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3 minutes ago, yomi said:

So I guess in Ossifer Plumm we have another Osiris candidate?

 

Septon Cellador is also one who likes the stuff found behind the wine cellar door.

:cheers: Too true!

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On ‎4‎/‎23‎/‎2016 at 8:04 AM, Seams said:

I've been trying to puzzle out the meaning of the pie with the birds in it

I haven't been following all your 'pie' thoughts, so not sure if you've factored in the following rather malicious nursery rhyme which is surely an allusion:

Quote

From Wikipedia:

 

Sing a song of sixpence,

A pocket full of rye.

Four and twenty blackbirds,

Baked in a pie.

 

When the pie was opened,

The birds began to sing;

Wasn't that a dainty dish,

To set before the king?

 

The king was in his counting house,

Counting out his money;

The queen was in the parlour,

Eating bread and honey.

 

The maid was in the garden,

Hanging out the clothes,

When down came a blackbird

And pecked off her nose.

 

The final line of the fourth verse is sometimes slightly varied, with nose pecked or nipped off. One of the following additional verses is often added to moderate the ending:

They sent for the king's doctor,

who sewed it on again;

He sewed it on so neatly,

the seam was never seen.

or:

There was such a commotion,

that little Jenny wren

Flew down into the garden,

and put it back again.

The rhyme's origins are uncertain. References have been inferred in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (c. 1602), (Act II, Scene iii), where Sir Toby Belch tells a clown: "Come on; there is sixpence for you: let's have a song" and in Beaumont and Fletcher's Bonduca (1614), which contains the line "Whoa, here's a stir now! Sing a song o' sixpence!"

In the past it has often been attributed to George Steevens (1736–1800), who used it in a pun at the expense of Poet Laureate Henry James Pye (1745–1813) in 1790, but the first verse had already appeared in print in Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book, published in London around 1744, in the form:

Sing a Song of Sixpence,

A bag full of Rye,

Four and twenty Naughty Boys,

Baked in a Pye.

The next printed version that survives, from around 1780, has two verses and the boys have been replaced by birds. A version of the modern four verses is first extant in Gammer Gurton's Garland or The Nursery Parnassus published in 1784, which ends with a magpie attacking the unfortunate maid. Fifth verses with the happier endings began to be added from the middle of the 19th century.

Meaning and interpretations

Many interpretations have been placed on this rhyme. It is known that a 16th-century amusement was to place live birds in a pie, as a form of entremet. An Italian cookbook from 1549 (translated into English in 1598) contained such a recipe: "to make pies so that birds may be alive in them and flie out when it is cut up" and this was referred to in a cook book of 1725 by John Nott. The wedding of Marie de' Medici and Henry IV of France in 1600 contains some interesting parallels. "The first surprise, though, came shortly before the starter—when the guests sat down, unfolded their napkins and saw songbirds fly out. The highlight of the meal were sherbets of milk and honey, which were created by Buontalenti."

In The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, Iona and Peter Opie write that the rhyme has been tied to a variety of historical events or folklorish symbols such as the queen symbolizing the moon, the king the sun, and the blackbirds the number of hours in a day; or, as the authors indicate, the blackbirds have been seen as an allusion to monks during the period of the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII, with Catherine of Aragon representing the queen, and Anne Boleyn the maid. The rye and the birds have been seen to represent a tribute sent to Henry VII, and on another level, the term "pocketful of rye" may in fact refer to an older term of measurement. The number 24 has been tied to the Reformation and the printing of the English Bible with 24 letters. From a folklorish tradition, the blackbird taking the maid's nose has been seen as a demon stealing her soul.

No corroborative evidence has been found to support these theories and given that the earliest version has only one stanza and mentions "naughty boys" and not blackbirds, they can only be applicable if it is assumed that more recently printed versions accurately preserve an older tradition.

(Entremet or subtlety, an elaborate form of dish common in Europe, particularly England and France, during the late Middle Ages.)

There's a pun on pie and magpie and the author Pye.  Magpies are related to crows (black birds) and behave like mockingbirds although they're not closely related.  Birds which are good at mimicry and harbingers of death...hmmm...definitely getting a Littlefinger vibe here, and he does so love sticking his 'little finger' in every pie..!

In the nursery rhyme 'the maid' is the main casualty.  The maid at the wedding is Sansa (she was described as the maid in the prophecy), and she is likely the main casualty of LF's whole conspiracy (besides Joffrey).

Regarding the 'true' vs. 'false' pie, this is an example of LF's diversionary tactics, creating a dazzling commotion while singing sweet songs as a kind of sleight of hand to distract from the poisonous main action.  Never trust any dish LF serves up to you (she shouldn't have eaten that pomegranate, not to mention all those lemon pies!)

I'm not sure how the 'pecking off her nose' figures into the whole theory; I'll leave the 'nose' /'knows' thing up to you to unpack!  I will note, however, that Anne Boleyn lost more than her nose, so it is a rather facetious understatement if the rhyme originally referred to Henry VIII and his ill-fated wives (reminiscent of Lord Baelish's similarly ill-fated wife/wives...) 

It would be too simple to talk of a strict demarcation between rebirth vs. death, since some of the birds in the so-called 'rebirth' pie are inevitably harmed and killed in the process of the 'festivities.' Lysa of course flew out of the 'pie' he'd baked for her, just in the opposite direction, when he 'made her fly' out of the Eyrie (a nest) via the moon door.  If history is any indication, Sansa the little dove needs to get away from him ASAP!

Out of interest, there's this passage in which Littlefinger uses the birds flying out of a pie analogy in his 'witty' banter with Catelyn.  Notice his words are taken verbatim from the nursery rhyme, thereby connecting him both to the nursery rhyme and the pie at the 'purple wedding':

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Eddard IV

"It is more than that," Catelyn insisted. "Ser Rodrik spoke to Ser Aron Santagar in all secrecy, yet somehow the Spider knew of their conversation. I fear that man."

Littlefinger smiled. "Leave Lord Varys to me, sweet lady. If you will permit me a small obscenity—and where better for it than here—I hold the man's balls in the palm of my hand." He cupped his fingers, smiling. "Or would, if he were a man, or had any balls. You see, if the pie is opened, the birds begin to sing, and Varys would not like that. Were I you, I would worry more about the Lannisters and less about the eunuch."

Ironically, the person Catelyn should have most worried about was not Varys nor any of the Lannisters, but the Mockingbird himself! 

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On 4/26/2016 at 8:38 PM, ravenous reader said:

I haven't been following all your 'pie' thoughts, so not sure if you've factored in the following rather malicious nursery rhyme which is surely an allusion:

...

In the nursery rhyme 'the maid' is the main casualty.  The maid at the wedding is Sansa (she was described as the maid in the prophecy), and she is likely the main casualty of LF's whole conspiracy (besides Joffrey).

...

It would be too simple to talk of a strict demarcation between rebirth vs. death, since some of the birds in the so-called 'rebirth' pie are inevitably harmed and killed in the process of the 'festivities.' Lysa of course flew out of the 'pie' he'd baked for her, just in the opposite direction, when he 'made her fly' out of the Eyrie (a nest) via the moon door.  If history is any indication, Sansa the little dove needs to get away from him ASAP!

Out of interest, there's this passage in which Littlefinger uses the birds flying out of a pie analogy in his 'witty' banter with Catelyn.  Notice his words are taken verbatim from the nursery rhyme, thereby connecting him both to the nursery rhyme and the pie at the 'purple wedding':

Ironically, the person Catelyn should have most worried about was not Varys nor any of the Lannisters, but the Mockingbird himself! 

I wrote a big ol' blah blah blah response to your thoughtful ideas, ravenous reader, and was putting the final touches on it last night, hit the wrong button somehow and - poof! - it disappeared. I just got over my period of grieving and will try to reconstruct some of the main points in a more concise comment now. Starting with the possible puns or other wordplay:

spies / pies / flies / dies / eyes;

tart / Tarth

Your direct comparison of the nursery rhyme to the ASOIAF plot elements is right on, I think. Sansa is the maid, but Margaery is also the maid (or anti-maid, as I like to call her), still a virgin after all of her marriages. With the blackbird pecking off the maid's nose, it is interesting to compare Sansa to Tyrion, who had his nose cut off in battle. Maybe the meaning of all this will become clearer when we find out whether Jeyne Poole / fArya loses the tip of her nose to frostbite.

I also really like your point comparing Lysa flying out of the moon door to the birds flying out of the pie. What are the other flying deaths in the books? Dolorous Edd recalls a friend who died from a fall but who was "lucky" because he managed to avoid landing on rocks. One of Arya's three deaths presented by Jaqen H'ghar at Harrenhal is a falling death, and one of the serial deaths at Ramsay Bolton's Winterfell is a falling death. I'm also thinking of the "stag men" who Joffrey has loaded into trebuchets and thrown over the walls into Stannis's approaching army. I wonder if these are all "flying" deaths, and whether they carry the same meaning? Should they be contrasted with deaths of people who are caged or nailed to a perch?

Bran fell when Jaime pushed him off the old keep, but he did not die as a result of the fall because he learned to fly, i.e., he became a greenseer. If flying and seeing are synonymous, that might explain why Petyr Baelish says that Varys doesn't want the pie opened. Varys controls the little birds if they bring their information only to him; if the pie is opened, maybe he no longer has control of the information flow. This line of thought caused me to think of the possible pies / spies connection.

There is something else worth noting in the Littlefinger remark to Catelyn and Ned about Varys's pie anxiety:

Littlefinger smiled. "Leave Lord Varys to me, sweet lady. If you will permit me a small obscenity—and where better for it than here—I hold the man's balls in the palm of my hand." He cupped his fingers, smiling. "Or would, if he were a man, or had any balls. You see, if the pie is opened, the birds begin to sing, and Varys would not like that. Were I you, I would worry more about the Lannisters and less about the eunuch."

The reference to holding balls in one's hand evokes the motif of jugglers. Butterbumps is one of GRRM's wise fools who not only juggles, but also has a scene involving breaking open an egg (he tells Sansa to open it) and chicks running all over a supper table, up a girl's sleeve, emerging from his mouth, etc. He then sings ("the birds began to sing"?) to cover up Sansa's conversation with the Queen of Thorns and Margaery so that Varys's spies can't hear them. How would this connect to Littlefinger's juggling and pie metaphors? Varys doesn't actually have balls, so maybe Petyr isn't the juggler he claims to be.

I'm also still uncertain about the connection between Joffrey's fake pie, the real pigeon pie he eats, and Arya's genuine friend, Hot Pie. Here's a revised version of something I wrote that got buried on the Small Questions thread:

... the pie Joffrey eats, with hot spiced pigeon meat in it, is suspected as a possible source of the poison that kills him. Joffrey himself implicates the pie with his "kof the pie" dying words. So do we have birth pie and death pie side by side? If so, why?

Additional possible clues that I haven't sorted out yet: Arya's friend Hot Pie. He comes from King's Landing with her, and Arya beats him with her wooden sword (like Joffrey and Margaery, cutting the big pie?). He then stays with Gendry, who may be the "true" heir of Robert Baratheon.

So maybe the "fake" pie that couldn't be eaten is associated with Joffrey, who is not Robert's "real" son, and the "real" Hot Pie, who produces bread for others, is associated with Gendry, who is Robert's real son, (and/or is associated with Arya who is the anti-Joffrey after her wolf bites him).

At Harrenhal, Hot Pie also makes fruit tarts for Vargo Hoat, who later almost kills Brienne of Tarth. (Arya steals one of the tarts just before liberating the northern bannermen from the dungeon at Harrenhal, even though it turns out they didn't need liberating. This may connect to the "cell" wordplay that The Fattest Leech pointed out earlier on this thread, and I've been considering whether Pycelle is supposed to be a match for pie shell, which would be a crust that has no filling, and could link all of this pie-rebirth theorizing to the jail cell-rebirth scenes.) Brienne is linked with Gendry now, as she recognizes him as a dead ringer for her beloved Renly and the likely son of King Robert. So I would infer that there is a tart / Tarth connection of some kind.

There is a Pandora's Box symbol when Arya gives Jaqen H'ghar the hatchet to break out of the prison wagon in Yoren's wagon train. Maybe the pie is Joffrey's (and/or Margaery's) Pandora's Box?

Soon after Arya escapes the Red Keep, she catches and kills a pigeon, planning to sell the meat to buy food. But it falls out of her belt before she can get any value out of it. Does this clarify anything about the pigeon pie?

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On 4/27/2016 at 6:47 PM, Seams said:

If flying and seeing are synonymous, that might explain why Petyr Baelish says that Varys doesn't want the pie opened. Varys controls the little birds if they bring their information only to him; if the pie is opened, maybe he no longer has control of the information flow. This line of thought caused me to think of the possible pies / spies connection.

A new thought connected to this: Wex Pyke. Pie - k. Here is a perfect example of a spy who initially cannot speak. But Manderly's people are teaching him his letters. Obviously, Manderly has an interesting pie connection. Wex is also described as having eyes that look older than the boy himself looks (Davos POV), which implies wisdom and a good "watcher." His first great spy / pie observation is made from high in the branches of the Winterfell heart tree (Bran link and bird allusion), where he watches Ramsay sack the castle as well as the escape of Bran and Rickon.

Maybe the metaphor of opening the pie has to do with people escaping a castle: the pie-cutting at Joffrey's wedding reception is followed by Sansa, Tyrion, and Littlefinger leaving the Red Keep. Maybe also Ser Dontos, although he doesn't go far. Wex Pyke escapes the sack of Winterfell and sees others escaping. The alleged Frey pies are served at Ramsay Bolton's wedding feast at Winterfell, and soon Theon and Jeyne Poole / fArya make their escape. Arya steals a tart at Harrenhal and soon escapes with Gendry and Hot Pie. Maybe the murder of Pycelle by Varys symbolizes another cutting of a pie, and necessarily precedes Varys's escape from King's Landing.

I wonder whether pies must be "opened" by (or for) rulers or future rulers? You could argue that Wex Pyke is "opened" by Theon, who takes him on as a squire. (Edit: More likely, teaching him his letters, done by team Manderly, is the "pie-k opening" for Wex.) Theon and Arya are on my short list of characters with huge potential, although maybe Theon's turn as "Prince of Winterfell" will be all the royal time he gets.

If this idea of escaping a castle is correct, this helps me to understand why Mad King Aerys had the alchemists make the wild fire grenades in the shapes of fruit. He wanted the pie that was the Red Keep (King's Landing? Westeros?) opened from within, by its own fruit filling.

Anyone care to work out the sky cell / pie shell connection?

Edited by Seams

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My post to you has also disappeared!  The system seems to be crashing a lot.

21 hours ago, Seams said:

Bran fell when Jaime pushed him off the old keep, but he did not die as a result of the fall because he learned to fly, i.e., he became a greenseer. If flying and seeing are synonymous, that might explain why Petyr Baelish says that Varys doesn't want the pie opened. Varys controls the little birds if they bring their information only to him; if the pie is opened, maybe he no longer has control of the information flow. This line of thought caused me to think of the possible pies / spies connection.

There is something else worth noting in the Littlefinger remark to Catelyn and Ned about Varys's pie anxiety:

Littlefinger smiled. "Leave Lord Varys to me, sweet lady. If you will permit me a small obscenity—and where better for it than here—I hold the man's balls in the palm of my hand." He cupped his fingers, smiling. "Or would, if he were a man, or had any balls. You see, if the pie is opened, the birds begin to sing, and Varys would not like that. Were I you, I would worry more about the Lannisters and less about the eunuch."

The reference to holding balls in one's hand evokes the motif of jugglers. Butterbumps is one of GRRM's wise fools who not only juggles, but also has a scene involving breaking open an egg (he tells Sansa to open it) and chicks running all over a supper table, up a girl's sleeve, emerging from his mouth, etc. He then sings ("the birds began to sing"?) to cover up Sansa's conversation with the Queen of Thorns and Margaery so that Varys's spies can't hear them. How would this connect to Littlefinger's juggling and pie metaphors? Varys doesn't actually have balls, so maybe Petyr isn't the juggler he claims to be.

Nice inclusion of Bran.  Flying, seeing and singing are probably more or less synonymous.  Bran was originally pushed from the tower because he'd gazed on forbidden knowledge and the twins feared what 'songs' he might 'sing' of what he'd seen to the adults.  @Tijgy has recently talked about the prison/liberation imagery associated with him.  Bran is the winged wolf imprisoned by stone chains which the three-eyed crow tries to peck at in order to release him and open his 'third eye' -- 'opening an eye' sounds like 'opening a pie' and both connotations are pregnant with symbolic meaning!  Likewise, another 'odd bird' Bloodraven was once a prisoner in the Red Keep dungeon before being 'released' to go the Wall, freeing him up to complete his greenseeing journey. 

21 hours ago, Seams said:

(Arya steals one of the tarts just before liberating the northern bannermen from the dungeon at Harrenhal, even though it turns out they didn't need liberating. This may connect to the "cell" wordplay that @The Fattest Leechpointed out earlier on this thread, and I've been considering whether Pycelle is supposed to be a match for pie shell, which would be a crust that has no filling, and could link all of this pie-rebirth theorizing to the jail cell-rebirth scenes.)

I like the connection of pies/spies/eyes (you can also add 'lies' which are 'false pies'!).  In the course of investigating nursery rhymes I found an account of land title deeds being baked into a pie in order to smuggle them out at the time of Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, thus combining pies and spies historically!

The origin of the word 'pie' is supposedly from the bird 'magpie' referring to its propensity to collect (which includes a certain amount of theft of) an eclectic assortment of objects.  Thus, there is always an element of surprise and risk associated with opening up any pie -- indeed, Frey Pies spring to mind! 

Agree with the Pandora's box association, jailbirds sprung from the jail cell, rebirth theme, eggs hatching, the juggling (having ones finger in many pies is like keeping several balls in the air at once; testicles are also like eggs being egg-shaped as well as containing the male equivalent of eggs the sperm carrying the gametes).

The aspect of the maid in the 'song of the seven' is associated with 'making the birds sing.'  Thank you for suggesting alternative candidates for the figure of the 'maid' as victim of the conspiracy.  Other candidates might be Brienne the maid of Tarth/Tart (doesn't she also get half of her face 'pecked/nipped off' by Biter?) and Shae who becomes handmaiden to Sansa (and gets 'nipped' in the bud by Tywin and Tyrion shortly following the wedding).  What do you think is the significance of Shae's repeated insistence to being present at the wedding so that she can watch the birds fly out of the pie?

3 hours ago, Seams said:

Maybe the metaphor of opening the pie has to do with people escaping a castle: the pie-cutting at Joffrey's wedding reception is followed by Sansa, Tyrion, and Littlefinger leaving the Red Keep. Maybe also Ser Dontos, although he doesn't go far. Wex Pyke escapes the sack of Winterfell and sees others escaping. The alleged Frey pies are served at Ramsay Bolton's wedding feast at Winterfell, and soon Theon and Jeyne Poole / fArya make their escape. Arya steals a tart at Harrenhal and soon escapes with Gendry and Hot Pie. Maybe the murder of Pycelle by Varys symbolizes another cutting of a pie, and necessarily precedes Varys's escape from King's Landing.

I wonder whether pies must be "opened" by (or for) rulers or future rulers? You could argue that Wex Pyke is "opened" by Theon, who takes him on as a squire. Theon and Arya are on my short list of characters with huge potential, although maybe Theon's turn as "Prince of Winterfell" will be all the royal time he gets.

If this idea of escaping a castle is correct, this helps me to understand why Mad King Aerys had the alchemists make the wild fire grenades in the shapes of fruit. He wanted the pie that was the Red Keep (King's Landing? Westeros?) opened from within, by its own fruit filling.

Love all this, especially the bit about Aerys' pomegrenade pie -- you are on the right track!

Have you considered incorporating 'pie idioms' into the pieology?  e.g. 'having a finger in every pie' (Littlefinger and Varys), 'pie in the sky' (Sansa), 'eating humble pie' (Joffrey), 'shut your pie hole' (Ties up nicely with the idea of guarding ones tongue lest something untoward slip out and away from one; also what about the possible mutilation of the 'little birds' so that they can't sing, e.g. Varys, Euron and Tyrion turning Symon Silver Tongue into 'singer's stew'?), etc.

Edited by ravenous reader

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2 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

The aspect of the maid in the 'song of the seven' is associated with 'making the birds sing.'  Thank you for suggesting alternative candidates for the figure of the 'maid' as victim of the conspiracy.  Other candidates might be Brienne the maid of Tarth/Tart (doesn't she also get half of her face 'pecked/nipped off' by Biter?) and Shae who becomes handmaiden to Sansa (and gets 'nipped' in the bud by Tywin and Tyrion shortly following the wedding).  What do you think is the significance of Shae's repeated insistence to being present at the wedding so that she can watch the birds fly out of the pie?

...

Have you considered incorporating 'pie idioms' into the pieology?  e.g. 'having a finger in every pie' (Littlefinger and Varys), 'pie in the sky' (Sansa), 'eating humble pie' (Joffrey), 'shut your pie hole' (Ties up nicely with the idea of guarding ones tongue lest something untoward slip out and away from one; also what about the possible mutilation of the 'little birds' so that they can't sing, e.g. Varys, Euron and Tyrion turning Symon Silver Tongue into 'singer's stew'?), etc.

I had forgotten about that detail of Shae's desire to attend the wedding! Nice catch! My reading of Shae is that she is part of a group with Bronn and Tysha - low-born people (or people brought low) who befriend Tyrion because part of Tyrion's destiny is to be the champion of the "little guy." If birds flying out of a pie symbolize people escaping or being reborn, her yearning to see the opening of the pie could represent her own wish to be free or her vision of the future as a place where others will be free. I suspect there is a big secret about Shae that we (and Tyrion) have not yet learned. Maybe the revelation will eventually help to make sense of her pie fixation.

I have thought about some of the pie idioms - "pie in the sky" was particularly intriguing to me, since there seems to be important symbolism represented by the way castles at the Eyrie - stone, snow and sky. I'm still debating how far GRRM would go down this road, though. The motif could turn into something very trite if he tries to incorporate too many allusions. He doesn't want to end up with pie on his face . . .

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On 27.4.2016 at 0:47 AM, Seams said:

I'm also still uncertain about the connection between Joffrey's fake pie, the real pigeon pie he eats, and Arya's genuine friend, Hot Pie

Some of my observations on Joffery's dove pie include the parallel to the Qarth legend of the advent of dragons - the moon breaking apart to release dragons. the pie being the moon. Incidentally, the scene with Butterbumps and Sansa also appears to mirror this legend. In this case, Butterbumps himself is a representation of the sun via his weight and roundness, the yellow 'butter' in his name that suggests the colour of the sun, the 'bump' that suggests bumping into the moon and the feathers that he breathes out of his nose, which suggest flames. In this case Sansa is asked to crack open an egg (the moon) which releases several chicks (moon is egg, wife of sun). Sansa is the one who 'hatches' the moon egg which in turn suggests that like Dany, she is possessed of an inherent genetic ability to hatch dragons. When Butterbumps gobbles up one of the chicks, little Lady Bulwer is distressed but to her delight, the chick reappears via her sleeve. I find this particularly interesting because the Bulwer gene represents a very rare gene, one that is present in only 0.4% of populations worldwide. Unfortunately, it's been really difficult to find more information on this gene. So in this scene we have what I term 'visual wordplay' in addition to a play on words with the egg standing in for the moon, Butterbumps for the sun etc. Butterbumps himself sings to cover up the conversation between the Queen of Thorns and Sansa. This is possibly a clue to the origins of 'singing' as a product of fire. @wolfmaid7's establishes a link between singing and the bonding process between human and familiar animal in her post on Those who Sing - in short, the 'singing' of both dragons and wolves establishes a bond between human and animal. In this Butterbumps scene, singing also serves to conceal a conversation between two people, one of whom may be a 'dragon hatcher'. So 'singing' may be synonymous with stealth or camouflage, concealment as well. And indeed it is. For in the case of a warg who bonds with his familiar animal, we have the element of concealment at work - a human in wolf-form will go unnoticed, but be able to observe what is going on at a given location - he essentially becomes a spy (pie/spy).


Getting back to Joffery and his dove-pie: the dove and pigeon belong to the same family but are different species. The doves that fly out of the pie flap from the windows and the rafters. They are not said to sing, but the musicians play a tune and Joffery and Maegery dance.  Doves are a symbol of peace, something that is difficult to reconcile with Joffery. The dove is most noted for bringing back an olive branch to Noah after the great flood, which signified the end of the flooding period. However, we still have the imagery of the Qarth legend in evidence here. The question is, does the wedding scene really represent the Qarth legend? The following gives me cause to pause:

Quote

King Joffrey and his queen met the pie below the dais. As Joff drew his sword, Margaery laid a hand on his arm to restrain him. “Widow’s Wail was not meant for slicing pies.”
“True.” Joffrey lifted his voice. “Ser Ilyn, your sword!”
From the shadows at the back of the hall, Ser Ilyn Payne appeared. The specter at the feast, thought Tyrion as he watched the King’s Justice stride forward, gaunt and grim.

 

Widow's Wail, forged from Ned's sword Ice is not the right sword for slicing the pie. Widow's Wail itself seems to be a reference to Nissa Nissa who was pierced by Azor Ahai's sword, into which her strength and soul went, imbibing it with magical properties. Instead of using the Valyrian Steel sword, Joff commands Ser Illyn to hand over his sword and on paying attention to the description, I can't get over the feeling that Ser Illyn's new sword is a representation of a comet. Ser Illyn himself is depicted in terms of a ghost. In fact, the pie from which the doves fly is a cold pie. I examined the 'Sing a Song of Sixpence' song in connection with these scenes a while ago and searched until I found the actual recipe of such a pie. It is a cold pie, baked in advance of including the birds, because obviously, live birds cannot be baked into a 'Hot Pie'. The birds do not sing but their flying is accompanied by music. I'm still ruminating on what this means but it serves as a distinction to the hot spiced pigeon pie served to the guests, of which Tyrion receives a piece. The hot pigeon pie stands in contrast to the cold dove pie. Arya's companion Hot Pie is a cook, specifically a baker who produces hot pies. Included in the 'hot pie' category is the pie that Tyrion eats as well as the Rat Cook's and Frey pies. These pies contain a jumble of ingredients - hot and spicy and are more a match for the dragon metaphor, even though there is no visible sign of dragons being present (or I have not noticed any). Let us not forget that pigeons were famous for their function in transporting messages - work that is carried out by ravens in the books. And though the ravens are alive, they are inhabited by the souls of dead 'singers'. So we could extrapolate that the 'hot pies' nevertheless contain entities that are able to 'sing', ie to impart knowledge or to send messages, i.e. the breaking of the taboo of cannibalism that took place on account of the Rat Cook's actions led to the ability to impart knowledge in this manner (dreaming, prophecy?) and all these are related to fire - the fire of the sun. I hope you can follow my train of thought :). While we are on the subject of singers, Tyrion has a singer killed and this man is turned into 'singer stew' and eaten by unsuspecting persons who may then acquire said ability for prophecy etc.?

So to take this further, what does Joff's opening of the pie actually represent? I'll have to draw on LmL's astronomical theory which postulates the involvement of a comet that broke the planet's second moon here. The guests served the hot spicy pigeon pie most likely get a slice of the hot fire moon that was broken. That too had to be cut up to be served as slices. Joff's cold pie could thus be a representation of the moon that still exists. It may have been hit by a comet as well but was not completely shattered. Instead, 'white doves' which could be interpreted as white meteors, or pieces of that moon that 'flapped' to earth, one of which was the 'star' that Dawn was forged from, the other being the 'Pearl' the first god-emperor of the dawn sat on. Perhpas the scene is also meant to represent the first or second forging of Lightbringer. To continue with the visual wordplay going on is the matter of dogs. Joff demands that Tyrion ride the pig, to which Tyrion replies that he will ride the pig, but only if Joff rides the dog. This identifies Joff with the dog and Tyrion with the pig. Tyrion himself later rides Penny's pig. Interestingly, a black dog sniffs at Joff's dead body after his gruesome death. Given that Joff's sworn sword is the Hound, a dog, this seems significant. Additionally, Dany is intent on revenge against the 'Usurper's Dogs', a list which includes the Lannisters. Joff is thus a 'dog' and his death draws the attention of a real dog. Joff is however more of a 'mad dog' of the type symbolized by Gregor, unpredictable and vicious. His own releasing of the doves (a symbol of peace) puts an end to his short lived era and indeed his sworn sword Sandor leaves his service before these events. Gregor himself is 'tamed', partially due to the Oberyn's poison and the efforts of Qburn who transforms him into a more controllable version and member of the KIngguard. Joff's release of the 'peace doves' that coincide with his death thus seems to herald the advent of peace in at least one area: the realm is free from the atrocities of the boy king. 

Now, I you ask me, I would say  there appears to be a connection between the white doves that Joff releases, the white ravens that announce the change of seasons, the advent of a controllable loyal 'dog' and the white walkers that appear in winter.  Additionally, 'pie in the sky' = moon in the sky... 

 

I discovered that GM has actually left hints to the use of puns and word play in the person of Patchface. I'll post that here if you are interested. 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Evolett

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53 minutes ago, Evolett said:

I find this particularly interesting because the Bulwer gene represents a very rare gene, one that is present in only 0.4% of populations worldwide.

What's the Bulwer gene?

Edited by Isobel Harper

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4 minutes ago, Isobel Harper said:

What's the Bulwer gene?

I found a mention of it in a genetic database where it was listed as a gene that was discovered while trying to trace the movement of populations in Europe. Nothing more was stated in the source, only that it is very rare indeed. As I stated, I've not been able to find any more info on the subject.

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15 hours ago, Evolett said:

Some of my observations on Joffery's dove pie include the parallel to the Qarth legend of the advent of dragons - the moon breaking apart to release dragons. the pie being the moon. Incidentally, the scene with Butterbumps and Sansa also appears to mirror this legend. ...

Butterbumps himself sings to cover up the conversation between the Queen of Thorns and Sansa. This is possibly a clue to the origins of 'singing' as a product of fire. @wolfmaid7's establishes a link between singing and the bonding process between human and familiar animal in her post on Those who Sing ...

... I can't get over the feeling that Ser Illyn's new sword is a representation of a comet. Ser Illyn himself is depicted in terms of a ghost. In fact, the pie from which the doves fly is a cold pie. ...

Let us not forget that pigeons were famous for their function in transporting messages - work that is carried out by ravens in the books. And though the ravens are alive, they are inhabited by the souls of dead 'singers'. So we could extrapolate that the 'hot pies' nevertheless contain entities that are able to 'sing', ie to impart knowledge or to send messages, i.e. the breaking of the taboo of cannibalism that took place on account of the Rat Cook's actions led to the ability to impart knowledge in this manner (dreaming, prophecy?) and all these are related to fire - the fire of the sun. I hope you can follow my train of thought :). While we are on the subject of singers, Tyrion has a singer killed and this man is turned into 'singer stew' and eating by unsuspecting persons who may then acquire said ability for prophecy etc.?

...To continue with the visual wordplay going on is the matter of dogs. ... Joff is thus a 'dog' and his death draws the attention of a real dog. Joff is however more of 'mad dog' of the type symbolized by Gregor, unpredictable and vicious. His own releasing of the doves (a symbol of peace) puts an end to his short lived era and indeed his sworn sword Sandor leaves his service before these events.

...

I discovered that GM has actually left hints to the use of puns and word play in the person of Patchface. I'll post that here if you are interested. 

I love the connection to the moon-hatching-dragons legend. GRRM has found so many ways to use the hatching and rebirth symbolism in fresh and non-obvious ways. Now that you've pointed it out, opening a pie with a sword IS like a comet "opening" the moon. Is it also like a ship's hull cracking open in a storm? Like a woman dying in childbirth? I wonder whether there are also metaphors that are "opposites" of the hatching / rebirth symbolism: ships trapped in a harbor by a giant chain, or people scrambling into the "murder hole" (hatch) of the Queen's Tower to find a safe hiding place? Rebirth symbols or echoes of the broken moon could easily take up a whole thread of its own - the wordplay is only a small part of it.

The idea of Ser Ilyn's sword as a comet had not occurred to me, but it makes sense, if you apply the moon metaphor to the pie opening. I am currently pondering the runes on the blade of this mysterious sword. I think there is a pun on ruins and runes - mostly we see runes on old stone monuments or ruins left by the First Men, and few people can read them. So I was wondering whether the use of the sword with runes might be an indication of the "ruin" about to occur - the toppling of Joffrey's reign. Maybe it even foreshadows Cersei's deliberate destruction of the Tower of the Hand in front of a crowd of dinner guests. Joffrey and Margaery together have to lift the sword to cut the pie, but soon only Margaery's hands will live on, "cut off" from the hand she has just taken in marriage. Similarly, of course, Jaime had a hand amputated. Soon, Cersei will be symbolically cutting of the Queen Regent's hand by burning the Tower of the Hand and (with help from Tyrion and Varys) losing Tywin and Ser Kevan. (Note also: The Widow of the Waterfront sends Tyrion and Ser Jorah on the ship the Selaesori Qhoran. So there we have a possible Widow's Wail allusion, an allusion to Tywin (his body stinks and he was a civil servant like the Qhoran) and a preordained shipwreck. While she is talking to Tyrion and Ser Jorah, the dagger sitting on the table in front of the Widow of the Waterfront has runes on it. Seems like a deliberate parallel, except Tyrion's "ruin" is a rebirth for him; I believe Joffrey's "ruin" is a birth for Tyrion and/or Ser Robert Strong.)

The birds flying out of the pie, messages carried by birds and singer stew all seem like very logical and important connections. I am also remembering how Sam Tarly inadvertently sets all of the ravens free at the Fist of the First Men without first attaching the S.O.S. messages to indicate that the Night's Watch ranging group is under attack. I would also include the burning of Winterfell library (and, possibly, Summerhall) in this batch of symbols.

Singers often tell truths that high-born people don't want to hear. (Or don't want others to hear.) I think you are right (or is this also from wolfmaid7's great post?) that the "message" is conveyed anyway, to those who consume the stew. The Freys who were apparently cooked into Manderly's pies were envoys, intended to promote communication. Manderly's "answer" may be conveyed by the pies he delivered to the Bolton wedding, although it may take awhile for the message to be clear. Tyrion did not eat singer stew and, as Joff pointed out, he did not eat the hot spiced pigeon pie at the wedding reception. So Joff finally "got the message" in his last moments before dying, but Tyrion still doesn't know (no nose) what he needs to know. I realize you are taking it a step further, and saying that cannibals acquire the ability to see the future. I don't know if I would make that a general skill acquired by anyone who eats human flesh, but it certainly would fit with the ideas of the Jojen paste theorists.

There was an interesting discussion a little while ago regarding the black dog that sniffs Joffrey's body immediately after he dies.

I would love to see ideas about puns and wordplay used by Patchface.

Thanks for sharing some great insights!

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2 hours ago, Seams said:

I wonder whether there are also metaphors that are "opposites" of the hatching / rebirth symbolism: ships trapped in a harbor by a giant chain, or people scrambling into the "murder hole" (hatch) of the Queen's Tower to find a safe hiding place? Rebirth symbols or echoes of the broken moon could easily take up a whole thread of its own - the wordplay is only a small part of it.

I like this idea. Coming to think of it, Davos does manage to leave the 'birth canal' to be reborn on the Spears of the Merling King and his sigil happens to be a very moon-like onion on a black night field. He makes his way back to Stannis who together with Mel wants to rebirth dragons from stone. 

2 hours ago, Seams said:

The idea of Ser Ilyn's sword as a comet had not occurred to me, but it makes sense, if you apply the moon metaphor to the pie opening. I am currently pondering the runes on the blade of this mysterious sword. I think there is a pun on ruins and runes - mostly we see runes on old stone monuments or ruins left by the First Men, and few people can read them. So I was wondering whether the use of the sword with runes might be an indication of the "ruin" about to occur - the toppling of Joffrey's reign.

This also sounds very plausible. I have to think about the rune/ruins connection. What spontaneously comes to mind is the use of runes in magic, specifically their possible use as a ward. In relation to the swords, perhaps they are meant to protect the user from the spirits of the dead. Payne is executioner, his job is to kill so it would make sense for his sword to be adorned with protective runes against the vengeful dead.

This brings me to the previous discussion on swords/wards/stewards which I found very intriguing. After some thought, I suspect Theon is indeed a 'magical' ward. Consider this: Theon is Ironborn and like the iron swords which keep the spirits of the Kings of Winter in their graves, he may serve in that function or something similar. There's the saying that there must always be a Stark in Winterfell. Bran was the last 'Stark in Winterfell' as well as the 'Prince of Winterfell'. Theon names himself Prince of Winterfell which may put him on a par with Bran - also, even after taking over Winterfell, he has not officially been released from his status as a ward - technically he is still a ward. The idea is strengend by the scene with Jon and Ghost, where Ghost serves as a sword/ward in the bed between Jon and Ygritte. The parallel here is Theon, who is also a 'Ghost s(ward) in Winterfell'. So in the absence of the Starks, Theon may be the presence that upholds the ward. His wanderings around Winterfell also evoke a sentinel on patrol. Now, Ramsay's efforts to turn him into Reek may represent the attempt to break the ward by taking away his identity. This may be the reason why Theon is 'no longer a man' and why the show includes his emasculation. By Ramsay's treatment, Theon becomes a 'stewed' ward, (or his manhood does). Symbolically, Theon loses his sword and is no longer a ward. But it's probably not as simple as Ramsay thinks because personal identity is not that easy to remove. First, the Boltons need Theon to be Theon in order to lend legitimacy to the fArya wedding. Roose thus restores his identity and then Theon is reminded of his name by Bran himself. Bran, in his capacity as a greenseer looking through the eyes of the heart tree is himself a 'Ghost in Winterfell'. Theon then escapes as Theon, leaving Winterfell unwarded at a crucial time when winter is vehemently setting in around Winterfell. 

Perhaps the Perfumed Seneshal is related to this. Since Jon is associated with sweet smelling blue winter roses, Dany sees the blue flower vision, coupled with the fact that he was a steward before he became LC, I've been thinking that Jon is the perfumed seneshal. Arya also mentions 'stinky-sweet' stuff - perfume that Lady Smallwood's maids dumped on her. So this is possible but considering that the whole point about the  Selaesori Qhoran is the emphasis on stinky and fragrant (Fragrant Steward / Stinky Steward), Theon is also a likely possibility. He was a 'fragrant' ward who liked to dress in nice clothes and adorn himself with jewellery and was turned into a stinky 'stewed ward'.

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2 hours ago, Evolett said:

...Davos does manage to leave the 'birth canal' to be reborn on the Spears of the Merling King and his sigil happens to be a very moon-like onion on a black night field.

...

This brings me to the previous discussion on swords/wards/stewards which I found very intriguing. After some thought, I suspect Theon is indeed a 'magical' ward. Consider this: Theon is Ironborn and like the iron swords which keep the spirits of the Kings of Winter in their graves, he may serve in that function or something similar. ... Theon is reminded of his name by Bran himself. ...

Perhaps the Perfumed Seneshal is related to this. Since Jon is associated with sweet smelling blue winter roses, Dany sees the blue flower vision, coupled with the fact that he was a steward before he became LC, I've been thinking that Jon is the perfumed seneshal. Arya also mentions 'stinky-sweet' stuff - perfume that Lady Smallwood's maids dumped on her. ... Theon is also a likely possibility. He was a 'fragrant' ward who liked to dress in nice clothes and adorn himself with jewellery and was turned into a stinky 'stewed ward'.

I think you're right about Davos and the rebirth symbolism. I hadn't connected the round white onions to the moon imagery -  that's a good catch. On my first reading, I did mark his statement about first smuggling life - in the form of onions - into Storm's End, and now finding himself smuggling death - in the form of Melisandre - into the same place. There is so much discussion of poaching and theft - people who are sent to the Wall or Vargo Hoat assigned to steal from the small folk in the Riverlands - but Davos is the main smuggler. I wonder what that crime means in GRRM's world of wordplay? Maybe bringing in the boatloads of white root vegetables symbolizes impregnating Storm's End? Only Davos knows how to find the small opening . . . If he smuggles in both life and death, that would fit with the "only death can pay for life" truism from Dany's arc.

This starts to get into a lot of detail I was going to post on a separate, "People as Weapons" thread, but I do have a strong sense of some of the wards / swords symbolism surrounding Theon. I think Theon's ordeal with Ramsay is like the ordeal the sword Ice went through when it was melted down and made into two separate swords. He almost forgot (forge) who he was but, as Tobho Mott says, the old swords remember; they don't like change. When Bran reaches out to Theon in the gods wood, Theon's hood falls back. I think this is the symbolic "unsheathing" of the sword Ice, and Bran is about to start using Theon as a remote-control great sword, bringing justice and pro-Stark dominion back to Winterfell. It's significant that Bran is kinder and more accepting of Theon than Jon was - he was more of a brother to him. When Jon was planning to desert the Night's Watch to join Robb Stark and fight beside him, he pictured approaching Robb in disguise - cloaked - and then pulling off his hood, similar to the way Theon is unhooded when he hears Bran's voice. Jon wanted to be a weapon for Robb, but Mormont persuaded him that he needed to be his own weapon in a different war, north of the Wall. Theon is Bran's weapon.

It was no coincidence that Lady Dustin went into the crypt (= forge for Stark weapons) with Theon. She had been a source of blood for the Stark "sword" (losing her maidenhead) when Ned's brother Brandon Stark was the heir of Winterfell. Ned's sword / ward Theon needed to be reborn in that crypt, so Lady Dustin was a necessary ingredient in his rejuvenation. (Lady Hornwood may have played a similar crone / rebirth role in Bran's arc, and Lady Smallwood played the role in Arya's arc, telling Arya that needlework is a good use of her time.) Just as Widow's Wail and Oathkeeper now show layers of night and blood in their steel, the reforged Theon has the darkness and blood of Reek as part of his new makeup. The "what's dead can never die" aspect of Theon's history is important, too: he was on the same "River Styx" boat with Robb Stark, Grey Wind and Catelyn when they traveled to River Run. The others in the boat died at the Red Wedding, but Theon is a sword and what's dead can never die so he is left for another Stark to use as a weapon.

I agree that there is more than one Perfumed Seneshal. It's a rich and original metaphor, and GRRM is having fun using it in creative ways.

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On 5/1/2016 at 8:16 PM, Evolett said:

In this case, Butterbumps himself is a representation of the sun via his weight and roundness, the yellow 'butter' in his name that suggests the colour of the sun, the 'bump' that suggests bumping into the moon and the feathers that he breathes out of his nose, which suggest flames. In this case Sansa is asked to crack open an egg (the moon) which releases several chicks (moon is egg, wife of sun). Sansa is the one who 'hatches' the moon egg which in turn suggests that like Dany, she is possessed of an inherent genetic ability to hatch dragons.

I've noticed some sort of dragon egg hatching parallel here too.  It's possible that the author is hinting at Sansa having the right genes to hatch dragons.  Per some theories, dragon-bonding and warging genes are one and the same.  Others propose (Preston Jacobs' Genetics of Dragons and War series comes to mind) that warging genes can at least substitute dragon genes.

Sansa is also associated with birds ("little bird," "little dove," wearing dove grey), and we see her "hatching" baby birds.  However, she has a growing association with bats.  The association with bats begins some time within ASoS, and the scene you mention occurs in the very first chapter of ASoS.  (Sweetsunray proposes that The Bear and the Maiden Fair, which is sung in this chapter, causes sexual maturation (i.e. a transformation) in young maidens.  Perhaps the song, sexual maturity, evolution from "birds" to "bats" is connected?) 

In addition to the Butterbumps scene, I note other allusions to Sansa being some sort of Mother of Dragons.  Her tummy flutters like a bat on several occasions.  Pregnant women often describe the first movements of a child in the belly as "flutterings."  Bat and dragons are described as having "leathery wings," Rhaego was said to have had a tail and scale, but wings... like a bat.  (Why not like a dragon?)  Daenerys describes The Harpy as having wings like "a dragon or a bat."  Viserion hangs in the Meereenese labyrinth upside down like a bat.  I could turn "Sansa" and "bats" into a whole discussion, but the point here is that there is some sort of connection between bat and dragons, and that connection is draw via the wings.  And when a winged animal (bird, bat, dragon) is described as fluttering, it's a description of the movement of its wings.

 

On 5/1/2016 at 8:16 PM, Evolett said:

When Butterbumps gobbles up one of the chicks, little Lady Bulwer is distressed but to her delight, the chick reappears via her sleeve.

Perhaps a hint that GRRM has another dragon (which the chick may ultimately represent) "up his sleeve."

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On 5/1/2016 at 8:16 PM, Evolett said:

Some of my observations on Joffery's dove pie include the parallel to the Qarth legend of the advent of dragons - the moon breaking apart to release dragons. the pie being the moon.

In the Qartheen legend, the sun represents a man, the second moon his wife, and the dragons spilling forth his child(ren).  The legend of the forging of Lightbringer is similar.

So a man opening a pie with a sword symbolizes the bedding that will occur after the feast, the many birds symbolize the many children the couple could have.  Perhaps the opening of the pie ceremony is a gesture of blessing the marriage with children?

There's a connection drawn between marriage and the bird pie in The Mystery Knight.  Although children are not mentioned, it's concluded that the birds represent what a wife might bring to the marriage.

"This is the proper way to fill a pie," Ser Kyle sniffed, cleaning off his tunic. "The pie is meant to be the marriage, and a true marriage has in it many sorts of things—joy and grief, pain and pleasure, love and lust and loyalty. So it is fitting that there be birds of many sorts. No man ever truly knows what a new wife will bring him."

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On 4/24/2016 at 4:19 PM, Isobel Harper said:

There's an "almost anagram" with Sansa, Alayne, and Alysanne.  Among theories concerning this that I recall, one is Sansa becoming a Good Queen Alysanne 2.0 figure, carrying a bit of "Sansa" and "Alayne" with her when she becomes queen.

Arya and Sansa hide under the identity Cat and Alayne.  Catelyn is pronounced "cat eh lynn," which sounds like Cat Alayne.  Arya and Sansa are symbolically their mother in new form, like their father's sword Ice is in a new form as Widow's Wail and Oathkeeper.

Alayne is also a near anagram of Lyanna and Laena.  Will Sansa's role in Winds and Dream bring her closer to a parallel to Lyanna Stark?  If so, in which way?  Will she marry a Targaryen?  Will she give birth to a child at the end of the series?  Like Laena Velaryon, Sansa could inherit the throne if Dornish Law was in effect.  And Sansa almost does when it's thought that all her siblings are dead.  Laena is passed over in the line of succession after a Great Council; Sansa is disinherited in Robb's will.  Will we also see her married to a Daemon Targaryen parallel in the series?  (Would Harry the Heir possibly parallel Daemon in some way?  Or is Tyrion a Daemon parallel?  :dunno:)

Adding to the name anagram topic.

Could there be a possible connection between Alayne and Elenei?  Alayne (and the similar names Alayna and Alaina) can be a feminine form of Alan or a form of Helen.  http://www.behindthename.com/name/alayna  Alan means "little rock," and Sansa is currently hiding as a "Stone."  The Greek form of Helen is Elene, which is very similar to Elenei.  The "e" at the end of Elene and the "ei" at the end of Elenei are both pronounced as a long "e."  (I personally pronounce the "ei" and "ay," but GRRM pronounces it like "ee.")

Is Sansa/Alayne supposed to be some sort of Elenei parallel?  According to some theories, the Baratheon tapestry that LF requested from Cersei depicts something regarding Durran Godsgrief and Elenei, and LF is pulling off some sort of Durran/Bael/Rhaegar 2.0 "theft."

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6 hours ago, Isobel Harper said:

In addition to the Butterbumps scene, I note other allusions to Sansa being some sort of Mother of Dragons.  Her tummy flutters like a bat on several occasions.  Pregnant women often describe the first movements of a child in the belly as "flutterings."  Bat and dragons are described as having "leathery wings," Rhaego was said to have had a tail and scale, but wings... like a bat.  (Why not like a dragon?)  Daenerys describes The Harpy as having wings like "a dragon or a bat."  Viserion hangs in the Meereenese labyrinth upside down like a bat.  I could turn "Sansa" and "bats" into a whole discussion, but the point here is that there is some sort of connection between bat and dragons, and that connection is draw via the wings.  And when a winged animal (bird, bat, dragon) is described as fluttering, it's a description of the movement of its wings.

Just a quick reply for now: I suspect the connection between bats and dragons is navigation. Have you ever wondered how dragon riders manage to steer their dragons? There are no saddles or bridles involved as far as I know, nor do I remember reading anything about commands. Of course it could be telepathic but if the Valyrians really engineered dragons, then providing for a means of controlling them in the air seems logical. The basis for this might be something along the lines of echo-location, though I tend to think the latter has been modified to involve light absorption via the eyes rather than sound.  Tyrion's and Bran's special saddles may also be a hint at this form of navigation/control over the destination of a dragon. I discussed some aspects of this on another thread a while ago. I'll try to find it and post the link. 

Edited by Evolett

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10 hours ago, Evolett said:

Just a quick reply for now: I suspect the connection between bats and dragons is navigation. Have you ever wondered how dragon riders manage to steer their dragons? There are no saddles or bridles involved as far as I know, nor do I remember reading anything about commands. Of course it could be telepathic but if the Valyrians really engineered dragons, then providing for a means of controlling them in the air seems logical. The basis for this might be something along the lines of echo-location, though I tend to think the latter has been modified to involve light absorption via the eyes rather than sound.  Tyrion's and Bran's special saddles may also be a hint at this form of navigation/control over the destination of a dragon. I discussed some aspects of this on another thread a while ago. I'll try to find it and post the link. 

Dragon riders do implement saddles.  During their battle under the God's Eye, Daemon and Aemond are mentioned using a saddle.  Aemond straps himself in, although Daemon neglects to; this was intentional.  Daemon later jumps from his saddle to Aemond's and kills him in the air.

However, given the unpredictability of dragons, their size, etc., a special means to control them (such as a telepathic and/or empathic connection) would certainly aid in riding.  Even if a rider could rely on their dragon not attacking him/her, controlling where they fly seems like it'd be a challenge otherwise.  The saddle more or less just keeps the rider from falling off.

RE:  Sansa's potential "dragon" and/or "warging" blood.

According to Lost Melnibonean's Peeling Another Egg thread, there is some sort of connection between dragon riding and eggs peeled and consumed during meals.  For example, Tyrion's egg in one scene "wanted salt," perhaps a hint that Tyrion doesn't have the right genes to ride a dragon.

Here is one scene where Sansa consumes eggs:

Tyrion scarce touched his food, Sansa noticed, though he drank several cups of the wine. For herself, she tried a little of the Dornish eggs, but the peppers burned her mouth. Otherwise she only nibbled at the fruit and fish and honeycakes. Every time Joffrey looked at her, her tummy got so fluttery that she felt as though she'd swallowed a bat.

In this scene, the eggs don't even need to be peeled; they've already been prepared and ready to eat.  They're not to her taste, however.  Perhaps this is a hint that Sansa could easily ride a dragon, but it's not "to her taste."  Perhaps she'd be too afraid?.

Also, House Tully might have Valryian blood, though distant.  When granted Harrenhal by Aegon I, Quenton Qoherys married Lord Tully's daughter.  His grandson Gargon (1/4 Tully) inherited after him, though ultimately died and lost the seat.  We don't know who Quenton's child/children were or who Gargon's parents were, but it's plausible that one/some of Quenton's children married back into House Tully, as first-cousin marriages are not uncommon in Westeros.

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20 hours ago, Isobel Harper said:

I've noticed some sort of dragon egg hatching parallel here too.  It's possible that the author is hinting at Sansa having the right genes to hatch dragons.  Per some theories, dragon-bonding and warging genes are one and the same.  Others propose (Preston Jacobs' Genetics of Dragons and War series comes to mind) that warging genes can at least substitute dragon genes.

Sansa is also associated with birds ("little bird," "little dove," wearing dove grey), and we see her "hatching" baby birds.  However, she has a growing association with bats. 

The death and rebirth motif is used in so many different ways throughout the books. I'm not sure the Butterbumps egg-hatching scene necessarily connects to dragons, although I do see ice dragon potential in Sansa's future. The bird motif is so strong with Sansa and the Butterbumps scene also gives us insights about the Queen of Thorns and Margaery, who is described as having a group of hens. So there could be a dragon hint, but it seems likely that there is also a continuation of the bird imagery. Who knows, though. Maybe they're all part of the same big motif.

17 hours ago, Isobel Harper said:

Could there be a possible connection between Alayne and Elenei?  ...

Is Sansa/Alayne supposed to be some sort of Elenei parallel?  According to some theories, the Baratheon tapestry that LF requested from Cersei depicts something regarding Durran Godsgrief and Elenei, and LF is pulling off some sort of Durran/Bael/Rhaegar 2.0 "theft."

I like this! I think there is a lot we haven't discovered yet about name combinations. I am also very interested in finding out more about the legacy of the "Big Four" magic legends: Lann the Clever, Bran the Builder, Durran Godsgrief and Garth Greenhands. Durran is the biggest mystery to me, and I am wondering whether his legacy is somehow hidden in the story so far. Supposedly House Durrandon's blood line lives on only through intermarriage with the Baratheon line. I have a hunch that Sansa and Gendry might end up together (or will have a significant interaction). So maybe this is a hint in that direction.

2 hours ago, Isobel Harper said:

Dragon riders do implement saddles. 

...

RE:  Sansa's potential "dragon" and/or "warging" blood.

According to Lost Melnibonean's Peeling Another Egg thread, there is some sort of connection between dragon riding and eggs peeled and consumed during meals.  For example, Tyrion's egg in one scene "wanted salt," perhaps a hint that Tyrion doesn't have the right genes to ride a dragon.

Here is one scene where Sansa consumes eggs:

Tyrion scarce touched his food, Sansa noticed, though he drank several cups of the wine. For herself, she tried a little of the Dornish eggs, but the peppers burned her mouth. Otherwise she only nibbled at the fruit and fish and honeycakes. Every time Joffrey looked at her, her tummy got so fluttery that she felt as though she'd swallowed a bat.

In this scene, the eggs don't even need to be peeled; they've already been prepared and ready to eat.  They're not to her taste, however.  Perhaps this is a hint that Sansa could easily ride a dragon, but it's not "to her taste."  Perhaps she'd be too afraid?.

Since this is the Puns and Wordplay discussion, I'll throw in here that I think there may be some wordplay around ladders and saddles. Tyrion has had the most significant ladder scene so far, I think, as he made his way up the secret ladder to the Tower of the Hand where he killed Tywin. There is an early scene where he takes the lift up the Wall and encounters Jon Snow, where he agrees to help Bran. That help takes the form of designing a saddle for him, of course.

Edit: I meant to note that swords and saddles both have pommels - part of holding on to either tool. So it may be extra kind that Tyrion provides Bran with a way to hold onto his horse, since failure to hold on was a cause of his injury. It also may indicate that Tyrion is knighting Bran - symbolically providing him with a "sword" he can use in spite of his physical disabilities.

The topic of Sansa's ability to warg a dragon or her association with bat imagery may be ripe for a thread of its own - it seems to have outgrown the puns and wordplay focus. I will say, though, that I was an avid follower of Lost Melnibonean's egg thread, and he looked only at examples involving hard-boiled eggs and ended up concluding that the hard-boiled eggs probably to do not correlate with potential dragon riders after all, because he found hard boiled egg scenes involving Arya and the Kindly Man and Cersei eating breakfast alone on the morning of Tommen and Margaery's wedding.

But this quote is interesting as a possible example of wordplay or a pun: spice and spies seem like an expansion of the pies and spies pattern (or maybe they are their own set of symbols). The pie Joffrey eats is described as hot spiced pigeon pie. I may be wrong, but I believe that spicy food is usually associated with Dornish cooking or Dornish recipes. Could this mean that the Dornish people who wander north tend to be spies? The eggs that Sansa tries but rejects are not necessarily hard-boiled eggs but she finds them too spicy. If anything, I would interpret this as evidence that a "fiery mouth" is not something Sansa wants to try - she will not ride a fire-breathing dragon. The bat in her belly does sound like the ill-fated baby with bat's wings that dies soon after Dany gives birth in Essos. There are numerous references to Joffrey as a monster. If he is the figurative "father" of Sansa's bat baby, it would not surprise me if a monster (ice dragon) is in her future, especially since Joffrey is about to die on the pie-er (pyre) that Sansa may have helped to build when she told the Tyrells about Joffrey's true nature as a monster. Sansa's rejection of the spicy food could also mean that she's about to escape the network of spies.

Before I depart from this post and from Sansa's food preferences, it occurred to me that there is probably also a pun around lemon and melon. Lemon cakes are Sansa's favorite food. Lemons are associated with dental hygiene. (Lord Commander Mormont - a bear - has lemon squeezed into his beer to keep his teeth healthy and Cersei - a lion - dutifully drinks lemon in water, even though she doesn't like it.) So there is probably a motif around teeth for which we should keep an eye out. Aside from the word scramble wordplay, the melon connection isn't clear to me yet. Ser Dontos hits Sansa over the head with a melon as a way to try to blunt Joffrey's anger in the scene where he orders Sansa stripped and beaten before the Iron Throne. The juice and seeds run down Sansa's face and she is grateful to Ser Dontos for his attempt to divert Joffrey's wrath. Is this a simulated sex scene, where Sansa becomes "impregnated" by the melon seed? There is also a significant melon in Penny's helmet when the jousting act is performed at Joffrey's wedding reception, representing a fake beheading. Can anyone think of other examples that might clarify the meaning of this little bit of wordplay?

Edited by Seams

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6 hours ago, Seams said:

Before I depart from this post and from Sansa's food preferences, it occurred to me that there is probably also a pun around lemon and melon. Lemon cakes are Sansa's favorite food. Lemons are associated with dental hygiene. (Lord Commander Mormont - a bear - has lemon squeezed into his beer to keep his teeth healthy and Cersei - a lion - dutifully drinks lemon in water, even though she doesn't like it.) So there is probably a motif around teeth for which we should keep an eye out. Aside from the word scramble wordplay, the melon connection isn't clear to me yet. Ser Dontos hits Sansa over the head with a melon as a way to try to blunt Joffrey's anger in the scene where he orders Sansa stripped and beaten before the Iron Throne. The juice and seeds run down Sansa's face and she is grateful to Ser Dontos for his attempt to divert Joffrey's wrath. Is this a simulated sex scene, where Sansa becomes "impregnated" by the melon seed? There is also a significant melon in Penny's helmet when the jousting act is performed at Joffrey's wedding reception, representing a fake beheading. Can anyone think of other examples that might clarify the meaning of this little bit of wordplay?

I'm not sure I can bring the two together meaningfully but perhaps there are a few interesting things about lemons, melons and weapons that I can share:

Since lemons are associated with dental health and teeth with swords (e.g. Lion's Tooth, in wolf-dreams/warging swords, spears and daggers are 'teeth), lemons could generally represent swords or else the means that keeps the weapon sharp. There's some support for this in the text - many who drink unsweetened lemon-water are associated with important swords: Mormont / Longclaw - Stannis / fLightbringer - Darkstar who calls himself Sword of the Evening and would no doubt like to wield Dawn. Yezzan also falls in this category but there's no sign of a sword around him. 

Citrus fruits including lemons are thrown at Doran Martel as he enters Sunspear by a mob demanding war:

Others farther back let fly with lemons, limes, and oranges, crying “War! War! To the spears!” One of the guards was hit in the eye with a lemon, and the captain himself had an orange splatter off his foot.

Cersei drinking lemon juice despite her aversion to it may be figuratively honing her aggression, keeping her wits sharp so to speak.

 

The connection between lemons and weapons (perhaps also wordplay here) extends to obsidian:

“The maesters say it comes from the fires of the earth. They call it obsidian.” Mormont snorted. “They can call it lemon pie for all I care. If it kills as you claim, I want more of it.” Sam stumbled. “Jon found more, on the Fist. Hundreds of arrowheads, spearheads as well …”

Obsidian/dragonglass is 'lemon pie' which kind of makes sense considering both obsidian and pies are not pure but contain 'inclusions'. The next citation is directly relates lemon pies to Aegon the Conqueror and to dragons

And Cersei began to cry. Tyrion Lannister could not have been more astonished if Aegon the Conqueror himself had burst into the room, riding on a dragon and juggling lemon pies.

Ageon is more likely to be 'juggling' a valyrian steel sword - thus perhaps the pie (moon) represents the meteoric iron while dragonglass gives it an extra sharp edge.

Then of course there is Dany's lemon tree and this: “I’ll take that wager, Ser Alliser,” Jon said. “I’d love to see Ghost juggle.”..

I don't really see the same imagery around lemon cakes, which in any case are sweet and likely to ruin the teeth. Sometimes they are served with frosted sugar - icing, making them even more of a health hazard as far as dental health goes. The only thing I noticed is a posibble (lemon) tart/Tarth connection: Though not mentioned anywhere, Brienne is very much a sour lemon doing her best to find Sansa the tart (lemon-cake), perhaps to prevent her from losing her 'teeth'. 

 

Melons

As per the discussion about fruit grenades earlier on, melons fall into the 'grenade' category. Almost every mention describes them as sweet, ripe and bursting. In Dontos case, as part of a morningstar, it's an identifiable weapon and also a comet reference, especially since it actually 'orbits' on a chain. The connection, or rather contrast between the melon and lemon may be Dontos himself.

Dontos means 'teeth' in Greek. He was a knight who 'lost his lemons', his teeth, had his knighthood and sword taken away and turned into a fool by Joff on Sansa's suggestion. One could take this further - he arrives at the tourney late, drunk and without his pants, exposing his 'lemons', which are taken away. Indeed, stripping him off his knighthood is akin to stripping him off his manhood. But without the 'lemons' as a honing agent and in his capacity as a fool, he joins the ranks of 'lackwits'. 

Bereft of a sword, the toothless Dontos defends Sansa with his morningstar melon. Sansa knows his actions are not an attack but an attempt to defend her by making Joff laugh. Everyone else thinks it's funny but he doesn't. She thinks of him as her Florian in this scene as well, which fits quite well because St. Florian is the patron Saint of Firefighters. Dontos tries to defend Sansa by extinguishing the flames of Joff's wrath.Three important Melon Scenes are associated with laughter (the above and the two dwarf-performances) and serve as a contrast to the sour lemon water drunk by other characters. 

In conclusion, lemons are related to teeth, sharp piercing weapons and a means to improve their sharpness, obsidian and dragons, perhaps also to wits/intelligence and masculinity.

Melons are akin to grenades, explosives and may be associated with defense, like the wildfire employed to defend KL. Perhaps also a lack or covering up of intelligence. There may also be a male/female thing going on here as in lemons/testicles, melons/breasts. 

 

 

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