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The sphinx is the riddle, not the riddler (Aemon Having Prophetic Dreams?)


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#1 Muggle

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 12:28 PM

That had been one of his last good days. After that the old man spent more time sleeping than awake, curled up beneath a pile of furs in the captain’s cabin. Sometimes he would mutter in his sleep. When he woke he’d call for Sam, insisting that he had to tell him something, but oft as not he would have forgotten what he meant to say by the time that Sam arrived. Even when he did recall, his talk was all a jumble. He spoke of dreams and never named the dreamer, of a glass candle that could not be lit and eggs that would not hatch. He said the sphinx was the riddle, not the riddler, whatever that meant. He asked Sam to read for him from a book by Septon Barth, whose writings had been burned during the reign of Baelor the Blessed . Once he woke up weeping. “The dragon must have three heads,” he wailed, “but I am too old and frail to be one of them. I should be with her, showing her the way, but my body has betrayed me.”

 

Was Aemon having that Targ Dreams?  Did he foresee Sam's encounter with the Sand Snake in Old Town? Or is this a much older prophecy dreamt by another member of his family or something taken from the book. I kind of doubt this pertains to Alleras due to Aemons desperate need to be there to support Danny.  I want to lean on the idea this has more to do with the Targ Dynasty and or The Prince That Was Promised.  One could even say Jon is the Sphinx due to be a little bit of a Targ / Start / Wildling etc.. You get where im going. 

 

What do most of you think this sentence means.

 

#2 Bael Abel

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 12:41 PM

It could be a mix of true "dragon dreams" and dreams about old dreams and prophesy. It's a similar technique as Ned's ToJ account, being both a dream and influenced by milk of the poppy. This is way more ambiguous though, and it's meant to add enigma to the already enigmatic Alleras. I think it serves two functions. One is as a hint to the less obsessed readers that Alleras is Sarella, and the other is that Sarella has an important part to play in Sam's arc. 



#3 Ser Leftwich

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 12:45 PM

 

"He spoke of dreams and never named the dreamer, of a glass candle that could not be lit and eggs that would not hatch. He said the sphinx was the riddle, not the riddler, whatever that meant."

 

What do most of you think this sentence means.

 

 

My two cents:

"He spoke of dreams and never the dreamer" = Perhaps dreams that Egg had, that pushed him to Summerhall.

"of the glass candle that could not be lit = either when Aemon was studying at the Citadel, or perhaps one was brought to Summerhall, to be part of the process

"eggs that would not hatch" = dragon eggs in general or Summerhall

"sphinx was the riddle, not the riddler" = the confusion about gender of the Prince that was promised.

 

It all seemed tied to Summerhall for me. Any relation to Sarella seems unlikely, a red herring.



#4 Bael Abel

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 01:26 PM

In the context of the OP, I assumed he had a dream with an actual sphinx in it, doing something to show that it was the riddle and not the riddler. That would be in line with other prophetic dreams we've seen. OTOH, most of the time when we see a carving of a sphinx, it's noted as being a Valyrian Sphinx. For all we know, the Sphinx is a very important being to Valyrian lore/mythology or maybe even magic. Maester Aemon could very well know much about this lore, being a maester who was somehow involved in dragonlore.

 

In classical mythology, both Egyptian and Greek, the Sphinx is a riddler. The Sphinx was said to have guarded the city of Thebes, and to answer the city you had to answer a riddle. The commonly told riddle by the sphinx is one that Oedipus was asked: 
 

 

 

What is that which in the morning goeth upon four feet; upon two feet in the afternoon; and in the Evening upon three?

The answer is Man, because he crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks as a man, then uses a walking stick as an old man. 

In this respect, perhaps there is some Valyrian lore about sphinxes that hasn't been revealed to readers yet. Maybe this means that Sam will have to solve some sort of "riddle" while trying to learn about the Others, and open up a big can of Citadel secrets. Sam will probably dismiss Alleras as being the sphinx Aemon was referring to based on Aemon being away from the citadel for far too long to know about a novice who's been there less than two years, but the reader will know, and that's the important part. I wonder what riddles will come up in Oldtown in TWOW. 


Edited by Bael Abel, 17 May 2014 - 01:27 PM.


#5 Bael Abel

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 01:27 PM

Double post 


Edited by Bael Abel, 17 May 2014 - 01:27 PM.


#6 Parizad

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 02:02 PM

The riddle is about the sex of tPtwP. Valyrian Sphinxes have a dragon body and a human head. The body which is the dragon has no sex, so the head is man or woman, hence the riddle and the answer is the dragon is a woman.



#7 Kienn

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 02:29 PM

What do most of you think this sentence means.

 

In general sphinxes are fusions of distinct things. Often half-man half-lion. In ASOIAF there are also Valyrian sphinxes that are half-man half-dragon. Finally they can be more than that, some sphinxes are the usual half-man half-lion but with wings of an eagle (half-eagle?).

 

So who/what is the Sphinx?

 

Tyrion? - The "Halfman" - Perhaps half-Targ half-Lannister as some people claim? - Or his personality/eyes? One green, one black.

 

Jon? - If RLJ then Jon is half-Targ half-Stark.

 

Skinchangers? - Whenever someone is a skinchanger they take on some of those characteristics, they(or the beast they control) could be said to be half-man half-beast.

 

Dragonriders - A dragon and its rider could be similarly claimed to be half-man half-dragon (as excellent horse riders can be described as half-horse [Lyanna]).

 

Three-headed-dragon - Combine skinchanging and a dragon rider and you could have a three-headed dragon. The dragon itself, the person skinchanging it, and the person riding it.

 

I favor the last.


Edited by Kienn, 17 May 2014 - 02:33 PM.


#8 Fire Eater

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 02:38 PM

He spoke of dreams and never named the dreamer

 

Bloodraven the greenseer who dreams a lot, and wore many names.

 

a glass candle that could not be lit and eggs that would not hatch

 

Daemon II dreamed of a dragon hatching from an Egg at Summerhall only for it to refer to Egg. "Egg" was the name used to hide the identity of a Targaryen. There are three black glass candles and one green candle. I think the green candle refers to Aegon while the three black candles refer to three living Targaryens: Dany, Aemon and Jon. One of the black candles is lit, and it burns but is not consumed, burning and preservation, ice and fire. I think the candle being lit signifies that the "egg" will hatch, and Jon will learn his Targaryen identity. 

 

The riddle is about the sex of tPtwP. Valyrian Sphinxes have a dragon body and a human head. The body which is the dragon has no sex, so the head is man or woman, hence the riddle and the answer is the dragon is a woman.

No, I think it could refer to Alleras the Sphinx, who is actually Sarella Sand. Also, Jon is the PtwP, Dany is the StMtW not the PtwP. 

 

As for other possible interpretations, there are sphinxes at the RK in KL (which I think refers to Cersei), at the Citadel (which I think refers to Connington) and one Tyrion comes across with the other in VD (the female sphinx representing Dany and the male representing Tyrion). Tyrion did kill his father and come upon a sphinx like Oedipus.

 

If we follow the story of the sphinx, it was come across by a man of royal blood who didn't even know who his parents were.


Edited by Fire Eater, 17 May 2014 - 02:45 PM.


#9 Mrs.Grumpy

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 02:56 PM

It's the Citadel. There is a pair of sphinxes in the entrance of the Citadel. Before they took Sam as a novice, they start asking him questions and he told them everything but "The Sphinx is the riddle not the riddler", I interprent that the Citadel is the one who needs to be questioned about it's actions and secret schemes.



#10 Lady Blizzardborn

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 03:34 PM

I just figured it was a reference to Alleras' Sand's true identity.  After all they call Alleras the Sphinx.

 

It could also mean that the riddles posed by the sphinx (any general sphinx) are insignificant compared to the riddle that is the sphinx.

 

Or it could be a combination of things suggested above.  I think Alleras/Sarella is involved somehow though.



#11 oursisthefury69

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 05:29 PM

Tyrion



#12 Parizad

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 04:54 AM

He spoke of dreams and never named the dreamer

 

Bloodraven the greenseer who dreams a lot, and wore many names.

 

a glass candle that could not be lit and eggs that would not hatch

 

Daemon II dreamed of a dragon hatching from an Egg at Summerhall only for it to refer to Egg. "Egg" was the name used to hide the identity of a Targaryen. There are three black glass candles and one green candle. I think the green candle refers to Aegon while the three black candles refer to three living Targaryens: Dany, Aemon and Jon. One of the black candles is lit, and it burns but is not consumed, burning and preservation, ice and fire. I think the candle being lit signifies that the "egg" will hatch, and Jon will learn his Targaryen identity. 

 

No, I think it could refer to Alleras the Sphinx, who is actually Sarella Sand. Also, Jon is the PtwP, Dany is the StMtW not the PtwP. 

 

As for other possible interpretations, there are sphinxes at the RK in KL (which I think refers to Cersei), at the Citadel (which I think refers to Connington) and one Tyrion comes across with the other in VD (the female sphinx representing Dany and the male representing Tyrion). Tyrion did kill his father and come upon a sphinx like Oedipus.

 

If we follow the story of the sphinx, it was come across by a man of royal blood who didn't even know who his parents were.

 

First of all we don't know who is the PtwP, so stop stating that as fact. Second, I am talking about what Maester Aemon said when he haired about Dany and her dragons and HE BELIEVED DANY IS PTWP. And talked about the sphinx with dreams of dragons and eggs that didn't hatch and tptwp so the sphinx he was referring to is related to that topic. Amester Aemon disn't know Sarella/Alleras and it makes no sense for him to suddenly talk about a random girl in the citadel, although it is the same riddle: IS THIS SPHINX MALE OR FEMALE? and again she is female, just like tPtwP sho turned out female.



#13 spunken en eggs

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 05:47 AM

allaris is a bit obvious,  here name is reverse en se is described as " looking a f'lott like here daddy doran"  so she is interesting in here own so perfect for a red herring. 

 

eamond did want to go to deny en i think the greengrace is described as the sphinx, could be far enough to make sends

 

i dont see why measter eamond would describe the citadel to sam as "the sphinx" when they both know it as the citadel. if it where the 2 statues i think he would have say'd "the sphinxes"  

 

en where is the targeryen sphinks discribed in the books? or by who?  i don't recall at all. 

 

btw is this sphinx pre or post op? ( prins is female... even the real Prince isn't female ^^)



#14 Parizad

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 05:58 AM

In A Dance with Dragons, Tyrion passes by them with Illyrio. One female Sphinx is remained but the male one is stolen by the dotraki.

 

 

The next evening they came upon a huge Valyrian sphinx crouched beside the road. It had a dragon’s body and a woman’s face. 

 “A dragon queen,” said Tyrion. “A pleasant omen.” 
 “Her king is missing.” Illyrio pointed out the smooth stone plinth on which the second sphinx once stood, now grown over with moss and flowering vines. “The horselords built wooden wheels beneath him and dragged him back to Vaes Dothrak.” 
 That is an omen too, thought Tyrion, but not as hopeful.


#15 Daniel Snow

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 07:55 AM

In A Dance with Dragons, Tyrion passes by them with Illyrio. One female Sphinx is remained but the male one is stolen by the dotraki.

 

foreshadowing drogons capture by the dothraki?


Edited by Daniel Snow, 18 May 2014 - 07:55 AM.


#16 Parizad

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 08:12 AM

foreshadowing drogons capture by the dothraki?

 

Huh! never thought about it that way but the MALE dragon is captured... Who might that be I wonder :)



#17 spunken en eggs

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 09:30 AM

In A Dance with Dragons, Tyrion passes by them with Illyrio. One female Sphinx is remained but the male one is stolen by the dotraki.

 

 

ty :) its there, weird its no where near valiria just in de dessert some where ? i was wondering if eamond could have seen one on dragonstone, but he probably knows it from a book or something.

 

any one knows if the valirians just put those thinks every where they went to get slaves ? dont get who would put em there ( looking at the map) 



#18 Fire Eater

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 12:12 PM

 

First of all we don't know who is the PtwP, so stop stating that as fact. Second, I am talking about what Maester Aemon said when he haired about Dany and her dragons and HE BELIEVED DANY IS PTWP. And talked about the sphinx with dreams of dragons and eggs that didn't hatch and tptwp so the sphinx he was referring to is related to that topic. Amester Aemon disn't know Sarella/Alleras and it makes no sense for him to suddenly talk about a random girl in the citadel, although it is the same riddle: IS THIS SPHINX MALE OR FEMALE? and again she is female, just like tPtwP sho turned out female.

I think you mean "heard" not "haired" to start with for future reference. Aemon believed Dany was the PtwP, but he also believed the same of Rhaegar and Aegon at some point. GRRM doesn't reveal who the prophecy pertains to explicitly in the text until after said event occurs as is the case in Dunk and Egg in both THK and TMK. Aemon doesn't (just so you know that is how we spell it) know Alleras, but he doesn't know Dany either to be fair, they also never met.

 

It doesn't have to all do with Dany. It is never mentioned that the riddle of the sphinx is male or female, so I see little connecting it to Dany. 

 

Also, are you saying not to say Jon is the the PtwP since we don't know who the PTwP is, and then saying you know Dany is the PtwP? If you are that is being hypocritical.



#19 Rhaenys_Targaryen

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 01:07 PM


That had been one of his last good days. After that the old man spent more time sleeping than awake, curled up beneath a pile of furs in the captains cabin. Sometimes he would mutter in his sleep. When he woke hed call for Sam, insisting that he had to tell him something, but oft as not he would have forgotten what he meant to say by the time that Sam arrived. Even when he did recall, his talk was all a jumble. He spoke of dreams and never named the dreamer, of a glass candle that could not be lit and eggs that would not hatch. He said the sphinx was the riddle, not the riddler, whatever that meant. He asked Sam to read for him from a book by Septon Barth, whose writings had been burned during the reign of Baelor the Blessed . Once he woke up weeping. The dragon must have three heads, he wailed, but I am too old and frail to be one of them. I should be with her, showing her the way, but my body has betrayed me.
 


Dreams, but not the dreamer : we know that Daeron the Drunken had prophetic dreams. Perhaps the dreams were Daerons (Aemon did serve in Daerons keep for years), or perhaps the dreams had been Aemons own. It would not be strange to not name a dreamer when you're describing your own dreams.

Glass candle that would not lit: the glass candle in the Citadel, where Aemon spend 10 or 11 years of his life. He will unsoubtly have seen it.

Eggs that would not hatch: Summerhal and the tragedy that accidentally followed were meant to hatch dragons eggs. Obviously those eggs did not hatch.

The sphinx: in Essos, Tyrion passes a sphinx: a dragon's body, and a woman's head. The sphinx is the riddle.. perhaps the riddle of who the head(s) will be? It is kind of curious that this specific sphinx that we come across has a dragon's body after all.


I think Alleras and his nickname were meant as a wakeup call, to alert us, not meaning anything deeper.

#20 Rhaenys_Targaryen

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 01:08 PM

double post

Edited by Rhaenys_Targaryen, 18 May 2014 - 01:09 PM.