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Etymology and language findings


Sandy Clegg
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21 hours ago, Sandy Clegg said:

... and now the fox/sword definition as an additional clue. Then we have the fact that this odd Lightbringer image is poking out through the circle of blue-coloured flowers.  Might this be an additional clue we can tie in to the Lightbringer myth? Well, the blue rose is another blue flower

Now I'm looking at this in terms of the "Song of the Winter Rose" or the Tale of Bael the Bard and Rhaegar's crowning of Lyanna at the Tourney of Harrenhal. I hope I can make my point cohrently - it may sound jumbled or outlandish but bear with me.

The Florents give us a number of important clues. I'll concentrate on their characteristic large ears, the fox and the blue flowers. 

The large ears symbolize enhanced hearing. Let's say the Florent ears are able  to hear  things that others cannot make out. Why is this important? Because we have a motif of "silence," most notably embodied by Euron and by the Silent Sisters. There is someone else who has the ability to "hear" frequencies that others cannot: Jon Snow. Jon "hears" his mute puppy who will be named Ghost. 

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Halfway across the bridge, Jon pulled up suddenly. “What is it, Jon?” their lord father asked. “Can’t you hear it?” Bran could hear the wind in the trees, the clatter of their hooves on the ironwood planks, the whimpering of his hungry pup, but Jon was listening to something else.

.....

“There,” Jon said.

 

Bran hears all sorts of things but not the whimpering of a puppy. Jon locates Ghost because he heard. Jon is also the ultimate "blue flower," the blue winter rose. So I've had this idea for a long time but for some reason never connected the blue flowers of the Florents to a secret ability to "hear." And I think the important thing here is that there is a secret song that must be heard. 

So what about the fox? The tricksy fox represents the "Bael" character. Bael the Bard named himself "Sygerric," meaning "deciever". It's Bael who uses the very same blue winter roses he received in payment for his songs as "currency" in payment for the "rose he picked unasked." Note the tale is titled "the song of the winter rose." Because of its thorns, the rose is also a "weapon," a secret weapon: 

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He could see it still: a crown of winter roses, blue as frost. Ned Stark reached out his hand to grasp the flowery crown, but beneath the pale blue petals the thorns lay hidden. He felt them clawing at his skin, sharp and cruel, saw the slow trickle of blood run down his fingers, and woke, trembling, in the dark.

Promise me, Ned, his sister had whispered from her bed of blood. She had loved the scent of winter roses.

 

A secret weapon. The scent is the lure, the petals hide the thorns, the thorns then strike. Loras Tyrell, Knight of Flowers embodies this idea. He is beautiful, his cloak and armour covered in blue flowers (forget-me-nots). He is a talented knight and he lures Ser Gregor's stallion with the scent of his mare. His grandmother is the "Queen of Thorns." But Loras seems to be missing a "song."

Similar symbolism emerges when we consider Rhaegar. 

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And when the triumphant Prince of Dragonstone named Lyanna Stark, daughter of the Lord of Winterfell, the queen of love and beauty, placing a garland of blue roses in her lap with the tip of his lance, the lickspittle lords gathered around the king declared that further proof of his perfidy.

tWoIaF

Rhaegar composed and sang songs and played the harp. In this account he is linked to deception (Bael / the fox) by the lickspittle lords. Placing the garland of blue winter roses in her lap with the tip of his lance does remind of the fox's shiny snout poking into the circle of the Florent blue flowers. There's also the sexaul connotation of it and this is also present in Loras' case and of course explicit in Bael's case. Rhaegar also sang a song that made the wolf-maid sniffle and I think he gave her a "secret song" along with the laurel of blue winter roses as well, a song passed onto Jon. As per Dany's vision in which Rhaegar names Aegon as the recipient of the song:

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“He has a song,” the man replied. “He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire.”

 

But it's actually Jon who gets the "song of the winter rose" which is a song of ice and fire as embodied by the winter rose that is blue as frost and grows in a hothouse. And he gets it from Rhaegar.

So is there any connection between Rhaegar and hearing a song as well as singing songs? This might only convince lovers of wordplay, but I'm convinced there is. 

Consider the name Rhaegar. "Gar" is from Old English spear. This is the "weaponized" aspect of the laurel of roses.  My hypothesis is that blue flowers are linked to hearing. Rearrange "Rhae" and you get "hear." Rearrange "gar" to "rag." Rheagar hears rag? Ragtime is a musical style of the late 18, early 19 hundreds. Ragtime pieces have a characteristic "ragged rhythm" and were often called "rags". What convinces me that I'm on the right track is the following find:

Ragtime was popularised by the African-American composer and musician Scott Joplin. He composed the Maple Leaf Rag, most famous of all ragtime pieces, for which he became known as the King of Ragtime. Most intriguing of all, the piece was published by the company John Stark and Sons. Coincidence or no? What I've read about this style of music convinces me it's a possible template for "a song of ice and fire," for two rhythms that don't really gel but are put together to form a harmony that works. The Mapel Leaf Rag is considered a difficult piece. It's a piano piece and one must have very good coordination in the left hand to perform the piece successfully. 
If I'm right about this, then the Leaf may be an indication of a secret song stemming from the weirwoods.

Rhaegar symbolically gives Lyanna this "hearing trait" when he gives her the flowers. This "hearing"  trait is passed to Jon. 

 

14 hours ago, Seams said:

Gilly and Sam finally come up with the name Aemon Steelsong or Aemon Battleborn after Sam tells Gilly that "Maester" is not a name. But I do think that there is wordplay around maester and stream. Streams flow, so the symbolic linking of the baby to the name Maester may mean that he is also a flower. Mance's baby, who has undergone a complicated recipe of forging rituals with Mance, Aemon, Gilly, Sam's Florent heritage and Kojja Mo, may also be a sword. 

Very much agree. Have to take a break now but hope to come back later with a post on how Gilly and Maester Aemon fit into the above. 

Edited by Evolett
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3 hours ago, Evolett said:

So I've had this idea for a long time but for some reason never connected the blue flowers of the Florents to a secret ability to "hear." And I think the important thing here is that there is a secret song that must be heard. 

 

3 hours ago, Evolett said:

Loras Tyrell, Knight of Flowers embodies this idea. He is beautiful, his cloak and armour covered in blue flowers (forget-me-nots).

This is still at the stream-of-consciousness stage.

I wonder whether the Forget-me-Nots are the equivalent of "hearing" something that others don't hear? "The North remembers" - the same thing as "forget me not"? And the words of House Royce: We remember. 

Maybe the forget-me-not blue flowers are part of uniting blue and red: red fox, Robar the Red. 

Brienne (blue) hates roses (red) because Red Ronnet Connington memorably rejected a betrothal with her and gave her a red rose. But she loved Renly (green) and Renly loved Loras (forget-me-nots). 

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The guests were shouting out names for the new blade. Joff dismissed a dozen before he heard one he liked. "Widow's Wail!" he cried. "Yes! It shall make many a widow, too!" (Storm, Sansa IV)

Widow's Wail is also the name of a blue flower. 

And then there's this:

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"He claims to come bearing gifts. It's the yellow fool with the blue hair."

Daario Naharis. "That one. I'll hear him, then."

...

"My sword is yours. My life is yours. My love is yours. My blood, my body, my songs, you own them all. I live and die at your command, fair queen."

(Storm, Daenerys IV)

To be sure, she was just as guilty. Dany found herself stealing looks at the Tyroshi when her captains came to council, and sometimes at night she remembered the way his gold tooth glittered when he smiled. That, and his eyes. His bright blue eyes. On the road from Yunkai, Daario had brought her a flower or a sprig of some plant every evening when he made his report . . . to help her learn the land, he said. Waspwillow, dusky roses, wild mint, lady's lace, daggerleaf, broom, prickly ben, harpy's gold . . . 

(Storm, Daenerys V)

Of course, Daario also gives severed heads to Dany. 

And I would throw in one other famous literary reference to blue flowers. In the Tennessee Williams play called "The Glass Menagerie," the heroine has a disease called pleurosis. The love interest turns a misheard, mispronounced version of this word into a nickname for her: Blue Roses. GRRM may have had this literary allusion in mind as he devised the symbolism for his books.

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On 6/22/2023 at 11:00 PM, Seams said:

Gilly takes Mance's baby on a trip with Maester Aemon, who knows what the real Lightbringer would feel like, and Sam. Mance's baby is now Gilly's baby.

We know Gilly was named after the gillyflower and that this group of flowers includes wallflowers that come in different colours. I'm personally pretty convinced that Maester Aemon is Gillys true grandfather, that he's the black brother who fathered Craster, so the idea that Aemon is a "flower" very much appeals to me. In that case we may also have a point of origin for a "flower trait" beyond the Wall.

On 6/22/2023 at 11:00 PM, Seams said:

Gilly and Sam finally come up with the name Aemon Steelsong or Aemon Battleborn after Sam tells Gilly that "Maester" is not a name. But I do think that there is wordplay around maester and stream. Streams flow, so the symbolic linking of the baby to the name Maester may mean that he is also a flower. Mance's baby, who has undergone a complicated recipe of forging rituals with Mance, Aemon, Gilly, Sam's Florent heritage and Kojja Mo, may also be a sword. 

Gilly's baby, Monster, probably also has this flower trait and I would argue that both babies are given songs, mirroring the song motif of Bael and Rhaegar. Sam sings to baby Monster just before they are attacked by wights. Sam also pleads with a very reluctant Daeron to sing for Mance's baby:

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Once, at Sam’s urging, the singer played a lullaby to soothe the babe, but partway through the first verse Gilly began to sob inconsolably. “Seven bloody hells,” Dareon snapped, “can’t you even stop weeping long enough to hear a song?” “Just play,” Sam pleaded, “just sing the song for her.” “She doesn’t need a song,” said Dareon. 

In the end it's Kojja Mo who frequently sings to the baby aboard the Cinammon Wind. 

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The only thing Kojja Mo loved better than her bow was bouncing Dalla’s boy upon her knee and singing to him in the Summer Tongue. 

Baby Aemon receives the name "Steelsong" or "Battleborn." I find it significant that Kojja Mo sings to him in the Summer Tongue. Swords sing a "steel song" or "song of steel" in aSoiaF and the Summer Tongue suggests a "warm or hot sword," tongues also being swords. Warmth is just what Maester Aemon was missing in the fake Lightbringer. So Dalla's baby has a song and a warm sword but does he have flowers as well? I think he does. From Gilly: when she feeds the baby her milk, she passes on her "flowers"  to him.

And I agree there's a forging going on with Sam, whose Mum is a Florent, as well. 

On 6/22/2023 at 11:00 PM, Seams said:

Sam has just had rum for the first time to toast Aemon's life, and we learn that it is like fire: "The liquor was strange and heady; sweet at first, but with a fiery aftertaste that burned his tongue" (AFfC, Samwell IV). Since tongues are where words come from, the burning tongue could be a fiery sword / words wordplay. Aemon's death resulted in Sam acquiring a fiery sword. 

For good measure: 

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Sam felt more comfortable with Kojja Mo than with her father, though that might be because she spoke the Common Tongue and he did not. “I like you too, Sam,” whispered Gilly. “And I like this drink. It tastes like fire.” Yes, Sam thought, a drink for dragons.  

Shortly after this, the romance gets under way:

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I said the words, Sam thought again, but one of her nipples found its way between his lips. It was pink and hard and when he sucked on it her milk filled his mouth, mingling with the taste of rum, and he had never tasted anything so fine and sweet and good

Sounds as though the milk tempers the fiery rum and leads to the "fat pink mast." 

It's worth mentioning that Chett, who assissted Maester Aemon before Sam took over the post, gave flowers to a girl he wanted to bed and killed her with a knife when she refused him. 

On 6/22/2023 at 11:00 PM, Seams said:

Garth Greenhand was the father and his two daughters, Rose of Red Lake (formerly Blue) and Florys the Fox, as red and blue.

The "properties" of roses and blue flowers that are not roses differ, I think, and perhaps these two branches had to come  together to form blue winter roses. Florys is said to have been the cleverest of Garth's children. The fox and lapis-lazuli symbolism holds true for her. She was certainly a trickster / cunning (had three husbands who knew nothing of one another), like the fox, played the innocent (flowers) and was clever (lapis is a wisdom stone, also linked to the third eye. Lapis is also associated with winter, a birthstone for December. 

I would say the fox is linked to fire as well as the sword. There is its colour, the association of the Florents with Rh'llor and if the Bael connection is correct, also to "balefire." Perhaps the fiery fox sword needs to team up with a bloody sword to achieve proper Lightbringer status. That might be symbolized by Brandon of the Bloody Blade who turned Blue Lake Red when he slaughtered hundreds of CotF there. 

 Reminds me of Beric who needs his blood to set his sword on fire or Valyrian Steel Ice that's infused with Lannister crimson and Ned Stark's blood. 

Edited by Evolett
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5 minutes ago, Evolett said:

Sam sings to baby Monster just before they are attacked by wights.

Jon hears Val singing and "I have heard you singing to him."

"I was singing to myself. Am I to blame if he listens?" A faint smile brushed her lips. "It makes him laugh. Oh, very well. He is a sweet little monster."
"Monster?"......
 
Whatever Val is singing, Jon hears it too.
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NEW TOPIC: Apple-Johns

apple-john  - a sort of apple, called in French deux-années or deux-ans, because it will keep two years, and considered to be in perfection when shrivelled and withered.

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.03.0067:entry=apple-john

As part of my 'language of Jons' research I came across this usage. Apple-Johns (or sometimes John-Apples) are meant to be kept for a long time and are best eaten when withered (ew). John Falstaff refers to himself like this in Henry IV, part one:

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“I am withered like an old apple-john.” iii. 3

Anyway, this struck me as worth checking out in the books, so let's rustle the language sack and see what turns up.

Withered apples are not only found several times in the books, but in some rather interesting places, including everyone's favourite - the AFFC prologue. But first, here it is occurring in two key turning points (for Jon Snow and Dany no less) near the end of A Game of Thrones:

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There was no danger yet; Castle Black still slept. In his saddlebag, he found a biscuit, a piece of cheese, and a small withered brown apple. He'd brought salt beef as well, and a rasher of bacon he'd filched from the kitchens, but he would save the meat for the morrow. After it was gone he'd need to hunt, and that would slow him.

Jon sat under the trees and ate his biscuit and cheese while his mare grazed along the kingsroad. He kept the apple for last. It had gone a little soft, but the flesh was still tart and juicy. He was down to the core when he heard the sounds: horses, and from the north.  

AGOT, Jon IX

I'm going to try not to over-analyse these passages too much, so we might get some more open discussion going. But I find it interesting that the last thing we hear as the apple is done is the sound of horses: a thematic link to Daenerys, which is where the withered apple-john appears next. A pyre is built, and then ...

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Rakharo chose a stallion from the small herd that remained to them; he was not the equal of Khal Drogo's red, but few horses were. In the center of the square, Aggo fed him a withered apple and dropped him in an instant with an axe blow between the eyes.   

AGOT, Daenerys X

So here, the 'apple-john' is given as a symbolic offering to the soon-to-be sacrificed animal ... or, the Jon symbol becomes part of the animal, which is then slaughtered to initiate a resurrection. Several ways to interpret this, perhaps.

Next we skip a few books, and find the unlucky apple-john again -  being used for target practice this time:

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Dragons," said Mollander. He snatched a withered apple off the ground and tossed it hand to hand.

"Throw the apple," urged Alleras the Sphinx. He slipped an arrow from his quiver and nocked it to his bowstring. 

 AFFC, Prologue

Mollander seemingly does a bit of apple juggling before eventually throwing it, which calls to mind this quote from Illyrio to Varys:

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Even the finest of jugglers cannot keep a hundred balls in the air forever."

"You are more than a juggler, old friend. You are a true sorcerer. All I ask is that you work your magic awhile longer." They started down the hall in the direction Arya had come, past the room with the monsters.

 - AGOT, Arya III

A comparison between juggling and sorcery - worth remembering. We also have this quote from Jon:

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Alliser Thorne overheard him. "Lord Snow wants to take my place now." He sneered. "I'd have an easier time teaching a wolf to juggle than you will training this aurochs."

"I'll take that wager, Ser Alliser," Jon said. "I'd love to see Ghost juggle."

 - AGOT, Jon III

So, this is a nice combo of juggling metaphors. The most obvious connection to Ghost and juggling might be found in the idea that Jon and his direwolf will very likely end up 'sharing space' inside Ghost's head for some of the next book, as his dead body will be presumably (temporarily?) out of action. So there may be a bit of 'juggling' for head space going on? At the very least, we are being urged towards a more 'mystical' definition of juggling here, with the apple-Jon being one of the elements at the mercy of our 'juggler'. Of course, Mollander does eventually launch the apple, and Alleras is quick to shoot it down:

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Dragging his clubfoot, Mollander took a short hop, whirled, and whipped the apple sidearm into the mists that hung above the Honeywine. If not for his foot, he would have been a knight like his father. He had the strength for it in those thick arms and broad shoulders. Far and fast the apple flew . . .

. . . but not as fast as the arrow that whistled after it, a yard-long shaft of golden wood fletched with scarlet feathers. Pate did not see the arrow catch the apple, but he heard it. A soft chunk echoed back across the river, followed by a splash.

Mollander whistled. "You cored it. Sweet."

Again, as in our first quote, the 'apple-john' is stripped  down to its core, to its bare essence if you will. And it ends up in the water. Sweet ... well, sweetness and death go hand in hand, as many previous posts by others have mentioned.

Our final scene with withered apples comes in ADWD:

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"He has to come get his own apple. Or his onion. Not both. Same as you. Now, is it an apple or an onion? Be quick about it, now, there's more behind you."

"An apple," she said, and he gave her one, an old dried thing, small and withered.

The most interesting thing to notice here maybe the contrast between apples and onions. Whatever the 'apple-john' represents, it is somewhat in opposition to whatever is represented by the onion. My first thought led me to physical properties: the physical brain, versus the 'astral' mind perhaps (astral as in: a warg's  - or even a  skinchanger's - disembodied mind). With the apple probably being the latter (onions are somehow more 'earthy', and apples more of an 'abstract ideal' to me, but either could be the case, perhaps). Alternatively, the onion may represent a different character from the story, just as the apple-john is a 'Jon Snow' stand-in. I won't speculate here, but I doubt it's Davos.

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By the time the last withered apple had been handed out, the wagons were crowded with wildlings, and they were sixty-three stronger than when the column had set out from Castle Black that morning. "What will you do with them?" Bowen Marsh asked Jon on the ride back up the kingsroad.

"Train them, arm then, and split them up. Send them where they're needed. Eastwatch, the Shadow Tower, Icemark, Greyguard. I mean to open three more forts as well."

The apples are handed out en masse. To me, this can be interpreted as a 'scaled-up' image of Aggo feeding the apple to the sacrificial horse. Only instead of one horse, we have 63 wildlings. Each symbolically given a little piece of Jon Snow (or onion, as the choice may be). A juggling act indeed ...

Edited by Sandy Clegg
took out the word 'thusly' which was making me sound like a bit of a prick
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Because I saw the mention of Bloodstone in another thread:

Mineral heliotrope is known as Bloodstone, there's also a flower of the same name, Heliotrope though not much to add on that. It is also the name of a light purple/violet color, possibly due to the flower.

Mineral was thought to have magical properties including "its property to make rain, solar eclipse and its special virtue in divination and preserving health and youth." 

Heliotropium - Wikipedia

Heliotrope (mineral) - Wikipedia

Etymologically, it is "hḗlios"(sun) + "trépō" (to turn)

Heliotrope (mineral) - Wikipedia

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Some of the meanings of Fell are quite interesting considering the castle Winterfell and associated things

- Hill: Winterfell encompasses several hills, so Winterfell = Winter Hill

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It taught him Winterfell's secrets too. The builders had not even leveled the earth; there were hills and valleys behind the walls of Winterfell. There was a covered bridge that went from the fourth floor of the bell tower across to the second floor of the rookery. Bran knew about that. And he knew you could get inside the inner wall by the south gate, climb three floors and run all the way around Winterfell through a narrow tunnel in the stone, and then come out on ground level at the north gate, with a hundred feet of wall looming over you. Even Maester Luwin didn't know that, Bran was convinced.

-Strong: The name of the rulers of Winterfell, Stark, also has the meaning strong

- Skin of an animal, but also of human: Boltons, long time rival of Starks like to skin people. Boltons are among "Stark wannabes" (I may add a post on it if I can find it) and I remember @The Fattest Leech had a theory of them actually descending from Starks, originating from a bastard that is.

fell - Wiktionary

 

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I've posted this bit in some of my other posts but it deserves a place here as well

Skirling means a small salmon or trout. Jon Steals the redhead Ygritte in an area known as Skirling pass which is "a long, twisting course between mountain peaks and hidden valleys". The sigil of house Tully is a trout. So another redhead that is currently located in another valley, Sansa, would be a skirling as she is the very image of a Tully.

 

skirling - Wiktionary

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3 hours ago, Corvo the Crow said:

Some of the meanings of Fell are quite interesting considering the castle Winterfell and associated things

I'll add in some I found, abridged from my personal bible, Chambers dictionary. Unusual ones highlighted.

fell  

verb

  1. To cut down
  2. To prostrate (eg by illness; dialect)
  3. To turn under and stitch down the edges of (a seam; needlework)

noun

  1. A quantity felled at a time
  2. A number of lambs born at one time
  3. A felled seam

adjective

  1. Cruel
  2. Dire
  3. Ruthless
  4. Fierce
  5. Deadly
  6. Keen
  7. Doughty
  8. Pungent (Scot)
  9. Great, mighty (Scot)

noun

  1. A skin
  2. membrane
  3. A covering of rough hair

ORIGIN: OE fell; cf Ger Fell, L pellis, Gr pella

fell (Spenser) 

noun

  1. Gall or bitterness

 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Tower of Joy

It's been noted by a few over the years, e.g. here by @Crona and  here by @Mourning Star, that the name 'Tower of Joy' may have been inspired by that castle of Arthurian legend, the Joyous Gard, which features in Mallory's original Le Morte d'Arthur :

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Joyous Gard  - the castle of Lancelot in Arthurian legend ... Tristram once keeps Iseult there for three years; after Lancelot has to surrender Guinevere it is renamed ‘Dolorous Gard’. https://www.encyclopedia.com

A Joyous, or Dolorous, Tower. This transition from joyous to dolorous may be significant. Dolorous, as we see in Dolorous Edd, means 'sorrowful' or 'full of grief or pain'.

One proposed site of this castle is actually in Brittany in France, namely the Château de Joyeuse Garde. An English translation of the French joyeuse gives us many possibilities:

  • happy, gay, buoyant, merry, vibrant, colourful, festive, etc

 ... but we also get:

  • enchanted, mystified, spellbound

This circles back round to Dolorous Edd, one of Jon's constant companions at the Wall. One of Edd's first appearances in the books is when he and Jon are sent to investigate the abandoned hovels in the wildling settlement of Whitetree:

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Jon had to stoop to pass through the low door. Within he found a packed dirt floor. There were no furnishings, no sign that people had lived here but for some ashes beneath the smoke hole in the roof. "What a dismal place to live," he said.

"I was born in a house much like this," declared Dolorous Edd. "Those were my enchanted years. Later I fell on hard times." A nest of dry straw bedding filled one corner of the room. Edd looked at it with longing. "I'd give all the gold in Casterly Rock to sleep in a bed again."     - ACOK, Jon II

His 'enchanted years' were presumably before people started referring to him as 'dolorous'. Then he 'falls' on hard times - which may remind us of Ned pulling down the Tower of Joy to make cairns, turning the Tower of Joy into a memorial of grieving. So in this simple ruined building and the character of Edd,  is GRRM asking us to look at parallels somehow?

Edited by Sandy Clegg
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2 hours ago, Sandy Clegg said:

One proposed site of this castle is actually in Brittany in France, namely the Château de Joyeuse Garde.

This leads me to think about this character:

https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Joyeuse_Erenford

The current wife of Lord Walder Frey. 

An Ehrengard is an honor guard but GRRM has called this character Erenford. To me, a ford implies a river crossing. We know that the Frey family derives its power and fortune from controlling a river crossing. And I have a long-standing suspicion that King's Guard members (possibly also City Watch and Night's Watch members) have a special power to cross barriers - walls, entrances to the underworld, etc. 

Joy Hill was also the name of Gerion Lannister's natural daughter. Tywin promised her in marriage to House Spicer as part of the deal to double-cross Robb Stark. When Sybell Spicer finds out that Joy is a bastard, she is insulted if this was what Tywin Lannister had intended as a bride for her eldest son. 

But there is so much meaning in the river crossing for Robb Stark and his traveling companions and his death. If "Joy Ford" is a clue for us about who gets to cross the river, I bet this wife outlives Lord Walder and her next husband will be an important figure in crossing the Trident. Sybell Spicer might rue the day that she rejected Joy as a bride for her son. 

As for your Dolorous Edd question, the clues are intriguing. I'm not sure how I would approach them. I think we need to understand a lot about beds to know why he would give all the gold in Casterly Rock to sleep in a bed. I have tried to examine bedding and wedding clues, Catelyn sleeping in Hoster's bed as he is dying, Quentyn sleeping in Dany's bed as he is dying. Jon Snow leaves the sword Long Claw in his bed when he attempts to desert the Night's Watch.

Certainly Lyanna in a bed of blood would be relevant to decoding the Tower of Joy details.

If we can sort out the meaning of beds, we might be better able to derive meaning from Dolorous Edd in this scene. 

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30 minutes ago, Seams said:

https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Joyeuse_Erenford

The current wife of Lord Walder Frey. 

An Ehrengard is an honor guard but GRRM has called this character Erenford.

The 'eren' part of Erenford is likely a bastardisation of the word 'heron' seeing as the heron is the symbol of their house:

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House Erenford is a noble house of the riverlands. It is a vassal house of House Frey. They blazon their arms with a golden heron, beaked and gambed black, standing with a silver fish in its beak, on pink. https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/House_Erenford

A ford is a crossing, so ... The silver fish in the heron's mouth is a possible reference to Catelyn (Tully trout) being thwarted in her attempts to cross at the Twins? 

1 hour ago, Seams said:

As for your Dolorous Edd question, the clues are intriguing. I'm not sure how I would approach them. I think we need to understand a lot about beds to know why he would give all the gold in Casterly Rock to sleep in a bed.

I have some Edd notes somewhere. A lot of his humorous musings seem to have layers to them, but they're kind of obscure to figure out.

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3 hours ago, Sandy Clegg said:

Tower of Joy

It's been noted by a few over the years, e.g. here by @Crona and  here by @Mourning Star, that the name 'Tower of Joy' may have been inspired by that castle of Arthurian legend, the Joyous Gard, which features in Mallory's original Le Morte d'Arthur :

A Joyous, or Dolorous, Tower. This transition from joyous to dolorous may be significant. Dolorous, as we see in Dolorous Edd, means 'sorrowful' or 'full of grief or pain'.

One proposed site of this castle is actually in Brittany in France, namely the Château de Joyeuse Garde. An English translation of the French joyeuse gives us many possibilities:

  • happy, gay, buoyant, merry, vibrant, colourful, festive, etc

 ... but we also get:

  • enchanted, mystified, spellbound

This circles back round to Dolorous Edd, one of Jon's constant companions at the Wall. One of Edd's first appearances in the books is when he and Jon are sent to investigate the abandoned hovels in the wildling settlement of Whitetree:

His 'enchanted years' were presumably before people started referring to him as 'dolorous'. Then he 'falls' on hard times - which may remind us of Ned pulling down the Tower of Joy to make cairns, turning the Tower of Joy into a memorial of grieving. So in this simple ruined building and the character of Edd,  is GRRM asking us to look at parallels somehow?

It would have to be his grandfather, for Jory's father was buried far to the south. Martyn Cassel had perished with the rest. Ned had pulled the tower down afterward, and used its bloody stones to build eight cairns upon the ridge. It was said that Rhaegar had named that place the tower of joy, but for Ned it was a bitter memory. They had been seven against three, yet only two had lived to ride away; Eddard Stark himself and the little crannogman, Howland Reed. He did not think it omened well that he should dream that dream again after so many years.

Everyone's favorite Eeyore impersonator, Eddison "Lightbulb" Tollett, better known as Dolorous Edd.

Two men went through each house, to make certain nothing was missed. Jon was paired with dour Eddison Tollett, a squire grey of hair and thin as a pike, whom the other brothers called Dolorous Edd. "Bad enough when the dead come walking," he said to Jon as they crossed the village, "now the Old Bear wants them talking as well? No good will come of that, I'll warrant. And who's to say the bones wouldn't lie? Why should death make a man truthful, or even clever? The dead are likely dull fellows, full of tedious complaints—the ground's too cold, my gravestone should be larger, why does he get more worms than I do . . ."

Known members of House Tollett include, Jon Tollett (member of Maegor's Kingsguard) and Uthor Tollett. Uther Pendragon being the name of King Arthur's father.

Whom did Edd squire for? 

"We'll never find that one, and I'll be blamed," announced Edd Tollett, the dour grey-haired squire everyone called Dolorous Edd. "Nothing ever goes missing that they don't look at me, ever since that time I lost my horse. As if that could be helped. He was white and it was snowing, what did they expect?"

When did he join the watch?

Perhaps interestingly, Edd is one of three characters described as "horsefaced". Arya being the obvious one, who's appearance is also compared to Lyanna (a more flattering comparison, and Lyanna is described as half a horse herself). Jon is also said to share the "Stark" look.

The third is:

The worst of the lot was Del, a horsefaced youth near Jon's own age, who would talk dreamily of this wildling girl he meant to steal. "She's lucky, like your Ygritte. She's kissed by fire."

Del is killed by Summer. One might say that Lyanna was "kissed by fire", not in reference to her hair, but to Rhaegar.

I'm a big fan of Electric Edd, and I'm convinced there is an underlying joke/reference going on here, but I'll be damned if I can put it all together!

 

 

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On 9/12/2023 at 12:06 PM, Sandy Clegg said:

The 'eren' part of Erenford is likely a bastardisation of the word 'heron' seeing as the heron is the symbol of their house:

I think that's a good first layer of meaning. I would bet money that includes that Ehren allusion, as well, along with Harrenhal sound-alike possibilities. "Herren" is the German word for men, of course. Since we are talking about rivers and fords, it's worth noting that "Damen" is the German word for women. Maybe flow is male and dams are female?

On 9/12/2023 at 12:06 PM, Sandy Clegg said:

I have some Edd notes somewhere. A lot of his humorous musings seem to have layers to them, but they're kind of obscure to figure out.

Years ago, @GloubieBoulga shared a theory that Dolorous Edd is the after-death version of Ned Stark. Since Ned's real name is Eddard, that could be a starting point for the comparison. There is a lot of "King of the Underworld" stuff in Dolorous Edd's dialogue that seems like a good fit for Ned's after-death side gig.

Not sure whether that helps or hurts your interest in a link to the Tower of Joy. 

He is a fool figure, so I agree 100% that his humorous musings carry deeper meaning. 

Edited by Seams
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On 9/12/2023 at 6:06 PM, Sandy Clegg said:

The 'eren' part of Erenford is likely a bastardisation of the word 'heron' seeing as the heron is the symbol of their house:

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House Erenford is a noble house of the riverlands. It is a vassal house of House Frey. They blazon their arms with a golden heron, beaked and gambed black, standing with a silver fish in its beak, on pink. https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/House_Erenford

A ford is a crossing, so ... The silver fish in the heron's mouth is a possible reference to Catelyn (Tully trout) being thwarted in her attempts to cross at the Twins? 

Herons are frequently found near rivers, lakes, and wetlands. They are known for their patience and stillness while hunting prey, including fish. I suspect by marrying Joyeuse, Walder Frey finally gains the ability to "catch fish," i.e. symbolic fish and mermaid characters. We know Walder has had 8 wives from 8 different houses and has sired a huge family. His descendants have married into further houses as well. Taken altogether, House Frey has networked itself into numerous southern houses through marriage, even House Lannister, but House Tully eluded him for decades because Hoster wasn't having any of it. His bitterness over this issue was apparent when Catelyn approached him about crossing the Twins and by the end of the negotiations Walder Frey had secured two marriages to two Starks with Tully blood as well as placed two Frey wards directly in Catelyn's care and one Frey boy as a squire to Robb. That was a start. When Robb renegs on the marriage deal, Walder gains the prize fish he probably wanted all along - Edmure:

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“Roslin caught a fine fat trout,” the message read. 

Edmure is liiterally a "fish" caught and chained. Walder not only catches trout. After the Red Wedding, betrothals between Freys and the merman Manderlys are secured, though Wyman thrawts this. Lord Frey probably wanted to marry into House Tully for politcal reasons. He is an ambitious man. Perhaps he had set his sights on one day elevating his house to the Status of Lord Paramount of the Riverlands. Indeed this is the prize Emmon Frey thinks he has secured by gaining Riverrun, only to be disabused of this notion. But I think there's an underlying magical aspect to this business of catching fish too, one we have not fully figured out. 

Joyeuse is a  bit of a no-name character and in the narrative, we find some of these no-names who are able to catch fish with bare hands attached to important characters:

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Kurz caught a fish with his bare hands. Arya saw how he did it, standing over a shallow pool, calm as still water, his hand darting out quick as a snake when the fish swam near. It didn’t look as hard as catching cats.

....

Missandei's brother:

“He taught me how to climb a tree when we were little. He could catch fish with his hands

Men of the wolfswood are also practiced at catching fish:

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Not long ago, they could count on hooking one or two fish apiece, and wolfswood men more practiced at ice-fishing were pulling up four or five.

Wolves in general are good at "fishing:" Brandon, then Ned and...

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Jon chuckled. “Perhaps you should do the same thing, little sister. Wed Tully to Stark in your arms.” “A wolf with a fish in its mouth?”

 Very early foreshadowing of Catelyn being fished out of the river by Nymeria. 

A very young Drogon is also adept at spearing down flying fish above the sea with his flame.

 

Patchface also offers clues to fish that link to marriage and red hair and thus to our  Tully fish:

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“Sers.” Jon inclined his head to the knights in question. “May you find happiness with your betrothed.” “Under the sea, men marry fishes.” Patchface did a little dance step, jingling his bells. “They do, they do, they do.”

 

Patchface always reacts directly to people or conversations in his vicinity. In this case the betrothed fishes are Gerrick Kingsblood's three red-haired daughters who are to marry Selyse's knights:

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Gerrick's daughters shared her (Ygritte's) same flame-red hair, though hers had been a tangle of curls and theirs hung long and straight. Kissed by fire. "Three princesses, each lovelier than the last," he told their father.

Patchface has a lot to say about merwives and mermen, of course. 

 

Last but not least, Jon Snow has a lot of fishy business going on as well, specifically that his mother was a fishwife:

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Stannis rubbed the back of his neck. “You haggle like a crone with a codfish, Lord Snow. Did Ned Stark father you on some fishwife?

Or that his mother was a fisherman's daughter. We can add Wylla, the wet-nurse who Ned Dayne asserts is Jon's mother to the mix. Her namesake, Wylla Manderly, is a symbolic mermaid. 

 

In the ancient past, the Grey King is said to have taught men how to fish. He also married a mermaid who undoubtedly wove those tapestries of silver seaweed hanging in his hall. The fisherfolk believe Patchface was revived by a mermaid who taught him to breathe in exchange for his seed and after this return from "under the sea," Patchface is gifted with visions. There's undoubtedly something magical about these "mermaids" and "fish."

I'm 100% convinced that Bran's greenseeing powers come from his Tully inheritance but to actively use this power in conjuction with the weirwood, the Stark wolf-blood was necessary, the basis for warging and the mingling of spirits (another version of a wolf with a fish in its mouth). 

So how would that relate to a heron with a fish in its mouth or Joyeuse Erenford? As @Seams has noted above, a ford is a crossing. In some Native American cultures, the heron is seen as a messenger between the human world and the spirit world. It is believed to have a connection to the supernatural and may serve as a spiritual guide. So perhaps besides catching fish (and in parallel to the wolf pulling Catelyn out of the river - wolf with a fish in its mouth), Joyeuse symbolically facilitates Catelyn's transition from the underworld back to living. "Joy" or laughter can often be sinister in aSoiaF. The Tower of Joy certainly wasn't a joyous place,the "laughing tree" led to a series of monstrous events as well as war. Littlefinger of the mocking bird fame brings disaster to so many. Joyeuse herself does not radiate happiness. She is pale, frail and timid. 

Edited by Evolett
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Gilly / the Gillyflower

Gilly is named after the Gillyflower, which exists in our world too. It has various other names, among them:

  • hoary stock
  • wallflower
  • bleeding heart

https://www.magicgardenseeds.co.uk/The-Good-To-Know/Hoary-Stock-(Matthiola-incana)-A.MAT02-

The character of Gilly may be a confluence of these different names. 'Hoary' refers to white or icy-grey, and is often connected with Others and their wights:

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Sam felt a moment's relief, until he saw the horse. Hoarfrost covered it like a sheen of frozen sweat, and a nest of stiff black entrails dragged from its open belly. On its back was a rider pale as ice. - ASOS, Samwell I

This could connect to the belief that Craster is giving his sons to the Others, which would make his daughter-wives a source of 'hoary stock' in a sense. But we also find Gilly at the Wall, where Jon and Val think of her infant child as Monster. The name 'wallflower' for Gilly is also hinted at in Jon's memories of his first meeting with her:

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Jon was remembering. "The first time I saw Gilly she was pressed back against the wall of Craster's Keep, this skinny dark-haired girl with her big belly, cringing away from Ghost.” - ADWD, Jon II

So we have the image of this Wall flower, at the Wall, who also represents 'hoary stock' and has a child who some call 'Monster'. 

The other word which reminds us of hoar is of course 'whore' - and I think this is another instance where George is inviting us to draw parallels, as Gilly and Shae both share 'clove-scented' imagery:

gillyflower /jilˈi-flowr/ (Shakespeare gillyvor /-vər/) 

noun

  • A flower that smells like cloves, esp cloveˈ-gillyflower and stockˈ-gillyflower 
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Tyrion put down the candle, took her hand in his, and pulled her gently to him. She bent to kiss him. Her mouth tasted of honey and cloves, and her fingers were deft and practiced as they found the fastenings of his clothes. - AGOT, Tyrion VIII

This sensual imagery of honey and cloves can also be found in this exchange, which takes place just before Sam meets Gilly, which is almost certainly foreshadowing of their future relationship, given the connotations of her name:

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"A midden heap with a roof and a firepit." Jon told Sam what he had seen and heard in Craster's Keep.

By the time the telling was done, it was dark outside and Sam was licking his fingers. "That was good, but now I'd like a leg of lamb. A whole leg, just for me, sauced with mint and honey and cloves. Did you see any lambs?"

"There was a sheepfold, but no sheep.” - ACOK, Jon III

Meek as a lamb, Gilly the wallflower with a name which recalls cloves as well as iciness (with 'hoary stock'). Mint could be a further connection to the coldness implied in the imagery of Gilly being a 'mother of the Others' figure. A wallflower who leaves a seed behind at the Wall, namely a 'potential Other' symbol in the infant Monster.

Edited by Sandy Clegg
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On 9/16/2023 at 5:21 AM, Evolett said:

I'm 100% convinced that Bran's greenseeing powers come from his Tully inheritance but to actively use this power in conjuction with the weirwood, the Stark wolf-blood was necessary, the basis for warging and the mingling of spirits (another version of a wolf with a fish in its mouth). 

I totally do not follow this jump from fish and fishing allusions to greenseer implications. Was there even any indication that any Tully was a greenseer?

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