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The Catspaw's Valyrian Dagger

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I think I found out the significance of the Bran almost being killed by the Catspaw Dagger.  

There is a story by Robert E. Howard called The Devil in Iron, about an otherworld shapeshifting demon named Kosatral Khel, that crawls out of the abyss and appears as a hollow metal giant, and he has the power to bring the dead back to life.   He cannot be killed by any Earthly weapon, he can only be killed with a special dagger that was made from a meteor--a weapon not of this Earth.

In Celtic myth, Bran was a giant, and he had a cauldron (hollow metallic object) that could bring the dead back to life.  In art Bran is depicted as a giant decapitated floating head, with the cauldron superimposed over it.  In Hindu myth Rahu was an immortal decapitated head that swallows the sun during an eclipse.  And Bran is Fenrir, the great winged wolf, who gets chained in a cave, and breaks his bonds and swallows the sun at Ragnarok.  I have posted at length about Yuggoth/the Black Goat being associated with cauldrons/pots/vats and hollow vessels, and the Black Goat caused an Endless Night on Earth.  (the names Galladon and Serwyn both mean "cauldron, vat, boiler")

I think Bran becomes the Great Other / Night King, othar means "cripple" in Gaelic.  And the Night King is another name for the Stranger / Lion of Night that is a giant celestial black stone/cauldron that causes the Long Night and brings the dead back to life.  And the only thing that can kill the Night King is a meteoric weapon--the Red Comet / Lightbringer / Dawn sword.

Bran is the Devil in Iron / Night King, and he can only be killed by a special meteor weapon.  And the incident with the Catspaw dagger was foreshadowing.


The name Kosatral Khel is from Hindi  koh- satra - khel

koh = "pot, and mountain, and anger"

khoh = "cave, chasm, pit"

kosa = "husk"  (bran)

kosan = "curse"

khosat = "dry, decrepit, old"


satr = "enemy"


khol / khul / khal / kol = "outer shell, hollow, empty, wicked, cruel, skin"

khel = "trough"  (hollow metal vessel)

Edited by By Odin's Beard
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I've noticed a few "living" disembodied heads in ASOIAF and related materials:


That was when Tyrion noticed Penny, watching the mummery from the steep wooden stair that led down beneath the sterncastle. She stood on one of the lower steps, so only the top of her head was visible. Beneath her hood her eyes shone big and white in the light of the nightfire. She had her dog with her, the big grey hound she rode in the mock jousts.

(ADwD, Tyrion VIII)



"Aerion is here. He is a better lance than Daeron in any case, if it is the tourney that concerns you." Dunk could see the speaker now. He was seated in the high seat, a sheaf of parchments in one hand, Lord Ashford hovering at his shoulder. Even seated, he looked to be a head taller than the other, to judge from the long straight legs stretched out before him. His short-cropped hair was dark and peppered with grey, his strong jaw clean-shaven. His nose looked as though it had been broken more than once. Though he was dressed very plainly, in green doublet, brown mantle, and scuffed boots, there was a weight to him, a sense of power and certainty.

(The Hedge Knight)

In that second example, I was thinking of Lord Ashford as the head but I see that Prince Baelor may also be a head. 

Of course, the various beheadings might also factor in to a listing of disembodied heads. 

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I think the valyrian dagger with the dragonbone hilt is a very subtle allusion to the tale of Cadmus and the sowing of the dragon teeth.

In the Cadmus tale, Cadmus is told that through the slaying of a dragon he can gain an army.  Cadmus slays the dragon and then is told to plant the dragon's teeth into the ground.  When he does this, soldiers spring up from the ground.  Cadmus then throws a jewel or some other valuable object among the soldiers which cause them to fight among themselves, the survivors become Cadmus' army.

This tale lead to the phrase "sowing the dragon's teeth" as meaning to sow discord.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon's_teeth_(mythology)

Which leads me to the valyrian steel dagger with the dragon bone hilt.  I think this is GRRM's symbolic "dragon's tooth".  

When Catelyn takes the blade down to King's Landing, Littlefinger deftly twirls the blade around and uses it to spread discord between the Starks and Lannisters by falsely claiming that he lost the blade to Tyrion.  Thus Littlefinger is able to use the dragon's tooth to have his enemies fight against each other, basically raising two armies to battle against each other presumably for some personal gain of his own.   Very similar to the tale of Cadmus having the soldiers fight among themselves.

This tale also makes me think that Tyrion and Jaime may be wrong in laying the blame of the catspaw on Joffrey.  After all there was someone else there with a bag of silver that stood to benefit with having the Starks and Baratheons at each other's throats.  Another Baelish character.

Joffrey being the culprit really doesn't make too much sense.  He could care less about Bran suffering, certainly not enough to take a risk in hiring the catspaw to put Bran out of his misery.  If his motive was to curry favor with his father by taking action on his father's drunken thoughts that Bran would be better off dead, how can he curry favor by performing an action that he could never tell his father about?

Finally, the nail in the coffin for me about Joffrey being the person behind the catspaw is the use of the valyrian steel blade.  Why waste a valyrian steel dagger on a helpless boy in a coma, when an ordinary blade would do?  Joffrey's love of valyrian steel makes it very unlikely that this would have been the blade that he would have given the catspaw.  After all Joffrey is no stranger to Valyrian steel.

But it does make sense to use a valuable valyrian steel blade if you want to use a very unique weapon that can easily be traced back to someone, especially if it's someone you want to frame for Bran's murder to sow discord.  

I think it likely that Mance broke into Robert's wheel house and found the most valuable blade in the collection, assuming that it would belong to the King.  It just so happened however, that Robert only used a hunting knife given to him by Jon Arryn.  But Mance couldn't have known that.

So Mance takes the blade and gives it to the catspaw and tells the catspaw that it would be a "mercy" to use it to put Bran out of his misery.  It's a similar sentiment to what another wildling, Val,  expresses to Jon about it being a mercy to put children with greyscale out of their misery.

My guess is that Mance believed, whether successful or not, the catspaw's killing of Bran or the attempted killing of Bran would lead to the recovery of the valyrian blade which in turn would lead to the Starks blaming Robert Baratheon.  And thus, Eddard's attention turns away from Mance and the gathering of Mance's army in the north and towards the south and King's Landing.  Thus once again using the "dragon tooth" to sow discord and to help gather an army.

Edited by Frey family reunion
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