Jump to content



Recommended Posts

In Old Nan's stories the grumkins crafted magic things that could make a wish come true. (ASoS, Sansa V)

The people who speak of grumkins (or POVs that mention them) tend to be northerners except for Tyrion, who reads a lot. Tyrion is the grumkin king, with seven mentions (and a couple places where other people describe his beliefs or liken him to a grumkin). Sansa thinks about them twice. Jon, Arya and Bran (remembering something Robb said) mention them once each (Jon's line of dialogue comes in a Tyrion POV). Mormont, Varys, Catelyn, Qyburn and Asha Greyjoy (describing Stannis's discomfort around women) also each bring them up once.

Of the seventeen mentions in the text, the children tend to indicate belief or, at least, respect for the legendary magical monsters and, more importantly perhaps, for the tales in which they appear.

Tyrion starts out saying that they don't exist but then jokingly agrees with Jon Snow's suggestion that he himself is like a grumkin. When he visits the top of the Wall, he admits to changing his mind:

As he stood there and looked at all that darkness with no fires burning anywhere, with the wind blowing and the cold like a spear in his guts, Tyrion Lannister felt as though he could almost believe the talk of the Others, the enemy in the night. His jokes of grumkins and snarks no longer seemed quite so droll. (AGoT, Tyrion III)

Varys notes that he is impressed by Tyrion's ability to honor the existence of grumkins without directly or publicly admitting that they exist:

"I grow ever more admiring of you, my lord," confessed the eunuch. "...You give that black brother the men he seeks, rid the city of some hungry mouths, yet make it all seem mockery so none may say that the dwarf fears snarks and grumkins. Oh, deftly done." (ACoK, Tyrion VI)

Characters who react negatively or who indicate disbelief in grumkins include Catelyn, Robb, Stannis and Jon Connington. Dead, Dead, perhaps not long for this world and dying. Coincidence?

Grumkins tend to be mentioned as monsters the Night's Watch guards against, but they are also compared to Jaqen H'gar, women, something that hides in a woodpile and talking ravens. The Stark children associate them with Old Nan's tales where they might exchange a baby for a changeling, grant three wishes and craft magic things. Jeor Mormont asks Jon Snow whether he has, "a grumkin in your pocket to magic up your sword?" (AGoT, Jon IX). Interesting that people seem to think that the Night's Watch must guard against grumkins while the Lord Commander sees them as handy magical beings to keep nearby so they can make a sword more effective.

Is this another of the author's puns? Do his initials (GRRM) inspire the word grumkin? Tyrion is called a grumkin, and we know that GRRM has indicated in interviews that he identifies most closely with Tyrion. (Or am I misstating that? Is it only that he likes Tyrion?) Is GRRM making a series of jokes about his own omnipotence over ASOIAF? Is he a jealous grumkin god who kills off the characters who refuse to believe in him? As the author, he decides who will live or die or live again, who will get something magical to make their situation easier, whose wishes will come true.

I have to admit, I love this idea. I like the motif of reading and libraries and books and tales and songs throughout the novels, and I think it would be terrific if the author found a way to remind these characters that they better believe in authors and in him in particular.

I believe in you, Mr. GRRMkin.

grumkins / GRRM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, Scootaloo Stark said:

The real question though is... who are the snarks?

I know, right? It would be too obvious if it's just an allusion to Starks. Maybe the grumkins are the authors and the snarks are the editors? ;-)


Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Manderly's Rat Cook said:

The Tyrion grumkin link is interesting. Do you reckon this is related to the belief that it brings luck to rub a dwarf's head? 

Unfortunately, I think the sailors rubbing a dwarf's head for luck is more closely related to the murdered dwarf heads brought to Cersei in the hope of winning a lordship. Both misguided and demeaning ways of treating "small" folk.

I don't believe we see any stories where humans catch or touch a grumkin. The grumkin always wins.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...