First off, this post by Making Game of Thrones where they have quotes from both Elio of Westeros and myself made me suspicious that maybe there was something more to this box than meets the eye. It could be nothing, but it seems like HBO is trying to lead us to something. But what?
Elio aka Ran wondered about the symbols that coorespond to the different scents in the small vials. He says “These may be nothing more than a pleasant visual detail, to give the scrolls a bit of extra visual impact, but… but… Something makes us think that if there are any secrets to be found in the Maester’s Path, these symbols are going to be keys to unlocking them.”
So he made an image that compiles all the symbols together. Not much can be made of them yet, but we might get more clues later on and this reference could come in handy.
Then commentor zep243 noticed in the last thread that certain sentences on the location scrolls have bold letters. There doesn’t seem to be rhyme or reason as to what letters are highlighted, it’s not consistent. This might just be some artistic touch, but it might be more.
So I went through and checked all the scrolls and discovered there are different levels of highlighting. The weakest highlighting seems to be the most random, the middle only comes at the beginning of a sentence after one of the hypens, and then the strongest is the large letter at the beginning of each scroll. Not sure what it all means, if anything, but I compiled them all here anyway:
Weak – Normal
Middle – Italic
Strong – Bold
Pentos – T | S
Crossroads Inn – F | T
King’s Landing – R | T | T
Winterfell – NDA | A | W
Dothraki Sea – H | T | A
Weak – RNDAH
Middle – TFTAT
Strong – STTWA
No clear pattern or word emerges however. And the lack of vowels other than “A” seems to indicate the whole thing is just random. Or maybe the answer is hidden deeper in? Maybe it’s in code? Possible, but no way of knowing for sure.
This morning I was going over everything again to see if maybe I missed something. As I’m folding up the map I notice something I hadn’t seen before. Letters. Very faintly printed on the back of the map.
A hidden message of some kind? Seems like it. It looks like 4 or 5 words on two separate lines. The top line is easier to see and looks like it says “THE BOTTOM” or maybe “THE HOLLOW”? The second line is very faint and hard to make out. My wife and I tried a number of different methods of trying to get the letters to appear more clearly. We tried holding it over a light, under a blacklight, dabbing it with lemon juice.. we even tried using some of the scents that came in the box. Nothing seemed to work. I took the image into Photoshop and manipulated the contrast a bit and some of the letters became a little clearer.
Still impossible to decipher the whole message. And really, to solve this shouldn’t take Photoshop. It should take something that maester’s would have access to. But I can’t think of what else to try that wouldn’t also completely destroy my map. I am hoping someone else might have some idea or might be better at reading faint print than I am. Or maybe someone else has this hidden message on their map and it is printed a little clearer? I’m hoping so, because right now I’m convinced there is something to this but being unable to figure out what exactly is driving me nuts.
UPDATE: Steve Coulson, director of Campfire, the company behind this campaign tweets:
“Support the bottom” is not a clue, sorry :) Not even “Support Flea Bottom”. (But admittedly, that would have been even funnier :)
Seems it was just some artifact that probably got on there somehow during the aging process. Bummer. But nice job to all figuring it out. Now Campfire knows we are no slouch when it comes to sleuthing!