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The Nature of Visions and Prophecies


48 replies to this topic

#1 AntZ

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 03:41 PM

SSM

 

Surely the plot is very unpredictable despite all the prophecies you give to help us...

 

[Laughs] Prophecies are, you know, a double edge sword. You have to handle them very carefully; I mean, they can add depth and interest to a book, but you don’t want to be too literal or too easy... In the Wars of the Roses, that you mentioned, there was one Lord who had been prophesied he would die beneath the walls of a certain castle and he was superstitious at that sort of walls, so he never came anyway near that castle. He stayed thousands of leagues away from that particular castle because of the prophecy. However, he was killed in the first battle of St. Paul de Vence and when they found him dead he was outside of an inn whose sign was the picture of that castle! [Laughs] So you know? That’s the way prophecies come true in unexpected ways. The more you try to avoid them, the more you are making them true, and I make a little fun with that.

 

I think we should keep this in mind when speculating about especially the prophecies.

 

Gorghan’s Rule

 

He was not a man to be refused. Sam hesitated a moment, then told his tale again as Marywn, Alleras, and the other novice listened. “Maester Aemon believed that Daenerys Targaryen was the fulfillment of a prophecy . . . her, not Stannis, nor Prince Rhaegar, nor the princeling whose head was dashed against the wall.”

“Born amidst salt and smoke, beneath a bleeding star. I know the prophecy.” Marwyn turned his head and spat a gob of red phlegm onto the floor. “Not that I would trust it. Gorghan of Old Ghis once wrote that a prophecy is like a treacherous woman. She takes your member in her mouth, and you moan with the pleasure of it and think, how sweet, how fine, how good this is . . . and then her teeth snap shut and your moans turn to screams. That is the nature of prophecy, said Gorghan. Prophecy will bite your prick off every time.” He chewed a bit. “Still . . .”

 

Marwyn did not share the blind faith of Aemon (no pun intended) that Dany is the fulfillment of the ancient prophecy. Marwyn is probably not privy to the private Targaryen lore such as Daeron’s dream or the prophecy of GHH that tPtwP would come from Aerys-Rhaella’s line. It may or may not be that he read the prophecy Aerys I had read. Aemon mentioned both of these to Sam. Still, Marwyn went to see Dany himself and check the validity of Aemon’s claim closely. That is better than believing that Dany is the one before seeing her or the dragons.

 

Prophecy is like a half-trained mule,” he complained to Jorah Mormont. “It looks as though it might be useful, but the moment you trust in it, it kicks you in the head. That bloody widow knew the ship would never reach her destination, she warned us of that, said Benerro saw it in his fires, only I took that to mean … well, what does it matter?”

 

Tyrion told this after the mast of Selaesori Qhoran was broken in the strange storm. The ship was drifting aimlessly in the Gulf of Grief. At that time, he did not believe that the vision of Benerro would come true because they would obviously not reach Meereen under those circumstances. He thought that they would drift until they starve and eat each other. But in the end, both Benerro’s and Moqorro’s visions proved to be true.

 

Still, Tyrion seemed to be quoting something he had read about the nature of the prophecies while he was talking to Jorah. I think regardless of the context, what he said is true and in line with Gorghan’s Rule.

 

Mel

 

“We’ve had a raven from Ser Denys Mallister at the Shadow Tower,” Jon Snow told her. “His men have seen fires in the mountains on the far side of the Gorge. Wildlings massing, Ser Denys believes. He thinks they are going to try to force the Bridge of Skulls again.”

“Some may.” Could the skulls in her vision have signified this bridge? Somehow Melisandre did not think so. “If it comes, that attack will be no more than a diversion. I saw towers by the sea, submerged beneath a black and bloody tide. That is where the heaviest blow will fall.”

“Eastwatch?”

Was it? Melisandre had seen Eastwatch-by-the-Sea with King Stannis. That was where His Grace left Queen Selyse and their daughter Shireen when he assembled his knights for the march to Castle Black. The towers in her fire had been different, but that was oft the way with visions. “Yes. Eastwatch, my lord.”

“When?”

She spread her hands. “On the morrow. In a moon’s turn. In a year. And it may be that if you act, you may avert what I have seen entirely.” Else what would be the point of visions?

 

Oh Mel, you are thick. …that was oft the way with visions. What does this mean? I think it is clear that she oft takes her visions literally whereas they should be interpreted symbolically.

 

And it may be that if you act, you may avert what I have seen entirely. Really? SSM above disagrees. The things that are done to avert a vision make them come true eventually.

 

Davos

 

“There will be no combat of champions. Ser Cortnay was dead before he ever threw that glove. The flames do not lie, Davos.”

Yet they require me to make them true, he thought.

 

What about free will? Agency? Cortnay would not die had Davos not taken Mel inside the magic ward at Storm’s End. Mel implied that she saw the death of Cortnay but I don’t think she did because that kills the agency of Davos there.

 

She [Mel] laughed. “Is it me you fear? Or what we do?”

“What you do. I’ll have no part of it.”

“Your hand raised the sail. Your hand holds the tiller.”

 

This is the agency I am talking about. Davos subconsciously knows that he is almost guilty as Mel in the events leading to the defeat at Blackwater and the death of his sons. That knowledge surfaced up during his dehydrated state on the Spears.

 

Stannis

 

“Stubborn or craven, what does it matter? Ser Cortnay Penrose seemed hale and hearty to me.”

“So did my brother, the day before his death. The night is dark and full of terrors, Davos.”

Davos Seaworth felt the small hairs rising on the back of his neck. “My lord, I do not understand you.”

“I do not require your understanding. Only your service. Ser Cortnay will be dead within the day. Melisandre has seen it in the flames of the future. His death and the manner of it. He will not die in knightly combat, needless to say.” Stannis held out his cup, and Devan filled it again from the flagon. “Her flames do not lie. She saw Renly’s doom as well. On Dragonstone she saw it, and told Selyse. Lord Velaryon and your friend Salladhor Saan would have had me sail against Joffrey, but Melisandre told me that if I went to Storm’s End, I would win the best part of my brother’s power, and she was right.”

“B-but,” Davos stammered, “Lord Renly only came here because you had laid siege to the castle. He was marching toward King’s Landing before, against the Lannisters, he would have—”

 

The agency of Stannis (in the form of his seeds) is required in both Renly’s and Cortnay’s death. It is also basic logic that once Renly died, some of his forces would join Stannis because there would be no other option for them.

 

Therefore, I do not think Mel saw Cortnay’s or Renly’s death in a vision or the fact that Stannis would get the best part of Renly’s power. In fact, he did not get the best part of Renly’s power.

 

Mel decided to kill Renly and then she decided to kill Cortnay as well. That she saw these in flames was a lie.

 

Let us continue from the quote above.

 

Stannis shifted in his seat, frowning. “Was, would have, what is that? He did what he did. He came here with his banners and his peaches, to his doom . . . and it was well for me he did. Melisandre saw another day in her flames as well. A morrow where Renly rode out of the south in his green armor to smash my host beneath the walls of King’s Landing. Had I met my brother there, it might have been me who died in place of him.”

 

Now this was the vision Mel saw in the flames, i.e. the host of Stannis being smashed against the walls of KL by Renly’s host. The vision was fulfilled similar to the SSM at the start. Garlan wearing Renly’s armor smashed Stannis against the walls.

 

“Or you might have joined your strength to his to bring down the Lannisters,” Davos protested. “Why not that? If she saw two futures, well . . . both cannot be true.”

King Stannis pointed a finger. “There you err, Onion Knight. Some lights cast more than one shadow. Stand before the nightfire and you’ll see for yourself. The flames shift and dance, never still. The shadows grow tall and short, and every man casts a dozen. Some are fainter than others, that’s all. Well, men cast their shadows across the future as well. One shadow or many. Melisandre sees them all.”

 

Davos pointed that Mel seeing the death of Renly in a vision and his victory against Stannis in another vision was a complete BS. Stannis answered like a parrot repeating Mel’s feeble lies.

 

Therefore, it seems like the only vision Mel saw was the defeat of Stannis, which happened as she saw, and she lied about Renly and Cortnay.

 

One can say that her feeble maneuvers to avert the vision of the defeat of Stannis made that vision come true. This is in complete agreement with the SSM at the start.

 

Maggy and Cersei

 

So, what can we conclude for Maggy’s prophecy?

 

Cersei believes that Tyrion is the valonqar and Margaery is the younger and more beautiful queen in the prophecy of Maggy. She is obviously wrong because all the hints show that Jaime will be the valonqar and there are some really good candidates for the queen to undo Cersei (Sansa, Dany, Arianne etc.)

 

“It is just . . . the maegi knew how many children I would have, and she knew of Robert’s bastards. Years before he’d sired even the first of them, she knew. She promised me I should be queen, but said another queen would come . . .” Younger and more beautiful, she said. “. . . another queen, who would take from me all I loved.”

“And you wish to forestall this prophecy?”

More than anything, she thought. Can it be forestalled?”

“Oh, yes. Never doubt that.”

“How?”

“I think Your Grace knows how.”

She did. I knew it all along, she thought. Even in the tent. “If she tries I will have my brother kill her.”

 

Cersei told (almost) everything to Qyburn and she asked him whether the prophecy can be forestalled. I think it is very unlikely that Qyburn does not know anything about prophecies and Gorghan’s Rule. So, why did Qyburn tell her that it was possible and trick her into scheming to kill Margaery, which turned out to be a disaster?

 

According to the SSM, Cersei’s feeble attempts to kill the would-be younger and more beautiful queen should end up making the prophecy come true. In fact, her machinations to kill Margaery led to the Walk of Shame, which took away her beauty, something she held dear. The small folk mocked her body and she realized that she was no longer the beauty she had been. She is now soiled goods as Kevan put it.

 

If Maggy’s prophecy will proceed like this, what about Joffrey’s death? It looks like Cersei did not do anything (to stop the prophecy) before the death of Joffrey to cause it (according to the SSM at the start). It might be argued that her accusation of Tyrion (the would-be valonqar according to her) led to the death of her father. He can be said to be something she held dear as well.

 

I think there is a good possibility that Cersei tried to poison Tyrion in the purple wedding to get rid of the valonqar for good and the poison meant for Tyrion ended up killing Joffrey, something that is in complete accordance with the notion of GRRM at the SSM given above.


Edited by Paper Waver, 28 July 2014 - 12:07 AM.


#2 LordToo-Fat-to-Sit-a-Horse

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 04:42 PM

i agree. i worry about Jon, since by the end, Melisandre regains his trust. When he "comes back" (probably by some display of Power by Melisandre), will he heed her advice?

#3 not in the face

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 04:55 PM

This is a great read. Kudos OP. It does bring up a question though. Why is Marwyn off to see Dany? He has glass candles and can see her and influence her at his discretion right? Unless he does not know how to fully use them or does not trust them completely. With Sam he saw everything but wanted a few minor details. 


Edited by not in the face, 27 July 2014 - 04:55 PM.


#4 Howling Mad

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 05:14 PM

Interesting analysis.  I have to disagree with your last supposition that Cersei attempted to poison Tyrion at the PW. The textual evidence supports LF and the QOT conspiring to poison Joffrey. Indeed Cersei's reaction of griff and outrage at the PW are too real to have been faked.  



#5 Mal Malenkirk

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 05:18 PM

Good points.  There is also Rhaegar.  If the PTWP is meant to come, he does not need to deliberately go about creating him/her, does it?  In the end whoever ends leading the fight against the others will be TPTWP and retoractively people will recognize the sign. 

 

I think there is a good possibility that Cersei tried to poison Tyrion in the purple wedding to get rid of the valonqar for good and the poison meant for Tyrion ended up killing Joffrey, something that is in complete accordance with the notion of GRRM at the SSM given above.

 

Well, it is firmly established that it was Olenna Martel using a 'stone' from Sansa's hairnet provided to her by Dontos through Littlefinger, who is the ultimate mastertmind. 

 

There are enough mysteries as it is, leave that one alone! ;)


Edited by Mal Malenkirk, 27 July 2014 - 06:58 PM.


#6 LordToo-Fat-to-Sit-a-Horse

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 06:07 PM

Mirri Maz Duur does the same mistake:

 

“It was wrong of them to burn my temple,” the heavy, flat-nosed woman said placidly. “That angered the Great Shepherd.”

“This was no god’s work,” Dany said coldly. If I look back I am lost. “You cheated me. You murdered my child within me.”

“The stallion who mounts the world will burn no cities now. His khalasar shall trample no nations into dust.”

 

 

she sacrifices Rhaego in hopes of avoiding the fullfillment of the prophecy of the Stallion who mounts the world, but probably sets in motion exacty that, by provinding the blood sacrifice needed for Dany´s dragons..

 

http://asoiaf.wester...unts-the-world/



#7 Batbob45

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 06:20 PM

what about patchface?



#8 Ser Pigeon Pie

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 06:42 PM

what about patchface?


I think the difference between Patchface and the other prophecies is that they were more direct, while the apparent mumbo-jumbo said by Patchface were not caught on by the characters and only by the readers.

To the OP; really good post!! I always had the feeling that Mel didn't have full control of her prophecies, and this goes to show that she seems to be making assumptions based on snippets she'd seen. Well done!

#9 LordToo-Fat-to-Sit-a-Horse

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 06:59 PM

what about patchface?

 

No one takes patchface seriously. No one understands he sees the future (not even himself i think). So no one is trying to change the future with that information.

 

The real question is Bloodraven.


Edited by LordToo-Fat-to-Sit-a-Horse, 27 July 2014 - 06:59 PM.


#10 sj4iy

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 07:45 PM

i agree. i worry about Jon, since by the end, Melisandre regains his trust. When he "comes back" (probably by some display of Power by Melisandre), will he heed her advice?


Uh, she never regains his trust. He scoffs at her visions right before he gets stabbed:

"Borroq is the least of your concerns. This ranging ...”
“A word from you might have swayed the queen.”
“Selyse has the right of this, Lord Snow. Let them die. You cannot save them. Your ships are lost—”
“Six remain. More than half the fleet.”
“Your ships are lost. All of them. Not a man shall return. I have seen that in my fires.” “Your fires have been known to lie.”
“I have made mistakes, I have admitted as much, but—”
“A grey girl on a dying horse. Daggers in the dark. A promised prince, born in smoke and salt. It seems to me that you make nothing but mistakes, my lady. Where is Stannis? What of Rattleshirt and his spearwives? Where is my sister?”
“All your questions shall be answered. Look to the skies, Lord Snow. And when you have your answers, send to me. Winter is almost upon us now. I am your only hope.”
“A fool’s hope.” Jon turned and left her.

About 10 pages later, he's stabbed.

Edited by sj4iy, 27 July 2014 - 07:48 PM.


#11 LordToo-Fat-to-Sit-a-Horse

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 07:56 PM

Uh, she never regains his trust. He scoffs at her visions right before he gets stabbed:

"Borroq is the least of your concerns. This ranging ...”
“A word from you might have swayed the queen.”
“Selyse has the right of this, Lord Snow. Let them die. You cannot save them. Your ships are lost—”
“Six remain. More than half the fleet.”
“Your ships are lost. All of them. Not a man shall return. I have seen that in my fires.” “Your fires have been known to lie.”
“I have made mistakes, I have admitted as much, but—”
“A grey girl on a dying horse. Daggers in the dark. A promised prince, born in smoke and salt. It seems to me that you make nothing but mistakes, my lady. Where is Stannis? What of Rattleshirt and his spearwives? Where is my sister?”
“All your questions shall be answered. Look to the skies, Lord Snow. And when you have your answers, send to me. Winter is almost upon us now. I am your only hope.”
“A fool’s hope.” Jon turned and left her.

About 10 pages later, he's stabbed.

 

she does, after the pink letter. Jon thinks she saw the raven.



#12 Zoip

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 08:14 PM

Is there a difference between a prophecy and a vision? The first part of the OP was quite clear, people are told a prophecy about their future and by trying to avoid their destiny they might actually cause their prophecy to become reality. The first part of Mel's "prophecy" is her possibly deliberately causing Stannis to move to ensure Renly will die. The second part where Stannis gets crushed by Renly's ghost at KL is also caused (indirectly) by the actions they took to make the first part happen. Had Mel not told Stannis about the prophecy, he would not have made both first and second part happen. So does a prophecy require you to be aware of it for it to become a reality? The examples of Stannis, Cersei and Miri Maz Duur indicate that a prophecy is a very personal thing. The subject is aware of the prophecy and the subsequent actions lead to the fulfillment of the prophecy. 

 

What confuses me is the Red Wedding. It was foretold to different characters who had absolutely no way of influencing the outcome, namely Dany, Patchface and Arya. Also the people directly involved in the red wedding were totally unaware of this. Does this make the RW something totally different than the prophecies described in this topic? 


Edited by Zoip, 27 July 2014 - 08:16 PM.


#13 sj4iy

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 08:15 PM

she does, after the pink letter. Jon thinks she saw the raven.


He doesn't trust her...he simply says that he wants to see if she can see anything about it. He's just trying everything at his disposal, but there's definitely no trust there.

#14 LordToo-Fat-to-Sit-a-Horse

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 08:29 PM

He doesn't trust her...he simply says that he wants to see if she can see anything about it. He's just trying everything at his disposal, but there's definitely no trust there.

 

No, IMO it´s very clear:

 

When he was done, Tormund whistled. “Har. That’s buggered, and no mistake. What was that about Mance? Has him in a cage, does he? How, when hundreds saw your red witch burn the man?”

That was Rattleshirt, Jon almost said. That was sorcery. A glamor, she called it. “Melisandre … look to the skies, she said.” He set the letter down. “A raven in a storm. She saw this coming.” When you have your answers, send to me.

(..)

Horse and Rory fell in beside Jon as he left the Shieldhall. I should talk with Melisandre after I see the queen, he thought. If she could see a raven in a storm, she can find Ramsay Snow for me.

 

 

Jon´s trust for Melisandre is result oriented. He doesn´t trust her until the dead rangers... so he allows the Arya rescue mission.

when Arya ends up being Alys, he mistrusts her again..until the pink letter.


Edited by LordToo-Fat-to-Sit-a-Horse, 27 July 2014 - 09:49 PM.


#15 Mrs.Grumpy

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 08:40 PM

No there is no evidence that shows Cersei tried to poison Tyrion. No. Why does she never thinks about it in her pov? No. No. Only a fool would place a poison on a hugeass cake that will thousands eat.

But yeah prophecies are tricky.

#16 Fire Eater

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 09:38 PM

Good post, Paper Weaver

 

Prophecy is tricky, and it uses a lot of symbolism with dragons always being Targaryes in prophecies in D&E. Some characters don't get that such as Daemon II thinking a literal dragon would hatch as Whitewalls. When characters try to interpret prophecies before they occur, they are, I guess, always wrong. The prophecy isn't fully explained until after the prophesied event occurs as is the case in D&E where BR explains that the dragon hatching at Whitewalls was Egg and before that, the dragon falling on top of Dunk was Baelor Breakspear.


Edited by Fire Eater, 27 July 2014 - 09:39 PM.


#17 sj4iy

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 10:05 PM

No, IMO it´s very clear:
 
 
Jon´s trust for Melisandre is result oriented. He doesn´t trust her until the dead rangers... so he allows the Arya rescue mission.
when Arya ends up being Alys, he mistrusts her again..until the pink letter.


I think you're confusing 'trust' with 'will use her'. He doesn't trust her. He knows that she has the ability to see things, though, and will use that to his advantage if at all possible. But she's made too many mistakes to trust her. If he trusted her, he would have freed Ghost like she said to do. He doesn't. He doesn't believe everything she says because she makes a lot of mistakes. But any information he can get at that time is better than nothing. Like they say earlier, magic is a sword without a hilt- there's not safe way to grasp it...but it's still useful as a weapon. That's why he's very cautious and careful. He's already been burned by it with Arya, but he will still see if there's any help that can be attained from using it.

Edited by sj4iy, 27 July 2014 - 10:07 PM.


#18 LordStoneheart

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 10:05 PM

I won't touch on the pie so hot it melts crystal, that's for another time, but overall I like this post. And I love that you're showing how infallible and wrong Melony can be. 



#19 LordToo-Fat-to-Sit-a-Horse

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 10:32 PM

I think you're confusing 'trust' with 'will use her'. He doesn't trust her. He knows that she has the ability to see things, though, and will use that to his advantage if at all possible. But she's made too many mistakes to trust her. If he trusted her, he would have freed Ghost like she said to do. He doesn't. He doesn't believe everything she says because she makes a lot of mistakes. But any information he can get at that time is better than nothing. Like they say earlier, magic is a sword without a hilt- there's not safe way to grasp it...but it's still useful as a weapon. That's why he's very cautious and careful. He's already been burned by it with Arya, but he will still see if there's any help that can be attained from using it.

 

agreed. He doesn´t need to trust her to use her. Still if he hadn´t been attacked, he would have seeked her advice.. he would have trusted if she saw ramsay.. That was my point

 

Ghost: that was before the letter.



#20 sj4iy

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 10:45 PM

agreed. He doesn´t need to trust her to use her. Still if he hadn´t been attacked, he would have seeked her advice.. he would have trusted if she saw ramsay.. That was my point
 
Ghost: that was before the letter.


I think he may have actually grown to trust her had she not embellished what she saw to try to gain his trust so quickly. She knew that Arya was very important to him, and decided to dangle that in front of him like a carrot. When he gets his hopes up for Arya and then finds Alys, it crushes him. Melisandre took a risk to try to gain him to her side, and it backfired on her.

Now, how will he feel about it when he wakes up (from a coma or from death or whatever it ends up being)? Not really sure. I think there will be much more to it than just "Jon trusts Melisandre now", though.