Jon chewed his lip. The raven flapped its wings at him. “War, war, war, war,” it sang.
“It’s not,” Mormont told him. “Gods save us, boy, you’re not blind and you’re not stupid. When dead men come hunting in the night, do you think it matters who sits the Iron Throne?”
“No.” Jon had not thought of it that way.
This page is very much a work in progress. Strike that. This page is a mess! 🙂
This is was spawned a few years ago on the Westeros.org site in the thread Nymeria is poised to return and is just now being transferred here. That thread has oodles of information shared over several pages, so condensing to this blog is going to take some time. I’ll get the next round at the pub to make up for it.
There are tons of other essays, blogs, and videos out there that explain Jon and his personal journey on other levels. I am not going to rehash every single detail here, but rather I am focusing on this particular plot of Jon’s and how it will have effects on the future.
Reminder: There are open spoilers from all of GRRM’s work, including the released TWOW chapters, Fire & Blood, the World of Ice and Fire, Dunk & Egg, and other previews, throughout this entire site.
- Jon Snow- the Wolf and the Bear.
- Jon is the Sun’s son. He acting as a King-father.
- The “Val” archetype has existed for decades. When was Val introduced into ASOAIF?
- Greenseeing is Enlightenment, and Bran and Jon will work together.
- Samwell is learning the true speech and will speak through ravens…
- Melisandre tricked Ghost, that was not trust. Read here.
- The altered history of the Night’s Watch vows. Only half truths.
“Because they’re different,” he insisted. “Like night and day, or ice and fire.”
“If ice can burn,” said Jojen in his solemn voice, “then love and hate can mate. Mountain or marsh, it makes no matter. The land is one.”
—Jojen Reed discussing the finer points of no wall dividing people in Westeros
Knock, Knock. Housekeeping…
Just a few points before we begin. This is not a shipping theory. As a matter of fact I loathe with all of my raven’s teeth the standard idea of “shipping” just because the reader wants two favorites to bang. What I am doing is analyzing the text which shows how the past ties the present and future events together in the story. One thing I do not have totally fleshed out at this point is how the outcomes of Val and Jon will go further down the road. If it follows the repeated themes of this pairing GRRM uses over and over, it could go one of three ways-
- Jon and Val ride off together after the major battle to spread new “seed” that helps rebuild humanity after a near cataclysmic devastation.
- This is often a required separation at this point where they come back together after the hero’s journey is complete.
- Jon dies and Val remains to teach the tenets of Jon’s realizations and life’s work.
- Val dies and Jon mourns her to the bitter, bitter end.
Other GRRM stories to take it all in…
The George RR Martin stories I recommend reading to understand this repeated pairing are:
- Nightflyers for sure. Everything about this story. This story even has some dialogue that is near identical. The flirting, the mission, the near mutiny of the other shipmates against their ship commander, the sticking together to get through the “false night”, the working together against the tyrant red “dragon” mothership.
- Fevre Dream? Oh yeah! A slight difference here is there is a mix-up of Val (named Valerie here) and a small role Ygritte type named Cynthia. The details are all the same, just re-worked to fit this particular narrative. Josh York is the Jon-type, and Abner Marsh is the near exact Davos Seaworth archtetype. Abner Marsh even has a near death experience as he has to jump from a ship into the “black and bloody” water to save his life.
- Weekend in a Warzone even has a background married pair as a Jon+Val type, Stancato and “tall, blonde” Glenda. There is more, this is just a tiny bit. Interesting thing about this story is how the main point of view, Andrew Birch, starts out as a meek and mild man who just wants peace and to survive, but by the end his coin has flipped. The constant exposure to warfare makes him a shrewd killer (and villain) by story end.
- The Skin Trade between Willie Flambeaux and his female counterpart Randi Wade. Everything about this story. This story has this Jon and Val dynamic and character types all over the place. This story is also a fun read about werewolves, incest equals a downfall of power and dynasty, and includes a plethora of Roose, Ramsay, and Red King Bolton .vs. Stark prototyping. And yeah, the main heroes name is Willie Flambeaux, as in a flaming penis. See, Azor Ahai has been around for a long time! You could also sat Randi Wade means “horny water”. Back to that Nymeria theme again.
- Nor the Many-Colored Fires of a Star Ring, where, in an unknowable expanse called Nowhere, humanity discovers the uncaring enormity of the universe. “We’re just for a brief meaningless little time, and nothing makes sense,” says one character. “And the time will come when we’ll be out there, wailing, in a sea of never-ending night.” The characters Al Swiderski is in a Jon-Val “save humanity against a long night” situation with his shipmate lover, Jennifer Gray.
- And Seven Times Never Kill Man, has the same archetypal dynamic between the two main protagonists, Arik NeKrol and a Jannis Ryther/Bitterspeaker combination and how they have to work to save the indiginous Jaenshi from the invading military religious Steel Angels.
- Armaggedon Rag, for sure because of the repeated fire vs ice diachotomy. The main character, Sandy Blair, relives his life when a mysterious death happens. The intersting part of how George RR Martin portrays the “flower children” hippies as the watery flow resonable ones in that world. The extremes are the two two sides of fire- corportations and fire-woman Ananda trying to force a prophecy for the “movement”. In the end, Sandy goes back to his “flower girl” for happiness. There is a running theme of song and music in this story, and much thanks to “Ice Nine” publishing.
Backnotes on Nymeria
The history of Nymeria Warrior Queen seems to be something Martin takes to heart as he wants it told a very specific way. This is an important bit of worldbuilding development to know.
According to Elio Garcia, GRRM was very specific with the information about the Rhoynish peoples, to the point where GRRM himself wrote that section in the World of Ice and Fire book. This information being put out there is key to understanding how Martin has an ideal with how certain archetypes work together. He is rather consistent with the broad strokes of the pairings, even if the smaller details have to be adjusted based on different story settings.
- Elio Garcia: “Other times still, he dropped what we wrote and provided the “real” story, which was invariably better than what we ourselves came up with. As an example, we presented a very speculative, and brief, version of the history of the Rhoynar flight to Dorne. George wracked his brain and asked if we had drawn from something he told us, and we said no, it was all purely speculative rather than spinning out from some arcane tidbit he’d shared with fans. So, a few days later, we got a lengthy file containing his history of the Rhoynar which was very, very different than anything we could have imagined.” source
GRRM: “In A Song of Ice and Fire, I take stuff from the Wars of the Roses and other fantasy things, and all these things work around in my head and somehow they jell into what I hope is uniquely my own.” source
Norse, of course!
Here I want to take a second to show that Martin does know and understand Norse mythology, and that he does in fact use elements of the story-telling goldmine to help craft certain elements of his own world-building.
George on video talking about how he uses Norse myths (and a few others) in his books. Video link here. The author also gives several details in Dreamsongs Vol 1 regarding his college studies in Scandinavian (Norse) mythology and how he used the topic of Sveaborg in two past stories. So yeah, the Norse is there… and Jon reflecting the author.
- GRRM, Dreamsongs Vol 1: My major was journalism, but I took a minor in history. My sophomore year I signed up for the History of Scandinavia, thinking it would be cool to study Vikings. Professor Franklin D. Scott was an enthusiastic teacher who invited the class to his home for Scandinavian food and glug (a mulled wine with raisins and nuts floating in it). We read Norse sagas, Icelandic eddas, and the poems of the Finnish patriotic poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg. I loved the sagas and the eddas, which reminded me of Tolkien and Howard, and was much taken with Runeberg’s poem “Sveaborg,” a rousing lament for the great Helsinki fortress “Gibraltar of the North,” which surrendered inexplicably during the Russo-Swedish War of 1808.
- A Clash of Kings – Jon IV (George projecting his formative learning experiences in to Jon)
He found Mormont talking with Thoren Smallwood and half a dozen other officers. “There you are,” the old man said gruffly. “Bring us some hot wine, if you would. The night is chilly.”
“Yes, my lord.” Jon built a cookfire, claimed a small cask of Mormont’s favorite robust red from stores, and poured it into a kettle. He hung the kettle above the flames while he gathered the rest of his ingredients. The Old Bear was particular about his hot spiced wine. So much cinnamon and so much nutmeg and so much honey, not a drop more. Raisins and nuts and dried berries, but no lemon, that was the rankest sort of southron heresy—which was queer, since he always took lemon in his morning beer. The drink must be hot to warm a man properly, the Lord Commander insisted, but the wine must never be allowed to come to a boil. Jon kept a careful eye on the kettle.
1. Jon and Val are acting together as the new Nymeria to unite the free folk and Westerosi people back into one. This is, after they sort the sheep from the goats, which is another way to say separate the free folk from the “wildlings” like the Weeper and his ilk.
2. This is a re-play from history in both 10,000 Ships, and the Conquest of Dorne.
3. Jon chose Val as his queen, and the Free Folk chose Val and Jon as their leaders.
4. Jon is not ded-dead, Val will heal him, and things will progress from there. This same situation of the healer/wisdom/Val protoype caring for the main Jon protagonist, standing over him to protect him even, happens in four of the five stories mentioned above. I have detailed this action later in this post as a recurring theme.
5. Val and Jon have a ton of symbolism that link to the history in ASOIAF itself, as well as Norse mythology, and the stars, water, and milk. Some of the Val symbolism does connect to RLJ, but it works without just as well for other reasons.
6. The mutiny against Jon was planned before he was LC, and it shows that the other brothers were the traitors in this case, and quite possibly guided by the fiery hand of R’hllor via Melisandre. I suspect Bowen Marsh in-particular was the patsy, and I also suspect that Bowen Marsh will be burnt as Cragorn was at the Queen/Kingsmoot in the book A Feast for Crows, or Quentyn Martell as the fire dragon Rhaegal burned him up. The fiery hand of fire destroys those it grips.
7. Val, and maybe Morna and/or Tormund will heal Jon and the situation at Castle Black. Mel and Selyse (especially Selyse) will be the main antagonists in the aftermath. Neither Jon nor Val trust Selyse or Melisandre. Mel and Selyse will burn Shireen, probably at Nightfort if not right in front of the Castle Black gates.
8. While searching for something completely unrelated to this, I came across this info and it sparked my thoughts on Jon and a future queen of his in the north and why a generic “ship” with Jon and other girls just doesn’t make narrative, political, or long-term sense. No, the 1993 outline does not mean anything (pretty much from the start).
9. It also seems to have a few links to Patchface and his wonderfully creepy little diddies. Melisandre and Selyse play a part as well. As does Davos. And Dorne. Some other common themes are: water- sea, rivers, walls, milk, ships, the sun, the moon, stealing/thief, and the concept of wisdom/being wise.
- Sidenote: I also believe that Jon will have some difficulty breathing during his recovery and Val will help him (as George has done with many of his Jon archetypes) and the story of Patchface reinforces this idea. This difficulty breathing during a near death situation by a protagonist Jon-type also happens in The Skin Trade, Nightflyers, And Seven Times Never Kill Man. I will add Fevre Dream as well, but in this story the “breathing” issues come from Abner Marsh, who is the confidant and partner to the main protagonist Josh York. Again, Abner Marsh is a near identical Davos Seaworth character, right down to the idiosyncrasies each demonstrates.
10. And this Jon and Val dynamic is foreshadowed in the song The Bear and the Maiden Fair. This page explains the breakdown of each stanza.
George has stated that the ASOIAF series is a three-act story. The three-act structure is a model used in narrative fiction that divides a story into three parts (acts), often called the Setup, the Confrontation and the Resolution.. As of A Dance with Dragons, we are nearing the end of act two and shifting into act three. GRRM has also said that he planned on introducing (and killing) new characters in each act, many of whom are important. Certain characters are introduced when needed. So, we did not have to have someone of great importance way back in A Game of Thrones if they weren’t important until A Storm of Swords. When someone is introduced later in the series, they have to have some real narrative importance.
For instance, we are introduced to Val in the story several chapters before Daario is introduced to Daenerys, and two whole books before Aegon or Bloodraven appears on page (GRRM said BR as a Targagryen wasn’t fully developed yet). Jon’s last chapter in A Clash of Kings gives our first glimpse of the tent where Val is, and then in Jon’s first chapter in A Storm of Swords, Jon is introduced to Val.
Knowing all of this setup information, a question the reader should ask is: Why did Jon (George) just let ~10,000 people (4,000+ Hardhome) through the wall and then Jon gave two of the higher ranking Free Folk command of two castles and married a Magnar to a noble Westerosi lady, all while the free folk “princess” is repeatedly linked to Winterfell?
Jon’s long-term aspirations
Jon is faced with a lot of choices, some are rather difficult with no real “safe” answer, but Jon consistently chooses peace in Westeros, to keep the remaining Stark family safe, and to learn about the Others/wights, and to protect the realms of men. Basically, Jon is dealing in compassion and evidence, not conjecture and rumors and false information. These are the main reasons for his reaction to the pink letter (answering a threat to the Nights Watch and his life with a preemptive strike), to giving Morna and Tormund castles, and for already marrying the more advanced and more obedient Thenns into the Karstarks. Check out the comparison between the Martells sigil and the new Alys Karstark+Magnar House Thenn sigil. Jon is already recreating the alliance between Dorne and Nymeria bit by bit. And, I believe that Jon is the Sun’s son, not Quentyn Martell.
Let’s just get this out of the way now. The term “wildlings” is a derogatory pejorative term used against the free folk to try and mark them as a typical “unwashed savages here to steal our women” type of fallacy. Free folk is the term they prefer. And just like rest of the known world, they are mostly good with a few rotten apples. They are free folk.
As shown a little further down, George realizes that the integration of the Free Folk into Westeros will take some work. Basically at this point, Jon is reflecting a part of a very real aspect of GRRM, not unlike the mulled wine above. George has gone on record to say many wonderful things about integration, including this quote:
“I’m not an “American First” (and maybe because I read science fiction) I’m a “Terran First”. I’m a human being first. And I have this sympathy for other human beings no matter what side of the giant ice wall they happen to be born on.” -George RR Martin
A Storm of Swords – Bran II
“Because they’re different,” he insisted. “Like night and day, or ice and fire.”
“If ice can burn,” said Jojen in his solemn voice, “then love and hate can mate. Mountain or marsh, it makes no matter. The land is one.”
“One,” his sister agreed, “but over wrinkled.”
During his time raging and infiltrating the free folk, Jon has grown to recognize the humanity in all peoples and the free folk are uniting to save themselves, not raid the lower kingdoms.
A Clash of Kings – Jon VII
This is no army, no more than it is a town. This is a whole people come together.
This is why it was not a scandal in Jon’s opinion to marry the Magnar of Thenn to a highborn noble woman, Alys Karstark (and to avoid incest). Integration. This will set the example for other “common” Free Folk to integrate more peacefully even if it takes a generation or two. Jon thinks of the Magnar as this below, which means that for the most part (Weeper excluded) the free folk will follow their respective “clan leader” in the ways of integration. Two different things coming together to create something stronger.
- A Storm of Swords – Jon III
Jon bowed his head stiffly, and went. If all the wildlings were like Styr, it would be easier to betray them. The Thenns were not like other free folk, though. The Magnar claimed to be the last of the First Men, and ruled with an iron hand. His little land of Thenn was a high mountain valley hidden amongst the northernmost peaks of the Frostfangs, surrounded by cave dwellers, Hornfoot men, giants, and the cannibal clans of the ice rivers. Ygritte said the Thenns were savage fighters, and that their Magnar was a god to them. Jon could believe that. Unlike Jarl and Harma and Rattleshirt, Styr commanded absolute obedience from his men, and that discipline was no doubt part of why Mance had chosen him to go over the Wall.
A Dance with Dragons – Jon VII
“The spearwives will be so happy. You might do well to bestow a castle on the Magnar.”
Jon’s smile died. “I might if I could trust him. Sigorn blames me for his father’s death, I fear. Worse, he was bred and trained to give orders, not to take them. Do not confuse the Thenns with free folk. Magnar means lord in the Old Tongue, I am told, but Styr was closer to a god to his people, and his son is cut from the same skin. I do not require men to kneel, but they do need to obey.”
“Aye, m’lord, but you had best do something with the Magnar. You’ll have trouble with the Thenns if you ignore them.”
It was shown back in Jon’s last ACOK and first ASOS chapter that Jon was chosen by the old gods to help save the free folk.
- A Clash of Kings – Jon VII
Don’t be afraid, I like it in the dark. No one can see you, but you can see them. But first you have to open your eyes. See? Like this. And the tree reached down and touched him.
And suddenly he was back in the mountains, his paws sunk deep in a drift of snow as he stood upon the edge of a great precipice. Before him the Skirling Pass opened up into airy emptiness, and a long vee-shaped valley lay spread beneath him like a quilt, awash in all the colors of an autumn afternoon.
A vast blue-white wall plugged one end of the vale, squeezing between the mountains as if it had shouldered them aside, and for a moment he thought he had dreamed himself back to Castle Black. Then he realized he was looking at a river of ice several thousand feet high. Under that glittering cold cliff was a great lake, its deep cobalt waters reflecting the snowcapped peaks that ringed it. There were men down in the valley, he saw now; many men, thousands, a huge host. Some were tearing great holes in the half-frozen ground, while others trained for war. He watched as a swarming mass of riders charged a shield wall, astride horses no larger than ants. The sound of their mock battle was a rustling of steel leaves, drifting faintly on the wind. Their encampment had no plan to it; he saw no ditches, no sharpened stakes, no neat rows of horse lines. Everywhere crude earthen shelters and hide tents sprouted haphazardly, like a pox on the face of the earth. He spied untidy mounds of hay, smelled goats and sheep, horses and pigs, dogs in great profusion. Tendrils of dark smoke rose from a thousand cookfires.
Jon is having a moment with the old gods as he wargs Ghost. It goes so far as being touched on the forehead (anointed?) by Bran to wake his senses and the first thing Jon sees is the stream of free folk and their camps… below a river and there are thousands. We do read about Bran contacting Theon through the weirwood in this passage (and in The Winds of Winter – Theon)
- A Dance with Dragons – A Ghost in Winterfell (Theon)
The old gods, he thought. They know me. They know my name. I was Theon of House Greyjoy. I was a ward of Eddard Stark, a friend and brother to his children. “Please.” He fell to his knees. “A sword, that’s all I ask. Let me die as Theon, not as Reek.” Tears trickled down his cheeks, impossibly warm. “I was ironborn. A son … a son of Pyke, of the islands.”
A leaf drifted down from above, brushed his brow, and landed in the pool. It floated on the water, red, five-fingered, like a bloody hand. “… Bran,” the tree murmured.
They know. The gods know. They saw what I did. And for one strange moment it seemed as if it were Bran’s face carved into the pale trunk of the weirwood, staring down at him with eyes red and wise and sad. Bran’s ghost, he thought, but that was madness. Why should Bran want to haunt him? He had been fond of the boy, had never done him any harm. It was not Bran we killed. It was not Rickon. They were only miller’s sons, from the mill by the Acorn Water. “I had to have two heads, else they would have mocked me … laughed at me … they …”
This third eye opening for Jon to find the people he will need to save sounds again like the historical Nymeria migration.
- The World of Ice and Fire – Ancient History: Ten Thousand Ships
The last of the great migrations into Westeros happened long after the coming of the First Men and the Andals. Once the Ghiscari wars had ended, the dragonlords of Valyria turned their gaze toward the west, where the growth of Valyrian power brought the Freehold and its colonies into conflict with the peoples of the Rhoyne.
The mightiest river in the world, the Rhoyne’s many tributaries stretched across much of western Essos. Along their banks had arisen a civilization and culture as storied and ancient as the Old Empire of Ghis. The Rhoynar had grown rich off the bounty of their river; Mother Rhoyne, they named her.
Jon also notes that there are animal hide tents down there. The first tent Jon goes to when he finally makes it there is to Mance’s tent… where he first meets Val. This is the very first thing that happens to Jon in the beginning of Storm in Jon’s first chapter; his meeting the current “horned lord” above the wall (under the sea), he is shown a “king’s tent” made of snow bear pelts (important later), and he meets the beauty, Val.
- A Storm of Swords – Jon I
There was no doubting which tent was the king’s. It was thrice the size of the next largest he’d seen, and he could hear music drifting from within. Like many of the lesser tents it was made of sewn hides with the fur still on, but Mance Rayder’s hides were the shaggy white pelts of snow bears. The peaked roof was crowned with a huge set of antlers from one of the giant elks that had once roamed freely throughout the Seven Kingdoms, in the times of the First Men.
[and then a few paragraphs later]
“That sounds more like me,” said Tormund. “Well met, Jon Snow. I am fond o’ wargs, as it happens, though not o’ Starks.”
“The good woman at the brazier,” Mance Rayder went on, “is Dalla.” The pregnant woman smiled shyly. “Treat her like you would any queen, she is carrying my child.” He turned to the last two. “This beauty is her sister Val. Young Jarl beside her is her latest pet.”
*Editing in progress past here* (…but read anyway) Also, relinking to first Nymeria thread from the Westeros.org forum: Nymeria is poised to return.
- Jon and the mutiny on pg 3. Jon was not guilty of “playing politics” as claimed, but Thorne, Marsh and Yarwyck are guilty.
- The Wall in general, or Castle Black, or Nightfort is the ASOIAF version of Náströnd in Norse mythology. The link is worth a read to get the details.
- Does Mel have a hand in the mutiny? Also covered on page 3.
- His head ached, and the back of his neck where the talons had burned through him. But that was in the dream.
- …when the eagle burned.” Jon looked at Melisandre. “Some say that was your doing.”
She smiled, her long copper hair tumbling across her face. “The Lord of Light has fiery talons, Jon Snow.”
- When the third dagger took him between the shoulder blades, he gave a grunt and fell face-first into the snow. He never felt the fourth knife. Only the cold …
- Jon was not stabbed because he rode after Arya. Jon gave permission for Mance to go save Arya out at Long Lake. Jon may not have been stabbed for going to ride to fight against Ramsay’s threat against the NW. Jon was stabbed for letting the wildlings through… although this “death blow” probably came from the fiery hand.
- ADWD/Jon 11 (just two before the mutiny)- Marsh flushed a deeper shade of red. “The lord commander must pardon my bluntness, but I have no softer way to say this. What you propose is nothing less than treason. For eight thousand years the men of the Night’s Watch have stood upon the Wall and fought these wildlings. Now you mean to let them pass, to shelter them in our castles, to feed them and clothe them and teach them how to fight. Lord Snow, must I remind you? You swore an oath.” More.
This post on PG 2 shows the Jon/Odin/Old Gods connection… and here is Odin with his raven and wolf and spear and throne finery.This post on PG 2 links Jon to the Blood Eagle that almost takes his eye and why.
The eye is symbolically the window to the soul and the first part of one’s perception. When the eagle attacked Jon and blood spilled into his eye, this was Jon taking a look at his first men blood and it was just after this, when back at Castle Black, that Jon admits that his perception about the wildlings has changed.
A Game of Thrones – Eddard XIII
He was walking through the crypts beneath Winterfell, as he had walked a thousand times before. The Kings of Winter watched him pass with eyes of ice, and the direwolves at their feet turned their great stone heads and snarled. Last of all, he came to the tomb where his father slept, with Brandon and Lyanna beside him. “Promise me, Ned,” Lyanna’s statue whispered. She wore a garland of pale blue roses, and her eyes wept blood.
Eddard Stark jerked upright, his heart racing, the blankets tangled around him. The room was black as pitch, and someone was hammering on the door. “Lord Eddard,” a voice called loudly.
Jon has this exchange when he is first taken to see Mance in STORM:
A Storm of Swords – Jon II
“It was him I asked. Has he lost his tongue? Perhaps he should, to spare us further lies.”
Styr the Magnar drew a long knife. “The boy might see more clear with one eye, instead of two.”
“Would you like to keep your eye, Jon?” asked the King-beyond-the-Wall. “If so, tell me how many they were. And try and speak the truth this time, Bastard of Winterfell.”
The encounter with Varamyr’s (Orell’s) eagle at Queenscrowne is probably also another clue to the readers that Jon is half a dragon. We learn in ASOIAF that the best/only way to kill a dragon is a bolt to through the eye.
A Dance with Dragons – Tyrion XI
If anyone had thought to ask him, Tyrion could have told them not to bother. Unless one of those long iron scorpion bolts chanced to find an eye, the queen’s pet monster was not like to be brought down by such toys. Dragons are not so easy to kill as that. Tickle him with these and you’ll only make him angry.
The eyes were where a dragon was most vulnerable. The eyes, and the brain behind them. Not the underbelly, as certain old tales would have it. The scales there were just as tough as those along a dragon’s back and flanks. And not down the gullet either. That was madness. These would-be dragonslayers might as well try to quench a fire with a spear thrust. “Death comes out of the dragon’s mouth,” Septon Barth had written in his Unnatural History, “but death does not go in that way.”
The World of Ice and Fire – Dorne: Dorne Against the Dragons
So again the Targaryens turned to their dragons, unleashing their fury upon Starfall and Skyreach and Hellholt. It was at Hellholt where the Dornish had their greatest success against the Targaryens. A bolt from a scorpion pierced the eye of Meraxes, and the great dragon and the queen who rode upon it fell from the sky. In her death throes, the dragon destroyed the castle’s highest tower and part of the curtain wall. Queen Rhaenys’s body was never returned to King’s Landing.
Could this be the reason why Orell hated Jon so deeply from the beginning? Did Orell, then Varamyr, sense Jon’s dragon side? With Jon being ice and fire, is Jon being hunted from both sides?
A Storm of Swords – Jon II
Ygritte helped pull him up. “He’s bleeding like a butchered boar. Look what Orell did t’ his sweet face.”
Can a bird hate? Jon had slain the wilding Orell, but some part of the man remained within the eagle. The golden eyes looked out on him with cold malevolence. “I’ll come,” he said. The blood kept running down into his right eye, and his cheek was a blaze of pain. When he touched it his black gloves came away stained with red. “Let me catch my garron.” It was not the horse he wanted so much as Ghost, but the direwolf was nowhere to be seen. He could be leagues away by now, ripping out the throat of some elk. Perhaps that was just as well.
In Jon’s last chapter in ASOS, right after he wins the new Lord Commander election, we get this image of Jon as very Odin-like:
A Storm of Swords – Jon XII
“Supper,” screamed the raven. “Supper, supper.”
The king’s men cleared the door when they told them of the choosing, and Three-Finger Hobb and half a dozen helpers went trotting off to the kitchen to fetch the food. Jon did not wait to eat. He walked across the castle, wondering if he were dreaming, with the raven on his shoulder and Ghost at his heels. Pyp, Grenn, and Sam trailed after him, chattering, but he hardly heard a word until Grenn whispered, “Sam did it,” and Pyp said, “Sam did it!” Pyp had brought a wineskin with him, and he took a long drink and chanted, “Sam, Sam, Sam the wizard, Sam the wonder, Sam Sam the marvel man, he did it. But when did you hide the raven in the kettle, Sam, and how in seven hells could you be certain it would fly to Jon? It would have mucked up everything if the bird had decided to perch on Janos Slynt’s fat head.”
“I had nothing to do with the bird,” Sam insisted. “When it flew out of the kettle I almost wet myself.”
Number 9, Number 9
The story The Armageddon Rag is filled with music of the hippie generation, George’s golden years, and the strong theme running through this book is, literally, listen to the music as the lyrics will guide you. And of course, most of the music in this book is because of The Grateful Dead, published by Ice Nine publishing. George has already admitted that the weirwoods are named in honor of Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead. So all of this real life influence that GRRM puts in to tJon’s arc makes a lot of sense.
- “Ripple” (Hunter, Garcia), copyright © 1970 by Ice Nine Publishing Co., Inc. Used by permission.
Part of Odin and the importance of the number 9 in Norse mythology also play out all over ASOIAF. Seriously.Jon takes his vows at an irregular grouping of 9 weriwoods north of the wall (old gods country). This PG 3 post gives more details.
- In Norse mythology, there are nine worlds of which relate almost one to one in ASOIAF.
- Odin hangs himself in sacrifice for nine days from the Yggdrasil tree in search of knowledge, and I speculate that Jon will be “dead” for nine days to parallel this thought.
- The super duper importance of Shieldhall and how it relates to old gods, both ASOIAF and Norse, and to Jon, Tormund and Val is in this PG 2 post.
- We also learn this little bit, which Jon also grows to realize, “”By night all cloaks are black, Your Grace.” This is not just literally all cloaks are black during sleepy time hours, but during the Long Night, everyone has to be a warrior to survive. Many will go underground with women and children to wait it out, but the majority will have to work together to survive.
- Horn’s are very important to the gods in Norse mythology. Jon found a horn and gave it to Sam who now has it at the Citadel. What could be up with that??? PG 2 Post for more.
- Jon, and Bloodraven, also share Odin’s fondness for bows and archery as I wrote about in the Jon/Rhaegar comparison thread here. Jon has instated archery training to take place everyday.
- Ichaival, a bow possessed by Odin. Another source said it was came from Ydalir, the home of the god Ullr. It possessed the power of each pull of just one arrow will release ten arrows.
- A quick peek into the Odin write up with the Eagle and the eye will show Odin has only one eye, which blazes like the sun. His other eye he sacrificed/traded for a drink from the Well of Wisdom, and gained immense knowledge. So again, we have Jon as the sun, we have water connections to wisdom, which is also a connection to Nymeria with the water and wisdom, or “wise woman”, as referred to Dalla and Val as she replaces her dead sister and repeats the wisdom.
- The repeated phrase, “you know nothing, Jon Snow,” parallels Jon with Socrates. The phrase “I know that I know nothing“, “The only thing I know is that I know nothing” or “I know one thing; that I know nothing“, “I know that all I know is that I do not know anything”, called the Socratic paradox, is a well-known saying that is derived from Plato’s account of the Greek philosopher Socrates. One ought to remember the context in which this passage occurs, namely Socrates having gone to a “wise” man, and having discussed with him, withdraws and thinks the above to himself. Socrates, since he denied any kind of knowledge, then tried to find someone wiser than himself among politicians, poets, and craftsmen. It appeared that politicians claimed wisdom without knowledge; poets could touch people with their words, but did not know their meaning; and craftsmen could claim knowledge only in specific and narrow fields. The interpretation of the Oracle’s answer might be Socrates’ awareness of his own ignorance. Socrates begins all wisdom with wondering, thus one must begin with admitting one’s ignorance. Compare to Jon begins his journey in to the true north and free folk as an ignorant “southron” boy, and it is through his experience that he comes to realize on his own through experience that the free folk are just people and not the enemy.
- Ghost was curled up asleep beside the door, but he lifted his head at the sound of Jon’s boots. The direwolf’s red eyes were darker than garnets and wiser than men.
- sidenote: rubies vs garnets- Ramsay, Tywin, The Skin Trade
- Mance gave her a fond smile. “It’s a wise woman I’ve found. A true queen.”
- “Dalla told me something once. Val’s sister, Mance Rayder’s wife. She said that sorcery was a sword without a hilt. There is no safe way to grasp it.”
“A wise woman.” Melisandre rose, her red robes stirring in the wind.
- World book about Nymeria: “It was a wisdom she passed along to her heirs,…”
- Jon is already thinking of Val as queen material. As just mentioned, Val is a suitable replacement for Dalla for both wisdom, healer, and queen.
- Jon, Dance XIII: “He has taken a liking to Val. Her sister was a queen, why not her?”
- ADWD/Jon III: “Val stood beside him, tall and fair. They had crowned her with a simple circlet of dark bronze, yet she looked more regal in bronze than Stannis did in gold.”
- When Val returns with Tormund and the other Free Folk, that is when Val is dressed all in white… and coincidentally, this is also when we see the Free Folk paying homage to Jon by giving up their valuables and even children:
- ADWD/Jon XII:None knelt, but many gave him their oaths. “What Tormund swore, I swear,”
- There is a connection to First Men also including proto-Valyrians, or as we know the ones who stayed in Westeros, Daynes, and the title of Sword of the Morning who wields the sword Dawn. Short Ran video explanation. Jon describes the Wall as a “sword to the east”, and east is where we get dawn. Jon could have a literal sword Dawn in the future, because right now he has the figurative sword in the dawn as the Wall.
In addition to what Jon has already started doing on page, Jon tells Stannis that he wants to re-settle the Gift, which undoes the northern treachery that “Good” Queen Alysanne commits against the Starks and northern magic… including direwolves. And then who returns to Jon with a direwolf at her side… Val.
- A Storm of Swords – Jon XI
“My father dreamed of resettling the Gift,” Jon admitted. “He and my uncle Benjen used to talk of it.” He never thought of settling it with wildlings, though . . . but he never rode with wildlings, either. He did not fool himself; the free folk would make for unruly subjects and dangerous neighbors. Yet when he weighed Ygritte’s red hair against the cold blue eyes of the wights, the choice was easy. “I agree.”
- A Storm of Swords – Jon XII
Ygritte wanted me to be a wildling. Stannis wants me to be the Lord of Winterfell. But what do I want? The sun crept down the sky to dip behind the Wall where it curved through the western hills. Jon watched as that towering expanse of ice took on the reds and pinks of sunset. Would I sooner be hanged for a turncloak by Lord Janos, or forswear my vows, marry Val, and become the Lord of Winterfell? It seemed an easy choice when he thought of it in those terms . . . though if Ygritte had still been alive, it might have been even easier. Val was a stranger to him. She was not hard on the eyes, certainly, and she had been sister to Mance Rayder’s queen, but still . . .
I would need to steal her if I wanted her love, but she might give me children. I might someday hold a son of my own blood in my arms. A son was something Jon Snow had never dared dream of, since he decided to live his life on the Wall. I could name him Robb. Val would want to keep her sister’s son, but we could foster him at Winterfell, and Gilly’s boy as well. Sam would never need to tell his lie. We’d find a place for Gilly too, and Sam could come visit her once a year or so. Mance’s son and Craster’s would grow up brothers, as I once did with Robb.
He wanted it, Jon knew then. He wanted it as much as he had ever wanted anything. I have always wanted it, he thought, guiltily. May the gods forgive me. It was a hunger inside him, sharp as a dragonglass blade. A hunger . . . he could feel it. It was food he needed, prey, a red deer that stank of fear or a great elk proud and defiant. He needed to kill and fill his belly with fresh meat and hot dark blood. His mouth began to water with the thought.
>Regarding this passage, it is interesting because it has a few transitions. First it is all about logic, then the sun goes down and most prophetic/wolf dreams happen in the dark, and then he thinks on what is currently perceived as the correct NW oaths. John turns down Winterfell and Val only because of his NW vows and the fact that Melisandre told him he would have to burn the heart tree and forsake the old gods, which Jon refuses to do. Then it turns into a real, honest conversation with himself about what he guiltily wants = a family. Then, and this is where it gets interesting, he is starting to unconsciously warg Ghost while he is awake. His wolf senses are tingling when he thinks of what he wants. This is one of the first times that happens and it is not until Dance 1 that it happens again. The first time he consciously warg’s Ghost while he is awake is when he calls out to Ghost at the mutiny. Also, Jon says he would need to steal Val to get her love, but he already has… but Jon Snow knows nothing.
- A Dance with Dragons – Jon XI
From above came the sudden sound of wings. Mormont’s raven flapped from a limb of an old oak to perch upon Jon’s saddle. “Corn,” it cried. “Corn, corn, corn.”
“Did you follow me as well?” Jon reached to shoo the bird away but ended up stroking its feathers. The raven cocked its eye at him. “Snow,” it muttered, bobbing its head knowingly. Then Ghost emerged from between two trees, with Val beside him.
They look as though they belong together.
Additionally, Jon has tons in common with his (theorized) blood father, Rhaegar, as well as his learned behavior from his bonded father, Eddard. There were red wolves in the Rhoyne. This could easily be a sigil for Jon to use… a red wolf on black in place of a red dragon on black. Personally, I think Jon will use a weirwood face as an official sigil because of his many, many references to Ghost, Val and him being of the old gods. We do get a brief description showing that there were red wolves in the Rhoyne.
- AGOT/Jon VIII: “He is not my father. The thought leapt unbidden to Jon’s mind. Lord Eddard Stark is my father. I will not forget him, no matter how many swords they give me. Yet he could scarcely tell Lord Mormont that it was another man’s sword he dreamt of …”
- ADWD, Tyrion III: “Griff’s cloak was made from the hide and head of a red wolf of the Rhoyne.”
- AGOT/ Jon I: “Lord Eddard Stark is my father,” Jon admitted stiffly.
Lannister studied his face. “Yes,” he said. “I can see it. You have more of the north in you than your brothers.”
This should be taken two ways. One is in regards to his Stark brothers in the symbolic sense. and the other is regards to his future Black Brothers of the NW who mutiny and stab him because the Watch has forgotten its original purpose, as LC Mormont points out in a Sam chapter. Jon knows the purpose and it fits with the historical Stark/North/Night’s Watch purpose.
- A Game of Thrones- Jon III
Benjen Stark frowned. “A boy you are, and a boy you’ll remain until Ser Alliser says you are fit to be a man of the Night’s Watch. If you thought your Stark blood would win you easy favors, you were wrong. We put aside our old families when we swear our vows. Your father will always have a place in my heart, but these are my brothers now.” He gestured with his dagger at the men around them, all the hard cold men in black.
How Val is acting as Nymeria returned
Basically, everything highlighted or underlined below is happening on page with Val, and sometimes Jon, because the two need each other. Historical Nymeria’s great migration (it’s official name) sounds to me like Val helping bring the wildlings through the wall after a long time struggling to help them find a new home. And don’t forget, Mance found Dalla and Val wandering while on his way back from Winterfell. To be clear, I DO NOT think Val will be the conqueror of the north. She is a key player of the larger picture.
- Nymeria was called a warrior and a witch. Neither is true on the surface as we think of them, but they are true in the symbolic sense. I do think Val is a woods witch- healer, maybe still training under Morna Whitemask, Morna has the full-faced weirwood mask while Val has a weirwood brooch. This thread tells why.
- Maester Aemon even calls in Val to help him with the sick babies at Castle Black
- AFFC/ Sam 1: “Sam had only spoken to Val twice, when Maester Aemon called upon her to make sure the babes were healthy.”
- “Jon saw signs of sickness too. That disquieted him more than he could say.” More in ADWD here.
- Jon hears Val, a moon symbol, singing to Gilly’s baby, Monster. Could this be a parallel link to Val and Dalla being moonsingers of some sort? They are nomadic healers, they know birthing songs, and Jon did declare that Val was the midwife to Dalla.
- This post on Pg 6 gives some great pagan/moon meanings… including Winterfell and Winter is Coming.
What’s in a Name?
Ultimately it comes down to what sounds right. And I struggle with that, finding the right name for a character. If I can’t find the right name I don’t know who the character is and I can’t proceed.” – George R.R. Martin
Where George got the inspiration for the wall from Hadrian’s Wall (HW) and how it directly connects to Val’s name. PG 5 post. A quick summary let’s you know that the words Aeli, Vali and Draconis are used often when speaking about the historic significance of HW. Valli means VAL[L]I, “of the Wall“The name AELI was Hadrian’s nomen, his main family name, the gens Aelia. DRACONIS can be translated as “[by the hand – or property] of Draco“. Draco also means dragon, and is a constellation as well. We know by now how Jon is tied to the stars, including the ice dragon himself. After Jon is chosen as Lord Commander, he says repeatedly that the wall is his.
From Nightflyers with Melantha in the Val role, Royd in the Jon role (Royd, as in meteo-roid/royd/shooting star- House Dayne or the sword Dawn?), and the mad mothership is the fire-dragon-mother. Additionally, Royd has partnered with Karoly D’Branin, an academy scholar whose mission it is to discover the Volcryn. There are already several links Bran will have connections to Sam at the Citadel :
“Melantha stood up and walked to the kitchen, stepping right through Royd’s ghostly form, which she steadfastly refused to pretend was real. “The rest of them walk around me,” Royd complained. She shrugged, and found a bulb of beer in a storage compartment. “When are you going to break down and let me behind your wall for a visit, captain?” she asked. “Don’t you get lonely back there? Sexually frustrated? Claustrophobic?”
- A Clash of Kings – Bran I
“They want to hunt,” agreed Gage the cook as he tossed cubes of suet in a great kettle of stew. “A wolf smells better’n any man. Like as not, they’ve caught the scent o’ prey.”
Maester Luwin did not think so. “Wolves often howl at the moon. These are howling at the comet. See how bright it is, Bran? Perchance they think it is the moon.”
When Bran repeated that to Osha, she laughed aloud. “Your wolves have more wit than your maester,” the wildling woman said. “They know truths the grey man has forgotten.” The way she said it made him shiver, and when he asked what the comet meant, she answered, “Blood and fire, boy, and nothing sweet.”
One possibility: Old Norse “Valþiófr,” composed of the elements “val” meaning “battle,” and “þiofr,” or “thief.” This fits with the Northern/Norse theme of the books, and it fits with the “stealing” practice of a thief in the moonmaid, and the idea that Nymeria is a warrior/battle queen.
Another possibility: Dalla and Val are derived from the old Norse word Völva, or Vala in more modern tongue. The Vala were wandering shaman/healer, and one who is a seer. A literal translation of the word völva is “wand-wed”. Well, we don’t have any magic wands in the story( I take this back, below), but we have swords and magic swords and a tradition of “marrying” a girl caught at sword point (stealing). Jon already stole Val.
Jon has a passing thought of magic exisiting north of the wall and associated with ice: Through the shimmering greenery, the black tents of his brothers were encased in a fine glaze of ice. So there is magic beyond the Wall after all.
We DO have magic wands in the story, but we read right past them, and Melisandre has them burnt! Weirwoods are our northern ice magic trees, and what is a limb of a magic tree if not a magic wand? Wiki wand info. ADWD/ Jon III: “She won’t let our gods be,” argued Toad. “She calls the Seven false gods, m’lord. The old gods too. She made the wildlings burn weirwood branches. You saw.”
I think Val is a representation of the völva Hyndla in particular:Hyndluljóð or Lay of Hyndla is an Old Norse poem often considered a part of the Poetic Edda. It is preserved in its entirety only in Flateyjarbók but some stanzas are also quoted in the Prose Edda where they are said to come from Völuspá hin skamma.In the poem, the goddess Freyja meets the völva Hyndla and they ride together towards Valhalla. Freyja rides on her boar Hildisvíni and Hyndla on a wolf. Their mission is to find out the pedigree of Óttarr so that he can touch his inheritance, and the lay consists mostly of Hyndla reciting a number of names from Óttarr’s ancestry. The poem may be a twelfth-century work, through Bellows believed the material of which the poem was compounded must have been older.
- the Freya is this story could have been swapped with Borroq who calls Jon brother, and has his boar he skinchanges.
- the reciting names could be Val, or a combo of Val and Bran and Morna, etc, all coming to the realization that Jon could be the Last Hero (or whoever), even if they do not list all the names out loud.
- Ottarr is thought to be another aspect of Odin, and also sometimes spelled Odr, which means song and poetry
- Another translation to Völva is spæwīfe, which is like spearwife in the story.
- The weapon of the vǫlva was not the spear, the axe or the sword, but instead they were held to influence battles with different means, and one of them was the wand. This is exactly how historic Nymeria is described and in the story Val is not a technical fighting spearwife, either. George confirms this in a PG 5 post.
- An overlapping option for Val’s name is Vali, the god who avenges death and is also the etymology for a holy places called Valaskjálf.
- Another name and character option, courtesy of Jon’s Queen Consort, Galadriel from LotR (as if I had to clarify that!)
- Another name option. Vali a monkey god who wandered the land and then came home to worship the Sun God!!! The Sun God is Jon to Val is the Moonmaid. PG 4 post for discussion. In history, the Long Night, disaster was averted by the deeds of a woman with a monkey’s tail.
The Free Folk are already bowing to Val in their first migration through the wall. During the second migration they give their vows and oaths to Jon as they pay him monetary homage. This post on PG 5 gives some great detail of the choosing of Jon and Val as their leaders.
- The Free Folk pay homage to Jon as they pass through the wall, just before they kneel to Val, not Stannis, while she stands on the platform next to Stannis and Mel burns fMance. Remember, Val has already refused to kneel to Selyse, so the Free Folk will follow Val’s example and choosing.
- Val refers to the people she just went and saved, and then led back to the Wall.
- Val is repeating the words of Meria Martell, a female descendant to Nymeria, and as noted below, Dorne and the far North are related, and the Rhoynish migration is the Free Folk migration of now. Val is the new Nymeria to Jon and his future campaign. More on PG 3 post.From Dance: “Free folk do not kneel,” Val told her.
- From World:“I will not fight you,” Princess Meria told Rhaenys, “nor will I kneel to you. Dorne has no king. Tell your brother that.”
- AGOT/ Eddard X: [ToJ scene] “I came down to Storm’s End to lift the seige, ” Ned told them, ” and the Lords Tyrell and Redwyne dipped their banners, and all their knights bent the knee to pledge fealty…”, “Our knees do not bend easily, ” said Ser Arthur Dayne.
- Meria is called the Toad of Dorne, and later we see that Toad at Castle Black warns against Melisandre because she has people BURN WEIRWOOD pieces. Mel also wants Jon to burn the weirwood at Winterfell, which is a reason why Jon declines that offer.
- Nymeria had Lyonel Tyrell who fought under King Daeron I during his Conquest of Dorne. The Dornishmen proved too much for him to handle and they ended up killing him. Val now has Selyse in the Lyonel Tyrell position to deal with… and maybe kill? Post on PG 3 tells more.
- In ASOS/Davos V, Davos goes to Maester Pylos to continue his reading practice. They talk of the book Conquest of Dorne and then Davos starts reading practice using scrolls. This is where Davos reads about the situation at the wall and then convinces Stannis to head that way. So we have the book Conquest of Dorne mentioned twice and then the discovery of the Wall situation happening in quick succession. Book sourcePrincess Shireen and the boys said their farewells courteously. When they had taken their leaves, Maester Pylos moved closer to Davos. “My lord, perhaps you would like to try a bit of Conquest of Dorne as well?” He slid the slender leather-bound book across the table. “King Daeron wrote with an elegant simplicity, and his history is rich with blood, battle, and bravery. Your son is quite engrossed.“”…“As you wish, my lord.” Maester Pylos rummaged about his table, unrolling and then discarding various scraps of parchment. “There are no new letters. Perhaps an old one . . .”
- Davos arrives to White Harbor, which is at the mouth of the White Knife, on the ship The Merry Midwife. We have seen that Jon makes Val a midwife.
- ADWD/Davos 2: The Merry Midwife stole into White Harbor on the evening tide, her patched sail rippling with every gust of wind.
- A few more Davos connections in a PG 5 post. These are a little more symbolic, but still cleverly done.
- The symbolic connection between the flaking gold crown on Queenscrowne and the statue in Oldtown. PG 5 post.
- The importance in the symbolism of her honey hair color, and some possibilities to her curious eye color as well.
- We know Val is the moon maid that Jon the Thief stole, and Val has honey-colored hair, sooo… Val is a honey moon. Are Jon and Val on their honeymoon (or will be after the fighting stops)
- In ancient times honeymoon referred to the time of year when bee honey was ripe and cured to be harvested from hives or from the wild. This was usually around the Summer solstice by end June.
- We learn in a Jaime chapter, “Faith is like porridge. Better with milk and honey.”
- Val is represented as the “Queen Bee” of the industrious free folk.
- The mythological importance of first seeing meeting/seeing Val and she is milking a goat. Odin had magical she-goat named Heiden, which grazed by the Yggdrasil tree, and its udders dispensed not milk but mead for the warriors in Odin’s Great Hall. Jon is linked heavily to being an Odin figure. Also, as noted below, Jon finds the Wildlings along the Milkwater River. Val=Milk + Nymeria=Water ==Milkwater.
- ASOS/ Jon IX: “On the edge of the Wall an ornate brass Myrish eye stood on three spindly legs. Maester Aemon had once used it to peer at the stars, before his own eyes had failed him. Jon swung the tube down to have a look at the foe. Even at this distance there was no mistaking Mance Rayder’s huge white tent, sewn together from the pelts of snow bears. The Myrish lenses brought the wildlings close enough for him to make out faces. Of Mance himself he saw no sign this morning, but his woman Dalla was outside tending the fire, while her sister Val milked a she-goat beside the tent.”
- By the way, this is also how the Night’s King found his queen. He spied her from atop the wall and fell in love. Think back to Val’s physical moon-like descriptions, and Jon gave her “his seed” when he honored his promise and gave “Monster” over to her for safe keeping. Also, the tale of Night’s King is most likely over-exaggerated and false the way it is told. George has Sam tells the reader this in not one, but two identical chapters.
- ADWD/ Jon V: [Jon] “Val had reminded him of that, on his last visit with her. “Free folk and kneelers are more alike than not, Jon Snow. Men are men and women women, no matter which side of the Wall we were born on. Good men and bad, heroes and villains, men of honor, liars, cravens, brutes … we have plenty, as do you.”
She was not wrong. The trick was telling one from the other, parting the sheep from the goats.”
- Her personality fits with what Jon likes in a lady. Val even shares some of Lyanna‘s traits. Again, this does hinge a little on RLJ, but the symbolism can work without that just as well.
- In ADWD/ Jon VIII, the chapter where Jon sends Val out to bring the free folk to the wall, Val is set up with a grey, half blind horse, which resembles Sleipnir, Odin’s special horse. Sleipnir, or “Slippy”, has been linked to shamanic practices and the name of ships.
- Jon calls Val, “lonely, lovely, lethal,” and says Val is not “cowed” like the other woman at CB, and she stabbed three guards to protect herself.
- Jon thinks of her as independent, “Val looked the part and rode as if she had been born on horseback. A warrior princess, he decided, not some willowy creature who sits up in a tower, brushing her hair and waiting for some knight to rescue her.” Also, Lyanna was often compared to being a strong, northern horseback rider, and Lady Dustin called her a “centaur.”
- Jon thinks to himself, “Like so much else, heraldry ended at the Wall,’ but then he finds Val with the weirwood face brooch , she is in all white and Val’s cheeks are flushed red. Jon Snow knows nothing! The only other time we see a weirwood face being used as heraldry is with the Knight of the Laughing Tree (possibly Lyanna) where the shield is described as, “blazoned with the image of “a white weirwood with a laughing red face.” Jon, as being a member of the Night’s Watch, is a shield that guards the realms of men, and this also fits the Norse influence and Val being a spearwife/ shield-maiden figure.
- Lyanna was crowned the Queen of Love and Beauty- ADWD/Jon XI: “When presented to Val, the knight sank to one knee to kiss her glove. “You are even lovlier than I was told, princess, ” he declared. “The queen as told me much and more of your beauty.” Also, when Jon first meets Mance, Mance introduces Dalla as his “queen”, but then introduces Val as the “beauty”. Here.
- Stannis even coyly makes a comment that could reflect what Rhaegar and Lyanna did (maybe, and arrangement Elia was ok with because Elia did her duty, but was in love with someone else) which was they took vows in front of a heart tree. In this scene we have King Stannis holding Jon to Val with what sounds like “free” marriage tradition merged with the rites ADWD/ Jon IV:
“Proud. Poor. Prickly where their honor is concerned but fierce fighters.”
“This had best not be some bastard’s trick. Will I trade three hundred fighters for three thousand? Aye, I will. I am not an utter fool. If I leave the girl with you as well, do I have your word that you will keep our princess closely?”
She is not a princess. “As you wish, Your Grace.”
“Do I need to make you swear an oath before a tree?”
“No.” Was that a jape? With Stannis, it was hard to tell.
- The importance and symbolism of her clothing color on PG3. The spae wives/spearwives/völva is also a type of elf. (note: not little pixie, but human-like)
- More of the “Queen” imagery passed to Val after Dalla dies in childbirth. Val tells Jon, “Should I have dressed in mail instead of wool and fur? These clothes were given to me by Dalla, I would sooner not get bloodstains all over them.” Clearly Val thinks of these particular white wools and fur as fancy enough to meet a queen in… oh the irony!Finds from a vǫlva’s grave in Köpingsvik, Öland. There is an 82 cm long wand of iron with bronze details and a unique model of a house on the top. There is also a pitcher from Persia or Central Asia, and a West European bronze bowl. Dressed in a bear pelt, she had received a ship burial with both human and animal sacrifice. more imagery with Val in a bear pelt, Nymeria/Val and the ship burial water connection. Not crazy about the animal sacrifice part.
- Iron and bronze are the metals of the north and even the crown of the Stark Kings. Black iron is for ravenry and bronze is for astronomy, of which we will see plenty of between Val and Jon a little further down.
- ACOK/ Catelyn I: …bronze and iron were the metals of winter, dark and strong to fight against the cold.
- Could the house be Winterfell, or, House Stark?
- Val says the same words that the last king who visited the north (Robert B.) said to Ned. They both exclaim “Up!” to the kneelers in the same way. Kind of a funny read here in a Pg 5 post.
- It is difficult to draw a line between the aristocratic lady and the wandering vǫlva, but Old Norse sources present the vǫlva as more professional and she went from estate to estate selling her spiritual services.
- How Val will have an impact after she passes through the wall while leading the wildlings on PG 2. Samwell thinks highly of Val as well, and Sam is a pretty smart guy.
- AFFC/Sam I: Sam reddened. King Stannis had plans for Val, he knew; she was the mortar with which he meant to seal the peace between the northmen and the free folk.
- Salt. Jon thinks of Val as this: “Val stood on the platform as still as if she had been carved of salt. She will not weep nor look away. Jon wondered what Ygritte would have done in her place. The women are the strong ones.”
First, chances are extremely high that Val knew of the Mance/Rattleshirt switch. She is not crying because she knows of the future plans with Stannis.
So we have Val standing there looking all salty… well a synonym for Salt is Sailor… as in someone who sails the seas… as in Nymeria! synonym source
- TWOIAF: The salty Dornishmen of the coasts, dark-haired and lithe and oliveskinned, have the queerest customs and the most Rhoynish blood.
Val, not Tormund, has already led about 3,000 free folk through the wall (they crossed the river), something other “stronger” men have not been able to do, which Jon noted.
- Jon took a swallow of ale. “I sent her to find Tormund Giantsbane and bring him my offer.”
- ADWD/ Jon VIII: “I hope not. Jon was counting on that, trusting that Val could succeed where Black Jack Bulwer and his companions had failed.”
- For the reader record- ADWD/ Jon VII: [Jon] “He had even less trust in Melisandre.”
- ADWD/ Jon XI: “All true enough, but the wildling woman was so much more. She had proved that by finding Tormund where seasoned rangers of the Watch had failed. She may not be a princess, but she would make a worthy wife for any lord.”
I have read other posters claim that Jon is not into Val anymore because of a tiff over Shireen and Greyscale. Well, that is not quite accurate because even after the tiff, Jon watches Val stride away. Not stomp away. He didn’t turn his back to her as she left angrily. He watched her stride. This post on PG 2 explains futher, but here is a point or two:
- Wildings have actual experience with Greyscale. Jon does not. He still knows nothing when it comes to this topic.
- Val is warning him. As a Völva, part of their job is a seer, so she could have some premonition of what could be about to happen.
- Also, George has said he is a romantic, but he knows romance is not all kisses and butterflies. He knows there are ups and downs and that is what makes it real. Interview source.
- Dying of the Light
Jamis-Lion’s poems had no mention of Hrangans, but many mentions of sickness. All the surviving Kavalar accounts agreed on that. There was a Sorrowing Plague, a long period when one horrible epidemic after another swept through the holdfasts. Each turn of the season brought a new and more dreadful disease-the ultimate demon-enemy, one the Kavalars could not fight or kill.
Ninety men died out of every hundred. Ninety men, and ninety-nine women.
One of the many plagues, it seemed, was female-selective. The medical specialists Vikary had consulted on Avalon had told him that, based on the meager evidence he gave them-a few ancient poems and songs-it seemed likely that the female sex hormones acted as a catalyst for the disease. Jamis-Lion Taal had written that young maids were spared the bloody wasting because of their innocence, while the rutting eyn-kethi were struck down horribly and died in shuddering convulsions. Vikary interpreted this to mean that prepubescent girls were left untouched, while sexually mature women were devastated. An entire generation was wiped out. Worse, the disease lingered; no sooner did girl children reach puberty than the plague struck. Jamis-Lion made this a truth of vast religious significance.
Some women escaped-the naturally immune. Very few at first. More later; because they lived, producing sons and daughters, many of whom were also immune, while those who did not share the resistance died at puberty. Eventually all Kavalars were immune, with rare exceptions. The Sorrowing Plague ended.
But the damage had been done. Entire holdfasts had been wiped out; those that clung to life had seen their populations decline far below the numbers necessary to maintain a viable society. And the social structure and sexual roles had been warped irrevocably away from the monogamous egalitarianism of the early Taran colonists. Generations had grown to maturity in which men outnumbered women ten to one; little girls lived all through childhood with the knowledge that puberty might mean death. It was a grim time. On that both Jaan Vikary and Jamis-Lion Taal spoke with one voice.
Val is already a bargaining chip for the nobles in Westeros (which she refuses and Jon knows). Whoever gets Winterfell gets Val. They go together… like Val and Ghost, according to Jon.
- Dance/Jon II: “Lonely and lovely and lethal, Jon Snow reflected, and I might have had her. Her, and Winterfell, and my lord father’s name. Instead he had chosen a black cloak and a wall of ice. Instead he had chosen honor. A bastard’s sort of honor.”Jon had to make a hard decision to continue to live as a bastard by forgoing Val, Winterfell and the Stark name. He made the “bastard” decision because he thinks he is a bastard… but Jon Snow still knows nothing at this point in the story.
- Dance/Jon X: Florent’s face grew flushed with anger. “So it is true. You mean to keep her for yourself, I see it now. The bastard wants his father’s seat.”
The bastard refused his father’s seat. If the bastard had wanted Val, all he had to do was ask for her. “You must excuse me, ser,” he said. “I need a breath of fresh air.” It stinks in here. His head turned. “That was a horn.” (… and then Val returns)
Note here: You know nothing Jon Snow! He is not a bastard but thinks he is. Robb’s will could also legitimize Jon. When he finds out his real heritage and the fact that he is not a bastard, he can accept these things and undoing the “bastards honor” of nothing mentioned above. This is very much like how Gendry got upset with Arya back at the Peach because he feels too “low born” for her because she is a noble girl. Gendry knows nothing, too! Either way, in every single GRRM-world story, it is not the title or supposed bloodline that makes you “worthy”, but rather the content of character.
- Dance/Jon I: “Good,” King Stannis said, “for the surest way to seal a new alliance is with a marriage. I mean to wed my Lord of Winterfell to this wildling princess.”
Perhaps Jon had ridden with the free folk too long; he could not help but laugh. “Your Grace,” he said, “captive or no, if you think you can just give Val to me, I fear you have a deal to learn about wildling women. Whoever weds her had best be prepared to climb in her tower window and carry her off at swordpoint . . .”
This last line has some people suspecting that Ser Patrek tried to “steal” Val from her tower and Wun Wun, whom Jon set as Val’s guard, was having none of it and that is why Wun Wun was upset and smashing Ser Patrek to pulp. There is a chance Wun Wun knows Jon stole Val and they are already bonded. This is a rather important detail that adds to the future plotting of the series.
Val is already speaking George’s real-life words, and Jon has agreed that he wants to resettle the gift with wildlings like Ned wanted to do. (Taken from my a post on PG 3 of the forum Nymeria thread):
George is no doubt writing a modern day tale that reflects his personal values in a conscious or subconscious manner. There are many common themes throughout all of his books, and valuing the underdog is one of them. Just look at his recent September 14 blog post that is a “Salute to Immigrants”, where he says in the comments:
- “The idea that the present wave of immigrants is somehow different from all previous waves of immigrants, and THESE people are “not like us” and will not assimilate… this is the myth that will not die. It has been applied to pretty much every group of immigrants ever to come to our shores. Assimilation does not take place overnight, no. It is sometimes the work of generations. But it does happen. I believe in the power of the melting pot.”
And then at TusCon 43 there is a very telling interview (HERE) recording with George where he talks about a “Weeper” type situation, Faceless Men, rankings/oaths, having empathy for Native American Indians, and very importantly at the 47 minute mark- “We are all “Terrans”- we need to be more mongrels/mutts” (he is against the idea of purity), and that “I’m not an “American First” (and maybe because I read science fiction) I’m a “Terran First”. I’m a human being first. And I have this sympathy for other human beings no matter what side of the giant ice wall they happen to be born on.”
- ADWD/Jon V: Val had reminded him of that, on his last visit with her. “Free folk and kneelers are more alike than not, Jon Snow. Men are men and women women, no matter which side of the Wall we were born on. Good men and bad, heroes and villains, men of honor, liars, cravens, brutes … we have plenty, as do you.”
[Jon} She was not wrong. The trick was telling one from the other, parting the sheep from the goats.
- ADWD/Jon VIII: Septon Cellador made the sign of the star. Othell Yarwyck grunted. Bowen Marsh said, “Some might call this treason. These are wildlings. Savages, raiders, rapers, more beast than man.”
“Tormund is none of those things,” said Jon, “no more than Mance Rayder. But even if every word you said was true, they are still men, Bowen. Living men, human as you and me. Winter is coming, my lords, and when it does, we living men will need to stand together against the dead.” *Ok, now for the real world junk.
The World of Ice and Fire – Ancient History: Ten Thousand Ships
It is said that, amongst the Rhoynar who came to Dorne with Nymeria, eight of every ten were women…but a quarter of those were warriors, in the Rhoynish tradition, and even those who did not fight had been hardened during their travels and travails. As well, thousands who had been boys when fleeing the Rhoyne had grown into manhood and taken up the spear during their years of wandering. By joining with the newcomers, the Martells increased the size of their host by tenfold.
When Mors Martell took Nymeria to wife, hundreds of his knights, squires, and lords bannermen also wed Rhoynish women, and many of those who were already wed took them for their paramours. Thus were the two peoples united by blood. These unions enriched and strengthened House Martell and its Dornish allies. The Rhoynar brought considerable wealth with them; their artisans, metalworkers, and stonemasons brought skills far in advance of those achieved by their Westerosi counterparts, and their armorers were soon producing swords and spears and suits of scale and plate no Westerosi smith could hope to match. Even more crucially, it is said the Rhoynish water witches knew secret spells that made dry streams flow again and deserts bloom.
To celebrate these unions, and make certain her people could not again retreat to the sea, Nymeria burned the Rhoynish ships. “Our wanderings are at an end,” she declared. “We have found a new home, and here we shall live and die.”
And, we need to remember that the World book in written with heavy Lannister leanings by a maester… *and maester’s seem to be trying to rid the world of any magic, or at least downplay it in written history. And as Val says in Dance, “The maesters may believe what they wish. Ask a woods witch if you would know the truth.”
- The World of Ice and Fire – Dorne: The Coming of the Rhoynar
Suffice it to say that the wealth and the knowledge that the Rhoynar brought with them to Westeros, together with the ambition of Lord Mors and the indomitable will of Nymeria of the Rhoyne, enabled the Martells to greatly expand their power, as they defeated one lord and petty king after another, until at last they toppled even the Yronwoods and united all of Dorne…not as a kingdom, but as a principality, for Mors and Nymeria never named themselves as king and queen, preferring the titles prince and princess, after the fashion of the fallen citystates of the Rhoyne. Their descendants continued that tradition until the present day, even whilst defeating many a rival and proving themselves against the Storm Kings and the Kings of the Reach alike.
In the songs, Nymeria is said to have been a witch and a warrior; neither of these claims is true. Though she did not bear arms in battle, she led her soldiers on many battlefields, commanding them with cunning and skill. It was a wisdom she passed along to her heirs, who would themselves command the hosts when she grew too aged and infirm. And though none matched Nymeria’s feat of sending six captive kings in golden fetters to the Wall, her heirs succeeded in keeping Dorne independent against the rival kings north of the mountains and keeping it whole against the rancorous, hottempered lords of mountain and desert whom they ruled.
House Martell has guided Dorne for seven hundred years, raising its great towers at Sunspear, seeing the shadow city and the Planky Town rise, and defeating all those who threatened its dominion.
- The World of Ice and Fire – Ancient History: Ten Thousand Ships
The battered, tattered remainder of the ten thousand ships sailed west with Princess Nymeria. This time she made for Westeros. After so much wandering, her ships were even less seaworthy than when they had first departed Mother Rhoyne. The fleet did not arrive in Dorne complete. Even now there are isolated pockets of Rhoynar on the Stepstones, claiming descent from those who were shipwrecked. Other ships, blown off course by storms, made for Lys or Tyrosh, giving themselves up to slavery in preference to a watery grave. The remaining ships made landfall on the coast of Dorne near the mouth of the river Greenblood, not far from the ancient sandstone walls of The Sandship, seat of House Martell.
Dry, desolate, and thinly peopled, Dorne at this time was a poor land where a score of quarrelsome lords and petty kings warred endlessly over every river, stream, well, and scrap of fertile land. Most of these Dornish lords viewed the Rhoynar as unwelcome interlopers, invaders with queer foreign ways and strange gods, who should be driven back into the sea whence they’d come. But Mors Martell, the Lord of the Sandship, saw in the newcomers an opportunity...and if the singers can be believed, his lordship also lost his heart to Nymeria, the fierce and beautiful warrior queen who had led her people across the world to keep them free. (as in free folk?)
My thoughts on the last underlined part:
“none matched Nymeria’s feat of sending six captive kings in golden fetters to the Wall, her heirs succeeded in keeping Dorne independent against the rival kings north of the mountains and keeping it whole against the rancorous, hottempered lords of mountain and desert whom they ruled.”
This to me sounds like the situation at Castle Black right now. Jon was stabbed and I am sure the chaos we glimpsed right before is only increasing after the mutiny. There are wildlings there 5 to 1 (as Jon notes) and if they see Val as some higher ranking voice of command, or if she takes command, then she could possibly could be the one to call order to the hot-tempered mutineers, queen’s men, and Borroq (?). It could be a Val and someone combo. I don’t think Val is that much of a omnipotent superhero and I certainly don’t think prophecy and history repeats it self literally, just the broad strokes.
Other paths for other ladies
*Again, this is in no way shape or form a shipping thread, however, I know sometimes relationship talk overlaps with other info, so let’s keep the discussion on the larger aspect at hand which is the safety of the humans and the political structure of Westeros after the Other’s invasion. Trolls should be ignored as per the forum suggested method. Civil discussion and questions are always welcome, arguing is not. P.S. I am not a “hater”.
1. Daenerys She undoubtedly fits many aspects because she and Jon are obvious parallels, but she is making different decisions in her similar experiences. Yet in total, Dany does not fit all aspects. George once sorta compared the attitudes of Daenerys to Nymeria, but he then said that Danaerys and Cersei are intended to be ruling parallels >here. However, the Dany-Nymeria comment was before ASOS, before the back history in the World book, and before he gave Dany the Meereenese Knot and other challenges and before Val was on page to make reference to in interviews. George also states that Dany has embraced the Targ words “fire and blood.” What does that mean???? George also stated as recent as May 30, 2016 that when writing his books, “characters changed along the way.” Apparently Dany spends alot of time with the Dothraki in TWOW. At Balticon 2016, George said he was, “making shit up” in the 91′ outline, and this proves it here. Also, “the tale grew in the telling.” GRRM had to be convinced to add dragons for gods sake. It now looks like Daenerys is more lined up with (f)Aegon (either with or against him) for a Dance of Dragons 2.0, rather than a Nymeria great migration. Dany has moved beyond migrating and is now ready to conquer. Danaerys could also, or instead, be the next Amethyst Empress… keeping in mind that history repeats, but with a twist.
It has already been shown that George does, in fact change his characters along the way. Dany is no exception and she is a major character. This great thread shows one major point.
Historical Nymeria did not take the title queen, but preferred princess. Daenerys makes it known she is a queen and has 9 titles that mean such, with three of them literally calling herself a queen.
From the World Book: “not as a kingdom, but as a principality, for Mors and Nymeria never named themselves as king and queen, preferring the titles prince and princess, after the fashion of the fallen citystates of the Rhoyne.”
- Note: Jon is most likely a prince who was born in the Prince’s Pass in Dorne. We have the Jon-Prince connection.
- “I can do more.”
Why not? thought Jon. They are all convinced she is a princess. Val looked the part and rode as if she had been born on horseback. A warrior princess, he decided, not some willowy creature who sits up in a tower, brushing her hair and waiting for some knight to rescue her.
- “You may not. This is no game. A river of blood runs between our peoples, old and deep and red. Stannis Baratheon is one of the few who favors admitting wildlings to the realm. I need his queen’s support for what I’ve done.”
- Val’s playful smile died. “You have my word, Lord Snow. I will be a proper wildling princess for your queen.”
Daenerys is not even fighting disease as Nymeria did, or even fighting the pale mare in any similar way as Nymeria did. Val and Jon are (will be) and this post on page 2 shows why.
It seems the word for mother, “mhysa“, was derived from the Latin/Catholic term for “missa”, which means mass… as in a composition setting several sung parts to prayer. Dany has a religious experience akin to Jesus:
- “Mhysa!” they called. “Mhysa! MHYSA!” They were all smiling at her, reaching for her, kneeling before her. “Maela,” some called her, while others cried “Aelalla” or “Qathei” or “Tato,” but whatever the tongue it all meant the same thing. Mother. They are calling me Mother.
The chant grew, spread, swelled. They… to kiss her feet.
However, the great migration of Nymeria and her people was caused by a need to flee the Vayrians and their dragons. Dany is a Valyrian descended dragonlord coming with dragons.
- “Legend tells us that Nymeria took ten thousand ships to sea, searching for a new home for her people beyond the long reach of Valyria and its dragonlords.
- “The last of the great migrations into Westeros [Nymeria and her people] happened long after the coming of the First Men and the Andals. Once the Ghiscari wars had ended, the dragonlords of Valyria turned their gaze toward the west, where the growth of Valyrian power brought the Freehold and its colonies into conflict with the peoples of the Rhoyne.
- “And the dragons came. Not three, as Prince Garin had faced at Volon Therys, but three hundred or more, if the tales that have come down to us can be believed. Against their fires, the Rhoynar could not stand. Tens of thousands burned whilst others rushed into the river, hoping that the embrace of Mother Rhoyne would offer them protection against dragonflame…only to drown in their mother’s embrace.
Daenerys is embracing her inner dragon, her blood and fire, the Targaryen words. Well, the Rhoynish people (wildlings in our books now) were very leary of such magic.
- The World of Ice and Fire – Ancient History: Ten Thousand Ships
Art and music flourished in the cities of the Rhoyne, and it is said their people had their own magic—a water magic very different from the sorceries of Valyria, which were woven of blood and fire. Though united by blood and culture and the river that had given them birth, the Rhoynish cities were elsewise fiercely independent, each with its own prince…or princess, for amongst these river folk, women were regarded as the equals of men.
2. Arya fits many Children of the Forest/Old Gods aspects of Nymeria, but she does not fit enough for a strong comparison. Now, I know Arya/Jon shippers would claim this Nymeria is Arya because her wolf is named Nymeria and so on, but I would disagree because you have to look at the entire image of this historical Nymeria. Besides, when in all of the 1.8 million words has GRRM been literal??? George actually speaks against it, “Prophecies are, you know, a double edge sword. You have to handle them very carefully; I mean, they can add depth and interest to a book, but you don’t want to be too literal or too easy.” Source
- I think Arya is more like this “Nymeria”. Princess Aliandra Martell was head of House Nymeros, so leader of her pack, in addition to her wolf Nymeria leading her wolf pack.
- Prince Qoren’s daughter would be of a different mind. Princess Aliandra came young to her seat and thought herself a new Nymeria. A fiery young woman, she encouraged her lords and knights to prove themselves worthy of her favors by raiding in the marches, but also showed great favor to Lord Alyn Velaryon when his first great journey took him to Sunspear, and again when he returned from the Sunset Sea.
- Alyn Velaryon, formerly known as Alyn of Hull and later known as the Oakenfist, was Lord of the Tides, Master of Driftmark and head of House Velaryon. Alyn was a legitimised bastard of dragonseed descent from Hull on the island of Driftmark. This sounds like a special bastard associated with watery storms we have already met .
- THIS Nymeria also fits a character type like Wenda the White Fawn, who Arya also wants to be like: ASOS/ Arya XII: “…and she could ride with Gendry and be an outlaw, like Wenda the White Fawn in the songs.”
- While at Harrenhal, Arya takes the name Weasel. A female weasel is called a doe… just like a female deer. More symbolism for an Arya/Gendry match.
- Gendry would be Gendry Waters if given an acknowledged bastard surname, and his mother was a serving girl at an ale house, which is how Arya began her personal arc in a few locations and links to Arya’s Valkyrie symbolism. Gendry was born in the Crownlands as a “Waters”.
There is more in the text that shows Jon is not longer having at Arya sexually or romantically. To save you some reading time here, basically it boils down to whatever Martin first had intended for Jon and Arya in that original outline, he dropped that plot detail before he resumed writing this series a few years later. George is not using incest as romance, but instead it is a lesson of how “blood purity” is a ridiculous notion and can bring down a dynasty. If Jon and Arya were to have stayed a romantic plot detail, it would have ended terribly for one or both of them.
- Abomination. That had always been Haggon’s favorite word. Abomination, abomination, abomination. To eat of human meat was abomination, to mate as wolf with wolf was abomination, and to seize the body of another man was the worst abomination of all.
3. Arianne Martell does not fit all aspects because her motives are misguided. She cannot be the new Nymeria because, as with Arya, it is too literal. Arianne does not have the right method of thinking to be a new Nymeria. Arianne is thinking this is something owed to her because of birthright. This is the exact notion called “blood lust” that is used in Fevre Dream, and that is a clear sign in Martinworld that some character will not succeed and most likely will be killed off.
Historical Nymeria had a lot of sickness to deal with within her people. Arianne does not as of yet. She may deal with greyscale later because of Jon Connington and her rendezvous with Aegon the VI, but Arianne still does not fit most of Nymeria’s main points.
- A Feast for Crows – The Queenmaker
Arianne left them to their banter. Drey and Spotted Sylva were her dearest friends, aside from her cousin Tyene, and Garin had been teasing her since both of them were drinking from his mother’s teats, but just now she was in no mood for japery. The sun was gone, and the sky was full of stars. So many. She leaned her back against a fluted pillar and wondered if her brother was looking at the same stars tonight, wherever he might be. Do you see the white one, Quentyn? That is Nymeria’s star, burning bright, and that milky band behind her, those are ten thousand ships. She burned as bright as any man, and so shall I. You will not rob me of my birthright!
Val and Jon and Free Folk/women equality
Ser Davos Dayne was a knight of House Dayne and Sword of the Morning. He became the third husband of Nymeria, the Princess of Dorne, and gave her one son, who did not become Nymeria’s successor, for the Dornish had come to adopt the Rhoynish custom of equal primogeniture. Also, Jon has already promoted Satin to a NW steward because he is quick to learn and good at his steward job, which many of the other southron NW men are opposed to because of his sexual past.
Also, Jon realizes that not all girls are the same and those girls who can fight will be allowed to do so. Jon assigns women to all sorts of “male” tasks.
- A Dance with Dragons
Down in the Seven Kingdoms boys of twelve were often pages or squires; many had been training at arms for years. Girls of twelve were children. These are wildlings, though. “As you will. Boys and girls as young as twelve.But only those who know how to obey an order.
Morna Whitemask is a warrior witch and Jon gave her Queensgate to settle. As far as we know, a woman has not ever held a position in the (current) Night’s Watch, but history is repeating here and the truth of the Night’s Watch has been lost to history– but is waking again. Morna also has this interaction with Jon in ADWD:
- A Dance with Dragons
The warrior witch Morna removed her weirwood mask just long enough to kiss [Jon’s] gloved hand and swear to be his man or his woman, whichever he preferred.
We all know Val was “married” on some level to Jarl and Ygritte teaches us about wilding marriage (stealing) and makes it clear that in the end the woman decides if she wants the man and she can leave him. And in wildling culture, woman can be warriors and are taught how to use weapons and skills. In keeping with the spirit of free folk independence, women are welcome to take up arms and fight alongside men. Such women are called spearwives, and are known to be every bit as ferocious as their male counterparts. This just made me tilt sideways for a second: equal primogeniture. If that doesn’t sound like a Nymeria/wildling influence, then feed me to a kraken.
Mance refers to Jarl as Val’s “pet,”, read here. Jarl disagrees. We know that the Norse Völva occasionally had “pets” that were men, and those men ususally did not last long and sometimes got a “watery” grave, Jarl was killed by the wall- the big giant water wall; was ultimately given as a sacrifice to the trees:
- ASOS/Jon IV: The Wall defends itself, Jon thought as he pulled Ygritte back to her feet. They found Jarl in a tree, impaled upon a splintered branch…
Men who practiced sorcery or magic were not received with the same respect but killed like animals and tortured to death because they were dealing with a practice that was held to be in the domain of women. This offense was considered ergi “unmanliness, sexually perverse”. The Saga of Eric the Red relates that Ragnvaldr Rettilbein, one of Harald Fairhair‘s sons by the Sami woman Snæfrid was a seiðmaðr. In Lokasenna, Loki taunts Odin for having practiced magic on Samsø, something which was considered ergi.<<< So here we have some reference to Odin (Jon) practicing with a Völva (Val), and also reflects that Jon will make equal primogeniture choices no matter what other “tricksters” say to him. YES! Go Jon! It’s your re-birthday!!!
- Sidenote: Jarl is the Anglo-Saxon word for Earl, and in way back olden days it was a title that means “chieftain”, or, a chieftain set to rule a territory in the king’s stead. So Val is already a high-ranking woman in wilding culture.
- It has been noted that the wall is Jon’s, and the wall killed Jarl (as Jon tells Val), therefore, Jon killed Jarl by proxy and then went on to steal Val with his sword and claim her when Stannis rode in to sack the wildlings at the wall.
No smooth sailing for Nymeria or Jon and Val
Nymeria even had a negative opposition from another religious type that cost some lives of her people. While Daenerys seems fairly atheist (great!), Jon mentions he doesn’t care who worships what, but he is of the old gods himself.
- The World of Ice and Fire – Ancient History: Ten Thousand Ships
For the next three years the Rhoynar wandered the southern seas, seeking a new home. On Naath, the Isle of Butterflies, the peaceful people gave them welcome, but the god that protects that strange land began to strike down the newcomers by the score with a nameless mortal illness, driving them back to their ships. In the Summer Isles, they settled on an uninhabited rock off the eastern shore of Walano, which soon became known as the Isle of Women, but its thin stony soil yielded little food, and many starved. When the sails were raised again, some of the Rhoynar abandoned Nymeria to follow a priestess named Druselka, who claimed to have heard Mother Rhoyne calling her children home…but when Druselka and her followers returned to their old cities, they found their enemies waiting, and most were soon hunted down, slain, or enslaved.
The battered, tattered remainder of the ten thousand ships sailed west with Princess Nymeria…. The remaining ships made landfall on the coast of Dorne near the mouth of the river Greenblood, not far from the ancient sandstone walls of The Sandship, seat of House Martell.
Val has never trusted Melisandre, and while some people at Castle Black do take the R’hollor challenge, many convert back. In the meantime Val says this:
[Jon] “Why let it happen if she knew?”
[Val] “Because it suited her. Fire is a fickle thing. No one knows which way a flame will go.”
· We also get this scene:
o The queen’s men took up the cry, beating the butts of their spears against their shields. “One realm, one god, one king! STANNIS! STANNIS! ONE REALM, ONE GOD, ONE KING!”
Val did not join the chant, he saw. Nor did the brothers of the Night’s Watch.
- For the reader record- ADWD/ Jon VII: [Jon] “He had even less trust in Melisandre.”
- The poster Jon’s Queen Consort found an amazing link to the Rhoynar and Dorne and what is happening at the wall military-wise that includes Stannis and his men against the wildlings, as we saw before, There is even a person to person comparison. The post on PG 3 can be found here.
Nymeria’s ships are a euphemism for the wildlings of now. In many of GRRM’s other stories the ships (sea, air, and space) all play parts as if they are characters themselves. This sounds very much like the wildings, and even Stannis’s men, who decided to convert to R’hllor because of Melisandre, which turns out to be a bad idea (Rattleshirt, the mutiny) and many re-convert back to the seven or old gods. I have a post a few down that possibly links this to Patchface as well. Bowen Marsh is clearly a main antagonist in this battle as well. Additionally, this is also a parallel to Mother Mole and the way she mis-guided a few thousand wildlings and got them stuck in Hardhome where they are resorting to cannibalism and some have now been captured as slaves.
- A Dance with Dragons – Jon III
“Once the free folk are settled in the Gift, they will become part of the realm,” Jon pointed out. “These are desperate days, and like to grow more desperate. We have seen the face of our real foe, a dead white face with bright blue eyes. The free folk have seen that face as well. Stannis is not wrong in this. We must make common cause with the wildlings.”
“Common cause against a common foe, I could agree with that,” said Bowen Marsh, “but that does not mean we should allow tens of thousands of half-starved savages through the Wall. Let them return to their villages and fight the Others there, whilst we seal the gates. It will not be difficult, Othell tells me. We need only fill the tunnels with chunks of stone and pour water through the murder holes. The Wall does the rest. The cold, the weight … in a moon’s turn, it will be as if no gate had ever been. Any foe would need to hack his way through.”
- Marsh refers to the wildling numbers as “tens of thousands”, which we know is only about four-thousand with both waves. Another Nymeria connection.
- A Dance with Dragons – Jon XIII
[Mel] “Borroq is the least of your concerns. This ranging …”
[Jon] “A word from you might have swayed the queen.”
[Mel] “Selyse has the right of this, Lord Snow. Let them die. You cannot save them. Your ships are lost—”
[Jon] “Six remain. More than half the fleet.”
[Mel] “Your ships are lost. All of them. Not a man shall return. I have seen that in my fires.”
Here we have Melisandre encouraging Jon to abandon his mission to save the wildlings, even bringing Selyse and her own religion in as an arguing point. We also see another reference to the water theme and ships when Mel tells Jon his ships are lost. There is double meaning in those words. One is the literal ships that are going to save those at Hardhome, but in general as we have seen, it is the term for the wildlings used so far in the Nymeria parallels.
Opposition comes to everyone
There were even rival houses much like what we have on page now.
- Before Nymeria came, the Kings of Yronwood were the most powerful house in all of Dorne—far greater than the Martells of the time. They ruled half of Dorne—a fact that, to this day, the Yronwoods let no one forget. In the centuries after House Martell rose to the rule of Dorne, the Yronwoods have been the house likeliest to rebel, and have done so several times. Even after Prince Maron Martell united Dorne with the Iron Throne, this habit remained. Lords of Yronwood rode for the black dragon in no less than three of the five Blackfyre Rebellions.
This sounds very much like Bolton .vs. Stark clues, remembering that history repeats itself but changes a little bit each time. And think back to what we have going on in the north now. Bolton .vs. Stark and there are already wildlings that are aiding the Stark cause.
And we have a case of Melisandre possibly even contributing the mutiny stabbing part herself. The men at the mutiny were acting very strange by holding their hands up and exclaiming, “it wasn’t me,” and Marsh with his tears. Mel has already used a glamour, or spell, to try and trick Jon into trusting her by casting a spell on Ghost to make him come to her. But it only fooled Jon for a half a minute because he saw right through it. The worst part is how Melisandre still manipultes Jon’s emotions to get him to “work” with her.
- Melisandre and Selyse together is Jon’s version of the perfumed seneschal that readers are told to beware. This post here in another thread describes how. The two are a pair of stinky stewards!
- ADWD/ Jon III: “She won’t let our gods be,” argued Toad. “She calls the Seven false gods, m’lord. The old gods too. She made the wildlings burn weirwood branches. You saw.”
- Meria Martell, mentioned above as Val repeats her words, is called the Toad of Dorne.
- Updated page with the entire Melisandre tricking Ghost scene. Read here.
We readers have seen the clues for a long time that Shireen will burn, so not a surprise, but for the sake of the information in this thread I wanted to discuss it with some detail.
Update: I did a full write-up about how the burning of Shireen will be because of Melisandre and Selyse. Read that page here.
- Selyse and Mel are working as two heads of the Stannis/dragon three-way; these are his two wives. Selyse and Mel are going to burn Shireen without Stannis knowing or approval (because he is thought dead).
- Nightfort and the Black Gate will be the place of Shireen’s burning (possible location). Melisandre has a history of burning at castle gates.
- Shireen dreamed this happening in her ACOK prologue dialgue. Maybe some readers thought this would be actual dragons at the wall, but it is really the fiery dragon symbols or Selyse and Melisandre working together.
- Stannis will hear about this later and go nuts because he is not the religious zealot Selyse and Melisandre are, and Mel has been feeding Stannis mixed up info anyway.
History repeating is a thing. I say again, history repeating is a thing.
It seems that GRRM is using the idea of time repeating itself in a way we know it now. He is giving past examples of people and events as clues to what is going on in the current story. And here are a few more good pieces by someone other than me that is telling it like it is.
We even have the main-man-with-a-plan, Bloodraven , associating the timelines with rivers and we have seen the comparisons between the Rhoyne and the Milkwater in this post.
- A Dance with Dragons – Bran III
…Time is different for a tree than for a man. Sun and soil and water, these are the things a weirwood understands, not days and years and centuries. For men, time is a river. We are trapped in its flow, hurtling from past to present, always in the same direction. …
- Archmaester Brude, who was born and raised in the shadow city that huddles beneath the crumbling walls of Sunspear, once famously observed that Dorne has more in common with the distant North than either does with the realms that lie between them. “One is hot and one is cold, yet these ancient kingdoms of sand and snow are set apart from the rest of Westeros by history, culture, and tradition. Both are thinly peopled, compared to the lands betwixt. Both cling stubbornly to their own laws and their own traditions. Neither was ever truly conquered by the dragons. The King in the North accepted Aegon Targaryen as his overlord peaceably, whilst Dorne resisted the might of the Targaryens valiantly for almost two hundred years, before finally submitting to the Iron Throne through marriage. Dornishmen and Northmen alike are derided as savages by the ignorant of the five ‘civilized’ kingdoms, and celebrated for their valor by those who have crossed swords with them.”
Even the actual Wall is involved
George has stated that Hadrian’s Wall is the inspiration for the ASOIAF Wall. They share an amazing amount of similarities, including who “owns” it, why it was built, and how Jon and Val are connected to it. Page 5 post for more.
A common theme in the Nymeria history is the connection to water and the ocean, rivers and waves. This sounds like The Wall to me…
· WoIF: “It was said the Mother Rhoyne herself whispered to her children of every threat, that the Rhoynar princes wielded strange, uncanny powers, that Rhoynish women fought as fiercely as Rhoynish men, and that their cities were protected by “watery walls” that would rise to drown any foe.”
- WoIF: “By and large a peaceful people, the Rhoynar could be formidable when roused to wroth, as many a would-be Andal conqueror learned to his sorrow. The Rhoynish warrior with his silver-scaled armor, fish-head helm, tall spear, and turtle-shell shield was esteemed and feared by all those who faced him in battle.
- Remember in ASOS the huge turtleshell the Wildling were building to use in the attack at Castle Black? Yup, we have that Nymeria connection here: “The turtle had a rounded top and eight huge wheels, and under the hides was a stout wooden frame. When the wildlings had begun knocking it together, Satin thought they were building a ship. Not far wrong.”
- Dance/Jon 3: “The Wall itself turned red and pink and orange, as waves of color danced across the ice. Is this the power of king’s blood?”
- Clash/Jon 3: “When the wind blew, it drove the water right into their eyes. The Wall would be flowing off to the south, the melting ice mingling with warm rain to wash down in sheets and rivers.”
- Clash/Jon 4: “When the wind blew, he could hear the creak and groan of branches older than he was. A thousand leaves fluttered, and for a moment the forest seemed a deep green sea, storm-tossed and heaving, eternal and unknowable.
Ghost was not like to be alone down there, he thought. Anything could be moving under that sea, creeping toward the ringfort through the dark of the wood, concealed beneath those trees. Anything. How would they ever know? He stood there for a long time, until the sun vanished behind the saw-toothed mountains and darkness began to creep through the forest.”
- Storm/Jon 8: “North of the Wall was a sea of darkness that seemed to stretch forever. Jon could make out the faint red glimmer of distant fires moving through the wood. It was Mance, certain as sunrise.”
- Dance/Jon 11: “The crow, the crow,” Patchface cried when he saw Jon. “Under the sea the crows are white as snow, I know, I know, oh, oh, oh.”
- BONUS! Game-Cat II: Of all the rooms in Winterfell‘s Great Keep, Catelyn’s bedchambers were the hottest. She seldom had to light a fire. The castle had been built over natural hot springs, and the scalding waters rushed through its walls and chambers like blood through a man’s body, driving the chill from the stone halls, filling the glass gardens with a moist warmth, keeping the earth from freezing. Open pools smoked day and night in a dozen small courtyards. That was a little thing, in summer; in winter, it was the difference between life and death.
- This sounds very much like the wildlings themselves. World book: For many centuries the Rhoynar lived in peace. Though many a savage people dwelt in the hills and forests around Mother Rhoyne, all knew better than to molest the river folk. And the Rhoynar themselves showed little interest in expansion; the river was their home, their mother, and their god, and few of them wished to dwell beyond the sound of her eternal song.
As are the stars in the sky… and apparently milk
We already know that there are two celestial bodies that are linked to Jon, the Thief, which was linked to him when he “stole” Ygritte and Val who is Jon’s Moonmaid, and the Ice Dragon. Well, Nymeria has her own little bit of the stars as well and it is described as a “milky band” (the Milkwater in the north) and the ten thousand ships (the wildlings following her). And remember, We learn in a Jaime chapter, “Faith is like porridge. Better with milk and honey.”
The Thief, or the Red Wanderer, is associated with The Smith… and guess where Jon has taken up residence at Castle Black…
· A Dance with Dragons – Jon I
Outside his bedchamber a flight of steps descended to a larger room furnished with a scarred pinewood table and a dozen oak-and-leather chairs. With Stannis in the King’s Tower and the Lord Commander’s Tower burned to a shell, Jon had established himself in Donal Noye’s modest rooms behind the armory. In time, no doubt, he would need larger quarters, but for the moment these would serve whilst he accustomed himself to command.
· A Dance with Dragons – Jon III
“… would be a fine thing on the Wall.” Jon put aside his wine cup and drew on his black moleskin gloves. “A pity that the sword that Stannis wields is cold. I’ll be curious to see how his Lightbringer behaves in battle. Thank you for the wine. Ghost, with me.” Jon Snow raised the hood of his cloak and pulled at the door. The white wolf followed him back into the night.
The armory was dark and silent. Jon nodded to the guards before making his way past the silent racks of spears to his rooms. He hung his sword belt from a peg beside the door and his cloak from another.
Val is Jon’s second moon-maid after Ygritte. In the tales, the first moon dies when it gets too close to the sun= Ygritte is kissed by fire. The second moon, that cracks like an egg (ultra feminine) will kiss the sun and dragons will return. This is Val helping to heal Jon after the mutiny stabbing and Jon will know his heritage. Jon= Sun, Val= second moon.
- Silvery-wet hair tumbled across her eyes as Dany turned her head, curious. “The moon?”
“He told me the moon was an egg, Khaleesi,” the Lysene girl said. “Once there were two moons in the sky, but one wandered too close to the sun and cracked from the heat. A thousand thousand dragons poured forth, and drank the fire of the sun. That is why dragons breathe flame. One day the other moon will kiss the sun too, and then it will crack and the dragons will return.”
The two Dothraki girls giggled and laughed. “You are foolish strawhead slave,” Irri said. “Moon is no egg. Moon is god, woman wife of sun. It is known.”
- Val kissed him lightly on the cheek. “You have my thanks, Lord Snow. For the half-blind horse, the salt cod, the free air. For hope.”
- The light of the half-moon turned Val‘s honey-blond hair a pale silver and left her cheeks as white as snow. She took a deep breath. “The air tastes sweet.”
- “You have my word, Lord Snow. I will return, with Tormund or without him.” Val glanced at the sky. The moon was but half-full. “Look for me on the first day of the full moon.”
- “Good.” Val wheeled the garron toward the north. “The first night of the full moon, then.” Jon watched her ride away wondering if he would ever see her face again. I am no southron lady, he could hear her say, but a woman of the free folk.
- Ironically, it was Bowen Marsh that says this in Jon/Dance 3: “… in a moon’s turn, it will be as if no gate had ever been.”, which is what Jon is trying to achieve for the wildlings
To me, this next part is both extremely romatic with Jon holding his breath waiting for Val to return to him, but also possible foreshadowing for Val healing Jon after the mutiny stabbing.
- A Dance with Dragons – Jon X
“Two blasts,” said Mully.
Black brothers, northmen, free folk, Thenns, queen’s men, all of them fell quiet, listening. Five heartbeats passed. Ten. Twenty. Then Owen the Oaf tittered, and Jon Snow could breathe again. “Two blasts,” he announced. “Wildlings.” Val.
- A Storm of Swords – Jon III
He found Ghost atop the hill, as he thought he might. The white wolf never howled, yet something drew him to the heights all the same, and he would squat there on his hindquarters, hot breath rising in a white mist as his red eyes drank the stars.>>> So here we have a drank/liquid/river connection again, and red eyes of the old gods (to which Jon has already associated Val), and then the white breath misting in the air.
- A Dance with Dragons – Jon VIII
“He may not heed your words, but he will hear them.” Val kissed him lightly on the cheek. “You have my thanks, Lord Snow. For the half-blind horse, the salt cod, the free air. For hope.”
Their breath mingled, a white mist in the air. Jon Snow drew back and said, “The only thanks I want is—”
“—Tormund Giantsbane. Aye.” Val pulled up the hood of her bearskin. The brown pelt was well salted with grey. “Before I go, one question. Did you kill Jarl, my lord?”
- A Feast for Crows – The Queenmaker
[Arianne] …Do you see the white one, Quentyn? That is Nymeria’s star, burning bright, and that milky band behind her, those are ten thousand ships. …
- “You won’t,” Jon blurted.
It was as if he whacked a wasps’ nest with a stick. One of the queen’s men laughed, one spat, one muttered a curse, and the rest all tried to talk at once. “The boy has milkwater in his veins,” said Ser Godry the Giantslayer. And Lord Sweet huffed, “The craven sees an outlaw behind every blade of grass.”
REMINDER: This page is currently an editing work in progress. For some reason, the formatting is wonkin’ up when brought from one written source to here and it is taking me time to straighten it all out (and WordPress keeps eating all of my updates).
- Jon Snow- the Wolf and the Bear.
- Jon is the Sun’s son. He acting as a King-father.
- The “Val” archetype has existed for decades. When was Val introduced into ASOAIF?
- Greenseeing is Enlightenment, and Bran and Jon will work together.
- Samwell is learning the true speech and will speak through ravens…
- Melisandre tricked Ghost, that was not trust. Read here.
- The altered history of the Night’s Watch vows. Only half truths.
The Fattest Leech blog thanks you for keeping up with the jambles and jumbles here.