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Osha, Rickon, and Skagos: a Shaggy Dog story?


Aebram
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22 hours ago, Aejohn the Conqueroo said:

Where did that little kid Rickon with the strange dreams come up with the name 'Shaggydog' anyway?

I think it's directly related to the pair of opposites GRRM uses here:

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"They were the Kings in the North for thousands of years," Maester Luwin said, lifting the torch high so the light shone on the stone faces. Some were hairy and bearded, shaggy men fierce as the wolves that crouched by their feet. Others were shaved clean, their features gaunt and sharp-edged as the iron longswords across their laps. "Hard men for a hard time. Come." He strode briskly down the vault, past the procession of stone pillars and the endless carved figures. A tongue of flame trailed back from the upraised torch as he went.

AGoT, Bran VII

He lifted his head from his paws, listening, sniffing at the night.

The evening's rain had woken a hundred sleeping smells and made them ripe and strong again. Grass and thorns, blackberries broken on the ground, mud, worms, rotting leaves, a rat creeping through the bush. He caught the shaggy black scent of his brother's coat and the sharp coppery tang of blood from the squirrel he'd killed. Other squirrels moved through the branches above, smelling of wet fur and fear, their little claws scratching at the bark. The noise had sounded something like that.

And he heard it again, clink and scrape. It brought him to his feet. His ears pricked and his tail rose. He howled, a long deep shivery cry, a howl to wake the sleepers, but the piles of man-rock were dark and dead.

ACoK, Bran VI

It seems like a playful choice for the name of a pet, but I think there is "razor" wordplay in "Azor" Ahai, so it's probably pretty central to a major motif. We read Catelyn's last words about not cutting her hair, Arya getting a haircut from Yoren, and Sansa dying her hair to become Alayne. So the shaggy black hair of Rickon's direwolf must have some purpose. 

On 9/12/2022 at 8:28 AM, Hugorfonics said:

... if the unicorns were just warhorses in service to their lord then I dont understand why Rickon is killing them.

There is a lot of action around eating horse meat, so Rickon and Shaggydog are showing us a variation on a theme. Bran's direwolf eats horse flesh after Ramsay burns Winterfell - it might even be Theon's horse, Smiler, who was last seen on fire and fleeing in panic. Dany eats a stallion heart. At the urging of Qhorin, Jon Snow eats oats with the blood of a shaggy garron just before he joins the wildlings. Bran and his companions eat elk meat after Coldhands slaughters his loyal beast near the end of their journey to Bloodraven's cave. 

The fascinating difference here is the horn aka corn. The Lord Commander's chatty raven is constantly talking about corn and Bran fed corn to the crows before he had his fall from the Old Keep at Winterfell. We know that Mance has been searching for a magical horn that will bring down The Wall. So here we have Shaggydog (in Ghost and/or Jon's mind's eye) eating horse flesh PLUS corn PLUS horn all at once. 

(Edit: I suppose a unicorn is a "sharp" horse, while a garron is often described as "shaggy." If Shaggydog eats a unicorn and Jon Snow eats a shaggy garron, there may be symbolism here about become whole (howl) or taking on the characteristics of one's opposite.)

In the ACoK quote, above, see the bit about waking the sleepers? It doesn't work for Summer, and he fails in his attempt to climb a tree to get over the wall at Winterfell. I would bet a nickel that this is foreshadowing to tell us that it will be Shaggydog and Rickon that get over The Wall or cause it to fall.

We also see a reference to Shaggydog's black coat. Where have we seen a significant black coat? That would be in our introduction and goodbye to Waymar Royce, who wore a sable coat. He was a ranger but not a first ranger - except that I suspect GRRM has created wordplay around "fur stranger" that goes with the stranger/ranger characters. We see a sable coat associated with a couple other Night's Watch brothers until Jeor Mormont finally says that the title of Acting First Ranger will not be awarded to anyone. I suspect Rickon may reappear as the reborn "fur stranger," which seems like a good match for his creepy nature. At one point, Jon Snow told Tyrion that Rickon could have all of his stuff - Rickon is Jon's Snow's heir (hair) and Jon Snow was a stranger within the Stark household.

A recent discussion about coin symbolism also causes me to note the references to "scent" and "copper" in Bran/Summer's observations about Shaggydog. A copper (s)cent suggests a penny, and pennies (in one of my convoluted theories) symbolize entrances to the Underworld. So Osha and Rickon might not need money to pay for a ship - they are hiding in the Underworld with Shaggydog as the magical opener of doors. 

Edited by Seams
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18 hours ago, BalerionTheCat said:

Maybe we should question whether the one writing that really knew Skagos. If they really fight with the goats. Or if it is just for folklore because the goats are too savage and vicious. And garrons are more useful.

Very true. The reports from the northern front suggested Robb rode Greywind into battle.

18 hours ago, BalerionTheCat said:

But anyway, it seems a more or less savage, mountainous country. I could imagine a lot of these goats live wild in the mountains. And Shaggydog could hunt them for fun without being a nuisance for a goat herder, breeder, owner

Which kinda leans me to the goat side and not the unicorn. If Shaggy is living his best like he did in the godswood at Winterfell then this unicorn doesnt seem very rare. Like, if lots of these "enormous goats" are just hanging then what's Leaf lamenting about?

Too much reasoning for my taste, but I fuck with @Seams symbolisms, and I can get behind Direwolves eating their masters rides is a thing, 

20 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

I'm sure it was a simple matter of direwolf sees strange and opts to eat it rather than become friends.

It does sound simple.

20 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

The Wildlings accept magic as a matter of fact and part of life--it's not some far away long gone thing.  They live closer to the land and old traditions. 

But they're not wildlings, just wild, things. The freefolk don't care much about magic because they're a society of anarchists, but Sixskins still is ostracized and Rattleshirt makes some cracks about Jon and Ghost. So I wouldn't say they're the acceptive and if they were they're still not Skagosi

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George Martin sends his future leaders through a journey which force them to live among different peoples. People in some, who are/were hostile to theirs. The character develops sympathy for the “other” people. They rise and become prominent leaders. Jon Snow became fond of the savages. He will come back semi-alive to lead the wildlings and the wights. Daenerys fell in love with the Dothraki. She was making progress with relations to the Ghiscari. She will become their Empress in the future. And so it will be with Rickon. He will fit in with wildlings and the Skagosi. They will be his people. The old leaders of the north will not survive long. The Stark pack will return and reclaim Winterfell.  

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1 hour ago, Hugorfonics said:

It does sound simple.

But they're not wildlings, just wild, things. The freefolk don't care much about magic because they're a society of anarchists, but Sixskins still is ostracized and Rattleshirt makes some cracks about Jon and Ghost. So I wouldn't say they're the acceptive and if they were they're still not Skagosi

You are a tough sell considering Sixskins is a magical creature himself.  At any rate, I hope you understand more about these goats being classified as unicorns and perhaps Skagossi marketing.  

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23 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

Well, perhaps Rickon thought himself shaggy? 

haha I think it had more to do with the fact that Rickon was four years old and that, as a pup, Shaggydog looked like a dog with shaggy fur.

I do think there is a hidden meaning but the in-story background of Shaggydog's name seems to be a ordinary case of a preschool kid choosing a overly-simplistic and over-descriptive name for a pet and/or an imaginary friend.

 

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50 minutes ago, BlackLightning said:

haha I think it had more to do with the fact that Rickon was four years old and that, as a pup, Shaggydog looked like a dog with shaggy fur.

I do think there is a hidden meaning but the in-story background of Shaggydog's name seems to be a ordinary case of a preschool kid choosing a overly-simplistic and over-descriptive name for a pet and/or an imaginary friend.

 

Works for me!

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3 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

You are a tough sell considering Sixskins is a magical creature himself. 

And hes ostracized as a child, as soon as his magic became known, hes only allowed to hang out with the normals because Mance needs every sword or claw he can.

3 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

At any rate, I hope you understand more about these goats being classified as unicorns and perhaps Skagossi marketing.

Unicorns are cool. I think Rickon warring on them is cooler but whatever. I dont think theyre anything like freefolk though, like the wildlings of the vale are totally different. (who are more democratic then anarchists. Maybe the Skagosi will be marxists? Thatll be a fun market)

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Though there was discussion on which route to take and where to go, Jojen more or less guided Bran and Meera to the Nightfort, the castle he had seen in his dreams and his ultimate goal was to lead Bran to the three-eyed-crow whom he knew to reside beyond the Wall.  Like Bran, Rickon too had the prophetic dream of his father’s death, indicating he is capable of receiving dreams, perhaps also from Bloodraven. So it’s possible going to Skagos was Rickon’s choice, not Osha’s and that they were guided there by Rickon’s dreams. As elaborated on in  the OP, Osha choosing Skagos as a destination is odd indeed both because of the reputation of the Skagosi and the logistics of getting there. I can imagine Osha succumbing to the wisdom of Rickon’s dreams however, especially since she knew about the boys’ matching dreams and was witness to Rickon and Shaggy hiding in and emerging from Ned’s tomb.  She also believes in the old gods and seemed well versed in lore long forgotten south of the Wall. In case of such a scenario, I think Osha would respect and follow up Rickon’s dream-leads to get them to Skagos.  For all we know, Rickon’s third eye may have opened in the crypts along with Bran’s and perhaps there is a reason why Skagos may be important to his development, sinister as it may appear. Incidentally, the Skagosi are said to live in caves and mountain fastnesses.

Shaggydog has bright green eyes while Ghost’s are red. From Bloodraven we know that CotF born with the gift of are marked by green or red eyes:

Quote

“I thought the greenseers were the wizards of the children,” Bran said. “The singers, I mean.” “In a sense. Those you call the children of the forest have eyes as golden as the sun, but once in a great while one is born amongst them with eyes as red as blood, or green as the moss on a tree in the heart of the forest. By these signs do the gods mark those they have chosen to receive the gift.

Perhaps the author has marked the wolves instead of the children to indicate the greenseer gift. Shaggy and Ghost appear to be opposites – green/black, red/white and Jon thinks of Ghost as belonging to the weirwood. 

There could also be a connection between Shagga son of Dolf and Rickon/Shaggydog. Shagga is as shaggy as his name suggests. He is a wild, hairy aggressive man fond of threatening to sever genitals and feed them to the goats. “Dolf” could also be a play on “Wolf.” Last we saw of Rickon, he was wild and aggressive. After Robb’s departure he refused all hair cuts, his hair growing long, and we can imagine, turning “shaggy” as time goes on. Skagos means “stone” and Shagga belongs to the clan named the Stone Crows. Shagga also mirrors the Skagosi in his physical features – massive, hairy and smelly. Maybe Shagga foreshadows a future version of Rickon.

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17 hours ago, Evolett said:

Perhaps the author has marked the wolves instead of the children to indicate the greenseer gift. Shaggy and Ghost appear to be opposites – green/black, red/white and Jon thinks of Ghost as belonging to the weirwood. 

This is excellent!          :bowdown:

 

Edited by LongRider
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