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The Blood Motif in ASoIaF/Symbolism/Analysis/Patterns

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Very deep, multi-layered analysis. And a challenging work in progress, branching out like a fractal model at different scales.

My two cents on blood symbology.

'Bed of blood' is a very powerful metaphor iterated throughout the saga. Not only it contains the textual seed of pivotal plot developments but it is also connected to the life and death dichotomy: women fight their wars in the 'bed of blood' to bring forth a new life or lose theirs trying. We could even draw a parallel with the archetypal theme of 'eros and thanatos', both linked to the theme of birth and the 'battle of the bloody bed'.

Blood is also symbolic cornerstone of the Targaryen words 'fire and blood'. In the previous posts it was postulated that blood could life-feed the Old Gods through sacrifice. Same imagery could be applied to Daenerys' rebirth through fire and blood (sacrifice). In the fiery pyre life and death find balance through blood shedding. Therefore blood is one of the catalysts (the other one being fire) for releasing and awakening old natural and/or magical forces (dragons hatching).

As blood and wine are interchangeable symbols, the same can be said about blood and rubies. Rubies are blood red and often connected to life force: according to oriental legends they in fact contain the 'spark of life'.

In ASoIaF Rubies are both associated to Rhaegar's end and 'continuation' (his blood legacy), giving form to another intriguing conceptual oxymoron containing life and death.

The 'seventh ruby' is what all are waiting for on the mysterious, secretive Quiet Isle (water and blood intertwined in a powerful allegory).

A ruby gleams red on Melisandre's neck (two words: blood magic).

According to Tywin, rubies are preferable to garnets 'cause the latter lack fire (again, fire and blood metaphorically embraced).

The ruby symbology and its link to blood has been ciclycally discussed on the R+L=J thread. Here is a short summary with all the relevant posts and a recent tail here.

Last but not least, a little contribution to the symbology of leaves, by Ungaretti and his ermetic poem Soldiers:

Here we are

like leaves on

trees, in Autumn

:bowdown: I'm so glad you are here!

What a great fit for you and your knowledge, and I look shamelessly forward to learning everything you know about symbolisms. Especially the connections between the blood motifs and rubies, which will become, I suspect, an important part of the story.

I think it's significant that the Targaryens would have the ruby as their stone given the mysticism of the ruby and it's connection to "life force."

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Very deep, multi-layered analysis. And a challenging work in progress, branching out like a fractal model at different scales.

My two cents on blood symbology.

'Bed of blood' is a very powerful metaphor iterated throughout the saga. Not only it contains the textual seed of pivotal plot developments but it is also connected to the life and death dichotomy: women fight their wars in the 'bed of blood' to bring forth a new life or lose theirs trying. We could even draw a parallel with the archetypal theme of 'eros and thanatos', both linked to the theme of birth and the 'battle of the bloody bed'.

Blood is also symbolic cornerstone of the Targaryen words 'fire and blood'. In the previous posts it was postulated that blood could life-feed the Old Gods through sacrifice. Same imagery could be applied to Daenerys' rebirth through fire and blood (sacrifice). In the fiery pyre life and death find balance through blood shedding. Therefore blood is one of the catalysts (the other one being fire) for releasing and awakening old natural and/or magical forces (dragons hatching).

As blood and wine are interchangeable symbols, the same can be said about blood and rubies. Rubies are blood red and often connected to life force: according to oriental legends they in fact contain the 'spark of life'.

In ASoIaF Rubies are both associated to Rhaegar's end and 'continuation' (his blood legacy), giving form to another intriguing conceptual oxymoron containing life and death.

The 'seventh ruby' is what all are waiting for on the mysterious, secretive Quiet Isle (water and blood intertwined in a powerful allegory).

A ruby gleams red on Melisandre's neck (two words: blood magic).

According to Tywin, rubies are preferable to garnets 'cause the latter lack fire (again, fire and blood metaphorically embraced).

The ruby symbology and its link to blood has been ciclycally discussed on the R+L=J thread. Here is a short summary with all the relevant posts and a recent tail here.

Last but not least, a little contribution to the symbology of leaves, by Ungaretti and his ermetic poem Soldiers:

Here we are

like leaves on

trees, in Autumn

:bowdown: :bowdown: FROZEN FIRE: WOW! Nice paralleling. You connect the rubies with the bed of blood. Then the rubies lost in the Trident when Robert bashes in Rhaegar’s breast plate, scattering the precious gems. Remember, on the Starks’ journey south, Arya wants to go hunt for the lost rubies – instead she finds “blood”, Prince Joffrey’s blood on Nymeria’s muzzle after Joffrey endangered Arya, spurring Nymeria into action.

I really like the analogy of men fighting battles on a battle field whereas women fight battles in the birthing bed.

Sansa’s fear of her first blood is powerful evidence of the pressures placed on young women in Sansa’s social circle – unless she bleeds, she is not worthy of Joffrey. Sansa slowly starts to realize just how vulnerable she is at the whims of the Lannisters.

So, do you think Mel has the lost ruby? What ruby binds Mance to Mel? Are there only seven rubies? How many have been found?

I love this ruby/blood angle. Excellent Job. I am excited to read even more. KEEP GOING WITH THIS!! :cheers:

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SANSA WITHOUT LADY

“She gave Lady a quick little hug. Lady licked her cheek. Sansa giggled” (143).

Sansa, on the other hand, will likely be the last living Stark to realize her warg potential since she loses her direwolf pup Lady well before Lady ever has a chance to taste first blood. Besides, Lady’s diet includes dining beneath Sansa’s table, so she no doubt receives many lemon cakes.

Lady is the mirror image of Sansa, perfectly behaved, eating bacon from her hand beneath the table despite the Septa’s disapproval. Sansa affectionately defends her wolf’s station at her side.

Lady sits demurely at Sansa’s side, well- groomed and obedient, unlike Nymeria, who is as willful as her master Arya, trying to escape grooming, her fur matted and tangled, fighting her young mistress who tries to brush the mud from her coat.

When Sansa cries from humiliation after her meeting with Arya, Lady pads silently at her side, a loyal, quiet companion sharing her mistress’s mood.

Lady shows her protective instincts when she senses Sansa’s fear of the Hound: “Sansa wrenched away from him, and the Hound laughed, and Lady moved between them, rumbling a warning.”

On the other hand, Nymeria is as willful as her mistress Arya, behaving in a most uncooperative fashion during her grooming, even slipping away from Arya in the hopes of avoiding the brush.

Nymeria runs at Arya’s side as they follow the Trident. She also joins Arya when she leaves the column for adventure, offering a sure-fire protection for her young charge.

Nymeria attacks Joffrey in defense of Arya, which foreshadows another direwolf attack in the near future, one that proves fatal for the recipient of the wolf’s rage.

The direwolves arouse fear in others, such as Princess Myrcella, and they gain a healthy respect from others they meet as well. But it is not the direwolves that need to be feared in this novel, not by a long shot.

A PLOT GIFT TO ARYA AND SANSA: THE HOUND

Another way Martin balances Arya’s and Sansa’s losing their direwolves is by gifting each girl an ironic form of a “replacement”: The Hound, Sandor Clegane. In his way, he replaces the direwolves as a protector, if only for a short time.

The Hound rescues Sansa from the mob at Kings Landing, and he appears later to take Arya from the Band of Brothers with the intention of delivering her safely to her mother and King Robb at the Twins. Even though neither may admit it, the Hound does assist the sisters, especially when they are threatened by imminent danger.

[This will be further developed with more evidence]:

1). I want to address Sansa’s red visitor – another evidence of the Starks shedding blood

2.) Arya cuts her finger and smears blood on the statue of Bailor the Blessed. {not sure what this will mean.]

3.) Sansa’s reaction to the blood at the tourney, compare to all the other Stark’s reactions to blood.

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Evita et al, this is wonderful! There's more blood here than in an episode of Dexter.

It has often occured to me that blood is the unifying principle in the series. Thankfully, as I see above, I am no the only one who sees it.

Fantastic!

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Evita et al, this is wonderful! There's more blood here than in an episode of Dexter.

It has often occured to me that blood is the unifying principle in the series. Thankfully, as I see above, I am no the only one who sees it.

Fantastic!

:bowdown: :bowdown: BLISSCRAFT: THANK YOU! such KIND WORDS HAVE MADE MY DAY! Stop by anytime and contribute your angle on the endless BLOOD! Hope to hear from you again soon! :cheers:

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I do not normally post but I had to come out of lurk to say this thread has been really just amazing and wonderful.

I am not sure why this thread is quiet but I want to thank you evita mgfs for wonderful wonderful analysis of the blood motif and also to the other posters. I try to read anything you post evita..its always a wonderful and insightful read. Very well done.

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2.) Arya cuts her finger and smears blood on the statue of Bailor the Blessed. {not sure what this will mean.]

That happens right before Ned's execution, and we have heard from High Septon that they profaned High Sept of Baelor by executing Ned. So, I think blood on Baelor could indicate the profanity of the act and unholiness of the rejection of forgiveness. Blood on Baelor's statue could also indicate the end of peace, the end of justice and righteousness...

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What follows continues my analysis of the blood motif as it begins in AGoT and I hope to address how each Stark sibling is an important component of this motif. Since I tend to compose “long” posts and since I am a slow writer, I am sharing in installments.



PART I: HOW SUMMER and BLOOD EMPOWER BRAN THE GREENSEER in AGoT



Bran could not take his eyes off the blood” (150).



  1. INTRODUCTION: HBO’S SERIES BASED on MARTIN’S NOVELS


Fantasy fiction readers and A Game of Thrones television viewers quickly and effortlessly grasp Bran’s superior intuitive abilities and look to the novels and/or episodes that follow to attend to Bran discovering, then mastering, his powers. Season 3 of the HBO series A Game of Thrones based on the novels reveals additional information to tease the fans and readers. To illustrate, in Season 3, episode 9 entitled “The Rains of Castamere”, when thunder and lightning frighten Hodor, he cries out, drawing unwanted attention to Bran and his companions, Rickon, Osha, Jojen, and Meera, all of whom are hiding in an abandoned tower where a band of wildlings have gathered beneath their window, among them Bran’s bastard brother Jon Snow and a “skinchanger” named Orell.



The viewing audience knows of Orell’s “skinchanging” abilities from an earlier scene, but the readers of the series ASoIaF know that a “practicing” skinchanger can “sense” the presence of another skinchanger. Orell’s facial expressions indicate that he intuits Bran’s company , but between timely pauses in the thunder audio-track is the discernible sound of Hodor’s cries. As a result, readers and viewers should garner some satisfaction in continuity from the page to the screen. Orell voices his suspicions to Tormund Giantsbane, who dismisses Orell’s concerns, blaming the thunder for what Orell believes that he hears.



Meanwhile, above in the tower, no one can quiet Hodor, and the fear of discovery has their group panicking. Bran’s terror brings on a visible response, his eyes seemingly roll back into his head to be replaced by white lenses. Suddenly, Hodor ceases “hodoring”, and his eyes mirror Bran’s. But Hodor totally disengages from his environment and those in it. His knees fold under him, and the stifled giant slumps to the floor.



The HBO audience has witnessed the visual manifestation of skinchanging in Orell, so that when Bran skinchanges for the first time, the nature of Bran’s magic has already been introduced. This physical aspect of warging and skinchanging is an inclusion to the television show and not a symptom entertained in the novels.



Jojen expresses amazement and awe, realizing that Bran calms Hodor by entering his mind. Jojen divulges meaningful information to Bran and to the HBO audience: Jojen explains that no one has ever demonstrated magical powers as great as Bran’s. Jojen Reed validates what Martin only insinuates in A Dance with Dragons through Varamyr Sixskin’s “Prologue”. When Varamyr fails to “skinchange” with Thistle, a wildling spearwife, a disappointment that suggests even after a lifetime of managing control over six creatures, Varamyr’s magic is limited to animals only. Bran, on the contrary, skinchanges with Hodor rather easily.



Martin’s POV narration through Varamyr Sixskins reveals a sacred code of morality among skinchangers. Haggon teaches his student V6S that to seize the body of another is an abomination. Considering Jojen’s reaction to Bran’s means of “calming” Hodor, the greendreamer does not express horror at Bran committing an “abomination”. Furthermore, with the threat of the wildlings outside the tower, Jojen urges Bran to engage his powers to enter the mind of his direwolf Summer, a skill that Jojen assures Bran is far easier than possessing and manipulating a human mind. Jojen convinces Bran that he can consciously choose to “slip his skin” and reside in a prospective “host”, which Bran does. Outside, Summer, flanked by his litter-mate Shaggydog, is already alert to the presence of the recent arrivals, watching them while remaining safely concealed from detection. When Summer leaps into attack mode, it is a clue that Bran is exercising his will on his direwolf.



During this surprise ambush, Bran is rewarded with a glance of his bastard brother Jon Snow, whom he observes escaping on horseback. Bran “sees” through Summer’s eyes. In both the HBO television series AGoT and the novels in the ASoIaF, Bran’s potential is foreshadowed to exceed all expectations, which promises more first time events in the future.



  1. THE FALL: BRAN’S VIOLENT PATH TO KNOWLEDGE /

HOWVIOLENCE BEGETS VIOLENCE:PUNISHING VIOLATORSofthe SACRED LAWS ofHOSPITALITY and forABUSING theGUEST RIGHT



Bran’s acquisition of knowledge regarding his gifts of warging, skinchanging, and greenseeing begins in AGoT and then continues in the following novels in the series ASoIaF. Martin identifies Bran as the first of the Stark siblings to experience supernatural powers with his 3EC dream, his wolf dreams, and his tree dreams, all prefaces to Bran opening his third eye. Moreover, Bran’s experiences are a gauge by which readers may judge the progress the other Stark siblings are making as they follow suit, discovering their “wolf” spirits.



A “push” from a tower window causes Bran who never “falls” while climbing to FALL. Bran is the son his father once nicknamed “squirrel”, a tribute to Bran’s love of climbing trees, castle walls, and towers. Martin describes Bran joining the brooding gargoyles once atop the tower, and from a good vantage point, “Bran could see all of Winterfell in a glance. . . It made him feel like he was lord of the castle, in a way even Robb would never know”. Ironically, the 3EC plants a seed that will take root and blossom into what Bran will learn are his greenseeing powers.



Bran’s POV narratives in AGoT reveal that he devotes time studying the transformation of his oldest brother Robb into “Robb the Lord” as he accepts the responsibilities vacated by his father Eddard. Watching Robb achieve his designated role as the eldest of the Stark sons reminds Bran of the dreams he once had for his future, which he now has to abandon because he is crippled. However, Bran does not have the advantage of reading all the novels thus far completed in the series, so he is unaware of the far-reaching potential of his greenseeing magic. It is likely that Bran will experience the dominion of a “lord” through his command of his powers. Through Bran’s sitting the weirwood throne, he may learn of a way to achieve those boyhood dreams he mourns losing. Yet after witnessing Robb suffer the demands of leadership and discovering the circumstances surrounding Robb’s fate, Bran may not be as eager as he once was to deal with the struggles of making decisions that will affect the fates of so many.



BRAN’S ASSOCIATION with the VIOLATIONS of the LAWS OF HOSPITALITY



The forces that are the old gods may appear to be more impotent than omnipotent, but gods work in mysterious ways, especially the old gods of the north. Represented as watching through the eyes of the weirwoods, the old gods appear related to elements in nature, such as stone, earth, tree, wind, and water. The revelation in the Cave of Skulls that Bran is a greenseer explains Bran’s “wolf” and “tree” dreams. Now that Bran is part of the godhood, sitting a weirwood throne of his own next to Lord Brynden, he will assert his powers, but how awaits to be seen.



Even though the old gods send the Stark siblings direwolf puppies to assist the awakening of their wolf spirits, the Starks need to be receptive and heed the alerts of their pups Otherwise, a Stark exercising “free will” often undermines the preventative measures the old gods established. For instance, Bran chooses to climb even though his direwolf pup’s “howling chased him all the way up the tree” (78-79). Moreover, when Bran turns to look down, Summer quiets, looking at Bran with “slitted yellow eyes” and warning him telepathically of the danger above. Bran feels a “strange chill” pass through him. Apparently, Bran’s pup is minding Bran, but Bran is not minding his pup.



Violations of the sacred laws of hospitality are believed to be so egregious and so blasphemous that the gods themselves punish the offender. The old gods’ assignation of punishment to the violator is a careful balance to ensure that the penance “fits” the crime.



While a guest of Lord Eddard Stark and a knight in King Robert’s kingsguard, Ser Jaime Lannister secretly meets with his sister Cersei in an abandoned tower, where they make love. In the throes of passion, Cersei catches sight of a child hanging outside the tower window. Bran’s fingers slip, and Jaime rescues Bran, ordering him to “TAKE MY HAND!” Bran desperately latches onto Jaime’s forearm and presses down so hard that he leaves welts. Bran’s fear is palpable. Regardless, a moment later, Jaime shoves Bran off the window sill, saying, “The things I do for love” (85).



It is karmic, ironic, and a matter of “poetic justice” that Jaime forfeits the very thing he orders Bran Stark to TAKE, his hand, his “sword” hand, the symbol of a knight’s power, the deliverer of death to a Targaryen king, the means by which Bran falls. “Taking” Jaime’s hand is a fate worse than death because without his sword hand, Jaime is a “cripple”. When Tyrion tells Jaime that Bran is going to live even with a broken neck and shattered legs, Jaime says, “. . .he will be a cripple. Worse than a cripple. A grotesque. Give me a good, clean death” (91).



It is unlikely the gods will oblige Jaime’s wishes; after all, dying is easy – “living” is hard. Since Jaime robs Bran of his future dreams, the forces that are the old gods, or that serve as agents of the old gods, will make sure that Jaime’s fate matches or exceeds the intensity of Bran’s suffering.



Jaime’s “violations” are threefold:



Jaime attempts to kill the son of his host.



Jaime fornicates with his own twin sister in an abandoned tower of his host’s castle.



Jaime commits treason when he and the queen have sexual relations while guests of Winterfell.



Bran is the Stark that Martin most associates with the sacred laws of hospitality. After his older brother Robb departs from Winterfell, Bran assumes the role of host to the Stark bannermen visiting Winterfell to pledge their fealty for another term. Bran must serve as his brother Robb and father Eddard do before him, so Bran models his hosting behavior on the two best men he knew.



Furthermore, through Old Nan’s story of the “Rat Cook”, Bran hears a cautionary tale that warns of harsh punishment for those who violate the laws of hospitality. Bran repeats this story for Jojen and Meera Reed when they take a break on their journey, and before they cross under the Wall to continue their odyssey to the Cave of Skulls.



The legend of the “Rat Cook” tells of a brother of the Night’s Watch who prepares a delicious pie to serve the visiting king. The king praises the culinary skills of the cook, after which the king learns that mixed in with the bacon filling is a secret ingredient: the King’s own son. The Nightfort cook avenges some wrong the King had visited upon him. Consequently, the old gods punish the cook for killing a guest under his own roof, and the penalty is extremely harsher than the laws of men: the cook is transformed into a giant rat destined to feed on his own young to nourish himself. The cook’s misery is a fate worse than a merciful death, and this legend exemplifies how the magical forces work. In the case of the cook, his punishment fits his crime: a rat is a fitting creature to house the Nightfort cook’s black soul. Rats are loathsome symbols of disease, waste, and deadliness. The moral of the story is to respect the sacred laws governing hospitality.



The Stark ancestry is clearly enmeshed in the sacred laws of hospitality and the guest right. The stone statues of the Lords of Winterfell and the Kings of Winter that uniformly line each level of the crypts best illustrates an association with refusing hospitality. The stone masons repeat the same “sitting” posture for all the dead, one that suggests the Starks “do not rest” in peace. With “stone eyes” open yet blind, the “dead of Winterfell seemed to watch with cold and disapproving eyes” (48). Even more telling is the unsheathed iron sword that rests across their knees, a symbol that a lord or king is refusing his hospitality. This unspoken threat is meant to discourage unwelcome guests. Furthermore, curled at the feet of the stone Starks is a stone direwolf, another warning that the Starks are not alone as enforcers of these sacred laws.



Martin emphasizes the significance of the unsheathed sword in AGoT through Bran’s narrative. Sitting on a cold stone “high seat” of House Stark, Robb receives guest Tyrion Lannister by striking a familiar pose:



“His sword was across his knees, the steel bare for all the world to see. Even Bran knew what it meant to greet a guest with an unsheathed sword” (242).



Robb mirrors the Winterfell dead. Grey Wind even joins him later, heeling at Robb’s feet to complete the composition. This depiction also foreshadows Robb and Grey Wind’s deaths.



So, the BIG question is “WHY” do the Starks sit at the ready instead of reclining on their tombs with their eyes closed? Could the answer be as simple as “Winter is coming”?



Martin teases by revealing too little to develop a theory with concrete, undeniable evidences from the text. After all, Lord Brynden succinctly tells Bran and the readers that “Men forget. Only trees remember” (ADwD 449).



Jojen offers more explanation: “The secrets of the old gods . . . Truths the First Men knew now forgotten in Winterfell. . . but not in the wet wild. We live closer to the green in our bogs and crannogs, and we remember. Earth and water, soil and stone, oaks and elms and willows, they were here before us all and will still remain when we are gone” (449).



Readers enjoy speculating about the nature of this forgotten knowledge. Martin implies that Bran will acquire this forgotten knowledge as a greenseer. However, Jojen indicates that the Reeds “remember” since they are closer to nature. The Reeds have told Bran about their home, Grey Water Watch, a castle that dwells beneath or on top of the waters, and one that moves regularly so that its location is never known for a certainty.



With the stone Starks and their stone direwolves symbolically guarding the WF crypts against unwelcome guests, Martin may be insinuating events to come, especially with Bran as a greenseer and as a victim of violations against the laws of hospitality. Maybe Bran will use his magic to call forth the spirits of the dead Starks to a purpose – with the blood that unites the earliest Starks with the most recent Starks, there certainly exists the potential for profound magical spells.



C. CATELYN’S FEAR OF THE DIREWOLVES



Bran’s coma confines him to bed in an appointed sick room, where his mother tends to his needs even though “sleep deprivation” seriously impairs Catelyn’s judgment. To illustrate, Maester Luwin orders that Bran’s window be kept open so that the child can hear his direwolf “sing”. Catelyn defies the maester, closing the window to keep Bran warm, which is how Catelyn justifies her disobedience to Robb when he confronts her. Robb is unconvinced by his mother’s excuses, opening the window to “a cold and lonely sound, full of melancholy and despair” (150). Robb is better informed as to what measures will ensure Bran’s recovery, asserting that Bran needs to hear the wolves howl in a chorus.



Catelyn covers her ears, sobbing – “Make them stop! . . . I can’t stand it. Make them stop . . . kill them all if you must, just make them stop!” (150).



Catelyn fears the direwolves, her unreasonable suspicions borne from the circumstances surrounding their discovery. Catelyn’s superstitious nature influences her belief that the mother direwolf with the stag’s antler impaled in her throat invites ominous interpretations, especially since the Stark sigil is the direwolf and the Baratheon sigil is the stag.



By Catelyn’s children adopting the pups, they also “adopt” the premonition of death, a threat symbolized by the stag’s antler.



Catelyn realizes that the genders of the five direwolf puppies, three males and two females, “match” those of her five trueborn children, an unfortunate coincidence, especially since the pups are orphaned as a result of their mother’s fatality.



The materialization of the sixth direwolf with coloring distinctive of the weirwood trees is also by far a mystical enigma. Catelyn processes the appearance of the direwolves is negatively; hence, Catelyn’s actions and reactions to Bran’s tragic fall and to his determined direwolf all speak to her fears.



Now, Catelyn will change her mind completely about the direwolves, but her change of heart involves lots of blood and mouths filled with blood. But that is a bit later . . . .



Because of Catelyn’s distrust, Martin employs a Lannister POV to divulge the healing powers of Bran’s wolf for the reader’s consideration. Moreover, Tyrion shares Maester Luwin’s wisdom with his sister and his brother, which is Tyrion’s clever stratagem to evoke unease in the Queen and the Kingslayer, both of whom Tyrion has deduced are responsible for Bran’s uncharacteristic tumble.



D. TYRION KNOWS MUCH AND MORE . . .



The Queen and her two of her three children, Prince Tommen and Princess Myrcella, are breaking their fasts in the Morning Room of the Guest House with Ser Jamie Lannister.



The Lannisters and the Baratheon’s, along with their loyal retainers, are still guests of Lord Eddard Stark, their host until their departure. The Lord of Winterfell provides the necessities associated with conventional hospitality: shelter, food and drink, and protection. In return, the guests are bound to honor and respect their host, his family and retainers, and to abide by what is accepted as appropriate behavior in Westeros during an extended visit.



Tyrion joins the group “uninvited”, but he earns his keep answering questions about Maester Luwin’s prognosis for Bran Stark. Besides, Tyrion suspects that Bran’s fall is not accidental, so Tyrion plans his remarks to illicit the best possible responses and reactions from the suspects.



Tyrion says, “The maester thinks that the boy may yet live” (90). Assessing Jaime and Cersei’s momentary exchange of meaningful glances, Tyrion satisfies Jaimie’s query concerning the maester’s exact words: “He thinks that if the boy were going to die, he would have done so already” (90). Tyrion reports on the preternatural aspects of Bran’s wolf , which Tyrion credits with “keeping the boy [bran] alive”.



Tyrion also shares Maester Luwin’s observations of Bran’s direwolf “outside his [bran’s] window day and night, howling. Every time they chase it away, it returns. The maester said they closed the window once, to shut out the noise, and Bran seemed to weaken. When they opened it again, his [bran’s] heart beat stronger" .



The operative root-word is “STRONG”, a “go-to” modifier that Martin uses in conjunction with the awakening of the “wolf spirit” in a Stark. Thus, Martin repeats “strong”, in its comparative [stronger] and superlative [strongest] forms, to emphasize a shared commonality among the Starks.



Although the status of each Stark progeny changes with each novel in the series, Martin’s familiar language patterns offer transitions passing over POV’s within the same novel and offer parallels extending over the novels in sequential order. Tyrion is an early source of details contributing to Martin’s characterizations.



E. THE GAMEBOARD and the BUNJI CORD :


THE STARKS and HOME



“Home, Shaggy, home now!”



The first novel in the series ASoIaF is A GAME of Thrones, a good analogy for envisioning Martin’s World of Ice and Fire as a “game board”, “the Stark Edition, featuring the north, with as the center the brooding heart tree, a permanent fixture in Winterfell’s godswood. Furthermore, Martin announces in his title intent to make “games” and “gaming” a multifaceted motif beefy enough in scope to sustain seven novels.



Set Stark tokens at “GO” beneath the weirwood’s articulated, bone-white branches filled with red leaves shaped like hands. This location symbolizes where the entire family was last united. Roll the dice and count the steps each Stark token advances on the pathway, traveling in his or her own direction, to the north, south, east, or west, with those who travel together parting company.



The “FINISH LINE” is Winterfell, the grey stone walls of the towers and castle wait patiently for each Stark to return. The face watching through the eyes of the heart tree is familiar and welcoming. The blood of the First Men courses through the veins of the Starks, the same blood that flowed in the veins of Bran the Builder. The blood profile forever links House Stark to Winterfell, the heart tree, and the crypts. The magic that has remained dormant in the collective Stark conscience over thousands and thousands of years, manifests itself differently with each Stark. Bran is the amply blessed recipient of the most impressive gifts bestowed upon him by the forces that are the old gods: as a wizard whose powers eclipse all those greenseers who came before him, Bran seems to score big. At least as of the fifth novel in the series, because Martin has not confirmed how, why, who, what, where and when Bran will flex his weirwood muscles to become an active participant in the “game of thrones”.



Each Stark is forever linked – or attached - to WF. Imagine an “invisible” bunji cord that stretches to allow each Stark to travel as far from home as is necessary. The elastic cord tugs at the wandering Stark, compelling him or her to return home. The forces that are the old gods intervene to “snap back” a wandering spirit unable to find his or her way home before and after dying.



No matter how many miles over land and sea the Starks travel, they all share a past that prevents them from abandoning or forgetting their “ROOTS”, a very real symbol of the collective Stark ancestry thousands of years old. Literally, the Winterfell heart tree has reigned as a fixture in the godswood, its watchful eyes minding generations of Stark progeny. Starks who die far from home and who have earthly remains are returned to join those who died before them. Agents of the old gods act as spiritual guides ensuring that the bones find their way to the Winterfell crypts to rest beside and among the Stark ancestors.



Despite the forces of the old gods who share an ancient tradition with House Stark, on occasion the earthly remains of an expired Stark may not be accessible. If a Stark dies at sea, the body becomes fish food with naught to bury in his tomb. Regardless, the Stark “spirit” returns home, probably transported via a force of nature: through the roots of trees, through bodies of water, through the raindrops in a shower or thunder and lightning storm, through a seed pod or leaf or another means easily carried by the wind, or through other possible venues specific to the transportation of the bodiless soul.



F. BLOOD NOURISHES SUMMER / CATELYN LEARNS TO TRUST



“His blood felt like warm rain as it sprayed across her [Catelyn’s] face” (AGoT 133).



While Bran is comatose, a would-be-assassin targeting helpless Bran, sets a fire in Winterfell’s library to lure Lady Catelyn away from her son’s side in order to permit him an uncomplicated opportunity to commit a “mercy killing”. However, Catelyn remains with Bran as Robb rushes to subdue the flames. When the “would-be-assassin” slips into the sick room, Catelyn’s presence momentarily confuses him, and Catelyn’s “mother instinct” drives her to risk her own life in an attempt to thwart the would-be-assassin’s plans.


Catelyn gives the “good fight”, grabbing the assailant’s blade with both hands and forcing it away from her throat. Her blood-soaked hands impede her resolve to maneuver the weapon, which he makes more difficult with his hand clasped over her mouth, cutting off her air supply. Consequently, the “beast” inside Catelyn is aroused, and she bites down on the man’s palm, grinding her teeth together and tearing at his flesh until he lets her go: “The taste of his blood filled her mouth” (133). Catelyn gives as good as she gets when her teeth draw blood, leaving a gash just as the attacker’s blade slices open her hand.



But when he grabs her hair to force her away from him, Catelyn stumbles and falls, giving him the advantage as he looms over her, the dagger still clutched in his hand. Through her peripheral vision she detects a “shadow” slipping through the open door into Bran’s sickroom – a welcome ally fortuitously arriving to relieve Catelyn from her losing battle with the dagger-wielding intruder.



A low rumble, the slight “whisper” of a snarl, makes the man turn just in time to face “death” leaping toward him. The wolf takes him down, clamping him under the jaw:



“The man's shriek lasted less than a second before the beast wrenched back its head, taking out half his throat. . . His blood felt like warm rain as it sprayed across her face” (133).



The southron Lady, a former Tully from Riverrun, is symbolically baptized in the blood of her first “kill”, albeit with an assist from a direwolf. Moreover, Catelyn tastes the blood of the enemy determined to take her Bran from her. “The wolf was looking at her. Its jaws were red and wet and its eyes glowed golden in the dark room. It was Bran’s wolf, she realized. Of course it was. ‘Thank you,’ Catelyn whispered, her voice faint and tiny” (133).



Blood unites Catelyn and Summer as both woman and wolf have their mouths filled with the warm blood of their “kill”, which will endow both with strength and purpose evident soon after their shared attack. Catelyn also thanks the heroic direwolf for saving Bran’s life and her own, a gesture that suggests Catelyn believes the direwolf comprehends her words. Martin captures the moment their bond is realized in prose:



“She [Catelyn] lifted her hand, trembling. The wolf padded closer, sniffed at her fingers, and then licked at the blood with a wet rough tongue. When it had cleaned all the blood off her hand, it turned away silently and jumped up on Bran's bed and lay down beside him(133).



Summer gently tends to Catelyn’s hand, a remarkable turn of events considering Catelyn’s fear of the beast she assumed meant her child harm. Summer licks Catelyn’s fingers, cleansing them with his saliva to remove the dead man’s blood and Catelyn’s blood. Even though Catelyn’s defensive wounds will leave a permanent scar, Summer’s healing powers stay excessive bleeding and sterilize the deep cut to prevent infection.



Because of Catelyn and Summer’s mystical communication, Catelyn’s suspicions and fears are symbolically “licked away” along with the blood. Summer uses his tongue and not his teeth on Catelyn’s “trembling” hand, which enables her to perceive Summer as Bran’s savior and protector. Subsequently, she permits the “outside” wolf to dwell “inside” Bran’s once forbidden sickroom, where Summer exercises his victory by jumping atop Bran’s bed, resting close to the yet unconscious Bran. Summer boldly situates himself as a new but equal occupant of the room where once Bran slept alone.



The far-reaching consequence of Catelyn accepting the direwolves as divinely sent protectors of the Starks is that she finally leaves Bran’s side for the first time in weeks. Catelyn’s relief is palpable. She is able to have restive nights of sleep, and when she awakens, her perspective is new and a marked reversal to her former guilt-ridden, fearful self.



Finally, Catelyn restores the respect of others who witnessed the noble wife of Lord Eddard so weighed down with guilt and fear that she became hysterical, uncharacteristic in Catelyn’s nature. She replaces the negatives with a determination to restore her dignity and make all those who bore witness to her mental decline admit that Catelyn’s good sense and sound judgment are returned.



As evidence of Catelyn’s transformed feelings about the direwolves, she tells her husband Ned the details of the attack on Bran, which prompts Ned to chastise his own failings in regards to the wolves:



“Bran’s wolf had saved the boy’s life, he thought dully. What was it that Jon had said when they found the pups in the snow? Your children were meant to have these pups, my lord. And he had killed Sansa’s, for what? Was it guilt he was feeling, or fear? If the gods had sent these wolves, what folly had he done?” (198)



G. SUMMER SENDS CATELYN AWAY & BRINGS THE 3EC DREAM TO BRAN



Catelyn benefits from Summer “symbolically” endowing her with strength and a purpose: Catelyn seeks the identity of the person who arranged for the “would-be-assassin” to murder Bran. Catelyn will deliver the physical evidence, a steel blade forged in Valyria with a dragon-bone hilt, to the Hand of the King, whose responsibilities include administering the “King’s justice.



Only “after” Bran’s direwolf tastes the blood from his victim, only after Summer sleeps at Bran’s side, and only after Catelyn departs for King’s Landing, does the Three-Eyed Crow visit Bran’s dream. Summer as an agent of the forces that are the old gods is apparent; the direwolf “makes” events happen for Bran. Bran also becomes aware of the prophetic nature of dreams. For this reason, Bran seriously analyzes his dream, hoping that the 3EC is the answer to restoring his legs. Bran trusts the 3EC’s promise that he will “fly”. Not until Bran meets Lord Brynden in the Cave of Skulls does he suffer the hard facts: his wizard does not possess the powerful magic necessary to cure Bran’s paralysis.



Because Bran has his first “3EC” dream after his fall, readers have speculated that Bran’s paralysis is a contributor to the awakening of his “greensight”, which encompasses skinchanging and warging. Consequently, each Stark sibling will learn of his/her warg nature only after experiencing a dramatic event that causes deep-seated emotional responses and a life-altering outcome. Problematic with authenticating theories with textual references is that readers are only invited into the minds of the Starks with point-of-views, and two of those Stark narrators have been separated from their direwolves, a loss that’s severity retards the advent of their supernatural abilities. Moreover, even with his direwolf conduit Ghost, Jon Snow is a reluctant learner, which Varamyr Sixskins reveals in the Prologue of A Dance with Dragons: “The gift was strong in Snow, but the youth was untaught, still fighting his nature when he should have gloried in it” (12).



So, each Stark’s awareness of their gifts is unique to the individual, and blood will figure strongly in his/her ultimate realization.

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What follows continues my analysis of the blood motif as it begins in AGoT and I hope to address how each Stark sibling is an important component of this motif. Since I tend to compose “long” posts and since I am a slow writer, I am sharing in installments.

PART I: HOW SUMMER and BLOOD EMPOWER BRAN THE GREENSEER in AGoT

Bran could not take his eyes off the blood” (150).

  1. INTRODUCTION: HBO’S SERIES BASED on MARTIN’S NOVELS

Fantasy fiction readers and A Game of Thrones television viewers quickly and effortlessly grasp Bran’s superior intuitive abilities and look to the novels and/or episodes that follow to attend to Bran discovering, then mastering, his powers. Season 3 of the HBO series A Game of Thrones based on the novels reveals additional information to tease the fans and readers. To illustrate, in Season 3, episode 9 entitled “The Rains of Castamere”, when thunder and lightning frighten Hodor, he cries out, drawing unwanted attention to Bran and his companions, Rickon, Osha, Jojen, and Meera, all of whom are hiding in an abandoned tower where a band of wildlings have gathered beneath their window, among them Bran’s bastard brother Jon Snow and a “skinchanger” named Orell.

The viewing audience knows of Orell’s “skinchanging” abilities from an earlier scene, but the readers of the series ASoIaF know that a “practicing” skinchanger can “sense” the presence of another skinchanger. Orell’s facial expressions indicate that he intuits Bran’s company , but between timely pauses in the thunder audio-track is the discernible sound of Hodor’s cries. As a result, readers and viewers should garner some satisfaction in continuity from the page to the screen. Orell voices his suspicions to Tormund Giantsbane, who dismisses Orell’s concerns, blaming the thunder for what Orell believes that he hears.

Meanwhile, above in the tower, no one can quiet Hodor, and the fear of discovery has their group panicking. Bran’s terror brings on a visible response, his eyes seemingly roll back into his head to be replaced by white lenses. Suddenly, Hodor ceases “hodoring”, and his eyes mirror Bran’s. But Hodor totally disengages from his environment and those in it. His knees fold under him, and the stifled giant slumps to the floor.

The HBO audience has witnessed the visual manifestation of skinchanging in Orell, so that when Bran skinchanges for the first time, the nature of Bran’s magic has already been introduced. This physical aspect of warging and skinchanging is an inclusion to the television show and not a symptom entertained in the novels.

Jojen expresses amazement and awe, realizing that Bran calms Hodor by entering his mind. Jojen divulges meaningful information to Bran and to the HBO audience: Jojen explains that no one has ever demonstrated magical powers as great as Bran’s. Jojen Reed validates what Martin only insinuates in A Dance with Dragons through Varamyr Sixskin’s “Prologue”. When Varamyr fails to “skinchange” with Thistle, a wildling spearwife, a disappointment that suggests even after a lifetime of managing control over six creatures, Varamyr’s magic is limited to animals only. Bran, on the contrary, skinchanges with Hodor rather easily.

Martin’s POV narration through Varamyr Sixskins reveals a sacred code of morality among skinchangers. Haggon teaches his student V6S that to seize the body of another is an abomination. Considering Jojen’s reaction to Bran’s means of “calming” Hodor, the greendreamer does not express horror at Bran committing an “abomination”. Furthermore, with the threat of the wildlings outside the tower, Jojen urges Bran to engage his powers to enter the mind of his direwolf Summer, a skill that Jojen assures Bran is far easier than possessing and manipulating a human mind. Jojen convinces Bran that he can consciously choose to “slip his skin” and reside in a prospective “host”, which Bran does. Outside, Summer, flanked by his litter-mate Shaggydog, is already alert to the presence of the recent arrivals, watching them while remaining safely concealed from detection. When Summer leaps into attack mode, it is a clue that Bran is exercising his will on his direwolf.

During this surprise ambush, Bran is rewarded with a glance of his bastard brother Jon Snow, whom he observes escaping on horseback. Bran “sees” through Summer’s eyes. In both the HBO television series AGoT and the novels in the ASoIaF, Bran’s potential is foreshadowed to exceed all expectations, which promises more first time events in the future.

  1. THE FALL: BRAN’S VIOLENT PATH TO KNOWLEDGE /

HOWVIOLENCE BEGETS VIOLENCE:PUNISHING VIOLATORSofthe SACRED LAWS ofHOSPITALITY and forABUSING theGUEST RIGHT

Bran’s acquisition of knowledge regarding his gifts of warging, skinchanging, and greenseeing begins in AGoT and then continues in the following novels in the series ASoIaF. Martin identifies Bran as the first of the Stark siblings to experience supernatural powers with his 3EC dream, his wolf dreams, and his tree dreams, all prefaces to Bran opening his third eye. Moreover, Bran’s experiences are a gauge by which readers may judge the progress the other Stark siblings are making as they follow suit, discovering their “wolf” spirits.

A “push” from a tower window causes Bran who never “falls” while climbing to FALL. Bran is the son his father once nicknamed “squirrel”, a tribute to Bran’s love of climbing trees, castle walls, and towers. Martin describes Bran joining the brooding gargoyles once atop the tower, and from a good vantage point, “Bran could see all of Winterfell in a glance. . . It made him feel like he was lord of the castle, in a way even Robb would never know”. Ironically, the 3EC plants a seed that will take root and blossom into what Bran will learn are his greenseeing powers.

Bran’s POV narratives in AGoT reveal that he devotes time studying the transformation of his oldest brother Robb into “Robb the Lord” as he accepts the responsibilities vacated by his father Eddard. Watching Robb achieve his designated role as the eldest of the Stark sons reminds Bran of the dreams he once had for his future, which he now has to abandon because he is crippled. However, Bran does not have the advantage of reading all the novels thus far completed in the series, so he is unaware of the far-reaching potential of his greenseeing magic. It is likely that Bran will experience the dominion of a “lord” through his command of his powers. Through Bran’s sitting the weirwood throne, he may learn of a way to achieve those boyhood dreams he mourns losing. Yet after witnessing Robb suffer the demands of leadership and discovering the circumstances surrounding Robb’s fate, Bran may not be as eager as he once was to deal with the struggles of making decisions that will affect the fates of so many.

BRAN’S ASSOCIATION with the VIOLATIONS of the LAWS OF HOSPITALITY

The forces that are the old gods may appear to be more impotent than omnipotent, but gods work in mysterious ways, especially the old gods of the north. Represented as watching through the eyes of the weirwoods, the old gods appear related to elements in nature, such as stone, earth, tree, wind, and water. The revelation in the Cave of Skulls that Bran is a greenseer explains Bran’s “wolf” and “tree” dreams. Now that Bran is part of the godhood, sitting a weirwood throne of his own next to Lord Brynden, he will assert his powers, but how awaits to be seen.

Even though the old gods send the Stark siblings direwolf puppies to assist the awakening of their wolf spirits, the Starks need to be receptive and heed the alerts of their pups Otherwise, a Stark exercising “free will” often undermines the preventative measures the old gods established. For instance, Bran chooses to climb even though his direwolf pup’s “howling chased him all the way up the tree” (78-79). Moreover, when Bran turns to look down, Summer quiets, looking at Bran with “slitted yellow eyes” and warning him telepathically of the danger above. Bran feels a “strange chill” pass through him. Apparently, Bran’s pup is minding Bran, but Bran is not minding his pup.

Violations of the sacred laws of hospitality are believed to be so egregious and so blasphemous that the gods themselves punish the offender. The old gods’ assignation of punishment to the violator is a careful balance to ensure that the penance “fits” the crime.

While a guest of Lord Eddard Stark and a knight in King Robert’s kingsguard, Ser Jaime Lannister secretly meets with his sister Cersei in an abandoned tower, where they make love. In the throes of passion, Cersei catches sight of a child hanging outside the tower window. Bran’s fingers slip, and Jaime rescues Bran, ordering him to “TAKE MY HAND!” Bran desperately latches onto Jaime’s forearm and presses down so hard that he leaves welts. Bran’s fear is palpable. Regardless, a moment later, Jaime shoves Bran off the window sill, saying, “The things I do for love” (85).

It is karmic, ironic, and a matter of “poetic justice” that Jaime forfeits the very thing he orders Bran Stark to TAKE, his hand, his “sword” hand, the symbol of a knight’s power, the deliverer of death to a Targaryen king, the means by which Bran falls. “Taking” Jaime’s hand is a fate worse than death because without his sword hand, Jaime is a “cripple”. When Tyrion tells Jaime that Bran is going to live even with a broken neck and shattered legs, Jaime says, “. . .he will be a cripple. Worse than a cripple. A grotesque. Give me a good, clean death” (91).

It is unlikely the gods will oblige Jaime’s wishes; after all, dying is easy – “living” is hard. Since Jaime robs Bran of his future dreams, the forces that are the old gods, or that serve as agents of the old gods, will make sure that Jaime’s fate matches or exceeds the intensity of Bran’s suffering.

Jaime’s “violations” are threefold:

Jaime attempts to kill the son of his host.

Jaime fornicates with his own twin sister in an abandoned tower of his host’s castle.

Jaime commits treason when he and the queen have sexual relations while guests of Winterfell.

Bran is the Stark that Martin most associates with the sacred laws of hospitality. After his older brother Robb departs from Winterfell, Bran assumes the role of host to the Stark bannermen visiting Winterfell to pledge their fealty for another term. Bran must serve as his brother Robb and father Eddard do before him, so Bran models his hosting behavior on the two best men he knew.

Furthermore, through Old Nan’s story of the “Rat Cook”, Bran hears a cautionary tale that warns of harsh punishment for those who violate the laws of hospitality. Bran repeats this story for Jojen and Meera Reed when they take a break on their journey, and before they cross under the Wall to continue their odyssey to the Cave of Skulls.

The legend of the “Rat Cook” tells of a brother of the Night’s Watch who prepares a delicious pie to serve the visiting king. The king praises the culinary skills of the cook, after which the king learns that mixed in with the bacon filling is a secret ingredient: the King’s own son. The Nightfort cook avenges some wrong the King had visited upon him. Consequently, the old gods punish the cook for killing a guest under his own roof, and the penalty is extremely harsher than the laws of men: the cook is transformed into a giant rat destined to feed on his own young to nourish himself. The cook’s misery is a fate worse than a merciful death, and this legend exemplifies how the magical forces work. In the case of the cook, his punishment fits his crime: a rat is a fitting creature to house the Nightfort cook’s black soul. Rats are loathsome symbols of disease, waste, and deadliness. The moral of the story is to respect the sacred laws governing hospitality.

The Stark ancestry is clearly enmeshed in the sacred laws of hospitality and the guest right. The stone statues of the Lords of Winterfell and the Kings of Winter that uniformly line each level of the crypts best illustrates an association with refusing hospitality. The stone masons repeat the same “sitting” posture for all the dead, one that suggests the Starks “do not rest” in peace. With “stone eyes” open yet blind, the “dead of Winterfell seemed to watch with cold and disapproving eyes” (48). Even more telling is the unsheathed iron sword that rests across their knees, a symbol that a lord or king is refusing his hospitality. This unspoken threat is meant to discourage unwelcome guests. Furthermore, curled at the feet of the stone Starks is a stone direwolf, another warning that the Starks are not alone as enforcers of these sacred laws.

Martin emphasizes the significance of the unsheathed sword in AGoT through Bran’s narrative. Sitting on a cold stone “high seat” of House Stark, Robb receives guest Tyrion Lannister by striking a familiar pose:

“His sword was across his knees, the steel bare for all the world to see. Even Bran knew what it meant to greet a guest with an unsheathed sword” (242).

Robb mirrors the Winterfell dead. Grey Wind even joins him later, heeling at Robb’s feet to complete the composition. This depiction also foreshadows Robb and Grey Wind’s deaths.

So, the BIG question is “WHY” do the Starks sit at the ready instead of reclining on their tombs with their eyes closed? Could the answer be as simple as “Winter is coming”?

Martin teases by revealing too little to develop a theory with concrete, undeniable evidences from the text. After all, Lord Brynden succinctly tells Bran and the readers that “Men forget. Only trees remember” (ADwD 449).

Jojen offers more explanation: “The secrets of the old gods . . . Truths the First Men knew now forgotten in Winterfell. . . but not in the wet wild. We live closer to the green in our bogs and crannogs, and we remember. Earth and water, soil and stone, oaks and elms and willows, they were here before us all and will still remain when we are gone” (449).

Readers enjoy speculating about the nature of this forgotten knowledge. Martin implies that Bran will acquire this forgotten knowledge as a greenseer. However, Jojen indicates that the Reeds “remember” since they are closer to nature. The Reeds have told Bran about their home, Grey Water Watch, a castle that dwells beneath or on top of the waters, and one that moves regularly so that its location is never known for a certainty.

With the stone Starks and their stone direwolves symbolically guarding the WF crypts against unwelcome guests, Martin may be insinuating events to come, especially with Bran as a greenseer and as a victim of violations against the laws of hospitality. Maybe Bran will use his magic to call forth the spirits of the dead Starks to a purpose – with the blood that unites the earliest Starks with the most recent Starks, there certainly exists the potential for profound magical spells.

C. CATELYN’S FEAR OF THE DIREWOLVES

Bran’s coma confines him to bed in an appointed sick room, where his mother tends to his needs even though “sleep deprivation” seriously impairs Catelyn’s judgment. To illustrate, Maester Luwin orders that Bran’s window be kept open so that the child can hear his direwolf “sing”. Catelyn defies the maester, closing the window to keep Bran warm, which is how Catelyn justifies her disobedience to Robb when he confronts her. Robb is unconvinced by his mother’s excuses, opening the window to “a cold and lonely sound, full of melancholy and despair” (150). Robb is better informed as to what measures will ensure Bran’s recovery, asserting that Bran needs to hear the wolves howl in a chorus.

Catelyn covers her ears, sobbing – “Make them stop! . . . I can’t stand it. Make them stop . . . kill them all if you must, just make them stop!” (150).

Catelyn fears the direwolves, her unreasonable suspicions borne from the circumstances surrounding their discovery. Catelyn’s superstitious nature influences her belief that the mother direwolf with the stag’s antler impaled in her throat invites ominous interpretations, especially since the Stark sigil is the direwolf and the Baratheon sigil is the stag.

By Catelyn’s children adopting the pups, they also “adopt” the premonition of death, a threat symbolized by the stag’s antler.

Catelyn realizes that the genders of the five direwolf puppies, three males and two females, “match” those of her five trueborn children, an unfortunate coincidence, especially since the pups are orphaned as a result of their mother’s fatality.

The materialization of the sixth direwolf with coloring distinctive of the weirwood trees is also by far a mystical enigma. Catelyn processes the appearance of the direwolves is negatively; hence, Catelyn’s actions and reactions to Bran’s tragic fall and to his determined direwolf all speak to her fears.

Now, Catelyn will change her mind completely about the direwolves, but her change of heart involves lots of blood and mouths filled with blood. But that is a bit later . . . .

Because of Catelyn’s distrust, Martin employs a Lannister POV to divulge the healing powers of Bran’s wolf for the reader’s consideration. Moreover, Tyrion shares Maester Luwin’s wisdom with his sister and his brother, which is Tyrion’s clever stratagem to evoke unease in the Queen and the Kingslayer, both of whom Tyrion has deduced are responsible for Bran’s uncharacteristic tumble.

D. TYRION KNOWS MUCH AND MORE . . .

The Queen and her two of her three children, Prince Tommen and Princess Myrcella, are breaking their fasts in the Morning Room of the Guest House with Ser Jamie Lannister.

The Lannisters and the Baratheon’s, along with their loyal retainers, are still guests of Lord Eddard Stark, their host until their departure. The Lord of Winterfell provides the necessities associated with conventional hospitality: shelter, food and drink, and protection. In return, the guests are bound to honor and respect their host, his family and retainers, and to abide by what is accepted as appropriate behavior in Westeros during an extended visit.

Tyrion joins the group “uninvited”, but he earns his keep answering questions about Maester Luwin’s prognosis for Bran Stark. Besides, Tyrion suspects that Bran’s fall is not accidental, so Tyrion plans his remarks to illicit the best possible responses and reactions from the suspects.

Tyrion says, “The maester thinks that the boy may yet live” (90). Assessing Jaime and Cersei’s momentary exchange of meaningful glances, Tyrion satisfies Jaimie’s query concerning the maester’s exact words: “He thinks that if the boy were going to die, he would have done so already” (90). Tyrion reports on the preternatural aspects of Bran’s wolf , which Tyrion credits with “keeping the boy [bran] alive”.

Tyrion also shares Maester Luwin’s observations of Bran’s direwolf “outside his [bran’s] window day and night, howling. Every time they chase it away, it returns. The maester said they closed the window once, to shut out the noise, and Bran seemed to weaken. When they opened it again, his [bran’s] heart beat stronger" .

The operative root-word is “STRONG”, a “go-to” modifier that Martin uses in conjunction with the awakening of the “wolf spirit” in a Stark. Thus, Martin repeats “strong”, in its comparative [stronger] and superlative [strongest] forms, to emphasize a shared commonality among the Starks.

Although the status of each Stark progeny changes with each novel in the series, Martin’s familiar language patterns offer transitions passing over POV’s within the same novel and offer parallels extending over the novels in sequential order. Tyrion is an early source of details contributing to Martin’s characterizations.

E. THE GAMEBOARD and the BUNJI CORD :

THE STARKS and HOME

“Home, Shaggy, home now!”

The first novel in the series ASoIaF is A GAME of Thrones, a good analogy for envisioning Martin’s World of Ice and Fire as a “game board”, “the Stark Edition, featuring the north, with as the center the brooding heart tree, a permanent fixture in Winterfell’s godswood. Furthermore, Martin announces in his title intent to make “games” and “gaming” a multifaceted motif beefy enough in scope to sustain seven novels.

Set Stark tokens at “GO” beneath the weirwood’s articulated, bone-white branches filled with red leaves shaped like hands. This location symbolizes where the entire family was last united. Roll the dice and count the steps each Stark token advances on the pathway, traveling in his or her own direction, to the north, south, east, or west, with those who travel together parting company.

The “FINISH LINE” is Winterfell, the grey stone walls of the towers and castle wait patiently for each Stark to return. The face watching through the eyes of the heart tree is familiar and welcoming. The blood of the First Men courses through the veins of the Starks, the same blood that flowed in the veins of Bran the Builder. The blood profile forever links House Stark to Winterfell, the heart tree, and the crypts. The magic that has remained dormant in the collective Stark conscience over thousands and thousands of years, manifests itself differently with each Stark. Bran is the amply blessed recipient of the most impressive gifts bestowed upon him by the forces that are the old gods: as a wizard whose powers eclipse all those greenseers who came before him, Bran seems to score big. At least as of the fifth novel in the series, because Martin has not confirmed how, why, who, what, where and when Bran will flex his weirwood muscles to become an active participant in the “game of thrones”.

Each Stark is forever linked – or attached - to WF. Imagine an “invisible” bunji cord that stretches to allow each Stark to travel as far from home as is necessary. The elastic cord tugs at the wandering Stark, compelling him or her to return home. The forces that are the old gods intervene to “snap back” a wandering spirit unable to find his or her way home before and after dying.

No matter how many miles over land and sea the Starks travel, they all share a past that prevents them from abandoning or forgetting their “ROOTS”, a very real symbol of the collective Stark ancestry thousands of years old. Literally, the Winterfell heart tree has reigned as a fixture in the godswood, its watchful eyes minding generations of Stark progeny. Starks who die far from home and who have earthly remains are returned to join those who died before them. Agents of the old gods act as spiritual guides ensuring that the bones find their way to the Winterfell crypts to rest beside and among the Stark ancestors.

Despite the forces of the old gods who share an ancient tradition with House Stark, on occasion the earthly remains of an expired Stark may not be accessible. If a Stark dies at sea, the body becomes fish food with naught to bury in his tomb. Regardless, the Stark “spirit” returns home, probably transported via a force of nature: through the roots of trees, through bodies of water, through the raindrops in a shower or thunder and lightning storm, through a seed pod or leaf or another means easily carried by the wind, or through other possible venues specific to the transportation of the bodiless soul.

F. BLOOD NOURISHES SUMMER / CATELYN LEARNS TO TRUST

“His blood felt like warm rain as it sprayed across her [Catelyn’s] face” (AGoT 133).

While Bran is comatose, a would-be-assassin targeting helpless Bran, sets a fire in Winterfell’s library to lure Lady Catelyn away from her son’s side in order to permit him an uncomplicated opportunity to commit a “mercy killing”. However, Catelyn remains with Bran as Robb rushes to subdue the flames. When the “would-be-assassin” slips into the sick room, Catelyn’s presence momentarily confuses him, and Catelyn’s “mother instinct” drives her to risk her own life in an attempt to thwart the would-be-assassin’s plans.

Catelyn gives the “good fight”, grabbing the assailant’s blade with both hands and forcing it away from her throat. Her blood-soaked hands impede her resolve to maneuver the weapon, which he makes more difficult with his hand clasped over her mouth, cutting off her air supply. Consequently, the “beast” inside Catelyn is aroused, and she bites down on the man’s palm, grinding her teeth together and tearing at his flesh until he lets her go: “The taste of his blood filled her mouth” (133). Catelyn gives as good as she gets when her teeth draw blood, leaving a gash just as the attacker’s blade slices open her hand.

But when he grabs her hair to force her away from him, Catelyn stumbles and falls, giving him the advantage as he looms over her, the dagger still clutched in his hand. Through her peripheral vision she detects a “shadow” slipping through the open door into Bran’s sickroom – a welcome ally fortuitously arriving to relieve Catelyn from her losing battle with the dagger-wielding intruder.

A low rumble, the slight “whisper” of a snarl, makes the man turn just in time to face “death” leaping toward him. The wolf takes him down, clamping him under the jaw:

“The man's shriek lasted less than a second before the beast wrenched back its head, taking out half his throat. . . His blood felt like warm rain as it sprayed across her face” (133).

The southron Lady, a former Tully from Riverrun, is symbolically baptized in the blood of her first “kill”, albeit with an assist from a direwolf. Moreover, Catelyn tastes the blood of the enemy determined to take her Bran from her. “The wolf was looking at her. Its jaws were red and wet and its eyes glowed golden in the dark room. It was Bran’s wolf, she realized. Of course it was. ‘Thank you,’ Catelyn whispered, her voice faint and tiny” (133).

Blood unites Catelyn and Summer as both woman and wolf have their mouths filled with the warm blood of their “kill”, which will endow both with strength and purpose evident soon after their shared attack. Catelyn also thanks the heroic direwolf for saving Bran’s life and her own, a gesture that suggests Catelyn believes the direwolf comprehends her words. Martin captures the moment their bond is realized in prose:

“She [Catelyn] lifted her hand, trembling. The wolf padded closer, sniffed at her fingers, and then licked at the blood with a wet rough tongue. When it had cleaned all the blood off her hand, it turned away silently and jumped up on Bran's bed and lay down beside him(133).

Summer gently tends to Catelyn’s hand, a remarkable turn of events considering Catelyn’s fear of the beast she assumed meant her child harm. Summer licks Catelyn’s fingers, cleansing them with his saliva to remove the dead man’s blood and Catelyn’s blood. Even though Catelyn’s defensive wounds will leave a permanent scar, Summer’s healing powers stay excessive bleeding and sterilize the deep cut to prevent infection.

Because of Catelyn and Summer’s mystical communication, Catelyn’s suspicions and fears are symbolically “licked away” along with the blood. Summer uses his tongue and not his teeth on Catelyn’s “trembling” hand, which enables her to perceive Summer as Bran’s savior and protector. Subsequently, she permits the “outside” wolf to dwell “inside” Bran’s once forbidden sickroom, where Summer exercises his victory by jumping atop Bran’s bed, resting close to the yet unconscious Bran. Summer boldly situates himself as a new but equal occupant of the room where once Bran slept alone.

The far-reaching consequence of Catelyn accepting the direwolves as divinely sent protectors of the Starks is that she finally leaves Bran’s side for the first time in weeks. Catelyn’s relief is palpable. She is able to have restive nights of sleep, and when she awakens, her perspective is new and a marked reversal to her former guilt-ridden, fearful self.

Finally, Catelyn restores the respect of others who witnessed the noble wife of Lord Eddard so weighed down with guilt and fear that she became hysterical, uncharacteristic in Catelyn’s nature. She replaces the negatives with a determination to restore her dignity and make all those who bore witness to her mental decline admit that Catelyn’s good sense and sound judgment are returned.

As evidence of Catelyn’s transformed feelings about the direwolves, she tells her husband Ned the details of the attack on Bran, which prompts Ned to chastise his own failings in regards to the wolves:

“Bran’s wolf had saved the boy’s life, he thought dully. What was it that Jon had said when they found the pups in the snow? Your children were meant to have these pups, my lord. And he had killed Sansa’s, for what? Was it guilt he was feeling, or fear? If the gods had sent these wolves, what folly had he done?” (198)

G. SUMMER SENDS CATELYN AWAY & BRINGS THE 3EC DREAM TO BRAN

Catelyn benefits from Summer “symbolically” endowing her with strength and a purpose: Catelyn seeks the identity of the person who arranged for the “would-be-assassin” to murder Bran. Catelyn will deliver the physical evidence, a steel blade forged in Valyria with a dragon-bone hilt, to the Hand of the King, whose responsibilities include administering the “King’s justice.

Only “after” Bran’s direwolf tastes the blood from his victim, only after Summer sleeps at Bran’s side, and only after Catelyn departs for King’s Landing, does the Three-Eyed Crow visit Bran’s dream. Summer as an agent of the forces that are the old gods is apparent; the direwolf “makes” events happen for Bran. Bran also becomes aware of the prophetic nature of dreams. For this reason, Bran seriously analyzes his dream, hoping that the 3EC is the answer to restoring his legs. Bran trusts the 3EC’s promise that he will “fly”. Not until Bran meets Lord Brynden in the Cave of Skulls does he suffer the hard facts: his wizard does not possess the powerful magic necessary to cure Bran’s paralysis.

Because Bran has his first “3EC” dream after his fall, readers have speculated that Bran’s paralysis is a contributor to the awakening of his “greensight”, which encompasses skinchanging and warging. Consequently, each Stark sibling will learn of his/her warg nature only after experiencing a dramatic event that causes deep-seated emotional responses and a life-altering outcome. Problematic with authenticating theories with textual references is that readers are only invited into the minds of the Starks with point-of-views, and two of those Stark narrators have been separated from their direwolves, a loss that’s severity retards the advent of their supernatural abilities. Moreover, even with his direwolf conduit Ghost, Jon Snow is a reluctant learner, which Varamyr Sixskins reveals in the Prologue of A Dance with Dragons: “The gift was strong in Snow, but the youth was untaught, still fighting his nature when he should have gloried in it” (12).

So, each Stark’s awareness of their gifts is unique to the individual, and blood will figure strongly in his/her ultimate realization.

I love this Evita and i admit i have to digest this some more,my mind is a blaze with revelations,realizations etc.As usual a fantastic read that i have to have a worthy response for. :cheers:

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( CONTINUED) PART II. HOW SUMMER and BLOOD EMPOWER BRAN THE GREENSEER in AGoT

THE REAPPEARING “GREY MISTS”: BRAN’S 3ECROW DREAM from AGOT &

THEON’S POV “THE PRINCE OF WINTERFELL”

from A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

BRAN, THE 3EC, and THE THIRD-EYE

Summer saving the lives of Catelyn and Bran and the resulting bloodshed and death of the would-be-assassin, set into motion, however indirectly, Bran’s return to consciousness.

The blood motif connects Bran and Summer through a functioning telepathy and supernatural powers that are part of the chemistry that makes up Bran Stark’s blood.

Thus, Summer tasting the blood from a fresh kill, then Summer cleansing the blood from Catelyn’s hand, binds Summer to Bran; hence, Summer empowers Bran on a level of understanding only wargs can share. It seems significant that a blood mage has said, “Only death can pay for life.” The death of the intruder may in some “magical” way secure Bran’s reviving from his coma.

Bran’s awakening from his coma is in conjunction with the crow attempting to assist Bran in opening his third eye:

While breaking down the blood motif in AGoT – and in the other novels of the series I hope – “descriptions” of violent death usually involve exciting action and blood aftermaths.

“. . . Bran felt a sudden blinding pain in the middle of his forehead, between his eyes . . . . The crow opened its beak, and cawed at him, a shrill scream of fear, and the grey mists shuddered and swirled around him and ripped away like a veil, and he saw that the crow was really a woman . . .” (164).

The transition from dream to consciousness is punctuated by the 3EC pecking Bran’s forehead, the 3EC cawing at him, and the “grey mists” being ripped away like “a veil”. Martin employs the adjective “blinding” to modify “pain”, and while Bran’s pain may render him sightless momentarily, Martin’s “blinding” is ironic in that by Bran discovering and using his “third-eye”, he will command exceptional visionary skills that defy “blindness”.

Once the “grey mists” obscuring his vision are removed, Bran “sees” that the crow screaming at him is really the figure of a woman, her hands probably flapping wildly from her sides and her shrill delivery of “He’s awake” thrice mimicking a crow’s cawing.

On the other hand, Martin is a clever wordsmith who may be communicating that the gender of the 3EC is “female” in part or on occasion. Since gender confusion is a theme that complicates an “identity” motif, the wizard who calls himself Lord Brynden may later reveal, or “assume”, a “form” that speaks to the feminine gender.

Martin mentions the “grey mists” five times throughout Bran’s 3EC dream. Furthermore, the “grey mists” reappear with great frequency in the “Prince of Winterfell” POV; hence, Martin seemingly designates them as symbolically important by coloring the mists “grey”, which is characteristic of House Stark. Throughout Bran’s dream, these mists serve as a protective “armor” that blankets Bran, keeping him safe from further harm during his “falling” and his “flying”. Five examples from Bran’s 3EC dream follow:

GREY MISTS #1

“The ground was so far below him he could barely make it out through the grey mists that whirled around him, but he could feel how fast he was falling, and he knew what was waiting for him down there”.

  • In the above sentence, Martin mentions the “grey mists” for the first time in Bran’s 3EC dream. The “grey mists” whirl around Bran, spinning quickly, which hinders his ability to see the ground below him. Bran feels himself plummeting, gaining speed, and death awaits him. But the “grey mists” protect him from dizziness and confusion.

GREY MISTS #2

“The ground was closer now, still far far away, a thousand miles away, but closer than it had been. It was cold here in the darkness. There was no sun, no stars, only the ground below coming up to smash him, and the grey mists, and the whispering voice. He wanted to cry”.

Not cry. Fly.

"I can't fly," Bran said. "I can't, I can't . . . "

How do you know? Have you ever tried?

  • The cold in the darkness may suggest imminent death if Bran does not fly, for many of those who die “feel the cold”.
  • Note the second time “grey mists” are referenced, as well as the “whispering voice”- we have both a visual image and an auditory image created by Martin. He evokes all the senses during this fall, even our own feelings of fear regarding falling.

***********************************

GREY MISTS #3

“Bran was staring at his arms, his legs. He was so skinny, just skin stretched taut over bones. Had he always been so thin? He tried to remember. A face swam up at him out of the grey mist, shining with light, golden. "The things I do for love," it said.

“Bran screamed.

“The crow took to the air, cawing. Not that, it shrieked at him. Forget that, you do not need it now, put it aside, put it away. It landed on Bran's shoulder, and pecked at him, and the shining golden face was gone”.

• A face swims up out of the grey mist, and we know the implication of this shining golden light and the words, “The things I do for love.” Bran is remembering that because of Jaime Lannister’s push, Bran would not be falling.

• The crow orders Bran not to think of that, and when the crow lands on Bran’s shoulder and pecks at him, the golden face disappears.

• The crow wants Bran to concentrate all his energies on flying, not reliving past baggage that he can visit later when the situation is not as dire as this.

• The grey mist appears for the third time, and it seems to bring the image of Lannister to light, but it still safeguards Bran as he falls.

GREY MISTS #4

“Bran was falling faster than ever. The grey mists howled around him as he plunged toward the earth below. "What are you doing to me?" he asked the crow, tearful”.

Teaching you how to fly.

"I can't fly!"

• Note for the fourth time “the grey mists” are referenced, this time “howling” around Bran as he plunges toward the earth below. The fact that Martin personifies the grey mists with “howling” suggests the howling of the direwolves of House Stark, which leads credence to this “grey mist” being somehow aligned with a Stark force, since it is represented as “grey” and howls like a wolf.

GREY MISTS 5

“The crow opened its beak and cawed at him, a shrill scream of fear, and the grey mists shuddered and swirled around him and ripped away like a veil, and he saw that the crow was really a woman, a serving woman with long black hair, and he knew her from somewhere, from Winterfell, yes, that was it, . . .”

• Martin mentions the “grey mists” for the fifth and final time, and these mists “shudder,” “swirl”, and “rip” just like a VEIL, so Bran, via the protective veil, is returned safely to his bed in Winterfell.

THE GREY MISTS in

“THE

“THE PRINCE OF WINTERFELL” ADwD

In A Dance with Dragons, Martin mentions the “[grey] mists” repeatedly in the “The Prince of Winterfell” POV, and they transform the godswood into an eerie site for a wedding. The title “The Prince of Winterfell” actually refers to, or had once referred to Theon and Bran. After Ramsay speaks his vows, the title passes to him.

Reek/Theon, as a ward of Lord Eddard Stark’, is necessary to authenticate “Arya Stark”, and to give Arya “away” to her bridegroom. Lord Bran Stark himself , the “true” Prince of Winterfell”, makes his presence in the godswood known [for the readers] through the expression on the weirwood’s face, through the murder of ravens, through the wind whispering through the leaves, calling “Theon” , and through the “grey” and “ghostly” mists commandeering the godswood.

From many examples in the above mentioned POV, several with especially symbolic significance and metaphoric meanings, follow:

“Up above the treetops, a crescent moon was floating in a dark sky, half-obscured by mist like an eye peering through a veil of silk(ADwD 486).

Martin compares the mists to a silk veil, which echoes his first comparison of the [grey] mists to a “veil” in AGoT, when Bran first dreams of the Three-Eyed Crow.

“The crow opened its beak and cawed at him, a shrill scream of fear, and the grey mists shuddered and swirled around him and ripped away like a veil. . .”.

  • A “crescent moon” is an eye “peering through a silk veil.” The veil covering the eyes suggests a “mask” designed to disguise someone’s appearance. The concept of a “mask” arouses the description of Braavos as a city of “masks and whispers”.
  • “No One”, aka Arya of House Stark, resident of the House of Black and White located in Braavos, parallels her brother Bran watching through the eyes carved in the trunks of weirwoods, only Arya watches through the hooded “skins” from the faces of those who die in the temple.
  • Masks and facial alterations are indicative of an ongoing theatrical motif that begins in AGoT and continues through ADwD. A few examples follow:

(a).“the blood of the First Men still flowed in the veins of the Starks, and his [Ned’s] own gods were the old ones, the nameless, faceless gods of the greenwood they shared with the vanished children of the forest” (AGoT 23).

( B). “A face had been carved in the trunk of the great tree, its features long and melancholy, the deep-cut eyes red with dried sap and strangely watchful” (AGoT).

©. In the south, weirwoods can be found on the “Isle of Faces”.

(d). “For her [Catelyn’s] sake, Ned had built her a small sept where she might sing to the seven faces of god . . .” (AGoT 22).

(e). “He [Eddard] had taken off Father’s face, Bran thought, and donned the face of Lord Stark of Winterfell” (AGoT 14).

(f). “A face swam up at him [bran]” (AGoT 161).

(g.). “Robb was seated in Father’s high seat, wearing . . . the stern face of Robb the Lord” (242 AGoT).

(h). “Roose Bolton’s own face was a pale grey mask, with two chips of dirty ice where his eyes should be (487 ADwD ).

(i). “They are using me [Theon] to cloak their deception, putting mine own face on their lie” (485 ADwD).

(j).A torch casts “its ruddy glow over the faces of the wedding guests” (487 ADwD). AND “Lord Stout became a mastiff, old Lord Locke a vulture, Whoresbane Umber a gargoyle, Big Walder Frey a fox, Little Walder Frey a red bull, lacking only a ring for his nose” (487 ADwD).

“He had never seen the godswood like this, though – grey and ghostly, filled with warm mists and floating lights and whispered voices that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere” (487).

  • Martin bathes the godswood in a “grey” and “ghostly” ambience, and “grey” is representative of the Starks who live in the “grey” north, who often have “grey eyes”, and who live in a castle made of grey stone and are buried in the crypts that are marked with grey stone statues.
  • Theon does not recall another time the godswood appeared as Martin describes.
  • Grey is a color with complex symbology, but in the instance of the “grey” in the godswood and all Martin’s death imagery, those present for the fraudulent nuptials are marked for death by the “grey mists”.

B . “GREY MISTS” AND THE “GREY ASHES” / PARALLELS between MARTIN’S NOVELS and F. SCOTT FITZGERALD’S THE GREAT GATSBY

  • The grey mists shrouding the weirwood and the trees throughout the godswood call to mind the valley of ashes in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, an industrial wasteland layered with grey dust and watched over by the billboard featuring the eyes of oculist Dr. T. J. Eckleberg, which are compared to the ever watchful eyes of God.
  • Martin’s Dr. T. J. “Eckleberg” is re-envisioned in the face on the trunk of WF’s weirwood, with watchful eyes and a mouth that opens as if to laugh. The mischievous expression that contours the heart tree’s mouth is undoubtedly Bran who finds the wedding a source of merriment.
  • The grey ash from Gatsby symbolizes much and more, but in its relationship to the grey mists blanketing WF’s godswood, both Fitzgerald and Martin create environments designed for death, and they even populate their grey worlds with corpses. For instance, Tom Wilson is a struggling gas station owner who is always covered with a layer of dust. Tom Wilson’s wife says that her husband does not even know he is alive. Tom Wilson commits suicide at the novel’s end, so the ashes mark him as the walking dead. Likewise, Wilson’s cheating wife Myrtle is killed by an automobile that her lover’s wife is driving. So both residents of the valley of ashes are the walking dead.
  • Martin populates the godswood with “ghostly” people: Jeyne’s face is “pale, bloodless” and she is “A corpse buried in the snow” (484).
  • “Are we all dead, then? Did Stannis come and kill us in our sleep?” (487).
  • “But under his hood, his hair was white and thin, and his flesh had a old man’s greyish undertone. A Stark at last, he thought” (486).

The mists were so thick that only the nearest trees were visible; beyond them stood tall shadows and faint lights. Candles flickered beside the wandering path and back amongst the trees, pale fireflies floating in a warm grey soup(487).

  • The mists are “a warm grey soup”, a phrase Martin coins in his world of ice and fire that is similar to a popular phrase that compares a dense fog to the thickness of pea soup.

“ It [the godswood] felt like some strange underworld, some timeless place between two worlds, where the damned wandered mournfully for a time before finding their way down to whatever hell their sins had earned them” (487).

  • The thick mist educes otherworldliness. “Underworld” is the Greek Hades, where the dead souls “wander mournfully”, but eventually Hermes locates his charges to escort them to the afterlife.
  • Homer describes the souls of the suitors as chattering like “bats” on their arrival to Hades’ Gates.
  • The dead cross the River Styx, after which they are judged. This determines their assignments for eternity. When a soul dies, whether good or bad, he or she goes to Hades for judgment.
  • The greatest sinners are punished in Tartarus, and these souls suffer throughout time, reliving over and over the same punishment.

“The way the mists threw back the shifting light made their features seem bestial, half-human, twisted” (487).

  • “The mists” cause an eerie light to expose the “beasts” that exist in all men. The facial features of certain wedding guests transform into animals. The physical change of man to beast is a nod to Homer’s Odysseus. When the wanderer visits Circe, the enchantress changes Odysseus’ crew men into swine. They join her menagerie of other wild beasts that had once been men. Circe’s magic turns the ugliness of the men from the inside to the outside. Likewise, Martin hints at the bestiality of all men given the opportunity to act out their dark desires. Consequently, Martin’s characters are often shaded “grey” – they are not fully evil, nor are they fully good.
  • “Lord Stout became a mastiff, old Lord Locke a vulture, Whoresbane Umber a gargoyle, Big Walder Frey a fox, Little Walder a red bull, lacking a ring for his nose” (487).

Then the mists parted, like the curtain opening at a mummer show to reveal some new tableau” (487).

  • Martin employs a theatre, or performance arts motif throughout the novels in his series, and here is one example of a visual image that Martin uses quite often: a curtain parting to reveal “something” significant. In this example, the mists part like curtains to expose the wedding of Ramsay and “Arya” as a fraud.

A few examples of Martin’s attention to theatre follow:

Roose Bolton had clothed him as a lord again, to play his part in this mummer’s farce” (ADwD 485).

All the color had been leached from Winterfell until only grey and white remained. The Stark colors. . . Even the sky was grey. Grey and grey and greyer. The whole world grey, everywhere you look, everything grey except the eyes of the bride” (489).

C. RETURN TO BRAN’S AWARENESS of the THIRD-EYE

Bran, now awake, still feels a “burning” from where the crow pecked him on his forehead:

“Bran touched his forehead between his eyes. The place where the crow had pecked him was still burning, but there was nothing there, no blood, no wound. He felt weak and dizzy. He tried to get out of bed but nothing happened” (164).

  • Bran’s “awakening” is marked by a “burning” that is carried from the “unconscious” world of dream-filled sleep into a state of consciousness.
  • Bran feeling “weak and dizzy” after waking are likely after a lengthy coma; however, “weak and dizzy” are words often used to describe a mystic or seer after he/she experiences a powerful “vision”. It is implied that the seer is exhausted as a result of the depths of the spiritual enlightenment.
  • Why Bran attempts “to get out of bed” while weak and dizzy lacks perceptivity, although Bran may have developed a habit of trying to rise while ignoring the protests from his body and mind.
  • Bran’s action causes no reaction. The last sentence of this paragraph is linked to the first sentence of the following paragraph: “He tried to get out of bed but nothing happened”.

“And then there was movement beside the bed, and something landed lightly on his legs. He felt nothing. A pair of yellow eyes looked into his eyes shining like the sun. The window was open and it was cold in the room, but the warmth that came off the wolf enfolded him like a hot bath. His pup, Bran realized . . . or was it? He was so big now. He reached out to pet him, his hand trembling like a leaf” (164).

  • Summer gently leads Bran to the truth of his paralysis by deliberately pressing against Bran’s legs so that Bran” senses “movement beside the bed”; then “something” lands on his legs, but Bran feels “nothing”.
  • It is in Summer’s “yellow eyes . . . shining like the sun” that Bran finds the truth – or “enlightenment”. With Summer blanketing Bran in warmth and endowing him with strength, Bran accepts his plight, even greeting his older brother Robb “calmly” by announcing that he has named his direwolf pup “Summer”.
  • Summer’s sunny eyes and his warmth inspire Bran’s selecting the name “Summer” for his direwolf.
  • Martin comparing Summer’s warmth enfolding Bran “like a hot bath” evokes the hot baths Daenerys enjoys in parallel POV’s.
  • In AGoT, Martin establishes that Bran loves climbing for a variety of reasons, one of those being that “it was almost like being invisible”. Bran is “in attendance” for the Stark and Bolton union, albeit he is invisible to the attendants and guests.

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( CONTINUED) PART II. HOW SUMMER and BLOOD EMPOWER BRAN THE GREENSEER in AGoT

THE REAPPEARING “GREY MISTS”: BRAN’S 3ECROW DREAM from AGOT &

THEON’S POV “THE PRINCE OF WINTERFELL”

from A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

BRAN, THE 3EC, and THE THIRD-EYE

Summer saving the lives of Catelyn and Bran and the resulting bloodshed and death of the would-be-assassin, set into motion, however indirectly, Bran’s return to consciousness.

The blood motif connects Bran and Summer through a functioning telepathy and supernatural powers that are part of the chemistry that makes up Bran Stark’s blood.

Thus, Summer tasting the blood from a fresh kill, then Summer cleansing the blood from Catelyn’s hand, binds Summer to Bran; hence, Summer empowers Bran on a level of understanding only wargs can share. It seems significant that a blood mage has said, “Only death can pay for life.” The death of the intruder may in some “magical” way secure Bran’s reviving from his coma.

Bran’s awakening from his coma is in conjunction with the crow attempting to assist Bran in opening his third eye:

While breaking down the blood motif in AGoT – and in the other novels of the series I hope – “descriptions” of violent death usually involve exciting action and blood aftermaths.

“. . . Bran felt a sudden blinding pain in the middle of his forehead, between his eyes . . . . The crow opened its beak, and cawed at him, a shrill scream of fear, and the grey mists shuddered and swirled around him and ripped away like a veil, and he saw that the crow was really a woman . . .” (164).

The transition from dream to consciousness is punctuated by the 3EC pecking Bran’s forehead, the 3EC cawing at him, and the “grey mists” being ripped away like “a veil”. Martin employs the adjective “blinding” to modify “pain”, and while Bran’s pain may render him sightless momentarily, Martin’s “blinding” is ironic in that by Bran discovering and using his “third-eye”, he will command exceptional visionary skills that defy “blindness”.

Once the “grey mists” obscuring his vision are removed, Bran “sees” that the crow screaming at him is really the figure of a woman, her hands probably flapping wildly from her sides and her shrill delivery of “He’s awake” thrice mimicking a crow’s cawing.

On the other hand, Martin is a clever wordsmith who may be communicating that the gender of the 3EC is “female” in part or on occasion. Since gender confusion is a theme that complicates an “identity” motif, the wizard who calls himself Lord Brynden may later reveal, or “assume”, a “form” that speaks to the feminine gender.

Martin mentions the “grey mists” five times throughout Bran’s 3EC dream. Furthermore, the “grey mists” reappear with great frequency in the “Prince of Winterfell” POV; hence, Martin seemingly designates them as symbolically important by coloring the mists “grey”, which is characteristic of House Stark. Throughout Bran’s dream, these mists serve as a protective “armor” that blankets Bran, keeping him safe from further harm during his “falling” and his “flying”. Five examples from Bran’s 3EC dream follow:

GREY MISTS #1

“The ground was so far below him he could barely make it out through the grey mists that whirled around him, but he could feel how fast he was falling, and he knew what was waiting for him down there”.

  • In the above sentence, Martin mentions the “grey mists” for the first time in Bran’s 3EC dream. The “grey mists” whirl around Bran, spinning quickly, which hinders his ability to see the ground below him. Bran feels himself plummeting, gaining speed, and death awaits him. But the “grey mists” protect him from dizziness and confusion.

GREY MISTS #2

“The ground was closer now, still far far away, a thousand miles away, but closer than it had been. It was cold here in the darkness. There was no sun, no stars, only the ground below coming up to smash him, and the grey mists, and the whispering voice. He wanted to cry”.

Not cry. Fly.

"I can't fly," Bran said. "I can't, I can't . . . "

How do you know? Have you ever tried?

  • The cold in the darkness may suggest imminent death if Bran does not fly, for many of those who die “feel the cold”.
  • Note the second time “grey mists” are referenced, as well as the “whispering voice”- we have both a visual image and an auditory image created by Martin. He evokes all the senses during this fall, even our own feelings of fear regarding falling.

***********************************

GREY MISTS #3

“Bran was staring at his arms, his legs. He was so skinny, just skin stretched taut over bones. Had he always been so thin? He tried to remember. A face swam up at him out of the grey mist, shining with light, golden. "The things I do for love," it said.

“Bran screamed.

“The crow took to the air, cawing. Not that, it shrieked at him. Forget that, you do not need it now, put it aside, put it away. It landed on Bran's shoulder, and pecked at him, and the shining golden face was gone”.

• A face swims up out of the grey mist, and we know the implication of this shining golden light and the words, “The things I do for love.” Bran is remembering that because of Jaime Lannister’s push, Bran would not be falling.

• The crow orders Bran not to think of that, and when the crow lands on Bran’s shoulder and pecks at him, the golden face disappears.

• The crow wants Bran to concentrate all his energies on flying, not reliving past baggage that he can visit later when the situation is not as dire as this.

• The grey mist appears for the third time, and it seems to bring the image of Lannister to light, but it still safeguards Bran as he falls.

GREY MISTS #4

“Bran was falling faster than ever. The grey mists howled around him as he plunged toward the earth below. "What are you doing to me?" he asked the crow, tearful”.

Teaching you how to fly.

"I can't fly!"

• Note for the fourth time “the grey mists” are referenced, this time “howling” around Bran as he plunges toward the earth below. The fact that Martin personifies the grey mists with “howling” suggests the howling of the direwolves of House Stark, which leads credence to this “grey mist” being somehow aligned with a Stark force, since it is represented as “grey” and howls like a wolf.

GREY MISTS 5

“The crow opened its beak and cawed at him, a shrill scream of fear, and the grey mists shuddered and swirled around him and ripped away like a veil, and he saw that the crow was really a woman, a serving woman with long black hair, and he knew her from somewhere, from Winterfell, yes, that was it, . . .”

• Martin mentions the “grey mists” for the fifth and final time, and these mists “shudder,” “swirl”, and “rip” just like a VEIL, so Bran, via the protective veil, is returned safely to his bed in Winterfell.

THE GREY MISTS in

“THE

“THE PRINCE OF WINTERFELL” ADwD

In A Dance with Dragons, Martin mentions the “[grey] mists” repeatedly in the “The Prince of Winterfell” POV, and they transform the godswood into an eerie site for a wedding. The title “The Prince of Winterfell” actually refers to, or had once referred to Theon and Bran. After Ramsay speaks his vows, the title passes to him.

Reek/Theon, as a ward of Lord Eddard Stark’, is necessary to authenticate “Arya Stark”, and to give Arya “away” to her bridegroom. Lord Bran Stark himself , the “true” Prince of Winterfell”, makes his presence in the godswood known [for the readers] through the expression on the weirwood’s face, through the murder of ravens, through the wind whispering through the leaves, calling “Theon” , and through the “grey” and “ghostly” mists commandeering the godswood.

From many examples in the above mentioned POV, several with especially symbolic significance and metaphoric meanings, follow:

“Up above the treetops, a crescent moon was floating in a dark sky, half-obscured by mist like an eye peering through a veil of silk(ADwD 486).

Martin compares the mists to a silk veil, which echoes his first comparison of the [grey] mists to a “veil” in AGoT, when Bran first dreams of the Three-Eyed Crow.

“The crow opened its beak and cawed at him, a shrill scream of fear, and the grey mists shuddered and swirled around him and ripped away like a veil. . .”.

  • A “crescent moon” is an eye “peering through a silk veil.” The veil covering the eyes suggests a “mask” designed to disguise someone’s appearance. The concept of a “mask” arouses the description of Braavos as a city of “masks and whispers”.
  • “No One”, aka Arya of House Stark, resident of the House of Black and White located in Braavos, parallels her brother Bran watching through the eyes carved in the trunks of weirwoods, only Arya watches through the hooded “skins” from the faces of those who die in the temple.
  • Masks and facial alterations are indicative of an ongoing theatrical motif that begins in AGoT and continues through ADwD. A few examples follow:

(a).“the blood of the First Men still flowed in the veins of the Starks, and his [Ned’s] own gods were the old ones, the nameless, faceless gods of the greenwood they shared with the vanished children of the forest” (AGoT 23).

( B). “A face had been carved in the trunk of the great tree, its features long and melancholy, the deep-cut eyes red with dried sap and strangely watchful” (AGoT).

©. In the south, weirwoods can be found on the “Isle of Faces”.

(d). “For her [Catelyn’s] sake, Ned had built her a small sept where she might sing to the seven faces of god . . .” (AGoT 22).

(e). “He [Eddard] had taken off Father’s face, Bran thought, and donned the face of Lord Stark of Winterfell” (AGoT 14).

(f). “A face swam up at him [bran]” (AGoT 161).

(g.). “Robb was seated in Father’s high seat, wearing . . . the stern face of Robb the Lord” (242 AGoT).

(h). “Roose Bolton’s own face was a pale grey mask, with two chips of dirty ice where his eyes should be (487 ADwD ).

(i). “They are using me [Theon] to cloak their deception, putting mine own face on their lie” (485 ADwD).

(j).A torch casts “its ruddy glow over the faces of the wedding guests” (487 ADwD). AND “Lord Stout became a mastiff, old Lord Locke a vulture, Whoresbane Umber a gargoyle, Big Walder Frey a fox, Little Walder Frey a red bull, lacking only a ring for his nose” (487 ADwD).

“He had never seen the godswood like this, though – grey and ghostly, filled with warm mists and floating lights and whispered voices that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere” (487).

  • Martin bathes the godswood in a “grey” and “ghostly” ambience, and “grey” is representative of the Starks who live in the “grey” north, who often have “grey eyes”, and who live in a castle made of grey stone and are buried in the crypts that are marked with grey stone statues.
  • Theon does not recall another time the godswood appeared as Martin describes.
  • Grey is a color with complex symbology, but in the instance of the “grey” in the godswood and all Martin’s death imagery, those present for the fraudulent nuptials are marked for death by the “grey mists”.

B . “GREY MISTS” AND THE “GREY ASHES” / PARALLELS between MARTIN’S NOVELS and F. SCOTT FITZGERALD’S THE GREAT GATSBY

  • The grey mists shrouding the weirwood and the trees throughout the godswood call to mind the valley of ashes in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, an industrial wasteland layered with grey dust and watched over by the billboard featuring the eyes of oculist Dr. T. J. Eckleberg, which are compared to the ever watchful eyes of God.
  • Martin’s Dr. T. J. “Eckleberg” is re-envisioned in the face on the trunk of WF’s weirwood, with watchful eyes and a mouth that opens as if to laugh. The mischievous expression that contours the heart tree’s mouth is undoubtedly Bran who finds the wedding a source of merriment.
  • The grey ash from Gatsby symbolizes much and more, but in its relationship to the grey mists blanketing WF’s godswood, both Fitzgerald and Martin create environments designed for death, and they even populate their grey worlds with corpses. For instance, Tom Wilson is a struggling gas station owner who is always covered with a layer of dust. Tom Wilson’s wife says that her husband does not even know he is alive. Tom Wilson commits suicide at the novel’s end, so the ashes mark him as the walking dead. Likewise, Wilson’s cheating wife Myrtle is killed by an automobile that her lover’s wife is driving. So both residents of the valley of ashes are the walking dead.
  • Martin populates the godswood with “ghostly” people: Jeyne’s face is “pale, bloodless” and she is “A corpse buried in the snow” (484).
  • “Are we all dead, then? Did Stannis come and kill us in our sleep?” (487).
  • “But under his hood, his hair was white and thin, and his flesh had a old man’s greyish undertone. A Stark at last, he thought” (486).

The mists were so thick that only the nearest trees were visible; beyond them stood tall shadows and faint lights. Candles flickered beside the wandering path and back amongst the trees, pale fireflies floating in a warm grey soup(487).

  • The mists are “a warm grey soup”, a phrase Martin coins in his world of ice and fire that is similar to a popular phrase that compares a dense fog to the thickness of pea soup.

“ It [the godswood] felt like some strange underworld, some timeless place between two worlds, where the damned wandered mournfully for a time before finding their way down to whatever hell their sins had earned them” (487).

  • The thick mist educes otherworldliness. “Underworld” is the Greek Hades, where the dead souls “wander mournfully”, but eventually Hermes locates his charges to escort them to the afterlife.
  • Homer describes the souls of the suitors as chattering like “bats” on their arrival to Hades’ Gates.
  • The dead cross the River Styx, after which they are judged. This determines their assignments for eternity. When a soul dies, whether good or bad, he or she goes to Hades for judgment.
  • The greatest sinners are punished in Tartarus, and these souls suffer throughout time, reliving over and over the same punishment.

“The way the mists threw back the shifting light made their features seem bestial, half-human, twisted” (487).

  • “The mists” cause an eerie light to expose the “beasts” that exist in all men. The facial features of certain wedding guests transform into animals. The physical change of man to beast is a nod to Homer’s Odysseus. When the wanderer visits Circe, the enchantress changes Odysseus’ crew men into swine. They join her menagerie of other wild beasts that had once been men. Circe’s magic turns the ugliness of the men from the inside to the outside. Likewise, Martin hints at the bestiality of all men given the opportunity to act out their dark desires. Consequently, Martin’s characters are often shaded “grey” – they are not fully evil, nor are they fully good.
  • “Lord Stout became a mastiff, old Lord Locke a vulture, Whoresbane Umber a gargoyle, Big Walder Frey a fox, Little Walder a red bull, lacking a ring for his nose” (487).

Then the mists parted, like the curtain opening at a mummer show to reveal some new tableau” (487).

  • Martin employs a theatre, or performance arts motif throughout the novels in his series, and here is one example of a visual image that Martin uses quite often: a curtain parting to reveal “something” significant. In this example, the mists part like curtains to expose the wedding of Ramsay and “Arya” as a fraud.

A few examples of Martin’s attention to theatre follow:

Roose Bolton had clothed him as a lord again, to play his part in this mummer’s farce” (ADwD 485).

All the color had been leached from Winterfell until only grey and white remained. The Stark colors. . . Even the sky was grey. Grey and grey and greyer. The whole world grey, everywhere you look, everything grey except the eyes of the bride” (489).

C. RETURN TO BRAN’S AWARENESS of the THIRD-EYE

Bran, now awake, still feels a “burning” from where the crow pecked him on his forehead:

“Bran touched his forehead between his eyes. The place where the crow had pecked him was still burning, but there was nothing there, no blood, no wound. He felt weak and dizzy. He tried to get out of bed but nothing happened” (164).

  • Bran’s “awakening” is marked by a “burning” that is carried from the “unconscious” world of dream-filled sleep into a state of consciousness.
  • Bran feeling “weak and dizzy” after waking are likely after a lengthy coma; however, “weak and dizzy” are words often used to describe a mystic or seer after he/she experiences a powerful “vision”. It is implied that the seer is exhausted as a result of the depths of the spiritual enlightenment.
  • Why Bran attempts “to get out of bed” while weak and dizzy lacks perceptivity, although Bran may have developed a habit of trying to rise while ignoring the protests from his body and mind.
  • Bran’s action causes no reaction. The last sentence of this paragraph is linked to the first sentence of the following paragraph: “He tried to get out of bed but nothing happened”.

“And then there was movement beside the bed, and something landed lightly on his legs. He felt nothing. A pair of yellow eyes looked into his eyes shining like the sun. The window was open and it was cold in the room, but the warmth that came off the wolf enfolded him like a hot bath. His pup, Bran realized . . . or was it? He was so big now. He reached out to pet him, his hand trembling like a leaf” (164).

  • Summer gently leads Bran to the truth of his paralysis by deliberately pressing against Bran’s legs so that Bran” senses “movement beside the bed”; then “something” lands on his legs, but Bran feels “nothing”.
  • It is in Summer’s “yellow eyes . . . shining like the sun” that Bran finds the truth – or “enlightenment”. With Summer blanketing Bran in warmth and endowing him with strength, Bran accepts his plight, even greeting his older brother Robb “calmly” by announcing that he has named his direwolf pup “Summer”.
  • Summer’s sunny eyes and his warmth inspire Bran’s selecting the name “Summer” for his direwolf.
  • Martin comparing Summer’s warmth enfolding Bran “like a hot bath” evokes the hot baths Daenerys enjoys in parallel POV’s.
  • In AGoT, Martin establishes that Bran loves climbing for a variety of reasons, one of those being that “it was almost like being invisible”. Bran is “in attendance” for the Stark and Bolton union, albeit he is invisible to the attendants and guests.

I must have missed the overall point to that long read.... things I have already pointed out to myself, but to be honest I don't understand what you are trying to conclude..

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er

I must have missed the overall point to that long read.... things I have already pointed out to myself, but to be honest I don't understand what you are trying to conclude..

I would like to know what you have pointed out to yourself because I have NEVER, EVER saw anything resembling my thesis on this forum or any other! I even used BIG PRINT, HEADINGS, ROMAN NUMERALS, AND A, B, C'S TO ORGANIZE MY EFFORTS.

For your information, I labeled the THESIS, AND I WILL REPRINT IT FOR YOU:

A thesis to organize and compartmentalize the specific blood incidents that attach the direwolves to their Stark children with magical consequences follows:

  • Summer infuses Bran with the will to live, a fact that Martin illustrates after Summer tastes the blood of Bran’s would-be-assassin and after Summer licks clean the blood caused by Catelyn’s defensive wound on her hand. In his Three-Eyed Crow dream, Bran chooses to “fly”, not “die”, and after having this prophetic dream, Bran wakes from his coma.
  • Nymeria infuses Arya with courage after the direwolf bites Prince Joffrey in an effort to protect Arya.
  • Grey Wind infuses Robb with strength and battle prowess after Grey Wind and Summer take down an elk in the wolfswoods and after Grey Wind takes two of the Greatjohn’s fingers while defending Robb.
  • Ghost infuses Jon with problem-solving skills and with the power of persuasive speaking after Ghost takes down a kill near the Kingsroad.
  • Shaggydog infuses Rickon with a wild spirit, “as wild as a winter storm” that needs to be tamed after Shaggydog has “bitten Gage on the arm and torn a chunk of meat from Mikken’s thigh” (573); after Shaggydog has ravaged Maester Luwin’s arm in the crypts of Winterfell; and after “Rickon patted Shaggydog’s muzzle, damp with blood. “I let him loose. He doesn’t like chains.” He licked at his fingers” (734).
  • Rickon’s symbolic tasting of human blood, even if transfer from Shaggydog’s muzzle, eerily speaks to the blood sacrifices that fed the heart tree thousands of years ago and to the “blood” that Bran “tastes” during his vision while sitting the weirwood throne.

Please tell me your premise regarding Rickon tasting blood. I NEVER SAW THAT ANYWHERE!

Please tell me your premise regarding how Jon Snow is empowered with persuasive speaking? Cite the example.

And point out the passages concerning Robb's empowerment through Grey Wind. What is the significance of the elk? No one has presented my evidences in this way - I searched google, westeros, ice and fire wiki, tumblr, facebook - so please guide me to your writing efforts in which you already thought of my ideas?

Your posts are time stamped. How much time did you spend reading my long read before you jumped to make a comment in several threads in a row?

Please do not insult my intelligence!

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( CONTINUED) PART II. HOW SUMMER and BLOOD EMPOWER BRAN THE GREENSEER in AGoT

THE REAPPEARING “GREY MISTS”: BRAN’S 3ECROW DREAM from AGOT &

THEON’S POV “THE PRINCE OF WINTERFELL”

from A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

BRAN, THE 3EC, and THE THIRD-EYE

Summer saving the lives of Catelyn and Bran and the resulting bloodshed and death of the would-be-assassin, set into motion, however indirectly, Bran’s return to consciousness.

The blood motif connects Bran and Summer through a functioning telepathy and supernatural powers that are part of the chemistry that makes up Bran Stark’s blood.

Thus, Summer tasting the blood from a fresh kill, then Summer cleansing the blood from Catelyn’s hand, binds Summer to Bran; hence, Summer empowers Bran on a level of understanding only wargs can share. It seems significant that a blood mage has said, “Only death can pay for life.” The death of the intruder may in some “magical” way secure Bran’s reviving from his coma.

Bran’s awakening from his coma is in conjunction with the crow attempting to assist Bran in opening his third eye:

While breaking down the blood motif in AGoT – and in the other novels of the series I hope – “descriptions” of violent death usually involve exciting action and blood aftermaths.

“. . . Bran felt a sudden blinding pain in the middle of his forehead, between his eyes . . . . The crow opened its beak, and cawed at him, a shrill scream of fear, and the grey mists shuddered and swirled around him and ripped away like a veil, and he saw that the crow was really a woman . . .” (164).

The transition from dream to consciousness is punctuated by the 3EC pecking Bran’s forehead, the 3EC cawing at him, and the “grey mists” being ripped away like “a veil”. Martin employs the adjective “blinding” to modify “pain”, and while Bran’s pain may render him sightless momentarily, Martin’s “blinding” is ironic in that by Bran discovering and using his “third-eye”, he will command exceptional visionary skills that defy “blindness”.

Once the “grey mists” obscuring his vision are removed, Bran “sees” that the crow screaming at him is really the figure of a woman, her hands probably flapping wildly from her sides and her shrill delivery of “He’s awake” thrice mimicking a crow’s cawing.

On the other hand, Martin is a clever wordsmith who may be communicating that the gender of the 3EC is “female” in part or on occasion. Since gender confusion is a theme that complicates an “identity” motif, the wizard who calls himself Lord Brynden may later reveal, or “assume”, a “form” that speaks to the feminine gender.

Martin mentions the “grey mists” five times throughout Bran’s 3EC dream. Furthermore, the “grey mists” reappear with great frequency in the “Prince of Winterfell” POV; hence, Martin seemingly designates them as symbolically important by coloring the mists “grey”, which is characteristic of House Stark. Throughout Bran’s dream, these mists serve as a protective “armor” that blankets Bran, keeping him safe from further harm during his “falling” and his “flying”. Five examples from Bran’s 3EC dream follow:

GREY MISTS #1

“The ground was so far below him he could barely make it out through the grey mists that whirled around him, but he could feel how fast he was falling, and he knew what was waiting for him down there”.

  • In the above sentence, Martin mentions the “grey mists” for the first time in Bran’s 3EC dream. The “grey mists” whirl around Bran, spinning quickly, which hinders his ability to see the ground below him. Bran feels himself plummeting, gaining speed, and death awaits him. But the “grey mists” protect him from dizziness and confusion.

GREY MISTS #2

“The ground was closer now, still far far away, a thousand miles away, but closer than it had been. It was cold here in the darkness. There was no sun, no stars, only the ground below coming up to smash him, and the grey mists, and the whispering voice. He wanted to cry”.

Not cry. Fly.

"I can't fly," Bran said. "I can't, I can't . . . "

How do you know? Have you ever tried?

  • The cold in the darkness may suggest imminent death if Bran does not fly, for many of those who die “feel the cold”.
  • Note the second time “grey mists” are referenced, as well as the “whispering voice”- we have both a visual image and an auditory image created by Martin. He evokes all the senses during this fall, even our own feelings of fear regarding falling.

***********************************

GREY MISTS #3

“Bran was staring at his arms, his legs. He was so skinny, just skin stretched taut over bones. Had he always been so thin? He tried to remember. A face swam up at him out of the grey mist, shining with light, golden. "The things I do for love," it said.

“Bran screamed.

“The crow took to the air, cawing. Not that, it shrieked at him. Forget that, you do not need it now, put it aside, put it away. It landed on Bran's shoulder, and pecked at him, and the shining golden face was gone”.

• A face swims up out of the grey mist, and we know the implication of this shining golden light and the words, “The things I do for love.” Bran is remembering that because of Jaime Lannister’s push, Bran would not be falling.

• The crow orders Bran not to think of that, and when the crow lands on Bran’s shoulder and pecks at him, the golden face disappears.

• The crow wants Bran to concentrate all his energies on flying, not reliving past baggage that he can visit later when the situation is not as dire as this.

• The grey mist appears for the third time, and it seems to bring the image of Lannister to light, but it still safeguards Bran as he falls.

GREY MISTS #4

“Bran was falling faster than ever. The grey mists howled around him as he plunged toward the earth below. "What are you doing to me?" he asked the crow, tearful”.

Teaching you how to fly.

"I can't fly!"

• Note for the fourth time “the grey mists” are referenced, this time “howling” around Bran as he plunges toward the earth below. The fact that Martin personifies the grey mists with “howling” suggests the howling of the direwolves of House Stark, which leads credence to this “grey mist” being somehow aligned with a Stark force, since it is represented as “grey” and howls like a wolf.

GREY MISTS 5

“The crow opened its beak and cawed at him, a shrill scream of fear, and the grey mists shuddered and swirled around him and ripped away like a veil, and he saw that the crow was really a woman, a serving woman with long black hair, and he knew her from somewhere, from Winterfell, yes, that was it, . . .”

• Martin mentions the “grey mists” for the fifth and final time, and these mists “shudder,” “swirl”, and “rip” just like a VEIL, so Bran, via the protective veil, is returned safely to his bed in Winterfell.

THE GREY MISTS in

“THE

“THE PRINCE OF WINTERFELL” ADwD

In A Dance with Dragons, Martin mentions the “[grey] mists” repeatedly in the “The Prince of Winterfell” POV, and they transform the godswood into an eerie site for a wedding. The title “The Prince of Winterfell” actually refers to, or had once referred to Theon and Bran. After Ramsay speaks his vows, the title passes to him.

Reek/Theon, as a ward of Lord Eddard Stark’, is necessary to authenticate “Arya Stark”, and to give Arya “away” to her bridegroom. Lord Bran Stark himself , the “true” Prince of Winterfell”, makes his presence in the godswood known [for the readers] through the expression on the weirwood’s face, through the murder of ravens, through the wind whispering through the leaves, calling “Theon” , and through the “grey” and “ghostly” mists commandeering the godswood.

From many examples in the above mentioned POV, several with especially symbolic significance and metaphoric meanings, follow:

“Up above the treetops, a crescent moon was floating in a dark sky, half-obscured by mist like an eye peering through a veil of silk(ADwD 486).

Martin compares the mists to a silk veil, which echoes his first comparison of the [grey] mists to a “veil” in AGoT, when Bran first dreams of the Three-Eyed Crow.

“The crow opened its beak and cawed at him, a shrill scream of fear, and the grey mists shuddered and swirled around him and ripped away like a veil. . .”.

  • A “crescent moon” is an eye “peering through a silk veil.” The veil covering the eyes suggests a “mask” designed to disguise someone’s appearance. The concept of a “mask” arouses the description of Braavos as a city of “masks and whispers”.
  • “No One”, aka Arya of House Stark, resident of the House of Black and White located in Braavos, parallels her brother Bran watching through the eyes carved in the trunks of weirwoods, only Arya watches through the hooded “skins” from the faces of those who die in the temple.
  • Masks and facial alterations are indicative of an ongoing theatrical motif that begins in AGoT and continues through ADwD. A few examples follow:

(a).“the blood of the First Men still flowed in the veins of the Starks, and his [Ned’s] own gods were the old ones, the nameless, faceless gods of the greenwood they shared with the vanished children of the forest” (AGoT 23).

( B). “A face had been carved in the trunk of the great tree, its features long and melancholy, the deep-cut eyes red with dried sap and strangely watchful” (AGoT).

©. In the south, weirwoods can be found on the “Isle of Faces”.

(d). “For her [Catelyn’s] sake, Ned had built her a small sept where she might sing to the seven faces of god . . .” (AGoT 22).

(e). “He [Eddard] had taken off Father’s face, Bran thought, and donned the face of Lord Stark of Winterfell” (AGoT 14).

(f). “A face swam up at him [bran]” (AGoT 161).

(g.). “Robb was seated in Father’s high seat, wearing . . . the stern face of Robb the Lord” (242 AGoT).

(h). “Roose Bolton’s own face was a pale grey mask, with two chips of dirty ice where his eyes should be (487 ADwD ).

(i). “They are using me [Theon] to cloak their deception, putting mine own face on their lie” (485 ADwD).

(j).A torch casts “its ruddy glow over the faces of the wedding guests” (487 ADwD). AND “Lord Stout became a mastiff, old Lord Locke a vulture, Whoresbane Umber a gargoyle, Big Walder Frey a fox, Little Walder Frey a red bull, lacking only a ring for his nose” (487 ADwD).

“He had never seen the godswood like this, though – grey and ghostly, filled with warm mists and floating lights and whispered voices that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere” (487).

  • Martin bathes the godswood in a “grey” and “ghostly” ambience, and “grey” is representative of the Starks who live in the “grey” north, who often have “grey eyes”, and who live in a castle made of grey stone and are buried in the crypts that are marked with grey stone statues.
  • Theon does not recall another time the godswood appeared as Martin describes.
  • Grey is a color with complex symbology, but in the instance of the “grey” in the godswood and all Martin’s death imagery, those present for the fraudulent nuptials are marked for death by the “grey mists”.

B . “GREY MISTS” AND THE “GREY ASHES” / PARALLELS between MARTIN’S NOVELS and F. SCOTT FITZGERALD’S THE GREAT GATSBY

  • The grey mists shrouding the weirwood and the trees throughout the godswood call to mind the valley of ashes in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, an industrial wasteland layered with grey dust and watched over by the billboard featuring the eyes of oculist Dr. T. J. Eckleberg, which are compared to the ever watchful eyes of God.
  • Martin’s Dr. T. J. “Eckleberg” is re-envisioned in the face on the trunk of WF’s weirwood, with watchful eyes and a mouth that opens as if to laugh. The mischievous expression that contours the heart tree’s mouth is undoubtedly Bran who finds the wedding a source of merriment.
  • The grey ash from Gatsby symbolizes much and more, but in its relationship to the grey mists blanketing WF’s godswood, both Fitzgerald and Martin create environments designed for death, and they even populate their grey worlds with corpses. For instance, Tom Wilson is a struggling gas station owner who is always covered with a layer of dust. Tom Wilson’s wife says that her husband does not even know he is alive. Tom Wilson commits suicide at the novel’s end, so the ashes mark him as the walking dead. Likewise, Wilson’s cheating wife Myrtle is killed by an automobile that her lover’s wife is driving. So both residents of the valley of ashes are the walking dead.
  • Martin populates the godswood with “ghostly” people: Jeyne’s face is “pale, bloodless” and she is “A corpse buried in the snow” (484).
  • “Are we all dead, then? Did Stannis come and kill us in our sleep?” (487).
  • “But under his hood, his hair was white and thin, and his flesh had a old man’s greyish undertone. A Stark at last, he thought” (486).

The mists were so thick that only the nearest trees were visible; beyond them stood tall shadows and faint lights. Candles flickered beside the wandering path and back amongst the trees, pale fireflies floating in a warm grey soup(487).

  • The mists are “a warm grey soup”, a phrase Martin coins in his world of ice and fire that is similar to a popular phrase that compares a dense fog to the thickness of pea soup.

“ It [the godswood] felt like some strange underworld, some timeless place between two worlds, where the damned wandered mournfully for a time before finding their way down to whatever hell their sins had earned them” (487).

  • The thick mist educes otherworldliness. “Underworld” is the Greek Hades, where the dead souls “wander mournfully”, but eventually Hermes locates his charges to escort them to the afterlife.
  • Homer describes the souls of the suitors as chattering like “bats” on their arrival to Hades’ Gates.
  • The dead cross the River Styx, after which they are judged. This determines their assignments for eternity. When a soul dies, whether good or bad, he or she goes to Hades for judgment.
  • The greatest sinners are punished in Tartarus, and these souls suffer throughout time, reliving over and over the same punishment.

“The way the mists threw back the shifting light made their features seem bestial, half-human, twisted” (487).

  • “The mists” cause an eerie light to expose the “beasts” that exist in all men. The facial features of certain wedding guests transform into animals. The physical change of man to beast is a nod to Homer’s Odysseus. When the wanderer visits Circe, the enchantress changes Odysseus’ crew men into swine. They join her menagerie of other wild beasts that had once been men. Circe’s magic turns the ugliness of the men from the inside to the outside. Likewise, Martin hints at the bestiality of all men given the opportunity to act out their dark desires. Consequently, Martin’s characters are often shaded “grey” – they are not fully evil, nor are they fully good.
  • “Lord Stout became a mastiff, old Lord Locke a vulture, Whoresbane Umber a gargoyle, Big Walder Frey a fox, Little Walder a red bull, lacking a ring for his nose” (487).

Then the mists parted, like the curtain opening at a mummer show to reveal some new tableau” (487).

  • Martin employs a theatre, or performance arts motif throughout the novels in his series, and here is one example of a visual image that Martin uses quite often: a curtain parting to reveal “something” significant. In this example, the mists part like curtains to expose the wedding of Ramsay and “Arya” as a fraud.

A few examples of Martin’s attention to theatre follow:

Roose Bolton had clothed him as a lord again, to play his part in this mummer’s farce” (ADwD 485).

All the color had been leached from Winterfell until only grey and white remained. The Stark colors. . . Even the sky was grey. Grey and grey and greyer. The whole world grey, everywhere you look, everything grey except the eyes of the bride” (489).

C. RETURN TO BRAN’S AWARENESS of the THIRD-EYE

Bran, now awake, still feels a “burning” from where the crow pecked him on his forehead:

“Bran touched his forehead between his eyes. The place where the crow had pecked him was still burning, but there was nothing there, no blood, no wound. He felt weak and dizzy. He tried to get out of bed but nothing happened” (164).

  • Bran’s “awakening” is marked by a “burning” that is carried from the “unconscious” world of dream-filled sleep into a state of consciousness.
  • Bran feeling “weak and dizzy” after waking are likely after a lengthy coma; however, “weak and dizzy” are words often used to describe a mystic or seer after he/she experiences a powerful “vision”. It is implied that the seer is exhausted as a result of the depths of the spiritual enlightenment.
  • Why Bran attempts “to get out of bed” while weak and dizzy lacks perceptivity, although Bran may have developed a habit of trying to rise while ignoring the protests from his body and mind.
  • Bran’s action causes no reaction. The last sentence of this paragraph is linked to the first sentence of the following paragraph: “He tried to get out of bed but nothing happened”.

“And then there was movement beside the bed, and something landed lightly on his legs. He felt nothing. A pair of yellow eyes looked into his eyes shining like the sun. The window was open and it was cold in the room, but the warmth that came off the wolf enfolded him like a hot bath. His pup, Bran realized . . . or was it? He was so big now. He reached out to pet him, his hand trembling like a leaf” (164).

  • Summer gently leads Bran to the truth of his paralysis by deliberately pressing against Bran’s legs so that Bran” senses “movement beside the bed”; then “something” lands on his legs, but Bran feels “nothing”.
  • It is in Summer’s “yellow eyes . . . shining like the sun” that Bran finds the truth – or “enlightenment”. With Summer blanketing Bran in warmth and endowing him with strength, Bran accepts his plight, even greeting his older brother Robb “calmly” by announcing that he has named his direwolf pup “Summer”.
  • Summer’s sunny eyes and his warmth inspire Bran’s selecting the name “Summer” for his direwolf.
  • Martin comparing Summer’s warmth enfolding Bran “like a hot bath” evokes the hot baths Daenerys enjoys in parallel POV’s.
  • In AGoT, Martin establishes that Bran loves climbing for a variety of reasons, one of those being that “it was almost like being invisible”. Bran is “in attendance” for the Stark and Bolton union, albeit he is invisible to the attendants and guests.

And I think the part about the Rat Cook is foreshadowing for the Frey Civil war, as the Rat Cook cannabalizes his offspring after he was transformed.

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I think some of my evidences might work for your Theon theory.

I connected the grey mists that appear in Brans 3EC dream and the [grey] mists that invade the godswood in The Prince of Winterfell POV in ADwD. The link to my thread follows, but if you click on the number #5161196n it should take you directly to the post about the mists.

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/94439-the-blood-motif-in-asoiafsymbolismanalysispatterns/

#5161196

.

Very interesting posts. You really pulled together those references to grey mist. I did not recall there being so many, and will have to reread.

Two comments, based on your work together with some background reading I've done lately.

1) Given the description of the Sea-Reek (linked in that other thread), the transfiguration of wedding attendees into their representative animals (true forms) in the mist, and the re-identification of Theon by name... I could see this wedding scene serving as a symbolic "surfacing" of the kraken.

2). The image of the "veil," "hood," or "shroud" is a busy one in Martin's text, and frequently used in mythological source material. I've wondered whether this notion might be one of the central meanings behind the name "Stark," which in English is a synonym for the word "grim" - a word that in Old Norse is used to describe Odin when he disguises and hides his face (one name for Odin is Grímnir, as used in the poem Grímnismál... think also of "the grim reaper" as a hooded or shrouded figure).

Anyway, gods and goddesses often are described as veiled. In his text, Martin uses this kind of imagery a good bit in his descriptions of Gilly (especially after she leaves her son at the wall). The Stranger is always faceless. There is even a "Shrouded Lord" associated with greyscale and the stone men, who seems likely to play a larger role in books to come.

Depending on the sense of the word "Stark," it occurs to me that "Shrouded Lord" and "Lord Stark" could mean essentially the same thing...

.

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And I think the part about the Rat Cook is foreshadowing for the Frey Civil war, as the Rat Cook cannabalizes his offspring after he was transformed.

LYSE STARK: THAT'S DEFINITELY POSSIBLE.

The Frey pies are devoured by many at the wedding feast.

With all these violations of the laws of hospitality, I am speculating that the ward at WF and at the Wall will be broken.

I anticipate that Bran will employ his new-found powers to avenge the Starks and the northmen betrayed by the Freys and the Boltons at the Red Wedding.

I am going to be brave and go out on a limb with this speculation: Bran ,will access the roots of WF's weirwood, and he will cause an event, such as an earthquake or tremors that loosen the earth and crack open the sepulchers that house the earthly remains of the Starks.

Since the "bones remember" and since the ravens under RavenBran's control are vessels that maintain the spirits of past riders - or skinchangers - or greenseers, the dead Stark lords and Kings of Winter will rise.

I have two theories on how this will be accomplished: (1) Either the Starks will be reanimated in their bodies as they were at the time of their deaths, or (2) The stone statues will be infused with the spirits of the long dead Starks, which the ravens will access through the "bones" that remember, and those tricksy ravens will transfer these spirits to the stone statues.

One other thing is necessary to raise the dead along with Bran's magic: BLOOD.

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.

Very interesting posts. You really pulled together those references to grey mist. I did not recall there being so many, and will have to reread.

Two comments, based on your work together with some background reading I've done lately.

1) Given the description of the Sea-Reek (linked in that other thread), the transfiguration of wedding attendees into their representative animals (true forms) in the mist, and the re-identification of Theon by name... I could see this wedding scene serving as a symbolic "surfacing" of the kraken.

2). The image of the "veil," "hood," or "shroud" is a busy one in Martin's text, and frequently used in mythological source material. I've wondered whether this notion might be one of the central meanings behind the name "Stark," which in English is a synonym for the word "grim" - a word that in Old Norse is used to describe Odin when he disguises and hides his face (one name for Odin is Grímnir, as used in the poem Grímnismál... think also of "the grim reaper" as a hooded or shrouded figure).

Anyway, gods and goddesses often are described as veiled. In his text, Martin uses this kind of imagery a good bit in his descriptions of Gilly (especially after she leaves her son at the wall). The Stranger is always faceless. There is even a "Shrouded Lord" associated with greyscale and the stone men, who seems likely to play a larger role in books to come.

Depending on the sense of the word "Stark," it occurs to me that "Shrouded Lord" and "Lord Stark" could mean essentially the same thing...

.

:bowdown: THE SNOWFYRE CHORUS: WOW!!! You have great ideas and insight. You also are an excellent writer - you and Wolfswoods are exceptional in organizing your responses and communicating your points. You both are not afraid to write meaty posts - which I am guilty of doing as well.

I will respond to your Gilly Parts 1, 2, 3 - I read it, but when I went to the thread's beginning, I realized that I needed to get things straight on some of the theories and how the evidence works on heretic analyses. :dunno:

The Stark info with the veil is hot stuff. You prompted a memory from the Odyssey. I am going to "wing it" because I am exhausted and too lazy to look it up. Any-who, after Poseidon smashes Odysseus' boat to pieces, Odysseus is tossed into the ocean, ravaged by waves, clinging to a section of wood from his broken boat. [Think Jack and Rose from Titanic].

Since Odysseus is much loved by the goddess Athena, she is always there to rescue him. However, in this instance, Athena cannot allow Poseidon, her uncle who despises Odysseus for blinding his son the Cyclops Polyphemous, sees her assisting the hero. Therefore, she sends the goddess Ino, aka Leukothea, a water creature, to Odysseus. Ino gifts Odysseus an IMMORTAL VEIL, and she delivers specific instructions that he must follow. He wraps the VEIL around his waist and swims to shore. Then he MUST discard the VEIL, return it to the water, and not look back.

Odysseus obeys, and he is saved. However, before he does as Ino instructs him. Odysseus secures a promise from the goddess that she will not trick him. This is a theme in the Odyssey because mortals could not trust the immortals, and Odysseus is the clever hero, the man of twists and turns, so he always makes sure to secure a promise or a vow from any god or goddess who offers to help him.

It is very nice to have other posters who share ideas and build theories. I get so tired of reading threads where people argue and say mean spirited, sarcastic things.

When I first came to westeros, I had a great group of friends - we united to do a reread and analyze theories, avoiding threads where veteran posters flamed newbies.

Well, they could not tolerate the nastiness, so eight of them left westeros for Tumblr. :bawl: They are never coming back. :crying: Their sites are amazing and they are celebrated by 100's of followers/fans. My best pal actually does all kinds of awesome AGoT graphics. Sometimes I get discouraged - so I am delighted to have found you and wolfswoods.

Are Little Wing and Redriver still a part of the heresy thread? I miss them too.

THANKS AGAIN for reading my stuff and responding. :love: I am going to try and stay on track with the heresy thread. I also am reading the GNC.

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I just want to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this thread, and all the insight you've presented. Thank you!

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