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“Cocksure”, AGOT Prologue


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A funny word “cocksure”. Because it was Waymar’s “cocksure” smile, in the Prologue of AGOT, that begat the idea of a possible additional layer of meaning. Something other than just describing Waymar’s overconfidence.

Cock, a euphemism to avoid the sexual connotation “cock”, is an imitative of a rooster's crow,"Roosting" is the action of perching aloft to sleep at night. Surly we all remember the crows we hear before “daybreak”. Especially, “The morning that had dawned clear and cold, with a crispness that hinted at the end of summer.”(Bran 1, AGOT).



In the Poetic Edda poem Völuspá, Ragnarök begins when three roosters crow. This was revealed to the all-father god Odin by völva, a female seer.

The first rooster – Fjalar – crows in Gálgviðr, the forest in Jötunheimr (land of the  jötnar or giants). The second rooster, a golden rooster known as Gullinkambi, will crow loudly to the Aesir gods in Valhalla. Finally, the third rooster, an unamed rooster, is expected to crow in the halls of the underworld (Hel).



Listen for three crows. In the Prologue of AGOT the three men of the Night‘s Watch, often referred to as crows, are presented to us as a prelude to a dawn. “listen to the darkness.”(A quote from Gared in the Prologue, AGOT)

In the AGOT, Prologue chapter Waymar tells Will(after his cocksure smile),


“The knight’s smile was cocksure. Will, lead us there. I would see these dead men for myself.” And then there was nothing to be done for it. The order had been given, and honor bound them to obey. Will went in front, his shaggy little garron picking the way carefully through the undergrowth. A light snow had fallen the night before, and there were stones and roots and hidden sinks lying just under its crust, waiting for the careless and the unwary. Ser Waymar Royce came next, his great black destrier snorting impatiently. The warhorse was the wrong mount for ranging, but try and tell that to the lordling. Gared brought up the rear.”

Immediately after the “cocksure” smile we are given the marching order. Will in the lead, Waymar came next and Gared brought up the rear. Like Will says, “The order had been given,…”. Is this a subtle hint from Martin that the marching order is important? I think so:)

Then these quotes,

“There was an edge to this darkness that made his hackles rise.” - (This describing Will’s spidey senses going off) KEYWORD: Hackles

“Royce slid gracefully from his saddle.”(Describing Ser Waymar Royce dismounting his dark horse) KEYWORD: Saddle

“Are you unmanned by the dark, Gared?”(Waymar says this to Gared after glancing at the approaching night sky) KEYWORD: Unmanned


The three KEYWORDS in order are: Hackles, Saddle, and Unmanned.

Hackles, sickles, saddles: these are all terms referring to different types of rooster feathers. 

"Hackles" are the feathers around the neck. With roosters, the hackles are long and thin. When roosters face off with an opponent, all their hackles will stand up in order to make themselves look larger and more intimidating. If you say something "got your hackles up," you mean that it got you ready to fight!

Sickles and the long, curling, showy feathers of the tail of a rooster. The ones on the sides with the curving shape of a sickle. You can see them above, the long ones hanging down. Hens don't have proper sickles in their tails.

Saddle feathers are the feathers in front of the tail. A rooster  feathers are long, soft, and pointy.

The two words “sickle” and “unmanned” are associated with the idea of castration. It was a sickle made of adamant that “Cro”nus used to castrate his father Uranus. Gared is heavily symbolized in associated with Castration. In fact, the sword “Ice”, the sword used to behead Gared, is symbolizing a sickle in that moment. A symbolic sickle called “Ice”, icicle. We do find icicles with a nice sword adjective mentioned in the AGOT Prologue also. 


Will closed his eyes. Far beneath him, he heard their voices and laughter sharp as icicles.

This certainly goes well with the Nigh’s Watch vows, “I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers”

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