Jump to content
Shmedricko

A Cloak of Black and Red

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

"You will have heard stories of my desertion, I have no doubt."

"Some say it was for a crown. Some say for a woman. Others that you had the wildling blood." […]

Mance Rayder rose, unfastened the clasp that held his cloak, and swept it over the bench. "It was for this."

"A cloak?"

The last time we saw Mance wearing his iconic black-and-red cloak was when he went to fight Stannis' ambushing forces, after which he was captured off-page:

Quote

The free folk still had the numbers, but the attackers had steel armor and heavy horses. In the thickest part of the fray, Jon saw Mance standing tall in his stirrups. His red-and-black cloak and raven-winged helm made him easy to pick out. He had his sword raised and men were rallying to him when a wedge of knights smashed into them with lance and sword and longaxe. Mance's mare went up on her hind legs, kicking, and a spear took her through the breast. Then the steel tide washed over him. (Jon X, ASOS)

The next time we see Mance (actually Rattleshirt in a glamor) is when he's on his way to be burned, but he notably isn't wearing the cloak:

Quote

They brought forth the King-Beyond-the-Wall with his hands bound by hempen rope and a noose around his neck.

The other end of the rope was looped about the saddle horn of Ser Godry Farring's courser. The Giantslayer and his mount were armored in silvered steel inlaid with niello. Mance Rayder wore only a thin tunic that left his limbs naked to the cold. They could have let him keep his cloak, Jon Snow thought, the one the wildling woman patched with strips of crimson silk. (Jon III, ADWD)

After this, nobody else is described as wearing Mance's cloak or having it in their possession (including Mance-as-Rattleshirt and Mance-as-Abel), so I presume that the cloak was just left somewhere in Castle Black when Melisandre made the Mance/Rattleshirt switch, and that it's still there at the end of ADWD. Why could this be relevant?

I suspect that after Jon Snow is resurrected, he will come into possession of Mance's cloak. Jon could stumble across it himself while moving through Castle Black, one of the wildlings or Melisandre could give it to him after retrieving it themselves, Mormont's raven could "coincidentally" lead him to it, etc. There are a number of possibilities. Jon is presumably going to abandon the Night's Watch so he can lead an army of wildlings south to Winterfell, just as he was planning to do before being stabbed, and he may not exactly want to wear his black cloak anymore. And from a narrative perspective it would be appropriate if this watershed moment in Jon's story was accompanied by a change in his appearance/attire. Well, what better thing to wear when leaving the Night's Watch than the very cloak that Mance was wearing when he did the same thing? I think there is a parallel that supports this:

Quote

One arrow took Mance Rayder in the chest, one in the gut, one in the throat. The fourth struck one of the cage's wooden bars, and quivered for an instant before catching fire. A woman's sobs echoed off the Wall as the wildling king slid bonelessly to the floor of his cage, wreathed in fire. "And now his Watch is done," Jon murmured softly. Mance Rayder had been a man of the Night's Watch once, before he changed his black cloak for one slashed with bright red silk. (Jon III, ADWD)

  • "Mance" was shot in the chest, the gut, the throat, and the fourth arrow struck the bars. Jon said his Watch was done, and then remembered how Mance changed his black cloak for one slashed with red silk.
  • Jon was stabbed in the throat, the gut, between the shoulder blades, and he didn't feel the fourth knife. His Watch is done, and now he just needs to change his black cloak for one slashed with red silk.

"The black wool cloak of a Sworn Brother of the Night's Watch," said the King-beyond-the-Wall. "One day on a ranging we brought down a fine big elk. We were skinning it when the smell of blood drew a shadow-cat out of its lair. I drove it off, but not before it shredded my cloak to ribbons. Do you see? Here, here, and here?" He chuckled. "It shredded my arm and back as well, and I bled worse than the elk.

If Mance survives the upcoming events in and around Winterfell ("Abel can fend for himself" "If the Bastard [Ramsay] does come after us, he might live long enough to rue it"), then I could see a scene where Jon arrives at Winterfell with a wildling army and Mance notices that Jon is wearing his cloak, but lets him keep it as a sign of respect. When Jon first met Mance (learning the story of his cloak), and when Jon reunited with Mance after betraying the wildlings, Mance commented on Jon's cloak both times:

Quote

"And did you see where I was seated, Mance?" He leaned forward. "Did you see where they put the bastard?"

Mance Rayder looked at Jon's face for a long moment. "I think we had best find you a new cloak," the king said, holding out his hand. (Jon I, ASOS)

Quote

The King-beyond-the-Wall was waiting outside, his ragged red-and-black cloak blowing in the wind. Harma Dogshead was with him, Jon saw, back from her raids and feints along the Wall, and Varamyr Sixskins as well, attended by his shadowcat and two lean grey wolves.

When they saw who the Watch had sent, Harma turned her head and spat, and one of Varamyr's wolves bared its teeth and growled. "You must be very brave or very stupid, Jon Snow," Mance Rayder said, "to come back to us wearing a black cloak."

"What else would a man of the Night's Watch wear?" (Jon X, ASOS)

So I think it would be appropriate if Mance and Jon reunited again and Mance made another comment about Jon's cloak — this time about the fact that Jon is wearing Mance's own cloak. Jon could even reply "What else would a deserter of the Night's Watch wear?" although maybe that would be too on-the-nose (and Jon might not consider himself a deserter). Even if Mance does survive the immediate events around Winterfell, I do expect that he will perish eventually (perhaps dying in battle at a ford to further parallel Bael the Bard and Rhaegar Targaryen). So either way, I think Jon will be left as the leader the wildlings choose to follow, making Jon wearing Mance's cloak even more meaningful.

Additionally, black and red are the colors of House Targaryen, so Jon wearing a black-and-red cloak before he even learns about his parentage would serve as a nice bit of dramatic irony. It would also create a visual link between Jon and Young Griff (who claims to be Rhaegar's son Aegon Targaryen) as he is the only other character in the story to wear a black cloak with red silk:

Quote

When the lad emerged from the cabin with Lemore by his side, Griff looked him over carefully from head to heel. The prince wore sword and dagger, black boots polished to a high sheen, a black cloak lined with blood-red silk. With his hair washed and cut and freshly dyed a deep, dark blue, his eyes looked blue as well. At his throat he wore three huge square-cut rubies on a chain of black iron, a gift from Magister Illyrio. Red and black. Dragon colors. That was good. "You look a proper prince," he told the boy. "Your father would be proud if he could see you." (The Lost Lord, ADWD)

In fact, if these two both obtain kingship for a time, then there would be a neat parallel between Mance, Aegon, and Jon:

  • Mance is healed from near-death, dons a black-and-red cloak, then becomes King-Beyond-the-Wall.
  • Aegon metaphorically returns from the dead, dons a black-and-red cloak, then becomes King on the Iron Throne.
  • Jon literally returns from the dead, dons a black-and-red cloak, then becomes King in the North.

"My brothers feared I might die before they got me back to Maester Mullin at the Shadow Tower, so they carried me to a wildling village where we knew an old wisewoman did some healing. She was dead, as it happened, but her daughter saw to me. Cleaned my wounds, sewed me up, and fed me porridge and potions until I was strong enough to ride again. And she sewed up the rents in my cloak as well, with some scarlet silk from Asshai that her grandmother had pulled from the wreck of a cog washed up on the Frozen Shore. It was the greatest treasure she had, and her gift to me."

A few more points:

  • The prospect of Jon wearing a cloak containing material from Asshai, especially if he's wearing it during the war for the dawn, is intriguing to say the least. (It is noteworthy that GRRM had silk from Asshai end up all the way beyond the Wall so it could make its way into Mance's cloak.)
  • Whereas Mance had a raven-winged helm, Jon could have an actual raven (Mormont's) following him around instead (perhaps occasionally skinchanged by Bran to keep an eye on his brother/cousin).
  • If Jon is unsure what to do following his resurrection (I doubt he will be, but if he is) then Bloodraven or Bran could use Mormont's raven to lead Jon to Mance's cloak, nudging him in the direction of leaving the Night's Watch. (This would be similar to how Ghost may have been skinchanged back to Jon near the end of ASOS to remind Jon of the old gods and cause him to turn down Stannis' offer, keeping him in the Night's Watch — which was then followed by the equally convenient reappearance of Mormont's raven to get Jon elected as Lord Commander.)
  • Bloodraven/Bran leading Jon to a black-and-red cloak could also symbolically represent how they want to lead Jon to the truth about his parentage.
  • If Jon gets into a relationship with Val, that would be another parallel he has with Mance, as Val and Mance's wife Dalla were sisters. (This would make Jon "a sort of good brother once removed" to Mance.)
  • Coincidentally (or not) I think this artwork by Stephen Youll that was commissioned for the cover of AGOT could actually be a pretty close depiction of one of the final scenes in the series: Jon, wearing a black-and-red cloak, riding through the snow with Ghost and a raven at his side (just replace the land around Winterfell with the land beyond the Wall).

In summary, I think Mance's cloak is basically the perfect item for Jon to wear from a narrative point of view: It would represent his past in the Night's Watch, his relationship with Mance and the wildlings, and his Targaryen heritage, all at once (with Jon's physical features and direwolf representing his Stark heritage).

And if GRRM really wants Jon to echo Mance, he could have the following scenario occur:

Jon, who has been wearing Mance's cloak since his resurrection, is sentenced to the Night's Watch for murdering Daenerys. However, upon arriving at the Wall, Jon is told that he will have to dispose of his red-patched cloak and replace it with one that is pure black. Unwilling to discard the cloak that has been a part of his and Mance's journeys, and desiring the freedom to make his own choices, Jon decides to leave the Wall shortly thereafter — heading north to live out the rest of his days with the free folk.

He swept the cloak back over his shoulders. "But at the Shadow Tower, I was given a new wool cloak from stores, black and black, and trimmed with black, to go with my black breeches and black boots, my black doublet and black mail. The new cloak had no frays nor rips nor tears … and most of all, no red. The men of the Night's Watch dressed in black, Ser Denys Mallister reminded me sternly, as if I had forgotten. My old cloak was fit for burning now, he said.

"I left the next morning … for a place where a kiss was not a crime, and a man could wear any cloak he chose." He closed the clasp and sat back down again. "And you, Jon Snow?"

 

TLDR: After Jon is resurrected he will replace his Night's Watch cloak with Mance's black-and-red cloak, which is still at Castle Black. Jon will be wearing this cloak when he abandons the Night's Watch to lead a wildling army south to Winterfell, and when he heads to the far north at the end of the series — becoming a symbolic "King-Beyond-the-Wall," if not an actual one.

TLDR 2: Jon Snow in a few decades

Edited by Shmedricko

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Remember that, in Westeros, wearing someone else's cloak is part of the marriage ritual. I like where you're going with the bond or sense of inherited royal role between Mance and Jon, but I'm not sure the cloak will be the symbol that seals the deal.

I'm thinking of a few examples of "someone else's cloak" incidents to contrast with the possible scenario you outline. Sandor Clegane drops his battle-bloodied white cloak in Sansa's bedchamber during the Battle of the Blackwater. She doesn't wear it, but she keeps it in the bottom of a trunk and imagines that she had a romantic kiss from the Hound. Mance also associates his hybrid cloak with "a place where a kiss was not a crime."

When Sansa is delivered by Ser Dontos to the ship where Littlefinger waits, Littlefinger puts a cloak over her shoulders. But she is already wearing a cloak - her own cloak that she chose and hid and donned herself without the help of a maid. Her outfit at that moment, incidentally, is in the green and brown colors of Sandor Clegane's personal sigil.

I believe Sansa's underlying cloak acts as a sort of shield against the cloaking by Littlefinger: she has already put her own cloak over he shoulders so his cloak doesn't count. I think this is symbolic of Sansa remaining true to herself in spite of the strength of her Alayne identity while she is at the Fingers and in the Vale.

When Arya is traveling with the Hound, she is tightly wrapped in his horse blanket to keep her from escaping during the night. I think this is supposed to be compared to the cloak situation but with the added twist that the Hound's horse is called Stranger. Arya is not getting the Hound's cloak, she is getting the cloak of an incredibly angry, mean, untameable stallion. The tight wrapping is reminiscent of the tight tokar that Dany has to wear while she presides at Astapor. I think both wrappings symbolize cocoons, with a rebirth following for both Dany and Arya after they emerge from their cocoons.

(Fwiw, "brides" of the Stranger is another way of referring to the Silent Sisters who are in charge of taking care of dead bodies. They are the last people to have responsibility for Ned's lost bones.)

We also have Sansa's observations on the heirloom Lannister wedding cloak that Cersei produces for Margaery to wear at her wedding to Joffrey.

Quote

When the food had been cleared away, the queen solemnly presented Joff with the wife's cloak that he would drape over Margaery's shoulders. "It is the cloak I donned when Robert took me for his queen, the same cloak my mother Lady Joanna wore when wed to my lord father." Sansa thought it looked threadbare, if truth be told, but perhaps because it was so used. (ASoS, Sansa IV)

It seems as if Margaery is marrying both Joffrey AND Cersei (AND House Lannister?) when she is compelled to wear the used wife's cloak during the marriage ritual.

It would not surprise me if the acceptance and wearing of someone else's cloak is akin to the borrowed faces worn by the Faceless Men. A person can assume a new identity by pulling on a face taken from someone else. This would be most clearly illustrated in Arya's experience, of course, and may also be related to this:

Quote

Her bed was stone, and reminded her of Harrenhal and the bed she'd slept in when scrubbing steps for Weese. The mattress was stuffed with rags instead of straw, which made it lumpier than the one she'd had at Harrenhal, but less scratchy too. She was allowed as many blankets as she wished; thick woolen blankets, red and green and plaid. And her cell was hers alone. She kept her treasures there: the silver fork and floppy hat and fingerless gloves given her by the sailors on the Titan's Daughter, her dagger, boots, and belt, her small store of coins, the clothes she had been wearing . . . (AFfC, Arya II)

Just as the Faceless Men provide access and guidance for changing her face, they also provide an unlimited supply of varied blankets.

But back to Jon Snow.

When a father figure recognizes an heir in Westeros, the token that passes between them is not a cloak; it is a sword. Jon Snow has received a sword from Jeor Mormont (although the garnet eyes in the pommel were obtained by Sam Tarly from Molestown). Long Claw is not the sword that Jon wanted. Will there be another sword or a different weapon given Mance to Jon? Possibly.

Jon did receive another weapon but we are unsure who left it for him: the dragonglass dagger blade from the obsidian cache. Interestingly, the dragonglass cache was wrapped in a Night's Watch cloak.

Symbolically, I suspect the cache was a gift from the entire Night's Watch, past and present. Mormont somehow knows that Jon has to be at the Fist with his wolf during the full moon. Then Mormont goes to bed early and leaves Jon to complete this apparent quest that may be part of a prophecy that Mormont seems to be working to fulfill. So the father-to-son bequeathed weapon is part of the bundle, along with the cloak. Is Jon Snow "marrying" the Night's Watch when he unfastens the rope tying the cloak and when he makes himself a dagger from one of the obsidian blades?

The other inherited items in Jon Snow's story are the small group of possessions in Donal Noye's quarters next to the Castle Black forge.

Quote

The grant that the king had presented him for signature was on the table beneath a silver drinking cup that had once been Donal Noye's. The one-armed smith had left few personal effects: the cup, six pennies and a copper star, a niello brooch with a broken clasp, a musty brocade doublet that bore the stag of Storm's End. His treasures were his tools, and the swords and knives he made. His life was at the forge. (ADwD, Jon I)

So Jon has items from Mormont and Donal Noye and unnamed Night's Watch powers as well as the raven that seems to belong to the Lord Commander. The emphasis is on swords and on his Night's Watch vocation.

While it's possible that there will be a new "father-son" gift or inheritance of a cloak from Mance to Jon, it strikes me as inconsistent with the pattern of symbols for cloaks on the one hand and father-son gifts on the other hand. (I realize Mance is not literally Jon's father, but the symbolism is strong.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

  1. The black and red cloak is a cover for a lie. 
  2. To cloak means to hide and to deceive.
  3. Mance Rayder has used lies, deceptions, and cover ups for years.
  4. Rattleshirt died to cover for Mance. 
  5. A blonde peasant boy or the real baby Aegon died to cover and make way for Young Griff. 
  6. Jon Snow is the cover for another baby boy.  Or vice versa.
  7. Jon sends the baby of Mance to safety and uses Craster's baby as the cover.
  8. Jon tried to cover for Mance after his lies got caught by the Pink Letter.
  9. Mance, Jon, and Aegon are all covering up lies.  We know Jon's and Aegon's lies will be slain.  Mance will just get slain. 

The black and red cloaks do not mean they are Targaryen heirs.  It means they are deceivers.  I am not saying Mance and Jon are not going to rule the north through fakery.  They may rule the north temporarily.  Aegon may rule in the south for a brief period even if he is not the true heir to Westeros.  But they are built on lies and their rule will not stand the test of truth. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/17/2020 at 7:31 PM, Seams said:

Remember that, in Westeros, wearing someone else's cloak is part of the marriage ritual. I like where you're going with the bond or sense of inherited royal role between Mance and Jon, but I'm not sure the cloak will be the symbol that seals the deal.

That red-black cloak was made by Shiera Seastar/shadowbinder Quaithe from Asshai. I figured it out just now :smug:

" "We were skinning it when the smell of blood drew a shadow-cat out of its lair. ... My brothers feared I might die before they got me back to Maester Mullin at the Shadow Tower, so they carried me to a wildling village where we knew an old wisewoman did some healing. She was dead, as it happened, but her daughter saw to me. Cleaned my wounds, sewed me up, and fed me porridge and potions until I was strong enough to ride again. And she sewed up the rents in my cloak as well, with some scarlet silk from Asshai that her grandmother had pulled from the wreck of a cog washed up on the Frozen Shore. It was the greatest treasure she had, and her gift to me." "

Shiera is a cat-warg, same as her mother Larra Rogare/Serenei of Lys.

Fire&Blood "Cats were seen coming and going from her chambers so often that men began to say they were her spies, purring at her in soft voices of all the doings of the Red Keep. It was even said that Larra herself could transform into a cat, to prowl the gutters and rooftops of the city."

That wildling old wisewoman, to whose house Watchers brought wounded Mance, had no children. Shiera pretended to be her daughter. Also how would a wildling (or anyone else) figured out that this silk or that silk is specifically from Asshai? Was it labeled with "Delivered by FedEx from Asshai"? Obviously not. So it's a lie that that silk was salvaged from a shipwreck. That woman, who healed Mance, knew that the silk is from Asshai, because she herself brought it from Asshai.

Shiera binded Bloodraven to the Children's cave, and then for years she was remaining beyond The Wall, waiting for Mance. She's a dragodreamer, so she knew that Mance will come there, and that years later he will meet Jon. So the cloak is infused with Shiera's fire-magic, and she made it for Jon, not for Mance, Mance is just a courier.

By giving that cloak to Mance, Shiera made him to leave Night's Watch. He became the King-beyond-The-Wall and gathered all wildlings to fight against the Others. Only he did all that for Jon to take over. Shiera orchestrated all of it, she used Mance as her pawn. To help Jon to fulfill his role as the Prince that was Promised.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Megorova said:

That red-black cloak was made by Shiera Seastar/shadowbinder Quaithe from Asshai. I figured it out just now

I should have known.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 On 7/16/2020 at 9:44 PM, Shmedricko said:
Quote

One arrow took Mance Rayder in the chest, one in the gut, one in the throat. The fourth struck one of the cage's wooden bars, and quivered for an instant before catching fire. A woman's sobs echoed off the Wall as the wildling king slid bonelessly to the floor of his cage, wreathed in fire. "And now his Watch is done," Jon murmured softly. Mance Rayder had been a man of the Night's Watch once, before he changed his black cloak for one slashed with bright red silk. (Jon III, ADWD)

  • "Mance" was shot in the chest, the gut, the throat, and the fourth arrow struck the bars. Jon said his Watch was done, and then remembered how Mance changed his black cloak for one slashed with red silk.
  • Jon was stabbed in the throat, the gut, between the shoulder blades, and he didn't feel the fourth knife. His Watch is done, and now he just needs to change his black cloak for one slashed with red silk.

Didn't notice this before. Chest, gut, throat, miss, throat, gut, chest/back, not feel. There's a bit of a reversal of order between Jon and Rattleshirt/fake Mance. Not sure what it means, though.

I agree that cloak is quite important, but I have doubts about a lot of your assumptions so I'm having some problems following.

  • Resurrection. It's definitely possible, but there's a lot of hints that Jon is only very injured.
  • Timing: There's also hints that Jon will be out for a while so I doubt Jon will make that battle at Winterfell, at least as Jon. It seems set up to be a Stannis thing.
  • Mance: Jon's relationship with Mance is very important, but Mance would be an idiot to blindly trust Jon and he's no idiot. He seems to genuinely not like Jon sometimes. Jon as the last Stark also has conflicts of interests. As head of Winterfell, Jon might be helpful to the wildlings, or he might need to side with the Northerners who aren't such big fans. Jon's loyalties have been made clear: he chose the NW over them, and he'll choose Starks/Winterfell. While Jon won't screw them over without good reason, there are problems should a choice be required.
  • Jon as leader of the wildlings: It's been established that they don't give their loyalty easily, and then it's flighty. It's more realistic that some will be keen on Jon, some will be on the fence, and some will continue to hate him. Thousands of years of hatred between the Starks/NW isn't going to be instantly wiped out by Jon's shining awesomeness, especially in a series about people who have *very* long memories when it comes to such things. Jon also bound/blackmailed them to the NW/Wall - a doubly bad thing for them. I would have very mixed feelings about that. Jon was doing the right thing letting the wildlings through, but it's very clear that the whole thing was transactional rather than altruistic or from any grand sense of right/wrong.
  • I don't think it's a given at all that Jon will clearly become *the* Targ or that he'll take any true political position in that capacity. Nor is it any given that Jon will ride a dragon (he has nothing of his mother father in him as Tyrion said) and while there's loads of dragon imagery in Tyrion's POV, not so much in Jon's. It might be the point of Jon's Targiness is magical or just to make a mess of things.

Jon putting on Mance's cloak to rescue Mance is a bit uncomfortable for me. It's a very personal item to Mance and it seems disrespectful and I'm not sure the Wildlings would care for that. They're not cheering Jon so much as they're cheering the rescue of Mance.

***************************

You know, I'm not sure I swallow the story of the cloak, at least in full. Mance is a singer, and singers lie in ASOIAF. It's a bit too fanciful and performative, sounds like just the right thing to say to sway Jon to their cause.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to add another meaning in addition to the ones already proposed.  The red on the black is the wearer's individuality and refusal to conform.  Black is the uniform of conformity.  The spot of red is the wearer's streak of individuality and independence.  He shows his personality by adding color to the uniform black.  This person has a rebellious side is chafed by the rules.  

Allow me to list examples to better illustrate what the red within a larger field can mean.

  1. Red eyed Ghost does not conform to his pack mates.  
  2. The red eyes of the weirwood refused to bow to The Seven.
  3. Drogon, the red eyed dragon, does his own thing and couldn't be caged.  
  4. Daenerys, the red dragon, refused to conform to one Dothraki custom and chose to avoid Vaes Dothrak.
  5. Mance Rayder's rebellious side was fully let out when the Wildling gave him the red patches.

I would not expect the color combo to have any kind of significant role in the story but it made for an interesting talk.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Pontius Pilate said:

I would like to add another meaning in addition to the ones already proposed.  The red on the black is the wearer's individuality and refusal to conform.  Black is the uniform of conformity.  The spot of red is the wearer's streak of individuality and independence.  He shows his personality by adding color to the uniform black.  This person has a rebellious side is chafed by the rules.  

Allow me to list examples to better illustrate what the red within a larger field can mean.

  1. Red eyed Ghost does not conform to his pack mates.  
  2. The red eyes of the weirwood refused to bow to The Seven.
  3. Drogon, the red eyed dragon, does his own thing and couldn't be caged.  
  4. Daenerys, the red dragon, refused to conform to one Dothraki custom and chose to avoid Vaes Dothrak.
  5. Mance Rayder's rebellious side was fully let out when the Wildling gave him the red patches.

I would not expect the color combo to have any kind of significant role in the story but it made for an interesting talk.  

6. Red Kings who were last kings in the North to kneel to Starks and they also has sacked Winterfell trice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 7/16/2020 at 9:44 PM, Shmedricko said:

"And did you see where I was seated, Mance?" He leaned forward. "Did you see where they put the bastard?"

Mance Rayder looked at Jon's face for a long moment. "I think we had best find you a new cloak," the king said, holding out his hand. (Jon I, ASOS)

The cloak that Mance provides for Jon is wool - Jon becomes a wolf in sheep's clothing while he is among the wildlings. From a symbolism perspective, the wool cloak may link the wildlings to the Lamb Men in Dany's arc - the people of Mirri Maz Duur. Dany fails to protect the Lamb Men but Jon seems to be succeeding in protecting the wildlings.

Jon also wears furs in his sojourn as a wildling.

The most significant moment in Jon's relationship to his wildling wardrobe is probably when Ygritte takes him into a cave and they get naked instead of making love under their furs, as usual.

I think the larger point may be that Mance provides the cloak but the more meaningful symbolism is that Jon manages to shed all cloaks and furs and to get naked with the woman he trusts and loves. For Mance, the red silk represented love and he found meaning and purpose in blending it with his Night's Watch sense of duty.

On 7/18/2020 at 5:42 PM, Lollygag said:

I'm not sure I swallow the story of the cloak, at least in full. Mance is a singer, and singers lie in ASOIAF.

I find the opposite is true about singers! The people surrounding them don't always know it (and readers are fooled as well) but I find that singers are usually tellers of truths, sometimes in a very veiled form.

If I recall correctly, the first time we hear the lyrics for the Dornishman's Wife is right after Jon encounters Mance. That song probably foreshadows or tells some important truth about the legacy Mance is handing down to Jon. Maybe it is a thinly veiled account of Rhaegar's tryst with Lyanna.

This is also a clue about the relationship between Mance and Jon:

On 7/16/2020 at 9:44 PM, Shmedricko said:

One arrow took Mance Rayder in the chest, one in the gut, one in the throat. The fourth struck one of the cage's wooden bars, and quivered for an instant before catching fire. A woman's sobs echoed off the Wall as the wildling king slid bonelessly to the floor of his cage, wreathed in fire. "And now his Watch is done," Jon murmured softly. Mance Rayder had been a man of the Night's Watch once, before he changed his black cloak for one slashed with bright red silk. (Jon III, ADWD)

As "Mance" (actually Rattleshirt) dies, he is boneless. This is ironic, as Rattleshirt was famous for the collection of bones he wore. That bone collection has actually been preserved and retained, as Melisandre is using it as part of the disguise for the real Mance, who she controls with her glamor magic. Instead of the NW cloak with red silk from Asshai, Mance is now "cloaked" in bones collected from wildling enemies.

We saw Ned's bones at Riverrun, where Catelyn had them laid out so she could mourn Ned's death. Those bones have reportedly subsequently disappeared. @sweetsunray has made a persuasive case (imho) that Ned's bones may have been mixed in with bones of septons and septas collected by the sparrows of the Faith of the Seven and piled around the statue of Baelor at the Great Sept in King's Landing. This seems to fit GRRM's love of irony: that Ned's bones would be returned to the place where he was beheaded and that they would become part of a magical garment, if you will, surrounding a legendary Targaryen king who seemed to march to his own drum.

To me, the bone pile around a Targ king captures the legacy of three of Jon's father figures: Ned, Rattleshirt and Mance (who is often linked to Rhaegar). Mance's special strategy in the wildling attack on the Wall involved a portable "shell" - a turtle siege engine. Another word for a turtle's shell is exoskeleton. (And, of course, the shell is a strong allusion to eggs and dragon eggs that would be Targ symbols.)

How does the exoskeleton bone pile link to Jon? If you subscribe to the insane notion that Jon is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, it is a way of showing that Jon's northern connections (fathers, mentors, enemies all rolled into one) have been united with his Targaryen heritage - the kind of balance that I think GRRM shows us as a desirable outcome in a number of motifs. Instead of a cloak, I think the figurative rattleshirt is the garment that Mance (and others) bequeath to Jon.

A parting thought: the rattleshirt would not work as a disguise for Mance without the ruby that Melisandre uses to control him. So maybe the red silk represents the glamor that is necessary to animate the bones somehow; to capture the soul within them.

Edited by Seams

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Pontius Pilate said:

I would like to add another meaning in addition to the ones already proposed.  The red on the black is the wearer's individuality and refusal to conform.  Black is the uniform of conformity.  The spot of red is the wearer's streak of individuality and independence.  He shows his personality by adding color to the uniform black.  This person has a rebellious side is chafed by the rules.  

Allow me to list examples to better illustrate what the red within a larger field can mean.

  1. Red eyed Ghost does not conform to his pack mates.  
  2. The red eyes of the weirwood refused to bow to The Seven.
  3. Drogon, the red eyed dragon, does his own thing and couldn't be caged.  
  4. Daenerys, the red dragon, refused to conform to one Dothraki custom and chose to avoid Vaes Dothrak.
  5. Mance Rayder's rebellious side was fully let out when the Wildling gave him the red patches.

I would not expect the color combo to have any kind of significant role in the story but it made for an interesting talk.  

 

7 hours ago, Loose Bolt said:

6. Red Kings who were last kings in the North to kneel to Starks and they also has sacked Winterfell trice.

 

5 minutes ago, Seams said:

 

(7) Mel's red ruby hides the truth of Rattleshirt from the people observing the execution.  She has red eyes.  Part of the family of the old red emperor.  That color for the eyes is just weird.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, Seams said:

We saw Ned's bones at Riverrun, where Catelyn had them laid out so she could mourn Ned's death. Those bones have reportedly subsequently disappeared. @sweetsunray has made a persuasive case (imho) that Ned's bones may have been mixed in with bones of septons and septas collected by the sparrows of the Faith of the Seven and piled around the statue of Baelor at the Great Sept in King's Landing. This seems to fit GRRM's love of irony: that Ned's bones would be returned to the place where he was beheaded and that they would become part of a magical garment, if you will, surrounding a legendary Targaryen king who seemed to march to his own drum.

Man that would be cruel to such a man. You love or hate the starks, you gotta respect the man for his values, honor, etc and pity him for the shortcomings of the same. 

I think that what you say about the bones getting mixed is impossible as the paths of the two are entirely different. And the bones at the Baelors sept are from Quiet Isle probably. Ned's bones are at Greywater Watch under the care of Howland Reed as they never crossed the Neck. Poor Barbrey Dustin, no revenge for that Bitch. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Seams said:

I find the opposite is true about singers! The people surrounding them don't always know it (and readers are fooled as well) but I find that singers are usually tellers of truths, sometimes in a very veiled form.

If I recall correctly, the first time we hear the lyrics for the Dornishman's Wife is right after Jon encounters Mance. That song probably foreshadows or tells some important truth about the legacy Mance is handing down to Jon. Maybe it is a thinly veiled account of Rhaegar's tryst with Lyanna.

Oh, I'm being more literal about truth in the sense Jon means below though I agree with how singers are used in the books. I'm thinking of Dareon, Marillion, Tom Sevenstrings, Bael the Bard (who used the Skagosi name which means "deceiver"), Symon Silver Tongue... Silver-tongued is to be convincing or charming in its more positive forms, or to be a con artist or deceiver in the more negative. I see it as being in the same category as the usage of "sweet" in the series which is so often negative in the books as sweet is used to hide something more nefarious - often to seduce women or spy in the case of singers.

 

Mance/Abel is using an anagram of Bael to try to steal another Stark girl.

ACOK Jon VI

"Bael had brought her back?"

 "No. They had been in Winterfell all the time, hiding with the dead beneath the castle. The maid loved Bael so dearly she bore him a son, the song says . . . though if truth be told, all the maids love Bael in them songs he wrote. Be that as it may, what's certain is that Bael left the child in payment for the rose he'd plucked unasked, and that the boy grew to be the next Lord Stark. So there it is—you have Bael's blood in you, same as me."

"It never happened," Jon said.

She shrugged. "Might be it did, might be it didn't. It is a good song, though. My mother used to sing it to me. She was a woman too, Jon Snow. Like yours." She rubbed her throat where his dirk had cut her. "The song ends when they find the babe, but there is a darker end to the story. Thirty years later, when Bael was King-beyond-the-Wall and led the free folk south, it was young Lord Stark who met him at the Frozen Ford . . . and killed him, for Bael would not harm his own son when they met sword to sword."

"So the son slew the father instead," said Jon.

"Aye," she said, "but the gods hate kinslayers, even when they kill unknowing. When Lord Stark returned from the battle and his mother saw Bael's head upon his spear, she threw herself from a tower in her grief. Her son did not long outlive her. One o' his lords peeled the skin off him and wore him for a cloak."

"Your Bael was a liar," he told her, certain now.

"No," Ygritte said, "but a bard's truth is different than yours or mine. Anyway, you asked for the story, so I told it." She turned away from him, closed her eyes, and seemed to sleep.

 

----------------------------------------

Mance ends his cloak story with the statement below. While I don't believe all of the literal details of the story, it seems true enough that Mance left a woman or women in general and the cloak.

"I left the next morning . . . for a place where a kiss was not a crime, and a man could wear any cloak he chose." He closed the clasp and sat back down again. "And you, Jon Snow?" ASOS Jon I

Relative to the OP, Mance says "any" cloak he chose. In Westeros, you don't get to choose your cloak. You're born into it, married into it or sworn to it. There's a few different interpretations: Jon could choose Mance's cloak figuratively in that he rejects obligation to a particular cloak in favor of making his own choice, or he may reject the tribalism of the Game of Thrones altogether by rejecting all (house) cloaks as Mance seems to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/18/2020 at 5:09 AM, Van Gogh said:

 

  1. The black and red cloak is a cover for a lie
  2. To cloak means to hide and to deceive.
  3. Mance Rayder has used lies, deceptions, and cover ups for years.
  4. Rattleshirt died to cover for Mance. 
  5. A blonde peasant boy or the real baby Aegon died to cover and make way for Young Griff. 
  6. Jon Snow is the cover for another baby boy.  Or vice versa.
  7. Jon sends the baby of Mance to safety and uses Craster's baby as the cover.
  8. Jon tried to cover for Mance after his lies got caught by the Pink Letter.
  9. Mance, Jon, and Aegon are all covering up lies.  We know Jon's and Aegon's lies will be slain.  Mance will just get slain. 

The black and red cloaks do not mean they are Targaryen heirs.  It means they are deceivers.  I am not saying Mance and Jon are not going to rule the north through fakery.  They may rule the north temporarily.  Aegon may rule in the south for a brief period even if he is not the true heir to Westeros.  But they are built on lies and their rule will not stand the test of truth. 

Yes

"the shroud of the dark side has fallen"  (Yoda)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/19/2020 at 12:25 AM, Pontius Pilate said:

I would like to add another meaning in addition to the ones already proposed.  The red on the black is the wearer's individuality and refusal to conform.  Black is the uniform of conformity.  The spot of red is the wearer's streak of individuality and independence.  He shows his personality by adding color to the uniform black.  This person has a rebellious side is chafed by the rules.  

Allow me to list examples to better illustrate what the red within a larger field can mean.

  1. Red eyed Ghost does not conform to his pack mates.  
  2. The red eyes of the weirwood refused to bow to The Seven.
  3. Drogon, the red eyed dragon, does his own thing and couldn't be caged.  
  4. Daenerys, the red dragon, refused to conform to one Dothraki custom and chose to avoid Vaes Dothrak.
  5. Mance Rayder's rebellious side was fully let out when the Wildling gave him the red patches.

I would not expect the color combo to have any kind of significant role in the story but it made for an interesting talk.  

Very interesting thought.  Mance has a lusty personality which was cramped by the laws of the seven kingdoms.  He's the red rebel in the middle of the black crows.  He stands out.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/18/2020 at 2:39 PM, Van Gogh said:

 

  1. The black and red cloak is a cover for a lie. 
  2. To cloak means to hide and to deceive.
  3. Mance Rayder has used lies, deceptions, and cover ups for years.
  4. Rattleshirt died to cover for Mance. 
  5. A blonde peasant boy or the real baby Aegon died to cover and make way for Young Griff. 
  6. Jon Snow is the cover for another baby boy.  Or vice versa.
  7. Jon sends the baby of Mance to safety and uses Craster's baby as the cover.
  8. Jon tried to cover for Mance after his lies got caught by the Pink Letter.
  9. Mance, Jon, and Aegon are all covering up lies.  We know Jon's and Aegon's lies will be slain.  Mance will just get slain. 

The black and red cloaks do not mean they are Targaryen heirs.  It means they are deceivers.  I am not saying Mance and Jon are not going to rule the north through fakery.  They may rule the north temporarily.  Aegon may rule in the south for a brief period even if he is not the true heir to Westeros.  But they are built on lies and their rule will not stand the test of truth. 

This

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...