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SwaggingAllOverTheWorld

Lann the Clever and Greenseer Magic

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Hi, first time posting here so forgive me if this has been discussed before.

Many mythic figures from the Age of Heroes have been linked to Greenseer and warging abilities, especially in the starks however from what I can find nobody is talking about the possible greenseer abilities of Lann the Clever, the tale of how he swindled the Casterlys out of Casterly Rock are unclear but what we do know could possibly link him to possessing greenseer, warging or some other magical abilities like many other figures in the story.

The first mention of him in Eddard VI AGOT, Ned muses on how Lann the Clever “winkled the Casterlys out of Casterly rock with no weapon but his wits.” We know that many people beyond the wall such as Varamyr Sixskins or Orell use animals to fight their battles and Bran of course wargs Hodor, so why not Lann the Clever. Each of the telling of his tale in AWOIAF are remarkably similar to the other skinchangers and greenseers found in the story.

According to the most common version of the tale “Lann discovered a secret way inside the rock” and once inside he started “whispering threats in the ears of sleeping Casterlys, howling in the darkness like a demon.” In doing this he eventually turned the Casterlys against each other and they abandoned the rock. If we look at this deeply, these events can be explained if Lann the Clever possessed some kind of greenseer magic. Casterly Rock has a godswood with a twisted weirwood in it (according to Jaime in Jaime I, ADWD). Thus, through the Weirwood tree, its possible Lann could have whispered the threats and howled like a Demon similar to what Bran does to Eddard in ADWD.

In a different tale, we are told Lann “smuggles a pride of lions inside” to devour Lord Casterly and his sons. This tale is clearly alluding to skinchanging abilities in which Lann skinchanges the Mountain Lions of the Westerlands and brutally uses them against his enemies much like the wildlings use them in their attack on the wall. In AWOIAF we are also told that Lann lived to 312, the unnatural long life similar to that of Bloodraven in ADWD.

What does this tell us about the Lannisters and the tale of Lann the Clever? Perhaps the lions were to the ancient Lannister’s what the Direwolves are to our Starks, but were unable to control the big cats (as according to Haggon cats are far more difficult to control than other animals). According to the sample of AWOIAF published by GRRM, Loreon I Lannister lost control of his Lions (http://www.georgerrmartin.com/world-of-ice-and-fire-sample/) and they turned on him and his sons.

I think that this more adequately explains how Lann the Clever was able to use “no weapon but his wits” to swindle the rock for himself.

I'd love to hear peoples thoughts.

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Welcome to the forum! I agree with your analysis and think it is quite likely that either Lann himself or the weirnet acting on his behalf used greenseer powers to take Casterly Rock, and the weirwood may be key. Personally, I think that every weirwood has a living greenseer attached to its root system like Bloodraven, so that weirwood at the Rock is certainly suspect.

And generally speaking, I think you have used the correct strategy to interpret the ancient history of asoiaf. GRRM hides a little bit of truth in each version of a legend, and we are supposed to pick out the true parts from each one and put them together. :D

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On 7/13/2017 at 6:01 PM, SwaggingAllOverTheWorld said:

Hi, first time posting here so forgive me if this has been discussed before.

Hi there and welcome to the forum :)

Did you see I flagged you briefly on another thread, in reference to my pun on 'Lann the Clever' with 'Lann the Cleaver'?!  

I think there is a major theme running through GRRM's work, in which he's constantly pitting brain vs. brawn against each other, the pen or word vs. the sword, laughter vs. slaughter, all being variations of the same preoccupation...the 'small man' or 'little brother' who nevertheless casts a long shadow by dint of the acuity of his intellect rather than his sword.

As Lann's ancestor puts it:

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Tyrion II

"Fourteen," the boy said.

"Fourteen, and you're taller than I will ever be. My legs are short and twisted, and I walk with difficulty. I require a special saddle to keep from falling off my horse. A saddle of my own design, you may be interested to know. It was either that or ride a pony. My arms are strong enough, but again, too short. I will never make a swordsman. Had I been born a peasant, they might have left me out to die, or sold me to some slaver's grotesquerie. Alas, I was born a Lannister of Casterly Rock, and the grotesqueries are all the poorer. Things are expected of me. My father was the Hand of the King for twenty years. My brother later killed that very same king, as it turns out, but life is full of these little ironies. My sister married the new king and my repulsive nephew will be king after him. I must do my part for the honor of my House, wouldn't you agree? Yet how? Well, my legs may be too small for my body, but my head is too large, although I prefer to think it is just large enough for my mind. I have a realistic grasp of my own strengths and weaknesses. My mind is my weapon. My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer, and I have my mind … and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." Tyrion tapped the leather cover of the book. "That's why I read so much, Jon Snow."

 

The greenseers are 'knights of the mind'.

Quote

Many mythic figures from the Age of Heroes have been linked to Greenseer and warging abilities, especially in the starks however from what I can find nobody is talking about the possible greenseer abilities of Lann the Clever, the tale of how he swindled the Casterlys out of Casterly Rock are unclear but what we do know could possibly link him to possessing greenseer, warging or some other magical abilities like many other figures in the story.

The first mention of him in Eddard VI AGOT, Ned muses on how Lann the Clever “winkled the Casterlys out of Casterly rock with no weapon but his wits.” We know that many people beyond the wall such as Varamyr Sixskins or Orell use animals to fight their battles and Bran of course wargs Hodor, so why not Lann the Clever. Each of the telling of his tale in AWOIAF are remarkably similar to the other skinchangers and greenseers found in the story.

Good point.  In fact, Varamyr is a good example of the greenseer/skinchanger/warg archetype, who uses shadowcats in particular, analogous to Lann's lions, in order to have sex with other men's women and kill his male rivals:

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Prologue

Years later he had tried to find his parents, to tell them that their Lump had become the great Varamyr Sixskins, but both of them were dead and burned. Gone into the trees and streams, gone into the rocks and earth. Gone to dirt and ashes. That was what the woods witch told his mother, the day Bump died. Lump did not want to be a clod of earth. The boy had dreamed of a day when bards would sing of his deeds and pretty girls would kiss him. When I am grown I will be the King-Beyond-the-Wall, Lump had promised himself. He never had, but he had come close. Varamyr Sixskins was a name men feared. He rode to battle on the back of a snow bear thirteen feet tall, kept three wolves and a shadowcat in thrall, and sat at the right hand of Mance Rayder. It was Mance who brought me to this place. I should not have listened. I should have slipped inside my bear and torn him to pieces.

Before Mance, Varamyr Sixskins had been a lord of sorts. He lived alone in a hall of moss and mud and hewn logs that had once been Haggon's, attended by his beasts. A dozen villages did him homage in bread and salt and cider, offering him fruit from their orchards and vegetables from their gardens. His meat he got himself. Whenever he desired a woman he sent his shadowcat to stalk her, and whatever girl he'd cast his eye upon would follow meekly to his bed. Some came weeping, aye, but still they came. Varamyr gave them his seed, took a hank of their hair to remember them by, and sent them back. From time to time, some village hero would come with spear in hand to slay the beastling and save a sister or a lover or a daughter. Those he killed, but he never harmed the women. Some he even blessed with children. Runts. Small, puny things, like Lump, and not one with the gift.

 

 

Quote

According to the most common version of the tale “Lann discovered a secret way inside the rock” and once inside he started “whispering threats in the ears of sleeping Casterlys, howling in the darkness like a demon.” In doing this he eventually turned the Casterlys against each other and they abandoned the rock. If we look at this deeply, these events can be explained if Lann the Clever possessed some kind of greenseer magic. Casterly Rock has a godswood with a twisted weirwood in it (according to Jaime in Jaime I, ADWD). Thus, through the Weirwood tree, its possible Lann could have whispered the threats and howled like a Demon similar to what Bran does to Eddard in ADWD.

The way Bran haunts Theon you mean?

Quote

In a different tale, we are told Lann “smuggles a pride of lions inside” to devour Lord Casterly and his sons. This tale is clearly alluding to skinchanging abilities in which Lann skinchanges the Mountain Lions of the Westerlands and brutally uses them against his enemies much like the wildlings use them in their attack on the wall. In AWOIAF we are also told that Lann lived to 312, the unnatural long life similar to that of Bloodraven in ADWD.

What does this tell us about the Lannisters and the tale of Lann the Clever? Perhaps the lions were to the ancient Lannister’s what the Direwolves are to our Starks, but were unable to control the big cats (as according to Haggon cats are far more difficult to control than other animals). According to the sample of AWOIAF published by GRRM, Loreon I Lannister lost control of his Lions (http://www.georgerrmartin.com/world-of-ice-and-fire-sample/) and they turned on him and his sons.

I think that this more adequately explains how Lann the Clever was able to use “no weapon but his wits” to swindle the rock for himself.

I'd love to hear peoples thoughts.

I wasn't familiar with that story of Loreon Lannister losing control of his lions, with the implication that the sorceror Morgon Banefort, called 'the Hooded King', somehow ended up skinchanging this rival's own lions, succeeding in turning the tables on his assassin, even from beyond the grave (What do you think @Unchained and @Crowfood's Daughter -- the 'Hooded King' sounds awfully similar to your 'Grey King' and 'Shrouded Lord'!)

Quote

The first true Lannister king we know of is Loreon Lannister, also known as Loreon the Lion (a number of Lannisters through the centuries have been dubbed ‘the Lion’ or ‘the Golden,’ for understandable reasons), who made the Reynes of Castamere his vassals by wedding a daughter of that House, and defeated the Hooded King, Morgon Banefort, and his thralls in a war that lasted twenty years.

King Morgon was supposedly a necromancer of terrible power, and it is written that as he lay dying, he told the Lannisters who had slain him (amongst them three of Loreon’s own sons) that he would return from the grave to wreak vengeance upon them one and all.  To prevent that, Loreon had Morgon’s body hacked into a hundred pieces and fed to his lions.  In a grisly aftermath, however, those selfsame lions broke loose two years later in the bowels of Casterly Rock, and slew the king’s sons, just as the Hooded King had promised.

 

The idea of 'turncloak lions' or rogue shadowcats is also reminiscent of Bran's dream in which he trespasses on the gargoyles at the top of the tower, the 'twisted grotesques' who 'once were lions':

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Bran IV

In his dream he was climbing again, pulling himself up an ancient windowless tower, his fingers forcing themselves between blackened stones, his feet scrabbling for purchase. Higher and higher he climbed, through the clouds and into the night sky, and still the tower rose before him. When he paused to look down, his head swam dizzily and he felt his fingers slipping. Bran cried out and clung for dear life. The earth was a thousand miles beneath him and he could not fly. He could not fly. He waited until his heart had stopped pounding, until he could breathe, and he began to climb again. There was no way to go but up. Far above him, outlined against a vast pale moon, he thought he could see the shapes of gargoyles. His arms were sore and aching, but he dared not rest. He forced himself to climb faster. The gargoyles watched him ascend. Their eyes glowed red as hot coals in a brazier. Perhaps once they had been lions, but now they were twisted and grotesque. Bran could hear them whispering to each other in soft stone voices terrible to hear. He must not listen, he told himself, he must not hear, so long as he did not hear them he was safe. But when the gargoyles pulled themselves loose from the stone and padded down the side of the tower to where Bran clung, he knew he was not safe after all. "I didn't hear," he wept as they came closer and closer, "I didn't, I didn't."

He woke gasping, lost in darkness, and saw a vast shadow looming over him. "I didn't hear," he whispered, trembling in fear, but then the shadow said "

This might imply a historical greenseer losing control of the weapon he'd unleashed, only to have it backfire on him.

I think this is what we saw played out allegorically in the Prologue, with the one greenseer (Will) summoning the weapon (the Others) against his brother (Waymar), only to end up dying at the hands of the magic he'd served to unleash.  Opening Pandora's box. 

In terms of Bran's vision, the 'once were lions' has an ambiguous meaning, potentially referring to many different things, even the 'moon meteors' of @LmL's hypothesis, beyond merely signifying Bran's fear of Jaime and Cersei, triggered by the trauma he suffered at their hands.

 I see Bran as the solution to the problem created by one of his ancestors, his ultimate purpose being to tame the rogue lions, and set things to rights, if you will.  Bran is the one tasked with climbing up to the moon to deal with the looming threat to the planet only he can hear and see.  

 

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13 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

Hi there and welcome to the forum :)

Did you see I flagged you briefly on another thread, in reference to my pun on 'Lann the Clever' with 'Lann the Cleaver'?!  

I think there is a major theme running through GRRM's work, in which he's constantly pitting brain vs. brawn against each other, the pen or word vs. the sword, laughter vs. slaughter, all being variations of the same preoccupation...the 'small man' or 'little brother' who nevertheless casts a long shadow by dint of the acuity of his intellect rather than his sword.

As Lann's ancestor puts it:

 

The greenseers are 'knights of the mind'.

Good point.  In fact, Varamyr is a good example of the greenseer/skinchanger/warg archetype, who uses shadowcats in particular, analogous to Lann's lions, in order to have sex with other men's women and kill his male rivals:

 

 

The way Bran haunts Theon you mean?

I wasn't familiar with that story of Loreon Lannister losing control of his lions, with the implication that the sorceror Morgon Banefort, called 'the Hooded King', somehow ended up skinchanging this rival's own lions, succeeding in turning the tables on his assassin, even from beyond the grave (What do you think @Unchained and @Crowfood's Daughter -- the 'Hooded King' sounds awfully similar to your 'Grey King' and 'Shrouded Lord'!)

 

The idea of 'turncloak lions' or rogue shadowcats is also reminiscent of Bran's dream in which he trespasses on the gargoyles at the top of the tower, the 'twisted grotesques' who 'once were lions':

This might imply a historical greenseer losing control of the weapon he'd unleashed, only to have it backfire on him.

I think this is what we saw played out allegorically in the Prologue, with the one greenseer (Will) summoning the weapon (the Others) against his brother (Waymar), only to end up dying at the hands of the magic he'd served to unleash.  Opening Pandora's box. 

In terms of Bran's vision, the 'once were lions' has an ambiguous meaning, potentially referring to many different things, even the 'moon meteors' of @LmL's hypothesis, beyond merely signifying Bran's fear of Jaime and Cersei, triggered by the trauma he suffered at their hands.

 I see Bran as the solution to the problem created by one of his ancestors, his ultimate purpose being to tame the rogue lions, and set things to rights, if you will.  Bran is the one tasked with climbing up to the moon to deal with the looming threat to the planet only he can hear and see.  

 

Your right about the Hooded King, he sounds absolutely like a shrouded lord type.  This post is helping me work something out in my head about Lann.  I think he may be the answer to the riddle of the sphinx and I am in the midst of doing a full re-read in order to hash this out.

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18 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

Hi there and welcome to the forum :)

Did you see I flagged you briefly on another thread, in reference to my pun on 'Lann the Clever' with 'Lann the Cleaver'?!  

I think there is a major theme running through GRRM's work, in which he's constantly pitting brain vs. brawn against each other, the pen or word vs. the sword, laughter vs. slaughter, all being variations of the same preoccupation...the 'small man' or 'little brother' who nevertheless casts a long shadow by dint of the acuity of his intellect rather than his sword.

As Lann's ancestor puts it:

 

The greenseers are 'knights of the mind'.

Good point.  In fact, Varamyr is a good example of the greenseer/skinchanger/warg archetype, who uses shadowcats in particular, analogous to Lann's lions, in order to have sex with other men's women and kill his male rivals:

 

 

The way Bran haunts Theon you mean?

I wasn't familiar with that story of Loreon Lannister losing control of his lions, with the implication that the sorceror Morgon Banefort, called 'the Hooded King', somehow ended up skinchanging this rival's own lions, succeeding in turning the tables on his assassin, even from beyond the grave (What do you think @Unchained and @Crowfood's Daughter -- the 'Hooded King' sounds awfully similar to your 'Grey King' and 'Shrouded Lord'!)

 

The idea of 'turncloak lions' or rogue shadowcats is also reminiscent of Bran's dream in which he trespasses on the gargoyles at the top of the tower, the 'twisted grotesques' who 'once were lions':

This might imply a historical greenseer losing control of the weapon he'd unleashed, only to have it backfire on him.

I think this is what we saw played out allegorically in the Prologue, with the one greenseer (Will) summoning the weapon (the Others) against his brother (Waymar), only to end up dying at the hands of the magic he'd served to unleash.  Opening Pandora's box. 

In terms of Bran's vision, the 'once were lions' has an ambiguous meaning, potentially referring to many different things, even the 'moon meteors' of @LmL's hypothesis, beyond merely signifying Bran's fear of Jaime and Cersei, triggered by the trauma he suffered at their hands.

 I see Bran as the solution to the problem created by one of his ancestors, his ultimate purpose being to tame the rogue lions, and set things to rights, if you will.  Bran is the one tasked with climbing up to the moon to deal with the looming threat to the planet only he can hear and see.  

 

 

Yea, getting revenge from beyond the grave by using your killer's skinchanging mount against them is what the sneaky AA person does to the stronger one.  The meaning of the name Morgon is Celtic for 'sea chief' or 'sea defender'.  Basically a person of the see for our purposes.  We have House Morrigen with their crow sigil, a reference to the Celtic Tuatha De Morrigan who is associated with crows, who have members always dying in fights with last hero math.  That may mean they represent fights in the weirnet which I think is the real cold dead lands the last hero travels into.  

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I really like the theory that Lann the Clever was actually a descendant of the Great Empire of the Dawn from Far Eastern Essos/Asshai. The links are pretty tenuous but it is interesting that Lann has blonde hair, which seems to be an Andal specific trait whilst there's that quote saying Lann came from the east instead of the traditional narrow sea migration that the Andals undertook much later. Plus there's the green eye colour (Jade emperor) and the fact that he's a skinchanger. It's been theorised that The Great Empire was a nation of powerful skinchangers and the emperors were the most powerful amongst them as they could skinchange dragons. Skinchanging a wild lion should be a walk in the park by comparison. 

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On 15/07/2017 at 8:58 PM, ravenous reader said:

Hi there and welcome to the forum :)

Did you see I flagged you briefly on another thread, in reference to my pun on 'Lann the Clever' with 'Lann the Cleaver'?!  

I think there is a major theme running through GRRM's work, in which he's constantly pitting brain vs. brawn against each other, the pen or word vs. the sword, laughter vs. slaughter, all being variations of the same preoccupation...the 'small man' or 'little brother' who nevertheless casts a long shadow by dint of the acuity of his intellect rather than his sword

 

Thanks for the welcome :)

Yeah, I caught the flag and completely agree with your analysis of the wordplay GRRM is using across the story, especially with regards to clever/cleaver. 

On 15/07/2017 at 8:58 PM, ravenous reader said:

The way Bran haunts Theon you mean?

I think there is a bit in dance where Bran is but a "whisper in the wind" when he tries to call out to Ned. (Chapter 34 I think)

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