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Some further thoughts on the gloves. The Glover sigil is a mailed fist, a gauntlet. When Jorah hands over his gift, he slaps the gloves onto the widow's table. That seems a rather rude gesture and reminds me of "throwing down the gauntlet" or the "glove slap" used to challenge someone to a duel. And the two have a duel of sorts, of words which leads to the widow summoning her son with her new fan of jade leaves. The son is hidden near the wall behind the widow, amidst the leaves of the plant growing there. Is he a "tree son?"

The gauntlet may be reference to a "gaunt" or half starved appearance, like that of a greenseer merged with the weirwood. The Glovers seat is Deepwood Motte, deep in the forest and this the place where gaunt Stannis frees the Glovers from Asha and her Ironborn. Stannis's Northmen are disguised as trees. And when Asha sends Lady Sybelle Glover and her newborn to the Iron Isles, Lady Glovers milk dries up and her child starts failing (starving, gaunt). A goat is found to provide milk. The symbolism suggests the Glovers need the deep wood to stay fertile (to not become "gaunt"). Jorah's Glover wife has a number of miscarriages and eventually dies on Bear Island.

If the ungloved hand is associated with fertility (Garth Greenhand, the green hand of the Gardners), then the gloves /gauntlets imply an absence thereof unless there is a particular tree involved (I think the Northmen as personified trees are good clues to the weirwoods here). Jorah giving the widow gloves is then like a death wish. She does not touch them but it makes no matter because she has a "tree son" and other fertility symbols besides (the other gifts).

Stannis as a prominent glove-wearer at the burning of the Seven as he pulls Lightbringer out of the Mother may be part of the symbolism. Mel also burns the Godswood, cutting him off from the tree association. Perhaps the Mother is akin to  the trees as well (mother earth goddess). And Stannis grows more gaunt as time passes by. 

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I had to go back to earlier posts in this thread to try to absorb more of your good insights and to make connections to the more recent posts.

On 5/24/2022 at 6:17 PM, Evolett said:

Lady Stoneheart, the non-weeping woman now hangs (strangles) people, specifically from trees and the rope connects the dead to the tree. Perhaps this is showing us another method of raising the dead, through the trees, through the power of the weirwoods.

Fascinating. I have been trying to figure out the meaning of rope for a long time. Here's one use of rope that gnaws at me:

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Edmure Tully had collapsed facedown on the scaffold when Ser Ilyn's blade sheared the rope in two. A foot of hemp still dangled from the noose about his neck. Strongboar grabbed the end of it and pulled him to his feet. "A fish on a leash," he said, chortling. "There's a sight I never saw before." (AFfC, Jaime VI)

Edmure has a foot of hemp. There are so many places where GRRM describes people as finding their feet, or climbing to their feet or taking other actions involving feet. The earlier instances of Sansa feeling her legs turn to wood while dancing and Theon having stumps for fingers leads me to think that this "foot of hemp" for Edmure is part of the same symbolism of people turning into trees.

Your observation of the rope as a medium of resurrection that connects the person to a tree also makes sense in the hanging of Brienne (cited earlier in this discussion). Brienne had essentially died in her combat with Rorge and Biter, only to be revived by Thoros and brought before Lady Stoneheart:

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"Do you mean to hang her, Lem?" asked the one-eyed man. "Or do you figure to talk the bitch to death?"

The Hound snatched the end of the rope from the man holding it. "Let's see if she can dance," he said, and gave a yank. (AFfC, Brienne VIII)

Brienne is being hung from an elm tree, part of the sigil she shares with Ser Duncan the Tall, and the person in the Hound helmet is Lem - wordplay on elm / Lem? Is the tree itself doing the hanging? 

If you are right about the magical "rebirth" role of rope, however, Brienne is not being killed here but being further rejuvenated. This would make sense in terms of her sigil connection to the elm and to the miraculous Ser Duncan the Tall who seems to die and survive over and over again in the three novellas we have seen so far. 

[Another new connection in my head: I am still trying to work out the significance of peaches in ASOIAF. I think they are central to sorting out several motifs. When Egg, Dunk and Tanselle are collaborating to design Dunk's sigil, he is the one to specify that the background should be the colors of a sunset which happen to be the same colors as a peach:

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The old man's brown had always seemed drab to Dunk. "The field should be the color of sunset," he said suddenly. "The old man liked sunsets. (The Hedge Knight)

Dunk, Egg and Tanselle are rejuvenating the old brown shield of Ser Arlan of Pennytree, whose sigil was a winged chalice. I think they are "planting" or "growing" a tree and a peach in the brown soil. The connection to this rejuvenation of Brienne is that Biter took a bite of her cheek (symbolic peach). So she needs to be revived. The BwB appears to be executing her but their ritual actually leads to her rebirth, like Dunk's shield, that comes back reinforced with iron bands.

There's also a comet on Dunk's shield, of course, so we'd have to tie that meaning to Brienne's death and rebirth. Maybe the comet on Dunk's shield represents the magical "fire" that Thoros uses to revive Lord Beric and Lady Stoneheart.]

The rejuvenation notion might also be reinforced with Lem Lemoncloak in the role of the Hound: readers suspect that Sandor Clegane has become The Gravedigger on the Quiet Isle. The Elder Brother tells us that The Hound is dead and buried but the evidence seems too clear that Sandor Clegane lives on. We are never told whether the role of The Gravedigger involves digging holes to inter newly-deceased bodies, or whether he is re-opening graves where formerly-dead people might re-emerge. The ambiguity would be a perfect fit for the notion of strangling as a path to rebirth.

You have already pointed out the role of ropes for puppeteers making their puppets dance. This underscores ropes as "rebirth" tools as well. 

On 6/17/2022 at 4:20 PM, Evolett said:

For what its worth, I've always thought of the boots as a vessel for a skinchanger.

You have brought together some ideas that may explain the gloves and boots at the same time. In the examples I can recall, gloves seem to be used either to hide something (Theon's missing fingers, the Widow's wrinkled hands) or are connected to the wearer handling fire: Stannis seizes a flaming sword while wearing gloves and Jon Snow wears moleskin gloves after burning his hands while fighting the wight in Mormont's chamber. 

It makes sense to me that glove and boot-wearers are variations on the skin changer and warg theme - we see Bran directly refer to boots when he skin-changes into Hodor. 

I do think the Boltons are trying to become Starks in order to become Wardens of the North. Roose goes wolf hunting when Arya is in his employ, ordering up gloves made out of the skins of wolf pups. When Ramsay defeats Rodrik Cassel and Theon to take possession of Winterfell, he soon orders the rebuilding of the destroyed feast hall: he is trying to be Bran the Builder. But his bride is a Poole wearing a pile of wolf skins, not a real Stark and not a warg. So the "flayed man" version of skinchanging does not seem to work for House Bolton. (Or so we hope.)

Given the skinchanging link to gloves, you may be right about the link between gloves and fertility. In the Varamyr prologue, he tells us he was originally called Lump and his brother was Bump, named after the shape of their mother's pregnant belly - so lump / plum wordplay refers to pregnancy. I believe that Bloodraven appears under the name Ser Maynard Plumm in The Mystery Knight as well as the steward Plummer in The Hedge Knight novella. His goal in those novellas, in my opinion, is to restore balance that will bring about healthy seasons and abundant crops in Westeros. (Fertility, in other words.)

Renly's violet member of the Rainbow Guard was Ser Parmen Crane, who wears plums on his surcoat. (At one point, Littlefinger wears a plum-colored doublet which seems like sort of a skinchanging moment as it is not connected to his family or personal colors, as far as we know.) The seat of House Crane is at Red Lake, the place where Garth Greenhand's daughter, Rose of Red Lake, went to live out her days. The Crane sigil features cranes, very similar to the storks that deliver babies in European legends. I've written elsewhere about House Florent (aligned with Stannis) and House Tyrell (aligned with Renly and then the Lannisters) vying to become or remain as he heirs of House Gardner / Garth Greenhand. It's interesting to note that Ser Parment starts out with Renly, switches to Stannis after Renly's death and then is taken prisoner by the Tyrells. 

I have some ideas to work out about soles / souls and oranges but I have to go for awhile. I hope to come back to this later. Thanks for such intriguing ideas that answer questions and provide new things to build upon.

 

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2 hours ago, Seams said:

I have some ideas to work out about soles / souls and oranges but I have to go for awhile.

Can you expand on the oranges=feet symbolism for me? I'm not familiar with that.

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On 6/19/2022 at 6:57 PM, Seams said:

When Egg, Dunk and Tanselle are collaborating to design Dunk's sigil, he is the one to specify that the background should be the colors of a sunset which happen to be the same colors as a peach:

Dany's peach is from a tree growing near the western wall of the City of Bones, supporting your linking the peach with the colors of sunset. 

On 6/19/2022 at 6:57 PM, Seams said:

The connection to this rejuvenation of Brienne is that Biter took a bite of her cheek (symbolic peach). So she needs to be revived.

The peach at the Peach brothel has a bite taken out of it and the peach itself is heavily associated with sex as well as rejuvenation. Brienne is "grown and flowered" but still a maid and her virginity has come under threat only to be saved by Jamie. By taking a bite out her cheek, Biter could be symbolically taking her virginity. Maybe she has to symbolically give up her maidenhood to be able to accomplish some future task. Or to be revived. 

Speaking of maidenhood, I discovered another anagram today - it's an almost anagram of hooded man... 

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On 6/19/2022 at 3:45 PM, Evolett said:

Can you expand on the oranges=feet symbolism for me? I'm not familiar with that.

I wish I could say that I have it all worked out and can explain the connection, but I can't. So far, I have mostly collected incidences of correlation - where feet and oranges (the fruit) are mentioned together. But the color orange has a much larger meaning that seems to be linked to Aegon Targaryen and maybe Targaryens in general. 

Here are some links:

In each thread, a "CTRL +F" will let you search on the word "orange" and reveal all of the meandering mentions of the word.

In a nutshell, I noticed that the barefoot, tough-soled Septon Meribald gives away oranges; that readers meet Prince Doran, who is unable to walk, when he is surrounded by overripe blood oranges falling from trees; and Lord Bryce Caron, the orange member of Renly's Rainbow Guard, is killed by Ser Philip Foote.

I think orange is significant as a fire color, but it is also the color of rust, which we see in the swords in the Winterfell Crypt, among other places. 

The association with Aegon Targaryen comes from the anagram:

Aegon Targaryen = Orange Garnet Ay

I had always assumed that garnets are red but a little bit of research revealed that they can be many colors. The garnets in the direwolf hilt of Jon Snow's sword are "garnet eyes," which would seem to fit (with a pinch of wordplay) the garnet "ay" hint here. 

But I have no idea why Aegon would have an orange association that is also linked to Bryce Caron and feet and possibly rust. Orange fire makes some sense to me as a symbol associated with Targaryens, but that's the limit of the logic I have sorted out so far. 

I suspect that Ser Gregor Clegane and Dragonstone also hold "orange" anagram hints - Ser Gregor also has a green anagram, but he is a very complex symbol in the fertility symbolism. I think he may be a burning log, so he has both green and orange colors - fertility and fire. 

I just skimmed the scene where Arya throws the blood orange at Sansa (AGoT, Sansa III) and don't see any overt foot mentions there. We know that Sansa's silk dress is stained and that she will later dye it black. At one point, I surmised that the orange falling in Sansa's lap might foreshadow the severed head of Ned Stark - Arya accusing her sister of being responsible for Ned's death. But GRRM seems to use melons for head references. The blood orange scene here emphasizes the juice on Arya's hands and on Sansa's face and dress. We know that Sansa will later appreciate Ser Dontos breaking a "morningstar" melon over her head and she will have breakfast with Littlefinger and will try to avoid getting juice on her hands and face (but pear juice will run down her chin, in spite of her care to take a small, delicate bite). 

Here are some more examples of orange linked to a foot:

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For the space of a few feet, Tyrion could hear every word of their haggling, but when he moved on, the voices faded quickly. Small wonder Varys did not want me to climb the bloody ladder, Tyrion thought, smiling in the dark. Little birds indeed.

He came to the third door and fumbled about for a long time before his fingers brushed a small iron hook set between two stones. When he pulled down on it, there was a soft rumble that sounded loud as an avalanche in the stillness, and a square of dull orange light opened a foot to his left.

The hearth! He almost laughed. The fireplace was full of hot ash, and a black log with a hot orange heart burning within. He edged past gingerly, taking quick steps so as not to burn his boots, the warm cinders crunching softly under his heels. When he found himself in what had once been his bedchamber, he stood a long moment, breathing the silence. Had his father heard? Would he reach for his sword, raise the hue and cry?

(ASoS, Tyrion XI)

Hotah gave up looking for the speakers; the press was too thick, and a third of them were shouting. "To spears! Vengeance for the Viper!" By the time they reached the third gate, the guards were shoving people aside to clear a path for the prince's litter, and the crowd was throwing things. One ragged boy darted past the spearmen with a half-rotten pomegranate in one hand, but when he saw Areo Hotah in his path, with longaxe at the ready, he let the fruit fall unthrown and beat a quick retreat. Others farther back let fly with lemons, limes, and oranges, crying "War! War! To the spears!" One of the guards was hit in the eye with a lemon, and the captain himself had an orange splatter off his foot.

(AFfC, The Captain of Guards)

Rhaegal roared in answer, and fire filled the pit, a spear of red and yellow. Viserion replied, his own flames gold and orange. When he flapped his wings, a cloud of grey ash filled the air. Broken chains clanked and clattered about his legs. Quentyn Martell jumped back a foot.

(ADwD, Daenerys VIII)

In the Guard excerpt, there's a lot going on with fruit symbolism. We see orange and green together fairly frequently but we don't see limes too often, so that may be significant. It may be linked to the word "smile," which is a more common symbol and it is paired (or contrasted) with the word "slayer." A lemon in the eye could allude to the "molten eye" of Dany's dragon, Drogon, when she finally becomes a dragon rider. 

(So if anyone is planning to open a hipster bar in King's Landing, some of the signature drinks can be a "lime slayer," an "orange stomper" and a "molten eye." Just don't plan to serve unborn puppy on a stick appetizers.)

In the Quentyn scene, the reference to ash is part of a larger motif linked to oranges, too. Maybe because of the orange embers in some fires. The ladder made out of fire that Dany saw was orange in color and Tyrion climbs a ladder and then steps over a burning orange log when he uses the secret fireplace entrance to the Hand's chamber. After Sansa's dress is ruined by the orange thrown by Arya, she balls it up and throws it in the ashes in a cold fireplace. 

I'm skimming the search site to get a sense of other mentions of orange. Aside from all the fire and light mentions, orange is mentioned as a hair and beard color and a color of silk. Blades connected to the Lightbringer symbolism often seem to reflect orange. The Kindly Man chews orange rinds to sweeten his breath. (Contrast that with Littlefinger, who chews mint.) Maybe I'm attributing too much importance to the foot / orange combination. It is real, though, especially with the Bryce Caron and Philip Foote conflict. 

I suspect Tyrion's question about whether Tywin might, "reach for his sword, raise the hue and cry," is a good hint for us. I think "hue" is wordplay about colorful swords. Tyrion is concerned that Tywin might have a colored sword. (Readers know, and Tyrion should recall, that Tywin gave his colored swords to Jaime and Joffrey.) But the point may be that we need to identify colored blades of various types as they may hold special powers. 

I'll have to see if I can remember what I wanted to write about soul/sole and oranges. It had to do with Septon Meribald, and your earlier point about the word "lamb" and its meaning. I realized that, through the magic of wordplay, Meribald might just be a Dire Lamb. How does that differ from a dire wolf?

Edit: A new thought. If a crab claw is part of the foot motif, we see Lord Commander Jeor Mormont crack a claw with his bare hand (bear hand), Tyrion challenge Ser Alliser Thorne to a duel over a crab feast, and Brienne walk (yes, I said WALK) to Crack Claw Point. When crab claws are cooked, they are usually orange. So this might finally explain the link between oranges and feet. That is, if we can just figure out the symbolism of crab claws! I think they have to do with lobstered gauntlets.

I think there is also a link (via wordplay) between feet and measurement. This only works for people who still use feet as a unit of measurement. Lucky for this analysis of symbols, GRRM is American.

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On 6/19/2022 at 6:57 PM, Seams said:

I am still trying to work out the significance of peaches in ASOIAF. I think they are central to sorting out several motifs. 

Peaches symbolize immortality, long life and health in China, spring in Vietnam and good health in parts of Europe. Now it didn't work out so well for Renly did it, but it could be highlighting his life cut down in prime by unnatural forces. Renly you got a good hold of I assume as you did brothel which probably symbolizes sex, but also virility, much like Renly's.  

Than there is of course sexual connotations of the popular song Dornishman's wife

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The Dornishman's wife would sing as she bathed, in a voice that was sweet as a peach

Bathing and singing though could be connected to steel (steel and song are frequent pairing) and forging (water tempering)
 

In the similar vein peaches also symbolize youth as well as sexuality, in Peach Arya has following encounter

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An old man sat down beside her. “Well, aren’t you a pretty little peach?” His breath smelled near as foul as the dead men in the cages, and his little pig eyes were crawling up and down her. “Does my sweet peach have a name?”

This one counts as well

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Wife, widow, or whore, the women are all giving up their virtue to every peach-fuzz boy with a gold rose on his teat.”

Now peach-fuzz boys are the omnipresent representation of youth but in immature not sexual aspect, with following examples, solely connected to Lannisters

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The blond boy had been trying to grow a beard. Pale yellow peach fuzz covered his cheeks and jaw above the red ruin the knife had made of his throat.

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Devan’s cheeks and chin were dusted with blond hair, a fuzz that would have shamed a proper peach

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To call it peach fuzz would have given insult to the peach. It went queerly with the white hair around his ears.

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The squire was skinny as a spear, with long arms and legs, greasy mouse-brown hair, and cheeks soft with peach fuzz. His cloak was Lannister crimson

It is interesting though that only three mentions of the peach in AGOT carry an air of wistfulness around them, sense of fleeting life.

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“You need to come south,” Robert told him. “You need a taste of summer before it flees. In Highgarden there are fields of golden roses that stretch away as far as the eye can see. The fruits are so ripe they explode in your mouth-melons, peaches, fireplums, you’ve never tasted such sweetness.

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He liked how it felt too, pulling himself up a wall stone by stone, fingers and toes digging hard into the small crevices between. He always took off his boots and went barefoot when he climbed; it made him feel as if he had four hands instead of two. He liked the deep, sweet ache it left in the muscles afterward. He liked the way the air tasted way up high, sweet and cold as a winter peach. 

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I remember the smells of those nights, my lord-perfume and sweat, melons ripe to bursting, peaches and pomegranates, nightshade and moonbloom. I was a young man then, still forging my chain. The heat did not exhaust me as it does now.” Pycelle’s eyes were so heavily lidded he looked half-asleep.

Last clearly nostalgic about the youth, past long gone, health, vitality.

It continues one more time in ADWD with Asha, combining summer symbolism from Robert's and Pycelle's talk

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It had still been summer then; Robert sat the Iron Throne, Balon brooded on the Seastone Chair, and the Seven Kingdoms were at peace. Asha sailed the Black Wind down the coast, trading. They called at Fair Isle and Lannisport and a score of smaller ports before reaching the Arbor, where the peaches were always huge and sweet. “You see,” she’d said, the first time she’d held one up against Qarl’s cheek. When she made him try a bite, the juice ran down his chin, and she had to kiss it clean. That night they’d spent devouring peaches and each other, and by the time daylight returned Asha was sated and sticky and as happy as she’d ever been. Was that six years ago, or seven? Summer was a fading memory, and it had been three years since Asha last enjoyed a peach.

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Qarl had been trying to raise a beard. “Peach fuzz,” she had called it, laughing

Next associated terms are gods, good fortune and destiny in the chapters of Daenerys

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“Fruit and water and shade,” Dany said, her cheeks sticky with peach juice. “The gods were good to bring us to this place.”

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Khaleesi, the Seven Kingdoms are not going to fall into your hands like so many ripe peaches.

Gods and good fortune again with Sansa

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Back in the safety of her own chambers, she hugged a pillow to her face to muffle a squeal of joy. Oh, gods be good, he did it, he put me aside in front of everyone. When a serving girl brought her supper, she almost kissed her. There was hot bread and fresh-churned butter, a thick beef soup, capon and carrots, and peaches in honey. Even the food tastes sweeter, she thought. Come dark, she slipped into a cloak and left for the godswood.

And lastly there is the peach as decadence symbolism, seen in Joffrey's wedding

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Then came some strolling pipers and clever dogs and sword swallowers, with buttered pease, chopped nuts, and slivers of swan poached in a sauce of saffron and peaches.

And other occasions:

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The eunuch was humming tunelessly to himself as he came through the door, dressed in flowing robes of peach colored silk and smelling of lemons.

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“All,” growled Kraznys mo Nakloz, who smelled of peaches today.

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On 6/20/2022 at 10:56 PM, Seams said:

I wish I could say that I have it all worked out and can explain the connection, but I can't. So far, I have mostly collected incidences of correlation - where feet and oranges (the fruit) are mentioned together. But the color orange has a much larger meaning that seems to be linked to Aegon Targaryen and maybe Targaryens in general. 

Here are some links:

There are 190 mentions of "orange" in all five books (search in the ebook version), so many, it's daunting. I looked up the links and found some convoluted contributions I offered years ago, lol.

Anyway, I searched the net for any interesting information on oranges that might be relevant and discovered the significance of the use of oranges in the film The Godfather.  Though not confirmed by Francis Ford Coppola himself, analysts noted a correleation between oranges and impending doom or death in the film. 

An examination of many "orange" references in the narrative seems to confirm this to some extent. "Doom or death" isn't necessarily immediate but follows not long after an orange mention. Some examples:

  1. Tyrion kills Shae and his father after the bypassing the orange ember in the hearth. 
  2. Arya's and Sansa's blood orange scene leads directly to Ned realizing the truth about Cersei's children, the knowledge of which sets off of events contributing to the downfall of House Stark. 
  3. Great orange blazes that crackle with fury and spit embers at the sky burn during Mirri's magical ceremony to bring Drogo back from death's door. Orange flames also feature prominently during the burning of his remains in the pyre. 
  4. Orange is a major color during Amory Lorch's attack on Yoren and his NW recruits. Arya also remembers the blood orange scene with Sansa during the attack.
  5. Lady Hornwood is accompanied by six guards wearing dusty orange cloaks when she arrives at Winterfell for the Harvest Feast. She will be kidnapped and forced into marriage by Ramsay, left to starve and eat her own fingers (this one is probably very important).
  6. Orange references before Jon finds the obsidian cache near the FotFM. Then the obsidian blade in the cache:
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Torchlight ran along its edge, a thin orange line that spoke of razor sharpness. Dragonglass.

The NW suffers the wight attack not too long afterwards.

7. Firelight washes Ser Axel Florent's face like a monstrous orange tongue. He ends up in Mel's flames.

There are many more such and perhaps not surprising since major orange scenes like the ones in the Water Gardens suggest the fruit has a dangerous quality to it, akin to Aery's ripe wildfire fruit.

Other cases, like the orange reference before Quaithe approaches Dany in Qarth could signalize either danger or something positive in respect of Dany's relationship with Quaithe - not sure. 

I'm sure there's more to it, especially since the appearance of the orange can also mean good fortune for the person involved - like Sam who defeats Small Paul with the orange ember, perhaps linking to the daggers and swords with sharp edges glowing in orange, to Drogon's orange fire that saves Dany from the Undying, as well as to Rhaegal who sits atop a Meereen pyramid like " a fat woman bedecked with glowing orange jewels."
 

Rhaegal in orange jewels at the top of a pyramid might associate orange with heights (like the ladder) and serve as a contrast to the "foot" which is at ground level. (Foot of a pyramid, foot of the ladder) - again reflecting the apparent antagonism you've noted between "oranges" and "feet."

Thinking about these symbols...., the blood oranges are described as sharp and sweet, relating to the sharp edged orange glowing swords. Stannis new sigil is a stag enclosed within a red heart surrounded by orange flame. Perhaps the blood oranges in particular are a Nissa Nissa symbol. That would make the daggers and swords that glow orange Lightbringer symbols. Sharp and sweet would translate to agony and ecstasy.
Does this mean Lightbringer is part of the "foot motif"?
Perhaps it is.... 

 

Arya's blood orange scene really bothered me. I was looking for the "foot" in Sansa until it hit me like a rock that Arya herself is the "foot" - Arya Underfoot. So Arya is an example of a "foot" that can handle the lethal orange. She rips the skin off the orange and squeezes it so that it's bloody juice runs down her fingers before throwing it at Sansa. She "kills" the orange. That makes two "feet" that overcome an "orange."  Arya is a symbolic sword.

Speaking of Ser Philip Foote - have you noticed the "ice" or "eyes" in Bryce and Royce? 

 

One last thought on this:

On 6/20/2022 at 10:56 PM, Seams said:

The association with Aegon Targaryen comes from the anagram:

Aegon Targaryen = Orange Garnet Ay

I had always assumed that garnets are red but a little bit of research revealed that they can be many colors. The garnets in the direwolf hilt of Jon Snow's sword are "garnet eyes," which would seem to fit (with a pinch of wordplay) the garnet "ay" hint here. 

I've been associating garnets with "gardens." German "garten" = garden and is an anagram of "garnet." The garden at dismal Dragonstone is named "Aegon's Garden." 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Evolett said:

Arya's blood orange scene really bothered me. I was looking for the "foot" in Sansa until it hit me like a rock that Arya herself is the "foot" - Arya Underfoot. So Arya is an example of a "foot" that can handle the lethal orange. She rips the skin off the orange and squeezes it so that it's bloody juice runs down her fingers before throwing it at Sansa. She "kills" the orange. That makes two "feet" that overcome an "orange."  Arya is a symbolic sword.

Speaking of Ser Philip Foote - have you noticed the "ice" or "eyes" in Bryce and Royce? 

...

I've been associating garnets with "gardens." German "garten" = garden and is an anagram of "garnet." The garden at dismal Dragonstone is named "Aegon's Garden." 

All very nice! Excellent observations. I particularly love the Garten wordplay as an addition to garnet and argent. 

Your larger analysis of oranges associated with "doom or death" would work better for me if the books were not filled with "doom or death" that has nothing to do with oranges. I have seen theories that Arbor Gold is always associated with lying but there is so much deception in the books that occurs without reference to Arbor Gold that this theory has never really grabbed me. I'm afraid a "doom and gloom" theory for orange has a similar drawback, to my thinking.

My instinct tells me that the key to decoding colors (such as orange) is in the way GRRM puts colors in pairs or groups. For instance, a pair of colors in a sigil or the three colors of flames coming from the three-headed dragon on the shield of Aerion Brightflame (in the novella The Hedge Knight). The Trident river has three colors. The Fossoway apples come in three different colors. There is a current thread discussing characters with different-colored eyes (and whether this is a clue that identifies them as kinslayers). We have the Greens and the Blacks in the Dance of the Dragons. So it may help to look for orange when it is grouped with other colors - in flames and peaches, for instance.

Just as Renly is associated with the Rainbow Guard, which became my first great source of clues about colors, fruit and birds/bugs, I think Sansa has a cluster of fruit and possibly colors (her dresses and flowers) as well as butterflies in her tummy. I think she also looks down from the Eyrie and thinks the people look like ants. There may be other bugs in her POVs. 

Aside from the blood orange that stains her dress and the breakfast with Littlefinger where she rejects the pomegranate but takes a pear, she is hit over the head with a ripe melon and she loves lemon cakes. An entirely unexplored clue may come from the ship that carries Arya to Essos:

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The decks tilted, creaking, as the galleas Titan's Daughter heeled to starboard and began to come about.

The star of home. Arya stood at the prow, one hand resting on the gilded figurehead, a maiden with a bowl of fruit. For half a heartbeat she let herself pretend that it was her home ahead.

But that was stupid. Her home was gone, her parents dead, and all her brothers slain but Jon Snow on the Wall.

(AFfC, Arya I)

We know that Littlefinger's family sigil is the head of the Titan of Braavos. Sansa is disguised as Littlefinger's natural daughter. So this Titan's Daughter maiden with a bowl of fruit may somehow symbolize Sansa, even though Arya is the sister on board the ship. Why would Sansa be the "figurehead" that is taking Arya to her home that isn't really home?

There are some fruits in Arya's POVs: apples scavenged while she's on the road, her visit to the inn called The Peach, taking fruit tarts that Hot Pie made for Amory Lorch. But Sansa feels like the fruit queen with more significant interaction with a range of fruits. I suppose the blood orange that Arya throws at Sansa is the intersection of the fruits and the two sisters. Maybe that scene is the key to decoding the deeper meaning of oranges. (Although blood oranges may be something slight different than other oranges in the books.) 

This kind of brainstorming is helpful, so I thank you and everyone else who is contributing by proposing theories about oranges and feet. It really would be great to figure this out. 

Oh - one more possible clue. Dunk sells his horse called Sweetfoot so he can buy armor in The Hedge Knight. He sells her to a man name Henley, I believe, who may be a variation on Renly because of the sound-alike name. He pledges that he will come back for her some day and gives the man a penny to buy an apple for her. If the "sweet" in the horse's name alludes to an orange's sweetness, this might be another part of the oranges / feet motif. In the same story, Aerion Brightflame threatens that he will cut off one of Dunk's feet. Instead, Dunk defeats him in the Trial of Seven, "extinguishing" the yellow, orange and red flames on Aerion's shield. Prince Baelor dies as a result of the trial, of course, and Dunk wonders whether it would have been worth losing a foot if it would have allowed Prince Baelor to live. Also in that same story, House Ashford has an orange sigil. The Ashford sons are among the first defeated in the tourney and the daughter is quickly displaced as the tourney's Queen of Love and Beauty. What can Sweetfoot and these other oranges tell us about the underlying meaning of feet and citrus fruit?

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13 hours ago, Seams said:

An entirely unexplored clue may come from the ship that carries Arya to Essos:

Quote

The decks tilted, creaking, as the galleas Titan's Daughter heeled to starboard and began to come about.

The star of home. Arya stood at the prow, one hand resting on the gilded figurehead, a maiden with a bowl of fruit. For half a heartbeat she let herself pretend that it was her home ahead.

But that was stupid. Her home was gone, her parents dead, and all her brothers slain but Jon Snow on the Wall.

(AFfC, Arya I)

We know that Littlefinger's family sigil is the head of the Titan of Braavos. Sansa is disguised as Littlefinger's natural daughter. So this Titan's Daughter maiden with a bowl of fruit may somehow symbolize Sansa, even though Arya is the sister on board the ship. Why would Sansa be the "figurehead" that is taking Arya to her home that isn't really home?

The Titan's Daughter and figurehead with a bowl of fruit reminds me of Sansa while also recalling the fertility theme, i.e. the Titan's Daughter brings fertility to stony, treeless Braavos. But Braavos is a sea-faring nation heavily associated with the sea itself, so it's interesting that Arya uses the alias "Salty" on this trip and spends a lot of time selling seafood, her oysters, cockles and clams. What we see here is Sansa's association with the fruits of the land while Arya is associated with the fruits of the sea. The Prince of Pentos who has to deflower a maiden of the sea and a maiden of the fields to ensure productivity comes to mind. And so do the Ironborn who take "salt wives" and "rock wives." "Salty" is thus perhaps "home," where she belongs as a maiden of the sea. Or Sansa taking her there could represent banishment to a place that becomes home, though it is not her home - like the "salt wives" taken by the Ironborn. They are carried off from their true homes to new homes on the Iron Islands. Arya too has lost her true home, partially through Sansa's meddling (revealing Ned's plans to the Queen). 

Nevertheless, the quote probably provides insights to the back story and ancient history of the Starks as a family and the missing link to the Ironborn. Theon and his namesake King of Winter, Theon as a ward of Winterfell, his capture of the castle described via Jojen's dream as the sea flowing into the castle, the Theon/fArya connection with Jeyne Poole sounding like "gene pool," all suggest the Greyjoys and Starks might be distantly related. Perhaps Theon taking on Abel Mance's role in rescuing fArja is a nod at a distant Greyjoy ancestor who once stole a Stark daughter and made her his "salt wife."

Still examining the oranges :)

 

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You've made a very useful connection. Theon does seem interested in the fruit at Winterfell, as well as the Stark daughters:

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The maester inclined his head. "I make no apologies for oathbreakers. Do what you must. I thank you for your mercy."

Mercy, thought Theon as Luwin dropped back. There's a bloody trap. Too much and they call you weak, too little and you're monstrous. Yet the maester had given him good counsel, he knew. His father thought only in terms of conquest, but what good was it to take a kingdom if you could not hold it? Force and fear could carry you only so far. A pity Ned Stark had taken his daughters south; elsewise Theon could have tightened his grip on Winterfell by marrying one of them. Sansa was a pretty little thing too, and by now likely even ripe for bedding. But she was a thousand leagues away, in the clutches of the Lannisters. A shame.

(ACoK, Theon IV)

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Winterfell was full of ghosts for Theon Greyjoy.

This was not the castle he remembered from the summer of his youth. This place was scarred and broken, more ruin than redoubt, a haunt of crows and corpses. The great double curtain wall still stood, for granite does not yield easily to fire, but most of the towers and keeps within were roofless. A few had collapsed. The thatch and timber had been consumed by fire, in whole or in part, and under the shattered panes of the Glass Garden the fruits and vegetables that would have fed the castle during the winter were dead and black and frozen.

(ADwD, The Prince of Winterfell)

When a young woman in Westeros begins to menstruate, she is described as "flowering." It's interesting that Theon would hunger for the "ripe" Sansa, who has been taken south, and also feel wistful about the broken glass garden (and dead fruit) at Winterfell. (This seems to be the only place where the word "fruit" is used in a Theon POV, fwiw.) 

We saw Sansa and Littlefinger (The Titan and the Titan's daughter?) building a snow castle that is Winterfell. Littlefinger showed Sansa how to bend twigs to make the framework for the glass house, but he noted that there was no way to make the glass for the snow castle version of the greenhouse. I always thought this was significant (especially because they could have found ice on the surface of a frozen puddle and used that to make the glass). So the larger point may be that Winterfell and the Starks and Theon are in a season when fruit does not thrive. 

In TWoW, Sansa / Alayne will tell the reader:

Spoiler

The cake had required every lemon in the Vale, but Petyr had promised that he would send to Dorne for more.

Here's a thought: Jaime pushes Bran out of the window of the Old Keep and Littlefinger pushes Lysa out of the Moon Door in close proximity to the glass house at Winterfell and to the snow castle version of Winterfell. Are these "sacrifices" part of the fertility cycle to allow fruits to germinate and grow? Interesting that Sansa was supposed to marry Joffrey, the "fruit" of Jaime and Cersei's illegal liaison, but the crime against Bran eventually prevents the marriage and also brings down the Lannister dynasty (that had attempted to take over the Baratheon dynasty). Doh! Maybe that finally explains why Robert Baratheon has the name "Theon" in his surname - we are supposed to see Theon and Jaime as a pair of opposing forces. 

Strange to realize that Littlefinger is (in a literary sense) on "Team Theon" in his efforts to push Lysa (at one point betrothed to Jaime) out the window and to help Sansa rebuild Winterfell. 

Just before his fall, Bran thought about the glass house where he was always given a berry by the mysterious man in the glass garden:

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Bran had been marking the days on his wall, eager to depart, to see a world he had only dreamed of and begin a life he could scarcely imagine.

Yet now that the last day was at hand, suddenly Bran felt lost. Winterfell had been the only home he had ever known. His father had told him that he ought to say his farewells today, and he had tried. After the hunt had ridden out, he wandered through the castle with his wolf at his side, intending to visit the ones who would be left behind, Old Nan and Gage the cook, Mikken in his smithy, Hodor the stableboy who smiled so much and took care of his pony and never said anything but "Hodor," the man in the glass gardens who gave him a blackberry when he came to visit …

... 

To a boy, Winterfell was a grey stone labyrinth of walls and towers and courtyards and tunnels spreading out in all directions. In the older parts of the castle, the halls slanted up and down so that you couldn't even be sure what floor you were on. The place had grown over the centuries like some monstrous stone tree, Maester Luwin told him once, and its branches were gnarled and thick and twisted, its roots sunk deep into the earth.

When he got out from under it and scrambled up near the sky, Bran could see all of Winterfell in a glance. He liked the way it looked, spread out beneath him, only birds wheeling over his head while all the life of the castle went on below. Bran could perch for hours among the shapeless, rain-worn gargoyles that brooded over the First Keep, watching it all: the men drilling with wood and steel in the yard, the cooks tending their vegetables in the glass garden, restless dogs running back and forth in the kennels, the silence of the godswood, the girls gossiping beside the washing well. It made him feel like he was lord of the castle, in a way even Robb would never know.

(AGoT, Bran II)

Seems like a pretty important role for the glass garden in a scene that tells about Bran as the sacrificial king who will be reborn. Taken together with Theon's lust for the "ripe" Sansa as well as his difficulty in finding the right amount of "Mercy," we are given clues here about Bran, Sansa and Arya as things that will be nurtured in the metaphorical glass garden of Winterfell. 

Also interesting to see Theon and Jaime compared, in the sense that Jaime pushes Bran out of a window and Theon both saves Bran in the woods and also becomes the "Prince of Winterfell," saving fArya / Jeyne at a later point in the story. We know that Jaime is nicknamed "Kingslayer," and Theon is known for his smile - his Ironborn horse is even named Smiler. At one point, Stannis offers Jon Snow the choice of a "smiler or a slayer" for the new Lord of Winterfell:

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"Horpe and Massey aspire to your father's seat. Massey wants the wildling princess too. He once served my brother Robert as squire and acquired his appetite for female flesh. Horpe will take Val to wife if I command it, but it is battle he lusts for. As a squire he dreamed of a white cloak, but Cersei Lannister spoke against him and Robert passed him over. Perhaps rightly. Ser Richard is too fond of killing. Which would you have as Lord of Winterfell, Snow? The smiler or the slayer?"

Jon said, "Winterfell belongs to my sister Sansa."

(ADwD, Jon IV)

So the glass garden and fruit are fairly closely tied to this smiler / slayer duality that GRRM has set up, contrasting Jaime and Theon. And we see Theon as a rescuer of Stark children while Jaime attempts to kill Bran. I've always thought of Joffrey as a mini-Jaime, and this may explain why Joffrey kills a pregnant cat and removes its unborn kittens from the womb - the cat is a symbolic Catelyn. 

It occurs to me that, when Theon rescues Jeyne Poole from under the pile of wolf furs in her bed chamber, he sees that Ramsay has been biting her. This may reinforce the idea of the Stark daughter as a piece of fruit to be eaten by her husband - only Jeyne is not really a Stark daughter and cannot be eaten. 

Yet another little connection: In the snow castle scene with Sansa at the Eyrie, GRRM alludes to a line from the famous William Blake poem about the Poison Tree:

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Dawn stole into her garden like a thief.

(ASoS, Sansa VII)

...

And my foe beheld it shine,

And he knew that it was mine. 

And into my garden stole, 

When the night had veild the pole; 

(A Poison Tree, by William Blake)

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45952/a-poison-tree

The poem describes a thief (the enemy of the person speaking) who steals into a garden to take an apple but the apple is poisonous because it represents anger and resentment that the speaker has nurtured. The thief in ASOIAF is dawn; the thief in the poem enters the garden at night time.

Interesting, too, that both Theon and Bran think about advice from Maester Luwin in the excerpts here.

Anyway. Lots to work with here on the fruit symbolism as well as the Theon connection to the Starks and the cycle of the seasons as a metaphor for the sacrificial king. I think we're making good progress!

 

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Posted (edited)

After reading @Aejohn the Conqueroo’s and @Seams comments on page three of the “Are we suppose to like the Blackwoods and dislike the Brackens” thread, I suddenly realized Catelyn/Stoneheart and her connection to the story of Alyssa and her tears that never reach the ground is probably the key to the missing half or partner of Ned’s sword Ice. Or Just – Ice.

Earlier in this discussion we explored the Alyssa’s Tears, the Tears of Lys, the Strangler poison, strangling, weeping and grief and found a possible link between all these and raising the dead. But as usual the symbolism is multilayered and has further hidden aspects. @Aejohns comment about Lady Stoneheart being a figurative dead weirwood sparked off a number of connections in my mind, first and foremost the idea that Lady Stoneheart is a figurative dead poisoned weirwood (like the Raventree weirwood).
My new insight does not so much concern the poisoned weirwood as the realization Lady Stoneheart is “poisoned” and that this might relate to the sword Ice. Her “poisoned status” is reflected by her preference for hanging those who took part in the Red Wedding (hanging, strangling, Strangler poison). In short, Lady Stoneheart is poisoned by her unexpressed grief. Like Alyssa whose family was massacred, she sheds no tears. She does not grieve in undeath either but seeks and enacts vengeance on her enemies.


The message here is that not giving in to grief leads to vengeance. Beric offered his opponents taken prisoner justice in the form of a trial but Lady Stoneheart does not do this. She hangs all suspects. So what does this have to do with the sword Ice?

Another variant of not expressing grief or not being able to express emotions is the author’s use of “tears freezing” or “laughter freezing:”

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The world shrank to two blue stars, a terrible crushing pain, and a cold so fierce that his tears froze over his eyes (Sam struggling with Small Paul).

The boys were going to a place that none had ever been before, to serve an order that had been the enemy of their kith and kin for thousands of years, yet Jon saw no tears, heard no wailing mothers. These are winter’s people, he reminded himself. Tears freeze upon your cheeks where they come from (the wildling hostages crossing into Castle Black).

Sam cries but the cold prevents the flow of tears, turning them into ice.

Neither the boys nor their mothers show any emotion or grief over their personal situation and Jon relates this to tears freezing on their cheeks.

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“They say it grows so cold up here in winter that a man’s laughter freezes in his throat and chokes him to death,” Ned said evenly.

Here we have laughter turned ice choking a man to death, like strangling or as the Strangler does to Joff (of course we also have Sansa, daughter of the wielder of Ice and her Strangler "gems" causing Joff's choking death).

So there appears to be a relationship between not expressing grief / emotion, strangling, poison, vengeance and ice and it suggests that the sword Ice was a sword made for vengeance rather than one of justice.
 

Strictly speaking none of the 3 instances of the King’s Justice meted out with Ice were just. Gared told the truth about the White Walkers. Demanding Lady’s death was not just (Cersei wanted vengeance). And Ned was beheaded even though he fulfilled his part of the agreement (Joff wanted vengeance). Even though the King’s Justice is carried out, the act itself is not just because none of the victims deserved that punishment. 

Further, we see Ned being unable to dispense justice even when the case itself is just one.
Ser Jorah is definitely guilty but he absconds and is beyond the reach of Ice:

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As the Mormonts were bannermen to the Starks, his crime had dishonored the north. Ned had made the long journey west to Bear Island, only to find when he arrived that Jorah had taken ship beyond the reach of Ice and the king’s justice.

And again when the folk of the Riverlands arrive at King’s Landing with the account of Gregor Clegane’s ravaging and the question of vengeance versus justice arises:

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“Do we have your leave to take our vengeance against Ser Gregor, then?” Marq Piper asked the throne. “Vengeance?” Ned said. “I thought we were speaking of justice.

Though Ned genuinely wants to secure justice for the people, his injured leg prevents him from going himself:

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I mislike sending another to do my killing … yet it seems I have no choice.” He gestured at his broken leg

Ned does not get the chance to use Ice in the name of justice in this very just cause. Instead, an undead Beric wielding a figurative Lightbringer sword goes about the business of bringing justice to the people.

 Perhaps this current version of Ice was not meant to dispense justice; it is instead a sword of vengeance.

 

 

Oathkeeper and Widow's Wail
Ice becomes Oathkeeper and Widow’s Wail when reforged. Ned is an oathkeeper. He kept his promises, also to Robert, through the ambiguous wording he used in Robert’s will to circumvent naming Joffery as heir. Arthur Dayne, Sword of the Morning, is another oathkeeper (we swore a vow, our knees don’t bend easily). The Just Maid wielded by Ser Galladon of Morne, the Perfect Knight appears to mirror Dawn and as Brienne informs us, honor played a major role in the actual usage of the sword.
So perhaps Oathkeeper represents Dawn and the “just” part of Ice. Consecrating Ice with the blood of the honorable oathkeeping Ned reconfigures Ice or if Ice was just (only) Ice and a sword meant for vengeance, it is now a just sword.

Widow’s Wail implies a wailing, grieving widow. In the quote above, Jon saw no tears and heard no wailing mothers but this sword’s name is an expression of grief. If non-grieving leads to vengeance, does giving vent to grief in the form of wailing and crying foster justice?  Catelyn is a non-grieving widow and it may be she represents the poisoned “dirty ice” part of the sword. Who could play the part that cleanses the sword?

 

 

On 6/30/2022 at 10:05 PM, Seams said:

I'm working this out as I write, but maybe you are correct that Catelyn as Lady Stoneheart seems like a broken piece. One idea in my head is that she was a Sansa parallel before she died, with her lovely auburn hair, and she became an Arya parallel after she died, thinking about revenge as a form of "prayer" every night. What the world needs is a balance of her Sansa qualities and her Arya qualities perhaps embodied by, say, Brienne (who tells everyone that she is looking for her sister).

Maybe Brienne is the key. We don’t know exactly how she intends to deal with Lady Stoneheart’s demands to bring her Jamie Lannister. Currently, I think Jeyne Westerling fits this role. She is a widow who genuinely grieves, weeping and tearing her clothes and she might be the symbolic character that brings about a cleansing of Ice (Jeyne / eyes / ice). Note she cries tears as well as tears her clothes.

That said, if Oathkeeper represents Dawn, then Widow’s Wail might be paired with the lost Lamentation of the Royces, or with Lady Forlorn.. Lady Forlorn has an interesting history. In a parallel to Ice, there was a previous Lady Forlorn before the current one and it was not a Valyrian Steel sword (In The World of Ice & Fire, the Lady Forlorn of Robar II Royce's era is described to be a Valyrian steel sword. It has been confirmed that "Valyrian steel" should have been removed from the description.[10]). The current sword reminds Sansa of Ice.

I also see Theon, who may embody Ice as very much connected to “forlorn ladies.” His mother who longs to see him but whom he does not visit, the Captain’s daughter he avoids after he deflowers her and who begs to be his salt wife and fArya, Jeyne who he ends up rescuing.

Coming to definite conclusions is hard. One idea I’ve had is that Dawn (represented by Oathkeeper) and its partner sword (perhaps the original Ice), were forged from another sword predating both. This would explain the existence of a Sword of the Morning and Sword of the Evening. And while one was used to dispense justice, the other was essentially a sword of vengeance, perhaps wielded by two members of the family that were in conflict with each other (Dayne, Payne). Just a thought.   

Edited by Evolett
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Posted (edited)

Oranges

This week I’ve been looking at oranges, only the symbolism attached to the fruit itself, leaving out the color orange for the time being. Septon Meribald is the key to what they stand for, I think we can rely on this quote:

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They seemed a shy folk for the most part, but near midday the dog began to bark again, and three women emerged from the reeds to give Meribald a woven basket full of clams. He gave each of them an orange in return, though clams were as common as mud in this world, and oranges were rare and costly. One of the women was very old, one was heavy with child, and one was a girl as fresh and pretty as a flower in spring. When Meribald took them off to hear their sins, Ser Hyle chuckled, and said, “It would seem the gods walk with us … at least the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone.” Podrick looked so astonished that Brienne had to tell him no, they were only three marsh women.

Meribald gives three women representing the female phases of the fertility cycle an orange each. The maiden who marries the Horned Lord in spring, the fertile pregnant mother who brings forth life on earth and the crone who brings natural life cycles to completion and is the gateway to death and rebirth. The clams are very important too but I want to stay with the oranges in this post. So the oranges generally symbolize women and their role in the fertility cycle. Knowing this makes it easier to interpret the other orange scenes in the books.

 

Sansa and Arya

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“Where is everyone?” her sister wanted to know as she ripped the skin from a blood orange

… Your butcher’s boy attacked the prince.” “Liar,” Arya said. Her hand clenched the blood orange so hard that red juice oozed between her fingers. “Go ahead, call me all the names you want,” Sansa said airily. “You won’t dare when I’m married to Joffrey. You’ll have to bow to me and call me Your Grace.” She shrieked as Arya flung the orange across the table. It caught her in the middle of the forehead with a wet squish and plopped down into her lap.

 

Notable is that the blood orange falls into Sansa’s lap. When she undresses, she finds out that the juice has stained her underclothes as well:

When she saw that the stain had bled through onto her underskirt, she began to sob despite herself.

The blood orange here is being used as an analogy to menstruation, the onset of which marks the beginning of a woman’s fertile years. The juice “bleeds” through the clothes precisely where it would if this were a real period. The backdrop is the conflict the sisters have over Joffery with Sansa at this point still holding onto the dream of becoming his wife and having his babies. Sansa’s distress over the ruined gown mirrors her later distress over her first “flowering,” with good reason because Joffery turns out to be a monster rather than a charming prince. So the blood orange symbolizes a woman’s fertility and her fertile years.

Arya mutilating the orange and throwing it at Sansa suggests she rejects the idea of becoming a fertile woman – and this is true too. Rather than become some Lord’s wife and bear his children, Arya thinks of becoming a King’s counselor or a High Septon. The clams are relevant to Arya in her role as a vendor of oysters, mussels and clams. Arya gets the clams while Sansa gets the oranges.

Another observation: Sansa in her stained dress reminds me very much of Theon’s dream in which Lyanna appears wearing a similarly spattered gown:

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The slim, sad girl who wore a crown of pale blue roses and a white gown spattered with gore could only be Lyanna.

I'll get back to Lyanna's gown further on. 

 

Sansa and Littlefinger.

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There were apples and pears and pomegranates, some sad-looking grapes, a huge blood orange…

… Petyr cut a pomegranate in two with his dagger, offering half to Sansa. “You should try and eat, my lady.” “Thank you, my lord.” Pomegranate seeds were so messy; Sansa chose a pear instead, and took a small delicate bite. It was very ripe. The juice ran down her chin.

If GRRM wants us to associate the pomegranate with the Greek myth of Persephone, then Sansa’s rejection of the fruit suggests she is not willing to spend time in the underworld in order for the fruitful cycle to end and winter to come. (Lyanna is in the underworld of the crypts – perhaps this is the connection between the “blood” on both their gowns. Lyanna is in the underworld and winter will come).  Or it may signify Sansa rejecting being part of the cycle at all. Her choice of a pear suggests the latter.
The pear is a symbol of the womb (the womb is pear-shaped). By taking the pear, Sansa acknowledges she is ready, “ripe” but pear juice is clear, not “bloody.” Sansa has flowered but her choice of the pear indicates she’s not ready to be part of the fertility cycle. Meanwhile Petyr continues talking and eating pomegranate seeds from the point of his dagger and I think he symbolically tricks her into accepting the fertility role:

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Lord Petyr dismissed him with a wave, and returned to the pomegranate again as Oswell shuffled down the steps. “Tell me, Alayne—which is more dangerous, the dagger brandished by an enemy, or the hidden one pressed to your back by someone you never even see?” “The hidden dagger.” “There’s a clever girl.” He smiled, his thin lips bright red from the pomegranate seeds.

Besides the sexual connotations surrounding the dagger in that chapter, Sansa fails to see dagger brandished before her. LF’s lips come across like a “red smile” and a warning but when he plays his next move, offering her the other half of the orange, she takes it and spoons up the juice and so symbolically accepts the fertility role.

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Lord Petyr cut the blood orange in two with his dagger and offered half to Sansa.

He tilted his chin back and squeezed the blood orange, so the juice ran down into his mouth. “I love the juice but I loathe the sticky fingers,” he complained, wiping his hands. “Clean hands, Sansa. Whatever you do, make certain your hands are clean.”
Sansa spooned up some juice from her own orange.

I suspect the sticky fingers are also a “bloody blade” reference. In contrast to Brandon who loved the sight of a “bloody blade,” LF loathes “sticky red fingers.” There’s double meaning there. There is a reference for Lord Baelish’s penis being named his “little finger.”

 

Butterbumps

Butterbumps bounces oranges off his head, elbows and ample rump. He eats one whole and blows out the seeds through his nose. There are lots of young “oranges” in the room, Margery’s maidens. I’d say Butterbumps symbolically impregnates (bumps) the “oranges” and “births” the seeds as well.  Previously, Sansa “hatches” the egg that releases the chicks, a dragon reference, no doubt. I’m not sure how to interpret the seeds. Since they come after the chicks, perhaps they are “dragonseeds.”

Later in the chapter the fool sings “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” to drown out the conversation between Lady Olenna and Sansa. As the song progresses Sansa experiences a different kind of flowering – her sensuality awakens:

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HE SMELLED THE SCENT ON THE SUMMER AIR!” Sansa wrinkled her brow. “Our true purpose, my lady?” “HE SNIFFED AND ROARED AND SMELLED IT THERE! HONEY ON THE SUMMER AIR!” “To see you safely wed, child,” the old woman said, as Butterbumps bellowed out the old, old song, “to my grandson.” Wed to Ser Loras, oh … Sansa’s breath caught in her throat. She remembered Ser Loras in his sparkling sapphire armor, tossing her a rose. Ser Loras in white silk, so pure, innocent, beautiful. The dimples at the corner of his mouth when he smiled. The sweetness of his laugh, the warmth of his hand. She could only imagine what it would be like to pull up his tunic and caress the smooth skin underneath, to stand on her toes and kiss him, to run her fingers through those thick brown curls and drown in his deep brown eyes. A flush crept up her neck.OH, I’M A MAID, AND I’M PURE AND FAIR! I’LL NEVER DANCE WITH A HAIRY BEAR! A BEAR! A BEAR! I’LL NEVER DANCE WITH A HAIRY BEAR!” “Would you like that, Sansa?” asked Margaery.

But then the Prince Charming she imagines ends up being a “hairy bear” after all. 

Quote

I CALLED FOR A KNIGHT, BUT YOU’RE A BEAR! A BEAR! A BEAR! ALL BLACK AND BROWN AND COVERED WITH HAIR!”

Sansa dreams of a Knight and thinks she's to marry the Knight of flowers. But she is to marry Willas, who is no knight and he is crippled.. which brings us to the Prince of Dorne and the blood oranges that plop and burst at the Water Gardens.
Sansa the maiden fair is carried off by the bear – this song undoubtedly relates to the oranges and fertility theme. Carried off by the bear to bear fruit, fittingly, in High Garden.

 

 

Blood Oranges in Dorne

The blood oranges are well past ripe, the prince observed…. A few had fallen and burst open on the pale pink marble.

If I’m right and blood oranges represent menstruation, i.e. a woman flowered, then “oranges” well past ripe that fall and burst signify a wasted opportunity to conceive (since the blood is shed if no fertilized egg nests within it to develop into a fetus). So in terms of the fertility theme, the Mother who creates new life is symbolically either barren, unwilling, or unable to play her role because she has no partner or the partner shuns her or is impotent. These figurative wasted blood oranges dropping so prominently in Dorne actually fit in with the dusty desert that characterizes most of Dorne. If Doran Martell, as Prince of Dorne is the symbolic husband or Horned Lord figure responsible for fertilizing the “oranges” then it’s understandable that Dorne is a dry infertile place. A man suffering from gout as severely as he does probably cannot perform his duty in bed. We recall also the Lady Mellario leaving him to return to Norvos. She is not even present as the symbolic “Mother” and giver of life.
Oberyn has no such problems, having fathered about 8 daughters, the Sand Snakes, but he is not the leader of the Kingdom. Aside from Ellaria, the mothers of the three main Sand Snakes are missing as well. I think there is some very intricate symbolism going on here but before I have a stab at interpreting that, let’s look at the next set of quotes which, IMO, add weight to the above analysis:

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For a long while the only sounds were the children splashing in the pools and fountains, and once a soft plop as another orange dropped onto the terrace to burst. Then, from the far side of the palace, the captain heard the faint drumbeat of boots on marble. Obara. He knew her stride; long-legged, hasty, angry. In the stables by the gates, her horse would be lathered, and bloody from her spurs. She always rode stallions, and had been heard to boast that she could master any horse in Dorne … and any man as well.

Obara enters right after another orange drops. First Aero Hotah hears an orange plop and then he hears Obara’s footsteps. We get a fairly detailed description of Obara. She is mannish, she can master any man and she is 30 years old. Obara is long a woman grown and flowered, yet unlike most Westerosi women, she is not married, neither has she a child. Tyene and Nymeria are older girls as well, beauties, long flowered with lovers but no husbands or children in sight. Arianne despaired of the old men her father suggested as husbands, little knowing Doran was saving her up for Prince Viserys but meanwhile Arianne is also well past the customary marrying age. The women of the ruling royal family are not contributing toward the fertility of the kingdom.

The connection between Obara and the blood oranges is also illustrated by this:

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Quick and strong as she was, the woman was no match for him, he knew … but she did not, and he had no wish to see her blood upon the pale pink marble.

 

I think Doran’s gouty legs with joints like different kinds of ripe fruit (an apple, a melon and grapes, but not oranges) are linked to the “oranges” through Oberyn. It is Oberyn who has “tasted” all kinds of different “fruit,” siring a string of daughters, the elder of which are “ripe” but do not give birth to more life. Oberyn essentially takes Doran’s place as the fertilizing father, but his “fruit” are poisoned (he is the Viper associated with poison). Further, his 3 older daughters are all said to have his “viper eyes,” implying father and daughters are equally poisonous for the land.

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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.

Doran is the one who suffers though. The orange seems to hurt him and he is the symbolic broken consort of an absent earth goddess.  I’m inclined to suspect a “Picture of Dorian Grey” analogy here. Oberyn, full of life and leading an amoral lifestyle transfers his misdeeds to his brother Doran (the picture). As in the story of Dorian Grey, it’s the picture (Doran) that absorbs and visually records Oberyn’s sins, expressed as a crippling disability. So perhaps the gouty fruit represent the mothers of Obara, Tyene and Nym.     
 

I also see a Fisher King archetype in Doran. It’s significant that we have three such characters with physically handicapped legs  placed in completely different environments relevant to the fertility theme /the ice and fire extreme versus the fertile garden. Bran in the far icy North, crippled at a young age and unlikely to father any children. Willas, heir to Highgarden and the breadbasket of the realm, Doran in dry dusty Dorne, suffering from “fruity” gout and confined to a wheelchair.

 

King Robert’s oranges

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The king’s melancholy melted away with the morning mist, and before long Robert was eating an orange and waxing fond about a morning at the Eyrie when they had been boys. “… had given Jon a barrel of oranges, remember? Only the things had gone rotten, so I flung mine across the table and hit Dacks right in the nose. You remember, Redfort’s pock-faced squire? He tossed one back at me, and before Jon could so much as fart, there were oranges flying across the High Hall in every direction.”

The rotten oranges being thrown around, passed from man to man  probably symbolize whores who are passed from one man to another. That they fly across the high hall seems significant though I’m not sure what to make of it. Robert eats an orange and “waxes fond” … could be another reference to the Qarthi legend (waxing moon, flying rotten oranges = dragons, dragonseeds). Since the juice of oranges represents menstrual blood also known as “moon blood,” this scene with its flying oranges is probably important.

 

Areo Hotah’s dream of eating oranges

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The pain had been so fierce that he thought his heart might stop, yet Areo Hotah had not flinched. The hair had never grown back over the axe. Only when both edges were sharp enough to shave with did the captain lay his ash-and-iron wife down on the bed.

Yawning, he pulled off his soiled clothes, tossed them on the floor, and stretched out on his straw-stuffed mattress. Thinking of the brand had made it itch, so he had to scratch himself before he closed his eyes.

I should have gathered up the oranges that fell, he thought, and went to sleep dreaming of the tart sweet taste of them, and the sticky feel of the red juice on his fingers.

Hotah thinks of his homeland Norvos, how he was sold to the bearded priests, the pain he felt when he was branded, that he must keep his axe (his ash-and-iron wife) sharp. His hair never grew back over the axe shape branded into his chest. I think this alludes to Hotah and his “wife” never having any heirs. Seen in the light of my interpretation, his following thoughts “I should have gathered up the oranges that fell” then suggest picking up the oranges and eating  them would have granted him heirs. And he dreams of their taste and the sticky feel of red juice on his fingers – another Brandon of the bloody blade moment (opposed to LF not liking the feel of sticky red juice).

 

Summary

To sum up, oranges symbolize the three phases in the life of a woman, maiden, mother and crone. The blood orange in particular represents menstruation and by extension, a maiden who has flowered and is fertile. Blood oranges that drop symbolize women who have not been “fertilized” or who do not bring forth children because they have no partners/lovers, or are barren or unwilling to participate in the fertility cycle. Conversely, their partners may be sterile, impotent (for various reasons such as a crippling injury or disease – Bran, Doran), they may prefer men to women (Renly, Knight of Flowers) or are eunuchs (Varys, Unsullied, Theon probably).

Obara, Nym and Tyene have Oberyn's "viper eyes" which lend them poison imagery in addition to the analogies to infertility.   

Sansa’s pear represents the pear-shaped uterus.

Fingers sticky with the juice of a blood orange could be analogous to the “bloody blade.”

Menstrual blood is also known as “moon blood” so the oranges could also be a moon symbol.

Not discussed here is the sweetness and sharpness of the orange, the sharp taste signifying its potentially dangerous character.

 

Edited by Evolett
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You've brought together great evidence and made a strong case.

My reading of oranges is that they are just one fruit in the larger basket of fruits associated with the vast fertility motif in the books. There are different ways of using fruit and colors, but I also believe you can't entirely separate the fruit orange from the color orange. My basis for this was initially the decoding key that GRRM provided in the Rainbow Guard, whose members are associated with fruit, flowers, bugs and birds in addition to colors, but that led to lots of other examples in the books. 

A few examples that I believe illustrate a fertility connection to fruit in general:

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The decks tilted, creaking, as the galleas Titan's Daughter heeled to starboard and began to come about.

The star of home. Arya stood at the prow, one hand resting on the gilded figurehead, a maiden with a bowl of fruit. For half a heartbeat she let herself pretend that it was her home ahead.

But that was stupid. Her home was gone, her parents dead, and all her brothers slain but Jon Snow on the Wall. That was where she had wanted to go. She told the captain as much, but even the iron coin did not sway him. Arya never seemed to find the places she set out to reach.

(AFfC, Arya I)

Some time ago, there was a good analysis in this forum showing that Tradesman-Captain Ternesio Terys is a symbolic Ned Stark. That would underscore the ship (and its figurehead) as a symbol of Sansa or Arya. Of course, the head of the Titan of Braavos is the sigil of the family of Petyr Baelish. Since both Ned and Petyr present themselves as the father of Sansa / Alayne, I'm sure the overlap is deliberate. 

I do see ships as symbolic eggs, with key characters "hatching" (reborn) at various points in their story lines. This would fit with the vast network of fertility symbols, I think: seeds, pits (for peaches and plums) and eggs are varied aspects of the rebirth cycle. Theon believes that he impregnated the captain's daughter during his trip on the Myraham. Sam Tarly loses his virginity and builds muscle while laboring on board the Cinnamon Wind. Tyrion may emerge from an egg within an egg when he is smuggled out of King's Landing in a barrel on a ship. Later, he feeds acorns to a pig and is reborn again when the hull (eggshell) cracks on board the Selaesori Qhoran. 

For purposes of this discussion, the Titan's Daughter may be the most relevant example because of the bowl of fruit. It's possible that there is a symbolic "deflowering" for Arya during her trip: the sailors (sea men = semen?) give her many gifts.

The captain of the Titan's Daughter wears a purple wool coat and the sails of his ship are purple. On one of her first assignments for the Faceless Men, Arya goes to the purple harbor in Braavos and gives mercy to a money handler who seems similar to Littlefinger in some ways. At one point, Tyrion had encountered Littlefinger in King's Landing wearing a plum doublet and they had a conversation about the color:

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Lord Petyr was seated on his window seat, languid and elegant in a plush plum-colored doublet and a yellow satin cape, one gloved hand resting on his knee. "The king is fighting hares with a crossbow," he said. "The hares are winning. Come see."

...

He seated himself in a high chair piled with cushions and said, "You look very elegant today, my lord."

"I'm wounded. I strive to look elegant every day."

"Is the doublet new?"

"It is. You're most observant."

"Plum and yellow. Are those the colors of your House?"

"No. But a man gets bored wearing the same colors day in and day out, or so I've found."

"That's a handsome knife as well."

"Is it?" There was mischief in Littlefinger's eyes. He drew the knife and glanced at it casually, as if he had never seen it before. "Valyrian steel, and a dragonbone hilt. A trifle plain, though. It's yours, if you would like it."

"Mine?" Tyrion gave him a long look. "No. I think not. Never mine." He knows, the insolent wretch. He knows and he knows that I know, and he thinks that I cannot touch him.

The "deflowering" and fertility symbolism is strong here: the Varamyr prologue told us that "lump" is a name for a child in-utero, so the leap to plum is logical, given GRRM's love of wordplay.

Littlefinger is watching Joffrey attempting to kill hares. We suspect a pun on "heir" and "hair" and Catelyn's last words were, "Don't cut my hair. Ned loves my hair." We also know that Joffrey once killed a pregnant "cat" and dissected it to reveal the in-utero kittens, causing King Robert to be disgusted with him. I think the symbolism here could be Joffrey attempting to wipe out the Stark heirs, but failing. In his plum doublet, I think Littlefinger may be symbolically pregnant and/or protecting Catelyn's heirs. (Our best clue about the yellow cape is when the red-haired inkeep is teasing Lem Lemoncloak about his yellow cloak: "You're afraid all the piss will wash out and we'll see you're really a knight o' the Kingsguard!" So Littlefinger's yellow cape could mean that he is undercover but in a protective role here.) 

And then Tyrion finally gets to address the dagger, which cut Catelyn's hands and which Littlefinger tried to claim had belonged to Tyrion. We know that Littlefinger has claimed that he deflowered Catelyn, and that "blood on his sword" is a metaphor for deflowering a maiden. Here, Littlefinger offers the dagger to Tyrion: "It's yours, if you would like it."

This is a deep dive into the symbolism, but the comparison between Sansa and Catelyn (Sansa has her hair) and the comparison between Littlefinger and Ned (the captain of the Titan's Daughter, the Sansa / Alayne role-playing) might mean that this exchange represents Ned offering to betroth Sansa to Tyrion: the dagger that had Catelyn's blood on it is offered to Tyrion, who will eventually wed Sansa. Of course, Tyrion never beds Sansa, by his own choice, so the dagger would not be bloody if it were in his hands. (Note: hereditary swords associated with noble Houses are usually - but not always - passed from father to son. Littlefinger offering a valuable dagger - with a dragonbone hilt, no less - is complicated symbolism that may tell us about a family tie between Littlefinger and Tyrion.) 

Also, Tyrion and Jaime both suspect that Joffrey sent the catspaw to murder Bran, at which time Catelyn's hands were cut. Based on the symbolism, this theory could also be "true" in the literary sense. (And this will finally get us back to oranges and Sansa.) The symbolism tells us that Joffrey wanted to kill Stark children, but we also know that he was betrothed to Sansa and he threatened to rape her, even after she was wedded to Tyrion. The goal is not necessarily to wipe out all Starks, but to control Winterfell and the North (and an important entrance to the Underworld) by impregnating Sansa and establishing a new hereditary line.

[This is getting long, so I will submit this comment and start a new one to explore the Sansa / orange symbolism.]

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The pregnancy symbolism for Sansa tends to take the form of feelings in her tummy, often taking the form of butterflies:

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Grand Maester Pycelle was seated alone at the council table, seemingly asleep, his hands clasped together atop his beard. She saw Lord Varys hurry into the hall, his feet making no sound. A moment later Lord Baelish entered through the tall doors in the rear, smiling. He chatted amiably with Ser Balon and Ser Dontos as he made his way to the front. Butterflies fluttered nervously in Sansa's stomach. I shouldn't be afraid, she told herself. I have nothing to be afraid of, it will all come out well, Joff loves me and the queen does too, she said so.

(AGoT, Sansa V)

In that paragraph, we are given Pycelle, Varys, Baelish, Balon Swann, Ser Dontos and Joff (as well as the queen) alongside Sansa's fertility allusion. (Maybe Varys is exempt, since he is a eunuch?) It seems Sansa feels some confidence about her "pregnancy," as she thinks to herself "it will all come out well."

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Every time Joffrey looked at her, her tummy got so fluttery that she felt as though she'd swallowed a bat.

(ASoS, Sansa IV)

The fertility symbolism is complex, I admit. I think the uniting motif around Sansa's pregnancy is that her "child" will be one that can fly - bats, butterflies and, like its mother, a little bird. Sansa loses her wolf at an early stage but Sandor calls her a little bird. She goes from wolf to fowl. This may explain why Balon Swann is part of the group of men "impregnating" Sansa. 

I've recently written up the theory that characters can have more than one father, with specific reference to Sansa being the daughter of both Ned and Littlefinger. Perhaps further proof comes from the horrific story of Lollys Stokeworth, who is tied to Sansa when she refuses to cross a bridge into Maegor's Holdfast until Sansa urges her to do so. 

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"Sellswords," Tyrion said. "They like my gold well enough, but will they die for it? As for these walls, a man could stand on another's shoulders and be over in a heartbeat. A manse much like this one was burned during the riots. They killed the goldsmith who owned it for the crime of having a full larder, just as they tore the High Septon to pieces, raped Lollys half a hundred times, and smashed Ser Aron's skull in. What do you think they would do if they got their hands on the Hand's lady?"

(ACoK, Tyrion X)

The Seven Kingdoms were full of highborn maidens, but even the oldest, poorest, and ugliest spinster in the realm would balk at wedding such lowborn scum as Bronn. Unless she was soft of body and soft of head, with a fatherless child in her belly from having been raped half a hundred times. Lady Tanda had been so desperate to find a husband for Lollys that she had even pursued Tyrion for a time, and that had been before half of King's Landing enjoyed her. No doubt Cersei had sweetened the offer somehow, and Bronn was a knight now, which made him a suitable match for a younger daughter of a minor house.

(ASoS, Tyrion IX)

So whatever baby is (or babies are) growing in Sansa's belly may have been symbolically fathered by Joffrey, the small council and the other men standing by. I am overdue for a re-read, but I also wonder whether the scene where Sansa is punished for Robb's victory at the Whispering Wood could represent either a gang rape or a forced abortion (she is violently punched in the belly by Meryn Trant) or both. That scene begins with Ser Dontos hitting Sansa over the head with a ripe melon, causing juice to run down her face onto her gown. 

In that same scene (AGoT, Sansa V) where she feels butterflies in her tummy, Sansa is wearing the cream-colored dress that was stained by the blood orange. It has now been died black as a sign of mourning for King Robert. So you were right to flag the orange in connection with the larger fertility motif, but it seems to be linked to the juicy melon morningstar and - possibly - the juicy pear that Sansa willingly eats later in the books.

Here, the (hidden) orange stain is a key aspect of this impregnation moment for Sansa. Maybe GRRM is telling us that Sansa failed when she attempted to hide the bed sheet that became bloody on the morning that Sansa "flowered," but she is successful in hiding the blood orange stain because she has use dye to hide the stain instead of the fire she tried to use to burn the bed sheet. (The dyer's apprentice Lommy Greenhands and Garth Greenhands characters are a strong indication that dye and fertility - death and rebirth - are linked.)

One more link between Sansa's butterflies and orange (the color).

Long story short: in The Sworn Sword, Humfrey Hardyng and Humfrey Beesbury engage in one-on-one combat at Ashford Meadow. GRRM put a good bit of effort into setting up their relationship and describing their combat. I concluded that their clash represents the "bitter - sweet" motif that GRRM has promised us will characterize the outcome of these books, but I also found an anagram and followed the bread crumbs left for us by the author:

The Battle of Humfrey = Theme of Butterfly Ah

The orange butterfly is a sigil for House Mullendore. I suspect the orange butterfly is what we know as a Monarch butterfly, so it represents a king or queen. But GRRM also gives us the island of Naath, where the god of Harmony is worshipped. The god is attended by butterfly women.

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... The butterfly spirits sacred to their Lord of Harmony protected their isle against those who would do them harm. Many conquerors had sailed on Naath to blood their swords, only to sicken and die. The butterflies do not help them when the slave ships come raiding, though.

(ASoS, Chap. 71, Dany VI)

I believe that Missandei is a symbolic Dany. She comes from Naath, which seems to be an Underworld land of the dead. I also see a lot of parallels between Sansa and Dany, so the point may be that Sansa's butterfly "babies" will bring death to those who try to rape her, similar to the way that the butterfly spirits bring death to invaders of Naath. 

Yet another orange link to Sansa (perhaps without butterflies or fertility). 

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"You will want to be careful with Nurse," said Sweets when the overseer had departed. "He is the only true monster here." The bearded woman spoke an incomprehensible variety of Ghiscari, the goat boy some guttural sailor's pidgin called the trade talk. The two-headed girl was feebleminded; one head was no bigger than an orange and did not speak at all, the other had filed teeth and was like to growl at anyone who came too close to her cage. But Sweets was fluent in four tongues, one of them High Valyrian.

(ADwD, Tyrion X)

I think this is a symbolic Sansa: bitter and sweet (biter and orange) combined. (Hmm. Seems like Rorge and Biter might be part of the orange/sweet and bitter symbolism, too.) The two-headed girl is also like two-headed Maelys the Monstrous who is also linked to Sansa via an anagram: Maelys the Monstrous = Amethyst Sour Lemons. 

The two-headed girl with one head resembling an orange seems like an allusion to the blood orange thrown by Arya at Sansa. The orange first hits Sansa's forehead and then falls in her lap. As she throws it, Arya addresses Sansa as, "Your Grace." So the orange is associated with royalty (like the monarch butterfly), it could represent a baby being born (recall Athena springing full grown from the forehead of Zeus; also the scene where Theon seems to give birth to the head of the deserter Gared), and also the hidden "flowering" that we mentioned before, staining Sansa's gown. 

Your great outline of the fertility symbolism is a terrific way to build on our growing library of decoded symbolism, and I thank you. Oranges clearly are part of the fertility symbolsim, but i do think that oranges go beyond fertility into other areas of literary meaning. 

This post is already too long, but some larger lines in inquiry have crossed my mind while sorting out the thoughts for these orange-related posts:

I have a suspicion that the dismembered butcher's boy, Micah, represents Westeros at war: the "body" of the continent has been cut into pieces. What if the basket of fruit represents a restoration of Westeros? Sansa seems to be a key player who may be collecting seeds to be planted as she consumes fruit or has it thrown at her. In some of the protest scenes in ASOIAF, we see small folk throw fruit at Prince Doran but they throw meat at Cersei during her walk of shame. It might be worth examining the contrasting fruit and meat motifs (including the united spoon of lemon cream on the pigeon pie that chokes Joffrey). 

I have already noted in various places my suspicions that GRRM links body parts to fruits:

melons = heads

lemons = teeth

grapes = eyes

peaches = cheeks

berries = nipples, possibly (based on Dunk's dream of seeing Lady Rohanne naked)

plums = pregnant bellies and/or breasts (Roose Bolton refers to breasts as plums)

pomegranates = blood? seed?

oranges = feet

Apples seem to be more complex, possibly representing a link to crossing barriers. Robert wants the dead boar served with an apple in its mouth; Littlefinger eats an apple while he waits for Ned to descend the secret path from the Red Keep; Jon Snow eats an apple when he attempts to desert the Night's Watch; Jon Snow steps on rotten apples at the ruined inn just before leaving Ygritte and returning to the Night's Watch; Davos eats an apple at White Harbor. 

But House Fossoway has red and green branches (as well as a brown "bastard" branch) and Garlan Tyrell's wife is a pregnant Fossoway (we are not told whether she is green or brown). Maybe the apple is all about fertility and seeds - men can become immortal if they can pass along their seeds to the next generation. Stannis refused to bite the peach offered by Renly; Renly ate that peach; Ser Garlan apparently chose to eat an apple (or to take a bite) when he impregnated his Fossoway wife. 

My point is that growing fruit and assembling a basket of edible fruit might be a way of reassembling the dismembered body parts of the butcher's boy, Mycah. 

As I was examining that immaculate conception for Sansa before the small council, it struck me that Varys is always described as flying, his feet making no sound. If oranges are linked to feet, maybe this is evidence that Varys is definitely in the Bittersteel (Bitter) team - he is so far removed from sweet that he doesn't even use his feet. But this also led me to think that we should examine the monsters with oddly mixed body parts: griffin, centaur, chimera, harpy, manticore, Dany's baby. The message may be that reassembling Mycah / Westeros requires that the body parts be assembled completely and correctly. 

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22 hours ago, Seams said:

Oranges clearly are part of the fertility symbolsim, but i do think that oranges go beyond fertility into other areas of literary meaning. 

Yes, I do agree, yet there is so much to look at and decipher that I’ve decided to try a new approach by analyzing one set of data at a time to find out where they intersect, if at all. Looking at orange fires after the oranges seems a logical sequence, followed by the characters associated with orange. I suspect the blood oranges in particular (with their links to menstruation, moon blood and not taking advantage of fertility) eventually lead to the blood of the dragon but at which point does fire combine with blood to become the blood of the dragon, fire made flesh?

Dorne is one of the keys to this I think. Blood oranges, the heat. Doran saving Arianne for Viserys. Martells marrying Targs, the role Nymeria’s blood plays in desertification / infertility as opposed to those Orphans of the Greenblood who settle near a river and continue the traditions of the Mother Rhoyne. Too many dragons represent a loss in fertility, imo. Too many dragons represent an excess of fire and heat.

Does a shriveled-up orange represent a crone (and therefore the death of the old cycle) for instance or do withered apples, or prunes for that matter, fulfill this role? Prunes are dried plums. If plums symbolize pregnancy and fertility, then the dried fruit variant, the prune, is past the fertile stage, though it is very sweet but may contain a stone that can be planted for new life. Old men and women can be described as “prunes.” Lady Olenna is described as a prune. Roose loves prunes. Ramsay marries Lady Hornwood, a woman past her child-bearing years and leaves her to starve. There is also the verb “to prune,” as in pruning a bush or tree. Lady Hornwood essentially “prunes” her own fingers. When fingers are cut off, i.e. “pruned”, we get stumps.

 

 

Arya peels the skin off an orange; in an offhand quote, Roose flaying skin off is likened to peeling an orange. We know Ramsay skins young women and oranges represent women. The Boltons skin their enemies and wear the skins as cloaks. Arya wears the flayed skin faces of people who come to the HoBaW to die. Arya serves Roose at Harrenhall. She is his cupbearer and manages the leeches that suck away his bad blood. Is the hippocras she brings him a symbolic replenishing tonic which contains an ingredient that goes missing along with his bad blood when he is leeched? Sometimes I think Arya is symbolically Roose’s daughter. Or perhaps we are to see her as his “nurse” or healer. Leeches are usually handled by maesters and other healers. In that case must we compare Arya to Nurse, the head slave working under Yezzan, the one Tyrion poisons with his hidden mushrooms?

The flayed prisoners at the Plaza in Astapor are “peeled like apples.” What’s the difference between the orange and the apple?

Besides being a symbol for the underworld, the pomegranate also appears to be associated with counting and calculating. Bowen Marsh, the Old Pomegranate, is in charge of food supplies, supplies in general and lives for counting: Three thousand, I make them, by the fires.” Bowen Marsh lived for counts and measures.
As Master of Coin, Littlefinger must be proficient in calculating. Sansa, who rejects the pomegranate, admits she’s no good at sums.

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The queen took Sansa’s hand in both of hers. “Child, do you know your letters?” Sansa nodded nervously. She could read and write better than any of her brothers, although she was hopeless at sums.

No clear idea what this might mean.

 

22 hours ago, Seams said:

I think the uniting motif around Sansa's pregnancy is that her "child" will be one that can fly - bats, butterflies and, like its mother, a little bird. Sansa loses her wolf at an early stage but Sandor calls her a little bird. She goes from wolf to fowl. This may explain why Balon Swann is part of the group of men "impregnating" Sansa. 

 

Adding to this, in the Butterbumps scene, Sansa hatches the egg laid by the fool. She`s a symbolic mother bird hatching little fowls. I think the scene is one of the stages linking oranges to the blood of the dragon or mother of dragons. The little chicks can’t fly yet and fowls or chickens generally do not fly far but it’s a start. Butterbumps blows feathers out of his nose. These feathers probably symbolize fire. Later he blows orange seeds after consuming an orange and from these seeds further fledgling orange-dragon-mothers probably develop.

Sansa’s butterflies, bats, chicks, little birds and what-not.. each may represent a specific property or ingredient in the hypothetical mother of dragons recipe. “Fruitlets” is a partial anagram of “butterflies,” fitting well with your idea of Sansa being pregnant with butterflies. 

22 hours ago, Seams said:

I've recently written up the theory that characters can have more than one father, with specific reference to Sansa being the daughter of both Ned and Littlefinger. Perhaps further proof comes from the horrific story of Lollys Stokeworth, who is tied to Sansa when she refuses to cross a bridge into Maegor's Holdfast until Sansa urges her to do so. 

....

So whatever baby is (or babies are) growing in Sansa's belly may have been symbolically fathered by Joffrey, the small council and the other men standing by.

 

Perhaps the idea is that magical traits are not all handed down at once through one father but require several fathers, or several generations of handing down to manifest. However, if we think of the traits in terms of several souls being handed down in a short time frame, it makes sense to have several fathers all at once. What I mean is a woman with the right mojo who has many sexual partners, like Mel who was a sex-worker and Lollys who was raped (and perhaps also Night’s Queen and Sansa’s symbolic gang-rape), might be able to absorb several souls as well as the seeds of various men.  In a gang rape of half a hundred men (which could have happened to Sansa as well, if the Hound had not rescued her), the chances of picking up relevant souls is high. The souls are then reborn in a child through the raped mother (or a woman who has many lovers).

Perhaps GRRM also played on “Lollys” as in “lolly-pop” when he chose Lollys rather odd name – as a hint that the “pop,”  the father, is important. Or perhaps Lolly’s is supposed to conjure up the image of sucking on lollies –
I mean “lollies,” lol. Sucking on “lollies” = sucking up souls through metaphorical “lollies.” Seriously! :D

Lollys child is a “King’s Landing bastard” as someone put it; figuring out who the biological father is is impossible but Bronn names the child Tyrion. If we are talking about souls, then the child may have been born with the same ancestral souls that Tyrion has.

And, I also think Lollys hints at the actor Telly Savalas who was famous for permanently sucking on a lolly-pop in the series “Kojak.” Savalas was both a singer and an actor, born in Garden City, NY. In Westerosi terms this makes him a mummer and a singer/bard. The two souls in Tyrion’s breast (symbolised by his mismatched eyes, dream of two heads and dwarf/giant identity) could be those of an ancestral mummer and singer, both of which feature in Tyrion’s arc. 

 

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22 hours ago, Seams said:

I have a suspicion that the dismembered butcher's boy, Micah, represents Westeros at war: the "body" of the continent has been cut into pieces. What if the basket of fruit represents a restoration of Westeros?

My ideas on Mycah go in a different direction. I see Mycah in terms of "mica," a silicate mineral found in rock. It has many uses, in paints for example and in cosmetics, here especially because it  shimmers and gives a frosty appearance (I use a lot of micas at home for one of my hobbies). It's crystalline and comes in sheets that are used to make a type of glass. Mica sheets are heat resistant and were used to make small glass windows for stoves for instance. We are not told what the glass window panes that feature in aSoiaF are made of but per description, the windows are usually made of small diamond-shaped panes fixed within lattices of wood. Panes made long ago were usually yellow, though nowadays clear transparent panes are produced.

With this in mind, Littlefinger not being able to make the glass for the windows of the glass gardens for Sansa's snow castle becomes clear. He could not have used ice because glass is made from sand (silica) or in ancient times, from mica silicate panes. Mica's dismembered body then foreshadows the shattered glass gardens. The glass gardens in turn are always "as hot as the hottest day in summer" and this is where winter roses, blue as frost (like frosty mica), grow. A contradiction in itself.  So the "winter roses" originated in a hot environment and indeed Rhaegar took Lyanna to the Tower of Joy in Dorne where Jon, the son of the winter rose is born (Jon really should have been named "Sand"). I think the winter roses are similar to obsidian with the properties of "frozen fire." And they probably also represent another ancestral soul. 

Mycah represents perhaps the ancestral father of the glass garden / winter rose "trait" or soul that was lost when the ancestor was killed. And it is returned periodically to the Starks a via few rare incarnations - Bael the Bard, Rhaegar and Mance (imo). But that's another line of analysis.  

 

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Mycah / Mica,  Michael / heal mica

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“Do you mean to make me beg, bitch? Do it! The gift of mercy … avenge your little Michael …” “Mycah.” Arya stepped away from him.

If Mycah is a reference to sheet glass mica, and Mycah's dismembered body represents broken glass, Michael = "heal mica" suggests the shattered glass gardens need to be fixed. Neither Sansa nor Littlefinger find a solution for inserting the glass panes. The interpretation of restoring Mycah's body in terms of assembling a basket of fruit does fit in with rebuilding the glass gardens.. 

 

On 7/5/2022 at 7:48 PM, Seams said:

My point is that growing fruit and assembling a basket of edible fruit might be a way of reassembling the dismembered body parts of the butcher's boy, Mycah. 

because the diverse fruit can only grow when the glass gardens are fully repaired. Seen as a whole, symbolically putting Mycah back together contributes toward restoring fertility. 

 

ETA: Maybe Podrick Payne is the key to fixing the glass gardens. Payne / Pane (of glass) and he is Pod, a seed that can be planted for new growth. 

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On 7/6/2022 at 12:23 PM, Evolett said:

Fruitlets” is a partial anagram of “butterflies,” fitting well with your idea of Sansa being pregnant with butterflies. 

This is brilliant! I think you may have hit on a key to solving this big fat fertility motif. If butterflies and fruit are two sides of the same coin, how might they interact to explain the author's point about the cycles of planting, growing, harvesting, etc.?

I played with the "butterflies" anagrams and also found this: "fruits betel." In the real world, betel is a leaf that is chewed as a mild hallucinogen. In ASOIAF, I think it is the rough equivalent of what the author calls sourleaf. Both betel and sourleaf cause the consumer's saliva to turn red and, eventually, lead to discolored teeth. 

But lemons seem to be used to clean teeth in ASOIAF. 

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Jon opened a shuttered window, took the flagon of beer off the outside ledge, and filled a horn. Hobb had given him a lemon, still cold from the Wall. Jon crushed it in his fist. The juice trickled through his fingers. Mormont drank lemon in his beer every day, and claimed that was why he still had his own teeth.

(AGoT, Jon IX)

Honey, on the other hand, may be bad for teeth:

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"I have forebears buried beneath the rocks of Cairns." He looked at the map again. "Give him Honeytree and its hives. All that sweet will make him fat and rot his teeth."

(ADwD, Jaime I)

So lemons and honey seem to be contrasting symbols in GRRM's bitter / sweet motif. I have been exploring wordplay linking "bitter" with "biter," possibly putting Bittersteel and the strange creature Biter into one category. Since Biter is paired with Rorge in the story, if Biter represents bitter, I couldn't figure out how Rorge might link to sweet. But I think that oranges might be the key.

I think there is a group of related names that include Rorge, Gregor, House Rogare and possibly Rhaegar. Probably also Roger of Pennytree, the squire who died at the Redgrass Field before Ser Arlan took on Dunk as his squire. (I bet the Redgrass Field is linked symbolically to sourleaf.)

"Orange" is awfully close to being part of this name group and/or the argent / garnet / Garten wordplay group. 

My theory du jour about the "almost anagrams" in ASOIAF is that they may represent genetic code. When egg and sperm come together to make a new zygote, DNA from the parents recombines to form a new code for the child (or kitten or puppy or whatever). There are also mutations in genetic codes, causing offspring to have unique traits that are not like the characteristics of their parents. So the "almost anagrams" are not just GRRM having fun and getting fanciful, they are emblematic of this large underlying exploration of birth, death, rebirth, fertility, the cycles of the seasons, incest, dwarfism, etc. Like DNA, words can recombine and mutate to give birth to new words.

I don't know if we will have to figure out a pattern in the way that names "mutate": Alysanne, Lysa, Alys, Alyssa, etc. Or whether it will be enough to know that they are variations on a theme, occurring naturally or randomly. I think there are other names that are clearer "children" of earlier names: Rickon might take parts from Rickard and Jon, for instance. 

And I don't know how to find out why or whether oranges are linked to the Rorge / Gregor / Roger name group or the argent / garnet / Garten wordplay group. Maybe oranges are the babies that result when one entity from each group gets together? 

But I'm still getting to the larger point about fruit / butterflies.

We know that the author has a "smiler / slayer" motif:

Quote

Stannis called to Devan for more lemon water. When his cup was filled the king drank, and said, "Horpe and Massey aspire to your father's seat. Massey wants the wildling princess too. He once served my brother Robert as squire and acquired his appetite for female flesh. Horpe will take Val to wife if I command it, but it is battle he lusts for. As a squire he dreamed of a white cloak, but Cersei Lannister spoke against him and Robert passed him over. Perhaps rightly. Ser Richard is too fond of killing. Which would you have as Lord of Winterfell, Snow? The smiler or the slayer?"

(ADwD, Jon IV)

In the Puns and Wordplay thread, you recently pointed out that the frequent mentions of a miller, miller's wife and the miller's boys are probably connected to the "smiler" motif - both appear in connection with Theon. Millers grind seeds to make flour and wordplay connects flour to flowers and the "flow" aspect of the wolf / fowl / flow wordplay. So the "smiler" half of the smiler / slayer contrasting pair seems to be linked to flora. How does that connect "slayers" to fauna?

I suspect that slayer and layers is also a wordplay pair. Layers would be animals that lay eggs - chickens and dragons come immediately to mind. Chickens and their eggs are eaten by humans; dragons eat humans (as well as sheep and other meat). 

Seeds and eggs are two very different ways that reproduction takes place. So smilers and slayers come back to the fertility theme by way of millers and layers. Here I've been thinking of Renly as a fertility god looming over the background, but Stannis offering Jon Snow a choice between a smiler and a slayer shows that Stannis may also be a fertility deity. 

The fruit / meat duality might explain why people throw fruit at Prince Doran to protest his failure to avenge the death of his brother, but the crowds throw meat at Cersei when she makes her walk of shame. A person can be either a smiler or a slayer, but not both. Similarly, a person can be a miller or a layer, but not both. If we examine the text, I suspect we will find that most people eat lemons or honey but not both at the same time. 

Except.

I think Butterbumps shows us that there are some people who can engage in both fruit and meat, smiler and layer activity. As you point out, he both lays eggs and eats oranges but produces the seeds from his nose. I have speculated that his name might refer to mammary glands and could be part of a larger motif involving House Darry ("dairy"), wetnurses, milk brothers, milk of the poppy, etc. Eggs are dairy products, and "butter" could be part of the "bitter" and "Biter" wordplay, so maybe he is mostly in the "layer" group. 

I think I will try to pay attention to dishes at feasts that combine fruit and meat. The spoon of lemon cream on the pigeon pie is one famous example, but I'm sure there are others. Maybe the food was poisonous for Joffrey because he was neither a slayer or a smiler. He never did get to "bed" his bride; no fertility activity for good king Joff.

Butterflies are animals, and they present yet another form of rebirth, with their caterpillar and cocoon stages. They do lay eggs, so maybe they are in the fauna group. Fruit and sour leaf (betel) would be in the flora group. So interesting that Sansa is so strongly associated with fruit, but she also has butterflies in her tummy. Is she one of the people with a foot in both worlds?

Lots of questions to explore, but we are making good progress. 

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9 hours ago, Seams said:

I think Butterbumps shows us that there are some people who can engage in both fruit and meat, smiler and layer activity. As you point out, he both lays eggs and eats oranges but produces the seeds from his nose. I have speculated that his name might refer to mammary glands and could be part of a larger motif involving House Darry ("dairy"), wetnurses, milk brothers, milk of the poppy, etc. Eggs are dairy products, and "butter" could be part of the "bitter" and "Biter" wordplay, so maybe he is mostly in the "layer" group. 

This is  an important insight and I think the butter - flies are also part of this dual activity of engaging in both fruit and meat / plant and animal products. Butterflies are pollinators that facilitate plant fertilization, linking them to an important part of the vegetational cycle. At the same time they belong to the animal kingdom. Also, in the caterpillar form they feed on plants so perhaps butterflies are an example of a near perfect fertility cycle. They take from nature in caterpillar form but replenish the cycle as pollinators when they become adults. Together with their ability to undergo metamorphosis, this suggests butterflies cross barriers but also function as a link in the fertility-cycle to make it whole and to keep it going. So perhaps  the Naathi bed-slaves that wear butterfly wings symbolically promote fertility and Sansa's butterlies that become fruitlets in her stomach convey similar meaning. Butter, made from milk, is the nourishing aspect that makes animal "fruitlets" grow. 

In addition to butter-flies, we also have Butter-wells which contrast each other in terms of the ascending and descending motif. Hmm.

 

9 hours ago, Seams said:

n the Puns and Wordplay thread, you recently pointed out that the frequent mentions of a miller, miller's wife and the miller's boys are probably connected to the "smiler" motif - both appear in connection with Theon. Millers grind seeds to make flour and wordplay connects flour to flowers and the "flow" aspect of the wolf / fowl / flow wordplay. So the "smiler" half of the smiler / slayer contrasting pair seems to be linked to flora. How does that connect "slayers" to fauna?

I can't believe I never noticed the smiler/slayer link to flora and fauna and now you point it out, fauna is easy. If the smiler is connected to flora and green vegetation, then the slayer is the hunter who provides the meat. This is best demonstrated by Sam who acquired the Slayer nickname after killing the Other. Symbolically, by slaying the Other, he lives up to his House sigil - the Huntsman. Of course Sam does not actively "hunt" an Other but his transformation into a hunter is accompanied by Jon ordering him to learn to use a bow. 

I think George's idea of the perfect male fertility "god" is one who is able to fertilize the "earth goddess" so that she brings forth fruit as well as being a "hunter" who can provide the necessary meat for the family or community. I also think the "god" must be faithful to the "goddess," - no philandering or bastard children allowed. Most of the symbolic male fertility characters we see do not fulfill both floral and faunal aspects of fertility and some like Robert Baratheon (and Garth the Green) appear to do so but do not remain faithful to their "goddesses," their wives. Instead they have a string of women all of whom they "fertilze" and who bring forth plenty of fruit but these lead to a "rotten summer." One that is too long. We can think of the many women in terms of producing many periods of fertility that together prolong the summer. To make matters worse, Robert's "goddess" Cersei cheats on him. She does not bear his fruit. 

I could write another 10,000 words on the subject and have already put together some of my ideas on the subject here

The author also takes the historic evolution of fertility themes into account. Originally, humans were hunter-gatheres. Like the children of the forest, they did not practice agriculture. With the advent of agriculture, men became farmers and began to sow and reap, giving rise to new fertility gods and goddesses concerned with agricultural practice. "Farmers" can be divided into "growers" responsible for the floral aspect, replacing the former gatheres and "shepherds" who deal with animal husbandry and largely replace the hunters.  Hunters however also become warriors, their former hunting weapons increasingly specialised for war rather than for the hunt. The all encompassing male fertility god is divided into distinct aspects with different functions during the course of civilization and is represented by the 3 male aspects of the Faith - the Father who rules, the Smith and all his other aspects, including farming, who labours and the warrior who takes the part of the hunter. 

Theon is both a "smiler" - connected to floral fertlity and a "slayer./hunter" The smiler part of his identity is reflected by his desire for "ripe" Sansa, love for women and his father's suspicion he might have turned into a "greenlander." The slayer identity is represented by his prowess with the bow and his slaying of the guy who holds Bran. So the turncloak could also hint at his ability to be either one or the other. Or as a turnkey (turnkey / turkey)

Quote

“I spied a turkey,” Theon said, annoyed by the question. “How was I to know that you’d leave the boy alone?”

he holds the key to both. But Ramsay shatters Theon's "smiler" identity (breaking his teeth and killing his horse) and perhaps also his "slayer" identity (removing the fingers necessary to use the bow), crippling his feet (needed to persue prey - in relation to the striding huntsman sigil of the Tarlys). Ramsay renders the "godly" Theon disfunctional. Related to this - I believe the Ironborn were once part of a culture that practiced agriculture very successfully but perhaps abused this privilage and were anahilated ("drowned by an opposing Storm God") by an opposing culture (similar to the Rhoynar / Valyrian scenario). Some survivors of this drowning event washed up on Westeros to become the Ironborn, but having lost their green mojo, now "do not sow." 

And speaking of hunters becoming shepherds - for a while now I've been looking at the Others being "shepherds." They take babies but also sheep and dogs - the classic two animals associated with a shepherd. Perhaps this is the deeper meaning of the sacrifices of sheep and dogs Craster makes. 

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3 hours ago, Evolett said:

This is  an important insight and I think the butter - flies are also part of this dual activity of engaging in both fruit and meat / plant and animal products. Butterflies are pollinators that facilitate plant fertilization, linking them to an important part of the vegetational cycle.

As I read this, I said out loud, "Of course!" I feel as if we are professors working together toward our Nobel prize in the science of ASOIAF Decoding. No one else knows what the hell we are talking about, but they will all be impressed when we pin down the details of why the season in Westeros have been out of whack. Thank you for sharing your "Eureka moment" with me!

I've spent many months trying to figure out the link between "peach" and "sheep". Aside from the "almost reversed" wordplay, I couldn't figure out why these are a pair. But the two aspects of the fertility seesaw help the pieces to fall into place. Dany is horrified when her dragon goes from eating sheep to eating the daughter of a shepherd. She locks up her dragons (except Drogon) and they are freed again only after we see Quentyn bringing a sheep for them in the dungeon where they are locked up.

Dany is thrilled, however, when Ser Jorah brings her a small peach that is amazing. 

Quote

"I've brought you a peach," Ser Jorah said, kneeling. It was so small she could almost hide it in her palm, and overripe too, but when she took the first bite, the flesh was so sweet she almost cried. She ate it slowly, savoring every mouthful, while Ser Jorah told her of the tree it had been plucked from, in a garden near the western wall.

"Fruit and water and shade," Dany said, her cheeks sticky with peach juice. "The gods were good to bring us to this place."

(ACoK, Daenerys I)

(I suspect references to palms are symbolic tree references - at the harvest feast, Bran notably refers to feeling his father's drinking chalice against his palm.)

It seems as if the peach is a fruit and yet it is described here as having flesh that Dany bites. 

Another related thought is that there is probably wordplay here on "pyre" and "ripe." Dany's dragons hatch in the pyre. They do so before Missandei, the butterfly girl, has joined her inner circle. I have a suspicion that Ser Jorah was a necessary ingredient for the dragons to hatch. Maybe the point is that she needed a slayer (Jorah) for this kind of fertility ritual, not a smiler or a butterfly. 

There are some seeds that crack open and germinate only after a forest fire. I suspect this is true of dragon eggs although fire alone is not sufficient to hatch them. At one point I speculated that the word "pyromancer" was necessary for a dragon to hatch. This could be the fertility element of the recipe. Dany loved Drogo but she smothered him with a pillow and burned his body in the pyre - it was a pyre romance.

I suspect the Battle of the Blackwater was a giant symbolic hatching of dragon eggs - the wild fire made by pyromancers was the "pyre romance" element and the ships were the eggs. The hatchlings are all of the new knights and lords created by decree of the king. But Sandor Clegane and Ser Barristan depart from the court, while Jaime and Brienne soon arrive. Maybe this represents a shift from fauna to flora, meat to fruit, hound to peach (Brienne is associated with peach symbolism). 

The escape of "Florian and Jonquil," Ser Dontos and Sansa, may be another "pyre romance." There is imagery of the suits of scale-covered armor coming alive as the torch light passes them in the long gallery as Sansa and Dontos flee the Red Keep. (This link also contains ideas about the fertility and rebirth symbols in the long gallery.)

I'm also wondering about the dismissal and departure of Ser Barristan just before Sansa kneels on his cloak (to protect her gown) to beg for Ned's life. That is the scene where she observes the small council and then feels the butterflies in her tummy. Ser Barristan then travels to Essos and pledges his service to Dany, displacing Jorah from her inner circle. What does Ser Barristan represent in the fertility cycle? Are there two types of warriors in this fertility pantheon?

One possibility is that, like Theon, Ser Barristan has a "turncloak" function. He was loyal to Aerys but then to King Robert and Joffrey. Now he is loyal to Dany. Renly hoped Barristan would show up at his camp but he ends up giving the blue cloak to Brienne, who is having difficulty deciding whether to be loyal to Catelyn or to Jaime. We see a similar "turncloak" element in Criston Cole and in Quentyn Ball, both of whom are seen as "kingmaker" (or "queenmaker") characters. Maybe these types of characters will be the ones who can switch between the fauna kings and flora kings or "seasons" in the kingdom. 

I have suspected for awhile that Brienne becomes a queen bee during her visit to the Quiet Isle. The religious men are the drones and she is the only woman present. She is given a private room in a hive-like structure. Since her quest is to find the butterfly girl, Sansa, it would be interesting if she becomes the bee woman. This would link Brienne to the "sweet" aspect of the bitter / sweet pair, too. Perhaps contrasting with the "bitter" worldview of Lady Stoneheart.

3 hours ago, Evolett said:

I think George's idea of the perfect male fertility "god" is one who is able to fertilize the "earth goddess" so that she brings forth fruit as well as being a "hunter" who can provide the necessary meat for the family or community.

This would help to explain Ser Hyle Hunt, who follows Brienne and Pod and Nimble Dick Crabb, but doesn't make himself known until right after Nimble Dick is killed. Hunt's sigil is a dead deer so I thought he might be a symbolic "afterlife" version of Renly. That may still be true, but I bet he is also a necessary stage in the fertility cycle attached to Brienne. When she kills Shagwell, Pyg and Timeon at The Whispers, it is Ser Hyle who hacks off their heads in order to prove to Randall Tarly that the men are dead. (Before he dies, Shagwell makes a vile remark about how he plans to rape Brienne.) We are told that Ser Hyle has a daughter out of wedlock but he makes a pitch to persuade Brienne to marry him. 

I keep meaning to get back to some of your earlier posts to offer some thoughts in reply, but the new revelations keep distacting me. So much good insight here. Thanks for playing! I still hope to get back to the earlier posts one of these days. 

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