Seams Posted May 26, 2021 Share Posted May 26, 2021 Something finally clicked for me with a mention of House Toland. Toe land? Ghost Hill, the seat of House Toland, is located at what looks to be a "toe" of Dorne, the eastern tip of the mainland. The area containing Ghost Hill is referred to as the Broken Arm, however, which was "broken" when the Children of the Forest used the Hammer of Waters to break the land bridge ("arm") that had connected Westeros and Essos. Islands created by the breaking of the arm are known as the Stepstones. To me, Dorne looks like a big foot. If the visual and metaphorical names were consistent, that east end of Dorne should have a name relating to toes, logically (to my mind) connecting the foot to the nearby step stones. The Fingers, the Neck, the Reach, Missy's Teats, The Fist, The Gods Eye; perhaps even Flea Bottom: many locations on the continent are named for body parts. The author's descriptive passages add to the body metaphors with The Eyrie built on the "shoulder" of a mountain, for instance, or Stonesnake telling Jon, ""The mountain is your mother ... Cling to her, press your face up against her teats, and she won't drop you." Add in The Green Blood, The Milkwater and Pisswater Bend for some bodily fluids to extend the metaphor. Some of the metaphors sound like straight up personification. It would not be surprising in a world where trees have faces that the land itself has some features that can be compared to body parts. A number of my posts have wondered about GRRM's comparisons of fruits and body parts: grapes = eyes, melons = heads, lemons = teeth (or mouths), peaches = cheeks, plums = lumps, oranges = feet. While the author's fruit code seems to be consistent, I don't yet understand its purpose. Does it help to clarify the symbolism if we think of body parts as elements of the Westeros landscape in addition to the connection between body parts and fruit? Or does that further confuse both the landscape and the fruit puzzles? And I realize that GRRM doesn't limit himself to body parts; he uses a lot of descriptive metaphors to tell us about the land: names such as The Mountains of the Moon, The Stormlands, The Eyrie and Griffin's Roost are metaphorical without referencing body parts. I don't think these other metaphors contradict the possible "map as body" symbolism. In fact, we can probably find examples of people who look like moons or birds, tying these apparent non-body metaphors back into the body symbolism. (I also think there may be wordplay on "finger" and "Griffin," so some of the body parts could be hidden by anagrams or puns.) The challenge is to determine whether the body metaphors are intended to add up to a single, coherent body or whether, like butcher's boy Mycah, "that he'd cut him up in so many pieces that they'd given him back to the butcher in a bag, and at first the poor man had thought it was a pig they'd slaughtered." Aegon the Conqueror is lauded as the man who united the Seven Kingdoms. So even if Westeros is a bag of body parts, the goal may be to reassemble the parts into one kingdom. Here are a few of the excerpts that might help in sorting out whether Westeros is supposed to be a human body. Tyrion's large head and the largeness of The North: Tyrion Lannister, the youngest of Lord Tywin's brood and by far the ugliest. All that the gods had given to Cersei and Jaime, they had denied Tyrion. He was a dwarf, half his brother's height, struggling to keep pace on stunted legs. His head was too large for his body, with a brute's squashed-in face beneath a swollen shelf of brow. One green eye and one black one peered out from under a lank fall of hair so blond it seemed white. Jon watched him with fascination. (AGoT, Jon I) "In the south, the way they talk about my Seven Kingdoms, a man forgets that your part is as big as the other six combined." (AGoT, Eddard I) Fools that drown in the bogs of the Neck and Joffrey losing the ability to breathe: "That's true," said Jojen. "Andals and ironmen, Freys and other fools, all those proud warriors who set out to conquer Greywater. Not one of them could find it. They ride into the Neck, but not back out. And sooner or later they blunder into the bogs and sink beneath the weight of all that steel and drown there in their armor." (ASoS, Bran II) A fearful high thin sound emerged from the boy's throat, the sound of a man trying to suck a river through a reed; then it stopped, and that was more terrible still. "Turn him over!" Mace Tyrell bellowed at everyone and no one. "Turn him over, shake him by his heels!" A different voice was calling, "Water, give him some water!" The High Septon began to pray loudly. Grand Maester Pycelle shouted for someone to help him back to his chambers, to fetch his potions. Joffrey began to claw at his throat, his nails tearing bloody gouges in the flesh. Beneath the skin, the muscles stood out hard as stone. (ASoS, Tyrion VIII) Dunk wondering whether it would have been better to lose a foot and some foot/orange imagery in Dorne: Each time a battle is lost or a crop fails, the fools will say, 'Baelor would not have let it happen, but the hedge knight killed him.'" Dunk could see the truth in that. "If I had not fought, you would have had my hand off. And my foot. Sometimes I sit under that tree there and look at my feet and ask if I couldn't have spared one. How could my foot be worth a prince's life? (The Hedge Knight) In the shade of the orange trees, the prince sat in his chair with his gouty legs propped up before him, and heavy bags beneath his eyes . . . though whether it was grief or gout that kept him sleepless, Hotah could not say. ... He was still groping for some words to say when another orange fell with a heavy splat, no more than a foot from where the prince was seated. Doran winced at the sound, as if somehow it had hurt him. (AFfC, The Captain of the Guards) Dunk's contemplation of the trade-off between his foot and the life of Prince Baelor was another clue for me about the landmass of Dorne being a foot: Prince Baelor was half Dornish because his grandfather, King Baelor cared so much about a peaceful truce with Dorne that he arranged for his son, Prince Daeron, to marry a Dornish princess. King Baelor made a point of walking to Dorne as part of his work for peace. The key plot element about Dunk's foot made more sense to me when I started thinking of Dorne as a foot, and the effort of the two Baelors to either bring Dorne into the Seven Kingdoms or to prevent Dunk from losing his foot. Prince Doran is unable to walk. Does that tell us that Dorne as "the foot" of Westeros is at a critical point when it might break with the rest of the continent? I wonder whether the Greenblood river is symbolic of Prince Doran's gout, with the acid built up in his swollen joints draining ineffectively and leaving him in chronic pain. Does anyone care to provide additional examples of matching excerpts featuring land and body parts? What does it mean that Tyrion loses his nose? How does Jaime's maimed arm fit with the map metaphors? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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