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Rainbow Guard symbolism - flowers, birds, bugs, fruit, lemons and indigo

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6 minutes ago, kissdbyfire said:

Martin did talk about Renly's RG in the past.

http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/To_Be_Continued_Chicago_IL_May_6_8/

The Rainbow Guard isn't meant to symbolize Renly's sexuality. It was more of a culmination of several unrelated things, such as the fact that he'd already used white for the Kingsguard and black for the Night's Watch. A rainbow is seven colors combined together in one object - he compared it to a shamrock being a Irish Catholic symbol of the Holy Trinity, three parts which make up one thing. Plus it has seven colors and is tied to the Seven, plus worshipers of the Seven use prism rainbows in their temples.

OK, thanks for that... so it's basically a reference to the Faith. My opinion of Renly has just dropped a notch ;)

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Rainbows are definitely an odd choice for Renly, who comes across as a bit of a hedonist, not to mention with a real pagan vibe (I'm thinking of the Green Knight of arthurian legend, and the mythological Horned God).

As @Seams said upthread, Renly and his Guard are surrounded by imagery of summmer and fruitfulness, and rainbow colours fit well with that and not so well with the white and stony imagery of the Faith, which is one reason why I like the idea that the owners of crystals are trapping and controlling colours/lives that don't rightly belong to them.

(I'm reminded here of Illyrio who controls many lives: 'Jewels danced when he moved his hands....')

On 17/03/2018 at 1:06 AM, Lollygag said:

The Wall is often described in rainbow terms as it changes colors, covers half the sky, is the end of the world.  The Others' armor is described as (moon)light on water which makes me think of how rainbows are made. 

and

On 16/03/2018 at 11:33 PM, Seams said:

It does feel as if the crystals are traps, somehow. Or maybe I'm just wishing for a prism / prison pun. :) If there really is a connection between ice and crystals, then the biggest crystal would be The Wall. And the bodies of the sentinels and people imprisoned in ice cells, maybe also the weirwood that provides the Black Gate, really do support the idea that people or creatures get literally or symbolically trapped.

I love this! and it's well supported too -

Quote

[Bran] saw the Wall shining like blue crystal... (AGOT - BRAN III)

[Jon] lifted his eyes to the Wall, blazing blue and crystalline in the sunlight ... when the sun caught it fair on a bright day, it shone, alive with light.... (AGOT - JON III)

The idea of 'life' within the Wall gets an extra push from the sentinels and ice-cell prisoners mentioned above, plus all the dead animals in the food stores which link back to all that animal sigil imagery. And the Shieldhall even gives us a rainbow. We're told that when a knight dies, his shield goes onto his pyre or into his tomb - it's a slender hint, but does link the dying spirit with his colour.

This all makes the magic of the Wall look a bit sinister. I argued above that a rainbow, metaphorically speaking, represents entrapment and coercion - and this is such a good fit here. The watchman swears to serve for all nights to come, until death. But if you never completely die - because ice preserves - then you're protecting the realms of men absolutely forever.

 

 

 

Edited by Springwatch

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I've been meaning to get back to this. I hope these remaining thoughts will be useful in identifying other characters who fit into the rainbow symbolism but who are not explicitly identified as members of the rainbow guard. I'll provide a few examples as we go along.

Flowers, birds

As indicated in the title, there are a number of associations between members of the rainbow guard and elements of nature. If you haven't reviewed the wiki summary about the rainbow guard members, you might want to refresh your memory at that link before proceeding.

The sigils of five of the seven guards feature flowers and birds: gold roses (Tyrell), sunflowers (Cuy), nightingales (Caron), a crow (Morrigen) and cranes (Crane). The two outliers are Royce and Tarth: the primary element of the Royce sigil is runes and Brienne's family sigil is suns and crescent moons.

Fruit

The fruit associations with the rainbow guards are not always as clear as the flowers and birds, but I think they are deliberate. I mentioned earlier that Lord Bryce Caron was the orange guard and that he is killed by Ser Philip Foote. A color is not necessarily the same thing as a fruit, even with the same name, but the books contain numerous examples of oranges (fruit) and feet in the same image or paragraph. So I think it's safe to say that the color and fruit are intended to be part of the same motif. I found this orange fruit example featuring a royal guard after my earlier orange / foot comment:

. . . the crowd was throwing things . . . Others farther back let fly with lemons, limes and oranges, crying "War! War! To the spears!" One of the guards was hit in the eye with a lemon, and the captain himself had an orange splatter off his foot.

AFfC, The Captain of the Guards (Areo Hotah)

The weaponizing of fruit may be worth exploring in connection with guards, or it might need a whole discussion of its own. We see Arya throw an orange at Sansa just before the Stark family is shattered by the accusations against Ned and the ensuing actions against the Stark children. Ser Dontos beats Sansa over the head with a melon "morningstar" in an unsuccessful effort to divert Joffrey from ordering a more brutal attack. Aerys had specified that his wild fire grenades should be made in the shape of fruits. Arya eats a stolen fruit tart in the chapter where the Weasel Soup will lead to an apparent overthrow of the occupation at Harrenhal.

Back to the rainbow guard: Bryce Caron is present when Renly offers Stannis the peach from Highgarden but then eats the peach himself after Stannis declines the offer. Although I haven't taken a close look, I can't shake the hunch that Renly biting the peach in ACoK is linked to Biter biting Brienne's cheek in ADwD. After the cannibal has taken a bite off of Brienne's face, Renly look-alike Gendry kills Biter with the sword he has made. Instead of Brienne saving the king, the king saves the guard?

Lemons are not explicitly mentioned in connection with the rainbow guard, but there is indirect evidence of a link. Renly's yellow guard is Ser Emmon Cuy. As others have pointed out, his first name rhymes with lemon. There are two other Emmons in the books: Emmon Frey, a supporter of the Lannisters, and Duram Bar Emmon, a supporter of Stannis.

. . . Cersei took a sip: water, mixed with lemon squeezings, so tart she spit it out. . . . She took another swallow of lemon water and sloshed it round her mouth to freshen her breath. A moth had gotten into the lantern Ser Boros was holding; she could hear it buzzing and see the shadow of its wings as it beat against the glass. . . . Ser Loras might be as pretty as a maiden's dream, but underneath his white cloak he was Tyrell to the bone. For all she knew, this night's foul fruit had been planted and nurtured in Highgarden.

AFfC, Cersei I

"If you are unhappy with the arrangements, go to King's Landing and take it up with my sweet sister." Cersei would devour Emmon Frey and pick her teeth with his bones.

AFfC, Jaime VII

Lord Emmon rubbed his mouth His hand came away red and slimy from the sourleaf.

AFfC, Jaime VII

So we have a passage with a fairly direct connection between lemon (that Cersei considers undrinkable), a bug and a member of the Rainbow Guard. Soon, an Emmon is mentioned in connection with Cersei's oral hygiene and the same Emmon is described as having a red mouth. So the links are there to be followed, although GRRM is indirect in his use of the lemons and the Rainbow Guard motif.

Young Lord Bar Emmon is described but does not have much of a presence in the story so far. His sigil, however, is a swordfish and he contributes the use of a ship called Swordfish to the fleet Stannis assembles for the Battle of the Blackwater. Davos describes the role of the  Swordfish this way:

With a grinding, splintering, tearing crash, Swordfish split the rotted hulk asunder. She burst like an overripe fruit, but no fruit had ever screamed that shattering wooden scream. From inside her Davos saw green gushing from a thousand broken jars, poison from the entrails of a dying beast.

ACoK, Davos III

It is Bar Emmon's ship that releases the wild fire on the waters, playing a key role in dooming the fleet and thousands of sailors to a fiery death. The fruit analogy is explicit here and we all recall that wild fire is often contained in fruit-shaped jars.

Of course, this forum seems unanimous in the belief that Lem Lemoncloak is a pseudonym for Ser Richard Lonmouth, a former squire for Rhaegar Targaryen. I would think that yellow cloak has to be a deliberate allusion to the yellow cloak of Renly's guard. This would also confirm the lemon / mouth connection in the other excerpts.

Ser Parmen Crane (purple) of the Rainbow Guard wears plums on his surcoat. He is a mysterious presence and seems to be a prisoner of war soon after joining the supporters of Stannis. As I mentioned earlier, I believe plums are linked to pregnancy symbolism.

Three or four fruits might not seem like a strong motif, considering there are seven members of the Rainbow Guard and that the peach is associated with Renly more than with his guard. In examining mentions of Rainbow Guard members in the books, however, they are often found juxtaposed with members of House Redwyne and the two Fossoway houses, associated with grapes / wine and apples.

If you're like me, and you get a kick out of following symbolic links to great lengths, here's another convoluted fruit / guard link. (If you don't believe the books contain complex symbols, skip this list.)

  • The Seven Swords Inn in Duskendale is named for seven members of House Darklyn who served in the king's guard, contributing more king's guard members over the years than any other House.
  • The Darklyns were wiped out after the Defiance of Duskendale, when the Darklyn's took King Aerys hostage for a year. Not guard-like behavior.
  • The sole "survivor" of the Defiance of Duskendale was Dontos Hollard, spared by request of a lord commander of the king's guard, Ser Barristan.
  • To help protect Sansa, Ser Dontos hit her with a ripe melon that he used as if it were a morningstar weapon. (When Arya hit Sansa with a piece of fruit earlier in the books, she mockingly called Sansa, "Your Grace.")
  • Brienne hit Ser Loras over the head with a morningstar in the melee to earn the reward of joining Renly's Rainbow Guard. Ser Loras was Lord Commander of the Rainbow Guard.
  • The blue cloak given to Brienne was one that Renly had hoped to give to Ser Barristan.
  • In the common room of the Seven Swords Inn, the painter (sister of a captain of the guards) brings Brienne her repainted shield with the sigil of Ser Duncan the Tall, a lord commander of the king's guard.

Bugs

As I got deeper into exploration of the key words and symbols associated with the Rainbow Guard, I realized that the bug imagery is mostly linked to Parmen Crane through the use of the verb "to crane," as in craning one's neck and cranes used for hauling things to the top of the Wall:

Cranes stood sentry up there, like the skeleton of great birds, and among them walked men in black as small as ants.

AGoT, Jon III

If he craned his neck out as far as it could go, he could see other cells to his right and left and above him. He was a bee in a stone honeycomb, and someone had torn off his wings.

AGoT, Tyrion V

Catelyn spied . . . Fossoway apples red and green, Lord Tarly's striding huntsman, oak leaves for Oakheart, cranes for Crane, a cloud of black-and-orange butterflies for the Mullendores.

.  . hedge knights and free riders who had come swarming to make Renly Baratheon a king in fact as well as name.

ACoK, Catelyn II

But the word "crane" is often used in association with dragons in the text, as well as bugs. I suspect the crane link to dragons is because of the purple and indigo eyes of the Targaryens. Recall that indigo is associated with House Mallister, the sigil of which is an eagle, and dragons are also described in terms of eagles.

Thrice that day she caught sight of Drogon. Once he was so far off that he might have been an eagle, slipping in and out of distant clouds.

ADwD, Dany X

The dragons craned their necks around.

ADwD, Dany VIII

She watched his head crane around at the end of that long serpentine neck, saw his black wings unfold.

ADwD, Dany IX

Quentyn . . . craned his neck back.

ADwD, The Dragontamer

Of course, as I tried to get to the end of the symbols associated with the Rainbow Guard, I discovered new things - word play possibilities, for instance. The author also seems to use colors in deliberate pairs - a lot of red and yellow pairings and some green and yellow. In addition to Lem Lemoncloak, there are "rainbow characters" such as the Blue Bard, Merry Crane, Greenbeard (a Tyroshi member of the Brotherhood without Banners), Brown Ben Plumm and possibly Ser Morgarth and Ser Shadrich, each of whom echoes some aspect of Renly's original seven. There are also a lot of new ways of looking at "green characters" in association with the Garth Greenhand legend and the green middle of the rainbow guard. When "Renly" kills Ser Guyard Morrigen at the Battle of the Blackwater, I believe Renly's Ghost may take on the role of a green guard character who reappears in the guise of minor characters throughout the books. If I can come up with some coherent thoughts, I may flesh out some of these ideas later.

Edited by Seams

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On 3/19/2018 at 5:14 PM, Springwatch said:

This all makes the magic of the Wall look a bit sinister. I argued above that a rainbow, metaphorically speaking, represents entrapment and coercion - and this is such a good fit here.

Maybe the Wall is the problem with the off-kilter seasons. Maybe the Hightowers and the leaders of the Faith wanted endless summers down south and didn't care if that meant perpetual winter for the north. Taking down the giant "crystal" will liberate the trapped rainbows and allow the seasons to return to their natural rhythm.

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I can tell you've put a lot of work into this and it is an interesting idea, but I get the feeling you're over-reaching in places

 

10 hours ago, Seams said:

....Flowers, birds

As indicated in the title, there are a number of associations between members of the rainbow guard and elements of nature. If you haven't reviewed the wiki summary about the rainbow guard members, you might want to refresh your memory at that link before proceeding.

The sigils of five of the seven guards feature flowers and birds: gold roses (Tyrell), sunflowers (Cuy), nightingales (Caron), a crow (Morrigen) and cranes (Crane). The two outliers are Royce and Tarth: the primary element of the Royce sigil is runes and Brienne's family sigil is suns and crescent moons.

To me, one exception of out seven breaks the pattern. Two exceptions blow it right out of the water.

 

10 hours ago, Seams said:

Fruit

The fruit associations with the rainbow guards are not always as clear as the flowers and birds, but I think they are deliberate....

Maybe, or perhaps GRRM just has a thing about fruit, or perhaps the English language just has a paucity of metaphors and similes that are appropriate in a pseudo-mediaeval setting - especially when you need seven volumes worth of them....

 

10 hours ago, Seams said:

 

If you're like me, and you get a kick out of following symbolic links to great lengths, here's another convoluted fruit / guard link. (If you don't believe the books contain complex symbols, skip this list.)

  • The Seven Swords Inn in Duskendale is named for seven members of House Darklyn who served in the king's guard, contributing more king's guard members over the years than any other House.
  • The Darklyns were wiped out after the Defiance of Duskendale, when the Darklyn's took King Aerys hostage for a year. Not guard-like behavior.
  • The sole "survivor" of the Defiance of Duskendale was Dontos Hollard, spared by request of a lord commander of the king's guard, Ser Barristan.
  • To help protect Sansa, Ser Dontos hit her with a ripe melon that he used as if it were a morningstar weapon. (When Arya hit Sansa with a piece of fruit earlier in the books, she mockingly called Sansa, "Your Grace.")
  • Brienne hit Ser Loras over the head with a morningstar in the melee to earn the reward of joining Renly's Rainbow Guard. Ser Loras was Lord Commander of the Rainbow Guard.
  • The blue cloak given to Brienne was one that Renly had hoped to give to Ser Barristan.
  • In the common room of the Seven Swords Inn, the painter (sister of a captain of the guards) brings Brienne her repainted shield with the sigil of Ser Duncan the Tall, a lord commander of the king's guard.

Now that is a suggestive link of events. The only thing I can nit-pick is there is of course no 'blue cloak'. The Rainbow Guard all had the same cloak, a Rainbow Cloak. Brienne was 'Brienne the Blue' before she joined the guard.

10 hours ago, Seams said:

.....

Of course, as I tried to get to the end of the symbols associated with the Rainbow Guard, I discovered new things - word play possibilities, for instance. The author also seems to use colors in deliberate pairs - a lot of red and yellow pairings and some green and yellow. In addition to Lem Lemoncloak, there are "rainbow characters" such as the Blue Bard, Merry Crane, Greenbeard (a Tyroshi member of the Brotherhood without Banners), Brown Ben Plumm and possibly Ser Morgarth and Ser Shadrich, each of whom echoes some aspect of Renly's original seven. There are also a lot of new ways of looking at "green characters" in association with the Garth Greenhand legend and the green middle of the rainbow guard. When "Renly" kills Ser Guyard Morrigen at the Battle of the Blackwater, I believe Renly's Ghost may take on the role of a green guard character who reappears in the guise of minor characters throughout the books. If I can come up with some coherent thoughts, I may flesh out some of these ideas later.

I do believe that Renly's Ghost was said to have been played by Garlan the Gallant - if there's to be a real 'guarding' role for that character surely it would have to be as Margaery's champion (because Loras is currently hors de combat)?

Regarding the Blue Bard, it strikes me he is as innocent as Brienne when he gets sucked into the whole framing of Margaery scenario, so perhaps the colour is drawing parallels between their sufferings at the hands of the unjust?

One resonance I've not had time to follow up myself, is that Brienne really reminds me of Perceval/Parsifal from the Arthurian cycle - the Pure Fool. The endless quest, her 'fool's errand' to Crackclaw Point, and most tellingly when she finally comes to meet Lady Stoneheart, her interrogation can be boiled down to 'who does it (the sword - Oathkeeper/ex-Ice/Excalibur?) serve?'

 

10 hours ago, Seams said:

Maybe the Wall is the problem with the off-kilter seasons. Maybe the Hightowers and the leaders of the Faith wanted endless summers down south and didn't care if that meant perpetual winter for the north. Taking down the giant "crystal" will liberate the trapped rainbows and allow the seasons to return to their natural rhythm.

Quite the opposite - the Wall was built after the Long Night, making it a response to the off-kilter seasons - or else all the legends about it are wrong.

 

In short, I'm not saying I think you're wrong with your overall thrust, but I'd need to see fewer loose ends before I'm convinced.

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4 hours ago, Rufus Snow said:

I get the feeling you're over-reaching in places

I can't speak for @Seams, but I'd say we have to overreach to get anywhere. You can make progress by looking at the weaknesses in a theory - much easier than trying for a full and perfect solution in one go.

16 hours ago, Seams said:

If you're like me, and you get a kick out of following symbolic links to great lengths, here's another convoluted fruit / guard link. (If you don't believe the books contain complex symbols, skip this list.)

  • The Seven Swords Inn in Duskendale is named for seven members of House Darklyn who served in the king's guard, contributing more king's guard members over the years than any other House.
  • The Darklyns were wiped out after the Defiance of Duskendale, when the Darklyn's took King Aerys hostage for a year. Not guard-like behavior.
  • The sole "survivor" of the Defiance of Duskendale was Dontos Hollard, spared by request of a lord commander of the king's guard, Ser Barristan.
  • To help protect Sansa, Ser Dontos hit her with a ripe melon that he used as if it were a morningstar weapon. (When Arya hit Sansa with a piece of fruit earlier in the books, she mockingly called Sansa, "Your Grace.")
  • Brienne hit Ser Loras over the head with a morningstar in the melee to earn the reward of joining Renly's Rainbow Guard. Ser Loras was Lord Commander of the Rainbow Guard.
  • The blue cloak given to Brienne was one that Renly had hoped to give to Ser Barristan.
  • In the common room of the Seven Swords Inn, the painter (sister of a captain of the guards) brings Brienne her repainted shield with the sigil of Ser Duncan the Tall, a lord commander of the king's guard.

I see the broad picture, but it's complicated. The one simple thread I can pick out of it is this: Fire hits Ice with a Morning Star.

This is from assuming red and black are fire colours, and blue and white are ice colours, so -

  • Brienne (black horse) strikes Loras (white horse) with a morningstar.
  • Dontos the Red strikes Sansa (in blue) with a morningstar.

To stretch it a bit further: taking up @Lollygag's idea of an orange being the likeness of the rising sun -

  • Arya (unknown colour) strikes Sansa (in white) with a morning star.

(It's a bit of a reach, but I like it. :) )

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22 hours ago, Seams said:

Fruit

The fruit associations with the rainbow guards are not always as clear as the flowers and birds, but I think they are deliberate. I mentioned earlier that Lord Bryce Caron was the orange guard and that he is killed by Ser Philip Foote. A color is not necessarily the same thing as a fruit, even with the same name, but the books contain numerous examples of oranges (fruit) and feet in the same image or paragraph. So I think it's safe to say that the color and fruit are intended to be part of the same motif. I found this orange fruit example featuring a royal guard after my earlier orange / foot comment:

. . . the crowd was throwing things . . . Others farther back let fly with lemons, limes and oranges, crying "War! War! To the spears!" One of the guards was hit in the eye with a lemon, and the captain himself had an orange splatter off his foot.

AFfC, The Captain of the Guards (Areo Hotah)

The weaponizing of fruit may be worth exploring...

"The maesters say it comes from the fires of the earth. They call it obsidian."
Mormont snorted. "They can call it lemon pie for all I care. If it kills as you claim, I want more of it.". . .ASoS
"When a smith makes a sword, he thrusts the blade into the fire, beats on it with a hammer, then plunges it into iced water to temper the steel. If you would savor the sweet taste of the fruit, you must water the tree."
"This tree has been watered with blood."
"How else, to grow a soldier?". . . ADwD
 
Also (couldn't resist):
22 hours ago, Seams said:

But the word "crane" is often used in association with dragons in the text, as well as bugs. I suspect the crane link to dragons is because of the purple and indigo eyes of the Targaryens. Recall that indigo is associated with House Mallister, the sigil of which is an eagle, and dragons are also described in terms of eagles.

Thrice that day she caught sight of Drogon. Once he was so far off that he might have been an eagle, slipping in and out of distant clouds.

ADwD, Dany X

The dragons craned their necks around.

ADwD, Dany VIII

She watched his head crane around at the end of that long serpentine neck, saw his black wings unfold.

ADwD, Dany IX

Quentyn . . . craned his neck back.

 

Semi-unrelated on Cranes:

What do you think of Harren and heron? A squid turned into wading bird that eats riverfish. I'd really like to something like a kingfisher/fisher king...

Edited by hiemal

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@Seams Hmm, an interesting and difficult topic. I must admit to not really having examined the rainbow in terms of Renly’s Rainbow Guard but my investigation is related, so perhaps you’ll find it helpful. I’ve tried to map the rainbow colors to the seven aspects of the Faith (not complete). 

 

The first things I considered were the rainbow’s appearance after a bout of rain or a storm and its symbolism as a binding covenant – God’s promise never again to destroy the earth by flood. This could connect to Storm’s End and the story of Duran Godsgrief and Elenei but even more so to the Hammer of the Waters which caused significant flooding and the breaking of the Arm of Dorne. Robert of course is heavily associated with the Warhammer. Let’s just assume Robert is symbolic of an ancient character involved in causing the Hammer of the Waters. His gentler younger brother Renly then represents the deity who promises never to destroy the planet by flood again, hence the Rainbow Guard as a symbol of the covenant.

 Applying this logic to the Faith then holds similar meaning. Though no one has figured out how these things fit together, there are noticeable similarities between the Faith, the Wall and the Others. In a nutshell, I think the Faith on Westeros can be viewed as a guardian against the proliferation of fire magic, its rainbow colors testifying to the promise of the covenant never to destroy the continent by flood (or by the Others) and keeping to that promise so long as the conditions (no fire magic) are met. The Wall that reflects these rainbow colors is also a “guardian” of course. The binding covenant here is the NW oath sworn by the black brothers.

Notice that like the seven colors of the rainbow, the oath contains seven binding pledges, all those beginning with “I”:

 

Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death.

1.       I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children.

2.       I shall wear no crowns and win no glory.

3.       I shall live and die at my post.

4.       I am the sword in the darkness.

5.       I am the watcher on the walls.

6.       I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men.

7.       I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come

 

Melisandre’s fire magic and her destruction of the “rainbow” represent a breach of that sacred covenant, in fact, Loras is also guilty, since he destroys his own rainbow guard. Through Cersei’s meddling, the Faith is now armed and ready to strike back. It’s been noted above that the Valyrians seem to have shunned Westeros after the arrival of the First Men. Dragonstone was built on an island and the Targaryens only took refuge there because of the Doom, keeping to themselves until Aegon the Conqueror rose with his dragons. But Aegon was wise. His embracing of the Faith can be considered a kind of truce. Aegon the Cruel shattered the military arm of the Faith but the religion itself remained intact, no cause for alarm – until the arrival of Mel, perhaps even before her, with Aerys the Mad King and his fascination with wildfire and reactivation of the Alchemists Guild.

 

The colors of the Faith

As noted in the OP, white light is refracted by a prism to produce the rainbow colors, this being a feature of the crystals used by the Faith. I believe this splitting of light alludes to “splitting” the power of fire magic, light coming from the fiery sun. I think this is intimately connected to the destructive effects of fire magic on the planet, more clearly demonstrated by the Doom but also by the widespread desertification of Essos (that’s another topic). In view of the faces of the Seven, warped fertility magic related to the concept of a mother goddess (maid, mother, crone) and horned lord (warrior, smith father), and practiced over centuries on Essos and even on Westeros, are also part of the equation (sorry, that’s again another topic but essential to the interpretation – more on that here).

Let’s say white light that is split into its constituent parts represents a dismantling of the forces associated with virulent fire magic into more sustainable forms. George expresses this dismantling very forcefully:

Quote

 They knelt in the grass beneath the weeping woman, facing each other, with Lannister between them. The septon removed a faceted crystal sphere from the soft cloth bag at his waist. He lifted it high above his head, and the light shattered. Rainbows danced across the Imp’s face …

Shattering light conjures up darkness in my mind but what we get is the rainbow. So now to map the colors onto the Seven Pointed Star. This is where Renly’s Rainbow Guard may be helpful, and perhaps the main purpose of the guard in the text. Examining colors in relation to people, animals and other items might also be fruitful.

 

Brienne the Blue: Brienne is the easiest. She’s associated with blue sapphires and the blue waters of Tarth. That blue is often associated with innocence is supported by the text. 

The Blue Bard was innocent. Sansa thinks of Loras in his blue sapphire armour as innocent looking.

Tyene is portrayed as innocent as a maid: 

Quote

She  (Tyene) was sitting cross-legged on a pillow beneath the raised dais where the high seats stood, but she rose as they entered, dressed in a clinging gown of pale blue samite with sleeves of Myrish lace that made her look as innocent as the Maid herself. In one hand was a piece of embroidery she had been working on, in the other a pair of golden needles. Her hair was gold as well, and her eyes were deep blue pools …

 

Quote

Lady Tyene’s voice was gentle, and she looked as sweet as summer strawberries. Her mother had been a septa, and Tyene had an air of almost otherworldy innocence about her.

 Tyene is no innocent of course. Notice the summer association. And the otherworldly innocence.

 

Brienne also has blue innocent eyes and she is a maiden. In fact, she's one of the few truly innocent maidens. Maidens are innocent.

Blue also stands for the water elemen and for the Maiden.

Mapped onto the Seven-Pointed-Star – Blue translates to the Maiden.

 

Red – Ser Robar Royce.

Red is the colour of Blood. Ramsay’s red stallion is named Blood. Tyrion rides a blood red stallion to war. Kings and warriors with a particularly bloody reputation often have the epithet “Red” (Redhands, Red Kings (Boltons) etc.) In his rage, Loras kills Robar Royce. Dany’s Unsullied soldiers have been “watered with blood.”

Quote

 

  “This tree has been watered with blood.”

“How else, to grow a soldier?

 

Red / Blood maps on to the Warrior

 

Orange - Lord Bryce Caron

Orange is assigned to the Smith and perhaps to iron/ or fire. I got there by a convoluted route and so am very grateful for your discovery of “oranges and feet,” because this confirms my notion. Flame is often orange rather than red in the narrative and flames are essential to the Smith’s trade.
 

Septon Meribald’s horned feet are the clue. Not only did the Smith strengthen his feet, we can view horned feet in relation to working steel/iron. The secret to both horned feet and iron is the process of applying pressure as in hammering (in the case of iron/steel) or walking barefoot (horned feet). There’s a difference between iron and steel, the latter being stronger and more flexible. Now, the Hornfoot Men beyond the Wall are noted for their black, horned feet and for walking barefoot in the snow. But, after being exposed to the cold for too long, one Hornfoot man suffers from frostbite and will never walk again. He is slung across the back of a horse like a sack of grain.

 Following the motif, the Hornfoots’ soles can be said to be of iron, which is brittle and can crack. If oranges are symbolic of iron and of brittle feet, then perhaps the whole “Foote” corresponds to steel, and that’s why Bryce Caron of the mere oranges succumbed to Philip Foote. Septon Meribald carries oranges and strengthens his feet by walking barefoot. Perhaps the strengthening is equivalent to “steeling them?” But he gives his oranges away just in case? Because steel is strong, but no match for Valyrian steel?

Doran Martell cannot walk and ignores his blood oranges, blood oranges perhaps a euphemism for true Valyrian steel? Doran is protected by Areo Hotah, Captain of his guard. Hotah uses an ax and guess what? It’s made of iron:

Quote

Only when both edges were sharp enough to shave with did the captain lay his ash-and-iron wife down on the bed.

So, in addition to his Fisher King image, Martell is not protected by superior steel but by iron, which is brittle and may break under certain circumstances. He’s not protected by a sword, but by an ax and to make matter worse, both he and Hotah fail to pick up the blood oranges before they drop.

The Andals who brought the Faith to Westeros are associated (by etchings in stone in the Vale) with the double-sided ax as well as the Seven-Pointed-Star. Hotah's ax is double-sided and he is a guard, possibly with an inferior weapon. The ds-ax obviously gave way to the Seven-Pointed-Star, which seems to represent the better guard. 

 

Hehe, crackpot or no, it’s fun. I’ll stop here. I have some more ideas on the other colours …. Later.

Edited by Evolett

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On 3/21/2018 at 2:48 PM, Springwatch said:

I see the broad picture, but it's complicated. The one simple thread I can pick out of it is this: Fire hits Ice with a Morning Star.

This is from assuming red and black are fire colours, and blue and white are ice colours, so -

  • Brienne (black horse) strikes Loras (white horse) with a morningstar.
  • Dontos the Red strikes Sansa (in blue) with a morningstar.

To stretch it a bit further: taking up @Lollygag's idea of an orange being the likeness of the rising sun -

  • Arya (unknown colour) strikes Sansa (in white) with a morning star.

(It's a bit of a reach, but I like it. :) )

It does seem as if there is going to be some link between the colors and dawn, sunrise, sunset; or maybe something to do with the "hours" - the Caron nightingale sigil could be telling us something about dawn being imminent. Your morningstar theory seems like a possibility!

On 3/21/2018 at 5:33 PM, hiemal said:
"The maesters say it comes from the fires of the earth. They call it obsidian."
Mormont snorted. "They can call it lemon pie for all I care. If it kills as you claim, I want more of it.". . .ASoS
"When a smith makes a sword, he thrusts the blade into the fire, beats on it with a hammer, then plunges it into iced water to temper the steel. If you would savor the sweet taste of the fruit, you must water the tree."
"This tree has been watered with blood."
"How else, to grow a soldier?". . . ADwD
 
Also (couldn't resist):

Semi-unrelated on Cranes:

What do you think of Harren and heron? A squid turned into wading bird that eats riverfish. I'd really like to something like a kingfisher/fisher king...

That lemon pie line from Mormont is soooo useful in decoding some of these oddball symbols. If there is a duality in obsidian (dragon glass) and crystals used to cast rainbows, these lines might be the key, taken together with the line from Ser Jorah (Hey! Another Mormont!) about lemon and indigo grasses. So is obsidian linked to indigo?

I LOVE the Monty Python clip! How appropriate!

I had thought that Harren might be linked to the German word for "men," Herren. But you might be right to link it to the bird. I'm re-reading Dunk & Egg and looking forward to the pie scene with the multiple birds inside. There seems to be a lot of common symbolism in the Rainbow Guard and the Dunk & Egg stories.

There's a Tully who plays a key role in the jousting at Ashford Meadow in The Hedge Knight. It seems like any fisher king symbolism would have to relate to the Tully trout somehow. I'll keep you posted if I spot any allusions. (Or take a look at Evolett's post. She sees Prince Doran as a fisher king figure.)

4 hours ago, Evolett said:

I’ve tried to map the rainbow colors to the seven aspects of the Faith (not complete).  

Blue translates to the Maiden.

Red / Blood maps on to the Warrior

Orange is assigned to the Smith 

This is fascinating! I look forward to reading more. I tried for so long to find a method to explain GRRM's use of colors in the books, and the rainbow finally provided an overarching (so to speak) system. Your idea might provide further clarity.

As I make my way through a re-read of The Hedge Knight, I am finding a lot of orange and more feet. The color of the host of the tournament, Lord Ashford, is orange. The two orange jousters, sons of Lord Ashford, are eliminated in the first round of jousting by a Lannister (red) and a Baratheon (yellow). So it's as if the orange is separated into its two components.

In the course of the story, Dunk is threatened with losing a hand and a foot, since he both struck and kicked a Prince of the King's blood. He also fords the river on foot and sells a horse named Sweetfoot in order to buy armor for the jousting.

A lot of stuff to sort out here!

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11 hours ago, Seams said:

It does seem as if there is going to be some link between the colors and dawn, sunrise, sunset; or maybe something to do with the "hours" - the Caron nightingale sigil could be telling us something about dawn being imminent.

Sounds good; the nightingale of Nightsong, singing about about the sun throughout the night. The hour of the nightingale is just before dawn, but real nightingales sing at dusk also, so we may be looking at a sunset here.

I get the impression that in terms of frequency, the oranges of sunset are gradually replacing the lemons of full sun.  Certainly, in Winds:

Spoiler

there is not a single lemon left in the Vale.

Petyr says there are still lemons in Dorne ( - without a doubt, Dorne is the last stronghold of the sun).

 

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On 24.3.2018 at 1:28 AM, Seams said:

As I make my way through a re-read of The Hedge Knight, I am finding a lot of orange and more feet. The color of the host of the tournament, Lord Ashford, is orange. The two orange jousters, sons of Lord Ashford, are eliminated in the first round of jousting by a Lannister (red) and a Baratheon (yellow). So it's as if the orange is separated into its two components.

The orange Lord Ashford - possibly connecting to Hotah's ash-and-iron wife and my interpretation of orange representing iron? I also just recalled the Martell words - Unbowed, unbent, unbroken. As yet, Hotah and his ash and iron wife live up to this reputation, but for how long? Will the Martell's be wiped out in the books as well? 

Im not sure about the separation. Lannister red (it's usually called crimson) may be associated with blood and yellow (sun) with fire. Both would strengthen iron or orange iron swords + red or yellow would be stronger than iron alone. Actually, when you add iron + blood + fire you get Lightbringer, lol. 

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4 minutes ago, Evolett said:

The orange Lord Ashford - possibly connecting to Hotah's ash-and-iron wife and my interpretation of orange representing iron? I also just recalled the Martell words - Unbowed, unbent, unbroken. As yet, Hotah and his ash and iron wife live up to this reputation, but for how long? Will the Martell's be wiped out in the books as well? 

Im not sure about the separation. Lannister red (it's usually called crimson) may be associated with blood and yellow (sun) with fire. Both would strengthen iron or orange iron swords + red or yellow would be stronger than iron alone. Actually, when you add iron + blood + fire you get Lightbringer, lol. 

I'm already planning to re-read The Hedge Knight to try to get a better handle on the colors and the tourney symbolism. Aerion, the Targaryen prince who accuses Dunk and forces him into the Trial of Seven has a shield with the three dragon heads colored red, orange and yellow. When the two of them clash in the trial, all of Dunk's blows are described as breaking off or gouging into the flames on Aerion's shield. Then Dunk ends up using the shield to bash the guy and defeat him. Colors, flames and shields as weapons turned against the bearer - definitely something complex going on with all these symbols.

In the story, Dunk remarks a couple of times that he does not know how to pray. Then he receives help from the armorer Steely Pate who reminds him of a saying that Ser Arlan had taught him: "Oak and Iron, guard me well, or else I'm dead, and doomed to hell." Pate has just strengthened Dunk's shield but Dunk finds that Aerion's shield is stronger than his: "The shield was thicker than Dunk's had been, solid oak banded with iron." I see a link between doors and shields, so this might be a symbol of Dunk opening a door that had tried to shut him out. But it seems as if it must link to your Aero Hotah basket of symbols as well - Dunk and Hotah are both king's guards, and both from outside of the usual highborn circle of people in a royal household.

The Ashford / ash-and-iron connection leaped out at me as I was reading your earlier post, too! It reminded me of Theon's sister, Asha, who claims to have married an ax and given birth to a dirk (knife) as a suckling babe. Catelyn also noted at one point that Robb Stark was married to his sword. Dunk's shield is painted by Tanselle, the girl he finds attractive.

I'm starting to see the Ashford Meadow tourney and the Trial of Seven as metaphors for the overthrow of the Targaryens by Robert Baratheon. We witness the creation of the green apple Fossoway household at the tourney, with green on the side of Dunk (& Egg) and red on the side of Aerion and Maekar. Apples may be associated with kings and kingmakers in the books (I have to search for apple discussions to refresh my memory of this) and I think the implication is that the main group of Targs is old and withered and wormy while the upcoming Targ (or Baratheon) is new and not yet ripe. Two of the knights who support Dunk are named Humfrey and another is Lyonel Baratheon, the Laughing Storm. This is still a bit tentative, but I think these three might represent Renly, Stannis and Robert. Only one is a Baratheon, but the other two can make "Fury" anagrams. Both of the Humfreys die as a result of the Trial of Seven.

If the defeat of the orange Ashford knights by a Lannister and a Baratheon represents separation of orange into red and yellow, and if you're right about orange representing iron, the implication might be that a Lannister / Baratheon alliance (or marriage) would result in a strong new dynasty, putting orange back together. Since Cersei refuses to bear a child fathered by Robert, the iron is never restored and the new royal line falls apart after one generation.

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Yellow

@SeamsI agree with your assessment of yellow and indigo being on opposite ends of the range, also your assessment of indigo being a hard nut to crack. I've dug into the yellow and green.

Yellow – Emmon Cuy of the sunflowers.

 Yellow is definitely a sun symbol and I’m convinced it’s a female symbol rather than a male solar symbol.

  • Sunflowers – flowers are a feminine symbol.
  • Tyrell golden rose – very reminiscent of the sun in its depiction and color – also female.
  • The Rhoynish Sun in the sigil of House Martell was Nymeria’s symbol.
  • Yunkai, the Yellow City, calls herself “the queen of cities.”
  • The Maiden-made-of-Light of the GEoTD from which most of this originates is also a female sun symbol.

At first I assigned yellow to the Mother but after looking at the three Emmons, have decided yellow must represent the Crone on the Seven-Pointed-Star. Why?

  •  Yunkai may be think of itself as the "queen of cities" but it is old and crumbling.
  • Martell sigil: The Rhoynish Sun is speared which can allude to its being diminished and / or its sharpness – the latter evident in Dornish temperament and especially the war-mongering sand snakes (also recall Obara's story of choosing the spear  over her mother's tears)
  • After so many millennia, the Maiden-made-of-light is an outdated deity, comparable to a crone.

 -          The Crone in the triple goddess model brings the life cycle to closure, she’s the gateway to death. At the same time, she’s wise and provides guidance. Her symbols are the lantern and the key.

 

Emmon Cuy’s sunflowers lead us to House Tyrell, to the golden rose and to Lady Olenna Tyrell. She has sour breath and has lost her teeth (link to lemons!). She’s a crone, she’s the Queen of Thorns and is known for her sharp tongue. She ends Joffery’s life by poisoning his wine with the Strangler (crone as gateway to death).

Bar Emmon

Bar Emmon turns a splotchy grey and becomes powerless:

Quote

As the statues of the seven gods are burned, Bar Emmon is drained of color, and he is described as powerless after the Blackwater. 

.. alludes to aging and becoming feeble – a link to an old man or woman

 

House Bar Emmon is of Sharp Point and they provide the ship Swordfish which splits the hulk containing wildfire pots apart, initiating the blaze on the Blackwater. Sharp point and Swordfish = Queen of Thorn's sharp tongue. Also, as the obnoxious Biter chews Brienne’s cheek, she likens his long tongue to a sword. Lady Olenna’s elimination of Joffery sets the stage for Cersei’s wroth and the ensuing events – like the Swordfish, Lady Olena initiates the metaphorical blaze in King’s Landing.

Additionally, we get a lantern reference at Sharp Point: the Bar Emmon castle has a large watchtower crowned by a great fire.   

 

 Emmon Frey

Emmon Frey is married to Gemma Lannister at a young age. She was twice his age.

Emmon Frey’s prominent Adam’s apple is the link to Olena's Strangler and to the ability to speak or sing. The Adam’s apple houses the vocal chords. As the poison constricts Joffery’s throat he can no longer speak but coughs. I think apples in general are linked to singing – Sansa being a breed of apple and book Sansa knowing all the songs, loving Bards and singing etc. So the singing also connects back to Olenna Tyrell, or the Tyrells in general via the “Three Singers,” the three intertwined weirwoods growing at Highgarden. And we notice Olena plots to marry Sansa the singer to her eldest son, and she kills Joff, who happened to have a good “singing voice.”  

All Emmons who represent the crone are male (perhaps that's why they are Emmons (or Aemons?) and not Lemons). I’ve written about this phenomenon here. Walder Frey is another who symbolically usurps the Crone’s role.

Yellow represents the Crone of the Faith. 

 

Green

Thinking again of the rainbow as a symbol of guardianship and especially green as the lynchpin color brings to mind the green men who are guardians of the weirwoods on the Isle of Faces, also the Order of the Green Hand of the Gardeners of the Reach, an Order to whom the Manderlys still claim membership. I see the weirwoods as female, as a representation of Mother Earth on Westeros, revered by the children of the forest who sing songs of the earth. The weirwoods are probably the real "lynchpin" holding everything together. The green men then guard the female trees to keep them from harm. 

Guyard Morrigen, also known as Guyard the Green of the Rainbow Guard

Guyard the "green man" was not at his post when Renly was killed. (Renly himself showing both green man imagery - his green armor which stands sentry at the entrance to his tent, and female green imagery, this imagery reflected by his alliance with Loras, Highgarden, marriage to Maergary etc. )

Morrigen is probably a nod at the Morrigan of Irish mythology. Like the Morrigen sigil which depicts a crow on a green field, the Morrigan appears in the form of a crow. According to the Wiki:

She is believed to be a manifestation of the earth- and sovereignty-goddess, chiefly representing the goddess's role as guardian of the territory and its people. She is also associated with sovereignty, the land and livestock. The Morrígan is mainly associated with war and fate, especially with foretelling doom and death in battle. She is often described as a trio of individuals, all sisters, called 'the three Morrígna' and in this aspect bears resemblance to the triple goddess.

Green represents the Mother of the Fatih. 

 

Still working on the indigo.

Edited by Evolett

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42 minutes ago, Seams said:

In the story, Dunk remarks a couple of times that he does not know how to pray. Then he receives help from the armorer Steely Pate who reminds him of a saying that Ser Arlan had taught him: "Oak and Iron, guard me well, or else I'm dead, and doomed to hell." Pate has just strengthened Dunk's shield but Dunk finds that Aerion's shield is stronger than his: "The shield was thicker than Dunk's had been, solid oak banded with iron." I see a link between doors and shields, so this might be a symbol of Dunk opening a door that had tried to shut him out.

I'm afraid I haven't read the Hedge Knight, obviously I should. What strikes me here is the iron and your thoughts on Dunk opening a door that tries to shut him out. I feel reminded of that other purpose of iron - keeping the spirits of the kings of winter locked up in their tombs. Releasing the soul from the body by cremation is very important and demonstrated by Daenerys when she burns Drogo to release his spirit into the Night Lands. Mel also releases the soul "from its icy chains" when she burns a victim (as stated in her prayer) and fire is also the key breaking the magic binding the wights to their masters. I see this as freeing their souls from control. So the bound spirits of the kings of winter are an oddity because they can be seen as spirits of winter that are not set free. The door is closed. It's interesting that Dunk opens the door with a shield, rather than with a sword, and possibly a reference to Jon Snow who is a "shield" at the Wall and Ghost (at once a white shadow/kingsguard/shield) and spirit reference?     

1 hour ago, Seams said:

The Ashford / ash-and-iron connection leaped out at me as I was reading your earlier post, too! It reminded me of Theon's sister, Asha, who claims to have married an ax and given birth to a dirk (knife) as a suckling babe. Catelyn also noted at one point that Robb Stark was married to his sword. Dunk's shield is painted by Tanselle, the girl he finds attractive.

Nice catch :thumbsup:

1 hour ago, Seams said:

If the defeat of the orange Ashford knights by a Lannister and a Baratheon represents separation of orange into red and yellow, and if you're right about orange representing iron, the implication might be that a Lannister / Baratheon alliance (or marriage) would result in a strong new dynasty, putting orange back together. Since Cersei refuses to bear a child fathered by Robert, the iron is never restored and the new royal line falls apart after one generation.

I'm thinking iron must not be restored. 

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On 21/03/2018 at 2:38 AM, Seams said:

The weaponizing of fruit may be worth exploring in connection with guards, or it might need a whole discussion of its own. We see Arya throw an orange at Sansa just before the Stark family is shattered by the accusations against Ned and the ensuing actions against the Stark children. Ser Dontos beats Sansa over the head with a melon "morningstar" in an unsuccessful effort to divert Joffrey from ordering a more brutal attack. Aerys had specified that his wild fire grenades should be made in the shape of fruits. Arya eats a stolen fruit tart in the chapter where the Weasel Soup will lead to an apparent overthrow of the occupation at Harrenhal.

Sansa and Jeyne share a cold strawberry pie just before Cersei's coup. Red pie, yum.

Fruit in a pie seems to foreshadow something a bit special in terms of murder and mayhem - obsidian as lemon pie makes sense here.

On 21/03/2018 at 2:38 AM, Seams said:

Back to the rainbow guard: Bryce Caron is present when Renly offers Stannis the peach from Highgarden but then eats the peach himself after Stannis declines the offer. Although I haven't taken a close look, I can't shake the hunch that Renly biting the peach in ACoK is linked to Biter biting Brienne's cheek in ADwD. After the cannibal has taken a bite off of Brienne's face, Renly look-alike Gendry kills Biter with the sword he has made. Instead of Brienne saving the king, the king saves the guard?

I do feel this too. The peach is the sweetest and softest of fruits; the cheek is the softest and most tender part of the body. I get the feeling of injured innocence from wounds to the cheek (actually I think most of poor Tommen, forced to whip his 'whipping boy' until he 'bled from both cheeks'). Brienne has lost her innocence too.

8 hours ago, Evolett said:

I also just recalled the Martell words - Unbowed, unbent, unbroken.

I'd completely forgotten the Martell words, and they're great. There can be no rainbows in Dorne, because the light is unbowed, unbent, unbroken (and also there's not very much rain).

The colours themselves do appear, as represented by the peacock:

Quote

Arianne touched the pin that clasped his cloak, with its quarrelling swans. "I have always been fond of swans. No other bird is half so beautiful, this side of the Summer Isles."

"Your peacocks might dispute that," said Ser Balon.

ADWD - THE WATCHER

The multicolour peacock is contrasted with monochrome in Braavos too:

Quote

[Dareon] ...the crow had transformed himself into a peacock.... "I am done with darkness," he had announced.

AFFC - CAT OF THE CANALS

and again:

Quote

The bravos swaggered about like peacocks, fingering their swords, whilst the mighty dressed in charcoal grey and purple, blues that were almost black and blacks as dark as a moonless night.

AFFC - SAMWELL III

It's a curious thing that the indigo colours are aligned with the greys and blacks of the night, when you'd expect to find a such colour included in the spectrum of the peacock.

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3 hours ago, Springwatch said:

d completely forgotten the Martell words, and they're great. There can be no rainbows in Dorne, because the light is unbowed, unbent, unbroken (and also there's not very much rain).

Oh nice, I like this!

On 24.3.2018 at 1:28 AM, Seams said:

That lemon pie line from Mormont is soooo useful in decoding some of these oddball symbols. If there is a duality in obsidian (dragon glass) and crystals used to cast rainbows, these lines might be the key, taken together with the line from Ser Jorah (Hey! Another Mormont!) about lemon and indigo grasses. So is obsidian linked to indigo?

I noticed this line on lemon pie and obsidian a while ago but couldn't connect it then. But of course obsidian is glass and its baked in the fires of a volcano like a pie! Then there's this from one of Jon's chapters:

Quote

Glass, Jon mused, might be of use here. Castle Black needs its own glass gardens, like the ones at Winterfell. We could grow vegetables even in the deep of winter. The best glass came from Myr, but a good clear pane was worth its weight in spice, and green and yellow glass would not work as well.

If lemon pie = obsidian, could this mean obsidian isn't good enough? Jon needs a good clear crystal. A pane, perhaps a shield rather than a sword (thinking of Dunk and his shield here). The Wall is a basically a giant crystal and a shield. I'm wondering now if a clear shield might refract the light from the blue sapphire eyes of the Others and wights and render them powerless... wasn't there a tale about Serwyn and the Mirror Shield? If that worked with dragons, why not something similar against the Others? 

From the other perspective - if indigo is linked to obsidian and indigo is hard to overcome then something stronger than indigo must be employed and actually, that can only be white light, which encompasses all colors. 

Edited by Evolett

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On 3/13/2018 at 8:22 PM, Seams said:
  • Key characters other than Renly have their own Rainbow Guards or partial "rainbow" protection.
  • If you learned the "Roy G. Biv" mnemonic in grade school (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet), stop thinking of the name of one person and instead think of Roy as one part of the team and Biv as a different wing of the team; "roy" and "biv" might actually be opposing forces, in fact. Alternatively, the point might be to unite all seven colors in spite of their diversity: Renly comes close, but he does not have an indigo guard among his complete team of seven guards.
  • That leaves green in the middle as a major player in his own right - does he play both sides? Does he represent Garth Greenhand? What can we infer by examining the many "green" characters throughout the books?

 

On 3/17/2018 at 2:00 PM, Seams said:

But I also love this: "strengthening two sides to make something stronger." This might explain why some characters seem to favor one side of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow) and others seem to have an affinity for the other side (blue, indigo, violet - or, in GRRM's scheme - blue, violet, black). With her command of fire, I wonder whether Dany will represent the red / orange / yellow forces, and Jon will represent blue, violet and black. They just need a green and white presence to bring them together.

This may be the final evidence you guys need to have me committed, or it might offer a more accurate way to look at GRRM's use of rainbows.

As I indicated earlier, the strong Rainbow Guard connections to the tourney at Ashford Meadow led me to re-read the first Dunk & Egg story, The Hedge Knight, featuring events surrounding that tournament and introducing the key characters from that generation.

A thought crossed my mind that seems to make sense of the odd couple partnership of Dunk & Egg in terms of the "strengthening two sides to make something stronger" theme that @The Fattest Leech described in linked material about House Mallister.

Instead of dividing the rainbow into team "Roy" and team "Biv" with "G" in the middle as some kind of neutral presence I think GRRM may divide the rainbow this way:

Roy V and Big.

Dunk and Egg are our clues:

Egg will be Aegon V - the fifth Aegon. "Roy" means "king". The fire colors and violet eyes are associated with Targaryens.

Dunk's most salient feature is that he is BIG - nearly 7 feet tall at age 16 or 17.

I think the strength of the Dunk & Egg pair is that they bring qualities to the partnership that the other lacks - Dunk is physically strong and has entree to the world of small folk and nature. Egg is very smart and has entree to the world of the highborn and the justice system. The two of them complete each other and help the other to advance in the world. In other words, they embody the rainbow.

The design of Dunk's sigil is the moment their partnership is solidified, I think:

"What color paint do you have?" he asked, hoping that might give him an idea.

"I can mix paints to make any color you want."

The old man’s brown had always seemed drab to Dunk. “The field should be the color of sunset,” he said suddenly. “The old man liked sunsets. And the device . . .”

“An elm tree,” said Egg. “A big elm tree, like the one by the pool, with a brown trunk and green branches.”

“Yes,” Dunk said “That would serve. An elm tree . . . but with a shooting star above. Could you do that?”

[The Hedge Knight]

Both characters are inspired by the place they had slept the previous night and where they affirmed their partnership when Dunk agreed to take on Egg as his squire:

On the outskirts of the great meadow, a good half mile from town and castle, he found a place where a bend in a brook had formed a deep pool. Reeds grew thick along its edge, and a tall, leafy elm presided over all. The spring grass there was as green as any knight’s banner and soft to the touch. It was a pretty spot, and no one had yet laid claim to it. This will be my pavilion, Dunk told himself, a pavilion roofed with leaves, greener even than the banners of the Tyrells and the Estermonts.

Egg soon fell asleep beside the dying fire. Dunk lay on his back nearby, his big hands behind his head, gazing up at the night sky. He could hear distant music from the tourney grounds half a mile away. The stars were everywhere, thousands and thousands of them. One fell as he was watching, a bright green streak that flashed across the black, then was gone.

A falling star brings luck to him who sees it, Dunk thought. But the rest of them are all in their pavilions by now, staring up at silk instead of sky. So the luck is mine alone.

[The Hedge Knight]

The background for the shield is chosen by Dunk, and is the colors of the setting sun or “dying fire.” (Aside from the Targ/fire colors, the symbolism of the dying fire may be a commentary on the state of the Targaryen dynasty, which has had some crazy and unlovable monarchs in the generations preceding Egg.) The next element for the shield is chosen by Egg and it is the big elm tree – very earthy but also huge and strong and brown and green, colors not associated with Targaryens and symbols of a hedge knight’s “home” in nature. Dunk then adds the falling star – the one he saw was green; the one on the finished shield is described only as “a bright slash of paint.”

The shield contains sky and earth, sunset and a living tree, royal colors and hedge knight colors. Dunk later worries that the shield is “painted up like death,” but the armorer Steely Pate reassures him that “The elm’s alive . . . See how green the leaves are? Summer leaves, for certain….”

Pate also puts a new rim on the shield and reinforcing steel bands across the back, charging Dunk only “a copper.” For literary purposes, the finished shield is a collaboration of Ser Arlan, Dunk, Egg, the puppeteer Tanselle, and the armorer, Pate. Youth and age, small and big, woman and man, highborn and lowborn.

On 3/14/2018 at 6:40 AM, Lollygag said:

The light wave scale has indigo, but the artist's color wheel does not.

http://images.utrechtart.com/products/optionLarge/Utrecht/CWfront.jpg

When @Lollygag offered the information about the color wheel earlier in this thread, my initial thought was that it was not directly relevant as GRRM mentions rainbows but there are so few painters in ASOIAF. But the centrality of Dunk’s shield in decoding the color symbolism and Tanselle’s assurance that she can mix any color makes it clear that the color wheel is important. Of course, we will see Brienne in AFfC go through a similar process of describing to a painter the design she would like on her shield – resulting in a duplication of the shield designed by Dunk & Egg.

Some parting thoughts on Roy V and Big:

Aside from green and blue/indigo being the colors of a hedge knight sleeping on the ground and looking at the sky (day and night?), I’m not sure how blue, indigo or green will be embodied by Dunk. Maybe my ongoing re-read project will help to clarify that. Or maybe the earth and sky are sufficient explanation.

Brienne is a descendant of Dunk, and she is associated with blue and is also “big”. I wonder whether she will be tied to indigo and green? She is hung from an elm (by a guy named Lem) toward the end of ADwD.

I suspect that GRRM includes black and white as adjunct colors for his rainbow motif. The albinism of Bloodraven is probably significant in this regard, as well as the black dragon sigil of the Blackfyres.

Stark grey may be part of the symbolism as well, or may represent an absence of color, a neutral presence in the Westeros color scheme.

Edited by Seams

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On 31.3.2018 at 5:25 PM, Seams said:
On 14.3.2018 at 11:40 AM, Lollygag said:

The light wave scale has indigo, but the artist's color wheel does not.

http://images.utrechtart.com/products/optionLarge/Utrecht/CWfront.jpg

When @Lollygag offered the information about the color wheel earlier in this thread, my initial thought was that it was not directly relevant as GRRM mentions rainbows but there are so few painters in ASOIAF. But the centrality of Dunk’s shield in decoding the color symbolism and Tanselle’s assurance that she can mix any color makes it clear that the color wheel is important. Of course, we will see Brienne in AFfC go through a similar process of describing to a painter the design she would like on her shield – resulting in a duplication of the shield designed by Dunk & Egg.

It certainly appears to be relevant, especially since we not only have a few painters in the story, but also the "Painted Mountains" above Old Valyria, the "Painted Dogs" of the Mountains of the Moon and the painted children Dany sees in Qarth. If we view the rainbow as a natural phenomenon, then the painted version (without indigo), like the Rainbow Guard, is possibly an artificial construct made by man. So it's interesting that the Blue Guard stands out as being uncertain, with Renly having originally reserved the position for Selmy. Brienne fights Loras and claims the place as a boon for her victory. I noticed that all three are associated with the colour blue - Selmy has pale blue eyes, Loras and Brienne are associated with blue sapphires, Loras again with blue forget-me-not flowers woven into a cloak. I tend to think that the blue spot must be occupied by someone with a capacity to act in an unconventional way, or to find unconventional solutions to problems. The above three contenders deviate from the norms of the society in which they live, even Selmy, who earned his title "Barristan the Bold" at the mere age of 10, when he rode in a tourney as a mystery knight. He may be old now but he is still strong, a good fighter and a renowned knight. In the story, blue flowers represent such unconventional people as well. This idea is inherent to the symbolism of blue winter roses, associated with Lyanna, who like Brienne, would have liked to engage in fighting and with Jon, who takes the Night's Watch down an unheard of path by allowing the freefolk to pass the Wall. That blue winter roses grow in a hot-house and a blue flower grows from a crack in the icy Wall also reinforces this idea. Loras is not only different because of sexual orientation, he also finds a nifty way to overcome Gregor Clegane, when he rides a mare against the Mountain's stallion. Notice that Ser  Gregor is at once a "mountain" and a "dog," reminding us of the Painted Mountains and the Painted Dogs. I would say the true blue position within the natural rainbow probably belongs to Jon Snow. 

Tanselle is not only a painter, as a puppeteer, she is an artist in the true sense of the word. It also suggests that the painter "pulls the strings," is the controlling factor in the game. She is in possession of all the colours, which she can mix and match as she chooses. Brienne's shield is also painted by a woman. 

 

On 31.3.2018 at 5:25 PM, Seams said:

The shield contains sky and earth, sunset and a living tree, royal colors and hedge knight colors. Dunk later worries that the shield is “painted up like death,” but the armorer Steely Pate reassures him that “The elm’s alive . . . See how green the leaves are? Summer leaves, for certain….”

Dunk's shield is most definitely associated with death via the dying sun and the elm tree. Amongst other interesting qualities, elm wood was used for coffins and the tree itself as a gallows (as we see with Brienne as well). As a mystery knight, Dunk was the "Gallows Knight." But importantly, the elm's leaves are green and I feel this relates to "only death can pay for life" and the theme of seasonality, which is out of sync in Martin's world. The citations you provided emphasizes this point:

The heat, (the hot Summer) must be slain - the scene where Dunk defeats Aerion Brightflame with the shield:

On 25.3.2018 at 1:17 PM, Seams said:

I'm already planning to re-read The Hedge Knight to try to get a better handle on the colors and the tourney symbolism. Aerion, the Targaryen prince who accuses Dunk and forces him into the Trial of Seven has a shield with the three dragon heads colored red, orange and yellow. When the two of them clash in the trial, all of Dunk's blows are described as breaking off or gouging into the flames on Aerion's shield. Then Dunk ends up using the shield to bash the guy and defeat him. Colors, flames and shields as weapons turned against the bearer - definitely something complex going on with all these symbols.

Summer (or autumn) ends when it is slain by the Gallows Knight with the shield of death. But that is necessary for winter to set in and for a regular spring season to be born:

On 31.3.2018 at 5:25 PM, Seams said:

On the outskirts of the great meadow, a good half mile from town and castle, he found a place where a bend in a brook had formed a deep pool. Reeds grew thick along its edge, and a tall, leafy elm presided over all. The spring grass there was as green as any knight’s banner and soft to the touch. It was a pretty spot, and no one had yet laid claim to it. This will be my pavilion, Dunk told himself, a pavilion roofed with leaves, greener even than the banners of the Tyrells and the Estermonts.

Indeed, no one has yet laid claim to spring, that's what we are all waiting for. Dunk here represents the mythological dying and resurrecting god, who by his death and resurrection, ushers in another seasonal cycle. Greener than the banner of the Tyrells also alludes to vegetation and to the fertility of the land that the Tyrells as the breadbasket of the realm are noted for. 

It's interesting that Dunk nurtures an "Egg," while Brienne, whose shield is an image of Dunk's, looks after a "Pod," which alludes to seeds in a pod. Together, we can think of them as mentors to the representatives of Fauna and Flora. I wonder if the deep pool in Dunk's meadow is blue or if we can associate Dunk with the blue sky in particular? His entire biography is quite unconventional. 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 3/13/2018 at 8:22 PM, Seams said:

I haven't dug deeply into the rainbow connections for Ser Loras and Brienne because they are more complex characters. It does complicate things that Loras kills several of his "brothers" in the guard. I would welcome comments that help to understand how Loras and Brienne are shaped by, or link back to, the rainbow guard and its symbols.

Just wanted to add a link here for some thoughts about blue that I posted in another thread. As is often the case, the ideas grew as I wrote and I think they are worth adding to this thread focused on color analysis.

In a nutshell, blue is associated with the Blue Fork of the Trident and seems to have a pattern of splitting (three people representing one blue entity or one blue entity having a threefold presence of some kind). Blue is also associated with purity and water. In combination with brown, it may represent the forces necessary for plants to grow as well as the ingredients for mud.

Another thread about glass candles also included some speculation about the green and black colored candles, and whether the two different colors had different powers. (Several comments including the one in this link may be relevant.)

 

 

Edited by Seams

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On 3/13/2018 at 5:22 PM, Seams said:

The burning of the indigo could be a way of showing Dany (with Drogon's help) conquering death or leaving behind the old Targaryen traditions to begin a new dynasty with herself as the founder.

Hey thanks.  (Best grass chat all day as well.)  Is Danny's fire cleaner / better than Mel's and the red priests' ?    R'Hllor-ists seem like they could be good shepherds for a slavery-free Essos if only they got a tiny attitude adjustment by having Drogon's fire cleanse the shadows out of the red god's flame.   Like how danny tamed the undying, but less lethal more symbolic.  Then danny could trust the priests to be good custodians to run the continent with some native love in her absence.   But the Targ dynasty seemed just as plagued by icky minded rulers who burned people and their history does not recommend their dragonfire above the shadowflame of r'hollor. 

Maybe there's a higher purple than the royal one , aka Rheagar's indigo , and Danny needs to aspire to the magic purple to be better than simply the next despot.  The world needs more than another Aegon.

 

On 3/16/2018 at 12:24 PM, Lollygag said:

Over the Rainbow does seem important now that you mention it. The story is about Westeros having its head in the clouds though in a much less lovely way than the song implies, with so many looking for their pot of gold and missing the reality around them.

 

Rainbows used as a sign of luxury and indulgence?    Renly was, shall we say, not as honed and combat ready as he thought.   High Septon was a summer priest, when light comes easy so you play with refracting rainbows.  When it's winter you want as strong a sunbeam as possible to get warm by, and united colorless light does the trick best.  Crystals split light into weaker parts.  Beautiful.  Worth indulging in when the luxury is available.  But whereas we claim our rainbow is our strength, culturally, Putin would say No, it's your weakness.  Renly led his march with that kind of weakness.  Melisandre is focussing the beam, removing colors from the world because the time is come for maximum intensity, laser light if you can get it.  Not that colors have no place and time to be in season, it's just not now.

I dunno what Loras is flowering into.  That's an interesting question.  Removing himself from the equation would make him lightless ...for the moment, anyway.  I hope Barristan's blue arrival is like a blue sky of clarity for Danny to hear and accept his full truth and rule wisely having let go of vengeance..... and not Blue as in depression.

 

So with this color spectrum theory, combining lemon grass Sansa with indigo Aegon is explosive?  After matchmaking them I should hold my plastic tarp up high like you do at a Ghallager show to protect against smashed watermelon fragments?

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