Category Archives: Themes and Motifs

Moon Visions: Bran is Already Seeing the Future

I’ll get straight to the point:

Bran’s last chapter in A Dance with Dragons is rife with hidden meaning.

In particular, there are carefully hidden allegories buried in the various transitions of the moon.

By unraveling these mysteries, we realize that Bran’s powers of omniscience were already blooming, even before he—or the reader—was consciously aware of them.

Specifically: We can find intriguing possibilities that might support predictions about the fates of both Jon Snow and Stannis.

Lets start with Bran’s narrative: upon finally settling in at the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven, his narrative becomes increasingly distorted.

Bran’s last chapter in A Dance with Dragons is especially conspicuous, containing frequent—almost rhythmic—breaks in the storytelling—breaks which in almost every case describe the the moon overhead. These interludes all begin with one of the following phrases:

The moon was a crescent, thin and sharp as the blade of a knife.
— BRAN III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

The moon was fat and full.
— BRAN III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

The moon was a black hole in the sky.
— BRAN III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

These phrases clearly mark the passage of time, and make it clear that BRAN III—ADWD covers a period spanning several months.

Now this leads to an interesting question:

  • ?
  • Can we connect these passages to events happening elsewhere?

At first blush that seems absurd because Bran’s chapter and these sentences seem so abstract and independent of everything and everyone else. But all I’m really asking is–Can we find events in other chapters where the moon can be found in the same phase, or other evidence that events are happening concurrently with the events in BRAN III—ADWD as shown by Bran’s descriptions of the moon?

You may harbor serious doubts about this idea. However, if you’ll indulge me the opportunity to compare two passages from A Dance with Dragons, I believe you will be convinced that reading the remainder of this essay is worthwhile. Continue reading

The Sea of Shadow: A Map to Dead Kings

“Men live their lives trapped in an eternal present,
between the mists of memory and
the sea of shadow that is all we know of the days to come.
BLOODRAVEN — BRAN III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Would you believe me I told you there was a series of ‘easter eggs’ concealed within A Song of Ice and Fire?

Specifically, would you believe that there are references to other scenes and places secretly placed in passages mentioning shadows?

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Prophecy: A Cipher for the Readers

That said, now that I’ve realized his three-fold revelation strategy, I see it in play almost every time. The first, subtle hint for the really astute readers, followed later by the more blatant hint for the less attentive, followed by just spelling it out for everyone else. It’s a brilliant strategy, and highly effective.
— Anne Groell, GRRM’s editor

I believe a careful exploration of Martin’s use of prophecies in A Song of Ice and Fire can allow us to make an insightful observation:

Prophecies are a device used by Martin to communicate with his audience – NOT with characters in the books.

As a cryptic form of direct address, the utility of prophecies is often not hinged on the real-world possibilities (meaning as a prophecy might make sense to a character).

Continuing, the value of prophecy is most often derived from things perceptible only to readers (e.g., such as the prose used by the author).

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