that longship is not so long is it

The Viking Diet

Here’s some notes I took from the talk today by Dr. Mark Clinton. It was focused on the vikings and the food they ate, as it took place during a local food festival.

The viking diet was seasonal, and it depended heavily on the summer harvest as they’d be snowed in during the winter. It was also protein rich, as the remains of the vikings show they were big robust people and as such it’s safe to say they had a very good diet. Cattle were very important to them, but less so for beef and more for the dairy they produced. They ate a lot of unsalted butter, cheese and whey. It was rare to consume unprocessed milk, and by processing the dairy it extended it’s shelf life. In November they had to make the difficult decision of how many cattle to keep over winter and how many to cull. They had to work out how much feed they had for cattle over the winter, but also how many they should keep in order to get plenty of dairy. November was called slaughter season, or blood season (my notes go a bit dodgy here, I didn’t quite catch the term), due to the amount of blood shed during the slaughter of cattle. When they arrived in Ireland, things were a bit easier as winters were less harsh and they didn’t have to go through the trauma of the yearly cull. As Ireland was a cattle based society it was very easy for the vikings to get access to them, either by trading or participating in the ancient Irish tradition of raiding their neighbours. They ate a lot of pork, as they were easier to keep and feed. In Dubh Linn they kept a lot of pigs, and most of the houses were situated right beside the pens so things weren’t very sanitary.

Fish was a staple of the viking diet, and wind dried fish was very important to those on long voyages. There are records of large wooden structures made out of poles used to dry the fish, like they are today in Nordic countries.  Fish was also salted and fermented to better preserve it. Fish, such as herring or cod, was dried then became almost biscuit like and it was often eaten smeared with butter or a slice of cheese. There has been some new evidence regarding the presence of rudimentary drift nets aboard longships, so they could add fresh fish to their diet or replenish stocks while at sea.

The vegetables that the vikings ate were tough and hardy, like themselves, and included white carrots (the orange having been developed in Holland in the 17th century), hearted cabbages, turnips and parsnips. Many of the herbs we take for granted today weren’t available to the vikings as they are Mediterranean in origin and couldn’t grow in the harsh northern climate. Instead they used berries such as lingon berry, Cloud berry, bilberry and arctic bramble to make sauces and add flavour to dishes. 

Meat was mostly boiled, and interestingly enough some kept an “ongoing pot”. Basically the pot was always cooking over the fire, and contained a mix of meat and vegetables. When food was served from it more ingredients were added to replenish the pot. At night when the fire grew low a layer of fat congealed on top sealing the juices of the stew in, so after a while the stew would be quite tasty. The vikings had two meals a day, morning and evening. They rose at first light and ate a sort of porridge or gruel, then they had their evening meal at nightfall. Bread was also baked, out of oats, barley and rye. Though some natural yeast would have been leftover from the brewing process most breads were unleavened, meaning they were flat cakes. 

Ale was brewed, using plants such as bog myrtle for flavour. This weak ale was drunk regularly, as water wasn’t typically safe to drink. Mead was typically kept for ceremonial events and feasts. 

whenallisdarkest  asked:

Some people think that Euron is a Red Herring, that his vanity and the showiness of his chapters and all the symbolism is too obvious and too heavy handed for GRRM, and that Martin will pull the rug from under us and have Euron get beaten by the Tyrells/Hightowers at Oldtown. What do you think of that? Do you think that Euron could be a red herring character? By all rights, VIctarion is really the only Greyjoy who is really essential to the story, being the mechanism from which Dany can move.

(TWOW spoilers)

Dracarys time. Been waiting for an excuse.

I laugh out loud at the feeble ass-covering going on in some corners of the fandom in the wake of “The Forsaken.” Some people who didn’t take Euron seriously are honestly reconsidering their position and reading the new chapter thoughtfully (@racefortheironthrone comes to mind). But the people you’re talking about are just so irritated at having been wrong about Euron that they’re grasping at straws, transparently moving the goalposts from the Redwynes to the Hightowers, desperate to preserve their longstanding misread of AFFC (which is named after Euron and his ambitions, come on, people, you were always wrong about this). The rug pull already happened, and it happened to the skeptics.

The symbolism is not “too obvious and heavy handed for GRRM,” did these people not even read Dany IV ACOK or Bran III AGOT? “The Forsaken” is right in line with those chapters, and self-consciously so. Seriously, what does GRRM have to do to break past this refusal to look at what the text is telling you? 

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

He saw the longships of the Ironborn adrift and burning on a boiling blood­-red sea.

As for Victarion, he exists to serve Euron’s story, not the other way around. The former is “blind to the tentacles,” his whole thing is that he doesn’t get it. So if you don’t take Euron seriously, you are Victarion. Don’t be Victarion. Take Euron seriously. 

dhandelion  asked:

Hi ! Would you tell me, if you think Euron is one of the big villains, who do you think will defeat him ? Dany ? Asha ? Bran - a nice analogy to LOTR, since he would be the Gandalf of Euron/Saruman ? Or do you think his plan to become an Other will backfire spectacularly ? I'm in the mind to think that, if it's not them, it will be someone with magical abilities - that would leave us with Arya, Bran and Dany (do I forget one ?). Thoughts ?

Hiya! I do think Euron’s plan to become an Other will ultimately fail because hubris, but as for who brings him down…

A big part of my “eldritch apocalypse” theory is that, if as the evidence suggests Euron is a rogue protege of Bloodraven’s and has a significant villainous role to play in the overarching magical struggle with the Others (although as a trickster/interloper like Saruman or Randall Flagg, as I’ve been saying), he needs himself a base of operations, somewhere to gather the Others to him. In other words, like Aegon at Storm’s End, he needs somewhere to let his true (freak) flag fly. And Pyke just is not it; as I’ve said, Euron has utter and blatant contempt for the Ironborn and their ways, and is using them because he needs ships and cannon fodder, full stop. 

As such, we learn at the end of AFFC he’s looking to move his HQ. 

“Battle here,” said Xhondo. “Not so long.”

“Who would be so mad as to raid this close to Oldtown?”

Xhondo pointed at a half-sunken longship in the shallows. The remnants of a banner drooped from her stern, smoke-stained and ragged. The charge was one Sam had never seen before: a red eye with a black pupil, beneath a black iron crown supported by two crows.

“It grieves me that honest men must suffer such discourtesy, but sooner that than ironmen in Oldtown. Only a fortnight ago some of those bloody bastards captured a Tyroshi merchantman in the straits. They killed her crew, donned their clothes, and used the dyes they found to color their whiskers half a hundred colors. Once inside the walls they meant to set the port ablaze and open a gate from within whilst we fought the fire. Might have worked, but they ran afoul of the Lady of the Tower, and her oarsmaster has a Tyroshi wife. When he saw all the green and purple beards he hailed them in the tongue of Tyrosh, and not one of them had the words to hail him back.”

Sam was aghast. “They cannot mean to raid Oldtown.”

The captain of the Huntress gave him a curious look. “These are no mere reavers. The ironmen have always raided where they could. They would strike sudden from the sea, carry off some gold and girls, and sail away, but there were seldom more than one or two longships, and never more than half a dozen. Hundreds of their ships afflict us now, sailing out of the Shield Islands and some of the rocks around the Arbor. They have taken Stonecrab Cay, the Isle of Pigs, and the Mermaid’s Palace, and there are other nests on Horseshoe Rock and Bastard’s Cradle. Without Lord Redwyne’s fleet, we lack the ships to come to grips with them.”

“These are no mere reavers” indeed; Euron is after more than plunder. He is after power. Where else would a crazed drug-addled metaphysicist go, after all, but a city full of ancient magic and crazy secrets and palantir candles (again, Euron is Saruman to the Others’ Sauron) and a book that tells you how to kill dragons and the magic-obsessed ruling family…whose tower happens to be built upon an ancient skin-crawling “oily black stone” labyrinth of lurking eldritch insanity, aka Euron in building form? What better place for Euron to establish his (and the Others’) kingdom, to begin his transformation into a god of death? And hey…he agrees.

Euron turned to face him, his bruised blue lips curled in a half smile. “Perhaps we can fly. All of us. How will we ever know unless we leap from some tall tower?”

I believe Euron will quite literally signal the story’s descent into metaphysical madness when he blows the Horn of Joramun from atop the Hightower at the climax of TWOW, the metaphorical “leap” into the “flight” beyond even the one Bloodraven promised him, bringing down the Wall and unleashing the Others…in a ghastly inversion of the NW warning horns, right down to the magically high platform of the South instead of the North. And indeed, as I’ve said, Euron conquers and absorbs other forces and narratives, a black hole that walks like a man, an agent of entropy (“all of Westeros is dying”) like, again, Randall Flagg in The Stand. (There’s a lot to mock about Stephen King, but at his best, he can (could) deliver a fantasy-horror-grim-realism blend to rival GRRM.) 

As such, I can think of nothing more appropriate for his character than for him to decide that the Others are just like Bloodraven or the warlocks or the Ironborn or anything that’s not him: sheep to dupe and/or enslave. Again, fantasy is rife with characters who look at the gathering darkness and think to themselves “that looks delicious.” Y’know, another comparison just struck me: Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII, right down to his winking parodic sheen, relentless postmodern infestation of and assault on his world’s institutions, and his defining victim’s trauma and memory issues.

And then Euron’s all-categories evil-buffet qualities will destroy him, as he neatly arranges all varieties of hero against him. While he’s trippin’ balls in ADOS in the cracked glowing monster-infested ruins of the Hightower, I think Asha and Rodrik will lead a coup back home in the Islands against him. Meanwhile, GRRM has said that Willas and Garlan Tyrell have a quite significant role to play before story’s end, and I think it’s here, joining with Sam to rally the South against the new Night’s King even as Stannis fights the tide of the Other invasion to the North. (And again, I turn to LOTR: the Rohirrim fight Saruman, preventing them from coming to Gondor’s aid against The True Darkness until the very last second. The structure here ain’t without precedent, is what I’m saying.) And as @madeinmyr has argued, while all this is happening, Bran will be fighting his failed predecessor Euron on the astral plane, resisting his attempts to become Godhead (again, think Sephiroth vis-a-vis Jenova or Meteor). 

I think when all this comes crashing down on Euron, politically, militarily, and magically, he will flee a shadow of his supervillain self, and Dany will find him wherever he rests. (The Isle of Faces? The Lonely Light? Bear Island, bringing Jorah into the mix?) He will see one last chance, and like Saruman at Isengard, go all in on his honeyed tongue, offering to Dany that they rule the world together. And like Theoden, she will be swayed and tempted for a moment, before breaking through the fog, remembering who she and her fellow dragonriders are (“big goddamn heroes, sir”), and burning the fucker alive, continuing her series-long war against slaving sociopaths who think they’re the only real persons…before that war climaxes against the Others, the ultimate slavers (given the wights) who think they’re the only real persons.

haruspicus  asked:

Regarding your response to the Pink Letter post, you think Whoresbane is going to betray the Boltons? Perhaps this is just part of the GNC I never picked up on, but I thought he was with the Boltons so that they'd install him in Last Hearth after Stannis and the loyalist Northerners were defeated.

Hiya! There are a lot of reasons why I think Whoresbane is a secret Stark restorationist. Neither Roose Bolton nor Barbrey Dustin, both excellent people-readers, believe Whoresbane is a genuine Bolton loyalist:

“Even here in Barrowton the crows are circling, waiting to feast upon our flesh. The Cerwyns and the Tallharts are not to be relied on, my fat friend Lord Wyman plots betrayal, and Whoresbane…the Umbers may seem simple, but they are not without a certain low cunning.”

“Dressing her in grey and white serves no good if the girl is left to sob. The Freys may not care, but the northmen…they fear the Dreadfort, but they love the Starks.

“Not you,” said Theon.

“Not me,” the Lady of Barrowton confessed, “but the rest, yes. Old
Whoresbane is only here because the Freys hold the Greatjon captive.”

“…Lord Wyman is not the only man who lost kin at your Red Wedding, Frey. Do you imagine Whoresbane loves you any better? If you did not hold the Greatjon, he would pull out your entrails and make you eat them, as Lady Hornwood ate her fingers.”

Note that they are more right than they know about Wyman “Pies are People” Manderly; why not Whoresbane? (Roose’s ellipsis alone speaks volumes about Whoresbane’s reputation in this arena.) 

As for the man himself…he is reintroduced in Dance sitting beside Ramsay at the Dreadfort, but is unable to hide his disgust at Ramsay’s abuse of Theon, hinting that he’s not truly loyal to the Bastard:

“You would have done better to slit his throat,” said the lord in mail.

“This grows tedious,” said the lord in the mail byrnie. “Kill him and be done with it.”

Remember, this is a dude nicknamed after an act of disembowelment, advocating strongly for a quick death! Moreover, as you can see, GRRM really emphasizes that “he wore a ringmail byrnie, even at table,” like Edwyn Frey and show!Roose at the Red Wedding; is Whoresbane expecting a fight?

Whoresbane is also sitting next to Arnolf Karstark, and the two have much in common: they’re castellans whose younger lords (nephew for Whoresbane, great-nephew for Arnolf) are being held prisoner by the Lannisters. Arnolf, as his great-niece Alys explains to Jon, is trying to get Harrion executed so he can inherit Karhold. Yet Whoresbane never tries to pull the same trick with the Greatjon; as long as his nephew lives, how will Whoresbane become lord of Last Hearth? 

But the true basis for my suspicion that the Umber brothers are working together to bring down the Boltons is a narrative emerging from four quotes, taken together. (Bear with me.) From Whoresbane himself at the harvest feast in A Clash of Kings

“It’s longships we need, aye, and strong men to sail them. The Greatjon took too many. Half our harvest is gone to seed for want of arms to swing the scythes.”

So with winter on the way, starvation is imminent for the people of Last Hearth. Jon and Alys discuss how Northerners handle such a crisis in A Dance with Dragons:

When the snows fall and food grows scarce, their young must travel to the winter town or take service at one castle or the other. The old men gather up what strength remains in them and announce that they are going hunting. Some are found come spring. More are never seen again.

Also in Dance, Big Bucket Wull provides the perspective of those self-sacrificing old men as only he can:

“Winter is almost upon us, boy. And winter is death. I would sooner my men die fighting for the Ned’s little girl than alone and hungry in the snow, weeping tears that freeze upon their cheeks. No one sings songs of men who die like that. As for me, I am old. This will be my last winter. Let me bathe in Bolton blood before I die. I want to feel it spatter across my face when my axe bites deep into a Bolton skull. I want to lick it off my lips and die with the taste of it on my tongue.”

And to tie this all together, from Theon and Stannis in The Winds of Winter:

“As you will. Tell me, Theon, how many men did Mors Umber have with him at Winterfell?”

“None. No men.“ He grinned at his own wit. “He had boys. I saw them.” Aside from a handful of half-crippled serjeants, the warriors that Crowfood had brought down from Last Hearth were hardly old enough to shave. “Their spears and axes were older than the hands that clutched them. It was Whoresbane Umber who had the men, inside the castle. I saw them too. Old men, every one.” Theon tittered. “Mors took the green boys and Hother took the greybeards. All the real men went with the Greatjon and died at the Red Wedding. Is that what you wanted to know, Your Grace?”

That’s the Umber plan, right there. Whoresbane takes the old-timers on a kamikaze mission inside Winterfell, both for a glorious death and to spare Last Hearth the burden of all their mouths to feed. Crowfood, meanwhile, hangs back with the whippersnappers, both to coordinate the conspiracy and preserve the next generation to rebuild the North when spring comes.

arya-jon-tyrion  asked:

Its great that you have elaborated so much on Euron's possible connection to others/whitwalkers. It just fits. Oldtown! manhood cold as ice (night's king's wife was similar was she not?) ! Like how can a normal human being visit Valyria and Asshai when everyone who visits Valyria dies? Or that line about "I am more devout than even you, Aeron. Perhaps it is you who kneels to me for blessing". Bran is so desperate to contact Theon. Maybe this is the reason? Euron is the big agent of whitewalkers

Well thanks <3 It’s not just Euron’s astral dick that puts me in mind of the Others. I know of course the literal cause of his blue lips is the warlocks’ drug, but the whole thing about Euron (as I’ve been saying) is that he breaks boundaries between ideologies and metaphysical wells, and there’s something else that turns your lips blue…extreme cold. Winter is coming. 

But I don’t think Euron is exactly an agent of the Others, though I definitely think he’s the one to blow the Horn of Joramun, from atop the Hightower. (“Perhaps we can fly. All of us. How will we ever know unless we leap from some tall tower?”) Dragonbinder feels like foreshadowing to me: one horn for dragons, one for Others (the former to be sounded early in TWOW, the latter near book’s end) representing how Euron is hijacking both sides of the war for himself, which is why I call him a postmodern supervillain. As @madeinmyr puts it, he’s outside the prophetic/metaphysical structure and attacking his way in, using the nuts and bolts of the magical plot as weapons against Destiny itself. 

As such, I think Euron is going to try and take advantage of the Others to rule the ruin they create, the same way Saruman tries with Sauron in LOTR, and Randall Flagg with the plague in The Stand, and Sephiroth with Jenova in Final Fantasy VII…across media, nations, and generations within fantasy, I really think we’ve seen this guy before. He wanders into the story, looks around at the slaughterhouse floor, and says “I’ll take all this.” (Does everyone get why Mads Mikkelsen is the only man for this role?) 

Like all those other interlopers, Euron is the King of the Graveyard (hence, A Feast for Crows and “all of Westeros is dying”), and I think the heart of what Moqorro calls the “sea of blood” and what I call the “eldritch apocalypse” will be Oldtown, as a consequence of Euron’s invasion of the city, which we see beginning at the end of AFFC:

“Battle here,” said Xhondo. “Not so long.”

“Who would be so mad as to raid this close to Oldtown?”

Xhondo pointed at a half-sunken longship in the shallows. The remnants of a banner drooped from her stern, smoke-stained and ragged. The charge was one Sam had never seen before: a red eye with a black pupil, beneath a black iron crown supported by two crows.

“It grieves me that honest men must suffer such discourtesy, but sooner that than ironmen in Oldtown. Only a fortnight ago some of those bloody bastards captured a Tyroshi merchantman in the straits. They killed her crew, donned their clothes, and used the dyes they found to color their whiskers half a hundred colors. Once inside the walls they meant to set the port ablaze and open a gate from within whilst we fought the fire. Might have worked, but they ran afoul of the Lady of the Tower, and her oarsmaster has a Tyroshi wife. When he saw all the green and purple beards he hailed them in the tongue of Tyrosh, and not one of them had the words to hail him back.”

Sam was aghast. “They cannot mean to raid Oldtown.”

The captain of the Huntress gave him a curious look. “These are no mere reavers. The ironmen have always raided where they could. They would strike sudden from the sea, carry off some gold and girls, and sail away, but there were seldom more than one or two longships, and never more than half a dozen. Hundreds of their ships afflict us now, sailing out of the Shield Islands and some of the rocks around the Arbor. They have taken Stonecrab Cay, the Isle of Pigs, and the Mermaid’s Palace, and there are other nests on Horseshoe Rock and Bastard’s Cradle. Without Lord Redwyne’s fleet, we lack the ships to come to grips with them.”

I believe this attack is intended, in conjunction with Not Pate’s machinations, to steal Blood and Fire (aka The Death of Dragons) from the Citadel’s Gringotts-vaults, but once Euron and Not Pate learn the nature of that horn Sam’s carrying around, well…

“I think we had best change the plan,” Jon Snow said.

As the captain of the Huntress tells Sam, those Euron has sent in to infiltrate Oldtown and open its gates to him are “no mere reavers,” though as the title of Victarion’s second AFFC chapter shows, they think they are. Euron means to set up shop in Oldtown, as everything about the city’s eldritch past and present suits and supports him, and anyway as I’ve said, the Iron Islands are nothing to him but a key to unlock this door (of perception?) The Ironborn are Euron’s useful idiots, the unknowing foot soldiers of the apocalypse, paving as they did in AFFC and ADWD and will in TWOW Euron’s road to the Horn, a dragon (hi Victarion, get ready to burn), and the Others: the motherload of the ecstatic oblivion upon which he gorges himself daily, yet always lusts for more. 

Like I’ve said, Euron wants to eat the world, and with a dragon underneath him, looking out over his domain from atop the Hightower, with the Horn poised at his blue lips, I think he’ll come terrifyingly close…until ADOS, when Asha and Rodrik lead a coup in his absence, the Tyrell brothers kick his ass on the ground (GRRM did say he has big plans for them), Sam and Sarella find vital counter-spells in some dusty book deep in the Highgarden library, Bran and Bloodraven go all Brainstorm on his third eye, and finally Dany and Tyrion show up to burn him to a crisp and give his dragon to Jon for endgame. In other words, by breaking all boundaries and conquering all ideologies in his path, Euron will have united every kind of hero against him. Like Tywin, and unlike Ned, his legacy will be the hatred he inspired. 

So much as I talk him up, I also want to say this: Euron is also just an arrogant asshole who abused his poor little brother. Randall Flagg also seems to forget his plans half the time and totally screws himself RE both Nadine and Trashcan Man. Saruman also disrespects everyone constantly, and it backfires, every time. And Sephiroth is also a sad trashbaby to rival Kylo Ren, with Jenova filling in for Darth Vader. It’s fun and important to look into the mythology of these guys (especially Flagg, holy shit, have fun down that wormhole), but it’s also important to demystify them and realize that they are all essentially pathetic, and deliberately written that way. And they all have weaknesses, huge and glaring ones. 

If our heroes all get together and get it together, they can wipe the floor with these guys. Remember, GRRM would have fought in WWII, and in terms of his mixture of satire and horror, Euron is basically Nazi-coated Neil Patrick Harris in Starship Troopers. God, I just cannot stop with the comparisons