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Sheep stealers


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Looking for any insights this forum can provide on the taking of sheep. I suppose this includes the eating of lamb, sheep and mutton. Maybe also the wearing of wool and sheepskin clothing? (I know Jon Snow is dressed in sheep skin, becoming a wolf in sheep's clothing, when he is spying among the freefolk.) 

I want to make a thorough exploration of sheep before trying to write down my thoughts on "sheep / peach" wordplay. 

Already on my radar:

The attack by the Dothraki on the Lamb Men. There are remarks about horses not lying with sheep (but dragons eat both horses and sheep), yet the Dothraki warriors gang rape the women of the Lamb Men. Mirri Maz Duur may have the last word, though, inflicting her revenge on Khal Drogo. On the other hand, she is sacrificed in Drogo's pyre . . . 

Drogon eating a sheep a day in the lands surrounding Mereen but then taking the next step and eating a shepherd's daughter, the child named Hazzea. After this horror, Dany orders that her dragons be captured and chained. Drogon escapes to the Dothraki Sea.

Quentyn Martell brings a cart with dead sheep to the chamber where the two dragons are confined. 

There are also references to wolves eating sheep or mutton. When Arya is blind, she seems to warg her direwolf, Nymeria, as she kills and eats a flock of sheep and lambs along with sheepdogs and shepherds.

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Farther on she came upon a feast of corpses. Savagely slaughtered, the feasters lay strewn across overturned chairs and hacked trestle tables, asprawl in pools of congealing blood. Some had lost limbs, even heads. Severed hands clutched bloody cups, wooden spoons, roast fowl, heels of bread. In a throne above them sat a dead man with the head of a wolf. He wore an iron crown and held a leg of lamb in one hand as a king might hold a scepter, and his eyes followed Dany with mute appeal.

(Clash, Daenerys IV)

Craster apparently runs out of sheep to sacrifice to the Others.

The Night's Watch men joke about mutton being the only or predominant meat in their diets. 

Littlefinger returning to The Fingers: 

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"And very well, I'm sure. No one has made off with any of my rocks or sheep pellets, I see that plainly." Petyr gestured toward the fat woman. "Kella minds my vast herds. How many sheep do I have at present, Kella?"

She had to think a moment. "Three and twenty, m'lord. There was nine and twenty, but Bryen's dogs killed one and we butchered some others and salted down the meat."

"Ah, cold salt mutton. I must be home. When I break my fast on gulls' eggs and seaweed soup, I'll be certain of it."

(Storm, Sansa VI)

Nettles tames the dragon named Sheepstealer by feeding it mutton day after day. She becomes a dragonseed dragon rider and the lover of Prince Daemon. 

I'll probably post the "sheep / peach" analysis in the A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms thread in the re-read section of the forum. Dake, who is sometimes called Lem, is a forager who worked for Eustace Osgrey. 

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Dunk wanted no trouble with the Lady of the Coldmoat. At Standfast you heard ill things of her. The Red Widow, she was called, for the husbands she had put into the ground. Old Sam Stoops said she was a witch, a poisoner, and worse. Two years ago she had sent her knights across the stream to seize an Osgrey man for stealing sheep. "When m'lord rode to Coldmoat to demand him back, he was told to look for him at the bottom of the moat," Sam had said. "She'd sewn poor Dake in a bag o' rocks and sunk him. 'Twas after that Ser Eustace took Ser Bennis into service, to keep them spiders off his lands."

Any other important sheep, lamb or mutton mentions that I have missed? Any theories on what sheep might represent? I'm leaning toward sheep = small folk, but I'm not sure why GRRM would set up that equation.

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12 hours ago, Seams said:

Good point. Archmaesters are not like the small folk. So the sheep metaphor probably isn't referring to small folk. 

I actually think there's something to be said of the sheep and smallfolk. But while I don't know whether that interests you, I'd like to point out the connection between Mirri Maz Duur and Marwyn. They both live among sheep - the maesters and the Lamb Men. Marwyn is the mastiff, while Mirri is a godswife... a dog and a priestess. Makes me think shepherds.

Marwyn also mentions a poison in the porridge. That captures my attention for two reasons: porridge is made of crops, the yield of the land, which ties to the motifs of agriculture, harvest, fertility... and the misfortunes brought upon the fertile land by the war. The second reason is that poison, and the color grey, remind me of death. The sheep go well with this agricultural motif, in my opinion.

Also, as you mentioned wearing wool, well, what are the maester's robes made of?

But when talking of sheep, I'm reminded of significance of the sheep in the religion, especially Christianity. It's a sacrificial animal, tied to the suffering and innocence, and the flock of faithful is also likened to sheep, as is the Christ himself. Who suffers more in the series than smallfolk does? Naturally, with all this talk of sheep, smallfolk, shepherds and religion, one probably should be mindful of the existence of the Sparrow movement.

Well, that came to mind.

Edited by Ivan Tsarevich
motifs not themes
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1 hour ago, Springwatch said:

I'm curious, you think the Others were driving the wildlings south? To break the Wall? I've never heard that one before.

Well, I'm not sure what their purpose is but they are apparently driving the wildlings towards the Wall. The wildlings get harassed as they are fleeing towards the Wall, but as far as I can tell there is no attack comparable to the one on the Fist of the First Men. What happens is enough to keep the wildlings scared though. I wonder whether the Others are doing this purposefully - perhaps they want the wildlings to leave their territory. Or maybe the Others drive the wildlings ahead because they themselves are also going southward, and the wildlings will come in handy when they need more wights.

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16 hours ago, Julia H. said:

Oh, actually I thought the same of the wildlings!

Mance disagrees with you, I'm afraid. ;)

The brothers on the wagons had seen this face as well, Jon did not doubt. No one spoke of it, but the message was plain to read for any man with eyes. Jon had once heard Mance Rayder say that most kneelers were sheep. "Now, a dog can herd a flock of sheep," the King-Beyond-the-Wall had said, "but free folk, well, some are shadowcats and some are stones. One kind prowls where they please and will tear your dogs to pieces. The other will not move at all unless you kick them." Neither shadowcats nor stones were like to give up the gods they had worshiped all their lives to bow down before one they hardly knew.

Ygritte on the other hand claims that Craster, a self-proclaimed godly man who sacrifices sheep and sons, is different from her kind.

She punched him again. "Craster's more your kind than ours. His father was a crow who stole a woman out of Whitetree village, but after he had her he flew back t' his Wall. She went t' Castle Black once t' show the crow his son, but the brothers blew their horns and run her off. Craster's blood is black, and he bears a heavy curse." She ran her fingers lightly across his stomach. "I feared you'd do the same once. Fly back to the Wall. You never knew what t' do after you stole me."

I think Mance's scorn of the kneelers may show another way which makes the archmaesters sheep (besides Marwyn the dog being in position to herd them) when combined with what Sam says of maesters.

"My lord, my f-f-f-father, Lord Randyll, he, he, he, he, he . . . the life of a maester is a life of servitude. No son of House Tarly will ever wear a chain. The men of Horn Hill do not bow and scrape to petty lords. Jon, I cannot disobey my father."

That said, I don't know how much credence one should give to Mance and Ygritte when it comes to this. Jon gets that sheepskin cloak when he mingles with them, and they might be herded by the Others, something which Mance actually doesn't like of.

2 hours ago, Springwatch said:

I'm curious, you think the Others were driving the wildlings south? To break the Wall? I've never heard that one before.

I've seen that sort of thinking voiced before, and find it interesting myself. I think it would be consistent with how the Others seem to behave.

The wildling rubbed his mouth. "Not here," he mumbled, "not this side o' your Wall." The old man glanced uneasily toward the trees in their white mantles. "They're never far, you know. They won't come out by day, not when that old sun's shining, but don't think that means they went away. Shadows never go away. Might be you don't see them, but they're always clinging to your heels."

"Did they trouble you on your way south?"

"They never came in force, if that's your meaning, but they were with us all the same, nibbling at our edges. We lost more outriders than I care to think about, and it was worth your life to fall behind or wander off. Every nightfall we'd ring our camps with fire. They don't like fire much, and no mistake. When the snows came, though . . . snow and sleet and freezing rain, it's bloody hard to find dry wood or get your kindling lit, and the cold . . . some nights our fires just seemed to shrivel up and die. Nights like that, you always find some dead come the morning. 'Less they find you first. The night that Torwynd . . . my boy, he . . ." Tormund turned his face away.

The one time we do see the Others come in force is at the Fist... right after Mormont announces the plan to attack the wildlings, which I think actually could cause some real damage, like killing Mance. Which in turn could potentially unravel the entire host.

And it seems to me there is one advantage the wildling host has over a massed attack by the Others: the living wildlings would not be affected by the magic of the Wall.

There are flaws in what I just said, though... the wildlings may be less disciplined and not as well armed as the Watch, but there's a lot more of them, and they know better than the Watch how to fight the Others. So what may look like a directing the wildling host might actually be just a lack of strength.

Edited by Ivan Tsarevich
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13 minutes ago, Ivan Tsarevich said:

Mance disagrees with you, I'm afraid;)

The brothers on the wagons had seen this face as well, Jon did not doubt. No one spoke of it, but the message was plain to read for any man with eyes. Jon had once heard Mance Rayder say that most kneelers were sheep. "Now, a dog can herd a flock of sheep," the King-Beyond-the-Wall had said, "but free folk, well, some are shadowcats and some are stones. One kind prowls where they please and will tear your dogs to pieces. The other will not move at all unless you kick them." Neither shadowcats nor stones were like to give up the gods they had worshiped all their lives to bow down before one they hardly knew.

LOL, he does, doesn't he? :D 

Yet, they do give Jon a sheepskin cloak. Perhaps who the sheep are also depends on where you stand.

13 minutes ago, Ivan Tsarevich said:

Ygritte on the other hand claims that Craster, a self-proclaimed godly man who sacrifices sheep and sons, is different from her kind.

She punched him again. "Craster's more your kind than ours. His father was a crow who stole a woman out of Whitetree village, but after he had her he flew back t' his Wall. She went t' Castle Black once t' show the crow his son, but the brothers blew their horns and run her off. Craster's blood is black, and he bears a heavy curse." She ran her fingers lightly across his stomach. "I feared you'd do the same once. Fly back to the Wall. You never knew what t' do after you stole me."

I think Mance's scorn of the kneelers may show another way which makes the archmaesters sheep (besides Marwyn the dog being in position to herd them) when combined with what Sam says of maesters.

"My lord, my f-f-f-father, Lord Randyll, he, he, he, he, he . . . the life of a maester is a life of servitude. No son of House Tarly will ever wear a chain. The men of Horn Hill do not bow and scrape to petty lords. Jon, I cannot disobey my father."

That said, I don't know how much credence one should give to Mance and Ygritte when it comes to this. Jon gets that sheepskin cloak when he mingles with them, and they might be herded by the Others, something which Mance actually doesn't like of.

I've seen that sort of thinking voiced before, and find it interesting myself. I think it would be consistent with how the Others seem to behave.

The wildling rubbed his mouth. "Not here," he mumbled, "not this side o' your Wall." The old man glanced uneasily toward the trees in their white mantles. "They're never far, you know. They won't come out by day, not when that old sun's shining, but don't think that means they went away. Shadows never go away. Might be you don't see them, but they're always clinging to your heels."

"Did they trouble you on your way south?"

"They never came in force, if that's your meaning, but they were with us all the same, nibbling at our edges. We lost more outriders than I care to think about, and it was worth your life to fall behind or wander off. Every nightfall we'd ring our camps with fire. They don't like fire much, and no mistake. When the snows came, though . . . snow and sleet and freezing rain, it's bloody hard to find dry wood or get your kindling lit, and the cold . . . some nights our fires just seemed to shrivel up and die. Nights like that, you always find some dead come the morning. 'Less they find you first. The night that Torwynd . . . my boy, he . . ." Tormund turned his face away.

The one time we do see the Others come in force is at the Fist... right after Mormont announces the plan to attack the wildlings, which I think actually could cause some real damage, like killing Mance. Which in turn could potentially unravel the entire host.

I have supposed the attack on the Fist happened because they were the Night's Watch and the Others' arch-enemy, and, in addition, they (unlike the wildlings) had been going northward, into "Other" territory. Perhaps as the Others are travelling southward, they don't want to leave any humans behind their backs in the North - perhaps the means with which they can be defeated is up there somewhere, in the Far North. It is also possible that the Fist is some sort of a sacred place for the Others and they took offence when they saw the Watchmen set up camp there.

Now I think it's a very interesting observation that the attack came right after Mormont announced the planned attack on the wildlings... Could there be a "leave my hunting ground alone" type of possessive attitude?

Great post, Your Grace! :D

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So interesting. Maybe one reason the wildlings have such an extreme reaction to 'kneelers' is because deep in their cultural memories, they know that the ultimate shepherds are very close, and submission would be total, and an abomination.

And on the Others' side too - they've got wildcats and stones, but it's likely they want sheep, and know how to make sheep. Maybe moving in on the wildlings was their first steps towards taking their flock in hand.

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1 hour ago, Julia H. said:

I have supposed the attack on the Fist happened because they were the Night's Watch and the Others' arch-enemy, and, in addition, they (unlike the wildlings) had been going northward, into "Other" territory. Perhaps as the Others are travelling southward, they don't want to leave any humans behind their backs in the North - perhaps the means with which they can be defeated is up there somewhere, in the Far North. It is also possible that the Fist is some sort of a sacred place for the Others and they took offence when they saw the Watchmen set up camp there.

Now I think it's a very interesting observation that the attack came right after Mormont announced the planned attack on the wildlings... Could there be a "leave my hunting ground alone" type of possessive attitude?

I can't say much to that... but if the Others have a basic understanding of geography and track and can anticipate the movements of their prey, the wildling host in this scenario, then they obviously must know that the wildlings moving down the Milkwater are on a collision course with Mormont on the Fist. Why not let them bleed each other? Unless they truly just hate the NW that much or it really is a sacred place for some reason.

I guess one reason to attack asap would be if they truly knew that Mormont was about to move and wanted to minimize the amount of men that could get away. That could make sense (besides the reasons already mentioned) if they see the members of the NW as a greater threat than the wildlings for some reason... say, because they are bound to the service and unlikely to leave the Wall even if they made it back south, or because the magic of the Wall is actually somehow tied to the members of the Watch staying true. (I've from somewhere got in my head a thought that Wall only stands as long as the latter is the case, but didn't find it by quick look.)

Edited by Ivan Tsarevich
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Bran found himself remembering the tales Old Nan had told him when he was a babe. Beyond the Wall the monsters live, the giants and the ghouls, the stalking shadows and the dead that walk, she would say, tucking him in beneath his scratchy woolen blanket, but they cannot pass so long as the Wall stands strong and the men of the Night's Watch are true. 

Actually it's a bit different. The Others cannot pass while the Wall stands and the men of the Night's Watch are true (two necessary conditions). According to this, the Wall may not come tumbling down as soon as the men cease to be true, but the Others will be able to pass.

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3 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

Actually it's a bit different. The Others cannot pass while the Wall stands and the men of the Night's Watch are true (two necessary conditions). According to this, the Wall may not come tumbling down as soon as the men cease to be true, but the Others will be able to pass.

Yes, that quote I did see and it did not say what my memory told me. :P

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On 1/2/2022 at 6:54 PM, Seams said:

Any other important sheep, lamb or mutton mentions that I have missed?
 

This is an important one:

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A Clash of Kings - Jon II

Whitetree, the village was named on Sam's old maps. Jon did not think it much of a village. Four tumbledown one-room houses of unmortared stone surrounded an empty sheepfold and a well. The houses were roofed with sod, the windows shuttered with ragged pieces of hide. And above them loomed the pale limbs and dark red leaves of a monstrous great weirwood.

It was the biggest tree Jon Snow had ever seen, the trunk near eight feet wide, the branches spreading so far that the entire village was shaded beneath their canopy. The size did not disturb him so much as the face . . . the mouth especially, no simple carved slash, but a jagged hollow large enough to swallow a sheep.

Those are not sheep bones, though. Nor is that a sheep's skull in the ashes.

"An old tree." Mormont sat his horse, frowning. "Old," his raven agreed from his shoulder. "Old, old, old."

 

 

On 1/2/2022 at 6:54 PM, Seams said:

Any theories on what sheep might represent?

The above, taken together with Hazzea, Craster and your observation about “this seems/seam’s an old place,” would suggest the sheep symbolizes child sacrifice in exchange for magic.
 

The Night Fort is essentially a kitchen atop a weirwood tree… in which children are fed to the tree across the Black Gate —  the mouth, or oven door. 

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"We have herded a thousand sheep into the Daznak's Pit, filled the Pit of Ghrazz with bullocks, and the Golden Pit with beasts that Hizdahr zo Lorak had gathered for his games." Thus far both dragons seemed to have a taste for mutton, returning to Daznak's whenever they grew hungry. If either one was hunting man, inside or outside the city, Ser Barristan had yet to hear of it.

No half measures from Barristan.

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House Rambton. 
Sigil of a White Ram with golden horns.

Maybe this
"Dogs," the big bald man said contemptuously. "Yet I'm told there's nothing like a wolfskin cloak to warm a man by night." He made a sharp gesture. "Take them."

 
 

Edited by Fool Stands On Giant’s Toe
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