driftwood crown

Crowns: 1. Robert Baratheon  2. Joffrey Baratheon and Tommen Baratheon 3. Renly Baratheon  4. Margaery Tyrell  5. Cersei Lannister  6. Joffrey Baratheon   7. Driftwood Crown Euron Greyjoy  8. Cersei Lannister

The legitimacy of kings in Westeros - Daenerys, Cersei, Euron, Jon

I’ve been thinking about the legitimacy of the kings in Westeros and the pretenders for the Iron Throne for some time and in case you’re up to some super long meta, here are my thoughts, the thoughs of a medieval historian. Now, my historical expertise doesn’t make my thoughts better than the thoughts of other readers/viewers of the show, but the consistency of how kingship and legitmate kings are depicted especially in the show has made me think for some time. And I think that the legitimacy of the various kings will be very important for the plot.

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chocolatewitchharmony  asked:

Who do you think is the tall and terrible woman beside Euron in Aeron's vision? I've heard lots of theories, from the TV show hinting at Cersei, I read an interesting blog about The Mad Maid of Hightower, and a film theorist video about Dany going mad. Who do you think it is and how do you think it will affect the rest of the series.

Thanks for the question, @chocolatewitchharmony​!

First, the show isn’t the books.

Second, there’s a caveat in that, as amazing and mind-blowing as The Forsaken was, it’s not the final copy yet and liable to changes and revision. Meaning, that tall and terrible woman could possible be written out of the story. I definitely think it won’t because it’s a very evocative image, but the possibility could happen.

So, with all that said, I’ll say my piece on the chances of those women you mentioned as the “tall and terrible women.”

Dany isn’t going mad. And while one could take symbolic representation of Dany with the woman being “long and tall and terrible” and Dany’s taste in men lean towards people like Daario and Euron, both men having evocative parallels and similarities, (though I don’t blame her when her golden standard was Drogo…), even Dany recognized Daario was awful:

Dany was appalled. He is a monster. A gallant monster, but a monster still. “Do you take me for the Butcher King?”

Better the butcher than the meat. All kings are butchers. Are queens so different?”

And Euron is far worse in terms of seeing humanity as chattel and butcher’s meat. He openly practices Valyrian-style slavery and atrocities (all men are meat, anyone?) As much as Dany is fully capable of exercising cruelty onto slavers and innocents (the wine-seller and his daughters), she’s committed herself to ending the slavery institution that her ancestors were masters to.

Dany and Euron are foils, two sides of the Valyrian coin, two ways of utilizing “fire and blood.” While Euron unleashes unrepentant suffering to fuel his magical ambitions (the true heir to Old Valyria), Dany has unleashed the dragon’s fire to consume the slavers and dehumanizing institution that has reduced men to meat in service to the slaves, her people and children.

I just don’t see Dany go that extra step of stamping her foot into darker depths and accepting Euron as a paramour or partner… willingly. I definitely acknowledge magical detainment as a possibility for Dany (though I hope not) with all the deep-seated sorcerer atmosphere emanating from Euron and I certainly theorize Dany’s certainly going to be tempted by him after she blows up King’s Landing… but no, she’s going to burn him as a final test before facing off the eldritch slavers, the greatest dehumanizing masters of them all: the Others.

Cersei, I don’t see either. Besides the fact that Cersei has her own rich story of a queen laboring under patriarchy, a woman dealing with misogyny, both others’ and her own internalized kind, a victim of fate wanting to break destiny’s knees and a daughter who’s going to destroy herself trying to be her father’s heir, as @poorquentyn​ pointed out the other day, she’s not going to cut it for Euron. He’s got his eyes on this prize:

“So are the contents of my chamber pot. None is fit to sit the Seastone Chair, much less the Iron Throne. No, to make an heir that’s worthy of him, I need a different woman. When the kraken weds the dragon, brother, let all the world beware.”

“What dragon?” said Victarion, frowning.

“The last of her line. They say she is the fairest woman in the world. Her hair is silver-gold, and her eyes are amethysts … but you need not take my word for it, brother. Go to Slaver’s Bay, behold her beauty, and bring her back to me.”

Now, Euron emphasizes Dany’s beauty as a factor and it’s possible for someone to think that might lead him to Cersei… but I think Euron was emphasizing how Dany appears the very ethnicity that once dominated the world and sees marrying her as another step closer to realizing his role as Old Valyria’s heir. Plus, Euron’s political platform was this:

“I know as much of war as you do, Crow’s Eye,” Asha said. “Aegon Targaryen conquered Westeros with dragons.”

“And so shall we,” Euron Greyjoy promised. “That horn you heard I found amongst the smoking ruins that were Valyria, where no man has dared to walk but me. You heard its call, and felt its power. It is a dragon horn, bound with bands of red gold and Valyrian steel graven with enchantments. The dragonlords of old sounded such horns, before the Doom devoured them. With this horn, ironmen, I can bind dragons to my will.”

Asha laughed aloud. “A horn to bind goats to your will would be of more use, Crow’s Eye. There are no more dragons.”

“Again, girl, you are wrong. There are three, and I know where to find them. Surely that is worth a driftwood crown.”

And his talk with Victarion reveals this to be a personal ambition as well:

Euron seated himself and gave his cloak a twitch, so it covered his private parts. “I had forgotten what a small and noisy folk they are, my ironborn. I would bring them dragons, and they shout out for grapes.”

“Grapes are real. A man can gorge himself on grapes. Their juice is sweet, and they make wine. What do dragons make?”

“Woe.”

Cersei can’t give Euron dragons. And he doesn’t want to rule Westeros so her being queen doesn’t matter. Euron’s grasping eye is looking to devour something beyond the physical. On a metaphysical level, he wants to be Old Valyria’s heir, consuming the world and bringing woe to countless people. A dragon will help elevate him from ironborn king to draconic slaver.

Malora Hightower … I don’t see it. I mean, The Winds of Winter might give more grounds to this theory, but it seems the evidence leans more towards her trying to save humanity as a whole in the long-term while neglecting it in the short-term with her father:

“To be sure. Lord Leyton’s locked atop his tower with the Mad Maid, consulting books of spells. Might be he’ll raise an army from the deeps. Or not. Baelor’s building galleys, Gunthor has charge of the harbor, Garth is training new recruits, and Humfrey’s gone to Lys to hire sellsails. If he can winkle a proper fleet out of his whore of a sister, we can start paying back the ironmen with some of their own coin. Till then, the best we can do is guard the sound and wait for the bitch queen in King’s Landing to let Lord Paxter off his leash.”

I personally think Malora and Leyton are tragic figures, people trying to handle and tap into the magical and metaphysical, all in an effort to save humanity from the Long Night… but ultimately end off neglecting humanity from its immediate time of need and paying the price for it in the end, laying the metaphysical minefields that’ll ignite upon Euron’s descent into Oldtown.

So, what I do think personally? Well, my first gut instinct was that it was either Dany or Melisandre, given the possible textual evidence than the others:

Slender she was, graceful, taller than most knights, with full breasts and narrow waist and a heart-shaped face. Men’s eyes that once found her did not quickly look away, not even a maester’s eyes. Many called her beautiful. She was not beautiful. She was red, and terrible, and red.

Melisandre cried, “We thank you for Stannis, by your grace our king. We thank you for the pure white fire of his goodness, for the red sword of justice in his hand, for the love he bears his leal people. Guide him and defend him, R'hllor, and grant him strength to smite his foes.”

She was stronger at the Wall, stronger even than in Asshai. Her every word and gesture was more potent, and she could do things that she had never done before. Such shadows as I bring forth here will be terrible, and no creature of the dark will stand before them. With such sorceries at her command, she should soon have no more need of the feeble tricks of alchemists and pyromancers.

That being said, I shot this down. Melisandre is a religious zealot and ex-slave with a genuine desire to save the world who’ll commit to unsavory means to net-positive ends. She doesn’t take pleasure or emotional catharsis in suffering. She causes suffering through her burnings, and that’s worth condemning, but it’s for her notion of the “greater good”, not out of joy.

The very notion that Melisandre would work with Euron, who is essentially an Other in human skin… it just doesn’t work. I can cite logistical problems, but, from a character-driven level, any working relationship between them doesn’t add up. Maybe a female follower of R’hllor, given the white fire that Melisandre ties with R’hllor, but otherwise, this just doesn’t work for me.

So, after thought, this is what I’ve decided: a female representation of the Others that Euron’s going to colliding together with.  

Shadow?

Will saw movement from the corner of his eye. Pale shapes gliding through the wood. He turned his head, glimpsed a white shadow in the darkness. Then it was gone.

“We have white shadows in the woods and unquiet dead stalking our halls, and a boy sits the Iron Throne,” he said in disgust.

“The cold gods,” she said. “The ones in the night. The white shadows.”

Long and tall?

Tall, it was, and gaunt and hard as old bones, with flesh pale as milk. Its armor seemed to change color as it moved; here it was white as new-fallen snow, there black as shadow, everywhere dappled with the deep grey-green of the trees.

Sword-slim it was, and milky white.

Terrible and laughing at human suffering?

The bear was dead, pale and rotting, its fur and skin all sloughed off and half its right arm burned to bone, yet still it came on. Only its eyes lived. Bright blue, just as Jon said.

A horse’s head emerged from the darkness. Sam felt a moment’s relief, until he saw the horse. Hoarfrost covered it like a sheen of frozen sweat, and a nest of stiff black entrails dragged from its open belly.

The watchers moved forward together, as if some signal had been given. Swords rose and fell, all in a deathly silence. It was cold butchery. The pale blades sliced through ringmail as if it were silk. Will closed his eyes. Far beneath him, he heard their voices and laughter sharp as icicles.

A woman?

The gathering gloom put Bran in mind of another of Old Nan’s stories, the tale of Night’s King. He had been the thirteenth man to lead the Night’s Watch, she said; a warrior who knew no fear. “And that was the fault in him,” she would add, “for all men must know fear.” A woman was his downfall; a woman glimpsed from atop the Wall, with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars. Fearing nothing, he chased her and caught her and loved her, though her skin was cold as ice, and when he gave his seed to her he gave his soul as well.

He brought her back to the Nightfort and proclaimed her a queen and himself her king, and with strange sorceries he bound his Sworn Brothers to his will. For thirteen years they had ruled, Night’s King and his corpse queen, till finally the Stark of Winterfell and Joramun of the wildlings had joined to free the Watch from bondage. After his fall, when it was found he had been sacrificing to the Others, all records of Night’s King had been destroyed, his very name forbidden.

As for the pale, white fire, a fair counterpoint. I assume a Others-friendly glass candle because how would Euron otherwise make his deal with the Others, given the distance between them? And there’s some precedent, textually:

Alleras nodded at the glass candle.

Sam stared at the strange pale flame for a moment, then blinked and looked away. Outside the window it was growing dark.

Precedent, motive, characterization, textual support, a representation of all the sorceries Euron “demon in human skin” Greyjoy wants to conquer and take over is the perfect mate. Who better to help herald in the apocalypse for a man who wants to consume all the metaphysics and reign as king over the dragonfires and, with this mate’s help, the frozen lands?

Hope this helps!

sayyouwilldancewithme  asked:

Can you recommend any good grisha fanfiction?

OH BOY I SURE CAN? idk what you’re into, but let me hit you with a bunch of great fic (including myself, oops)

from ignitesthestars

A Curse Between Us: aka the alarkling babyfic

Good Morning Midnight: aka the AU story Alina tells Mal in R&R (multiship)

Healing: aka Nikolina, post-series

Debt: aka Alivan messed up post-series ficlet

Forgotten: Alina gives away secrets to Nikolai

How To Settle With Style: 50 Nikolina sentences

Mercy: Alarkling, during R&R

chiaroscuro: 50 Alarkling sentences

Colours: NSFW. What if Alina had let the Darkling into her bed?

from gizkasparadise

Lone Candles: Alarkling reincarnation fic

Start a War: Alarkling AU, post-series. NSFW

Crescendo: Alarkling, SAW-verse. NSFW

Dying is Easy: AU where Alina accepts the Darklin’s offer in S&B (multiship)

Crowns From Driftwood: 50 Malina sentences

Skazka: AU. Slightly modern Alarkling

from dreamsatdusk

Snow Tides: AU Alarkling, post-series

from starforged

Nowhere To Go: Tamar/Nadia post-series

Meaningless: Alarkling, during S&B

Zephyr: Alina/Zoya

Nice Guys: Genya/Ivan

Bow So Low: AU, post-series, Alarkling, dark!Alina, future Nikolina

One Day: Alina attempts to give Tamar relationship advice

The Fox and the Saint: 50 Nikolina sentences

I Will Find You: AU during S&B if Mal had killed Alina

Otkazat'sya: Micha and Oncat remember in their own way

There was another Alarkling fic I read recently that was really good, but I apparently didn’t favorite it or tag it with something I could find, so if my followers could help out, that’d be great! And in general, if you have fic recs, please give them! This is just the list of the things I’ve read (or written)

Because there is apparently nothing I like more in life than talking about Euron

One of the reasons I take him so damn seriously, as the would-be new Night’s King and as a character crucial to the story’s structure and themes, is an incredible monologue he gets in his first scene. His first words in the story are declaring himself king (of everything), and then: 

“We shall have no king but from the kingsmoot.” The Damphair stood. “No godless man—”

“—may sit the Seastone Chair, aye.” Euron glanced about the tent. “As it happens I have oft sat upon the Seastone Chair of late. It raises no objections.” His smiling eye was glittering. “Who knows more of gods than I? Horse gods and fire gods, gods made of gold with gemstone eyes, gods carved of cedar wood, gods chiseled into mountains, gods of empty air…I know them all. I have seen their peoples garland them with flowers, and shed the blood of goats and bulls and children in their names. And I have heard the prayers, in half a hundred tongues. Cure my withered leg, make the maiden love me, grant me a healthy son. Save me, succor me, make me wealthy…protect me! Protect me from mine enemies, protect me from the darkness, protect me from the crabs inside my belly, from the horselords, from the slavers, from the sellswords at my door. Protect me from the Silence.” He laughed. “Godless? Why, Aeron, I am the godliest man ever to raise sail! You serve one god, Damphair, but I have served ten thousand. From Ib to Asshai, when men see my sails, they pray.”

The priest raised a bony finger. “They pray to trees and golden idols and goat-headed abominations. False gods…”

“Just so,” said Euron, “and for that sin I kill them all. I spill their blood upon the sea and sow their screaming women with my seed. Their little gods cannot stop me, so plainly they are false gods. I am more devout than even you, Aeron. Perhaps it should be you who kneels to me for blessing.”

Goddamn there is just so much going on here…first of all, as many have noted, his utter contempt for Aeron is breathtaking, even for a dude who respects precisely nobody. He doesn’t even let his brother finish a sentence, and given the abuse history, “it should be you who kneels to me for blessing” resonates hideously, and Euron definitely knows it. I’d argue Euron feels that much contempt for all Ironborn; he just feels no need to hide it with Aeron. (I think how the Crow’s Eye feels upon seeing Damphair again can be summed up by this bone-chilling line from In a Castle Built of Snow: “He turns and is greeted by the sight of his masterpiece.”)

But he mostly covers that contempt well, because second, what we are seeing here is a political campaign, and a brilliant one. Another reason to take Euron seriously: he’s a damn fine politician, though certainly not a perfect one as we see at the Shields. “Glanced about the tent” is the clue here; Euron is making sure all eyes are on him. He then leans hard into his mythos–been everywhere, raped everybody, badass ship–and Damphair falls right the fuck into the trap, giving Euron an attempt to spin all that as his way of showing loyalty to the Ironborn. He’s out there taking the fight to everybody who doesn’t think and believe exactly like them. That’s a fiendishly clever way to spin his exile; I’ve been your cultural ambassador! Via rape, murder, and theft! His followers swallow it whole and cheer for more; they see a king, as Quellon Humble tells Damphair.

And yet third, as poor Aeron tries but fails to tell them, they have staggeringly, terrifyingly missed the point, and I would argue those who dismiss Euron as a silly cardboard cutout villain, an example of GRRM coming up empty in AFFC, have made the same mistake. What Euron is really communicating with this speech is that he is not culturally Ironborn at all. He is a fully integrated citizen of the global misery-economy; he is the epitome of the horrorshow-helix that we see throughout Dany’s chapters, which is why it works so well thematically that he’s pursuing her (including in her nightmares, ASOIAF’s own Freddy Kreuger). He belongs to the flux, the slipstream, the spaces he can exploit to achieve his personal catharsis in causing pain, in a manner untethered to the Old Way; as I’ve said before, the revanchist Ironborn ethos is but one of the many canons o’ evil Euron has built himself upon while binding himself to none. Euron conquers and absorbs ideologies, reaching into the story source code to bring meta-narratives to their knees and force them to work for him. He learns from and then abandons Bloodraven, forcing the latter to turn to Bran instead; the warlocks that menace Dany are his slaves, their religion reduced to getting him high; he takes over the Iron Islands because he needs ships and cannon fodder, but has naught but disdain for “his” people and their traditions, as we see at the kingsmoot.

“There are three [dragons], and I know where to find them. Surely that is worth a driftwood crown.”

The Crow’s Eye is, in short, a postmodern supervillain, what I call “a monster wearing a pirate suit,” and so benefits from being marginalized and put in a box; no one except Aeron and Moqorro sees the boundary-breaking dark tide coming, the “sea of blood.” (But the latter warned Tyrion, and will presumably warn Dany as well.) 

Finally, this contempt for ideology (and his followers’ failure to comprehend it, insistent as they are that he’s just another Dagon or Dalton) reaches into the religious as well as the cultural/political. As I said, his followers hear that speech and regard Euron as a global warrior for the Drowned God, whereas what does Damphair do but squat on the beach and bitch. But as with the kingsmoot excerpt above, Euron gives himself away:

“As it happens I have oft sat upon the Seastone Chair of late. It raises no objections.” 

That’s Euron’s way of saying the Drowned God is just another myth, like the old gods (or, y’know, morality), that is powerless to stop Euron from doing precisely whatever the fuck it is Euron wants, wherever and to whomever Euron wants. That’s Euron’s way of saying the one he worships, the One True God, is himself: anyone who drinks that much liquid LSD is trying to reach another plane of existence. Euron is hungry, and as I’ve said before, as far as he’s concerned everyone else in every imaginable dimension can either help feed him or be eaten. He’s Saruman, like I’ve said, but he’s also Randall Flagg. (And lbr, at his weakest moments, Euron talks like a bad Stephen King villain.) 

3

I drew more Song of Ice and Fire characters! Once again, these are based on the books rather than the show. And they are my own AU redesigns, obviously.

Theon is dressed in the Northern style, although he talked someone into putting a kraken design on his cloak. He has a rat, it rhymes with prat. Asha is obviously the family bad-ass. And Balon, their father, wears the driftwood crown (which is literally just a hunk of driftwood) and carries the kraken standard. In retrospect I regret not making that hunk of driftwood bigger and more ridiculous.

For these redesigns, I’ve decided that the Ironborn and Dornish dress in the most European way of all the Seven Kingdoms, having fully adopted Andal culture. Ethnically, though, the Ironborn are much closer to the First Men than House Stark or the central kingdoms. The First Men being more Asian/Inuit/Northern Pacific than the Andals who arrived later.

The other ASOIAF characters I’ve drawn can be found under the game a throoooooones tag. There will be more, eventually, too. I think I might draw some Baratheons next.

anonymous asked:

Hey, I love reading your essays and I completely agree with your love of Quentyn. I'm curious about your feelings on house Hightower. Do you think they have any influence on the Citadel and the Faith of the Seven? And if so, do you think that influence has any impact on Westeros society as a whole? Also, I'd LOVE to hear more about the eldritch apocalypse you've mentioned, and how that might relate to the Hightowers.

Hiya, thanks!

The Hightowers are still nigh-unquestionably the most powerful lesser House in Westeros, but the fact that their current lord has spent the last decade with his head quite literally in the clouds hints at a fair amount of decay incurred in the years since the family’s dizzying heights and catastrophic lows in the Dance of the Dragons. Whatever influence House Hightower wielded over the Faith was greatly diminished by the transference of symbolic and practical authority from Oldtown’s Starry Sept to the capital’s Great Sept of Baelor. As for the maesters, they were driven to kill off the remaining dragons by the horrific consequences of the dragon-war House Hightower instigated, so I imagine relations between the Citadel and the Hightowers have been somewhat frosty ever since.

What will befall the present-day Hightowers? They rule over Oldtown, the second largest municipality in Westeros and a thriving center of trade, yet they rely on the Redwynes to shelter city and coast from the Ironborn. This protection will vanish when Euron shatters Lord Paxter’s fleet early on in The Winds of Winter, possibly by magical means. If the rumors about Lord Leyton (and his daughter Malora) are close to true, the Hightowers are looking to the old powers to serve as their city’s savior, rather than its doom.

They’re going to be rather dramatically disappointed, and this is where we get into my beloved Eldritch Apocalypse. Come, sweetlings, plunge into the abyss of insanity with me! (Watch for tentacles.)

In the first three books, it was clear that the metaphysical threat came from the North. But simmering under the surface of A Feast for Crows and The World of Ice and Fire is a stunning reorientation of this driving tension. There is now a second and pointedly southern locus of cosmic horror, equally likely as the Wall to serve as a portal which, after standing closed for millennia, finally gives way and lets the nightmares in.

Quoth Adventure Time: “Before there was time, before there was anything, there was nothing. And before there was nothing…there were monsters.”

Even the Asshai'i do not claim to know who built their city; they will say only that a city has stood here since the world began and will stand here until it ends. Few places in the known world are as remote as Asshai, and fewer are as forbidding. Travelers tell us that the city is built entirely of black stone: halls, hovels, temples, palaces, streets, walls, bazaars, all. Some say as well that the stone of Asshai has a greasy, unpleasant feel to it, that it seems to drink the light, dimming tapers and torches and hearth fires alike. The nights are very black in Asshai, all agree, and even the brightest days of summer are somehow grey and gloomy.

Maesters and other scholars alike have puzzled over the greatest of the enigmas of Sothoryos, the ancient city of Yeen. A ruin older than time, built of oily black stone, in massive blocks so heavy that it would require a dozen elephants to move them, Yeen has remained a desolation for many thousands of years, yet the jungle that surrounds it on every side has scarce touched it. (“A city so evil that even the jungle will not enter,” Nymeria is supposed to have said when she laid eyes on it, if the tales are true). Every attempt to rebuild or resettle Yeen has ended in horror.

On the Isle of Toads can be found an ancient idol, a greasy black stone crudely carved into the semblance of a gigantic toad of malignant aspect, some forty feet high. The people of this isle are believed by some to be descended from those who carved the Toad Stone, for there is an unpleasant fishlike aspect to their faces, and many have webbed hands and feet. If so, they are the sole surviving remnant of this forgotten race.

When the daughter of the Opal Emperor succeeded him as the Amethyst Empress, her envious younger brother cast her down and slew her, proclaiming himself the Bloodstone Emperor and beginning a reign of terror. He practiced dark arts, torture, and necromancy, enslaved his people, took a tiger-woman for his bride, feasted on human flesh, and cast down the true gods to worship a black stone that had fallen from the sky.

The throne of the Greyjoys, carved into the shape of a kraken from an oily black stone, was said to have been found by the First Men when they first came to Old Wyk.

Even more enigmatic to scholars and historians is the great square fortress of black stone that dominates that isle. For most of recorded history, this monumental edifice has served as the foundation and lowest level of the Hightower, yet we know for a certainty that it predates the upper levels of the tower by thousands of years.

An even more fanciful possibility was put forth a century ago by Maester Theron. Born a bastard on the Iron Islands, Theron noted a certain likeness between the black stone of the ancient fortress and that of the Seastone Chair, the high seat of House Greyjoy of Pyke, whose origins are similarly ancient and mysterious. Theron’s rather inchoate manuscript Strange Stone postulates that both fortress and seat might be the work of a queer, misshapen race of half men sired by creatures of the salt seas upon human women. These Deep Ones, as he names them, are the seed from which our legends of merlings have grown, he argues, whilst their terrible fathers are the truth behind the Drowned God of the ironborn.

Aeron Greyjoy is desperate to unseat Euron from the Seastone Chair. But given that it was the Damphair’s own kingsmoot that legitimized Euron’s rule, that (as Victarion points out) Aeron himself placed the driftwood crown on Euron’s head, I don’t think the populist crusade Aeron launched in Feast will succeed. Instead, he will be forced to beg the Drowned God to directly intervene. And the priest’s god will answer his prayers…but said deity will turn out to be a Lovecraftian abomination, promptly unleashing hell on “these holy islands” before turning his baleful gaze on Oldtown.

And yet, and yet, C’thulhu is just the beginning. He could very well find the city already in ruins and have to turn and shrug exaggeratedly at the camera while a sad trombone plays.

Why? Because there is a Faceless Man in the city, and he has a skeleton key. Because he’s probably after “the fragmentary, anonymous, blood-soaked tome sometimes called Blood and Fire and sometimes The Death of Dragons, the only surviving copy of which was supposedly hidden away in a locked vault beneath the Citadel.” Because there is a one-man-apocalypse pirate king in the neighborhood, and he’s going to get a dragon. Because the maesters have some awful secrets, and I shudder to think what they will do to protect them. Because Sam is unknowingly carrying around the horn that could bring down the Wall. Because, as mentioned, the Hightowers are messing with magic they will inevitably prove unable to control. Because the glass candles are burning, and as with Saruman’s palantir, “we do not know who else may be watching.”

Any one of these could produce a city-wide cataclysm. But all of them together? That’s a recipe for a feverish overripe horror crescendo that has me so excited I can barely breathe. Now, I could speculate as to the specifics of how these elements will interact, but to borrow from boiledleather’s must-read meditation on the Deep Ones and cosmic horror in general:

The world … about which Maester Yandel writes is in a very important way just a series of trapdoors that drop you directly into nightmare after nightmare. The drop is the point, not the floor that connects them.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t theorize—shit, what else am I doing right now? I’m saying that whatever theory you can hash out and write down is likely beside the point. The point is how it makes you feel. Do you feel that something of tremendous, awesome importance has happened that you can never fully understand? That there are forces at work in this world beyond even those of the Others and the Children, beyond R'hllor and the Seven and the Old Gods, beyond the Stranger? That you are, in some fundamental and inescapable way, at sea?

The sea is the point. Not the land you could perhaps construct amid the sea, holding it at bay for however long—the sea. The sea. THE SEA.

Magic has been leaking back into this world in quick, isolated bursts; a shadowbaby here, an increased wildfire output there. In Oldtown, come The Winds of Winter, it’s all going to flood in at once. There’s a meta component to this as well: GRRM’s been largely holding back his peerless horror chops but for isolated exceptions like the Red Wedding and the wight attack at the Fist of the First Men, and so the Sam and Aeron chapters in Winds will constitute the full unveiling. (Part of me thinks that’s why he left those POVs out of Dance: he wanted to take his time, do it right, and unleash the horror whole.)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m eagerly anticipatin’ the storylines set in Winterfell and King’s Landing and the Dothraki Sea as well, but nothing compares to the Second Doom about to ravage southwestern Westeros. It is going to sear my soul and break my brain and leave me gibbering in the proverbial corner, and I simply cannot wait.

GoT 6x05 Musings

The Wall (Mole’s Town & war council)

  • The longer I think about Brittany, the more pissed off I get. Because while I have to love her dragging Littlefinger and the idiocy of his plan…it wasn’t his plan. It was D&D’s. They expected us to swallow the Sansa Marriage Strike as something three sane people arranged, yet the dialogue here proves that they knew how fundamentally illogical it was. They raped Sansa for that dramatically satisfying gothic horror, and clearly gave zero shits about the details. Now, they have the nerve for this meta-commentary on how shit it was?
  • And this is what I’m talking about too with Brittany coming out of nowhere. It’s great that she’s boss ass and can empoweredly talk about her trauma in a detatched tone to make a point. But we’re supposed to believe that this was the same girl who agreed to the Marriage Strike. She was the “hardened woman making a choice,” right? But now, she’s just what, exactly? A victim of trusting in the wrong dude? To me she seems like a viewer who watched S5 and realized how shit it was, and decided to warp into Weisseroff to yell about it.
  • Then what in the fuck is with this Jon vs. Brittany narrative that they’re starting? Brittany yolos off to Mole’s Town without her brother even knowing it (they’ve been spending most of their time together, haven’t they?), then the idiot who she doesn’t trust anymore tells her “your half-brother’s army” and suddenly she takes that to heart? To the point where she’s implying she’s the More Important Stark (which…she actually is, but wasn’t last episode all about Jonny’s claim?). There’s no equal primogeniture in the North, so shouldn’t all the focus be on Rickon anyway?
  • I’m 90% sure Wendy’s “game of nonsense” is going to be on Brittany not giving a shit about the Vale troops, but thinking it’s a hunky-doory idea to send Brienne of all people to convince the Blackfish to fight for her. “Hi. Brienne here.”

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Rise of the Raven King: A Line-By-Line Analysis of Euron Greyjoy’s Introduction on Game of Thrones

(credit to Robin Furth and Richard Isanove)

In the final pages of the most recent book in ASOIAF, we see a character defined by his secrets and the front he uses to hide them fully unveil himself, finally expressing his worldview unfiltered…because he’s talking to a man he’s about to kill, so he can afford to be honest. Of course, while Kevan Lannister promptly takes the secret to his grave, we the readers are left with an indelible impression of Varys the Spider. No matter what lies he tells from here on in, no matter what faces he wears, we have seen the true Varys. “He is here.” 

In “Home,” the second episode of Game of Thrones’ sixth season, a similar scene occurs, only in this character’s case, we’ve had no such scene in the books. Euron Greyjoy is always performing; only when you put together the hints GRRM drops about him in AFFC, coupled with the nightmarish images of the man that leap out from ADWD and the released Theon chapter from TWOW, does it become clear that Euron is a monster wearing a pirate suit. The veil has yet to fully drop in ASOIAF…which is why it’s so powerful that GoT introduces him expressing his true self to his brother Balon before tossing him into the sea. For the show-only crowd, it’s a dense, dramatic introduction to a new character who’s clearly here to fuck with everyone’s shit; I think the showrunners led with this scene so that when Euron puts on the pirate suit for the kingsmoot, the show-only audience is primed to see through it. For book readers, though, it’s a gift: Euron Uncut, a behind-the-scenes portrait that syncs so perfectly with all the aforementioned groundwork laid in the books that it practically demands a line-by-line treatment. So here we are! 

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To expand on my post from the other day: I think the central terror and joke of Euron’s character is that he’s only incidentally a Greyjoy, that he lacks all real cultural roots among the Ironborn, the Old Way nothing to him but his first language in harvesting pain. Indeed, Euron talks to and about his “small and noisy folk” with thinly veiled contempt. He considers himself to be a higher class of being than any of them, and he practically gives this away at the kingsmoot, in the middle of his moment of victory.

Asha laughed aloud. “A horn to bind goats to your will would be of more use, Crow’s Eye. There are no more dragons.”

“Again, girl, you are wrong. There are three, and I know where to find them. Surely that is worth a driftwood crown.”

In other words, Euron’s less a pirate than a barely-human student of a dozen blood-soaked schools playing a pirate, hence eyepatch. His real role in the narrative is less Boat Ramsay than Evil Bran. 

andrewki1217  asked:

I keep seeing something not only here, but throughout much of the fandom and I just wanted to ask why everyone takes it as canon that Euron is a skin changer? The only people we've seen with this ability have blood of the first men and are either Starks or Wildlings (besides BR). Why is it just assumed as **fact** that Euron is not only a skin changer but a powerful enough one to be able to change into the dusky woman from so far away? At this point Euron has become far too sensationalized.

Hiya! First of all, it’s not true that the only skinchangers are Starks, wildlings, and Bloodraven. The Farwynds are rumored to skinchange into sea creatures, establishing the ability among the Ironborn. And GRRM links them to Euron at the kingsmoot: remember, the first candidate to speak is Gylbert Farwynd, a crazy-eyed dreamer who speaks of a long-shot quest to a far-off land…just like Euron! The Crow’s Eye is basically Gylbert cranked up to 11, skinchanging and all. 

As for the direct evidence? Start with him being a former protege of Bloodraven’s:

“When I was a boy, I dreamt that I could fly,” he announced. “When I woke, I couldn’t…or so the maester said. But what if he lied?”

That’s a perfect parallel for Bran’s introduction to the Last Greenseer, right down to the maester’s role. It’s congruent with everything else we know about Euron: “Crow’s Eye” couldn’t be more obviously in line with the three-eyed crow, Euron’s red-eye banner is a direct reference to Bloodraven (and as @madeinmyr has argued, that the crows are crowning the eye symbolizes Bloodraven opening young Euron’s third eye), and everything about the character’s past, present, and future suggests a total marination in dangerous metaphysics. 

And if Bloodraven considered Euron a candidate for greenseer status, that means the latter is a skinchanger: “only one man in a thousand is born a skinchanger, and only one skinchanger in a thousand can be a greenseer.” As for the dusky woman, I’ve yet to see anyone who doubts Euron’s skinchanging explain this:

As he opened the door to the captain’s cabin, the dusky woman turned toward him, silent and smiling…but when she saw the red priest at his side her lips drew back from her teeth, and she hisssssed in sudden fury, like a snake. 

The dusky woman has no reason to react this way to Moqorro, and otherwise performs docility to keep herself as safe as possible from Victarion. So yes, I believe Euron sent the dusky woman as his host, so he could directly keep tabs on li’l bro, and that it was Euron in the dusky woman’s skin reacting in dismay to Moqorro’s appearance, cursing a rival for influence over the Iron Suitor. Remember what Moqorro tells Vic upon their meeting: you are “blind to the tentacles” that control you. Vic trusts the dusky woman with his hand and tells her all his plans. It fits Euron’s treatment of both his brothers in AFFC that he would violate that personal, sexual intimacy and exploit Vic so ruthlessly. 

Indeed, note how the dusky woman is described right before she sees Moqorro. “Silent and smiling” are both words associated with Euron; think of the Silence and his “smiling eye.” Like the crew of the Silence, Euron cut out the dusky woman’s tongue; I believe that in both cases, this is so they can’t tell anyone that he’s regularly possessing them. (“No one must ever know.”) And his “smiling eye,” as Aeron can’t bring himself to tell anybody, is only a cover for the titular crow’s eye, fitting how Euron drops the dusky woman’s smile as soon as he spots Moqorro. 

Ain’t no one has to agree with it, but my “sensationalized” take on Euron is rooted in the text. It began with me realizing, my first time through AFFC, that Euron has total, blatant contempt for his fellow Ironborn and their ways, which right away made him a different figure than Dalton and Dagon, or indeed Balon and Victarion. “Surely that is worth a driftwood crown” is the dead giveaway here; Euron is taking a purely transactional approach to the Ironborn, which means the Old Way isn’t his real ideology. Which means the eyepatch, far from a shallow affectation, might be a disguise…

Then came ADWD, and while Euron made no direct appearances in the text, he made two indirect ones that shook me to my core; there are few passages from ASOIAF I quote more regularly than these. 

“Others seek Daenerys too … [O]ne most of all. A tall and twisted thing with one black eye and ten long arms, sailing on a sea of blood.”

Beneath her coverlets she tossed and turned, dreaming that Hizdahr was kissing her…but his lips were blue and bruised, and when he thrust himself inside her, his manhood was cold as ice.

A disguise indeed; this is where I get “monster wearing a pirate suit” from. Put aside whether you agree with me that the “sea of blood” is Euron’s Doom-like domain (given that Moqorro shares this vision right as they pass Valyria), or that Euron’s icy astral dick means that Bloodraven showed him the Others and Euron decided he’d make a splendid Night’s King (hence GRRM sending the Horn of Joramun into his orbit). Those two images of Euron came out of nowhere my first time through ADWD and slapped me in the face; clearly there was more to this man than met the eye. Why on earth would GRRM bother with these memorably nightmarish visions unless he had appropriately chilling plans for the character they represented? (Hell, he even threw one into Theon’s released TWOW chapter: “a black eye shining with malice.”) 

It’s then I went back to AFFC, and having read Bran’s ADWD chapters, was primed to notice the references to Bloodraven. That cemented the skinchanging, which in turn primed me to notice that bizarre moment with the dusky woman and Moqorro when I reread ADWD. From there, the parallel between Dragonbinder and the Horn of Joramun really made everything fall into place: Euron as a structural interloper villain setting out to hijack both Fire and Ice, one horn each. The dragonriding makes him Dany’s foil; the skinchanging makes him Bran’s. I think that in TWOW, Bloodraven teaches Bran to stop skinchanging into Hodor by revealing how badly the Last Greenseer screwed up with Euron, using the latter as a cautionary tale of where practicing “abomination” can take you. 

chiefsheepmilkshake  asked:

Hey Q! With the importance you believe Euron has going forward in ASOIAF, what do you think his character has been so slightly developed so far? And by development, I really mean, why do you think GRRM waited until AFFC to finally reveal who you believe is going to be such a huge part of the remaining story?

Hiya! Several things there. 

One, that a character doesn’t appear until the second act doesn’t mean they aren’t significant to the story, especially if they’re a villain. Saruman of Many Colors, Euron’s clearest predecessor, was largely a malignant rumor in the first act of LOTR, appearing only in Gandalf’s descriptions to Frodo. Like Euron, Saruman had seized power and begun shaping events, but just as he doesn’t take center stage until Two Towers, so Euron doesn’t until the FeastDance. 

Two, as to ASOIAF specifically, one of the most central and IMO fascinating themes of the FeastDance is how the major new characters are not there just to fill out the story, to meekly provide support; no, they are there to take your shit, protagonists! From Barbrey to JonCon, from Doran to the Shavepate, we see these latecomers seize the unfolding narrative to work through their personal shit and advance their pre-existing agendas. Euron is the best example…other than maybe Aegon, but I’ll get to him in a second. 

Three, as to Euron specifically, it fits him and AFFC perfectly that he would come in when he does: 

Crow’s Eye, you call me. Well, who has a keener eye than the crow? After every battle the crows come in their hundreds and their thousands to feast upon the fallen. A crow can espy death from afar. And I say that all of Westeros is dying. Those who follow me will feast until the end of their days.”

Euron works as well as he does precisely because he strolls onto the stage after the slaughter of ASOS, glances around the graveyard, and says “looks delicious.” It’s a commentary on the civil war of ACOK and ASOS and the “squabbling over spoils” of AFFC that they open the door for such a monster to hijack the story. Power vacuums call to people like Euron; as I’ve said many a time, he sees the apocalypse as a wave to ride. But you gotta first have Westeros in ruin for a character like him to make sense! Introducing him earlier would be like following Randall Flagg around for a book or two before the apocalypse of The Stand happened. It’d probably be interesting, but you’d lose the structural impact and thematic clarity of introducing him just as the plague that will pave his way to power is spreading. In some cosmic sense, the plague called Flagg into being; same with Euron, hence “all of Westeros is dying” as the center of his pitch. The Crow’s Eye is Westeros’ horrible reward for eating itself alive. And that resonates throughout the decay and folly detailed in AFFC…which is why GRRM named the damn book in his honor, not something you do for an insignificant character. 

Fourth, I think GRRM consciously set up Euron and Aegon as parallels: the interloper-villain and the interloper-hero, the most significant and ambitious new characters in AFFC and ADWD respectively, set to dominate southwest and southeast Westeros in TWOW respectively, called to the antagonist and protagonist roles like moths to a flame. On the surface, both appear to be classic fantasy tropes: the “perfect prince” and the psycho pirate. Scratch that surface, though, and you’ll find that what these characters are really about is how those tropes can be manipulated and used as a front. Aegon isn’t really the son of Rhaegar and Elia, he’s a Blackfyre scion and a puppet in Bittersteel’s endless war. Euron isn’t really a champion of the Old Way, he’s Bloodraven’s bad seed and holds the Ironborn in utter contempt (“surely that is worth a driftwood crown”).

They are postmodern figures, there to expose and fuck with the story source code, aggressively remixing the “more important” elements to their advantage. Aegon’s story is half-Jon’s and half-Dany’s, a prefab origin myth that reveals the Return of the Rightful Heir trope as propaganda. Euron refuses to recognize the boundaries between schools of thought, drawing from Bloodraven, the warlocks, the Old Way, and Valyria to create a singular stew of evil; I’ve speculated this will culminate in him summoning both Fire (a dragon) and Ice (the Others) with their respective horns. Why pick one side, why pick one story, when you can “take it all?” Aegon and Euron are what happens when the characters themselves start getting Dangerously Genre Savvy, realizing that an eyepatch here and a poleboat there is all you need to get the crowd cheering for you. GRRM’s grand metaphor is that Aegon and Euron play the same role in the narrative as they do in-universe: interlopers, hijackers, foils to the true central figure of the narrative, Daenerys Targaryen. And all of that only works if they show up when they do, and not a page before.  

Finally, I don’t think Euron’s “so slightly developed” at all. As with Arianne and Jon Connington, GRRM works overtime to make Euron feel as fleshed-out as more familiar characters, every moment he’s on the page establishing his backstory, worldview, and agenda. Hell, that’s so even when he’s not on the page; perhaps the best argument I have that Euron has a major role to play in the final two books is how GRRM “seeds” his character in ADWD and the released Theon chapter from TWOW: 

“Others seek Daenerys too … One most of all. A tall and twisted thing with one black eye and ten long arms, sailing on a sea of blood.”

Beneath her coverlets she tossed and turned, dreaming that Hizdahr was kissing her…but his lips were blue and bruised, and when he thrust himself inside her, his manhood was cold as ice.

Under it he wore a stained white leather eye patch that reminded Theon of his uncle Euron. He’d wanted to rip it off Umber’s face, to make certain that underneath was only an empty socket, not a black eye shining with malice.

It’s not just that these images of Euron exist. It’s that they come out of nowhere (nobody is discussing or thinking about him in any of the relevant scenes) and are positively nightmarish, blocking out all else and throwing the narrative onto this skin-crawling cosmic-horror plane. Again, this is how Euron works structurally: he suddenly steps into a pre-existing narrative and takes it over. It’s not a story error, it’s a character trait, and a thematically resonant one. 

Robb didn’t get a crown, Talisa didn’t get a crown, Stannis didn’t get a crown, Theon didn’t get a crown, Yara/Asha didn’t get a crown, DAENERYS Queen of frggin Mereen didn’t get a crown. Cersei hasn’t worn a crown since season 1, and the first crown from another monarch is this. unimpressive driftwood that looks like an arts and crafts project. 

Actually looking at it more, I think it may grow on me. But still, that’s bound to be one brittle ass crown. 

GoT 6x05: “All That.”

Okay I was not as much of a fan of this episode as the others. There were a lot of scenes in which…..Things Happened.  Still some great moments (SANSA) but also some Nah, Bro moments (Dany).  On y va.

THIS WHOLE LITTLEFINGER VS. SANSA MOMENT HAD ME LIKE:

Originally posted by realitytvgifs

Littlefinger was all “Hi, babe, I’m here to help out!” And Sansa was like:

Originally posted by totheskyirise

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