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Let's catalogue and discuss the "Living Dead"!


hiemal
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Maybe, Dany's dragons? I tried to find a quote that said definitively the eggs were dead - this is the nearest, but it's also interesting that it's fire and air together that make the living dragon.

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A thousand thousand years ago they had been alive, but now they were only pretty rocks. They could not make a dragon. A dragon was air and fire. Living flesh, not dead stone.

(Dany's thoughts, after trying the brazier.)

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19 hours ago, hiemal said:

Summerhall was a prophetic stutter, Dany the true fulfillment, I think. Targs and their wildfire.

I disagree with you that Summerhall was a stutter. 

16 hours ago, Seams said:
  • Denys Mallister commands the Shadow Tower. The Mallister sigil is on an indigo field. The only other place we see indigo is in the House of the Undying, where the dim lighting is described as "indigo murk." 

Forgive me because I missed part of the conversation and I am too lazy to go back (again sorry!), but the HotU is where we find out Rhaegar's actual eye color, indigo, which made me wonder about the symbolic meaning. In all of ACoK, the color indigo is mentioned 8 times (out of 16 mentions total in the series), 6 of those mentions are in the HotU chapter, including Rhaegar's eye color. I think there's an important tie in here. It feels like an association by color.

Edited by Alexis-something-Rose
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2 hours ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

I disagree with you that Summerhall was a stutter.

Give me some more details than that! Summerhall is definitely a crux moment in the history, the way GRRM is holding those cards to his chest.

I know its not exactly on topic but don't be a tinfoil tease!

As for me, I'm not sure stutter is the right word, but to expand:

I think Aegon V was trying to force prophecy before its proper fulfillment? Trying to bring about the image that he thought aligned with Daenys' vision but ultimately trying to force events and breaking things instead. I think Aegon IV did something similar putting his willy in so many places and legitimizing his bastards.

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4 hours ago, Springwatch said:

Maybe, Dany's dragons? I tried to find a quote that said definitively the eggs were dead - this is the nearest, but it's also interesting that it's fire and air together that make the living dragon.

(Dany's thoughts, after trying the brazier.)

Great one! I hadn't really considered them "alive" before they were kindled, but there it is straight from GRRM's mouth.

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20 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

That Tyrion is a sort of Targaryen Sphinx?  I'm not so sure about wights unless I am lost (again) in the idea that there are specific Targ wights along the lines of the Red Priests' resurrections?  I vacillate between Targaryans being of the R'hllor ilk and their own special brand of fire wightish.  While Martin's genetic ideas are all over the place I do think the bottom line is there are humans who are bent to certain elemental persuasions complete with magical abilities.  Along the lines of comic book characters if you will.   Rhaella had many many miscarriages, still births and very early deaths among the many children she mothered.  Seems to me Maegor had a similar problem without proving himself quite so fertile as Aerys.  I personally like the idea of Tyrion being an actual sphinx baby with all the chimerical traits he's got.  It's been a very long time, nearly a century and a half, since the last Targ sphinx baby I know of was born.   

I think that the fact that the lurid tales of his monstrous deformities that circulated around the time of his birth proved to be such exaggerations might argue against Tyrion being a sphinx.
I'm on the fence with this one. 50/50 Tyrion is the Targ sphinx vs Jaimie and Cersei being the matched Valyrian Sphinxes...

 

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47 minutes ago, hiemal said:

I know its not exactly on topic but don't be a tinfoil tease!

I didn't want to derail the thread. 

I find that Summerhall lines up perfectly with Dany's actions in terms of the ritual performed that ended up hatching the dragons. Both amount to a blood sacrifice. Both have king's blood, both have holy blood that we find out about in the Forsaken. Dany steps into the pyre with three dragon eggs. She emerges from the pyre as the mother of dragons, with three live dragons. 

Dany heavily parallels her mother, who went into Summerhall pregnant and came out of it with a baby. 

I don't think Summerhall failed. I think that Summerhall accomplished exactly what it was meant to accomplish. What Dany did bought the lives of her dragons. I think that what happened at Summerhall bought Rhaegar's life.

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5 minutes ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

I didn't want to derail the thread. 

I find that Summerhall lines up perfectly with Dany's actions in terms of the ritual performed that ended up hatching the dragons. Both amount to a blood sacrifice. Both have king's blood, both have holy blood that we find out about in the Forsaken. Dany steps into the pyre with three dragon eggs. She emerges from the pyre as the mother of dragons, with three live dragons. 

Dany heavily parallels her mother, who went into Summerhall pregnant and came out of it with a baby. 

I don't think Summerhall failed. I think that Summerhall accomplished exactly what it was meant to accomplish. What Dany did bought the lives of her dragons. I think that what happened at Summerhall bought Rhaegar's life.

Was Rhaegar the goal or an unintended consequence? I had assumed that the goal was literal dragons, but that's something new to chew on.

Thanks.

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22 minutes ago, hiemal said:

Was Rhaegar the goal or an unintended consequence? I had assumed that the goal was literal dragons, but that's something new to chew on.

Thanks.

Unintended. I'd look at the parallel between a dragon hatching at Whitewalls and dragons hatching at Summerhall. It so happens that the same character is involved in both. A dream that's taken too literally.

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7 hours ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

Forgive me because I missed part of the conversation and I am too lazy to go back (again sorry!), but the HotU is where we find out Rhaegar's actual eye color, indigo, which made me wonder about the symbolic meaning. In all of ACoK, the color indigo is mentioned 8 times (out of 16 mentions total in the series), 6 of those mentions are in the HotU chapter, including Rhaegar's eye color. I think there's an important tie in here. It feels like an association by color.

Your point being that my generalization about indigo was too narrow? Ok. There are some other uses of that color, but I think they could be related to the living dead or grim reaper theme. For instance, some grasses are indigo in color. But Dany burns bundles of grasses in Khal Drogo's funeral pyre, putting them into a symbolic role in an important death / transformation / rebirth scene. 

I'm not entirely persuaded that Rhaegar is the new father in Dany's vision, described as having indigo-colored eyes. All we know is that Dany could be seeing a past, present or future (or imagined?) man who names his baby Aegon. But let's say he is. Even if the man is Rhaegar (and only Rhaegar, not an archetype) I don't think that undermines the association of indigo with these grim reaper or living death characters. At the point Dany is in the House of the Undying, Rhaegar is dead. If that baby is Aegon and the mother is Elia Martell, they are dead, too. Indigo eyes might represent dead Targaryens. If the baby is the young man we know as Jon Snow and the mother is Lyanna Stark, there is a lot of death associated with both of those characters, too. 

The strong connection between the Mallister indigo and the House of the Undying indigo may tell us a few things about the way GRRM creates symbolic Targaryens. I have long believed that the House of the Undying is parallel to the Winterfell crypt and to the Winterfell library. Dany sees her ancestors in the House of the Undying but she also sees stories unfold before her eyes. The "always the door to the right" is like turning the pages of a book. So an indigo connection between House Mallister and the House of the Undying could tell us that House Mallister symbolizes legendary and dead Targaryens. (I'm not entirely persuaded of that, though. House Mallister is strongly linked to House Tully as loyal bannermen, so a Targ parallel doesn't seem like a 100% match.)

Furthermore, I suspect that the silver eagle of the Mallister sigil and their winged helmets could be parallel to Silverwing, the dragon ridden by Queen Alysanne. After the Dance of the Dragons, Silverwing lived on an island in Red Lake (formerly Blue Lake) where a great deal of color symbolism comes together. Dany riding the horse she calls her Silver (including jumping over a fire on the horse's back) could be a parallel to Alysanne riding Silverwing. 

But I just found my old post analyzing indigo. For those who are interested, more detail here. Look for the indigo subtitles in the first post. 

P.S. Re-reading some of the posts on that Rainbow Guard thread, I see I owe an apology or credit to @Lollygag, who proposed a parallel between House Mallister and The Stranger. I had been looking too much at Jason Mallister, I think. It was only when I put more thought into Denys Mallister that I started to see the grim reaper-type association with his Shadow Tower and his proximity to The Weeper. So three cheers for Lollygag for putting together the association between House Mallister and The Stranger long before I saw it.

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3 hours ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

Unintended. I'd look at the parallel between a dragon hatching at Whitewalls and dragons hatching at Summerhall. It so happens that the same character is involved in both. A dream that's taken too literally.

Sounds good :)

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21 hours ago, hiemal said:

Hunting the Woodwives (CotF?). Considering the number of one-eyed folks, and those who pose as the one-eyed (Euron and Turnberry, spring to mind)... I honestly hadn't made the 8-legged connection. Nice.

But I was also thinking of Finvarra, from the Hollow Hill of Knockmaa. GRRM has in a SSM, IIRC, described the Others as icy and alien Sidhe.

So many versions of the Wild Hunt :-)

The french version is Mesnée d'Hellequin. Hellequin being a character that leads demons chasing souls. The Hellequin character evolved into the Harlequin archetype that brought us Patchface in ASOIAF:

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I will lead it! We will march into the sea and out again. Under the waves we will ride seahorses, and mermaids will blow seashells to announce our coming, oh, oh, oh

 

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10 hours ago, Tucu said:

So many versions of the Wild Hunt :-)

The french version is Mesnée d'Hellequin. Hellequin being a character that leads demons chasing souls. The Hellequin character evolved into the Harlequin archetype that brought us Patchface in ASOIAF:

 

Merci :)

I was unaware of that part of Patchface's lineage- it is missing puzzle piece for this mythic mongrel.

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20 hours ago, Seams said:

But I just found my old post analyzing indigo. For those who are interested, more detail here. Look for the indigo subtitles in the first post. 

P.S. Re-reading some of the posts on that Rainbow Guard thread, I see I owe an apology or credit to @Lollygag, who proposed a parallel between House Mallister and The Stranger. I had been looking too much at Jason Mallister, I think. It was only when I put more thought into Denys Mallister that I started to see the grim reaper-type association with his Shadow Tower and his proximity to The Weeper. So three cheers for Lollygag for putting together the association between House Mallister and The Stranger long before I saw it.

I'm sold on indigo and the Stranger.

If the Shadow Tower is comprised solely or partially of the Revived, what or who might be reviving them?

The Night's Watch are symbolically dead already, casting off their names and histories as well as any crimes, so it makes sense to have a Tower devoted to them. Do we know how the Shadow Tower is situated? I don't recall a detailed description, is it one side of the wall? Built into the rock face of the Gorge and seperate from the Wall? Could that be a means by which the Revived might skirt the protection of the Wall and enter the South?

 

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All those are the methods to prolong life.  People IRL and in-story would want some kind of magic fountain of immortality.  It doesn't exist.  What kind of semi-life they  have is not really living.  The Undying are slowly decaying and drying up.  Bloodraven and soon, Bran, will be slowly absorbed by the tree.  Cold slows the rot but does not prevent it.  Blood stopped flowing for Coldhands, as it will for Jon Snow.  Drogo was alive in a comatose condition but his brain functions are gone.  His body would slowly shrivel and weaken if he had not been given the mercy of death.  Wights, whether brought back by fire or ice, are the same. 

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I wonder too how we should classify Brienne. After being attacked by Biter, "the darkness took her" and in her next chapter she is phasing in and out of the Underworld; she is escorted by Renly, Nimble Dick, Catelyn, Shagwell, Pyg, Timeon, Vargo and the Hound to a cave where she is revived by Thoros to be judged and then hanged by Lady Stoneheart. At least symbolically she has come back from the Underworld.

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I want to talk about Griff a bit.

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"It was Lemore who forced the water from your lungs after Griff had pulled you up. You were as cold as ice, and your lips were blue. Yandry said we ought to throw you back, but the lad forbade it.”

(ADwD Ch 22 Tyrion VI)

Septa Lemore also prayed to the Mother on Tyrion's behalf. Yandry and Ysila are not as thrilled about Tyrion's resurection, although Aegon insisted on keeping him on their boat. And Haldon says Griff pulled Tyrion up.

Haldon does not say what state Griff was in - we don't get to see Griff until that evening, where he appears to be exactly as always, as far as Tyrion can tell.

We know, because he is a PoV, that Tyrion hasn't changed. He is still fond of having a woman at hand, and giving her a cheeky cuff when she needs it, and wondering where whores go. (My theory: nowhere near him if they know what's good for them). His knowledge of Dragonlaw and strategy are unimpaired.

But as soon as Griff becomes a point of view, we learn that he has and hasn't changed - on the one hand he is the same rash, arrogant warrior he was when he became Aerys' Hand, and on the other there is a fingernail going black with greyscale, he is becoming a stone man.

Griff has already been a dead man, symbolically, for twelve to seventeen years (I don't know how long it took him to 'die' of drink- Jaime said "soon after" the Battle of Bells in AFfC Ch 27 Jaime III, whatever that means. Franklin Flowers said “You look awful, even for a man’s been dead a dozen years." in ADwD Ch 24 The Lost Lord. Judging from the clothes Illyrio provided Tyrion, Aegon lived in his manse until he was about five.)

Which brings us to Aegon. Aegon had his skull smashed in seventeen years ago and he just can't wait to be reborn.

Lemore might also have 'died' and been reborn as a septa. Except she said she "must needs hide" when they reached Selhorys. Who would be looking for a dead septa in Selhorys? Why would a robed/disrobed septa living on a pole boat travelling up and down the Rhoyne for years be less conspicuous? Do you need a septa/septon to school you in the faith? Tyrion seems to have learnt from reading the Seven Pointed Star (no need for a reformation in Westeros, and very little need for the literate to consult a septa). Is the 'need' to school Young Griff in the faith an excuse for tucking Lemore away on the Shy Maid? (And did they really need any excuse - Illyrio got 'Yollo' a berth on the Shy Maid without making him a tutor of any kind.)

 I don't know enough about Duck, Yandry and Yasila to guess if they have 'died' too. Yandry and Ysila came from the Greenblood in Dorne to the Rhoyne and Duck's red hair hints he has Westerosi blood, so they are probably exiles too.

*

Also, Shadowbabies. Are they a type of firewight?

 

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8 hours ago, Tucu said:

I wonder too how we should classify Brienne. After being attacked by Biter, "the darkness took her" and in her next chapter she is phasing in and out of the Underworld; she is escorted by Renly, Nimble Dick, Catelyn, Shagwell, Pyg, Timeon, Vargo and the Hound to a cave where she is revived by Thoros to be judged and then hanged by Lady Stoneheart. At least symbolically she has come back from the Underworld.

A Persephone-type like I suspect Arya to be?

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7 hours ago, Walda said:

I want to talk about Griff a bit.

(ADwD Ch 22 Tyrion VI)

Septa Lemore also prayed to the Mother on Tyrion's behalf. Yandry and Ysila are not as thrilled about Tyrion's resurection, although Aegon insisted on keeping him on their boat. And Haldon says Griff pulled Tyrion up.

Haldon does not say what state Griff was in - we don't get to see Griff until that evening, where he appears to be exactly as always, as far as Tyrion can tell.

We know, because he is a PoV, that Tyrion hasn't changed. He is still fond of having a woman at hand, and giving her a cheeky cuff when she needs it, and wondering where whores go. (My theory: nowhere near him if they know what's good for them). His knowledge of Dragonlaw and strategy are unimpaired

Hard to argue with that one.

 

7 hours ago, Walda said:

But as soon as Griff becomes a point of view, we learn that he has and hasn't changed - on the one hand he is the same rash, arrogant warrior he was when he became Aerys' Hand, and on the other there is a fingernail going black with greyscale, he is becoming a stone man.

Griff has already been a dead man, symbolically, for twelve to seventeen years (I don't know how long it took him to 'die' of drink- Jaime said "soon after" the Battle of Bells in AFfC Ch 27 Jaime III, whatever that means. Franklin Flowers said “You look awful, even for a man’s been dead a dozen years." in ADwD Ch 24 The Lost Lord. Judging from the clothes Illyrio provided Tyrion, Aegon lived in his manse until he was about five.)

He is in the same metaphorical styxian boat as the Night's Watch in his exile, and then the greyscale adds another layer of "dead man walking".

Quote

Which brings us to Aegon. Aegon had his skull smashed in seventeen years ago and he just can't wait to be reborn.

 If legitimate, he certainly qualifies. If not, he belongs with the counterfit kings?

 

8 hours ago, Walda said:

Lemore might also have 'died' and been reborn as a septa. Except she said she "must needs hide" when they reached Selhorys. Who would be looking for a dead septa in Selhorys? Why would a robed/disrobed septa living on a pole boat travelling up and down the Rhoyne for years be less conspicuous? Do you need a septa/septon to school you in the faith? Tyrion seems to have learnt from reading the Seven Pointed Star (no need for a reformation in Westeros, and very little need for the literate to consult a septa). Is the 'need' to school Young Griff in the faith an excuse for tucking Lemore away on the Shy Maid? (And did they really need any excuse - Illyrio got 'Yollo' a berth on the Shy Maid without making him a tutor of any kind.)

 I don't know enough about Duck, Yandry and Yasila to guess if they have 'died' too. Yandry and Ysila came from the Greenblood in Dorne to the Rhoyne and Duck's red hair hints he has Westerosi blood, so they are probably exiles too.

The Mother Rhoyne seems like quite the source of these rebirths. I'm starting to think there might something going here even beyond the hypothetical Stone Statue Men.

Which makes me wonder about the Orphans of the Greenblood. And the entire Golden Company.

It seems like it might be easier to catalogue the characters who aren't in some way dead...

8 hours ago, Walda said:

Also, Shadowbabies. Are they a type of firewight?

I think not- I'm pegging them as pure soul energy enmeshed in elemental shadow.

 

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On 2/11/2021 at 4:42 PM, hiemal said:

If the Shadow Tower is comprised solely or partially of the Revived, what or who might be reviving them?

The Night's Watch are symbolically dead already, casting off their names and histories as well as any crimes, so it makes sense to have a Tower devoted to them. Do we know how the Shadow Tower is situated? I don't recall a detailed description, is it one side of the wall? Built into the rock face of the Gorge and seperate from the Wall? Could that be a means by which the Revived might skirt the protection of the Wall and enter the South?

All excellent questions and I'm not sure I have answers.

I suspect that an in-depth analysis of the Bridge of Skulls would help us to understand the Shadow Tower's apparent function as an undead waycastle. Even in my earliest reading of the series, I remember thinking it was strange that there would be a bridge across a gorge at that location if the entire point of he Wall is to prevent enemies from crossing from beyond the Wall. What purpose is achieved by keeping a bridge across the gorge, instead of taking a sledgehammer to it and thereby reducing the likelihood of wildlings or Others crossing? 

So I have to assume that the Night's Watch wants the ability to cross the gorge. And that raises the possibility that this is a crossing from the Otherworld or Underworld (my words, not GRRM's) and that dead guys can be reborn in some way by coming over the bridge to the Shadow Tower.

Mayhaps Denys Mallister is a sort of Lord of the Crossing at the Bridge of Skulls?

We are also told that the Free Folk sometimes walk through the gorge, bypassing the Bridge of Skulls and the Wall entirely! How can this be allowed? Why wouldn't the builders of the Night's Watch come up with a solution to address this gap in the defenses at some point in the history of the Wall? I think this may answer your question about whether the Revived use this location to skirt the protection of the Wall and enter the south. The answer is that they do. But that then raises the question of why they don't have a major village on the other side of the gorge and use the free route to the south on a regular basis?

The wiki and the initial mention of the Shadow Tower don't offer a lot of details about its location vis-a-vis the Wall or the gorge. In AGoT, the description reads:

The Watch had built nineteen great strongholds along the Wall, but only three were still occupied: Easwatch on its grey windswept shore, the Shadow Tower hard by the mountains where the Wall ended, and Castle Black between them, at the end of the kingsroad. The other keeps, long deserted, were lonely, haunted places, where cold winds whistled through black windows and the spirits of the dead manned the parapets. (AGoT, Chap. 19, Jon III)

Interesting for this discussion that the "deserted" strongholds are manned by the spirits of the dead. Also interesting that the Shadow Tower is located where the Wall ends, but that there is a deserted Night's Watch stronghold west of the Shadow Tower (Westwatch). 

Oh - I should also mention The Weeper, who seems to lurk around the Bridge of Skulls and the Shadow Tower. He is the wildling who gouges out the eyes of any Night's Watch brothers killed by his band of followers. In the Knight of the Seven Kingdoms re-read thread, I hope to explain soon a theory about the relationship between gouged or crushed eyes and grapes crushed for making wine. I think wine may be a key for some of the rebirths of the undead. Maybe we have ice wights and fire wights and wine wights. 

22 hours ago, hiemal said:

The Mother Rhoyne seems like quite the source of these rebirths. I'm starting to think there might something going here even beyond the hypothetical Stone Statue Men.

Yes. I think we need to look at the Shy Maid interlude in conjunction with what we know of the Trident, its landmarks, flow and color scheme. 

The Trident has red, blue and green forks that come together and flow toward the Quiet Isle and the Bay of Crabs. At the Quiet Isle, we meet the Elder Brother, the Gravedigger and the colony of silent holy men. On the shy maid, we have Griff - who has blue hair but who wears a red wolf cloak. And we have the Orphans of the Green Blood. So those might represent the red, blue and green confluence we see in the other river. 

Recall that Rhaegar died at the Ruby Ford in the Red Fork. So Griff's role as the "father" of Young Griff may combine the Stark wolfskin with Rhaegar's red. Arya and Micah go to the river to look for Rhaegar's rubies, iirc, and the Elder Brother says that his group has found rubies that have washed up on the shore of the Quiet Isle.

The Stark symbolism in Griff / Jon Connington may be overwhelming the Rhaegar symbolism when the greyscale starts to take over. The unique broken leg bone in the greyscale guy who attacks Tyrion and Griff is found in only one other character: Ned Stark after his horse falls on him when Jaime attacks him outside of the brothel. So I'm thinking the stone man is a symbolic attack by "Ned" on "Rhaegar" (or on Connington, if the layers of symbolism become too much). We know the greyscale will eventually win, but it will do so slowly: perhaps like the poison that Oberyn (the red viper) introduced into the blood stream of Gregor Clegane (a green character). 

Pieces of the Clanking Dragon sign from the inn at the crossroads have also washed up, but they have turned red with rust. I wonder whether there is a parallel between the pieced-together clanking dragon sign and the motley outfit that Tyrion and Septa Lemore sew for Tyrion after his first dip in the river? The reemergence of the sign and Tyrion's rebirth after his swim may be further evidence of Tyrion's dragon and Targ connection. 

Septa Lemore wears a belt woven with seven colors. The book doesn't say that they are rainbow colors, but we can infer that they might be, based on her service to the Faith of the Seven. I think the point is that, like Renly, she unites and controls all of the colors. Sort of like the confluence of the forks of the Trident. She also seems to be able to freely swim in the river without fear of drowning or catching greyscale. 

Lots more Trident parallels to draw, but this is a start.

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