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Lady Blackfish

A Thread for Small Questions IV

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My apologies if this has been asked before, but I haven't been able to find it on my search. In a Sword of Storms, after Jon and the wildlings have scaled the wall, they take shelter and find a lone man already there, and they demand Jon kill him. He refuses, so Ygritte slits the man's throat instead, and then Summer attacks, so Jon can escape. Do we know or have any ideas of who that unfortunate traveler was, and where he was going?

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I've always wondered about Robert's severe hatred of all things Targaryen. I understand why he'd hate Rhaegar if he's labouring under the impression that Rhaegar raped Lyanna, but he certainly got his revenge on the Trident. Why does he so very much hate the rest of the Targs? I mean, he's part Targ himself, giving his rebellion at least a taste of legitimacy. If I recall correctly, he was rather pleased when presented with the dead Targ kids after the Sack and he certainly wasn't shy when he was screaming about how he wanted Viserys and Daenerys killed. Again, I can understand why he'd want people that could challenge his rule dead, but his rage was wayyyy beyond just being worried about his throne.

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Well, let's see....Aerys tried to have him killed (as in burned alive.) Tried to have his best friend killed, and did kill his best friend's father and brother (in an incredibly cruel way), not to mention a number of other people who were involved in trying to get Lyanna back. Oh, and the whole Rhaegar-takes-off-with-Lyanna-who-is-engaged-to-Robert-and-there-is-no-Goddamned-explanation thing.

I can see why Aerys would be a bit upset at Brandon Stark's behavior (probably showed up at 3 A.M. and made a bunch of noise and all), but I think that Robert's feelings are much more than justified. If I were placed in the same position (impossible, but interesting) I'd have killed Randyll Tarly, deposed Mace Tyrell and assassinated half the Targaryen supporters who had survived the war as well. Or had them assassinated, since running around with a knife and poison and ruling a kindgom at the same time would be inconvenient. Condoning the murder of children is pretty bad....but killing a an adult Viserys gets my wholehearted approval. Perhaps he should have had Dany kidnaped while still a small child and brought back to the Red Keep to marry Joffrey when they were both old enough, thus sealing the succession, and just whacked Viserys out of hand.

I think that killing Rhaegar on the Trident did little to fill the void that Aerys' and Rhaegar's actions had left in Robert: the knife at his throat was removed, while the knife in his back remained. So he went on hating them.

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Anybody else wonder if the Seven Hells correspond to the Seven Gods Who Are One God With A Severely Split Personality? And if so, if different sins get you sent to different hells with different punishments, a la the Inferno? Ex. rape gets you sent to the Maiden's hell, being merciless gets you sent to the mother of all hells, etc. If so, where would you get punished for what, and how?

This may be better addressed on its own thread, but for now...

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I don't really know about that. I remember a scene where one of the Kettleblacks (Osney?) is talking to Cersei. He is reluctant to lie to the High Septon because he says that, "You get sent to the Hells for that. One o' the bad ones." which to implied that some hells are worse than another, at least in the imaginings of someone who, let's be honest, isn't exactly Westeros's foremost theologian.

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I found the quote for that, if you're interested:

Osney scratched at his scarred cheek. “Usually if I lie about some woman, it’s me saying how I never fucked them and them saying how I did. This . . . I never lied to no High Septon before. I think you go to some hell for that. One o’ the bad ones.”

It's possible than in his youth, while listening to sermons -- probably a common occupation among smallfolk and Westeros's knightly classes -- he might have heard something about the composition of hells, and how different sinners were confined to different levels based on the severity of their sins. That might explain his reference to a "bad hell", which implies the existence of several intermediate stages of less-severe torment.

This is actually similar to one of the Chinese Taoist conceptions of Hell, called dìyù. All of the levels of Hell are pretty horrific, involving boiling tar and other forms of mutilation, but there are some that are reserved for the worst sinners and include even worse (if you can imagine that) torments. You can also see kind of the same motif in Dante's Divine Comedy. You start with the milder levels -- Limbo, etc. and as you go up (or down?) you arrive at the more sinister chambers, including the Malebolge and the dreaded Cocytus (where I believe the angel Lucifer busily chows down on screaming popsicles for all time).

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OK, so who goes to Avici? or Judecca? I'm calling for speculation.

If I was going to guess (and I am), then

Father- the unjust

Mother- the merciless or cruel

Warrior- the "violent"

Maiden- rapists

Smith- thieves

Crone- those who "pervert wisdom" (have fun, Pycelle)

Stranger- murderers

and so forth. Traitors, I imagine, would be punished in the first of those.

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Amusingly, Joffrey is likely consigned to the Mother's hell.

I don't see the Stranger punishing murderers - he's the angel of death, murderers would be his tools. I would take a different guess and suggest the Warrior - warriors are supposed to be violent but they have a code of honor (supposedly) that a murderer would be in violation of. I'd also guess that the Warrior would punish cowards.

I would consign traitors to the Crone - after all, treachery involves a misuse (perversion) of knowledge.

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When Ser Osmund Kettleblack says that a Ser Robert Stone knighted him, he paused before saying Stone. Did he just make a name up, or did he realize he was going to say something suspicious if he gave a real name?

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Jaime and I talked about it, and we agreed that he was probably pulling it out of his ass... er... stone.

Here's the full quote for context:

Jaime seated himself again and turned to Kettleblack. "Ser Osmund. I do not know you. I find that curious. I've fought in tourneys, m6l6es, and battles throughout the Seven Kingdoms. I know of every hedge knight, freerider, and upjumped squire of any skill who has ever presumed to break a lance in the lists. So how is it that I have never heard of you, Ser Osmund?"

"That I couldn't say, my lord." He had a great wide smile on his face, did Ser Osmund, as if he and Jaime were old comrades in arms playing some jolly little game. "I'm a soldier, though, not no tourney knight."

"Where had you served, before my sister found you?"

"Here and there, my lord."

"I have been to Oldtown in the south and Winterfell in the north. I have been to Lannisport in the west, and King's Landing in the east. But I have never been to Here. Nor There." For want of a finger, Jaime pointed his stump at Ser Osmund's beak of a nose. "I will ask once more. Where have you served?"

"In the Stepstones. Some in the Disputed Lands. There's always fighting there. I rode with the Gallant Men. We fought for Lys, and some for Tyrosh."

You fought for anyone who would pay you. "How did you come by your knighthood?"

"On a battlefield."

"Who knighted you?"

"Ser Robert ... Stone. He's dead now, my lord."

"To be sure." Ser Robert Stone might have been some bastard from the Vale, he supposed, selling his sword in the Disputed Lands. On the other hand, he might be no more than a name Ser Osmund cobbled together from a dead king and a castle wall. What was Cersei thinking when she gave this one a white cloak?

This strikes me as nothing more than the old sitcom gag where a character, called upon to provide a false name on the spot, wildly looks around and cobbles together a name based on the first two or three things he sees -- giving rise to the TVTropes certified trope Line of Sight Name, which has given us such legendarily fake-sounding names as "Remington Steele" (a type-writer model and a dimunitive of a football team) and "Troy Bulletinboard" (which is named for a tragic city and an object famous for never being looked at by anyone, ever).

In this case, Ser Osmund, quailing under Lannister's supercilious questioning, tries to give him the brush-off with a series of increasingly terse and disrespectful questions. Jaime gives up his questioning shortly after the "Robert Stone" issue, wisely realizing that, once your suspect starts deliberately spewing obvious lies, you're not getting any more useful information out of him.

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Guest Other-in-Law

Sevenish eschatology is an interesting topic. While we have repeated mentions of the Seven Hells, we never actually hear any mention of a Sevenish heaven (there's the Drowned God's watery banquet hall, but that's a whole different religion). In fact, Cersei even thinks of her father as having an honour guard down in hell...and she generally views Tywin pretty positively, and consciously emulates him and wishes to surpass him. And Robert thinks of Lyanna...who he professes to love...being together in the afterlife with Rhaegar...who he utterly despises and thinks of as an evil monster. That wouldn't make sense if one was in heaven and the other in hell.

So in lieu of any reference to which heaven Baelor the Blessed lives in, my interpretation is that the hells are a communal repository for both the virtuous and the wicked alike. Maybe it's not a case of bad hells and worse hells, but rather of good (or at least ordinary) hells and bad hells.

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That actually seems more likely than whatever I said, especially with those other references (good catch about the Tywin thing!) When I looked up the etymology of the word "hell", I found this:

O.E. hel, helle "nether world, abode of the dead, infernal regions," from P.Gmc. *khaljo (cf. O.Fris. helle, O.N. hel, Ger. Hölle, Goth. halja "hell") "the underworld," lit. "concealed place," from PIE *kel- "to cover, conceal, save" (see cell).

Which doesn't necessarily suggest a negative afterlife. It could also tie in with the Hellenic (ha ha!) concept of Tartarus (torment), Asphodel Fields (limbo-ish kind of place), and Elysium (Paradise). Asphodel Fields, which sounds tedious and hellish, is reserved for people who weren't especially good or bad.

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I think we have indirect evidence that heaven is where the Seven are believed to reside (the High Septon looks up to heaven as he declaims a prayer), and so it seems rather likely that the blessed faithful go that way instead of down into hell.

Cersei's remark is, I think, revealing that her view of Tywin is not entirely rosy -- and no doubt that's partly sparked by how he was treating here there at the end. She also clearly doesn't have any particularly strong religious conviction, so her desire to "get to heaven" is probably much weaker than "be a badass like daddy".

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Guest Other-in-Law

I think we have indirect evidence that heaven is where the Seven are believed to reside (the High Septon looks up to heaven as he declaims a prayer), and so it seems rather likely that the blessed faithful go that way instead of down into hell.

Hmm, I'd missed that, but it is pretty natural that the gods would be thought of as residing in the heavens. It doesn't necessarily follow that the departed souls would go there with them (I don't think that Mt Olympus was viewed by the ancient Greeks as an abode of the dead, for instance).

Possibly supporting a heavenly reward is ser Maynard Plumm's cryptic comment that Egg was "with the gods", though in fact he merely meant he was in the Sept. Perhaps the teaching is that only a tiny, tiny percentage of the most devout worshippers (or innocent young, like Egg) ever make it to be with the gods in heaven, while the overwhelming majority get dumped in hell. Fear of hell doesn't seem to prey on peoples minds the way it did among certain strict christian sects, which suggests to me that basically everyone expects to go there ("Oak and iron guard me well, or else I'm dead and doomed to hell")...though the experience may be a little better or a little worse depending on the Father's judgment.

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Brienne tries to comfort Catelyn with the idea that her sons are with the gods, too. Doesn't contradict the idea that only a very small portion of people go to this heaven, but I think that there is a notion of a heaven seems clear enough. It's certainly possible that there's an idea that most people go to a lesser hell for those who aren't quite virtuous enough, maybe more of a purgatory or a rather boring Hades than anything.

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Well, let's see....Aerys tried to have him killed (as in burned alive.) Tried to have his best friend killed, and did kill his best friend's father and brother (in an incredibly cruel way), not to mention a number of other people who were involved in trying to get Lyanna back. Oh, and the whole Rhaegar-takes-off-with-Lyanna-who-is-engaged-to-Robert-and-there-is-no-Goddamned-explanation thing.

I can see why Aerys would be a bit upset at Brandon Stark's behavior (probably showed up at 3 A.M. and made a bunch of noise and all), but I think that Robert's feelings are much more than justified. If I were placed in the same position (impossible, but interesting) I'd have killed Randyll Tarly, deposed Mace Tyrell and assassinated half the Targaryen supporters who had survived the war as well. Or had them assassinated, since running around with a knife and poison and ruling a kindgom at the same time would be inconvenient. Condoning the murder of children is pretty bad....but killing a an adult Viserys gets my wholehearted approval. Perhaps he should have had Dany kidnaped while still a small child and brought back to the Red Keep to marry Joffrey when they were both old enough, thus sealing the succession, and just whacked Viserys out of hand.

I think that killing Rhaegar on the Trident did little to fill the void that Aerys' and Rhaegar's actions had left in Robert: the knife at his throat was removed, while the knife in his back remained. So he went on hating them.

This doesn't quite cut it for me. Robert's revenge on the Targaryens goes far beyond killing Rhaegar on the Trident. Think about it for a second...Robert took EVERYTHING from the Targs. They were the ruling class for how many hundreds of years? Robert raises his rebellion and, when the dust settles, the king is dead, the city sacked, the prince is dead along with his wife and two children and the remaining two Targ kids are fled across the sea, pursued by assassins while Robert sits his Baratheon butt on the Iron Throne. Robert lost a woman. The Targaryens lost the entire seven kingdoms. I would say Robert's revenge for the slights done to him was more than complete. He was way ahead on the ol' scoreboard there. So why did he still hate them so much? Again, he wasn't just a concerned monarch looking to secure his throne...he was in a blind rage any time the subject was even addressed. He hated them like I hate boiled cabbage (shudder)

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The point of Robert's hatred of the Targaryens is to show the extremity of his investment in Lyanna and what having her meant to him. The unreasonability is the very point. He wants every last one of them exterminated so that no trace of them is left to rise again in the course of history, so that his victory is just that complete. Winning is the only way he knows how to address his anger. He wanted to win Lyanna, but he can't because death is a fairly permanent barrier, and that frustration will not die so it goes toward another target: the remaining Targaryens.

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