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AGOT Re-read: Small observations & musings


Corvinus85

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Been a while since I started a thread around these parts. Anyway re-reading AGOT and decided to compile a list of things I've not noticed before (in my previous 4-5 readings) or did but didn't think much about, but now have the benefit of hindsight. To keep the OP short, I'll post only a few.

Ned's blood ritual: By cleaning Ice of blood in the pool by the heart tree, Ned performs his own blood sacrifice to the tree. He may not realize that’s what he’s doing, but this could likely be a tradition passed down from father to son.

Robert's relaxed Kingsguard: Why are only three Kingsguard knights escorting the entire royal family to Winterfell? Even if Robert’s brothers are considered part of the royal family, Renly along with Barristan join them later, and Stannis goes off to Dragonstone without any Kingsguard. So, three Kingsguard knights are left in King’s Landing to guard whom? One might say that this was GRRM still figuring things out. But I think GRRM had thought these things through, and it’s likely just a sign of the endemic corruption plaguing Robert’s court. Jaime doesn’t even wear the white during his entire stay at Winterfell.

Conflating legends: Serwyn of the Mirror Shield is listed among the Kingsguard that Bran idolizes, except he’s supposed to be an ancient hero. The wiki says that singers have attributed this to him along with the knighthood. Curious his is the first name on Bran’s list.

Targaryen dragon history: According to Tyrion the oldest dragon skull in the Targaryen collection is three thousand years old. That’s interesting. There are only 19 skulls, and here there is one far older than the Targaryen dynasty. Was this the first dragon of House Targaryen, so it’s been kept and revered?

Was Meraxes the largest dragon at the time of the Conquest? Dragons don’t stop growing, though their growth slows down. Balerion holds the record as the largest dragon the Targaryens ever had that we know of. But it’s easy to conflate their size based on the skulls in the dungeons with how big they were at the time of the Conquest. Let’s look at Vhagar first: Vhagar approaches Balerion’s size at the time of the Dance, so 129 years after the Conquest began. And even then, she dies the smallest of the three. Per Tyrion, Meraxes’s skull is bigger, and Meraxes dies in 10 AC. In fact, Vhagar may not have been a huge dragon at the time of the Conquest. One thing that Visenya does with her is go to the Eyrie, from where she picks up the little lord. The Eyrie is not a big castle, its courtyard is not that big. So back to Balerion – the Black Dread outlived Meraxes by 84 years. Granted, according to Tyrion, Balerion’s skull looks big enough to swallow an aurochs hole, maybe even a mammoth. So Balerion was definitely huge at the time of the Conquest. But if Meraxes was bigger in 10 AC than Vhagar in 130 AC, and Vhagar is said to approach Balerion’s size, what was the size difference between Meraxes and Balerion at the time of the Conquest?

 

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Adding a few more:

Child safety When Sansa and Joffrey spend the day together, before the Arya incident, one of the things they do is track a shadow-cat to its lair!!!? Excuse me, what? Aren’t shadow-cats dangerous? Two kids on horses track it to its lair and return unharmed?

Legends and accidental predictions While it’s possible that the last hero is Azhor Ahai, Old Nan’s story gives no indication of this, quite the opposite – the last hero carried a sword which froze and then snapped.

If Benjen Stark is Coldhands, Bran had an early prophetic saying. When Yoren informs Robb and Bran of Benjen’s disappearance, Bran recalls Old Nan’s story and blurts out that the children of the forest will help him.

Worldbuilding Ser Donnel Waynwood tells Catelyn that Lysa did not permit her knights to attend the Hand’s Tourney to keep their swords close in case of war. Was he talking about all the knights of the Vale? If so, clearly the Royces didn’t care. Nice to see that GRRM had thought about the Royce-Arryn enmity since early on.

Another clue? Ned’s narration says he pulled down the ToJ to make cairns for the dead and he believes the tower to be long destroyed. The map shows the ToJ as a castle, not as a ruin… hmm. Perhaps the Dornish rebuilt it as it looks to be in a strategic location.

Overtly cautious or a bad fighter? Ser Vardis Egen should have fought with a two-handed weapon. He was decked out in plate armor with mail, he had no need for a massive shield. Sure, he was sort of forced to fight with Jon Arryn’s longsword, but he burdened himself needlessly with that shield, and could have made better use of a free hand. (or used a shorter weapon in his offhand)

Playing fast and loose with the rules Thoros of Myr is a red priest that came to KL to convert Robert to his faith. Between his rowdiness and fighting skills he gained Robert’s favor and became a long-time guest. But what authority does he have, what rank does he hold? Because Ned chose him along with Beric and two others to each raise 20 men to go after Gregor Clegane. How is Thoros supposed to raise men? Does he have money to pay 20 sellswords? The others I can understand. Also, interesting that Ned has no qualms picking a priest of a strange religion for this task. It shows that Ned believes Thoros to be loyal to Robert and that’s all that matters.

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What are people's thoughts on the little voice Arya hears when she's trying to escape the Red Keep? I noted this in previous reads, but I usually forget about it later.

She is startled by the voice at first, but then she isn't sure if it's Syrio's voice or hers. I know there are theories about Syrio's survival. Or could it be related to her warging ability?

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On 10/21/2022 at 5:57 AM, Corvinus85 said:

Ned's blood ritual: By cleaning Ice of blood in the pool by the heart tree, Ned performs his own blood sacrifice to the tree. He may not realize that’s what he’s doing, but this could likely be a tradition passed down from father to son.

Nice, may be what allowed Bran to see through the tree (at that time wasn't it?).

On 10/22/2022 at 4:58 AM, Corvinus85 said:

Legends and accidental predictions While it’s possible that the last hero is Azhor Ahai, Old Nan’s story gives no indication of this, quite the opposite – the last hero carried a sword which froze and then snapped.

Yeah the two get conflated on the boards by readers but aren't ever in the story.

Last Hero will be Arya, Sandor the dog, Needle the snapping sword.

Quote

 

"I ought to snap this toy across my knee here and now, and put an end to this nonsense."

"Needle wouldn't break," Arya said defiantly, but her voice betrayed her words.

 

Regarding this one

On 10/25/2022 at 2:30 AM, Corvinus85 said:

What are people's thoughts on the little voice Arya hears when she's trying to escape the Red Keep? I noted this in previous reads, but I usually forget about it later.

She is startled by the voice at first, but then she isn't sure if it's Syrio's voice or hers. I know there are theories about Syrio's survival. Or could it be related to her warging ability?

I don't know what you mean but would like to, can you quote it?

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53 minutes ago, chrisdaw said:

I don't know what you mean but would like to, can you quote it?

After Arya kills the stableboy and is trying to get to the tunnels, she has to cross the yard but is afraid.

Quote

She had to leave now, she told herself, but when the moment came, she was too frightened to move.

Calm as still water, a small voice whispered in her ear. Arya was so startled she almost dropped her bundle. She looked around wildly, but there was no one in the stable but her, and the horses, and the dead men.

Quiet as a shadow, she heard. Was it her own voice, or Syrio's? She could not tell, yet somehow it calmed her fears.

 

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9 minutes ago, Corvinus85 said:

After Arya kills the stableboy and is trying to get to the tunnels, she has to cross the yard but is afraid.

Written like it could be her training and inner voice kicking in or magic. I'll take magic, her reaction is too over the top for an inner voice.

Syrio, faceless men, Bran, herself from the future, something crazy, but things change and GOT was a long time ago so it might be never addressed.

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11 minutes ago, chrisdaw said:

Written like it could be her training and inner voice kicking in or magic. I'll take magic, her reaction is too over the top for an inner voice.

Syrio, faceless men, Bran, herself from the future, something crazy, but things change and GOT was a long time ago so it might be never addressed.

Yeah, I don't think I was ever startled by my own thoughts.

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Another little observation

Karma? Irony? In Bran’s chapter when the northern host gathers, Bran hosts the sons of lords in the great hall on their last night there, as Robb eats with just the major bannermen.

Quote

Harrion Karstark, the oldest of the of Lord Rickard’s sons, bowed, and his brothers after him, yet as they settled back in their places he heard the younger two talking in low voices, over the clatter of wine cups. “… sooner die than live like that,” muttered one, his father’s namesake Eddard

Interesting that both are later killed by Jaime who also shared the same feelings with Tyrion earlier in the book.

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9 hours ago, Corvinus85 said:

Yeah, I don't think I was ever startled by my own thoughts.

These words are so significant for her character arc - she repeats them to herself and they echo throughout all her chapters, so it's interesting to note that this is really where they begin, with a voice potentially from outside. Fear cuts deeper than swords, etc. They serve as her mantra, which keeps her true to herself even throughout all her 'changes of identity' in the books, much like her 'kill list' does. It's why she will ultimately fail to become a true Faceless Man. She's embedded the seeds of who she is too deep within her psyche, or perhaps has them embedded in this scene, as a kind of protective ward.  

Also, it's a thematic link with Daenerys, who internally repeats her mantra, I am the blood of the dragon, etc. Both characters are essentially children adrift in the world and searching for a home that they may never find again. Their words are what keeps them going even in desperate moments, the wind in their sails.  

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And how about Dany spilling blood in vaes dothrak. It’s something I’ve noticed before but also forgot about it…

Also about Viserys, while being crowned, talking about “wanting what was promised” in the same chapter the crones prophesied he was TSWMTW, and we know the end of it… 

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  • 1 month later...


Have you noticed this…

I think it outlines the basic structure that Martin uses throughout the series.  There’s lots of inverted parallels with two things combining as aspects of one. A sort Yin and Yang. Martin seems to figuratively illustrate this in the Prologue of AGOT. Take a look…

Quote

Will saw movement from the corner of his eye. Pale shapes gliding through the wood. He turned his head, glimpsed a white shadow in the darkness. (Prologue, AGOT)

To start …notice some of the play on words that Martin uses…The “pale shapes” that Will sees when the Other first dawns the pages of our series are “twins to the first”.

Quote

They emerged silently from the shadows, twins to the first. Three of them … four … five …(Prologue, AGOT)

The first” refers to ”a white shadow in the darkness” that Will glimpses in the first quote.

This association of the “pale shapes” and “a white shadow” allows a literary analysts to exchange the two descriptions. It allows “a white shadow in the darkness” to be a “pale shape” in the darkness.

Now here comes the wordplay, “pale” is a homophone for the word pail, a bucket. The play here is that a pail shape is round.

So Waymar is looking at a figuratively, white round shape emerging from the dark of the wood.

Symbolically (literarily), we are seeing the Yin half of the taijitu symbol. A white dot superimposed on black. And if this is hard to believe, keep reading. The Yang half is easier to see and believe.
 

Seeing Waymar from the perspective of the Other because of its’ armor, we are seeing Waymar standing in front of a ridge of new-fallen snow in the all black wardrobe of the Night’s Watchmen. He’s turning in a slow circle with his black steel sword in hand.

A black circle superimposed on white.

In summary, we have a pale shape(round) in the dark of the wood. And Waymar in all black making a circle in front of a snowy ridge. And they are about to dance. 

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  • 1 month later...
On 10/27/2022 at 12:48 AM, Corvinus85 said:

Yeah, I don't think I was ever startled by my own thoughts.

I definitely have. Specially in high stress situations, when I feel absorbed by some important task-at-hand - and then an intrusive thought just bursts through and startles me, making me lose focus and scramble to regain composture. 

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