Ironborn Mythos Part 2: The Little Mermaid

Hello Everyone!  The last topic I posted discussed the origins of the Ironborn myth of the Grey King, his sacrificial drowning and rebirth and its parallels to a Christ-like figure, a mortal avatar of their Drowned God. The legend of the Grey King in a sense is meant to give us clues, clues that are lost to different cultural points of view in the Azor Ahai myth.  Even though there are some cultures who see the Grey King as going wicked and committing sin; there are other cultural accounts that reveal him as a sacrificial hero.  As we went further, we found drowning to be at the crux of his death and a fiery kiss being the key to his resurrection. The tales of Nagga and merlings are likely the tales of a shipwrecked people coming into contact with the First Men after a supernatural storm. 

So in today’s topic, we are going to examine a couple of things related to the Ironborn and merlings, but before we can do that, we are going to explore merlings in real world myth.

The Merling Myth

Merlings are aquatic half-human creatures that can be found in myth throughout the world.  While there are some stories that stood out while researching, there seemed to be an overall theme: storms, sinking ships and drowning.  In many tales, mermaids are classically femme fatales and enchantresses who lure men to death with their beauty or song.  Merlings are often linked with perilous events such as floods, storms, shipwrecks and drownings.  Even sighting a mermaid can be an unfortunate omen, both foretelling an approaching storm or even causing it.  This is exactly what the Grey King is believed to be connected to floods, storms, shipwrecks and drownings. Like the Grey King before his transformation, in Greek myth, mermen were often depicted with green seaweed-like hair, a beard, and a trident. In Irish versions, mermen are described with green hair, teeth and skin. Merlings are most often depicted as half-human and half fish but can also be depicted as aquatic shapeshifters or skinchangers who take the form of other animals such as horses, swans and seals. 

Merlings are not always wicked however, in some tales they can be a human’s protector by providing assistance; teaching cures for disease; and bestowing boons, gifts and rewards.  In fact, they even fall in love with humans. The most iconic example of mermaids in literature is Hans Christian Andersen’s, The Little Mermaid. It seems GRRM has made a point to give a nod to this fairytale particularly.  As you may have noticed, Patchface is a guy said to be saved by mermaids and is always singing “under the sea”. Similarly, TWOIAF also details a certain ‘Ursula’ Upcliff who was the self-styled “Bride of the Merling King”.  This is this tale which I believe inspired what happened on the shores of Old Wyk that fateful night.  In the original Little Mermaid story, a young mermaid falls in love with a human prince whom she saves from drowning after his ship is wrecked in a storm.  The mermaid falls in love with the prince and trades her voice to a sea-witch (named Ursula in the Disney version) in exchange for a chance to win his love. This mermaid also sacrifices an exceedingly long life in order to become human, another hefty price.  Similarly, in ASOIAF there is also a tale of fair Elenei who happens to be mermaid-like and trades her immortality for a mortal’s love and ends up saving Durran from the wrath of the storm.  See for yourself:

“The songs said that Storm’s End had been raised in ancient days by Durran, the first Storm King, who had won the love of the fair Elenei, daughter of the sea god and the goddess of the wind. On the night of their wedding, Elenei had yielded her maidenhood to a mortal’s love and thus doomed herself to a mortal’s death, and her grieving parents had unleashed their wrath and sent the winds and waters to batter down Durran’s hold. His friends and brothers and wedding guests were crushed beneath collapsing walls or blown out to sea, but Elenei sheltered Durran within her arms so he took no harm, and when the dawn came at last he declared war upon the gods and vowed to rebuild.”

Knowing there is already a tale of a man who lived a thousand years who fought the storm god and was protected by his mermaid wife, doesn’t it just make you wonder about the what happened to the grey king in his resurrection knowing he also took a mermaid to wife and also lived a thousand years and also planned his wars against the Storm God?  That is right, that fateful night his mermaid wife gave him the kiss of life.

There is also another tale in ASOIAF which is mighty unusual.  Remember when we examined the ritual of the Ironborn “kiss of life” and its similarities to the R’hllor “last kiss” ritual?  If we recall, the last kiss was called the kiss of life by Thoros after it proved effective at bringing Beric back from the dead.  After this resurrection, Beric began taking on some suspicious corpse looking Azor Ahai greenseer symbolism.  In the below passage we also see mention of resurrection and living 1000 years…sound like someone we know?  Then we see mention of a man who was a statue who was apparently brought back to life by the kiss of a mysterious woman.  A statue is a lifeless object which is something of a metaphor for death as people become statues after they die, this is best exemplified in the crypts of Winterfell.

““The Shrouded Lord has ruled these mists since Garin’s day,” said Yandry. “Some say that he himself is Garin, risen from his watery grave.” The dead do not rise,” insisted Haldon Halfmaester, “and no man lives a thousand years. Yes, there is a Shrouded Lord. There have been a score of them. When one dies another takes his place. This one is a corsair from the Basilisk Islands who believed the Rhoyne would offer richer pickings than the Summer Sea.” “Aye, I’ve heard that too,” said Duck, “but there’s another tale I like better. The one that says he’s not like t’other stone men, that he started as a statue till a grey woman came out of the fog and kissed him with lips as cold as ice.”

The Shrouded Lord

Where do I begin?  The Dolorous stroke, shrouds, greyscale, roaring giants, kissing, turtles and fools and there is a woman too. The Grey King is his Grey Grace himself.  This may seem unlikely and if you are skeptical, that is okay, just keep reading. 

So what do we know about the Shrouded Lord?  According to tales:

 “The Shrouded Lord has ruled these mists since Garin’s day,” said Yandry. “Some say that he himself is Garin, risen from his watery grave.” “The dead do not rise,” insisted Haldon Halfmaester, “and no man lives a thousand years. Yes, there is a Shrouded Lord. There have been a score of them. When one dies another takes his place. This one is a corsair from the Basilisk Islands who believed the Rhoyne would offer richer pickings than the Summer Sea.” “Aye, I’ve heard that too,” said Duck, “but there’s another tale I like better. The one that sayshe’s not like t’other stone men, that he started as a statue till a grey woman came out of the fog and kissed him with lips as cold as ice.”

We also know that GRRM was going to have a chapter where Tyrion was going to meet the Shrouded Lord, but the chapter eventually was re-written and later altogether scapped to the point that the Shrouded Lord encounter became only a dream allowing the reader to speculate what actually happened.

It’s a swell, spooky, evocative chapter, but you won’t read it in DANCE. It took me down a road I decided I did not want to travel, so I went back and ripped it out. So, unless I change my mind again, it’s going the way of the draft of LORD OF THE RINGS where Tolkien has Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin reach the Prancing Pony and meet… a weatherbeaten old hobbit ranger named “Trotter.”

While there has been much speculation regarding why this chapter was scrapped, most readers have deduced that the reason why Tyrion never met the Shrouded Lord was the path of magic and the chapter being too magical in a sense for GRRMs low high fantasy style.  To quote one redditor:

Magic is ASOIAF is very aloof, a lot of it is hinted at and implied, but we actually see very few direct manifestations of magic, especially when it comes to gods and deities and such. A lot of it is about the perception of power and magic, it’s about people believing magic exists, and about the way that power lies where people believe it lies. There are definitely a few direct cases of magic being present but for the most part it’s left pretty ambiguous, unreliable narration can account for a lot of exaggeration too.

We also don’t really have much evidence in the way of gods so far. People talk about them, and they claim that their power comes from such and such a god (particularly R’hllor) but for the most part we’re left to wonder where this power actually comes from, and whether or not these gods actually exist. Gurm has talked a lot about how magic can easily cheapen a story, how it can be the easy way out or make things unrealistic or unbelievable. He talks about how Bran is the most difficult character to write because he is the one who has the strongest link to magic and the gods in the series, and he talks about how it can be a dangerous game to play, too much magic and gods and whatnot can easily be disastrous. So to outright come out and say “So and so mystical deity exists (the shrouded lord) and directly communicates with a POV character in some magical meeting” seems to me to go against the grain, it doesn’t quite fit with what the series has done so far. If the shrouded lord can come speak to Tyrion (which granted, could just be him being and unreliable narrator)

So what most have come to understand is that GRRM had originally wanted Tyrion to meet Garin’s ghost, but I don’t think that is what GRRM really had in mind at the time.  As we all know, GRRM hides shreds of truth in each of his legends. If you look at the symbolism of all three versions of the story and add them together, I think you will find the answer to the identity of the Shrouded Lord but you have to pay close attention.  The first tale is about a man who caused watery walls to rise so high he drowned everything including himself and to this day the area has been plagued with greyscale.  The second version of the story was a pirate king who is reborn in a sense every time one dies as another pirate king takes his place.  The third story is of a statue, a lifeless object which comes to life through the kiss of a mysterious woman.  This statue looks like the story we have been searching for in Part I, a man being brought back with the kiss of life.  When we tie everything together you get the picture of the Grey King himself—a pirate king who caused watery walls to rise and was given the kiss of life when he drowned.  The story also goes that. “The Shrouded Lord has ruled these mists since Garin’s day” so let’s examine what went down that fateful day when Garin made the watery walls rise and drowned the richest and most splendid of cities along the Rhoyne.  What literally went down was thousands of people, thousands of drowned souls much like the drowned city of Velos which Victarion ponders when he is anchored in the Isles of Cedars:

On the day the Doom came to Valyria, it was said, a wall of water three hundred feet high had descended on the island, drowning hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children, leaving none to tell the tale but some fisherfolk who had been at sea and a handful of Velosi spearmen posted in a stout stone tower on the island’s highest hill, who had seen the hills and valleys beneath them turn into a raging sea. Fair Velos with its palaces of cedar and pink marble had vanished in a heartbeat. On the north end of the island, the ancient brick walls and stepped pyramids of the slaver port Ghozai had suffered the same fate. So many drowned men,the Drowned God will be strong there, Victarion had thought when he chose the island for the three parts of his fleet to join up again.

If there is any weight to Victarion’s assumptions, the Drowned God is supposed to be strong in areas that have collected more than its fair share of drowned souls.  If we apply Victarion’s statement of the drowned city of Velos to the parallel drowned city of Chroyane, we have a little drowned god hot spot on our hands.  And who descended to the watery halls to sit at the right hand  of the Drowned God? That’s right, the Grey King.  So think about it again a pirate king, a hero who caused watery walls to rise, and a statue who was kissed to life.  The three versions of the Shrouded Lord (his Grey Grace) is the embodiment of the Grey king himself. 

The Sorrows chapter is full of symbolism and we are going to go over as much as we can today, but the symbolism is EVERYWHERE in the books once you know what to look for.

“Drown me for a Fool”

Ever wonder what the symbolism was behind Tyrion being dressed in a mish-mash motley on the Shy Maid?  The outfit was obviously symbolic.  You also might remember the Shrounded Lord, will grant a boon to anyone who can make him laugh?  Some have theorized that Tyrion did not drown or contract greyscale because he had made the Shrouded Lord laugh.  Knowing this, let’s take a look at another Drowned God hotspot, Shipbreaker Bay which lies directly off of Storm’s End.  Storm’s End is of course notorious for its bad storms and even has the legend of Elenei surrounding it.  Storm’s End also has another fool, Patchface, who is also heavily speculated to have drowned and come back to life.  If there is anyone who can make the Shrouded Lord laugh it would have been this guy right here. That being said, why don’t we take a look at this guy patches, who is the only survivor of a shipwreck, whose survival is seemingly unexplainable as he should have drowned after being out to sea for three days. 

“We have found the most splendid fool,” […]“Only a boy, yet nimble as a monkey and witty as a dozen courtiers. He juggles and riddles and does magic, and he can sing prettily in four tongues. We have bought his freedom and hope to bring him home with us. Robert will be delighted with him, and perhaps in time he will even teach Stannis how to laugh.”

Oh you don’t say?  Patches can make Stannis laugh?  Stannis.  You mean the same Stannis who takes on the Ahor Ahai and Grey King symbolism?  That guy? Patches could have even made HIM laugh? That is rather convenient.  This is also our guy giving us our ‘Little Mermaid’ references all of the time singing ‘under the sea’.  So basically Patchface was drowned in a hotspot and made to sing for his supper and on the third day he rose.  In the passage below we see the small council conspiring while pondering the likeness of Patchface to someone afflicted with greyscale, additionally we also see the metaphor of someone with greyscale being like a statue.

 “A trade envoy from Lys once observed to me that Lord Stannis must love his daughter very well, since he’d erected hundreds of statues of her all along the walls of Dragonstone. ‘My lord,’ I had to tell him, ‘those are gargoyles.’ ” He chuckled. “Ser Axell might serve for Shireen’s father, but in my experience, the more bizarre and shocking a tale the more apt it is to be repeated. Stannis keeps an especially grotesque fool, a lackwit with a tattooed face.” […] “You’d have to be a fool to want to bed Selyse Florent,” said Littlefinger. “Doubtless Patchface reminded her of Stannis. And the best lies contain within them nuggets of truth, enough to give a listener pause. As it happens, this fool is utterly devoted to the girl and follows her everywhere. They even look somewhat alike. Shireen has a mottled, half-frozen face as well.” Pycelle was lost. “But that is from the greyscale that near killed her as a babe, poor thing.” “I like my tale better,” said Littlefinger, “and so will the smallfolk.

Sam is another good example, here we have Sam being saved from drowning by some big Summer Islander.  We can see him performing some rudimentary compressions like those done by the drowned preists.  Once Sam is back talking again, the Summer Islander takes on the Shrouded Lord role and mentions that Sam had made him laugh and the chapter ends with him smiling.

I’m drowned, was his last thought. Oh, gods be good, I’m drowned. When he opened his eyes he was on his back and a big black Summer Islander was pounding on his belly with fists the size of hams. Stop that, you’re hurting me, Sam tried to scream. Instead of words he retched out water, and gasped. He was sodden and shivering, lying on the cobbles in a puddle of canal water. The Summer Islander punched him in the belly again, and more water came squirting out his nose. “Stop that,” Sam gasped. “I haven’t drowned. I haven’t drowned.”   […]  He grabbed Sam’s doublet with a huge black fist and hauled him to his feet. “Xhondo mates on Cinnamon Wind. Many tongues he speaks, a little. Inside Xhondo laughs, to see you punch the singer. And Xhondo hears.” A broad white smile spread across his face. “Xhondo knows these dragons.”

So let’s take a look at another fool, Dontos Hollard.  Here we have a guy saved from drowning by a maid who is then forced into the role of a fool.

 “I lose,” he shouted. “Fetch me some wine.” The king stood. “A cask from the cellars! I’ll see him drowned in it.” Sansa heard herself gasp. “No, you can’t.” Joffrey turned his head. “What did you say?”    […]    “What a man sows on his name day, he reaps throughout the year.” His voice was flat, as if he did not care a whit whether the king believed him or no. Could it be true? Sansa had not known. It was just something she’d said, desperate to avoid punishment. Unhappy, Joffrey shifted in his seat and flicked his fingers at Ser Dontos. “Take him away. I’ll have him killed on the morrow, the fool.” “He is,” Sansa said. “A fool. You’re so clever, to see it. He’s better fitted to be a fool than a knight, isn’t he? You ought to dress him in motley and make him clown for you. He doesn’t deserve the mercy of a quick death.” The king studied her a moment. “Perhaps you’re not so stupid as Mother says.” He raised his voice. “Did you hear my lady, Dontos? From this day on, you’re my new fool. You can sleep with Moon Boy and dress in motley.”

Before we take a look at a few more foolish things, lets just take a look at the next time we see Dontos. Dontos meets Sansa in the godswood and we see he has taken on the Shrouded Lord persona cloaked in grey.

“I feared you would not come, child.” Sansa whirled. A man stepped out of the shadows, heavyset, thick of neck, shambling. He wore a dark grey robe with the cowl pulled forward, but when a thin sliver of moonlight touched his cheek, she knew him at once by the blotchy skin and web of broken veins beneath. “Ser Dontos,” she breathed, heartbroken. “Was it you?” “Yes, my lady.” When he moved closer, she could smell the sour stench of wine on his breath.

[…] I think I may find it in me to be a knight again, sweet lady. And all because of you … your grace, your courage. You saved me, not only from Joffrey, but from myself.” His voice dropped. “The singers say there was another fool once who was the greatest knight of all …” “Florian,”  

[…] “Rise, ser.” “Thank you, sweet lady.” Ser Dontos lurched clumsily to his feet, and brushed earth and leaves from his knees.  

[…]“You will not come with me?” “Better if we are never seen together.” Nodding, Sansa took a step … then spun back, nervous, and softly laid a kiss on his cheek, her eyes closed. “My Florian,” she whispered. “The gods heard my prayer.”

So what we see here is Dontos acknowledging the importance of Sansa saving him from being drowned by Joffrey, and as they depart she gives him a symbolic kiss.  The setting of this scene is a place of importance as they are situated in the godswood and in the Grey King’s drowning he was surrounded by the bones of the weirwood Nagga.  We also see Sansa and Dontos equate their story to Florian the fool. 

So lets look at another guy named Florian who was obviously named after Florian the Fool as he is the Lord of Maidenpool’s brother…From tPatQ:

Thereupon Lord Mooton sent for the captain of his guard, his brother, and his champion, SerFlorian Greysteel. He bade his maester to remain as well. When all had assembled, he read to them the letter and asked them for their counsel.   […]   ” “The girl is but a child, however foul her treasons,” said Ser Florian, that old knight, grey and grizzled and stern. “The Old King would never have asked this, of any man of honor.”

Ser Florian Greysteel is given a name that personifies someone having a grey armor, likewise greyscale is a hard covering of the skin.  Florian is also called old and grey, so what we get is a grey man with grey armor symbolism.  Quite fitting.

Let’s take a look at this other passage.  Here we have the mast of a torn apart ship that is given a dragon name making it a sea-dragon.  This ship is beached to that it can be torn apart and used as a weapon of war.  The mast of this sea dragon is reborn into a battering ram made of iron which is used to “storm” the gates.  The battering ram is of course the face of a jester:

Poor Groleo. He still grieved for his ship, she knew. If a war galley could ram another ship, why not a gate? That had been her thought when she commanded the captains to drive their ships ashore. Their masts had become her battering rams, and swarms of freedmen had torn their hulls apart to build mantlets, turtles, catapults, and ladders. The sellswords had given each ram a bawdy name, and it had been the mainmast of Meraxes— formerly Joso’s Prank— that had broken the eastern gate. Joso’s Cock, they called it. The fighting had raged bitter and bloody for most of a day and well into the night before the wood began to splinter and Meraxes’ iron figurehead, a laughing jester’s face, came crashing through.

Let’s not forget about Aeron, a main character who is famous for drowning should also follow this pattern as well since Aeron is claimed to have visited the Drowned Go’s watery halls. Well, even though he held no official title of fool this guy was full of foolish symbolism. 

At six-and-ten he called himself a man, but in truth he had been a sack of wine with legs. He would sing, he would dance (but not the finger dance, never again), he would jape and jabber and make mock. He played the pipes, he juggled, he rode horses, and could drink more than all the Wynches and the Botleys, and half the Harlaws too. The Drowned God gives every man a gift, even him; no man could piss longer or farther than Aeron Greyjoy, as he proved at every feast. Once he bet his new longship against a herd of goats that he could quench a hearthfire with no more than his cock. Aeron feasted on goat for a year, and named the longship Golden Storm, though Balon threatened to hang him from her mast when he heard what sort of ram his brother proposed to mount upon her prow. In the end the Golden Storm went down off Fair Isle during Balon’s first rebellion, cut in half by a towering war galley called Fury when Stannis Baratheon caught Victarion in his trap and smashed the Iron Fleet. Yet the god was not done with Aeron, and carried him to shore. 

Yet another character with a seemingly supernatural drowning is Davos.  The below passage is from the chapter where he lands on the Spears of the Merling King after the Battle of the Blackwater and is stranded for three days.  This is one of the more magical drownings we see in the books as the last thing Davos had remembered was drowning and then waking up on the Spears.  We also find Davos hears something that he believes is the Mother speaking to him.  At the end of the chapter Davos is rescued and is asked his identity.  Davos thinks to himself he should answer that he is a fool who rose too high.  In the next Davos chapter, he is aboard the ‘Valyrian” (another sea-dragon if you will) and is given a fierce embrace and is kissed by his rescuer.  The end of the paragraph is a reference to olives and a cross which is symbolically referring to the death of Jesus and his ascension to heaven, remember where in Part I  we talked about the Grey King being a Christ-like hero who is said in TWOIAF to have descended “to the Drowned God’s watery halls to take his rightful place at his right hand“, just as Jesus ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father.  Jesus is said to have ascended to heaven from a place called Mount Olive.

 “You,” the fifth man called out when they were only a few feet from his island, “you up on the rock. Who are you?”  A smuggler who rose above himself, thought Davos, a fool who loved his king too much, and forgot his gods. “I …” His throat was parched, and he had forgotten how to talk. The words felt strange on his tongue and sounded stranger in his ears. “I was in the battle. I was … a captain, a … a knight, I was a knight.”

When he saw Davos he stopped suddenly. “Is it pepper stinging my eyes, or tears? Is this the knight of the onions who stands before me? No, how can it be, my dear friend Davos died on the burning river, all agree. Why has he come to haunt me?” “I am no ghost, Salla.” “What else? My onion knight was never so thin or so pale as you.” Salladhor Saan threaded his way between the jars of spice and bolts of cloth that filled the hold of the merchanter, wrapped Davos in a fierce embrace, then kissed him once on each cheek and a third time on his forehead. “You are still warm, ser, and I feel your heart humpity-thumping. Can it be true? The sea that swallowed you has spit you up again.” Davos was reminded of Patchface, Princess Shireen’s lackwit fool. He had gone into the sea as well, and when he came out he was mad. Am I mad as well? He coughed into a gloved hand and said, “I swam beneath the chain and washed ashore on a spear of the merling king. I would have died there, if Shayala’s Dance had not come upon me.” Salladhor Saan threw an arm around the captain’s shoulders. “This was well done, Khorane. You will be having a fine reward, I am thinking. Meizo Mahr, be a good eunuch and take my friend Davos to the owner’s cabin. Fetch him some hot wine with cloves, I am misliking the sound of that cough. Squeeze some lime in it as well. And bring white cheese and a bowl of those cracked green olives we counted earlier! Davos, I will join you soon, once I have bespoken our good captain. You will be forgiving me, I know. Do not eat all the olives, or I must be cross with you!”

Prior to the Chapter in the Sorrows, Tyrian was aboard the Shy Maid and was thrown into the water by Rolly Duckfield.  After emerging from the water he takes on the guise of a fool wearing motley.  Tyrian already had so much going for him being a rather humorous dwarf, but in the chapter before the sorrows GRRM kicks this symbolism up a notch and puts him in motley.

“You have a gift for making men smile,” Septa Lemore told Tyrion as he was drying off his toes. “You should thank the Father Above. He gives gifts to all his children.” “He does,” he agreed pleasantly. And when I die, please let them bury with me a crossbow, so I can thank the Father Above for his gifts the same way I thanked the father below. His clothing was still soaked from his involuntary swim, clinging to his arms and legs uncomfortably. Whilst Young Griff went off with Septa Lemore to be instructed in the mysteries of the Faith, Tyrion stripped off the wet clothes and donned dry ones. Duck had a good guffaw when he emerged on deck again. He could not blame him. Dressed as he was, he made a comic sight. His doublet was divided down the middle; the left side was purple velvet with bronze studs; the right, yellow wool embroidered in green floral patterns. His breeches were similarly split; the right leg was solid green, the left leg striped in red and white. One of Illyrio’s chests had been packed with a child’s clothing, musty but well made. Septa Lemore had slit each garment apart, then sewn them back together, joining half of this to half of that to fashion a crude motley.

Tyrian is later drowned and dreams of the Shrouded Lord (yes, this is the remnants of the forgotten chapter), when he is revived he is told it was Septa Lemore who revived him, we can assume Lemore performed some type of rudimentary CPR.  GRRM purposely made sure it was a woman reviving Tyrian as a parallel to the story of the statue being brought to life:

The Sorrows are behind us. It was just a dream I dreamed as I was drowning. “Why do I stink of vinegar?” “Lemore has been washing you with it. Some say it helps prevent the greyscale. I am inclined to doubt that, but there was no harm in trying. It was Lemore who forced the water from your lungs after Griff had pulled you up. You were as cold as ice, and your lips were blue. Yandry said we ought to throw you back, but the lad forbade it

Finally we have Asha and Tris talking about Badbrother when Asha realizes this may be the key to stopping Euron.  She kisses him in thanks and they are interrupted by a warhorn which is another drowning of the waters symbol.

Badbrother had proved to be as mean as he was cruel and had few friends left upon the isles. The priests denounced him, the lords rose against him, and his own captains hacked him into pieces. Torgon the Latecomer became the king and ruled for forty years.” Asha took Tris Botley by the ears and kissed him full upon  “A kiss, it’s called. Drown me for a fool, Tris, I should have remembered—” She broke off suddenly. When Tris tried to speak, she shushed him, listening. “That’s a warhorn. Hagen.” Her first thought was of her husband. Could Erik Ironmaker have come all this way to claim his wayward wife?

When it comes down to it, the symbolism fits for a fool’s drowning only to be resurrected by a kiss of life, this is what connects Tyrion’s drowning to Patchface and all of the other drownings we see…in Patchface’s case he most likely met the Shrouded Lord himself as did Tyrian.  In the case of Aeron, Dontos and even Tyrian we are given a glimpse of how drunkenness can lead to becoming a fool and this is echoed in Elder Brother’s drowning when he stated before he drowned, “when I was not fighting, I was drunk.  My life was written in red, in blood and wine”.  What is really interesting is that another name for drinking can be to “drown your sorrows” and that is precisely what Tyrian did—he drowned in a place called the Sorrows. Elder Brother is also much like the tale of the Corsair King in the Shrouded Lord story in that when one dies the other takes on the role and the name.  In the Dunk and Egg Tales we see Dunk drown in the Chequy water, Chequy is just another name for a checkered pattern….a motley, Dunk drowned in a motley river.  Dunk is resurrected by an Ironborn master and is given a vinegar drink to prevent greyscale just as Davos is given a lime drink to prevent greyscale.  Additionally, I don’t think it is by chance that Thoros of Myr is from Myr.  Thoros being from Myr technically makes him a Myrman performing fiery kiss resurrections.  I think GRRM was sneeky with his symbolism of Cat and Beric’s deaths by making their cause of death be not from drowning but still giving them the drowning associations.  Cat’s body was pulled from a river and before she died she symbolically killed the Frey fool Jinglebells and and went mad laughing before she died.  Interestingly Beric’s body was also pulled from a river before he succumbed to his wounds in a grove of Ash.  I am already on page nine on a word document so I am going to wrap this up for today, but as you can see with the drownings in the books, there is a tie-in to kissing and fools.  Next time we will talk about the symbolic armor of greyscale.  Until then just remember the wildlings refer to anyone with greyscale as being dead, however:

What is dead may never die, but rises harder and stronger.