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Inns: signs, kneeling and regime change. Help sort out the hinnts?

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We all know that the crossroads inn is the location of pivotal scenes: Nymeria bites Joffrey nearby; Catelyn takes Tyrion prisoner; Sandor and Arya kill some people from Arya's revenge list; and Brienne meets Gendry and slays two of Arya's demons. While the site of the inn puts it at the perfect location to mark turning points in the story, There has to be a deeper meaning. Why would Septon Meribald spend so much time relaying the detailed history of the inn unless that history carries meaning?

Some of the pieces of the symbolism started to come together when I reread the scene where Theon kneels for a blessing from his uncle Aeron, who pours seawater onto Theon's head, confirming him as a follower of the drowned god. Theon reminds himself that he is kneeling because this act of obedience is a small concession as he works his way toward a crown (as the future king of the Iron Islands). The kneeling takes place in front of an inn.

I realized that Theon's kneeling, crown and inn had to connect with Thorren Stark kneeling to concede to Aegon the conqueror, who took the crown of the Kings of Winter from him at that moment. Later, the Inn of the Kneeling Man was built at the spot where Thorren bent the knee.

So we have the Inn of the Kneeling Man where Thorren is "uncrowned" (although he rises as warden of the North) and the unnamed inn on Pyke where Theon is "drowned". How does this connect to the crossroads inn?

The earliest known name of the inn at the crossroads was The Two Crowns, Meribald tells us, after Jaehaerys I Targaryen and his sister/queen, Alysanne. Jaehaerys built the King's Road on which the inn was located. So the association of inns and crowns seems to be established.

But then the inn changed: a new innkeeper became an ironsmith on the side and "forged" a sign with a black, three-headed dragon. The inn then became known as The Clanking Dragon. I suspect "clanking" is an example of one of GRRM's wordplay clues, and that it can also be read as "clan king." The clan of the king at that time would be Targaryen, but we are getting a hint here that the Targaryen "clan" is splitting into factions as the Blackfyre line, illegitimate descendants of King Aegon IV, coincidentally adopt the three-headed black dragon as their sigil. Lord Darry, loyal to the Targaryens, chops the sign into pieces and throws it in the river. The wiki reminds us, "Eventually one of the iron dragon's heads washed up on the Quiet Isle, red with rust." So the era of the three-headed black dragon ends and it appears that the red dragon with one head has emerged - but it is rusty. Perhaps representing the decline of House Targaryen's power and influence? Too much madness, too much reliance on Hands of the King?

So the signs and changing names of the inn seem to be hints about the history of Westeros, whether or not a crown is used directly. The Bellringer Inn is another old name of the crossroads inn. We know that the Battle of the Bells was a decisive victory that proved Robert Baratheon's rebellion was a force to be reckoned with. So this name for the inn could have been an homage to that moment in Westeros history and the impending change in leadership. Speaking of which, the books give us another inn called The Peach, home to Robert's illegitimate daughter, Bella, conceived around the time of the Battle of the Bells. The sign for this inn is a peach with a bite out of it. Could this be foreshadowing of the injury that will befall Brienne at the crossroads inn? In A Feast for Crows, Biter will bite Brienne's face, removing a chunk of flesh from her cheek. We also had a famous biting of a peach by Renly as Stannis watched. Soon, Melisandre's shadow baby slays Renly, and Stannis can't stop thinking about that peach.

I can't turn off my instinct to look for puns and wordplay, however, so I wonder whether there is also a little anagram in Bellringer? Could "rebel ring" be a reference to the War of the Ninepenny Kings? Or does it come back to Robert again, who recruited a ring of supporters for his rebellion?

Once the author has established the inn at the crossroads as a hub for information about the Westeros monarchy, perhaps he uses these less central inns to provide additional hints that will tell us what to expect in the future. For instance, Davos has a key meeting in an inn on Dragonstone:

Davos had a thirst. He took his leave of his sons and turned his steps toward the inn. Out front squatted a waist-high gargoyle, so eroded by rain and salt that his features were all but obliterated. He and Davos were old friends, though. He gave a pat to the stone head as he went in. “Luck,” he murmured. (Davos I, A Clash of Kings)

Tyrion is compared to a gargoyle at an earlier point in the series and, at a later point in the series, we are told that sailors rub the head of a dwarf for luck. Does this "sign" outside of the inn foreshadow an important meeting between Davos and Tyrion? And will that meeting lead to regime change? This may not tie into the inn pattern, but Robb and Catelyn Stark have an important conversation at the tomb of King Tristifer at Oldstones, which is also eroded by rain to the point of being almost unrecognizable. Soon after that scene, Robb dies at the Red Wedding.

Tyrion has a stay at an inn that points to another motif associated with inns: metallurgy. We had the owner of what is now the crossroads inn making a three-headed iron dragon, and we have Gendry (heir to a king?) setting up shop as a blacksmith at the crossroads. When Tyrion arrives at King's Landing to act as Hand of the King while Tywin wages war, he discovers that smallfolk are flocking to the city in search of protection only to find that they are "taxed" of their belongings for the privilege of entering the sheltering walls. Tyrion doesn't like the hardship and suffering he has seen on the road, and he doesn't admire his sister's heartless taxation of these desperate people fleeing the bloodshed and destruction of the countryside. As he observes this strife and hardship of his sister's rule, he stays at an inn "beneath the sign of the broken anvil." The monarchy is not functioning as it should, in Tyrion's eyes, and the inn where he is staying reflects the "broken" condition of the smith's workplace.

There are other specific inns that seem significant:

Catelyn stays at an inn on Eel Alley in King's Landing when she makes her secret trip to tell Ned about the attempt on Bran's life. It appears that Jaime and Cersei stayed at that same inn (Jaime recalls in a flashback) when Cersei dressed as a serving wench and seduced Jaime until he agreed to join the Kingsguard. (Cersei later says that it was located on Weasel Alley, but Jaime corrects her.)

Bran III and Jon V in ASoS both describe an old, ruined inn in the area of the north known as The Gift, strongly associated with Queen Alysanne (who was strongly associated with The Two Crowns, the early name for the crossroads inn). Bran's traveling group decide to stay overnight in the tower called the Queenscrown, built by Alysanne, instead of huddling in the ruined inn. Jon's group of wildlings spot an old man and a horse trying to take shelter at the old inn.

Jon walked away. A rotten apple squished beneath his heel. Styr will kill him. The Magnar had said as much at Greyguard; any kneelers they met were to be put to death at once, to make certain they could not raise the alarm. Ride with them, eat with them, fight with them. Did that mean he must stand mute and helpless while they slit an old man's throat?
Near the edge of the village, Jon came face-to-face with one of the guards Styr had posted. The Thenn growled something in the Old Tongue and pointed his spear back toward the inn. Get back where you belong, Jon guessed. But where is that?
He walked towards the water, and discovered an almost dry spot beneath the leaning daub-and-wattle wall of a tumbledown cottage that had mostly tumbled down. That was where Ygritte found him sitting, staring off across the rain-whipped lake. "I know this place," he told her when she sat beside him. (ASoS, Jon V)

Jon is ordered to kill the man, but he won't do it and he flees the wildlings (with the help of Bran's direwolf) and begins his return to the Night's Watch. A significant turning point in his identity and his arc. What does it mean that the wildling orders Jon to "get back" where he belongs, and points to the inn? What does it mean that Jon tells Ygritte that he knows this place, and looks to the Queenscrown tower? The Queenscrown seems to bring us full circle again to The Two Crowns and Jaehaerys and Alysanne and an era when the realm was relatively united and at peace. What does it mean that both Jon and Bran are present on this stormy night at this place?

There are still a lot of details to sort out. Many of the inns are located on riverbanks or next to other bodies of water. There is a strong motif of apples associated with many of the inns, perhaps related to the peach symbolism mentioned earlier. Davos stops at an inn where he eats Sister Stew, a seafood specialty of the Three Sisters islands. Jaime, Jon, Arya and Bran all encounter ruined inns. Brienne stays at a number of inns on her journey - the Old Stone Bridge and the Seven Swords (a reference to the kingsguard). Sam Tarly finds many inns in Braavos with specific names (Arya, as the Blind Girl, visits many of the same places) and Maester Aemon relays a memory or dream: "I dreamt of Oldtown, Sam. I was young again and my brother Egg was with me, with that big knight he served. We were drinking in the old inn where they make the fearsomely strong cider." So there we have a future king drinking strong cider (an apple reference again) and a link to Brienne through her ancestor, Duncan the Tall. Speaking of beverages at inns, when Brienne and Jaime and Ser Cleos Frey stopped at the Inn of the Kneeling Man, specific mention was made of the ale that was brewed at the inn. Could there be wordplay around beer + inn = Brienne?

A number of the people staying at inns or encountering ruined inns seem to be central characters, whose names come up often in this forum in connection with predictions about the future of the monarchy. I think there could be something important about the future of the Iron Throne (= Inn or Other) hidden in the clues about inns.

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First, the inn is at a physical crossroads and a metaphorical crossroads. As you say, the Stark-Lannister feud boils over with the trial of Arya, and then Catelyn commits the first public act of aggression between the two houses. 

I don't see much relationship to Theon. 

Us folks who believe that Aegon is The Blackfyre believe that he is black dragon washed up on the shores of Westeros, red with rust. An some of us note that Aegon us one of the dragon’s heads. Others believe that the dragon heads symbolism is limited to the Golden Company. 

The George explained what he was doing with Renly's Peach as recounted here

ETA

I like the idea that the "two crowns" are associated with the black dragon returning red with rust. 

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12 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

First, the inn is at a physical crossroads and a metaphorical crossroads. As you say, the Stark-Lannister feud boils over with the trial of Arya, and then Catelyn commits the first public act of aggression between the two houses. 

I don't see much relationship to Theon. 

Us folks who believe that Aegon is The Blackfyre believe that he is black dragon washed up on the shores of Westeros, red with rust. An some of us note that Aegon us one of the dragon’s heads. Others believe that the dragon heads symbolism is limited to the Golden Company. 

The George explained what he was doing with Renly's Peach as recounted here

ETA

I like the idea that the "two crowns" are associated with the black dragon returning red with rust. 

Hi, Lost Mel. Thanks for commenting.

The crossroads location of the central inn is definitely significant. The roads are called the River Road, the King's Road and the High Road, but the inn was also located on a river (until the river shifted course seventy years ago). So I think we are supposed to see the symbolism of inns representing a chance for "travelers" to continue on a course or to go in a new direction. If the journey symbolizes the monarchy, the evidence before us implies that a changing of course represents a change in the ruling house or, at least, a change of monarch.

The Theon scene surprised me, too, but there he is kneeling at the site of an Inn with the declared intention of gaining a crown. It seems like a minor throw-away scene, but the details help to indicate its significance. Aeron is a "sour old priest" in Theon's opinion, and the reader can't help but agree. But his function in the subtext is to tie the contemporary Iron Islands and the Ironborn to ancient times and traditional practices. He is, essentially, an agent of the Drowned God. The ritual of pouring seawater on Theon's head can be compared, I think, to the "crowning" of Dany's brother Viserys with molten gold. Except Viserys' death is literal and Theon's is symbolic. Theon doesn't realize that he is being welcomed back as an heir to the Seastone Chair, but Aeron "Damphair" is trying to get him on that path with this wetting of Theon's hair (heir). GRRM has subtly and deftly given us a crowning/drowning that even the POV character does not recognize.

Aegon is a good match for the rusty dragon head that washed up on the Quiet Isle. It would not surprise me at all if there is more than one allusion at work with the complex symbolism, so the Golden Company would be another good fit. GRRM works with so many layers of meaning at once that there may be other allusions we haven't yet spotted. What else has washed up on the Quiet Isle that might offer more clues? The Elder Brother, possibly Sandor Clegane and his horse Stranger / Driftwood, six rubies (possibly from Rhaegar's armor) with a seventh expected. Here's how the wiki describes it:

Where the river meets the bay, the currents and tides wrestle, one against the other, and many strange and wondrous things are pushed toward the Quiet Isle. Driftwood is the least of it. The brothers have found silver cups, iron pots, sacks of wool and bolts of silk, rusted helms and shining swords and rubies. So far six rubies have been found, and the brothers are waiting for the seventh. Not all the river's gifts are pleasant, the brothers collect the dead as well. Drowned cows, drowned deer, dead pigs swollen up to half the size of horses and corpses, rivermen, westermen, northmen, knights and knaves alike.

The list of items here includes so many important symbols from a variety of story arcs. I think the dragon head sign is one of many items symbolizing an old regime that washes up dead but ready to be reborn.

The Quiet Isle is almost certainly linked to the inn and journey motif: it is a place where travelers can stay (but only if they have faith and can navigate the difficult path through the mud flats). Instead of a literal inn, Brienne sleeps in a stone cottage that is compared to a beehive and which is reserved for women who stay on the Quiet Isle. She also gains important insights from the Elder Brother when he sits down and talks with her inside the hive. The symbolism here seems to point to Brienne as a queen bee. So that fits with the idea of these "inns" as places where crowns can be given or taken, or where regime change can symbolically occur.

Your peach link didn't work for me, but I assume you were talking about this part of a GRRM interview:

In the second book Renly gives Stannis a peach. What did you want to tell us with that?
The peach represents... Well... It’s pleasure. It’s… tasting the juices of life. Stannis is a very marshal man concerned with his duty and with that peach Renly says: “Smell the roses”, because Stannis is always concerned with his duty and honor, in what he should be doing and he never really stops to taste the fruit. Renly wants him to taste the fruit but it’s lost. I wish that scene had been included in the TV series because for me that peach was important, but it wasn’t possible.
Of course I'm not contradicting this statement by the author. This is a good reminder, though, of how the peach fits into this larger web of symbols around regime change. Obviously, Stannis and Renly are meeting at a moment when both are determined to become king and they do not share common ground. I think the two of them represent aspects of Robert's nature - Renly is the young, likable, epicurean side of Robert and Stannis is the shrewd, ambitious and strategic side. Renly and his qualities are symbolized by the peach; Stannis and his qualities are symbolized by - I think - the BELL. We see this later when Patchface runs around Stannis with the bells on his antler hat constantly ringing.
 
When we encounter the Peach inn, Robert's illegitimate children, Gendry and Bella, cross paths. We know that Brienne thinks Gendry is a dead ringer (Ha!) for Renly. Maybe Bella's attempt to seduce Gendry is an echo of Renly trying to get Stannis to enjoy the peach (Except reversed? Who represents Stannis and who represents Renly here?). But Gendry rejects Bella's advances and the two part without discovering that they are siblings.
 
I know I speculated in the OP about a relationship between the Peach inn and the constant mention of apples in association with inns. But I think that's not entirely right (although both peaches and apples are part of the major fruit motif that runs through the books). Elsewhere I theorized that fruit with pits or stones have one kind of symbolism (possibly associated with bear pits and dragon pits) while fruit with seeds has another meaning (probably connecting to Robert Arryn's last words, "The seed is strong"). The Baratheon symbolism around the peach seems significant and clear to me now that this possible interpretation with Robert's two aspects is explained with the help of the Peach and the Bellringer inns. It also tells me that the Baratheons were not meant to establish a dynasty - they have pits where seeds are needed. I'm going to try to follow the apples to see if they lead to the next king or queen.
 
P.S. I have noticed that inns and brothels are sometimes considered to be the same thing. That gives me a whole new way of approaching Littlefinger, who eats an apple while he waits to take Ned to see Catelyn where he has hidden her at his brothel.
 

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On 7/23/2016 at 7:55 PM, Seams said:

We all know that the crossroads inn is the location of pivotal scenes: Nymeria bites Joffrey nearby; Catelyn takes Tyrion prisoner; Sandor and Arya kill some people from Arya's revenge list; and Brienne meets Gendry and slays two of Arya's demons. While the site of the inn puts it at the perfect location to mark turning points in the story, There has to be a deeper meaning. Why would Septon Meribald spend so much time relaying the detailed history of the inn unless that history carries meaning?

Absolutely agree - there is an insane amount of detail about this inn; also too much of a coincidence that major scenes keep happening there (I'd expect plenty of choice of inns on a major route like this). 

On 7/23/2016 at 7:55 PM, Seams said:

So the signs and changing names of the inn seem to be hints about the history of Westeros, whether or not a crown is used directly. The Bellringer Inn is another old name of the crossroads inn. We know that the Battle of the Bells was a decisive victory that proved Robert Baratheon's rebellion was a force to be reckoned with. So this name for the inn could have been an homage to that moment in Westeros history and the impending change in leadership. Speaking of which, the books give us another inn called The Peach, home to Robert's illegitimate daughter, Bella, conceived around the time of the Battle of the Bells. The sign for this inn is a peach with a bite out of it. Could this be foreshadowing of the injury that will befall Brienne at the crossroads inn? In A Feast for Crows, Biter will bite Brienne's face, removing a chunk of flesh from her cheek. We also had a famous biting of a peach by Renly as Stannis watched. Soon, Melisandre's shadow baby slays Renly, and Stannis can't stop thinking about that peach.

The 'Bellringer' might be a good place to try and crack the code (if there is one). It's not usual for an inn or pub to have a belltower, as this one does. There's nothing in the plot that calls for one. So I'd say it definitely represents something else, or someone else. It reminds me of this quote from Gendry (at the Peach):

Quote

He sat down on the bench, cradling a cup of wine between his hands. "Go away. I want to drink this wine in peace. Then maybe I'll go find that black-haired girl and ring her bell for her."

Boozing and wenching - sounds a lot like Robert Baratheon, doesn't it? And bells as well.

So maybe the signs not only reference the past, but also link the present (or future) to the past.

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1 hour ago, Springwatch said:

The 'Bellringer' might be a good place to try and crack the code (if there is one). It's not usual for an inn or pub to have a belltower, as this one does. There's nothing in the plot that calls for one. So I'd say it definitely represents something else, or someone else. It reminds me of this quote from Gendry (at the Peach):

Boozing and wenching - sounds a lot like Robert Baratheon, doesn't it? And bells as well.

So maybe the signs not only reference the past, but also link the present (or future) to the past.

Yes, I think the Bellringer might be an almost-anagram for "rebelling" or possibly "rebel ring" (see my earlier posts - I guess I should have a tl;dr summary). Since Robert's campaign for the throne is called Robert's Rebellion, I think the Bellringer period for the inn might represent his rise to the monarchy. I also see an association with bells for Stannis - the fool Patchface is attached to his family, and always wears an antler helmet with bells. But I might be wrong. I'd need to see Stannis visit an inn to get a better sense of his connection, if any, to this motif.

If inns symbolize a way to obtain a crown, it's interesting that we see Davos at that inn on Dragonstone (with his lucky gargoyle) but we don't see Stannis at an inn. The scene with Davos at an inn and the one with Theon being drowned/crowned by Aeron both very much hint at future events, I think. The scene with Brienne as the "queen bee" of a hive doesn't seem as likely to me, but I would love to see her ascend to a throne. Maybe she will be a High Septon? Wouldn't that be an interesting twist?

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On Wednesday, 27 July 2016 at 1:44 AM, Springwatch said:

Absolutely agree - there is an insane amount of detail about this inn; also too much of a coincidence that major scenes keep happening there (I'd expect plenty of choice of inns on a major route like this).

Well, yes and no. It's like rural petrol stations: there are only as many out there as the number of travellers can support.

Now, the Kingsroad is a major thoroughfare, so we'd expect a few inns. On the other day, if this inn is very big, sitting at a crossroads and has been there for a hundred years or more... and particularly if it's about a day's journey from the nearest shelter, although that isn't specified... then this inn has probably been able to see off the competition. So there might not be another one around for miles. It'd be like trying to open up your own furniture store down the road from an Ikea.

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On 7/26/2016 at 1:44 PM, Springwatch said:

The 'Bellringer' might be a good place to try and crack the code (if there is one). It's not usual for an inn or pub to have a belltower, as this one does. There's nothing in the plot that calls for one. So I'd say it definitely represents something else, or someone else.

You know, you may have hit on something here. On another thread, I was repeating my old notion that Queen Alysanne built the Queenscrown tower as a place to hide with her illegitimate child, but noting that the proximity of that tower and an old ruined inn in The Gift is probably deliberate. I bet the combination of the old crossroads / Bellringer / Two Crowns / Clanking Dragon inn with the belltower also has some important purpose. Maybe inns and towers are paired - like in and out? Or two sides of the same coin.

I remember at one point Jon Snow says he slept in a tower at Winterfell, and he soon moves into the Lord Commander's tower at Castle Black. A lot of people seem to think he was born in the Tower of Joy. Seems to be a pattern.

I also suspect that bell ringing may have a hidden meaning. The Battle of the Bells supposedly took its name from ringing sept bells that were warning the smallfolk to stay inside. If that were the case, wouldn't every battle be the Battle of the Bells? I imagine small folk try to take cover anytime battle is raging nearby. As you point out, it's also unusual to have a belltower at an inn. I wonder whether there was a relay of bells used as signals for some reason? Or maybe they really were used to warn citizens at both the Stoney Sept and the inn.

Has anyone done a "ley lines" analysis of Westeros? I wonder what kind of pattern might emerge if we tried to draw lines between significant towers or other features on the landscape? I think one of the theories of Europe's ley lines suggests that ancient features of the landscape (later usually rededicated to St. Michel or to the virgin) were set up with giant bonfires that could be lit to relay warnings from one distant location to the next. Maybe bells played a similar role in Westeros, for those who knew what to listen for.

5 hours ago, Illyrio Mo'Parties said:

Well, yes and no. It's like rural petrol stations: there are only as many out there as the number of travellers can support.

Now, the Kingsroad is a major thoroughfare, so we'd expect a few inns. On the other day, if this inn is very big, sitting at a crossroads and has been there for a hundred years or more... and particularly if it's about a day's journey from the nearest shelter, although that isn't specified... then this inn has probably been able to see off the competition. So there might not be another one around for miles. It'd be like trying to open up your own furniture store down the road from an Ikea.

The inn at the crossroads was full when Tyrion tried to stop there on the way home from Winterfell, as I recall. If they fill up that easily, there must be demand that can support another inn nearby.

One of the things that gnaws at me about the history of the inn is that the course of the river shifted 70 years ago - apparently suddenly - so that the inn is no longer located on the riverbank. Any geologists on board here? Don't rivers usually shift gradually, unless there is a major flood or earthquake? Do we know of any seismic activity in Westeros 70 years ago? Also, wouldn't the roads have shifted to be closer to the river? At least the river road would have relocated, I would think. Rivers are important resources and people would want to be nearby. What's up with this? Is this a sign of Children of the Forest activity?

 

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9 minutes ago, Seams said:

I wonder whether there was a relay of bells used as signals for some reason?

The inn at the crossroads was full when Tyrion tried to stop there on the way home from Winterfell, as I recall. If they fill up that easily, there must be demand that can support another inn nearby.

One of the things that gnaws at me about the history of the inn is that the course of the river shifted 70 years ago - apparently suddenly - so that the inn is no longer located on the riverbank. Any geologists on board here? Don't rivers usually shift gradually, unless there is a major flood or earthquake? Do we know of any seismic activity in Westeros 70 years ago?

 

Bells wouldn't work as a signal relay, especially in those conditions.

But would GRRM know that?

Rethinking what I wrote above, it's important to remember that GRRM is no expert and frequently makes mistakes regarding real-world facts and science, e.g. genetics, the height of the wall, and lots more. So I shouldn't expect the distribution of hotels in Westeros to reflect economic forces. Nor should you expect that the river's shifting course will conform to how rivers change in the real world.

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On July 25, 2016 at 10:06 PM, Lost Melnibonean said:

The George explained what he was doing with Renly's Peach as recounted here

 

Hey, that link is bad but I would really like to read explanation of the peach. Would you please repost working link? Thanks!

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On July 26, 2016 at 0:21 PM, Seams said:

The Quiet Isle is almost certainly linked to the inn and journey motif: it is a place where travelers can stay (but only if they have faith and can navigate the difficult path through the mud flats). Instead of a literal inn, Brienne sleeps in a stone cottage that is compared to a beehive and which is reserved for women who stay on the Quiet Isle. She also gains important insights from the Elder Brother when he sits down and talks with her inside the hive. The symbolism here seems to point to Brienne as a queen bee. So that fits with the idea of these "inns" as places where crowns can be given or taken, or where regime change can symbolically occur.

Hi Seams, I am curious if in any way the brothers on the quiet isle claiming that 6 of 7 of rhaegar's rubies have washed up and that they were just waiting for the 7th fits in here. I think it is fairly obvious that they are using Rhaegar's rubies as a metaphor. I was thinking about whether it was the 7 of Rhaegar's close friends (like Monmouth/Lem Lemoncloak) and others from the Brother had washed up....been rehabilitated and sent back into the world as "kings men" but I am unclear. I am pretty sure it isn't the actual Rubies from R's armor because I can't see how it would even matter if the brothers on the quiet isle had his rubies. So I am wondering if your idea sheds any light on the Ruby situation.

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42 minutes ago, YOVMO said:

Hey, that link is bad but I would really like to read explanation of the peach. Would you please repost working link? Thanks!

"The peach represents... Well... It's pleasure. It's… tasting the juices of life. Stannis is a very marshal man concerned with his duty, and with that peach Renly says: “Smell the roses”, because Stannis is always concerned with his duty and honor, in what he should be doing and he never really stops to taste the fruit. Renly wants him to taste the fruit but it's lost. I wish that scene had been included in the TV series because for me that peach was important, but it wasn't possible."

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2 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

"The peach represents... Well... It's pleasure. It's… tasting the juices of life. Stannis is a very marshal man concerned with his duty, and with that peach Renly says: “Smell the roses”, because Stannis is always concerned with his duty and honor, in what he should be doing and he never really stops to taste the fruit. Renly wants him to taste the fruit but it's lost. I wish that scene had been included in the TV series because for me that peach was important, but it wasn't possible."

That is pretty close to what I felt as well. I thought that was in the TV series, but I could be wrong. I also felt it was a call back to Renly being, as Cat said, a Knight of Summer. I feel there is a big generational disconnect with the people who were too young to fight in either Robert's Rebellion or in the Greyjoy Rebellion yet are now adults and the people who did fight. Like Loras ("yeah he is good at knocking people off of horses with a stick but which Knights has he beaten) and Renly who is in the shadow of, obviously, Robert but also Stannis. I wish they played this angle up more than the homosexual angle on the show...this idea that these young knights were seen as green and privileged and never had to battle....Tyrion even falls into this category. The peach is a summer fruit, it stinks of youth and sweetness. And that then ties into the quote you so graciously provided. Thank you, very cool stuff.

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5 minutes ago, YOVMO said:

That is pretty close to what I felt as well. I thought that was in the TV series, but I could be wrong. I also felt it was a call back to Renly being, as Cat said, a Knight of Summer. I feel there is a big generational disconnect with the people who were too young to fight in either Robert's Rebellion or in the Greyjoy Rebellion yet are now adults and the people who did fight. Like Loras ("yeah he is good at knocking people off of horses with a stick but which Knights has he beaten) and Renly who is in the shadow of, obviously, Robert but also Stannis. I wish they played this angle up more than the homosexual angle on the show...this idea that these young knights were seen as green and privileged and never had to battle....Tyrion even falls into this category. The peach is a summer fruit, it stinks of youth and sweetness. And that then ties into the quote you so graciously provided. Thank you, very cool stuff.

Consider this from when Daenerys entered Vaes Tolorro...

Quote

"I've brought you a peach," Ser Jorah said, kneeling. It was so small she could almost hide it in her palm, and overripe too, but when she took the first bite, the flesh was so sweet she almost cried. She ate it slowly, savoring every mouthful, while Ser Jorah told her of the tree it had been plucked from, in a garden near the western wall.

"Fruit and water and shade," Dany said, her cheeks sticky with peach juice. "The gods were good to bring us to this place."

"We should rest here until we are stronger," the knight urged. "The red lands are not kind to the weak."

Fortunately, Quaithe showed up at the end of that chapter, and later told her to remember who she is. 

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1 hour ago, YOVMO said:

Hi Seams, I am curious if in any way the brothers on the quiet isle claiming that 6 of 7 of rhaegar's rubies have washed up and that they were just waiting for the 7th fits in here. I think it is fairly obvious that they are using Rhaegar's rubies as a metaphor. I was thinking about whether it was the 7 of Rhaegar's close friends (like Monmouth/Lem Lemoncloak) and others from the Brother had washed up....been rehabilitated and sent back into the world as "kings men" but I am unclear. I am pretty sure it isn't the actual Rubies from R's armor because I can't see how it would even matter if the brothers on the quiet isle had his rubies. So I am wondering if your idea sheds any light on the Ruby situation.

I think your theory is a good one - that the rubies might represent seven friends of Rhaegar or maybe seven members of the kingsguard. I have seen an interpretation that the seven rubies represent descendants of Aerys II and Rhaella, with Jon Snow being the seventh. I'm not a believer in R+L = J, so I am not yet convinced of that theory. Here's the quote:

We have found silver cups and iron pots, sacks of wool and bolts of silk, rusted helms and shining swords... aye, and rubies.”
That interested Ser Hyle. “Rhaegar’s rubies?”
“It may be. Who can say? The battle was long leagues from here, but the river is tireless and patient. Six have been found. We are all waiting for the seventh.”

I have been thinking about rubies lately, and was planning to post something on the Puns and Wordplay thread about a possible match between "buries" and "rubies". Isn't it interesting that Sandor Clegane should be brought to the island and become a gravedigger (one who buries), just as the brothers are waiting for a seventh ruby?

I think that the three members of the kingsguard at the Tower of Joy didn't necessarily die. Or, if they did die, they may be doing a Lady Stoneheart thing. Or, if Sandor Clegane is the gravedigger, the Elder Brother says that Sandor Clegane died and this gravedigger and the horse called Driftwood are entirely new - these don't sound like literal deaths, but figurative deaths and rebirths under new identities.

For instance, I think Ser Mandon Moore is a made-up identity, and that Jon Arryn helped this dead guy to get back into the kings guard for some reason - a favor to Ned, possibly, or some prophecy that hasn't been shared yet with readers? Ser Mandon is always described as looking dead. I don't know which of the Kings Guard members he might be, but my gut instinct tells me that's where he came from. I suppose he could be Lady Dustin's missing husband, but who knows?

Because rubies are associated with glamors, all the people with the six rubies of the Quiet Isle could have hidden identities. If the word "bury" is a synonym for "hide," the figurative or literal rubies could be simply hiding on the Quiet Isle. (The name of which could be "Quest: I lie." But maybe not.) If the rubies are people, is Sandor Clegane one of them?

One of the weird hints that tells me there might be a kings guard connection to the rubies is the last part of that strangely-worded phrase from the Elder brother: "aye, and rubies." Could this be, "a Dayne buries"? On another recent thread, I noted that it's strange that the helms that wash up on the Quiet Isle are rusted, but the swords are shining. I think the Elder Brother is telling truths to Brienne, but maybe not the full truth and there are layers and hidden meanings behind his words.

Lots of interesting possibilities here. I wish I could give you a better answer to your question.

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7 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Consider this from when Daenerys entered Vaes Tolorro...

Fortunately, Quaithe showed up at the end of that chapter, and later told her to remember who she is. 

Very cool! Good stuff!

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Hi Seams lovely explanations of the crossings. 

I wonder did you ever consider examining the Freys since they are both at a crossing and the suspicious fact we have a very detailed family tree of all of Walder's descendants including their wives and husbands that married into the family?

The twins could be considered a Crossroads Inn. 

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5 hours ago, Pain killer Jane said:

Hi Seams lovely explanations of the crossings. 

I wonder did you ever consider examining the Freys since they are both at a crossing and the suspicious fact we have a very detailed family tree of all of Walder's descendants including their wives and husbands that married into the family?

The twins could be considered a Crossroads Inn. 

Interesting point, especially with the notable violation of "guest right" and the connection between crossroads and inns. Later, when Brienne is being taken to Lady Stoneheart, she reminds her captors that she should be treated with courtesy because she has eaten at their inn and Jeyne Heddle tells her that guest right isn't as meaningful since the slaughter at the Red Wedding.

Also, Lord Walder at one point mentions the number of kings that have slept under his roof.

This also make me think again about the connection between inns and rivers (or inns and water). The course of the river changed 70 years ago, so the inn at the crossroads is no longer on the riverbank. The Twins is on and in and over the river. What is the connection between water and inns? I think it goes back to the crowned / drowned wordplay, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

Are you saying that marriages are another kind of "crossing," like two roads that intersect? That is a very insightful idea!

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I think that crossroads are important. In ancient Rome and Greece, we had gods associated with Crossroads including Hecate who opened doors to the underworld. Janus too was connected with doors and cross roads.  I think Arya in particular is connected to the crossroads as she has many characteristics of Hecate.

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If the Wiki is reliable, the river changed course in the time of the Dunk and Egg, in the years preceding the coronation of Aegon V. Maybe another book is needed...

ETA Maybe we'll find out more about Brynden Rivers - and how he changes the course of history!

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