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Dragon sighting at Winterfell?!?


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#61 dude4daenerys

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 11:25 PM

Really? Because I think it sounds a little ridiculous that a dragon could be living under Winterfell and no one knows about it. I mean, what does it eat?

....

Oh... By the moon... How did I not ever, EVER, notice this? HOW?! ARGH! My mind is bursting! Bobling! This is soooooo freakin' weird!
Alright, sorry for that... Slight overreaction. This is amazing! The idea of a Dragon providing the hot spring warmth of Winterfell is freakin' awesome. .
Well, if this is true, and let's face it, we don't have a lot of evidence, the plot just became a thousand times more interresting to me. Re-read ACoK I must!





I'm totally with you Winter Crow, I've read this series at least 5 times and I listen to the audio book series over again at work every few months, (warehouse work is tedious), and yet I never caught this!! Or maybe I did years ago and put it down to poetic license and a wolf's extravagant descritption of flame. But I can't write it off as that this time.

I don't know what it IS. I don't think we can know what it IS right now. But I know George Martin pretty well, and he chooses his words carefully. This isn't AFFC either. The first three were solid as granite and he alluded to crucial relations with sometimes a bare sentence. And to quote LordNedsHead again, "in the sky he saw a great winged snake whose roar was a river of flame. He bared his teeth, but then the snake was gone." So I can say I know what it's NOT. It's not a casual reference to smoke and a gout of fire billowing from some window "in the sky". It's not THAT.

I'd also like to say a quick word on dragons, particularly hibernating dragons. They do hibernate, or at least they can become inactive and harnessed. Only Bran has seen them. It's in his third chapter (or part 5 in the Audiobook), when he's dreaming and must wake, "He lifted his eyes and saw clear across the narrow sea to the Free Cities and the green Dothraki Sea, and beyond to Vaes Dothrak under its mountain, and beyond to the fabled lands of the Jade Sea, to Asshai by the Shadow where dragons stirred beneath the sunrise."

I've always taken this to mean that the Shadowlanders - seperate from Asshai and recognizable only by the masks they wear - have taken dragons and forced them into hibernation or locked them away to preserve their own cache of "faerie dust".

I've also always wondered where the magic that fueled wargs and the green dreams and the weirwood's eyes came from. Again, I can't say what " a great winged snake whose roar was a river of flame" IS, but I know what it's not. It's NOT flame spewing from a streamer of smoke in the shape of a dragon in the middle of the sky.


Awesome, awesome post LordNedsHead. Thank you very much.

#62 ccoa

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 11:06 AM

So if there was some jolly hybernating dragon underneath Winterfell for all those years, you would expect it to be gargantuan. I understand that the North is large, remote, and sparsely populated, but come on, not one person saw it? Plus, for those of you wetting yourselfs over the prospect that a dragon provides the warm steam that heats Winterfell, GRRM states that the castle was built over quite a few hot springs. Works for me.


That's assuming that it grows while hibernating, which, if this theory is true, is not something we can assume. Also, how do you know no one has seen it? The only thing we can say for sure is that no one our POV characters have spoken to have seen it. For all we know, it's set up shop in the remote regions of the North where it is happily snacking on sheep and shepherds alike, and rumors just haven't reached anyone we know about yet.

I'm not saying it's real, but "no one saw it" isn't necessarily an argument against it because we can't prove that no one saw it then or is seeing it now.

Really? Because I think it sounds a little ridiculous that a dragon could be living under Winterfell and no one knows about it. I mean, what does it eat?


This isn't that big of a hang-up considering we're talking about a creature who can remain in egg for for who knows how many hundreds of years. What did Dany's dragons use for sustenance before they hatched? Nothing, apparently. It seems hibernating dragons in eggs don't need food, so it's not that big of a stretch to assume any hibernating dragon (assuming adult dragons can hibernate, that is) doesn't need food or water.

I have to say I don't think the wording is a mistake nor do I think Summer was trying to be poetic (since when are wolves poetic?). I really don't think Martin would deliberately try to fool his readers by describing smoke, fire, or a comet as an unambiguously dragon-like figure and then add Osha's line to the mix. It almost certainly means something other than the wolf had smoke in his eyes and couldn't see.

That said, I don't know if it was something real that he saw or a vision. Probably only time will tell. My suspicion was that it was actually a prophetic vision of some sort, but Osha's line may hint it was literal.

#63 cybroleach

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 12:38 PM

I'm not saying it's real, but "no one saw it" isn't necessarily an argument against it because we can't prove that no one saw it then or is seeing it now.


You can't prove a negative we're never going to get a pov of every peasant of Westeros.
However NO ONE AT THE CASTLE where this is happening has seen it.

Ramsay letter says nothing of a dragon being wakened by the battle to Roose. The Freys letter also fail to mention something as spectacular as this. Maester Lewin doesn't remeber it before he dies. The confused reports Robb gets don't mention a Dragon. The Liddle with all his information about events going on in the north hasn't heard a pep about dragons. The Ironborn and the NW get no reports about this dragon. EVEN Bran doesn't think that is worth telling his companions that there was a dragon there despite his love of them.

SPOILER: ADWD
In Theon's new pov chapter he also fails to mention this nor is Ramsay worried about this wild dragon flying around the north.


#64 The_BlauerDragon

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 01:25 PM

Allow me to be the first to step out on a limb and say that I am absotively posilutely 100% certain that it was a Dragon. There's too many references to a Dragon beneath Winterfell, and too many references to waking Dragons for it to have been anything else. GRRM is not some hack author that just tosses his words around haphazardly like that. He chose his words and descriptions very carefully and with great purpose. There is a Dragon running wild and free somewhere in the north.

#65 ccoa

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 01:29 PM

Who was at the castle to see? Bran and co were belowground, the army was gone. As far as I can recall, only Maester Luwin was potentially in a position to see, which is not only not guaranteed, but he was sort of dying at the time. Did he see it and think it was a hallucination? Was he unconscious at the time? Was he even in a position to see? We know Winterfell's towers are quite tall, and there was a lot of smoke at the time.

It doesn't take very long to get out of sight of something in a world like the North, where there are still old growth forests and lots of hills and mountains. Even an hour or two's march could easily put the army in a position where Winterfell wasn't really visible anymore. Yes, they could still see the sky. But would they see the dragon with the big column of smoke? Would they correctly interpret it as a dragon and not a bird? Would anyone even be looking back at the right time? Seems like if it was indeed real if flew off pretty quickly.

I really don't think it's as unreasonable as you're trying to make it seem. More unbelievable things have happened in the series by far.

As to Bran not mentioning it, the vision (or whatever it was) only lasted a very short moment. Bran has slightly more pressing issues to think about, such as the destruction of his home and the probable deaths of people who are very dear to him. I don't think it's that unreasonable for a child who has had weird visions before and may not even have properly processed whatever it was that they saw to not mention it. If you've ever been in a situation where there's a very real possibility that someone (or several someones, in this case) you love is dead, you probably know how easy it is to push other things out of your mind that aren't really relevant to the situation at hand, even to the point of forgetting them entirely. I've done it myself.

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 03:06 PM

Who was at the castle to see? Bran and co were belowground, the army was gone.

As already pointed out, Bran was watching through Summer's eyes. He saw the thing, but didn't think it was important enough to bother mentioning to his companions. Hardly sounds like a real dragon, or really anything.

It doesn't take very long to get out of sight of something in a world like the North, where there are still old growth forests and lots of hills and mountains.

It's not so easy to hide as you make out:

Jojen stopped to get his breath."Do you think these mountain folk know we're here?"
"They know," Bran had seen them watching, not with his own eyes, but with Summer's sharper ones, that missed so little.

Edited by Other-in-law, 20 April 2009 - 03:11 PM.


#67 ccoa

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 03:41 PM

As already pointed out, Bran was watching through Summer's eyes. He saw the thing, but didn't think it was important enough to bother mentioning to his companions. Hardly sounds like a real dragon, or really anything.


I already went into that. It's in the last paragraph of my post.

Additionally, even if Bran didn't think it was anything worth mentioning it does not necessarily follow that it wasn't anything. Bran is a child. Moreover, he's a child who's been through a trauma and who's had quite a few really strange visions in the immediate past.

It's not so easy to hide as you make out:

Jojen stopped to get his breath."Do you think these mountain folk know we're here?"
"They know," Bran had seen them watching, not with his own eyes, but with Summer's sharper ones, that missed so little.


Them knowing they were there (and possibly tracking them) is not at all the same thing as directly observing them at every second. I live in the mountains. If someone passes through my property, I'm probably going to know about it sooner rather than later whether I see the actual trespassers or not. They'll leave obvious traces. They'll upset the dogs and wildlife. They may have a campfire with smoke.

If there is a dragon (and note that I don't believe there is, I just think the possibility exists), then there's no reason that someone, somewhere doesn't already know. It would be unbelievable if it were never seen by anyone again until the plot needs to produce it.

Once again, I see no reason why Martin would try to "trick" his readers this way. He isn't the sort of author that goes in for red herrings. Although in this case I think it's more a vision than something that literally happened, but I don't think for a second he would put it in if it were nothing. Do you?

#68 Jakob Lightbringer

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 04:03 PM

This isn't that big of a hang-up considering we're talking about a creature who can remain in egg for for who knows how many hundreds of years. What did Dany's dragons use for sustenance before they hatched? Nothing, apparently. It seems hibernating dragons in eggs don't need food, so it's not that big of a stretch to assume any hibernating dragon (assuming adult dragons can hibernate, that is) doesn't need food or water.

The seed is strong... ;)

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 04:06 PM

Once again, I see no reason why Martin would try to "trick" his readers this way. He isn't the sort of author that goes in for red herrings. Although in this case I think it's more a vision than something that literally happened, but I don't think for a second he would put it in if it were nothing. Do you?

Do I think he uses red herrings? Yes, absolutely. There was a pretty large thread about them in the past, though the definition of "red herring" used then was that it didn't count if there was some plot-serving aspect to an otherwise false hint.

An example would be Ygritte's comment about letting all those shades out when they opened half-a hundred graves looking for the Horn of Winter. Quite a few words have been expended trying to defend the untenable possibility that Mance actually released the Others in his search (there's a fundamental chronology flaw therein), and while wrong, it's easy enough to see where GRRM has misdirected many of his readers. However, per the definition, that red herring wouldn't count, because there was a highly significant revelation in there, too: that the Horn of Winter is reputed to be able to bring the Wall down.

IIRC, there were several more along the same lines; false clues but with valid information mixed in. I'm not sure what the legitimate reveal would be in this, but then that might either be revealed later, or perhaps there was nothing more to it than wolf-speak.

As to Bran not mentioning it, the vision (or whatever it was) only lasted a very short moment. Bran has slightly more pressing issues to think about, such as the destruction of his home and the probable deaths of people who are very dear to him. I don't think it's that unreasonable for a child who has had weird visions before and may not even have properly processed whatever it was that they saw to not mention it. If you've ever been in a situation where there's a very real possibility that someone (or several someones, in this case) you love is dead, you probably know how easy it is to push other things out of your mind that aren't really relevant to the situation at hand, even to the point of forgetting them entirely. I've done it myself.

You're actually suggesting he might have seen_a_freaking_dragon and just didn't consider it a priority. Utterly implausible to me. Sure he was worried about Old Nan, but c'mon...sight of a real dragon has got to crowd out other concerns.

Edited by Other-in-law, 20 April 2009 - 04:07 PM.


#70 ccoa

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 04:17 PM

You're assuming that he processed it correctly - that is he knew what he saw was a dragon - and that he didn't believe, rightly or wrongly, it was a vision or an illusion.

All I'm saying is that it's not flat-out impossible.

#71 iheartseverus

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 04:20 PM

You're actually suggesting he might have seen_a_freaking_dragon and just didn't consider it a priority. Utterly implausible to me. Sure he was worried about Old Nan, but c'mon...sight of a real dragon has got to crowd out other concerns.


But, Oil, it seems to me there's a glaring gap in this reasoning. Summer/Bran did see 'a winged snake whose roar was a river of flame.' He did. GRRM says he did. Your argument makes it sound like that sighting of... whatever it was... never even happened, that perhaps members here are making it all up. It did happen. I agree with you that we have no canon describing Bran later thinking 'Holy crap! There's a dragon out there!' BUT, neither do we have any canon describing Bran thinking 'Holy crap! Summer thinks he saw a dragon in the sky, but I'm able to interpret things more rationally and therefore I realize it was just smoke in some weird shape. Therefore, I dismiss it.'

Neither of those Bran reactions were ever shown to us, and surely, following Summer's vision of the winged snake in the sky, Bran would have had some reaction to it, either acknowledging it or dismissing it? Indeed, he would have. We were not shown nor told of Bran's reaction to whatever Summer saw, that's all.

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 04:34 PM

BUT, neither do we have any canon describing Bran thinking 'Holy crap! Summer thinks he saw a dragon in the sky, but I'm able to interpret things more rationally and therefore I realize it was just smoke in some weird shape. Therefore, I dismiss it.'

Why would he need to, if it was a perfectly mundane experience? Do we see him thinking: "'Holy crap! Summer thinks he saw a cliff in where Winterfell should be, but I'm able to interpret things more rationally and therefore I realize it wasn't massive geologic changes, just the way he sees the walls of the castle. Therefore, I dismiss it.' Substitute man-claws for swords, hard-skins for armour, and again, we don't see Bran wasting any time on it.

Neither of those Bran reactions were ever shown to us, and surely, following Summer's vision of the winged snake in the sky, Bran would have had some reaction to it, either acknowledging it or dismissing it?

It's not like anything was hidden from us. He looked through Summer's eyes, and immediately reported back to his companions when they pulled him back. There was no cliffhanger with a gap in the narrative or anything.

ccoa,

You're assuming that he processed it correctly - that is he knew what he saw was a dragon - and that he didn't believe, rightly or wrongly, it was a vision or an illusion.

Actually, I'm interpreting that he processed it correctly by believing that it wasn't a dragon, but an illusion. Because we should have gotten some kind of additional hint if it was, in the next book. Instead we get nothing, despite manhunts going on throughout the north searching for the kids, and mountain folk finding them despite their best efforts to hide. If there was a dragon for real, we should have gotten more evidence, both as a matter of realism and storytelling.

#73 Aplomb

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 05:04 PM

Who was at the castle to see? Bran and co were belowground, the army was gone. As far as I can recall, only Maester Luwin was potentially in a position to see, which is not only not guaranteed, but he was sort of dying at the time.


This is the a misinterpretation of the text. There were tons of people still there at Winterfell when Summer saw whatever he saw. The "dragon" appears smack in the middle of the burning, slaughtering, and carnage, not after.

In the same paragraph and thus at the same time of the "dragon" sighting, Summer smells "Men, many men, many horses, and fire, fire, fire."

In the next paragraph, we read that "all through the night" the fires continued, and he hears dogs barking and horses screaming. He also hears "the howls of the man-pack, wails of fear and wild shouts, laughter and screams." At one point he hears and feels a large crash (clearly the partial collapse of the First Keep). Shaggy "growls at every sound."

Again, all this noise and commotion goes on all through the night, after the "dragon" sighting.

Summer waits until the morning, "only then did he leave the trees." Summer and Shaggy approach the destruction, smelling blood and death, "yet nowhere did they see or scent a living man." So the army making so much noise throughout the night must have left right before dawn.

So to support the actual dragon hypothesis, you have to argue that somehow a dragon rose from the earth and blasted fire, right at the height of the sacking and burning of Winterfell. And somehow hundreds of witnesses either didn't notice this huge dragon climbing out of the earth, blasting a gout of fire, and flying away and just went on with their laughing and screaming, or did notice and for some reason this didn't become a notable topic of conversation in the North.

Edited to add: As to why Martin included this dragon vision in the first place, my speculation is to foreshadow that the direwolves aren't going to like Dany's dragons one bit if they meet, even if they are on the same side in the Others battle. Some people like to think that Jon or Bran are going to be happy to become one head of the dragon when Dany shows up. This little scene is there, I think, to suggest that Summer (who is otherwise a pretty chill direwolf) is instinctually going to hate them on sight. He sees some smoke billowing in the shape of a dragon, and that's enough to set off his instinctual response and get him growling, even though he's never seen a real dragon before.

Edited by Aplomb, 20 April 2009 - 05:31 PM.


#74 cybroleach

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 06:02 PM

Who was at the castle to see?
It doesn't take very long to get out of sight of something in a world like the North, where there are still old growth forests and lots of hills and mountains. Even an hour or two's march could easily put the army in a position where Winterfell wasn't really visible anymore.


Perhaps if you read the passage you'd know that's just not true.

Men, many men, many horses, and fire, fire, fire...the smoke and ash clouded his eyes, and in the sky he saw a great winged snake whose roar was a river of flame...Howls shuddered threw the night; the howls of men pack, wails of fear and wild shouts, laughter and screams. No beast was as noisy as a man.


The army hadn't marched anywhere and were still in the process of killing/raping and burning Winterfel.

#75 The_BlauerDragon

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 06:32 PM

Because we should have gotten some kind of additional hint if it was, in the next book. Instead we get nothing, despite manhunts going on throughout the north searching for the kids, and mountain folk finding them despite their best efforts to hide. If there was a dragon for real, we should have gotten more evidence, both as a matter of realism and storytelling.

Wait a minute... My books are not with me and my memory isn't as fresh as it should be (it's been a long day). Didn't we get some reports of huge fires being set that people accredited to this group, or that group, without any real definitive proof that it was said group responsible? I'm thinking that Brienne hears some such stuff in her travels. Can anyone check this out for me?

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 08:04 PM

Wait a minute... My books are not with me and my memory isn't as fresh as it should be (it's been a long day). Didn't we get some reports of huge fires being set that people accredited to this group, or that group, without any real definitive proof that it was said group responsible?

BWB signal fires or Rh'llorian Night Fires in the Riverlands, which is one of the most POV heavy regions over the last two books. Not very likely to be a secret dragon flying around there.

Anyway, as Aplomb and Cybro have pointed, there were still plenty of Bolton men at Winterfell while the winged snake was seen, so we can pretty much put this one to bed (not that there was much to it anyway).

#77 ccoa

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 11:04 AM

Ah, you're right. That's what I get for trying to remember something I haven't read in over a year. My apologies. Probably not a genuine dragon, then.

Still think it was a vision, though, and not just a throw-away line.

#78 Sandor's Lady

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 08:15 PM

There's too many references to a Dragon beneath Winterfell, and too many references to waking Dragons for it to have been anything else. GRRM is not some hack author that just tosses his words around haphazardly like that. He chose his words and descriptions very carefully and with great purpose.


:agree:

As Blauer and others (including myself) have said, Martin's not the sort of guy who's gonna have a wolf describe a dragon, have someone else mention a dragon within a few pages of that, and have it turn out to be just smoke and mirrors, if you'll excuse the term. This - regardless of whether it's a flesh and blood dragon, or forshadowing (which I hadn't considered before someone else brought it up) - is important and we will see it again. Martin is far too good a writer to throw away something like this.

Also - there seems to be a connection with dragons and geothermal activity:
-Dragon Stone seems to have some geothermal activity going on, with the cells getting hotter the further down in the dungeons you go, and with the mentions of smoke.
-I think the Kindly Man (someone anyway) said that Valyria had mines that went deep into the earth and grew hotter the further down you went. Sounds like mining in a volcano to me. He mentioned firewyrms that lived in the mines. It is said that the sea surrounding what's left of Valyria continues to smoke. I'm thinking Valyria (where the dragons came from, it seems) had a lot of volcanic activity.
-And now we have what may be a dragon in connection with Winterfell. I'm wondering if the dragon didn't cause the the geothermal activity there as much as it was there because the geothermal activity was a pre-existing condition.

#79 nanother

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 01:50 PM

Wow, this is a great thread :cool:

I do prefer to think that what Summer saw was a real dragon, though some of the points brought up againsxt it are strong enough to leave me in doubt.

Firstly, I think its extremely unlikely that Summer was being poetic and it was just some funny shaped smoke. As others mentioned, Summer is pretty accurate in describing what he sees (in his own way). Seeing dragons and other things in clouds/smoke is typically a human thing, since we kind of try to match the abstract shapes with our concepts of actual things. But I think it's safe to assume that westerosi (dire)wolves
a) don't have concepts of winged snakes
B) don't have the mental capabilities to interpret abstract shapes
So whatever Summer saw must have had a much stronger resemblance to a winged snake than a cloud of smoke has a realistic chance to be.

Secondly, I don't think it's all that imp[ossible that noone started rumors about the dragon.
Amidst all the commotion at Winterfell (fire, smoke, fighting, rape, whatever) it's possible (though admittedly hard to believe) that noone spotted the dragon at all. Even Summer got only a very brief glimpse of it, and he had nothig better to do than to observe what was going on.
Also, my theory is that if it was a dragon, it likely made its way to the Wall and beyond (somehow I'd expect a dragon to know where the important stuff is)...which would increase it's chances to get past inhabited lands before someone spotted it.
Finally, even if a few people glimpsed it, they might easily have dismissed it as a product of imagination before even registering that it was a dragon. Think about it, dragons are considered nonexistent at the time (and the North is a particularly unlikely place for one anyway) and people tend to see what they expect to see...therefore if anyone saw a dragon (or more like a weird, huge flying thing), (s)he would likley do everything (subconsciously, if the sighting was brief and obscure enough) to convince him/herself that it wasn't a dragon.
In this light, it's fairly plausible that Bran wouldn't go around telling everyone about the dragon, even if he recognised it looked like one. It was gone so fast and Summer's vision was so clouded that he (with his human mind) likely wasn't even sure it was real. I don't know how many of you would give a second thought to a possible illusion, when your home is being destroyed in the most horrible manner. I'm fairly sure I wouldn't.
Yet, for us it makes sense to trust Summer's senses, especially since we have the advantage of knowing that dragons do exist.

Thirdly, there's the question how the dragon ended up there and what exacly woke it up...well, yes, that seems problematic, but considering that we still have (at least) 3 books to look forward, at this point the apparent lack of explanation isn't nearly enough to disprove the theory.

#80 DocBean

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 03:20 PM

IT'S GENE!!!

hang on, let me find him.
there was already a thread where we discovered the real thruth.