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My brother, my murderer.

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Does a dead sibling become a source of strength or guardian for a living sibling? An enemy? Does the living sibling absorb some of the qualities of the dead guy?

This thought arose on a recent thread and seemed worth consideration in its own post.

We have a number of important and POV characters whose siblings died in combat, tragically or violently:

  • Brienne / Galladon
  • Stannis / Renly
  • Jon / Robb
  • Tommen / Joffrey
  • Theon / Rodrik and Maron
  • Ned / Brandon
  • Daenerys / Viserys
  • Varamyr (Lump) / Bump

I'd be interested to find (literary) evidence in each case that the dead brother remains a partner or guardian to each living sibling, perhaps providing strengths to the living sibling that were lacking before the brother died.

In the case of Varamyr and Bump, we know that the murder of Bump haunts his brother / murderer:

"Your little one is with the gods now," the woods witch told his mother, as she wept. "He'll never hurt again, never hunger, never cry. The gods have taken him down into the earth, into the trees. The gods are all around us, in the rocks and streams, in the birds and beasts. Your Bump has gone to join them. He'll be the world and all that's in it."

The old woman's words had gone through Lump like a knife. Bump sees. He is watching me. He knows. Lump could not hide from him, could not slip behind his mother's skirts or run off with the dogs to escape his father's fury.

(ADwD, Prologue)

In AFfC, Brienne recalls her older brother, Galladon, who drowned when she was a child. His name is the same as The Perfect Knight, Tarth-born Ser Galladon of Morne, whose hero story is treasured by Brienne. Interestingly, her first mention of this dead elder brother is to the Elder Brother, the leader of the monastic community on the Quiet Isle:

“A daughter.” Brienne’s eyes filled with tears. “He deserves that. A daughter who could sing to him and grace his hall and bear him grandsons. He deserves a son too, a strong and gallant son to bring honor to his name. Galladon drowned when I was four and he was eight, though, and Alysanne and Arianne died still in the cradle. I am the only child the gods let him keep. The freakish one, not fit to be a son or daughter.”

(AFfC, Brienne VI)

“Every place has its local heroes. Where I come from, the singers sing of Ser Galladon of Morne, the Perfect Knight.”

“Ser Gallawho of What?” He snorted. “Never heard o’ him. Why was he so bloody perfect?”

“Ser Galladon was a champion of such valor that the Maiden herself lost her heart to him. She gave him an enchanted sword as a token of her love. The Just Maid, it was called. No common sword could check her, nor any shield withstand her kiss. Ser Galladon bore the Just Maid proudly, but only thrice did he unsheathe her. He would not use the Maid against a mortal man, for she was so potent as to make any fight unfair.”

Crabb thought that was hilarious. “The Perfect Knight? The Perfect Fool, sounds like. What’s the point o’ having some magic sword if you don’t bloody well use it?”

“Honor,” she said. “The point is honor.”

That only made him laugh the louder. “Ser Clarence Crabb would have wiped his hairy arse with your Perfect Knight, m’lady. If they’d ever have met, there’d be one more bloody head sitting on the shelf at the Whispers, you ask me. ‘I should have used the magic sword,’ it’d be saying to all the other heads. ‘I should have used the bloody sword.’”

Brienne could not help but smile. “Perhaps,” she allowed, “but Ser Galladon was no fool. Against a foe eight feet tall mounted on an aurochs, he might well have unsheathed the Just Maid. He used her once to slay a dragon, they say.

(AFfC, Brienne IV)

The drowning of Galladon might symbolize that Brienne has the "immortal" qualities of a drowned man, acquired vicariously through her brother and giving her a version of the "What's Dead Can Never Die" immortality important to Ironborn culture. Even if she is not immortal, her height and appearance are notably mannish, so you could argue that she embodies both the son and the daughter in one. The second excerpt, a conversation with Nimble Dick about possible outcomes of a Galladon vs. Clarence single combat match-up, might also foreshadow things to come in Brienne's arc or "retell" history or plot points we have seen in a different version.

Some of the brotherly presence may take a more symbolic form. For instance, I suspect that the Free Folk skinchanger, Borroq, may represent a reborn version of Robb Stark, setting up near Jon Snow in his hour of need.

The skinchanger stopped ten yards away. His monster pawed at the mud, snuffling. A light powdering of snow covered the boar’s humped black back. He gave a snort and lowered his head, and for half a heartbeat Jon thought he was about to charge. To either side of him, his men lowered their spears.

“Brother,” Borroq said.

“You’d best go on. We are about to close the gate.”

“You do that,” Borroq said. “You close it good and tight. They’re coming, crow.” He smiled as ugly a smile as Jon had ever seen and made his way to the gate. The boar stalked after him. The falling snow covered up their tracks behind them.  

(ADwD, Jon XII)

Borroq had taken up residence in one of the ancient tombs beside the castle lichyard. The company of men long dead seemed to suit him better than that of the living, and his boar seemed happy rooting amongst the graves, well away from other animals. “That thing is the size of a bull, with tusks as long as swords. Ghost would go after him if he were loose, and one or both of them would not survive the meeting.”

(ADwD, Jon XIII)

So there is a tension between Borroq and Jon, similar to the rivalry Lump felt toward Bump, as shown in Ghost's reaction to the boar. My guess is that the dead sibling can "come back" in some way - be reborn - but only if the living sibling dies - only death can pay for life. So Ghost is warning the boar and Borroq / Robb not to get any smart ideas about trying to harm Jon. Borroq's remark about "They're coming, crow," seems to refer to The Others, but it might actually foreshadow the knife attack on Jon by his brothers in his next POV.

If this theory is right, one sibling may be sacrificed (Brienne says her siblings were taken by the gods) so the living sibling could thrive or have a clearer path to success. But the living sibling has to be on guard as the dead sibling might be reborn and try to reclaim the hero's role. Very much an Osiris and Set situation.

Edited by Seams

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I think this can be looked at in a number of ways. We often take on the qualities, habits, interests of passed loved ones to feel closer to them so I think it says a lot at the character level. I've been realizing how pervasive Only Death Can Pay for Life is in the series and this is yet another aspect of it perhaps taking sympathetic acquiring of qualities to a more magical level. 

I was always at odds with the early descriptions of Ned as he is described as shy and quiet. He never becomes a loud mouth or anything, but he was often short-tempered, hot-headed, impatient and impulsive in AGOT. These are more like Brandon's qualities and they get Ned into trouble. 

ACOK Catelyn VII

"Brandon was different from his brother, wasn't he? He had blood in his veins instead of cold water. More like me."

 Also maybe look at the Targ guy with two heads?

Stannis/Renly—Stannis doesn’t ever take on charm or pomp, but refocuses his claim on being Protector of the Realm rather than claiming the IT is his by right. He’s become the hero which Renly embodied only superficially.

Dany/Viserys—In the fever dream, Dany listens to her inner Viserys and thinks “hey, good idea!” Can’t imagine it’s a good idea to listen to your inner Viserys. She seems to be going full Fire and Blood from there.

 

 

Edited by Lollygag

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I will no doubt completely miss the point because that's my super power, Seams.   Please forgive me in advance!   This is an interesting idea.    I remember @sweetsunray's excellent "Dem Bones" topic that tossed around the idea that because Ned was never buried his spirit may roam free.  This reminds me of that a bit.  Siblings are born to be raised and live as extensions of a family--it's ideas, name, values.  As members of a family die off, so does the family--to change with time, to grow, move, branch out.  Brienne's quote is heartbreaking as we read her feelings of unworthiness for her father.   We often think more highly of Brienne than she does of herself.  Still she survived a brother and 2 sisters.  What are the odds considering all the Stark, Lannister and Tyrell children survive?  (Yah, I know there are many more, but this here tragic thinning of family is particularly sad).   I had to cross reference your list of dead brothers above because I was thinking Bran/Robb when you of course already had Jon/Robb.  

The idea a surviving sibling could sort of take on a strength or blessing of a dead brother or sister rather throws right back to the Singers' absorbing the spirits of the dead.   I've always thought of the weirwoods as a sort of memory depository devoid of character, but perhaps that's not right.  If the idea that a spirit can be absorbed the surviving person or thing would almost have to absorb characteristics of the dead.  

Even with my flawed interpretation of your fine idea here, Seams, I understand enough to have some hope for Edmure!   

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Hmm, I'm no help on-topic, but it struck me that "Just Maid" is kind of the opposite of "Dark Sister."  Sort of.  Just thinking about another recent topic.

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2 hours ago, Seams said:

f this theory is right, one sibling may be sacrificed (Brienne says her siblings were taken by the gods) so the living sibling could thrive or have a clearer path to success. But the living sibling has to be on guard as the dead sibling might be reborn and try to reclaim the hero's role. Very much an Osiris and Set situation.

Meh, I kinda feel we've seen a little a bit of the opposite-the dead sibling(particularly older ones) being a sort of shackle upon the survivor.

Theon is constantly compared to his older now deceased siblings by Balon and struggles to live up to their standard. 

Tommen though now king very confidence is being broken down by Cersi(and by some extent possibly Jaimie), due to her thinking he's much weaker than his brother. 

Stannis has a massive inferiority complex due to feeling under Robert's shadow.

Sweet Robin is somtherhed by Lysa for her experiences with bearing stillborns. 

And Briene probably would be happier had her siblings survived because she wouldn't be under such pressure to conform to the gender roles society has put on women-because being the third or fourth child typically means there is not a lot of expectations-which grants a lot more freedom to do things the individual wants to do(Gendri Lanister is able to go on a half baked adventure to get his family sword, Aegon V is able to marry for love).

The only person I can really recall thriving after their siblings having died is Asha 

Edited by Varysblackfyre321

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2 hours ago, Lollygag said:

I was always at odds with the early descriptions of Ned as he is described as shy and quiet. He never becomes a loud mouth or anything, but he was often short-tempered, hot-headed, impatient and impulsive in AGOT. These are more like Brandon's qualities and they get Ned into trouble

Can he not be both? Like there doesn't necessarily need to be a contradiction. A person can be shy and quiet in some cases and impatient and impulsive in others. And when compared to Brandon these more humble qualities become more apparent. I mean I imagine Brandon was the type to look for challenges, he almost deliberately built up a reputation surrounding these qualities so when Ned is compared to his elder brother he seems...lacking in a way to all viewers? 

I mean Jaimie doesn't actually know Ned-he only knows him from the brief 5 minute interludes they've met and from his reputation-which really doesn't upon first glance a fully honest portrait of the man himself. 

I mean Ned is known as purely honoruble by even Jorah Mormont.

Is he?

Well when it doesn't conflict with his own sense of morality; he won't give children up to be murdered even though honor calls for him to have alerted Robert without having alerted Cersi to give her a chance to flee with her children.

 

Edited by Varysblackfyre321

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12 hours ago, Lollygag said:

I think this can be looked at in a number of ways. We often take on the qualities, habits, interests of passed loved ones to feel closer to them so I think it says a lot at the character level. I've been realizing how pervasive Only Death Can Pay for Life is in the series and this is yet another aspect of it perhaps taking sympathetic acquiring of qualities to a more magical level. 

I was always at odds with the early descriptions of Ned as he is described as shy and quiet. He never becomes a loud mouth or anything, but he was often short-tempered, hot-headed, impatient and impulsive in AGOT. These are more like Brandon's qualities and they get Ned into trouble. 

ACOK Catelyn VII

"Brandon was different from his brother, wasn't he? He had blood in his veins instead of cold water. More like me."

 Also maybe look at the Targ guy with two heads?

Stannis/Renly—Stannis doesn’t ever take on charm or pomp, but refocuses his claim on being Protector of the Realm rather than claiming the IT is his by right. He’s become the hero which Renly embodied only superficially.

Dany/Viserys—In the fever dream, Dany listens to her inner Viserys and thinks “hey, good idea!” Can’t imagine it’s a good idea to listen to your inner Viserys. She seems to be going full Fire and Blood from there.

I suspect there will be details about Ned that come out later - he appears to be the most honorable, honest man in the series. But I think GRRM doesn't want us to respect Ned executing Gared; he wants us to be horrified that Ned was so rigid about the King's Justice and that he (apparently) didn't take seriously Gared's news that the Others were coming; maybe he even wanted to suppress that news.

Lady Dustin tells us that Brandon loved getting "blood on his sword," deflowering virgins. Our introduction to Ned shows him getting blood on his sword, beheading a man. Then a Catelyn POV uses some sexual imagery to describe Ned stroking his sword in the gods wood, cleaning off the blood.

And I agree with your point that Ned shows some of the same hot-headed qualities we have associated with Brandon. Brandon called some bannermen to go to King's Landing to rescue his sister and ended up dying. Ned was not discrete in his inquiries about Robert's bastards all over King's Landing, and he ended up dying. So there are definite parallels between Brandon and Ned, but it might take a careful re-read to sort out the subtle clues.

Ned marrying Catelyn, the bride promised to Brandon, is a classic scenario from myth and legend of course. If we find out that Ned was the one who told Brandon that Rhaegar had taken Lyanna, prompting Brandon's virtually suicidal confrontation with Aerys, that would make the Osiris / Set parallel even clearer.

The Targ guy with two heads: I thought of Maelys the Monstrous as a possible example to support this theory! I decided to start with excerpts to support three examples but would love it if people want to add more examples. That one would be excellent.

The Stannis / Renly comparison is probably super complicated, especially if Robert is added to the mix. I think Stannis and Renly represent the two halves of Robert. I also suspect that Patchface may represent a "reborn" Robert and, of course, Renly is "reborn" when Garlan Tyrell wears his armor at the Blackwater. (Even more complicated: Cressen wears Patchface's helmet before dying in his attempt to protect Stannis.) So Stannis may be haunted by / protected by both of his dead brothers. I like the idea that the deaths of the brothers gave Stannis the power to transcend the "game" and move toward the more important role of protecting the realm. That might be a part of the pattern to look for: does the death of the sibling make the survivor less personally ambitious and better able to see the big picture?

I suspect that the nature of Viserys' death has great symbolic importance in Dany's arc. The molten gold is like the helmet on a suit of armor at the same time it represents "dragons" (Joffrey actually makes this analogy when he tells Sansa about the death of Viserys) because gold coins are dragons. "Wake the dragon" may take on a newly sinister meaning after this unique death for Viserys - he may haunt Dany in ways we haven't yet discerned.

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13 hours ago, Lollygag said:

I think this can be looked at in a number of ways. We often take on the qualities, habits, interests of passed loved ones to feel closer to them so I think it says a lot at the character level. I've been realizing how pervasive Only Death Can Pay for Life is in the series and this is yet another aspect of it perhaps taking sympathetic acquiring of qualities to a more magical level. 

I was always at odds with the early descriptions of Ned as he is described as shy and quiet. He never becomes a loud mouth or anything, but he was often short-tempered, hot-headed, impatient and impulsive in AGOT. These are more like Brandon's qualities and they get Ned into trouble. 

ACOK Catelyn VII

"Brandon was different from his brother, wasn't he? He had blood in his veins instead of cold water. More like me."

 Also maybe look at the Targ guy with two heads?

Stannis/Renly—Stannis doesn’t ever take on charm or pomp, but refocuses his claim on being Protector of the Realm rather than claiming the IT is his by right. He’s become the hero which Renly embodied only superficially.

 

Dany/Viserys—In the fever dream, Dany listens to her inner Viserys and thinks “hey, good idea!” Can’t imagine it’s a good idea to listen to your inner Viserys. She seems to be going full Fire and Blood from there.

 

 

 

 

I think it's clear from the dream that Dany feels immense guilt over his death, and that at heart, she's condemning herself as "murderer, betrayer, whore."

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21 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

I will no doubt completely miss the point because that's my super power, Seams.   Please forgive me in advance!   This is an interesting idea.    I remember @sweetsunray's excellent "Dem Bones" topic that tossed around the idea that because Ned was never buried his spirit may roam free.  This reminds me of that a bit.  Siblings are born to be raised and live as extensions of a family--it's ideas, name, values.  As members of a family die off, so does the family--to change with time, to grow, move, branch out.  Brienne's quote is heartbreaking as we read her feelings of unworthiness for her father.   We often think more highly of Brienne than she does of herself.  Still she survived a brother and 2 sisters.  What are the odds considering all the Stark, Lannister and Tyrell children survive?  (Yah, I know there are many more, but this here tragic thinning of family is particularly sad).   I had to cross reference your list of dead brothers above because I was thinking Bran/Robb when you of course already had Jon/Robb.  

The idea a surviving sibling could sort of take on a strength or blessing of a dead brother or sister rather throws right back to the Singers' absorbing the spirits of the dead.   I've always thought of the weirwoods as a sort of memory depository devoid of character, but perhaps that's not right.  If the idea that a spirit can be absorbed the surviving person or thing would almost have to absorb characteristics of the dead.  

Even with my flawed interpretation of your fine idea here, Seams, I understand enough to have some hope for Edmure!   

sweetsunray is one of my favorite theorists in this forum and her bones discussion led to lots of new insights. I always credit gloubie boulga with the revelation that Dolorous Edd is a reborn version of Ned Stark - that connection opened a door for me to the many ways that minor characters represents major characters - often those who have passed away, but not always. So those spirits are often present for other characters, if we can figure out how to identify them.*

With regard to your point about siblings as branches of a family, I found some Turkish Delight sword stuff for you, Edmund Pevensie CF:

Needle was Robb and Bran and Rickon, her mother and her father, even Sansa. Needle was Winterfell's grey walls, and the laughter of its people. Needle was the summer snows, Old Nan's stories, the heart tree with its red leaves and scary face, the warm earthy smell of the glass gardens, the sound of the north wind rattling the shutters of her room. Needle was Jon Snow's smile.

(AFfC, Arya II)

"We have found the most splendid fool . . . We have bought his freedom and hope to bring him home with us. Robert will be delighted with him, and perhaps in time he will even teach Stannis how to laugh."

It saddened Cressen to remember that letter. No one had ever taught Stannis how to laugh, least of all the boy Patchface.

(ACoK, Prologue)

‘I should have used the magic sword,’ it’d be saying to all the other heads. ‘I should have used the bloody sword.’

Brienne could not help but smile.

(AFfC, Brienne IV)

“You do that,” Borroq said. “You close it good and tight. They’re coming, crow.” He smiled as ugly a smile as Jon had ever seen and made his way to the gate.

(ADwD, Jon XII)

Jon slid his new dagger from its sheath and studied the flames as they played against the shiny black glass. He had fashioned the wooden hilt himself, and wound hempen twine around it to make a grip. Ugly, but it served.

(ACoK, Jon V)

GRRM seems to be building connections around the smile (and/or laugh?) of a sibling and a blade. Or am I cherrypicking quotes that fit my theory? I wonder whether this "dead brother" motif will dovetail with the "search for the missing sword" story arcs? Why does the author compare (family) smiles and weapons?

But I'm probably missing something more profound in your insight about the way a brother's soul is absorbed and made immortal and lives on through a sibling. I agree with the point about the spirit wandering due to bones being left unburied, and the comparison to the singers / CotF living on through the animals and elements of the landscape. But the sibling bond seems to be a unique variation on that "life after death" notion, with elements of both rivalry and protection built into the presence of the lingering spirit.

I hope you are right about Edmure. With dead siblings Lysa and Lady Stoneheart, he may not be haunted by the most helpful spirits!

__________________________

*Speaking of which, I think I've sorted out something about a Bran parallel. It would fit well with @Faera's idea about Hodor/Bran if she ever posts that thread.

Edited by Seams

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16 hours ago, Lollygag said:

Dany/Viserys—In the fever dream, Dany listens to her inner Viserys and thinks “hey, good idea!” Can’t imagine it’s a good idea to listen to your inner Viserys. She seems to be going full Fire and Blood from there. 

I had a good laugh over this.  Anytime I do something wicked I am going to blame my "inner Viserys."

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I got a buzz!

8 hours ago, Seams said:

*Speaking of which, I think I've sorted out something about a Bran parallel. It would fit well with @Faera's idea about Hodor/Bran if she ever posts that thread.

It's nearly done, I promise! ^_^ Been a little poorly the last few days so fell a little behind.

(Once I actually get it posted, I'll also come back and give you a proper response. I especially love this idea of Brienne drawing a strength from her heroically named brother but him also representing a type of ideal that she'll never truly obtain because it doesn't exist. Yeah, I will be back!)

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In almost all cases a dead sibling is just a dead sibling.  The dead is just dead.  However, there are exceptions.  Take the case of Daenerys and her dragons.  It is very possible that Drogo's soul is in Drogon.  Viserys is Viserion.  Rhaegar is Rhaegal.  Daenerys had no need to bond her dragons.  They followed her around and usually did her bidding even before they came to Meereen.  They knew what to do in Astapor.  Drogon knew what to do in Qarth.  Drogon had his reasons for taking Daenerys back to the Dothraki Sea.  This is one possible interpretation of the term "child of three" in the sense that these men continue to look after Daenerys even after death.  They succor and protect The Dragon.  

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11 hours ago, Seams said:

he appears to be the most honorable, honest man in the series. But I think GRRM doesn't want us to respect Ned executing Gared; he wants us to be horrified that Ned was so rigid about the King's Justice and that he (apparently) didn't take seriously Gared's news that the Others were coming; maybe he even wanted to suppress that news.

Gared was sent as a messenger by the Others who allowed him to escape as a kind of 'advance-warning' white raven to advise the Warden of the North that Winter is Coming... Not only does he dismiss the messenger, precipitously beheading him, he then proceeds to 'go south' literally and metaphorically, belying his own House's words, the very same he was so fond of eternally quoting, 'Winter is Coming'!  Oh the irony.

Then as befits GRRM's trademark karmic poetic justice: for failing to heed his own words, he is beheaded by Ice.

Edited by ravenous reader

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11 hours ago, Seams said:

I suspect that the nature of Viserys' death has great symbolic importance in Dany's arc. The molten gold is like the helmet on a suit of armor at the same time it represents "dragons" (Joffrey actually makes this analogy when he tells Sansa about the death of Viserys) because gold coins are dragons. "Wake the dragon" may take on a newly sinister meaning after this unique death for Viserys - he may haunt Dany in ways we haven't yet discerned.

The gold medallions or coins signify that Viserys's death was the currency which paid for the dragons.  In fact, Viserys was the first to wake a dragon -- his namesake Viserion being the firstborn dragon, corresponding to the first death chronologically of Dany's kin.  Pretty ironic for a guy who always warned her 'not to wake the dragon'!  Waking a dragon thus implies kinslaying.

There is a disturbing correlation between the telepathic communion respectively of Bran tasting the blood in his mouth of the sacrifice made to the tree and Dany tasting the gold in her mouth of her brother's final moments (tellingly, the 'molten gold' is the very last taste left on her tongue after partaking of shade of the evening).  The vivid, visceral experience implies that the taster in each case is a direct beneficiary of the murder -- this being the bitter truth that must be masked with the sweet.

Quote

 "We shall serve him lies and Arbor gold, and he'll drink them down and ask for more, I promise you."

He is serving me lies as well, Sansa realized. They were comforting lies, though, and she thought them kindly meant. A lie is not so bad if it is kindly meant. If only she believed them . . .

 

Edited by ravenous reader

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13 hours ago, Seams said:

sweetsunray is one of my favorite theorists in this forum and her bones discussion led to lots of new insights. I always credit gloubie boulga with the revelation that Dolorous Edd is a reborn version of Ned Stark - that connection opened a door for me to the many ways that minor characters represents major characters - often those who have passed away, but not always. So those spirits are often present for other characters, if we can figure out how to identify them.*

With regard to your point about siblings as branches of a family, I found some Turkish Delight sword stuff for you, Edmund Pevensie CF:

Needle was Robb and Bran and Rickon, her mother and her father, even Sansa. Needle was Winterfell's grey walls, and the laughter of its people. Needle was the summer snows, Old Nan's stories, the heart tree with its red leaves and scary face, the warm earthy smell of the glass gardens, the sound of the north wind rattling the shutters of her room. Needle was Jon Snow's smile.

(AFfC, Arya II)

"We have found the most splendid fool . . . We have bought his freedom and hope to bring him home with us. Robert will be delighted with him, and perhaps in time he will even teach Stannis how to laugh."

It saddened Cressen to remember that letter. No one had ever taught Stannis how to laugh, least of all the boy Patchface.

(ACoK, Prologue)

‘I should have used the magic sword,’ it’d be saying to all the other heads. ‘I should have used the bloody sword.’

Brienne could not help but smile.

(AFfC, Brienne IV)

“You do that,” Borroq said. “You close it good and tight. They’re coming, crow.” He smiled as ugly a smile as Jon had ever seen and made his way to the gate.

(ADwD, Jon XII)

Jon slid his new dagger from its sheath and studied the flames as they played against the shiny black glass. He had fashioned the wooden hilt himself, and wound hempen twine around it to make a grip. Ugly, but it served.

(ACoK, Jon V)

GRRM seems to be building connections around the smile (and/or laugh?) of a sibling and a blade. Or am I cherrypicking quotes that fit my theory? I wonder whether this "dead brother" motif will dovetail with the "search for the missing sword" story arcs? Why does the author compare (family) smiles and weapons?

But I'm probably missing something more profound in your insight about the way a brother's soul is absorbed and made immortal and lives on through a sibling. I agree with the point about the spirit wandering due to bones being left unburied, and the comparison to the singers / CotF living on through the animals and elements of the landscape. But the sibling bond seems to be a unique variation on that "life after death" notion, with elements of both rivalry and protection built into the presence of the lingering spirit.

I hope you are right about Edmure. With dead siblings Lysa and Lady Stoneheart, he may not be haunted by the most helpful spirits!

__________________________

*Speaking of which, I think I've sorted out something about a Bran parallel. It would fit well with @Faera's idea about Hodor/Bran if she ever posts that thread.

Well, it's clear I didn't understand haunting from the get go.   But I did apologize upfront!   So haunting by siblings, 'ey?  I know Robb and Ned are seen repeatedly in Jon and Theon's dreams.  There are people who believe that the dead in dreams are real visitations.   What do I know?   I dream about work.  The surviving siblings don't absorb the dead sibling's characteristics, but carry their shadows with them...this is really interesting.  Robb would be by both Theon and Jon's sides in all they have to come and have endured thus far.  Theon cracked, but he may be coming back or not, but Theon does not dream of his own brothers or father that I recall.  This makes me even more impatient for TWOW so I can see if Ned or more relevantly, Robb, are with Jon.  If a surviving sibling could carry the shade of their dead sibling, I think it's probable a dead sibling's weapon could also carry part of the shadow as well.   

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16 hours ago, Seams said:

I suspect that the nature of Viserys' death has great symbolic importance in Dany's arc. The molten gold is like the helmet on a suit of armor at the same time it represents "dragons" (Joffrey actually makes this analogy when he tells Sansa about the death of Viserys) because gold coins are dragons. "Wake the dragon" may take on a newly sinister meaning after this unique death for Viserys - he may haunt Dany in ways we haven't yet discerned.

I think Dany's becoming stronger around the dragon eggs might be a hint as to what you say. It almost seems like a variation on Sansa's ~I'm stronger within the walls of Winterfell.

There seems to be an overall idea of transference of life force not just in Only Death Can Pay for Life, but in the Stark-Direwolf relationship and the Targ-Dragon relationship. I don't follow the Targs much so I can't expand there, but with the Starks we've seen wolf to bonded Stark in Summer keeping Bran alive, possible wolf to non-bonded Stark as Bran wakes approximately when Lady died, Stark to bonded wolf in Ghost seemingly being quite injured when Orell attacks him yet Jon touches him and he's suddenly fine. We have wolf to wolf as the wolves can sense each other over long distances. I question whether we will see the Starks able to take out the middle man (wolf) and go straight from Stark to Stark. This would explain why all of the Starks needed to be separate for plot reasons. Keeping in mind that Dany, Viserys and Rhaegar are half Blackwood by blood. 

Also, just throwing this out for consideration: Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion all received 100% of their genes from Tywin and Joanna. Joff, Myrcella and Tommen received 100% of their genes from Tywin and Joanna effectively making Cersei's and Jaime's kids also their full siblings. I don't see much in regards to Joff/Tommen, but Joff/Cersei....

15 hours ago, SeanF said:

I think it's clear from the dream that Dany feels immense guilt over his death, and that at heart, she's condemning herself as "murderer, betrayer, whore."

I completely agree. Actually, her feelings for him must be extremely complicated as he also sold her into more-or-less slavery. I don't think it's any coincidence that she thinks of him while she's alone in the wilderness with Drogon. Viserys is really the only person who could come close to understanding her at this point (as unfortunate as that is) and he's not there. As she seems to have put Viserys on the shelf for understandable reasons and it's now rising to the surface, I'm expecting some interesting things in TWOW in regards to Dany and Viserys, especially Dany's no doubt complicated feelings. 

Her guilt may be fueling her to listen to her inner Viserys, to take up his wishes for herself. It's a way to make amends. 

 

Edited by Lollygag

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5 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

Gared was sent as a messenger by the Others who allowed him to escape as a kind of 'advance-warning' white raven to advise the Warden of the North that Winter is Coming... Not only does he dismiss the messenger, precipitously beheading him, he then proceeds to 'go south' literally and metaphorically, belying his own House's words, the very same he was so fond of eternally quoting, 'Winter is Coming'!  Oh the irony.

Then as befits GRRM's trademark karmic poetic justice: for failing to heed his own words, he is beheaded by Ice.

Meh, he doesn't appear to be the most honorable when you examine his actions. But, really what was he supposed to think? That this man probably abandoned his post and is now lying to save his ass? Or he has discovered millennium old fairytale has come back to destroy humanity?

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6 hours ago, Lollygag said:

.

I completely agree. Actually, her feelings for him must be extremely complicated as he also sold her into more-or-less slavery. I don't think it's any coincidence that she thinks of him while she's alone in the wilderness with Drogon. Viserys is really the only person who could come close to understanding her at this point (as unfortunate as that is) and he's not there. As she seems to have put Viserys on the shelf for understandable reasons and it's now rising to the surface, I'm expecting some interesting things in TWOW in regards to Dany and Viserys, especially Dany's no doubt complicated feelings. 

Her guilt may be fueling her to listen to her inner Viserys, to take up his wishes for herself. It's a way to make amends. 

 

My impression is that as her memories of Viserys fade, she is viewing him through rose-tinted spectacles (not uncommon among abuse victims, after the abuser has died).  Increasingly, she remembers the teenager who looked after her, rather than the man he became who beat her and molested her.

Arianne (who has her own issues with her brother) has jumped to the conclusion that she simply wanted Viserys out of the way, and was happy for Khal Drogo to murder him.  Given the Targaryens' history, that's a natural conclusion to jump to.  And, it's a charge that Dany will find very hard to live down in Westeros, not least because she thinks there's some truth in it.

 

 

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On 2/13/2018 at 6:46 AM, SeanF said:

My impression is that as her memories of Viserys fade, she is viewing him through rose-tinted spectacles (not uncommon among abuse victims, after the abuser has died).  Increasingly, she remembers the teenager who looked after her, rather than the man he became who beat her and molested her.

Arianne (who has her own issues with her brother) has jumped to the conclusion that she simply wanted Viserys out of the way, and was happy for Khal Drogo to murder him.  Given the Targaryens' history, that's a natural conclusion to jump to.  And, it's a charge that Dany will find very hard to live down in Westeros, not least because she thinks there's some truth in it.

 

 

I can see rose-colored glasses being a factor. Being alone with the dragons and the Targ legacy might exacerbate this too.

I hadn't considered that Dany might be seen as a usurper herself. Not of the Baratheons or Aegon, but of Viserys.

@Seams

This is theory, but might want to consider Tyrion for your list.

Tyrion may be the son of both Tywin and Aerys and he absorbed his sibling. Joanna had fraternal twins already which requires two eggs, so perhaps she had two eggs the second time too. If she slept with both Aerys and Tywin in very close proximity, each egg could have been fertilized by a different man. We have the Maelys the Monstrous and Varamyr’s Bump and Lump in story, so Tyrion could have absorbed his twin from a different father explaining his coloring.

It would be strange because Dany is called Child of Three, but this would be a better descriptor of Tyrion if true.

 

 

 

Edited by Lollygag

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1 hour ago, Lollygag said:

Tyrion may be the son of both Tywin and Aerys and he absorbed his sibling. Joanna had fraternal twins already which requires two eggs, so perhaps she had two eggs the second time too. If she slept with both Aerys and Tywin in very close proximity, each egg could have been fertilized by a different man. We have the Maelys the Monstrous and Varamyr’s Bump and Lump in story, so Tyrion could have absorbed his twin from a different father explaining his coloring.

It would be strange because Dany is called Child of Three, but this would be a better descriptor of Tyrion if true.

I read something awhile ago about Tyrion as a chimera, but it hadn't crossed my mind to relate it to this theory. Fascinating!

So if Tyrion absorbed his brother, he is in conflict with himself, if this idea about the living brother / dead brother tension is correct. Or maybe his brother is looking out for him, perhaps providing him with some protection.

I'm pretty sure Tyrion emerging from his hiding place in the wine barrel when he emerges in Essos is a symbolic dragon hatching, so maybe the Lannister side of Tyrion dominates before his journey to Pentos and his Targ side is reborn upon arrival.

On my next re-read, I'll try to remember to look for signs of Tyrion having internal debate that might be signs of the Targ twin arguing with the Lannister twin. Nice catch!

On a related note: there are references to children as monsters - Sansa tells the Tyrells that Joffrey is a monster; Dany's Rhaego was monstrous and then she becomes the Mother of Dragons. Catelyn's children are wargs. Shireen Baratheon has greyscale. Gilly's baby is nicknamed Monster. I wonder if GRRM is telling us that twins are a type of monster? That would explain the name The Twins for the Frey family homestead. Certainly a chimera would be interpreted as a monster, if Westeros people knew such a thing existed, and a dwarf is seen as an anomaly pretty close to a monster if not solidly within the category.

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