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Walda

The Rainbow Pool

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Looking at the lit up pool of reflection reminded me of this:

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The night before [last] a woman’s head was found in the Great Sept, floating in the rainbow pool. No one seems to know how it got there or who it belongs to.

(AGoT, 27 Eddard VI)

So many questions. The rainbow pool? It is only mentioned this once. I figure it must be behind the Great Sept of Baelor, as we 'see' the front of the Great Sept many times (execution of Eddard, service during the seige, weddings of Joffrey and Sansa, funeral of Tywin), and a pool would affect the flow of the crowd as well as the look of the scene, but it is never observed or mentioned.

The body? Did it ever turn up? The corpse that Tyrion spied by the Street of Looms (ACoK, Ch3 Tyrion I) seems to be too fresh and too late on the scene to fit. But I wonder at the way it is just left to the dogs - surely the weavers would want it moved away, as it deters customers, and they have to live with the smell, that might get into the linen too. Life might be cheap in the big city, but a headless corpse has fewer places to hide. And as for the 'feral' dogs - when the buchers are selling something less appetizing than fresh rat, and the bakers guard their flour, even the dogs need protection.

There are quite a few headless corpses in the books:- Ned, Robb, the miller's boys Theon slew as proxies for Bran and Rickon. In an earlier time, Lord Willam Stark was beheaded by King-beyond-the-Wall Raymun Redbeard. The first chapter has Ned bringing the King's Justice to Gared.

 Ser Jaremy Rykker is slain by the headless (and handless) corpse of Jafer Flowers. Jhogo beheads one of Eroeh's rapers, headless corpses fill the narrow twisty lanes of Mirri Maz Duur's town. Daario gives Dany a bouquet of them for her dragons to play with. There are headless corpses buried at Harrenhal and unburied at Raventree when the Lannisters take them.

Under the headless statue of Triach-for-life Honnoro in fishmongers square, Oppo the soon-to-be-headless dwarf does his headless knight trick with Penny. There is a headless hero statue in Chorayne, too.

As best I can recall, this is the only female head in the books so far. It seems to me that decapitation requires a sword, or at least a big sharp knife or axe. Castle-forged or at least professionally made for a professional, for a knight, a bravo, a watchman, or a butcher.

The purpose of putting a head over the Seal Gate, or tossing heads over the city wall, or bowling a head across a throne room floor, is so it can be seen and identified by people who knew the owner.

So, was this woman a septa, or a silent sister, the lover or mother of a septon? The wife of a devout man?

Janos said the head was floating. It seems to me that a fresh head would sink, but a rotting one might rise. Only, if the head was rotting and was all they had to identify, could he be sure it was female? If the rainbow pool was shallow and clear, maybe the head would be visible whether it floated or sank.

In my head the Rainbow Pool is a water feature much like the one in Washington DC before the War Memorial was put in its sun, taking away the public space where protesters (and tourists) had gathered, using national security and respect for the fallen as an excuse. I guess that is why, in my head, this murder seems to be about silencing the masses for the doubtful good of the realm.

I suspect Varys or Petyr Baelish know more than they say. Varys's horror seems feigned, and we learn later that Petyr Baelish effected the rise of Janos Slynt from butcher to the most corrupt commander of the City Watch. And the reason he mentioned this crime was because Petyr Baelish wanted to rid Eddard Stark of at least a score of his household guard. This whole chapter (AGoT, Ch 27 Eddard VI) seems to be about Eddard being played by Renly, Petyr, Varys, Barry and Slynt, who all have their reasons and uses for the tourney they are staging in his honour, supposedly at the command of the king.

That is not sufficient motive for committing the crime, however. While the killer seems to be able to take advantage of the blind city watch, it doesn't follow the killer is necessarily a man of the watch, or some other butcher under Lord Baelish's protection. It seems to me that Varys would have heard some whispers about this head/body, if someone asked him. But nobody did.

So who do you think it is? Where is the body? Who dun it? Why the Rainbow Pool? And what is the general significance of these headless corpses?

Clues? Insights? Thoughts?

 

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i read right by the Rainbow Pool & didn't even ever think on it ...  

what an excellent explainer you have posted for us to ponder upon Walda!

my first thought was ' a pool?'
and then i thought of the pool in Winterfell's Godswood.   
then i thought of the pool in the House of Black & White.
could it be that there is a common thing for temples to have a water feature? 
some sort of same reverence to the Drowned God?

hmmmmmm - the symbolling experts of our board need to weigh in on this; looking forward to the analysis!

 

added:  to me the head in the pool was just as you supposed - to worry Ned; to make him think that there was this elevated level of depravity going on.   mind games.  

Edited by Yaya
added the 'added' part

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Maidenpool? 

Maiden's head? 

1 hour ago, Yaya said:

read right by the Rainbow Pool & didn't even ever think on it ...  

what an excellent explainer you have posted for us to ponder upon Walda!

Same 

1 hour ago, Yaya said:

my first thought was ' a pool?'
and then i thought of the pool in Winterfell's Godswood.   
then i thought of the pool in the House of Black & White.
could it be that there is a common thing for temples to have a water feature? 
some sort of same reverence to the Drowned God

These too. But only after Maidenpool for me 

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Very nice catch.

The rainbow reference makes me want to connect this to Renly's rainbow guard or to the strong Wizard of Oz / Somewhere Over the Rainbow symbolism in Dany's arc. The rainbow is something Renly seems to want to construct and complete. Just as he gets all seven of his guards in place, the shadow weapon kills him. Like Dorothy, Dany wants to be above the rainbow. Unlike Dorothy, she achieves her goal by flying on Drogon's back. 

The floating quality of this head could be another Wizard of Oz allusion - the wizard projects a giant floating head on a wall before Toto pulls back the curtain ("Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!") and exposes the wizard as a fraud. In the Dunk & Egg analysis, I felt Lord Ashford might be a parallel to the floating head of the wizard. (Ashford hovers over the shoulder of Prince Baelor, the crown prince, who seems to be the real host of the tournament.)

A floating head could also represent the moon.

Disembodied heads appear in the Ser Clarence Crabb legend as slain men who are revived by the woods witch wife of Clarence and become advisers to their killer. 

3 hours ago, TheLastWolf said:

Maidenpool? 

This seems relevant. The maiden pool is associated with both Florian and Jonquil and the Galladon of Morne legends. I believe both knights in those stories receive swords from the/a maid who is bathing in a pool. I wonder whether the disembodied head here implies that the knight beheaded the maiden with his new sword? Perhaps a variation on Nissa Nissa.

13 hours ago, Walda said:

As best I can recall, this is the only female head in the books so far.

Septa Mordane's head comes up later, displayed next to Ned's head on the wall of Maegor's Holdfast. I suspect the pairing of the heads of Ned and Septa Mordane is very significant, though. I don't know if she is just a symbol of Lyanna or Ashara Dayne, or if we will find that she has a secret identity and she is literally a disguised character we wish we could meet. 

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@Seams, your thoughts went very close to my own initial thought when just reading the title of this OP which I've been meaning to read for a few days now.   Rainbow pool made me think of Rainbow Guard immediately, thought I admit the Wizard of Oz was completely apparent once you stated it.  For now I think I will stick to what I can speak to.  We have a woman in the Rainbow Guard and a woman's head in the pool.   Perhaps that meager connection could speak to the identity of the head.  

As @Walda makes a very nice case for, how can anyone be sure an old bloated head belongs to a man or woman?  Sure, the head could be smaller and maybe have long flowing hair or some other trait in common with a woman.  But we do have a missing pretty boy we might want to take a look at in connection with this head.   

Walda further suspects that Varys' horror seems feigned.   Curiously, Varys is the person most often suspected of playing a part in the missing of our pretty boy.   It may be no connection at all, but I sure do enjoy reading your too rare posts, Walda.   

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17 minutes ago, Curled Finger said:

@Seams, your thoughts went very close to my own initial thought when just reading the title of this OP which I've been meaning to read for a few days now.   Rainbow pool made me think of Rainbow Guard immediately, thought I admit the Wizard of Oz was completely apparent once you stated it.  For now I think I will stick to what I can speak to.  We have a woman in the Rainbow Guard and a woman's head in the pool.   Perhaps that meager connection could speak to the identity of the head.  

As @Walda makes a very nice case for, how can anyone be sure an old bloated head belongs to a man or woman?  Sure, the head could be smaller and maybe have long flowing hair or some other trait in common with a woman.  But we do have a missing pretty boy we might want to take a look at in connection with this head.   

Walda further suspects that Varys' horror seems feigned.   Curiously, Varys is the person most often suspected of playing a part in the missing of our pretty boy.   It may be no connection at all, but I sure do enjoy reading your too rare posts, Walda.   

If you're talking about Tyrek, I think he disappeared long after the head was found.

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4 minutes ago, CamiloRP said:

If you're talking about Tyrek, I think he disappeared long after the head was found.

I'm just following you around this morning.   Thank you for the timeline correction.   It was a fun thought while it lasted.  

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5 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

I'm just following you around this morning.   

It's been a long time ;)

 

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Thank you for the timeline correction.   It was a fun thought while it lasted.  

You're welcome, it was a good idea tho.

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