I wholeheartedly recommend MelanieLotSeven‘s amazing new essay, on The King Under the Mountain motif in A Song of Ice and Fire. This theme plays an important role in J.R.R. Tolkien’s works as well, so it’s doubly relevant here! Great stuff! – Bluetiger
The King Under the Mountain is a worldwide archetype that stretches as far into history as memory, and is a powerful archetype George R. R. Martin is using in his A Song of Ice and Fire series to deepen the mystery surrounding certain characters he has created. In this essay, I hope to demonstrate that GRRM has loosely based Bran,Sam, and the Kings in the North on this archetype, analyze how Martin is using elements of the archetype to inform his work, and perhaps even make some predictions about what we can expect from these King Under the Mountain characters, and I’d love you to join me as we explore just how he does it.
To begin, we must understand what the King Under the Mountain archetype is. In
folklore, the King Under the Mountain is a hero, often of great military renown, who
leaves his people behind and adventures…
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