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Puns and Wordplay

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5 hours ago, Seams said:

This is an excellent wordplay pair. Nice catch.

Some of your examples are moss and some are lichen. In the real world, these are different things. But maybe GRRM wants us to view them as a group. The stuff growing on the rocks at Moat Cailin is called "ghost skin." The name suggests lichen to me, which forms a kind of green, peeling skin on rocks, but the books' description of this invented growth sounds more like Spanish Moss.

I totally forgot about "ghost skin". Cool.

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So maybe the author is putting moss and lichen in the same group.

That is kinda what I was wondering as well. I know some of my quotes said moss, but I tell ya, they are so close.

The pictures of it are wildly varying in structure and color. So beautiful. And some can even be purpley.

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Ghost grass, on the other hand, is taller than a man on horseback. But there could be a connection. There is a re-read thread that brought up ghost grass as a topic a few months ago. The discussion didn't get very far but maybe a lichen analysis would spark that topic.

I will check it out (if my ailing computer allows me to do so).

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In a current discussion in the "Wow, I never noticed" thread, I was pondering a "chill" and "leech" connection. After I submitted my post, I wondered whether "chill" and "lich" was a better pair. but you beat me to it here. Maybe they're all related.

The challenge would be to find out what lich and lichen have in common. (Or lich and chill. Or lichen and ghost grass.) Does lichen cause death? Or is it associated with death when GRRM uses it? 

The fungus + algae combination for lichen is interesting. Tyrion carries around poison mushrooms - a fungus - in the toe of his boot and he uses some to kill (or hasten the death of) the slave manager called Nurse. I think there is wordplay involving champignon (the French word for mushroom) and champion, which is what Joffrey calls Tyrion when he orders him to participate in the dwarf jousting at the wedding feast. I also came across a passage the other day where Sam Tarly is miserable about marching in his wet boots and says he feels as if he has mushrooms growing between his toes.

Ya know what was one of my favorite parts of this wordplay that had me lichen the whole thing, the part where I found out that, "lichenized fungus, is actually two organisms functioning as a single, stable unit." I see that potential theme happening a lot in the story (already has in some cases).

Funny how Tyrion uses a potential healing ingredient to kill a nurse. Tyrion was so afraid to eat the mushrooms soaked in garlic butter that Illyrio was offering, and yet Tyrion dishes his own out to a nurse.

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When skinchanger Borroq shows up at Castle Black with his boar, he opts to occupy the lichyard. My hunch is that Borroq is a reborn version of Robb Stark (not literally, but for literary purposes).

I gotcha, and that is how I feel about the maybe ghost grass connection- just for literary purpose.

I see what you mean about Robb. They are brothers even in a way that differs from Jon and his NW brothers. IF Robb's will does decree Jon as King/next in line, when we first see Borroq and his boar arrive at the wall, they bow to Jon (as if he is a king, or something :dunno:) before crossing through the wall.

  • The skinchanger stopped ten yards away. His monster pawed at the mud, snuffling. A light powdering of snow covered the boar's humped black back. He gave a snort and lowered his head, and for half a heartbeat Jon thought he was about to charge. To either side of him, his men lowered their spears.
    "Brother," Borroq said.
    "You'd best go on. We are about to close the gate."

Also, Lady's bones are in the lichyard.

(aah crap! now it's gettin' all misty in here)

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If Borroq represents a reborn dead guy, a lichyard would be an appropriate place for him to set up camp.

Lots of possibilities here. Thanks for posting.

Thank you.

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In The Hedge Knight, an odd sentence piqued my interest when Dunk is describing the only witness to his knighthood ceremony, supposedly performed by Ser Arlan of Pennytree:

"Only a robin, up in a thorn tree."

If there is an anagram here, it could be:

Hero burnt in a notional pyre.

That would certainly put a new spin on the nature of dubbing rituals. Or Dunk's dubbing ceremony, at any rate.

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I know this is playing with fire, getting too caught up in anagram possibilities, but here's one I can't resist:

Ser Barristan the Bold = blind brother + Seastar

How would that be for an historical plot twist? Aemon Targaryen and Shiera Seastar having a baby who grows up to be the greatest knight and Lord Commander of the kingsguard? If the birthdates in the wiki are right, Shiera would have been 58 when Barristan was born, which seems a little unlikely, even for a woman who bathes in blood to keep her beauty. Maybe she had a daughter who was also named Seastar? Or maybe there was a different blind brother?

There could be a different interpretation of Barristan's paternity:

Ser Barristan the Bold = bastard brother's line

In which case, Barristan could be descended from any one of a number of bastards mentioned in the series.

Of course, the baby grew up hidden:

Barristan the Bold = bastard in brothel

And he predicts Jon's future role:

Ser Barristan the Bold = north bastard is rebel

I know that we are told that he is of House Selmy and there is a seat and a putative father. All that could be true and the anagram is just a coincidence. What little I know of royal bastards comes from studying U.S. history and the Howe family. Apparently historians are not unanimous, but it appears that the Howe family may have advanced itself for a couple of generations by marrying royal bastards and/or mistresses (House of Hanover and British royalty), helping to legitimize them. 

I guess the wordplay ambiguity or richness all goes to show that anagrams are like prophecies, and can be interpreted and misinterpreted many ways.

Or that GRRM had a lot of fun structuring the details of the story around wordplay.

Or both.

Edited by Seams

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I think the word "cutpurses" is a hint that we are in the presence of a usurper or that a symbolic version of a coup is being played out. It's not a perfect anagram, obviously, although it could work in combination with another word.

The word is often accompanied by a reference to a whore, so it might help us to figure out the "Where do whores go?" famous last words of Tywin Lannister.

Farther down the docks she came on Tagganaro sitting with his back against a piling, next to Casso, King of Seals. He bought some mussels from her, and Casso barked and let her shake his flipper. "You come work with me, Cat," urged Tagganaro as he was sucking mussels from their shells. He had been looking for a new partner ever since the Drunken Daughter put her knife through Little Narbo's hand. "I give you more than Brusco, and you would not smell like fish."
"Casso likes the way I smell," she said. The King of Seals barked, as if to agree. "Is Narbo's hand no better?"
"Three fingers do not bend," complained Tagganaro, between mussels. "What good is a cutpurse who cannot use his fingers? Narbo was good at picking pockets, not so good at picking whores."
"Merry says the same." Cat was sad. She liked Little Narbo, even if he was a thief. "What will he do?"
"Pull an oar, he says. Two fingers are enough for that, he thinks, and the Sealord's always looking for more oarsmen. I tell him, 'Narbo, no. That sea is colder than a maiden and crueler than a whore. Better you should cut off the hand, and beg.' Casso knows I am right. Don't you, Casso?"
(AFfC, Cat of the Canals)

If I were interpreting this passage with Arya and Tagganaro, I would say that Tagganaro is a symbolic version of "Targaryen." The boy with the injured hand might foreshadow the fate of Tommen. Arya likes Little Narbo, so he doesn't seem to represent Joffrey but there could be a hidden meaning behind Arya liking someone. Whoever is represented by Little Narbo (Lion Battler? Born a little?) will fail in his attempt to rule / usurp because a whore injures his hand. Could this represent Cersei's difficulties in finding someone to take the job of Hand of the King? Actually, I see that "Bael" is one of the possible anagrams from the name Little Narbo. This cutpurse could refer to one of the Bael characters.

Going to sea might represent death.

Later, Arya will encounter Tagganaro working the crowd with a new cutpurse.

Sometimes gamblers are also mentioned in close proximity to cutpurses. I haven't paid as close attention, but this could be a "game" hint to tell us that the Game of Thrones is being depicted.

Edited by Seams

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I think I solved the lemon tree mystery AND found one of the missing Valyrian steel swords. (I almost posted this in the "Wow, I never noticed that" thread, but I think people need to be wordplay geeks to want to read this. Here's the first part, about Dany's yearning for the lemon tree, and how her craving may be solved when she becomes a dragon rider:

On 3/17/2018 at 11:01 AM, Seams said:

... my deep scholarly study of "yellow = Emmon = lemon" has led me to look for hidden lemons. So I couldn't help but notice Dany's description of Drogon's eyes: His eyes were molten. Can you find the words "lemon tree" in that sentence? So Dany has finally found her "home" when she becomes a dragon rider in this chapter. Of course, I also assume an "eyes" reference like this is an allusion to the sword Ice. Sword, dragon, same difference.

In case you missed it, what I was seeing is:

were molten = lemon tree + w

Close to an anagram, which seems to be how GRRM sometimes works. (Or maybe the whole phrase is an anagram: 

his eyes were molten = eyes lemon tree wish

The new thought that occurred to me is that the sword Lamentation is another anagram:

lamentation = attain lemon

No letters left over for that one. 

Dany is flying up from the newly reopened fighting pits, riding her dragon for the first time. The Valyrian steel sword Lamentation is the ancestral sword of House Royce, and it was lost at the storming of the Dragon Pit at King's Landing during the Dance of the Dragons. Four dragons were killed in the pit as well as one that flew in from outside. So the dragons lost out (by dying) at the storming of the dragon pit but Drogon "wins" here at the reopening of the fighting pit. The sword Lamentation was lost at the dragon pit but Dany may "attain lemon" at the fighting pit -- perhaps symbolizing recovery of the lost sword.

Edited by Seams

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Crow / -Qor

This is a little outside of my usual musings on wordplay, but it seems worth bringing up.

On a recent thread discussing the apparent dream connection between Jon and Bran, and whether Bloodraven plays a go-between role in connecting the two during their dream states, I shared an alternate interpretation of the "brother" in the weirwood sapling seen by Jon Snow in his vision at the Milkwater. I believe that GRRM is deliberately ambiguous about which brother is embodied by the tree and that he wants to imply that both Bran and Robb (or either Bran or Robb) might be represented as connecting with Jon. Who knows? Could be Rickon or a Night's Watch brother or some half-brother Jon hasn't met yet, if you believe someone other than Ned was his father or someone other than Lyanna was his mother. And GRRM likes to keep us guessing.

In the same post on that thread, I also offered the possibility that the phrase, "before the crow" could refer to Crowfood Umber, who is strongly linked to Robb. Even as I was outlining that possibility, I was questioning my own logic, of course. Mors Umber experiences the crow pecking on his head, blinding him in one eye, but Robb does not (so far as we know). On the other hand, Crowfood Umber carries some interesting symbolism: he has lost an eye, as has Bloodraven; he fills that empty eye socket with a chunk of dragonglass. That seems like a Targaryen way of seeing the world. He wears a bearskin, which is a Mormont association. 

As I continued to think about whether this Robb interpretation worked in all its details, I also considered the character Borroq, the free folk skinchanger who can enter the body and mind of a giant wild boar. Because I had noticed the frequent combination of a boar at the death of a king (Robert Barratheon killed by a wild boar and Robb Stark the main dish at a sort of Boar's Head Festival), as well as the wordplay on boar / Rob(b) in the given names of the two men, I had long suspected that Borroq and his boar, the last wildling to pass below the Wall as Jon admits the Free Folk to escape into Night's Watch territory, might be a "reborn" Robb Stark. He even refers to Jon Snow as "brother" as he enters the Castle Black compound. Borroq and his boar camp out in the lichyard at Castle Black, which is another word for a graveyard. 

The "Q" characters have intrigued me, and I wonder whether GRRM has created a class of "Q" characters with something in common. Qhorin Halfhand and Moqorro serve as guides and mentors for Jon and Tyrion, respectively. Moqorro might be serving the same function for Victarion. It's too early to tell what additional role Borroq might play, but there he is with those "qor" letters in his name, although in a different order. The Selaesori Qhoran ship might also fall within this category, as a vessel that provides Tyrion with some of the experiences he needs (e.g., jousting with Penny) to grow as a hero. 

So that was my long-winded way of finally making this point: what if the "qor" combination in a name is a hint to the reader that a major character is in the presence of a crow? Wordplay to hide / reveal that there are many crows at work in the books, helping heroes or other characters to figuratively "open their third eyes" and gain insight into life and their surroundings?

The only other "Q" character I can think of is Qyburn. He could very easily be playing the part of a mentor and guide for Cersei (or maybe for Gregor Clegane). But he doesn't have the "qor" combination that seems like a possible match for "crow" wordplay. Are there other "Q" characters that don't quite fit the "qor" pattern? We do see an important key emerge in the prologue of AFfC. I wonder whether there will be some "Qy" characters who relate to keys or quays, and become part of the door-opening motif? 

And who would like to venture an analysis of House Qoherys as part of this pattern? 

I also have a sneaking suspicion that the "crows" we see associated with the "qor" hint are all dead guys, in the sense that, "What's dead can never die." These are all reborn figures who have come back to provide special insights to major characters. That would fit with the Robb / Borroq theory. We don't know much about the background of Qhorin Halfhand except he tells Jon that he knew Jon's grandfather, who we presume to be Rickard Stark because the two had just been discussing Jon's Stark connection. Another interesting point about Qhorin is that he eats one of the hard-boiled eggs that has been prepared for Lord Commander Mormont's breakfast. In another scene where Mormont was served three eggs for breakfast, his raven ate the second egg. This could be a strong clue that Qhorin is a "shade" (he tells Jon that Shadows are friends to the Night's Watch) and has come back for the specific purpose of guiding Jon to something he needs to experience or do. Perhaps similar to Coldhands guiding Bran and his traveling companions. 

This part may be getting away from my central wordplay thesis, but I'll throw it in here anyway: If I am making the case that Mors "Crowfood" Umber is a crow figure, how can I also claim that the "qor" syllable is a coded hint to tell us when we are seeing a crow figure? My answer would be that GRRM had to vary the way he presents these mentors and guides. If every one of them had one eye and a red wine stain on his face, the books would get pretty trite very quickly. So he gives us some characters who are blind but have gifts of insight; some who spill wine on their clothes and seem to be the first to have inside knowledge that came from far away (e.g. Leo Tyrell); and some who have a "qor" syllable. There are probably other ways that he marks various types of guides and mentors. All may embody aspects of crow characters, if there is such a thing, or there may be subtle differences that put only a few in the crow / qro category.

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@Seams  -  very nice catch with the Q based characters serving as teacher figures. Audibly, the word has some interesting puns.

To "queue" is to wait in line for something - mentor figures could be said to be waiting for their apprentice to develop. Another way to look at this would be a DJ "queuing" up records  and progressively moving the music along,  similar to a sensei 

The term "cue" also has a mentor like quality to it, think of an actor having a "cue to speak".

Also, as out of place as the reference may seem, James Bond's Gadget Man is known as "Q" - short for "Quartermaster".

On 5/15/2018 at 6:21 PM, Seams said:

I think I solved the lemon tree mystery AND found one of the missing Valyrian steel swords. (I almost posted this in the "Wow, I never noticed that" thread, but I think people need to be wordplay geeks to want to read this. Here's the first part, about Dany's yearning for the lemon tree, and how her craving may be solved when she becomes a dragon rider:

In case you missed it, what I was seeing is:

were molten = lemon tree + w

Close to an anagram, which seems to be how GRRM sometimes works. (Or maybe the whole phrase is an anagram: 

his eyes were molten = eyes lemon tree wish

The new thought that occurred to me is that the sword Lamentation is another anagram:

lamentation = attain lemon

No letters left over for that one. 

Dany is flying up from the newly reopened fighting pits, riding her dragon for the first time. The Valyrian steel sword Lamentation is the ancestral sword of House Royce, and it was lost at the storming of the Dragon Pit at King's Landing during the Dance of the Dragons. Four dragons were killed in the pit as well as one that flew in from outside. So the dragons lost out (by dying) at the storming of the dragon pit but Drogon "wins" here at the reopening of the fighting pit. The sword Lamentation was lost at the dragon pit but Dany may "attain lemon" at the fighting pit -- perhaps symbolizing recovery of the lost sword.

This feels like a very important piece of the puzzle. Great work, Detective! :cheers:

That Molten anagram is very thought provoking, while the Lamentation anagram feels like something which could hint at serious business, considering the sword belongs to the myth heavy, runic Royces. 

Impressive work linking the "pits" material. I suppose one could say that Dany somewhat "attained her lemon (tree)" in the fighting pits - The Blood of The Dragon is most at home in the air, with a dragon, after all.

Do you have any further theories regarding your lemon-based catches?

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On 9/29/2018 at 5:42 PM, Leo of House Cartel said:

Also, as out of place as the reference may seem, James Bond's Gadget Man is known as "Q" - short for "Quartermaster".

Do you have any further theories regarding your lemon-based catches?

I love the James Bond / Q connection. Nice catch!

This is the most recent attempt to get to the bottom of the lemons and other fruits in the text.

That post doesn't quite get to the bottom of things, so maybe you can take the analysis to the next level. Or maybe we just have to wait for the final lemon in A Dream of Spring.

My current favorite crackpot theory is that Sansa really is the bastard daughter of Littlefinger, who would have had to sneak up to Winterfell shortly after Catelyn arrived and while she was resentful about Ned's apparent infidelity with Jon Snow's mysterious mother. The many clues I see around Sansa make sense of this theory only if another of my old pet theories is true: that Littlefinger is a secret Targ. I don't want to derail this wordplay thread so here is the separate Sansa = Alayne thread:

I mention this as potentially relevant to the lemons because it would mean that Dany, yearning for a lemon tree, and Sansa, constantly craving lemon tarts, would both be Targaryens.

Back to some wordplay: "Roy G. Biv" vs. "Roy V + Big"

In another post on that Rainbow Guard thread or in the re-read thread about the Dunk & Egg stories, I made a guess that GRRM had divided the rainbow into a different pair of mnemonic devices. Instead of the "Roy G. Biv" device that is taught in English-speaking classrooms, he might be grouping the letters "Roy V" and "Big" together. "Roy V" would represent "King Five," and could be an allusion to Aegon V. "Big" would be a descriptor for Ser Duncan the Tall. So the red-orange-yellow and violet hues are Targaryen colors and blue-indigo-green are earth colors associated with the hedge knight. The pair has to come together to complete the rainbow.

More wordplay: Emmon / lemon

As I re-read the lemon / Emmon portion of the Rainbow Guard post (linked above) it dawns on me that the Emmon characters who don't quite have lemon names or symbols are attached to pretenders to the throne: Emmon Cuy is Renly's man, Emmon Frey is a Frey / Lannister supporter, Lord Bar Emmon is a Stannis loyalist. None of the three is really a lemon and their attempts to ingest sourleaf (associated with red) just create a slimy mess. I think there is a magic involved in mixing yellow and red to make orange. And orange is specifically associated with people named Aegon Targaryen. If my Sansa = Alayne mad theory really is true, that would explain why Sansa in her gown with the hidden orange juice stain kneels on Ser Barristan's white king's guard cloak in her appeal to Joffrey to spare Ned's life. (In the link, scroll down to the "snake skin" section of the post for the part about Sansa's kneeling.)

The lack of lemons and the failed substitute Emmons are a contrast with Lem Lemoncloak, who is thought to be a Targ loyalist (former squire Richard Lonmouth). He wants lemon to flavor a duck he helped to catch (shot by Anguy) but there is no lemon. So he may have lemon potential that the Emmons will never have, but he isn't quite complete in his current role as a member of the Brotherhood Without Banners.

In various passages in ASOIAF I did find pretty clear links for fruit and body parts: oranges / feet; lemons / teeth & mouths; melons / heads; plums / pregnant belly; grapes / eyes (Salladhor Saan tries to get Davos to eat grapes, which I think may be like the three-eyed crow trying to get Bran to open his third eye). Apples may be associated with rising kings or hidden kings and can range from red to green to brown as well as cores and seeds that are saved because they are valuable.

Anyway. I hope you're not sorry you asked for more lemon-related stuff. I love this kind of close reading, as you may have noticed!

Edited by Seams

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I wonder whether this could tell us about the three heads of the dragon:

gravid three egg

the dagger giver

the gravedigger

The dagger giver could be Jon Snow, as he gives obsidian daggers to people after finding the cache at the Fist. Or it could be whoever gave the dagger to the catspaw. The Widow of the Waterfront had a notable dagger, too. Was it given to her? It was on the table when Jorah and Tyrion arrived. (Jorah said it was customary to give her presents and he gave her some gloves.) Could the dagger have come from Moqorro, who took passage on the same ship with them? Gerion Lannister also gave King Robert a gilded dagger with an ivory hilt and sapphire pommel.

Also, does a particular human sacrifice provide an explanation for the hatching of Dany's dragon eggs?

Gared egg thrive

Perhaps it's all a coincidence.

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Seeing Darkstar's name among threads, I wondered if I could pull any wordplay dar...

Darkstar

Darstark

 

Though I had hoped of finding a meaning for it in Danish(for obvious reasons) and had no results there, I still found some meanings for it in Proto Germanic and Old Norse, where Danish came from; with the meaning  "there" (it's der in Daynish, wiktionary says)

 Also, in Swedish Dar, or da'r is the plural of dag, contraction of dagar. It means day, daytime and comes from deg-, which is to burn, to be illuminated. 

"I am Darstark and I am (Stark) of the daytime."

Finally, since Dorne resembles moorish spain,  dar means to give in asturian, catalan, portugese, spanish...

 

Darkstar, Giver of Day?

 

Edited by Corvo the Crow

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Posted (edited)
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He crossed the outer yard, passed under a portcullis into the inner bailey, and was walking toward what he thought was the Tower of the Hand when Littlefinger appeared in front of him. "You're going the wrong way, Stark. Come with me."

Hesitantly, 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. "This is not the way to my chambers," Ned said.

"Did I say it was? I'm leading you to the dungeons to slit your throat and seal your corpse up behind a wall," Littlefinger replied, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "We have no time for this, Stark. Your wife awaits."

(A Game of Thrones, Eddard IV)

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"I wanted to be a knight. For this, at least." Dontos lurched back to his feet and took her arm. "Come. Be quiet now, no questions."

They continued down the serpentine and across a small sunken courtyard. 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, she thought.

One more stair took them to an oaken door banded with iron. "Be strong now, my Jonquil, you are almost there." When Dontos lifted the bar and pulled open the door, Sansa felt a cold breeze on her face. She passed through twelve feet of wall, and then she was outside the castle, standing at the top of the cliff. Below was the river, above the sky, and one was as black as the other.

(A Storm of Swords, Sansa V)

Sansa and Ned are led through the same hallway, filled with old Targaryen suits of armor. Ned notices that the hall does not lead to his chamber and Littlefinger tells him it leads to the dungeon, death and a wall that will conceal his body. For Sansa, it leads out of the Red Keep to sky and river and fresh air in the form of a cold breeze - her escape from life as a hostage. She also notices the fire bringing the knights to life as she and Ser Dontos pass through the gallery.

The contrast in the perception of this space seem significant to me. For Ned it represents death; for Sansa it represents a rebirth.

So, naturally, I experimented with the words to see if GRRM might be giving us a clue about the role of the Long Gallery in the Game of Thrones. (Other spaces in the Red Keep seem to be part of a symbolic game of Chutes and Ladders / Snakes and Ladders, particularly in Maegor's Holdfast.)

Here are a couple of potential wordplay guesses about Ned and Sansa's experiences in that space:

a deserted corridor = deserter / red trees acrid odor

inside a long gallery = royal egg line island

I searched on the Search of Ice and Fire site and found that the word "acrid" is usually associated with wolves eating human flesh after a battle, although Jon Snow found an acrid odor at Craster's Keep. I suspect the Craster association might be because he sacrifices his sons to the Others the way that Westeros sacrifices Night's Watch men to the Wall / the Others.

If Ned is the "deserter" in the anagram, it would be appropriate for Littlefinger to execute him. Is the implication that Ned deserted his "post" at Winterfell when he traveled to King's Landing?

If the interpretation of Sansa's phrase is correct, then the Long Gallery might also be related to Dragonstone - the island associated with the Targaryen royal line, and the place where dragons laid the most or best eggs. That allusion would be consistent with Sansa's perception of the scaled Targaryen armor coming to life with moving shadows as she and Ser Dontos pass the suits with a torch.

But there are also possible interpretations involving an "arson idyll" that might evoke the plan of Mad King Aerys to burn King's Landing. There are a lot of other interesting possibilities here involving dagger, green, digger, dragons, eyes and other key motifs from the novels. I have been intrigued by the link between House Stokeworth and the Chutes and Ladders game in the Red Keep, so I am especially interested in the possibilities around the name "Lollys" and the "inside a Long Gallery" phrase.

At any rate, a long gallery and deserted corridor could also be called a HALL. It is very possible that the long gallery will be linked to Summerhall as well as Dragonstone (if that egg island interpretation is correct).

Note: This scene with Sansa may help to explain why Ser Barristan asked that the life of Ser Dontos be spared after Ser Barristan rescued King Aerys from the Defiance of Duskendale. Just as Ser Barristan seemed to pull of the impossible feat of helping the royal hostage escape from his captivity, Ser Dontos helps Sansa make a similar miraculous escape from King's Landing.

 

Edited by Seams

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"The snow fell and the castle rose" in Sansa's chapter is such a beautiful phrase and reminds me of the blue rose of Winterfell. 

“The Sorrows were behind him, half a world away, and the joys of that time as well" - also one of my favorite poetic lines.

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Septon / Pentos / One step

Maester / Stream

I can't remember whether I already posted about this. If so, it was probably in another thread.

Several characters utter the line, "One step and then another." Jon Snow, Sam Tarly and Sansa / Alayne all say this while undergoing a difficult climb on a cliff, a slog through cold and snow, or a descent on a narrow mountain path.

It occurs to me that this "one step" refrain could be linked to the word, "Septon," GRRM's title for priests of the new gods. I suppose it could also be linked to Septas, if their title is wordplay on "a step."

Because GRRM has shown us in many ways that stories repeat - parallel events and characters, legends that seem to come to life in contemporary stories, small events and details that recur - I wonder whether the metaphor of a step is part of his message about timelines or eons or the nature of existence. Shakespeare compared life to "an hour upon the stage;" maybe GRRM is saying that life is like one step (or a series of steps?) in a long journey.

Septas are strongly associated with teaching highborn girls how to sew. The stitches in a straight line could be very similar to the "one step and then another" mantra about how to walk. (Interesting to recall that, in her attempts to return to Winterfell, Arya's path has been very indirect and crooked. Her needlework stitches were criticized by Septa Mordane as being crooked. Also, when she hides her sword, Needle, Arya puts it behind a loose stone in a step.)

What would be the role of the Septon in this metaphor? Maybe these are people who facilitate key characters in their journeys. Septon Sefton is a major player in the Dunk & Egg story called The Sworn Sword, helping to explain to Dunk and Egg the background and motives of Rohanne Webber. Septon Meribald is a literal guide for Brienne and her companions through the unmapped tracks and hedges in the region around Maidenpool and the secret path to the Quiet Isle. The High Sparrow certainly facilitates Cersei's walk of shame from the Sept to the Red Keep.

Remember the strange detail that GRRM gives us about the high steps circling around the outside of the library tower at Winterfell, as Tyrion makes his exit after spending the night there, absorbed in study? I bet that was "High Stepton" wordplay. Septon Chayle is seen interacting with Tyrion and Bran - providing key items or insights for their education - but he then seems to turn up - inexplicably - at The Wall. (I know, I know. People who prefer to read only the literal story are convinced that the author made a mistake when he referred to Septon Chayle at Castle Black. I don't think the author makes those kinds of mistakes so spare me your insistence on over-simplifying complex works of literary fiction.) Theon threw Septon Chayle into a well, which might be an interesting variation on the theme of walking a path: followers of the drowned god might want to swim a path in the water instead of walking through the green lands. Alternatively, Theon has a couple of key scenes at the pool in the Winterfell god's wood. If the well is linked to that pool, the Septon in the well could be a symbolic way of forging a path for Theon as a symbolic custodian of that sacred pool (and rescuer of Jeyne Poole).

I have not put much thought into the Pentos connection to septons. Like much of Essos, I see Pentos as a thinly-veiled alternate reality version of Westeros. I wrote up some thoughts about the Tattered Prince as a symbolic version of Bloodraven. He is focused on gaining or regaining control of Pentos on his own terms. The Prince's tatters may be the opposite of sewing, but he seems to be on a long quest ( = path) to achieve his prize.

It's interesting that the "Pent -" prefix is usually associated with the number 5, while the "Sept -" prefix is association with the number 7. The Tattered Prince interacts with Quentyn Martell. "Quint -" would also be a prefix associated with the number 5.

Close and repeated re-reads of The Sworn Sword also led me to see a probable link between maesters and streams. A central conflict in the story revolves around a drought and water shortage, and who has control of a stream. Egg (Aegon V) rides a donkey called Maester, a gift from his brother at the Citadel, who will be known to the reader as Maester Aemon. After Dunk is drowned, cut and beaten in one-on-one combat in the stream, the maester who helps to bring him back to life is Maester Cerrick, who is Ironborn and thus, familiar with the kind of resuscitation techniques used by followers of the Drowned God. Interestingly, Cerrick also designed the dam that precipitated the conflict over the disputed stream.

Streams are probably part of the huge set of symbols in ASOIAF relating to rivers. This thread includes some discussion of "flow" as part of the wolf / flow / fowl wordplay, as well as sew / sow / sewer wordplay. I think we've also touched on teeth and dent / Trident (Joffrey's sword Lion's Tooth was thrown into the Trident). But river symbolism goes way beyond puns and wordplay as a giant topic for analysis, and truly deserves a thread of its own.

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1 hour ago, Seams said:

Septon Chayle is seen interacting with Tyrion and Bran - providing key items or insights for their education - but he then seems to turn up - inexplicably - at The Wall. (I know, I know. People who prefer to read only the literal story are convinced that the author made a mistake when he referred to Septon Chayle at Castle Black. I don't think the author makes those kinds of mistakes so spare me your insistence on over-simplifying complex works of literary fiction.) Theon threw Septon Chayle into a well, which might be an interesting variation on the theme of walking a path: followers of the drowned god might want to swim a path in the water instead of walking through the green lands. Alternatively, Theon has a couple of key scenes at the pool in the Winterfell god's wood. If the well is linked to that pool, the Septon in the well could be a symbolic way of forging a path for Theon as a symbolic custodian of that sacred pool (and rescuer of Jeyne Poole).

Ha ha ! I just see now the wordplay well/wall. After all, the Wall is only icy water and might drown people where it melt.

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40 minutes ago, GloubieBoulga said:

Ha ha ! I just see now the wordplay well/wall. After all, the Wall is only icy water and might drown people where it melt.

Yes, I only recently started to think about the well/wall pairing. The Dunk & Egg stories are great at providing insights into ASOIAF.

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