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Black Crow

Heresy 226 of wolves, dragons and other familiars

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On 9/1/2019 at 4:36 PM, corbon said:

Its the very best we have. And its not necessarily shaky.
In this case, we have a significant number of unique (in that they are clear and specific, amongst all the infinity of possibilities) markers that are in common to both prophecies, as believed by the most learned available witnesses who have specific interest and the best resources in this area.

This would be meaningful if we could show these "most learned available witnesses" -- I suppose you're thinking of people like Melisandre or Salladhor Saan or the Ghost of High Heart -- had actually read the actual prophecies in the original language. 

Not a very high bar to clear... but we can't even manage that much.  We just don't know.  Such characters talk about the prophecies, so they've at least heard of them, but beyond that we have little idea how much they know.  

Suppose we consider Benerro an authority.  About him, we're told:

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In Volantis, thousands of slaves and freedmen crowd the temple plaza every night to hear Benerro shriek of bleeding stars and a sword of fire that will cleanse the world.

Well, if so, he clearly does not consider Dany's three dragons to be Lightbringer.  He knows about Dany and her dragons, and yet he is still talking about a sword.  So anyone who thinks Lightbringer = three dragons can only think Benerro is wrong, and thus, is impeaching his authority.  What he says about omens is open to doubt.

Melisandre in particular is a doubtful authority because we explicitly see her fudge the truth in her POV chapter:

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"Eastwatch?"

Was it? Melisandre had seen Eastwatch-by-the-Sea with King Stannis. That was where His Grace left Queen Selyse and their daughter Shireen when he assembled his knights for the march to Castle Black. The towers in her fire had been different, but that was oft the way with visions. "Yes. Eastwatch, my lord."

If I have to guess, what Mel sees in the flames, on this and other subjects, is quite accurate.  She sees the correct towers.

It's her interpretations that steer her wrong, as they do here because she wants to sound confident to Jon  We should not be as easily fooled as she is because we don't need to impress Jon, as she does.

Finally, to draw the comparison with Rhaegar/Lyanna, let me point out that the RLJ camp is quite comfortable impeaching authorities and does so all the time. 

For instance, Bran explicitly says Lyanna was kidnapped and raped.  No one in that chapter contradicts him.  But he is easily impeached; he wasn't even born at the time Lyanna was alive, and is only repeating what he was told by someone else.  Robert says the same, and Ned never contradicts him.  But does that mean Ned agrees? Certainly not.  We don't get his thoughts.

We know Robert has his own motives to believe and say what he does, just as Benerro does, just as the Ghost does, and just as Aemon does.  But their level of expertise/honesty is extremely hard to establish, and some of them have been shown wrong before, such as Aemon -- he can't be right in thinking Rhaegar was the PtwP if Dany is, or vice versa.

We can apply the same reasoning to the discussion of the Knight of the Laughing Tree.  Meera and Jojen weren't even born yet!  They have no real authority, and like Bran, are only repeating something they have been told. 

Judging from Meera's ease rattling off such a long and detailed tale (the longest in all of canon!) they were probably told that story exactly as we get it from Meera.  That is, with no solution provided.

The typical fan premise that they know who the mystery knight was, or even that they would have the same guess, has little/no foundation.   As usual, GRRM has left that subject ambiguous and while I hope we'll eventually get an explanation for that story, I'm not at all confident.  He has far bigger fish to fry in the next two books.

That'd be a great question for someone to ask GRRM at a convention, though: "Will we eventually learn the identity of the mystery knight at Harrenhal?"  I don't believe it's ever been asked in a published SSM.

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1 hour ago, alienarea said:

Given how unspectacular the army of the dead threat ends in the show and there isn't a Night King to lead the White Walkers in the books, I wonder whether Mance who opened graves in the Frostfangs (IIRC, is Joramun buried there?), opens the right grave in the crypts and ends the White Walker thread, maybe giving his life in the process?

You have to keep in mind that the show is demonstrating its version of a “high point”. If Jon is the Nights King reborn, he may rise and bring the “Others” (who I believe are the wildlings) south to fight a great battle for Winterfell. So far both show and book are following the same outline, just two radically different interpretations. 

The show killed Mance off a long time ago and he wasn’t part of the battle for Winterfell, and neither was Ramsay who was killed off the season prior. Their deaths are very contradictory to the books and out of order. D&D must have decided to kill them off before that meeting where they learned how the story ends.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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3 hours ago, JNR said:

This would be meaningful if we could show these "most learned available witnesses" -- I suppose you're thinking of people like Melisandre or Salladhor Saan or the Ghost of High Heart -- had actually read the actual prophecies in the original language. 

Not a very high bar to clear... but we can't even manage that much.  We just don't know.  Such characters talk about the prophecies, so they've at least heard of them, but beyond that we have little idea how much they know.  

Suppose we consider Benerro an authority.  About him, we're told:

Well, if so, he clearly does not consider Dany's three dragons to be Lightbringer.  He knows about Dany and her dragons, and yet he is still talking about a sword.  So anyone who thinks Lightbringer = three dragons can only think Benerro is wrong, and thus, is impeaching his authority.  What he says about omens is open to doubt.

Melisandre in particular is a doubtful authority because we explicitly see her fudge the truth in her POV chapter:

 

I'm very much of the feeling that the various swords and those who wield them are metaphorical rather than literal - and also mean very different things to different people. Benero's sword sounds more like a nuclear holocaust than a man [or woman] with a flashy blade; and the corallary to this once again is that far from legendary figures with mythical blades striding around heroically to save the day this story is really about how real characters behave in either trying to bring about or prevent to return of a mythical figure.

Mel is the classic example in how she is prepared to slaughter people right left and centre, to lie and to deceive in order to pull her Manx cat. And if she herself is no longer human then that is because she herself is a victim of unscrupulous belief.

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4 hours ago, JNR said:

This would be meaningful if we could show these "most learned available witnesses" -- I suppose you're thinking of people like Melisandre or Salladhor Saan or the Ghost of High Heart -- had actually read the actual prophecies in the original language. 

I'm thinking primarily of Melisandre and Aemon, both of whom I think it is clear they have both read and studied the prophecies. 
That doesn't make their conclusions right, but does make it very likely that they correctly reference various parts of it/them.

That 'lesser witnesses' repeat the same references just backs up the big two. And again, that doesn't make their conclusions right, but does give the references a very firm foundation.

References and conclusions are different things.

4 hours ago, JNR said:

Suppose we consider Benerro an authority.  About him, we're told:

You can be an authority on the prophecy, have studied it in detail, and still make different interpretive statements. Benerro uses the same base references that clearly are in common, but has his own biases and spin on it.
References and conclusions are different things.

4 hours ago, JNR said:

Well, if so, he clearly does not consider Dany's three dragons to be Lightbringer.  He knows about Dany and her dragons, and yet he is still talking about a sword.  So anyone who thinks Lightbringer = three dragons can only think Benerro is wrong, and thus, is impeaching his authority.  What he says about omens is open to doubt.

You seem to be making the logical fallacy of conflating a character's accurate knowledge of written texts with an accurate interpretation of them.
References and conclusions are different things.

4 hours ago, JNR said:

Melisandre in particular is a doubtful authority because we explicitly see her fudge the truth in her POV chapter:

Again... References and conclusions are different things.

4 hours ago, JNR said:

If I have to guess, what Mel sees in the flames, on this and other subjects, is quite accurate.  She sees the correct towers.

I agree.

4 hours ago, JNR said:

It's her interpretations that steer her wrong, as they do here because she wants to sound confident to Jon  We should not be as easily fooled as she is because we don't need to impress Jon, as she does.

I agree.

4 hours ago, JNR said:

Finally, to draw the comparison with Rhaegar/Lyanna, let me point out that the RLJ camp is quite comfortable impeaching authorities and does so all the time. 

:rolleyes:

4 hours ago, JNR said:

For instance, Bran explicitly says Lyanna was kidnapped and raped.  No one in that chapter contradicts him.  But he is easily impeached; he wasn't even born at the time Lyanna was alive, and is only repeating what he was told by someone else.  Robert says the same, and Ned never contradicts him.  But does that mean Ned agrees? Certainly not.  We don't get his thoughts.

Agreed all the way. 

4 hours ago, JNR said:

We know Robert has his own motives to believe and say what he does, just as Benerro does, just as the Ghost does, and just as Aemon does.  But their level of expertise/honesty is extremely hard to establish, and some of them have been shown wrong before, such as Aemon -- he can't be right in thinking Rhaegar was the PtwP if Dany is, or vice versa.

Agreed all the way. 
Interpretations are not the same as references in common. 
That all these different interpretations (some even by the same people) still have the same references in common only reinforces the validity of the references. But not the interpretations necessarily.

4 hours ago, JNR said:

We can apply the same reasoning to the discussion of the Knight of the Laughing Tree.  Meera and Jojen weren't even born yet!  They have no real authority, and like Bran, are only repeating something they have been told. 

Sure. However, they have clearly been told this story by an actual participant, and many many many details within it have been validated by other, entirely unconnected, sources. 
So while they themselves don't have the strongest 'authority' (although its not that bad, as they are clearly directly connected to an eye-witness), their story very much does.

4 hours ago, JNR said:

Judging from Meera's ease rattling off such a long and detailed tale (the longest in all of canon!) they were probably told that story exactly as we get it from Meera.  That is, with no solution provided.

The first part I agree with. The second part is pure supposition on your part, and runs counter to the textual detail (repeated three times!) that Jojen is certain, really really certain, that Bran must have heard this story before.
I think Meera tells the story as a storyteller tells it, but Jojen certainly, and her probably, know who tKotLT was, probably having asked their father questions after hearing the story. Jojen's insistence that Bran know the story  all but proves it. And if Jojen knows, chances are very high that Meera knows.
A good story keeps the mystery as much as possible. I don't think just because Meera followed that, means she doesn't know any more. 

4 hours ago, JNR said:

The typical fan premise that they know who the mystery knight was, or even that they would have the same guess, has little/no foundation.  

I've ever seen any other viable explanation for Jojen's insistence Bran knows this story already, even presented.
Just because you don't like an idea, or agree, doesn't 'remove all foundation' for it.

4 hours ago, JNR said:

As usual, GRRM has left that subject ambiguous and while I hope we'll eventually get an explanation for that story, I'm not at all confident.  He has far bigger fish to fry in the next two books.

I don't care. Like you say, there are far bigger fish to fry, and he's done more than enough clue seeding on this one already. What else are the tidbits about jousting being 3/4s horsemanship etc and Lyanna's amazing horse-(wo)manship for?

Spoiler

Or Lady Lance, a 14 yr old female who jousts.

 

4 hours ago, JNR said:

That'd be a great question for someone to ask GRRM at a convention, though: "Will we eventually learn the identity of the mystery knight at Harrenhal?"  I don't believe it's ever been asked in a published SSM.

I would be utterly unsurprised if we never do get it explicitly. Its clear enough already. GRRM does not have the responsibility to spell out every little thing. He's massively loaded up the clues here. In fact, I think he'd be disappointed if people asked him to spell it out.

Its storytelling. Just like Meera, GRRM understands what works.

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13 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

You have to keep in mind that the show is demonstrating its version of a “high point”. If Jon is the Nights King reborn, he may rise and bring the “Others” (who I believe are the wildlings) south to fight a great battle for Winterfell. So far both show and book are following the same outline, just two radically different interpretations. 

The show killed Mance off a long time ago and he wasn’t part of the battle for Winterfell, and neither was Ramsay who was killed off the season prior. Their deaths are very contradictory to the books and out of order. D&D must have decided to kill them off before that meeting where they learned how the story ends.

I know the show, could rewatch it if necessary (don't want to), kept my previous post a bit vague to avoid spoiling.

The possibilities I see:

- Mance originally got executed as in the show by GRRM, but then GRRM liked the character and came up with the Rattleshirt switch, open ended.

- Mance has a part to play in the books but it wasn't discussed between GRRM and DD because they only talked main characters or didn't ask about Mance

- DD just butchered him because 'creatively it made sense'

 

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6 hours ago, alienarea said:

I know the show, could rewatch it if necessary (don't want to), kept my previous post a bit vague to avoid spoiling.

The possibilities I see:

- Mance originally got executed as in the show by GRRM, but then GRRM liked the character and came up with the Rattleshirt switch, open ended.

- Mance has a part to play in the books but it wasn't discussed between GRRM and DD because they only talked main characters or didn't ask about Mance

- DD just butchered him because 'creatively it made sense'

 

Or the show gave Mance’s part to Tormund, because they liked the actor better and wanted the comedic banter with Brienne.

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12 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

Or the show gave Mance’s part to Tormund, because they liked the actor better and wanted the comedic banter with Brienne.

I like this. The things that many people don’t realize or like to admit is that shows have budgets and actors cost money. Streamlining plots and combining character arcs, despite the fact that doing so results in poorer storytelling, is an effective budget tool. Yes, this show made lots of money and yes they spent a ton on CGI and stuff that was possibly needless and yes they did make some creative decisions that I would call dubious at best but I don’t think we can chalk everything up to “D and D wanted something different creatively.” 

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5 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

Or the show gave Mance’s part to Tormund, because they liked the actor better and wanted the comedic banter with Brienne.

 

4 hours ago, Lady Rhodes said:

I like this. The things that many people don’t realize or like to admit is that shows have budgets and actors cost money. Streamlining plots and combining character arcs, despite the fact that doing so results in poorer storytelling, is an effective budget tool. Yes, this show made lots of money and yes they spent a ton on CGI and stuff that was possibly needless and yes they did make some creative decisions that I would call dubious at best but I don’t think we can chalk everything up to “D and D wanted something different creatively.” 

I can also imagine that GRRM's Mance got too complicated; his history with the Nightwatch, his black cloak with red silk, the Abel-Bael thing ...

In the books, I wonder whether Mance and Roose know each other?

And I do not believe that Ramsay kills Roose in the books.

 

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18 minutes ago, alienarea said:

 

I can also imagine that GRRM's Mance got too complicated; his history with the Nightwatch, his black cloak with red silk, the Abel-Bael thing ...

In the books, I wonder whether Mance and Roose know each other?

And I do not believe that Ramsay kills Roose in the books.

 

This is slightly off topic, in that it is not related to Mance or the Pink letter, but is related to combining or changing arcs.

I am of the belief that Jon Connington's PTSD-like recollections of the Battle of the Bells is the foreshadowing of Daenerys' destruction of King's Landing.  I think Jon Con is going to be the "eyes on the ground" so to speak, and that her destruction of King's Landing will be her taking it from Aegon, not Cersei, and that it will be BEFORE the battle with the Others.

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1 minute ago, Lady Rhodes said:

This is slightly off topic, in that it is not related to Mance or the Pink letter, but is related to combining or changing arcs.

I am of the belief that Jon Connington's PTSD-like recollections of the Battle of the Bells is the foreshadowing of Daenerys' destruction of King's Landing.  I think Jon Con is going to be the "eyes on the ground" so to speak, and that her destruction of King's Landing will be her taking it from Aegon, not Cersei, and that it will be BEFORE the battle with the Others.

I'm not so sure about that. IMO Daenerys is fated to replay the Dance of the Dragons just as Rhaenyra and Aegon II fought over the throne after their father Viserys I died. Viserys had two wives. Rhaenyra was his only child from his first marriage, and he considered her his heir. Aegon II was from his second wife, and he didn't even want the throne until his mother persuaded him. The story is detailed in The Princess and the Queen.

Rhaenyra married her uncle, Prince Daemon, who also wanted the throne. One of Daemon's mistresses was a pale Lysene dancer who he encountered in a whore house in Flea Bottom. Her name was Mysaria, but people called her Lady Misery or the White Worm. Mysaria has many parallels in common with Bloodraven among them her pale coloring and her mastery of whispers to her willingness to kill her lover's enemies. She ended up getting pregnant on Dragonstone, so Daemon gave her an egg, which infuriated King Viserys and he demanded she give it back. Daemon sent her with the egg back to Lys where she was from, but she miscarried on the ship during a storm.

Prince Daemon fought for Rhaenyra during the Dance of the Dragons, but ended up having an affair with Nettles - the dragonseed that was recruited to fly Sheepeater for Aegon II's side. Ultimately Prince Daemon died fighting in the Battle Above the God's Eye, and Rhaenyra gets burned and eaten by Aegon's dragon. There are a lot of elements from this story that Daenerys has already repeated.

Daenerys brother was Viserys rather than it being the name of her father, and Young Griff is presented as Aegon. Quentyn Martell came to Daenerys offering a marriage alliance and is burned by Viserion. He wasn't eaten, but he died of his injuries. Aegon II's dragon was named Sunfyre and Qyentyn was the sun's son and he died by fire. Bloodraven had a hand in trying to prevent Daenerys from being born. Her mother Rhaella had lost eight (I think) other children besides Rhaegar, Viserys, and Daenerys. When Rhaella and Viserys sailed to Dragonstorm they encountered a storm so fierce that it destroyed the Targaryen and the Rebellion's fleets. Rhaella's ship managed to land, but she died giving birth to Daenerys. You might say that Bloodraven's powers were made possible by forces coming from the Isle of Faces in the God's Eye. Daenerys had an affair with Daario Naharis who some readers suspect has Targaryen blood in him somehow - he's the parallel to Nettles. If @Seams or @ravenous reader were around perhaps they would know if there are any connections between Daario's and Nettles' names? Daenerys left Daario in charge in Meereen and he renamed Slavers Bay to the Bay of Dragons. 

So if Daenerys is fated to replay the Dance of the Dragons, who is fated to replay the Battle of the Bells? It should have happened already during the War of the Five Kings (Joffrey, Robb, Renly, Stannis, and Balon). One of the possible manifestation of "bells" is Patchface who wore a harlequin's hat with jangling cowbells. So rather than Robert coming out of hiding to the sound of the bells of Stoney Sept, his brother Stannis is constantly in the company of a fool with clanging cowbells. Even Davos takes note every time he hears Patchface's bells.

Just like the forces of nature, the wheel of time has powerful forces that cannot be avoided or stopped. And just like prophecy cannot be avoided - it will find a way to manifest even if it unfolds in unexpected ways.

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1 hour ago, alienarea said:

 

I can also imagine that GRRM's Mance got too complicated; his history with the Nightwatch, his black cloak with red silk, the Abel-Bael thing ...

That's very likely the case because the biggest problem with the Mummers' version is that in order for the show to work its necessary to strip everything back to the basics. As mentioned above this means dropping characters or amalgamating them, but it also means cutting out an awful lot of stuff. For good or ill the Mummers chose to focus on the game of thrones and in order to maintain that focus they had to strip out the deep magic and tell a very different story to the one GRRM is still writing. Hence apart from Bran's eye-rolling the whole warging business has been cut out, despite its centrality. Mance's story evidently isn't relevant relevant to the fight for the Iron Throne, so out he goes. The white walkers aren't relevant either. In GRRM's story they are a mystery wrapped in an enigma. We miserable heretics speculate about the Stark connection, while the Mummers [and the R+L=J crowd] knowing nothing and not wanting to know anything since it doesn't impact on the Iron Throne, invent a weird Nights King and then play the unlikliest with-one-bound-Jack-was-free resolution of a Musgrave Ritual they have ignored from the beginning.

The problem in short is that the Mummers have chosen to tell the story from the POV of three queens, Cersei, Danaerys and Melisandre; and ignore the rest - the real story

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24 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

That's very likely the case because the biggest problem with the Mummers' version is that in order for the show to work its necessary to strip everything back to the basics. As mentioned above this means dropping characters or amalgamating them, but it also means cutting out an awful lot of stuff. For good or ill the Mummers chose to focus on the game of thrones and in order to maintain that focus they had to strip out the deep magic and tell a very different story to the one GRRM is still writing. Hence apart from Bran's eye-rolling the whole warging business has been cut out, despite its centrality. Mance's story evidently isn't relevant relevant to the fight for the Iron Throne, so out he goes. The white walkers aren't relevant either. In GRRM's story they are a mystery wrapped in an enigma. We miserable heretics speculate about the Stark connection, while the Mummers [and the R+L=J crowd] knowing nothing and not wanting to know anything since it doesn't impact on the Iron Throne, invent a weird Nights King and then play the unlikliest with-one-bound-Jack-was-free resolution of a Musgrave Ritual they have ignored from the beginning.

The problem in short is that the Mummers have chosen to tell the story from the POV of three queens, Cersei, Danaerys and Melisandre; and ignore the rest - the real story

I guess I posted it once or twice before ;) in hindsight maybe less would have been more. Skip Daenerys and the dragons and tell the North.

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A Game of Thrones - Eddard XV

"And would again. I seem to recall that I was unarmed, unarmored, and surrounded by Lannister swords." The eunuch looked at him curiously, tilting his head. "When I was a young boy, before I was cut, I traveled with a troupe of mummers through the Free Cities. They taught me that each man has a role to play, in life as well as mummery. So it is at court. The King's Justice must be fearsome, the master of coin must be frugal, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard must be valiant … and the master of whisperers must be sly and obsequious and without scruple. A courageous informer would be as useless as a cowardly knight." He took the wineskin back and drank.

Ned studied the eunuch's face, searching for truth beneath the mummer's scars and false stubble. He tried some more wine. This time it went down easier. "Can you free me from this pit?"

So, that is the question: what is the truth behind Varys' mummer's scars and 'false' stubble. Black Crow pointed out some time ago that eunuch's don't have facial hair.  I think the truth is that Varys disguises his pox-scarred face and facial stubble with the mummer's tricks of the trade.  The real disguise is Varys in his aspect as the eunuch rather than as Rugen the jailer.

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A Game of Thrones - Arya III

The other chuckled. "No less." Flames licked at the cold air. The tall shadows were almost on top of her. An instant later the man holding the torch climbed into her sight, his companion beside him. Arya crept back away from the well, dropped to her stomach, and flattened herself against the wall. She held her breath as the men reached the top of the steps.

"What would you have me do?" asked the torchbearer, a stout man in a leather half cape. Even in heavy boots, his feet seemed to glide soundlessly over the ground. A round scarred face and a stubble of dark beard showed under his steel cap, and he wore mail over boiled leather, and a dirk and shortsword at his belt. It seemed to Arya there was something oddly familiar about him.

This is Martin's magician's trick.  The reader has already bought the identity of the eunuch that we don't notice the discrepancies.

Varys powders his face.  This is to hide his facial scars and any hint of a beard. 
 

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A Game of Thrones - Eddard XIV

Varys entered in a wash of lavender, pink from his bath, his plump face scrubbed and freshly powdered, his soft slippers all but soundless. "The little birds sing a grievous song today," he said as he seated himself. "The realm weeps. Shall we begin?"

A Game of Thrones - Eddard VIII

"Desperately," Varys said, "yet he craves life even more. By now, the princess nears Vaes Dothrak, where it is death to draw a blade. If I told you what the Dothraki would do to the poor man who used one on a khaleesi, none of you would sleep tonight." He stroked a powdered cheek. "Now, poison … the tears of Lys, let us say. Khal Drogo need never know it was not a natural death."

A Game of Thrones - Eddard VIII

"There is no axe," Ned told his king. "Only the shadow of a shadow, twenty years removed … if it exists at all."

"If?" Varys asked softly, wringing powdered hands together. "My lord, you wrong me. Would I bring lies to king and council?"

A Game of Thrones - Eddard IV

The councillor Ned liked least, the eunuch Varys, accosted him the moment he entered. "Lord Stark, I was grievous sad to hear about your troubles on the kingsroad. We have all been visiting the sept to light candles for Prince Joffrey. I pray for his recovery." His hand left powder stains on Ned's sleeve, and he smelled as foul and sweet as flowers on a grave.

A Clash of Kings - Tyrion II

"To whom, I wonder?" Tyrion did not trust Varys, though there was no denying his value. He knew things, beyond a doubt. "Why are you so helpful, my lord Varys?" he asked, studying the man's soft hands, the bald powdered face, the slimy little smile.

A Clash of Kings - Tyrion IV

Varys stroked a powdered cheek. "And if Prince Doran demands the blood of the lord who gave the command as well as the knight who did the deed . . ."

A Clash of Kings - Tyrion VI

Varys stroked a powdered cheek. "This would doubtless involve the four men your man Bronn searched for so diligently in all the low places of King's Landing. A thief, a poisoner, a mummer, and a murderer."

Why does he always stroke his cheek?  Is it to determine if there is any stubble?  Powdering the face to cover any facial hair and scars? 

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Snippet from the web

Eunuchs do not develop hair as mature men and women do. They are not hairless – children have a thin covering of body hair, just that the growth of hair on pubis and in armpits would not occur, and certainly not the facial and chest hair that men grow.

 

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A Feast for Crows - Jaime I

"Rugen," the old man supplied. "An undergaoler. He had charge of the third level, the black cells."

"Tell me of him," Jaime had to say. A bloody farce. He knew who Rugen was, even if Longwaters did not.

"Unkempt, unshaven, coarse of speech. I misliked the man, 'tis true, I do confess it. Rugen was here when I first came, twelve years past. He held his appointment from King Aerys. The man was seldom here, it must be said. I made note of it in my reports, my lord. I most suredly did, I give you my word upon it, the word of a man with royal blood."

 

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3 hours ago, Lady Rhodes said:

This is slightly off topic, in that it is not related to Mance or the Pink letter, but is related to combining or changing arcs.

I am of the belief that Jon Connington's PTSD-like recollections of the Battle of the Bells is the foreshadowing of Daenerys' destruction of King's Landing.  I think Jon Con is going to be the "eyes on the ground" so to speak, and that her destruction of King's Landing will be her taking it from Aegon, not Cersei, and that it will be BEFORE the battle with the Others.

I could see something like this happening.I don't doubt GRRM will write it in a way that makes some sense.

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6 hours ago, LynnS said:

So, that is the question: what is the truth behind Varys' mummer's scars and 'false' stubble. Black Crow pointed out some time ago that eunuch's don't have facial hair.  I think the truth is that Varys disguises his pox-scarred face and facial stubble with the mummer's tricks of the trade.  The real disguise is Varys in his aspect as the eunuch rather than as Rugen the jailer.

This is Martin's magician's trick.  The reader has already bought the identity of the eunuch that we don't notice the discrepancies.

Varys powders his face.  This is to hide his facial scars and any hint of a beard. 
 

Why does he always stroke his cheek?  Is it to determine if there is any stubble?  Powdering the face to cover any facial hair and scars? 

 

 

Ned described the stubble as “fake”. I don’t think powder could hide stubble. I actually think it would enhance it. Layers of makeup seem to make lines look deeper and darker so I think it would make stubble look like it was collecting dust or fuzz. That being said I think the powder is meant to convey a different meaning or to make his skin tone look lighter. And touching or stroking his own cheek draws attention to his face...why would he want to do that? Unless it’s unintentional? I think people who study body language would say touching the face while talking is an indication of deception. It’s almost as if they’re trying to stop their own words from leaving their mouth. Stroking the chin is contemplative, while resting the hand on the side of the face with the index finger up and the other fingers curled near the chin indicate feigned interest especially if that arm is being supported by the other arm crossed over the body.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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2 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

Ned described the stubble as “fake”. I don’t think powder could hide stubble. I actually think it would enhance it. Layers of makeup seem to make lines look deeper and darker so I think it would make stubble look like it was collecting dust or fuzz. That being said I think the powder is meant to convey a different meaning or to make his skin tone look lighter. And touching or stroking his own cheek draws attention to his face...why would he want to do that? Unless it’s unintentional? I think people who study body language would say touching the face while talking is an indication of deception. It’s almost as if they’re trying to stop their own words from leaving their mouth. Stroking the chin is contemplative, while resting the hand on the side of the face with the index finger up and the other fingers curled near the chin indicate feigned interest especially if that arm is being supported by the other arm crossed over the body.

As you know I have been arguing for a long time that Rugen is only playing the part of Varys, disguised by powder, perfume and distaste. Although Lord Eddard refers to his stubble as "fake", that's natural, but consider that he sees him by a flickering torch in anotherwise pitch black room.

Conversely the evident distaste for "Varys" clouds of perfume discourages close inspection

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3 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

Ned described the stubble as “fake”. I don’t think powder could hide stubble. I actually think it would enhance it. Layers of makeup seem to make lines look deeper and darker so I think it would make stubble look like it was collecting dust or fuzz. That being said I think the powder is meant to convey a different meaning or to make his skin tone look lighter. And touching or stroking his own cheek draws attention to his face...why would he want to do that? Unless it’s unintentional? I think people who study body language would say touching the face while talking is an indication of deception. It’s almost as if they’re trying to stop their own words from leaving their mouth. Stroking the chin is contemplative, while resting the hand on the side of the face with the index finger up and the other fingers curled near the chin indicate feigned interest especially if that arm is being supported by the other arm crossed over the body.

I think it's far easier to conceal scars and and hint of a beard than it is to create scars and stubble.  Rugen is seen by a few gaolers and Ned who is about to die.  There is no need for Varys to disguise himself under these circumstances.  Mummers in particular would know how to conceal male features.  Varys has also disguised himself as a woman.  Varys is often 'freshly scrubbed and powdered', so clean shaven and powdered.  Varys strokes his 'cheek'.  I imagine this gesture looks very similar to any man feeling his skin for a shadow.   His hands are also powdered.  For someone so neat and tidy, he doesn't wash his hands.  The better to apply powder as needed when stroking his cheek.

Of course men can conceal a shadow with makeup:

https://feminizationsecrets.com/transgender-crossdressing-beard-shadow/

 

Edited by LynnS

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5 hours ago, Black Crow said:

As you know I have been arguing for a long time that Rugen is only playing the part of Varys, disguised by powder, perfume and distaste. Although Lord Eddard refers to his stubble as "fake", that's natural, but consider that he sees him by a flickering torch in anotherwise pitch black room.

Conversely the evident distaste for "Varys" clouds of perfume discourages close inspection

I agree.  There is no reason to disguise himself when playing the gaoler. Varys says that men see what they expect to see.

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Tyrion X

Varys smiled, showing a mouth full of rotted teeth. "Who, my lord? Ser Cortnay or Lord Stannis?"

 

Edited by LynnS

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I'm no mummer but I do wonder whether it would be easier for a coarse jailer to play an eloquent schemer or vice versa.I'd imagine the latter.

We are told Varys was raised for a time by a troupe of mummers so it's entirely plausible both Varys and Rugen are guises.

So the real question is who is behind both?A Blackfyre or Targ sympathiser it seems.

Edited by redriver

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