I looked at that book Maester Aemon left me. The Jade Compendium. The pages that told of Azor Ahai. LIghtbringer was his sword. Tempered with his wife's blood if Votar can be believed. Thereafter Lightbringer was never cold to the touch, but warm as Nissa Nissa had been warm. In battle, the blade burned firey hot. Once Azor Ahai fought a monster. When he thrust the sword through the belly of the beast, its blood began to boil. Smoke and steam poured from its mouth, its eyes melted and dribbled down its cheeks, and its body burst into flame.
What do you know of fear? Fear is for the winter, my little lord, when the snows fall a hundred feet deep and the ice wind comes howling out of the north. Fear is for the long night, when the sun hides it face for years at a time, and little children are born and live and die all in darkness while the direwolves grow gaunt and hungry, and the white walkers move through the woods. The Others. Thousands and thousands of years ago, a winter fell that was cold and hard and endless beyond all memory of man. There came a night that lasted a generation, and kings shivered and died in their castles even as the swineherds in their hovels. Women smothered their children rather than see them starve, and cried, their tears freeing on their cheeks...In that darkness, the Others came for the first time...They were cold things, dead things, that hated iron and fire and the touch of the sun, and every creature with hot blood in its veins. They swept over holdfasts and cities and kingdoms, felled heroes and armies by the score, riding their pale dead horses and leading hosts of the slain. All the swords of men could not stay their advance, and even maidens and suckling babes found no pity in them...
Now, these were the days before the Andals came, and long before the women fled across the narrow sea from the cities of the Rhoyne, and the hundred kingdoms of those times were the kingdoms of the First Men, who had taken these lands from the children of the forest. Yet here and there in the fastness of the woods the children still lived in their wooden cities and hollow hills, and the faces in the trees kept watch. So as cold and death filled the earth, the last hero determined to seek out the children, in the hopes that their ancient magics could win back what the armies of men had lost. He set out into the dead lands with a sword, a horse, a dog and a dozen companions. For years he searched, until he despaired if ever finding the children of the forest in their secret cities. One by one his friends died...and his sword froze so hard the blade snapped when he tried to use it. And the Others smelled the hot blood in him, and same silent on his trail, stalking him with packs of pale white spiders, big as hounds... (Old Nan) [She's interrupted, and later Bran remembers "The children will him him!"
Thanks to butterbumps! for pulling all of those quotes together, I know I'll be referring back to them frequently.
Since we're interested in the differences between AA and the Last Hero, the bolded parts stuck out to me. According to Old Nan's story, the Last Hero was not wielding Lightbringer, because Lightbringer is never cold, but the Last Hero's blade froze and shattered. Admittedly, this could be accounted for simply by divergence in Westerosi/Essosi variations on the same myth, but I'm not so certain. In the AA myth, Lightbringer is absolutely central. The story is all about his attempts to temper a magical blade, the sacrifice of his wife in order to do so, and the ability of that blade to fight back against the darkness falling on the world. In the Last Hero story, the blade is so inessential that it freezes and snaps, doing absolutely no good.
What is essential to Old Nan's story? The Children of the Forest and their ancient magic. Notably, we know that the magic of the CotF is connected to the 'Old Gods,' weirwoods, skinchanging, and magical wards (very probably wards similar to those used in the Wall and Storm's End). We know that Melisandre considers these Old Powers to be in opposition to R'Hllor. How likely is it that the stories have diverged so wildly that there is a religion now set up in opposition to the goal of the original figure it was based off? Come to think of it...that would be kind of interesting.
I left in the entirety of Old Nan's story instead of just clipping the part about the sword because we can all use a little more Old Nan in our lives and that passage gives me chills every time...'What do you know of fear? ... Fear is for the Long Night' Gets me every time.
Edited by OnionAhaiReborn, 27 April 2012 - 07:38 AM.