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The Grey King was a greenseer, and Nagga’s ribs were his weirwood throne.

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The Grey King was a greenseer, and Nagga’s ribs were his weirwood throne. The Seastone Chair preexisted the First Men on the Iron Islands...

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Lord Balon occupied the Seastone Chair, carved in the shape of a great kraken from an immense block of oily black stone. Legend said that the First Men had found it standing on the shore of Old Wyk when they came to the Iron Islands.

Theon II, Clash 24

Was this next bit a dream? Were the Old Gods calling to Aeron? Were they calling him to the Grey King’s Hall? ...

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Outside, beneath the snoring of his drowned men and the keening of the wind, he could hear the pounding of the waves, the hammer of his god calling him to battle. Aeron crept from his little shelter into the chill of the night. Naked he stood, pale and gaunt and tall, and naked he walked into the black salt sea. The water was icy cold, yet he did not flinch from his god's caress. A wave smashed against his chest, staggering him. The next broke over his head. He could taste the salt on his lips and feel the god around him, and his ears rang with the glory of his song. Nine sons were born from the loins of Quellon Greyjoy, and I was the least of them, as weak and frightened as a girl. But no longer. That man is drowned, and the god has made me strong. The cold salt sea surrounded him, embraced him, reached down through his weak man's flesh and touched his bones. Bones, he thought. The bones of the soul. Balon's bones, and Urri's. The truth is in our bones, for flesh decays and bone endures. And on the hill of Nagga, the bones of the Grey King's Hall . . .

And gaunt and pale and shivering, Aeron Damphair struggled back to the shore, a wiser man than he had been when he stepped into the sea. For he had found the answer in his bones, and the way was plain before him. The night was so cold that his body seemed to steam as he stalked back toward his shelter, but there was a fire burning in his heart, and sleep came easily for once, unbroken by the scream of iron hinges.

The Prophet, Feast 1

Were the Old Gods hungry? ...

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When last the salt kings and the rock kings met in kingsmoot, Urron of Orkmont let his axemen loose among them, and Nagga's ribs turned red with gore.

The Kraken’s Daughter, Feast 11

This next passage is introduced with a north wind (like the cold breath of darkness), and the ribs of Nagga are described as trunks of great white trees (like weirwoods)...

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The wind was blowing from the north as the Iron Victory came round the point and entered the holy bay called Nagga's Cradle.

Victarion joined Nute the Barber at her prow. Ahead loomed the sacred shore of Old Wyk and the grassy hill above it, where the ribs of Nagga rose from the earth like the trunks of great white trees, as wide around as a dromond's mast and twice as tall.

The bones of the Grey King's Hall. Victarion could feel the magic of this place.

The Iron Captain, Feast 18

The place was magical and sacred...

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On the crown of the hill four-and-forty monstrous stone ribs rose from the earth like the trunks of great pale trees. The sight made Aeron's heart beat faster. Nagga had been the first sea dragon, the mightiest ever to rise from the waves. She fed on krakens and leviathans and drowned whole islands in her wrath, yet the Grey King had slain her and the Drowned God had changed her bones to stone so that men might never cease to wonder at the courage of the first of kings. Nagga's ribs became the beams and pillars of his longhall, just as her jaws became his throne. For a thousand years and seven he reigned here, Aeron recalled. Here he took his mermaid wife and planned his wars against the Storm God. From here he ruled both stone and salt, wearing robes of woven seaweed and a tall pale crown made from Nagga's teeth.

The Drowned Man, Feast 19

The number 44 seems to have a sacred connotation. A septry in the Riverlands maintained 44 brothers before the War of the Five Kings. Arya VII, Storm 39. The Eldest Brother counted 44 namedays. Brienne VI, Feast 31. Hugor of the Hill was given 44 sons with the girl brought forth by the Maid. Tyrion II, Dance 5.

The legend of the Grey King slaying Nagga masks, or explains, how the weirwoods petrified into stone. It also shows the Grey King defeating death. Note that Nagga is a sea dragon. Presumably Nagga lives under the sea. Since the sea and man's struggle upon it often symbolizes life in literature, under the sea can symbolize death. If that is the George's understanding, then the Grey King has defated death from the sea, which is interesting given Cotter Pyke's ominous warning in Jon XII, Dance 58, "Dead things in the water." 

The Grey King has conquered death as well defeating it. The Grey King is said to have reigned from the ribs of Nagga for a thousand years and seven. We will learn that greenseers live extended, fading lives once they wed the weirwoods, and the author will associate “a thousand” with Bloodraven, the last greenseer.

Note that the Grey King took a mermaid wife. We will see further suggestion of interbreeding between First Men and a humanoid race from the sea called the Deep Ones.

Note that the Grey King fought the Storm God. This echoes Bloodraven’s fight against the Others, the Lord of Light’s eternal struggle with the Great Other, and the Old Man of the River's fight against the Crab King

And note that the Grey King wore a crown of weirwood branches. We will recall this when we first meet Bloodraven.

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But that was in the dawn of days, when mighty men still dwelt on earth and sea. The hall had been warmed by Nagga's living fire, which the Grey King had made his thrall. On its walls hung tapestries woven from silver seaweed most pleasing to the eyes. The Grey King's warriors had feasted on the bounty of the sea at a table in the shape of a great starfish, whilst seated upon thrones carved from mother-of-pearl. Gone, all the glory gone. Men were smaller now. Their lives had grown short. The Storm God drowned Nagga's fire after the Grey King's death, the chairs and tapestries had been stolen, the roof and walls had rotted away. Even the Grey King's great throne of fangs had been swallowed by the sea. Only Nagga's bones endured to remind the ironborn of all the wonder that had been.

The Drowned Man, Feast 19

Note that the hall had been warmed by Nagga’s living fire, and the Grey King used that fire, presumably to fight the Storm God, which drowned Nagga’s fire after the Grey King died. This blends the religion of the Drowned God and the Lord of Light with what we actually learn to be the struggle between the greenseers and the Others.

I have to wonder whether those tapestries of silver seaweed might have been entrails, and given what we will learn about sacrifice, I suspect the bounty the Grey King’s warriors feasted on at the starfish table might have been like the feast the Skagossons had on Skane...

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Some songs said the Skaggs were cannibals; supposedly their warriors ate the hearts and livers of the men they slew. In ancient days, the Skagosi had sailed to the nearby isle of Skane, seized its women, slaughtered its men, and ate them on a pebbled beach in a feast that lasted for a fortnight. Skane remained unpeopled to this day.

Samwell II, Feast 15.

The tapestries of silver seaweed hung on the walls, which are actually weirwoods, are "most pleasing to the eyes." Which eyes would those be? Weirwood eyes? 

Perhaps we will see another similar feast in Winds or Spring...

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Ser Malegorn offered his arm, and Queen Selyse took it stiffly. Her other hand settled on her daughter's shoulder. The royal ducklings fell in behind them as they made their way across the yard, marching to the music of the bells on the fool's hat. "Under the sea the mermen feast on starfish soup, and all the serving men are crabs," Patchface proclaimed as they went. "I know, I know, oh, oh, oh."

Melisandre's face darkened. "That creature is dangerous. Many a time I have glimpsed him in my flames. Sometimes there are skulls about him, and his lips are red with blood."

Jon X, Dance 49

There's that under the sea phrase again, suggesting death, and the George often substitutes crabs for crows as carrion feeders, feasting on the flesh of the slain. This is coming from the very creepy Patchface, and Melisandre adds the skulls, which further suggests death, and how do you suppose Patchface's lips get red with blood? 

And check this out! ...

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"The merwives wear nennymoan in their hair and weave gowns of silver seaweed. I know, I know, oh, oh, oh."

Shireen giggled. "I should like a gown of silver seaweed."

Prologue, Clash

So the merwives weave gowns of silver seaweed. Are those most pleasing to the weirwood eyes? Poor Shireen. Does anyone doubt that she will be sacrificed? 

This next bit, of course, relates the skinchanging we see in the North, which is apparently related to the power of the greenseers, to a similar power on the Iron Islands...

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Aeron knew some Farwynds, a queer folk who held lands on the westernmost shores of Great Wyk and the scattered isles beyond, rocks so small that most could support but a single household. Of those, the Lonely Light was the most distant, eight days' sail to the northwest amongst rookeries of seals and sea lions and the boundless grey oceans. The Farwynds there were even queerer than the rest. Some said they were skinchangers, unholy creatures who could take on the forms of sea lions, walruses, even spotted whales, the wolves of the wild sea.

The Drowned Man, Feast 19

And here we have evidence, or at least a strong suggestion, of interbreeding between First Men and a humanoid race from the sea called the Deep Ones...

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The lord fingered the ribbon, frowning at the seals. He was an ugly man, big and fleshy, with an oarsman's thick shoulders and no neck. Coarse grey stubble, going white in patches, covered his cheeks and chin. Above a massive shelf of brow he was bald. His nose was lumpy and red with broken veins, his lips thick, and he had a sort of webbing between the three middle fingers of his right hand. Davos had heard that some of the lords of the Three Sisters had webbed hands and feet, but he had always put that down as just another sailor's story.

The lord leaned back. "Cut him free," he said, "and peel those gloves off him. I want to see his hands."

The captain did as he was told. As he jerked up his captive's maimed left hand the lightning flashed again, throwing the shadow of Davos Seaworth's shortened fingers across the blunt and brutal face of Godric Borrell, Lord of Sweetsister.

Davos I, Dance 9

Here, as we see Bloodraven sitting in a weirwood throne, we recall that the Grey King wore a weirwood crown, and we recall that the Grey King's throne was made from Nagga's fangs, meaning that he sat in a weirwood throne like Bloodraven's...

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Before them a pale lord in ebon finery sat dreaming in a tangled nest of roots, a woven weirwood throne that embraced his withered limbs as a mother does a child.

His body was so skeletal and his clothes so rotted that at first Bran took him for another corpse, a dead man propped up so long that the roots had grown over him, under him, and through him. What skin the corpse lord showed was white, save for a bloody blotch that crept up his neck onto his cheek. His white hair was fine and thin as root hair and long enough to brush against the earthen floor. Roots coiled around his legs like wooden serpents. One burrowed through his breeches into the desiccated flesh of his thigh, to emerge again from his shoulder. A spray of dark red leaves sprouted from his skull, and grey mushrooms spotted his brow. A little skin remained, stretched across his face, tight and hard as white leather, but even that was fraying, and here and there the brown and yellow bone beneath was poking through.

Bran II, Dance 13

Here we see that the First Men made offerings to the Old Gods, by hanging entrails in the weirwoods, like the tapestries of silver seaweed. But note who gave the slavers over to the slaves: a Stark called Ice Eyes...

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"Then a long cruel winter fell," said Ser Bartimus. "The White Knife froze hard, and even the firth was icing up. The winds came howling from the north and drove them slavers inside to huddle round their fires, and whilst they warmed themselves the new king come down on them. Brandon Stark this was, Edrick Snowbeard's great-grandson, him that men called Ice Eyes. He took the Wolf's Den back, stripped the slavers naked, and gave them to the slaves he'd found chained up in the dungeons. It's said they hung their entrails in the branches of the heart tree, as an offering to the gods. The old gods, not these new ones from the south. Your Seven don't know winter, and winter don't know them."

Davos IV, Dance 29

Spoiler

In the HBO adaptation, we see that the Others were created by the Chldren of the Forest to combat the First Men. 

HBO, GOT, The Door

And we have read that the Last Hero sought to use the magic of the Children of the Forest to fight the Others, and that the Night’s Watch rode forth to meet the Others in the Battle for the Dawn. Is the magic depicted in The Door the magic that won the day in the Battle for the Dawn, and that will win the day in the War for the Dawn? 

One thing we do know is that greenseers like a little blood...

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As Hodor he explored the caves. He found chambers full of bones, shafts that plunged deep into the earth, a place where the skeletons of gigantic bats hung upside down from the ceiling. He even crossed the slender stone bridge that arched over the abyss and discovered more passages and chambers on the far side. One was full of singers, enthroned like Brynden in nests of weirwood roots that wove under and through and around their bodies. Most of them looked dead to him, but as he crossed in front of them their eyes would open and follow the light of his torch, and one of them opened and closed a wrinkled mouth as if he were trying to speak. "Hodor," Bran said to him, and he felt the real Hodor stir down in his pit.

Seated on his throne of roots in the great cavern, half-corpse and half-tree, Lord Brynden seemed less a man than some ghastly statue made of twisted wood, old bone, and rotted wool. The only thing that looked alive in the pale ruin that was his face was his one red eye, burning like the last coal in a dead fire, surrounded by twisted roots and tatters of leathery white skin hanging off a yellowed skull.

The sight of him still frightened Bran—the weirwood roots snaking in and out of his withered flesh, the mushrooms sprouting from his cheeks, the white wooden worm that grew from the socket where one eye had been. He liked it better when the torches were put out. In the dark he could pretend that it was the three-eyed crow who whispered to him and not some grisly talking corpse.

... Lord Brynden drew his life from the tree, Leaf told them. He did not eat, he did not drink. He slept, he dreamed, he watched. 

...

"For the next step. For you to go beyond skinchanging and learn what it means to be a greenseer."

"The trees will teach him," said Leaf. She beckoned, and another of the singers padded forward, the white-haired one that Meera had named Snowy locks. She had a weirwood bowl in her hands, carved with a dozen faces, like the ones the heart trees wore. Inside was a white paste, thick and heavy, with dark red veins running through it. "You must eat of this," said Leaf. She handed Bran a wooden spoon.

The boy looked at the bowl uncertainly. "What is it?"

"A paste of weirwood seeds."

Something about the look of it made Bran feel ill. The red veins were only weirwood sap, he supposed, but in the torchlight they looked remarkably like blood. He dipped the spoon into the paste, then hesitated.

Will this make me a greenseer?"

"Your blood makes you a greenseer," said Lord Brynden. "This will help awaken your gifts and wed you to the trees."

...

Then, as he watched, a bearded man forced a captive down onto his knees before the heart tree. A white-haired woman stepped toward them through a drift of dark red leaves, a bronze sickle in her hand.

"No," said Bran, "no, don't, " but they could not hear him, no more than his father had. The woman grabbed the captive by the hair, hooked the sickle round his throat, and slashed. And through the mist of centuries the broken boy could only watch as the man's feet drummed against the earth … but as his life flowed out of him in a red tide, Brandon Stark could taste the blood.

Bran III, Dance 34

There is very little doubt in my mind that the red veins were Jojen’s blood. But even if you don’t subscribe to the Jojen paste theory, you see at the end of the quote above that the greenseers and/or old gods feed on sacrificed blood.

Here, we see that weirwoods never rot, but that it petrifies into pale stone, like Nagga’s ribs...

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Blackwood's solar was on the second floor of a cavernous timber keep. There was a fire burning in the hearth when they entered. The room was large and airy, with great beams of dark oak supporting the high ceiling. Woolen tapestries covered the walls, and a pair of wide latticework doors looked out upon the godswood. Through their thick, diamond-shaped panes of yellow glass Jaime glimpsed the gnarled limbs of the tree from which the castle took its name. It was a weirwood ancient and colossal, ten times the size of the one in the Stone Garden at Casterly Rock. This tree was bare and dead, though.

"The Brackens poisoned it," said his host. "For a thousand years it has not shown a leaf. In another thousand it will have turned to stone, the maesters say. Weirwoods never rot."

"And the ravens?" asked Jaime. "Where are they?"

"They come at dusk and roost all night. Hundreds of them. They cover the tree like black leaves, every limb and every branch. They have been coming for thousands of years. How or why, no man can say, yet the tree draws them every night."

Jaime, Dance 48

Legends are often based on a kernel of truth, especially in ASOIAF. Here we see the belief that the Ironmen rose from the sea, but we also see that Ironmen descend from the First Men.

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“We came from beneath those seas, from the watery halls of the Drowned God who made us in his likeness and gave to us dominion over all the waters of the earth.”

...

Even among the ironborn there are some who doubt this and acknowledge the more widely accepted view of an ancient descent from the First Men—even though the First Men, unlike the later Andals, were never a seafaring people. Certainly, we cannot seriously accept the assertions of the ironborn priests, who would have us believe that the ironmen are closer kin to fish and merlings than the other races of mankind.

The Iron Islands, TWOIAF

Although the First Men were not a seafaring people, there is sufficient reason to suspect that the Iron Isles may have been connected, or least much closer to the mainland of Westeros...

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The point of land on which the Greyjoys had raised their fortress had once thrust like a sword into the bowels of the ocean, but the waves had hammered at it day and night until the land broke and shattered, thousands of years past. All that remained were three bare and barren islands and a dozen towering stacks of rock that rose from the water like the pillars of some sea god's temple, while the angry waves foamed and crashed among them.

Theon I, Clash 11

And there is the example of the Broken Arm of Dorne, which at one time was land bridge used by the First Men to cross from Essos to Westeros. Here we can see how Haereg’s notion could blend with the belief that the Ironmen rose from the sea. Perhaps those first inhabitants really did rise from the sea...

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Archmaester Haereg once advanced the interesting notion that the ancestors of the ironborn came from some unknown land west of the Sunset Sea, citing the legend of the Seastone Chair. The throne of the Greyjoys, carved into the shape of a kraken from an oily black stone, was said to have been found by the First Men when they first came to Old Wyk. Haereg argued that the chair was a product of the first inhabitants of the islands, and only the later histories of maesters and septons alike began to claim that they were in fact descended of the First Men. But this is the purest speculation and, in the end, Haereg himself dismissed the idea, and so must we.

The Iron Islands, TWOIAF

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In the Age of Heroes, the legends say, the ironborn were ruled by a mighty monarch known simply as the Grey King. The Grey King ruled the sea itself and took a mermaid to wife, so his sons and daughters might live above the waves or beneath them as they chose. His hair and beard and eyes were as grey as a winter sea, and from these he took his name. The crown he wore was made of driftwood, so all who knelt before him might know that his kingship came from the sea and the Drowned God who dwells beneath it.

Driftwood Crowns, TWOIAF

Was his crown driftwood or weirwood? In any event, we see further suggestion of the interbreeding between First Men and a humanoid race from the sea called the Deep Ones.

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The deeds attributed to the Grey King by the priests and singers of the Iron Islands are many and marvelous. It was the Grey King who brought fire to the earth by taunting the Storm God until he lashed down with a thunderbolt, setting a tree ablaze. The Grey King also taught men to weave nets and sails and carved the first longship from the hard pale wood of Ygg, a demon tree who fed on human flesh.

Ygg is most obviously a weirwood, and clearly, the original Ironmen practiced human sacrifice to the Grey King, just like the First Men did in the North. Ygg is surely an allusion to Yggdrasil. From Wikipedia... “The cosmology of Norse mythology has "nine homeworlds" or "nine realms", unified by the world tree Yggdrasil. ... The Norse creation myth tells how everything came into existence in the gap between fire and ice, and how the gods shaped the homeworld of humans.”

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The Grey King’s greatest feat, however, was the slaying of Nagga, largest of the sea dragons, a beast so colossal that she was said to feed on leviathans and giant krakens and drown whole islands in her wroth. The Grey King built a mighty longhall about her bones, using her ribs as beams and rafters. From there he ruled the Iron Islands for a thousand years, until his very skin had turned as grey as his hair and beard. Only then did he cast aside his driftwood crown and walk into the sea, descending to the Drowned God’s watery halls to take his rightful place at his right hand.

...

The petrified bones of some gigantic sea creature do indeed stand on Nagga’s Hill on Old Wyk, but whether they are actually the bones of a sea dragon remains open to dispute. The ribs are huge, but nowise near large enough to have belonged to a dragon capable of feasting on leviathans and giant krakens. In truth, the very existence of sea dragons has been called into question by some. If such monsters do exist, they must surely dwell in the deepest, darkest reaches of the Sunset Sea, for none has been seen in the known world for thousands of years.

Driftwood Crowns, TWOIAF

Not a dragon, but a weirwood throne room!

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An even more fanciful possibility was put forth a century ago by Maester Theron. Born a bastard on the Iron Islands, Theron noted a certain likeness between the black stone of the ancient fortress and that of the Seastone Chair, the high seat of House Greyjoy of Pyke, whose origins are similarly ancient and mysterious. Theron’s rather inchoate manuscript Strange Stone postulates that both fortress and seat might be the work of a queer, misshapen race of half men sired by creatures of the salt seas upon human women. These Deep Ones, as he names them, are the seed from which our legends of merlings have grown, he argues, whilst their terrible fathers are the truth behind the Drowned God of the ironborn.

Oldtown, TWOIAF

And here we see that Theron’s fanciful possibility can help us begin to tie it all together.

ETA

So, I am re-reading The Foresaken, Winds for probably the third or maybe the fourth time, and I am noticing that we get a description of the image of the Drowned God...

Spoiler
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“That which is dead cannot die,” said Aeron fiercely. “For he who has tasted death once need never fear again. He was drowned, but he came forth stronger than before, with steel and fire.”

“Will you do the same, brother?” Euron asked. “I think not. I think if I drowned you, you’ll stay drowned. All gods are lies, but yours is laughable. A pale white thing in the likeness of a man, his limbs broken and swollen and his hair flipping in the water while fish nibble at his face. What fool would worship that?”

The Forsaken, Winds

If that's not a submerged greenseer, I don't know what is. I can't believe I didn't notice that before! 

So, when Euron hears the waves talking to him, he is listening to the Old Gods, and we all know who speaks for the old gods: the last greenseer. 

ETA II

Dig this...

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On the Isle of Toads can be found an ancient idol, a greasy black stone crudely carved into the semblance of a gigantic toad of malignant aspect, some forty feet high. The people of this isle are believed by some to be descended from those who carved the Toad Stone, for there is an unpleasant fishlike aspect to their faces, and many have webbed hands and feet. If so, they are the sole surviving remnant of this forgotten race.

Beyond the Sunset Kingdom, TWOIAF

That corroborates Maester Theron's fanciful possibilty that the Seastone Chair might be the work of a queer, misshapen race of half men sired by creatures of the salt seas upon human women, Deep Ones, or squishers. 

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Love the weirwood conenctions. I was raised by literal sailors and some (my granpa) built his own boat in out front yard to sail back to Ireland. We kids played all over it while he built it and pretended like we were in the skeleton of a whale. So yeah, for me, this makes perfect sense.

I always wondered if this had anything to do with Theon's nightmares he had while in Ned's weirwood bed after taking Winterfell? Aside from just guilt. Theon could "skinchange" into a wolf of the wild sea when we get a final redemption from him? Just an idea.

  • "He might have put it down to a bad dream, but he did not remember dreaming."

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I actually reach the opposite conclusion, I believe the Storm God is the Greenseers, and the Grey King was either a Deep One/ half breed with humans.

The Grey King made his longship out of the Weirwood, I believe that means he destroyed the Weirwood, signifying war with the COTF.  Then the COTF hit him with a hammer of the waters breaking apart the Iron Islands, partially flooding the neck, flipping and landing his longship where it still lies (Naggas ribs), and killing him just as it says.  While the Deep ones reigned I believe they took humans as thralls, and that the iron islanders learned to sail from them.  While the webbed hands and stories of them coming from the sea may suggest they can breath beneath the water their human thralls could not, so the longships were necessary.  This could also explain their having iron as the Deep ones could have given them iron tools to work with.

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Great analyses, indeed. Well done! 

There's strong connection between the weirwood trees turning to stone and Nagga's stone bones. Although, it looks to me also there's parallel between poisoning of Blackolwood's tree and Nagga's killing by Grey King. Blackwood tree died of poisoning and will turn to stone - so what chances are that Great King poisoned Nagga and her bones turned to stone later? How otherwise could any man kill such a collossal creature as it is described? Also, I notice a symbolic between Grey King and Night's King considering their brides. Both took a woman of different race and made interbreeded children. The same as Bloodstone Emperor. Was Great King good or bad? He was fearsome warrior no doubt, if all legends are true. Chronology of his deeds are given in reverse direction as it seems to me. He first slew Nagga, than made Halls, than slew Ygg, a weirwood tree, a symbol of Old Gods and First Men. After that he waged war upon Storm God and brought fire into the world. When all was done, he took a mermaid wife and they had children who could live above the waves or beneath, as they choose. So, he created Deep Ones? One question just came to my mind - why was Grey King gone for Old Vyk in the first place? Was he adventurer? Was he on a task of slaying Nagga, creature who tormented the world? Or was he exiled? Did Nagga shattered the ground and made Iron Islands or is it possible that Iron Islands were made as consequence of Hammer of Waters? And about the crown - if weirwood gets enough blood through sacrifices, does it become drift in some manner? 

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Oh, man! How could I omit the squishers of Cracklaw?

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"A place like this, there might be squishers."

"Squishers?" Brienne gave him a suspicious look.

"Monsters," Nimble Dick said, with relish. "They look like men till you get close, but their heads is too big, and they got scales where a proper man's got hair. Fish-belly white they are, with webs between their fingers. They're always damp and fishy-smelling, but behind these blubbery lips they got rows of green teeth sharp as needles. Some say the First Men killed them all, but don't you believe it. They come by night and steal bad little children, padding along on them webbed feet with a little squish-squish sound. The girls they keep to breed with, but the boys they eat, tearing at them with those sharp green teeth." He grinned at Podrick. "They'd eat you, boy. They'd eat you raw."

Humanoid, fish-like creatures... Are squishers based on Deep Ones? We see another hint of interbreeding. Perhaps the reason Nimble Dick believes squishers steal babies and eat them is that the squishers sacrificed men to the Old Gods. 

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Squishers took girls for breeding and Craster gave his sons to the Others. 

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44 minutes ago, wolfinho said:

Squishers took girls for breeding and Craster gave his sons to the Others. 

True enough, but we don't have any evidence of interbreeding between Others and humans, do we? 

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No, there is no clear evidence. But seems like Others have human origin which may indicate they are interbreeded creatures or geneticly engineered humans. Also we have Night's King and his bride who made sacrifices to the Others. Maybe Others doesn't reproduce, but are created using some magic on humans. It would explain the faith of Craster's sons. 

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In the Age of Heroes, the legends say, the ironborn were ruled by a mighty monarch known simply as the Grey King. The Grey King ruled the sea itself and took a mermaid to wife, so his sons and daughters might live above the waves or beneath them as they chose. His hair and beard and eyes were as grey as a winter sea, and from these he took his name. The crown he wore was made of driftwood, so all who knelt before him might know that his kingship came from the sea and the Drowned God who dwells beneath it.

  • Ok, a few things. First, this always sounded very Patchfacey to me.
  • Second, this also sounds like a parallel to what we have going on at the wall with Jon and the wildlings. That situation is heavily connected to the migration of the Rhoynar, but I won't get in to too much of it here. Basically, we know north of the wall is the sea, and mermen/maids are akin to the Myrmen from the Rhoynish migration. We have been told that "the land is one", and the idea that the Grey King had children might chose where they live kinda looks like, again, the integration at the wall... or atleast after that storm and the Others clear away.
  • And driftwood is of course something living that dies that comes back again. (I see you Sandor and Stranger)

 

From here he ruled both stone and salt, wearing robes of woven seaweed and a tall pale crown made from Nagga's teeth.

  • Ok, maybe Nagga's teeth = Ravens Teeth. Jon is developing archery skills at the wall big time, requiring constant practice two times (?) a day. This could be another greenseer link using the teeth as the connecting symbol. They are both secondary accessories to the greenseer- Raven's Teeth are accessories to death in battle (murder;)), and Nagga's teeth are accessories to that crown... and I am sure something deeper I just can't place at the moment.

 

But that was in the dawn of days, when mighty men still dwelt on earth and sea. The hall had been warmed by Nagga's living fire, which the Grey King had made his thrall. On its walls hung tapestries woven from silver seaweed most pleasing to the eyes. The Grey King's warriors had feasted on the bounty of the sea at a table in the shape of a great starfish, whilst seated upon thrones carved from mother-of-pearl.

  • Again, kinda Patcfacey. I guess this is what you were alluding to above, but I wanted to be sure:
Patchface rang his bells. "It is always summer under the sea," he intoned. "The merwives wear nennymoans in their hair and weave gowns of silver seaweed. I know, I know, oh, oh, oh."
Shireen giggled. "I should like a gown of silver seaweed."
~and~
"Under the sea the mermen feast on starfish soup, and all the serving men are crabs," Patchface proclaimed as they went. "I know, I know, oh, oh, oh."
  • The mother-of-pearl throne always got me wondering. It could just be a sea reference... but could it be related to moonstone (yes, Bloodraven abilities) or anything else? George usually has a reason for why he describes things the way he does.
 
Only then did he cast aside his driftwood crown and walk into the sea, descending to the Drowned God’s watery halls to take his rightful place at his right hand.
  • There are only two other places I ever found that have watery halls, well, watery walls if that counts? Winterfell and, sigh, again, the Rhoynish migration which is now the wildlings at CB at the watery wall (which is also salty). Way too much to tell on that here, but it is there.

 

The deeds attributed to the Grey King by the priests and singers of the Iron Islands are many and marvelous. It was the Grey King who brought fire to the earth by taunting the Storm God until he lashed down with a thunderbolt, setting a tree ablaze.

  • This sounds kinda like a Dany+Jon battle. Dany, as the stormborn Storm God, lashing down a thunderbolt (Drogon fire) and setting a tree ablaze. Now, which tree? Bloodraven in his cave? The heart tree at Winterfell? Another heart tree? Stumped a little on this one.

I have no idea if this is adding anything to your post if I can't give you straighter answers :dunno: Sorry.

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The Grey King being a Deep One hybrid makes sense to me. In Lovecraft's Shadow over Innsmouth, hybrids slowly mutate (depending on their genetic I think) until finally they go to the sea when they ' strongly feel' the call. The Grey King may have been a numerous Deep One dynasty that ended when the by then numerous sons of the last Grey King just killed each other off and the Deep One blood died slowly until the final 16 who were mostly human remained and they divided the islands between them. Just my 2 cents.

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Skin color of the Grey King also associates me with a greyscale, especially since the deceased of greyscale lose their minds in the end. And act of Grey King, when he put aside his driftwood crown and descends to the sea, looks just like that - act of someone who had lost his mind. I mean, he ruled for a thousand years, so why he didn't decide to join the Drowned God in his watery halls some time earlier?! Or later? Even before he killed Nagga, he was known as the Grey King, which signifies he already had white hair and beard. King of what? His greatest deed is slaying of Nagga, after what he had built a mighty longhall about her bones. If he crowned himself only after that, what was his name before? There's no memtion of his earlier deeds. 

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I think there was a war between COTF and Deep ones in ancient times . Grey King was a man   helping the Deep ones taking controll of the Iron Islands and cut down the weirwoods . Then the COTF takes revenge by using the Hammer. In this case the COTF is the Storm god and Deep ones the drowned god .

So yeah Naggas ribs are weirwood , but the Grey King was not a greenseer . He was a guy who got power from the Deep ones. 

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There seems to me to be possible connections between what's being described above concerning the iron islands and what we know of the wolf's den and white harbor. 

Bit of a stretch, but since ancient times are so messed up, could the grey King be a Stark? It fits with the coloring, it fits with the king of the North somehow, and in the wolf's den:

"Brandon Stark this was, Edrick Snowbeard's great-grandson, him that men called Ice Eyes. He took the Wolf's Den back, stripped the slavers naked, and gave them to the slaves he'd found chained up in the dungeons. It's said they hung their entrails in the branches of the heart tree, as an offering to the gods. The old gods, not these new ones from the south."

In both places, weirwoods grow near/in the sea, meaning the cotf can communicate with the oceans? Should help explain the two sites' importance. Anyway, the wolf's den is ancient, as are the bones of Nagga. 

The iron islands are much less literate than the people of the wolf's den/white harbor, which explains how their story is much more mythical, and seems older due to being more fantastic and fanciful. Again meaning it should be considered less literally than what we know of the wolf's den. 

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Outside the tent the wind was rising. Clouds raced across the moon's pale face. They looked a bit like galleys, stroking hard to ram. The stars were few and faint. All along the strand the longships rested, tall masts rising like a forest from the surf. Victarion could hear their hulls creaking as they settled on the sand. He heard the keening of their lines, the sound of banners flapping. Beyond, in the deeper waters of the bay, larger ships bobbed at anchor, grim shadows wreathed in mist.

The Iron Captain, Feast 18

That's a very Bloodraven-esque vibe on the eve of the kingsmoot. 

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On 10/25/2016 at 0:23 PM, Lost Melnibonean said:

That's a very Bloodraven-esque vibe on the eve of the kingsmoot

Consider this:

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A Feast for Crows - The Drowned Man

The hornblower's breath failed at last. He staggered and almost fell. The priest saw Orkwood of Orkmont catch him by one arm to hold him up, whilst Left-Hand Lucas Codd took the twisted black horn from his hands. A thin wisp of smoke was rising from the horn, and the priest saw blood and blisters upon the lips of the man who'd sounded it. The bird on his chest was bleeding too.

Bloodraven's colors: 'blood and smoke.'

A bleeding bird = bloody bird = Bloodraven

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The Mystery Knight

"His hands are scarlet with a brother's blood, and the blood of his young nephews too," the hunchback had declared to the crowd that had gathered in the market square. "A shadow came at his command to strangle brave Prince Valarr's sons in their mother's womb. Where is our Young Prince now? Where is his brother, sweet Matarys? Where has Good King Daeron gone, and fearless Baelor Breakspear? The grave has claimed them, every one, yet he endures, this pale bird with bloody beak who perches on King Aerys's shoulder and caws into his ear. The mark of hell is on his face and in his empty eye, and he has brought us drought and pestilence and murder.

Continuing:

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Euron Greyjoy climbed the hill slowly, with every eye upon him. Above the gull screamed and screamed again. No godless man may sit the Seastone Chair, Aeron thought, but he knew that he must let his brother speak. His lips moved silently in prayer.

'with every eye upon him...' Does that include one of Bloodraven's 1001 eyes?!

The gull screaming and screaming reminds me of the Raven who similarly screams incessantly, offering running commentary on proceedings at the Wall, whom many have interpreted as being skinchanged by Bloodraven.  Could the gull be skinchanged by Bloodraven, 'keeping an eye' on his rival Euron and perhaps protesting his accession to the throne?  Alternatively, perhaps the gull is meant to signify a 'drowned' priest -- one of whom is called the 'Old Grey Gull' (do you know who that is?)

Similar to Euron, Bloodraven is also regarded by many as being 'godless.' (see above: 'the mark of hell is on his face...').

About Bloodraven's hidden eye(s):

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The Sworn Sword

The realm was full of lawless men these days. The drought showed no signs of ending, and smallfolk by the thousands had taken to the roads, looking for someplace where the rains still fell. Lord Bloodraven had commanded them to return to their own lands and lords, but few obeyed. Many blamed Bloodraven and King Aerys for the drought. It was a judgment from the gods, they said, for the kinslayer is accursed. If they were wise, though, they did not say it loudly. How many eyes does Lord Bloodraven have? ran the riddle Egg had heard in Oldtown. A thousand eyes, and one.

Six years ago in King's Landing, Dunk had seen him with his own two eyes, as he rode a pale horse up the Street of Steel with fifty Raven's Teeth behind him. That was before King Aerys had ascended to the Iron Throne and made him the Hand, but even so he cut a striking figure, garbed in smoke and scarlet with Dark Sister on his hip. His pallid skin and bone-white hair made him look a living corpse. Across his cheek and chin spread a wine-stain birthmark that was supposed to resemble a red raven, though Dunk only saw an odd-shaped blotch of discolored skin. He stared so hard that Bloodraven felt it. The king's sorcerer had turned to study him as he went by. He had one eye, and that one red. The other was an empty socket, the gift Bittersteel had given him upon the Redgrass Field. Yet it seemed to Dunk that both eyes had looked right through his skin, down to his very soul.

Despite the heat, the memory made him shiver. "Ser?" Egg called. "Are you unwell?"

Perhaps the obscured eye he senses is the 'third eye,' not necessarily the 'second'!

On 10/21/2016 at 6:07 PM, The Fattest Leech said:

In the Age of Heroes, the legends say, the ironborn were ruled by a mighty monarch known simply as the Grey King. The Grey King ruled the sea itself and took a mermaid to wife, so his sons and daughters might live above the waves or beneath them as they chose. His hair and beard and eyes were as grey as a winter sea, and from these he took his name. The crown he wore was made of driftwood, so all who knelt before him might know that his kingship came from the sea and the Drowned God who dwells beneath it.

  • Ok, a few things. First, this always sounded very Patchfacey to me.

Absolutely!  Similarly, the myths surrounding how Patchface was the only survivor of the shipwreck, and managed to survive at sea for three days before washing up on the beach, involve a mermaid teaching him how to breathe underwater in exchange for his seed.  That story is also highly reminiscent of the Night's King giving his icy demon succubus his seed, as well as Bran who was coaxed by the 'three-eyed crow' into offering up his precious golden kernels of corn.  

The core of all these myths is as you've identified an interbreeding of different clans or even species, in addition to some kind of Faustian pact made by the human entangling himself with 'dark' supernatural forces which threaten to destroy him in exchange for power.  Plunging into the 'sea,' 'drowning' and falling in with a 'mermaid' to emerge 'harder and stronger' is thus a metaphor for the magical transformation attendant with greenseeing as well as 'Azor Ahai-reborn.' Have you dipped into my extensive musings on the subject over on the 'nennymoan' thread (...perhaps avoid going there, you may drown...:lol:)? 

In a nutshell, I believe there is a pun on deep 'green see' with 'green sea'.  Patchface's 'under the sea' thus refers to the 'third-eye' prophetic dimension.  Similarly, the Grey King's eyes are highlighted leading us to suspect he is possessed of special eyes or sight (i.e. 'third eyes') 'grey as a winter sea,' or according to my wordplay 'winter see,' perhaps implying we may anticipate that such magical powers will grow in force during the Winter or 'Long Night.'  I also like your theory that the Wall itself could represent a topographical and symbolic boundary between the great, unknown expanse of the northern beyond -- which can be configured as a sea and 'see' in which all manner of magic is arising, e.g. the 'sunless sea' (again a pun on 'sunless see = dark-seeing' ) of  Bloodraven's cave in which Bran is undergoing his greenseer training -- and the more prosaic realm to the south which it threatens to overflow in some kind of cataclysmic tide of dark magic and human migration.  

 Patchface is a greenseer figure in many ways, which I won't fully elaborate here (see the 'nennymoan' thread for more).  In addition, he's painted as a kind of amorphous sea creature 'soft and obese...subject to twitches and trembles' (certainly sounds 'squishy'!) with a 'queer sideways walk' (like a crab perhaps).  The tattoo from neck to scalp can be thought of as gills.  Patchface also wears a crown of teeth of sorts 'the rack of deer antlers strapped to the crown and hung with cowbells' which rings as he speaks much as Bloodraven's weirwood 'headdress' produces 'a faint rustling of wood and leaf' accompanying his every word and turn of his head.  Bloodraven's teachings to Bran are referred to as 'the lord's words' and the white raven heralding Winter's onset addresses Patchface as 'Lord, lord, lord.'  'Lord' of what?  'The Drowned God?  The Shrouded Lord?  The figure of the 'Shrouded Lord,' also referred to as 'his Grey Grace' with his 'grey kiss' and association with 'greyscale' sounds very much like the Grey King and Night's King: '...he's not like t'other stone men...he started as a statue until a grey woman came out of the fog and kissed him with lips cold as ice.'

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From here he ruled both stone and salt, wearing robes of woven seaweed and a tall pale crown made from Nagga's teeth.

  • Ok, maybe Nagga's teeth = Ravens Teeth. Jon is developing archery skills at the wall big time, requiring constant practice two times (?) a day. This could be another greenseer link using the teeth as the connecting symbol. They are both secondary accessories to the greenseer- Raven's Teeth are accessories to death in battle (murder;)), and Nagga's teeth are accessories to that crown... and I am sure something deeper I just can't place at the moment.

Agree about the Ravens Teeth.  Maybe the 'teeth' also connect to the point you once made about 'wooden teeth,' signifying the old gods and trees with teeth (like the demon tree Ygg or weirwoods who feed off human sacrifice).

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But that was in the dawn of days, when mighty men still dwelt on earth and sea. The hall had been warmed by Nagga's living fire, which the Grey King had made his thrall. On its walls hung tapestries woven from silver seaweed most pleasing to the eyes. The Grey King's warriors had feasted on the bounty of the sea at a table in the shape of a great starfish, whilst seated upon thrones carved from mother-of-pearl.

  • Again, kinda Patcfacey. I guess this is what you were alluding to above, but I wanted to be sure:
Patchface rang his bells. "It is always summer under the sea," he intoned. "The merwives wear nennymoans in their hair and weave gowns of silver seaweed. I know, I know, oh, oh, oh."
Shireen giggled. "I should like a gown of silver seaweed."
~and~
"Under the sea the mermen feast on starfish soup, and all the serving men are crabs," Patchface proclaimed as they went. "I know, I know, oh, oh, oh."
  • The mother-of-pearl throne always got me wondering. It could just be a sea reference... but could it be related to moonstone (yes, Bloodraven abilities) or anything else? George usually has a reason for why he describes things the way he does.
 
Only then did he cast aside his driftwood crown and walk into the sea, descending to the Drowned God’s watery halls to take his rightful place at his right hand.
  • There are only two other places I ever found that have watery halls, well, watery walls if that counts? Winterfell and, sigh, again, the Rhoynish migration which is now the wildlings at CB at the watery wall (which is also salty). Way too much to tell on that here, but it is there.

I love the connection you've made between Winterfell's 'watery walls', making it a 'watery hall,' and both the Grey King's walls/halls and the Wall.  A 'watery hall' could very easily become a 'watery hell' (in similar fashion to our previous wordplays on Winterfell/hell and Summerhall/fall and the 'frozen hell reserved for Starks').  After the sacking and burning of Winterfell, GRRM describes it as 'the sea of chaos Winterfell had become' in which the godswood is configured as an island.

Another 'watery hall' I've discovered is fittingly the 'Merman's Court' of Wyman Manderly, analogous to the Grey King's hall or Bloodraven's cavern.  Like Winterfell, it's built over the 'Wolf's Den.'  Now that Bran Stark inhabits Bloodraven's cavern, we can also see that hollow as a 'wolf's den.'  Manderly is another figure with much greenseer symbolism attached to him, not least being a member of the Order of the Green Hand:

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  His lordship will hear you now, smuggler.”

  The knight wore silver armor, his greaves and gauntlet inlaid with niello to suggest flowing fronds of seaweed. The helm beneath his arm was the head of the merling king, with a crown of mother-of-pearl and a jutting beard of jet and jade. His own beard was as grey as the winter sea.

'Grey as the winter sea' is the verbatim description given to the Grey King.  Also note the silver seaweed, mother of pearl, etc.

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ADWD-Davos III  

Davos rose. “May I know your name, ser?”

  “Ser Marlon Manderly.” He was a head taller than Davos and three stones heavier, with slate-grey eyes and a haughty way of speaking. “I have the honor to be Lord Wyman’s cousin and commander of his garrison. Follow me.”

  Davos had come to White Harbor as an envoy, but they had made him a captive. His chambers were large, airy, and handsomely furnished, but there were guards outside his doors. From his window he could see the streets of White Harbor beyond the castle walls, but he was not allowed to walk them. He could see the harbor too, and had watched Merry Midwife make her way down the firth. Casso Mogat had waited four days instead of three before departing. Another fortnight had passed since then.

  Lord Manderly’s household guard wore cloaks of blue-green wool and carried silver tridents in place of common spears. One went before him, one behind, and one to either side. They walked past the faded banners, broken shields, and rusted swords of a hundred ancient victories, and a score of wooden figures, cracked and worm-riddled, that could only have adorned the prows of ships.

This reminds me of the weirwood roots in Bloodraven's cavern which are similarly described as a writhing nest of worms and snakes which penetrate Bloodraven's body -- leaving him 'worm-riddled' and pinioned to the tree the way a ship's figurehead is attached to the prow in the manner of a crucifixion, symbolising human sacrifice made for magical boon:

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A Clash of Kings - Daenerys IV

. . . help her . . . the whispers mocked. . . . show her . . .

Then phantoms shivered through the murk, images in indigo. ...

...

From a smoking tower, a great stone beast took wing, breathing shadow fire. . . . mother of dragons, slayer of lies . . . Her silver was trotting through the grass, to a darkling stream beneath a sea of stars. A corpse stood at the prow of a ship, eyes bright in his dead face, grey lips smiling sadly.

From TWOW - The Forsaken:

Spoiler

“The Crow’s Eye has fed your Drowned God well, and he has grown fat with sacrifice. Words are wind, but blood is power. We have given thousands to the sea, and he has given us victories!”

“…Your Grace,” said Torwold Browntooth. “I have the priests. What do you want done with them?”

“Bind them to the prows,” Euron commanded. “My brother on the Silence. Take one for yourself. Let them dice for the others, one to a ship. Let them feel the spray, the kiss of the Drowned God, wet and salty.”

 

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  Two marble mermen flanked his lordship’s court, Fishfoot’s smaller cousins. As the guards threw open the doors, a herald slammed the butt of his staff against an old plank floor. “Ser Davos of House Seaworth,” he called in a ringing voice.

  As many times as he had visited White Harbor, Davos had never set foot inside the New Castle, much less the Merman’s Court. Its walls and floor and ceiling were made of wooden planks notched cunningly together and decorated with all the creatures of the sea.

i.e. They are symbolically 'underwater' in a watery hall with watery walls...Alternatively, the wooden structure can be imagined as the interior of a ship's hull or Nagga's ribcage (by the way, I love your childhood story about playing in the boat imagining it as the belly of a whale!) :)

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As they approached the dais, Davos trod on painted crabs and clams and starfish, half-hidden amongst twisting black fronds of seaweed and the bones of drowned sailors.

Bran:

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A Game of Thrones - Bran III

Because winter is coming.

Bran looked at the crow on his shoulder, and the crow looked back. It had three eyes, and the third eye was full of a terrible knowledge. Bran looked down. There was nothing below him now but snow and cold and death, a frozen wasteland where jagged blue-white spires of ice waited to embrace him. They flew up at him like spears. He saw the bones of a thousand other dreamers impaled upon their points.

Davos:

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A Storm of Swords - Davos I

The gods beneath the waters have been waiting for me, he told himself. It's past time I went to them.

But now there was a sail; only a speck on the horizon, but growing larger. A ship where no ship should be. He knew where his rock lay, more or less; it was one of a series of sea monts that rose from the floor of Blackwater Bay. The tallest of them jutted a hundred feet above the tide, and a dozen lesser monts stood thirty to sixty feet high. Sailors called them spears of the merling king, and knew that for every one that broke the surface, a dozen lurked treacherously just below it. Any captain with sense kept his course well away from them.

 

A Storm of Swords - Davos I

 When he opened his mouth to scream, the water came rushing in, tasting of salt, and Davos Seaworth knew that he was drowning.

The next he knew the sun was up, and he lay upon a stony strand beneath a spire of naked stone, with the empty bay all around and a broken mast, a burned sail, and a swollen corpse beside him. The mast, the sail, and the dead man vanished with the next high tide, leaving Davos alone on his rock amidst the spears of the merling king.

 

A Storm of Swords - Davos II

"What else? My onion knight was never so thin or so pale as you." Salladhor Saan threaded his way between the jars of spice and bolts of cloth that filled the hold of the merchanter, wrapped Davos in a fierce embrace, then kissed him once on each cheek and a third time on his forehead. "You are still warm, ser, and I feel your heart thumpety-thumping. Can it be true? The sea that swallowed you has spit you up again."

Davos was reminded of Patchface, Princess Shireen's lackwit fool. He had gone into the sea as well, and when he came out he was mad. Am I mad as well? He coughed into a gloved hand and said, "I swam beneath the chain and washed ashore on a spear of the merling king. I would have died there, if Shayala's Dance had not come upon me."

 

A Storm of Swords - Davos II

Why else would the sea have spit me out? You know Blackwater Bay as well as I do, Salla. No sensible captain would ever take his ship through the spears of the merling king and risk ripping out his bottom. Shayala's Dance should never have come near me."

 

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On the walls to either side, pale sharks prowled painted blue-green depths, whilst eels and octopods slithered amongst rocks and sunken ships. Shoals of herring and great codfish swam between the tall arched windows. Higher up, near where the old fishing nets drooped down from the rafters, the surface of the sea had been depicted. To his right a war galley stroked serene against the rising sun; to his left, a battered old cog raced before a storm, her sails in rags. Behind the dais a kraken and grey leviathan were locked in battle beneath the painted waves.

  Davos had hoped to speak with Wyman Manderly alone, but he found a crowded court. Along the walls, the women outnumbered the men by five to one; what few males he did see had long grey beards or looked too young to shave. There were septons as well, and holy sisters in white robes and grey. Near the top of the hall stood a dozen men in the blue and silver-grey of House Frey. Their faces had a likeness a blind man could have seen; several wore the badge of the Twins, two towers connected by a bridge.

  Davos had learned to read men’s faces long before Maester Pylos had taught him to read words on paper. These Freys would gladly see me dead, he realized at a glance.

  Nor did he find any welcome in the pale blue eyes of Wyman Manderly. His lordship’s cushioned throne was wide enough to accommodate three men of common girth, yet Manderly threatened to overflow it. His lordship sagged into his seat, his shoulders slumped, his legs splayed, his hands resting on the arms of his throne as if the weight of them were too much to bear. Gods be good, thought Davos, when he saw Lord Wyman’s face, this man looks half a corpse. His skin was pallid, with an undertone of grey.

 

Similarly, Bloodraven is described as a pale-skinned 'half-corpse and half-tree'.

Manderly 'threatening to overflow' is described in watery terms as a sea phenomenon or sea creature, like a whale, leviathan (usually grey) or indeed 'squisher'!  Like Patchface, he and most of his court are pale and obese -- and formidable!

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  Kings and corpses always draw attendants, the old saying went. So it was with Manderly. Left of the high seat stood a maester nigh as fat as the lord he served, a rosy-cheeked man with thick lips and a head of golden curls. Ser Marlon claimed the place of honor at his lordship’s right hand. On a cushioned stool at his feet perched a plump pink lady. Behind Lord Wyman stood two younger women, sisters by the look of them. The elder wore her brown hair bound in a long braid. The younger, no more than fifteen, had an even longer braid, dyed a garish green.

An allusion to the greenseers, particularly the green men who had green hair.  Manderly, whose family is originally from the Reach before 'overreaching' (ha ha) and being exiled north (literally 'over' the Reach), is a descendant of Garth the Green (very possibly a greenseer) and a member of the Order of the Green Hand.

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  None chose to honor Davos with a name. The maester was the first to speak. “You stand before Wyman Manderly, Lord of White Harbor and Warden of the White Knife, Shield of the Faith, Defender of the Dispossessed, Lord Marshal of the Mander, a Knight of the Order of the Green Hand,” he said. “In the Merman’s Court, it is customary for vassals and petitioners to kneel.”

Similarly, both Bloodraven and Bran have been dispossessed, from King's Landing and Winterfell respectively.

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  The onion knight would have bent his knee, but a King’s Hand could not; to do so would suggest that the king he served was less than this fat lord. “I have not come as a petitioner,” Davos replied. “I have a string of titles too. Lord of the Rainwood, Admiral of the Narrow Sea, Hand of the King.”

  The plump woman on the stool rolled her eyes. “An admiral without ships, a hand without fingers, in service to a king without a throne. Is this a knight who comes before us, or the answer to a child’s riddle?”

  “He is a messenger, good-daughter,” Lord Wyman said, “an onion of ill omen. Stannis did not like the answer his ravens brought him, so he has sent this … this smuggler.” He squinted at Davos through eyes half-buried in rolls of fat. “You have visited our city before, I think, taking coin from our pockets and food off our table. How much did you steal from me, I wonder?”

Manderly's eyes are described as hidden, 'half-buried,' and 'fluttering' like third eyes, weirwood leaves and ravens' wings.

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...

  “I know about the promise,” insisted the girl. “Maester Theomore, tell them! A thousand years before the Conquest, a promise was made, and oaths were sworn in the Wolf’s Den before the old gods and the new. When we were sore beset and friendless, hounded from our homes and in peril of our lives, the wolves took us in and nourished us and protected us against our enemies. The city is built upon the land they gave us. In return we swore that we should always be their men. Stark men!”

  The maester fingered the chain about his neck. “Solemn oaths were sworn to the Starks of Winterfell, aye. But Winterfell has fallen and House Stark has been extinguished.”

  “That’s because they killed them all!”

  Another Frey spoke up. “Lord Wyman, if I may?”

  Wyman Manderly gave him a nod. “Rhaegar. We are always pleased to hear your noble counsel.”

  Rhaegar Frey acknowledged the compliment with a bow. He was thirty, or nigh unto, round-shouldered and kettle-bellied, but richly dressed in a doublet of soft grey lambswool trimmed in cloth-of-silver. His cloak was cloth-of-silver too, lined with vair and clasped at the collar with a brooch in the shape of the twin towers. “Lady Wylla,” he said to the girl with the green braid, “loyalty is a virtue. I hope you will be as loyal to Little Walder when you are joined in wedlock. As to the Starks, that House is extinguished only in the male line. Lord Eddard’s sons are dead, but his daughters live, and the younger girl is coming north to wed brave Ramsay Bolton.”

  “Ramsay Snow,” Wylla Manderly threw back.

  “Have it as you will. By any name, he shall soon be wed to Arya Stark. If you would keep faith with your promise, give him your allegiance, for he shall be your Lord of Winterfell.”

  “He won’t ever be my lord! He made Lady Hornwood marry him, then shut her in a dungeon and made her eat her fingers.”

  A murmur of assent swept the Merman’s Court. “The maid tells it true,” declared a stocky man in white and purple, whose cloak was fastened with a pair of crossed bronze keys. “Roose Bolton’s cold and cunning, aye, but a man can deal with Roose. We’ve all known worse. But this bastard son of his … they say he’s mad and cruel, a monster.”

  “They say?” Rhaegar Frey sported a silky beard and a sardonic smile. “His enemies say, aye … but it was the Young Wolf who was the monster. More beast than boy, that one, puffed up with pride and bloodlust. And he was faithless, as my lord grandfather learned to his sorrow.” He spread his hands. “I do not fault White Harbor for supporting him. My grandsire made the same grievous mistake. In all the Young Wolf’s battles, White Harbor and the Twins fought side by side beneath his banners. Robb Stark betrayed us all. He abandoned the north to the cruel mercies of the ironmen to carve out a fairer kingdom for himself along the Trident. Then he abandoned the riverlords who had risked much and more for him, breaking his marriage pact with my grandfather to wed the first western wench who caught his eye. The Young Wolf? He was a vile dog and died like one.”

  The Merman’s Court had grown still. Davos could feel the chill in the air. Lord Wyman was looking down at Rhaegar as if he were a roach in need of a hard heel … yet then, abruptly, he gave a ponderous nod that set his chins to wobbling. “A dog, aye. He brought us only grief and death. A vile dog indeed. Say on.”

  Rhaegar Frey went on. “Grief and death, aye … and this onion lord will bring you more with his talk of vengeance. Open your eyes, as my lord grandsire did. The War of the Five Kings is all but done. Tommen is our king, our only king. We must help him bind up the wounds of this sad war. As Robert’s trueborn son, the heir of stag and lion, the Iron Throne is his by rights.”

  “Wise words, and true,” said Lord Wyman Manderly.

  “They weren’t.” Wylla Manderly stamped her foot.

  “Be quiet, wretched child,” scolded Lady Leona. “Young girls should be an ornament to the eye, not an ache in the ear.” She seized the girl by her braid and pulled her squealing from the hall. There went my only friend in this hall, thought Davos.

  “Wylla has always been a willful child,” her sister said, by way of apology. “I fear that she will make a willful wife.”

  Rhaegar shrugged. “Marriage will soften her, I have no doubt. A firm hand and a quiet word.”

  “If not, there are the silent sisters.” Lord Wyman shifted in his seat. “As for you, Onion Knight, I have heard sufficient treason for one day. You would have me risk my city for a false king and a false god. You would have me sacrifice my only living son so Stannis Baratheon can plant his puckered arse upon a throne to which he has no right. I will not do it. Not for you. Not for your lord. Not for any man.” The Lord of White Harbor pushed himself to his feet. The effort brought a red flush to his neck. “You are still a smuggler, ser, come to steal my gold and blood. You would take my son’s head. I think I shall take yours instead. Guards! Seize this man!”

  Before Davos could even think to move, he was surrounded by silver tridents. “My lord,” he said, “I am an envoy.”

  “Are you? You came sneaking into my city like a smuggler. I say you are no lord, no knight, no envoy, only a thief and a spy, a peddler of lies and treasons. I should tear your tongue out with hot pincers and deliver you to the Dreadfort to be flayed. But the Mother is merciful, and so am I.” He beckoned to Ser Marlon. “Cousin, take this creature to the Wolf’s Den and cut off his head and hands. I want them brought to me before I sup. I shall not be able to eat a bite until I see this smuggler’s head upon a spike, with an onion shoved between his lying teeth.”

 

Wily Wyman Manderly has used Davos in a mummer's farce in order to get the Freys to reveal their perfidy.  There are many references to cannibalism here, associating supper and eating with cutting off human parts and presenting such as pork by adorning them with onions.  Manderly's three 'pork pies' -- being Cockney rhyming slang for 'lies' of which Davos accuses the Freys here and Manderly bears witness.

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12 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

Consider this:

Bloodraven's colors: 'blood and smoke.'

A bleeding bird = bloody bird = Bloodraven

Continuing:

'with every eye upon him...' Does that include one of Bloodraven's 1001 eyes?!

The gull screaming and screaming reminds me of the Raven who similarly screams incessantly, offering running commentary on proceedings at the Wall, whom many have interpreted as being skinchanged by Bloodraven.  Could the gull be skinchanged by Bloodraven, 'keeping an eye' on his rival Euron and perhaps protesting his accession to the throne?  Alternatively, perhaps the gull is meant to signify a 'drowned' priest -- one of whom is called the 'Old Grey Gull' (do you know who that is?)

Similar to Euron, Bloodraven is also regarded by many as being 'godless.' (see above: 'the mark of hell is on his face...'

About Bloodraven's hidden eye(s):

Perhaps the obscured eye he senses is the 'third eye,' not necessarily the 'second'!

Absolutely!  Similarly, the myths surrounding how Patchface was the only survivor of the shipwreck, and managed to survive at sea for three days before washing up on the beach, involve a mermaid teaching him how to breathe underwater in exchange for his seed.  That story is also highly reminiscent of the Night's King giving his icy demon succubus his seed, as well as Bran who was coaxed by the 'three-eyed crow' into offering up his precious golden kernels of corn.  

The core of all these myths is as you've identified an interbreeding of different clans or even species, in addition to some kind of Faustian pact made by the human entangling himself with 'dark' supernatural forces which threaten to destroy him in exchange for power.  Plunging into the 'sea,' 'drowning' and falling in with a 'mermaid' to emerge 'harder and stronger' is thus a metaphor for the magical transformation attendant with greenseeing as well as 'Azor Ahai-reborn.' Have you dipped into my extensive musings on the subject over on the 'nennymoan' thread (...perhaps avoid going there, you may drown...:lol:)? 

In a nutshell, I believe there is a pun on deep 'green see' with 'green sea'.  Patchface's 'under the sea' thus refers to the 'third-eye' prophetic dimension.  Similarly, the Grey King's eyes are highlighted leading us to suspect he is possessed of special eyes or sight (i.e. 'third eyes') 'grey as a winter sea,' or according to my wordplay 'winter see,' perhaps implying we may anticipate that such magical powers will grow in force during the Winter or 'Long Night.'  I also like your theory that the Wall itself could represent a topographical and symbolic boundary between the great, unknown expanse of the northern beyond -- which can be configured as a sea and 'see' in which all manner of magic is arising, e.g. the 'sunless sea' (again a pun on 'sunless see = dark-seeing' ) of  Bloodraven's cave in which Bran is undergoing his greenseer training -- and the more prosaic realm to the south which it threatens to overflow in some kind of cataclysmic tide of dark magic and human migration.  

 Patchface is a greenseer figure in many ways, which I won't fully elaborate here (see the 'nennymoan' thread for more).  In addition, he's painted as a kind of amorphous sea creature 'soft and obese...subject to twitches and trembles' (certainly sounds 'squishy'!) with a 'queer sideways walk' (like a crab perhaps).  The tattoo from neck to scalp can be thought of as gills.  Patchface also wears a crown of teeth of sorts 'the rack of deer antlers strapped to the crown and hung with cowbells' which rings as he speaks much as Bloodraven's weirwood 'headdress' produces 'a faint rustling of wood and leaf' accompanying his every word and turn of his head.  Bloodraven's teachings to Bran are referred to as 'the lord's words' and the white raven heralding Winter's onset addresses Patchface as 'Lord, lord, lord.'  'Lord' of what?  'The Drowned God?  The Shrouded Lord?  The figure of the 'Shrouded Lord,' also referred to as 'his Grey Grace' with his 'grey kiss' and association with 'greyscale' sounds very much like the Grey King and Night's King: '...he's not like t'other stone men...he started as a statue until a grey woman came out of the fog and kissed him with lips cold as ice.'

Agree about the Ravens Teeth.  Maybe the 'teeth' also connect to the point you once made about 'wooden teeth,' signifying the old gods and trees with teeth (like the demon tree Ygg or weirwoods who feed off human sacrifice).

I love the connection you've made between Winterfell's 'watery walls', making it a 'watery hall,' and both the Grey King's walls/halls and the Wall.  A 'watery hall' could very easily become a 'watery hell' (in similar fashion to our previous wordplays on Winterfell/hell and Summerhall/fall and the 'fozen hell reserved for Starks').  After the sacking and burning of Winterfell, GRRM describes it as 'the sea of chaos Winterfell had become' in which the godswood is configured as an island.

Another 'watery hall' I've discovered is fittingly the 'Merman's Court' of Wyman Manderly, analogous to the Grey King's hall or Bloodraven's cavern.  Like Winterfell, it's built over the 'Wolf's Den.'  Now that Bran Stark inhabit's Bloodraven's cavern, we can also see that hollow as a 'wolf's den.'  Manderly is another figure with much greenseer symbolism attached to him, not least being a member of the Order of the Green Hand:

'Grey as the winter sea' is the verbatim description given to the Grey King.  Also note the silver seaweed, mother of pearl, etc.

This reminds me of the weirwood roots in Bloodraven's cavern which are similarly described as a writhing nest of worms and snakes which penetrate Bloodraven's body -- leaving him 'worm-riddled' and pinioned to the tree the way a ship's figurehead is attached to the prow in the manner of a crucifixion, symbolising human sacrifice made for magical boon:

From TWOW - The Forsaken:

  Reveal hidden contents

“The Crow’s Eye has fed your Drowned God well, and he has grown fat with sacrifice. Words are wind, but blood is power. We have given thousands to the sea, and he has given us victories!”

“…Your Grace,” said Torwold Browntooth. “I have the priests. What do you want done with them?”

“Bind them to the prows,” Euron commanded. “My brother on the Silence. Take one for yourself. Let them dice for the others, one to a ship. Let them feel the spray, the kiss of the Drowned God, wet and salty.”

 

i.e. They are symbolically 'underwater' in a watery hall with watery walls...Alternatively, the wooden structure can be imagined as the interior of a ship's hull or Nagga's ribcage (by the way, I love your childhood story about playing in the boat imagining it as the belly of a whale!) :)

Bran:

Davos:

 

Similarly, Bloodraven is described as a pale-skinned 'half-corpse and half-tree'.

Manderly 'threatening to overflow' is described in watery terms as a sea phenomenon or sea creature, like a whale, leviathan (usually grey) or indeed 'squisher'!  Like Patchface, he and most of his court are pale and obese -- and formidable!

An allusion to the greenseers, particularly the green men who had green hair.  Manderly, whose family is originally from the Reach before 'overreaching' (ha ha) and being exiled north (literally 'over' the Reach), is a descendant of Garth the Green (very possibly a greenseer) and a member of the Order of the Green Hand.

Similarly, both Bloodraven and Bran have been dispossessed, from King's Landing and Winterfell respectively.

Manderly's eyes are described as hidden, 'half-buried,' and 'fluttering' like third eyes, weirwood leaves and ravens' wings.

Wily Wyman Manderly has used Davos in a mummer's farce in order to get the Freys to reveal their perfidy.  There are many references to cannibalism here, associating supper and eating with cutting off human parts and presenting such as pork by adorning them with onions.  Manderly's three 'pork pies' -- being Cockney rhyming slang for 'lies' of which Davos accuses the Freys here and Manderly bears witness.

Nice. 

Quote

Her silver was trotting through the grass, to a darkling stream beneath a sea of stars. A corpse stood at the prow of a ship, eyes bright in his dead face, grey lips smiling sadly. A blue flower grew from a chink in a wall of ice, and filled the air with sweetness. . . . mother of dragons, bride of fire . . .

Daenerys IV, Clash 48

A bit of topic, but if the bright eyed corpse is Aeron, doesn't that strongly suggest that Daenerys will wed Euron and Jon? I like Daario better... http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/140062-bride-of-fire-the-corpse-with-bright-eyes-is-daario-naharis/

ETA

About the screaming gull, here are the relevant parts of the chapter...

Quote

 

"He shall. He must." Aeron's voice thundered like the waves. "But who? Who shall sit in Balon's place? Who shall rule these holy isles? Is he here among us now?" The priest spread his hands wide. "Who shall be king over us?"

A seagull screamed back at him. The crowd began to stir, like men waking from a dream. Each man looked at his neighbors, to see which of them might presume to claim a crown. The Crow's Eye was never patient, Aeron Damphair told himself. Mayhaps he will speak first. If so, it would be his undoing. The captains and the kings had come a long way to this feast and would not choose the first dish set before them. They will want to taste and sample, a bite of him, a nibble of the other, until they find the one that suits them best.

. . .

Soon enough the cries of "Gylbert! Gylbert King!" faded away to silence. The gull screamed loudly above them, and landed atop one of Nagga's ribs as the Lord of the Lonely Light made his way back down the hill.

Aeron Damphair stepped forward once more. "I ask again. Who shall be king over us?"

"Me!" a deep voice boomed, and once more the crowd parted.

The speaker was borne up the hill in a carved driftwood chair carried on the shoulders of his grandsons.

. . .

"Who shall rule the ironborn?" Aeron Damphair called again. "Who shall be king over us?"

Men looked at one another. Some looked at Euron, some at Victarion, a few at Asha. Waves broke green and white against the longships. The gull cried once more, a raucous scream, forlorn. "Make your claim, Victarion," the Merlyn called. "Let us have done with this mummer's farce."

"When I am ready," Victarion shouted back.

. . .

The hornblower's breath failed at last. He staggered and almost fell. The priest saw Orkwood of Orkmont catch him by one arm to hold him up, whilst Left-Hand Lucas Codd took the twisted black horn from his hands. A thin wisp of smoke was rising from the horn, and the priest saw blood and blisters upon the lips of the man who'd sounded it. The bird on his chest was bleeding too.

Euron Greyjoy climbed the hill slowly, with every eye upon him. Above the gull screamed and screamed again. No godless man may sit the Seastone Chair, Aeron thought, but he knew that he must let his brother speak. His lips moved silently in prayer.

Asha's champions stepped aside, and Victarion's as well. The priest took a step backward and put one hand upon the cold rough stone of Nagga's ribs. The Crow's Eye stopped atop the steps, at the doors of the Grey King's Hall, and turned his smiling eye upon the captains and the kings, but Aeron could feel his other eye as well, the one that he kept hidden.

 

The Drowned Man, Feast 19

The seagull was associated with the sea god of Irish mythology, Lir. And seagulls, like ravens, have been depicted has messengers between the real and mystical worlds. Notice here that the seagull screams the first time when Aeron asks, “Who shall be king over us?” This is reminiscent of Jeor’s crow and Jon. After the first claimant is rejected, the seagull perches on Nagga’s Ribs. We know that Nagga is sacred to the Ironmen, and The Reader tells Asha...

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“When last the salt kings and the rock kings met in kingsmoot, Urron of Orkmont let his axemen loose among them, and Nagga's ribs turned red with gore. House Greyiron ruled unchosen for a thousand years from that dark day, until the Andals came.”

The Kraken's Daughter, Feast 11

So, perhaps it is a foreshadowing of Euron’s purge.  

Quote

 

On the crown of the hill four-and-forty monstrous stone ribs rose from the earth like the trunks of great pale trees. The sight made Aeron's heart beat faster. Nagga had been the first sea dragon, the mightiest ever to rise from the waves. She fed on krakens and leviathans and drowned whole islands in her wrath, yet the Grey King had slain her and the Drowned God had changed her bones to stone so that men might never cease to wonder at the courage of the first of kings. Nagga's ribs became the beams and pillars of his longhall, just as her jaws became his throne. For a thousand years and seven he reigned here, Aeron recalled. Here he took his mermaid wife and planned his wars against the Storm God. From here he ruled both stone and salt, wearing robes of woven seaweed and a tall pale crown made from Nagga's teeth.

. . .

The Storm God drowned Nagga's fire after the Grey King's death,

 

If we accept Daenerys as the female sea dragon and Euron as the Grey King and/or the Storm God, this sequence could foreshadow Euron slaying Daenerys. (or perhaps Tyrion’s grey scale will do the job?)

But getting back to the gull. . .  The fourth time the Drowned God’s messenger cries, it sounds forlorn, or hopeless. That’s when Victarion announces he will hear other claims before making his own. The last time we hear from the gull, it screams again and again as Euron makes his claim, and Aeron thinks that no godless man may sit the Seastone Chair. 

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I just added this to the OP...

Quote

"The merewire wear nennymoan in their hair and weave gowns of silver seaweed. I know, I know, oh, oh, oh."

Shireen giggled. "I should like a gown of silver seaweed."

Prologue, Clash

Poor Shireen. Does anyone doubt that she will be sacrificed? 

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31 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

I just added this to the OP...

Prologue, Clash

Poor Shireen. Does anyone doubt that she will be sacrificed? 

I don't, but I don't think Stannis will do it either.

Maybe it is because I have a massive headache from being around paint fumes all day, but what is the connection? The gown of silver seaweed? I can almost taste the connection... oh wait, I am hungry for dinner!

"The merewire wear nennymoan in their hair and weave gowns of silver seaweed. I know, I know, oh, oh, oh."

Shireen giggled. "I should like a gown of silver seaweed."

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1 hour ago, The Fattest Leech said:

I don't, but I don't think Stannis will do it either.

Maybe it is because I have a massive headache from being around paint fumes all day, but what is the connection? The gown of silver seaweed? I can almost taste the connection... oh wait, I am hungry for dinner!

"The merewire wear nennymoan in their hair and weave gowns of silver seaweed. I know, I know, oh, oh, oh."

Shireen giggled. "I should like a gown of silver seaweed."

From the OP...

Quote

But that was in the dawn of days, when mighty men still dwelt on earth and sea. The hall had been warmed by Nagga's living fire, which the Grey King had made his thrall. On its walls hung tapestries woven from silver seaweed most pleasing to the eyes. The Grey King's warriors had feasted on the bounty of the sea at a table in the shape of a great starfish, whilst seated upon thrones carved from mother-of-pearl. Gone, all the glory gone. Men were smaller now. Their lives had grown short. The Storm God drowned Nagga's fire after the Grey King's death, the chairs and tapestries had been stolen, the roof and walls had rotted away. Even the Grey King's great throne of fangs had been swallowed by the sea. Only Nagga's bones endured to remind the ironborn of all the wonder that had been.

The Drowned Man, Feast 19

I have to wonder whether those tapestries of silver seaweed might have been entrails, and given what we will learn about sacrifice, I suspect the bounty the Grey King’s warriors feasted on at the starfish table might have been like the feast the Skagossons had on Skane...

Quote

Some songs said the Skaggs were cannibals; supposedly their warriors ate the hearts and livers of the men they slew. In ancient days, the Skagosi had sailed to the nearby isle of Skane, seized its women, slaughtered its men, and ate them on a pebbled beach in a feast that lasted for a fortnight. Skane remained unpeopled to this day.

Samwell II, Feast 15.

Perhaps we will see another similar feast in Winds or Spring...

Quote

 

Ser Malegorn offered his arm, and Queen Selyse took it stiffly. Her other hand settled on her daughter's shoulder. The royal ducklings fell in behind them as they made their way across the yard, marching to the music of the bells on the fool's hat. "Under the sea the mermen feast on starfish soup, and all the serving men are crabs," Patchface proclaimed as they went. "I know, I know, oh, oh, oh."

Melisandre's face darkened. "That creature is dangerous. Many a time I have glimpsed him in my flames. Sometimes there are skulls about him, and his lips are red with blood."

 

Jon X, Dance 49

Quote

"Then a long cruel winter fell," said Ser Bartimus. "The White Knife froze hard, and even the firth was icing up. The winds came howling from the north and drove them slavers inside to huddle round their fires, and whilst they warmed themselves the new king come down on them. Brandon Stark this was, Edrick Snowbeard's great-grandson, him that men called Ice Eyes. He took the Wolf's Den back, stripped the slavers naked, and gave them to the slaves he'd found chained up in the dungeons. It's said they hung their entrails in the branches of the heart tree, as an offering to the gods. The old gods, not these new ones from the south. Your Seven don't know winter, and winter don't know them."

Davos IV, Dance 29

Here we see that the First Men made offerings to the Old Gods, by hanging entrails in the weirwoods.

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