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Seams

Sweetrobin = Bloodraven, Jr.? Or Bran II?

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Are we supposed to compare Sweetrobin to Bran, Bloodraven or both? I noticed similarities when re-reading AFfC, Alayne II, in which Sansa and Sweetrobin (and Mya and Myranda and Maester Colemon) descend from the Eyrie. Elements of Bran's journey and the scenes in Bloodraven's cave seem to match with details of this Alayne POV. (I posted this yesterday in the, "Wow, I never noticed that . . ." thread, but the Fattest Leech suggested that the potential discussion might warrant a thread of its own so I apologize for the duplication.)

All of the Eyrie is shut down in anticipation of the winter season, with windows closed and shuttered and furnishings covered. Robert's room is described as being particularly dark and cave-like, with Sansa having to find her way to a window by smell more than sight.

Robert Arryn is given a cup of sweetmilk to drink before descending, to help stop his shaking during the trip. This apparently has a toxic, residual effect as it "does not leave the flesh." Does this compare to Bran's bowl of weirwood paste? Discussion of the sweetmilk is immediately followed by discussion of a feast Robert will be attending, where Alayne says he should be given a second cup of sweetmilk. Perhaps the potion can be compared to the wine Bran drinks from his father's direwolf goblet at the Winterfell harvest feast.

Description of Bloodraven, from the wiki: "An albino, Brynden had milk white skin, long white hair, and red eyes. . . . He wore his white hair straight and to his shoulders, with the front brushed forward to cover his missing eye."

Description of Sweetrobin: ". . . a pasty boy with hair as long as any girl's. Robert had spindly arms and legs, a soft concave chest and little belly, and eyes that were always red and runny." The pale skin, long hair and red eyes are a match for Bloodraven. The "pasty" skin and "concave" chest may also allude to the weirwood paste and the cave of the CotF, and could link Robert to either Bran or Bloodraven.

Sweetrobin's voice is described as "reedy." Is this a link to the two Reeds who travel with Bran? Meera is the storyteller on the journey with Bran, and the reference to Sweetrobin's "reedy" voice is immediately followed by his wish that Sansa would read adventure tales to him.

This exchange made me think that Mya Stone might be a match for Jojen, who tries to get Bran to open his third eye:

"It will be warmer on the valley floor, my lord," said Mya. "You'll see when we get down there."

"I don't want to see," said Robert, but Mya paid no mind.

But this next detail led me to think that Mya might be part of the Bloodraven parallel:

"You almost fell."

"You're mistaken. I never fall." Mya's hair had tumbled across her cheek, hiding one eye.

Mya is the natural daughter of King Robert, as Bloodraven is the natural son of Aegon IV. And the hair hiding an eye is a hint from the author that we should be comparing them. Yet it's Bran who had a reputation for never falling (and fell only after being pushed by Jaime Lannister).

I know that GRRM doesn't necessarily offer a one-to-one connection when he uses the same symbols and details in two or more arcs - the message may be that the descent from the Eyrie is similar in some ways to the travel by Bran and his companions beyond the Wall. Bran is the POV in that case, so we have some insights into his transformation, but Meera, Jojen and Hodor might also feel changed by their ordeal. In this AFfC journey, Alayne/Sansa, Mya and even Myranda Royce might feel changed by their journey as well but the POV and her focus on Robert limit what the reader learns about Mya and Myranda.

Also in this chapter, and perhaps related: the Maester at the Eyrie is Maester Colemon. All of the dreams of lemon cakes and other lemon references lead me to assume that a Maester with lemon in his name must be important to Sansa's future. Colemon's claim to fame in ASOIAF is that his ministrations seemed to be saving Jon Arryn's life when he fell ill at King's Landing. Pycelle sent Colemon away and Arryn declined and died. Back at the Eyrie, Colemon cares for Robert Arryn, who suffers from a shaking sickness. He is alarmed that Alayne wants to dose Robert with sweetmilk, and the collusion between Littlefinger and Alayne does seem to harken to the poisoning plot of Littlefinger and Lysa against Jon Arryn.

At the beginning of this chapter, Robert throws a chamber pot of night soil at Colemon, who has to go off to wash and remove the mess. I think there may be wordplay in this about the descent from the mountain, and removing a bad scent, which could be called de-scent. Robert and Sansa both crave lemons in this chapter, so the restoration of a "lemon" scented Maester might be a good thing. (But then why did Robert soil him in the first place? Perhaps washing off the night soil is being compared to Colemon's skill at drawing out poison from they bodies of Jon and Robert Arryn.)

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26 minutes ago, Seams said:

Description of Bloodraven, from the wiki: "An albino, Brynden had milk white skin, long white hair, and red eyes. . . . He wore his white hair straight and to his shoulders, with the front brushed forward to cover his missing eye."

Description of Sweetrobin: ". . . a pasty boy with hair as long as any girl's. Robert had spindly arms and legs, a soft concave chest and little belly, and eyes that were always red and runny." The pale skin, long hair and red eyes are a match for Bloodraven. The "pasty" skin and "concave" chest may also allude to the weirwood paste and the cave of the CotF, and could link Robert to either Bran or Bloodraven.

Sweetrobin's voice is described as "reedy." Is this a link to the two Reeds who travel with Bran? Meera is the storyteller on the journey with Bran, and the reference to Sweetrobin's "reedy" voice is immediately followed by his wish that Sansa would read adventure tales to him.

Ouch.

Short answer: no.

Long answer: noooooooo.

When you're building your theory on superficial similarity of words (is "pasty skin" a reference to "weirwood paste"? is "concave chest" an allusion to "cave"?), it is truly, seriously, deeply weak. Preston Jacobs weak.

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18 minutes ago, Ferocious Veldt Roarer said:

Ouch.

Short answer: no.

Long answer: noooooooo.

When you're building your theory on superficial similarity of words (is "pasty skin" a reference to "weirwood paste"? is "concave chest" an allusion to "cave"?), it is truly, seriously, deeply weak. Preston Jacobs weak.

It makes me sad that a person interested enough to have 4,657 posts in this forum would have such a superficial understanding of GRRM's writing. Are your posts all so superficial and flat-out wrong?

If you don't see the author's use of wordplay and follow it with an open mind, then your comments are seriously, deeply wrong. Dumpster fire, anencephaly wrong. And you should definitely stay away from any of my threads, because they will all include consideration of plot details and wordplay based on a close, literary analysis of the text.

Seriously, why do people even bother to post when they have nothing to contribute to a discussion? I understand that people will enjoy the books on different levels, but you gain nothing from a strident display of your shallowness or an aggressive (and completely mistaken) attack on someone else's post.

Have a nice day.

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Thanks for the mention. I'm going to read it through while I sip some coffee and comment further. 

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Hi Seams,

 

You are not the only one to have noticed some parallelisms between Robin and Bran and/or Bloodraven. In this video PJ proposes the ideas that Sweetrobin is also a warg.

I can not say I am 100% on board with this theory, but you may be onto something

 

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2 hours ago, Seams said:

It makes me sad that a person interested enough to have 4,657 posts in this forum would have such a superficial understanding of GRRM's writing. Are your posts all so superficial and flat-out wrong?

If you don't see the author's use of wordplay and follow it with an open mind, then your comments are seriously, deeply wrong. Dumpster fire, anencephaly wrong. And you should definitely stay away from any of my threads, because they will all include consideration of plot details and wordplay based on a close, literary analysis of the text.

Seriously, why do people even bother to post when they have nothing to contribute to a discussion? I understand that people will enjoy the books on different levels, but you gain nothing from a strident display of your shallowness or an aggressive (and completely mistaken) attack on someone else's post.

Have a nice day.

Oh dear. You truly told me off.

Your full indignation doesn't mask the fact that you don't have much of a theory, though. You take really tiny common denominators and try, and fail, to present them as something deeply meaningful. "Sweetrobin will have a drink, Bran had a drink, connection?". Not a very significant one, considering that everybody in the books has had a drink and/or will have a drink. "Close, literary analysis of the text"? Bring it, and we'll talk. Because "descent, de-scent, scent, chamber pot, geddit?" really isn't it. Your boast is a huge oversell of what you actually brought.

Yes, GRRM does play clever games with symbols and hidden connections - but that doesn't mean that every random 4-character-long string implies a mysterious and meaningful connection to the same 4-character-long string somewhere else in the books! What you have is akin to my monumental left leg theory, only not as well argued (even though mine was a joke, and yours appears to be serious).

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To me, it seems to point more towards the maesters wanting to dampen, or eliminate, any magic or skinchanging possibilities. I am a fairly firm believer in the idea that part of the game of thrones includes the maesters. They seem to push themselves in to places of power so they can "whisper" int he ear of those in charge to sway things their way. Magic undoes anything they are preaching on about, and the best way to undo the faith and following of magic is to undo it at top levels int he land, and that is why all of the great houses and middling level houses have maesters. Even in the north.

However, I don't think all maesters are set out to be knowingly destructive of the old magics. I think they are simply repeating what they were taught back at the Citadel, which makes Sam's upcoming chapters rather interesting.

I think a common thing that I have noticed is the repeated use of tinctures, potions, and even wine/beer/drunkenness, are used as suppressants of whatever talent the person may have.

It seems to me that what Luwin is doing to Bran after his fall is dampening/clouding his newly opened third eye.

I do wonder about Lysa and her strange history of craziness. It seems her forced abortion years ago, along with her infatuation of Petyr, really made a big dent in her sanity. I could see her turning to some drugs to help her "cope", and in turn, somehow, that having an effect on Robin as well.

I see her as more of a corrupt version of the weirwood symbol.

Hey, just a completely random thought that I am going to type out as I think it up... Not sure if you are familiar with the plausible theory that the Eryie and Giant's Lance is going to fall in the next book. Well, if you think about the black and blue trees in Qarth that give the shade of the evening psychedelic drink, and the color of the great hall in the Eyrie with the blue marble and blue, blue, blue, then maybe the leafless Weirwood throne in the Eyrie is a corrupt tree and a sign that Sansa has to/will escape the clutches of LF, as a parallel arc to Dany in Essos.

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GRRM likes to scatter echoes of events throughout his story, and I agree with the OP that there are deliberate echoes here. I am less sure WHY though. In fact, I used to think GRRM was just an incredibly lazy writer for recycling descriptions (eg shade of the evening v's weirwood paste). Nowadays, I mostly think it's a sort of literary flourish, a bit of text decoration that doesn't have to mean anything - though sometimes it does...

7 hours ago, Seams said:
<snip>

Also in this chapter, and perhaps related: the Maester at the Eyrie is Maester Colemon. All of the dreams of lemon cakes and other lemon references lead me to assume that a Maester with lemon in his name must be important to Sansa's future. Colemon's claim to fame in ASOIAF is that his ministrations seemed to be saving Jon Arryn's life when he fell ill at King's Landing. Pycelle sent Colemon away and Arryn declined and died. Back at the Eyrie, Colemon cares for Robert Arryn, who suffers from a shaking sickness. He is alarmed that Alayne wants to dose Robert with sweetmilk, and the collusion between Littlefinger and Alayne does seem to harken to the poisoning plot of Littlefinger and Lysa against Jon Arryn.

At the beginning of this chapter, Robert throws a chamber pot of night soil at Colemon, who has to go off to wash and remove the mess. I think there may be wordplay in this about the descent from the mountain, and removing a bad scent, which could be called de-scent. Robert and Sansa both crave lemons in this chapter, so the restoration of a "lemon" scented Maester might be a good thing. (But then why did Robert soil him in the first place? Perhaps washing off the night soil is being compared to Colemon's skill at drawing out poison from they bodies of Jon and Robert Arryn.)

I like the 'Maester Colemon = lemon' observation very much - by seeing lemons as the opposite and antidote to sugary sweet deception, this suggests Colemon (a) is honest, and (b) is the person to save SR from his sweetmilk addiction.

3 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

<snip>

I do wonder about Lysa and her strange history of craziness. It seems her forced abortion years ago, along with her infatuation of Petyr, really made a big dent in her sanity. I could see her turning to some drugs to help her "cope", and in turn, somehow, that having an effect on Robin as well.

Oh yes!

Quote

I see her as more of a corrupt version of the weirwood symbol.

Hey, just a completely random thought that I am going to type out as I think it up... Not sure if you are familiar with the plausible theory that the Eryie and Giant's Lance is going to fall in the next book. Well, if you think about the black and blue trees in Qarth that give the shade of the evening psychedelic drink, and the color of the great hall in the Eyrie with the blue marble and blue, blue, blue, then maybe the leafless Weirwood throne in the Eyrie is a corrupt tree and a sign that Sansa has to/will escape the clutches of LF, as a parallel arc to Dany in Essos.

I don't know about the blue trees, but blue is an ill-omened colour, to be sure. Especially sky blue. The Arryns are in deep, deep trouble.

Unless... well, they are falcons, they have wings. And they are friends of the dragon-hatching moon. So maybe the unlucky sky-blue sky is their native element, and when the time of disaster arrives, they will find they can cope.

Continuing the optimism, 'reedy' could be good too. I seem to remember a fable in which the reeds and a great tree argued over who was strongest. Of course, when the storms came, the tree was struck down, but the reeds bowed with the wind and sprang up again afterwards.

(I really don't want SweetRobin to die!)

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This passage from the Alayne II, AFfC chapter came back to me as I was thinking about the parallels to the Bran III, ACoK chapter again this morning:

Colemon: "Lord Robert mislikes strangers, you know that, and there will be drinking, noise . . . music. Music frightens him."

Alayne: "Music soothes him," she corrected, "the high harp especially. It's singing he can't abide, since Marillion killed his mother." Alayne had told the lie so many times that she remembered it that way more oft than not; the other seemed no more than a bad dream that sometimes troubled her sleep. "Lord Nestor will have no singers at the feast, only flutes and fiddles for the dancing." What would she do when the music began to play? It was a vexing question, to which her heart and head gave different answers. Sansa loved to dance, but Alayne . . .

At the harvest feast at Winterfell, Bran viewed the dancing with sadness:

Bran watched [the dancing] long enough to be polite, and then had Hodor summoned. He was hot and tired, flushed from the wine, and the dancing made him sad. It was something else he could never do. “I want to go.”

We know that Bran will be meeting up with the singers, the self-identified name for the CotF, when his journey reaches its goal. So Bran turns away from the upsetting spectacle of dancing but travels toward singers; Sweetrobin leaves behind the ghostly singing of Merillion but heads toward music and dance that (Alayne claims) will help to soothe him.

Alayne / Sansa herself has two differing opinions about dancing, one coming from her heart and "the other" from her head. Later in the chapter, Myranda Royce will confide in Alayne that she bedded "that pretty boy Merillion." She then tells Alayne that she is pretty and soon invites her to share her bed that night. Maybe this is a subtle variation on Bran's journey: Sansa's rebirth on this journey from the Eyrie has her becoming a singer or - maybe - a song. Merillion had told Sansa / Alayne that he was going to write a song about her called Roadside Rose. Myranda makes note of Sansa's rosy cheeks after Sansa accepts Myranda's invitation to share her bed.

Also In the Bran chapter, the newly-arrived Jojen (it is implied) is perceived by the direwolf Summer as a stranger, perhaps echoing the arrival of the two Frey wards, who are unwelcome strangers in Rickon's eyes.

(This chapter analysis of ACoK, Bran II was prepared for the direwolf re-read, but it might help to refresh some ideas about the prelude to Bran's journey, if you haven't read it recently. Earlier on the same page of the re-read thread, there is also some discussion of Sansa II and the insight from Sandor Clegane that "a dog can smell a lie" as Sansa finds increasing need to lie in order to survive as a hostage in King's Landing.)

6 hours ago, Armand Gargalen said:

You are not the only one to have noticed some parallelisms between Robin and Bran and/or Bloodraven. In this video PJ proposes the ideas that Sweetrobin is also a warg.

I can not say I am 100% on board with this theory, but you may be onto something

Thanks for the link. I'm going to save it for later because I find that video doesn't invite discussion the same way that written dialogue does. But I'll watch it eventually, I'm sure.

3 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

To me, it seems to point more towards the maesters wanting to dampen, or eliminate, any magic or skinchanging possibilities. ...

However, I don't think all maesters are set out to be knowingly destructive of the old magics. ...

It seems to me that what Luwin is doing to Bran after his fall is dampening/clouding his newly opened third eye.

I do wonder about Lysa and her strange history of craziness. It seems her forced abortion years ago, along with her infatuation of Petyr, really made a big dent in her sanity. I could see her turning to some drugs to help her "cope", and in turn, somehow, that having an effect on Robin as well.

I see her as more of a corrupt version of the weirwood symbol.

Hey, just a completely random thought that I am going to type out as I think it up... Not sure if you are familiar with the plausible theory that the Eryie and Giant's Lance is going to fall in the next book. Well, if you think about the black and blue trees in Qarth that give the shade of the evening psychedelic drink, and the color of the great hall in the Eyrie with the blue marble and blue, blue, blue, then maybe the leafless Weirwood throne in the Eyrie is a corrupt tree and a sign that Sansa has to/will escape the clutches of LF, as a parallel arc to Dany in Essos.

I agree that the Citadel seems to have some kind of sinister motives - at least, from the perspective that magic can be a good thing. I'm not sure how many maesters are on Team Marwyn, though, who seems to respect or value magic. Luwin had the Valyrian steel link that showed he had mastered the topic, so I thought he might be one of the maesters you allow as not out to destroy the old magics. Because Lysa seemed to be telling the truth when she said she poisoned Jon Arryn at Littlefinger's suggestion, I also thought that Colemon might be a good guy, trying to keep the misguided Alayne from overmedicating Robert Arryn. The close of this chapter reveals Littlefinger's plot to unite Sansa with Harry the Heir in order to unite the north and the Vale in one power couple after Robert's death. Colemon tried to save Jon, and might be a key player in saving Sweetrobin.

Lysa sitting on the weirwood throne was a strange sight, but it starts to make literary sense if the comparison of Bloodraven and Sweetrobin is correct. The throne wasn't intended for Lysa, but for Sweetrobin.

I have read sweetsunray's avalanche/earthquake theory about the Eyrie and look forward to it! But I think of the blue marble of the Eyrie, which was quarried at the Sapphire Isle of Tarth, as a link to Brienne's arc. I'm not sure what it means, though.

1 hour ago, Springwatch said:

GRRM likes to scatter echoes of events throughout his story, and I agree with the OP that there are deliberate echoes here. I am less sure WHY though. In fact, I used to think GRRM was just an incredibly lazy writer for recycling descriptions (eg shade of the evening v's weirwood paste). Nowadays, I mostly think it's a sort of literary flourish, a bit of text decoration that doesn't have to mean anything - though sometimes it does...

As I've gone over some of the details, I'm pretty sure that Sansa is making a hero's journey similar to the journey Bran makes to Bloodraven's cave. Except some of her steps are in reverse:

  • Sansa climbed up to the Eyrie with the plotting lovers, Lysa and Petyr; Bran fell off the Old Keep because of the plotting lovers, Jaime and Cersei.
  • Sansa is going toward Lord Nestor's feast; the necessity of Bran's departure begins after a feast.
  • Bran is traveling north ( "If I go up, will I ever come back down? Where will I go when I die?" AGoT, Bran VII) while Sansa is going downhill ("It will mean my head if I am found, she reminded herself as she descended a flight of icy stone steps." AFfC, Alayne II).

Just to complicate things further, Arya's first new name on her own hero's journey from King's Landing is Ary, bestowed on her by Yoren as he gave her a haircut. Sansa finds herself betrothed to Harry the Heir when she reaches her destination at the bottom of the mountain.

I think these things will be meaningful - the reversed elements might even help us to make predictions about events yet to come. For instance, Arya's journey includes the king's natural son, Gendry. Sansa's journey includes the king's natural daughter, Mya. Does Bran's journey also include a king's bastard?

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22 minutes ago, White Ravens said:

Well, Bloodraven is a Great Bastard of King Aegon IV Targaryen.

And there might also be his cousin-brother Jon..!  I see Jon as Bran's sidekick, not Dany's.

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The physical description would be there in its own right as he wants SR to physically repulse the reader, but that tumbling hair line is no coincidence. Mya for Bloodraven, SR for Bran. I don't know why this would be. BR will prove a false friend to Bran, false teacher, but I don't see how Mya could fulfil that role with Robert. Unless it's simply the fact that BR can see through either Mya's or Robert's eyes, this is the hint and the future will hold the importance.

Here he's similiarly thrown in BR with Arianne too.

Spoiler

 

Quote

 

Further north, the fields gave way to rolling hills and thick groves of old forest, the road dwindled to a track, and villages became less common.

Dusk found them on the fringes of the rainwood, a wet green world where brooks and rivers ran through dark forests and the ground was made of mud and rotting leaves. Huge willows grew along the watercourses, larger than any that Arianne had ever seen, their great trunks as gnarled and twisted as an old man’s face and festooned with beards of silvery moss. Trees pressed close on every side, shutting out the sun; hemlock and red cedars, white oaks, soldier pines that stood as tall and straight as towers, colossal sentinels, big-leaf maples, redwoods, wormtrees, even here and there a wild weirwood. Underneath their tangled branches ferns and flowers grew in profusion; sword ferns, lady ferns, bellflowers and piper’s lace, evening stars and poison kisses, liverwort, lungwort, hornwort. Mushrooms sprouted down amongst the tree roots, and from their trunks as well, pale spotted hands that caught the rain. Other trees were furred with moss, green or grey or red-tailed, and once a vivid purple. Lichens covered every rock and stone. Toadstools festered besides rotting logs. The very air seemed green.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Seams said:

~~~

I agree that the Citadel seems to have some kind of sinister motives - at least, from the perspective that magic can be a good thing. I'm not sure how many maesters are on Team Marwyn, though, who seems to respect or value magic.

It does not seem like many are on team Marwyn. The fact that they can have a Valyrian steel link is odd, and so is the fact that also look down on it as a symbol of the occult. Marwyn also has a Valyrian steel mask. I had forgotten that masters also had masks in addition to chains until a reread on some thing else brought that back up.

5 hours ago, Seams said:

 

Luwin had the Valyrian steel link that showed he had mastered the topic, so I thought he might be one of the maesters you allow as not out to destroy the old magics.

Almost. As much as we all love Luwin, and it was good that Osha gave him a quick death, I think he was guilty on some level for repressing Bran's magic and historical curiosity, which in turn would have affected his warg abilities. In this case, it is better that Rickon went away with a wildling because at least they know and accept skinchangers and wargs and can even find other ones to help Rickon in his training.

5 hours ago, Seams said:

Because Lysa seemed to be telling the truth when she said she poisoned Jon Arryn at Littlefinger's suggestion, I also thought that Colemon might be a good guy, trying to keep the misguided Alayne from overmedicating Robert Arryn.

I agree that Lysa was telling the truth about poisoning Jon Arryn. Maybe control by drugs/alcohol is Lysa's preferred method?

With Coleman, there may be a difference between not wanting to kill Robin, and just wanting to suppress any peeks of talent Coleman (or Lysa) possibly has seen. It is possible that Coleman does not want Littlefinger in charge, like most of the other Vale Lords, so he doesn't want him to die, just to repress any "talents".

If Lysa is the one doing it she could fear what other people would do to Robin. Remember when Jojen tells Bran that if people south of the wall figure out he is a warg then they will call him names and

A Game of Thrones - Catelyn VI

"The boy is Lord of the Eyrie and Defender of the Vale," Catelyn reminded her, "and these are not times for delicacy. Ned thinks it may come to war."
"Quiet!" Lysa snapped at her. "You're scaring the boy." Little Robert took a quick peek over his shoulder at Catelyn and began to tremble. His doll fell to the rushes, and he pressed himself against his mother. "Don't be afraid, my sweet baby," Lysa whispered. "Mother's here, nothing will hurt you." She opened her robe and drew out a pale, heavy breast, tipped with red. The boy grabbed for it eagerly, buried his face against her chest, and began to suck. Lysa stroked his hair.

A Clash of Kings - Bran V

"I guess."
"Warg," said Jojen Reed.
Bran looked at him, his eyes wide. "What?"
"Warg. Shapechanger. Beastling. That is what they will call you, if they should ever hear of your wolf dreams."
The names made him afraid again. "Who will call me?""Your own folk. In fear. Some will hate you if they know what you are. Some will even try to kill you."
 
5 hours ago, Seams said:

The close of this chapter reveals Littlefinger's plot to unite Sansa with Harry the Heir in order to unite the north and the Vale in one power couple after Robert's death. Colemon tried to save Jon, and might be a key player in saving Sweetrobin.

Let's hope so. I really want him to survive and spread his wings.

5 hours ago, Seams said:

Lysa sitting on the weirwood throne was a strange sight, but it starts to make literary sense if the comparison of Bloodraven and Sweetrobin is correct. The throne wasn't intended for Lysa, but for Sweetrobin.

Good point. But this also makes me think that is why Lysa on the throne and dealing laws and justice is a corruption. Again, this is all speculation.

5 hours ago, Seams said:

I have read sweetsunray's avalanche/earthquake theory about the Eyrie and look forward to it! But I think of the blue marble of the Eyrie, which was quarried at the Sapphire Isle of Tarth, as a link to Brienne's arc. I'm not sure what it means, though.

Ah, shoot. I did forget about that detail, and I even discussed it at some length not too long ago on another thread. Oopsy! Well, the blue and white veins does mean something. Hmmm, just a thought, remember this about Winterfell. Both have veins in their walls like they have the potential for life:

A Game of Thrones - Catelyn II

Of all the rooms in Winterfell's Great Keep, Catelyn's bedchambers were the hottest. She seldom had to light a fire. The castle had been built over natural hot springs, and the scalding waters rushed through its walls and chambers like blood through a man's body, driving the chill from the stone halls, filling the glass gardens with a moist warmth, keeping the earth from freezing. Open pools smoked day and night in a dozen small courtyards. That was a little thing, in summer; in winter, it was the difference between life and death.

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15 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

It does not seem like many are on team Marwyn. The fact that they can have a Valyrian steel link is odd, and so is the fact that also look down on it as a symbol of the occult. Marwyn also has a Valyrian steel mask. I had forgotten that masters also had masks in addition to chains until a reread on some thing else brought that back up.

 

 

Archmaester Marwyn is definitely portrayed as an outsider at the Citadel, at least from his own perspective. When acolytes are made maesters they are given a chain made from links they earned through their studies.  The corresponding metal rod and mask for each discipline is only awarded to the archmaester of that discipline.  

It is implied that the Conclave has actively worked to diminish the effects of magic in Westeros (conspiracy to eliminate dragons for example) so perhaps those who earn the Valyrian steel link for their chain are instructed to downplay belief in magic when instructing young lords and ladies.  We see this with Luwin in his interactions with Bran. 

"I can teach you history, healing, herblore. I can teach you the speech of ravens, and how to build a castle, and the way a sailor steers his ship by the stars I can teach you to measure the days and marks the seasons, and at the Citadel in Oldtown they can teach you a thousand things more. But, Bran, no man can teach you magic."

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I'm still plugging away at the direwolf re-read for ACoK and reached Jon VI yesterday, in which Jon climbs a difficult mountain path with a Night's Watch ranger named Stonesnake, reaches a mountain top and encounters Ygritte. It quickly became apparent that that mountain journey for Jon was a third in the pattern to go with the pair of journeys already discussed here. So we have:

  • Bran and his companions going north from the Winterfell Crypt to Bloodraven's cave,
  • Sansa / Alayne and Sweetrobin descending from the Eyrie to the Gates of the Moon, and
  • Jon going from (I believe) the Fist of the First Men to the Milkwater.

I suspect there may be more "hero's journey" arcs that will share details with this group - possibly Brienne and Podrick Payne traveling to Crackclaw Point; perhaps Jaime and Ser Ilyn Payne in the Riverlands; Dany's travels around Essos might even match the pattern. Maybe some of the journeying coming up for key characters in TWoW.

Or it might be that the elements of these journey are unique to the Stark children. In which case it will be possible to find additional clear links to Arya's many adventures during her travels. (I'm already wondering whether her early mentor guide, Yoren, and Jon's mentor guide, Qhorin, are supposed to be alike in more than just their Night's Watch background and rhyming names. I suspect they are both symbolic versions of Lord Commander Mormont. Qhorin sharpens his sword while teaching Jon a lesson about leaders making decisions, and Yoren teaches Arya a lesson about treating other members of their group with respect after she beats up Hot Pie with her wooden sword.)

I pulled out some excerpts that highlight the shared motifs when I wrote up an analysis of the Jon VI, ACoK chapter here. For those who prefer a tl/dr list, the shared elements include:

  • the mountain compared to a protective parent;
  • the son feeling braver during climbing / descending by pressing his face against his mother's teats or the mountain's teats;
  • encountering a person on the hill who tries to gain information instead of giving information (Myranda Royce and Ygritte);
  • the POV telling him/herself to take the journey one step at a time in order to avoid falling.

There are more shared details, of course: who wears which animal skin, discussion of fathers and bastards, recollection of Nan's tales or promises to read tales of the Winged Knight, the fall of bodies from a great height (Bran himself fell from the old keep; Sansa recalls Lysa's death; Stonesnake throws two dead wildlings off a cliff).

A day later, it dawned on me that the references to the mountain's teats almost certainly linked to the disputed Bracken / Blackwood territory referred to as Barbra's Teats or Missy's Teats, depending which family controls the territory at any given time. I realized that this was yet another connection to the Bloodraven story, as Missy Blackwood was the mother of Brynden Rivers. (I suspect there is also an Alyssa and Melissa connection, linking the famous weeping (wailing?) widow of the Arryn family and the best-loved of the mistresses of Aegon IV.)

But this brings us back to the Alayne II chapter of AFfC because busybody Myranda Royce looks at Alayne / Sansa and echoes Barbra Bracken's legendary insult of Missy Blackwood's comparatively small chest:

"You are prettier than me, but my breasts are larger. The maesters say large breasts produce no more milk than small ones, but I do not believe it. Have you ever known a wet nurse with small teats? Yours are ample for a girl your age, but as they are bastard breasts I shan't concern myself with them."

So this is pretty good evidence that GRRM wants us to compare Sansa to kind-hearted and beautiful Missy Blackwood, mother of Bloodraven. And we had Sweetrobin nuzzling Lysa's breasts when he went up the mountain and Sansa / Alayne's breasts as he comes down the mountain. If Sansa is a symbolic parallel for Bloodraven's mother, this would seem to strengthen the idea that Sweetrobin might be a new or future version of Bloodraven.

Does this mean we should also compare Myranda Royce with Barbra Bracken? Barbra was the mother of Bittersteel, born Aegor Rivers. He was the archenemy of his half-brother, Bloodraven, and responsible for putting out his eye. He sided with the Blackfyre rebels against the Targaryens, founded the Gold Company of sellswords and took along the Valyrian steel sword Blackfyre.

What would this all mean for the current characters in ASOIAF?

I suspect that we will see Sweetrobin confound all predictions by becoming healthier and becoming a knight. He will come into conflict with someone roughly his own age, maybe a little older. This foil will be under the wing of the Royce family in some way, although not necessarily a direct protege of Myranda.

This doesn't necessarily mean that we will see Sweetrobin as "the good guy," and his enemy as the rebel. GRRM likes reversals and plot twists, as we all know, and his idea might mean that this iteration of the old story puts "Bloodraven II" (Sweetrobin) in the role of the rebel, while his foil will be allied with a "rightful king" of some kind. Bran? Tommen? Aegon? Hoster the Hostage? Podrick Payne?

It's possible that Myranda will work to undermine Sansa / Alayne in some way, perhaps trying to scuttle her betrothal to Harry the Heir. Barbra Bracken coached her younger sister, Bethany, to become a mistress of Aegon IV and to displace Missy Blackwood as the king's favorite. But Bethany was put to death when she was discovered in bed with a man other than the king. It's possible that Myranda will fulfill both the Barbra and Bethany roles in some way, and will end up dying or losing power as a result of an illicit affair of some kind.

23 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

I agree that Lysa was telling the truth about poisoning Jon Arryn. Maybe control by drugs/alcohol is Lysa's preferred method?

With Coleman, there may be a difference between not wanting to kill Robin, and just wanting to suppress any peeks of talent Coleman (or Lysa) possibly has seen. It is possible that Coleman does not want Littlefinger in charge, like most of the other Vale Lords, so he doesn't want him to die, just to repress any "talents".

If Lysa is the one doing it she could fear what other people would do to Robin. Remember when Jojen tells Bran that if people south of the wall figure out he is a warg then they will call him names and

A Game of Thrones - Catelyn VI

"The boy is Lord of the Eyrie and Defender of the Vale," Catelyn reminded her, "and these are not times for delicacy. Ned thinks it may come to war."
"Quiet!" Lysa snapped at her. "You're scaring the boy." Little Robert took a quick peek over his shoulder at Catelyn and began to tremble. His doll fell to the rushes, and he pressed himself against his mother. "Don't be afraid, my sweet baby," Lysa whispered. "Mother's here, nothing will hurt you." She opened her robe and drew out a pale, heavy breast, tipped with red. The boy grabbed for it eagerly, buried his face against her chest, and began to suck. Lysa stroked his hair.

Such a vivid image! And such an interesting idea to ponder in this discussion of the mountain being a mother that keeps you safe if you press up against her teats.

The coloring of Lysa's breast is a match for little Robert with his pale skin and red eyes. Maybe the author is telling us that Lysa's bad influence and smothering maternal practices were causing Robert to be sickly. Without using literal poison, her influence was poisonous. That would fit with observations of others, and with the varied plans to send Robert off to be raised in another noble house.

I do suspect that Robert will begin to recover now that Lysa is out of his life and he has left the Eyrie. He seems more focused on Alayne / Sansa and her breasts now. Not fun for Sansa, but a healthy step in Robert's evolution, I hope. Except for that sweetmilk overdose stuff . . .

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On 4/30/2017 at 11:25 AM, The Fattest Leech said:

hink a common thing that I have noticed is the repeated use of tinctures, potions, and even wine/beer/drunkenness, are used as suppressants of whatever talent the person may have.

It seems to me that what Luwin is doing to Bran after his fall is dampening/clouding his newly opened third eye.

I do wonder about Lysa and her strange history of craziness. It seems her forced abortion years ago, along with her infatuation of Petyr, really made a big dent in her sanity. I could see her turning to some drugs to help her "cope", and in turn, somehow, that having an effect on Robin as well.

I see her as more of a corrupt version of the weirwood symbol.

There's a theme of poisoning associated with milk, particularly breast milk, which makes sense figuratively since toxins are easily absorbed, secreted and masked in breast milk, emphasising the clandestine nature of the poisoning -- 'sweetmilk,' 'milk of the poppy,' 'milk snakes' (in Bloodraven's cavern, the weirwood roots are compared to 'grave worms' and 'milk snakes' which via mimicry resemble a venomous snake in 'real life'), Oberyn the Viper 'milking venomous snakes' and Darkstar being 'weaned on venom', 'fire milk' used as an antidote by Luwin for the bite he sustained from Shaggy after his denial of the existence of the supernatural in the crypts; I suppose even the 'moon tea' Lysa was forced to drink to abort Petyr's first baby can be construed as a kind of toxic milk, etc.  Bloodraven instructs Bran to embrace the darkness, 'darkness will be your mother's milk'.  There seems to be a tense dialectic between on the one hand having ones faculties sharpened (e.g. Darkstar's 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger') or awakened (e.g. Bran's third eye opening in the dark) vs. having them suppressed (I agree with you that Bloodraven's cavern resembles an opium den and 'Hypnos/Letheland')!

1 hour ago, Seams said:

Such a vivid image! And such an interesting idea to ponder in this discussion of the mountain being a mother that keeps you safe if you press up against her teats.

The coloring of Lysa's breast is a match for little Robert with his pale skin and red eyes. Maybe the author is telling us that Lysa's bad influence and smothering maternal practices were causing Robert to be sickly. Without using literal poison, her influence was poisonous. That would fit with observations of others, and with the varied plans to send Robert off to be raised in another noble house.

I do suspect that Robert will begin to recover now that Lysa is out of his life and he has left the Eyrie. He seems more focused on Alayne / Sansa and her breasts now. Not fun for Sansa, but a healthy step in Robert's evolution, I hope. Except for that sweetmilk overdose stuff . . .

To add to what @The Fattest Leech mentioned above, the red-white coloring evokes the weirwood and hints at its inherent corrupting influence.  A while ago I researched 'milk snakes' in real life, which have a banded alternating pattern of stripes, including white, red, black and yellow (if you scan the details of the scene in Bloodraven's cavern, you'll find all these basic colors represented, and only these colors, the yellow supplied by Bloodraven's scalp and Leaf's gold and russet hairdo, for example).  There's a useful mnemonic to differentiate the harmless milk snake from the venomous one (coral snake) it mimics:

Quote

Milk snakes grow 20 to 60 inches (51 to 152 cm) long.[1] They have smooth and shiny scales and their typical color pattern is alternating bands of red-black-yellow or white-black-red.[1] However, red blotches instead of bands are seen in some populations.[1] Some milk snakes have a striking resemblance to coral snakes and this mimicry (known as Batesian mimicry) likely scares away potential predators. While both milk snakes and coral snakes possess transverse bands of red, black and yellow, common mnemonics can be used to properly distinguish between the deadly coral snake and the harmless milk snake:

Red touches black, you're OK, Jack; red touches yellow, you're a dead fellow.[citation needed]

Red on yellow kills a fellow. Red on black, venom lack.[5][6]

This does not bode well for Bran, since 'red on yellow kills a fellow' and that juxtaposition can be found on both Bloodraven (the birthmark adjacent to the scalp) and Leaf (the 'nennymoans' in the hair).

Pain Killer Jane and LmL have pointed out that the infant stuck between the teats is analogous to the Pennytree which is similarly planted between the Teats.  The Pennytree in turn is a Lightbringer symbol, since weapons like axes or swords are often 'planted' in people (e.g. even splitting apart their faces or driven through their hearts); so to get back to Asha's 'suckling babe', that makes the infantilized Sweetrobin a symbolic dagger and Lightbringer embodiment (just like Bran, Jon, Bloodraven and many others).

I agree that Sweetrobin will survive and thrive, despite the odds.  Despite, or perhaps because of, his runtish physique and petulant demeanor, I think he's Littlefinger's bastard -- and that 'seed is strong' (or should we say Sweetpetyr's 'sweet milk'...).

As far as the inversely parallel journeys you've been describing, the Eyrie as a kind of 'underworld' despite being literally 'over' the Vale, implies that leaving it via the front door is a kind of escape from prison or resurrection from the tomb, whereas leaving by the back door -- i.e. the moon door -- is perpetual incarceration in the 'bloody blue'.  Therefore, Sansa's descent can be understood as leaving the 'underworld', which would be analogous to Bran escaping Bloodraven's cave via an ascent (remember there are also two entrances to Bloodraven's cave..and perhaps a third via the underground 'sunless sea').

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1 hour ago, Seams said:

The coloring of Lysa's breast is a match for little Robert with his pale skin and red eyes. Maybe the author is telling us that Lysa's bad influence and smothering maternal practices were causing Robert to be sickly. Without using literal poison, her influence was poisonous. That would fit with observations of others, and with the varied plans to send Robert off to be raised in another noble house.

I do suspect that Robert will begin to recover now that Lysa is out of his life and he has left the Eyrie. He seems more focused on Alayne / Sansa and her breasts now. Not fun for Sansa, but a healthy step in Robert's evolution, I hope. Except for that sweetmilk overdose stuff . . .

 

6 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

There's a theme of poisoning associated with milk, particularly breast milk, which makes sense figuratively since toxins are easily absorbed, secreted and masked in breast milk, emphasising the clandestine nature of the poisoning -- 'sweetmilk,' 'milk of the poppy,' 'milk snakes' (in Bloodraven's cavern, the weirwood roots are compared to 'grave worms' and 'milk snakes' which via mimicry resemble a venomous snake in 'real life'), Oberyn the Viper 'milking venomous snakes' and Darkstar being 'weaned on venom', 'fire milk' used as an antidote by Luwin for the bite he sustained from Shaggy after his denial of the existence of the supernatural in the crypts; I suppose even the 'moon tea' Lysa was forced to drink to abort Petyr's first baby can be construed as a kind of toxic milk, etc.  Bloodraven instructs Bran to embrace the darkness, 'darkness will be your mother's milk'.  There seems to be a tense dialectic between on the one hand having ones faculties sharpened (e.g. Darkstar's 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger') or awakened (e.g. Bran's third eye opening in the dark) vs. having them suppressed (I agree with you that Bloodraven's cavern resembles an opium den and 'Hypnos/Letheland')!

This is good stuff... err, good points on the topic I mean.

It is like George is literally putting it out there, exposing the source and pointing to it with a red arrow, that the red nipple is the source of sickness here.

I guess I now wonder why? It can't just be Lysa looneyness, can it?

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36 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

 

This is good stuff... err, good points on the topic I mean.

It is like George is literally putting it out there, exposing the source and pointing to it with a red arrow, that the red nipple is the source of sickness here.

I guess I now wonder why? It can't just be Lysa looneyness, can it?

No.  Although all this 'milk symbolism' is associated with the ever-present danger of a mental break, taken together with all the other references, the implication of the symbolism is that rather than the illness being intrinsic, there is an extrinsically administered infective or toxic agent which is poisoning the milk.  This is in line with LmL's recent thoughts that the weirwood is harboring and/or attempting to detoxify a harmful agent that might have forced its way into the tree.  This makes the weirwood a carrion eater, thus demonstrating the paradoxical dynamic to which I was referring (the harming/healing aspects).

Another example PK Jane once brought up was the iced and sweetened milk Pycelle gave to Ned, which Ned found cloyingly sweet, and which, in light of Pycelle's penchant for hastening the deaths of Hands, is an additional ominous indication.  Then, there are countless examples of milk 'burning,' 'curdling,' turning sour, turned to blood etc., as if contaminated either literally or figuratively, for example Dany's breastmilk drying up and being turned to blood following her transformation in the dragon pyre.  I think Dany's breast milk is corrupted because she sacrificed her child, husband, and brother -- all 'blood of her blood,' so basically the cardinal sin of kinslaying, however inadvertent, and regardless of good intentions -- for the sake of becoming 'Khaleesi' and birthing the dragons.  There are also the Qartheen represented by the warlocks who are called 'Milk Men' by the Dothraki for their paleness -- who are very definitely contaminated by the 'warlock wine' or 'shadow of the evening' hallucinogen, and in turn are dependent on consuming others in order to sustain their own power.

I'm sure a search of 'milk' in general would yield interesting insights!

P.S.  Lysa's plotting with her husband-to-be also reminds me of the Macbeths, particularly Lady Macbeth's 'milk of human kindness' and 'unsex me now' speeches, thus implying the corruption of the usually nurturing mother's milk via a compact with the devil (who in Lysa's case would be the slithery Littlefinger who weaseled his way in...to so many things!):

Quote

The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood;
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,

That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,

Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature's mischief! Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
To cry 'Hold, hold!'

Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 5

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The only other Mya in universe is a full blooded sister of Bloodraven, doubt that's a coincidence.

BR and Mya are both stubborn characters and have both been denied marriage to their lovers. I think it will end up being foreshadowing, that the result of Mya and Mychel will foreshadow what occurred or is occurring or will occur between BR and Shiera, and that SR (and by proximity Sansa) will be effected by Mya's state in a manner that foreshadows how Bran will be effected by BR's.

Perhaps Mya will do something vindictive against Mychel or more likely Horton Redfort or Ysilla Royce, and that there will be catastrophic fallout for SR/Sansa. All in parallel to how BR warred and killed Bittersteel and the realm bled.

And maybe there's a potential parallel between how BR is teaching Bran to fly and Mya is responsible (his guide) for SR when descending or ascending the Giant's Lance.

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11 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

that makes the infantilized Sweetrobin a symbolic dagger and Lightbringer embodiment

Would you suggest that he could be the "element" who could deliver Sansa from LF's mists and cold eyes ? 

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