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Czahkiswashi

Patchface Project

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There are many mysterious elements in ASoIaF, but I think Patchface is one that we can figure out if we get input form the whole board. This a thread to organize and analyze Patchface’s prophecies, statements, and what we know about his role in the story.

Below I have included a summary of known information about Patchface (from the Wiki), and a (probably incomplete) list of his potential prophecies. I have given each prophecy a short name so that we can easily refer to it. Where there seems to be some consensus as to reasonable meanings of Patchface’s prophecies, I have included these explanations.

The goal here is to answer the following questions:

  1. What do the remaining prophecies mean? If the events the prophecies refer to have already occurred, what are they? If not, what do you think will happen to make them true (if they are, indeed, true prophecies).
  2. What does it mean when Patchface says, “Under the sea”? It has been suggested that this means “In the future”, “In the East”, “In the land of the Dead”, or is literally “In the ocean”. What do you think?
  3. Melisandre and many people on this board seem to think Patchface will be evil. What do Melisandre's word's mean? What is Patchface’s role in the story? Where does his prophetic power come from? Is he a simpleton? Crazy? Or just strange?

Additionally, if you know of any other potentially prophetic Patchface statements or information about Patchface, please post it here so I can include it. If someone presents an interpretation for one of the below prophecies that seems to gain enough support on the boards, I will also update this tread with that interpretation.

Patchface’s Appearance

He is soft and obese. He is subject to twitches and trembles. He has a weird, sideways walk. He has a broad face that is tattooed in a pattern of green and red squares.

Patchface’s History

He was purchased as a slave in Volantis by Lord Steffon and Cassana Baratheon, the father of Robert and his brothers. They wrote a letter before their trip telling their family of a jester of amazing skill. When their ship sank just off the coast of Storm's End, only Patchface survived, washing ashore several days later. He is currently in the employ of Stannis Baratheon as a jester and companion of his daughter.

Melisandre’s Words

[Melisandre's] “That creature is dangerous. Many a time I have glimpsed him in my flames. Sometimes there are skulls about him, and his lips are red with blood.”

Patchface Prophecies/Statements

[The Feast] “Under the sea the mermen feast on starfish soup, and all the serving men are crabs”

[The Crow] “The crow, the crow,” Patchface cried when he saw Jon. “Under the sea the crows are white as snow, I know, I know, oh, oh, oh.”

  • A few ways to take this:
    • The Night’s Watch (“crows”) will die, and their corpses (“white as snow”), fall in the water.
    • Members of the Night’s Watch (“crows”) will die, and are made into wights (“white as snow”), which will travel underwater [The oft mentioned “dead things in the water”].
    • John (“crows”) dies and wargs into Ghost (“white as snow”).

[Away, Away] “Away, away,” the fool sang. “Come with me beneath the sea, away, away, away.” He took the little princess by one hand and drew her from the room, skipping.

[The March] Patchface jumped up. “I will lead it!” His bells rang merrily. “We will march into the sea and out again. Under the waves we will ride seahorses, and mermaids will blow seashells to announce our coming, oh, oh, oh.”

[The Fishes] “Under the sea, men marry fishes.” Patchface did a little dance step, jingling his bells. “They do, they do, they do.”

[The Birds] “Under the sea, the birds have scales for feathers," he said, clang-a-langing. "I know, I know, oh, oh, oh.”

[The Flames] “Under the sea, smoke rises in bubbles, and flames burn green and blue and black,” Patchface sang somewhere. “I know, I know, oh, oh, oh.”

[The Dead] “In the dark the dead are dancing.”

  • This is pretty straight-forward. In the lands beyond the wall (“the dark”) the dead are rising again as wights (“dancing”).

[The Shadows] "The shadows come to dance, my lord, dance my lord, dance my lord," he sang, hopping from one foot to the other and back again. "The shadows come to stay, my lord, stay my lord, stay my lord."

  • This is clearly made in reference to Melisandre and her shadow powers. There are really two ways to take this:
    • Melisandre (“The Shadow”) is coming to help Stannis in his quest for the Iron Throne (“dance”) and will become an important advisor to him (“stay”).
    • Melisandre’s shadow creature (“The Shadow”), which is born and then kills Renly (“dance”) does not simply disappear after it’s task, or has some lasting effect (“stay”).

[blood & Chains] "Fool's blood, king's blood, blood on the maiden's thigh, but chains for the guests and chains for the bridegroom, aye aye aye."

  • This has been well established as predicting the Red Wedding. Rob (“king’s blood”), and his naïve family/subjects will be killed. Catelyn will slit the throat of a jester Aegon Frey (“fool’s blood”). The bride is still deflowered (“blood on a maiden’s thigh”), but her bridegroom Edmure (“the bridegroom”) and the other survivors (“guests”) where held imprisoned (“chains)

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Based on those sayings, Patchface is really "The Drowned God." So when The Others invade and the great Other rises . . the land will be in darkness, Patchface will save Westeros and all the world and Patchface will identify himself as a Blackfyre and that Varys is his long lost brother .

This I know, oh, oh, oh!

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I think to understand Patchface you have to think like him. He drowned in the ocean, so in his mindset the ocean is the equilavent of death. Whenever he says "under the sea" what he means is "in the realm of death". When he talks about "fish" or "mermen" (residents of the sea), he means wights or Others (residents of death). So:

"Under the sea the crows are white as snow." = in death, the Night's Watchmen are/become wights.

Similarly:

"Under the sea, men marry fishes." = by "marry" he means man and fish becoming one, i.e. merman. so translation is in death, men become wights.

"Come with me beneath the sea." = come die with me

"I will lead it!” His bells rang merrily. “We will march into the sea and out again. Under the waves we will ride seahorses, and mermaids will blow seashells to announce our coming." = basically come die with me again, just with more elaborate description of the land of the dead.

In the Red Wedding prophecy, I think "fool's blood" refers to Lord Walder's jester. Remember Catelyn cuts his throat just before she dies.

These two I haven't figure out yet:

“Under the sea the mermen feast on starfish soup, and all the serving men are crabs.”

“Under the sea, smoke rises in bubbles, and flames burn green and blue and black.”

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These two I haven't figure out yet:

“Under the sea the mermen feast on starfish soup, and all the serving men are crabs.”

“Under the sea, smoke rises in bubbles, and flames burn green and blue and black.”

1. Sounds like the raiding of the Islands by Euron Crow's Eye and the subsequent rape/violence feast.

2. Dany's dragons . .. growing and becoming strong, eventually all three breaking free . .

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2. Dany's dragons . .. growing and becoming strong, eventually all three breaking free . .

but then it wouldn't be green, blue and black... shouldn't instead of blue say cream or gold?

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Wasn't "fool's blood" in reference to that "special" Frey (Jinglebell or something?) whose throat Cat cut open before getting ravaged?

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There was a part in the in the first few pages of book 2, where patchface says something along the lines of " under the sea birds have scales oh oh i know" i wonder if this has to do with that sea dragon, i could be wrong; i also believe theres a thread for that (sea dragon) but im too lazy.

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Nothing to add except that Patch's talk of the sea may get noticed more now that Stannis has allied with sea faring Greyjoys. Maybe the thing that Patch is so fixated on is closer to happening now. One of them might say 'You should meet my cousin Damphair, Patch, the two of you could talk about your experiences beneath the waves'. And being in the company of the drowned god's followers may give Patch the prodding he needs to open up and speak more plainly about what, if anything, he knows.

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I don't think it's possible to understand Patchface without understanding the whole complex inter-relationship between the religion of the Iron Isles, death, "that what is dead cannot die", the drowned god and the storm god and how this might all relate to the other religions in the series.

What I find most intriguing is that most characters assume the drowned god is "evil" or analogous to the "great other" or the stranger. But the Ironborn are pretty up front about it - the Storm god is the evil one who brings the winds and controls the ravens. Of course the Stormlord is Stannis and the one who controls the ravens is Bran so how do they fit in with the idea of the Storm god?

I'm sure GRRM wants to foster ambiguity but he has certainly designed the different religious beliefs very carefully so they echo each other with directly overlapping.

As to the prohecies:

“Under the sea the mermen feast on starfish soup, and all the serving men are crabs”

could refer to the "Frey pie" incident where the Mermen are Manderlys. The "crabs" could be soldiers in armour.

[The Flames] “Under the sea, smoke rises in bubbles, and flames burn green and blue and black,” Patchface sang somewhere. “I know, I know, oh, oh, oh.”

perhaps I'm reading too much into this one but is it in part a reference to blackflame with Victarian?

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The nature of prophecy in ASOIAF makes this tricky...

What does it mean when Patchface says, “Under the sea”? It has been suggested that this means “In the future”, “In the East”, “In the land of the Dead”, or is literally “In the ocean”. What do you think?

I think it depends on the specific prophecy... Each individual prophecy could be any of these...

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In terms of what Patchface is, we have seen that the Others are real but because of folktales and not having seen them for thousands of years etc, we do not really know much about the Others, and similarly Patchface maybe something else from a tale. In AFFC Nimble Dick tells Brienne about Squishers.

They look like men till you get close, but their heads is too big, and they got scales where a proper man's got hair. Fish-belly white they are, with webs between their fingers. They're always damp and fishy-smelling, but behind these blubbery lips they got rows of green teeth sharp as needles. Some say the First Men killed them all, but don't you believe it. They come by night and steal bad little children, padding along on them webbed feet with a little squish-squish sound. The girls they keep to breed with, but the boys they eat, tearing at them with those sharp green teeth.

Now blatantly this does not entirely describe Patchface, but there are similarities to how he is described and Mel's vision. So I wonder if Patchface is something that this tale of squishers was based on.

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So I've updated the Blood & Chains prophecy to reference Aegon Frey (Jinglebell) as the "Fool's blood", since that seems to be popular. I also looked up the Birds prophecy and added it to the list:

[The Birds] "Under the sea, the birds have scales for feathers," he said, clang-a-langing. "I know, I know, oh, oh, oh.”

It seems like there are a few theories on [The Feast] “Under the sea the mermen feast on starfish soup, and all the serving men are crabs”. This could be either:

  • Euron's feast/pillage/rape thing: The Iron Islander's (mermen) feast at Lord Hewett's castle. But Lord Hewett's wives and daughters serve them, and how are they crabs? What of the soup?
  • Or could refer to the Manderly's (mermen) feast with the Borrells (crabs) as the serving men. But then what does the starfish soup represent?

Neither seems to match up with all parts of the prophecy.

Likewise there are multiple interpretations so far of [The Flames] “Under the sea, smoke rises in bubbles, and flames burn green and blue and black,” Patchface sang somewhere. “I know, I know, oh, oh, oh.”

  • It has been suggested that the smoke and fire represent Dany's dragons, but has also been pointed out that while she has a black and a green dragon, the third is cream and gold, not blue.
  • Alternatively, this could be referencing Moqorro, whoch certainly was under the sea and is called the "black flame", but then what about the green and blue flames?

These ideas are promising, but neither one is a 100% match yet, so can anyone fill in the blanks? (or come up with something new entirely?) keep the ideas coming.

Also, Rapsie, I like this Patchface is a squisher idea. Perhaps he's not a squisher but his mermen that live under the sea might have inspired the squisher stories and he saw them whilst drowning?

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A new thought on [The Flames] “Under the sea, smoke rises in bubbles, and flames burn green and blue and black,” Patchface sang somewhere. “I know, I know, oh, oh, oh.”

I think this may be a reference to the Drowned God. According to the wiki, "The Drowned God himself is believed to have brought flame from the sea". And concerning his priests: "Drowned Men wear roughspun robes of mottled green, grey, and blue, which colors are those of the Drowned God."

The colors are just about right. Dark or wet grey clothing certainly would look similar to black, and the drowned God aparently took fire out from under the water. Could there be something here?

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These two I haven't figure out yet:

“Under the sea the mermen feast on starfish soup, and all the serving men are crabs.”

“Under the sea, smoke rises in bubbles, and flames burn green and blue and black.”

Mermen = Sigil of House Manderly (of great consequence)

Starfish = Sigil of House Ruthermont (of no consequence yet) / or Starfish Harbor in the Reach (havin gbeen conquered by the Ironborn)

Crab = Old Man Crab (a minor Rhoynar deity) / The Sigil of House Celtigar (a minor house sworn to the Crownlands, but recently Stannis) / The Sigil of House Borrell (a minor house sworn to the Vale, who helped both Ned Stark and Davos Seaworth smuggle themselves into White Harbor)

Do with this what you will.

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Aren't crabs bottomfeeders who eat the remains of other fishies? So it's a cannibal reference to how the realm will tear itself apart and feast on itself in a cannibal fashion. instead of the kingdoms working together constructively in a time of crisis men will play the role of these crabs. I've taken it as a general indictment of the species. The Manderly event (literally canibalizing people) is just the most obvious symptom so far of the larger disease: the realm has been eating itself figuratively for a long time now.

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“Under the sea, smoke rises in bubbles, and flames burn green and blue and black.” Could this refer to the Battle of the Blackwater? There was Wildfire and that burns green. This analogy doesn't fit perfectly with the blue though, unless you count the water as blue and the smoke as the black.

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