Chthonic Lexicon and Summations

I used to keep an expanded lexicon of chthonic vocabulary, and summation of roles, items and locations at each end of my essay. But aside from the one established at the end of the first and second essay, I will build the lexicon on this separate blogpost that will be updated as a type of fixed reference page.

In the essays I mark words that denote the concept of life in orange, death in black and what can be identified as being used for both in purple. Usually the scene or context or adjective gives the needed information to determine whether it is life or death related. Still, concepts or features of the middle column also fall under the definition of chthonic. If you notice something being colored in red it is simply done for emphasis, such as a phrase that shows up several times.

The chthonic lexicon

Living world Both worlds/Liminal Underworld
Vertical axis (Earth) surface, terrestrial, hill, sky, ground, up, high, celestial  Cleft Down, subterranean, deep (within the earth), under, beneath, underfoot, overhead, depth, cave, cavern, hole, yawning chasm, cairn, sunken, (false) bottom, interred, low
(Wind) Directions South (of the Neck), Southron


North (of the Neck)<>Far south


“Far away”, beyond (the Wall)

Houses, locations, areas House Tully of Riverrun, House Tyrell of Highgarden, Summer Sea, House Baratheon of King’s Landing, Starfall, Queensgate (formerly known as Snowgate, an underworld name) roadside, Twins, Fairmarket, Ramsford, Blue Fork, Maidenpool House Stark of Winterfell, House Dustin, House Mudd, Winterfell, Narrow Sea, Wolfswood, Nightfort, Castle Black, Greyguard, the Wall, Black Gate, Barrowton, The Neck, Moat Cailin, Green Fork, Oldstones, kingswood
Buildings or features Town, city, (crofter’s) village, inn, crowded, rich, filled, bedchamber, hearth, storage, library, curtain wall (?), sept Tower, castle, hall, stairs, bed, box, window, door, gate, bridge, stable, sickroom, ford, gatehouse, storage, storehouses Crypts, dungeon, cell, vault, cellar,  tomb, grave, graveyard, barrow, cairn, sepulcher, pillars, walls, floor, statue, throne, high seat, empty, hollow, chains, niche, gutter, moat, long low hummock, swords on the wall, murder holes, foundation
Construction’s state Building, flourish, growing Destroy, destruction, charr(ed), burn(ed), shattered, scattered, tumbled, half-sunk, ruin, crack, brittle, worn away, crumbling, overgrown, washed out, washed away, molested, deserted, smashed, plundered, looted, splintered

sealed, shut

Path Kingsroad, rising, rolling Crossing, stairs, bridge, drawbridge, doorway, gate, ford, causeway Winding, coil, narrow passage, narrowed, pinched, bending, dark journey, rocky way, descending, falling, sliding, slip, across, shut door, close the way, death trap
Nature & landscape Flower fields, orchard, grasslands, harvest, hill, (glass) garden, fertile, undying Godswood, valley, channel Wilderness, desolation, bare, vast, bogs, swamp, quicksand, suckholes, forest, woods, grove, frozen (hell), earth (as in soil), loose dirt, mud, boggy soil, impenetrable, muck, leafy ground, silting up, battleground
Trees & plants Redwood, fruit trees, green grass

pollen, seed

roses, rose petals, leaves, grass, lilly Sentinel, weirwood, oak, pine, soldier pine, spruce, ironwood, ash, alder, elm, beech, birch, larch, willow, forget-me-nots, wild roses, blue roses, moss, lichen, humus, weeds, brown grass, gorse, bracken, thistle, sedge, blackberry bush

trunk, canopy, root, bark, trunk, tangled, branches, gnarled, thorns

Material Crystal, gold, rich, kindling Milkglass, wooden, collar of different metals, paper, wax Stone, rock, granite, pebbles, black basalt, (Valyrian) steel, hard, iron, velvet, silver, wire, rust, hempen rope, salt, blanket
Food & Organics Fruit, melons, peaches, fireplums, summerwine

ripe, juice, sap, suck, fat, hunt, flesh

feed, (healthy) appetite, replenish, growing

Wine, milk, half-empty

pluck, roast

Jar, pot

Salt, sourleaf (mouth), blackberry, soup, scraps

Dwindle, withered, dried, wrinkled, shrunken, curdled, decay, sloughed off skin,  loose skin, sagging, thin <> thick, empty, gnawed, rotten, scrawny

not eating,  puke, spew, spit, bite, hunger

boil, butcher, peck, chew, despoil, dissolve

(mortal) remains, (broken) bones, guts, gore, corpse, skeletal, carcass, carrion, ghostskin, shell, litter, rubble

Animals Songbirds, stags, falcon, nest, pup, hawk, dragon Horse, birds, wings, bat, bull, squirrel, red salmon (two or three) direwolves (at feet), Grey Wind, Ghost, Shaggydog, lone wolf, pack, boar, wood adder, snake, serpent, head of the serpent, moths, crow, raven, beak, swarm, cover, flies, worms, lice-ridden, (feral) dogs, rat, great beast, lizard-lion, warhorse, vulture, weasel, scavenger
Intelligent Species The living, people Children of the Forest Others, wights, wildlings, Old Nan’s stories, ghosts, vengeful spirits, demons
Seasons Summer Spring, fall Winter
Elements Sun, air, (good) breeze, hot, scalding, hot spring, moist warmth, bath, to bathe, cascade, great fall, lighting a fire Wind, heat, breathe, water, steam, river, pool, smoke, stream, clouds, rain, bubble Ice, snow, mist, low clouds, freezing, cold, cool, chill, frost, hoarfrost, pond, well, underground river, gale, draft, gust, autumn rains, swollen, flooding, overflowing, torrent, rising water, wildfire
Light & time Sunlight, day, daytime, bright, airy, rainbow, ruddy, shine, morning, (reading) lamp, wick Dawn, dusk, evenfall, sunset, full moon, moonlight, glow, torch, beacon, candle, fire, last light, light that brings the dawn (Dead of) night, dark, darkness, darkly

horned or sickle moon, stars, “no sun and no moon”, stars are strangers

gleam, glimmer, glitter

12 maidens

Numbers Numerous, ninety-nine, seven  three, six Ninety, twelve, dozen, hundred
Color Yellow, orange, auburn hair, blue eyes, Tully coloring, bright colors, gold, shiny Red, white, milk Black, ebon, grey, grey-green, moss green, murky green, grey-brown, brown, icy blue, pale, colorless, discolored, dun, somber, stained, faded, doll, grizzled, spotted, splotched
Shape Clear, plain to the eye Shadow, shade, half-seen, wraith, spirit, oval, twisted, misshapen, armored, stump, shaggy, windblown
Clothing Naked (as your name day), breeches Wreath of flowers, garland, flowery crown, flowers in hair Cloaked, hooded, blanket, shrouded, roughspun rags, leathery, boiled leather, dead men’s armor
Consciousness Awake Dreaming, dreams, sleeping, visions, drunk, green dream Dead, nightmares, mad, hallucination, absent, rest, remembers
Identity Name(d), familiar face, gender, familiar, long hair, open, break the seal Face Nameless, faceless, unknown, Stranger, unknowable, genderless, forgotten, not recall, only remembered by trees, unseen, alone, lonely, look the same, cut hair, thin hair, bald, not yourself anymore, wolf blood, daughter of the North, hiding, hidden, enemy, lean
Limbs, organs and fluids loins, arms, seed, breast, teat, flesh, skin, marrow veins, heart, hands, blood, wings, forehead, temples, forehead scalp; skull, bald head, lower lip, throat, cocked elbow, crossed arms, folded hands, toothless mouth, sourleaf/bloody mouth, chest, feet, heels, neck, dry  or black blood
Ceremony, religion Anointed, wedding, marriages, the Faith, wedding cloak, maiden cloak, naming newborn children, absolution Feast, secret ceremony Buried, interred, burial, procession, Old Gods, dignity, godless, demon worship
Life (passage) Beginning, Sex, making new life, born, clinging to life, endless, kiss, maiden’s blood, maidenhood, lovemaking, quicken, nine moons, deliver a child, breastfeeding, nursing, playing Bed of Blood, blood flow, bring forth in blood and pain The end, stop, death, death sentence, execution, take a man’s life, vanished, bloodstained, farewell, losing someone, loss, lost, gone, stop, absent
Health-Manner of death living are helpless, being well, whole, safe, strong Sickness, ill, fever, fire in the gut, wound, milk of the poppy, sickbed, coma, rape Freeze, choke, suffocate, behead, severed/floating head, on a spike, throat (cut), blow, butcher, rip, murder, kill, gangrene, sepsis, gout, game of thrones, drown, taken quickly, mercy <> merciless, tears of Ly, starved, tortured, broken, impaled, fall, kill himself, hanging, disembowled
The senses – Seeing Seeing, Sparkling, everywhere everyone One-eyed, three-eyed, observatory, (Myrish) lens, runny and clouded eyes, secret Blind, eyes closed, not able to see, averting eyes, not seeing

watch(ful), stare, peer, lurk

unseen, hidden, hiding, disguised,  unnoticed

The senses – Sound, speech & communication Hearing, loud, roar, laughter, tinkling, song, sing, jape, crib tales, good news/tidings, noise Smile, music, breathe, news, message, private language, counsel, letter, errand, chorus, shouts or shouting


Wordless, (deep) silence, (deep) quiet, mouth closed, hanging notes, swallow (sound), final words, breathless, listening, cut off, cover ears

whisper, susurrus, soft, faint, sigh, rustle, creak, mutter, only with the dead or damned, echo, ring, whicker softly

mournful, sob, groan, grievous or dark news, croak, sad
warning, scream, cry, shriek, snarl, growl, ghastly, discord, crash, howl, caw, snap, crunch

trumpet, warhorn

The senses – Taste & smell Tasting, smelling, explosion, burst, sweet, spices, perfume, incense, oils No longer able to smell, hideous, stink, moist, bitter, stuffy
The senses – Tactility Brush, stroke, polish, pillow, holding, hug, embrace, close, holding hands Untouched, scarcely touched

spike of pain

Slimy, wet, sodden <> papery dry, crisp

Mobility Quick, vault, rush, urgent, drive, run, rolling, fiddle Crossing, climb, scale, fly, soar, dance Unbending, still, lie, rest, unmoving, unchanged, never change, stiffen, tired

shift, stir, fade, slip, blow

shiver, shudder, ripple, tremble, shake,

creep, stalk, follow, prowl, paw, lurch, snap, jut, spring from nowhere, limp, slink away, thrust

flap, rear

drip, spray, fall, slip, dangle, swing, tumble, hang, sweep

Age Babe, child(ren), youth, young, infant Old, ancient, primal, eternal, forever, always, frail, gouty, ninety, wize, smooth cheeked green lads
Personality Mercurial, quick, changeable, fierce, easy to love, sweet, quick to laugh Unchanged, no difference, untouched, unchanged, absolute, rigid, unbending, stubborn, savage, formal, solemn, stern, distant, strange, modest
Mood & feelings Happy, gleeful, bolsterous, good-humored, horny, wanton, obscene, fine time, jolly, charming, graceful, vulnerable, good ache, glad, gentle Love, in love Sad, weep, sorrow, grief, tears, grievous, melancholy, long faced, solemn, thinking, lonely, deserted, despair, anguish, agony

grim, gloomy, brooding, sullen, somber, rueful, frown, disapproving


angry, glare, vengeful, furious, cruel

disturbed, fear, frightened, afraid, dread, terrified, terror
Brave, courage, dare, bold, let go

Expressions A bloody sword is a thing of beauty, facing fears or darkness Winter is coming, Stark words, this is his/her place, there always must be a Stark at Winterfell, the cup has passed, taking all someone loves, wrong hands, The Others take you, never again, when his time comes, lop the head of the snake
Function or figure mother, septon, septa, father, King’s Hand, ward, fostered, singers, horn that wakes the sleepers, a son, holy men, maiden, Mother Above Sword of the Morning, Three men in white cloaks, Lord of the Crossing, Jenny of Oldstones and her prince, Merry Meg

Horned God

greenseer, warg, maester


master of horse, stableboy


Warden of the North, King in the North, northerner, King-Beyond-the-Wall, kings who are gone

silent sister, Stranger’s handmaiden, Lady Stoneheart, Hangwoman, 12 maidens, widow, washerwomen

judge, headsman, executioner, Hammer of Justice

outcast, wanderer, ranger, poacher, outlaw Brave Companions, Bloody Mummers

storyteller, taleteller, oracle, fool, Florian the Fool

Night’s Watch,  sword in the darkness, Watcher, shield that guards the realm of men, Kingsguard, knights, lancers, bowmen, captain of the guards

stonemason, ironsmith, blacksmith, alchemist

grey rat (=maester)

Of Interest Life is unfair, things come cheap, honors, accounting books, figures (numbers) Promises, vows, swear, pledge, oaths, errands Curses, damnation, desertion, fair, duty; (king’s) justice; accuse, revenge, vengeance, punishment, paying price for oath breaking, toll, broken or false promises, lies and truth, despoiling; paying respect to the dead; owing, mercy, haunt
Swords & arms Sheath, phallus, a thing of beauty, empty handed, man’s needs, golden sword, wooden sword Dawn, bloody sword, oathkeeper, pommel Greatsword Ice, Needle, longsword, sharp, knife, arakh, stiletto, dagger, (archer’s) stake, lance, arrow, noose, hammer, warhammer, whip, archery, spear

blow, swing, single stroke, across a lap or knees, unsheathed, bare steel, point, pointy end, sharp, battle, onslaught


Fate Weaving, needle, carve, cut, spell, doom, Old Nan, broken antler, needlework, stitches, woven, runes
Legendary events Hammer of the Waters, Red Wedding

Mythological roles

Mythological characters or gods Roles aSoIaF characters
Isis mother goddess, mother of a king, protector of children

wife of ruler of the underworld, protects the dead and proper burrial, magic. Searched for the body parts of her murdered husband, found all, except his phallus, which she replaced with a magical golden one to birth her king-son

Catelyn Tully Stark, Lysa Arryn, Cersei Lannister

Catelyn Tully Stark

Osiris Betrayed king who was tricked and murdered and his remains desecrated. Once reassembled, except for his phallus (replaced by a golden one) he became the dead ruler of the underworld Ned Stark (when dead)
Horus Son of Isis and Osiris, nursing son


Youth, needing protection against illness and assassination

King who unites upper and lower Egypt and battles his father’s murderer Set

Eye of Horus, or the “all seeing green eye”

Falcon head

Robb Stark and Rickon Stark (to Cat), Tommen (to Cersei), Sweetrobin (to Lysa), Aemon Steelsong and Monster (to Gilly)

Bran Stark (to Cat), Tommen (to Cersei), Sweetrobin (to Lysa)

Robb Stark (to Cat), Tommen (?)


Greenseer Bran Stark

Sweetrobin, Bran Stark (fly)

Set Envious murderer of Osiris Petyr Baelish, Joffrey
Tem, or Re-Atum Setting sunrays, creator god who when old wishes to let chaos return Walder Frey
Wepwawet ‘Opener of the ways’, originally war god, but later conflated with Anubis and chthonic, head of a grey wolf Hallis Mollen, Robb Stark
Persephone Queen of the Underworld, seasons, abducted flower maiden, wife of the ruler of the Underworld, fellow ruler of the Underworld Lyanna Stark, Catelyn Tully-Stark, Jenny of Oldstones
Despoina horses, animals, dance, conflated with Persephone Lyanna Stark
Demeter searches and grieves

Fertility goddess of fruit and harvest, of the lovely hair, of the golden sword, of the bath and hot springs, connected to the underworld since fruit and vegetables cannot grow without it and seeds have to be burried in soil.

Catelyn Tully Stark, Robert Baratheon, Ned Stark

Catelyn Tully Stark

Pandora Temptress who unleashes doom, death and sickness onto humanity // All giving chthonic earth and fertility goddess, half interred, half her body above earth Lysa Tully Arryn

Catelyn Tully Stark

Hades Living ruler of the Underworld


Ned Stark

Rhaegar Targaryen

Dionysus-Iacchus Lightbringer, secret, protected, Persephone’s son Jon Snow
Dionysus-Bacchus wine, drunk, fat, shred to pieces Robert Baratheon
Orpheus Gifted musician, lyre

visited the underworld to take his wife Eurydice back to the world of the living

Heretic, shred to pieces, only head remains

Rhaegar Targaryen

Robert Baratheon

Ned Stark, Robert Baratheon

Eurydice Orpheus’ dead wife Elia Martell
Hypnos God of sleep Bloodraven
Sisyphus King refused to remain in Hades and tricked his wife into an improper burrial, allowinh him to haunt the living Ned Stark (in a positive manner)
Theseus Hero with a fondness for young girls, betrays one sister for the other, abductor of Helen, attempted abduction of Persephone Littlefinger
Minthe & Leuke Alleged mystresses of Hades, water nymphs, spark the jealousy of Persephone Ashara Dayne, Wylla, fisherman’s daughter
Peleiade of Dodona Oracle priestess who interpretes the rustling of the leaves of a sacred oak at the heart of the Dodona grove (northern Greece) Osha
Pentheus “Man of sorrows”, king, heretic, shred to pieces, head on a spike Robert Baratheon, Ned Stark
Hermes messenger, psychopomp Ned Stark, young Robert Baratheon, Varys, Hallis Mollen
Zeus Storm god, lightning bolt, King of the gods on Mount Olympus Robert Baratheon, Lord of the Stormlands and King of Crownlands and Westeros
Poseidon God of the sea, rivers, a trident, in older Accadian Greek myth also ruler of the underworld (subaquatic) Stannis Baratheon, lord of Dragonstone
Korybantes armed protectors, guards Kingsguard, Arthur Dayne, Oswald Whent, Gerold Hightower, Ned’s guard at ToJ
Hera Queen of the gods, power, jealous, murderous Cersei Lannister
Athena war, pious, intelligence Elia Martell
Aphrodite love, beauty Lyanna Stark
Helen of Troy most beautiful woman, abducted, cause of the War of Troy and downfall of Troy Lyanna Stark
Paris prince of Troy, judge of beauty, abducts Helen, cause of the War of Troy and downfall of Troy Rhaegar Targaryen
Thor Storm god, warhammer Robert Baratheon
Niddhog Dragon chewing at the root of Yggdrasil Visenya Targaryen, Good Queen Alysanne Targaryen, Mad King Aerys Targaryen, Rhaegar Targaryen
Four harts Dainn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr, Durathro Four stags nibbling at the leaves of the crown of Yggdrasil Robert Baratheon, Stannis Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, Joffrey Baratheon
Vedrfölnir Hawk sitting between the eagle’s eyes, manipulated by the malicious Ratatoskr Jon Arryn, Lysa Arryn Stark
Ratatoskr Malicioius squirrel who sets the hawk against the dragon with backtalk Petyr Baelish, Citadel
Horned god fertility, hunt, psychopomp young Robert Baratheon, Renly Baratheon

Chthonic locations

Mythological locations or features Function aSoIaF characters
Land of Rostau Rostau= ‘necropolis’. Underworly realm a soul has to journey either along rivers or road in the hope to achieve afterlife like Osiris. Dangerous realm where a dead person can experience a second permanent death if killed by any of the Watchers, demons or guardians of the gateways. Sun god Ra makes the journey each night Riverlands, Neck, Barrowlands
1st gate Western gate, where the sun sets, a mountain/hill split in two by a stream, guarded by gods of the mountain that can spring up out of hiding Whispering Woods
2nd gate Just a simple leaf for a door with one snake as gatekeeper Whispering Woods
3rd-11th gate Required crossing, some walled keep, with gatehouses and murderous demons/snakes, lizards, ancient dead kings, judges,old man leaning on a cane (Re-Atum, the setting sun), and dedicated to one of the 12 maidens of the night (one for each hour) Moat Cailin, Twins, Maidenpool, Oldstones, Fairmarket
Cave of Hypnos in Hades Home of the god of sleep Bloodraven’s cave
Lethe River/pool of forgetfulness in Hades, dead drink to forget life before death & be allowed to reincarnate, runs along Hypnos’ cave, creates drowsiness with its murmur Cold black pool of Winterfell’s godswood, underground river in Bloodraven’s cave
Phlegethon Lava stream (river of fire) in Hades. Joins with the Styx Underground cause of the hot springs at Winterfell
Styx Murky river of hatred, gods vow on Styx and do not break their word. Joins with the Phlegethon. Three hot pools of Winterfell
Oracle of Dodona Sacred grove in wintry Northern Greece, where priestesses, the Peleiades (‘flock of doves’), interpreted rustling of leaves of  sacred oak in heart of the grove. Black dove flew to Dodona and instructed people in human speech to build an oracle there. Weirwood heart tree in Winterfell’s godswood, heart tree in godswood of King’s Landing (oak).
Yggdrasil World tree in Norse myth. It is an evergreen ash tree, whitened by the daily whitewash applied from the Urdarbrunnr Weirnet, weirwood trees
Valhalla One of Odin’s halls where the selected slain feast and prepare for Ragnarok.The slain are those picked by Valkyries in battle. Winterfell’s hall and crypts per Theon’s nigthmare
Urdarbrunnr The well/pool/lake of 3 main Norns – past, present and future – determining the fate of men. One Yggdrasil roots ends at Urdarbrunnr. Otherwise known as the weird/wyrd sisters in English tradition. Pour water and lime from the well each day over the world tree – whitewash. Two different sources locate it either in Midgard or Asgard. A hall where the gods gather is built nearby. Cold, black pool in Winterfell’s godswood, beside the weirwood, in which Ned Stark cleans his greatsword Ice. The pool beside the Three Singers (three tangled weirwood trees) in Highgarden’s godswood.
Jötunheimr Realm of the frost giants Land North of the Wall, where the giants still live
Ginnungagap The ‘yawning void’ or ‘gaping abyss’; primordial void from which Norse cosmos was born and located in Jötunheimr The ‘yawning chasm’ in Bloodraven’s cave where the underground river runs through in the darkness.
Mimisbrunnr Well of knowledge, beneath one Yggdrasil root; seeker must make a sacrifice to drink from it. Located in Jötunheimr. Weirnet connected to weirwood grove at Bloodraven’s cave.

Chthonic Items

Mythological items Function aSoIaF items
Osiris’s golden phallus Fertility symbol of life being born out of death. Oathkeeper in Lady Stoneheart’s possession
Osiris’s missing phallus Osiris’s true phallus is eaten and gone by fish, symbolizing true death Ice missing and destroyed
Set’s box = Osiris’s coffin Coffin custom made to fit Osiris, used to trick Osiris into lying in it, only to be shut inside and murdered. Lysa’s box with message
Demeter’s golden blade Golden sword/sickle used for the first harvest and war against the Titans. Oathkeeper, Jaime Lannister (?) in Lady Stoneheart’s possession
The Eleusinian Mystery Ritual for the initiated regarding the secret truths of the Persephone-Demeter myth involving items and phases of things shown, things said and things done, which are all unspeakable by punishment of death Lysa’s box with message
Pandora’s box Jar containing death, ilness, old age, poverty, hunger, war. After being opened humanity suffers all these ills. Lysa’s box with message

3 thoughts on “Chthonic Lexicon and Summations”

  1. Hey, The Green Bard here, from w**.org. I just read your tables. I appreciate that you made something like that. It really helps some of us to organize thoughts that may be logical and fit text-based arguments, but are hard to hold onto in your head. That said I am puzzled by the omission of Loki, and also by the fact that Tyrion isn’t anywhere in the right column of your section on the gods / characters. Where do you think each fits?

    1. The Chtonic Cycle is a permanent ongoing project, and thus the lexicon is as of yet incomplete. At I made a thread once on Nordic mythology references. In it I gathered rudimentary references to Hel, the “goddess” of the underworld. I identified the Riverlands as the location Hel, and LS as the personified Hel, comparing certain characters featured in the various RL plots to verses of the Poetic Edda featuring underworld characters.
      Hel, Odin (and his helpers) and Freyja are chthonic gods. Loki however is a trickster god, though he has some chthonic ties in the children he fathered. He’s just not featured visiting underworld locations. While he’s a shapeshifter (a feature of trickster gods), he doesn’t function as a psychopomp either. In many ways Loki represents the far better the chaos and devestation of nature as main figure during Ragnarok.
      As for Tyrion, I have a draft on him for the Ragtag Bands of Misfits. It focuses on the references since his appearance in the books towards Crowley’s tarot card the Fool. On trickster gods I also have a draft, mainly focusing on Varys as the trickster spider.

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