buildling that houses her now. Two arches of the bridge are visible, her life in Westeros and her life in Braavos - distinct from each other, but part of the same bridge that she must cross, vanishing into (leading to) Greyness - her identity as a Stark.

The mists seemed to part before her and close up again as she passed.

Says to me that she's aware she's on a secret mission, her approach to and departure from any given spot are cloaked in fog and because the word "mists" is used, I certainly wouldn't rule out that she has some assistance.. but whose, exactly, is a mystery.

Braavos was a good city for cats, and they roamed everywhere, especially at night. In the fog all cats are grey, Mercy thought. In the fog all men are killers.

She had never seen a thicker fog than this one.

The cats are important ..she's been "Cat" and has seen through the eyes of "Cat", as well as the eyes of the cat in Pynto's.. she used knowledge gained as "Cat" to escape as The Ugly Girl. In the dark, in fog, even with Mercy's face, dressing as "Cat" might be a good escape plan.

In "The Queesguard" chapter, we find an echo : Barristan and Skahaz meet at night, in secret...

“A cat?” said Barristan Selmy when he saw the brass beneath the hood. When the Shavepate had commanded the Brazen Beasts, he had favored a serpent’s-head mask, imperious and frightening.

“Cats go everywhere,” replied the familiar voice of Skahaz mo Kandaq. “No one ever looks at

them.”

"In the fog all men are killers." Shows that she already knows she will cause a man to be seen as a killer..her killer. She will create another kind of fog to assure it. ... "She had never seen a thicker fog than this one." may again suggest she has some unseen help.

Mercy passed an old man with a lantern walking the other way, and envied him his light. The street was so gloomy she could scarcely see where she was stepping.

Having some familiarity with the Tarot, the old man immediately made me think of the Hermit - among the various meanings: inwardly seeking your path, seeking enlightenment, being on a solitary journey. Because he's going the other way , it portends that Arya will have to change direction at some point. In Arya's present, she has a mission to accomplish, but she can "scarcely see where she's stepping" - she's not yet 100% sure how she'll do it.. Unlike the Ugly Girl's mission, there's no time to observe habits, etc.. she'll have to identify an opportunity, or create one quickly.

The last bridge was made of rope and raw planks, and seemed to dissolve into nothingness, but that was only the fog. Mercy scampered across, her heels ringing on the wood. The fog opened before her like a tattered grey curtain to reveal the playhouse.

This bridge is not a bridge that's made to last .."Only the fog" makes it seem to lead into nothingness..( Perhaps only the fog makes her appear to be no-one) She has no concerns now about the fog (if she ever did have) but the tattered curtains suggest shredding or dissolving and show that things will now become clearer for her. The playhouse is her stage in a sense, and she's making her entrance.

(Eventually, we get to "The gods have given me a gift.") From here on, she's completely at ease, even a bit reckless in the fog.. the real fog is her friend and she's confident of the fog she's creating.

Mercy took him by the hand, led him through the back and down the steps and out into the foggy night.

Hand in hand, they went racing through the fog, over bridges and through alleys and up five flights of splintery wooden stairs.

So, yes I do think Bran might be keeping tabs on her , but I think Bloodraven was doing so long before Bran got to the cave of the CoTF.

WOW, WOW, WOW! So much good stuff, I do not know where to begin!

First, thank you for taking the time to respond thoroughly with evidences and scholastic commentary. I always look forward to reading anything you write. Plus, I think we are coming from the same place - metaphorically. If I recall, you also believe that AGoT is a "key" that holds content that speaks to the novels that follow.

In my "Mercy" posts, I address the mists/fogs in relationship to Bran influencing them in Arya's POV.

I absolutely adore the information on Bloodraven and the mists. This makes sense regarding the mists around Bran during his fall in the 3EC dream - and we know that BR is the force that "buffers" Bran's landing and saves his life. In A CoK, Bran and company stand in the shadow of the First Keep " . . . or what remained of it. One whole side of the building had torn loose and fallen away. Stone and shattered gargoyles lay strewn across the yard. They fell just where I did, Bran thought when he saw them, Some of the gargoyles had broken into so many pieces it made him wonder how he was alive at all" (964).

Now - the "old man" you pointed out just opened the floodgates of my mind. But I need to address it in an essay – it has a biblical connection with Simon-Peter . Theon and Jojen are described as old men who stumble – especially when going up hill. Symbolically, both are carrying great burdens on their souls. Theon is filled with guilt and regret and the weight of his sins. Jojen carries the weight of knowledge others have forgotten – and the truth of his own death – and more! But I need to get it in essay form because I tie in Simon from Lord of the Flies.

I haven't settled on one or the other of the following in my mind, yet , but it seems that either (1) what had been impossible for Bloodraven (Bran is told he will not be able to make himself heard) becomes possible through their joint efforts... or that (2) Bran's talent as a greenseer is so prodigious he will be able to surpass his master. Perhaps it's a little of both, because even if Bran should eventually surpass BR, I don't think it will be quite yet ... And of course, even their joint efforts still might not be enough to allow them to be heard, generally. ...Theon's fragile mental state, now so open to / aware of the supernatural, makes him an ideal recieiver for Bran's transmissions, but the spearwives standing behind him don't hear Bran.

Now – there is a great deal I have not posted here YET – regarding Theon’s unspoken prayer and how Bran answers it. One gift Theon wishes to receive is strength – in a nutshell because I address the strength in its own essay – notice that when Theon visits Barrowton, he cannot make it up the steps. Then, he starts walking – in snow – building his strength and endurance. He eats regularly as well – with Bran’s guidance, Theon physically and mentally grows stronger.

To rescue Jeyne, he hoists her on his back and climbs an icy wall to get them to the top so that they can jump and be free of Winterfell and Ramsay. Theon gets his muscle on – and his mind improves, and I have lots of evidence in that essay as well.

Oh – a few more tidbits – When the goddess Athena visits Odysseus, she uses mists, birds, other people – she becomes Mentor and sits with Telemachus as they sail from Ithaca, and the crew say, “Oh – look at Mentor on the shore – and he is here in the boat too! This must be the work of the immortal gods!” [i paraphrase].

Bran in the heart tree watching the wedding is so Homeric. Bran, like Odysseus and the Argives, infiltrates the enemy camp to spy on the blasphemers just as the Acheaens do from their Trojan Horse, then when the Trojans are partying and drinking, the Greeks “attack” – killing everyone [except the bard – the bard is always spared].

The spearwives do not hear Bran because they are not meant to hear him. For example, in Homer’s Iliad, when the immortals interfere in the war to save or protect their favorites, these gods and goddesses are not seen by the combatants; that is, unless the deities want to be seen – or heard.

When Jon is called back to find his Ghost pup in AGoT Bran I, only Jon hears the summons. Even Bran only hears the rustling of the leaves.

I am not sure yet about the “teaming” of BR and Bran, as I am sure you are correct. I think Bran flies solo during some of his divine inspiration mainly because BR has to ask Bran what he sees during his first trip into the roots of the weirwood.

MY DEAREST BEMUSED, I thank you for sharing your most AWESOME INSIGHT! You always inspire me and help me to see even more!

I am not as well-versed in the Dunk/Egg story as you, so if you think of anything more about Bloodraven and his magic – or anything at all – please, oh pretty please, share it!

I still remember how you blew me away with your Sansa’s false memory when she builds a miniature Winterfell in the snow!

Oh – heck – one other thing: Bran has lots of time on his hands, and we have learned in AGoT just how precocious and bright he is. I think his powers will be garnered at record speed – especially because BR tells him the hour is late. Bran is making up for lost time. Then, if my “blood” postulations are correct, Bran is consuming blood that has been spilled over 8000 years – and when he tastes blood, he grows more and more powerful.

Nutty me – I am articulating Bran’s vocabulary as a GS and the vocabulary Martin employs to convey the direwolf viewpoint when he/she is warged by a Stark.

One more tidbit: Bran embodies and/or manipulates the wind – and other forces of nature, in degrees. Recall in ACoK, when Bran becomes angry with Jojen but Summer displays his warg’s displeasure by chasing Jojen and Meera up the weirwood tree. Bran has to call Hodor to manhandle Summer and Shaggydog so that the Reeds can get down from the tree.

When Lady Dustin breaks open the crypts, the hinges on the door SCREAM. Before that, the intensity of the snowfall increases as Lady D and Theon arrive at the crypt’s entrance. Bran has himself little temper tantrum!

OK – I will shut myself up! I look forward to your assessment of my wild assertions – you are objective and a guiding voice of reason.

And in “my book”, you are a SUPERSTAR!

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SPOILERS FROM "MERCY"



THE GREY MISTS in “THE “THE PRINCE OF WINTERFELL”ADwD



In A Dance with Dragons, Martin mentions the “[grey] mists” repeatedly in the “The Prince of Winterfell” POV, and they transform the godswood into an eerie site for a wedding. The title “The Prince of Winterfell” actually refers to, or had once referred to Theon and Bran. After Ramsay speaks his vows, the title passes to him.



Reek/Theon, as a ward of Lord Eddard Stark’, is necessary to authenticate “Arya Stark”, and to give Arya “away” to her bridegroom. Lord Bran Stark himself , the “true” Prince of Winterfell”, makes his presence in the godswood known [for the readers] through the expression on the weirwood’s face, through the murder of ravens, through the wind whispering through the leaves, calling “Theon” , and through the “grey” and “ghostly” mists commandeering the godswood.



Likewise, in Arya’s “Mercy” POV, Martin stresses the “grey fog” so much that it seemingly becomes a character indigenous to Braavos. Arya intuits that this day’s manifestation of fog unique, even exceptional for Braavos.



Martin intimates a strong connection between Theon and Arya’s mist/fog, one that points to its source – Bran, whom Martin has divulged carries a grey aura – like mist/fog and even air/wind in his 3EC dream – is now able to reach out to Theon through the heart tree of Winterfell and to Arya through dreams of hunting with her wolf, where she sees a tree watching her.



EXAMPLE #1 and EVIDENCES



From ADwD:



He [Theon] had never seen the godswood like this, though – grey and ghostly, filled with warm mists and floating lights and whispered voices that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere” (487).



From “Mercy” TWoW:



She had never seen a thicker fog than this one. On the larger canals, the watermen would be running their serpent boats into one another, unable to make out any more than dim lights from the buildings to either side of them”.



“Half-light filled the room, grey and gloomy”.



Neither Theon nor Arya have ever seen their current environs so very much transformed by mists and/or fog. For Arya the mists dim lights from buildings, and for Theon the lights’ origins are enigmatic as they seem to come from everywhere and nowhere.



The fact that both Theon and Arya seek out a light – and mark, or try to mark, the location of illumination – this sign is hopeful for it hints that both of them have a shot at redemption. Since both are symbolically blinded by the mists/fog and both are searching for “light”, which is emblematic to “enlightenment” or “knowledge”, Martin suggests that they may acquire all that they need to make changes for the betterment of self and others, but only if they cast off the grey in their eyes and acknowledge the truth.



Martin bathes the godswood in a “grey” and “ghostly” ambience, and “grey” is representative of the Starks who live in the “grey” north, who often have “grey eyes”, who live in a castle made of grey stone and are buried in the crypts that are marked with grey stone statues.



Grey is a color with complex symbology, but in the instances of the “grey” in the godswood, grey fog in Braavos, and Martin’s death imagery, the GREY MISTS/FOG may symbolize “death”. Consequently, those present for the fraudulent nuptials are marked for death by the “grey mists”. In “Mercy”, a certain Lannister guard is marked for death.





EXAMPLE #3 and EVIDENCES



From ADwD:



“Up above the treetops, a crescent moon was floating in a dark sky, half-obscured by mist like an eye peering through a veil of silk(ADwD 486).



From AGoT:



“The crow opened its beak and cawed at him, a shrill scream of fear, and the grey mists shuddered and swirled around him and ripped away like a veil. . .” (AGoT).



Martin compares the mists to a silk veil, which echoes his first comparison of the [grey] mists to a “veil” in AGoT, when Bran first dreams of the Three-Eyed Crow.



A “crescent moon” is an eye “peering through a silk veil.” The veil covering the eyes suggests a “mask” designed to disguise someone’s appearance. The concept of a “mask” arouses the description of Braavos as a city of “masks and whispers”.



“No One”, aka Arya of House Stark, resident of the House of Black and White located in Braavos, parallels her brother Bran watching through the eyes carved in the trunks of weirwoods, only Arya watches through the hooded “skins” from those who died in the temple.



EXAMPLE #3 AND EVIDENCE



From ADwD:



The mists were so thick that only the nearest trees were visible; beyond them stood tall shadows and faint lights. Candles flickered beside the wandering path and back amongst the trees, pale fireflies floating in a warm grey soup(487).



From “Mercy” TWoW:



“If the fog was thick there was nothing to see but grey, so today Mercy chose the shorter route to save some wear on her poor cracked boots”.



“Braavos was a good city for cats, and they roamed everywhere, especially at night. In the fog all cats are grey, Mercy thought. In the fog all men are killers”.



Both excerpts describe the mists and fog as “thick” and touch upon the difficulties of discerning with certainty what is not far in front of them.



Theon’s narrative presents details, and he conveys the extent of the opaqueness of the fog with an example that he could only see trees directly in front of him. Martin chooses language that is poetic, especially when aligned with his language choices for “Mercy”. Theon’s POV covers “shadows and faint lights”, “Candles flickered,” a path wandered, “pail fireflies” floated”, and the fog is “warm pea soup”. Arya’s diction, in stark contrast, is matter-of-fact. Martin’s word choices for her are not immersed in modifaction.



To Arya, her cracked boots beg her attention, and she avoids walking to excess if it can be avoided to spare her well-used footwear. Arya’s ability to disassociate herself from events and from people around her is a symptom that bodes ill for Arya’s future. She also is classifying cats and men as they rank in conjunction with grey fog.



The mists are “a warm grey soup”, a phrase Martin coins in his world of ice and fire that is similar to a popular phrase that compares a dense fog to the thickness of pea soup.



EXAMPLE #4 AND EVIDENCE



From ADwD:



Then the mists parted, like the curtain opening at a mummer show to reveal some new tableau” (487).



From “Mercy” TWoW:



“The fog opened before her like a tattered grey curtain to reveal the playhouse. Buttery yellow light spilled from the doors, and Mercy could hear voices from within”.



“The mists seemed to part before her and close up again as she passed”.



Martin engages the theatre arts, or the performance arts, as a motif throughout the novels in his series. References to theatre arts occur often in Martin’s texts, although not all mention of the theatre arts are rich in symbolic significance.



Here are two examples of visual images that Martin uses quite often: a curtain parting to reveal “something” significant. In ADwD, Martin like curtains to expose the wedding of Ramsay and “Arya” as a fraud.



In “Mercy”, Martin describes the fog as “opening”, employing the simile comparing the fog to a “tattered GREY curtain”. The poor condition represents the “poor quality” of the moldy costumes and performance choices of the Gate mummers. The “tatters” could be emblematic of Arya’s choices and her situation. Who had once been a strong-willed, opinionated girl-child who loved having her hair messed up by her half brother Jon Snow is now older, tougher, wiser, and deadly. Arya Stark’s life is in tatters, as are the lives of her family. Arya was once a girl from Winterfell , and her crooked stitches foreshadow her future in Braavoa with its crooked streets and alleys of Braavos.



Curtains work for a while to conceal what rests behind them. In Theon’s case, he is a witness to a fraudulent marriage since he knows that “Arya Stark” is “Jeyne Poole”. He remains mute, too frightened to act.



Bran’s presence is felt through the mists parting, and the young lord witnessing a horror. It will be Bran who assists in guiding Theon to see “the truth” and who is “father confessor” to his sins.



EXAMPLE #5 AND EVIDENCE



From ADwD:



“All the color had been leached from Winterfell until only grey and white remained. The Stark colors. . . Even the sky was grey. Grey and grey and greyer. The whole world grey, everywhere you look, everything grey except the eyes of the bride” (489).



From “Mercy” TWoW:



Braavos was lost in fog”.



“Braavos was a good city for cats, and they roamed everywhere, especially at night. In the fog all cats are grey, Mercy thought. In the fog all men are killers”.



Martin’s language, once again by comparison, narrates each POV, but Martin deliberately changes his tone, style, and diction to distinguish Theon from Arya. Theon’s POV has impressive verbs, like “leached”, followed by how the whole world is GREY. Once more, Theon owns poetic qualities, and his passage grow more and more tense every time he uses the word grey,



On the contrary, “Mercy’s” POV states the facts, and she does not elaborate with colorful details.



EXAMPLE #6 AND EVIDENCE



From ADwD:



“ It [the godswood] felt like some strange underworld, some timeless place between two worlds, where the damned wandered mournfully for a time before finding their way down to whatever hell their sins had earned them” (487).



From “Mercy” TWoW:



“The last bridge was made of rope and raw planks, and seemed to dissolve into nothingness, but that was only the fog. Mercy scampered across, her heels ringing on the wood”.



“She could see the green water of the little canal below, the cobbled stone street that ran beneath her building, two arches of the mossy bridge… but the far end of the bridge vanished in greyness”.



The thick mist educes otherworldliness. “Underworld” is the Greek Hades, where the dead souls “wander mournfully”, but eventually Hermes locates his charges to escort them to the afterlife.



Likewise, the fog in Braavos causes things to “vanish” in the “greyness”, and “to dissolve into nothingness” – “greyness” and “nothingness” intimate a state after death, which suggests a grey and gloomy underworld.



Homer describes the souls of the suitors as chattering like “bats” on their arrival to Hades’ Gates, their escort Olympian Hermes, who passes on his charges to Charon, the boatman, whose job it is to transport the dead cross the River Styx, after which they are judged. This determines their assignments for eternity. When a soul dies, whether good or bad, he or she goes to Hades for judgment. Many scholars on Westeros have compared Arya to mythological figures associated with the dead. In Homeric mythology, Hermes guides the dead, Charon boats them. Arya is similar to either, and with her nearness to and her relationship with water, she may be an inspiration drawn from many cultural mythologies that attempted to understand death and the soul’s passage to the afterlife.


Edited by evita mgfs

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