What does No Quarter mean?

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Led Zeppelin: No Quarter Meaning


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No Quarter Lyrics

Close the door, put out the light
You know they won't be home tonight
The snow falls hard and don't you know
The winds of Thor are blowing cold
They're wearing steel that's bright and true
They carry news that must get through



    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Oct 18th 2012 report

    The song and lyrics are in reference to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Both William the Conqueror and King Harald were of "Germanic" roots but the Norman Conquest was directly against a "Viking" King and ended the Danelaw that dominated the British Isles (particularly England) for several hundred years. This was a time of vicious battle where no quarter was given...Harald and his men were slaughtered in the attack. The Normans were well known for their superior steel blades and armour. The phrase "The winds of Thor were blowing cold" is a reference to the Norse God Thor and possibly the fact that ultimately this was a war between "Norse" people as opposed to outsiders. Thor's Hammer was often carried by Viking warriors as a "Good Luck Charm"...and in the case of the Battle of Hastings it proved not to work. So, either the "Good Luck Charm" had "gone cold" or the fact that two peoples sharing the same Pagan belief with the same Gods were fighting each other. The song almost certainly pertains to Middle Age Britain somewhere around the time between the first Viking raids in the seventh century and the Norman Conquest in 1066 AD. The song was written at a time that Led Zeppelin was heavily influenced by both Viking and Celtic mythology and history. This is expressed in the third, fourth and fifth albums in particular.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Mar 5th 2014 report

    Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were said to have read and re-read Lord of the Rings as many times as the rest of us did back then. The books not only gave birth to the entire Dungeons and Dragons craze, (which in turn led to all of us soon to become computer geeks and database programmers) but piqued the curiosity of many in the use of actual magic. Jimmy had purchased the Boleskine House and recorded several famous tracks there. This was the one time estate of Aleister Crowley (The self proclaimed occultist and most evil man alive). The connection is often made to show how Page was a Satin worshiper but I still feel that that was just an early form of shock rock propaganda. Especially since Aleister Crowley hid his true beliefs in ancient Egyptian magic (like those practiced by the founding fathers. Ever hear of the skull and bones?) behind a facade of devil worship. The Tolkin connection seems more likely. Tolkien inspired them to compose several songs. Stairway to Heaven has several references to the novels. As does Battle of EverMore.

    No Quarter was rumored to be referring to Aragorn's journey through the Paths of the Dead (They choose the path where no-one goes) during the Battle of Middle Earth. A world war that empties the lands of soldiers. (Close the doors, put out the light...You know they won't be home tonight)

    Andúril was the sword Narsil reforged and not only did it give Sauron an uneasy feeling, but it was used to call the dead to aid Aragorn against the Corsairs of Umbar in the Return of the King. A force they could not defeat with the few Rangers he had. (They're wearing steel that's bright and true. They carry news that must get through) Possibly a reference as well.

    Entering the valley of Harrowdale, they are flanked by the dead whispering and taunting them as they follow to the meeting place where they are demanded to make good on their promise. (Walking side by side with death. The devil mocks their every step)

    No quarter means to give no clemency or mercy. Aragorn held the dead to their curse with no clemency until they had completed their vow from long ago. And the dead let none survive, showing no mercy to the enemy.

    Well, anyway, it may not be true and a poet will never explain his work since the meaning is always subject to interpretation, as it should be. But it fits as closely as any I have read.

  3. anonymous
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    Jun 2nd 2021 report

    I believe the song has a strong reference to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I believe a lot of Led Zepllin songs have Lord of the Rings mythology infuence

  4. anonymous
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    Jan 6th 2020 report

    I think this is what no quarter means when I hear it I have made this up in my own head years ago . All we wanted was a quarter to smoke every time I heard the song and think of the nights driving and driving looking for a quarter worried and could take the wrong path meet up with police and go to jail .and the first of the song my babies puppy and kitty at home waiting for us to get back it was going to be lock the doors and turn out the lights no they won’t be home tonight

  5. anonymous
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    Oct 13th 2019 report

    Three of the four original members of Led Zeppelin are still alive. Surely there is an answer to the originators of the song "No Quarter" through interviews. Someone had to have asked them that question, the meaning of the song, in the many years it was written and released. I guess I'll keep searching.

  6. anonymous
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    Dec 26th 2018 report

    Timeless song about the most brutal form of warfare. No quarter means captives will die. The men-folk will not be back. This is reference to the Vikings raiding Britain.

  7. anonymous
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    Sep 20th 2017 report

    Thay did not have a quarter to put in the pay phone

  8. anonymous
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    Jul 26th 2017 report

    The term "No Quarter" refers to an army or warrior no intending to take any prisoners ( as no housing for pows) or it's believed it may have derived from the customary 1/4 of a soldiers pay that was offered as ransome for prisoners, as in we will not negotiate hostages. There is some debate over the original meaning but they both boil down to the same thing: do not get captured alive, do not take any prisoners.
    The winds of Thor would most likely be used in a Norse region as he is the Norse( picture Vikings) god of Thunder . Also, when an army comes across anyone carrying intelligence it's in that armies best interest to make sure the messenger does not reach his goal as in" kill the messenger " be sure his/ her lungs carry no air to relay the message, all armies do this.

  9. kooljohn176
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    Jul 20th 2016 report

    A cold and errie LED ZEPPELIN song story, sung by Robert Plant that might have been experienced realistically by the brave men gone to battle. During the times of war[s], when the winners took no prisoners and didn't care when they were fighting against the odds, and if won, the losers were not given any rest in their quarters to continue living. Something like this could've happened during the times of the Norseman and the Viking invaders with a noble struggle to protect loved ones left behind ''from the dogs of doom howling more''. Or this gloom and doom war story could've started in a time ever since ANGLOLAND=England=Germany, when the original Anglo-Saxon[German] tribes came to invade BRITAIN and KING ARTHOR fought back to connect the tribes of BRITAIN. Also, close to the end of WW2 this song story could've been about the losers retreat from the ice and snow of RUSSIA, afraid that the Winners would show no pity on the losing side, where the loved ones knew that most won't comeback home tonight that locked their doors with fear to still be alive.

  10. anonymous
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    Aug 10th 2013 report

    i think it could just as easily be about spirits and their travels. and everyone else talking about its more literal meaning are correct to as these facets of meaning anchor and or are background and the physical environment. the souls warring and the spiritual warfare as well. musics very essence breathes life, is spritual

  11. anonymous
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    Jan 22nd 2013 report

    I had always understood No Quarter to be about Hannibal crossing the alps to attack the Romans circa 200BC.

  12. stewdog
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    Mar 31st 2012 report

    No Quarter closes Led Zeppelin's fifth album Houses of the Holy. It is their move into progressive rock. The song's focus seems to be the spooky keyboards of John Paul Jones and live it would often span to twenty minutes in length with Jones adding jazz and classical elements into his solo. No Quarter would belong well in a horror movie.

    On to the interpretation. No Quarter is a song about war. The messenger in the war trying to carry life saving messages through battle zones with the full knowledge that death and danger is just around the quarter. If caught the enemy will show them "no quarter."

  13. anonymous
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    Nov 24th 2011 report

    No quarter is a reference to the lonliness and solemn oath taken by the christian knights during the crusades meaning they asked for no shelter or pity and they gave none either they are carrying the word of god and defending christianity.

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