cannibalism everywhere

kmoritz19  asked:

Hey PQ! I'm not sure if you've touched on Bran I in ADWD before but there's some seriously creepy shit going on beyond bran's growing awareness that what he's doing to hodor is an abomination (coming only 4 chapters after varamyr's nightmarish pov). Who are the night's watch brothers that coldhand's kills? The chronology is strange for a small band of brothers to be so far north at that point. Also, is it implied that they are actually eating the dead rangers ("the ranger killed a pig")? Thanks!

Bran I ADWD is indeed some seriously creepy shit…although it’s also rooted in the mundane realities of travel, and draws its power from the contrast. On the one hand, it’s a chapter about wandering into the wild, into winter, into the “age of wonder and terror.” On the other, it starts with a line that anyone who has ever spent more than 45 consecutive minutes in a car with a child knows all too well: “Are we there yet?”

This sort of thing is why I’m glad that the Starklings are so young, especially Bran. Again, it makes for a powerful contrast in this chapter, in which Bran possesses Hodor and kicks Varamyr’s ass in a warg-duel (which, to me, foreshadows Bran fighting Bloodraven’s former pupil Euron on the astral plane, given the parallels between Euron and Varamyr) but is still a little kid who doesn’t quite grasp the import of what’s going on and just wants to get there already. 

It’s strongly implied that the crows Coldhands kills were among those who mutinied at Craster’s Keep–he calls them “foes” despite having previously shown an enduring loyalty to the Night’s Watch (“Brother!”) and given that this is long before LC Snow sends out scouting parties, there’s no other group of (living) crows beyond the Wall at this point. And yes, Coldhands then cooks them up and serves them to Bran, Hodor, and the Reeds. The weather is brutal and all the villages are abandoned, so there’s no way he actually found a pig, and human flesh is rather similar to pork. As @nobodysuspectsthebutterfly puts it, cannibalism is *everywhere* in ADWD. In this case, it contributes to a central theme in Bran’s arc, namely the costs incurred on the path to world-saving and -shaking power. Bran needs to get to the three-eyed crow so he can learn how to defend humanity from the Others, but in order to not starve along the way, well…

Which, to close with a sidebar: this is part of why I have so little patience for the “Bloodraven is the Great Other or generally a flat-out villain” theories. Bran I ADWD builds on the ambiguity that has always been the core of Bloodraven’s character. He’s “your monster,” someone with noble ends but unworthy means. Turning him into the antagonist of the series betrays that complexity. Sure, Melisandre thinks Bloodraven is the Great Other, but she also thinks Stannis is Azor Ahai. Mel tends to interpret her visions incorrectly. 

mhysa-pizza  asked:

what is the frey pie theory?

So, if you recall Davos’s chapters in ADWD, Wyman Manderly had certain visitors: Symond, Jared, and Rhaegar Frey. They were there to return the bones of Wyman’s son Wendel, who had been killed at the Red Wedding, and to make sure House Manderly bent the knee to the Iron Throne.

While the three Freys are guests in White Harbor, Wyman treats them with every honor, promising to betroth his granddaughter Wynafryd to Rhaegar and his other granddaughter Wylla to Little Walder. When Davos presents Stannis’s case to Wyman, the Freys mock him, and give their cover story for the Red Wedding (that Robb had turned into a monstrous werewolf and was slaughtering everyone and they put him down). Wyman pretends to execute Davos on Cersei’s orders (thus proving his loyalty and getting his son Wylis back from being held hostage in Harrenhal), but actually hides him away safe. He then meets with Davos secretly and gives this fantastic speech.

So, after that… the three Freys leave for Winterfell, to meet up with their relatives coming for the wedding of Ramsay Bolton and “Arya Stark”. Wyman supposedly gives them three palfreys as guest gifts when they leave (note a guest gift is the official sign that you are no longer guest and host, and that guest right no longer applies). But despite those fine horses, the Freys never arrive, simply vanishing into the air. Ramsay hunts for them for sixteen days, but there’s no sign of them whatsoever. And Big Walder tells Theon, “I never thought we would [find them]. They’re dead. Lord Wyman had them killed. That’s what I would have done if I was him.”

Then at the wedding feast, Wyman, who had provided the food, presents:

three great wedding pies, as wide across as wagon wheels, their flaky crusts stuffed to bursting with carrots, onions, turnips, parsnips, mushrooms, and chunks of seasoned pork swimming in a savory brown gravy. Ramsay hacked off slices with his falchion and Wyman Manderly himself served, presenting the first steaming portions to Roose Bolton and his fat Frey wife, the next to Ser Hosteen and Ser Aenys, the sons of Walder Frey. “The best pie you have ever tasted, my lords,” the fat lord declared. “Wash it down with Arbor gold and savor every bite. I know I shall.”
True to his word, Manderly devoured six portions, two from each of the three pies, smacking his lips and slapping his belly and stuffing himself until the front of his tunic was half-brown with gravy stains and his beard was flecked with crumbs of crust.

And the pies continue to be mentioned:

“No taste for pork pie, my lord? The best pork pie we ever tasted, our fat friend would have us believe.” She gestured toward Lord Manderly with her wine cup. “Have you ever seen a fat man so happy? He is almost dancing. Serving with his own hands.” It was true. The Lord of White Harbor was the very picture of the jolly fat man, laughing and smiling, japing with the other lords and slapping them on the back, calling out to the musicians for this tune or that tune.

And as the feast winds down,

Lord Manderly was so drunk he required four strong men to help him from the hall. “We should have a song about the Rat Cook,” he was muttering, as he staggered past Theon, leaning on his knights. “Singer, give us a song about the Rat Cook.”

Now, you may remember the story of the Rat Cook that Bran relates back in ASOS:

The Rat Cook had cooked the son of the Andal king in a big pie with onions, carrots, mushrooms, lots of pepper and salt, a rasher of bacon, and a dark red Dornish wine. Then he served him to his father, who praised the taste and had a second slice. Afterward the gods transformed the cook into a monstrous white rat who could only eat his own young. He had roamed the Nightfort ever since, devouring his children, but still his hunger was not sated. “It was not for murder that the gods cursed him,” Old Nan said, “nor for serving the Andal king his son in a pie. A man has a right to vengeance. But he slew a guest beneath his roof, and that the gods cannot forgive.”

Not exactly a pleasant song for a wedding celebration, is it? But as a story of vengeance… a story of the gods punishing those who betray guest right… a story of, well, cooking someone in a big pie and feeding them to their relatives… it’s very appropriate indeed.

bael-bard  asked:

Hey, PQ. What is the significanсe of Dany being able to bare children at the end of ADWD? Just to give more weight to her eventual death? (knowing that there is a chance for her to have a child but sacrificing it to save the world) If so, is is she getting pregnant? And on completely unrelated note: why don't you believe in Jojen Paste? It is well supported and fits thematically within Bran's storyline (which gets progressively creepier), ADWD as a whole (cannibalism is heavily present in it)

… and even ties into Euron’s storyline. Bloody sacrifices for magic powerups are very effective, as we are about to see in second Aeron chapter. Also Euron drinks shade of the evening to open his third eye, and it smells like rotten flesh and spoiled meat (dead people?) before you drink it and it twists your perception.”

1) Here’s the thing: you could argue that Dany’s miscarriage on the Dothraki Sea is evidence that MMD’s curse has lifted or was never real to begin with, or you could argue that the miscarriage demonstrates that the curse is still very much in effect. We’ll have to wait and see which it is. 

2) I’m not exactly opposed to Jojenpaste; it’s neither logistically implausible nor thematically off-base. As you note, cannibalism is *everywhere* in ADWD (h/t @nobodysuspectsthebutterfly), including in Bran I, when he and his companions eat human meat that Coldhands pretends is pork. So there’s a foundation for this theory. And yet, I still lean against it. 

It’s true that shade of the evening smells like corpses. But it’s not, y’know, composed of them. It’s made from the leaves of the trees growing outside the House of the Undying. When Bran eats the paste in question, its evolving flavor is a clear parallel to evening’s shade…

The first sip tasted like ink and spoiled meat, foul, but when she swallowed it seemed to come to life within her. She could feel tendrils spreading through her chest, like fingers of fire coiling around her heart, and on her tongue was a taste like honey and anise and cream, like mother’s milk and Drogo’s seed, like red meat and hot blood and molten gold.

It had a bitter taste, though not so bitter as acorn paste. The first spoonful was the hardest to get down. He almost retched it right back up. The second tasted better. The third was almost sweet. The rest he spooned up eagerly. Why had he thought that it was bitter? It tasted of honey, of new-fallen snow, of pepper and cinnamon and the last kiss his mother ever gave him.

…which suggests to me that what Bran was eating was also a plant-based hallucinogen. As in, weirwood paste, exactly what he’s told it is. And as many have noted, the two plants have inverted colors, further cementing this relationship. 

Moreover, much of the oft-stated evidence for Jojenpaste doesn’t hold up. It’s true that Bran compares the paste to blood, but we’ve already been told that weirwood sap looks remarkably like blood. The theory hinges on Jojen “vanishing” in Bran III ADWD, and it’s true that when Bran returns to their sleeping quarters after eating the paste, neither Reed sibling is around. But…yeah, neither of them are around. There’s no point in the chapter in which Jojen has disappeared and Meera is still in sight. So unless the Children ground Meera up too (and why would they), the Reeds’ absence isn’t evidence of something bad specifically happening to Jojen. 

Finally, from a structural standpoint: it strikes me as very awkward to have Bran eat Jojen in ADWD but then wait to reveal it until TWOW. How will GRRM manage that transition? When we return to Bran’s POV, will he somehow not have noticed Jojen’s absence? Or will he already know, and we have to be caught up on something that really ought to be an agonizing reveal we experience as Bran does? Either way seems unlikely to me. 

pipedreamdragon  asked:

You've probably answered this, but where exactly do people get the "Rickon is in Skagos becoming a cannibal" theory from?

The island sat at the mouth of the Bay of Seals, massive and mountainous, a stark and forbidding land peopled by savages. They lived in caves and grim mountain fastnesses, Sam had read, and rode great shaggy unicorns to war. Skagos meant “stone” in the Old Tongue. The Skagosi named themselves the stoneborn, but their fellow northmen called them Skaggs and liked them little. Only a hundred years ago Skagos had risen in rebellion. Their revolt had taken years to quell and claimed the life of the Lord of Winterfell and hundreds of his sworn swords. Some songs said the Skaggs were cannibals; supposedly their warriors ate the hearts and livers of the men they slew. In ancient days, the Skagosi had sailed to the nearby isle of Skane, seized its women, slaughtered its men, and ate them on a pebbled beach in a feast that lasted for a fortnight. Skane remained unpeopled to this day.

— AFFC, Samwell II

The galleys Oledo and Old Mother’s Son had been driven onto the rocks of Skagos, the isle of unicorns and cannibals where even the Blind Bastard had feared to land…

— ADWD, Davos I

“The Umbers keep the first night too, deny it as they may. Certain of the mountain clans as well, and on Skagos… well, only heart trees ever see half of what they do on Skagos.”

— ADWD, Reek III

A wild rain lashed down upon his black brother as he tore at the flesh of an enormous goat, washing the blood from his side where the goat’s long horn had raked him.

— ADWD, Jon I (Ghost-vision)

“For this I must have a man who’s sailed in darker waters and knows how to slip past dangers, unseen and unmolested.”
“Where is the boy?” Somehow Davos knew he would not like the answer. “Where is it you want me to go, my lord?”
Robett Glover said, “Wex. Show him.”
The mute flipped the dagger, caught it, then flung it end over end at the sheepskin map that adorned Lord Wyman’s wall. It struck quivering. Then he grinned.
For half a heartbeat Davos considered asking Wyman Manderly to send him back to the Wolf’s Den, to Ser Bartimus with his tales and Garth with his lethal ladies. In the Den even prisoners ate porridge in the morning. But there were other places in this world where men were known to break their fast on human flesh.

— ADWD, Davos IV

Whether Rickon is actually becoming a cannibal is as yet unknown (especially because the rumors of Skagosi cannibalism may just be rumors), but he and Shaggydog are definitely on Skagos.