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Lost Melnibonean

Wow, I never noticed that v.15

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53 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Two things I hadn't noticed in ASOS until recently:

1) That castle-cloud sky show on the morning of Joffrey's wedding. Somehow I completely missed that up until now.

How did you interpret the scene? 

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When Tyrion entered Brown Ben Plumm’s camp, the Second Sons were still squarely on the Yunkish side, even if they might have been nursing doubts, but Tyrion intended to prod them into changing sides again...

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"We are all like to be feeding worms by the time this battle is done. The Yunkai'i have lost this war, though it may take them some time to know it. Meereen has an army of Unsullied infantry, the finest in the world. And Meereen has dragons. Three of them, once the queen returns. She will. She must. Our side consists of two score Yunkish lordlings, each with his own half-trained monkey men. Slaves on stilts, slaves in chains … they may have troops of blind men and palsied children too, I would not put it past them."

"Oh, I know," said Tyrion. "The Second Sons are on the losing side. They need to turn their cloaks again and do it now." He grinned.

"Leave that to me."

Tyrion XII, Dance 66

What stood out for me on this go round was that, although Tyrion joined the Second Sons, he effectively bought the mercenary troop to take Casterly Rock...

Plumm was enjoying this, and Tyrion had no intention of spoiling his fun. Let him go on thinking that he' s bent me over and fucked me up the arse, and I' ll go on buying steel swords with parchment dragons. If ever he went back to Westeros to claim his birthright, he would have all the gold of Casterly Rock to make good on his promises.

Tyrion XII, Dance 66

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The plan was to sack Meereen with the Yunkish, and then sail to Westeros...

“Once Meereen is taken and we're away to Westeros, you can prance about all you like in gold and crimson. Till then, though …"

Tyrion XII, Dance 66

As a reader, knowing full-well that Daenerys would return, and Tyrion and the Second Sons would likely join her, I had always focused on Tyrion’s plan to prod the Second Sons into changing sides, and who might ride the white dragon, but I see now why so many readers believe that Tyrion will lead a campaign to win Casterly Rock.

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7 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

How did you interpret the scene? 

I think it was just some show spectacle to add to the grandeur and excess of Joff's wedding. If I remember correctly, it depicted two castles merging together, which I guess was supposed to represent the union of houses Baratheon (Lannister) and Tyrell. A celebration of marriage, a new king, and a new century.

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12 hours ago, LynnS said:

The echoes between Robert and Bran are quite compelling.  You could also consider that SweetRobin has lived most of his life at Kingslanding before the Eyrie and his passage required him to first pass through the 'Bloody Gate' with it's own commander, the Knight of the Gate who asks "Who would pass the Bloody Gate?"  Which parallels Bran's passage through the Black Gate.  SweetRobin ascends through various gates and waycastles before reaching the Eyrie and the Wierwood Throne.  @ravenous reader has pointed out, Bran is compared to a rag doll in GoT, his body wasted away; while Sansa compares Sweetrobin thus:

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A Feast for Crows - Alayne I

"I do not! Let my porridge fly!" This time Robert flung the bowl, porridge and honey and all. Petyr Baelish ducked aside nimbly, but Maester Colemon was not so quick. The wooden bowl caught him square in the chest, and its contents exploded upward over his face and shoulders. He yelped in a most unmaesterlike fashion, while Alayne turned to soothe the little lordling, but too late. The fit was on him. A pitcher of milk went flying as his hand caught it, flailing. When he tried to rise he knocked his chair backwards and fell on top of it. One foot caught Alayne in the belly, so hard it knocked the wind from her. "Oh, gods be good," she heard Petyr say, disgusted.

 

 

Globs of porridge dotted Maester Colemon's face and hair as he knelt over his charge, murmuring soothing words. One gobbet crept slowly down his right cheek, like a lumpy grey-brown tear. It is not so bad a spell as the last one, Alayne thought, trying to be hopeful. By the time the shaking stopped, two guards in sky-blue cloaks and silvery mail shirts had come at Petyr's summons. "Take him back to bed and leech him," the Lord Protector said, and the taller guardsman scooped the boy up in his arms. I could carry him myself, Alayne thought. He is no heavier than a doll.

 

 

The question is whether or not Bran too will let his porridge fly in a fit of anger and if he will also return from his tall tower to pass back through the Black Gate.

The cure for such a fit is to take him back to bed and leech him.  Ominous, if Bran is also being leeched or sapped  when he lies in his wierwood bed.

 

The quotes I was thinking about in relation to Bran as a rag doll or scarecrow:

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A Game of Thrones - Bran IV

"Down here, might be that's true, Maester," Yoren said, "but up past the Wall, who's to say? Up there, a man can't always tell what's alive and what's dead."

That night, after the plates had been cleared, Robb carried Bran up to bed himself. Grey Wind led the way, and Summer came close behind. His brother was strong for his age, and Bran was as light as a bundle of rags, but the stairs were steep and dark, and Robb was breathing hard by the time they reached the top.

He put Bran into bed, covered him with blankets, and blew out the candle. For a time Robb sat beside him in the dark. Bran wanted to talk to him, but he did not know what to say. "We'll find a horse for you, I promise," Robb whispered at last.

 

A Dance with Dragons - Bran I

Behind the ranger, Meera Reed wrapped her arms around her brother, to shelter him from the wind and cold with the warmth of her own body. A crust of frozen snot had formed below Jojen's nose, and from time to time he shivered violently. He looks so small, Bran thought, as he watched him sway. He looks smaller than me now, and weaker too, and I'm the cripple.

Summer brought up the rear of their little band. The direwolf's breath frosted the forest air as he padded after them, still limping on the hind leg that had taken the arrow back at Queenscrown. Bran felt the pain of the old wound whenever he slipped inside the big wolf's skin. Of late Bran wore Summer's body more often than his own; the wolf felt the bite of the cold, despite the thickness of his fur, but he could see farther and hear better and smell more than the boy in the basket, bundled up like a babe in swaddling clothes.

Other times, when he was tired of being a wolf, Bran slipped into Hodor's skin instead. The gentle giant would whimper when he felt him, and thrash his shaggy head from side to side, but not as violently as he had the first time, back at Queenscrown. He knows it's me, the boy liked to tell himself. He's used to me by now. Even so, he never felt comfortable inside Hodor's skin. The big stableboy never understood what was happening, and Bran could taste the fear at the back of his mouth. It was better inside Summer. I am him, and he is me. He feels what I feel.

In line with GRRM's theme of the hunted becoming the hunter in turn, or for the purpose of our parallel, the puppet becoming the puppetmaster in a reversal of power dynamics, it's interesting to note that Bran and Sweetrobin are treated like dolls by those around them, as well as having dolls of their own, literally and figuratively.  Sweetrobin carries around the 'giant doll', to which the parallel would be the irony of Bran both 'carrying' and being 'carried by' Hodor, who is also being used as a 'giant doll' when Bran is skinchanging him.  

So Lynn, you are quite right pointing out that there's more to the 'doll' metaphor than political chicanery, nor Littlefinger and his machinations the only invisible player at work!  In a nutshell, the 'doll' metaphor is about skinchanging; and the fight over the doll (the tug-of-war between Sansa and Sweetrobin we were discussing, or the Clegane brothers over the wooden toy) represents the fight for possession over a skinchanging host's body (this might be a person, an animal, including a dragon ;), a tree or even the 'weirnet' itself).  This is what we saw demonstrated in the ADWD Prologue, e.g. in Varamyr and Thistle's grotesque struggle for possession of her body (also represented as a weirwood); and then when Varamyr and Haggon fight to the death over One-Eye the wolf.  Varamyr emerges from that battle victorious, ousting the other skinchanger, essentially extinguishing his 'second life,' and by depriving him of a host body in addition to his own human body, ushering in his mentor's 'true death'.  Though perhaps more abstract, we also saw a variation of the same in the Prologue in the brothers' power squabbles.  There, the spoils of war were represented mainly by the magicked-up lighting-struck sword (significantly compared to a tree), as well as the legendary sable (marten=Martin) cloak, another skinchanging metaphor.  

Judging from how often a tree/branch or wooden toy is the prize, I think we're heading for a struggle over Bran's body (or indeed his soul) and/or the weirnet itself.  

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A Dance with Dragons - Prologue

Leagues away, in a one-room hut of mud and straw with a thatched roof and a smoke hole and a floor of hard-packed earth, Varamyr shivered and coughed and licked his lips. His eyes were red, his lips cracked, his throat dry and parched, but the taste of blood and fat filled his mouth, even as his swollen belly cried for nourishment. A child's flesh, he thought, remembering Bump. Human meat. Had he sunk so low as to hunger after human meat? He could almost hear Haggon growling at him. "Men may eat the flesh of beasts and beasts the flesh of men, but the man who eats the flesh of man is an abomination."

Abomination. That had always been Haggon's favorite word. Abomination, abomination, abomination. To eat of human meat was abomination, to mate as wolf with wolf was abomination, and to seize the body of another man was the worst abomination of all. Haggon was weak, afraid of his own power. He died weeping and alone when I ripped his second life from him. Varamyr had devoured his heart himself. He taught me much and more, and the last thing I learned from him was the taste of human flesh.

 

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A Game of Thrones - Prologue

Royce's body lay facedown in the snow, one arm outflung. The thick sable cloak had been slashed in a dozen places. Lying dead like that, you saw how young he was. A boy.

He found what was left of the sword a few feet away, the end splintered and twisted like a tree struck by lightning. Will knelt, looked around warily, and snatched it up. The broken sword would be his proof. Gared would know what to make of it, and if not him, then surely that old bear Mormont or Maester Aemon. Would Gared still be waiting with the horses? He had to hurry.

Will rose. Ser Waymar Royce stood over him.

 

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Rhaegar had chosen Lyanna Stark of Winterfell. Barristan Selmy would have made a different choice. Not the queen, who was not present. Nor Elia of Dorne, though she was good and gentle; had she been chosen, much war and woe might have been avoided. His choice would have been a young maiden not long at court, one of Elia’s companions … though compared to Ashara Dayne, the Dornish princess was a kitchen drab.

Even after all these years, Ser Barristan could still recall Ashara’s smile, the sound of her laughter. He had only to close his eyes to see her, with her long dark hair tumbling about her shoulders and those haunting purple eyes. Daenerys has the same eyes. Sometimes when the queen looked at him, he felt as if he were looking at Ashara’s daughter …

But Ashara’s daughter had been stillborn, and his fair lady had thrown herself from a tower soon after, mad with grief for the child she had lost, and perhaps for the man who had dishonored her at Harrenhal as well. She died never knowing that Ser Barristan had loved her. How could she? He was a knight of the Kingsguard, sworn to celibacy. No good could have come from telling her his feelings. No good came from silence either. If I had unhorsed Rhaegar and crowned Ashara queen of love and beauty, might she have looked to me instead of Stark?

He would never know. But of all his failures, none haunted Barristan Selmy so much as that.

The Kingbreaker, Dance 67

The simplest understanding of this passage is that my man the Ned did indeed bed Ashara, and that Barristan was jealous, but did not hold it against Eddard. Ashara then conceived a child, but the girl was stillborn, and the grief Ashara suffered from the loss of the wee lass, her brother, and the Ned drove her to suicide. Right? 

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I remembered Loras not being privy to Joffrey's assassination plan, but it wasn't until I re-read ASOS a little while ago that I realized that even after those ridiculous show trials, both he and Balon Swann still believed Tyrion was innocent. I had also read one of George's interviews where he said that the Tyrells had planned on making the assassination look like a choking, but that they hadn't realized the extent of Cersei's paranoia and hatred for Tyrion (Littlefinger clearly did, however, which is how he got his paws on Sansa). Reading the Purple Wedding after that makes it clear that that was indeed what the Tyrell's were attempting. Margaery's mother even shouts something along the lines of "there was nothing you could do, Margaery, he choked!"

 

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2 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

The Kingbreaker, Dance 67

The simplest understanding of this passage is that my man the Ned did indeed bed Ashara, and that Barristan was jealous, but did not hold it against Eddard. Ashara then conceived a child, but the girl was stillborn, and the grief Ashara suffered from the loss of the wee lass, her brother, and the Ned drove her to suicide. Right? 

I'm very curious as to what Ashara Dayne's greater purpose in this story is. As of now, she seems unimportant, but I doubt George would bring her up all the time if she wasn't going to become more important later on. 

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Cotter Pyke's little fleet is currently in action off Hardhome. In Jon XIII, Dance 69, Jon notes that six ships remain, and near the end of the chapter TormuND agrees to lead a ranging to rescue the wildings at Hardhome. Melisandre tells Jon that all his the ships will be lost and no man will return. I guess, Cotter is a goner. I am wondering whether Tormund, or anyone else will march beyond the Wall after the Ides of Marsh? 

ETA

When Jon XIII, Dance 69 opens, Jon is advising Selyse as to the plight of the Wildings at Hardhome. Selyse urges him to let them die. After Jon leaves Selyse, somewhat surprisingly, Melisandre supports Sylese’s position, advising Jon that she has foreseen total failure at Hardhome. Jon responds by noting that Melisandre’s predictions have been largely false. Melisandre responds that her interpretations are sometimes flawed, but that the visions do not lie. Jon asks her, “Where is Stannis? What of Rattleshirt and his spearwives? Where is my sister?” Melisandre responds, "All your questions shall be answered. Look to the skies, Lord Snow. And when you have your answers, send to me. Winter is almost upon us now. I am your only hope." Of course, near the end of the chapter, Jon receives the letter from Ramsay with the answers to his questions...

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Your false king is dead, bastard. He and all his host were smashed in seven days of battle. I have his magic sword. Tell his red whore. Your false king' s friends are dead. Their heads upon the walls of Winterfell. Come see them, bastard. Your false king lied, and so did you. You told the world you burned the King-Beyond-the-Wall. Instead you sent him to Winterfell to steal my bride from me.

I will have my bride back. If you want Mance Rayder back, come and get him. I have him in a cage for all the north to see, proof of your lies. The cage is cold, but I have made him a warm cloak from the skins of the six whores who came with him to Winterfell.

I want my bride back. I want the false king' s queen. I want his daughter and his red witch. I want his wildling princess. I want his little prince, the wildling babe. And I want my Reek. Send them to me, bastard, and I will not trouble you or your black crows. Keep them from me, and I will cut out your bastard' s heart and eat it.

Jon XIII, Dance 69

Clearly then, Melisandre foresaw the raven from Ramsay. At this point, though, has Melisandre foreseen the death of Stannis? Or does she realize that Stannis will feign defeat and death as part of ruse? 

ETA II

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As for Borroq, Othell Yarwyck claimed the woods north of Stonedoor were full of wild boars. Who was to say the skinchanger would not make his own pig army?

Jon XIII, Dance 69

Why not? Arya has a wolf army in the Riverlands. 

ETA III

What is the significance of moving Cregan Karstark from the ice cells to the Lord Commander's Tower? I don't think this foreshadows anything, but I do think there is a reason the author had Jon have the prisoners moved. 

ETA IV

Getting back to the so called pink letter, notice that the author uses Tormund to suggest that each of the three answers Jon receives might be false...

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"Might be all a skin o' lies." Tormund scratched under his beard. "If I had me a nice goose quill and a pot o' maester's ink, I could write down that me member was long and thick as me arm, wouldn't make it so."

Jon XIII, Dance 69

But notice also that the author has Jon appear to rule out the answer to his second question about Mance and the spearwives...

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"He has Lightbringer. He talks of heads upon the walls of Winterfell. He knows about the spearwives and their number." He knows about Mance Rayder. "No. There is truth in there."

Jon XIII, Dance 69

Since the answer to Jon's second question pertaining to Mance and the spearwives appears to be true, and since we know that the answer to Jon's third question pertaining to Arya is false, this suggests that the answer to Jon's first question pertaining to Stannis is false. 

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On my third reread I came across this quote from the Old Bear when he talks to Jon Snow after his attempt to abandon Castle Black to join Robb in the war to avenge Ned....

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“Are you such a mighty warrior, or do you carry a grumkin in your pocket to magic up your sword?” AGOT, Jon Pg 782-83.

Mighty warrior and magic sword? hmmm....that sounds familiar!

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17 minutes ago, fire&blood said:

On my third reread I came across this quote from the Old Bear when he talks to Jon Snow after his attempt to abandon Castle Black to join Robb in the war to avenge Ned....

Mighty warrior and magic sword? hmmm....that sounds familiar!

The Prince that was Promised. 

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9 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

The Prince that was Promised. 

Do you think AA and PtwP are different people or it's the same?

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7 minutes ago, fire&blood said:

Do you think AA and PtwP are different people or it's the same?

The same. It is known. 

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"We have foes on every hand, Lord Tarly," Ser Kevan reminded him. "Stannis in the north, ironmen in the west, sellswords in the south. Defy the High Septon, and we will have blood running in the gutters of King's Landing as well. If we are seen to be going against the gods, it will only drive the pious into the arms of one or the other of these would-be usurpers."

Epilogue, Dance

If Cersei goes against the Seven, the pious will join Aegon since Stannis and the Ironmen worship the Old Gods and the Drowned God, respectively.

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I

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The black priest bowed his head. "There is no need. The Lord of Light has shown me your worth, lord Captain. Every night in my fires I glimpse the glory that awaits you."

Victarion, Dance 63

Spoiler
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The Iron Victory was lashed alongside the Noble Lady, the two ships bound tight with chains and grappling hooks, a ladder stretched between them. The great cog was much larger than the warship and sat higher in the water. All along the gunwales the faces of the Ironborn peered down, watching as Victarion clapped Wulf One-Ear on the shoulder and sent him clambering up the ladder. The sea was smooth and still, the sky bright with stars. Wulf ordered the ladder drawn up, the chains cast off. The warship and the cog parted ways. In the distance the rest of Victarion's famed fleet was raising sail. A ragged cheer went up from the crew of the Iron Victory, and was answered in kind by the men of the Noble Lady.

Victarion had given Wulf his best fighters. He envied them. They would be the first to strike a blow, the first to see that look of fear in the foemen's eyes. As he stood at the prow of the Iron Victory watching One-Ear's merchant ships vanish one by one into the west, the faces of the first foes he'd ever slain came back to Victarion Greyjoy. He thought of his first ship, of his first woman. A restlessness was in him, a hunger for the dawn and the things this day would bring. Death or glory, I will drink my fill of both today. The Seastone Chair should've been his when Balon died, but his brother Euron had stolen it from him, just as he had stolen his wife many years before. He stole her and he soiled her, but he left it for me to slay her.

All that was done and gone now, though. Victarion would have his due at last. I have the horn, and soon I will have the woman. A woman lovelier than the wife he made me kill. 

 

Victarion, Winds

Does this foreshadow that Victarion will die during the second battle for Meereen?

II

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The arm the priest had healed was hideous to look upon, pork crackling from elbow to fingertips. Sometimes when Victarion closed his hand the skin would split and smoke, yet the arm was stronger than it had ever been. 

Victarion, Dance 63

Spoiler
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They left him one by one. The three thralls, and then Moqorro. Victarion would not let him take the hell-horn.

“I will keep it here with me, until it is needed.”

“As you command. Would you have me bleed you?”

Victarion seized the dusky woman by the wrist and pulled her to him. “She will do it. Go pray to your red god. Light your fire, and tell me what you see.”

 

Victarion, Winds

If Victarion’s arm was healed, why would Victarion need a bleeding?

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1 hour ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

I

Victarion, Dance 63

  Reveal hidden contents

 

Victarion, Winds

Does this foreshadow that Victarion will die during the second battle for Meereen?

II

Victarion, Dance 63

  Reveal hidden contents

 

Victarion, Winds

If Victarion’s arm was healed, why would Victarion need a bleeding?

I do think Moqorro foresees the death of Victarion, although I'm not sure it's clearly conveyed in that second passage. When I see that someone is expecting to drink something important and symbolic, I am more suspicious that it relates to Dany's shade of the evening or Bran's bowl of paste.

Maybe Victarion's arm is volcano-like. It's o.k. as long as it can be "bled" once in awhile and blow off steam.

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1 hour ago, Seams said:

Maybe Victarion's arm is volcano-like. It's o.k. as long as it can be "bled" once in awhile and blow off steam.

I like that. I like it a lot. 

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I

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Tyrion found himself thinking back on his first battle. Shae had been the first to stir, woken by his father's trumpets. The sweet strumpet who'd pleasured him for half the night had trembled naked in his arms, a frightened child. Or was all that a lie as well, a ploy she used to make me feel brave and brilliant? What a mummer she might have been. When Tyrion had shouted out for Podrick Payne to help him with his armor, he'd found the boy asleep and snoring. Not the quickest lad I've ever known, but a decent squire in the end. I hope he found a better man to serve.

Tyrion II, Winds

Clever.

II

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"The Halfman's right," said Jorah Mormont. "We do not want to be fighting for the slavers when Daenerys returns… and she will, make no mistake. Strike now and strike hard, and the queen will not forget it. Find her hostages and free them. And I will swear on the honor of my house and home that this was Brown Ben's plan from the beginning."

Tyrion II, Winds

Jorah, Jorah, Jorah... Your honor, whatever shred of it that might have been left to you, is [email protected]#%.

III

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Tyrion was not even a serjeant, but their cyvasse games had made him a familiar sight in Brown Ben's tent, and no one tried to stop him when he entered with the rest. Besides Kasporio and Inkpots, Uhlan and Bokkoko were amongst those summoned. The dwarf was surprised to see Ser Jorah Mormont there as well.

Tyrion III, Winds

Uhlans were lancers in in Central and Eastern Europe.

 

 

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The delay did not sit well with the young king. Aegon II had run short of patience with his grandfather’s prevarications. Though his mother the Dowager Queen Alicent spoke up in Ser Otto’s defense, His Grace turned a deaf ear to her pleading. Summoning Ser Otto to the throne room, he tore the chain of office from his neck and tossed it to Ser Criston Cole. “My new Hand is a steel fist,” he boasted. “We are done with writing letters.” Ser Criston wasted no time in proving his mettle. “It is not for you to plead for support from your lords, like a beggar pleading for alms,” he told Aegon. “You are the lawful king of Westeros, and those who deny it are traitors. It is past time they learned the price of treason.”

King Aegon’s master of whisperers, Larys Strong the Clubfoot, had drawn up a list of all those lords who gathered on Dragonstone to attend Queen Rhaenyra’s coronation and sit on her black council. Lords Celtigar and Velaryon had their seats on islands; as Aegon II had no strength at sea, they were beyond the reach of his wroth. Those “black” lords whose lands were on the mainland enjoyed no such protection, however.

Duskendale fell easily, taken by surprise by the King’s forces, the town sacked, the ships in the harbor set afire, Lord Darklyn beheaded. Rook’s Rest was Ser Criston’s next objective. Forewarned of their coming, Lord Staunton closed his gates and defied the attackers. Behind his walls, his lordship could only watch as his fields and woods and villages were burned, his sheep and cattle and smallfolk put to the sword. When provisions inside the castle began to run low, he dispatched a raven to Dragonstone, pleading for succor.

Nine days after Lord Staunton dispatched his plea for help, the sound of leathern wings was heard across the sea, and the dragon Meleys appeared above Rook’s Rest. The Red Queen, she was called, for the scarlet scales that covered her. The membranes of her wings were pink, her crest, horns, and claws bright as copper. And on her back, in steel and copper armor that flashed in the sun, rode Rhaenys Targaryen, the Queen Who Never Was.

Ser Criston Cole was not dismayed. Aegon’s Hand had expected this, counted on it. Drums beat out a command, and archers rushed forward, longbowmen and crossbowmen both, filling the air with arrows and quarrels. Scorpions were cranked upwards to loose iron bolts of the sort that had once felled Meraxes in Dorne. Meleys suffered a score of hits, but the arrows only served to make her angry. She swept down, spitting fire to right and left. Knights burned in their saddles as the hair and hide and harness of their horses went up in flames. Men-at-arms dropped their spears and scattered. Some tried to hide behind their shields, but neither oak nor iron could withstand dragon’s breath. Ser Criston sat on his white horse shouting, “Aim for the rider,” through the smoke and flame. Meleys roared, smoke swirling from her nostrils, a stallion kicking in her jaws as tongues of fire engulfed him.

Then came an answering roar. Two more winged shapes appeared: the king astride Sunfyre the Golden, and his brother Aemond upon Vhagar. Criston Cole had sprung his trap, and Rhaenys had come snatching at the bait. Now the teeth closed round her.

Princess Rhaenys made no attempt to flee. With a glad cry and a crack of her whip, she turned Meleys toward the foe. Against Vhagar alone she might have had some chance, for the Red Queen was old and cunning, and no stranger to battle. Against Vhagar and Sunfyre together, doom was certain. The dragons met violently a thousand feet above the field of battle, as balls of fire burst and blossomed, so bright that men swore later that the sky was full of suns. The crimson jaws of Meleys closed round Sunfyre’s golden neck for a moment, till Vhagar fell upon them from above. All three beasts went spinning toward the ground. They struck so hard that stones fell from the battlements of Rook’s Rest half a league away.

Those closest to the dragons did not live to tell the tale. Those farther off could not see, for the flame and smoke. It was hours before the fires guttered out. But from those ashes, only Vhagar rose unharmed. Meleys was dead, broken by the fall and ripped to pieces upon the ground. And Sunfyre, that splendid golden beast, had one wing half torn from his body, whilst his royal rider had suffered broken ribs, a broken hip, and burns that covered half his body. His left arm was the worst. The dragonflame had burned so hot that the king’s armor had melted into his flesh.

A body believed to be Rhaenys Targaryen was later found beside the carcass of her dragon, but so blackened that no one could be sure it was her. Beloved daughter of Lady Jocelyn Baratheon and Prince Aemon Targaryen, faithful wife to Lord Corlys Velaryon, mother and grandmother, the Queen Who Never Was lived fearlessly, and died amidst blood and fire. She was fifty-five years old.

Eight hundred knights and squires and common men lost their lives that day as well. Another hundred perished not long after, when Prince Aemond and Ser Criston Cole took Rook’s Rest and put its garrison to death. Lord Staunton’s head was carried back to King’s Landing and mounted above the Old Gate … but it was the head of the dragon Meleys, drawn through the city on a cart, that awed the crowds of smallfolk into silence. Thousands fled King’s Landing afterward, until the Dowager Queen Alicent ordered the city gates closed and barred.

King Aegon II did not die, though his burns brought him such pain that some say he prayed for death. Carried back to King’s Landing in a closed litter to hide the extent of his injuries, His Grace did not rise from his bed for the rest of the year. Septons prayed for him, maesters attended him with potions and milk of the poppy, but Aegon slept nine hours out of every ten, waking only long enough to take some meagre nourishment before he slept again. None was allowed to disturb his rest, save his mother the Queen Dowager and his Hand, Ser Criston Cole. His wife never so much as made the attempt, so lost was Helaena in her own grief and madness.

The king’s dragon, Sunfyre, too huge and heavy to be moved, and unable to fly with his injured wing, remained in the fields beyond Rook’s Rest, crawling through the ashes like some great golden wyrm. In the early days, he fed himself upon the burned carcasses of the slain. When those were gone, the men Ser Criston had left behind to guard him brought him calves and sheep.

“You must rule the realm now, until your brother is strong enough to take the crown again,” the King’s Hand told Prince Aemond. Nor did Ser Criston need to say it twice. And so one-eyed Aemond the Kinslayer took up the iron-and-ruby crown of Aegon the Conquerer. “It looks better on me than it ever did on him,” the prince proclaimed. Yet Aemond did not assume the style of king, but named himself only Protector of the Realm and Prince Regent. Ser Criston Cole remained Hand of the King.

The Princess and the Queen

I am thinking Aemond planned this.

II

Here, we hear echoes of Robb Stark’s actions following his mother’s overwhelming grief with Bran in a coma, and then the arrest of his father in King’s Landing...

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East of Blackwater Bay, Queen Rhaenyra was also faring badly. The death of her son Lucerys had been a crushing blow to a woman already broken by pregnancy, labor, and stillbirth. When word reached Dragonstone that Princess Rhaenys had fallen, angry words were exchanged between the queen and Lord Velaryon, who blamed her for his wife’s death. “It should have been you,” the Sea Snake shouted at Her Grace. “Staunton sent to you, yet you left it to my wife to answer, and forbade your sons to join her!” For as all the castle knew, the princes Jace and Joff had been eager to fly with Princess Rhaenys to Rook’s Rest with their own dragons.

It was Jace who came to the fore now, late in the year 129 AC. First he brought the Lord of the Tides back into the fold by naming him the Hand of the Queen. Together he and Lord Corlys began to plan an assault upon King’s Landing.

The Princess and the Queen

III

I really wish the George had described how Addam of Hull, Hugh the Hammer, and Ulf the White tamed Seasmoke, Vermithor, and Silverwing.

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At first the magisters and archons and merchant princes were pleased to welcome the last Targaryens to their homes and tables, but as the years passed and the Usurper continued to sit upon the Iron Throne, doors closed and their lives grew meaner. Years past they had been forced to sell their last few treasures, and now even the coin they had gotten from Mother's crown had gone. In the alleys and wine sinks of Pentos, they called her brother "the beggar king." Dany did not want to know what they called her.

Daenerys I, Game 3

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The crown was the only offering she'd kept. The rest she sold, to gather the wealth she had wasted on the Pureborn. Xaro would have sold the crown too—the Thirteen would see that she had a much finer one, he swore—but Dany forbade it. "Viserys sold my mother's crown, and men called him a beggar. I shall keep this one, so men will call me a queen." And so she did, though the weight of it made her neck ache.

Daenerys III, Clash 40

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"Your pretty crown might buy another century," said the fat one in Valyrian. "Your crown of the three dragons."

Dany waited for his words to be translated. "My crown is not for sale." When Viserys sold their mother's crown, the last joy had gone from him, leaving only rage.

Daenerys III, Storm 27

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If she had been some ordinary woman, she would gladly have spent her whole life touching Daario, tracing his scars and making him tell her how he'd come by every one. I would give up my crown if he asked it of me, Dany thought … but he had not asked it, and never would. Daario might whisper words of love when the two of them were as one, but she knew it was the dragon queen he loved. If I gave up my crown, he would not want me. Besides, kings who lost their crowns oft lost their heads as well, and she could see no reason why it would be any different for a queen. 

Daenerys VI, Dance 43

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You were supposed to be my wife, to bear me children with silver hair and purple eyes, to keep the blood of the dragon pure. I took care of you. I taught you who you were. I fed you. I sold our mother' s crown to keep you fed. 

Daenerys X, Dance 71

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House Darklyn had been amongst Rhaenyra’s strongest supporters, but the cost of that loyalty had been high. Only the intercession of Ser Harrold Darke persuaded Lady Meredyth Darklyn to allow the queen within her walls at all (the Darkes were distant kin to the Darklyns, and Ser Harrold had once served as a squire to the late Ser Steffon), and only upon the condition that she would not remain for long.

Queen Rhaenyra had neither gold nor ships. When she had sent Lord Corlys to the dungeons she had lost her fleet, and she had fled King’s Landing in terror of her life, without so much as a coin. Despairing and fearful, Her Grace grew ever more grey and haggard. She could not sleep and would not eat. Nor would she suffer to be parted from Prince Aegon, her last living son; day and night, the boy remained by her side, “like a small pale shadow.”

Rhaenyra was forced to sell her crown to raise the coin to buy passage on a Braavosi merchantman, the Violande.

The Princess and the Queen

By the way, that was the crown of Jaehaerys I, a simple gold band, set with seven gemstones of different colors. What became of the crown after it was sold to buy passage on the Violande is unknown. Aegon II wore the crown of Aegon the Conqueror, A circle crown of Valyrian steel, set with big square-cut rubies, which was lost in Dorne after the death of King Daeron I Targaryen. A spinoff of the Blackfyre theory posits that Illyrio will crown our wee Aegon with Aegon the Conqueror’s crown. How cool would it be if he also produced the crown of Jaehaerys the Conciliator as a second wedding gift for Daenerys Targaryen?

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I

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She took a breath to quiet the howling in her heart, trying to remember more of what she’d dreamt, but most of it had gone already. There had been blood in it, though, and a full moon overhead, and a tree that watched her as she ran.

Mercy, Winds

Was that Bloodraven, Bran, or both watching her?

II

Does Arya have the key of a keyholder of Baavos?

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Her boots were lumps of old brown leather mottled with saltstains and cracked from long wear, her belt a length of hempen rope dyed blue. She knotted it about her waist, and hung a knife on her right hip and a coin pouch on her left. Last of all she threw her cloak across her shoulders. It was a real mummer’s cloak, purple wool lined in red silk, with a hood to keep the rain off, and three secret pockets too. She’d hid some coins in one of those, an iron key in another, a blade in the last. A real blade, not a fruit knife like the one on her hip, but it did not belong to Mercy, no more than her other treasures did. The fruit knife belonged to Mercy. She was made for eating fruit, for smiling and joking, for working hard and doing as she was told.

Mercy, Winds

III

Is Illyrio in Braavos? Compare this...

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“Bessaro is so fat you ought to count him twice,” Mercy replied, giggling. Izembaro had a belly on him, but compared to Bessaro he was as lithe as a willow. The keyholder was so big he needed a special seat, thrice the size of a common chair.

Mercy, Winds

To this...

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Davos let the elder of the two eunuchs escort him to a large and lavishly furnished cabin at the stem of the ship. The carpets were deep, the windows stained glass, and any of the great leather chairs would have seated three of Davos quite comfortably. The cheese and olives arrived shortly, and a cup of steaming hot red wine. He held it between his hands and sipped it gratefully. The warmth felt soothing as it spread through his chest.

Salladhor Saan appeared not long after. "You must be forgiving me for the wine, my friend. These Pentoshi would drink their own water if it were purple."

"It will help my chest," said Davos. "Hot wine is better than a compress, my mother used to say."

"You shall be needing compresses as well, I am thinking. Sitting on a spear all this long time, oh my. How are you finding that excellent chair? He has fat cheeks, does he not?"

"Who?" asked Davos, between sips of hot wine.

"Illyrio Mopatis. A whale with whiskers, I am telling you truly. These chairs were built to his measure, though he is seldom bestirring himself from Pentos to sit in them. A fat man always sits comfortably, I am thinking, for he takes his pillow with him wherever he goes."

Davos II, Storm 10

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