Very Fishy: Osha Turncloak

osha

George R. R. Martin was so impressed with Osha’s performance in the show that he’s making changes in his next book, The Winds of Winter. “She’s become such an interesting character,” he explains, “that when she reappears in the books I’d like to give her a more interesting role to play”.

GRRM’s definition of an “interesting character” is quite different from other peoples usage of the term.

Let’s look at Osha’s quotes and context in the book:

No sooner had Hodor entered the godswood than Summer emerged from under an oak, almost as if he had known they were coming. Bran glimpsed a lean black shape watching from the undergrowth as well. “Shaggy,” he called. “Here, Shaggydog. To me.” But Rickon’s wolf vanished as swiftly as he’d appeared.

Bran saw a lean black shape. He thought it was Shaggy Dog. But was it? Shaggydog wasn’t mentioned in the remaining chapter. Why would GRRM call it a “black mysterious figure” like that and not call it Shaggy? This sets the tone that someone dark is watching from the shadows.

Hodor knew Bran’s favorite place, so he took him to the edge of the pool beneath the great spread of the heart tree, where Lord Eddard used to kneel to pray. Ripples were running across the surface of the water when they arrived, making the reflection of the Weirwood shimmer and dance. There was no wind, though. For an instant Bran was baffled. And then Osha exploded up out of the pool with a great splash, so sudden that even

Summer leapt back, snarling.

Summer snarling at her is a big sign. Direwolf reactions are good predictors of future conflict. Her only offering small ripples points to her being down there a relatively long time. Could it be longer than humans could maintain?

Hodor jumped away, wailing “Hodor, Hodor” in dismay until Bran patted his shoulder to soothe his fears. “How can you swim in there?” he asked Osha. “Isn’t it cold?”

As a babe I suckled on icicles, boy. I like the cold.”

Freefolk beyond the wall would surely be more cold adapted. But this being the Song of Ice and Fire, I don’t this icicle babe line one bit. Not one bit.

That is a very cold pool. It is mentioned as being cold many times by Starks. A Stark mentioning that something being cold is like a Targaryen complaining of the heat. They don’t. This is something to take note of.

“Please make it so Robb won’t go away,” he prayed softly. He moved his hand through the cold water, sending ripples across the pool. -A Game of Thrones – Bran VI

Osha swam to the rocks and rose dripping. She was naked, her skin bumpy with gooseprickles. Summer crept close and sniffed at her. “I wanted to touch the bottom.”

I do not like it one bit that she wanted to reach the bottom of that pool. There are swords on all the crypts of Winterfell. They function to keep spirits from coming into the crypt and animating the bodies. Aside from the monstrous ice dragon dormant in the waters, there may also be a sword in the black pool of Winterfell.

“I never knew there was a bottom.” “Might be there isn’t.” She grinned.

Saying “might be there isn’t” and grinning is essentially another way of saying “might be there is and I found it.” She had to be down there a long time to be able to scare them. There may be a magic connection between the pool and her if she could scare a direwolf with magical senses. Summer didn’t sense her coming.

Mermaids are mentioned 15 times in the series thus far, Deep Ones are mentioned twice and merlings are mentioned 26 times. I think she may be a Deep One which is roughly a “sea other”.

Here are a few mentions:

No one ever explained those two days the fool had been lost in the sea. The fisherfolk liked to say a mermaid had taught him to breathe water in return for his seed.

“. . . are stories told by sailors,” Armen interrupted. “Sailors, my dear Mollander. Go back down to the docks, and I wager you’ll find sailors who’ll tell you of the mermaids that they bedded, or how they spent a year in the belly of a fish.”

My brother Balon made us great again, which earned the Storm God’s wrath. He feasts now in the Drowned God’s watery halls, with mermaids to attend his every want.

The Grey King had slain her and the Drowned God had changed her bones to stone so that men might never cease to wonder at the courage of the first of kings. Nagga’s ribs became the beams and pillars of his longhall, just as her jaws became his throne. For a thousand years and seven he reigned here, Aeron recalled. Here he took his mermaid wife and planned his wars against the Storm God. From here he ruled both stone and salt, wearing robes of woven seaweed and a tall pale crown made from Nagga’s teeth.

White Harbor’s scent was sharp and salty, and a little fishy too. “She smells the way a mermaid ought to smell,” Roro said. “She smells of the sea.”

 

“What are you staring at, boy? Never seen a woman before?” “I have so.” Bran had bathed with his sisters hundreds of times and he’d seen serving women in the hot pools too. Osha looked different, though, hard and sharp instead of soft and curvy. Her legs were all sinew, her breasts flat as two empty purses.

Theron’s rather inchoate manuscript Strange Stone postulates that both fortress and seat might be the work of a queer, misshapen race of half men sired by creatures of the salt seas upon human women. These Deep Ones, as he names them, are the seed from which our legends of merlings have grown, he argues, whilst their terrible fathers are the truth behind the Drowned God of the ironborn.

I believe it was Nightflyer, a member of the Westeros.org forums that first theorized that Varys is a merling. He was lambasted but I think he may be right.

“Then why do I have this bitter taste in my mouth?” He pressed his fingers into his temples. “I told them to throw Allar Deem into the sea. I am sorely tempted to do the same with you.”

“You might be disappointed by the result,” Varys replied. “The storms come and go, the waves crash overhead, the big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling.

Might I trouble you for a taste of the wine that Lord Slynt enjoyed so much?”

Tyrion waved at the flagon, frowning.

-A Clash of Kings – Tyrion II

Osha came out of the black pool naked. Bran noticed there is something about Osha, something strange that Bran couldn’t put his finger on. It may not just be her nakedness.

“What are you staring at, boy? Never seen a woman before?”

“I have so.” Bran had bathed with his sisters hundreds of times and he’d seen serving women in the hot pools too. Osha looked different, though, hard and sharp instead of soft and curvy. Her legs were all sinew, her breasts flat as two empty purses. “You’ve got a lot of scars.”

“Every one hard earned.” She picked up her brown shift, shook some leaves off of it, and pulled it down over her head.

“Fighting giants?” Osha claimed there were still giants beyond the Wall. One day maybe I’ll even see one . . .

-A Clash of Kings – Bran II

Seeing a naked woman for a young child is certainly “different.” But is her nudity a distraction for her looking “different” for another reason?

Osha continued:

Osha claimed there were still giants beyond the Wall. One day maybe I’ll even see one …

Fighting men.” She belted herself with a length of rope. “Black crows, oft as not. Killed me one too,”

Could that be Benjen? (I mean Daario? Sorry… Euron.)

Also, Freefolk aren’t the only ones out there fighting men up North.

she said , shaking out her hair. It had grown since she’d come to Winterfell, well down past her ears. She looked softer than the woman who had once tried to rob and kill him in the Wolfswood.

Osha flaunts that she killed men, including men of the Nights Watch just as she may have found Ancestral Ice, a sword of tremendous importance to The Nights Watch as this is a weapon that can truly bring winter upon their enemies. And then after that GRRM reminds us that she almost killed Bran.

All of this reminds me very much of Jon Snow being sent beyond The Wall. He is ordered to do everything he could to pass, including breaking rules. Making friends, falling in love, sleeping with Yigritte.

Jon and Osha

Jon slew Qhorin and Osha refused to kill Bran; both choices required bravery. Both came to their enemies (purposefully) defeated and in chains. They both professes loyalty to be their captors and slowly earns their trust. Both Jon and Osha took initiative and fought and killed for their captors. Jon climbed the wall, and Osha conspired and killed occupying soldiers to free Bran and Rickon.

What if…

What if Osha is a double agent like Jon was. But she wasn’t playing for Mance’s team. But anOther team entirely?

“He has giant’s blood in him, or I’m the queen.” -Osha tells Bran and Hodor.

There is one woman who knows a thing or two about giants blood:

Sailors, by nature a gullible and superstitious lot, as fond of their fancies as singers, tell many tales of these frigid northern waters. They speak of queer lights shimmering in the sky, where the demon mother of the ice giants dances eternally through the night, seeking to lure men northward to their doom.

How the Long Night came to an end is a matter of legend, as all such matters of the distant past have become. In the North, they tell of a last hero who sought out the intercession of the children of the forest, his companions abandoning him or dying one by one as they faced ravenous giants, cold servants, and the Others themselves

 

There is something very, very fishy about Osha.

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