Most of the visions and prophecies in ASOIAF uses heraldry as hints towards identifying the characters involved.
- Dunk and Egg – All dragons in dreams correspond to Targaryen individuals, not actual dragons.
- The Ghost of the High Heart – ‘a woman who was a fish’ is Catelyn, ‘golden stag’ is Renly, ‘wolf’ could be Robb
- In Quaithe’s warning to Dany, the following fits with the sigils of the characters – the Kraken (Euron or Victarion), Lion (Tyrion), Griffin (Jon Connington), Sun’s son (Quentyn).
But not Patchface’s. Patchface uses a very different language for his sayings, and most of them are related to death. This link does a good job of interpreting Patchface prophecies as not related to sigils, but death. I tend to agree with most of it, but this post (original reddit link here) is a conventional attempt of interpreting the following Patchface verse:
“I will lead it!” His bells rang merrily. “We will march into the sea and out again. Under the waves we will ride seahorses, and mermaids will blow seashells to announce our coming.”
In the wake of Grand Northern Conspiracy, and the increasing signs that Stannis will win the Battle of Ice, we can’t but see the possible symbolisms in the above verse.
I. Merman is sigil of House Manderly, who have made a pact with Davos. We know from the Theon chapter in Winds that Manderly forces are marching out of Winterfell to battle Stannis, but there is a high chance that they will join switch their allegiances to Stannis instead (irrespective of whether the loyal Stark bannermen were using Stannis as a means to an end). Patchface says ‘mermaid’ – this could mean that a Manderly woman, like Wynafryd or Wylla who appears to be fiercely loyal to the Starks, will be involved in the prophecy. Wynafryd is older, and was in on Wyman’s ploy with Davos. So she could be in a position to carry out Wyman’s plans regarding Starks and Stannis.
II. Seashells are the sigil of House Westerling. In the context of GNC, there are two Westerlings of interest:
- Jeyne Westerling – Robb’s queen, who is supposedly on the way from Riverrun to Casterly Rock along with many prisoners of Red Wedding, including Edmure and possibly Greatjon Umber too. There are some theories based on hip-sizes which said this Jeyne is not the real Jeyne, but GRRM said it was printing mistake, so there is no reason to seriously doubt the identity of Jeyne whom Jaime met at Riverrun. GRRM has also confirmed that Jeyne will appear in TWOW Prologue, which means something important will happen to Jeyne’s party. Most likely the Brotherhood without Banners lead by Lady Stoneheart or the Blackfish will attack Forley Prester’s party, free the prisoners, thereby lifting the last holds the Frey-Bolton-Lannister alliance had had over Robb’s bannermen.
- Raynald Westerling – Jeyne’s brother, presumed dead in the Red Wedding. Martin spends a quite a number of lines on a seemingly dead character:
Jaime: “Tell me, is Ser Raynald Westerling amongst these captives?” “The knight of seashells?” Edwyn sneered. “You’ll find that one feeding the fish at the bottom of the Green Fork.” “He was in the yard when our men came to put the direwolf down,” said Walder Rivers. “Whalen demanded his sword and he have it over meek enough, but when the crossbowmen began feathering the wolf he seized Whalen’s axe and cut the monster loose of the net they’d thrown over him. Whalen says he took a quarrel in his shoulder and another in the gut, but still managed to reach the wallwalk and throw himself into the river.” “He left a trail of blood on the steps,” said Edwyn. “Did you find his corpse afterward?” asked Jaime. “We found a thousand corpses afterward. Once they spend a few days in the river, they all look much the same”
This blog post makes a good argument of using these lines to deduce Raynald is alive. Main points:
- Freys called Raynald ‘knight of seashells’, suggesting he was wearing his surcoat for the Red Wedding
- Even if Raynald was dead and his face was unrecognisable, his surcoat would have given clue about his identity, had the Freys really found him among the thousands of corpses. (Also, IMO, a prickly man like Walder Frey would like to have any dead Westerlings as trophies.)
- All this fuss about someone dead and gone suggests he is not really dead and gone – we already have Jon Connington and the gravedigging Hound as other examples.
If Raynald is alive, where could he have gone? If he was free, the first place to go is Riverrun, where his sister is. But if so, his mother would not ask about him to Jaime. If Raynald really fell into the river, one possibility is the Quiet Isle, but another one is the Neck where there are already some Stark loyalists – such as Maege Mormont and Galbart Glover. If Raynald knew about Robb’s Will (or any other plans Robb had but did not share with Catelyn), he could have gone there himself to inform it is time they crowned Robb’s successor. The GNC theory proposes that, based on the actions of Lyanna Mormont and Robett Glover, both Maege and Galbart contacted their families and this set to motion the plans to crown Jon as KitN (or Lord of Winterfell). Robett Glover was last seen with the Manderlys. Could Raynald also have reached White Harbor somehow? He could not have been there when Freys were, or they would have known him.
III. Seahorse is the sigil of House Velaryon. Aurane Waters is a Velaryon bastard, who fought for Stannis at the Blackwater. From Arianne I sample chapter, we can infer Aurane is currently established as pirate at at the Stepstones. This analysis of Aurane’s character suggests there is a good chance that Aurane could go join Stannis, hoping to fill the gap left by Davos as Stannis’s fleet commander, and evidence for Aurane’s plans to betray Cersei before Cersei’s downfall happened. Maybe Aurane was always Stannis’s man, maybe not. It also suggests that Justin Massey who is currently on way to Braavos will chance upon Aurane (pirates need not keep to Stepstones), and Justin Massey’s famously glib tongue may prove crucial to Stannis by recruiting Aurane to Stannis’s cause. Aurane has other options in the form of Aegon and golden company, or Daenerys, but let’s assume for the purpose of prophecy that Aurane is headed North. [Also, we know Aurane is opportunistic and ambitious, going so far as to wanting the lordship of Dragonstone. Someone like that, especially someone with dragon blood, may not think it above his reach to even ask Shireen’s hand in marriage if he delivers Cersei’s defeat to Stannis. I am not saying it is realistic, but having seen Petyr Baelish’s rise in power, why can’t Aurane hope for more, too?]
How do these people fit in Patchface’s prophecy? Filling in people for their heraldic animals, it roughly translates to –
When put like that, dull, ain’t it? The death version was more interesting. Let it be.
Patchface sings all this in response to Jon’s statement that he will lead the ranging to Hardhome. Therefore first part,
we will march into the sea and out again
is related to Jon’s death and possible resurrection. If Jon comes back from dead(or almost dead) state, then Patchface and Jon both will be characters who have ‘marched into the sea and out again’, literally in case of Patchface.
Back to the first part, a couple more speculations:
- ‘Under the sea’ is death, but all these about mermen and seashells are not ‘under the sea’, but it is ‘under the waves’. Given that Aurane is currently at stepstones, near Lys where Edric Storm is, he could be doing a kingmaker conspiracy of his own. ‘Under the waves’ could be ‘in the leadership of Storm’, with Storm as in Edric Storm. Aurane finds Edric, and Massey (who tells Asha that he has lost faith in more than gods-probably his king?) marries Edric to fakeArya, uniting North and Stormlands. They think they will get the support of North and Riverlands through Arya, and the Stormlands (and the legitimate claim to Iron Throne) through Edric. Edric is also a Warrior’s man like his father, they could even use the Faith to their advantage. None of this will happen because of Aegon and other complications, of course. That does not stop them from planning.
- In the Blind Girl chapter, there is a mention of Hardhome refugees being in Braavos. Justin Massey could learn about the mission to Hardhome from Eastwatch and more of the refugees at Braavos. There is also some chance that real Arya Stark will leave Braavos (hearing her brother’s death or learning that her other brothers are alive through wolf-dreams or such) and come back North. Martin does say that the Mercy chapter was moved to TWOW because it felt like a beginning more than an end. Arya has spent a long time in Braavos and with the Facelessmen. Any ‘beginning’ should mean her leaving it (at least the FM) for something else. Maybe Massey, Arya (under some disguise) and Aurane goes to Hardhome and gets the wildlings (using the wildlings at Braavos to gain the other wildlings’ trust), and bring that as an army to aid Stannis. Then they contact Manderly and Raynald or Jeyne who then informs the North of Stannis’s new army. ETA: The Massey sigil is a triple spiral, could he be the ‘waves’?
Both speculations bears only weak connections to Manderlys or Westerlings. There are could be more ways they could fit in, assuming the prophecy is about sigils, although in reality they need not be.