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Walda

Was Gregor Guilty?

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Following on from a side topic in the Kevan and Pycelles Death thread.

Did Gregor rape Elia? Did he smash the skull of the babe in her arms against a wall? Had he received orders to kill Rhaegars heirs this way, or did he do it for the lulz? Could he have slain the mother and child and yet be innocent in the eyes of the seven? Or did the gods confine their verdict to Tyrion's case when Gregor fought the Red Viper? Do the gods play any part in trials by combat? Do they provide supernatural help or hindrance to one side or the other? Do they sometimes get it wrong, or leave it to the mortals to decize? Or do they always, because the gods of Westeros are as imaginary as the gods of Norse/ Greek/ Egyptian/ Assyrian legend, and therefore as silent?

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The gods have their own moral code and it's nothing to do with the rules of chivalry.  Trial by combat doesn't count in the eyes of the gods.  It's something the knights and the Andals concocted to handle thorny issues of disagreements between parries.  Gregor knew what Tywin wanted.  He's slow but he knows his boss.

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2 hours ago, Walda said:

Do they sometimes get it wrong, or leave it to the mortals to decize? Or do they always, because the gods of Westeros are as imaginary as the gods of Norse/ Greek/ Egyptian/ Assyrian legend, and therefore as silent?

The god of Christian, Muslim and Jewish legend is also imaginery. All religion is the work of the human mind.

With GRRM being atheist or agnostic I would prefer that for his fantasy world as well. Although he's leaving the question of the actual existence of his gods to the reader, he has said that they will never appear or intervene in the story. ( https://io9.gizmodo.com/george-r-r-martin-explains-why-well-never-meet-any-god-5822939 ) Thereby I'm saying no, the gods have had nothing to do with the politics or actions of mortal men. They simply don't exist. As in the real world.

Edited by Daniel von Gothenburg

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@Walda, I am guilty of being biased. So, if you ask me “is Gregor guilty”, I don’t even have to read the rest of the question before saying, “hell yeah”. 

In the case of Elia and the children I’ll double down on the “hell yeah”. Tywin is as nasty as they come, but I don’t think he necessarily wanted Elia and the children killed in any specific manner, but rather just wanted all dead. On top of that, we know how Gregor rolls, so it’s totally in character for him to do what we are told he has done. 

As to the Gods, I agree w/ what @Daniel von Gothenburg said. 

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Gregor certainly seems capable of such atrocities, though I suspect that the unrecognizable child wasn't Aegon and was killed in such a manner to hide his identity..

Which may suggest that a Targ supporter killed the child before Gregor showed up. 

Tywin may have even rewarded Gregor for taking the blame, so he wouldn't seem weak for losing captives. 

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Gregor Clegane is a violent and despicable man. He raped that girl Layna for no other reason than that he could. He broke Pia's teeth because he could. He raped and killed Elia because his master didn't tell him he couldn't. We know what he did to his own brother and he might have killed his own sister, and all his wives died mysteriously.

But that's what Gregor does.

6 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

In the case of Elia and the children I’ll double down on the “hell yeah”. Tywin is as nasty as they come, but I don’t think he necessarily wanted Elia and the children killed in any specific manner, but rather just wanted all dead. On top of that, we know how Gregor rolls, so it’s totally in character for him to do what we are told he has done. 

No, he didn't, although he seemed appalled by the number of times Rhaenys was stabbed. He wanted her dead, but you know, holding a silk pillow to a 2 year old's head is better than being stabbed 50 times.

I wish someone had stuck a pillow on Tywin's face and stabbed him 50 times.

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Just now, Alexis-something-Rose said:

I wish someone had stuck a pillow on Tywin's face and stabbed him 50,000 times, after sticking toothpicks under all his finger and toenails

FTFY. :cheers:

Edited by kissdbyfire

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The person who posed that question in the other thread has no idea what he (or she) is talking about, as the person got so many basic facts wrong in the process of claiming that the Gods decide innocence/guilt for Trials by Combat.

 

First, he (or she) forgot that it was Tyrion who was on trial, not Gregor.

 

Second and much more importantly, Tyrion's champion lost but we know that Tyrion didn't kill Joffrey (what Tyrion was being accused of). In Sansa VI (ASOS), Littlefinger all but admits that he conspired with Olenna Tyrell to poison Joffrey:

Quote

Petyr smiled. “I will wager you that at some point during the evening someone told you that your hair net was crooked and straightened it for you.”

Sansa raised a hand to her mouth. “You cannot mean . . . she wanted to take me to Highgarden, to marry me to her grandson . . .”

Third, Gregor confessed. In public. Freely and willingly. He wasn't being "sharply questioned" when he did so. If you aren't convinced by a confession in those circumstances, then what else are you not sure of? Not sure that Lysa poisoned Jon Arryn?

 

Lastly, the person in the other thread also claimed that because Sandor defeated Beric, maybe it was somebody else who killed Mycah. But Sandor admitted to killing Mycah. What Sandor denied was that the killing was murder, and that was what Beric called the Trial for.

 

Trial by Combat is just a glorified form of "might makes right." The fighter who is better, luckier, and/or makes the fewest lethal mistakes wins.

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To answer the OP yes. Gregor is as guilty as they come. 

As to the trial by combats, it's a funny thing isn't it? Much like everything else George does I'm sure there is some meaning to the outcome of the trials, I doubt it's just random. So if we are operating under the assumption that the winner is not just the "best fighter" 

We have Sandor winning his, is that because it wasn't truly Mycah? Probably not. Is it because he isn't deemed guilty in the eyes of the gods because it was an order? Maybe but generally speaking I don't find this a justifiable excuse. Of course I'm not a God either. 

Another question that comes to mind is when fighting trial by combat are you being judged only for the crime you are accused? Or as a person, wholly? 

Is it the person being accused being judged in the eyes of the gods during trial by combat? Or the people actually fighting the trial by combat? 

We have Gregor not losing (I don't know if we can call it winning because of the aftermath) for the crown against Tyrion. Is this reflective of Tyrions supposed guilt? We know he isn't guilty of Joff's murder but maybe he isn't innocent in the eyes of the gods either. Or is it reflective of Gregor's guilt or lack there of? Gregor has the same excuse Sandor does for some of his actions, he was given orders. But not for all of them. Oberyn doesn't seem to be guilty of much, at least in comparison to Gregor. 

Bronn wins for Tyrion against Vardis & we know Tyrion is innocent of what he is accused of. But he is innocent in what he is accused of the second time as well. If the trial by combat is actually showing any true judgement from the gods one of the following would have to be true:

1. Tyrion was on the good side of innocent during the first trial, as a person in general, & on the bad side of it during his second (had he killed anyone before his first?)

Or 

2. Bronn is more "innocent" than Vardis (maybe) & Gregor is more "innocent" than Oberyn. (highly unlikely) 

Or 

3. Tyrion was more "innocent" than Lysa at the time of the first trial (probably) & Tyrion was less "innocent" than Cersei during the second (highly unlikely)

#1 seems the only real possibility here but maybe I'm missing a possibility? 

If #1 were true for Tyrion then that would mean Sandor was on the good side of innocent during his trial, as a person all around. Doesn't seem like that can be true either, especially in light of the fact that if this were true it would mean Tyrion is deemed more guilty in the eyes of the gods during his second trial than Sandor, which doesn't seem right. 

I just don't know what to make of it all but again, I would doubt it's random. 

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@Daniel von Gothenburg, I'm an athiest, but I don't want to offend believers and would like them to contribute to the thread in good conscience. (Wiccans included. I realise I have called some Wiccan deities imaginary in the OP, my apologies)

ASoIaF is set in a mediaeval world, and explored through the eyes of people who absolutely believe in the gods. Aeron, Hotah, Melisandre are devouts, and even skeptical, cynical Tyrion has trained as a septon.  Theon have been heard by the gods and Davos hears them. GRRM has written a world where the gods are as real to their peoples as dragons and basilisks, without which you really won't understand their concepts of law, Justice, war, vengence, hospitality, ownership, kinship, feasting, fasting, medicine, agriculture, catergorising animals, the relative magicalness of water, mud, bronze, iron, the relative wickedness of giants and dwarfs ... Nearly everything important about everyone, really.

They are not as embedded in their beliefs as real people in the historical middle ages were, and in their world a season can last years, dragons and sorcery are real, prophecies can foretell the future, the dead can rise again, there is evidence of the Gods intervening in the ruins of Valyria and Chorayne, in the destiny of the Selasori Qhoran and Stannis, of Drogo and the Dragons.

Whatever our real-world beliefs are has nothing to do with it Although, I can see that GRRM made a thourough study of the Catholic catechism and the bible including the apocrypha in his youth - there are almost as many nods to bible stories as there are to Tolkien in these books. 

Edited by Walda
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Yes, of course the existence of religion is essential to the story, but I don't see the necessity of the gods being real for the supernatural stuff to be able to happen. Like there is no god(s) responsible for the existence of magic and prophecy in many other fantasy works. And I'm only quoting the author himself, saying the gods will never intervene or reveal their actual existence, as in the interview I linked. But I like that he leaves the question open to interpretation!

Edited by Daniel von Gothenburg

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8 hours ago, Lyanna<3Rhaegar said:

We have Gregor not losing (I don't know if we can call it winning because of the aftermath) for the crown against Tyrion. Is this reflective of Tyrions supposed guilt? We know he isn't guilty of Joff's murder but maybe he isn't innocent in the eyes of the gods either. Or is it reflective of Gregor's guilt or lack there of? Gregor has the same excuse Sandor does for some of his actions, he was given orders. But not for all of them. Oberyn doesn't seem to be guilty of much, at least in comparison to Gregor. 

The trial was about Tyrion, and then it wasn't about Tyrion anymore, but rather about what what Gregor had done to Elia and Aegon. The nature of the combat changed when the accusation changed, or at least that's how I understand it.

But I think the important with Gregor Clegane's is that he is undead now. At least one person he was accused of killing has returned from the dead.

And as far as Sandor's own trial by combat goes, I think it's a message toward the BwB and the things they do that they perceive righteous, but aren't. He was asleep when he was found. They stole his gold from him that he had won fair and square for stopping Gregor from taking Loras Tyrell's head off. Then they accused him of killing 29 people. I went back and counted them. So the BwB invoking the gods or the Lord of Light while doing dirty work is a tad on the blasphemous side of things.

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On 2/16/2020 at 12:40 PM, Walda said:

Following on from a side topic in the Kevan and Pycelles Death thread.

Did Gregor rape Elia? Did he smash the skull of the babe in her arms against a wall? Had he received orders to kill Rhaegars heirs this way, or did he do it for the lulz? Could he have slain the mother and child and yet be innocent in the eyes of the seven? Or did the gods confine their verdict to Tyrion's case when Gregor fought the Red Viper? Do the gods play any part in trials by combat? Do they provide supernatural help or hindrance to one side or the other? Do they sometimes get it wrong, or leave it to the mortals to decize? Or do they always, because the gods of Westeros are as imaginary as the gods of Norse/ Greek/ Egyptian/ Assyrian legend, and therefore as silent?

Gods either don't exist or don't care , they might be as well more akin to Cosmic Horrors in this story.

Tywin is definitively guilty of brutal violation and murder of Elia and her children, he has pattern of sexual torture of those who slight him (his fathers mistress, Tysha) and committing genocide on Houses (Reynes, Casterlys) and has knowingly chosen his tools (Gregor, Amory) for doing the deed, but even more damning, they prospered in his service after the murders.

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1 hour ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

The trial was about Tyrion, and then it wasn't about Tyrion anymore, but rather about what what Gregor had done to Elia and Aegon. The nature of the combat changed when the accusation changed, or at least that's how I understand it.

But I think the important with Gregor Clegane's is that he is undead now. At least one person he was accused of killing has returned from the dead.

And as far as Sandor's own trial by combat goes, I think it's a message toward the BwB and the things they do that they perceive righteous, but aren't. He was asleep when he was found. They stole his gold from him that he had won fair and square for stopping Gregor from taking Loras Tyrell's head off. Then they accused him of killing 29 people. I went back and counted them. So the BwB invoking the gods or the Lord of Light while doing dirty work is a tad on the blasphemous side of things.

Yeah that makes sense. So maybe the trial speaks to the righteousness or lack there of in the accusers as well as the persons guilt for the crime. 

 

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59 minutes ago, Eltharion21 said:

Gods either don't exist or don't care , they might be as well more akin to Cosmic Horrors in this story

They exist in universe, Theon has heard them, Mel for all her flaws, clearly sees something in her fires, etc. 

I don't think we can say they don't care either because if not why show Mel visions? Why talk to Theon? 

Of course it may not be the old God's talking to Theon, but Bran. So the 'God' may not be what the characters expect it to be but it's certainly some thing wielding some power. 

1 hour ago, Eltharion21 said:

Tywin is definitively guilty of brutal violation and murder of Elia and her children, he has pattern of sexual torture of those who slight him (his fathers mistress, Tysha) and committing genocide on Houses (Reynes, Casterlys) and has knowingly chosen his tools (Gregor, Amory) for doing the deed, but even more damning, they prospered in his service after the murders

Definitely but it wasn't Tywin's trial. 

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28 minutes ago, Lyanna<3Rhaegar said:

They exist in universe, Theon has heard them, Mel for all her flaws, clearly sees something in her fires, etc. 

I don't think we can say they don't care either because if not why show Mel visions? Why talk to Theon? 

Of course it may not be the old God's talking to Theon, but Bran. So the 'God' may not be what the characters expect it to be but it's certainly some thing wielding some power. 

Well, characters believe the Gods exist, but that alone doesn’t prove their existence. Theon heard Bran, although he thought he was hearing the Old Gods. Mel has visions, but her visions could be coming from magical forces rather than actual Gods, as we “understand” them. 

Quote

Definitely but it wasn't Tywin's trial. 

I think some if not most characters believe in the whole “trial by combat is decided by the Gods” or whatever, but we are shown it’s all bollocks. Sure, we can twist things to make them fit, like, who’s really being tried, etc, but I don’t think it works. :dunno:

 

Edited by kissdbyfire

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4 minutes ago, kissdbyfire said:

Well, characters believe the Gods exist, but that alone doesn’t prove their existence. Theon heard Bran, although he thought he was hearing the Old Gods. Mel has visions, but her visions could be coming from magical forces rather than actual Gods, as we “understand” them. 

Yeah, it's not proof there are 'Gods' in the sense that we understand them - or that the characters understand them. They may come to find they aren't what they thought, or maybe they are, but something larger seems to be at play. Whether it's the old gods, new gods, magic (which could come from some 'god' or another) 

7 minutes ago, kissdbyfire said:

I think some if not most characters believe in the whole “trial by combat is decided by the Gods” or whatever, but we are shown it’s all bollocks. Sure, we can twist things to make them fit, like, who’s really being tried, etc, but I don’t think it works. :dunno:

Yeah well so far we haven't even been able to twist things to make them fit across the board. So maybe the only thing GRRM is trying to show us with these trials by combat is that the "gods" whether real or not do not intervene in such things. 

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I think the gods may not be disembodied magic figures in the sky, as characters believe them to be. I think there are gods mixed in with the characters - maybe some of the POVs are even "gods" - but we don't recognize them as gods.

I offer an incomplete reading of some of the deeper literary stuff surrounding Ser Gregor. (As usual, skip all of my posts if you are not open to the idea that the author uses symbolism in the books.)

Some background from other discussions of symbolism in the books:

  • Tourneys in ASOIAF are about dynastic succession. Trials by combat are also part of this "game" of foreshadowing and symbolic hints about winners and losers.
  • Colors are important symbols. There seems to be a special opposition between green and black (see the Dance of the Dragons) but I believe there is also a tension between green and brown. (Ser Bennis of the Brown Shield, from the Dunk & Egg stories, is my best source of info on "brown" characters although I haven't posted much about him yet.) I think this has something to do with Garth Greenhand vs. dirt or earth or shit and may just be a fertility cycle of the plant and the earth needing each other for replenishing life.
  • Ser Gregor may be a symbolic version of Dany's baby, Rhaego - or an inversion of that "offstage" character. Gregor was knighted by Rhaegar. His nickname is The Mountain that Rides. Baby Rhaego's nickname was The Stallion that Mounts the World. These nicknames are metaphoric opposites.
  • Tyrion seems to be an important person at the center of the friendship and/or power struggle between Tywin / Aerys and/or between House Lannister and House Targaryen. Readers' suspicions of Tyrion as a Lannister/Targaryen chimera may never be fully resolved but it seems clear to me that the author wants us to have the chimera possibility in the backs of our minds.

Bronn agreed to be the champion for Tyrion at The Eyrie. His opponent was Ser Vardis Egen, who is described as Jon Arryn's right hand. I believe Bronn represents a brown character and Ser Vardis represents a green character (anagram: Ser Vardis Egen = Greens Adviser, but could also be something about garden, etc.) In that combat, brown wins over green with the help of the statue of a grieving widow (= symbolic Lady Stoneheart). The seed is strong, though, from what I understand, and we may not have seen the last of green combatants.

So Tyrion is found innocent. Does that mean that Tyrion is a brown character or that House Lannister is "team brown"? I don't think so. I think it does mean that brown is ascendant for awhile - Tywin tells Tyrion to go to King's Landing to serve as Hand of the King in Tywin's absence. Tyrion is still dependent on Bronn while he serves in that post - Bronn carries Tyrion up the serpentine steps when Tyrion is still recovering from his wounds at the Battle of the Blackwater.

Edit: As I think about this further, I think House Lannister may actually be on "Team Brown" after all. Jaime is strongly associated with the "Shit for Honor" phrase - it is almost his personal house words. Tywin is associated with bad smells throughout the books although his personal stench becomes most obvious after his death. Tyrion's great accomplishment as a teenager is clearing out the drains and sewers under Casterly Rock.

Do we get our next set of relevant symbols through Tyrion's trial after Joffrey's death? I don't think so. If trials by combat are part of the same set of symbols we see at tourneys, we have at least a couple or three other sets of data to examine.

Sandor defeats Gregor, saving Ser Loras, at the Hand's Tourney.

Joffrey's name day tourney falls to pieces, it seems. But does it really? Sansa and Sandor team up to "defeat" Joffrey, tricking him into sparing the life of Ser Dontos. Is this a three-part victory? (Sansa, Sandor and Dontos?) Ser Dontos later reveals himself to be a supporter of Renly, who is associated with green armor and the green House Tyrell associated with Highgarden and, therefore, Garth Greenhand. At Joffrey's name day tourney, Tommen  goes on to be defeated by the straw dummy used for jousting practice. I think this may be a symbolic victory for green over brown.

Penny and Groat engage in jousting at Joffrey's wedding feast. GRRM makes sure to scramble the mounts and the players so we are not sure whether the wolf or the stag is the winner. One mummer jouster loses his head (a melon) but grows a new one. (Like Ser Gregor and perhaps part of the green/brown fertility cycle I mentioned.) When Tyrion is on the ship with Penny, he notes that the shields used in the mummer jousting have been repainted many times, with layer upon layer of varied colors.

After the Penny/Groat match at the feast, Joffrey asks Tyrion to be his champion but Tyrion declines. (Joffrey also throws wine on Tyrion which is what the wolf maid does to the night's watch brother in the feast scene Meera describes as a precursor to the Harrenhal tourney, an important and somewhat mysterious situation where the Knight of the Laughing Tree seems poised for victory but disappears, allowing Rhaegar to win the jousting.)

There is probably wordplay around "champion" and "champignon." The latter is the French word for "mushroom." Tyrion will later stash poisonous mushrooms in his boot and use them to help free himself, Penny and Ser Jorah from slavery. I haven't thought much about mushrooms as part of the fertility symbolism with the brown / green but obviously fungus can thrive on dead organic matter so it might be a perfect fit for the green / brown symbolism.

Edit: Mushrooms could be a bridge between green and brown, just as Tyrion is a possible chimera who was fathered by both Tywin and Aerys. Mushrooms are living, edible things that grow, but they are often brown and they feed on decaying organic matter.

I do think that Tyrion declining to be Joffrey's champion but later deciding to become part of the jousting act (with encouragement from Penny) and taking mushrooms for his own use and protection (after declining mushrooms offered by Illyrio) show that Tyrion has come into his own: he is his own champion, not playing for someone else.

But the next trial by combat comes before Tyrion gets to the mummer jousting or to those poisonous mushrooms.

The champion for the Joffrey / Cersei side is Ser Gregor. I think Ser Gregor is a green character (anagram: Gregor Clegane = Green Grace log.)

Tyrion asks Bronn to be his champion again but Bronn declines. What is Bronn's new priority? Becoming the head of House Stokeworth. I believe the fertility symbolism continues here, as the lands of House Stokeworth are the breadbasket for King's Landing. Much of the food supply for the city comes from this bannerman for the Crown Lands. The birth of Lollys' baby (who was fathered by half a hundred rapists from among the smallfolk) reinforces the fertility motif. Cersei rejects a request to name the baby after Tywin and Bronn names that baby Tyrion. In a way, I think Bronn is still supporting Tyrion, just not as a combat champion. (Interestingly, Bronn kills Ser Balman Byrch to secure his place as Lord of the Stokeworth lands. Byrch caught the melon head of the dwarf mummer jouster at Joffrey's wedding feast. The other impediment to Bronn's Stokeworth takeover might have been Falyse Stokeworth but she is dispatched by Cersei and Qyburn as part of the long slow poisoning "death" of Ser Gregor.)

Instead of Bronn, Tyrion is surprised to secure the services of the Red Viper, Oberyn Martell, as his champion. Green? No, I don't think so. The red in his nickname may signal that there is new symbolism at work here. As a viper, there is also snake symbolism which equates with dragons. So Tyrion seems to have a red dragon as his champion. What else is associated with Prince Oberyn? Poison. Oberyn Martell is an expert on poisons. We are told that the weapon he uses against Ser Gregor was contaminated with a special slow-acting poison intended to inflict an excruciating death.

Edit: Now I'm wondering about this "red" theory. I am remembering the possible (probable) wordplay on "viper" and "privy." When Jaime returns to Harrenhal, he notices that a privy has been built on the spot where he knelt before Aerys to accept his oath as a member of the King's Guard. (Obviously reinforcing the "Shit for Honor" association for Jaime.) As a "viper," Oberyn may be part of Team Brown through the wordplay association with privy.

Instead of the green / brown fertility symbolism, we seem to witness a fight to the death between green and poison (red). It looks as if red will win but green rallies just in time to kill red. Gregor uses his thumbs to push in Oberyn's eyes. Eyes are associated with grapes (among other things) in ASOIAF so there may be that "throwing-wine-on-the-non-champion" symbolism again - popping grapes is a necessary step in making wine. But the bottom line is that we don't have a clear winner in this combat - both combatants seem to be losers.

Soon after the combat, Tyrion climbs a ladder to Tywin's chambers in the Tower of the Hand. He enters the chamber through a secret door and then steps over a burning log in the fireplace. I think this scene is the reason for the "log" in the Gregor Clegane anagram I mentioned, above. This stepping over flames and emerging from the fireplace is a rebirth. Tyrion is reborn from smoke and fire. He also managed to climb the ladder without help from Bronn this time, underscoring the idea that Tyrion is now ready to be his own champion. Will he be brown? red? green? Do the mushrooms in his boot represent his "House," as the signet ring in Egg's boot did for Prince Aegon in the Dunk & Egg stories?

There's more potentially relevant symbolism. A few weeks ago, a comment on another thread led me to see a parallel between Dany's dragons liberated from a dungeon by Quentyn Martell and Arya watching (we believe) Illyrio and Varys emerge from a chamber under the Red Keep. I believe Illyrio and Varys are symbolic dragons. Keep in mind that Quentyn witnesses the torture death of the Green Grace of Astapor, impaled on a stake like Ser Gregor before he manages to set the dragons free. 

Qyburn's role in torturing and beheading Ser Gregor and in butchering (maybe?) the puppeteers, Cersei's handmaid and Falyse Stokeworth also puts him within the circle of these related characters and symbols. Furthermore, he somehow revives the body of Ser Gregor as the new champion Ser Robert Strong, specifically designed to serve as Cersei's champion in her upcoming trial.

The Martells get Ser Gregor's head but will it be like the mummer jouster's head in the dwarf act at Joffrey's wedding feast? Is Balman Byrch's fate after catching that head (actually a melon) a foreshadowing of the fate in store for Prince Doran?

And you can peel back another layer of symbolism by going back to the Alyssa Arryn statue (Lady Stoneheart symbol) that helped Bronn defeat Ser Vardis. Sandor Clegane will have a trial by combat victory over Ser Beric. But Ser Beric soon hands over life and power to Lady Stoneheart and Sandor escapes and seems to become a gravedigger. Hmm. More dirt and earth and decay symbolism. Is he a brown character? When he gave Sansa his bloody cloak, was that like throwing wine on her as we have seen in other "will you be my champion" scenes?

Edit: If the surmise is correct that Sandor, Sansa and Dontos became a team to "defeat" Joffrey at his name day tournament, I think there is another significant moment that can be linked to this complex "trial by combat" jumble of symbols.

Ser Dontos hit Sansa over the head with a fool's "morningstar" made of a melon. This connects with the mummer melon head at Joffrey's wedding feast and other beheadings including Ser Gregor's skull sent to House Martell. I think what we're seeing is that Sandor does not rape Sansa in the un-kiss scene at her bedchamber, but Ser Dontos symbolically does clobber her with this seed-filled fertility symbol.

Remember when Tyrion, the half-man, married Sansa, he had to stand on the back of Ser Dontos in order to put the cloak on Sansa's shoulders - because of his role at that key moment, in a sense, Dontos is part of the marriage. It's possible that the melon morningstar is the symbolic taking of Sansa's maidenhead by her "husband" as well as a symbolic "trial by combat" between Sansa (or House Stark - Joffrey ordered Sansa beaten as a punishment for Robb's treason) and Ser Dontos. (Recall also that Brienne uses a morningstar when she defeats Ser Loras in the melee at Renly's Bitterbridge tourney.)

But is Ser Dontos acting as Joffrey or Tyrion's champion when he hits Sansa over the head? He is the closest living heir to House Darklyn, which is strongly associated with the King's Guard. If he's representing Joffrey or Tyrion, he may be on Team Brown. But wait - there's more! Recall that Dontos is a fan of Renly, who is almost certainly Team Green. Maybe the author's point is that this is a House Stark conflict with BOTH green and brown.

Or is it a conflict at that point? Sansa is glad that Ser Dontos is trying to deflect a worse beating by inflicting his mummer beating on her. I believe Tyrion intervenes to stop the subsequent beating by the members of the King's Guard. Who ends up wrapping her with a cloak after her beating?

I'm also remembering that Sansa dresses herself in green and brown when she escapes after the wedding feast to meet Ser Dontos. Her true colors? (She also mentions the seed pearls on the boddess of the green/brown outfit, which could be a seed allusion to the melon seeds or maybe a semen image.) Plus, the personal shield used by Sandor Clegane? Green and brown. Maybe Sansa represents the fusion of green and brown after her "bedding" by the melon morningstar of Ser Dontos.

I know I'm one of the people who has raised this question around trials by combat as proof of guilt or innocence, but my thinking is evolving. It may be that these single combat trials are just part of a symbolic fertility cycle. It's not strictly about who wins or loses, it's about seasons and the rebirth of life. With maybe some poison intervening to disrupt the cycle of life.

Edited by Seams

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