Seams Posted January 13, 2022 Author Share Posted January 13, 2022 (edited) Quote He could hear the wind whistling through cracks in the rocks as they neared the ringwall. A voice called out a challenge. Jon stepped into the torchlight. "I need to fetch water for the Lord Commander." "Go on, then," the guard said. "Be quick about it." Huddled beneath his black cloak, with his hood drawn up against the wind, the man never even looked to see if he had a bucket. Jon slipped sideways between two sharpened stakes while Ghost slid beneath them. A torch had been thrust down into a crevice, its flames flying pale orange banners when the gusts came. He snatched it up as he squeezed through the gap between the stones. Ghost went racing down the hill. Jon followed more slowly, the torch thrust out before him as he made his descent. The camp sounds faded behind him. The night was black, the slope steep, stony, and uneven. A moment's inattention would be a sure way to break an ankle . . . or his neck. What am I doing? he asked himself as he picked his way down. ACoK, Jon IV. What is GRRM doing with the bucket and pale references here? Note that sharpened sticks or logs around a fort are called a palisade and a single sharpened stake for a fortification is called a pale. Pale can also mean fence. So we are getting a bucket and two pales in three consecutive sentences. When Jon Snow slips between the stakes to go outside of the fort, he is going "beyond the pale." In a previous Jon POV (AGoT, Jon VIII), Jon carried a bucket full of bloody meat. He used it to feed the ravens while Maester Aemon revealed that he (Aemon) is a Targaryen and said that he understood about Jon's conflicting loyalties to his family and to the Night's Watch. "Pale cold" seems to be a coded phrase the author uses as an alternative to "old place." Old places in ASOIAF seem to be special, magical locations. The Fist is one of the places identified as an "old place." But what does it mean that Jon Snow has no pail (bucket) or that he goes beyond the pale in this chapter? He is about to find the obsidian cache, and that may require going through a magical portal of some kind. Edited January 13, 2022 by Seams Fool Stands On Giant’s Toe and ravenous reader 2 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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