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Lost Melnibonean

Meu limão, meu limoeiro

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The original thread, here, was archived. The mods are not mocked, so I will begin anew...

As you might recall, when we see lemons, things don't usually end well... In Sansa I, Game 15, she was looking forward to lemon cakes in the queen's wheelhouse, but her day ended with her prince's loathing and contempt. Samwell's early childhood went from snitching lemon cakes to contempt, abuse, and banishment by his father. In Sansa II, Game 29, Sansa went from enjoying lemon cakes with Joffrey at the feast following the first day of jousting to being escorted back to her cell by the Hound. In Sansa III, Game 44, Sansa and Jeyne (poor Jeyne) looked for lemon cakes in the kitchen, but at the end of the chapter learned her father was sending back to Winterfell. Sansa shared lemon cakes with the Tyrells before being forced to wed the imp. On the morning Sansa was forced to marry the imp, along with the new gown, Cersei sent her favorite scents for Sansa's use too. Of course, "Sansa chose a sharp sweet fragrance with a hint of lemon in it under the smell of flowers." 

Spoiler

In Winds, Lord Nestor’s cooks prepare a lemon cake in the shape of the Giant’s Lance, twelve feet tall and adorned with an Eyrie made of sugar, all for Alayne. "The cake had required every lemon in the Vale, but Petyr had promised that he would send to Dorne for more." 

I've got a bad feeling about this. 

Before donning the ugly little girl's face, the kindly man gave a girl a drink so tart it was like biting into lemon. That made "no one" think of Arya's sister, and Sansa's fondness for lemon cakes. In Arya V, Game 65, Arya offered to trade a fat pigeon for a lemon, but ened up at her father's execution. Jeor Mormont drank lemon in his beer every day. He still had his own teeth but his men mutinied and murdered him. At Bitterbridge, Renly's bannermen feasted on lemon cakes. Of course, Renly's campaign ened shortly thereafter. As Davos sailed with Stannis's fleet into Blackwater Bay, he observed Aegon's High Hill, dark against a lemon sky. That's an odd description for a sky, no? As Davos turned downstream, the mouth of the Blackwater Rush had turned into the mouth of hell.

At Edmure's wedding feast Catelyn noted that Ryman Frey had bathed in lemon water but failed to mask his sour sweat, and that Roose smelled sweeter but no more pleasant. The Feast did not end on a happy note. At Joffrey's wedding feast Tyrion had a slice of pigeon pie covered with a spoon of lemon cream. A few paragraphs later Tyrion stood accused of regicide. That was the last of 18 dishes served to Joffrey just before he choked. On the night Daenerys was sold to the savage she smelled sweet lemon among other eastern scents. 

Cersei drank lemon water so tart she had to spit it out the morning she learned that Tyrion had murdered their father. When Cersei entered Maggy the Frog's tent, one of the eastern scents she smelled was lemongrass. Before the night was done Cersei would learn that Melara had a crush on Jaime, and Melara would die at the bottom of a well. 

Lem Lemoncloak just reeks of bitterness and disappointment, and Doran's Water Gardens smell of lemons and blood oranges. Anybody think Dorne is going end up happy with their blood and fire? In The Queenmaker, Arianne noticed that Darkstar preferred lemon water to summer wine, and she served lemonsweet to Myrcella before Darkstar cut off Myrcella's ear amidst lemon orchards watered by a spider's web of old canals. Arianne’s first meal while locked in the tower included kind roasted with lemon. And the soup at the feast to welcome Gregor's head was made with eggs and lemons. 

Stannis enjoys boiled eggs and lemon water for breakfast, and, well, I think we all know his end will be bitter and disappointing. In Jon IV, Dance 17, Stannis offers lemon water to Jon. Wisely, Jon refuses. Stannis drinks more.

Just after Tyrion plants the notion of sailing to Westeros without Daenerys in the noble lad's head, the merry band aboard the Shy Maid enjoy a pike with lemon juice, and they learn that Daenerys hasn't left Meereen. Aegon fatefully decides to go west insteaed of east. Anybody think Aegon will win the dance? And Tyrion decides to go whoring after dinner, and meets his new buddy Jorah. Tyrion suspected Yezzan was drinking lemon water as the yellow whale bid on him and Penny. Tyrion served Nurse lemonsweet with the mushrooms from Illyrio's garden.The Green Grace accepted a goblet of sweeetened lemon juice from the Queen's hand, just before infected corpses started flying over the walls. Oh, and guess what kind of trees Daenerys has in her terrace garden in Meereen? 

And we see a lemon in one of the ancillary novellas... When Dunk has a personal feast, feeling what it means to be a knight for the first time at the beginning of The Hedge Knight, he dines on lamb and an even better duck cooked with cherries and lemons quaff in it down with four tankards of a thick, nut brown ale. By the end of the novella, though, Prince Maekar had slain his brother, Baelor Breakspear, who died defending Dunk against Prince Aerion's accusations. 

Well, I am finally getting around to reading Fire & Blood, and I am seeing that the estrangement between Jaehaerys and Alysanne almost resulted in Alysanne renouncing her marriage and spending the rest of her life as a silent sister due to the grief and pain--grief and pain born of frustrations that started with Vaegon and Daella. And, of course, Vaegon had such a pinched sour cast to his mouth that men suspected he had recently been sucking on a--yeap, you guessed it--a lemon. 

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I can't find any flaws in your "bad omen" interpretation of lemons.

My own thinking is that lemons might represent a longing for something unattainable: Dany can't remember her childhood but she wants to find the red door with the lemon tree; idealistic Sansa wants to live in a world with an infinite number of lemon cakes; Arya wants to swap the pigeon for a lemon but is unable to close the deal (the pigeon falls from her belt, she knows not where) and Joffrey attains both the pigeon (pie) and the lemon (sauce) but immediately dies.

Aerys had the pyromancers make fruit-shaped grenades to hold the wild fire they produced. He never got to use the wild fire and the grenades became a dangerous, forgotten hazard stored in hidden pockets around King's Landing. Like many Targaryens, Aerys really wanted dragons but couldn't figure out how to get them - the unrequited longing again. He settled for fruit-shaped wild fire grenades but never got to use those, either. Both dragons and wild fire are weapons of mass destruction. Maybe the message is that obsessing about things you can't have (dragons) is a waste of time and effort, but attaining things you shouldn't have (wild fire) could be just as bad?

Renly attains a lemon in the form of his yellow Rainbow Guard member: Emmon Cuy. Emmon and Robar Royce (red Rainbow Guard member) are on duty when Renly is killed in his tent by the shadow assassin. Renly offered a peach to Stannis and Stannis didn't take it so Renly ate it and told him how good it was. (Robert's first conversation with Ned included a description of the wonderful fruits that come from the Reach and encouragement to Ned to come south so he could enjoy those fruits more often.)

Interestingly, I think Stannis has a "lemon" on his team as well: Duram bar Emmon. It is bar Emmon's ship that breaks open the wild fire hull at the Blackwater, beginning the conflagration that destroys the fleet. bar Emmon himself is young, and we don't see much of him in person. We may know more about lemons when we learn what fate or larger role GRRM has in mind for him later in the books.

The Lannisters also have a "lemon" on their team, inadvertently obtained from House Frey: Emmon Frey. This Emmon chews sour leaf and has a slimy red mouth. Not the kind of lemon one longs to attain, I admit.

Two - no three - additional sources of information on lemons:

- GRRM has said the ending of the books will be bittersweet. I think lemons are a key symbol in setting up what is bitter (and what is sweet) in this key motif.

- The author draws on a lot of symbolism associated with the Somewhere Over the Rainbow song from the Wizard of Oz movie. When Dany climbs onto Drogon's back in the fighting pit and finally takes wing, I think she is flying over the rainbow where happy little bluebirds fly. But we are also told that troubles melt like lemondrops over the rainbow. Is the lemon motif related to the melting of troubles?

- I am also still fascinated by the connection between lemons and teeth. A number of the characters who long for lemons (or who deliberately ingest them) are associated with wolves, lions, bears or dragons - animals known for their dread teeth. (I admit, Sweetrobin has become a fan of lemon cakes and his sigil is not a teeth sigil. His sigil is a happy little bluebird.)

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Meu pé de jacarandá... 

This is very throughly researched material, thank you very much good ser. I agree with your interpretation. What would you like further discuss? Are we to stick with lemons or is it alright to expand beyond them to other fruits?

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Posted (edited)
On 8/27/2019 at 8:44 PM, Seams said:

 

- I am also still fascinated by the connection between lemons and teeth. A number of the characters who long for lemons (or who deliberately ingest them) are associated with wolves, lions, bears or dragons - animals known for their dread teeth. (I admit, Sweetrobin has become a fan of lemon cakes and his sigil is not a teeth sigil. His sigil is a happy little bluebird.)

Speaking of lemons and teeth, the old bear, drinks lemon in his morning beer, because it's good for his teeth, supposedly.

(small aside, was that an actual medieval assumption/old wives tale or did George make it up?) 

Sweet Robin says he likes Lemon cakes because Alyane(Sansa)does, he might not actually like them, something to consider, we don't know though.

Dani has her lemon trees.

But what does it mean?(rhetorical, but feel free to answer if you want haha)

I like it, I see what you mean, there might be something there, Starks and Targaryens have both been close associates of a mormot as well.

 

Edited by Back door hodor

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8 hours ago, Back door hodor said:

Speaking of lemons and teeth, the old bear, drinks lemon in his morning beer, because it's good for his teeth, supposedly.

(small aside, was that an actual medieval assumption/old wives tale or did George make it up?) 

Sweet Robin says he likes Lemon cakes because Alyane(Sansa)does, he might not actually like them, something to consider, we don't know though.

Dani has her lemon trees.

But what does it mean?(rhetorical, but feel free to answer if you want haha)

I like it, I see what you mean, there might be something there, Starks and Targaryens have both been close associates of a mormot as well.

 

I'm in a rush, but I tried to gather some lemon / teeth and other fruit associations in this thread:

And here, a really convoluted attempt to explain teeth as a parallel to diamonds in ASOIAF.

 

 

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One of my favourite theories. However - while I can't dispute the facts there, one question immediately leaps up: why lemons? Why make lemons your disaster omen? Just on their own, taken in isolation, mystic lemons would be eccentric even beyond usual expectations of GRRM.

A complete and consistent food code would settle things nicely - and be a reason for the constant obsession with food - but until that happens, fruit would be a good start. Here's a quote collection with GRRM's unique take on fruit-as-metaphor:

Quote

Fruit as explosives

[Robert, to Ned] "You need a taste of summer before it flees.... The fruits are so ripe they explode in your mouth - melons, peaches, fireplums, you've never tasted such sweetness. You'll see, I brought you some...." [AGOT - EDDARD I]

[Hallyne] "There is a vault below this one where we store the older pots. Those from King Aerys's day. It was his fancy to have the jars made in the shape of fruits. Very perilous fruits indeed, my lord Hand, and, hmmm, riper now than ever, if you take my meaning...."  [ACOK - TYRION V]

 

Fruit as plotting and warfare

[Tyrion] "... Schemes are like fruit, they require a certain ripening..." [ACOK - TYRION I]

[Robert, to Ned] ... before long Robert was eating an orange and waxing fond about a morning at the Eyrie when they had been boys. "... had given Jon a barrel of oranges, remember? Only the things had gone rotten, so I flung mine across the table and hit Dacks right in the nose. You remember, Redfort's pock-faced squire? He tossed one back at me, and before Jon could as much as fart, there were oranges flying across the High Hall in every direction." [AGOT - EDDARD VII]

 

Blood oranges as blood

... [Arya] ripped the skin from a blood orange. [..]. Her hand clenched the blood orange so hard that red juice oozed between her fingers. [...] [Sansa] shrieked as Arya flung the orange across the table. It caught her in the middle of the forehead with a wet squish and plopped down into her lap. [AGOT - SANSA III]

[Areo] I should have gathered up the oranges that fell, he thought, and went to sleep dreaming of the tart sweet taste of them, and the sticky feel of the red juice on his fingers. [AFFC - THE CAPTAIN OF GUARDS]

Lord Petyr cut the blood orange in two with his dagger and offered half to Sansa. [...] "Clean hands, Sansa. Whatever you do, make certain your hands are clean." [ASOS - SANSA VI]

 

Fruit as flesh

[Varys, of Cersei] "What avails statecraft against the love a mother has for the sweet fruit of her womb?..." [ACOK - TYRION IV]

[Battle of the Blackwater] A naked man fell from the sky and landed on the deck, body bursting like a melon dropped from a tower. [...] Stones began to plummet down, crashing through the decks and turning men to pulp.... [ACOK - TYRION XIV]

[Battle of the Blackwater] 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, shining, spreading across the surface of the river ...  [ACOK - DAVOS III]

[Prince Doran] The gout had swollen and reddened his joints grotesquely; his left knee was an apple, his right a melon, and his toes had turned to dark red grapes, so ripe it seemed a touch would burst them. [AFFC - THE CAPTAIN OF GUARDS]

 

Fruit as an Unsullied army????

[Dany] "... Do you know how Unsullied are made and trained?"
[Xaro] "Cruelly, I have no doubt. [...] If you would savor the sweet taste of the fruit, you must water the tree."
[Dany] This tree has been watered with blood."

I feel I've missed a good quote somewhere... but it's gone. :dunno:

 

Edited by Springwatch
punctuation

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LEMON TREE

by

Peter, Paul & Mary

 

When I was just a lad of ten, my father said to me
"Come here and take a lesson from the lovely lemon tree"
"Don't put your faith in love, my boy" my father said to me
"I fear you'll find that love is like the lovely lemon tree"

Lemon tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat
Lemon tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat

One day beneath the lemon tree, my love and I did lie
A girl so sweet that when she smiled, the stars rose in the sky
We passed that summer lost in love, beneath the lemon tree
The music of her laughter hid my father's words from me

Lemon tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat
Lemon tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat

One day she left without a word, she took away the sun
And in the dark she left behind, I knew what she had done
She left me for another, it's a common tale but true
A sadder man, but wiser now, I sing these words to you

Lemon tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat
Lemon tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat

Songwriters: Will Holt

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7 hours ago, Springwatch said:

One of my favourite theories. However - while I can't dispute the facts there, one question immediately leaps up: why lemons? Why make lemons your disaster omen? Just on their own, taken in isolation, mystic lemons would be eccentric even beyond usual expectations of GRRM.

A complete and consistent food code would settle things nicely - and be a reason for the constant obsession with food - but until that happens, fruit would be a good start. Here's a quote collection with GRRM's unique take on fruit-as-metaphor:

I feel I've missed a good quote somewhere... but it's gone. :dunno:

 

In the original thread I discussed how many authors use lemons to signal bitterness and disappointment. 

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Well, it is also true that, every time whores are mentioned, something bad happens shortly thereafter.  My theory is that Westeros is a place where a lot of bad things have been happening, what with the realm being in chaos and all that.

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22 hours ago, Platypus Rex said:

Well, it is also true that, every time whores are mentioned, something bad happens shortly thereafter.  My theory is that Westeros is a place where a lot of bad things have been happening, what with the realm being in chaos and all that.

No doubt. I am sure there are plenty of instances where something bad followed a complete lack of lemons. But it is a fact that lemons are often used in literature to signal bitterness and disappointment, and the examples above suggest that the George uses lemons in a similar fashion. 

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On 8/27/2019 at 12:26 PM, Lost Melnibonean said:

Before donning the ugly little girl's face, the kindly man gave a girl a drink so tart it was like biting into lemon. That made "no one" think of Arya's sister, and Sansa's fondness for lemon cakes. 

I believe this interpretation is mistaken.  "No one" was thinking of Arya, and Arya's fondness for lemon cakes.  

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1 hour ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

No doubt. I am sure there are plenty of instances where something bad followed a complete lack of lemons. But it is a fact that lemons are often used in literature to signal bitterness and disappointment, and the examples above suggest that the George uses lemons in a similar fashion. 

My theory is that GRRM likes lemons.  Lemon cakes symbolize yumminess, just as mushrooms symbolize yumminess in LOTR. 

The closest association of lemons with disappointment, is when you don't get any, as when Arya tries to beg one from the street vendor.  Or when poor Anguy the Archer did not get any from Sharna, for his roast duck.

Also, in Dorne, lemons are apparently associated with other things that GRRM presumably likes, such as democratic traditions.

I also think lemons will have plot significance.  The significance of the giant lemon-cake made in honor of Alayne Stone is that at least one of the hunters looking for Sansa knows that Sansa loved lemon cakes.

I also think the lemon tree at the House with the Red Door has plot significance, as GRRM all-but confirmed in his note to Victarion Chainbreaker.   Those in denial about this would grasp onto theories like yours, in an effort to reassure themselves that nothing is really going on after all.

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22 hours ago, Platypus Rex said:

I believe this interpretation is mistaken.  "No one" was thinking of Arya, and Arya's fondness for lemon cakes.  

It certainly could be interpreted that way given the ambiguity of the passage. But given Sansa's fondness for lemony lemon cakes, I think the girl no one is thinking of is Sansa. 

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40 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

 

22 hours ago, Platypus Rex said:

I believe this interpretation is mistaken.  "No one" was thinking of Arya, and Arya's fondness for lemon cakes.  

It certainly could be interpreted that way given the ambiguity of the passage. But given Sansa's fondness for lemony lemon cakes, I think the girl no one is thinking of is Sansa. 

These are not mutually exclusive interpretations ^_^

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1 hour ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

It certainly could be interpreted that way given the ambiguity of the passage. But given Sansa's fondness for lemony lemon cakes, I think the girl no one is thinking of is Sansa. 

Given Arya's known fondness for lemon-cakes, and given that the point of the passage is the identity-disconnect between No-One and Arya, it seems clear to me that No-One is thinking of Arya.  I don't know why one would be tempted by any other interpretation, unless one had forgotten that Arya also liked lemon cakes.

Edited by Platypus Rex

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On 8/29/2019 at 12:36 AM, Back door hodor said:

Speaking of lemons and teeth, the old bear, drinks lemon in his morning beer, because it's good for his teeth, supposedly.

(small aside, was that an actual medieval assumption/old wives tale or did George make it up?) 

Loss of teeth is one of the symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency, to which sailors and other populations (such as, apparently, soldiers at the Wall) may be prone.

Edited by Platypus Rex

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13 hours ago, Platypus Rex said:

Loss of teeth is one of the symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency, to which sailors and other populations (such as, apparently, soldiers at the Wall) may be prone.

Yeap. Every time I eat fruit, I think to myself, "Self, we got to keep down scurvy."

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1 hour ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Yeap. Every time I eat fruit, I think to myself, "Self, we got to keep down scurvy."

Generally speaking, people who feed themselves in non-institutional settings are not in danger of scurvy.  There are all kinds of ways to get Vitamin C, and at least one of them is sure to be a food you like.   If you eat your onions, you might not need your lemon juice.

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On 9/5/2019 at 11:24 PM, Platypus Rex said:

Loss of teeth is one of the symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency, to which sailors and other populations (such as, apparently, soldiers at the Wall) may be 

Interesting, also interesting that people in Westeros suspect/know this, I mean obviously they don't know what vitamin C is but they somehow know lemons are good for your teeth?

Also don't worry too much about this, not trying to derail the actual discussion, I've just always found this little tidbit intriguing and never had a chance to discuss it before

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3 hours ago, Back door hodor said:

I mean obviously they don't know what vitamin C is but they somehow know lemons are good for your teeth?

Lemons as a both prevention method and cure for scurvy was a discovery made by "epidemiologists" (who did not yet go by such name) at the dawn of the field, much earlier than ascorbic acid was isolated and understood as an essencial nutrient to human health.

But while they are ideed good for preventig scurvy, which causes gengivitis and therefore eventually teeth loss, lemons are actually good for the gums but bad for teeth themselves.

The acid nature of the fruit makes enamel prone to demineralizing (its low pH can turn Ca bound to the organic matrix into Ca+2 ions which readily difuses to the saliva) and therefore teeth become more brittle, stained/discoloured and prone to cavities.

Edited by Lady Dacey

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