GRRM in an interview once stated …it was always my intention: to play with the reader’s expectations. Before I was a writer I was a voracious reader and I am still, and I have read many, many books with very predictable plots. As a reader, what I seek is a book that delights and surprises me. I want to not know what is gonna happen. For me, that’s the essence of storytelling and for this reason I want my readers to turn the pages with increasing fever: to know what happens next. There are a lot of expectations, mainly in the fantasy genre, which you have the hero and he is the chosen one, and he is always protected by his destiny. I didn’t want it for my books.
So essentially what Heresy is all about is trying to look behind those easy expectations in the hope of figuring out something of what’s really going on. Thus we question above all the long established assumptions that the Children of the Forest will teach Bran Stark how to defeat the Others, that Jon Snow is Azor Ahai, and will use this knowledge to save Westeros while riding astride one of Dany’s amazing dragons before taking his rightful place alongside her on the Iron Throne as Jon Targaryen First of his Name.
So what have we established instead, or at least theorised (with reasons) from the wealth of textual clues, easter eggs and cookies - and a study of the source material?
Well for a start we’ve identified some of that source material. Its widely recognised that a lot about the game of thrones being played out here is loosely based on characters and events from the 15th Century Wars of the Roses, but we’ve gone further in identifying some of the mythological sources which underpin the magic, especially in and around the Wall, leading us through the Arthurian Legends, the Welsh Mabinogion, the Irish Tain bo Culaidh and the Norse Eddas amongst others, to discover Bran the Blessed, Tam Lin, Cu Chulainn and above all the Morrigan – the Crow Goddess, associated with death and exhibiting three human aspects as maiden, mother and crone.
All of this very largely stemmed from picking up GRRM’s reference to the Others being like the Sidhe made of Ice, together with the House Morrigen cookie, bringing us into the mainstream of Irish mythology as well as Welsh (Bran the Blessed) and Norse (Odin, and the Wall itself) mythology. However that Sidhe reference is also significant in another way because this is the Song of Ice and Fire and if the Others/Sidhe are Ice made Flesh it surely follows that their opponents, like dragons, are Fire made Flesh and that’s exactly what we’ve discovered in looking closely at the Mel POV and at Moqorro and Victarion, all three of whom are thus revealed as fire demons, exactly equal to and opposite those of Ice – the Others.
There’s also a further, related, theory that this warging business may be overrated and that the ravens and crows (as represented by the Morrigan) who figure so ubiquitously throughout the story are not the tools of Bloodraven or anyone else, but are players in their own right who can understand the speech or song of the children and of men and presumably the song of Ice as spoken by the Others/Sidhe in the prologue as well.
And then there’s the Wall, not at all unlike the Bifrost bridge in the Norse Eddas, and which we have come to believe is not a defensive structure at all but the boundary between the realms of men (which the Watch are sworn to protect) and the Faerie realms beyond, linked until the Nights King business only by the magic portal under the Nightfort. In Ragnarok the bridge is broken and likewise we suspect that the magic Wall must come down to achieve a resolution and restore the balance.
In doing that, Jon (apparently soon to be found being pursued alone through a forest near you) seems destined to be King of Winter, while Danaerys Targaryen, once tipped as his partner, may have to venture into the hell of Valyria to sort out the Fire.
All of these theories are just that and matters of controversy rather tenets of faith. We think we’re reaching a better understanding of what’s really going on, but as heretics we neither promote nor defend a particular viewpoint, in fact we argue quite a lot which is what makes this thread cycle so much fun, but we do reckon that the Starks’ role in all of this is a lot darker and more ambiguous than once it seemed and that the children are not so cuddly as they pretend.
I’d like to wrap this up by thanking everybody, including the sceptics, who have made this the most thoughtful, dynamic, and as it is becoming increasingly hailed, awesome, thread on the board. It would be nice to name names but that would take far too long and we all know the guilty parties anyway.
If you’re already actively involved in the Heresy business it needs no further introduction. If you’re new, or simply intimidated by the sheer scale of it all, not to mention the astonishing speed with which it moves, and wonder what we’re talking about and why we’ve come to these peculiar ideas, just ask. We’re friendly and we don’t mind going over old ground again, especially with a fresh pair of eyes.
All that we ask as ever is that the debate be conducted by reference to the text, with respect for the ideas of others, and above all great good humour.
Edited by mormont, 05 April 2013 - 01:25 PM.