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The Last King`s Man: Rereading Davos

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Dedicated to sorely missed E-Ro and all King`s true men of this forum

Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Davos Reread thread where we`ll analyze and discuss each of 13 Davos` POV chapters across 3 books, as also those where he plays important role, and try to explore Davos` role in ASOIAF.

Co-host of this thread is Stannis Eats no Peaches, and the two of us will do our best to give you full scope on one of the last decent men in the Kingdoms, as also the most faithful King`s man.

The thread is created to give wide picture of the part of the books some of the readers don`t pay attention to. Davos` and Stannis` role in the books is important and therefore it is our opinion that this thread could help in better understanding of some of the characters in this storyarc.

The simple rules of this thread will be the same as those applied on other reread threads. Each of Davos` chapters will be analyzed in rate approximately once a week or in 10 days. We ask politely of the members that will contribute not to analyze future chapters as also to maintain the civilized tone during discussions. Also, we have to emphasize that this is not either appreciation or hate thread, therefore objectivity is requested from all participants, and we, as hosts of the thread, will aspire to it. We also ask of you to politely give us your opinions, comparisons, parallels and foreshadowing you notice, as also when it`s needed, to correct any possible mistake we made.

With all of that said, the two hosts wish you welcome and pleasant time on this thread. Now, we may begin…

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Prologue COK - Introducing Davos

Overview

The chapter is written from perspective of Maester Cressen who serves Stannis Baratheon on Dragonstone. The chapter depicts old master, unable of performing his duties and unable to reason Stannis. Cressen finds out the result of diplomacy mission Stannis previously sent Davos to Stormlands, and realizing that Stormlords won`t support Stannis` claim, he advises Stanis to negotiate with Robb Stark and Lysa Arryn. Unwilling to accept the advice, Stannis rejects the idea and sends Maester away. Later that day, during banquet Stannis made for his bannermen, Cressen attempts to kill Melisandre with poison, but ends up dead, killed by the very same poison he planted Melisandre.

Davos` first appearance

As was previously said, Davos returned from his failed diplomacy mission in Stormlands where he tried to persuade Stormlords to side with Stannis in what`s going to become Wo5K. After being told by Pylos that Davos returned last night and that he`s with Stannis since then, Cressen decides to go to Stannis. On his way there, he meets Davos who has just ended his conversation with Stannis

Davos was a slight man, his low birth written plain upon a common face. A well-worn green cloak, stained by salt and spray and faded from the sun, draped his thin shoulders, over brown doublet and breeches that matched brown eyes and hair. About his neck a pouch of worn leather hung from a thong. His small beard was well peppered with grey, and he wore a leather glove on his maimed left hand.

“All? No. Only those that would see me. They do not love me either, these highborns. To them I’ll always be the Onion Knight.”

“Well, as to that, some gave me soft words and some blunt, some made excuses, some promises, some only lied.” He shrugged. “In the end words are just wind.”

“You could bring him no hope?”

“Only the false sort, and I’d not do that,” Davos said. “He had the truth from me.”

Lord Stannis had rewarded Davos with choice lands on Cape Wrath, a small keep, and a knight’s honors... but he had also decreed that he lose a joint of each finger on his left hand, to pay for all his years of smuggling. Davos had submitted, on the condition that Stannis wield the

knife himself; he would accept no punishment from lesser hands. The lord had used a butcher’s cleaver, the better to cut clean and true. Afterward, Davos had chosen the name Seaworth for his new-made house, and he took for his banner a black ship on a pale grey field-with an onion on its sails.

Our first encounter with Davos shows us who he is. He is a simple man, ex smuggler who by saving lives of Stannis and his men during RR, rose to position of knight. But, at the same time, due to his previous crimes, Stannis decided to cut the fingers of his left hand. Although simple, Davos is far from unintelligent man. He is reasonable, practical and above else honest and faithful to Stannis. Davos is not the man who will hide the truth or lie, but he also understands how the worlds function. Unlike in many other, his pragmatics isn`t collided with his honesty and his loyalty. The first impression about Davos is that he is the rare kind of men that appreciates what he has and what`s given to him, but he is also well aware of his background. He knows his place and duty, and he is fine with that. What we read about Davos in this first chapter is something that remains as constant truth throughout the books.

But also in this chapter, we see that Davos is compassionate and kind man. During the feast, he was the only one that offered his place to Cressen. Davos showed rare quality when he honored the older man who deserves respect. This scene wonderfully parallels the one when Sansa felt sorry for Ser Barristan when Joffrey dismissed him from his service.

In addition, this scene shows us the first signs of Davos/Melisandre`s strained relationship. We see Davos letting Cressen continuing with his plan to kill Melisandre and at the end watching him die.

What we found out about Davos in this chapter is something that truly shapes his entire storyarc. He is man of low birth that rose high, but only due to his own accomplishments. But, also, Davos knows who he is, and he doesn`t pretend otherwise. He knows his background, and he knows that for some he will remain `Onion Knight`. But the given title fits Davos on so many levels, for below his simplicity and honesty, is pragmatic, capable smuggler. And time will show Davos`s story is a story between knightly ideal of protecting the weak and smuggler`s resourcefulness.

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Davos I, ACOK

OVERVIEW

Davos is present when Melisandre burns the statues of the Seven from Dragonstone`s sept. After that, he goes to docks to talk with Salladhor Saan who tells him the legend about Nissa Nissa. Later, he is summoned by Stannis where they talk about letter Stannis plans to send to all noblemen of Westeros, proclaiming him as King, religion, and Melisandre`s power.

OBSERVATIONS

1. Davos`s beliefs are suppressed by his loyalty to Stannis

2. Red sword of Heroes looks like a proper mess

3. I’m a knight’s son, Father. If you won’t remember, why should they?

4. Burning vs. burnt sword

5. How worthy is the true word without proofs?

6. Red hawk

ANALYSIS

Burnt Gods

The gods had never meant much to Davos the smuggler, though like most men he had been known to make offerings to the Warrior before battle, to the Smith when he launched a ship, and to the Mother whenever his wife grew great with child. He felt ill as he watched them burn, and not only from the smoke.

Although it`s quite clear that Davos isn`t the most pious man in the world, the sacrilege does make him restless. But for all his troubled thoughts, he feels obligated to keep his mouth shut. He feels like he owes Stannis that. Davos`s loyalty is here presented as his highest ideal. That loyalty is what defines him, and as he says to Salladhor later: `Stannis is my God. ` Religious debate about true and false Gods means nothing to Davos. His main prayer is well-being of his King. He intertwined his own fate with Stannis`s and undoubtedly is presented as Stannis`s most loyal man. Unlike Ned Stark who is both religious and loyal, Davos is type of man who finds religion in his loyalty. But, to say Davos doesn`t care for Gods is also wrong. He loves Stannis, he respects him and would do anything for him, but Davos`s piety is there and it will emerge. For no matter how loyal Davos is, he can`t resist the feeling that what`s done to Seven isn`t what should be doing a man with such slim chances to win the Throne.

Red sword of Heroes

It`s so often we see that most wonderful and miraculous things in the world are also the messiest. Like Cersei said to Sansa `nine parts mess to one part magic`, we see here that something that should be glorious is in fact simple burnt sword, and like Salladhor pointed out – It`s not burning, it`s burnt sword. And the simple and greatest truth is sometimes just in front of our eyes. If Stannis hasn`t be blinded with religious talks, he could have seen the sword and realize what is it – nothing more than that. But people`s ambition and desire for grandeur always blind them the most. Davos saw the truth with his simple, smuggler eyes. The legend of the Nissa Nissa and forging the Lightbringer is what cast a shadow over the sword Stannis holds.

Remember who you are, for others will never forget.

Tyrion`s advice to Jon from aGOT, is something Davos knows and understands perfectly. We have seen in prologue how he speaks about Stormlords and himself. We see in this chapter how he knows very well his position and how he gets there. He even warns his sons like Tyrion does with Jon. He teaches them that they should always remember who their father is and to serve Stannis the best way they could. Davos perfectly understands his current position, but he also knows that one day, if not his sons, his grandsons might be important men, and that is what is worth fighting for. Unlike so many men in Westeros who struggle and fight for their own wealth, Davos fights for the future of his family.

Legend about Lightbringer and Nissa Nissa

After witnessing burning of the Gods, Davos went to speak with Salladhor who explains him why the sword Stannis pulled out of fire isn`t hero`s sword. The legend of Nissa Nissa speaks about sacrifices her has to take so he would have the ultimate weapon – the magic sword. The cost of being a hero is huge and as Davos admits he is no hero and that cost is too high to pay. This is obvious leitmotif in Davos`s storyarc. He is, as another character said, a simple man. He is not destined for heroism, but his actions, and care for commoners is what is truly heroic in Davos. And for that he doesn`t need enchanted sword.

True words yet without proof

As we found out in prologue, Stannis found out the truth about incest between Lannister twins and their offspring. In this chapter, we see that Stannis plans to inform entire Westeros. After hearing the content of the letter, Davos expresses his doubts whether people will accept the letter as true. Davos`s doubts are not groundless for we see that although Stannis did inform entire Westeros, few are those that actually believed him. His entitlement and belief his word counts more is what set Stannis on that road. Just like all the Kings, he accepts the harsh truth with bitterness, and sometimes denial. But Davos`s greatest virtue is in telling that truth to Stannis, no matter whether he wants to hear it or not.

Hawks and religions

Answering on Davos`s question about religions, Stannis tells him the story about hawk he had as a child. The hawk never flied high and one day Stannis was advised of changing it with another bird. And he did. Stannis used the story to parallel his emotions regarding Seven and R`hllor. Hawk symbolizes wisdom about seeing situations from a higher perspective, using the power of observation, and focusing on the task at hand. By using hawk as symbol of two religions, and parallel between weaker and stronger hawk, GRRM puts us in Stannis`s mind and how he truly feels about religions. It`s not about Gods and beliefs, it`s about power. Stannis recognizes Melisandre`s power and he wants to benefit from it. He isn`t religious fanatic, he just uses religion as a weapon. And Melisandre is just a hawk he plans to use to win what he holds dearest – the Throne.

This chapter was about tested loyalty and religions. This chapter showed us that men`s highest ideal can be loyalty and love for family. Davos is a man that truly believes in what he`s fighting for. And no matter whether the true God exist, Davos will follow Stannis to the very end. And that`s what we should always have in mind.

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I've always thought of Davos as the proverbial angel on Stannis's shoulder with Melisandre being his counterpart, the devil, red being her color notwithstanding. Unsurprisingly, the angel is a modest, unassuming man who offers cautions and hard thruths while the devil is an exotic seductress assuring of a grand destiny and the righteousness of their cause. Melisandre coming off as nothing less than an evil witch for most of the books reinforces that image. Her own POV however, reveals a startingly different picture. Melisandre is a true believer and her cause is no less noble than the salvation of life itself. Therefore three elements of an intriguing picture take shape. Stannis, a man whose desire to do what is right is almost a compulsion and his two closest advisors , who have radically different ides for what right is and how it is achieved, engage in a struggle as Stannis's consciense and drive, respectively.

Still, for round one these two stand in the sidelines and the struggle is fought between Cressen and Selyse, where realism and moderation collide with arrogance and ambition. There is an interesting contradiction here. Cressen is a servant, supposedly detouched from the Lord he serves while Selyse is Stannis's wife. Yet, we see that Cressen is his actual family the one who cares for him and is worried for his soul. Selyse is basically a stranger to Stannis who is intertwined with him through social convention. It is Selyse however who echoes Stannis's feelings of being owed to and empowered by her blind faith in Melisandre accepts no compromise. The course has already been set.

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Great work Mladen, as always :)

The Cressen prologue chapter is one of the saddest in the series. Its emotional load was, for me, a distraction from important information that is given here on the first read. This time, I noticed that Davos (one of the "brightest" characters) is associated with darkness:

“Ser Davos,” the maester said. “When did you return?”

In the black of morning. My favorite time.” It was said that no one had ever handled a ship by night half so well as Davos Shorthand. Before Lord Stannis had knighted him, he had been the most notorious and elusive smuggler in all the Seven Kingdoms.

Then came a night when the moon was new and black clouds hid the stars. Cloaked in that darkness, Davos the smuggler had dared the Redwyne cordon and the rocks of Shipbreaker Bay alike. His little ship had a black hull, black sails, black oars, and a hold crammed with onions and salt fish. Little enough, yet it had kept the garrison alive long enough for Eddard Stark to reach Storm’s End and break the siege.

I think it is important, because Davos' story is tied to Stannis and Melisandre and the battle of the long night. Melisandre keeps claiming that it's her fight, but how is going to fight darkness someone whose moto is "the night is dark and full of terrors"? According to Ned (My lord father used to tell me that a man must know his enemies - Jon 8, ADWD), darkness can be fought by those who are familiar with it. Bloodraven, Bran, Arya and Davos are all better candidates than Mel.

Cressen's story exposes the vanity of the Night Watch oath "I will father no sons". Cressen did keep his oath, technically, but fatherly love found its way to his heart all the same... There was a discussion in the Jon re-read thread about love, honor and duty. Meister Aemon might have been deluded, after all. Blood ties are not the only thing that matters, as this other old meister has come to know. Cressen goes way beyond his duty, because of love. Davos, on the other hand, comments that he is not made of the stuff of heroes:

A true sword of fire, now, that would be a wonder to behold. Yet at such a cost... When he thought of Nissa Nissa, it was his own Marya he pictured, a good-natured plump woman with sagging breasts and a kindly smile, the best woman in the world. He tried to picture himself driving a sword through her, and shuddered. I am not made of the stuff of heroes, he decided. If that was the price of a magic sword, it was more than he cared to pay.

Yet, he is constantly paying this price for his loyalty. He has left his beloved lady Marya all alone, for who knows how many years, maybe never to see her again. In his service to Stannis he has lost four of their sons. Can there be a sharper blade for a mother's heart? Davos is a father and a husband, a man who loves his family truly and deeply and yet, his love has never been the bane of honor, the death of duty...

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Awhile ago, there was a thread about Stannis. It never went very far. I'm not sure why, but some of the observations presented therein were quite good, especially with regard to the Cressen prologue presented by Dr. Pepper.

With that said, I am very glad that you began this thread, Mladen. Davos is a fascinating character to discuss and you've begun the discussion with good insights as to his character.

I would only like to add a couple of thoughts to yours and others above. Martin telegraphs his intentions with each chapter's first sentence. This prologue begins:

"The comet's tail spread across the dawn, a red slash that bled above the crags of Dragonstone like a wound in the pink and purple sky."

This first sentence is such an important guide to the characters, some of them newly presented, like Davos. First, there is the comet, the celestial messenger, an "classic" omen of change, usually for the bad. It's tail "spreads across the dawn." The reference to its tail spreading suggests volume and expansiveness. It seems that this comet's portentuousness is going beyond the normal boundaries of what is expected; exceeding the present state of things and appears as "a red slash. . . like a wound." This comet is a perfect means to reveal the wounded entourage that inhabits Dragonstone. One such wounded member is Davos.

Davos' wound goes a bit deeper than the loss of his fingertips. Davos is wounded by his "low birth." As noted above, Stannis' lords will always see Davos as someone of less importance, "The Onion Knight." Not of a noble birth, Davos is some kind of upjumped pretender to Stannis' lords, a smuggler of such skill that he was "notorious" for it. Part of this snobbery is likely due to the fact that Davos' skill outwitted many of these lords in the past. Also, as noted above, we learn that Davos saved Stannis with his smuggling skills. Stannis rewarded Davos with lands and such, but also required a further sacrifice for Davos' past misdeeds: the loss of his fingertips. Davos accepted Stannis' offer on the condition that Stannis wield the cleaver that took the tips of the fingers of his left hand.

This wounding is part of a bargain between these to men. As a bargain with agreed upon terms, it sets a tone between them, a contract if you will, for service. Ragnorak noted in the Stannis thread that Stannis performing the "wounding" himself echos Ned and the northern means of imposing punishment. This is insightful and important because the punishment performed by the punisher is personal. The contract between these two men is one "writ and signed in blood," so to speak. It seems that this is the source of the loyalty between the two men.

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The Cressen prologue is here, seems slightly relevant to discussion ;)

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Weird how that Stannis re-read just abruptly stopped, Hope the Onion Knight has a more successful one. I'll be following along

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Great work Mladen, as always :)

The Cressen prologue chapter is one of the saddest in the series. Its emotional load was, for me, a distraction from important information that is given here on the first read. This time, I noticed that Davos (one of the "brightest" characters) is associated with darkness

i agree, this was a good opening for the davos reread. the first chapter to shed light on stannis unsurprisingly really centers on davos but the maester is very prominent as well. wonderful observation, shadowcat, that cressen allowed love for stannis to grow. i don't know if maesters actually have an oath but they do swear allegiance to their "family" and of all the baratheon boys, it's stannis that cressen focuses on. they say we do not choose who we love but cressen chose stannis. and yet, when cressen speaks against his plan for the throne, stannis turns his back on perhaps the only person who loves him. this is indeed a sad introduction to a character.

but if the relationship with cressen is filled with complicated emotions and love, the relationship with davos is filled with loyalty and simple truths. davos doesn't worry about stannis and how he might receive the disappointing news about the lack of support from the stormland bannermen. he feels the truth is far more valuable.

i was also struck by the bravery davos continuously shows. in one chapter we are told that he was willing to cross enemy lines to bring supplies, something that could easily have cost him his life. then we're told he's just returned from a difficult mission where he had to face the silent enemy of classism and try to persuade those who looked down on him to even grant him an audience. who puts themselves in situations like this? davos shorthand does. he even faces his punishment of losing the tips of his fingers bravely. the reader can't help but fall in love with davos. and we realize he's willing to do anything for stannis.

i love the comparison of devil vs. angel that so many posters have commented on. davos is indeed the voice of goodness, truth and common sense for stannis while melisandre is the voice of temptation, trickery and the supernatural. heck, she even wears red like the devil.

mladen, you are right that while davos may not be pious, he does not appreciate the blasphemous act of burning the seven and highly doubts the power of the lord of light. perhaps that is because davos is far more comfortable and familiar with the dark as you mentioned, shadowcat. again another contrast with melisandre. he could sail his ship where no one else could in the dead of night and went so far as to make his ship and sails black. the night may be long and full of terror for melisandre but for davos, it's nothing to fear. that might come in handy sometime.

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I've always thought of Davos as the proverbial angel on Stannis's shoulder with Melisandre being his counterpart, the devil, red being her color notwithstanding. Unsurprisingly, the angel is a modest, unassuming man who offers cautions and hard thruths while the devil is an exotic seductress assuring of a grand destiny and the righteousness of their cause.

Beautiful parallel, just an Other. For me, Davos is not just Stannis`s conscious and the good side of him. He also serves as Stannis`s link to common people. Davos makes Stannis realize some tough truths throughout entire ASOIAF. Comparing to Melisandre, who wants to involve Stannis in, what she believes, deeper truths, Davos is the man who gives him dose of reality. As Melisandre represents Stannis`s desire for power, in some way also fanaticism and uncompromising attitude towards the world, Davos is his voice of reason, guardian and caretaker. For, unlike Melisandre, Davos knows that whatever you do, has a cost to be paid.

I think it is important, because Davos' story is tied to Stannis and Melisandre and the battle of the long night. Melisandre keeps claiming that it's her fight, but how is going to fight darkness someone whose moto is "the night is dark and full of terrors"? According to Ned (My lord father used to tell me that a man must know his enemies - Jon 8, ADWD), darkness can be fought by those who are familiar with it. Bloodraven, Bran, Arya and Davos are all better candidates than Mel.

Darkness can not drive out darkness, only light can do that. It`s a very simple notion. Just like you can`t fight fire with fire, you have to have another weapon against the darkness. For me, Davos`s story is about finding the way through the darkness. The first time we meet him is in dawn, and I believe that is what Davos truly is. A lighthouse for Stannis`s dark thoughts, and his truth is Stannis`s dawn. The truth is one of the most powerful leitmotifs in Davos`s character and that resounding voice of reason is what separates Davos from Melisandre, light from darkness.

Cressen's story exposes the vanity of the Night Watch oath "I will father no sons". Cressen did keep his oath, technically, but fatherly love found its way to his heart all the same... There was a discussion in the Jon re-read thread about love, honor and duty. Meister Aemon might have been deluded, after all. Blood ties are not the only thing that matters, as this other old meister has come to know. Cressen goes way beyond his duty, because of love.

I believe Davos`s loyalty is actually token of his love towards family. You see how he observes his sons, and how he sees Stannis. How he puts all his hopes in Stannis, not for himself or the riches he might get. The principal goal of Davos is to serve his King and his family. And by serving the King, he serves his family. For Davos, love isn`t death of loyalty and duty. Love in Davos enriches and seals his loyalty.

This wounding is part of a bargain between these to men. As a bargain with agreed upon terms, it sets a tone between them, a contract if you will, for service. Ragnorak noted in the Stannis thread that Stannis performing the "wounding" himself echos Ned and the northern means of imposing punishment. This is insightful and important because the punishment performed by the punisher is personal. The contract between these two men is one "writ and signed in blood," so to speak. It seems that this is the source of the loyalty between the two men.

This Old way of dealing with things, so uncommon for Southerners really emphasize the bond between Stannis and Davos. It is token of alliegence, trust and justice. It also serves as a constant reminder for Davos, of who he was and who he is. As Davos paid the price for his old crimes, he has been given a new life. This Stannis`s important action might play a role in the future, given

how Asha asked him to kill Theon in front Heart tree (AWOW, Theon`s POV)

It is strong and wonderful foreshadowing of taking one life and giving another. And I think it`ll play important role in the events to come.

Everyone, thank you for kind words. I hope this thread will last, ad that you`ll help us in analyzing Davos.

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Nice idea for a thread, Mladen.

The Maiden lay athwart the Warrior, her arms widespread as if to embrace him. The Mother seemed almost to shudder as the flames came licking up at her face . . . The Father was on the bottom, the first to fall.

The Starks have often drawn comparisons to the Seven. The Father is Ned, the first Stark to die in the series. The Warrior is Robb, and the Maiden is Jeyne Westerling, whose family lay athwart, or on the opposite side of the conflict against Robb; their relationship is what contributes to Robb's death. The Mother is Cat becoming Lady Stoneheart with the scars on her face.

While Saan is talking about taking KL and the Lannisters, he is eating grapes which are symbols of good luck, power and fortune, foreshadowing things turning out well for the Lannisters at the BoBW.

Ser Wun Wun found this one

On the way he patted a gargoyle on the head and muttered, "Luck."

Tyrion is patted on the head for luck, and compared to a gargoyle. He will come to Dragonstone.

Duckfield found this one

"They burned brightly." Davos did not trust this man, for all his courtesy. House Florent had declared for Renly.

The Lady Melisandre tells us that sometimes R'hllor permits his faithful servants to glimpse the future in flames. It seemed to me as I watched the fire this morning that I was looking at a dozen beautiful dancers, maidens garbed in yellow silk spinning and swirling before a great king. I think it was a true vision, ser. A glimpse of the glory that awaits His Grace after we take King's Landing and the throne that it is his by rights."

The moon was rising behind one mountain and sun sinking behind another as Jon struck sparks from flint and dagger, until finally a wisp of smoke appeared. Qhorin came and stood over him as the first flame rose up flickering from the shavings of bark and dead dry, pine needles. "As shy as a maid on her wedding night," the big ranger said in a soft voice, "and near as fair. Sometimes a man forgets how pretty a fire can be."

...

Jon went to cut more branches, snapping each one in two before tossing it into the fire. The tree had been dead a long time, but it seemed to live again in the fire, as fiery dancers woke within each stick of wood to

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Nice idea for a thread, Mladen.

The Maiden lay athwart the Warrior, her arms widespread as if to embrace him. The Mother seemed almost to shudder as the flames came licking up at her face . . . The Father was on the bottom, the first to fall.

The Starks have often drawn comparisons to the Seven. The Father is Ned, the first Stark to die in the series. The Warrior is Robb, and the Maiden is Jeyne Westerling, whose family lay athwart, or on the opposite side of the conflict against Robb; their relationship is what contributes to Robb's death. The Mother is Cat becoming Lady Stoneheart with the scars on her face.

Thanks, Fire Eater. Drawing comparisons between Starks and Seven, this scene especially Mother part invokes for me different foreshadowing. The Mother figure with flames licking up at her face. It`s more about Sansa and Sandor in the night of Blackwater battle. Sansa is the Mother, given how she sings `Mother`s hymn` to Sandor, and Sandor is the flame licking up at her face. This could be reference to UnKiss with the verb `to lick` can be associated with Hound.

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The Maiden lay athwart the Warrior, her arms widespread as if to embrace him. The Mother seemed almost to shudder as the flames came licking up at her face . . . The Father was on the bottom, the first to fall.

The Starks have often drawn comparisons to the Seven. The Father is Ned, the first Stark to die in the series. The Warrior is Robb, and the Maiden is Jeyne Westerling, whose family lay athwart, or on the opposite side of the conflict against Robb; their relationship is what contributes to Robb's death. The Mother is Cat becoming Lady Stoneheart with the scars on her face.

great insight here. i have definitely heard of the comparison of the starks to the seven and agree with your match ups although i didn't think of jeyne at first but it fits well with the scene that is presented. and i think the imagery of ned being the first to fall and cat shuddering in death as her face becomes scarred very moving.

eta:

It seemed to me as I watched the fire this morning that I was looking at a dozen beautiful dancers, maidens garbed in yellow silk spinning and swirling before a great king.

this quote does puzzle me. i'll wager it's not stannis but if it is, who could be the dancers? with winter coming, it hardly seems like the time for festivities and dancing.

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great insight here. i have definitely heard of the comparison of the starks to the seven and agree with your match ups although i didn't think of jeyne at first but it fits well with the scene that is presented. and i think the imagery of ned being the first to fall and cat shuddering in death as her face becomes scarred very moving.

eta:

It seemed to me as I watched the fire this morning that I was looking at a dozen beautiful dancers, maidens garbed in yellow silk spinning and swirling before a great king.

this quote does puzzle me. i'll wager it's not stannis but if it is, who could be the dancers? with winter coming, it hardly seems like the time for festivities and dancing.

Thank you, and as to the latter see the bottom of my previous post.

Mladen, I think the statues were speaking to the deaths of members of the Stark family. Speaking of the Starks, one thing Tyrion noted is that the Starks look for loyalty, courage and honor in the men that serve them, and Davos fits those descriptions for the most part. I think he get along well with Jon when they, and if Jon becomes king I can see him making Davos part of his small council.

He is of lower birth than LF having come from Flea Bottom, and turned to smuggling to make a living yet he is still more noble than LF, and not driven by his own self-aggrandizement.

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Great idea for a thread and very thought provoking post Mladen!

One thing that catches my attention in Davos’ first description is the following:

About his neck a pouch of worn leather hung from a thong… and he wore a leather glove on his maimed left hand.

Davos once tells Stannis that he keeps the bones to remind himself of Stannis’ justice. Not justice, Stannis’ justice! But interestingly enough, he covers the maimed hand. The chopping of his fingers brought Davos both pardon for a crime and reward for a service rendered at the cost of a maiming. Yet he exhibits a part of this maiming while covering the other.

I view this as symbolic of the double edge nature of Stannis’ justice. In this case this double edged refers to two concepts that are separate from each other in the type of justice Stannis dispenses- justice and fairness. Like Davos’ maimed, hand Stannis’ justice is fragmented. He might be always just but not necessarily always fair. The justly aspect is at the front for everybody to see, yet the fairness involving his decisions seems to take a back seat to his conception of what is just. How much Davos identifies this? I think not always, but when he does in in service of others and not himself.

Although it`s quite clear that Davos isn`t the most pious man in the world, the sacrilege does make him restless. But for all his troubled thoughts, he feels obligated to keep his mouth shut. He feels like he owes Stannis that. Davos`s loyalty is here presented as his highest ideal. That loyalty is what defines him, and as he says to Salladhor later: `Stannis is my God.

I agree with this, but I think this chapter encourages us to try and consider the limits of Davos loyalty to Stannis. While the burning of the Seven can be disturbing, what made this worse in my eyes is that is accompanied by the murder of at least 4 men (Ser Hubard Rambton and his three sons) for the sole crime of defending their own Gods. Oddly enough what troubles Davos the most seems to be the burning itself (despite not considering himself a pious man) and not the murders. I think this is a case where his loyalty to Stannis clouds his judgment. The burning of the Gods is something more easily associated with Mel as oppose to the more earthy nature of the killings. Is easier to concentrate on the burning and blame Mel than judge Stannis for allowing it or even ponder on why this just man allows these murders to occur in the first place.

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starting the day with a lovely cup of coffee and a visit to this reread. more wonderful insights, everyone!

Thank you, and as to the latter see the bottom of my previous post.

Qhorin came and stood over him as the first flame rose up flickering from the shavings of bark and dead dry, pine needles...... "and near as fair. Sometimes a man forgets how pretty a fire can be."

The tree had been dead a long time, but it seemed to live again in the fire, as fiery dancers woke within each stick of wood to

fire eater, i did miss this both in my reading of the books and your quote. thanks for bringing my attention to it. this has to be some of the subtlest hints at jon being king and is really debunking my theory that jon will die saving the realm but not ruling it. hmmmmmmm.

Not justice, Stannis' justice! ...... I view this as symbolic of the double edge nature of Stannis' justice. In this case this double edged refers to two concepts that are separate from each other in the type of justice Stannis dispenses- justice and fairness. Like Davos' maimed, hand Stannis' justice is fragmented. He might be always just but not necessarily always fair. The justly aspect is at the front for everybody to see, yet the fairness involving his decisions seems to take a back seat to his conception of what is just.

i agree with your analysis of the situation and i believe that this sets up all the controversy around stannis for the rest of the story so far. some readers note this duplicity more than other or perhaps find it harder to forget than others but i think situations like this where stannis' interpretation and actions are fragmented as it is here feed the fodder for stannis love and stannis dislike.

I agree with this, but I think this chapter encourages us to try and consider the limits of Davos loyalty to Stannis. While the burning of the Seven can be disturbing, what made this worse in my eyes is that is accompanied by the murder of at least 4 men (Ser Hubard Rambton and his three sons) for the sole crime of defending their own Gods. Oddly enough what troubles Davos the most seems to be the burning itself (despite not considering himself a pious man) and not the murders. I think this is a case where his loyalty to Stannis clouds his judgment. The burning of the Gods is something more easily associated with Mel as oppose to the more earthy nature of the killings. Is easier to concentrate on the burning and blame Mel than judge Stannis for allowing it or even ponder on why this just man allows these murders to occur in the first place.

again another wonderful analysis. let's face it, life in westeros isn't worth a whole lot. so often children and innocents are killed and no one blinks an eye. so i think the first thought for davos is the awareness that the life of one person doesn't have a very high value for most of westeros.

however, when you look deeper, i agree, it is easier for davos to focus on the evil red witch rather than have to question stannis' actions. i also think that he may have convinced himself that melisandre wanted it and stannis was not involved in the murders at all.

finally, stannis actually explains his actions with the telling of the red hawk story. davos clearly understands that stannis is willing to set aside all that he knew in the effort to get what he needs. i think this scene is meant to highlight both davos' blind devotion to stannis, davos' desire to protect stannis from melisandre and stannis himself, and finally that stannis is willing to let pious men die to appease another god. stannis is clearly letting go of one bird in the hopes of getting a more powerful one, no matter what it costs.

i have to wonder what his thoughts were after the ceremony was finished and the flaming sword was shown to be nothing but a mess.

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Mladen, I think the statues were speaking to the deaths of members of the Stark family.

Oh, it`s great parallel. There is a bit of problem with Jeyne being Maiden, but it`s good foreshadowing. I have a problem that I see Sansa everywhere :).

He is of lower birth than LF having come from Flea Bottom, and turned to smuggling to make a living yet he is still more noble than LF, and not driven by his own self-aggrandizement.

I think that LF and Davos truly represent total opposites. Unlike LF, Davos never forgot his roots, and those roots help him becoming better man, accomplished man, while LF`s roots turned him into a bitter, sadistic monster who wants to screw with all the Great Houses of Westeros. Davos` nobility is in his vision, something LF will never have. Davos is the man who have soething to fight for, and LF has only his ambition and hunger. That`s why Davos can find satisfaction, something LF never will. And that`s what`s going to lead LF to his demise.

I agree with this, but I think this chapter encourages us to try and consider the limits of Davos loyalty to Stannis. While the burning of the Seven can be disturbing, what made this worse in my eyes is that is accompanied by the murder of at least 4 men (Ser Hubard Rambton and his three sons) for the sole crime of defending their own Gods. Oddly enough what troubles Davos the most seems to be the burning itself (despite not considering himself a pious man) and not the murders. I think this is a case where his loyalty to Stannis clouds his judgment. The burning of the Gods is something more easily associated with Mel as oppose to the more earthy nature of the killings. Is easier to concentrate on the burning and blame Mel than judge Stannis for allowing it or even ponder on why this just man allows these murders to occur in the first place.

Thanks, Winterfellian. It`s great to know you liked this idea and this thread.

SImple man, simple rules. Just like Areo Hotah doesn`t question too much Doran, Davos doesn`t question Stannis` behavior and actions (we`ll come one day when he truly does evaluate his King). I see what you want to say, and I agree, but Davos is more practical man. He doesn`t involve in high spiritual issues, and that`s why I think GRRM used hawk as symbol in that conversation between Stannis and Davos. To make difference that Davos can see earthly truths, and Melisandre is for those spiritual. But the thing is that even the simplest earthly truth is sometimes more valuable than all spiritual mistery. For, simple eyes saw a mess where religious fools have seen Red sword. And seeing that Davos is man of truth, I don`t see why would we believe that Stannis`s sword is Lightbringer even here in the first chapter.

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Rereading this chapter I found it sinister and sombre. In terms of Davos's arc in ACOK we begin with the prows of an old invasion fleet burning and we end with Stannis' invasion fleet burning. The gods will not be mocked. The sons who curse the smoke will die at the end of the book in Stannis' cause. Patchface seems to be prophesying the wildfire that will consume the fleet later on. This ties into Salladhor's Azor Ahai story later on. Azor Ahai doesn't sacrifice himself - he kills the woman he loves for his cause. Worse in Salladhor's story there is no sense of there being any benefit from that woman's innocent death just as the lives to be lost at Blackwater will be flung away for nothing.

There is a sense of this being a year zero or a cultural revolution. The gods burnt, a new god brought in. Those who oppose are imprisoned, a fear of speaking your mind openly. Davos can speak to the King, the fear is of the other people presumably the red guards of this cultural revolution Allard "had the sense to keep his voice low", when Davos is in the inn before he says "Stannis is my God" he notices that "The inn is crowded, and you are not Salladhor Saan...Be careful how you answer" he can't just sail away and saying the wrong thing could lead at least to imprisonment alongside Lord Sunglass.

The thoughts of "everything I am I owe to him" and "It was just what he did to me" had the air of mantras - Davos seeking to convince himself or remind himself. He reaches out three times for luck in the chapter, once to his finger bones and twice to the old gargoyle giving the sense that things feel uncomfortable and out of human control or influence.

Davos and Salladhors' analysis was interesting - we know from Tyrion's POV that King's Landing is weak, Stannis could take it at this moment but probably wouldn't be able to hold it, equally we know from the prologue that no one will join him and we get - again, a sense of why that is from this chapter.

Interesting that Cressen had such a strong sense of being a father figure to Stannis yet Stannis doesn't seem to reciprocate that feeling (and there is no reason for him to do so), just calling him 'old man' with a grind of the old teeth to Davos.

Stannis' attitude towards religion is striking. Some find a sense of the transendental in religion - not so Stannis. Religion is very functional and mechcanical for him. I pray - I get reward, I don't get fair treatment - I won't worship. We only get glances at Melisandre in this chapter but I wonder if Melisandre's attitude towards Stannis is along the same functional lines. We don't get the full Azor Ahai story here, so we don't get a sense of quite what role Stannis might have to play in Melisandre's eyes.

I quoted this in the other Stannis reread thread from the 15th century Boke of St.Albans which is quoted in teh beginning of Barry Hines' book "A Kestrel for a Knave": "An Eagle for an Emperor, a Gyrfalcon for a King; a Peregrine for a Prince, and a Saker for a Knight; a Merlin for a lady, a Goshawk for a Yeoman, a Sparrowhawk for a Priest, and a Kestrel for a Knave" Stannis in his story has a low class bird a Goshawk, suitable for a Yeoman a commoner's bird while big brother Bob gets the kingly Gyrfalcon. He's already in the shadow of his brother. But now Stannis has his Red Hawk...

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You are so right, Mladen. Davos is so ordinary. His description is all brown; his hair, his eyes. Brown is the color of dirt, dried leaves, tree bark and manure. He blends in like forest animals, most of which are brown. In this regard, it perhaps is Martin's way of disguising the extraordinary with the ordinary. Davos sigil, an onion, is common. It;s an ingredient in probably every bowl of "brown" in fleabottom.

I'll return later. . .

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