It is the last day of winter on my part of the marble. The bitterblooms have entwined themselves tightly around braziers, and frost flowers have survived through the chinks in the wall. But, this too, shall pass.
Tomorrow brings spring, and with spring we get the bloodblooms and sentient trees.
Gardener’s toiling away in George R.R. Martin’s maze
The Fattest Leech blog is one of many in the fandom working to unravel the clues to A Song of Ice and Fire, however, these listed below are far better at it than I. There are plenty of big name theorists out there, but here are a few other sources that are filled with quick wit and deep analysis deserving of your attention. Let your garden grow by reading these fertile ideas based on A Song of Ice and Fire.
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- Cantuse manifesto reading. It is hard to pick just one essay here. Something that I has given me a huge amount of respect for Cantuse and his work is his admission that theories are fluid, and many may need retooling. Overall just exceptional think pieces that connect many underlying dots. The most fandom famous theory is what is referred to as the Night Lamp theory https://cantuse.wordpress.com/
- The Night Lamp theory in a nutshell:Stannis used to be the Master of Ships. This means he dealt with maritime law, crime, etc. He was called upon at least once to deal with people who repeatedly used a trick to purposefully wreck ships. They would extinguish the fire from a ‘known good’ beacon and erect a false beacon somewhere else. This would cause ships to crash because they were lured into rocks or something like that.Stannis is going to use this trick against the Freys. Stannis is currently stuck at a village in the woods between two lakes. His men have been carefully digging holes around an island in one of the lakes.He knows that the Freys will approach a certain way, expecting to use a narrow land bridge to access the village between the lakes.However, Stannis will eliminate the watchtower beacon fire and raise a false beacon atop the island in the lake.Confused and in a blizzard the Freys will unwittingly traverse the lake and into the ice-fishing holes.At that moment Stannis will draw his sword Lightbringer and blind the approaching army, maximizing the trap effectiveness and signalling the rest of his men. Catapults lob stones into the lakes shattering the ice and drowning many. Survivors are killed along the shores by men in waiting. And northmen move quickly to secure the Frey baggage train.
- Sweetsunray Mythological Weave. Outstanding work in a variety of topics. Many of SSR’s essays are now considered critical reads in the fandom https://sweeticeandfiresunray.com/
- Reading George Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” can be like looking at a tapestry of the middle ages that features central figures in action, a few witnesses in the background, but also meticulous details of flora and fauna. Once you look beyond the main image, and concentrate on all the tiny details you notice the creator worked in some elves dueling with each other, and some dark figure hiding behind bushes, a fox catching a hare, seemingly all unrelated to the main figures and story in the forefront. We can dismiss these almost hidden scenes as unimportant, mere detail to build the background world. But it takes more hours to work in all those details than it does to weave the main scene. Then we notice the fox sigil embroidered on one of the main figures and start to consider that maybe it is not as unrelated as we first thought; that it actually may be telling us something more about the main figures. Once we understand and can make associations the tapestry gains layers of depth that sheds a new light on the whole. It does not change the story, but it makes it so much richer, renders clues, and interconnected.
- Pawn to Player A critical resource for rereading and rethinking the character of Sansa Stark in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Find them on Twitter and on their blog.
- The Weirwood Eyes and her analysis of magic, especially woods witches https://theweirwoodseyes.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/
I have taken that idea a step further, and propose that this Volva/Vala role is already out in the open in the books. Vala were basically witches & there is an in world parallel to witches being made in these books. Woods Witches. The use of the word witch for a start; the role described is the same basically as in our own history ie: A woman who provides basic medical care via Herblore. Whom you might go to for an abortion, or for help during a birth. Who might make you a love spell or an ill-wish? Who might claim to have the ability to scry, or see? etc. This is basically who & what the Vala/Volva were too. In fact, you even find the Vala being referred to as witches when you read accounts in different languages, such as the Roman accounts. And when you look at the role of Volva/Vala in Norse culture,that of the Witch in the rest of pagan European culture, and what became of it post Christianisation it is basically the same thing. They even carried wands!
- Blue-Eyed Wolf for Sansa development https://bluelemonsforever.tumblr.com/blue-eyedwolf
The Rag Tag Band of Misfits project is the idea that there are different motley crews coming together in ASOIAF to move the plot and characters forward. Some will win, some will lose, some will probably fall apart. My contribution to the project is the Valed Rag Tag Band, Sansa’s rescue team.
Shadrich, Morgarth, and Byron or The Three Hedge Knights: Howland Reed, Elder Brother, and Sandor Clegane. Their Gallantry is Yet to be Demonstrated: The Winds of Winter Prediction that a glamor spell disguises the Beast as a Beauty.
Pawn to Player Project Male Influences: Harrold Hardyng. A full detailed character analysis of Harry the Heir and his role in Sansa’s story as of TWOW sample chapter. Covers his place in the overall plot, what he represents thematically, his relationship to other characters, comparisons and contrasts to other characters, how he fits in the Beauty and the Beast theme, and most importantly how Sansa applies her knowledge and experience with Harry. The Pawn to Player Project is an excellent resource for all things book!Sansa.
- Bran Vras Huis Clos http://branvras.free.fr/HuisClos/HuisClos.html
Our first task will be to bring to light many, many elements in the background. Some go back to the dawn of times, others are simply the hidden motivations of certain characters. As we will see, even among totally silent guests, among unnamed characters, some came to the Winterfell wedding with a long story.
We will examine lesser mysteries as thoroughly as possible: the identity of murderers, the role of shadowy characters, and our understanding will lead to new questions. Mundane events will be shown to be startling. And a story will be proposed to explain the final letter. But true? What is true in fiction, after all?
- Melanie, Lot Seven and her wonderful analysis of women and kings https://melanielotseven.wordpress.com/
- This essay will discuss the theme of how women on Planetos are silenced. Below, we will examine the group of women called the Silent Sisters and how their organization has been used as a penitential dumping ground for certain types of women, discussing cases of actual and suggested use of force against these women. We will inspect the treatment of some of the more outspoken women in ASOIAF and how it relates to the theme of silencing, then we will move on to examine how certain professions have caused women’s thoughts to be ignored and in effect silenced. Lastly, we will focus on commonalities between these groups of women. I would like to note that there are many examples of men being silenced throughout George’s work, but for the sake of brevity and for cohesiveness, I will keep the focus of this essay on silenced women.
- The Learned Hands podcast hosted by the Westerosi Bar Association. Two real world attorneys explore the legal and ethical dilemmas posed in by George R.R. Martin’s ASOIAF. Not legal advice OBVIOUSLY.
- The Dragon Demands on YouTube that breaks down the changes from book to show, and the reasoning behind them. The Dragon Demands videos
- Close the Door podcasts.
- Spoilers, profanity, and discussion focused on Jaime x Brienne.
- Blue Tiger and the Tolkienic Song of Ice and Fire at The Amber Compendium
- Few works of literature are as dear to my heart as J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels, collectively forming ‘the Legendarium‘, and George R.R. Martin’s literary saga, A Song of Ice and Fire, and its companion books, such as The World of Ice and Fire and The Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. My blog and this particular essay are dedicated to exploring those rich ‘secondary worlds’, and primarily their mythological, literary and historical inspirations. The text you are presently reading was created because of my deep admiration of both aforementioned authors, their literary mastery, brilliant storytelling and enthralling worldbuilding. As you read, some theses and conclusions I’m going to present might seem incorrect or unfounded, but I hope to provide you with enough evidence of my arguments, so that you can understand my position, even if you disagree with it. After all, only GRRM himself knows which aspects of his own world were inspired by Tolkien.
- Rusted Revolver, on Twitter, but his essays analyzing wordplay which stems from the Celtic word, druid are WRIT IN TRUST.
- I won’t bury the lead – GRRM is playing with the words ‘true’ and ‘tree’. In some circumstances, it is used within the green zombie symbolism identified and explored by Lucifer Means Lightbringer in his series, “The Sacred Order of Green Zombies” – I’ll try my best not to duplicate the analysis in that excellent series and instead try to focus on the wordplay that GRRM is using to tip us off to that symbolism.
- M Tootles and his “Total Horseshit Analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire by a Devious Little Pork Chop”. Great work regarding the Greyjoys. . Find his thoughts here on Reddit.
- Whereas… I propose that ASOIAF is constantly and pervasively dissembling, playing surreptitious word games that exploit readers’ deeply and unconsciously held expectations regarding narratives that “look like this”. Moreover, ASOIAF pretty much tells us it dissembles, and even showcases examples of how it does so. The core of this essay consists in looking at instances … Continue reading Liar, Liar, A Song of Ice & Fire: Metatextual Signposts that ASOIAF is Lying to Us
- Please read Wizz-the-Smith‘s essay regarding hollow hills in ASOIAF. I can say for sure that this theme is also carried on throughout much of GRRM’s works. You can also find Wizz on Twitter.
- Hi everyone. The premise of this essay will be to show that many of the ancient castles of Westeros were strategically built atop hollow hills to harness the magic of the caverns below. Just as the two greenseers, Bloodraven and Bran do. There are only two hollow hills named as such in Westeros, and both are openly associated with magic and greenseers, High Heart and Bloodraven’s cave… (keep reading)
- SandraM of Storm Cloud Rising is a new guest author to this blog. She has a focus on topics such as Sansa Stark and her surrounding symbolism. Storm Cloud Rising page is here.
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Looking for some A Song of Ice and Fire or Martinworld art?:
This is certainly not a complete list of all the toilers out there. If you have any to share, it’d be super cool if you do so in the comments below.
Want to do a little more GRRMspreading?
I have started a book club re-read for the older works of George R.R. Martin for purposes such as research, scholarship, and teaching. I own all copies of material that is used for this book club. If you have not yet read a story listed, please check with your local bookstore for your own reading material to purchase. (Indie Bookstore Finder) The full list of GRRM stories outside of the A Song of Ice and Fire series that I have read can be found on this page here.
It takes a while to transcribe and then note each story for research purposes, even the really short ones, so this page will be quietly updated as each re-read is added. Make sure you subscribe for updates.
If there is a story in particular you would like to ask about, feel free to do so in comments below.
- Bitterblooms– In the dead of deep winter, a young girl named Shawn has to find the mental courage to escape a red fiery witch. Prototyping Val, Stannis, and Arya along with the red witch Melisandre.
- The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr – Discarded Knights guards the gates as Sharra feels the Seven while searching for lost love. Many Sansa and Ashara Dayne prototyping here as well.
- …And Seven Times Never Kill Man– A look into a proto-Andal+Targaryen fiery world as the Jaenshi way of life is erased. But who is controlling these events? Black & Red Pyramids who merge with Bakkalon are on full display in this story.
- The Last Super Bowl– Football meets SciFi tech with plenty of ASOIAF carryover battle elements.
- Nobody Leaves New Pittsburg– first in the Corpse Handler trio, and sets a lot of tone for future ASOIAF thematics.
- Closing Time– A short story that shows many precursor themes for future GRRM stories, including skinchanging, Sneaky Pete’s, catastrophic long nights…
- The Glass Flower– a tale of how the drive for perfection creates mindlords and mental slavery.
- Run to Starlight– A tale of coexistence and morality set to a high stakes game of football.
- Remembering Melody– A ghost tale written by GRRM in 1981 that tells of long nights, bloodbaths, and pancakes.
- Fast-Friend transcribed and noted. Written in December 1973, this story is a precursor to skinchanging, Bran, Euron, Daenerys, and ways to scheme to reclaim lost love.
- The Steel Andal Invasion– A re-read of a partial section of The World of Ice and Fire text compared to the story …And Seven Times Never Kill Man. This has to do with both fire and ice Others in ASOIAF.
- A Song for Lya– A novella about a psi-link couple investigating a fiery ‘god’. Very much a trees vs fire motif, and one of GRRM’s best stories out there.
- For A Single Yesterday– A short story about learning from the past to rebuild the future.
- This Tower of Ashes– A story of how lost love, mother’s milk, and spiders don’t mix all too well.
- A Peripheral Affair (1973)– When a Terran scout ship on a routine patrol through the Periphery suddenly disappears, a battle-hungry admiral prepares to renew the border war.
- The Stone City– a have-not surviving while stranded on a corporate planet. Practically a GRRM autobiography in itself.
- Slide Show– a story of putting the stars before the children.
- Only Kids are Afraid of the Dark– rubies, fire, blood sacrifice, and Saagael- oh my!
- A Night at the Tarn House– a magical game of life and death played at an inn at a crossroads.
- Men of Greywater Station– Is it the trees, the fungus, or is the real danger humans?
- The Computer Cried Charge!– what are we fighting for and is it worth it?
- The Needle Men– the fiery hand wields itself again, only, why are we looking for men?
- Black and White and Red All Over– a partial take on a partial story.
- Fire & Blood excerpt; Alysanne in the north– not a full story, but transcribed and noted section of the book Fire & Blood, volume 1.
The main Book Club Reread page can be found here for any updates that might have been missed in the above list.
If you want to browse my own thoughts and speculations on the ASOIAF world using GRRM’s own work history, use the drop-down menu above for the most content, or click on the page that just shows recent posts -> Recent Posts Page.
Thank you for reading and following the jambles and jumbles of the Fattest Leech of Ice and Fire, by Gumbo!