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PrettyPig

Gods Are Not Mocked: Deals with the Devil at Harrenhal

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On February 11, 2018 at 9:15 AM, PrettyPig said:

TL;DR:  The “old gods” in the vicinity of Harrenhal may not be the old gods at all; instead they may be a darker and malignant force, a remnant of the “devilry” of  Black Harren Hoare .     Arya’s interactions with Jaqen H’ghar at Harrenhal are reminiscent of a Faustian bargain with the devil; she may have unwittingly entered this bargain when she made a plea to the old gods in front of Harrenhal’s weirwood.    Although Arya’s “wish” is granted by Jaqen, she goes on to experience further tragedy and sorrow on her path, including the loss of her mother and brother.    Their deaths are preceded by the unlawful execution of her father Eddard.

Howland Reed also uttered a prayer on the grounds of Harrenhal.     His “wish” appears to be granted in the form of the Mystery Knight of the Laughing Tree.    Later, Howland also experiences tragedy and loss of those he is close to, including two Starks – father Rickard and son  Brandon.    In an inversion to Arya’s story, their deaths were succeeded by the death of Lyanna Stark, manner unverified.   I postulate that Howland Reed also unwittingly entered a deal with the “devil” of Harrenhal when he said his prayer toward the Isle of Faces; the consequences of this bargain are played out in Robert’s Rebellion.

These bargains and subsequent personal tragedies may have come about because the “gods” were mocked – whatever force inhabits the area of Harrenhal was not respected, and/or its authority was challenged in some way.   Both Howland and Arya prayed to their gods of the wood, usurping the position of the actual “god” present at Harrenhal.    Howland and Arya are sent a human (or disguised as human) representative that grants their respective wishes; these representatives are in their own way a “mockery” of the old gods, but their portrayal is sufficient to trick Arya and Howland into believing their prayers have indeed been answered, which leads to the sealing of the devil’s bargain.

@PrettyPig--I'm still making my way through the thread, but I had to barge in rudely to say--this is amazing!!!

And it fits really, really well with potentials for sacrifice and power and prayer at the Wall. 

Will come back to say something more pertinent later--but congrats. This is awesome.

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8 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

@PrettyPig--I'm still making my way through the thread, but I had to barge in rudely to say--this is amazing!!!

And it fits really, really well with potentials for sacrifice and power and prayer at the Wall. 

Will come back to say something more pertinent later--but congrats. This is awesome.

Thank you, and nice to "see" you around here!   Please, chime in with thoughts...somebody needs to, since apparently I can't even keep up with my own dang thread.  :/

 

 

 

 

 

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Had another random thought flash, can't believe I didn't think of it for the OP.

During the showdown at the God's Eye Town on the south shore of the lake, Arya throws Jaqen an axe, giving him (and his minions) the means to hack out of the wagon.    

Arya saves Jaqen from FIRE.  From BURNING ALIVE, trapped inside a place from which he can't escape.    
 

Quote

 

As the last light of the sun faded, Black Harren's men stared into the gathering darkness, clutching their spears and crossbows. When no dragon appeared, some may have thought that Aegon's threats had been hollow. But Aegon Targaryen took Balerion up high, through the clouds, up and up until the dragon was no bigger than a fly upon the moon. Only then did he descend, well inside the castle walls. On wings as black as pitch, Balerion plunged through the night, and when the great towers of Harrenhal appeared beneath him, the dragon roared his fury and bathed them in black fire, shot through with swirls of red.

Stone does not burn, Harren had boasted, but his castle was not made of stone alone. Wood and wool, hemp and straw, bread and salted beef and grain, all took fire. Nor were Harren's ironmen made of stone. Smoking, screaming, shrouded in flames, they ran across the yards and tumbled from the wallwalks to die upon the ground below. And even stone will crack and melt if a fire is hot enough. The riverlords outside the castle walls said later that the towers of Harrenhal glowed red against the night, like five great candles...and like candles, they began to twist and melt, as runnels of molten stone ran down their sides.

Harren and his last sons died in the fires that engulfed his monstrous fortress that night. ... The dragonflame that destroyed Harrenhal put a fiery end to King Harren's dreams, the domination of the riverlands by the ironborn, and the "black line" of House Hoare.

 

 

And Jaqen then surfaces at Harrenhal bearing his gift basket of death, a thank you to Arya for helping him escape the flames...saving him from reliving the fate of Black Harren Hoare.

Arya was wrong - she isn't the ghost in Harrenhal.   But she DID release the real one.   

 

 

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I think the bat connection to Harrenhal is meant as a symbolic clue.

Harren the Black chopped down all the weirwoods for miles and dug up any greenseers that were found and used the wood for rafters and beams for Harrenhal. The Children of the Forest fled north beyond the Wall and hid in that big cave. I even think the name Whent is a pun. The cave beyond the Wall is where they Whent went. Caves have bats, and Harrenhal was burned down by dragons that can look like bats. The dragons were summoned by the Children to defeat Harren the Black.

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On 2/11/2018 at 1:45 PM, ravenous reader said:

Hi Pretty, thanks for the kind mention! :)

Given that the common element in the Faustian bargain often appears to be someone praying to a god (frequently the trees) for a miracle, in exchange for the sacrifice of that person's child (e.g. Rhaego in Dany's analogous deal with the devil), @Unchained and I have previously speculated that Howland's prayers were answered by the 'trees,' in exchange for his first-born son Jojen being pledged and then later being given to the trees, literally (I believe the 'Jojen paste' theory is sadly correct, namely that Jojen's sacrifice was the currency paid in order to open up the weirnet to Bran -- for whom Jojen ended up in the weirwood bowl/bole).  Sometimes the 'promissory note' (i.e. debt pending) represented by the 'promised prince' (or heir) -- who is actually a 'promised price' (see @Wizz-The-Smith's 'coins-scion' wordplay) -- is cashed in transgenerationally:

 

Hey @PrettyPig nice essay. Must be a popular topic I'm almost done with one on a similar subject. The best thing I found so far was on grumkins.  They grant wishes and take children. It's never said outright that they do one in exchange for the other, but that is how I am reading it. 

 

Tyrion saves Cersei from the Baratheons like she asked Tywin to do. Then everyone thinks Tyrion kills Joffrey. I think that counts as Tyrion acting like a grumkin granting a wish, then taking a prince.  He admits to Jon that he looks like a grumkin. It's like in Rumpelstiltskin. As Sansa is escaping she even wonders if Tyrion killed Joffrey because she wished for it and then thinks of grumkins granting wishes. 

 

Catelyn prays to the 7 to spare the combatants that would have died at the battle at Storm's End had it happened. At the end of the chapter after Renly is killed and her wish is granted, Robb's death is foreshadowed when she remembers Stannis' threat that Robb's day will come as well. At the Red Wedding, at the first sign of trouble from the Freys, Cat reassures herself that she is only seeing "grumkins in the woodpile".  So you can think of grumkins being at both Weddings killing both kings in exchange for wishes granted to both king's mothers. 

 

Like Cat says, kings are not meant to have mothers. When I finish editing I'll post it here. I can tag you if you want. 

 

RR,

 

I think we can pinpoint the exact moment Dany can be thought of as giving up Rhaego. It's when she has the knife to her throats and yells out "my baby" right before she is saved and thinks the gods heard. I think it's comparable to Brienne yelling out "a word" the moment before her death giving up someone else to save herself. 

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4 hours ago, Unchained said:

Hey @PrettyPig nice essay. Must be a popular topic I'm almost done with one on a similar subject. The best thing I found so far was on grumkins.  They grant wishes and take children. It's never said outright that they do one in exchange for the other, but that is how I am reading it. 

 

Tyrion saves Cersei from the Baratheons like she asked Tywin to do. Then everyone thinks Tyrion kills Joffrey. I think that counts as Tyrion acting like a grumkin granting a wish, then taking a prince.  He admits to Jon that he looks like a grumkin. It's like in Rumpelstiltskin. As Sansa is escaping she even wonders if Tyrion killed Joffrey because she wished for it and then thinks of grumkins granting wishes. 

 

Catelyn prays to the 7 to spare the combatants that would have died at the battle at Storm's End had it happened. At the end of the chapter after Renly is killed and her wish is granted, Robb's death is foreshadowed when she remembers Stannis' threat that Robb's day will come as well. At the Red Wedding, at the first sign of trouble from the Freys, Cat reassures herself that she is only seeing "grumkins in the woodpile".  So you can think of grumkins being at both Weddings killing both kings in exchange for wishes granted to both king's mothers. 

 

Like Cat says, kings are not meant to have mothers. When I finish editing I'll post it here. I can tag you if you want. 

 

RR,

 

I think we can pinpoint the exact moment Dany can be thought of as giving up Rhaego. It's when she has the knife to her throats and yells out "my baby" right before she is saved and thinks the gods heard. I think it's comparable to Brienne yelling out "a word" the moment before her death giving up someone else to save herself. 

Hey Uncle, that's good!  That's why Dany 'can't look back' -- she knows what she did, but can't face it consciously. Who and/or what do you think Brienne is giving up with the killing word sword?

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4 hours ago, Unchained said:

Hey @PrettyPig nice essay. Must be a popular topic I'm almost done with one on a similar subject. The best thing I found so far was on grumkins.  They grant wishes and take children. It's never said outright that they do one in exchange for the other, but that is how I am reading it. 

Speaking of grumkins taking children...

I have been theorizing lately that in order to create white walkers the "grumkins" abduct Children of the Forest to be used as the sacrifice. Some readers have speculated that the Nights King was sacrificing his own "seed", but I think they were Children of the Forest. 

I should back up a bit and reiterate that I believe the wildlings are of Ironborn descent and that their ancestors were responsible for the Long Night. When Harren built Harrenhal his brother was LC at the Wall, but his brother's name isn't known. This is a clue that there was a similar circumstance during the time of the Nights King whose name is also not known. I realize that Old Nan claims the Nights King was brother to the Lord of Winterfell, but Jon Snow and Ramsay (Snow) Bolton are "brothers" by virtue of sharing a bastard name, so maybe it was a more complicated definition of brother back then too?

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