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Heresy 241 A Winter Rose


Black Crow
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23 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

While not kings, there were three prominent people from the East who traveled to view Dany's dragons after they were born.

I wasn't ignoring your post. I don't usually comment on posts that I already agree with unless I want to expand upon it.

4 hours ago, LynnS said:

We know that this story has dualities...two sides of the same coin and all that, but sometimes we do need to be reminded how significant, in order to better understanding the story.

3 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

As a follow up, the original three wise men may not have initially been depicted as kings, but as magi:

So two out of the three visitors Dany received to view the dragons certainly fit the bill as “magi” or wise men (and women).

You know I've always wondered how the magi turned into kings over the centuries. The ancient texts of the Bible don't call them kings nor is their number specified, rather they are simply referred to as "wise men from the East". Later tellings mention their names and country of origin. In Spain they are depicted as representing continents. Balthasar (of Africa) is often represented as a king of Arabia or sometimes Ethiopia, Melchior (of Europe) as a king of Persia, and Gaspar/Caspar (of Asia) as a king of India. The problem with this is that Bethlehem is in the center with Africa to the South, Asia to the East, and Europe to the West. I guess the North can just go to hell! Or would Bethlehem technically be more north than any of the other three? 

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Did anyone listen to Bitterblooms audiobook or read the novella?  There is a plant called the bitterbloom or bittersweet - deadly nightshade although it doesn't bloom in winter:

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Victorian Interpretation:  The language of flowers in the Victorian age symbolizes the bittersweet flower as being truthful or honest.

For its poisonous properties, there are bad superstitions tied to the bittersweet flower.  A house that has many of these plants growing around it is a clear warning sign to steer clear of the place.  It’s also believed that the bittersweet flower can take the form of a beautiful enchantress.  That’s another reason to steer away from it…or is it?

Bittersweet Flower Meaning Dictionary | Auntyflo.com

Not exactly the same as the hellebore but also poisonous and a warning to steer clear of the House where it grows and it's beautiful enchantress. 

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There are, of course, some types of nightshade plants that are definitely bad for you. For example, deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna), mandrakes, and henbane are examples of poisonous nightshades. 

Nightshade Foods List: What Nightshades Are, Benefits and Concerns (healthyandnaturalworld.com)

It also has a range of flower colors from white to purple

7af97ec7c80a6e08e740c3c0c331dd4c.jpg (1600×1179) (pinimg.com)

The mandrake comes closest to pale blue flowers:

Mandragora_autumnalis_flowers_TPrendusi_lg.jpg (800×600) (fs.fed.us)

 

All of these plants are poisonous, have hallucinogenic properties and figure in tales of witchcraft and sorcery.  The bitterbloom/bittersweet flower is alluding to Martin's use of bitter and sweet. 

Melisandre contrasts bitter and sweet with opposites, light and dark, ice and fire etc:

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A Storm of Swords - Davos III

"What is it you would have me see?"

"The way the world is made. The truth is all around you, plain to behold. The night is dark and full of terrors, the day bright and beautiful and full of hope. One is black, the other white. There is ice and there is fire. Hate and love. Bitter and sweet. Male and female. Pain and pleasure. Winter and summer. Evil and good." She took a step toward him. "Death and life. Everywhere, opposites. Everywhere, the war."

The Victorian interpretation concerns truth and honesty. Perhaps truths that have been forgotten:

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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."

 

It seems uncovering long forgotten and bitter truths will make up an important part of Bran's arc.  This might also characterize Jon's arc.  

The bitter and sweet has started to surface in certain relationships as well.  Something that seems sweet on the face of it but turns sour with a bitter aftertaste.

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A Storm of Swords - Jaime IV

"The Boltons skin their enemies." Jaime remembered that much about the northman. Tyrion would have known all there was to know about the Lord of the Dreadfort, but Tyrion was a thousand leagues away, with Cersei. I cannot die while Cersei lives, he told himself. We will die together as we were born together.

The castlet on outside the walls had been burned to ash and blackened stone, and many men and horses had recently encamped beside the lakeshore, where Lord Whent had staged his great tourney in the year of the false spring. A bitter smile touched Jaime's lips as they crossed that torn ground. Someone had dug a privy trench in the very spot where he'd once knelt before the king to say his vows. I never dreamed how quick the sweet would turn to sour. Aerys would not even let me savor that one night. He honored me, and then he spat on me.

Tyrion will take sweet lies ovr bitter truts:

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A Storm of Swords - Tyrion IX

"We need no fetters." Lord Tywin glanced at the windows, and rose. "The hour grows late. We shall resume on the morrow."

That night, alone in his tower cell with a blank parchment and a cup of wine, Tyrion found himself thinking of his wife. Not Sansa; his first wife, Tysha. The whore wife, not the wolf wife. Her love for him had been pretense, and yet he had believed, and found joy in that belief. Give me sweet lies, and keep your bitter truths. He drank his wine and thought of Shae. Later, when Ser Kevan paid his nightly visit, Tyrion asked for Varys.

 

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A Feast for Crows - Jaime III

The greater part of his command awaited him beyond the city walls; Ser Addam Marbrand with his outriders, Ser Steffon Swyft and the baggage train, the Holy Hundred of old Ser Bonifer the Good, Sarsfield's mounted archers, Maester Gulian with four cages full of ravens, two hundred heavy horse under Ser Flement Brax. Not a great host, all in all; fewer than a thousand men in total. Numbers were the last thing needed at Riverrun. A Lannister army already invested the castle, and an even larger force of Freys; the last bird they'd received suggested that the besiegers were having difficulty keeping themselves fed. Brynden Tully had scoured the land clean before retiring behind his walls.

Not that it required much scouring. From what Jaime had seen of the riverlands, scarce a field remained unburnt, a town unsacked, a maiden undespoiled. And now my sweet sister sends me to finish the work that Amory Lorch and Gregor Clegane began. It left a bitter taste in his mouth.

But can the bitter turn to sweet?

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A Dance with Dragons - Bran III

He ate.

It had a bitter taste, though not so bitter as acorn paste. The first spoonful was the hardest to get down. He almost retched it right back up. The second tasted better. The third was almost sweet. The rest he spooned up eagerly. Why had he thought that it was bitter? It tasted of honey, of new-fallen snow, of pepper and cinnamon and the last kiss his mother ever gave him. The empty bowl slipped from his fingers and clattered on the cavern floor. "I don't feel any different. What happens next?"

I think we will see more contrast between bitter and sweet within characters internally and in their relationships with others.

bitter definition - Bing

How do we interpret the bitter and the sweet for Lyanna and Ned?

 

 

Edited by LynnS
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2 hours ago, LynnS said:

There is a plant called the bitterbloom

Yea, this thread has caused me to travel down another rabbit hole.  It's probably no coincidence that GRRM has named a bridge of the Rose Road, Bitterbridge.  Perhaps an intentional reference to his previous use of the winter flower Bitterblooms, which may have morphed into the Winter Rose for this series.

Of course this also had me take a closer look at the river that Bitterbridge crosses, the Mander.  The most probable inspiration behind this river is a river in Turkey named by the ancient Greeks:  the Meander or Maeander.  Which is the origin of the word, meander.  And if you look at the meanings the Greeks gave to this river and the symbolism that resulted from it, the rabbit hole goes pretty deep and umm, windy.  

https://symbolsage.com/meander-or-greek-key-symbol/

https://www.greecehighdefinition.com/blog/meander-greek-key-symbol

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I'm always wary of taking external parallels too literally, given that we're still talking about GRRM's creation, but nevertheless, in this case those parallels are both widespread and consistent - and of course GRRM has said that the ultimate ending will be "bittersweet".

Once again, as I said earlier, it pretty explicitly undermines a central tenet of the R+L=J theory

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Somehow related to Bitterblooms...I never noticed before some of these Kings in the North: a sweet king, a bitter king, a Moon King and a Spring King

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Their footsteps echoed through the cavernous crypts. The shadows behind them swallowed his father as the shadows ahead retreated to unveil other statues; no mere lords, these, but the old Kings in the North. On their brows they wore stone crowns. Torrhen Stark, the King Who Knelt. Edwyn the Spring King. Theon Stark, the Hungry Wolf. Brandon the Burner and Brandon the Shipwright. Jorah and Jonos, Brandon the Bad, Walton the Moon King, Edderion the Bridegroom, Eyron, Benjen the Sweet and Benjen the Bitter, King Edrick Snowbeard. Their faces were stern and strong, and some of them had done terrible things, but they were Starks every one, and Bran knew all their tales. He had never feared the crypts; they were part of his home and who he was, and he had always known that one day he would he here too.

 

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I bought my house a little over 10 years ago and there is a plant next to my driveway. It is very beautiful and blooms in late winter/early early spring and late fall/early winter (I may have this wrong since the blooms last so long).

I never figured out what it was until this new Heresy was started.

Well, lo and behold, it is a hellebore plant. It is always green but when it does bloom, those blooms last for a very long  (I live in central Indiana [Terre Haute] in the United States).

Sorry, I don't know how to upload images...

Edited by Travis
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1 minute ago, Travis said:

The blooms are gone now. But the plant is still strong and green.

I wish I could post a picture of it.

They are also described as evergreen.  What a nice surprise to find out that you have one.  Is the flower purple like the image posted?  Beware of handling!  Use gloves if you do and don't let pets or kids around it to be on the safe side.

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4 minutes ago, LynnS said:

They are also described as evergreen.  What a nice surprise to find out that you have one.  Is the flower purple like the image posted?  Beware of handling!  Use gloves if you do and don't let pets or kids around it to be on the safe side.

They are the same color. It is in a outside my bedroom window (outside the fenced-in middle and back yard). My dogs (2- Booger and Bouncer) avoid it when they are outside the fence. Bouncer sometimes pees on it.

I don't like to spray chemicals in my yard, so I pull weeds by hand. Starting year 12 here (Bouncer was 8 weeks old and Booger had just turned 1 year old), and even though I never knew exactly what it was - and I had asked several people I work with - we have never had any issues.

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1 hour ago, Black Crow said:

I'm always wary of taking external parallels too literally, given that we're still talking about GRRM's creation, but nevertheless, in this case those parallels are both widespread and consistent - and of course GRRM has said that the ultimate ending will be "bittersweet".

Once again, as I said earlier, it pretty explicitly undermines a central tenet of the R+L=J theory

The takeaway for me is that the winter rose falls into the category of bitterblooms and it seems to me he has recycled the bitterbloom/nightshade plant and given it a new look as the winter rose/hellebore possibly linking the two with the pale blue color.

The Victorian language of both flowers is interesting: truth and honesty and a warning to avoid the House where they bloom and it's beautiful enchantress.

This leads into Martin's promise of a bittersweet ending and how he is using bitter and sweet in the story now.  That's something I haven't looked at before and it's interesting.  Mel's description tells me that we are looking at two sides of the same coin, polarities that can't be separated.  

Tyrion prefers sweet lies to bitter truths.  What are the bitter truths covered up by sweet lies?

Something sweet can become something bitter and something bitter can become sweet.  I think we will see that in Jaime's arc.

All these polarities exist on an axis or spectrum where the solution will be for ice to burn, bitter to become sweet.   

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4 minutes ago, Travis said:

They are the same color. It is in a outside my bedroom window (outside the fenced-in middle and back yard). My dogs (2- Booger and Bouncer) avoid it when they are outside the fence. Bouncer sometimes pees on it.

I don't like to spray chemicals in my yard, so I pull weeds by hand. Starting year 12 here (Bouncer was 8 weeks old and Booger had just turned 1 year old), and even though I never knew exactly what it was - and I had asked several people I work with - we have never had any issues.

Booger and Bouncer!  I love it Hahaha.  Animals are sometimes smart about these things and avoid plants they shouldn't chew on.  Oh and I love your new avatar!  

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But the petals' color eventually fades to a pale pink/white. Or maybe I have it backwards and they are greenish pale pink and the color builds until you get what you have in the image.

What's crazy is that it's one of only a few plants/trees that were here when I bought the house (the rest I put in myself).

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8 minutes ago, LynnS said:

The takeaway for me is that the winter rose falls into the category of bitterblooms and it seems to me he has recycled the bitterbloom/nightshade plant and given it a new look as the winter rose/hellebore possibly linking the two with the pale blue color...  

Yes, while I remain generally cautious about external parallels, we can't ignore GRRM's long-established tendency to repeat and recycle his own themes and that based on his earlier works [plural] blue roses/bitterblooms do not equate to warm and cuddly - quite the opposite. 

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2 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

Yes, while I remain generally cautious about external parallels, we can't ignore GRRM's long-established tendency to repeat and recycle his own themes and that based on his earlier works [plural] blue roses/bitterblooms do not equate to warm and cuddly - quite the opposite. 

Quite.  Google bitterbloom and what pops up is bittersweet, oddly.  

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