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The eyes of the Other and Waymar’s Other eye.


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The blue eyes seen in the Prologue of AGOT are actually sapphire gems set in the guard and pommel of Ser Waymar Royce’s longsword. Will's misinterpretation of the "white shadow" and the seemingly Otherized Waymar are a demonstration of how fear can warp one’s sense of reality. Consumed by terror, unable to speak, Will is overwhelmed by his own immobilizing fear. His mind struggles to decipher the jewels on the hilt of Ser Waymar Royce’s longsword from the supernatural eyes conjured in the shadowy corners of his subconscious. His belief that he's experiencing something otherworldly poses a question to his reliability as our narrator. It’s no coincidence that on the two occasions that Will observes the blue eyes, Waymar's hilt is literally close in hand. In fact, the only thing separating the blue eyes and the jewels on the hilt of Ser Waymar Royce’s blade is his state of mind. His narrow perspective and flawed reasoning leave both him and us vulnerable and susceptible to the formation some very irrational conclusions.


The eyes burn with a blue, deeper and bluer than any human eyes. It’s a blue that burns like ice. A perfect description for a sapphire, yet we are reading about the set of blue eyes belonging to the "Other” and the last thing Will sees before closing his eyes to pray. Similar to Gared’s eyes, with a “hard glitter”, gems and eyes appear to be closely associated at the onset of ASOIAF. Recalling the first glitter to catch Will’s eye, we see through Will the “jewels” ‘fixed on the hilt of Ser Waymar Royce’s longsword’’.


“Wind. Trees rustling. A wolf. Which sound is it that unmans you so, Gared?" When Gared did not answer, Royce slid gracefully from his saddle. He tied the destrier securely to a low-hanging limb, well away from the other horses, and drew his longsword from its sheath. Jewels glittered in its hilt, and the moonlight ran down the shining steel. It was a splendid weapon, castle-forged, and new-made from the look of it. Will doubted it had ever been swung in anger.



The Other halted. Will saw its eyes; blue, deeper and bluer than any human eyes, a blue that burned like ice. They fixed on the longsword trembling on high, watched the moonlight running cold along the metal. For a heartbeat he dared to hope.


It’s no coincidence that the next line following the first description of the blue eyes is about the longsword. The same thing happens with the line following the sighting of the third blue eye. It’s about “the broken sword”.


The right eye was open. The pupil burned blue. It saw.


The broken sword fell from nerveless fingers.  Will closed his eyes to pray.


The same patter exists with the only mention of Gared’s eyes.


Gared's hood shadowed his face, but Will could see the hard glitter in his eyes as he stared at the knight. For a moment he was afraid the older man would go for his sword. It was a short, ugly thing, its grip discolored by sweat, its edge nicked from hard use, but Will would not have given an iron bob for the lordling's life if Gared pulled it from its scabbard.


And again it persists with Waymar’s eyes. However, this time it should be noted that it’s a figurative “knife” or a simile directly describing Ser Waymar Royce’s build. So it might be appropriate for Waymar’s actual “knife” to somehow represent a pair of figurative eyes, right?



Ser Waymar Royce was the youngest son of an ancient house with too many heirs. He was a handsome youth of eighteen, grey-eyed and graceful and slender as a knife. Mounted on his huge black destrier, the knight towered above Will and Gared on their smaller garrons. He wore black leather boots, black woolen pants, black moleskin gloves, and a fine supple coat of gleaming black ringmail over layers of black wool and boiled leather. Ser Waymar had been a Sworn Brother of the Night's Watch for less than half a year, but no one could say he had not prepared for his vocation. At least insofar as his wardrobe was concerned.


Unbeknown to Will, Waymar is unwittingly standing at the precipice of a colossal obsidian mirror (the great rock), intensely focused on the reflection of his own sword. His face, reflective under the moonlight, appears gaunt with hollow sockets. In the opening moments of Waymar’s “dance” Will dares to hope. Waymar’s pose presents his challenge, “Dance with me then”. The two sapphire gems, one at each end on the actual guard of his sword hilt, are momentarily paused and overlaying the shadowy orbital cavities of his reflection, the “white shadow”. The trembling of Waymar’s blade amplifies the sapphire brilliance on the guard. The blur of their blue glow is made more intense, brighter than any human eyes. With the blade raised above his head, the wrist of his moleskin glove hides the large sapphire on the pommel, keeping it out of Will's view. Will observes the Other, Waymar’s reflection, as it halts. Its gaze, mirroring Waymar’s, appears “fixed” upon Ser Waymar Royce’s actual longsword.


The term "fixed" in this context leaves room for an additional layer of interpretation that’ll challenge our initial comprehension of the phrase. "Fixed” does more than just depict the unyielding stare; it also delineates the physical location of the jewels (or eyes) as being on the sword's hilt. These jewels (sapphires) are yet "fixed” to the hilt of the longsword, seemingly revealing their true nature. This revelation adds real depth to our narrative. These eyes, with a measure of certainty, are the jewels of Ser Waymar Royce’s longsword, temporarily filling the dark and empty ocular space of the “white shadow’s” eyes.


Later, a single blue eye is juxtaposed with Ser Waymar Royce’s wounded left eye. Will had discovered the hilt of Waymar's sword amidst the scattered pieces of splintered glass. As he closely examines it, he notices its twisted shape. But the fiery sapphire gem brings to mind a chilling resemblance to the white shadow’s piercing blue gaze from previously. After spending an entire night perched high in a tree, he finds himself examining the broken hilt. A mixture of anxiety and immobilizing fear arrests, his subconscious, rendering his cramping arm rigid and frozen as he stands up. The sight of Waymar triggers a surge of intrusive thoughts and haunting memories of the commander, whom he had abandoned in a moment of panick. These thoughts rush in, intensifying the anguish already burdening his fragile state. Within the theater of his mind, he envisions the eerie revival of his deceased leader, causing his joints to remain frozen and shattering his sanity. As like the initial incident, the hilt of the sword is within a mere feet of what Will perceives as a blue eye. He is, in fact, observing the larger sapphire on the pommel of Waymar’s sword, while the sapphires on the guard are below his focused field of vision, in his peripheral. Once more, Will’s subconscious, tricked by the terror of a seemingly resurrected Ser Waymar Royce, reconfigures the reality before him. His mind merges the sapphire, situated over Waymar’s right eye, within its socket. The horrifying sight of Waymar's gory injured eye and the blue blur make this amalgamation unmistakably real from Will’s point of view.


Furthermore, the sapphires are not only associated with the color of eyes but also with the idea of illusion or deception. A prime example is the so-called "Sapphire Isle" of Tarth, which Brienne of Tarth's father allegedly named to project an illusion of wealth and deter raiders. In the Prologue, Will sees some "pale shapes" moving through the woods while looking for raiders. The "pale shapes" he spots are moonlight reflections from the facets on the sapphire gems in the hilt of Ser Waymar Royce's sword. Earlier, considering Martin's fondness for employing clever wordplay to subtly hint at things, I felt certain that I had stumbled upon a clue. Will, lost amidst the needles of an ancient sentinel tree while searching for a fire, presses his face against the trunk, sticky with sap. It is then that he notices some "pale shapes" gliding through the wood. To put it plainly, Will sees the moonlight reflecting off the facet-shaped reflections while searching for a fire, and his face sticky with tree sap. The words 'sap' and 'fire' present a play on words in that moment, and when combined (sap+fire), I believe they hint at what creates the "pale shapes".


Ser Waymar looked him over with open disapproval. "I am not going back to Castle Black a failure on my first ranging. We will find these men." He glanced around. "Up the tree. Be quick about it. Look for a fire."


Will turned away, wordless. There was no use to argue. The wind was moving. It cut right through him. He went to the tree, a vaulting grey-green sentinel, and began to climb. Soon his hands were sticky with sap, and he was lost among the needles. Fear filled his gut like a meal he could not digest. He whispered a prayer to the nameless gods of the wood, and slipped his dirk free of its sheath. He put it between his teeth to keep both hands free for climbing. The taste of cold iron in his mouth gave him comfort.



It was cold. Shivering, Will clung more tightly to his perch. His face pressed hard against the trunk of the sentinel. He could feel the sweet, sticky sap on his cheek.



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. Then it was gone. Branches stirred gently in the wind, scratching at one another with wooden fingers. Will opened his mouth to call down a warning, and the words seemed to freeze in his throat. Perhaps he was wrong. Perhaps it had only been a bird, a reflection on the snow, some trick of the moonlight. What had he seen, after all?


That sapphire obscuring Waymar's good eye, another optical illusion, pun intended, also conceals a hint to a broader theme. Waymar is grey-eyed with a grey so dark it appears black at night. His good eye produces an image which symbolizes the Yin within the Yang. His wounded eye, with a pale shaped pupil, is transfixed and full of blood. This blood appears black in the moonlight, a phenomenon known as the Purkinje effect. The image of his injured eye symbolizes the Yang within the Yin. This symbol of Yin/Yang, partly hidden by the sapphire, lends credibility to the ideas being proposed here. This sapphire, concealing the good eye, creates a deception, leading to an irrational conclusion.


So if there are no “pale shapes” and no “white shadow”, how does Waymar die?…He doesn’t.


In chapter 58 of ADWD, Jon XII, Jon takes special notice of a broken sword with three sapphires in the hilt. The hilt, north of the Wall, was making its way south at Castle Black and is quite possibly the very same hilt once belonging to Ser Waymar’s Royce.


As they passed, each warrior stripped off his treasures and tossed them into one of the carts that the stewards had placed before the gate. Amber pendants, golden torques, jeweled daggers, silver brooches set with gemstones, bracelets, rings, niello cups and golden goblets, warhorns and drinking horns, a green jade comb, a necklace of freshwater pearls … all yielded up and noted down by Bowen Marsh. One man surrendered a shirt of silver scales that had surely been made for some great lord. Another produced a broken sword with three sapphires in the hilt.


This hilt, possibly from the shattered sword that fell from Will’s nerveless fingers, is fixed with three sapphires and seems fitting for a knight, like Ser Waymar Royce, from a respected and influential noble house in the Vale, which pledges its allegiance to House Arryn, whose sigil is a sky-blue falcon. While the exact type and number of jewels on Ser Waymar sword’s hilt is not explicitly stated or revealed in Will's thoughts it nonetheless remains very possible.


"Wind. Trees rustling. A wolf. Which sound is it that unmans you so, Gared?" When Gared did not answer, Royce slid gracefully from his saddle. He tied the destrier securely to a low-hanging limb, well away from the other horses, and drew his longsword from its sheath. Jewels glittered in its hilt, and the moonlight ran down the shining steel. It was a splendid weapon, castle-forged, and new-made from the look of it. Will doubted it had ever been swung in anger.



The Other halted. Will saw its eyes; blue, deeper and bluer than any human eyes, a blue that burned like ice. They fixed on the longsword trembling on high, watched the moonlight running cold along the metal. For a heartbeat he dared to hope.


Indeed, whether it's the close association of the eyes with the sword, the striking similarity of a sapphire to the three blue eyes in the Prologue, the potential wordplay, the apparent illusion and deception represented by the sapphires, or the remarkably similar broken hilt recently uncovered, it's certainly worthwhile to consider the possibilities that might stem from these ideas.


Undeniably, a significant portion of these concepts will hinge strongly on the notion that Will's state of mind has been compromised by the fear of his circumstances and his belief in the Old Gods. One might argue that the stars, like the sapphires, have aligned themselves perfectly, as though some unseen cosmic force was ever striving to maintain a balance, a harmony of ice and fire.


Lastly, notice there’s no evidence of blue eyes the next time an Other appears on page. Sam’s Other is never described as having blue eyes. Because there’s no hilt?


The lower branches of the great green sentinel shed their burden of snow with a soft wet plop. Grenn spun, thrusting out his torch. "Who goes there?" A horse's head emerged from the darkness. 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. Sam made a whimpery sound deep in his throat. He was so scared he might have pissed himself all over again, but the cold was in him, a cold so savage that his bladder felt frozen solid. The Other slid gracefully from the saddle to stand upon the snow. Sword-slim it was, and milky white. Its armor rippled and shifted as it moved, and its feet did not break the crust of the new-fallen snow.


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