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  1. There's lots of clues that the Daynes are descended from the Great Empire of the Dawn ("Geodawnians" is the shorthand that I like best as a name for this people). My favourite is the cluster of clues that comes via House Hightower. It's assumed that the fortress on Battle Isle at the base of the High Tower was a Geodawnian outpost in Westeros, pre-Long Night. The first Hightower (the one who cleared Battle Isle of dragons) was called Uthor. In the real world, Uther is the name of King Arthur's father, and the most famous Dayne in the book is Arthur Dayne. It seems to me that this hints that the Daynes are descended from the Hightowers (metaphorical father-son), who are themselves originally Geodawnians. Was Uthor himself a Geodawnian though? The only way to know at this stage is if the Hightowers also retain purple eyes or silvery hair. This has been hotly debated, but it's possible that the Hightowers do have some "Valyrian" looks (in fact, like with the Daynes, these are Geodawnian looks). Unlike for the Daynes, whose purple eyes are widely advertised, the clues for the Hightower features are subtle and sophisticated, like the family itself. Jorah says Dany looks like Lynesse; Alerie has white hair even though she's much to young to have gone gray; Jaehaerys mistakes Alicent for his runaway (Targaryen) daughter. Each of these moments by itself is not much, and there's always a second explanation (Jorah is in love with both women; Alerie went gray really young; Jaehaerys was just senile) - but the moments all hint in the same direction, and are about the same family. In fact, at every point at which a Hightower's looks are described, there is subtle ambiguity that could be read as a clue towards this theory. There are threads that discuss this in more detail. I think it's one of the most carefully planted series of clues by GRRM. So if you buy that the Hightowers were Geodawnians, and the Daynes are a cadet branch of the Hightowers, then the Daynes are Geodawnians too. There's also the mysterious family names. The Hightower name is obviously something they adopted after the High Tower was built, so we don't know their original family name. Same with Dayne, which is also a descriptive name - other than the "day" association, in the real world the old English name Dayne means a "worthy" citizen (worthy, like one who wields Dawn must be - hint hint). The way I see it, Uthor led a rebellious faction of the Geodawnians that defeated the Bloodstone Emperor at Battle Isle, and his son was the "first" Dayne - the one who followed a fallen star. He followed it from Battle Isle /High Tower to the site where Starfall now stands. It all gets even more complicated if you consider that there were possibly two major battles: one against the BSE and his dragons (at Battle Isle), and the other against the Others (at Winterfell?). Were there two swords that won the day as well? If I remember right, @LmL whose posts and podcasts are great on all things Long Night, thinks that there were two swords - represented by the duality of Dawn and Ice. As for what makes Dawn special, my theory is that it's got to do with sacrifice. The more we've learnt about Valyrian steel (the black swords that drink the souls of the slain, as per TWOIAF), it seems that they don't just require human sacrifice to make, but that slaying people with them is what enables them to "stay" magic. As if every death by this sword is another sacrifice to it and to its dark magic. If Dawn is different (and it seems to be), and it's wielder must be "worthy" - my suggestion was that the sacrifice that maintains Dawn's magic comes from the wielder himself. He takes an oath to take his own life with his sword at the end - mirroring the huge difference between personal sacrifice for an important cause and sacrificing someone else for power (which is what Valyrian steel is). Unlike for a Valyrian steel sword, killing someone with Dawn doesn't imbue it with magic - it only happens when the sacrifice is personal and willing. That's why only a particularly worthy person can be trusted with Dawn.
  2. NO SWEET FOR YOU!! I do think it's bitter sweet - the realisation that there's no grand plan or destiny, just lives to be lived while they can be lived. For example, someone like Sansa might survive to become the leader of a remnant population, live out her natural life and see some semblance of normalisation. Generations might still live and even prosper, as the Long Night 2.0 lifts and Planetos keeps a sufficient "wobble" on its axis (it wouldn't immediately stop tilting when the second moon goes, momentum would keep for a while) to have occasional cooler seasons to stave off the drying. But then eventually it's kaput. It's bitter sweet in that in the time remaining, lives can still be lived, stories can still be told. And no world is eternal - it's got to end some time, right? "In the long run, we're all dead."
  3. The story will end in a second Long Night with the destruction of the second moon. Planetos only had balanced seasons when there were two moons, and has been slowly dying ever since. Once that balance was disturbed, there's no going back. With the second moon gone, seasons will eventually stop changing and Planetos will dry up completely and end up like Mars. Some people will survive for a time, maybe build up another civilisation lasting a couple thousand years, and that will be that.
  4. I'm not sure that fire wants to stop slavery at all. Think of the Valyrians - they enslaved people to feed them to their mines (either metaphorically or literally as sacrifice to produce more dragons). As for what's more dangerous, fire or ice... If you freeze the world, it might thaw and nature could reassert itself (the Earth has had a couple of "snowball Earth" moments in its geological history). Life can survive in the oceans of a "frozen" world. A burnt world is just dead permanently - oceans evaporate (think Mars). Now ideally you wouldn't want one or the other, but in considering which posed the danger first, it seems more likely that human hubris and greed created dragons. The Long Night and the Others were a "last resort" cure for the threat that the original Dawn Age dragons posed. I don't think the First Men came to Westeros with only literal fire, I think they came with these dragons, and the Long Night is what killed the dragons and set the FM back to basic civilisation level. In terms of the hive mind... I don't think the CotF are "good" for humans (the old trope of the gentle wise green people who just want to help), but that's only because humans are so bad for the world. It may be that the CotF do want to restore balance, but see humans as the real threat, and the dragons as the ultimate expression of that threat. CotF take the long view: a cataclysm like the Long Night is bad, but the world recovers. It might not recover if humans breed enough dragons and start having fire wars all over the place (nuclear war basically). As for Jon, Dany and Bran. I agree that Dany and Bran are the "opposites", like Bloodraven and Quaithe/Shiera are (as the puppet masters who pull the strings). Jon will face the choice of having to stop them both: stop Dany's dragons because they shouldn't exist, and then stop Bran from bringing about another Long Night, convinced that humans and fire are the real danger. I also don't think Jon will succeed, and there will be another Long Night. Always thinking back to the worn out line that the human heart in conflict with itself is the only thing worth writing about: it applies to all major characters. It's about the awful choices they face, where there's no good outcome, and wanting to do good but there being awful consequences. The ultimate one would be for Jon to have to choose between Dany and Bran, but then it turning out that both need to be destroyed. Not because they're consciously evil (that would be too easy of a decision, where's the inner conflict there?), but because their good intentions, what they believed to be right, would cause them to destroy the world, or make it unliveable for humans. I'm very cautious about any predestination, like saying that a child born of a union of ice and fire is destined to do this or that. Ultimately Jon having both ice/CotF blood (through the Starks) and fire/dragon blood (through the Targs) gives him certain abilities that he MIGHT use to stop Dany and/or Bran. Like the ability to warg his wolf when he dies so that when he's resurrected, his soul is intact - thereby remaining himself, but essentially undead or unkillable and resistant to freezing. He could then be in a position to ride a dragon (undead or otherwise) and fight both dragons and the Others, who couldn't harm him. And I think that perhaps he will need to do both, successively: stop Dany, and then try to stop Bran from giving into the urge to destroy all humans because of their fire/dragon-based transgressions through another Long Night. That is of course what Jon MIGHT do, but it's not his destiny. There is no destiny. He could choose Dany over "the realm" (meaning over the fate of the world), or he maybe won't be able to bring himself to kill Bran. His core conflict of love and duty is what defines him, he has been forging himself in difficult choices involving those two things. I don't think that process of forging is over, because it never is, for anyone. I also don't generally think that any of the main characters will slip into "evil mode" where their "true" evil nature is finally revealed, "muahahaha gotcha" style - again it all smells like predestination and one-dimensional evil-by-intent, which is cheap. Some of them will be faced with hideous choices and bitter realisations that wanting to do good can bring about a lot of harm, or the exact opposite of what they wanted to do. That inner conflict without the possibility of a happy resolution or even a resolution that isn't terrible, the deeply human side of things is what I think the whole story is really about, that's the song of ice and fire.
  5. Hey @LmL, top stuff! Love the weirwood / were-wood thing. A tree skinchanged by a person would be a man-tree, a were-tree, a were-wood. Well done. Any symbolic connection to Manwoody?? (Sorry if I missed this in the podcast, was playing it while driving and occasionally had to engage with the traffic, yawn). Has to be something behind that otherwise hilarious name. Their sigil is a crowned skull and their castle is Kingsgrave. That's obviously tied to the legend that they killed a king of the Reach, but on a meta level: the (un)dead king who skinchanged a tree (a man-wood / weirwood). A Manwoody was also a dragon princess's third husband, pretty explicitly set up as an "and once for love" character. Jon (the future (un)dead king who might do something or other with the man-trees) is the hottest contestant for Dany's "for love" guy; will he be her Manwoody? As a bonus treat, despite his many excellent qualities, Elaena said she really married Manwoody for his music (a harp, of all things), and, after all: Jon's will be the song of ice and fire. --- That little tangent aside, I'm always interested in how these insights (of which you are a master) fit into the broader mechanics. I'm particularly thinking about the thorny issue of BSE - AA - Last Hero archetypes, and their relationships. Three guys, two guys, one guy in different stages? And where the Horned Lord stands: is his AA transformed, or a separate character? After listening to your podcast, I'm actually at the moment slightly leaning towards him not being AA transformed, but someone who literally kills AA (rather than being the resurrected AA, and so only killing him symbolically). The deeper we go, the less sure I am that AA was a "bad" guy. Or that the BSE was, or anyone else. It just doesn't fit the "heart in conflict" thing, if a major archetypal plot driver is simply "evil". There would be no conflict in fighting a character like that, right? Instead, your analysis of "going into the trees" has me really focused on the CotF - because they are ultimately the ones who lead people into the trees, one way or another. Again, I don't think the CotF are evil, but that they're key in understanding why the archetypal characters do the things they do. Gonna do another rundown of my evolving views on the Long Night scenario below. To try and find a symbolic parallel of how things may have unfolded, I'm linking it to Robert's Rebellion, which I'm taking the leap to say is the archetypal usurpation story re-nacted:
  6. Hey OP, I could see it happening that way, or something similar. Shirene is definitely not making it to spring. I think there might be no special magic to king's blood, for sacrifice purposes. The magic comes from human sacrifice itself, regardless of who the victim is. It's about taking a human life. What's so special about the notion of a king? - outside of the myth about the sacrificial king (and there it's clear that being designated as king by your group is what made you attractive for human sacrifice, not something about your "blood"; you become the victim because it's *decided* you're the target) Tying it to king's blood is a way of disguising how evil it is - it makes you focus on the special abstract notion of a king and what is a king and what makes a king bla bla bla, instead of on the person being killed. It makes the whole thing sound like a very rare occurrence, a special case. And if you want to continue to believe that you're serving a good purpose, you construct these little mental tricks that allow you to resolve your cognitive dissonance. If people knew you could achieve your ends by burning anyone, then no one would feel safe, and your whole "thing" would start to be seen for what it is - killing people for a magic boost. Evil. This to me seems in line with how Melissandre is shown to explain away all the questionable things she does. This may be so deeply ingrained in the red religion that Melisandre might firmly believe it. And in the end, if they believe it needs to be king's blood, they'll act that way and the outcome will be the same. But I think it's more in keeping with busting the tropes if it turns out that there's nothing "glamorous" about human sacrifice as a magical use of king's blood, that the entire point of human sacrifice as a magical ritual is that it's just about the willingness to kill for power.
  7. The Seven "stars" are the moon and the planets visible with the naked eye, plus the Stranger (probably the comet that killed the other moon). These "stars" are called the "wanderers" and there's clues scattered throughout the text that these wandering stars really mirror the visible "planets" from our world. If I'm following you, you say actual god-like people came down to the Andals and "chose" them? I think it's more likely that this is a myth-memory belonging to one of the groups of men who survived the Long Night and later happened to become the Andals. The memory of the Seven gods "appearing" to them is rooted in the end of the Long Night, as the atmospheric cloud after the moon-meteor collisions cleared and the stars became visible again, including the six wanderers. Their appearance would have been like a herald of some semblance of order re-establishing itself, so this particular group of survivors built their religion around it. In retellings, the reappearance of the wanderers became literally interpreted as the Seven appearing to the Andals in the flesh. The Faith *may* be related to the pre-Bloodstone Emperor religion of the GEotD - making the Faith a reinvented original religion - but you'd need to be able to link up those emperor colours to the planets. Perhaps what we know as the Stranger used to be deity representing the second moon, so now it stands in for death. We also don't know what the original Emperors and Empress stood for - rulers, dynasties? Maybe astrological ages of some kind? If you could tie each one to one of the planets, then perhaps the Geodawnians had a way of calculating time that meant certain long periods were marked by one specific planet/wandering star (eg the age of Venus might be the reign of the Pearl Emperor, for example...). I used to think the Faith was sinister because it had a secret link with the suspicious Church of Starry Wisdom, but now I don't know - I think they might be in opposition to each other. The BSE instituted the Church of Starry Wisdom, which is another celestial based religion. I think (I've argued this before), given its connection with sailors, and it's name "Starry wisdom", it was focused on the fixed stars rather than the wanderers, because it was really about celestial navigation. In the real world, the discovery of celestial navigation was a near-sorcerous leap in technology, and it would have allowed conquests across the ocean for the first time. You could also see how the BSE's new religion might be heretical to the old one - both worship "stars", but he casts away the true gods (the wandering stars) to worship the fixed stars because of the "wisdom" (celestial navigation enabling his conquests, and potential the arrival on Westeros) that they grant him. This is all highly speculative. It seems the key is the names of the Gemstone Emperors, but no one has produced a fully convincing interpretation of those gems. As for the Targs accepting the Faith - they were Valyrian. The world book says the dragonlords allowed the worship of all gods, but feared none. Easy enough for Aegon and sisters to pretend-convert, to be more appealing as rulers. It's not like they ended their incestuous marriages and repented - how deep was the conversion anyway?
  8. I think Preston Jacobs is good for stirring the pot, but he takes things quite literally when it suits him, and also just ignores things that don't suit his argument. For example, in the "magic is just advanced science" argument, he still does accept that skinchanging and dream-sending exist, they're crucial to his interpretations. But that's not "advanced science". Or take forging Valyrian steel - how does human sacrifice (the most heavily hinted at secret to making/reforming Valyrian steel) have an "advanced scientific" explanation? Or Arya seeing the Faceless Men change their faces? She explains both seeing it (after Harrenhal), and experiencing it - it doesn't make sense if you try to explain it as advanced science. Or sure, you can say it's just science so advanced that it can do *anything* it wants and doesn't obey the laws of nature; fine, but then you're basically just talking about magic without saying "magic". But my biggest gripe with this argument is that it rests almost completely on interpreting Martin's works before ASOIAF - aliens, hive minds, etc. There's no denying Martin revisits ideas, but Preston Jacobs basically says Martin just copycats his own past works, without ever exploring new understandings or taking things further into new directions. Like ASOIAF is just one big exercise in which Martin puts his old ideas in a new package, without any imagination. How boring that would be for a writer.
  9. It depends on how you interpret the stories, and we seem to find different things to be important, which of course is normal. If I'm reading you correctly, you say that Rhaenyra and Rheanys are evidence that a single dragonriding parent is good enough? To me, it's more about the fact of Rhaenyra and Rheanys being dragonriding women giving birth to dragonriding children whose fathers may not have been dragonriders - I see a strong hint that GRRM is telling us the mother matters more than the father. This of course is controversial, because it's possible to see it as saying something else entirely. The case of Rhaenys and Aenys I initially seems like no more than a cute curiosity - "just imagine if none of the Targs are actually descended from Aegon, fascinating!" But if you look beneath the shock value of that (assuming for now that we believe the rumours), it opens up a range of interesting questions. The "need" for them to descend from Aegon himself (when Rhaenys shares his DNA, as they are full siblings) is partly rooted in Westerosi patriarchy. Were the Valyrians patriarchal at all? Their stories and family lines are interpreted through Westerosi eyes, where you duly see explained a string of generations where the "son-and-heir" would "marry his sister" - but shouldn't we question that interpretation? Was it maybe the daughter (the next generation's mother) that was more relevant than the son? Was it in fact the case that the future "mother of dragons" would be "marrying her brother" - to maximise the likelihood of her kids being dragonriders - rather than vice versa? I'm not saying the Valyrians were a matriarchy, just that the Westerosi interpretations place a potentially undue weight on the sons. It's about what lens you apply, and it's not an irrelevant point. And thematically, we don't see a "father of dragons" character, whereas "mother of dragons" is a crucial trope. To me, the stories of Rhaenys and Rhaenyra both (and also Rhaenys the QWNW) are subtly indicating that a woman dragonrider is somehow more relevant to having dragonriding children, since there seems to be a 100% success rate in all of these cases where the father was not, or may not have been, a dragonrider. Of course, Aegon may have been Aenys' father and the Sea Snake may have inherited a lucky dragon gene via the Velaryon-Targ connections; and the marriage of dragonriders Alysanne and Jaehaerys seems to have produced at least one non-dragonrider - but it's about which part of these stories stands out more as being suspicious, and whether seen together they signal a message. I see the message as being that the mother is, in some way, "more important" than the father when it comes to "the blood of the dragon". Not as a "sure thing", but perhaps as a question of the probability of having dragonriding children. Yes, on the whole it may be ideal to have them both be dragonriding siblings, but a dragonrider mom alone seems to be astoundingly effective too. This seems to be the very purpose of repeatedly inserting doubt about who the father was - to show that this very much matters in a patriarchal society, but that it may not impact so much on producing dragonbabies. This may also explain why Rhaenyra was so blazé about risking having THREE children with Strong - she was comfortably trusting her own blood would do the trick (though she of course had to bow to the need to deny they were bastards, for political reasons). To turn to Alicent then (on the assumption the stories of Rhaenys and Rhaenyra are relevant to understand this case - assumption I find easy to make), this may undermine the explanation that her 4 dragonriding children can simply be explained by the fact that Viserys was their father. Consequently, it highlights the question of Alicent's own bloodline, feeding back into the Hightower-dragonblood hypothesis. Again, just one piece of the wider puzzle. As for the point about kids who have their own dragons that may not turn out to be dragonriders - I'm not sure this is as relevant as you say. Surely they would be able to tell if the child is developing the requisite bond with the dragon? And then it would just be a matter of time for the dragon to become large enough (and the child to grow up sufficiently, so you don't have a four-year-old riding a flying weapon) for there to be mounting? If the bond wasn't clearly there (evidenced for example in how the dragon behaved towards the child), wouldn't the dragon be a risk to the child, as it could attack? Granted, we don't know the details of how the bond happens. So I would still say that a ridiculously high proportion of Alicent's descendants had a dragon bond, even if J and J's dragons were too young to ride yet.
  10. In certain stages of Alzheimer's or just moments of cloudy judgment due to serious illness, you do get people mistaking their children for their spouses - presumably the physical similarity plays a part. But it can just be that she was there, taking care of him the way a daughter would, and he was just sick and confused. It is beyond curious though that at every point at which we have a Hightower's appearance hinted at, there's these confusing double-meanings. Once, twice, but three times? As for whether the Hightowers will be important or not - I mean, why include them in tPatQ and The Rogue Prince? These aren't early versions of the story where he's just planting seeds to see if anything grows out of them later on, this was written after aDwD came out. GRRM isn't just keeping the Hightower question on a low fire, he's adding salt and seasoning to the dish. And they're in such a prominent role as well - and not just for their scheming for power. All four of Alicent's children turned out to be dragonriders, and at least 2 of her 3 grandchildren were as well. This is something that more than one Targ queen apparently couldn't boast of. But then we circle back to the fact that Alicent is before Rhaena marries her Hightower. It's typical GRRM - at the same time he gives us a clear way for the present-day Hightowers to have relatively recently acquired Targ features (via Rhaena), he also drops another possible hint or two (Alicent's *possible* looks as per Jaehaerys confusing her for a daughter, her 100% dragonrider children) to undermine this apparent "clarification".
  11. Well. I've long thought that one of the many Chekhov's guns lying around is the string of Volcanoes down the eastern coast of Westeros (Hardhome, Dragonstone above ground, Spears of the Merling King as evidence of underwater eruptions). Almost like the Ring of Fire in the Pacific, but as far as we can tell only down the Westerosi side. A large enough meteor impact can actually trigger volcanic eruptions, most prominently on the exact opposite side of the globe from the impact point. For example, the Deccan traps in India may have been "triggered" by the large meteor impact that killed the dinosaurs, and subsequently the enormous ongoing eruptions from the Deccan traps would have contributed to creating a planetary winter - so it wasn't just dust from the meteor that done it. Hint hint. From what I can tell, the Merling King is a variation of Drowned God / sea deity. Just as the Ironborn myths might be relating the tale of the tsunamis that accompanied the original moon-crash, the Merling King may be the personification of the underwater volcano that errupted in the Narrow Sea after the moon meteors struck (evidenced by the Spears of the MK). A sea dragon drowning islands in its wrath, etc. If the Velaryons are indeed a remnant of the Geodawnian arrivistes at Westeros, then they would have been around during the Long Night cataclysm. A "pact" with the sea deity sounds like it's hinting at the resolution of a war (perhaps a metaphorical "war") - the volcano erupted, but the Velaryons survived and made a throne out the driftwood blown onto their island after the tsunamis settled. Thus the driftwood was a "gift" of the sea god that had almost destroyed them, but spared them. I'm not sure about including a link to the Seastone Chair - but if the proto-Velaryons were among the original arrivals to the Iron Islands from the GEotD, they may have set up their seat there (hence the oily stone throne). The moon-crash made them flee but they survived "the sea deity" and his wrath, and built a new throne out of what they saw as a gift from that deity. All that stuff about the people from the sea (merlings, selikes...) may indeed just be twisted tales of the Geodawnians. They were I believe the first seafarers, we've discussed that here before - this is what the Church of Starry Wisdom is hinting at ("starry wisdom" is celestial navigation, allowing ships to cross oceans rather than just skirt the coastline; it must have made the first seafarers seem like sorcerers, it's such a huge technology leap). If the Geodawnians (or one faction) were already widely feared for their seafaring "sorcery", then an angry boiling sea and tsunamis would have been retroactively tied to this "sea people". If they were "merlings", then this must be the work of their god, the Merling King, etc. Lots to speculate about, but more than anything I see the Merling King story as a hint about the true age of the Velaryons. We may never know what all the "merman" mythology is really about.
  12. Thanks for reading DD! Wouldn't Yandel mention that? It just seems odd that a house arriving from an advanced civilisation (Valyria) to a half-barbaric land like Westeros would want to absorb an existing legend like that. They'd think they were above it, surely? Again, all these houses that GRRM is really cagey about (Hightowers, Daynes..) makes me think are connected in some way. When there's hints at them being very old ("The Old..."), and purple/silver, I think Geodawnians.
  13. hey thanks for reading! Which first immigrants do you mean? Because there's a long period between the end of the Long Night and the establishment of Valyria... My theory above builds on the exiting one that the Daynes (and, in an extension of that theory, the Hightowers) are linked to the original arrivals on Westeros, which TWOIAF hints predates the First Men (and who built Battle Isle fortress). These are the original "nameless people" who the dragonriding valyrians are also descended from. So the Velaryons share descent with the Valyrians - because they're both descended from the Golden Empire of the Dawn, not because the Velaryons came from Valyria.
  14. ETA: reply to @The hairy bear, sorry I'm on my phone, quoting is hard. Thanks for reading/replying! --- The Hightower look is highly speculative - you have to link up hints and omissions, and of course it all depends on how much you're willing to engage with it, everyone's got their own "lines" they won't cross when it comes to speculation. Dany reminds Jorah of Lynesse (which could mean nothing, he's just a fool in love - but remember how Jon's link to Lyanna is partly established in a casually roundabout way, through seemingly innocuous statements: by Arya looking like Jon, and Arya also looking like Lyanna). Secondly, Alerie Hightower is described as having silvery hair - no big deal, she's got adult children, she's just a woman that's gone grey. Maybe. But she is quite a young woman - this isn't obvious, so you don't immediately realise it, but she is described as younger than her husband Mace Tyrell, who is by our standards also still quite a youngish man. Alerie would be close in age to Cersei and Cat. If she had simply gone fully grey that young, you'd expect this to be noted, particularly when her beauty is being described. The only mention of a woman that age going grey is Lysa Tully, and in that case a big deal is made of this fact - it's premature and it's noted. So her silvery hair may be a hint at something. Overall it's curious we see so few Hightowers. But there are ONLY TWO Hightowers whose looks are addressed, (Lynesse and Alerie) and in both instances there is a surprising amount of room for speculation about possible "Valyrian" features. There's also a third possible hint. While in TWOIAF the picture of Alicent Hightower shows a dark haired woman, TWOIAF also shows all dragons breather normal coloured fire, which we know is wrong. Contrast the picture to the textual evidence that Jaehaerys confused Alicent with his daughter - again, coincidence, right? He's an old senile man, it can happen. Or it's a possible third hint that a Hightower could pass for a Targaryen. That could be three for three when it comes to the Hightower "look". Or again, could be all just be a coincidence, it depends on where your speculative line is. The Hightowers are also older than commonly thought - their origin story involving Uthor Hightower clearing Battle Isle of dragons, combined with stories about how ancient Battle Isle fortress is, puts them among the very earliest families about which ANYTHING is known. These events are described as lost in the mists of time or whatever - so if you link a family to those events, you get a family origin story that's incredibly old. Dayne-level old. And there may actually be a hint about a Hightower connection with the Daynes: why name the very first Hightower "Uthor", clearly a hint at our world's King Arthur's father? Again, just another in a long line of meaningless coincidences... if considered in isolation from all the other ones. --- I disagree strongly that we can't use the Daynes for anything - sounds like you're just saying it would be simpler to ignore the fact that they look "Valyrian" - even though they're clearly older than Valyrian civilisation itself. On the contrary, this must be accounted for. They are not just a curiosity - their mythos and sword may go back to the Long Night itself! Why make them look "Valyrian" when it clearly makes no sense? It's about hiding in plain sight - they are not Valyrians, but they are evidence to the fact that the Valyrians have a prehistory. Their not the first purple eyed people. There's a whole range of discussions in this forum about who the "people so ancient they had no name" were. The ones who taught the Valyrians about dragons - who presumably must have been dragonriders themselves, the original ones. Don't want to reinvent the wheel here, the discussions focus on the Great Empire of the Dawn / ancient Ashai. All of this can be just random tidbits of data, but again, as with so many other examples in this story, things are not usually random and hiding in plain sight is the safest place to plant bits of story that will stay hidden until they suddenly "click" and make sense. --- As for the Velaryon legend itself.... Family legends about a "legendary trickster" (Lannister) and the Battle of Sevenstars (Arryn) are linked to easily understandable distortions of events - while for example the legend of the Winged Knight (the "legend" in the truer sense) is much more "fantastic" and predates the Arryns, as Yandel shows. The Merling King and the Driftwood Throne are not easily linked to any real event that we know of, nor is there a hint that it's a story absorbed from another family - why would a Valyrian family, an arrival from an advanced civilisation to a half-barbarian land, take up an existing story from that land as their own? Where's the need for that, or even the inclination? And we do know that sea-focused legends exist as the oldest layer of Ironborn mythos (giving it an early-First Man timing at the latest), as well as scattered hints of "fishy people" around the world - all possibly linked to remnants of an ancient civilisation. --- I'm completely aware I'm swimming against the current here on the Velaryon point, BUT to me the very way the Velaryon story is spoken of in TWOIAF is what makes me more rather than less suspicious: on the surface, a casual confirmation of the general belief; but within that a reference at "the histories"; and then an obviously difficult-to-understand legendary family tale. How often do "random coincidences" really turn out to be just that in ASOIAF? It happens of course (eg, I don't think Dany's lemon tree means she was raised in Dorne), but with each new addition to the string of coincidences, the probability that it's not a coincidence grows exponentially.
  15. House Velaryon came from Valyria some time before the Targaryens - that's common knowledge. Surprisingly, for how often the Velaryons come up in discussions here, this thought is uttered only twice in the main books: once by Davos and once by Cersei. The claim itself isn't really questioned by readership, mainly because the Velaryons clearly LOOK Valyrian. But so do the Daynes, as we've known forever, and possibly the occasional Hightower, as has been more recently discussed. Then, in TWOIAF, we get this as the clearest indication and confirmation of Valyrian descent, from which all others (there's one more direct one in TWOIAF) can be drawn: I know I'm turning this seemingly clear confirmation on its head, but I'm curious about the statement that "the histories agree". This then is a matter of historical knowledge, rather than relatively recent-ish memory. Yandel, and presumably everyone else, knows it from histories, and we know how "reliable" those can be. Especially going far back enough. But this is the real catch: The Velaryons have been here long enough for a LEGEND to exist, which is in itself a red flag. How reliable are those "histories that agree" about where the Velaryons came from, if we're talking about something this far in the past? The Manderlys came to the North a thousand years ago, and nevertheless those stories are very well and clearly understood - no legends required. And here we do have a legend, and not just any legend: a Driftwood Throne, a pact, and the Merling King? This is seriously old stuff. It's the kind of story you might expect from some of the First Men families, not a recentish Valyrian arrival, or even an Andal-age family origin story. This "sea-people" imagery is tied most strongly to the Ironborn - it's as old as it gets, especially if you've delved into Ironborn origin myths (cc @LmL). So I think the Velaryons, with their "Valyrian" looks might be in the same boat as the Daynes and the Hightowers. They are the remnants of the pre-Long Night arrivals from the Golden Empire of the Dawn (or the ancient Ashai'i, "the people so old they had no name"), the original purple-eyed folk. The Valyrian Velaryons story is the result of confusion (because there was a Valyrian family that came over and settled thereabouts), assumption (look at them! and that name! it's obvious!) and possibly also trickery. The Daynes are secretive, the Hightowers are said to be "subtle and sophisticated" - there is a theme here for these houses to muddy their origins. So would the Velaryons have welcomed the "yeah we came from Valyria too!" spin, to help conceal something older? Their words are "The Old, the True, the Brave". Anyway. J'accuse!