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POEMS (or other sundry quotes) that remind you of ASOIAF -- V2

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On 2/2/2018 at 9:52 PM, ravenous reader said:

“I have Grateful Dead lyrics rattling around in my head all the time,” he said, when questioned about the references. “Ripple is one of my favorite songs of all time ... [quotes song] ‘There is a road, no simple highway.’”

I guess, when the author of 'the Song [of ice and fire]' says that 'Ripple' is his favorite song, we ought to pay attention...

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Bran II

Hodor knew Bran's favorite place, so he took him to the edge of the pool beneath the great spread of the heart tree, where Lord Eddard used to kneel to pray. Ripples were running across the surface of the water when they arrived, making the reflection of the weirwood shimmer and dance. There was no wind, though. For an instant Bran was baffled.

And then Osha exploded up out of the pool with a great splash...

I've just discovered the above is a paraphrase of the Grateful Dead lyrics!

 

RIPPLE

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung
Would you hear my voice come through the music
Would you hold it near as it were your own?

It's a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken
Perhaps they're better left unsung

I don't know, don't really care
Let there be songs to fill the air

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty
If your cup is full may it be again
Let it be known there is a fountain
That was not made by the hands of men

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night

And if you go no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

You who choose to lead must follow
But if you fall you fall alone

If you should stand then who's to guide you?
If I knew the way I would take you home

-- Written by Jerome J. Garcia, Robert C. Hunter

 

 

Edited by ravenous reader

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On 11/2/2017 at 2:21 PM, GyantSpyder said:

When people wrestle with the idea of gods and what they mean, and when I recognize the urge to insist on concrete certainty for stories that are deliberately mysterious, especially in their relationship between humans and nature, this section from Wallace Stevens's "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction" comes to mind. It would be good advice to a Red Priest looking for someone to burn alive:

It Must Be Abstract

I

Begin, ephebe, by perceiving the idea
Of this invention, this invented world,
The inconceivable idea of the sun.

You must become an ignorant man again
And see the sun again with an ignorant eye
And see it clearly in the idea of it.

Never suppose an inventing mind as source
Of this idea nor for that mind compose
A voluminous master folded in his fire.

How clean the sun when seen in its idea,
Washed in the remotest cleanliness of a heaven
That has expelled us and our images . . .

The death of one god is the death of all.
Let purple Phoebus lie in umber harvest,
Let Phoebus slumber and die in autumn umber,

Phoebus is dead, ephebe. But Phoebus was
A name for something that never could be named.
There was a project for the sun and is.

There is a project for the sun. The sun
Must bear no name, gold flourisher, but be
In the difficulty of what it is to be.

 

You talk about "the urge to insist on concrete certainty for stories that are deliberately mysterious" as pertains to the relationship between humans and their gods, which might equally apply to the relationship between GRRM and his readers!  Toward the end of this quest in which we are engaged, we may have to conclude of GRRM:

A symbol was all he could hope to convey,

An intimation, a shot of ray,

A meaning I was supposed to seek,

And finding, wasn't disposed to speak...

 

 

One More Brevity


I opened the door so my last look

Should be taken outside a house and book.

Before I gave up seeing and slept

I said I would see how Sirius kept

His watch-dog eye on what remained

To be gone into, if not explained.

But scarcely was my door ajar,

When, past the leg I thrust for bar

Slipped in to be my problem guest,

Not a heavenly dog made manifest,

But an earthly dog of the carriage breed;

Who, having failed of the modern speed,

Now asked asylum -- and I was stirred

To be the one so dog-preferred.

He dumped himself like a bag of bones,

He sighed himself a couple of groans,

And head to tail then firmly curled

Like swearing off on the traffic world.

I set him water, I set him food,

He rolled an eye with gratitude

(Or merely manners it may have been),

But never so much as lifted chin.

His hard tail loudly smacked the floor

As if beseeching me, “Please, no more,

I can’t explain -- tonight at least.”

His brow was perceptibly trouble-creased.

So I spoke in terms of adoption thus:

“Gustie, old boy, Dalmatian Gus,

You’re right, there’s nothing to discuss.

Don’t try to tell me what’s on your mind,

The sorrow of having been left behind,

Or the sorrow of having run away.

All that can wait for the light of day.

Meanwhile feel obligation-free.

Nobody has to confide in me.”

‘Twas too one-sided a dialogue,

And I wasn’t sure I was talking dog.

I broke off baffled. But all the same,

In fancy, I ratified his name,

Gustie, Dalmatian Gus, that is,

And started shaping my life to his,

Finding him in his right supplies

And sharing his miles of exercise.



Next morning the minute I was about

He was at the door to be let out

With an air that said, “I have paid my call.

You mustn’t feel hurt if now I’m all

For getting back somewhere or further on.”

I opened the door and he was gone.

I was to taste in little the grief

That comes of dogs’ lives being so brief,

Only a fraction of ours at most.

He might have been the dream of a ghost

In spite of the way his tail had smacked

My floor so hard and matter-of-fact.

And things have been going so strangely since,

I wouldn’t be too hard to convince,

I might even claim, he was Sirius.

(Think of presuming to call him Gus)

The star itself, heaven’s greatest star,

Not a meteorite, but an avatar,

Who had made an overnight descent

To show by deeds he didn’t resent

My having depended on him so long,

And yet done nothing about it in song.

A symbol was all he could hope to convey,

An intimation, a shot of ray,

A meaning I was supposed to seek,

And finding, wasn't disposed to speak.


ROBERT FROST
 

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These might be a bit of a stretch, but I've been thinking about Tarth, the Evenstar, Dawn, Nightfall, and Lightbringer so...

Star of the Evening

BEAUTIFUL STAR in heav'n so bright ,

Softly falls thy silv'ry light,

As thou movest from earth afar,

Star of the evening, beautiful star,

Star of the evening, beautiful star.

Chorus:

 Beautiful star,—

 Beautiful star,—

 Star of the evening,

Beautiful, beautiful star. . . .

Shine on, oh star of love divine,

And may our soul's affections twine

Around thee as thou movest afar,

Star of the twilight, beautiful star.

 

to Lewis Carrol's mock turtle ode (House Estermont of Greenshit?)

Beautiful Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!

Beau--ootiful Soo--oop!
Beau--ootiful Soo--oop!
Soo--oop of the e--e--evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!

Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish,
Game or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two
Pennyworth only of Beautiful Soup?
Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?

Beau--ootiful Soo--oop!
Beau--ootiful Soo--oop!
Soo--oop of the e--e--evening,
Beautiful, beauti--FUL SOUP!

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On 3/10/2018 at 3:32 PM, hiemal said:

Lewis Carrol's mock turtle ode (House Estermont of Greenshit?)

Beautiful Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!

Beau--ootiful Soo--oop!
Beau--ootiful Soo--oop!
Soo--oop of the e--e--evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!

Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish,
Game or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two
Pennyworth only of Beautiful Soup?
Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?

Beau--ootiful Soo--oop!
Beau--ootiful Soo--oop!
Soo--oop of the e--e--evening,
Beautiful, beauti--FUL SOUP!

Hi Hiemal!  'Soup of the Evening...' LOL.  Got me thinking about all those sinister bowls of soup associated with death:

PEA SOUP

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Jon VI

The one-armed armorer was hard headed, tough, and well seasoned in war. Ser Wynton Stout, on the other hand . . . well, he had been a good man once, everyone agreed, but he had been eighty years a ranger, and both strength and wits were gone. Once he'd fallen asleep at supper and almost drowned in a bowl of pea soup.

WEASEL SOUP

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Arya IX

All morning she watched the Bloody Mummers strip the dead of their valuables and drag the corpses to the Flowstone Yard, where a pyre was laid to dispose of them. Shagwell the Fool hacked the heads off two dead knights and pranced about the castle swinging them by the hair and making them talk. "What did you die of?" one head asked. "Hot weasel soup," replied the second.

BLOODY BROTH

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Arya IX

Then she heard the ugly sound of Rorge's voice. "Cook," he shouted. "We'll take your bloody broth." Arya let go of the spoon in dismay. I never told him to bring them. Rorge wore his iron helmet, with the nasal that half hid his missing nose. Jaqen and Biter followed him into the kitchen.

"The bloody broth isn't bloody ready yet," the cook said. "It needs to simmer. We only now put in the onions and—"

"Shut your hole, or I'll shove a spit up your ass and we'll baste you for a turn or two. I said broth and I said now."

MURKY BROWN

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Arya IX

If I jumped over the side, the river would wash me away before the Hound even knew that I was gone. She looked back over a shoulder, and saw Sandor Clegane struggling with his frightened horse, trying to calm him. She would never have a better chance to get away from him. I might drown, though. Jon used to say that she swam like a fish, but even a fish might have trouble in this river. Still, drowning might be better than King's Landing. She thought about Joffrey and crept up to the prow. The river was murky brown with mud and lashed by rain, looking more like soup than water. Arya wondered how cold it would be. I couldn't get much wetter than I am now. She put a hand on the rail.

GREY-GREEN SOUP

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Jaime III

At Maidenpool, Lord Mooton's red salmon still flew above the castle on its hill, but the town walls were deserted, the gates smashed, half the homes and shops burned or plundered. They saw nothing living but a few feral dogs that went slinking away at the sound of their approach. The pool from which the town took its name, where legend said that Florian the Fool had first glimpsed Jonquil bathing with her sisters, was so choked with rotting corpses that the water had turned into a murky grey-green soup.

Jaime took one look and burst into song. "Six maids there were in a spring-fed pool . . ."

'Grey-green soup' -- Green sea/green see pun...Symbolically, drowning in the river, pool or soup, is like 'going into the trees.'  Moreover, the uncomfortable truth or 'terrible knowledge' that the weirnet is nourishing to others who 'drink of that green fountain' of knowledge fed by sacrifice.

MURKY GREY CESSPOOL SOUP

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Tyrion V

"The conquerors did not believe either, Hugor Hill," said Ysilla. "The men of Volantis and Valyria hung Garin in a golden cage and made mock as he called upon his Mother to destroy them. But in the night the waters rose and drowned them, and from that day to this they have not rested. They are down there still beneath the water, they who were once the lords of fire. Their cold breath rises from the murk to make these fogs, and their flesh has turned as stony as their hearts."

The stump of Tyrion's nose was itching fiercely. He gave it a scratch. The old woman may be right. This place is no good. I feel as if I am back in the privy again, watching my father die. He would go mad as well if he had to spend his days in this grey soup whilst his flesh and bones turned to stone.

WARM GREY SOUP

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - The Prince of Winterfell

The mists were so thick that only the nearest trees were visible; beyond them stood tall shadows and faint lights. Candles flickered beside the wandering path and back amongst the trees, pale fireflies floating in a warm grey soup. It felt like some strange underworld, some timeless place between the worlds, where the damned wandered mournfully for a time before finding their way down to whatever hell their sins had earned them. Are we all dead, then? Did Stannis come and kill us in our sleep? Is the battle yet to come, or has it been fought and lost?

SEA OF WARM MILK

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Prologue

"It was the cold," Gared said with iron certainty. "I saw men freeze last winter, and the one before, when I was half a boy. Everyone talks about snows forty foot deep, and how the ice wind comes howling out of the north, but the real enemy is the cold. It steals up on you quieter than Will, and at first you shiver and your teeth chatter and you stamp your feet and dream of mulled wine and nice hot fires. It burns, it does. Nothing burns like the cold. But only for a while. Then it gets inside you and starts to fill you up, and after a while you don't have the strength to fight it. It's easier just to sit down or go to sleep. They say you don't feel any pain toward the end. First you go weak and drowsy, and everything starts to fade, and then it's like sinking into a sea of warm milk. Peaceful, like."

"Such eloquence, Gared," Ser Waymar observed. "I never suspected you had it in you."

CORPSE WINE

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Jon V

"As you wish." Mormont lifted the flap of the tent and Qhorin Halfhand stooped and stepped through.

Edd stood over the kettle swishing the eggs about with a spoon. "I envy those eggs," he said. "I could do with a bit of boiling about now. If the kettle were larger, I might jump in. Though I would sooner it were wine than water. There are worse ways to die than warm and drunk. I knew a brother drowned himself in wine once. It was a poor vintage, though, and his corpse did not improve it."

"You drank the wine?"

"It's an awful thing to find a brother dead. You'd have need of a drink as well, Lord Snow." Edd stirred the kettle and added a pinch more nutmeg.

STARFISH SOUP UNDER THE SEA

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Jon X

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

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

SCUMMY SOUP

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - The Iron Suitor

Maester Kerwin pressed the dagger deep. This time it hurt, but blood welled up as well as pus, blood so dark that it looked black in the lantern light.

Blood was good. Victarion grunted in approval. He sat there unflinching as the maester dabbed and squeezed and cleaned the pus away with squares of soft cloth boiled in vinegar. By the time he finished, the clean water in his basin had become a scummy soup. The sight alone would sicken any man. "Take that filth and go." Victarion nodded at the dusky woman. "She can bind me up."

Even after the boy had fled, the stink remained. Of late, there was no escaping it. The maester had suggested that the wound might best be drained up on deck, amidst fresh air and sunlight, but Victarion forbade it. This was not something that his crew could see. They were half a world away from home, too far to let them see that their iron captain had begun to rust.

BOWL OF BROWN

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Tyrion IV

"You don't." Tyrion turned his horse. "Give him three days, then inform him that Hamish the Harper has broken his arm. Tell him that his clothes will never serve for court, so he must be fitted for new garb at once. He'll come with you quick enough." He grimaced. "You may want his tongue, I understand it's made of silver. The rest of him should never be found."

Bronn grinned. "There's a pot shop I know in Flea Bottom makes a savory bowl of brown. All kinds of meat in it, I hear."

"Make certain I never eat there." Tyrion spurred to a trot. He wanted a bath, and the hotter the better.

WEIRWOOD BOWL

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Bran III

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

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

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

SINGER'S STEW

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Tyrion VIII

His fingers moved across the strings of the high harp, filling the throne room with sweet sound. "From his throne of bones the Lord of Death looked down on the murdered lord," Hamish began, and went on to tell how Renly, repenting his attempt to usurp his nephew's crown, had defied the Lord of Death himself and crossed back to the land of the living to defend the realm against his brother.

And for this poor Symon wound up in a bowl of brown, Tyrion mused.

 

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Tyrion XII

"Your mother's cooking?"

"Rats wouldn't eat my mother's cooking. There was this pot shop, though. No one ever made a bowl o' brown like them. So thick you could stand your spoon up in the bowl, with chunks of this and that. You ever have yourself a bowl o' brown, Halfman?"

"A time or two. Singer's stew, I call it."

SISTER'S STEW

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Davos I

"I am, my lord."

"A pity. Gella's not. Homely women make the best wives. There's three kinds of crabs in there. Red crabs and spider crabs and conquerors. I won't eat spider crab, except in sister's stew. Makes me feel half a cannibal." His lordship gestured at the banner hanging above the cold black hearth. A spider crab was embroidered there, white on a grey-green field. "We heard tales that Stannis burned his Hand."

DOGTAIL SOUP WITH MUSHROOMS A LA TYRION

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Tyrion XI

"Water will help the master," Penny said. "That's what the healer said, it must be so. Sweet fresh water."

"Sweet fresh water didn't help Nurse." Poor old Nurse. Yezzan's soldiers had tossed him onto the corpse wagon last night at dusk, another victim of the pale mare. When men are dying every hour, no one looks too hard at one more dead man, especially one as well despised as Nurse. Yezzan's other slaves had refused to go near the overseer once the cramps began, so it was left to Tyrion to keep him warm and bring him drinks. Watered wine and lemonsweet and some nice hot dogtail soup, with slivers of mushroom in the broth. Drink it down, Nursey, that shitwater squirting from your arse needs to be replaced. The last word Nurse ever said was, "No." The last words he ever heard were, "A Lannister always pays his debts."

 

On a lighter note, there's this poem by Shel Silverstein previously contributed by @The Fattest Leech:

Quote

How about this for a common theme that runs through the series? A willing sacrifice that has bowels/boles, singing, wooden spoons, salt, a sun location reference, and farewell.

ME-STEW

by Shel Silverstein 

 

I have nothing to put in my stew, you see,

Not a bone or a bean or a black-eyed pea,

So I'll just climb in the pot to see

If I can make a stew out of me.

I'll put in some pepper and salt and I'll sit

In the bubbling waterI won't scream a bit.

I'll sing while I simmer, I'll smile while I'm stewing,

I'll taste myself often to see how I'm doing.

I'll stir me around with this big wooden spoon

And serve myself up at a quarter to noon.

So bring out your stew bowls,

You gobblers and snackers.

Farewelland I hope you enjoy me with crackers! 

 

Edited by ravenous reader

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36 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Hi Hiemal!  'Soup of the Evening...' LOL.  Got me thinking about all those sinister bowls of soup associated with death:

PEA SOUP

WEASEL SOUP

BLOODY BROTH

MURKY BROWN

GREY-GREEN SOUP

'Grey-green soup' -- Green sea/green see pun...Symbolically, drowning in the river, pool or soup, is like 'going into the trees.'  Moreover, the uncomfortable truth or 'terrible knowledge' that the weirnet is nourishing to others who 'drink of that green fountain' of knowledge fed by sacrifice.

MURKY GREY CESSPOOL SOUP

WARM GREY SOUP

SEA OF WARM MILK

CORPSE WINE

STARFISH SOUP UNDER THE SEA

SCUMMY SOUP

BOWL OF BROWN

WEIRWOOD BOWL

SINGER'S STEW

 

SISTER'S STEW

DOGTAIL SOUP WITH MUSHROOMS A LA TYRION

 

On a lighter note, there's this poem by Shel Silverstein previously contributed by @The Fattest Leech:

 

 Dolorous Edd's Corpse Wine mishmashed with Hornwood Lady's Fingers.

Hmmm- soup is an alchemical process. Bowl o' Wildfire?

 

 

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Speaking of Frost:

Mending Wall

 
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbours."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbours? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down." I could say "Elves" to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbours."
 
On another note:
Have I pitched you the idea that Melisandre is a GRRM'esque mishmash of the Iliad's Cassandra and Amelia Bedilia? Poetry and children's nonsense. Not entirely unlike Patchface his nennymoans.
Edited by hiemal

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20 hours ago, hiemal said:

 Dolorous Edd's Corpse Wine mishmashed with Hornwood Lady's Fingers.

Hmmm- soup is an alchemical process. Bowl o' Wildfire?

Exactly. In alchemy, the first stage 'nigredo' is about cooking up a dark night of the soul...it sounds like 'soup of the evening', wouldn't you say..?! :P

Quote

In alchemy, nigredo, or blackness, means putrefaction or decomposition. Many alchemists believed that as a first step in the pathway to the philosopher's stone, all alchemical ingredients had to be cleansed and cooked extensively to a uniform black matter.[1]

In analytical psychology, the term became a metaphor 'for the dark night of the soul, when an individual confronts the shadow within' (from wikipedia)

 

20 hours ago, hiemal said:

Speaking of Frost:

Mending Wall

 
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbours."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbours? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down." I could say "Elves" to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbours."
 

That poem is one of my favorites. @Voice likes it too -- he has queried what the Wall is 'walling in or walling out' exactly, 'heretically' questioning why it was built in the first place.  Mostly, I love this poem because Frost is so disingenuous, so walled-off from the truth of himself being the one who loves a wall. 

20 hours ago, hiemal said:
On another note:
Have I pitched you the idea that Melisandre is a GRRM'esque mishmash of the Iliad's Cassandra and Amelia Bedilia? Poetry and children's nonsense. Not entirely unlike Patchface his nennymoans.

No, I'm unfamiliar with Amelia Bedilia. Pray tell!

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7 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

Exactly. In alchemy, the first stage 'nigredo' is about cooking up a dark night of the soul...it sounds like 'soup of the evening', wouldn't you say..?! :P

 

Delicious!

7 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

 

 

That poem is one of my favorites. @Voice likes it too -- he has queried what the Wall is 'walling in or walling out' exactly, 'heretically' questioning why it was built in the first place.  Mostly, I love this poem because Frost is so disingenuous, so walled-off from the truth of himself being the one who loves a wall.

The weird thing is often as that poem pops into my head (invariably when faced with a wall in disrepair) it never made the leap for me to ASoIaF until a few days ago. This line caught me:

"I could say "Elves" to him,
But it's not elves exactly,"
Hmmmmm
7 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

 

No, I'm unfamiliar with Amelia Bedilia. Pray tell!

She is the protagonist of Peggy Parish's series of children's books. Amelia takes everything literally, to humorous and silly effect. She also has red hair. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amelia_Bedelia

. My admittedly bordering-on-the-absurd tinfoil is that "Melisandre" is a combination of "Cassandra" and "Amelia". Let's face it- if it's in a vision, Melisandre is going to get it wrong: unlike Cassandra she is believed (although I believe her visions are probably true barring interference from Quaithe with either a glass candle or Dark Sister) and unlike Amelia her misinterpretations aren't exactly about being taken literally (and she's really not very funny and makes shadow babies instead of pies) it feels plausible to me and I could see GRRM being weird enough to do it.

 

 

Edited by hiemal

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Lyrics:

Red! The Blood of Angry Men! Black! The Dark of Ages Past! Red! A World about to Dawn! Black! THE NIGHT THAT ENDS AT LAST!

-ABC Cafe/Red and Black, Les Miserables

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You might add the Turtle Soup confessional to the noxious soups, although it was not lethal. Tyrion was risking death by mocking.

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On 3/20/2018 at 10:16 AM, Pride of Driftmark said:

Lyrics:

Red! The Blood of Angry Men! Black! The Dark of Ages Past! Red! A World about to Dawn! Black! THE NIGHT THAT ENDS AT LAST!

-ABC Cafe/Red and Black, Les Miserables

Welcome to our Poetry thread, @Pride of Driftmark -- I like it!

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Tyrion IV

 "The colors are strange," he commented as he turned the blade in the sunlight. Most Valyrian steel was a grey so dark it looked almost black, as was true here as well. But blended into the folds was a red as deep as the grey. The two colors lapped over one another without ever touching, each ripple distinct, like waves of night and blood upon some steely shore. "How did you get this patterning? I've never seen anything like it."

"Nor I, my lord," said the armorer. "I confess, these colors were not what I intended, and I do not know that I could duplicate them. Your lord father had asked for the crimson of your House, and it was that color I set out to infuse into the metal. But Valyrian steel is stubborn. These old swords remember, it is said, and they do not change easily. I worked half a hundred spells and brightened the red time and time again, but always the color would darken, as if the blade was drinking the sun from it. 

 

On 3/21/2018 at 7:17 PM, HoodedCrow said:

You might add the Turtle Soup confessional to the noxious soups, although it was not lethal. Tyrion was risking death by mocking.

Hello fellow Corvid; welcome to the Poetry thread. The turtle soup confessional is a great example, uniting mocking and cess pool motifs, my favorites...  Pity it only took place in the show and not in the text, but at least D&D got the gist of it, giving GRRM the nod with their take on the 'bowl of brown'...

 

 

Quote

"Rats wouldn't eat my mother's cooking. There was this pot shop, though. No one ever made a bowl o' brown like them. So thick you could stand your spoon up in the bowl, with chunks of this and that. You ever have yourself a bowl o' brown, Halfman?"

"A time or two. Singer's stew, I call it."

 

Edited by ravenous reader

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This one is long- but it's been a while. This is from a 12" I haven't listened to in ages- both are very ASoIaF but sooooo long, I actually don't think I'll subject you to all of them. The tale of Tam Lin is pretty widely known, I'm just charmed by his David Tibet's creepy take on folk music.

 

A brief passage:

Quote

... There's four and twenty ladies all in the land
And they're all playing a chess
Except it was the lady margaret
And she's green as any glass, my boys
Oh she's green as any glass
And these four-and-twenty ladies all in the land
Grow as red any rose
Except the lady margaret she's pale and wan, my boys
Oh pale and wan she goes
Up then spoke the little serving girl
She lifted her hand and smiled
She said I think my lady's loved too long
And now she goes with child, my dears
Oh and now she goes with child
Up then spoke the second serving girl
Oh ever and alas says she
That I think I know a herb in the merry green wood
That'll twine thy baby from thee
It'll rip off thy babe from thee...

I think of Bran as a kind of Tam Lin, but in truth the B-side is the one I was really thinking of in ASoIaF terms and it's... a weird one. The intro bit is by Tiny Tim who so famously wanted you to tiptoe through the tulips with him.

Anyways, this reminds me obviously of Lightbringer, but also of the duality of the Stranger as well what I personally believe are the Yin and Yang so remembered by the Andals of the Amethest Empress and Bloodstone Emperor. Not here to sell it, just explaining why I find this less baphomet-ey androgyne evocative of the Lightbringer Incident and R'hlorr/Night's Queen yadda yadda.

Anyways:

Quote

"One night as I lay in my bed" sings
The Chinese chatter is chipping away
The whitelit clouds assemble
A small angel of God displays this:
Shiningblack beetlewings polished is he
Deepsheened tortoiseshell Majesty
Almost as furclad in his peackock feathers he
Burnished dark rosewood embodied with motherpearl
Some of the armour of the Rainbow Messiah
Brightfire of morning lightbearing fallen
Falsifier telescope viewed topsy-turvy
Motherliquor life's flicker soullicker
He comes and he goes
There where he wants in the Shinig of your mind

Greenscaled flybacked carapace she
Dark stars imploding and shuddering she
In the menstrual night she
She opens and she closes she
In her the flowers are all one she
Stamen lip and hovering she
Beauty alone and unmirrored she
Blackhaired and blackeyed door she
Hart so lovely dewed labial she
Pearldrop and dewdrop
Soft pillow of seaspray
And dark smokevoice of evening

Wallbuilt and pinnacled gorgon is he
Snakelike and sulphurous serpentine emperor
Brasslimbed and trumpeting dischordance he
Bonevoices and bonethroated sepulchral decadence

Crackedsun boneset anklet of jadegreen
Sugarcane pomegranate bloodeyed and seawide
Larkthroated birdwinging cloudstormy golden
Lucifer Lucifera Luciferens
Stoneheart and coldskin and icerendered member
Grapecluster darkthruster coalblackened smithy

Not saviour nor Silence nor Anything at all
Goldplated illusion and fool's gold in heaven
Goodbye
I say goodbye...

Lucifer has two faces: male and female. Lucifer's beautiful eyes are two dark depths. In one is the seadeep profundity. You may stare into this bluedark body for ever. On his surface, the waves come and go. The other. Clouds breathe across her body. She is the night. They both lie.

An acquired taste, I admit.

Edited by hiemal

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A Storm of Swords - Tyrion X

"Oh, surely." It all goes back and back, Tyrion thought, to our mothers and fathers and theirs before them. We are puppets dancing on the strings of those who came before us, and one day our own children will take up our strings and dance on in our steads.

 

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Daenerys VI

"Taint?" Dany bristled.

"I am no maester to quote history at you, Your Grace. Swords have been my life, not books. But every child knows that the Targaryens have always danced too close to madness. Your father was not the first. King Jaehaerys once told me that madness and greatness are two sides of the same coin. Every time a new Targaryen is born, he said, the gods toss the coin in the air and the world holds its breath to see how it will land."

Jaehaerys. This old man knew my grandfather. The thought gave her pause. Most of what she knew of Westeros had come from her brother, and the rest from Ser Jorah. Ser Barristan would have forgotten more than the two of them had ever known. This man can tell me what I came from. "So I am a coin in the hands of some god, is that what you are saying, ser?"

 

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Eddard II

"I see no babes. Only dragonspawn..."

This time, Ned resolved to keep his temper. "Your Grace, the girl is scarcely more than a child. You are no Tywin Lannister, to slaughter innocents." It was said that Rhaegar's little girl had cried as they dragged her from beneath her bed to face the swords. The boy had been no more than a babe in arms, yet Lord Tywin's soldiers had torn him from his mother's breast and dashed his head against a wall.

"And how long will this one remain an innocent?" Robert's mouth grew hard.

 

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Arya II

Her father sighed. "Ah, Arya. You have a wildness in you, child. 'The wolf blood,' my father used to call it. Lyanna had a touch of it, and my brother Brandon more than a touch. It brought them both to an early grave." Arya heard sadness in his voice; he did not often speak of his father, or of the brother and sister who had died before she was born. "Lyanna might have carried a sword, if my lord father had allowed it. You remind me of her sometimes. You even look like her."

 

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Tyrion XI

"You . . . you are no . . . no son of mine."

"Now that's where you're wrong, Father. Why, I believe I'm you writ small. Do me a kindness now, and die quickly. I have a ship to catch."

 

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - The Watcher

Obara bristled... She gave the skull a mocking kiss. "This is a start, I'll grant."

"A start?" said Ellaria Sand, incredulous. "Gods forbid. I would it were a finish. Tywin Lannister is dead. So are Robert Baratheon, Amory Lorch, and now Gregor Clegane, all those who had a hand in murdering Elia and her children. Even Joffrey, who was not yet born when Elia died. I saw the boy perish with mine own eyes, clawing at his throat as he tried to draw a breath. Who else is there to kill? Do Myrcella and Tommen need to die so the shades of Rhaenys and Aegon can be at rest? Where does it end?"

"It ends in blood, as it began," said Lady Nym. 

 

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Catelyn IV

"Does Cersei pray to you too, my lady?" Catelyn asked the Mother. She could see the proud, cold, lovely features of the Lannister queen etched upon the wall. The crack was still there; even Cersei could weep for her children. "Each of the Seven embodies all of the Seven," Septon Osmynd had told her once. There was as much beauty in the Crone as in the Maiden, and the Mother could be fiercer than the Warrior when her children were in danger. Yes . . .

 

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - The Watcher

Ellaria's cheeks were wet with tears, her dark eyes shining. Even weeping, she has a strength in her, the captain thought.

"Oberyn wanted vengeance for Elia. Now the three of you want vengeance for him. I have four daughters, I remind you. Your sisters. My Elia is fourteen, almost a woman. Obella is twelve, on the brink of maidenhood. They worship you, as Dorea and Loreza worship them. If you should die, must El and Obella seek vengeance for you, then Dorea and Loree for them? Is that how it goes, round and round forever? I ask again, where does it end?" Ellaria Sand laid her hand on the Mountain's head. "I saw your father die. Here is his killer. Can I take a skull to bed with me, to give me comfort in the night? Will it make me laugh, write me songs, care for me when I am old and sick?"

"What would you have us do, my lady?" asked the Lady Nym. "Shall we lay down our spears and smile, and forget all the wrongs that have been done to us?"

 

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Tyrion IV

Catelyn Stark stared at Tyrion with a coldness on her face such as he had never seen. "Petyr Baelish loved me once. He was only a boy. His passion was a tragedy for all of us, but it was real, and pure, and nothing to be made mock of. 

 

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Jon IX

"The things we love destroy us every time, lad. Remember when I told you that?"

 

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Davos V

"Under the sea the old fish eat the young fish," the fool muttered at Davos. He bobbed his head, and his bells clanged and chimed and sang. "I know, I know, oh oh oh."

"Up here the young fish teach the old fish," said Davos, who never felt so ancient as when he sat down to try and read. It might have been different if aged Master Cressen had been the one teaching him, but Pylos was young enough to be his son.

 

 

 
This Be The Verse
 
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.   
    They may not mean to, but they do.   
They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.
 
But they were fucked up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,   
Who half the time were soppy-stern
    And half at one another’s throats.
 
Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
    And don’t have any kids yourself.
 
PHILIP LARKIN
 
 
Edited by ravenous reader

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I Came as a Rat
Modest Mouse
The Moon and Antarctica


Well, I ain't sure, but I've been told
He's baking cakes inside our souls
Stayed awake, took a nap
Got myself my bottles back

I'm breakin' them out on the street
Walkin' around in my own bare feet
I do not need you to tell me that I am not a cat

I caught a ride, we caught some air
He's never gonna cut his hair
It takes more time to make a fake
We night swam down in the lake

And washed the dirt off our intentions
Prattled on 'bout bad inventions

I came as ice, I came as a whore
I came as advice that came too short
I came as gold, I came as crap
I came clean and I came as a rat

It takes a long time, but God dies too
But not before he'll stick it to you

Well, I don't know, but I been told
You'll never die and you'll never grow old

I came as a call, I came as flat
I came too soon so I came back
I came as flowers, I came as nice
I came as dirt and I came as its price

It takes a long time, but God dies too
But not before he'll stick it to you

I don't know, but I've been told
You never die and you'll never grow old

 

Since you seem to have a recent fascination with Hotel California this came to mind.

 

Quote

Liza Forever Minnelli
The Mountain Goats
All Eternals Deck


There's the part you've braced yourself against and then
There's the other part

Steal up inclining northward streets with some
Weird sickness in the dark

Saw your name on the sidewalk
Saw your brave face in my mind
If you're gonna sit next to the dealer
You get to bet blind

Never get away never get away I am never ever gonna get away from this place
Lay down on the street my eyes toward the sun your star next to my face

The compasses I came into this world with
Never really worked so good
Gentle shadows spilling down the hills
Up on Mulholland at Ledgewood

Turn back turn back
Find someone to tell your secrets to
Dream past an old hotel on Ivy
And seconds later I saw you

Never get away never get away I am never ever gonna get away from this place
Lay down on the street my eyes toward the sun your star next to my face

Let the camera track me
From the footlights to the wings
Let me set aside an hour or two
In memory of sweet things

Regrind the lens again and again and again and again
But still the picture flips
Anyone here mentions "Hotel California" dies before
The first line clears his lips

Never get away never get away I am never ever gonna get away from this place
Lay down on the street my eyes toward the sun your star next to my face

 

Darnielle is saying, "yeah, I thought about Hotel California, don't point out the obvious." But sometimes you gotta point out the obvious so maybe someone can finally get it. But perhaps not.

 

On 11/26/2018 at 9:37 PM, ravenous reader said:

A Dance with Dragons - The Watcher

Obara bristled... She gave the skull a mocking kiss. "This is a start, I'll grant."

"A start?" said Ellaria Sand, incredulous. "Gods forbid. I would it were a finish. Tywin Lannister is dead. So are Robert Baratheon, Amory Lorch, and now Gregor Clegane, all those who had a hand in murdering Elia and her children. Even Joffrey, who was not yet born when Elia died. I saw the boy perish with mine own eyes, clawing at his throat as he tried to draw a breath. Who else is there to kill? Do Myrcella and Tommen need to die so the shades of Rhaenys and Aegon can be at rest? Where does it end?"

"It ends in blood, as it began," said Lady Nym. 

 

This reminded me of something from a game series I've enjoyed heavily since my first playing of it about a decade ago. A meta-narrative involving oppositional realities: a wonderful little game called Bioshock Infinite. To wit:

Quote

Bioshock Infinite

Comstock: I know why you've come, False Shepherd. I see every sin that blackens
          your soul. Wounded Knee. The Pinkertons. The drinking and the
          gambling. And, of course, Anna. And now, to repay a debt, you've come
          for my lamb. But not all debts can be repaid, Booker.

Booker: You don't know me, pal!

Comstock: Prophecy is my business, Mr. DeWitt, as blood is yours. Do you know
          why these men will die for me? Because I have seen the future in
          their glory, and hence they are content. What brought you to
          Columbia, Booker? "Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt"? This
          will end in blood
, DeWitt. But then again, it always does with you,
          doesn't it? It always ends in blood.

To give some quick context the original Bioshock hinges on a singular moral choice you make throughout the game. There are these children named Little Sisters that contain a large amount of what equates to magical fuel in-universe, called 'ADAM'. Each time you get the choice to either kill the Little Sister and get larger benefits in the short run or save the Little Sisters and the game gives you benefits later on through a character named Brigid Tenenbaum. Killing the children for personal gain infuriates Tenenbaum and only increases her wrath. Should you choose to save all the Little Sisters you get the good ending. Should you kill even one, for any reason, the game gives you the bad ending. There is no avoiding it.

 

Quote

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea

Elizabeth: Booker...the little girl in the film, its me. My god...I re--...I
           remember, [the Songbird]...he was... He'd crashed into the tower. I guess he
           was in some sort of fight
... I waited there, thinking...thinking,
           I don't know, that something would happen, but...he just...lay
           there...moaning. I couldn't just--

Booker: The lion with a thorn in its paw. So much for science.

Elizabeth: I should have just left him there to die. I should have just... I
           will never escape it.
Exploited. Exploiting. Me, Comstock, you,
           Sally. It's like a wheel of blood, spinning round and round.

[She finds a tube on a desk of her old personal effects Fink had collected.]

Elizabeth: Well, this must be the genetic sample Suchong wanted.

Booker: He sent you all the way back here for a sample of your own hair?

Elizabeth: He doesn't know I was once the child that imprinted on Songbird. But
           to him, all the answers lie in DNA. Men like Suchong mistake an
           ounce of empathy for a pound of science.

           [...]

Elizabeth: Do you think Daisy really even had a choice?

Booker: What do you mean?

Elizabeth: Right about now, I'm planting a pair of scissors in her back to
           protect a child
she was never going to harm. She chose to die for
           her revolution...what about me? For all the endless worlds, all the
           infinite possibilities, did I ever even have a choice? Did you?

Booker: Yeah, Booker thought he did.

Elizabeth: And look where it got us. Right back where it started. All these
           infinite universes...and yet we end up just going down the same
           paths.

Booker: I don't take your meaning.

Elizabeth: My father sold me to settle a marker. Comstock locked me up in a
           tower. And I sold Sally -- for what? Revenge? To prove a point?

Booker: And yet, here you are. Settling the debt.

Elizabeth: And say we find her. The old pass their damage to the young. Isn't
           it too late for her now?

Booker: Well, I'd say that's up to her to decide. Just as coming back here was
        up to you.

Elizabeth: Rapture runs on children. Little girls with gold growing in their
           bellies. I'm not going to break any cycle. If I'm lucky, maybe I can
           dent it...just a little.

I'll give a little more context so people not familiar with the game can get a better understanding. In the original Bioshock, the city it takes place in is named Rapture, an Atlantis-like city that's fallen into disrepair due to the machinations of an ideological demagogue named Andrew Ryan. He's this Ayn Randian proponent of Objectivist ideals (you can do some playing with the letters of her name and get And[rew] Ryan). But he gets so megalomaniacal and becomes this self-possessed demagogue that eventually destroys the thing he's trying to create because he won't cede control. Conversely Bioshock Infinite is set in the city of Columbia, a city in the clouds. Whereas Ryan was despotic and tyrannical leading to downfall, Comstock claims himself a prophesied savior and his despotic, tyrannical attitude brings prosperity to his city. But it's a hollow prosperity, as the city later gets divorced from the nation that birthed it and his regime is overthrown by those he oppresses. It is a victory built on absolute control and aggrandizement of the dictator, a true-to-form police state. Whether it's below the sea or up in the clouds, both are the wrong answer to the questions being asked by the series. In both narratives the antagonist works desperately to thwart the player character and eventually fails, even though the antagonist triumphs from time to time. To avoid giving big spoilers away to anyone interested in learning for themselves by playing the games -- which I highly recommend if you play games -- here's a spoiler tag.

Spoiler

The Player Character in Bioshock is a guy named Jack, a shell of a person with no real identifying characteristics, who does the things in Rapture because, well, it's the conceit of video games. You gotta do things. The large turn in the narrative comes with the realization that you're being mind controlled by another character in the game, Frank Fontaine, by way of the phrase "Would you kindly", which prefaces every quest and objective you've been given. This is most prominently evidenced by the tattoo of a chain he has on his wrist.

Likewise, Booker DeWitt in Infinite is enslaved by the narrative's false choices. You're given either-or choices throughout the game which don't really have an effect on the narrative, they merely change some of the window dressing. The big turn in Infinite comes from learning that Booker and Comstock are alternate reality versions of the same person. Booker ultimately drowns Comstock in his own holy water. It's the point of the psychodrama: what you do to others, you are doing to yourself.

The game developer plays God and has control, not the player. This core conceit is the foundation of every successful meta-narrative on video games I've encountered. The player may think they're doing the right thing to get their victory but ultimately it's only what they've been led to believe will give them victory. A victory in these meta-narratives that's designed against them, through and through. I don't know why anyone would willingly try to play a meta-game like that unless perhaps they've learned a thing or two from these meta-games and know they're not there to be played by the game anymore than they're there to play the game.

In one reality Comstock/Booker kills a version of Elizabeth as a child when he refuses to give her up through a cross-dimensional portal. In the first part of Burial at Sea Elizabeth brings back Booker/Comstock's memories so he can remember what he did and she can get revenge on him. This ultimately brings about her own death, as her need for revenge gets her killed by the big daddy she uses to kill Comstock. To reiterate: It's the point of the psychodrama: what you do to others, you are doing to yourself. In the second part of Burial at Sea, you play another version of Elizabeth who arrived in the reality to save Sally, a girl that was turned into a Little Sister due to Booker's vices as well as the other Elizabeth's need for revenge. The problem is that a version of Elizabeth already died in that reality.

Quote

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea

Rosalind: If we're going to end up at the same place, I don't see the harm in
          enjoying the ride.

Robert: Are you being cute?

Rosalind: I've come round to your way of thinking.

Robert: Have you?

Rosalind: Yes. I do believe one can change things. But after all the bother,
          one often wishes that one had not.

Robert: You're a fatalist.

Rosalind: A physicist?

Robert: A fatalist.

Rosalind: So was Newton. Especially when it came to apples falling from trees.
          They always contrive to land with a splat.
She left the child to rot.

Robert: Are you implying she's the apple?

Rosalind: I'm implying that she did not fall far from the tree.

Robert: And now she wants to go back.

Elizabeth: I need to go back. To fix what I broke.

Rosalind: Back to where she has no right to be.

Robert: Back to where she doesn't belong.

Elizabeth: Doesn't belong? Wait, what do you mean?

Rosalind: Do you want to tell her, brother, or shall I?

Elizabeth: Because I died...

Rosalind: There are rules.

Robert: Even for one such as you.

Rosalind: She'll forget.

Robert: All the doors.

Rosalind: And what's behind all the doors.

Robert: All closed to her now.

Rosalind: She'll be just like the rest of us.

Robert: Forgetting the past--

Rosalind: --the present--

Robert: --the future.

Rosalind: I'd wager she won't even remember this conversation. We've arrived.

Rosalind: You're trading omniscience and croissants for death and mildew.

Elizabeth: I left Sally to rot...for what? So I could punish Comstock? He was
           trying to help her, to save her, and I... If I don't make that
           right...

Robert: We all have our crosses to bear.

Rosalind: But, there is a thin line between a martyr and a fool.

Throughout Burial at Sea Elizabeth states she is no martyr. As the story progresses and she regains her memories of why she came (the above passage is an example of this) it becomes clear she is in fact a martyr. It all hinges on a few key moments that continually replay themselves, such as 'the lion with a thorn in its paw.' As she connected with the Songbird by showing him empathy, she shows the Little Sisters how to imprint on the Big Daddies in the same way, who are the Rapture equivalents of Elizabeth and Songbird. Had she never committed these actions, the games never would have been as they are. She gives the sociopathic Frank Fontaine critical information despite knowing Fontaine will betray her. That information allows Fontaine to overthrow Andrew Ryan's control of Rapture and set in motion the chain of events of Bioshock but that information later leads to his own demise.

Quote

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea

Elizabeth: I think I'm gonna have to use this air-grabber... It's gonna be
           messy, I don't know if I--

Booker: Well, a blow to the back of his head will serve just as well. Be a hell
        of a lot quieter, too.

Elizabeth: Well, that's not what you would've done.

Booker: I'm not Booker. Just because your father did something one way doesn't
        mean you have to.

             [...]

Elizabeth: From here on, it's only gonna get worse.

Booker: And how much worse is up to you.

             [...]

Booker: Knowin' ain't the same as bein' ready.

Elizabeth: Why don't you ask Comstock how ready I was?

Booker: Your father's blood runs in your veins, but it doesn't have to be on
        your hands. It's up to you.

 

Quote

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea

Robert: A famous man once said--

Rosalind: And a famous man shall say--

Robert: --"I may reach the mountaintop..."

Rosalind: "...but I fear I shall never visit the valley below."

Daisy: But...you mean I won't live to see the-- ...No.

Rosalind: It's up to you what matters more.

Robert: Your part in the play--

Rosalind: --or the play itself.

To tie the key ethical/moral dilemma of Bioshock back to the series proper, let's recall Davos' major dilemma with Stannis before striking for the Wall.

Quote

"[...]Do you think I need Melisandre to tell me what that means? Or you?" The king moved, so his shadow fell upon King's Landing. "If Joffrey should die . . . what is the life of one bastard boy against a kingdom?"

"Everything," said Davos, softly.

-Davos V, A Storm of Swords

Should someone understand that simple truth and still decide to try and murder a child -- and that's what it is, it would be no willing self-sacrifice -- the end result won't be pretty. Elizabeth is the real protagonist of Bioshock, not Booker or Jack, as the player would like to believe. She's not simply the 'hero of her own story', as she can tear open holes in the realities of the Bioshock multiverse and even gives up that power, not so she can kill children, but to save them. That's the objective she is trying to achieve: the one reality where Jack saves the Little Sisters and they all return to the surface. It's why she gives away her powers and confronts the sociopathic Fontaine, allowing seeds to be planted for the reality she truly wants to come about. Rapture or Columbia. Above or below. It's the same imbalance. It's the same error. It's the same fated self-defeating conclusion. So, sure, someone can try to build an empire on the sacrifice of a child, and it may even seem to work for a time. But in other realities the foundation is faulty, the wood is rotted, and solid ground is quicksand. My guess is a person looking to build such a city could hear that sort of prediction and still decide to follow through with acquiring their temporary ill-gotten gains. Perhaps they can't stop what they've started or wouldn't, even if they could. If that were the case, then a song comes to mind:

 

Quote

Don't Get Too Comfortable
The Sword
Used Future


The gentle summer breeze
Becomes the chilling wind of fall
And nothing seems to last as long
As the wait for winter's thaw
Time is a mortal's master
Just a word to the wise
Don't get too comfortable
It'll cut you down a size

If nothing seems to go your way
No matter what you choose
You might think you shouldn't press your luck
But what have you got to lose?
If you're sleeping on the street
Or sitting high on a throne
Don't get too comfortable
You might not be there long

The truth is hard to see, my friend
From where you choose to view
But just because you don't want it to be
Doesn't mean it isn't true

From joy and happiness
To heartbreak and pain
Don't get too comfortable
Nothing stays the same

 

Quote

"That's the way it goes,
Now you know"
-Night City, The Sword, Warp Riders

 

Quote

"Are you in the know?
[...]
Now you know"
-Opening and closing lines of "Need to Know Theater" in Bioshock

 

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A little late, but still, 'tis the season. I'd like to thank my good friends insomnia, plagiarism and artistic license for inspiring and helping me with this.

 

 

A Visit from Mance Rayder ('Twas the Time Before Winter)

 


‘Twas the time before Winter, when all through the land
Not a liege lord would listen, not even The Hand; 
The corpses were burning on the pyres with care, 
In fear that the Others soon would be there.

Wildling babes shivered, all afear in their beds,
While visions of rotting wights lurched in their heads; 
Craster, his wives, all snug in his shack, 
Offering newborn boys as a White Walker snack. 

When out beyond the Wall there arose such a clatter 
Lord Snow sprang from his bed to see what was the matter;
To the top of the Wall he flew like a flash, 
To see a Wildling army ready for clash.

The flaming pitch barrels on the new-fallen snow 
Gave glimpses of the horrors awaiting below; 
And what was revealed to the steward should his eyes be reliant,
But several woolly mammoths, and more than one giant,

With a mighty Crow leader, most likely a traitor, 
The King Beyond the Wall, it must be Mance Rayder. 
More rapid than eagles his captains they came; 
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name,

“Now, Tormund! now, Rattleshirt! now, Harma and Magnar of Thenn! 
On, Hornfoots! on, Nightrunners! on, Ice River and Frozen Shore men! 
To the top of the castle! to the top of the Wall! 
Now attack away! attack away! attack away all!” 

As true to their word and their Wildling code,
The captains they cheered, mounted and rode; 
Up to the gateway the assembled they flew, 
With the giants and mammoths and a battering-ram too.

And then, in a twinkling, from atop the Wall 
Fire, arrow and stone rained down on them all;
The great charge was smashed and was turning around,
When at the top of the Wall was heard a deplorable sound. 

"At the gate! At the gate!" yelled a man called Spare Boot, 
He then plucked an arrow from his wood leg with a hoot; 
As the men of the Watch sent them oil and flames,
Grenn and Kegs and Pyp were some of their names.

"Got him! Got him!" the boy Satin yelled,
And the savage attack was eventually quelled;
The steward sighed to the King, glad for his life,
"How do you like the taste of the Dornishman's wife?"

Lord Snow descended to inspect the gate, 
And inquire after the blacksmith, to determine his fate;
He came upon Mighty Mag and big Donal Noye,
Who next to the giant, looked like a boy.

The two of them wrapped in death's sweet embrace, 
With the remains of the gate strewn over the place;
And the other valiant Night's Watch brothers, 
Forgotten sons of forgotten mothers.   

Then Stannis showed up and went straight to his work, 
And despite coming to help, was still a complete jerk;
His arrival was late, but in plenty of time 
To help with this stanza and give me this rhyme. 

And yet still, expect no help from the Iron Throne,
As they cry, "We have problems of our own!
Begone with these grumpkins and begone with these snarks,
And begone with old tales and those most bothersome Starks!"

Edited by Trefayne

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