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Lost Melnibonean

Wow, I never noticed that v.15

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Perhaps it was already said, but I come back to one vision in the House of the Undying, when Daenerys meets with the false Pyat Pree : 

 

 
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When she stopped, she found herself in yet another dank stone chamber . . . but this time the door opposite was round, shaped like an open mouth, and Pyat Pree stood outside in the grass beneath the trees. "Can it be that the Undying are done with you so soon?" he asked in disbelief when he saw her.
"So soon?" she said, confused. "I've walked for hours, and still not found them."
"You have taken a wrong turning. Come, I will lead you." Pyat Pree held out his hand.
Dany hesitated. There was a door to her right, still closed . . .
"That's not the way," Pyat Pree said firmly, his blue lips prim with disapproval. "The Undying Ones will not wait forever."
"Our little lives are no more than a flicker of a moth's wing to them," Dany said, remembering.
"Stubborn child. You will be lost, and never found."
She walked away from him, to the door on the right.
"No," Pyat screeched. "No, to me, come to me, to meeeeeee." His face crumbled inward, changing to something pale and wormlike.  (Daenerys IV, ACOK)

 

 

Well. Pyat screeching like a raven (Mormont's raven is screeching when angry), after that he changes himself as a pale worm, like are the roots of the weirwoods (Bran also calls BR the "Pale Lord") : I had never noticed that BR was here looking for saving Daenerys from the Undying. He doesn't succeed, proving here that the greenseers aren't "omnipotent". 

I say "save from the Undying", because if we look well, he is showing the door "shaped like an open mouth", which was the door she passed throw to enter in the House. So, here, if she had followed the false Pyat, she would just have found the exit... but without seeing nor earing the Undying. Let's also note that Drogon seems to feel no danger with this false Pyat, when elsewhere in the chapter he is physically and noisily manifesting his fears/angry/agressivity/aso... 

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In truth, he was here because Melisandre had asked for him. The four eldest sons of Davos Seaworth had perished in the battle on the Blackwater, when the king's fleet had been consumed by green fire. Devan was the fifthborn and safer here with her than at the king's side.

Melisandre, Dance 31

No doubt...

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Four days ago, one of the king's own squires had succumbed to cold and hunger, a boy named Bryen Farring who'd been kin to Ser Godry. 

The Sacrifice, Dance 62

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13 hours ago, GloubieBoulga said:

Perhaps it was already said, but I come back to one vision in the House of the Undying, when Daenerys meets with the false Pyat Pree : 

Well. Pyat screeching like a raven (Mormont's raven is screeching when angry), after that he changes himself as a pale worm, like are the roots of the weirwoods (Bran also calls BR the "Pale Lord") : I had never noticed that BR was here looking for saving Daenerys from the Undying. He doesn't succeed, proving here that the greenseers aren't "omnipotent". 

I say "save from the Undying", because if we look well, he is showing the door "shaped like an open mouth", which was the door she passed throw to enter in the House. So, here, if she had followed the false Pyat, she would just have found the exit... but without seeing nor earing the Undying. Let's also note that Drogon seems to feel no danger with this false Pyat, when elsewhere in the chapter he is physically and noisily manifesting his fears/angry/agressivity/aso... 

That's an interesting and novel interpretation. I'm not buying, but I applaud the originality. 

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Outside, beneath a cold autumnal sky, the hunters were pouring through the gates. Ben Bones led the way, with the girls baying and barking all around him. Behind came Skinner, Sour Alyn, and Damon Dance-for-Me with his long greased whip, then the Walders riding the grey colts Lady Dustin had given them. His lordship himself rode Blood, a red stallion with a temper to match his own.

Reek III, Dance 32

Were the grey colts Lady Dustin gave to the Walderlings guest gifts?

II

I see no other reason for Roose to tell Reek about the difference between “m’lord” and “my lord” other than for the storyteller to hint that he knew he had Arya, and that he let her escape.

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Compare this...

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Two women fought over a charred bone.

In the Astapori refugee camp at Meereen, Daenerys VI, Dance 36

To this...

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“The two queens are squabbling over Tommen like bitches with a juicy bone.”

The Watcher, Dance 38

And this...

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“Queen Cersei and Queen Margaery are fighting over the little king like two bitches with a chicken bone, and both have been accused of treason and debauchery.”

The Griffin Reborn, Dance 61

II

Perhaps the battle at the Tower of Joy ended in a fashion similar to this...

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The Dothraki were shouting, Mirri Maz Duur wailing inside the tent like nothing human, Quaro pleading for water as he died. Dany cried out for help, but no one heard. Rakharo was fighting Haggo, arakh dancing with arakh until Jhogo's whip cracked, loud as thunder, the lash coiling around Haggo's throat. A yank, and the bloodrider stumbled backward, losing his feet and his sword. Rakharo sprang forward, howling, swinging his arakh down with both hands through the top of Haggo's head. The point caught between his eyes, red and quivering.

Daenerys VIII, Game 64

III

I wonder if there is some reason for Rakharo growing to tower over Aggo and Jhogo, other than this gem, of course...

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When Daenerys returned to her pyramid, sore of limb and sick of heart, she found Missandei reading some old scroll whilst Irri and Jhiqui argued about Rakharo. "You are too skinny for him," Jhiqui was saying. "You are almost a boy. Rakharo does not bed with boys. This is known."

Irri bristled back. "It is known that you are almost a cow. Rakharo does not bed with cows."

Daenerys VI, Dance 36

The only really distinguishable scene for Rakharo was this...

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Rakharo was the first to return. Due south the red waste stretched on and on, he reported, until it ended on a bleak shore beside the poison water. Between here and there lay only swirling sand, wind-scoured rocks, and plants bristly with sharp thorns. He had passed the bones of a dragon, he swore, so immense that he had ridden his horse through its great black jaws. Other than that, he had seen nothing.

Daenerys I, Clash 12

And Rakharo did provide this bit of advice...

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Rakharo snorted contempt through his drooping black mustachios. "Khaleesi, better a man should swallow scorpions than trust in the spawn of shadows, who dare not show their face beneath the sun. It is known."

Daenerys III, Clash 40

I suppose that might foreshadow some future conflict between Quaithe's advice and Arianne and/or Dorne, with Daenerys swallowing the scorpion. 

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Dany turned to the Green Grace. "If we should wed by Westerosi rites …"

"The gods of Ghis would deem it no true union." Galazza Galare's face was hidden behind a veil of green silk. Only her eyes showed, green and wise and sad. "In the eyes of the city you would be the noble Hizdahr's concubine, not his lawful wedded wife. Your children would be bastards. Your Worship must marry Hizdahr in the Temple of the Graces, with all the nobility of Meereen on hand to bear witness to your union."

Get the heads of all the noble houses out of their pyramids on some pretext, Daario had said. The dragon' s words are fire and blood. Dany pushed the thought aside. It was not worthy of her. "As you wish," she sighed. "I shall marry Hizdahr in the Temple of the Graces wrapped in a white tokar fringed with baby pearls. Is there anything else?"

Daenerys VI, Dance 36

Does this suggest that in the eyes of Westeros and, more importantly for Aegon and the High Septon, in the eyes of the Faith of the Seven, Daenerys was never lawfully wedded to Hizdahr?

V

Do you think Daario will keep, or reconsider, this pledge...

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Daario turned his head and spat. "That's for Brown Ben Plumm. When next I see his ugly face I will open him from throat to groin and rip out his black heart."

Daenerys VI, Dance 36

Aggo, Jhogo, Rakharo, and Belwas made similar pledges...

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Daario's announcement had sparked an uproar. Reznak was wailing, the Shavepate was muttering darkly, her bloodriders were swearing vengeance. Strong Belwas thumped his scarred belly with his fist and swore to eat Brown Ben's heart with plums and onions.

Daenerys VI, Dance 36

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On 25/02/2017 at 8:04 AM, rotting sea cow said:

Cersei was gaining weight in Feast

- Cersei V, AFFC

Wow, yes.

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Oh, I pray the Seven will not let it rain upon the king’s wedding,” Jocelyn Swyft said as she laced up the queen’s gown...To Jocelyn she said, “Tighter. Cinch it tighter, you simpering little fool.”(AFfC, Ch.12 Cersei III)

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Cersei took a deep breath, so Dorcas could lace her up more tightly. She was a big girl, much stronger than Senelle, though clumsier as well. (AFfC,Ch.24 Cersei V)

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She wore a white gown slashed with cloth-of-gold, lacy but demure. It had been several years since the last time she had donned it, and the queen found it uncomfortably tight about the middle.(AFfC, Ch.28 Cersei VI)

There is no sign of it in Storm of Swords:

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She stood beside the open window, looking over the curtain walls and out to sea. The bay wind swirled around her, flattening her gown against her body in a way that quickened Jaime’s pulse. It was white, that gown, like the hangings on the wall and the draperies on his bed.(ASoS, Ch.72 Jaime IX)

But then, Jaime doesn't notice her thickening waist at any time, and he is the only PoV outside Cersei that looks at her body, apart from the odd pervy leer from Tyrion. Jaime is the only brother that sees her naked.

Although, I don't think he is the only one who notices anything - Boris Blount might be a fat alcoholic, but he is not stupid:

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As Jaime climbed the winding steps of White Sword Tower, he could hear Ser Boros snoring in his cell. Ser Balon’s door was shut as well; he had the king tonight, and would sleep all day. Aside from Blount’s snores, the tower was very quiet.(ASoS, Ch.72 Jaime IX)

and maybe Jaime is, a bit. After his argument with Cersei:

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Jaime donned his cloak and went downstairs, where he found Ser Boros Blount having a cup of wine in the common room. “When you’re done with your drink, tell Ser Loras I’m ready to see her.”
Ser Boros was too much of a coward to do much more than glower.(ASoS, Ch.72 Jaime IX)

Or too much a Knight of the Kingsguard not to look the other way, regardless of what he privately thinks of his Commander's lusts. So Ser Boros, and possibly Ser Balon, have heard from their own mouths the long, treasonous history of the twincest, and the time in the sept by Joffrey's corpse, and about Jaime defenestrating Bran, from his own mouth. Because Jaime chooses not to reveal Brienne's name to Boros, it sounds that, in addition to his monstrous crimes, the Kingslayer is also getting Ser Loras to pimp for him, or to send message of his assignations, anyway.

I had always supposed that Kevan had formed his notions from Stannis' letter and Lancel's experiences, rather than knowing for a certainty, but maybe Boros has told him. He has to tell someone, at some stage. Balon as an independent confirming witness, makes Boros an excellent witness for the prosecution at Cersei's upcoming trial...but it looks as if someone is slowly killing Boros, unknown to Jaime and Cersei.

If we look at what happened in the great sept, after the High Sparrow took over, there was an argument where Jaime loudly denied being the father of Joffrey and Tommen, while Cersei begged him to be hand. In the time of the Old High Septon, it is possible Jaime was observed in a more compromising position. Lancel's confidant was the Old High Septon, not sure how he feels about the High Sparrow, or what the High Sparrow has on Jaime.

Cersei's weight gain isn't the only sign either - there are more than a few clues before it that seem intended to give the reader the notion that Cersei is with child. She had bloody dreams and wakes nauseated, she is lightheaded and emotional when she is sent to see her father. She blames the wine, and we might blame  grief, except for the cold way Cersei asserts herself as Regent when she finds that she was the last to know her Hand was dead, and her brother escaped:

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“Forgive us, Uncle. My sister is sick with grief. She forgets herself.”
She wanted to slap him again for that.(AFfC, Ch.03 Cersei I)

Boros notices the Queen's condition:

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Her legs were weak as water. Ser Boros tried to take her by the arm, but the queen recoiled from his touch. For all she knew he might be one of Tyrion’s creatures. “Get away from me,” she said. “Get away!” She staggered to a settle.
“Your Grace?” said Blount. “Shall I fetch a cup of water?"... The torches spun around her.(AFfC, Ch.03 Cersei I)

there is no weight gain at the time:

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Tommen wore cloth-of-gold beneath his sable mantle, the queen an old gown of black velvet lined with ermine. There’d been no time to have a new one made, and she could not wear the same dress she had worn for Joffrey, nor the one she’d buried Robert in.(AFfC, Ch.07 Cersei II)

A little off-topic:'no time'! Seriously, Queens, like diplomats, always need to have a funeral outfit at hand. Preferably one that can be altered to match a particular funeral within a few hours. These weepers must be at least a year old. Maybe she wore them for Jon Arryn? Or maybe her mantua-maker (and the six seamstresses and twelve apprentices under her) had time to whip up a couple of options for Robert's funeral while she scouted about for a catspaw. They got Sansa's complete bridal trousseau out in less than a month, and Cersei would have wanted a gown ready if King Robert had died in the melee, a whole month before the hunting expedition. By which time the weeping Rhaegar-rubies frock was ready.

Unlike weddings, funerals are about honouring the dead, not the dress. Cersei honours her father with a lot more statescraft in this old thing as Regent, than she ever did in the better funeral gowns:  allowing Lady Graceford to call her progeny 'Tywin' but not Lollys, deflecting Lancel's ill-timed courtship, deciding Taena would be her spy, appointing Gyles avoiding Garth as master of coin, telling the Queen of Thorns to go back to her own country, giving Qyburn carte blanche and the Mountain. Interesting to note here that Pycelle might be immune to the Grey plague, or know how to treat it. So what if she looks a little Cruella de Ville? Cersei is on fire, the frock fits.

Cersei's third chapter starts with the weight gain, Joyclean lacing her up. She attributes her irrascibility to Tommen's wedding, her morning nausea to her miscarriage-prophetic breakfast:

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when she cracked the first egg and found a bloody half-formed chick inside, her stomach roiled. “Take this away and bring me hot spiced wine,”(AFfC, Ch.12 Cersei III)

Her mood swings continue

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Alone beneath a tallow candle, she allowed herself a shuddering sob, then another. A woman may weep, but not a queen.(AFfC, Ch.12 Cersei III)

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When Senelle appeared to fill her wine cup, the queen had to resist an urge to take her by the throat and throttle her.(AFfC, Ch.12 Cersei III)

and her nausea:

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“My belly is such a knot that I cannot eat,” she growled at him. “The wine tastes of bile. This wedding was a mistake.”(AFfC, Ch.12 Cersei III)

and her light-headedness:

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She rose so fast she almost fell(AFfC, Ch.12 Cersei III)

There is miscarriage-foreshadowing imagery (we know it is,because it was used for Dany)

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Her footsteps echoed loudly in the quiet, and left damp splotches on the marble floor.(AFfC, Ch.07 Cersei II)
Then he took her bleeding breast into his mouth and began to suck, and pain sawed through her like a hot knife.(AFfC, Ch.39 Cersei IX)

and we are told of Maggi and Melara

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She could still hear Melara Hetherspoon insisting that if they never spoke about the prophecies, they would not come true.(AFfC, Ch.07 Cersei II)

But after Cersei V, the pregnancy hints stop. Or almost stop. There is a mother-like aspect to one of her captors:

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Septa Scolera was thick-waisted and short, with heavy breasts, olive skin, and a sour smell to her, like milk on the verge of going bad.(ADwD,  Ch.54 Cersei I)

and on the walk itself there is this:

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the half-cooked meat left a smear of grease and blood down her thigh.(ADwD, Ch.65 Cersei II)

and this:

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The carcass hit the cobbles so hard that it burst open, spattering her lower legs with entrails and maggots.(ADwD, Ch.65 Cersei II)

and this

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She limped on, leaving a trail of bloody footprints on the stones behind her.(ADwD, Ch.65 Cersei II)

as well as  several references associating her with motherhood and motherhood with a stretch-marked belly and saggy breasts.

Perhaps somebody who didn't get all their sex education at a Marist Brothers boys school managed to persuade GRRM that it really wasn't plausible that a woman who correctly identified her first pregnancy before it showed, would be unaware of her fifth at the beginning of the second trimester. Or perhaps the time line was blowing out a bit and he realised that, no matter how deluded Cersei herself was, there was no way the clerical legal eagles and all the citizens of Kings Landing would miss the fact that Cersei was six months pregnant when she did her walk of shame. Or maybe he was inviting the reader to notice Cersei's weight gain in order to disguise a whole trail of clues that tended to some other less clichéd purpose.

In addition to the pregnancy symptoms, Cersei has red eyes:

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the smoke from the torches irritated her eyes, but Cersei did not weep, no more than her father would have.(AFfC, Ch.03 Cersei I)

Red-eyed and pale, Cersei climbed the steps to kneel above their father,(AFfC, Ch.07 Cersei II)

 

A little exertion leaves her breathless and exhausted:

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The climb up the dark stone steps from the black cells left Cersei feeling breathless. I must rest. Getting to the truth was wearisome work,(AFfC, Ch.39 Cersei IX)

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The queen’s breath was coming fast and short, and she could feel her heart fluttering in her chest. The steps, she told herself, this cursed tower has too many steps.(AFfC, Ch.03 Cersei I)

which parallels:

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Lord Tytos had grown very fat, and his heart burst one day when he was climbing the steps to his mistress.(AFfC, Ch.03 Cersei I)

Cersei seemed to be in withdrawal when she is locked in the Sept:

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Each day found her duller than the day before, exhausted and feverish.(ADwD, Ch.54 Cersei I)

Exhausted by her lack of sleep, shivering from the cold that stole into the tower cell each night, feverish and famished by turns, Cersei came at last to know she must confess.(ADwD, Ch.54 Cersei I)

 

she is over the worst of it by the time she confesses:

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That night she crawled into her bed with a full stomach for the first time since she was taken, and slept through the black watches of the night undisturbed.(ADwD, Ch.65 Cersei II)

Although the shivers return on her day of atonement, after a few days of better food and blankets:
 

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Barefoot and shivering she paced, a thin blanket draped about her shoulders.(ADwD, Ch.65 Cersei II)

When the cold wind touched her skin, she shivered violently. (ADwD, Ch.65 Cersei II)

 

Which might just be the cold, except she starts hallucinating people who are not there, too. Tywin, Melara, Ned, Sansa, Lady, Tyrion, Joffrey.

and she is breathless still when she starts heading uphill:

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her breasts heaving with the effort of the climb.(ADwD, Ch.65 Cersei II)

Another symptom that isn't usually associated with pregnancy is the thickened tongue and dry throat:
 

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Her tongue felt thick.(AFfC, Ch.03 Cersei I)

Cersei’s mouth was dry. I need a cup of Arbor gold.(AFfC, Ch.32 Cersei VII)

“My throat is raw. Be a sweet and pour me some wine.”(AFfC,Ch.36 Cersei VIII)

Her throat was so raw from shouting that she could hardly swallow.(AFfC, Ch.43 Cersei X)

She prayed ... until her tongue felt so thick and heavy that she was like to choke on it.(ADwD, Ch.54 Cersei I)

 

Both Cersei and Boros Blount drink wine, unlike Tommen. And it seems to be slowly making them sick.

Almost every non-violent death (and quite a few of the violent ones) could be attributed to  'poisoned wine'  Jon Arryn (Lysa confirmed Baelish gave her Tears of Lys, but also mentioned his rotten breath, Pycelle mentions Jon's partaking of iced wine), King Robert (gored by a boar, but his stomach was wrapped in wine-soaked bandages and gave out a rotten stench),Tywin's (that he was on the privy while Shae was in his bedchamber implies he had stomach troubles before the crossbow incident), Tyrion serves Nurse wine as well as soup, Daenarys is offered poisoned wine at Vaes Dothrak but nobody drinks it, Fat Belwas is served chilled wine with his locusts, and so on.

The poisoner's weapon of choice seems to be Arbor Gold. So much so, that the Redwynes must know at least that their most select vintages have historically been used by poisoners. Or perhaps were traditionally made to the specifications of a historic poisoner. But (with the possible exception of the cask that Dany was invited to take at Vaes Dothrak), the wine doesn't come out of the barrel that way. Dany doesn't refuse the next cup she is offered (by the captains of the Quicksilver and the Greyhound, Tyrion guzzles it at Illyrio's, and offers it to Oberyn while imprisoned in the Red Keep.  Petyr Baelish gives a cup to Sansa, Sansa serves the Lords Declarent.  Hizdar, Xaro, Lord Manderley, Lazy Leo, Margaery, drink without unexpected effects, Dancy, Jayde,  Alayaya. and  Anguy, bathe in it, and live.

Cersei isn't so lucky. Tyrion observes

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"It was the easiest thing in the world to sprinkle a pinch of fine powder into hers."(ACoK, Ch.25 Tyrion VI)

and she was already breathless before he condemned her to the privy for a day. In fact, Cersei usually asks for a pinch of something herself- she drinks spiced wine and hippocras more than anyone.

Looking at it, I think there is a link between lemons, wine and poison. Jon Snow lets us know there is lemon in the southern version of spiced wine:

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"The Old Bear was particular about his hot spiced wine. So much cinnamon and so much nutmeg and so much honey, not a drop more. Raisins and nuts and dried berries, but no lemon, that was the rankest sort of southron heresy—which was queer, since he always took lemon in his morning beer. The drink must be hot to warm a man properly, the Lord Commander insisted, but the wine must never be allowed to come to a boil. Jon kept a careful eye on the kettle."(ACoK, Ch.34 Jon IV) .

And so many suspect poisonings are not lemon free. Joffrey dies pointing at the lemon cream on the pie:

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"he lifted a hand … reaching for his uncle, or pointing … Is he begging my forgiveness, or does he think I can save him?" (ASoS, Ch.60 Tyrion VIII)

In Dorne, Darkstar prefers it to wine; At the temple of the god of many faces, Cat bathes in it, and Arya is given a tart lemony drink before she changes faces; At the Red Wedding, Catelyn suspects Ser Ryman Frey had bathed in it, as Roose sips hippocras on her other side; Stannis has lemonwater with his boiled eggs, and Lord Commander Snow offers him wine or lemonwater. Doran sips his special spiced strongwine in Water Gardens redolent with the smell of lemons as well as blood oranges.  Yezzan serves wine but drinks lemonwater, Illyrio smells like he bathes in it.

I'm also starting to think that

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“Aye, a sloppy kiss, a bit of tongue. It has been too long, too long. His mouth will taste of lemons, and mine of bones. I am too old.”(ASoS, Ch.43 Arya VIII)

is a prophesy about Jaime and Cersei. Or perhaps the bones are the bones of the holy dead, piled up at Baelors Sept. But the lemons are associated with poisoning, I'm sure of that.

I already suspect Kezmya Pahl of serving Fat Belwas poisoned wine to avenge the death of her uncle, the champion of Meereen, and now Kezmya is serving the Green Grace lemon drink (and the Green Grace returns from dealing with the Yunkai complaining of a sore throat). If the Green Grace dies like Jon Arryn, I'm guessing it will be a lemon/wine poisoning. And iced wine could be as easily flavoured with lemon as mulled wine (although the heat is needed to bring out the oils of dried spices like cinnamon and cloves). Jon Snow wasn't particular about his mulled wine, so Satin probably put lemon in it, being from Oldtown. In Cersei's case, my eyes are on Joyclean Swyft: she gives Cersei the lemonwater when she wakes, and she brought Sansa 'Cersei's favourite scent' that smelled of roses on top, and lemon underneath, for Sansa's wedding. I can't imagine she loves her job, her dad is dodgy and while Cersei is locked up, he and Pycelle rule the realm.

Varys and Littlefinger are, as always, suspect. When Tyrion surprised Varys at his own quarters, he smelt of lemons, and Petyr Baelish loves serving lies and Arbor Gold.

The walk of Shame just happens to be following the same route as the riots of Kings Landing, and had some similarity of incident, and the crowd seemed seeded with shills (eg. pie and kebab sellers slowing down the pace of the walk) that could belong to either of them..

Also, I'm almost certain one or both of them is in league with the Tyrells (with my money on Petyr Baelish) and the High Septon (Varys for preference here).

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"Some days they would ride along the Rosby road to hunt for shells and eat beside the sea. Other times she would take her entourage across the river for an afternoon of hawking. The little queen was fond of going out on boats as well, sailing up and down the Blackwater Rush to no particular purpose. When she was feeling pious she would leave the castle to pray at Baelor’s Sept. She gave her custom to a dozen different seamstresses, was well-known amongst the city’s goldsmiths, and had even been known to visit the fish market by the Mud Gate...She was forever giving alms to beggars, buying hot pies off bakers’ carts, and reining up to speak to common tradesmen." (AFfC, Ch.28 Cersei VI)

In the days of the King's Landing riots, Petyr Baelish supplied the Red Keep from the farms along the Rosby road. By the sea, across the river, on little boats, Margaery's entorage can send message to other boats, attached to ships attached to Baelish. The seamstresses, singers, goldsmiths, beggars, pie sellers and common tradesmen could as easily be the former associates of Antler-men, with loans contracted to Baelish.

The High Septon freeing up the cloth of gold and crystal of the faith for food for the poor is a thing that could go Baelish or Varys. Varys is more likely to know the poor, but Baelish is more likely to know the cloth and crystal merchants, and the food merchants that would give them a good price.

Coming from Rosby way, the High Sparrow and Baelish might know people in common. And this selling off of Church chattels is a godsend for anyone who wants to sell the Fat Septon's crown, but couldn't because it was too hot. Also, the High Sparrow is bringing charges of Regicide and Deicide against Cersei. Presumably Lancel will have something to say on this, but I'm wondering if he has Tyrek in reserve, sequestered in some holy house, ready to support what Lancel says about serving wine to the King, or refute it, and spin what he knows about the septon that died in the riots for good measure.  Also

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"If King’s Landing had no brothels, the ships would go to Duskendale or Gulltown."(AFfC, Ch.36 Cersei VIII)

depriving the Red Keep of its taxes and taking the flesh trade to places closer to Baelish's keep. Baelish and the High Septon both might agree that was for the best.

Also, looking at fat Cersei and her current whisperer, I'm almost certain the Blue Bard is Willas Tyrell in disguise, the high boots concealing his maimed leg.

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"Had Margaery Tyrell somehow wriggled free of the accusations of fornication, adultery, and high treason? “Was there a trial?”
“Soon,” said Septa Scolera, “but her brother—”
“Hush.” Septa Unella turned to glare back over her shoulder at Scolera. “You chatter too much, you foolish old woman. It is not for us to speak of such things.”(ADwD,Ch.54 Cersei I)

the Blue Bard would not be moved from the cells of the Red Keep to the ones at Baelor's sept, with Osney, if he sang no song but the one his torturer taught him.

I don't think the miscarriage metaphors in her walk of shame are foreshadowing a miscarriage, but they might foreshadow Cersei's death. After the walk of Shame, Cersei spends a lot of her time soaking in the tub. Soaking makes her skin very white, wrinkled, and bloated. It also gives her wet footprints when she gets out of the tub. That is in keeping with the prophecy. And for the valonquer - whose brother? The prophesy doesn't specify.

One last thing I noticed now you mentioned Cersei's weight gain, is 

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The next day, Lady Merryweather helped Cersei dress for their visit to the little queen. “Nothing too rich or colorful,” she said. “Something suitably devout and drab for the High Septon. He’s like to make me pray with him.”
In the end, she chose a soft woolen dress that covered her from throat to ankle, with only a few small vines embroidered on the bodice and the sleeves in golden thread to soften the severity of its lines. Even better, brown would help conceal the dirt if she was made to kneel.( AFfC, Ch.43 Cersei X)

and

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in the end she remembered that Alayne was after all a bastard, and must not presume to dress above her station. The dress she picked was lambswool, dark brown and simply cut, with leaves and vines embroidered around the bodice, sleeves, and hem in golden thread.(AFfC, Ch.23 Alayne I)

The false bastard and the mother of bastards have gone twinsies!

I wonder if Cersei knew Lysa had the same dress in her wardrobe. Although motherhood and being in kings landing had left  Lysa too pale and bloated and mentally unstable to fit into it.

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I never really considered the significance of House Slate before, but now I am wondering if the house was created after the five-year gap to play a role of any importance to the remaining plot. In Davos IV, Dance 29, we learn that House Slate, along with a few other Northern houses we had never heard of before, once held White Harbor for House Stark. In Reek II, Dance 32, we learn that House Slate’s banner has a grey field within a double tressure of white, and we see it along with the banners of the other Northern lords that have joined Roose’s host at Barrowton. In The Prince Of Winterfell, Dance 37, Reek tells us that Lord Slate has joined the other northern lords assembled at Winterfell for Ramsay’s wedding to the presumed Arya Stark, and that Lord Slate has brought his maester to attend him. In A Ghost in Winterfell, Dance 46, Barbrey Dustin tells us that House Slate apparently answered Robb’s call and marched south, and that Slate men were murdered at the red wedding. In The World of Ice and Fire, we learn that House Slate was one of the royal houses of the North subdued by House Stark, and that the seat of House Slate is Blackpool. Notably, the hot springs in the godswood at Winterfell are described as black pools, as is the water in the center of the main room of the main level of the House of Black and White. The only other body of water described as a black pool is found in the abandoned cave of the Singers in which Arianne and her party seek overnight shelter from the elements in Arianne II, Winds.

II

Ramsay thinks of himself as a god...

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Then the mists parted, like the curtain opening at a mummer show to reveal some new tableau. The heart tree appeared in front of them, its bony limbs spread wide. Fallen leaves lay about the wide white trunk in drifts of red and brown. The ravens were the thickest here, muttering to one another in the murderers' secret tongue. Ramsay Bolton stood beneath them, clad in high boots of soft grey leather and a black velvet doublet slashed with pink silk and glittering with garnet teardrops. A smile danced across his face.

"Who comes?" His lips were moist, his neck red above his collar. "Who comes before the god?"

Theon answered. "Arya of House Stark comes here to be wed. A woman grown and flowered, trueborn and noble, she comes to beg the blessings of the gods. Who comes to claim her?"

"Me," said Ramsay. "Ramsay of House Bolton, Lord of the Hornwood, heir to the Dreadfort. I claim her. Who gives her?"

"Theon of House Greyjoy, who was her father's ward." He turned to the bride. "Lady Arya, will you take this man?"

She raised her eyes to his. Brown eyes, not grey. Are all of them so blind? For a long moment she did not speak, but those eyes were begging. This is your chance, he thought. Tell them. Tell them now. Shout out your name before them all, tell them that you are not Arya Stark, let all the north hear how you were made to play this part. It would mean her death, of course, and his own as well, but Ramsay in his wroth might kill them quickly. The old gods of the north might grant them that small boon.

"I take this man," the bride said in a whisper.

All around them lights glimmered through the mists, a hundred candles pale as shrouded stars. Theon stepped back, and Ramsay and his bride joined hands and knelt before the heart tree, bowing their heads in token of submission. The weirwood's carved red eyes stared down at them, its great red mouth open as if to laugh. In the branches overhead a raven quorked.

After a moment of silent prayer, the man and woman rose again. Ramsay undid the cloak that Theon had slipped about his bride's shoulders moments before, the heavy white wool cloak bordered in grey fur, emblazoned with the direwolf of House Stark. In its place he fastened a pink cloak, spattered with red garnets like those upon his doublet. On its back was the flayed man of the Dreadfort done in stiff red leather, grim and grisly. Quick as that, it was done. Weddings went more quickly in the north. It came of not having priests, Theon supposed, but whatever the reason it seemed to him a mercy.

The Prince of Winterfell, Dance 37

III

The first time we read the phrase, two hearts that beat as one, Mance uses it to mock Jon Snow...

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Jon's breath misted the air. If I lie to him, he'll know. He looked Mance Rayder in the eyes, opened and closed his burned hand. "I wear the cloak you gave me, Your Grace."

"A sheepskin cloak!" said Ygritte. "And there's many a night we dance beneath it, too!"

Jarl laughed, and even Harma Dogshead smirked. "Is that the way of it, Jon Snow?" asked Mance Rayder, mildly. "Her and you?"

It was easy to lose your way beyond the Wall. Jon did not know that he could tell honor from shame anymore, or right from wrong. Father forgive me. "Yes," he said.

Mance nodded. "Good. You'll go with Jarl and Styr on the morrow, then. Both of you. Far be it from me to separate two hearts that beat as one."

Jon II, Storm 15

Later, we learn that Two Hearts that Beat as One is a love song (perhaps written by Lady Stacei of House Quorgyle). The last time we read the phrase is when we are first introduced to the bard Abel at Ramsay’s wedding to the presumed Arya...

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The musicians began to play again, and the bard Abel began to sing "Two Hearts That Beat as One." Two of his women joined their voices to his own to make a sweet harmony.

The Prince of Winterfell, Dance 37

IV

Since this...

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All around them lights glimmered through the mists, a hundred candles pale as shrouded stars. Theon stepped back, and Ramsay and his bride joined hands and knelt before the heart tree, bowing their heads in token of submission. The weirwood's carved red eyes stared down at them, its great red mouth open as if to laugh. In the branches overhead a raven quorked.

... Ramsay Bolton scooped his wife up in his arms and strode through the mists with her. ...

Theon found himself wondering if he should say a prayer. Will the old gods hear me if I do? They were not his gods, had never been his gods. He was ironborn, a son of Pyke, his god was the Drowned God of the islands … but Winterfell was long leagues from the sea. It had been a lifetime since any god had heard him. He did not know who he was, or what he was, why he was still alive, why he had ever been born.

"Theon," a voice seemed to whisper.

His head snapped up. "Who said that?" All he could see were the trees and the fog that covered them. The voice had been as faint as rustling leaves, as cold as hate. A god' s voice, or a ghost's. How many died the day that he took Winterfell? How many more the day he lost it? The day that Theon Greyjoy died, to be reborn as Reek. Reek, Reek, it rhymes with shriek. Suddenly he did not want to be here.

The Prince of Winterfell, Dance 37

... occurs in the present, it does not contradict what Bloodraven tells Bran here about communicating with persons in the past...

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Lord Eddard Stark sat upon a rock beside the deep black pool in the gods wood, the pale roots of the heart tree twisting around him like an old man's gnarled arms. The greatsword Ice lay across Lord Eddard's lap, and he was cleaning the blade with an oilcloth.

"Winterfell, " Bran whispered.

His father looked up. "Who's there?" he asked, turning … … and Bran, frightened, pulled away. His father and the black pool and the godswood faded and were gone and he was back in the cavern, the pale thick roots of his weirwood throne cradling his limbs as a mother does a child. A torch flared to life before him.

...

... "Those were shadows of days past that you saw, Bran. You were looking through the eyes of the heart tree in your godswood. Time is different for a tree than for a man. Sun and soil and water, these are the things a weirwood understands, not days and years and centuries. For men, time is a river. We are trapped in its flow, hurtling from past to present, always in the same direction. The lives of trees are different. They root and grow and die in one place, and that river does not move them. The oak is the acorn, the acorn is the oak. And the weirwood … a thousand human years are a moment to a weirwood, and through such gates you and I may gaze into the past."

"But," said Bran, "he heard me."

"He heard a whisper on the wind, a rustling amongst the leaves. You cannot speak to him, try as you might. I know. I have my own ghosts, Bran. A brother that I loved, a brother that I hated, a woman I desired. Through the trees, I see them still, but no word of mine has ever reached them. The past remains the past. We can learn from it, but we cannot change it."

Bran II, Dance 34

V

My man Wyman is truly, truly vicious...

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The Lord of White Harbor had furnished the food and drink, black stout and yellow beer and wines red and gold and purple, brought up from the warm south on fat-bottomed ships and aged in his deep cellars. The wedding guests gorged on cod cakes and winter squash, hills of neeps and great round wheels of cheese, on smoking slabs of mutton and beef ribs charred almost black, and lastly on three great wedding pies, as wide across as wagon wheels, their flaky crusts stuffed to bursting with carrots, onions, turnips, parsnips, mushrooms, and chunks of seasoned pork swimming in a savory brown gravy. Ramsay hacked off slices with his falchion and Wyman Manderly himself served, presenting the first steaming portions to Roose Bolton and his fat Frey wife, the next to Ser Hosteen and Ser Aenys, the sons of Walder Frey. "The best pie you have ever tasted, my lords," the fat lord declared. "Wash it down with Arbor gold and savor every bite. I know I shall."

True to his word, Manderly devoured six portions, two from each of the three pies, smacking his lips and slapping his belly and stuffing himself until the front of his tunic was half-brown with gravy stains and his beard was flecked with crumbs of crust. Even Fat Walda Frey could not match his gluttony, though she did manage three slices herself. Ramsay ate heartily as well, though his pale bride did no more than stare at the portion set before her. When she raised her head and looked at Theon, he could see the fear behind her big brown eyes.

...

"You do not eat," observed Lady Dustin. "No." Eating was hard for him. Ramsay had left him with so many broken teeth that chewing was an agony. Drinking was easier, though he had to grasp the wine cup with both hands to keep from dropping it.

"No taste for pork pie, my lord? The best pork pie we ever tasted, our fat friend would have us believe." She gestured toward Lord Manderly with her wine cup. "Have you ever seen a fat man so happy? He is almost dancing. Serving with his own hands."

It was true. The Lord of White Harbor was the very picture of the jolly fat man, laughing and smiling, japing with the other lords and slapping them on the back, calling out to the musicians for this tune or that tune.

"Give us ‘The Night That Ended,' singer," he bellowed. "The bride will like that one, I know. Or sing to us of brave young Danny Flint and make us weep." To look at him, you would have thought that he was the one newly wed.

...

Lord Manderly was so drunk he required four strong men to help him from the hall. "We should have a song about the Rat Cook," he was muttering, as he staggered past Theon, leaning on his knights. "Singer, give us a song about the Rat Cook."

The Prince of Winterfell, Dance 37

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18 hours ago, Walda said:

Cersei's weight gain isn't the only sign either - there are more than a few clues before it that seem intended to give the reader the notion that Cersei is with child. She had bloody dreams and wakes nauseated, she is lightheaded and emotional when she is sent to see her father. She blames the wine, and we might blame  grief, except for the cold way Cersei asserts herself as Regent when she finds that she was the last to know her Hand was dead, and her brother escaped:

Nice catch on all this imagery. I thought all the rotten meat during the Walk of Shame was connected to the butcher king motif, but your analysis is very persuasive. Could be both pregnancy and butcher king imagery, I suppose.

I had been thinking that Joffrey's death is something of a "miscarriage" scene for Cersei:

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His sister sat in a puddle of wine, cradling her son’s body. Her gown was torn and stained, her face white as chalk.  . . . It took two kingsguard to pry loose her fingers, so the body of King Joffrey Baratheon could slide limp and lifeless to the floor.

I suppose there are so many symbolic deaths and rebirths in the books that it starts to be difficult to know when there might be a real pregnancy that is hidden and then results in a miscarriage.

Edit: I suppose this could be Joffrey "impregnating" Cersei, not Joffrey as a stillborn baby. (Cersei tells the Ossifer Plumm story as part of the scene with the dead chick inside the hard-boiled egg. Plumm died during his bedding and may or may not have impregnated his young wife before he expired.) There is a lot of "kill the boy and let the man be born" symbolism in Joffrey's death. The three men who seem to be born or reborn after his death are Jaime (who returns to King's Landing after being a prisoner of war), Tyrion (who hatches from the wine barrel in Essos) and Ser Robert Strong. The latter is clearly born anew after Cersei's walk of shame, so maybe he is the "stillborn infant" to which she gives birth. In his POV, Kevan is frank about the fact that the guy is known to be dead.

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Compare this...

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"Princess." Ser Gerold Dayne stood behind her, half in starlight and half in shadow.

The Queenmaker, Feast 21

To this...

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Areo Hotah ... Standing half in light and half in shadow, he saw all of them. 

The Watcher, Feast 38

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4 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Notably, the hot springs in the godswood at Winterfell are described as black pools, as is the water in the center of the main room of the main level of the House of Black and White. The only other body of water described as a black pool is found in the abandoned cave of the Singers in which Arianne and her party seek overnight shelter from the elements in Arianne II, Winds.

Small but potentially important correction: The hot springs are not called black pools. The black pool beneath the weirwood in Winterfell's godswood is always cold, and seemingly bottomless.

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"Tar would have ruined the box," suggested Lady Nym, as Maester Caleotte scurried off. "No one saw the Mountain die, and no one saw his head removed. That troubles me, I confess, but what could the bitch queen hope to accomplish by deceiving us? If Gregor Clegane is alive, soon or late the truth will out. The man was eight feet tall, there is not another like him in all of Westeros. If any such appears again, Cersei Lannister will be exposed as a liar before all the Seven Kingdoms. She would be an utter fool to risk that. What could she hope to gain?"

The Watcher, Dance 38

I know, huh?

II

Compare this...

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When she was just a little girl, her father had promised her that she would marry Rhaegar. She could not have been more than six or seven. "Never speak of it, child," he had told her, smiling his secret smile that only Cersei ever saw.

Cersei V, Feast 24

To this...

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"I still say it should be me who goes to King's Landing, not Lady Nym," Arianne said.

"It is too dangerous. You are my heir, the future of Dorne. Your place is by my side. Soon enough, you'll have another task."

"That last part, about the message. Have you had tidings?"

Prince Doran shared his secret smile with her. "From Lys. A great fleet has put in there to take on water. Volantene ships chiefly, carrying an army. No word as to who they are, or where they might be bound. There was talk of elephants."

"No dragons?"

"Elephants. Easy enough to hide a young dragon in a big cog's hold, though. Daenerys is most vulnerable at sea. If I were her, I would keep myself and my intentions hidden as long as I could, so I might take King's Landing unawares."

The Watcher, Dance 38

Tywin and Doran each shared a secret smile with their respective daughters.

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Okay so I started re-reading GoT today and I came across this in Catelyn III when she is asking the new captain of the guard how it was the hired hand who had tried to kill Bran had managed to stay in the stables unseen and we are provided with the following:

 

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Hallis Mollen looked abashed. "Between the horses Lord Eddard took south and them we sent north to the Night's Watch, the stalls were half empty. It were no great trick to hide from the stableboys. Could be Hodor saw him, the talk is that boy's been acting queer, but simple as he is..." Hal shook his head.

I've bolded the relevant parts. I'd never picked up that anyone had said that about Hodor acting out of the ordinary before. Now is it just down to him maybe seeing a stranger in the stables, or is there some deeper meaning to it? Hallis doesn't seem to think he's acting queer because there was someone else in the stables, the rest of his sentence seems to imply Hodor would have alerted someone to the stranger's presence, despite him being simple. So what exactly was going on with Hodor?

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55 minutes ago, Faereth said:

Okay so I started re-reading GoT today and I came across this in Catelyn III when she is asking the new captain of the guard how it was the hired hand who had tried to kill Bran had managed to stay in the stables unseen and we are provided with the following:

 

I've bolded the relevant parts. I'd never picked up that anyone had said that about Hodor acting out of the ordinary before. Now is it just down to him maybe seeing a stranger in the stables, or is there some deeper meaning to it? Hallis doesn't seem to think he's acting queer because there was someone else in the stables, the rest of his sentence seems to imply Hodor would have alerted someone to the stranger's presence, despite him being simple. So what exactly was going on with Hodor?

I always assumed the stranger was the reason Hodor was acting oddly. 

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17 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

I always assumed the stranger was the reason Hodor was acting oddly. 

It most probably is, it was just the rest of what Hallin said gave me pause for thought. I'd never even noticed before that it had been mentioned that Hodor was acting oddly either. 

 

 

Oh and another thing I've noticed but hadn't spotted before, in Jon I when he is describing those that walked passed him to sit at the high table at the welcoming feast in Winterfell for the King and Queen, he misses out Bran. Even Tyrion and Jaime get a mention, but not Bran. I am putting it down to a GRRM error. 

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8 minutes ago, Faereth said:

Oh and another thing I've noticed but hadn't spotted before, in Jon I when he is describing those that walked passed him to sit at the high table at the welcoming feast in Winterfell for the King and Queen, he misses out Bran. Even Tyrion and Jaime get a mention, but not Bran. I am putting it down to a GRRM error. 

There is an SSM where GRRM pretty much admits it was an error:

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As to your question about Bran... well, he =is= present at the banquet, of course. Jon doesn't mention him, that's true, but of course there are hundreds of others who are present as well that Jon also fails to mention... and Bran is an everyday familiar sight to Jon, who is likely more curious about the guests... the king and queen, their children, the Lion and the Imp.

That's one explanation, anyway.

The other one is that the author just slipped up and neglected to mention him.

But either way, he =was= there, definitely. There's even a moment in A CLASH OF KINGS when he thinks back on that feast.

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1 minute ago, Horse of Kent said:

There is an SSM where GRRM pretty much admits it was an error:

Thank you for the link :) I must admit I am highly ignorant of the SSM sources of GRRM comments. One day I'm going to have time to peruse them as a resource. 

I did a double take when reading this part though of Jon I, he'd put in all of Jon's other siblings but not Bran, then moved on to the Lannisters so I figured it could only be an error. Weird I never noticed it the first couple times of reading though. It's been about 2 years since my last re-read though so looking forward to seeing what new things I pick up on this time. 

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On 3/22/2017 at 10:13 PM, Lost Melnibonean said:

Compare this...

The Queenmaker, Feast 21

To this...

The Watcher, Feast 38

Both work for Doran mayhaps?

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8 hours ago, Lord Wraith said:

Both work for Doran mayhaps?

If Darkstar is in league with Doran, did Doran send Obara and Balon into a trap? 

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Nearby midnight the winds finally died away, and the sea grew calm enough for Tyrion to make his way back up onto deck. What he saw there did not reassure him. The cog was drifting on a sea of dragonglass beneath a bowl of stars, but all around the storm raged on. East, west, north, south, everywhere he looked, the clouds rose up like black mountains, their tumbled slopes and collossal cliffs alive with blue and purple lightning. No rain was falling, but the decks were slick and wet underfoot.

Tyrion IX, Dance 40

The Selaesori Qhoran was caught in a cyclone. If the storm were coming up the Narrow Sea to smash into the Stormlands, I would call it a hurricane, but since it’s churning across the Summer Sea from west to east, I am calling it a cyclone. I supposed the folks along the Jade Sea would call it a typhoon.

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2 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Tyrion IX, Dance 40

The Selaesori Qhoran was caught in a cyclone. If the storm were coming up the Narrow Sea to smash into the Stormlands, I would call it a hurricane, but since it’s churning across the Summer Sea from west to east, I am calling it a cyclone. I supposed the folks along the Jade Sea would call it a typhoon.

Isn't a cyclone only a tornado? 

Anyway, I noticed that they were in the eye of a hurricane in this scene on my very first read, but being from Louisiana, of course I would. 

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