Jump to content
Black Crow

Heresy 236 and the Musgrave Ritual

Recommended Posts

Welcome to Heresy 236, the latest episode of the long-running thread taking a slantwise look at the Song of Ice and Fire.

Discussion here is open and free-ranging, and over the years has covered many different aspects of the story and where it could really be heading, but essentially we still question the popular emphasis on the Lost Targaryen scenario and remain focussed on GRRM’s own declaration that this story revolves around the children of Winterfell, and therefore we largely focus on what may really be going on, and the real significance of the mystery of the Musgrave Ritual that is Winterfell, and ultimately of course the Stark connection to the Ice.

Last time around we started off by looking at Jon Snow and the R+L=J theory or rather the possible consequences of it being true, and why it might - or might not matter.

As is the way of things in these here parts discussion was a bit organic and drifted in various directions before coming back in the end to looking again at the events outside a certain tower

As we know, not so many years ago, on realising that their version was going to outstrip the book big time, the Mummers, not unreasonably, sat down with GRRM in Santa Fe and demanded answers as to how the story arcs of the principal characters would end.

In simple terms they learned from him who would be the last man standing, but little or nothing beyond that and so had to make the rest up by themselves. Surprisingly, despite their heavily trailing of R+L=J from the very beginning of the show and despite the fervid anticipation of the faithful, in the Mummers’ eventual version Jon failed to ascend the Iron Throne, presumably because GRRM insisted he would not.

So, once again we’re left with the question; if Jon Snow’s story arc is not intended to culminate in a Return of the [Targaryen] King moment, and nor is he going to save the day as Azor Ahai come again, then what might be the significance of a plot device casting him as the son of Rhaegar Targaryen ?

In other words; is Jon Snow’s supposed Targaryen parentage important, or is it far more important that he is the son of Lyanna Stark, truly a son of Winterfell, and what significance does this have to figuring out the Musgrave Ritual.

As to the ritual, figuring it out is likely to be far more fruitful and ultimately more important than planting someone on an Iron Throne that represents the destruction of the old Westeros

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I seem to recall that there exists a SSM that GRRM has already provided the answers to Jon's parentage and what happened to Lyanna in the first book. Does anyone else remember this and where the quote can be located?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I think for the uninitiated, an explanation of the premise of the Musgrave ritual should be explained. In short it's a Sherlock Holmes story about one of his first cases - the disappearance of a maid and butler employed by Holmes' university friend, Reginald Musgrave connected to a mysterious ritual.

 The pair vanished after Musgrave had dismissed Brunton for secretly reading a family document, the Musgrave Ritual. The Ritual, which dates from the 17th century, reads:

'Whose was it?' 'His who is gone.' 'Who shall have it?' 'He who will come.' ('What was the month?' 'The sixth from the first.') 'Where was the sun?' 'Over the oak.' 'Where was the shadow?' 'Under the elm.' 'How was it stepped?' 'North by ten and by ten, east by five and by five, south by two and by two, west by one and by one, and so under.' 'What shall we give for it?' 'All that is ours.' 'Why should we give it?' 'For the sake of the trust.'

Unless I am mistaken, Black Crow suspects that Jojen and Meera's pledge is part of a type of Musgrave ritual...

Edited by Melifeather

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

It might help to include this link for anyone who doesn't know what is meant by the Musgrave Ritual.

The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual - Wikipedia

Quote

'Whose was it?'
'His who is gone.'
'Who shall have it?'
'He who will come.'
('What was the month?'
'The sixth from the first.')[3]
'Where was the sun?'
'Over the oak.'
'Where was the shadow?'
'Under the elm.'
'How was it stepped?'
'North by ten and by ten, east by five and by five, south by two and by two, west by one and by one, and so under.'
'What shall we give for it?'
'All that is ours.'
'Why should we give it?'
'For the sake of the trust.'

The last four lines are interesting.  This I think represents the Pact and everything that was given for the sake of the trust.

The riddle revealed: 

Quote

As to the relics found in the bag retrieved from the mere, Holmes examined them and found that the metal parts were gold and the stones were gems. He believed that it was no less than King Charles I’s ("His who is gone") medieval crown of St. Edward, being kept for his eventual successor – his son, Charles II ("He who will come"), who would not be crowned until 11 years after the execution of Charles I. The ritual had been a guide to retrieving this important symbol, and Reginald confirms that one of his ancestors, Sir Ralph Musgrave, was a king's man. Holmes theorized that the original holder of the ritual had died before teaching his son about its significance. It had thus become nothing more than a quaint custom for more than 200 years.

I'm guessing the deepest part of the Winterfell crypts contain the original crown of the Kings of Winter and the original sword Ice owned by the first King of Winter and held for the one who will come - Jon Snow.

The crown is made from the metals of winter: bronze and iron and contains nine iron swords possibly representing 9 kings who were sacrificed on the Isle of Faces to seal the Pact.  The sword Ice may be the original sword won by the last hero in a trial by combat when he defeated Winter during the first long night. 

The truths that Jojen tells Bran that have been forgotten.  Not only what is held in the crypts but their origin and purpose. 

The words: There must always be a Stark in Winterfell (because) Winter is coming is part of the ritual.  But the words have no meaning.  

The oath of the Crannogmen may also be a part of the ritual:

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Bran III

"I swear it by earth and water," said the boy in green.

"I swear it by bronze and iron," his sister said.

"We swear it by ice and fire," they finished together.

 

Edited by LynnS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@LynnS

Continuing this part:

Bob the king and Howland the betrayer? Howland in both roles?

Howland somehow got involved since the beginning of the tale and sent both his heirs to escort the long awaited Prince to his throne in the cave. This quote might apply to him too:

Quote

"Dragons old and young, true and false, bright and dark. And you. A small man with a big shadow, snarling in the midst of all."

Lions and lizard-lions :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

 

A Dance with Dragons - Bran III

"What will I know?" Bran asked the Reeds afterward, when they came with torches burning brightly in their hand, to carry him back to a small chamber off the big cavern where the singers had made beds for them to sleep. "What do the trees remember?"

"The secrets of the old gods," said Jojen Reed. Food and fire and rest had helped restore him after the ordeals of their journey, but he seemed sadder now, sullen, with a weary, haunted look about the eyes. "Truths the First Men knew, forgotten now in Winterfell … but not in the wet wild. We live closer to the green in our bogs and crannogs, and we remember. Earth and water, soil and stone, oaks and elms and willows, they were here before us all and will still remain when we are gone."

"So will you," said Meera. That made Bran sad. What if I don't want to remain when you are gone? he almost asked, but he swallowed the words unspoken. He was almost a man grown, and he did not want Meera to think he was some weepy babe. "Maybe you could be greenseers too," he said instead.

 

Note the similarities to the Musgrave ritual:

'Whose was it?' 'His who is gone.'

'Who shall have it?' 'He who will come.'

While I see how the crown of the Kings of Winter and the original Ice might be connected to the Winterfell (Musgrave) ritual, these items are only symbolic of the "secrets of the old gods". What are the "truths the First Men knew" that are now forgotten? In the Musgrave ritual it was about the return of a king. Since Jojen and Meera came to collect Bran, wouldn't you think that this ritual is about a Stark greenseer?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, Tucu said:

Bob the king and Howland the betrayer? Howland in both roles?

I'm thinking that Ned didn't give Lyanna's hand away, so much as Howland took it from him.  Or it was Lyanna's wish, her wolfblood and disappearance that started the war and brought her to an early death.  If it was in Ned's hand to give her away; he would have given her to Robert.   Bob may have given the order to find her; but a friend may have 'betrayed' him and what could he do then?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Melifeather said:

Note the similarities to the Musgrave ritual:

'Whose was it?' 'His who is gone.'

'Who shall have it?' 'He who will come.'

While I see how the crown of the Kings of Winter and the original Ice might be connected to the Winterfell (Musgrave) ritual, these items are only symbolic of the "secrets of the old gods". What are the "truths the First Men knew" that are now forgotten? In the Musgrave ritual it was about the return of a king. Since Jojen and Meera came to collect Bran, wouldn't you think that this ritual is about a Stark greenseer?

Well they are giving their oath to Bran whom they both know has to become a greenseer.  This could be part of the original oath of the Pact.  But I do think the crown and sword are real and Jon will be Bran's agent in a sense.   Jon will serve Bran's purpose and the crown and sword are part of it.

Yes it does have the sound of the Musgrave Ritual to it.

Edited by LynnS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do think the crown of the Kings of Winter is very symbolic. I had previously thought of the nine iron swords as a ward against the magic of the bronze circlet, but I found our discussion in the previous thread where Black Crow suggested the nine swords represented a circle of nine weirwoods with faces, or nine green men defending the magic or even defending the Pact, as being very compelling. The Pact itself is the subject of the Winterfell (Musgrave) ritual and the Reed pledge are the words. Maybe the original Ice is symbolic too? They say the Pact held through the Long Night. Being that the sword is named "Ice", perhaps it was named in honor of the Pact remaining intact?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Melifeather said:

Earth and water, soil and stone, oaks and elms and willows, they were here before us all and will still remain when we are gone."

Earth and water is the first line of the Crannogman's oath.  Soil and stone are components of soil/earth.  Bronze and iron is the second line of the oath.  I think this has something to do with pledging allegiance to the crown of the Kings of Winter or whomever wears that crown. 

The business of oaks and elms and willows seems to be about bloodlines or family trees.  Oaks come up in association with Starks; elms in association with Duncan the Tall and Brienne and willows are associated with water; so possibly an association with the Crannogmen.

The symbolism of trees and bloodlines seems relevant to me:

Nameless but essential characters - General (ASoIaF) - A Forum of Ice and Fire - A Song of Ice and Fire & Game of Thrones (westeros.org)

You can add the chestnut tree representing Bloodraven whose nut has to be roasted. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, LynnS said:

I'm thinking that Ned didn't give Lyanna's hand away, so much as Howland took it from him.  Or it was Lyanna's wish, her wolfblood and disappearance that started the war and brought her to an early death.  If it was in Ned's hand to give her away; he would have given her to Robert.   Bob may have given the order to find her; but a friend may have 'betrayed' him and what could he do then?

It would surely make a nice cycle of betrothals and betrayals causing the fall of the dragons. When Duncan broke his betrothal, the Laughing Storm rose in rebellion and declare himself Storm King; peace was sealed by paying the debt with Rhaelle. A couple of generations later maybe Howland took the bride of Rhaelle's grandson and the Storm King rose again.

 

Edited by Tucu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, LynnS said:

You can add the chestnut tree representing Bloodraven whose nut has to be roasted. 

Oh that old chestnut, meaning a joke or story that has become tedious because of its age and constant repetition, say like theories about Lyanna? :lol:

Let us not forget that Dunk had his own "fever dream" very similar to Neds and it included his horse, old Chestnut:

Quote

Egg was asleep by the time Dunk reached the roof. He lay on his back with his hands behind his head and stared up at the sky. The stars were everywhere, thousands and thousands of them. It reminded him of a night at Ashford Meadow, before the tourney started. He had seen a falling star that night. Falling stars were supposed to bring you luck, so he’d told Tanselle to paint it on his shield, but Ashford had been anything but lucky for him. Before the tourney ended, he had almost lost a hand and a foot, and three good men had lost their lives. I gained a squire, though. Egg was with me when I rode away from Ashford. That was the only good thing to come of all that happened. He hoped that no stars fell tonight. 

  There were red mountains in the distance and white sands beneath his feet. Dunk was digging, plunging a spade into the hot, dry earth and flinging the fine sand back over his shoulder. He was making a hole. A grave, he thought, a grave for hope. A trio of Dornish knights stood watching, making mock of him in quiet voices. Farther off the merchants waited with their mules and wayns and sand sledges. They wanted to be off, but he could not leave until he’d buried Chestnut. He would not leave his old friend to the snakes and scorpions and sand dogs. 

  The stot had died on the long, thirsty crossing between the Prince’s Pass and Vaith, with Egg upon his back. His front legs just seemed to fold up under him, and he knelt right down, rolled onto his side, and died. His carcass sprawled beside the hole. Already it was stiff. Soon it would begin to smell. 

  Dunk was weeping as he dug, to the amusement of the Dornish knights. “Water is precious in the waste,” one said, “you ought not to waste it, ser.” The other chuckled and said, “Why do you weep? It was only a horse, and a poor one.” 

  Chestnut, Dunk thought, digging, his name was Chestnut, and he bore me on his back for years, and never bucked or bit. The old stot had looked a sorry thing beside the sleek sand steeds that the Dornishmen were riding, with their elegant heads, long necks, and flowing manes, but he had given all he had to give. 

  “Weeping for a swaybacked stot?” Ser Arlan said, in his old man’s voice. “Why, lad, you never wept for me, who put you on his back.” He gave a little laugh, to show he meant no harm by the reproach. “That’s Dunk the lunk, thick as a castle wall.”

  “He shed no tears for me, either,” said Baelor Breakspear from the grave, “though I was his prince, the hope of Westeros. The gods never meant for me to die so young.” 

  “My father was only nine-and-thirty,” said Prince Valarr. “He had it in him to be a great king, the greatest since Aegon the Dragon.” He looked at Dunk with cool blue eyes. “Why would the gods take him, and leave you?” The Young Prince had his father’s light brown hair, but a streak of silver-gold ran through it. 

  You are dead, Dunk wanted to scream, you are all three dead, why won’t you leave me be? Ser Arlan had died of a chill, Prince Baelor of the blow his brother dealt him during Dunk’s trial of seven, his son Valarr during the Great Spring Sickness. I am not to blame for that. We were in Dorne, we never even knew. 

  “You are mad,” the old man told him. “We will dig no hole for you, when you kill yourself with this folly. In the deep sands a man must hoard his water.” 

  “Begone with you, Ser Duncan,” Valarr said. “Begone.” 

  Egg helped him with the digging. The boy had no spade, only his hands, and the sand flowed back into the grave as fast as they could fling it out. It was like trying to dig a hole in the sea. I have to keep digging, Dunk told himself, though his back and shoulders ached from the effort. I have to bury him down deep where the sand dogs cannot find him. I have to… 

  “… die?” said Big Rob the simpleton from the bottom of the grave. Lying there, so still and cold, with a ragged red wound gaping in his belly, he did not look very big at all. 

  Dunk stopped and stared at him. “You’re not dead. You’re down sleeping in the cellar.” He looked to Ser Arlan for help. “Tell him, ser,” he pleaded, “tell him to get out of the grave.” 

  Only it was not Ser Arlan of Pennytree standing over him at all, it was Ser Bennis of the Brown Shield. The brown knight only cackled. “Dunk the lunk,” he said, “gutting’s slow, but certain. Never knew a man to live with his entrails hanging out.” Red froth bubbled on his lips. He turned and spat, and the white sands drank it down. Treb was standing behind him with an arrow in his eye, weeping slow, red tears. And there was Wet Wat too, his head cut near in half, with old Lem and red-eyed red-eyed Pate and all the rest. They had all been chewing sourleaf with Bennis, Dunk thought at first, but then he realized that it was blood trickling from their mouths. Dead, he thought, all dead, and the brown knight brayed. “Aye, so best get busy. You’ve more graves to dig, lunk. Eight for them and one for me and one for old Ser Useless, and one last one for your baldhead boy.” 

  The spade slipped from Dunk’s hands. “Egg,” he cried, “run! We have to run!” But the sands were giving way beneath their feet. When the boy tried to scramble from the hole, its crumbling sides gave way and collapsed. Dunk saw the sands wash over Egg, burying him as he opened his mouth to shout. He tried to fight his way to him, but the sands were rising all around him, pulling him down into the grave, filling his mouth, his nose, his eyes…

After Dunk woke up he thought to himself:

Quote

His head was pounding, and he could not forget the dream he dreamed the night before. It never happened that way, he tried to tell himself. It wasn’t like that. Chestnut had died on the long dry ride to Vaith, that part was true. He and Egg rode double until Egg’s brother gave them Maester. The rest of it, though…


 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, Melifeather said:

Oh that old chestnut, meaning a joke or story that has become tedious because of its age and constant repetition, say like theories about Lyanna? :lol:

Well we have another group of the three trees Jon comes across on the way to Molestown:  the drunken Ash with a broken branch for a nose, representing Tyrion;  the old chestnut tree sporting Mormont's Raven on it's branches, representing BR and last;  the angry oak that had been stabbed multiple times foreshadowing Jon's assassination.

We also have the lightning blasted chestnut tree covered with white roses and the chestnut tree outside of Elder Brother's cave/room on the Quiet Isle.

The association with Orwell's 1984 is interesting especially it's use as a foreshadowing device.:

Page Loading in a moment (findanyanswer.com)

 

  

Edited by LynnS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Melifeather said:

Egg helped him with the digging. The boy had no spade, only his hands, and the sand flowed back into the grave as fast as they could fling it out. It was like trying to dig a hole in the sea. I have to keep digging, Dunk told himself, though his back and shoulders ached from the effort. I have to bury him down deep where the sand dogs cannot find him. I have to… 

  “… die?” said Big Rob the simpleton from the bottom of the grave. Lying there, so still and cold, with a ragged red wound gaping in his belly, he did not look very big at all. 

I like how this dream hints that Robert Baratheon was a simpleton.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please allow me to add a cynical take.

When we look at Jon Snow in the tv show, he only has two moments of fame after coming back from the dead:

1) defeating Ramsay Bolton and retaking Winterfell

2) murdering Daenerys Targaryen

In the end, he goes with the wildlings to live north of where the wall was.

All of this could have been the mummers version, as Kit Harrington was one of leading actors they didn't want to lose early. Because

1) could be Mance or Stannis in the books, and should be Theon in my book :P 

2) could as well be (f)Aegon in the books, as he was ommitted from the tv show.

The tv Jon going North with the wildlings could be Jon in Ghost.

Bottom line: Jon Snow, the bastard  son of Ned Stark, took the black, rose to become Lord Commander, and was murdered by his sworn brothers for breaking his vows.

His name is Jon it rhymes with gone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, alienarea said:

Please allow me to add a cynical take.

When we look at Jon Snow in the tv show, he only has two moments of fame after coming back from the dead:

1) defeating Ramsay Bolton and retaking Winterfell

2) murdering Daenerys Targaryen

In the end, he goes with the wildlings to live north of where the wall was.

All of this could have been the mummers version, as Kit Harrington was one of leading actors they didn't want to lose early. Because

1) could be Mance or Stannis in the books, and should be Theon in my book :P

2) could as well be (f)Aegon in the books, as he was ommitted from the tv show.

The tv Jon going North with the wildlings could be Jon in Ghost.

Bottom line: Jon Snow, the bastard  son of Ned Stark, took the black, rose to become Lord Commander, and was murdered by his sworn brothers for breaking his vows.

His name is Jon it rhymes with gone.

The mummers left out alot of the book storylines going way back - even as far back as prior to the sit-down with GRRM, so how do you then wrap up an arc when you had already blazed a trail going a certain way? They were probably convinced Jon and Daenerys were destined to be together so they started writing in such a way as to bring their stories together, so when they found out that Jon wouldn't inherit the Iron Throne nor perhaps even Winterfell, they had to write that god-awful season eight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

 Well done those who figured the connections. 

On the surface the Musgrave Ritual may be no more than a metaphor for forgotten family secrets, but if we look at it as something more then there are intriguing parallels and not just in the metre. The Reeds' oath is surely that sworn at the Pact, uniting all the seperate elements, for the land is one.

The opening and closing words of the Musgrave Ritual may be unspoken but are so apposite they cannot be ignored:

'Whose was it?'
'His who is gone.'
'Who shall have it?'
'He who will come.'

'What shall we give for it?'
'All that is ours.'
'Why should we give it?'
'For the sake of the trust.'

As Lynn almost correctly observes:

3 hours ago, LynnS said:

I'm guessing the deepest part of the Winterfell crypts contain the original crown of the Kings of Winter and the original sword Ice owned by the first King of Winter and held for the one who will come - Jon Snow.

The crown is made from the metals of winter: bronze and iron and contains nine iron swords possibly representing 9 kings who were sacrificed on the Isle of Faces to seal the Pact.  The sword Ice may be the original sword won by the last hero in a trial by combat when he defeated Winter during the first long night. 

The truths that Jojen tells Bran that have been forgotten.  Not only what is held in the crypts but their origin and purpose. 

The words: There must always be a Stark in Winterfell (because) Winter is coming is part of the ritual. 

As to "He who will come", that sounds suspiciously like "the Prince that was promised" but somehow I don't think that Prince is a Targaryen, rather he needs to be a Son of Winterfell returned again :commie:

Edited by Black Crow

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

 Well done those who figured the connections. 

On the surface the Musgrave Ritual may be no more than a metaphor for forgotten family secrets, but if we look at it as something more then there are intriguing parallels and not just in the metre. The Reeds' oath is surely that sworn at the Pact, uniting all the seperate elements, for the land is one.

The opening and closing words of the Musgrave Ritual may be unspoken but are so apposite they cannot be ignored:

'Whose was it?'
'His who is gone.'
'Who shall have it?'
'He who will come.'

'What shall we give for it?'
'All that is ours.'
'Why should we give it?'
'For the sake of the trust.'

As Lynn almost correctly observes:

As to "He who will come", that sounds suspiciously like "the Prince that was promised" but somehow I don't think that Prince is a Targaryen, rather he needs to be a Son of Winterfell returned again :commie:

Quote

"For him. The Bran boy. I was born in the time of the dragon, and for two hundred years I walked the world of men, to watch and listen and learn. I might be walking still, but my legs were sore and my heart was weary, so I turned my feet for home."

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

As to "He who will come", that sounds suspiciously like "the Prince that was promised" but somehow I don't think that Prince is a Targaryen, rather he needs to be a Son of Winterfell returned again 

Hah!  It's not only what Jon will find in the crypts but who.  Most certainly the thing that Hodor fears;  the old power that is waking.  Possibly even the one whose name cannot be spoken; the heart of darkness and soul of ice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, LynnS said:

Hah!  It's not only what Jon will find in the crypts but who.  Most certainly the thing that Hodor fears;  the old power that is waking.  Possibly even the one whose name cannot be spoken; the heart of darkness and soul of ice.

Maybe beyond the locked lower level of the crypts will be found the decrepit bony skelton of the ancient Stark greenseer wearing the crown and holding the sword entwined in the roots of the Winterfell heart tree?

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...