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A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms Reread

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6 hours ago, Jova Snow said:

a child will only ruin Daena's chances of support for ruling, she has no allies for being locked in Maidenvault and has a bastard she chose to keep

But that's the thing - that bastard is her trump card, and because of him, it's likely, that Aegon became Daena's ally. It was because of Daemon's birth that King Baelor fasted for 40 days and died as result of it. So Daena had cleared for Aegon his path to Iron Throne, or at least thanks to this, he became one step closer to it. All that was left for him to become the King, is to get rid of King Viserys. And Viserys' sudden illnes does look suspicious.

When Aegon became King, he tried to war against Dorne, even though his son and heir was married with a Martell Princess. Daemon was born in 170, and Daeron's heir, Baelor Breakspear, was also born in 170, a bit earlier than Daemon, and he had typical Martell looks - dark hair and dark eyes. When Aegon was younger, he fought in a war against Dorne. So it's likely, that he wasn't Ok with his son and heir getting married with a Martell. Also it's likely, that he detested a mere idea, that a Martell-looking Baelor eventually will sit on Iron Throne, and will be wearing Targaryen crown. If Baelor did became the King of 7K, then he would have been the very first non-Valyrian looking King in nearly 200 years of Targaryen reign.

Daena had managed to escape from Maidenvault not once but three times. That time, when she got pregnant, was the last one. And the timing of it doesn't look like a coincidence, it corresponds with Princess Mariah's pregnancy. It was known, that Aegon disliked his wife and Daeron, his views about Dorne were also common knowledge. So it's likely, that Daena decided to take action, because she made a plan to offer to Aegon solution to his problem - she offered to give him a purely Valyrian heir. Daemon was same age as Baelor Breakspear. It's obvious, that Aegon would have preferred Daemon to become the King of 7K, not his Martell-looking grandson.

Maybe, that's the reason why Daena decided to hook up with Aegon. It's likely, that she was pondering over several different ways to get herself out of Maidenvaul permanently. And her first two plans didn't worked, so offering to Aegon to become the mother of his pure-blooded heir, was her last resort. At that time Aegon was 39 or 40 years old, he was already past his prime, and getting fat and ugly. So it's unlikely, that she hooked up with him because of love or lust.

6 hours ago, Jova Snow said:

I think for whatever reason Daena loved this man. 

If that was so, if the father of Daena's child was a man, that she loved, and that man wasn't Aegon, then why didn't she just stayed with that man? Her marriage with King Baelor was annuled. She could have just married with that guy, but she returned back to Maidenvault, which is an evidence, that where she wanted to be is at Targaryen court, not elsewhere. And the reason, why she returned, is because she was pregnant, and the father of her child was Aegon, and they possibly made a deal concerning that child.

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On 7/29/2019 at 3:55 PM, Megorova said:

But that's the thing - that bastard is her trump card, and because of him, it's likely, that Aegon became Daena's ally. It was because of Daemon's birth that King Baelor fasted for 40 days and died as result of it. So Daena had cleared for Aegon his path to Iron Throne, or at least thanks to this, he became one step closer to it. All that was left for him to become the King, is to get rid of King Viserys. And Viserys' sudden illnes does look suspicious.

When Aegon became King, he tried to war against Dorne, even though his son and heir was married with a Martell Princess. Daemon was born in 170, and Daeron's heir, Baelor Breakspear, was also born in 170, a bit earlier than Daemon, and he had typical Martell looks - dark hair and dark eyes. When Aegon was younger, he fought in a war against Dorne. So it's likely, that he wasn't Ok with his son and heir getting married with a Martell. Also it's likely, that he detested a mere idea, that a Martell-looking Baelor eventually will sit on Iron Throne, and will be wearing Targaryen crown. If Baelor did became the King of 7K, then he would have been the very first non-Valyrian looking King in nearly 200 years of Targaryen reign.

Daena had managed to escape from Maidenvault not once but three times. That time, when she got pregnant, was the last one. And the timing of it doesn't look like a coincidence, it corresponds with Princess Mariah's pregnancy. It was known, that Aegon disliked his wife and Daeron, his views about Dorne were also common knowledge. So it's likely, that Daena decided to take action, because she made a plan to offer to Aegon solution to his problem - she offered to give him a purely Valyrian heir. Daemon was same age as Baelor Breakspear. It's obvious, that Aegon would have preferred Daemon to become the King of 7K, not his Martell-looking grandson.

Maybe, that's the reason why Daena decided to hook up with Aegon. It's likely, that she was pondering over several different ways to get herself out of Maidenvaul permanently. And her first two plans didn't worked, so offering to Aegon to become the mother of his pure-blooded heir, was her last resort. At that time Aegon was 39 or 40 years old, he was already past his prime, and getting fat and ugly. So it's unlikely, that she hooked up with him because of love or lust.

If that was so, if the father of Daena's child was a man, that she loved, and that man wasn't Aegon, then why didn't she just stayed with that man? Her marriage with King Baelor was annuled. She could have just married with that guy, but she returned back to Maidenvault, which is an evidence, that where she wanted to be is at Targaryen court, not elsewhere. And the reason, why she returned, is because she was pregnant, and the father of her child was Aegon, and they possibly made a deal concerning that child.

We actually don't know anything about Daena beside the fact she was in Maidenvault, we don't know how close Daemon and Baelor was born and who was born first, so most things are speculation, but I will say I agree Daemon and Baelor was raised as rivals. But I don't think Aegon ever supported or cared for Daena. If the father of child was married or let's say a KG ;) then there is no way Daena could be with that man. Or maybe GRRM decided Daena could die during birth and be done with a it. 

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On 11/28/2018 at 12:25 PM, Seams said:

My thoughts are starting to come together on The Sworn Sword, although I haven't figured out everything I would like to understand. (Maybe I never will reach a complete analysis and that would suit GRRM just fine, I daresay.)

Almost a year later . . . I still have not sorted out everything I would like to understand in this story. I have read and re-read, written pages of notes and drawn inspiration from other discussions in this forum.

Here, at least, are a few additional observations that might give us a toehold in understanding what GRRM is dangling in front of us.

Lady Rohanne may be a parallel of the Night's King's corpse queen. She receives the seed of her several husbands and, Egg tells Dunk, "Whenever she gives birth, a demon comes by night to carry off the issue. Sam Stoops's wife says she sold her babes unborn to the Lord of the Seven Hells, so he'd teach her his black arts."

We know very little about the corpse queen but this "rumor" is interesting: "Some suggest that perhaps the corpse queen was a woman of the Barrowlands, a daughter of the Barrow King who was then a power in his own right, and oft associated with graves" (The World of Ice and Fire - The Wall and Beyond: The Night's Watch). I do see parallels between Lady Rohanne and Lady Dustin, who visits the Winterfell crypt with Theon. When the spell is broken toward the end of The Sworn Sword, and Lady Rohanne is able to cross the Chequy Water, she immediately visits the grave of her lost love, Addam Osgrey, in the berry patch at Standfast, similar to Lady Barbry's visit to Brandon Stark's crypt at Winterfell. Lady Rohanne also gives horses as gifts, similar to Barbry Dustin's gift horses in ASOIAF. It would be wonderful to understand more about Lady Dustin by sorting out some of the clues surrounding Rohanne Webber.

If Lady Rohanne is the corpse queen, this implies that there is a parallel for the Night's King somewhere in the Sworn Sword story. Ser Eustace ends up partnering with her, so he might be the match. As I mentioned in a previous post, Ser Lucas Longinch is described in terms of a Night's Watch member - the Night's Watch connection might make him the parallel character for the Night's King. There might also be clues among her four previous husbands, helping to understand her role as a spouse collector (see also Walder Frey) and the parallel to the corpse queen.

(Gotta go but I will try to add more later.)

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At a relatively late stage in the story, we learn that a good bit of the conflict between Ser Eustace Osgrey and Lady Rohanne Webber is that he supported Daemon I Blackfyre during the First Blackfyre Rebellion, while House Webber raised its banners for Daeron II Targaryen, the victorious side in the conflict. House Osgrey forfeited lands and the stream known as the Chequy Water as penalties for choosing the wrong side in the rebellion, while House Webber gained control of the water supply and other prizes of war.

Earlier, Ser Eustace had explained to Dunk that Coldmoat, the ancestral seat of House Osgrey, was taken from the family by King Maegor I (Maegor the Cruel, son of Aegon the Conqueror) when an Osgrey ancestor spoke out on behalf of the Poor Fellows and the Warrior's Sons, militant groups loyal to the High Septon who were viewed as a threat by King Maegor. (This would have been about 150 years before the events of The Sworn Sword.)

But there is a third conflict that particularly interests me as a possible source of clues about content in ASOIAF. Ser Eustace tells Dunk and Ser Bennis the story of Ser Wilbert Osgrey, the Little Lion:

Ser Wilbert was a tall and powerful man, and a great knight. The name was given him in childhood, as the youngest of five brothers. In his day there were still seven kings in the Seven Kingdoms, and Highgarden and the Rock were oft at war. The green kings ruled us then, the Gardeners. They were of the blood of old Garth Greenhand, and a green hand upon a white field was their kingly banner. Gyles the Third took his banners east, to war against the Storm King, and Wilbert's brothers all went with him, for in those days the chequy lion always flew beside the green hand when the King of the Reach went forth to battle.

Yet it happened that while King Gyles was away, the King of the Rock saw his chance to tear a bite out of the Reach, so he gathered up a host of westermen and came down upon us. The Osgreys were the Marshals of the Northmarch, so it fell to the Little Lion to meet them. It was the fourth King Lancel who led the Lannister, it seems to me, or mayhaps the fifth. Ser Wilbert blocked King Lancel's path, and bid him halt. 'Come no farther,' he said 'You are not wanted here. I forbid you to set foot upon the Reach.' But the Lannister ordered all his banners forward.

They fought for half a day, the gold lion and the chequy. The Lannister was armed with a Valyrian sword that no common steel can match, so the Little Lion was hard-pressed, his shield in ruins. In the end, bleeding from a dozen grievous wounds, with his own blade broken in his hand, he threw himself headlong at his foe. King Lancel cut him near in half, the singers say, but as he died the Little Lion found the gap in the king's armor beneath his arm and plunged his dagger home. When their king died, the westermen turned back, and the Reach was saved." The old man stroked the broken shield as tenderly as if it had been a child.

This is the war story that seems to mean the most to Ser Eustace. After finally recognizing the significance of this anecdote, I have tried to interpret The Sworn Sword as a conflict between Garth Greenhand, the legendary, god-like figure who promoted fertile crops, abundant game and a robust harvest, and the forces that undermine vibrance of the land: fire, drought, avarice, preoccupation with other interests and general bad stewardship. I think this interpretation is a good fit - in the fields of Ser Eustace, we see melon vines shriveling in his fields as a result of the drought; at the suggestion of Egg, the smallfolk / bannermen who attempt to serve House Osgrey are named for their crops: Barleycorn, Melons and Beans.

Even Ser Bennis of the Brown Shield, the hedge knight sell sword who served Ser Eustace before the arrival of Dunk and Egg, might be part of the "fertile earth" theme, representing dirt. Ser Bennis is always described as stinky and filthy, with dirty clothes and stained teeth. We don't usually think of the earth in those terms, but the description becomes more apt if the earth refuses to come into contact with water in any way - instead of being a medium for growing crops, dry earth is just dust and filth. Ser Bennis does not even drink water: the one time he tried it, it made him "sick as a dog." Bennis prefers to drink wine which might present us with a new pair of opposites (wine vs. water to add to fire vs. ice, bitter vs. sweet, shaggy vs. sharp, smiler vs. slayer, etc.).

Another possibility is that Ser Bennis is the personification of the drought that has held Westeros in its grip. The detail that discourages this interpretation is that Dunk remembers Ser Bennis as being a relatively normal person who joined a party of knights hired to escort a Dornish merchant. Dunk has forgotten some of the irritating details of his earlier encounter with Ser Bennis, but it is apparently only subsequent to that contact that Dunk sees Ser Bennis as having "grown mean and false and craven."

Also, the eyes of Ser Bennis are "pale green" and "shiny bright with malice." It's as if GRRM wants us to know there is a tiny spark of green - a sign of life? - buried within the rust and dirt, even if that green shows a malicious attitude. If you accept the egg / Ei / eye wordplay as a hint from the author, Ser Bennis's happiness with the free eggs provided by House Osgrey could be a sign that Ser Eustace is keeping that spark of green alive by providing eggs for the eyes of Ser Bennis.

When Dunk states his intent to discover the cause of the dried-up stream, Bennis tries to discourage him, urging him to passively enjoy the supply of eggs and straw pallets of their employer but to ignore the mystery of the dry stream bed.

But House Webber has crops, too, right? As well as livestock? One of the workers digging an irrigation ditch for Lady Rohanne says the diverted stream is, "... for the crops, ser. ... The wheat was dying, the maester said. The pear trees too." But Dunk later describes the ditch as a spear with channels snaking off. When they reach Coldmoat, Egg notices that the main ditch ends at the moat surrounding the castle. The primary purpose of the water diversion seems to be defense, not food production, in spite of what the Maester may have told the smallfolk.

In that extended passage about the Little Lion, I also highlighted a phrase about tearing a bite out of the Reach. Very early in AGoT, in their conversation in the Winterfell crypt, King Robert tells Ned that the peaches from the Reach are amazingly delightful, and that he has brought some along as a gift for Ned. Later, Renly urges Stannis to accept a ripe peach from Highgarden that he has brought along to their parly. When Stannis declines, Renly eats the peach. In AFfC, Biter takes a bite out of the cheek of Renly-fangirl Brienne.

If the attempted "bite out of the Reach" by the Lannister king is part of this theme of biting peaches from the Reach, we have an interesting new piece of evidence about the Lannister relationship to the blood of Garth Greenhand. Perhaps the Tyrell alliance in ASOIAF is the long-awaited fulfillment of this ancient dream for House Lannister. We know that Rohanne Webber will eventually marry a scion of House Lannister and will produce a number of heirs for that family before she mysteriously disappears. Is it possible that, through her marriage into House Osgrey, she acquires the "green blood" identity associated with the chequy lion? If so, does she pass it along to House Lannister during her subsequent marriage?

My previous post compared Rohanne Webber to the Night's King's corpse queen and this post proposes that Eustace Osgrey is some kind of caretaker for (if not the embodiment of) the legacy of Garth Greenhand. I don't remember anything in Old Nan's stories that tells us those two legendary characters crossed paths, but they certainly both rise to the level of gods or demi-gods in the ancient stories of Westeros. If The Sworn Sword presents us with allegories about them, sorting out some of these parallels will help us to identify similar parallels in ASOIAF.

Edited by Seams

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I wish I had something more meaningful to contribute than what I'm about to say...IMO Renly's peach is symbolic of a maidenhead. Peaches look very much like a woman's pubis mound - camel toe and all!

Renly and Stannis were parley-ing, and under normal circumstances when two opponents are negotiating, a marriage alliance with a maiden is part of the transaction. Think back to Catelyn's transaction with Walder Frey. Marriage alliances were made, not just for Robb, but for Arya too. Two maidens were needed to seal the deal: a Frey maiden and a Stark maiden.

When Brienne encounters some former Brave Companions that included Rorge and Biter, Biter took a bite out of Brienne's cheek. Symbolically he was taking a bite out of a "peach" - Brienne is still a maiden and her maidenhead intact. I'm actually glad that GRRM didn't have Biter bite Brienne in the "peach" :blink: which is very near a pair of "cheeks". 

The Reach is known for growing peaches, but the true meaning behind "the bite" might be an indication that the Lannisters were stealing maidens rather than securing marriage alliances? Like you say, in the near future the Lannisters do make a marriage alliance with Rohanne Weber - what was Gerold Lannister? Her sixth husband???

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Posted (edited)

As for whether Dunk is a true knight, I believe that he becomes one throughout the novels. During the Ashford Meadow arc there are subtle hints that Dunk unknowingly partakes in the necessary ceremonies and that he has the blessing of Seven:
- before the ceremony the knight is to humble himself by wearing shift of undyed wool. It is probable that a string of hemp is used to tie the cloth. Dunk uses one to tie the scabbard as mentioned by OP
- the ceremony involves vigil, accurately described by the OP. The tree and the falling star become Dunk's coat of arms. Falling star is also present in the coat of Arms of Dayne family. This might imply that Dunk is descended from Daynes. But more importantly it reminds us of Sword of the Morning tradition: it is not enough to be anointed, you need to prove yourself. Dunk soon proves himself by defending the common people against Targaryen prince.
- Dunk kneels before prince Baelor as he vouches for him thus confirming his knighthood. Balor does so to honor ser Arlan, his former tournament rival. Balor can be seen as Warrior and Arlan as Father. We see both of them die, Arlan in the beginning of the novel, before he knighted Dunk and Balor, at the end, after he completed the task (sort of). Stranger is the personification of death.
- the tourney is in honor of lord Ashfords maiden daughter. Dunk defends Tanselle, a young maiden, she paints a shield for him. Dunk receives a kiss from a young maiden before the Trial. These are the blessings of a Maiden.
- among puppeteers that Dunk stands for is the big Dornish woman, who might be Tanselle's mother (Mother).
- when Steely Pate (the Smith) brings Dunks war-gear he is carrying a lamp (the Crone artifact) and he brings the words of wisdom.
- Dunk is cheered by the old man (Father or Stranger) and a brother of faith blesses his sword (anointment).
- OP mentions how Dunk is being patted at the shoulder which BTW is not an easy task with someone that tall, which adds to the feel of the supernatural
- as mentioned by OP Egg - a mysterious boy (Stranger) - dubbs Duncan "the Tall", which prevents him from giving a false name "of Pennytree".

Edited by TwiceBorn

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