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Wow, I never noticed that. Vol. 18

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Posted (edited)

The betrothal game involving Rhaegar, Cersei, Jaime, Oberyn, Elia and Tyrion is closely linked to the one-on-one trial by combat between Ser Gregor and Oberyn. Both are games within the larger Game of Thrones. I suspect that the teams stay the same and only the players change from time to time, as shown in this thought from Tyrion in response to Oberyn's remark that Tyrion was an unfit match for Elia when Tywin offered the betrothal just after Joanna's death:

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

This line may underscore the notion of interchangeable players, with Oberyn and Elia (and Jaime and Cersei) each as an extension of the other:

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"As children Elia and I were inseparable, much like your own brother and sister."  (ASoS, Tyrion V)

This larger passage confirms that marriage alliances are part of the larger Game of Thrones and that the game is still being played out as Oberyn prepares to fight Ser Gregor:

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"What I did not tell you was that my mother waited as long as was decent, and then broached your father about our purpose. Years later, on her deathbed, she told me that Lord Tywin had refused us brusquely. His daughter was meant for Prince Rhaegar, he informed her. And when she asked for Jaime, to espouse Elia, he offered her you instead."

"Which offer she took for an outrage."

"It was. Even you can see that, surely?"

"Oh, surely." It all goes back and back, Tyrion thought, to our mothers and fathers and theirs before them. We are puppets dancing on the strings of those who came before us, and one day our own children will take up our strings and dance on in our steads. "Well, Prince Rhaegar married Elia of Dorne, not Cersei Lannister of Casterly Rock. So it would seem your mother won that tilt."

"She thought so," Prince Oberyn agreed, "but your father is not a man to forget such slights....

(A Storm of Swords - Tyrion X)

But the Gregor / Oberyn combat returns to the betrothal and marriage imagery, turning it from its association with alliance, bonding, consensual intercourse and conception of children and into a horrific, violent, deadly human encounter:

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... Gregor's hand tightened and twisted, yanking the Dornishman down on top of him. They wrestled in the dust and blood, the broken spear wobbling back and forth. Tyrion saw with horror that the Mountain had wrapped one huge arm around the prince, drawing him tight against his chest, like a lover.

"Elia of Dorne," they all heard Ser Gregor say, when they were close enough to kiss. His deep voice boomed within the helm. "I killed her screaming whelp." He thrust his free hand into Oberyn's unprotected face, pushing steel fingers into his eyes. "Then I raped her." Clegane slammed his fist into the Dornishman's mouth, making splinters of his teeth. "Then I smashed her fucking head in. Like this." As he drew back his huge fist, the blood on his gauntlet seemed to smoke in the cold dawn air. There was a sickening crunch. Ellaria Sand wailed in terror, ...

Recall that Rhaegar knighted Ser Gregor. As far as we know, The Mountain was the only knight dubbed by Prince Rhaegar. I believe dubbing is one of the many symbolic ways that GRRM shows how a character can become the heir or "rebirth" of another character, so Ser Gregor may be a symbolic Rhaegar in this scene (or throughout the books). Prince Oberyn told us earlier that he and Elia were inseparable, so we have Oberyn playing the part of Princess Elia, Rhaegar's lady wife. GRRM even has Ser Gregor finally utter Elia's name just as he tells us that The Mountain is holding Oberyn like a lover. 

So what do we make of the symbolism here? 

The Martell-Lannister-Targaryen Round of the betrothal game seems to have reached a conclusion of sorts, but (I suspect) with Tywin getting revenge at the same time Dorne seems to be getting the long-awaited "justice" for Elia and her children. Tywin wanted Cersei to marry Rhaegar and his offer of Tyrion as a match for Elia was rejected as an insult. (There are a lot of literary layers to puzzle out, but I believe Tywin symbolically values Tyrion and sees him as an important heir who has a great destiny. On the surface, Tywin appears to dislike Tyrion but the subtext tells a different story.) Elia ended up marrying Rhaegar and the earlier passage tells us that Tywin considered this to be a slight that he had not forgotten. 

And Tywin may or may not know that Cersei and Jaime became a couple, perhaps further undermining Tywin's intention of elevating Cersei to become the king's wife. And then there are a lot of related threads such as Jaime's broken betrothal to Lysa Tully, Tyrion's marriage to Sansa, the Sansa / Sandor unkiss, Prince Doran's efforts to secure a Targaryen betrothal for Arianne, and Steffon Baratheon bringing Patchface back from Essos instead of finding a bride for Rhaegar. So maybe the betrothal game continues. 

In the combat, the union between Rhaegar and Elia is reenacted with Gregor and Oberyn. Both participants end up dead, although Gregor's death is the slow result of Oberyn's poisoned spear. Perhaps this is similar to Rhaegar's remote "off stage" death at the Ruby Ford. 

My current quest to solve the green / brown fertility symbolism may be warping my perception. The death of Elia's children is a deliberate disruption of the fertility and rebirth cycle, perhaps related to the off-kilter change of seasons in Westeros. The murders of the children might tie this lover's combat back to the fertility cycle symbolized by green and brown; the interaction of soil and vegetation to bring about the rebirth of life. Or it might show that the fertility cycle requires blood sacrifices from time to time. 

(I see Ser Gregor as an embodiment of a green character, linking him to the Garth Greenhands fertility demi-god as well as the Green Grace and other green characters such as House Tyrell with its green sigil and Renly Baratheon with his green armor. Brown is dirt but fertile soil is created when leaves fall and turn to humus, so there is a green / brown cycle that is interdependent. The symbolism is complicated by GRRM's frequent references to blood-soaked earth at places like the Red Grass Field or human entrails hung on the branches of weirwood trees.)

After The Mountain and Ser Amory Lorch killed Aegon and Rhaenys, Tywin wrapped the bodies in red and laid them before Robert on his throne. After the combat between Ser Gregor and Prince Oberyn, Cersei sends the skull of Ser Gregor to Dorne. House Martell celebrates by eating a dessert out of sugar skulls, perhaps similar to the sugar skulls associated with Day of the Dead festivities in Mexico. I think this is a symbolic flesh-eating situation and may support the idea of the necessary blood sacrifice. 

But.

Ser Gregor is reborn as Ser Robert Strong, in spite of losing his head. 

Anyway. Lots to ponder here. I think we have to examine this alongside the dwarf jousting at Joffrey's wedding feast, with one dwarf losing his head (that turns out to be a melon) and Penny putting Tyrion into the jousting act as a replacement for her brother and later trying to kiss Tyrion. 

Edited by Seams

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Posted (edited)

I never noticed Marwyn's approval of Qyburn. "The archmaesters did not like my thinking though. Well, Marwyn did, but he was the only one."

New theory: Qyburn's experiments will save the world by revealing the mechanisms to start, and stop, resurrections. Cersei will be credited with funding the vaccine, and everyone will agree that sacrificing Falyse was worth it. :rofl:

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

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1 hour ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

I never noticed Marwyn's approval of Qyburn. "The archmaesters did not like my thinking though. Well, Marwyn did, but he was the only one."

New theory: Qyburn's experiments will save the world by revealing the mechanisms to start, and stop, resurrections. Cersei will be credited with funding the vaccine, and everyone will agree that sacrificing Falyse was worth it. :rofl:

Qyburn is probably a tribute to Ras Thavas, the mad scientist in The Master Mind of Mars.

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14 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

I never noticed Marwyn's approval of Qyburn. "The archmaesters did not like my thinking though. Well, Marwyn did, but he was the only one."

New theory: Qyburn's experiments will save the world by revealing the mechanisms to start, and stop, resurrections. Cersei will be credited with funding the vaccine, and everyone will agree that sacrificing Falyse was worth it. :rofl:

A drug pushing hand surgeon approves of Marwyn.

New theory: Marwyn is a secret Matt Gaetz?

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Stannis to Cressen, minutes before his self-poisoning. 

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“Pylos will counsel me henceforth. Already he works with the ravens, since you can no longer climb to the rookery. I will not have you kill yourself in my service.”

 

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Pennytree proved to be a much larger village than he had anticipated. The war had been here too; blackened orchards and the scorched shells of broken houses testified to that. But for every home in ruins three more had been rebuilt. Through the gathering blue dusk Jaime glimpsed fresh thatch upon a score of roofs, and doors made of raw green wood. Between a duck pond and a blacksmith's forge, he came upon the tree that gave the place its name, an oak ancient and tall. Its gnarled roots twisted in and out of the earth like a nest of slow brown serpents, and hundreds of old copper pennies had been nailed to its huge trunk.

Peck stared at the tree, then at the empty houses. "Where are the people?"

"Hiding," Jaime told him.

Inside the homes all the fires had been put out, but some still smoked, and none of them were cold. The nanny goat that Hot Harry Merrell found rooting through a vegetable garden was the only living creature to be seen … but the village had a holdfast as strong as any in the riverlands, with thick stone walls twelve feet high, and Jaime knew that was where he'd find the villagers. They hid behind those walls when raiders came, that's why there's still a village here. And they are hiding there again, from me.

He rode Honor up to the holdfast gates. "You in the holdfast. We mean you no harm. We're king's men."

I wonder whether this is an Old Nan symbol? There are only three nanny goats in the series, so far: all in ADwD. Davos sees one in White Harbor, Big Walder tells Reek (Theon) about one with an old man encountered on the road (Ramsay beheaded the old man) and this one in Jaime's POV at Pennytree is the third. 

It's probably important that this nanny goat is eating roots. At the harvest festival at Winterfell, Bran sends a platter of root vegetables to the Walders and a dish of sweets to Old Nan and Hodor. (And recall that Hodor's real name is Walder.) 

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Jaime Lannister poked at Ned's chest with the gilded sword that had sipped the blood of the last of the Dragonkings. "Would she? The noble Catelyn Tully of Riverrun murder a hostage? I think … not." He sighed. "But I am not willing to chance my brother's life on a woman's honor." Jaime slid the golden sword into its sheath.

A Game of Thrones - Eddard IX

Jaime says he doesn't think Cat would kill a hostage in retribution, although he isn't willing to risk it.

When push comes to red wedding, she does kill the hostage.

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She pressed the blade deeper into Jinglebell's throat. The lackwit rolled his eyes at her in mute appeal. A foul stench assailed her nose, but she paid it no more mind than she did the sullen ceaseless pounding of that drum, boom doom boom doom boom doom. Ser Ryman and Black Walder were circling round her back, but Catelyn did not care. They could do as they wished with her; imprison her, rape her, kill her, it made no matter. She had lived too long, and Ned was waiting. It was Robb she feared for. "On my honor as a Tully," she told Lord Walder, "on my honor as a Stark, I will trade your boy's life for Robb's. A son for a son." Her hand shook so badly she was ringing Jinglebell's head.
Boom, the drum sounded, boom doom boom doom. The old man's lips went in and out. The knife trembled in Catelyn's hand, slippery with sweat. "A son for a son, heh," he repeated. "But that's a grandson . . . and he never was much use."
A man in dark armor and a pale pink cloak spotted with blood stepped up to Robb. "Jaime Lannister sends his regards." He thrust his longsword through her son's heart, and twisted.
Robb had broken his word, but Catelyn kept hers. She tugged hard on Aegon's hair and sawed at his neck until the blade grated on bone. Blood ran hot over her fingers. His little bells were ringing, ringing, ringing, and the drum went boom doom boom.

A Storm of Swords - Catelyn VII

But is it honorable either way? Perhaps not...

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"I knew that boy Joffrey. He used to call my Robert cruel names, and once he slapped him with a wooden sword. A man will tell you poison is dishonorable, but a woman's honor is different. The Mother shaped us to protect our children, and our only dishonor is in failure. You'll know that, when you have a child."

A Storm of Swords - Sansa VI

It was also raining when Ned was ambushed and Jory was killed.

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"I dreamt a wolf howling in the rain, but no one heard his grief," the dwarf woman was saying. "I dreamt such a clangor I thought my head might burst, drums and horns and pipes and screams, but the saddest sound was the little bells.

A Storm of Swords - Arya VIII

 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

But is it honorable either way? Perhaps not...

 

No, but it's logical to assume after seeing her "last" son die, she'll kill poor Jingebell. I feel so bad for the poor guy :crying:. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Poor guy didn't deserve to die. 

Edited by Jaenara Belarys

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Posted (edited)

Dany: Was I so blind, or did I close my eyes willfully, so I would not have to see the price of power?"

Dany literally closing her eyes to the price as she gets the most powerful weapon: "Dizzy, Dany closed her eyes. When she opened them again, she glimpsed the Meereenese beneath her through a haze of tears and dust, pouring up the steps and out into the streets."

 

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

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11 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

Dany: Was I so blind, or did I close my eyes willfully, so I would not have to see the price of power?"

Dany literally closing her eyes to the price as she gets the most powerful weapon: "Dizzy, Dany closed her eyes. When she opened them again, she glimpsed the Meereenese beneath her through a haze of tears and dust, pouring up the steps and out into the streets."

 

Nice. 

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Stannis is autistic.

As someone who's got that sort of thing myself, among other things, it seems... so obvious.

Not that that explains everything about him, but it would explain, for example, some of his mannerisms and what not.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/12/2021 at 8:33 AM, Rose of Red Lake said:

Dany: Was I so blind, or did I close my eyes willfully, so I would not have to see the price of power?"

Dany literally closing her eyes to the price as she gets the most powerful weapon: "Dizzy, Dany closed her eyes. When she opened them again, she glimpsed the Meereenese beneath her through a haze of tears and dust, pouring up the steps and out into the streets."

Lots of people close their eyes, not always in denial - there's fear of heights, and there's Bran, lots of times, e.g. "Close your eyes," said the three-eyed crow. "Slip your skin, as you do when you join with Summer...."

ETA

(I do like the juxtaposition though. )

Edited by Springwatch

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Posted (edited)
46 minutes ago, Springwatch said:

Lots of people close their eyes, not always in denial - there's fear of heights, and there's Bran, lots of times, e.g. "Close your eyes," said the three-eyed crow. "Slip your skin, as you do when you join with Summer...."

ETA

(I do like the juxtaposition though. )

I actually think this is directly related!

There are a number of fantastic Dany/Bran parallels and this is one of them!

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His father peeled off his gloves and handed them to Jory Cassel, the captain of his household guard. He took hold of Ice with both hands and said, "In the name of Robert of the House Baratheon, the First of his Name, King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, by the word of Eddard of the House Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, I do sentence you to die." He lifted the greatsword high above his head.
Bran's bastard brother Jon Snow moved closer. "Keep the pony well in hand," he whispered. "And don't look away. Father will know if you do."
Bran kept his pony well in hand, and did not look away.

A Game of Thrones - Bran I

Bran's very first chapter starts with his first time witnessing his father use his power to administer the king's justice and execute a deserter.

The use of power can have a grisly cost even when used justly, and it's important not to close ones eyes to this. It ties directly into the whole lesson of, "the man who casts the sentence should wield the sword", and also to, "A man can only be brave when he's afraid".

Literally and figuratively a man should go through life with open eyes, to the good and the bad and the effects of his actions.

Later when Bran has made it to Bloodraven's Lair, I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think there are some bright red flags as he's instructed basically the opposite.

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"Never fear the darkness, Bran." The lord's words were accompanied by a faint rustling of wood and leaf, a slight twisting of his head. "The strongest trees are rooted in the dark places of the earth. Darkness will be your cloak, your shield, your mother's milk. Darkness will make you strong."

A Dance with Dragons - Bran III

Hopefully Bran will remember his lessons from his father.

Fear is ok! Open your eyes, don't sit in darkness and brood on the past! This goes for his third eye as well, no matter how terrible the knowledge.

Edited by Mourning Star

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Springwatch said:

Lots of people close their eyes, not always in denial - there's fear of heights, and there's Bran, lots of times, e.g. "Close your eyes," said the three-eyed crow. "Slip your skin, as you do when you join with Summer...."

ETA

(I do like the juxtaposition though. )

Dany not wanting to look at "the price of power" is hugely important, I wouldn't write it off.

There are times when she confronts it, and other times when she doesn't. I think the first ride on Drogon is the latter. 

I find it ironic that her first dragon flight is when she's closing her eyes to what's happening. When she closes her eyes on Drogon's back, he lights up innocent people.

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

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18 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

The use of power can have a grisly cost even when used justly, and it's important not to close ones eyes to this.

 

9 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

Dany not wanting to look at "the price of power" is hugely important, I wouldn't write it off.

There are times when she confronts it, and other times when she doesn't. I think the first ride on Drogon is the latter. 

I find it ironic that her first dragon flight is when she's closing her eyes to what's happening. When she closes her eyes on Drogon's back, he lights up innocent people.

Good points. It wasn't deliberate, but it's ominous that Dany was unaware of the 'collateral damage'.

All the same, I think the morality is woven into the story, not leading events. Dany is literally and figuratively blind to the devastation Drogon left in his wake - but also: she is at height and dizzy; and she is bonding with an animal.  Parallels with Bran feel important here, yes.

I'm not writing off Bloodraven and the dark yet. There are hints here and there about the wisdom of the blind,  and the insight of the one-eyed, and the power of the third eye. Here's another Bran quote: He closed his third eye and opened the other two, the old two, the blind two. So closing your eyes may not mean no information, just a different stream of information - like the difference between theory and practice. (You've got to be careful when you're operating entirely on theory.)

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4 hours ago, Springwatch said:

 

Good points. It wasn't deliberate, but it's ominous that Dany was unaware of the 'collateral damage'.

All the same, I think the morality is woven into the story, not leading events. Dany is literally and figuratively blind to the devastation Drogon left in his wake - but also: she is at height and dizzy; and she is bonding with an animal.  Parallels with Bran feel important here, yes.

I'm not writing off Bloodraven and the dark yet. There are hints here and there about the wisdom of the blind,  and the insight of the one-eyed, and the power of the third eye. Here's another Bran quote: He closed his third eye and opened the other two, the old two, the blind two. So closing your eyes may not mean no information, just a different stream of information - like the difference between theory and practice. (You've got to be careful when you're operating entirely on theory.)

My thoughts are that she definitely has PTSD from her childhood (technically, she's still adolescent). But other than that, she definitely seems more oblivious than anything, though willfully so.

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3 hours ago, Crazy Old Guy said:

My thoughts are that she definitely has PTSD from her childhood (technically, she's still adolescent). But other than that, she definitely seems more oblivious than anything, though willfully so.

Nothing deliberate in her thoughts - it was a crazy, out-of-control situation, but this -

16 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

When she closes her eyes on Drogon's back, he lights up innocent people.

- this does remind me a little bit of of the scene where the direwolves gang up on Tyrion: the Starks didn't command that behaviour, or even want it (they all called the wolves back), but deep down, there was that rage against Bran's attacker, which maybe corresponds with Dany's suppressed rage against the slavers.

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3 hours ago, Springwatch said:

- this does remind me a little bit of of the scene where the direwolves gang up on Tyrion: the Starks didn't command that behaviour, or even want it (they all called the wolves back), but deep down, there was that rage against Bran's attacker, which maybe corresponds with Dany's suppressed rage against the slavers.

That could be a parallel. I do think rage against one assassin or one dwarf is smaller than a whole city or population though. Dany's rage has scale. Also there may have been rage against locking her dragons up. The full context of the "price of power" is her seeing the dragons chained, thinking about them as children, then thinking about real children (Hazzea)

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What sort of mother lets her children rot in darkness?

If I look back, I am doomed, Dany told herself … but how could she not look back? I should have seen it coming. Was I so blind, or did I close my eyes willfully, so I would not have to see the price of power?

 

 

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My go-to thread for thing I know people don't give an ish about and will not bother reading, especially when it's anything that challenges the notion that Young Griff being a Blackfyre.

Two things I noticed. So the first one, I already posted about in this thread sometime ago. It's the new arrangement of visions in the chapter following Dany's visit at the House of the Undying. 

"A dead man in the prow of a ship, a blue rose, a banquet of blood . . . what does any of it mean, Khaleesi? A mummer's dragon, you said." (Daenerys V, ACoK 63)

So this conversation new arrangement was inserted in the middle of a focused conversation about the dragon has three heads and the prince that was promised. So GRRM essentially trims all the fat and leaves us with Dany reflecting on Rhaegar's words. 

At first, I wasn't really sure why he would insert a different arrangement. But then I was writing an essay about the dragon having three heads and going over a few things that relate to that when I revisited this passage and I realized what GRRM did. 

While the identity of the dead man in the prow of the ship is a point of contention, the rest of the passage quoted above is not. The blue rose is an indirect reference to Jon Snow. The banquet of blood is an indirect reference to Robb Stark. The mummer's dragon is an indirect reference to Young Griff who has been revealed to be Aegon Targaryen. 

So GRRM basically referred to Jon Snow and Young Griff in a conversation about the three heads of the dragon and the prince that was promised. 

What does Robb Stark have to do with any of this? Well, Robb Stark is tied to Jon Snow. Robb and Jon grew up as half-brothers, but Jon's actual half-brother is Aegon. So logically speaking, the dead man at the prow of the ship should be Jon Connington. 

When we drop the dead man at the prow of the ship and the banquet of blood from the line quoted above, we are left with the blue rose, Jon Snow, and the mummer's dragon, the alleged Aegon Targaryen, who would be Jon Snow's half-brother. So it seems like Robb may have been used to establish a familial connection between the blue rose and the mummer's dragon. And the answer Dany is looking for about the three heads of the dragon seems to be contained in that passage in Daenerys V, ACoK 63.

GRRM gave the answer without ever giving the names. He just gave us the symbolic references to the two characters.

Following this, I went back to Quaithe's warning to Dany in her second ADwD chapter.

"Hear me, Daenerys Targaryen. The glass candles are burning. Soon comes the pale mare, and after her the others. Kraken and dark flame, lion and griffin, the sun's son and the mummer's dragon." (Daenerys II, ADwD 11)

Kraken and dark flame, lion and griffin, the sun's son and the mummer's dragon. Kraken (Victarion) and dark flame (Moqorro) are now traveling together. The lion (Tyrion) and the griffin (Jon Connington) were traveling together. The sun's son (Quentyn) and the mummer's dragon (Young Griff / Aegon) were nowhere near each other. 

Quentyn traveled with Cletus Yronwood, Maester Kedry, William Wells before they died, and continued on his way to Meereen with his remaining companions, Gerris Drinkwater and Archibald Yronwood before he fell in with the Windblown and then brought to Meereen by Daario. 

Similarly, Aegon traveled with the crew of the Shy Maid, then went to Westeros with the GC.

It seems like these two don't fit together, don't make a whole lot of sense together. But they kind of do. The same way Aegon is Jon's half-brother because they would share the same father, Aegon and Quentyn are cousins. 

It sort of seems like all of this is done with purpose. There are essays I wrote about this down in my signature. One is titled Mother of Dragons, Blue Rose & Mummer's Dragon. The other one is titled The Dragon Has Three Heads.

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A short of post about Jon Connington possibly having knowledge of Jon Snow.

"No man could have asked for a worthier son," Griff said, "but the lad is not of my blood, and his name is not Griff. My lords, I give you Aegon Targaryen, firstborn son of Rhaegar, Prince of Dragonstone, by Princess Elia of Dorne." (The Lost Lord, ADwD 24)

It's the firstborn son that always nagged me, so I decided to waste some time and go see the mentions of firstborn son. And every character who has been mentioned as being the firstborn son had a younger brother. Marq Piper has a younger brother. Jaime Lannister has a younger brother. Aenys I Targaryen had a younger brother. Jaehaerys, Aegon II's son, had a younger brother. Robert referred to as firstborn son, has two younger brothers. 

Everybody knows that Rhaegar had two children. Rhaenys and Aegon. But to call Aegon Rhaegar's firstborn son when he is supposedly his only son is a really interesting turn of phrase.

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