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SER SHADRICH, HIS ALLIES AND ADVERSARIES.. (Morgarth, Byron, Creighton, Illifer)

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5 hours ago, M_Tootles said:

He's got a staff, not a quarterstaff. I get that they're conceptually the same, but I do like my strict textuality with GRRM.

I think that's a POV thing: Daenerys sees an old man with "a tall hardwood staff" and doesn't twig that she's looking at a deadly weapon. But that's a quarterstaff, my friend. The biggest clue is when he beats the ever-loving shit out of Capt. Mero with it: he's obviously trained with it, as a serious knight like Selmy would have.

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12 hours ago, Illyrio Mo'Parties said:

I think that's a POV thing: Daenerys sees an old man with "a tall hardwood staff" and doesn't twig that she's looking at a deadly weapon. But that's a quarterstaff, my friend. The biggest clue is when he beats the ever-loving shit out of Capt. Mero with it: he's obviously trained with it, as a serious knight like Selmy would have.

For sure it is in-world. I just like the text tags. But inasmuch as Selmy has the staff while he's DISGUISED and he's a KINGSGUARD, maybe I can go along with that.

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@Illyrio Mo'Parties Shit. That "dappled grey" is probably the Horse Cleos rode under Brienne's guard, the one that dragged him to death.

 

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Brienne scowled, but the man who wasn't an innkeep met her eyes without blinking, and after a moment, reluctantly, she said, "Show me," and they all rose from the table.
The stables had not been mucked out in a long while, from the smell of them. Hundreds of fat black flies swarmed amongst the straw, buzzing from stall to stall and crawling over the mounds of horse dung that lay everywhere, but there were only the three horses to be seen. They made an unlikely trio; a lumbering brown plow horse, an ancient white gelding blind in one eye, and a knight's palfrey, dapple grey and spirited. "They're not for sale at any price," their alleged owner announced.
"How did you come by these horses?" Brienne wanted to know.

 

 
 
Pretty great if a horse that dragged a Lannister to death is now being used by an ingonito FM-type to transport the body of Tywin.
TOO great not to be true. I'm'a put it in the bank given the serving men thing and valar dohaeris 'n'at.
Now, how does this "merchant" end up with this horse, when last we knew of it the Brave Companions had it?
BTW, it "just so happens" that Brienne thinks of Cleos in the same chapter she meets the merchant.

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52 minutes ago, M_Tootles said:

Now, how does this "merchant" end up with this horse, when last we knew of it the Brave Companions had it?

Maybe the same way Brienne got it: he bought it off some BWB-affiliated douchebag, after the BWB took it from Lannister or Brave Companion forces floating around the Riverlands after Gregor retook Harrenhal. There's still one or two parties of Companions unaccounted for - if mem'ry serves, one heading down Oldtown way for sure.

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I'm necromancing the thread!  Just wanted to jot some more things down as per other conversations with folks who offered their observations and input here in PMs and on tumblr.  I think they prove interesting and support the case as presented here in the main essay, which compiles neatly everything discussed in this thread plus a bit more.  I will probably use some of these points in future expansion essays.  It's gonna be a bit all over the place, but I'm still in the compiling phase.  

The Maid on the Road with her Drunken Fool / Knight  courtesy of my tumblr friend maidenoftheforestlight:

The red is my highlight.

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Here are just some things I’ve noted as I scrolled through some of the references to Sansa in Brienne’s AFFC chapters in A Search of Ice and Fire:

Brienne I

At the castle gates she posed her question to two spearmen whose badges showed three red chevronels on ermine, the arms of House Rosby.

If she’s on the roads these days she won’t be no maid for long,” said the older man. The younger wanted to know if the girl had that auburn hair between her legs as well.

Brienne I

She asked all of them if they had seen a highborn girl of three-and-ten years with blue eyes and auburn hair. None had. She asked about the road ahead as well. 

“‘Twixt here and Duskendale is safe enough,” one man told her, “but past Duskendale there’s outlaws, and broken men in the woods.” 

Brienne I

“I know no Sansa Stark,” she insisted. “I am searching for my sister, a highborn girl …”

“… with blue eyes and auburn hair, aye. Pray, who is this knight who travels with your sister? Or did you name him fool?” Ser Shadrich did not wait for her answer, which was good, since she had none. 

“…I pray your sister and her drunken fool are not mistaken for the Stark girl and Ser Dontos. That could be most unfortunate.” 

Brienne II

“perhaps you saw my sister on the road? A young maid, three-and-ten and fair of face, with blue eyes and auburn hair. She may be riding with a drunken knight.

The woman shook her head, but her husband said, “Then she’s no maid, I’ll wager. Does the poor girl have a name?” 

Brienne II

“I am looking for my sister. She’s highborn, only three-and-ten, a pretty maid with blue eyes and auburn hair. You may have seen her traveling with a man. A knight, perhaps a fool. There’s gold for the man who helps me find her.” 

Brienne V

“We’re looking for a maiden,” confided Podrick Payne. “A highborn girl of three-and-ten, with auburn hair.”

“I had understood that you were seeking outlaws.” 

Brienne VI

“A girl,” she told him. “A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair.”

“Sansa Stark.” The name was softly said. "You believe this poor child is with the Hound?“ 

“The Dornishman said that she was on her way to Riverrun. Timeon. He was a sellsword, one of the Brave Companions, a killer and a raper and a liar, but I do not think he lied about this. He said that the Hound stole her and carried her away.” 

 

So… there was already a clear established parallel between Ser Dontos and Sandor in the books. Brienne is obviously referring to Dontos as Sansa’s travelling companion but based on the references to Florian and Jonquil (knights and fools and fair maids) and to outlaws and broken men, and the fact that before Sandor’s QI rehab he had definitely unraveled to the point that we could call him a drunken fool (who would’ve looked a knight to those who didn’t know any better) and indeed the fact that Dontos is already dead and Sansa never actually travelled with him (he never got to carry her away), these could definitely also be references to Sandor… there are also a couple of references to the “fair maid” having a sexual relationship with her fool knight travelling companion (If she’s on the roads these days she won’t be no maid for long)  …

 

 

The general framework of the maid and the drunken fool/knight/outlaw on the road remains accurate throughout Brienne's journey, it's just that the identities of who is filling those roles keeps getting switched around.  Most often it's a case of mistaken identity.  

Brienne first thinks she's chasing Sansa and Dontos, like everyone else.  Then from Nimble Dick she thinks it's two girls with Dontos.  The "fool" who Dick "fooled" was actually Shagwell, who dresses in motley.  Then she learns from Timeon it's the Hound who is said to have turned outlaw that has the Stark girl, who she still believes is Sansa.  Then she searches for the Hound (who is actually being impersonated by Rorge at this point), but when she gets to the QI she learns the maid was actually Arya and the Hound is "dead."  The players keep changing but the basic elements remain the same:  maid, fool/knight/outlaw, travelling together on the road...and the fact that she will not remain a maid long is repeated twice in the above.  

In the Vale, Marillion writes a song inspired by Alayne and calls her "Roadside Rose."  Right before he is about to assault her, he learns she is a maid:

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"I'm a maiden," she protested.

"Truly? Oh, Alayne, Alayne, my fair maid, give me the gift of your innocence. You will thank the gods you did. I'll have you singing louder than the Lady Lysa."

Calling her a "rose" and of course, plucking a flower/rose = losing one's virginity.  And fellow travellers on the road seem to agree that it's the drunken fool/knight that will do the deflowering.  While Sansa hasn't been in the Riverlands, she has travelled with Lothor Brune, a Sandor stand-in and the one who saves her from Marillion's assault.  She knows he harbor's a secret crush on Mya Stone, the bastard girl with noble/royal blood and she seems set up to play matchmaker.  I'm not going to go into it here, but there's a triangle of several direct connections and parallels drawn between Lothor/Dontos/Sandor.

The first mention of Sansa's favor which will be important later in TWOW comes from Myranda Royce in Alayne II, AFFC.  This is the chapter that leads up to meeting the hedge knight team at the very end. 

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"Randa. It seems a hundred years since I was four-and-ten. How innocent I was. Are you still innocent, Alayne?"

She blushed. "You should not . . . yes, of course."
"Saving yourself for Lord Robert?" Lady Myranda teased. "Or is there some ardent squire dreaming of your favors?"
"No," said Alayne, even as Robert said, "She's my friend. Terrance and Gyles can't have her."

 Myranda is teasing but she's linking the favor and "ardent squire" to who Alayne is gonna give it up to, who she is saving herself for.  The favor will be mentioned two more times in the sample:

Spoiler

First Littlefinger will advise her to not give her favor to Harry the Heir, who has been recently knighted.

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 "You will be the most beautiful woman in the hall tonight, as lovely as your lady mother at your age. I cannot seat you on the dais, but you'll have a place of honor above the salt and underneath a wall sconce. The fire will be shining in your hair, so everyone will see how fair of face you are. Keep a good long spoon on hand to beat the squires off, sweetling. You will not want green boys underfoot when the knights come round to beg you for your favor."
"Who would ask to wear a bastard's favor?"

Ah, but this should prove a piece of advice Sansa probably shouldn't follow.  Look at the proper knights she's connected to right now.  Lyn Corbray (yikes!), Harry the Heir ("Harry the Arse"), and all those knights of summer types who are playing tourney games while the world is falling apart outside.  She probably will do better to give her favor to one of the greenboys (or Greenman archetypes) and squires or the not-quite-knights.  But this is talking about the literal favor she'll give to a tourney competitor...  except when it isn't:

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"Should we ever wed, you'll have to send Saffron back to her father. I'll be all the spice you'll want."

He grinned. "I will hold you to that promise, my lady. Until that day, may I wear your favor in the tourney?"

"You may not. It is promised to...another." She was not sure who as yet, but she knew she would find someone.

Sex, sex, sex and promises.  If they wed and if he sends Saffron away, she'll give it up to him It's conditionalAt this point, all Sansa wants is to go home and marrying Harry is the hand she's been dealt, but she's not willing to have him flaunting mistresses about either.  I honestly don't think this is going anywhere since I think the action is set up to happen very rapidly in the next WOW chapter.  The important thing is that her favor is promised to a big fat A mystery knight, so to speak.  And since we're not just talking about ribbons, we're talking about plucking flowers, Alayne will spin the bottle and it will likely land on a competitor that would make someone like Harry jealous as per Littlefinger's strategy and the one who she will give it up to.  Well there's a few options available for some dashing fellows present that could also whoop some ass in the tourney.  Lyn Corbray is very handsome, but dangerous and volatile with a deep resentment toward Littlefinger.  No doubt he will cause some form of upset, but since the favor has a romantic connotation and Ser Lyn's preference for males seems to be an open secret... I doubt Alayne will choose him to make Harry jealous.  Mychael Redfort is expected to do well in the joust, but he's already married to Ysilla Royce.  Besides, she counts Mya as a friend and she's still heartbroken over being dumped.  I doubt she'll give her favor to him either.  Well, the other notably very handsome and dashing guy present is Ser Byron.  Blonde, tall, handsome, and for our purposes a quasi-knightish hired sword.  We know from tourneys past, the mystery knights don't have to be knights. 

Bran tells using ASOS while he's listening to the tale of the KotLT and the little crannogman who is Howland Reed:

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Bran nodded sagely. Mystery knights would oft appear at tourneys, with helms concealing their faces, and shields that were either blank or bore some strange device. Sometimes they were famous champions in disguise.

This is the very next tourney to appear on page after the Hand's tourney.  Who was champion in that tourney?  Sandor.  Who needs his face concealed because he's the most recognizable dude in Westeros?  Sandor.  Who has a strange device on his shield at the tourney now?  Byron's team leader, Ser Shadrich with his funny white mouse with red eyes -- but we know Shadrich explicitly does not joust.  Might he loan his shield to the real competitor?   hmmmm... we've seen a mystery knight in borrowed armor before at Harrenhal.  

Aside from her "favor," sex and promises also relates to who Sansa will sing for.  Florian and Jonquil is most importantly the song that is the one that Sansa suggested that she sing for Sandor when she naively thought he was speaking of a literal song.  He mocks her for it, but it's the one he'll want to hear later at the BW.  And he does remind her that she promised him a song and she assures him she will sing for him gladly.  While she doesn't yet understand it refers to female orgasm yet, she surely does sense it is an intimate act to sing a romantic song to a man.  So the readers don't have to figure out who Sansa's favor is already promised to at the tourney as she does.  We've already been explicitly told many times over who is it she is saving it for / promised to.        

Let me just jump back to Florian and Jonquil, specifically the song Six Maids in a Pool.  Maidenpool takes its name after the legend of Florian supposedly meets Jonquil while she's in said pool bathing with her sisters.  From the original essay,  Septon Meribald's Dog goes hunting in the low tidal pools around the QI and finds the hidden crab which is a moon/shellfish/feminine symbol.  Where is Sansa at now?  At the Gates of the Moon, the lowest level of the Arryn castles around the Giant's Lance.  It's the low tidal pool where the crab is revealed as the maid Jonquil is revealed to Florian emerging from the water.

----

I know this is kinda all over the place but this part came from a conversations with @The Weirwoods Eyes who really put all the pieces together and then everything made sense.  :thumbsup:

Sansa's Hawking with Margaery in the Kingswood Post-Blackwater:

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But the waterfowl teemed in the marshes along the bay, and Sansa’s merlin brought down three ducks while Margaery’s peregrine took a heron in full flight. 

In this context, the two are discussing suitors and marriages.  Margaery is telling Sansa about Willas, who she hopes Sansa will marry.  Of course, Marg is being manipulative and the Tyrells only want Sansa for her claim.  Sansa warns Marg about Joffrey, telling her that he will hurt her if they marry.  Sansa is genuinely worried about Marg's safety here, but the readers could also give Sansa the same warning about who she is placing her trust in:  Dontos.

The pairings of birds is significant to the next part of Sansa’s journey.  A peregrine is a type of falcon that takes the heron.  A heron is a waterfowl that wades around stealthily and preys upon small fish.  Littlefinger is attracted to Sansa’s Tully (fish) features and stealthily snatches her up out of KL making him the heron.  At the Fingers, they are both picked up by the falcon, Lysa Arryn and carried back to the Eyrie.  He's still a heron preying on fish as Lysa will face her demise by him.  Sansa’s merlin is the smallest type of falcon, which is what LF’s plan tries to do:  make her a falcon through marriage to HtH, who covets the Arryn identity on his quartered shield.  Of course, she’s gone from the little bird (parrot in a cage), to a dove that takes flight, to now a tiny bird of prey as she matures and sharpens her skills.  She's also acting as a surrogate mother bird to the little falcon, Sweetrobin.  The merlin is connected to three ducks, so we need to look for the trio in Sansa’s Vale arc.  There is only one trio that is grouped together consistently both in Alayne II and TWOW.  The trio of “odd ducks."  Short, wiry and fox-faced Ser Shadrich.  Big, burly red-nosed Ser Morgarth.  And tall, elegant, blonde Ser Byron.  A motley crew if there ever was one.  If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, must be a duck, right?  Not necessarily!  Petyr fully believes they are what they look like.  Just some hungry hired swords looking for work.  And the choice of “merlin” may be a tongue in cheek reference to Merlin, the wizard / mad man / prophet…  or the Mad Mouse ;). 

 Interesting parallels between Alayne's sample and Mercy:

While it's not directly related to the hedge knights, it points to who will actually try to kidnap Sansa for the ransom and why they differ from Shadrich.

Spoiler

Two social events are happening with both Stark sisters in attendance, a play and a tourney.  One at the Gate (the name of the theater) and one at the Gates of the Moon.  Arya or "Mercy" is set to play the part of a girl that will get raped in a play by a dwarf, which is a twisted telling of Sansa's marriage to Tyrion.  In the audience Arya spies the beautiful courtesan that she has kind of built a personal connection to:  Bellegere Otherys, the Black Pearl.  Arya says Bellegere is "so lovely that the lamps seemed to burn brighter when she passed."  It's because Arya is so drawn to Bellegere that she notices one of the guards standing behind her in Lannister crimson is none other than Raff the Sweetling.  She almost missed him completely!  So the Black Pearl acts as a "lamp" shining a light upon him, revealing her "gift."  Of course, the chapter ends with her seducing and drawing him away so she can kill him. 

A very similar set up happens in Alayne I.  We got Raff the Sweetling as the prey and Littlefinger's pet name for Sansa is "sweetling."  

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I cannot seat you on the dais, but you'll have a place of honor above the salt and underneath a wall sconce. The fire will be shining in your hair, so everyone will see how fair of face you are.

 Sansa notes that her auburn roots are starting to show.  The brown dye is fading and growing out.  It's not her face people are likely to notice, but the tell-tale Tully hair when the fire light picks up the copper.  It's the set up for a predator to notice and put two and two together.  If you recall, the Rosby guard asks Brienne about her sister having "auburn hair between her legs."  You know George can't resist throwing in a joke about the carpet not matching the drapes.  Might then someone want a look at the carpet to confirm their suspicion?  I sincerely doubt that predator is someone who already knows the secret, since this is about discovery.  Myranda and the hedge knights seem to know long before this.  My money's on Lyn Corbray who has a secret axe to grind with Littlefinger and who desperately needs gold.  We're made to think it's Shadrich that "stumbles on a bag of dragons," but Shadrich didn't "stumble" upon her.  He had a very good lead on exactly where to look for her.  It was deliberate.  It's most likely Lyn that "stumbles" upon Sansa purely because of her being unfortunately placed under the lamp and see a "gift" of vengeance and gold.            

I got more coming later for a full walk-through of Alayne II, because I it's really charged with hints about where things are going.  The chapter ends on meeting the hedge knights as a trio for the first time, so everything leading up to that moment should tie into that.  I touched on some of them in the main essay, but it got to be too much and it was going to get side tracked.    

 

Edited by Blue-Eyed Wolf

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Thanks for tagging me in this @Blue-Eyed Wolf I have grown to really love your analysis on this topic. 

I'm a bit busy making the worlds most enormous pumpkin meringue pie and jacket potatoes and chill for bonfire night. But will endeavour to come back to this at some point in the next few days. 

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Sounds delicious!  @The Weirwoods Eyes ^_^

The Tourney Favor as a Weapon

Now that I made enough notes (for now) on favors as sexual/romantic symbols, they also can be used like weapons that yield surprising results.  For Jorah Mormont on how Lynesse's favor helped give him an extraordinary victory:

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"To celebrate his victory, Robert ordained that a tourney should be held outside Lannisport. It was there I saw Lynesse, a maid half my age. She had come up from Oldtown with her father to see her brothers joust. I could not take my eyes off her. In a fit of madness, I begged her favor to wear in the tourney, never dreaming she would grant my request, yet she did."
"I fight as well as any man, Khaleesi, but I have never been a tourney knight. Yet with Lynesse's favor knotted round my arm, I was a different man. I won joust after joust. Lord Jason Mallister fell before me, and Bronze Yohn Royce. Ser Ryman Frey, his brother Ser Hosteen, Lord Whent, Strongboar, even Ser Boros Blount of the Kingsguard, I unhorsed them all. In the last match, I broke nine lances against Jaime Lannister to no result, and King Robert gave me the champion's laurel.

Now I'm not talking literally, but it is like wearing a lady's favor makes a man feel like he's got super powers.  He's a northman who's never been a tourney knight, but he's beating those Andals at their own games.  Jorah is on fire, winning joust after joust.  Just hold that thought about being "on fire" because I'm coming back to it.  What's important here is the idea of infusing magical strength, speed, and skill to a warrior.

Look at Brienne carrying Jaime's favor in the form of the sword itself, Oathkeeper.  This is the first battle with it where she wields it against Timeon:

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Oathkeeper was alive in her hands. She had never been so quick. The blade became a grey blur. He wounded her in the shoulder as she came at him, but she slashed off his ear and half his cheek, hacked the head off his spear, and put a foot of rippled steel into his belly through the links of the chain mail byrnie he was wearing.

And in her delirium after being wounded by Biter, she may as well call it Jaime's magic favor and she feels powerless without it:

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She could not fight without her magic sword. Ser Jaime had given it to her. The thought of failing him as she had failed Lord Renly made her want to weep. "My sword. Please, I have to find my sword."

 So we know early on, Sandor's opinion of favors is that they're merely window dressing for the murderous brutes that all knights really are (supposedly).

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Sansa hugged herself, suddenly cold. "Why are you always so hateful? I was thanking you . . ."
"Just as if I was one of those true knights you love so well, yes. What do you think a knight is for, girl? You think it's all taking favors from ladies and looking fine in gold plate? Knights are for killing."

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"A knight's a sword with a horse. The rest, the vows and the sacred oils and the lady's favors, they're silk ribbons tied round the sword. Maybe the sword's prettier with ribbons hanging off it, but it will kill you just as dead. Well, bugger your ribbons, and shove your swords up your arses. I'm the same as you. The only difference is, I don't lie about what I am. 

The irony here is that we know how important taking a lady's favor can be, because it's power can turn the tide to victory for the wearer.  Sandor isn't aware of it, but he did in fact receive a lady's "favor" at the Hand's tourney when Sansa touched his shoulder and gave him her compassion for sharing his story with her.  She "knew the Hound would win" after all.  It's funny he mentions looking fine in gold plate, because the only knight we see who wears all gold plate is Jaime.  Everyone else wears basic steel or house colors.  From the original essay I'm proposing that Sandor is in fact armored in gold.  On the Quiet Isle, plain gray driftwood gets polished and transformed into beautiful golden furniture and cups.  The golden blonde and beautiful Ser Byron is Sandor's armor and protection from being identified so he can move about freely.  So there's irony with mocking the gold plate as much as mocking the lady's favor.  Speaking of ribbons, Alayne Stone has a particularly fitting ribbon:

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Petyr had given her all of Lady Lysa's jewels as well, and she tried on several necklaces, but they all seemed ostentatious. In the end she chose a simple velvet ribbon in autumn gold. When Gretchel fetched her Lysa's silvered looking glass, the color seemed just perfect with Alayne's mass of dark brown hair. Lord Royce will never know me, she thought. Why, I hardly know myself.
Feeling near as bold as Petyr Baelish, Alayne Stone donned her smile and went down to meet their guests.

When she cannot wear Stark or Tully colors, nor dress above a bastard's station, the color she chooses is autumn gold, which calls back to Sandor telling her the story of his house.  The three dogs that died on the "autumn yellow" grass.  And it makes her feel bold a brave.  So if I were betting on what the favor in TWOW tourney is going to be, I'm putting my money on this autumn gold ribbon.  Whoever receives it will also be armored in gold and will surely be the tourney victor after a startling performance. 

Spoiler

We know that Sansa's favor in TWOW tourney has already been weaponized in another way.  Petyr wants her to give it to another to make Harry jealous and motivate him to accept the betrothal.  

A favor is not just tied to metaphoric magic.  The favor is also tied to the fire of the gods, real magic.  After the Hound gives that speech about those silly pretty ribbons that don't mean anything to Beric Dondarrion, they have their trial by combat:

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But when the Hound charged him, he moved fast enough.

The flaming sword leapt up to meet the cold one, long streamers of fire trailing in its wake like the ribbons the Hound had spoken of. Steel rang on steel. No sooner was his first slash blocked than Clegane made another, but this time Lord Beric's shield got in the way, and wood chips flew from the force of the blow. Hard and fast the cuts came, from low and high, from right and left, and each one Dondarrion blocked. The flames swirled about his sword and left red and yellow ghosts to mark its passage. Each move Lord Beric made fanned them and made them burn the brighter, until it seemed as though the lightning lord stood within a cage of fire. "Is it wildfire?" Arya asked Gendry.

"No. This is different. This is . . ."

". . . magic?" she finished as the Hound edged back.

The flaming sword that was imbued by Beric's magic blood is god-given.  And a "cage of fire" also sounds like being armored in gold.  Arya describes the streaming flames coming off the sword as being like "the ribbons the Hound had spoken of."  The favor of the gods is literal magic.  Of course, the Hound does end up winning his trial, signifying that the Lord of Light has at least found him not guilty.  He's also kissed by the fire of Beric's magic sword:

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Clegane caught one blow high on his shield, and a painted dog lost a head. He countercut, and Dondarrion interposed his own shield and launched a fiery backslash. The outlaw brotherhood shouted on their leader. "He's yours!" Arya heard, and "At him! At him! At him!" The Hound parried a cut at his head, grimacing as the heat of the flames beat against his face. He grunted and cursed and reeled away.

Kissed by fire.  Sandor has the favor of the gods now.  He also was burned badly on his arm even as he defeated Beric, so the Lord of Light doesn't find him totally innocent either.  He got a slap on the wrist by a fire god :rolleyes: It's one painted dog from Gregor's shield that loses his head and we know Gregor probably no longer has a head as Robert Strong.     

 So Sandor has been healed by the mysterious healing methods of the Elder Brother and the QI.  The Lord of Light has determined that Sandor shall live and he's been marked by him.  And I propose the mage Howland Reed has used his Old Gods magic to protect him, to armor him in gold.  That's the Old Gods, the Seven, and R'hllor that have favored him.  Alayne's yellow ribbon tied to a sword would look very much like the fire streaming off Beric's sword.   

So why might this test / kiss of fire be important later?  Clearly it's a test highly significant to a man that was traumatized by fire and burning.  He needs to be able to endure the long term burn of a glamor spell.  According to Mance:

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"The glamor, aye." In the black iron fetter about his wrist, the ruby seemed to pulse. He tapped it with the edge of his blade. The steel made a faint click against the stone. "I feel it when I sleep. Warm against my skin, even through the iron. Soft as a woman's kiss. Your kiss. But sometimes in my dreams it starts to burn, and your lips turn into teeth. Every day I think how easy it would be to pry it out, and every day I don't. Must I wear the bloody bones as well?"

"The spell is made of shadow and suggestion. Men see what they expect to see. The bones are part of that." Was I wrong to spare this one? "If the glamor fails, they will kill you."

In his sleep the ruby can actually burn his skin through the iron fetter.  Mance must only wear the glamor long enough to get out of Castle Black.  Even after a short while he is almost mad to pry out the ruby, even though it would mean his certain death for being discovered.  It must be a really hot stone!  What's significant is that Mance describes it as a burning kiss.  Glamor magic is being kissed by fire, but that blessing comes with a price.  Melissandre questions for a moment the sparing of Mance for his complaining.  The magic requires a strong will to endure the pain.  For Sandor to be Byron 24/7 for months at the Gates of the Moon, it would require physical and mental endurance to pull it off.  In the next post, I'll present the case that willingly burning himself is fitting with Sandor's story.

Edited by Blue-Eyed Wolf
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On 26-3-2017 at 4:42 AM, deja vu said:

Byron = Tyrek? I was wondering the same thing. As Joffrey's betrothed, there are many, many people who attended court in KL who would have seen Sansa often. She wouldn't know the vast majority of them.

Tyrek isn't just anyone, he's a Lannister, and Sansa witnessed Tyrek's wedding to baby Ermesandre. She heard people joke about it by giving Tyrek a nickname as being a "nurse" rather than "husband". And finally, Tyrek was one of the party in which Sansa also rode from the docks to say farewell to Myrcella and back to the Red Keep. That party wasn't 100 courtiers, but the main royal family. Sansa knows Tyrek's face like she knows Lancel's or Tyrion's or Tommen's.

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Why the Burn of Glamor Magic Fits Sandor's Development

Sandor's story doesn't start with a blessing of fire.  More like a curse for what his brother did to him, the injustice of the cover up, and the consequences of rewarding such a pile of garbage.  Sandor is left with severe PTSD compounded by the fact that he has largely had to keep his trauma buried inside for most of his life.  His panic attacks come because he was never able/allowed to process his trauma at the time it occurred.

Let's look at his story in relation to his anxiety being triggered and how it escalates.  This is actually a good thing in a way, because exposure and revisiting the trauma to decrease its discomfort over time is a treatment for PTSD.  From the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs and the National Center for PTSD on Prolonged Exposure Therapy:

Quote

Over the course of therapy, you will work through your list step-by-step, practicing in vivo exposure. This means that you will gradually confront these situations. With time, you will feel more comfortable in these situations, and you will not need to avoid them anymore.

Just talking about the burning triggers a panic attack.  

Quote

"My father told everyone my bedding had caught fire, and our maester gave me ointments. Ointments! Gregor got his ointments too. Four years later, they anointed him with the seven oils and he recited his knightly vows and Rhaegar Targaryen tapped him on the shoulder and said, 'Arise, Ser Gregor.'"

The rasping voice trailed off. He squatted silently before her, a hulking black shape shrouded in the night, hidden from her eyes. Sansa could hear his ragged breathing. She was sad for him, she realized. Somehow, the fear had gone away.

The silence went on and on, so long that she began to grow afraid once more, but she was afraid for him now, not for herself. She found his massive shoulder with her hand. "He was no true knight," she whispered to him.

Tested by Wildfire.  Seeing Men Burning.

Quote

Clegane's eyes turned toward the distant fires. "All this burning." He sheathed his sword. "Only cowards fight with fire."

"Lord Stannis is no coward."

Stannis is burning the kingswood, but it is Tyrion's plan to fight with wildfire.  Sandor has been assigned to lead sorties on the shoreline where wildfire will be heaviest.  To his credit, he did fight for hours in the battle, doing his duty.  Stannis's men never broke through; however, after seeing too many men burning to death he finally broke.  He proceeds to get extremely drunk, leaves the battle, is declared craven, and generally hits a downward spiral. 

Tested by the Lord of Light.  Feeling the Fire.

This time it's not just seeing other men getting burned by wildfire, it's being up close and personal with the magic fire in Beric's blood.  Sandor does fight well enough to win (even not noticing the fire for a moment), but then as soon as it's over he regresses into his 6 year old self.  On the ground, weeping and begging for help. I've already discussed most of the fight in the previous post, but there's two important features that stick out.  "Painted dogs" are referenced on the shield and Sandor receives a pretty bad burn on the arm where the flesh melts off.    

Quote

"His shield is afire," Gendry said in a hushed voice. Arya saw it in the same instant. The flames had spread across the chipped yellow paint, and the three black dogs were engulfed.

Sandor Clegane had fought his way back to his feet with a reckless counterattack. Not until Lord Beric retreated a pace did the Hound seem to realize that the fire that roared so near his face was his own shield, burning. With a shout of revulsion, he hacked down savagely on the broken oak, completing its destruction. The shield shattered, one piece of it spinning away, still afire, while the other clung stubbornly to his forearm. His efforts to free himself only fanned the flames. His sleeve caught, and now his whole left arm was ablaze.

Burning painted dogs.  Burned Men and Painted Dogs are names of two related clans in the Mountains of the Moon and this points to...  

The Next Logical Step?  Making Peace with Fire and Embracing It

The Painted Dogs are an older clan that the Burned Men descend from. 

Quote

This practice might have originated in the years after the Dance of the Dragons, some maesters believe, when an offshoot clan of the Painted Dogs were said to have worshipped a fire-witch in the mountains, sending their boys to bring her gifts and risk the flames of the dragon she commanded to prove their manhood.

Thus the Burned Men:

Quote

Amongst the Burned Men, a youth must give some part of his body to the fire to prove his courage before he can be deemed a man.

Quote

 Every clan in the Mountains of the Moon feared the Burned Men, who mortified their flesh with fire to prove their courage and (the others said) roasted babies at their feasts. And even the other Burned Men feared Timett, who had put out his own left eye with a white-hot knife when he reached the age of manhood. Tyrion gathered that it was more customary for a boy to burn off a nipple, a finger, or (if he was truly brave, or truly mad) an ear. Timett's fellow Burned Men were so awed by his choice of an eye that they promptly named him a red hand, which seemed to be some sort of a war chief.

So from the Painted Dogs we have boys willingly risking themselves of being burned to bring gifts to the fire witch (i.e making peace with fire) which evolved into the Burned Men, willingly burning themselves to prove their courage (i.e. embracing fire). 

On a side note, as someone in the comments of the original essay pointed out, the African painted dog (also called a painted wolf) has a mottled coat of mostly black and yellow.  They are native to savannas and grassland type areas where they hunt antelope.  Their only major predators are lions.  This might possibly be inspiration for House Clegane and the three dogs that died from a lion attack in the yellow grass.

 

 

Edited by Blue-Eyed Wolf

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I've been very lazy and just read the first page so far.So if this has been mentioned already,my apologies.

We have a connection between Ser Shadrich's sigil and the Reed's oath they swear when they arrive at Winterfell.

First I can't find anything to connect to;

"I swear it by Iron and Bronze".

But the bendy brown and blue symbolizing the lands and rivers he's crossed do seem to resonate with;

"I swear it by Earth and Water".

The white mouse with red eyes-

"We swear it by Ice and Fire".

Edited by redriver
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14 hours ago, redriver said:

I've been very lazy and just read the first page so far.So if this has been mentioned already,my apologies.

We have a connection between Ser Shadrich's sigil and the Reed's oath they swear when they arrive at Winterfell.

First I can't find anything to connect to;

"I swear it by Iron and Bronze".

But the bendy brown and blue symbolizing the lands and rivers he's crossed do seem to resonate with;

"I swear it by Earth and Water".

The white mouse with red eyes-

"We swear it by Ice and Fire".

Hey @redriver  If you want a condensed, organized version of this thread, it's in my essay linked in my signature.  You are exactly right to notice the First Men / Old Gods connection on his sigil.  Iron and bronze are metals associated with the First Men.  The water and earth can apply to HR/SS's travels, but also Meera says her father could "change earth to water and water to earth with no more than a whispered word." When Jon speaks about his wolf with the same coloring, he says he belongs to the Old Gods.  It's the distinct coloring of the weirwood faces.  Furthermore, he says he is the Mad Mouse because the average mouse runs away from danger.  He's a contradiction and not like others of his kind.  Much like Meera says her father is bolder and braver than the average crannogmen who are shy and stay close to home.  We've seen the contradictory weirwood sigil before with the Knight of the Laughing Tree.  Weirwood faces don't laugh or smile.  They're always depicted as pained or frightening in expression.  Other than a mention of being at the Tower of Joy, the only story that features HR in the series is the story of the KotLT and the Harrenhal tourney.  It's such an important piece of history that solidifies HR's loyalty and friendship to the Starks so loyal he would send his only children and heirs to help Bran after Ned dies.  It makes sense that when HR enters the story, he will have references to that pivotal event.         

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On 3/20/2018 at 12:14 AM, Blue-Eyed Wolf said:

Hey @redriver  If you want a condensed, organized version of this thread, it's in my essay linked in my signature.  You are exactly right to notice the First Men / Old Gods connection on his sigil.  Iron and bronze are metals associated with the First Men.  The water and earth can apply to HR/SS's travels, but also Meera says her father could "change earth to water and water to earth with no more than a whispered word." When Jon speaks about his wolf with the same coloring, he says he belongs to the Old Gods.  It's the distinct coloring of the weirwood faces.  Furthermore, he says he is the Mad Mouse because the average mouse runs away from danger.  He's a contradiction and not like others of his kind.  Much like Meera says her father is bolder and braver than the average crannogmen who are shy and stay close to home.  We've seen the contradictory weirwood sigil before with the Knight of the Laughing Tree.  Weirwood faces don't laugh or smile.  They're always depicted as pained or frightening in expression.  Other than a mention of being at the Tower of Joy, the only story that features HR in the series is the story of the KotLT and the Harrenhal tourney.  It's such an important piece of history that solidifies HR's loyalty and friendship to the Starks so loyal he would send his only children and heirs to help Bran after Ned dies.  It makes sense that when HR enters the story, he will have references to that pivotal event.         

I've gone through the thread now and read your excellent essay.This seems like a very grounded and well thought out theory to me.You can,of course,nitpick at individual bits but the weight of textual evidence that extend through the Brienne and Alayne chapters make it hard to dismiss.

I'm looking forward to Sans's future arc with renewed interest now.

Shoutouts to bemused and sweetsunray for their contributions.

Still haven't found the "bronze and steel" reference in the text,but two outta three ain't bad and maybe that bit hasn't been written yet!!

Edited by redriver

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For anyone following this thread, I've just posted my own theory regarding the people/events concerned which takes @Blue-Eyed Wolf's Sandor-glamor idea and a bunch of @sweetsunray's commentary and goes in a different direction.

To be clear about where my theory was coming from, this thread was started by @bemused back in August 2016. @bemused threw out the ideas that Howland Reed is Ser Shadrich and Morgarth is Elder Brother. I had posted a VERY successful reddit post arguing for Shadrich being Howland on Jan 16 2016 and then one arguing that Morgarth is Elder Brother on March 6, 2016. My point is NOT that bemused "stole" those ideas from me or whatever, it's that I had already had those ideas on my own, and had therefore been thinking obsessively about Ser Byron for a long time when I chanced upon this thread about a year later, in March 2017.

It's my belief that despite being steeped in Arthurian/Shakespearean awareness, the contributors here are missing the fact that recognition in ASOIAF is really, really complicated, and rarely happens like modern readers assume. It works (or rather doesn't work) more like it does in Shakespeare and Arthurian legends. I've written about this here. People just don't recognize people the way they "should".

And that means that NO, Littlefinger and Sansa would NOT recognize Tyrek Lannister after he's gone through 2 years of aggressive Lannister puberty, especially given that his specific genetics are unbelievably precocious (his father killed multiple men in war at age 10) and tall-tending (Marbrand). Tyrek was barely on anyone's radars before, and wasn't on Sansa's at all.

And YES, Byron does look EXACTLY like Tyrek "should" look, and YES there are some wonderful thematic reasons related to Miniver Cheevy and Lord Bryon to believe Tyrek is Ser Byron. I talk about all this stuff in a post arguing that Byron really, really seems to be Tyrek (but isn't) here (or read on reddit here.)

Anyway, Byron isn't Tyrek because he is, as @Blue-Eyed Wolf proposed, the glamored Hound. But he's not just glamored as any random dead knight. He's glamored to look like Tyrek, because Tyrek's "look" is NOW pitch-perfect to lure in Sansa (as discussed in the last linked post). The thing is: Tyrek and Byron have glamor-swapped, a la Mance and Rattleshirt. Tyrek is the gravedigger, but he currently looks like Sandor. Sandor is Byron, who looks like Tyrek (who LF and Sansa absolutely don't recognize, for the same reasons LF is confident Sansa won't be recognized, which as I say relate to Arthurian/Shakespearean norms of disguise-recognition).

Anyway, my theory is HERE on reddit or HERE on my blogspot, asongoficeandtootles. Please check it out and share your thoughts.

As noted at the end, I was completely unaware that there was a polished version of the theory sketched in these forum posts until early this morning, and the bulk of my theory was written back in April 2017, before said polished version was even posted, so if my theory seems to be misrepresenting anything that was slightly changed in the polished version of @Blue-Eyed Wolf's theory, I apologize: I was looking at the forum stuff and writing before the full version existed. (Which I intend to devour tonight, make no mistake.)

 

EDIT: below are links to the newest versions of my Howland/Shadrich and Elder Brother stuff

my blogspot:

HR/SS (complete): https://asongoficeandtootles.wordpress.com/2018/11/28/my-definitive-howland-reed-is-post/

Elder Brother/Morgarth/Lewyn (complete): https://asongoficeandtootles.wordpress.com/2018/12/07/the-secret-history-of-house-martell-chapter-1-the-merry-elder-brothers-brother-marwyn-his-sand-snake-daughter-and-tyene-the-stalking-stork/

or reddit:

HR/SS (this post links to part 2 at the end): https://www.reddit.com/r/asoiaf/comments/a17jui/spoilers_extended_my_definitive_howland_reed_is/

EB/M/L (this post links to part 2 which links to part 3 at the end): https://www.reddit.com/r/asoiaf/comments/a412o1/spoilers_extended_the_secret_history_of_house/

 

Edited by M_Tootles
edited to add other links for reference

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On 8/7/2016 at 1:38 AM, bemused said:

Creighton Longbough.. The name Longbough doesn't occur anywhere else, and gods only know what Creighton refers to could be some inside joke( or simply close to "cretin"). However, it's suggested  he's a member of the nobility (if only minor) by the inclusion of a last name. "Longbough" could be a branch that extends far from the trunk of a tree. A distant cousin of a better known family, perhaps, or coming from a locale far removed from the original House. I feel he has a connection to House Fossoway, and though I at first considered the green-apple branch, because of the green field of his shield, on second thought, his connection could equally be to the red-apple Fossoways. ( Either way, Longbough is not listed among Fossoway cousins in the wiki.

 

I think I can shed some light on what's going on with some of the verbiage surrounding Creighton. He's foreshadowing/referencing the fact that Littlefinger's three hedge knights are a reference to The Cockney School, as well as referencing the presence of a hidden Martell (Lewyn, who is Elder Brother who is Ser Morgarth).

Creighton is a homonym for cretin, which recalls "louts", which the hedge knights are. Both these epithets were hurled at the Cockney School, with which Lord Byron (obvious ref.), John Keats (who was born in Moorgate ala Morgarth) and Leigh Hunt were members. (Shadrich/Howland is "the hunter", and he's a figurative fox like Tom O'Sevens a la Tom O'Bedlam, which references a line from Shakespeare that both Byron and a poet named Robert Browning riffed on. Tom O'Sevens sings "HEIGH ho". LEIGH HUNT was a member of the Cockney School, and he discovered/pimped Robert Browning.)

OK, so Creighton is "Longbough", which recalls "Longbow Hall", seat of HOUSE HUNTER. He's a Leigh Hunt reference, too, but a sketchy one.

In the physical descriptions, the bursting @Seams of Creighton's jerkin—

Quote

. He had a big belly straining at the laces of his spotted doeskin jerkin

—references Marwyn, who is Lewy's  (AKA Morgarth AKA Elder Brother) brother:

Quote

Though short and squat, he was heavy in the chest and shoulders, with a round, rock-hard ale belly straining at the laces of the leather jerkin he wore in place of robes. 

The "spotted doeskin jerkin" recalls Arianne's friend Spotted Sylva but also Sansa's wedding shoes—

Quote

slippers of soft grey doeskin that hugged her feet like lovers. 

—which she almost certainly abandons during her figurative wedding to Sandor (AKA Byron) en route to the Vale.

 

I feel like I thought of some other stuff regarding the descriptions but I can't think of it right now. OH! The green and brown shield matches Sandor's personal colors, discussed in the "wedding" link, above.

I really do like the notion that in-world, they're Blackfyres. Did anything more come in the thread of the idea re: Old John Mudd. It would really fit given the parallels to Shadrich, given all the "mud stuff" around him.

 

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4 hours ago, Blue-Eyed Wolf said:

Hey @M_Tootles!  I just wanted to let you know that I'm just finishing up a crazy week and I'll be able to sit down and read everything at some point over the weekend.  ^_^

cool. I left some other links on SSR's blog under your essay, including newer versions of the Howland/Shadrich stuff and Morgarth/Elder Brother/Lewyn stuff.

 

EDIT: added them to the above reply post as well.

Edited by M_Tootles

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I think most of you seriously underestimate Littlefinger. I seriously doubt he will accept so closely people he doesn't know or he doesnt't trust. The idea that The hound is ser Byron is absurde. In the books I think only Melisandre and Mance have such transformation and Howland Reed even a crannogman is not a magician. To transform The Hound in Tyrek Lannister... It's not the kind of fantasy of GRRM. Too "fantasy" I suppose. 

I think Littlefinger knows who ser Shadrich, Morgath and ser Byron are, because he's "hired"them. If ser Byron is Tyrek Lannister I suppose Littlefinger has "a finger" in his disappearing from Kings Landing. And maybe Morgath is some knight that helped Tyrek to escape from Kings Landing and that baby-wife he was mocked for. And having Tyrek Lannister close is useful for Littlefinger in his "game of thrones". Sansa is just a child her head is full of songs and fairytales and she usually sees only the obvious and as a child she is naive. So I think it is possible for her not to recognise Tyrek with no Lannister signs and after two years. I think the three hedge-knights are not there to save Sansa from Littlefinger but to serve Littlefinger.

About ser Shadrich I also have doubts thet is possible to be Howland Reed. When he meets Brienne he says that he was at Blackwater battle on the wrong side and lost  everything. He's not a tourney knight but he's a skillful warrior in battle. He's a knight. He has the behavior of a nobleman. When I see the list ot nobleman knights from tne Battle of Blackwater on the side ot Stannis i see the name of Bryce Caron. Bryce Caron the orange. In the book there is no description of hif physical atributes. But he has orange hair, so is Shadrich. He took part of few tourneys but win none. After Battle of Blackwater he was "killed"by the unknown Philipp Foote and Foote was awarded wit all Caron lands. So Bryce Caron lost everything, just as Shadrich said he lost everything. Bryce Caron lands are in Stormland marches near the border with Dorne. It is similar as Shady Glenn. You connect mouse with bat and Harrenhall and House Whent. I think the mouse is metafore of a man who lost everything important and significant and who become no one. So for me is possible Bryce Caron is alive and in service to Littlefinger. Littlefinger has the power to set free and use a captive. I think it  is possible Bryce Caron is not killed but captured. And this Philippe Foote is just a strawman a puppet of someone other's interests. Maybe Littlefinger's. The waekness in this theory of mine is that Bryce Caron was one of Rennly's seven with Brienne and I'm not sure how she didn't recognised him. But may be there is possibility that she doesn't knew him close. 

 

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Good catch on 'lost everything'.

As you state Brienne should know her former fellow RG by sight. She also knew a lot of young knights as she was shopped around by her Father, participating in Tourneys, and the joke/bet on who could 'win' her hand. (Or was it her maidenhead??) 

Question: Did Brienne fight in tourneys before the one where she beat Loras??

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14 hours ago, jthurman14 said:

Good catch on 'lost everything'.

As you state Brienne should know her former fellow RG by sight. She also knew a lot of young knights as she was shopped around by her Father, participating in Tourneys, and the joke/bet on who could 'win' her hand. (Or was it her maidenhead??) 

Question: Did Brienne fight in tourneys before the one where she beat Loras??

Bitterbridge is her only tourney I think. Bryce Caron takes part in the tourney of the Hand Eddard Stark and is defeated by Jaime. I think Bryce Caron is at Bitterbridge also. It's interesting the conversation between Ser Shadrich and Brienne about tourneys and melee. Bitterbridge is a melee type of tourney. And Brienne defeats all her oponents. 

In fact one of the engagements of Brienne is for Bryce Caron younger brother but never happened because the boy and his parents died. This is how Bryce Caron becomes lord ot Nightsong. And I think it is mentioned Brienne never met this boy or his relatives. So it is possible Brienne doesn't know Bryce Caron closely. Philippe Foote kills Bryce Caron in single combat or it is said so. Then Philippe Foote becomes lord of Nightsong. And he is withness Tyrion murdered Joffrey. Too "good" to be true.

And about ser Morgarth and ser Byron. Tyrek Lannister is a squire of Robert Baratheon and accompanies his king in the final boar-hunt when the king is fatally wounded. Also ser Preston Greenfield from Roberts seven. Tyrek dissapears in the day of Myrcella's departure and Preston Greenfield's  unrecognizable body is found later. The two witnessess of Robert's death gone in one day. It's just a theory of mine but Littlefinger is very helpful hiding Cersei's secrets. Because for Littlefinger Cersei is ''easy bite" and he prefers dealing with her not with Stannis, Renly, etc.

 

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I'm just jumping in here to say I love the theory and would absolutely welcome it if GRRM made it true. I think it fits his style nicely.

I just had two additional thoughts reading it:

Could it be that the one who switched appearances with Sandor is one of the other Noves who got his ear bitten off my Stranger? It just seemed so deliberate that George added the info about his 'mop of blonde hair', while the others are not described.

The other thing is - I wonder how the 'Unkiss' will play out if your theory is indeed true. George did state that it will have meaning and we do know that glamour only works because people go by implications. Could Sandor say or do something that makes Sansa see through his glamor? I wonder how the ''Unkiss'' could come into play here.
I personally would find it very interesting if she was finding herself repelled by Byron's handsome looks, yet perhaps feels drawn to him when he senses Sandor behind the facade ^_^ 

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