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Astronomy of Planetos II: The Bloodstone Compendium

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A Great Big Huge Giant Thank You to everyone who participated in the awesome discussion on the first section of this series! Over 300 replies in three days, and basically every single comment was productive, insightful, intelligent, or all three. Constructive disagreements were hashed out amicably, and many fantastic suggestions were made. This is what I was hoping for, only far more so - that the original theory would improve under the scrutiny of the the excellent minds of the forums. Many people expressed gracious appreciation, and I can only say thank you, it really means a lot. I am happy to help ease the pain we all deal with on a daily basis until The Book Whose Release Date Shall Not Be Named.
Once again a huge thank you to Durran Durrandon, who helped refine these essays throughout the process, as well as contributing several very key ideas. A hearty round of applause and a glass of Arbor Gold to you ser.
Daenerys is the Amethyst Empress Reborn - Duran Durrandon has written an excellent companion piece taking a closer look at the Amethyst Empress and her connections to Daenerys Targaryen. This is a must-read that dovetails nicely into Part 2 of my on series. I hope to feature more such companion pieces, and anyone who would like to work off of the general astronomy premise and post their own ideas is absolutely invited to do so. I’d like to see this expand into a broader circle of writings on the mythology of Planetos and the events of the Dawn Age & Long Night. My idea was to put the astronomy frame in people’s heads so that everyone can apply it to the ASOIAF material they know the best and uncover more secrets. I don’t even mind if you want to draw differing conclusions from the evidence I have put forward - if it’s decent, I’d still like to link to it. That way readers can examine different ideas along the same lines. So step on up.
------======o))) THE THEORY SO FAR (((o======------
In the first essay, I asserted that the ancient Qarthine legend of a second moon cracking to pour forth dragons is actually a true mythological recollection of an enormous meteor shower caused by the destruction of a formerly-existent second moon by a comet impact. Specifically, it was destroyed by half of a comet which split in two as it rounded the sun. The remaining half is the red comet which we see in our story. I have connected this myth with the myth of Azor Ahai and the forging of Lightbringer by equating the following:
  • Nissa Nissa = the second moon that was cracked (and I think destroyed)
  • Azor Ahai, warrior of fire = the sun
  • Lightbringer, the flaming sword = the comet that struck the second moon
The sun, Azor Ahai, is seen to be wielding the comet as a sword, because the soon-to be-destroyed second moon was (I believe) in a solar eclipse position as the comet struck, and because the comet would have been coming from the general direction of the sun as it struck the second moon. The other half of the split comet, having a slightly different orbital trajectory, would have just missed striking anything, but would pass close by Planetos and appear large in the sky, superimposed in front of the exploding moon.
This is the sword-taking-fire motif, and it's plunging into Nissa Nissa's heart. Nissa Nissa moon was stabbed in the heart by the sun warrior with a flaming comet sword. A million dragons poured forth, flaming meteors of all shapes and sizes 'drinking the sun's fire'; some burn up in the upper atmosphere, lighting up the sky, some detonate in the lower atmosphere, multiple Tunguska-like events - firestorms low in the sky incinerating huge swaths of land. The pieces of flaming moon rock large enough to make it all the way to the surface of Planetos without burning up completely probably ranged from hailstorms of fist-sized rocks to meteoroids as large as a couple of miles across, large enough to cause massive damage, huge tsunamis, etc. These largest may have given rise to legends of "sea dragons" which drown whole islands in their wroth (if dragon=comet, maybe sea dragon=comet that lands in water?). These detonations in turn throw up millions of tons of debris into the atmosphere, most of which will take years to come down. This debris in turn combines with that of the destroyed moon to wrap the planet in a veil of blacks and purples, mostly or completely blotting out the sun. The stars and remaining moon disappear from sight. This condition last for several years, perhaps a decade, before the skies clear and the sun returns. The survivors remember this event as a great flaming sword in the heavens, wielded by the sun, who struck down his wife, the second moon.
To be clear: the sun striking the second moon with a comet was the forging of Lightbringer.
And this CAUSED the long night.
Does this make Azor Ahai the 'bad guy,' to the extent that exists in the R.R. Martinverse? Well, I will tentatively answer "yes," and attempt to prove it to the best of my ability. If this is so, then Nissa Nissa probably wasn't a willing sacrifice. This would make her death at the hands of her blood magic-wielding husband more of a betrayal and murder, rather than an act of sacrifice. Note these oppositional themes - betrayal and murder vs. sacrifice and, as we will see, procreation. (Schmendrik's R+L=Lightbringer is highly recommended reading)
This next section will shift attention primarily towards the events on the ground in the ancient far east during the time of the Long Night. According the the grand hypothesis of this series, these events should roughly correlate to the major astronomical events laid out so far.
------======o))) SAY HELLO TO THE BAD GUY (((o======------
We begin our exploration of the idea that Azor Ahai was not the darkness-slaying hero he is remembered as, but rather the 'bad guy' who was associated with the cause of the Long Night, with a fairly long excerpt from The World of Ice and Fire. I shall heretofore refer to The World of Ice and Fire as "the Worldbook," because it's easier to type and long abbreviations like TWOIAF are annoying to read. The following excerpt is full of important stuff, so for those of you who don't have the Worldbook yet (whachya waitin for?) I have quoted the relevant parts. This is concerning the Yi Tish legend of the Blood Betrayal, their story of the events which caused the Long Night.
This is the story of the fall of the Great Empire of the Dawn.

Lomas Longstrider, awestruck by its marvels, called Yi Ti "The land of a thousand gods and a hundred princes, ruled by one god-emperor."
...
Those who have visited as it is today tell us that the thousand gods and hundred princes yet remain... but there are three god-emperors, each claiming the right to don the gowns of cloth-of-gold, green pearls, and jade that tradition allows to the emperor alone. None wields true power...
...
This was not always so, we know. In ancient days, the God emperors of Yi Ti were as powerful as any ruler on earth, with wealth that exceeded even that of Valyria at its height and armies of almost unimaginable size.
In the beginning, the priestly scribes of Yin declare, all the land between the Bones and the freezing desert called the Grey Waste, from the Shivering Sea to the Jade Sea (including even the great and holy isle of Leng), formed a single realm ruled by the God-on-Earth, the only begotten son of the Lion of Night and Maiden-Made of Light, who traveled about his domains in a palanquin carved from a single pearl and carried by a hundred queens, his wives. For ten thousand years the Great Empire of the Dawn flourished in peace and plenty under the God on earth, until at last he ascended to the stars to join his forbearers.
Dominion over mankind then passed to his eldest son, who was known as the pearl Emperor and ruled for 1000 years. The Jade Emperor, the Tourmaline Emperor, the Onyx Emperor, the Topaz Emperor, and the Opal Emperor followed in turn, each reigning for centuries... Yet every rain was shorter and more troubled than the one preceding it, for wild man and baleful beasts pressed at the borders of the Great Empire, lesser kings grew prideful and rebellious, and the common people gave themselves over to avarice, envy, lust, murder, incest, gluttony, and sloth.
When the daughter of the Opal Emperor succeeded him as the Amethyst Empress, her envious younger brother cast her down and slew her, proclaiming himself the Bloodstone Emperor and beginning a reign of terror. He practiced dark arts, torture, and necromancy, enslaved his people, took a tiger woman for his bride, feasted on human flesh, and cast down the true Gods to worship a black stone that had fallen from the sky. (Many scholars count the Bloodstone Emperor as the first High Priest of the sinister Church of Starry Wisdom, which persists to this day in many port cities throughout the known world).
In the annals of the further east, it was the Blood Betrayal, as his usurpation is named, that ushered in the age of darkness called the Long Night. Despairing of the evil that had been unleashed on earth, the Maiden-Made-of-Light turned her back upon the world, and the Lion of Night came forth in all his wroth to punish the wickedness of men.
How long the darkness endured no man can say, but all agree it was only when a great warrior - known variously as Hyrkoon the Hero, Azor Ahai, Yin Tar, Neferion, and Eldric Shadowchaser - arose to give courage to the race of men and lead the virtuous into battle with his blazing sword Lightbringer that the darkness was put to rout, and light and love returned once more to the world.
Yet the great empire of the Dawn was not reborn, for the restored world was a broken place where every tribe of men went it's own way, fearful of all the others, and war and lust and murder endured, even to our present day. Or so of the men and women of the further east believe.
Here we have a story of a betrayal and murder leading to the Long Night, a perfect match for the celestial event put forward - the betrayal and murder of the second moon by the sun which lead to the Long Night ("moon is wife of sun.. it is known.") It also matches the story of Azor Ahai and Nissa Nissa, if we interpret it as a betrayal and murder as opposed to a willing sacrifice. And that's exactly what I mean to suggest - all hail the Bloodstone Emperor, Azor Ahai, First of his Name, God-Emperor of the Great Empire of the Night and High Priest of the Church of Starry Wisdom, practitioner of dark arts, torture, and necromancy; enslaver of his own people and eater of human flesh; he who slew the Amethyst Empress, threw down the true gods, and worshipped the black stone which fell from the sky.
Now THAT'S the kind of fellow who you would expect to rule during the Long Night.
If you find yourself shaking your head "no" at this point, I humbly ask you to reserve judgement for just a bit longer. As with any of these conclusions, I could be wrong, and you, oh skeptic, may be able to look at the evidence I've gathered and divine a better interpretation. Or, you may even change your mind, being an open minded, intelligent sort of individual that you assuredly are. :) I will be attempting to corroborate this idea of Azor Ahai as the Bloodstone Emperor through this and probably the next couple of essays.
But first, some geology.
------======o))) GEORGE LIKES TO INVERT (HELIO)TROPES (((o======------
The Bloodstone Emperor worshipped a "black stone" that fell from the sky. It turns out that although it kind of sounds like some made up fantasy name for a magic stone, "bloodstone" is a real gemstone, and it's proper name is "heliotrope" (many of you will know this, but it must be said). The meanings and associations of heliotrope are really quite fascinating. The next two paragraphs are condensed and paraphrased from Wikipedia and other sources:
The name "heliotrope" (from Greek ήλιος helios, Sun, τρέπειν trepein, to turn) derives from various ancient notions about the manner in which the mineral reflects light. There is an instrument called a heliotrope that uses a mirror to reflect sunlight over great distances to mark the positions of participants in a land survey (that's a regular mirror, not a mirror made from bloodstone, it's the meaning of 'heliotrope' they were naming the instrument after).
Most bloodstone is dark green chalcedony with red inclusions of iron oxide or red jasper. Sometimes the inclusions are yellow, in which case the mineral is given the name 'plasma.' The red inclusions are supposed to resemble spots of blood, hence the name "bloodstone." Its luster is classified as "vitreous," which means it looks wet.. one might even say, "greasy." The green is so dark that it appears oily black, with a dark green sheen where the light hits it.
This seems to fit the description we have been given for the greasy black stone. The definition of "sun-turning" or "sun-bending" lines up with the description of the 'dragons' (meteoroids) which poured forth from the moon "drinking the sun's fire." The fact that one type of heliotrope is called "plasma" creates the image of frozen fire, just like obsidian is "frozen fire" on Planetos. Obsidian is of course magma that cools in a specific way, so it is literally 'frozen fire.' This is another example of how George is using scientific information to structure his magic system, without turning it into science fiction - obsidian is frozen magma, so George imbues it with the magical qualities which fire has in his world. The bloodstone appears to be the same type of thing - it's certainly a magical rock in the R. R. Martinverse, whose qualities George derived from its natural description and associated symbolism.
I'd like to briefly note that bloodstone's most common appearance, black with flecks of red, is an exact match to the black flame flecked with red that comes from the mouth of all the black dragons we have seen so far - Drogon, Balerion the Black Dread, and the Cannibal of The Princess and the Queen.
Now, there's a small inconsistency here. The greasy black stone locations which are discussed in the Worldbook never say anything about the black stone having flecks of red. Although bloodstone doesn't always have those flecks, it's potentially odd that none of the descriptions of these places have one word about red flecks. Also notable is the fact that the confirmed bloodstone locations - this city of Asshai by The Shadow, the city of Yeen on Sothoryos, the Isle of Toads in the Basilisks near Sothoryos, and the Seastone Chair - all seem to have some kind of magical nuclear-fallout type of effect on their environment, which seems to increase in proportion to the amount of greasy stone present. We'll examine this in more detail in a moment, but the point here is that this bloodstone of the exploded moon seems to have undergone a transformation. And indeed it did - it was burst asunder in what I would describe as a magical nuclear chain reaction explosion.
All of the moon rock was incinerated, cooked, and radiated during this explosion, according to my thinking. Most of it would have turned to magma briefly, with the smaller pieces cooling in the upper atmosphere and hardening into a form of obsidian, which then burns and vitrifies further as it falls back to earth. The large pieces are briefly super-heated and liquified upon impact, spreading out into a bowl-shaped crater before hardening again. This impact in turn melts and ejects more surface rock, which also forms into obsidian in the atmosphere and falls back to earth (this happened in the Doom of Valyria as well, recall - dragonglass fell from the sky). There's actually a scientific term for this kind of obsidian, which is compositionally different than regular obsidian - the term is "tektites," and it makes an interesting Google search. It also has that wet, vitrified appearance that could be described as greasy-looking.
I believe the reason the bloodstone on Planetos doesn't have any red flecks is because it is no longer natural bloodstone - it's a magically radiated form of obsidian, made from the bloodstone of the moon which perished. I'm not sure if George is literally imaging a moon made from bloodstone rock, as opposed to using the term for is connotations and symbolism - but either way, all the rock of the moon which exploded was liquified, vitrified, or both, and we are supposed to think of it as having the general qualities of bloodstone, or an obsidian form of bloodstone. It's a different kind of frozen fire. And as we saw with the Bloodstone Emperor, it seems to enable various kinds of very dark magic.
------======o))) PURPLE FLOWERS, PRINCESSES, AND PERFUME (((o======------
Recall that Nissa Nissa, the 'grandmother moon,' was the first "mother of dragons." Daenerys is the current mother of dragons, which are 'fire made flesh.' With this in mind, let's take a look at one more meaning of the world "heliotrope."
Heliotrope is also a genus of flowering plants (heliotropium) which has purple flowers. It's identified with heliotrope because these plants noticeably turn their flowers towards the sun (heliotrope="sun, to turn") throughout the day. Some of the heliotropium varieties are amongst the oldest known sources of perfume in human history. Purple flowers, perfume.. that should already have you thinking of Daenerys, but it goes further. One of the plants in the genus heliotropium is actually called a 'Valerian!'
I think it is clear George mined the definitions and symbology of "bloodstone" for all it was worth. If Nissa Nissa is equivalent to the Amethyst Empress, as I am suggesting, it's interesting that Daenerys' eyes are described as amethysts in the book by Euron Greyjoy, who has seen the golden statues of the Great Empire of the dawn. His description of the statues comes in a litany of his own godliness given to the Damphair before the King's Moot in AFFC:

His smiling eye was glittering. "Who knows more of gods than I? Horse gods and fire gods, gods made of gold with gemstone eyes, gods carved of cedarwood, gods chiseled into mountains, gods of empty air. I know them all.
His reference to Daenerys' eyes being amethysts is the only time anyone's eyes are described this way. Here it is:
When the kraken weds the dragon, brother, let all the world beware.”
“What dragon?” said Victarion, frowning.
“The last of her line. They say she is the fairest woman in the world. Her hair is silver- gold, and her eyes are amethysts."
Lest their be any doubt of the connection between these gemstone eyed golden statues and the Gemstone Emperors of the Great Empire of the Dawn, here is their first appearance, all the way back in AGOT, during Daenerys 'miscarriage fever dream':
"..want to wake the dragon.."
Ghosts lined the hallway, dressed in the faded raiment of kings. In their hands were swords of pale fire. They had hair of silver and hair of gold and hair of platinum white and their eyes were Opal and Amethyst, Tourmaline and Jade. "Faster," they cried. "Faster, faster!"
She raised her feet, melting the stone wherever she touched.
"Faster!" The ghosts cried as one, and she screamed and threw herself forward."
A great knife of pain ripped down her back and she felt her skin tear open, and smelled the stench of burning blood, and saw the shadow of wings.
And Daenerys Targaryen flew.
"Wake the dragon."
Opal, Amethyst, Tourmaline, and Jade are of course all gemstone emperors of the Great Empire of the Dawn. "The faded raiment of kings" implies a great antiquity, as does the words “ghosts," so that makes sense. These are the ghosts of the Emperors of the Great Empire, and they’ve been talking to Daenerys since book one! They wanted her to wake the dragon, and as they cheered her on, she did indeed take wing and fly. And look, flaming swords! It's notable that they aren't red flaming swords, but rather ones of "pale fire." They also look like Valyrians - at least the hair color, and the eye color of the Amethyst Empress. While maintaining an open mind, I think it's likely that the gemstones of the various emperors represented dynastic families as opposed to single rulers, an idea suggested elsewhere in the Worldbook in regards to heroes with reputed longer-than-normal life spans. If this is the case, the Amethyst Empress is from a house or family that is noted for having purple eyes. The Bloodstone Emperor, if he was her brother, would have had the same amethyst eyes, unless the bloodmagic of the bloodstone turned a eyes black somehow, which I suppose is possible. Connecting people with black eyes to the Bloodstone Emperor is a whole ‘nother can of worms, though, so we shall let that lie.
We will return to the Gemstone Emperors and the Great Empire of the Dawn (they do seem important), but for now I mention all of this to further corroborate the connections between the story of the Blood Betrayal and that of Azor Ahai, Nissa Nissa, and the forging of Lightbringer, as well as the idea that the greasy black stone is a form of magically radiated, vitrified bloodstone which originated from the destroyed second moon and which was worshipped by the Bloodstone Emperor.
A different section of the Worldbook about the Long Night gives us a bit more info about this story:
It is also written that there are annals in Asshai of such a darkness, and of a hero who fought against it with a red sword. His deeds are said to have been performed before the rise of Valyria, in the earliest age when Old Ghis was first forming its empire. This legend has spread west from Asshai, and the followers of R'hllor claim this hero was named Azor Ahai, and prophesy his return. In the Jade Compendium, Colloquo Votar recounts a curious legend from Yi Ti, which states that the sun hid its face from the earth for a lifetime, ashamed at something none could discover, and that disaster was averted only by the deeds of a woman with a monkey's tail.
Now compare that back to the first version of the Yi Ti Long Night story:
"The Blood Betrayal... ushered in the age of darkness called the Long Night. Despairing of the evil that had been unleashed on earth, the Maiden-Made-of-Light turned her back upon the world, and the Lion of Night came forth in all his wroth to punish the wickedness of men."
In one version, the sun hid it's face. In the other, the Maiden-Made-of-Light turned her back. That makes it pretty clear that this version of the myth has reversed the typical gender roles for the sun and moon, with the sun being the Maiden-Made-of-Light, and the Lion of Night most likely being the bloodstone moon. The darkened sun of the Long Night, barely visible through the dark cloud cover, may have been seen as bigger, more powerful version of the bloodstone moon, a true Night Sun, and therefore the Lion of Night was said roam free and punish mankind.
So what was the sun ashamed of? Well, it's remembered for cracking the moon like an egg - a betrayal on a cosmic scale. Whether the sun's gender is male or female, it is the betrayer, the destroyer of moons. Yet another indication that Azor Ahai, warrior of fire, may not have been the hero the red priests of R'hllor want us to believe he was.
------======o))) FIVE HERO DEATH PUNCH (((o======------
We are told in the Worldbook section quoted above that the flaming sword warrior is known by several names: Hyrkoon the Hero, Azor Ahai, Yin Tar, Neferion, and Eldric Shadowchaser. These are all interesting for various reasons. Let's start with talking about where these different names might have originated from.
  • We have always been told that the Azor Ahai myth comes from Asshai and their red priests.
  • Hyrkoon the Hero can only come from the formerly existent Patrimony of Hyrkoon, to the east of the Bones Mountains and within the stated domain of the Great Empire of the Dawn.
  • Neferion similarly must come from the "secret city" of Nefer, the sole remaing city of the N'ghai, also within the confines of the former GEotD.
  • Yin Tar seems to be an obviously Yi Tish name.
  • Eldric Shadowchaser is the hard one - "Eldric" sounds Westerosi or Andal. We've heard of a few Elric's and Edric's in the houses of Stark, Dayne, and Baratheon. ‘Elric” means ‘old ruler, long-time ruler’ in German, and ’shadow chaser’ is a clever monicker for the sun, since shadows always point away from (run away from) the direction of the sun. But as to his place of origin, I’m open to suggestions. This one remains a mystery.
Now, keeping mind that the question is whether or not Azor Ahai really a heroic savior figure, let's take a brief look at these places which tell a story of a warrior with a flaming sword. We don't know where Eldric Shadowchaser is from, and Yi Ti seems to have its share of refined culture and depravity both - not especially better or worse than anyone. But these other three... well...
Before the Dry Times and the coming of the Great Sand Sea, the Jogos Nhai fought many a bloody border war against the Patrimony of Hyrkoon as well, poisoning rivers and wells, burning towns and cities, and a carrying off thousands into slavery on the plains, whilst the Hyrkoon for their part were sacrificing tens of thousands of the zorse-riders to their dark and hungry gods.
Nefer, chief city of the kingdom of N'ghai, hemmed in by towering chalk cliffs and perpetually shrouded in fog. When seen it from the harbor, Nefer appears to be no more than a small town, but it is said that nine-tenths of the city is beneath the ground. For that reason travelers call Nefer the Secret City. By any name, the city enjoys a sinister reputation as a hunt of necromancers and torturers.

Few places in the known world are as remote as Asshai, and fewer are as forbidding. Travelers tell us that the city is built entirely of black stone: halls, hovels, temples, palaces, streets, walls, bazaars, all. Some say as well that the stone of Asshai has a greasy, unpleasant feel to it, that it seems to drink the light, dimming tapers and torches and hearth fires alike. The nights are very black in Asshai, all agree, and even the brightest days of summer are somehow gray and gloomy.
The dark city by the shadow is a city steeped in sorcery. Warlocks, wizards, alchemists, moonsingers, red priests, black alchemists, necromancers, aeromancers, pyromancers, blood mages, torturers, inquisitors, poisoners, godswives, night-walkers, shapechangers, worshippers of the Black Goat and the Pale Child and the Lion of Night, all find welcome in Asshai-by-the-Shadow, where nothing is forbidden. Here they are free to practice their spells without restraint or censure, conduct their obscene rights, and fornicate with demons if that is their desire.
Most sinister of all the sorcerers of Asshai are the shadowbinders, who's lacquered masks hide their faces from the eyes of gods and men. They alone dare to go up river past the walls of Asshai, into the heart of darkness.
It gets much worse from there, going up the River Ash, where demons and dragons making their lairs, a corpse city lies at the Shadow's heart, etc. Septon Barth also tells us that there are no children or animals in Asshai-by-the-Shadow, and that the malign influence of polluted waters of the River Ash may be to blame. That river is said to be black during the day and to glimmer with phosphorescence at night, and the fish that swim it are blind and deformed.
Asshai is basically a stinking nuclear wasteland inhabited by the absolute worst and most depraved sorts of black magicians. It's called "Asshai-by-the-Shadow," and this is the home of the red priests of R'hllor. R'hllor, with his shadow babies and burning of the unbelievers and sacrificing children to create monsters they hope to control...
Is it really so crazy to think that maybe the hero of places like Hyrkoon, Nefer, and Asshai-by-the-Shadow is actually, how shall we say, "The Prince of Darkness?"
Someone should probably tell Daenerys that Quiathe may not have her best interests in mind, I am thinking.

We also may want to keep an open mind as we look at the other supposed "heroes" and "villains" of the ancient legends. This may potentially be good news for the Nights King fanclub (quick shoutout - hey guys!)

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------======o))) LUCIFER MEANS LIGHTBRINGER (((o======------

Now we come to the section which actually started this entire process of exploration. The legend of Lucifer and related Morningstar deities was in fact the light-bringer which showed the way for this entire work. This section will bring together the astronomy and symbolism of the legends of Planetos that we have focused on, and further develop the idea of bad-guys-remembered-as-good-guys and vise-versa.

Most people are familiar with the concept of Lucifer as being another name for Satan, the devil of the Christian religion. However, this is a recent association and the concept of Lucifer goes much further back into history. The word ‘Lucifer' actually only appears once in the Bible, and most scholars agree that it was clearly being used metaphorically to refer to the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II, who conquered Jerusalem, but then suffered great setbacks. It was only later associated with Satan as a fallen angel by Pope Gregory the Great (540-604 AD) and then popularized by John Milton in 'Paradise Lost.' Here's the verse:

Isaiah 14:12: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, thou which didst weaken the nations!”

Lucifer is the Latin word for "morning star," which is known as Venus (during the period when it is visible at sunrise) to cultures all around the world. Lucifer can be translated as "light-bringer," "light-bearer," "morning star," "bringer of dawn," or "shining one." It can be used as an adjective to mean "light-bringing." Most of these phrases will of course stand out to A Song of Ice and Fire readers like a flaming sword in the deep darkness of a frozen forest filled with white walkers. Here, in the Lucifer legend, we find most of the main ingredients for cooking up a magic sword or two.

To understand how Lucifer became associated with the Devil, first we need to understand what a Morningstar deity is, and how the celestial actions of Venus created the backbone of its legend.

Venus, the brightest star in the sky, is called the Morningstar when it rises low in the horizon right before sunrise, and the Evenstar when it rises just after sunset. It switches between these two positions every 584 days because Venus's orbit is closer to the sun that our own. It takes 225 days for Venus to orbit the sun, faster than Earth but not dramatically so - thus, Venus will stay on the cosmic "right" side of earth (visible at sunrise) or cosmic "left" of the earth (appearing at sunset) for long periods of time - 584 days.

The important part to understand is the way that Venus appears from the Earth. It's orbit always keeps it low in the sky. As the Morningstar, it rises low in the horizon, the brightest star in the pre-dawn sky. It never rises very high, but for a short time, it's the brightest celestial body - it's 'trying to outshine the sun,' the king. Then the dawn comes, ushered in by Venus, the 'light-bringer,' the 'dawn-bringer.' The sun rises higher than Venus and outshines it, and Venus sinks back below the horizon, bound for the underworld. This is the first characteristic of the Morningstar deity - he descends from the heavens to the earth, bringing the light of dawn. Sometimes he's kicked out of heaven for challenging the Most High, sometimes he chooses to leave, but either way, he descends to earth to bring enlightenment to man. And... (small detail) he pretty much always has to die in some way, as resurrection is part of the endgame for this mythological archetype.

And ressurrected he is - as the Evenstar, the Lord of Night, the Lord of the Underworld. In many cultures, especially the most ancient ones, the afterlife is not depicted as either heaven or hell, as in Christianity. It’s often just the afterlife - a kind of retirement center for ghosts and spirits. This means the Lord of the Underworld shouldn't be thought of as the ruler of Hell, necessarily. Osiris is perhaps the oldest example of this, as he is the ruler of the underworld, but is viewed with reverence as a glorious hero, something like Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus himself is a Morningstar deity, descending from heaven to bring light and love, and the sacrificing himself and being resurrected in glory, triumphing over death. He's got a lot in common with Osiris and the older idea of Lucifer - in fact, you may be surprised to learn that the Bible refers to both Jesus and Lucifer as "the Morningstar" in various places.

The Morningstar deity can be found everywhere - there's the Canaanite deity Attar, who attempted to steal the heavenly throne of Ba'al, failed, and became the ruler of the underworld. There's an older Caananite myth of a lesser god, Helel, who tried to overthrow the high god El, who lived on top of a mountain. He failed too, and descended to the underworld. Helel is generally associated with Lucifer. The Chaldean myth of Ishtar and Inanna is similar - deities associated with the morning star descending to the underworld. The Babylonian myth of Etana and Zu tells the same tale - you get the idea. When Venus changes from appearing before dawn to appearing after sunset, it was seen as being resurrected as the "lord of the underworld," or "lord of night." This resurrected deity now has power over death.

This is a terrific illustration of the principle of astronomy underlying mythology which I set out in the thesis statement.

In the main plot of A Song of Ice and Fire, the Lightbringer comet is playing the role of Morningstar and Evenstar. When a comet's orbit takes it closer to the sun and inside that of Earth, it acts the same way that Venus does, rising first in the morning for a period, and then in the evening at sunset for a period. And indeed, this is just how the comet acts in the story. From AGOT, Daenerys:

"Jogo spied it first. "There," he said in a hushed voice. Dany looked and saw it, low in the east. The first star was a comet burning red, blood red, fire red. The Dragon's tail. She could not have asked for a stronger sign."

And then the very beginning of the very first Dany chapter of ACOK:

The Dothraki named the comet shierak qiya, the Bleeding Star. The old men muttered that it omened ill, but Daenerys Targaryen had seen it first on the night she had burned Khal Drogo, the night her dragons had awakened. It is the herald of my coming, she told herself as she gazed up into the night sky with wonder in her heart. The gods have sent it to show me the way.

Yet when she put the thought into words, her handmaid Doreah quailed. “That way lies the red lands, Khaleesi. A grim place and terrible, the riders say.”

“The way the comet points is the way we must go,” Dany insisted … though in truth, it was the only way open to her.

Dany spotted the red comet low in the horizon after Drogo's death, the first star in the night sky. This was the same night that her dragons hatched, of course, and you'll also note the sense of foreboding associated with the red lands that lie in the direction of the comet. No matter what exactly the comet portends, it is playing the role of Evenstar upon first appearance. It stays visible for awhile, then disappears somewhere in book 3 or 4, as it travelled around the far side of the sun. In the last Barristan chapter from ADWD, we get a subtle hint that comet is on its way back around:

“A thin red slash marked the eastern horizon where the sun might soon appear. It reminded Selmy of the first blood welling from a wound. Often, even with a deep cut, the blood came before the pain.”

You'll note that this is the chapter following Jon Snow's "death" scene, where the blood did well under his fingers before he felt much at all. Also noteworthy is the fact that Jon was stabbed while the comet was gone... it’s likely his impending ‘ressurection’ will happen when the comet is close by Planetos, or perhaps if / when the comet strikes the remaining moon as the Qarthine legend predicts.

Returning to the mythology of Lucifer, we find that he is not done bringing the light in regards to A Song of Ice and Fire connections. Turns out, he's associated with dragons. He is referred to as ’The Great Dragon,’ and of course he often is depicted as the snake. Lucifer is also regarded by many as the source of magic. This is interesting when we consider that dragons are seen by many people of Planetos to be the source of magic, or at least related to the rise and fall of magic. Venus is seen as a source of magic by ceremonial magicians of the Golden Dawn, who invoke its power through use of the pentacle, which is also associated with Lucifer. Why the pentacle? Because the orbit of Venus actually traces out a nearly perfect five pointed star in the sky every thirteen years. Eight earth years is roughly equal to thirteen Venus years, which means that both planets are aligned with each other five times every thirteen years. When this happens we have a "transit of Venus" - Venus passes in front of the sun. Curious readers are encouraged to google "transit of Venus" for a little ‘light’ astronomy lesson.. pun intended. Watch out for strange websites, you've been warned.

It is therefore no coincidence that dragons are seen as a source of magic in ASOIAF. Lucifer shows us the connections between dragons, magic, lightbringer, comets, and heroes with very bad PR managers.

Now, to wrap this up, let's dig into just exactly why Lucifer, the light-bringer of man, was remembered as a bad guy by the Christian religion.


------======o))) A TALE OF TWO DEITIES (((o======------

Everyone knows the Garden of Eden story: Adam and Eve are in a state of paradise, without knowledge of good or evil. They literally cannot choose evil - they don't even realize it exists. God gives them only one commandment, saying 'whatever you do, don't eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.' Along comes the snake, our buddy Lucifer in this interpretation, and convinces them to eat of the fruit, saying they can become like gods - that is, having the knowledge of good and evil, i.e. 'free will.' They eat, and become aware of right and wrong, and are ashamed. God kicks them out of paradise. This is a weird story, if you think about it - paradise is depicted as an animal like, automaton state. The Jehovah God of Genesis wants to keep man in this state, and Lucifer, the "light-bringer," wants to bring us the knowledge of higher consciousness. So who's the good guy here, exactly?

George has said that he drew influence from (among a million other things) the Gnostic Cathars of medieval France, and the Gnostics have an interesting interpretation of the Garden of Eden story: Jehovah is an evil demon who wants to keep man as unthinking worshippers of himself, and the snake is the one trying to help mankind, encouraging him to eat the fruit out of the gods and expand his consciousness. This ability to conceive of abstract concepts like morality is one of the defining elements of human consciousness, one of the main things that separates us from our ancestors who were stuck on using the same stone tools for over a million years, with little progress. Mankind is surely still leaning to wrestle with this great responsibility that comes with the gift of consciousness, but in order to have any hope of progressing to the next level, we must do just that - we must master ourselves. This cannot happen if we were to remain in an animal-like state of awareness. ‘Ignorance is bliss,’ perhaps, but free will is a necessary step on the road to progress, and Lucifer is remembered for bringing us the light of free will. The gnostics view Jehovah, therefore, as a demon, a ‘demiurge.'

If you are a group of religious leaders that wish to turn a religion towards authoritarianism, control by fear and shame, moral puritanism, and suppression of the divine feminine spirit, then this free will stuff isn't such a good thing. This could explain why a mythological figure like that of Lucifer may have been viewed as "the bad guy" by those who wanted to take Christianity in that more authoritarian and patriarchal direction. It should be noted, in the couple of centuries following the emergence of Christianity, there were many, many different versions and sects, some differing greatly from one another. The original gnostics were one such, and they considered themselves Christians. After 300 AD, the Catholic Church begin to crystallize something resembling the modern Bible and doctrine of Christianity beginning with the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD and taking final shape by 397 AD at the Council of Carthage. By 600 AD, Lucifer was a bad guy.

In the Old Testament, we get another great example of a potential deity confusion. There are actually two very different Canaanite (Phoenician) deities who have been mixed up together and remembered as the same guy. Originally, we had El, or Elohim, who is more of a standard "Father God" deity - the "creator of creatures," "father of the gods," "King," "God eternal," "father of wisdom," etc. El is basically the oldest Caananite deity anyone knows of, the original bull deity and father of Ba'al, who's actually the most famous bull-god / Corn King deity (we will return to take a closer look at Ba'al when we get to the section about Garth the Green).

Jehovah, or Yaweh, was originally a storm god, similar to the god Yam. Typical of a storm god, Yaweh is the jealous and angry god, the guy who killed everyone on earth who wouldn't obey him with a flood. He's the guy that demanded Abraham be willing to sacrifice his own son to "please God," and the guy who didn't want us to posses the knowledge of good and evil. Worship of Jehovah / Yaweh, which had been around for a millennia or more already, began to replace worship of El throughout Canaan between 1000BCE - 600 BCE, as his followers began to asset his primacy over El, Ba'al, Asherah, and other still older Caananite deities. The followers of Yaweh became increasingly intolerant of the existence of other deities, eventually asserting that no other gods existed at all, attributing all divine attributes of the other gods to Yaweh. This was a conversion from decentralized pantheism to hierarchical monotheism, which is quite significant. Now, Because the Old Testament is composed of various that were books written hundreds and even thousands of years apart, Yaweh and El are now written and interpreted as being the same god, when they originally had very different characteristics.

This is what happens with religion and mythology over time. 'Mythology' is really just very old religion - there's essentially no difference. Stories of gods and heroes are symbols crafted by man, and then later re-crafted and shaped, and sometimes twisted outright to serve an agenda of a given group of people. They’re passed down by people who have forgotten the original meaning, at times. The same symbol can be used by people committing great acts of evil and by people committing great acts of love. As we consider the mythology of Planetos, we must consider this phenomena and how legends like that of Azor Ahai or the Night's King may have been altered over time, either intentionally or accidentally. Intentionally is far more interesting, so we'll keep an eye on that one. In the case of Azor Ahai and Lightbringer allegedly being the cure for the Long Night, and not the cause, that is the word of the red priests of R'hllor, from Asshai-by-the-Shadow. I find them to be highly suspect, to say the least. Just what kind of fire magic thrives in a place called "The Shadow," anyway? The light-bringing kind? Or something.... darker?

I leave you with this passage from a Brienne chapter in AFFC, where someone named Lord Lucifer is mentioned in close proximity to a story about a hero with a magic sword. It begins with a narrative summary of some of the stories nimble Dick has been telling on the road to the whispers, where Brienne will kill several people with her own "magic sword" in front of a heart tree.

When not fighting would be conquerors, they fought each other. Their blood feuds were as deep and dark as the bogs between their hills. From time to time, some champion would bring peace to the point, but it never lasted longer than his lifetime. Lord Lucifer Hardy. He was a great one. And the brothers Broon as well. Old Crackbones, even more so. But the Crabs were the mightiest of all. Dick still refused to believe Brienne had not heard of Ser Clarence Crab and his exploits.

"Why would I lie?" She asked him. "Every place has it's local heroes. Where I come from the singers sing of Ser Galladon of Morne, The Perfect Knight."

"Ser gall-a-who of what? Never heard of him. Why was he so bloody perfect?"

Ser Galladon was a champion of such valor that the Maiden herself lost her heart to him. She have him an enchanted sword as a token of her love. The Just Maid, it was called. No common sword could check her. Nor any shield withstand her kiss. Ser Galladon bore the Just Maid proudly, but only thrice did he unsheathe her. He would not use the maid against a mortal man, for she was so potent as to make any fight unfair.

Crabb thought that was hilarious. "Ah ha ha the Perfect Knight, ah the perfect fool it sounds like. What's the point of having some magic sword if you don't bloody well use it?"

"Honor," she said. "The point is honor."

That only made him laugh the louder. "Ah ha ha Ser Clarence Crabb would have wiped his hairy ass with your perfect knight, m'lady. If they'd ever have met, there'd be only more bloody head sitting on the shelf at The Whispers, if you ask me. 'I should have used the magic sword!' he'd be saying to all the other heads. 'I should have used the bloody sword!'"

Brienne could not help but smile. "Perhaps," she said. "But Ser Galladon was no fool. Against a foe 8 feet tall, mounted on an aurochs, he might well have unsheathed the Just Maid. He used her once to slay a dragon, they say.

Dick was unimpressed. "Crackbones fought a dragon too, but he didn't need no magic sword. He just tied its neck in a knot, so every time it breathed fire it roasted his own ass!

The conclusion:

What was she waiting for? Brienne told herself that she was being foolish. The sound was just the sea, echoing endlessly through the caverns beneath the castle, rising and falling with each wave. It did sound like whispering, though, and for a moment she could almost see the heads, sitting on their shelves and muttering to one another. “I should have used the sword” one of them was saying. “I should have used the magic sword.”

“Podrick,” said Brienne. “There’s a sword and scabbard wrapped up in my bedroll. Bring them here to me.”
...
"What’s your choice?”

“This.” Brienne threw herself toward Pyg. He jerked his broken blade up to protect his face, but as he went high she went low. Oathkeeper bit through leather, wool, skin, and muscle, into the sellsword’s thigh. Pyg cut back wildly as his leg went out from under him. His broken sword scraped against her chainmail before he landed on his back. Brienne stabbed him through the throat, gave the blade a hard turn, and slid it out, whirling just as Timeon’s spear came flashing past her face. I did not flinch , she thought, as blood ran red down her cheek. Did you see, Ser Goodwin? She hardly felt the cut.
...
He was better than Pyg, but he had only a short throwing spear, and she had a Valyrian steel blade. Oathkeeper was alive in her hands. She had never been so quick. The blade became a grey blur. He wounded her in the shoulder as she came at him, but she slashed off his ear and half his cheek, hacked the head off his spear, and put a foot of rippled steel into his belly through the links of the chainmail byrnie he was wearing. Timeon was still trying to fight as she pulled her blade from him, its fullers running red with blood. He clawed at his belt and came up with a dagger, so Brienne cut his hand off. That one was for Jaime.

“Mother have mercy,” the Dornishman gasped, the blood bubbling from his mouth and spurting from his wrist. “Finish it. Send me back to Dorne, you bloody bitch.”

She did.
...
Brienne lowered Oathkeeper. “Dig a grave. There, beneath the weirwood.” She pointed with her blade.

“I have no spade.”

“You have two hands.” One more than you left Jaime.

“Why bother? Leave them for the crows.”

“Timeon and Pyg can feed the crows. Nimble Dick will have a grave. He was a Crabb. This is his place.”

The ground was soft from rain, but even so it took the fool the rest of the day to dig down deep enough. Night was falling by the time he was done, and his hands were bloody and blistered. Brienne sheathed Oathkeeper, gathered up Dick Crabb, and carried him to the hole. His face was hard to look on. “I’m sorry that I never trusted you. I don’t know how to do that anymore.”

As she knelt to lay the body down, she thought, the fool will make his try now, whilst my back is turned. She heard his ragged breathing half a heartbeat before Podrick cried out his warning. Shagwell had a jagged chunk of rock clutched in one hand. Brienne had her dagger up her sleeve.

A dagger will beat a rock almost every time.

She knocked aside his arm and punched the steel into his bowels. “Laugh,” she snarled at him. He moaned instead. “Laugh,” she repeated, grabbing his throat with one hand and stabbing at his belly with the other. “ Laugh! ” She kept saying it, over and over, until her hand was red up to the wrist and the stink of the fool’s dying was like to choke her. But Shagwell never laughed. The sobs that Brienne heard were all her own. When she realized that, she threw down her knife and shuddered.

Podrick helped her lower Nimble Dick into his hole. By the time they were done the moon was rising. Brienne rubbed the dirt from her hands and tossed two dragons down into the grave.

“Why did you do that, my lady? Ser?” asked Pod.

“It was the reward I promised him for finding me the fool.”
...
Brienne thought a moment. “She was making for Riverrun, if Timeon told it true. Somewhere along the way she was taken by the Hound. If I find him …”

“… he’ll kill you.”

“Or I’ll kill him,” she said stubbornly. “Will you help me cover up poor Crabb, ser?”

“No true knight could refuse such beauty.” Ser Hyle climbed down from the wall. Together, they shoved the dirt on top of Nimble Dick as the moon rose higher in the sky, and down below the ground the heads of forgotten kings whispered secrets.

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* * * EDIT: ADDITION: MARCH 12, 2015 * * *


----------------------------------------------------------------------



I had always meant to look up the supposed magical properties of heliotrope, aka bloodstone, but in the rush to get the thing out, I forgot. Boy, what a goldmine. Check this out:



  • The Greeks named bloodstone ‘heliotrope,’ or ‘sun-turning,’ because they believed that when placed in the rays of the setting sun, or immersed in water, it turned the sun’s reflection red.


Only the brightest stars were visible, all to the west. A dull red glow lit the sky to the northeast, the color of a blood bruise. Tyron had never seen a bigger moon. Monstrous, swollen, it looked as if it had swallowed the sun and woken with a fever. Its twin, floating on the sea beyond the ship, shimmered red with every wave.

- ADwD, Tyrion



  • Since ancient times, bloodstone has been one of the most important minerals for performing alchemy and magic. Alchemists trying to understand the mysteries of the universe, using heliotrope as a conduit between mankind and space.


Many scholars count the Bloodstone Emperor as the first High Priest of the sinister Church of Starry Wisdom, which persists to this day in many port cities throughout the known world.

- The World of Ice and Fire




“Quiathe?” Dany called. “Where are you, Quaithe?"



Then she saw. Her mask is made of starlight.


​“Remember who you are, Daenerys,” the stars whispered in a woman’s voice. “The dragons know. Do you?"



- ADwD, Daenerys




Daenerys lifted his polished black visor. The face within was her own.



After that, for along time there was only pain, fire within her, and the whisperings of stars.





This last quote comes at the end of the miscarriage dream at the end of AGOT that I quoted from earlier, right after she sees the gemstone emperors of the Great Empire of the Dawn, hatches dragon wings, and flies. Note the “pain and fire within her” is more pregnancy language, further equating Daenerys with the bloodstone moon. I highlighted the bit about the polished black visor because it could be an allusion to the greasy black stone.



  • In the Middle Ages, witches and magicians used it in ceremonies, believing that it could amplify the effect of magic words and rituals. I don’t need to pull a quote to rehash all the powerful sorcery associated with the Bloodstone Emperor.


  • Astrologers believe that Heliotrope is associated with Saturn, the Moon and Venus, because of this it gives its owner the ability to influence people around them, to animate and inanimate nature. Wow! Home run! The Moon, and Venus. That’s pretty strong stuff. Saturn is one of the seven wanderers, although I haven’t figured out which of the seven equals which planet, so we’ll keep an eye on that. And that bit about animating and in animating sounds a bit like waking dragons from stone, or perhaps human-animal-selkie-whatever hybrid experimentation.


  • Bloodstone is believed to have magical properties controlling the weather by averting lightning, conjuring storms or summoning rain. This calls to mind Euron Greyjoy, as well as the Grey King himself. Interesting, as I have been seeing some connections between the Grey King and the Bloodstone Empire. Additionally, bloodstone was popular with mariners and sailors, which makes sense since the greasy stone is usually found close to water, and in far flung locations, implying that the Bloodstone Empire (and thus the Great Empire of the Dawn before him) was a maritime-capable culture.



  • And now we have a different kind of connotation, one that squares with “grandmother moon” and “mother of dragons.” Bloodstone is seen as a nurturing mother goddess stone, helpful in easing misunderstandings or difficulties with mothers or mothering issues. It also assists human and animal mothers in the bonding process after a traumatic birth or one where mother and baby were separated for a time.


This is quoted directly from themagicofcrystals.com :



Bloodstone is aptly named due to it’s powerful connection to both the Heart Energy Center and the physical heart. It is as though it emits the energies of strength and power and transmits them directly to the heart center of the body. It is then easy to be aware of the role of pumping blood throughout the entire body that this organ provides.


It is as though Bloodstone bypasses emotional energies and focuses on practical, predictable processes. Move, circulate, pump, clear, flow, invigorate~all appropriate words to describe the workhorse drive of this crystal. This makes vitality one of it’s primary properties.







  • Finally, Bloodstone has all kinds of associations with healing. It was ground into power and used as a ‘coagulant.’ Poeople even simply touched it to wounds, believing it would stop the flow. It seems our friend the Bloodstone Emperor has twisted and inverted this property, as the greasy black stone has the opposite of a healing effect. This is consistent with my idea that he has twisted fire magic, and with he idea of the Lion of Night as a ‘Night Sun.’ This will be an important theme for Part 3.


----------------------------------------------------------------------





The Thank You’s:



As I said above, Durran Durrandon deserves a huge amount of credit for both Parts 1 & 2. This part in particular, he contributed some key ideas: he’s the one who noticed the heliotrope stuff, and he was out in front on the Great Empire of the Dawn in several respects. He’s been sniffing at the “Is Azor Ahai the Bloodstone Emperor?” question for a while now.



These fine folks have contributed to my thinking in various ways over the past months, thanks a lot guys:


Mithras, Cookiesbane, Ramsay's Penguins, Lord Martin, Crowfood’s Daughter, J_Stargaryen, Maester Sam, Free Northman Reborn, Lord Pepsi Cups, Barristan B



Some great threads I highly recommend, in case this wasn’t long enough:



Cookiesbane - a great two part thread about the greasy black stone





Lord Martin - Three part series crossing over to many interesting subjects pertaining to magic:




J Stargaryen - all things R + L = J



Crowfood's Daughter - If you want to get ahead of the game, read these two tremendous threads








Stay on the lookout for typos; send me a pm if you catch one. :)


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Having only skimmed this and not yet read the 1st thread, I must say that I have always been on board with the idea that the 'heroes' of ASoIaF will bring the 'darkness' that comes before the dawn.



I'm also convinced that ASoIaF is based more on pagan mythology than modern Christianity and, as such, a character like Lucifer, or the beast (or beasts if it's Dany/Jon and Bran - the 3 heads of Bloodraven's dragon) would not be a straight up 'evil' entity that a saviour must banish/defeat and rather a necessary evil, or dual natured entity, that exists for balance and a greater good.


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Dany spotted the red comet low in the horizon after Drogo's death, the first star in the night sky. This was the same night that her dragons hatched, of course, and you'll also note the sense of foreboding associated with the red lands that lie in the direction of the comet. No matter what exactly the comet portends, it is playing the role of Evenstar upon first appearance. It stays visible for awhile, then disappears somewhere in book 3 or 4, as it travelled around the far side of the sun. In the last Barristan chapter from ADWD, we get a subtle hint that comet is on its way back around:

You'll note that this is the chapter following Jon Snow's "death" scene, where the blood did well under his fingers before he felt much at all. Also noteworthy is the fact that Jon was stabbed while the comet was gone... it’s likely his impending ‘ressurection’ will happen when the comet is close by Planetos, or perhaps if / when the comet strikes the remaining moon as the Qarthine legend predicts.

I just noticed this the other day. Compare Bold Barry's description to Maester Cressen's description in SoS.

" The comet’s tail spread across the dawn, a red slash that bled above the crags of Dragonstone like a wound in the pink and purple sky."

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I just noticed this the other day. Compare Bold Barry's description to Maester Cressen's description in SoS.

" The comet’s tail spread across the dawn, a red slash that bled above the crags of Dragonstone like a wound in the pink and purple sky."

Oh nice catch, I may edit that one in since its still young. ;)

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A TALE OF TWO DEITIES

Everyone knows the Garden of Eden story: Adam and Eve are in a state of paradise, without knowledge of good or evil. They literally cannot choose evil - they don't even realize it exists. God gives them only one commandment, saying 'whatever you do, don't eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.' Along comes the snake, our buddy Lucifer in this interpretation, and convinces them to eat of the fruit, saying they can become like gods - that is, having the knowledge of good and evil, i.e. 'free will.' They eat, and become aware of right and wrong, and are ashamed. God kicks them out of paradise. This is a weird story, if you think about it - paradise is depicted as an animal like, automaton state. The Jehovah God of Genesis wants to keep man in this state, and Lucifer, the "light-bringer," wants to bring us the knowledge of higher consciousness. So who's the good guy here, exactly?

George has said that he drew influence from (among a million other things) the Gnostic Cathars of medieval France, and the Gnostics have an interesting interpretation of the Garden of Eden story: Jehovah is an evil demon who wants to keep man as unthinking worshippers of himself, and the snake is the one trying to help mankind, encouraging him to eat the fruit out of the gods and expand his consciousness. This ability to conceive of abstract concepts like morality is one of the defining elements of human consciousness, one of the main things that separates us from our ancestors who were stuck on using the same stone tools for over a million years, with little progress. Mankind is surely still leaning to wrestle with this great responsibility that comes with the gift of consciousness, but in order to have any hope of progressing to the next level, we must do just that - we must master ourselves. This cannot happen if we were to remain in an animal-like state of awareness. ‘Ignorance is bliss,’ perhaps, but free will is a necessary step on the road to progress, and Lucifer is remembered for bringing us the light of free will. The gnostics view Jehovah, therefore, as a demon, a ‘demiurge.'

If you are a group of religious leaders that wish to turn a religion towards authoritarianism, control by fear and shame, moral puritanism, and suppression of the divine feminine spirit, then this free will stuff isn't such a good thing. This could explain why a mythological figure like that of Lucifer may have been viewed as "the bad guy" by those who wanted to take Christianity in that more authoritarian and patriarchal direction. It should be noted, in the couple of centuries following the emergence of Christianity, there were many, many different versions and sects, some differing greatly from one another. The original gnostics were one such, and they considered themselves Christians. After 300 AD, the Catholic Church begin to crystallize something resembling the modern Bible and doctrine of Christianity beginning with the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD and taking final shape by 397 AD at the Council of Carthage. By 600 AD, Lucifer was a bad guy.

In the Old Testament, we get another great example of a potential deity confusion. There are actually two very different Canaanite (Phoenician) deities who have been mixed up together and remembered as the same guy. Originally, we had El, or Elohim, who is more of a standard "Father God" deity - the "creator of creatures," "father of the gods," "King," "God eternal," "father of wisdom," etc. El is basically the oldest Caananite deity anyone knows of, the original bull deity and father of Ba'al, who's actually the most famous bull-god / Corn King deity (we will return to take a closer look at Ba'al when we get to the section about Garth the Green).

Jehovah, or Yaweh, was originally a storm god, similar to the god Yam. Typical of a storm god, Yaweh is the jealous and angry god, the guy who killed everyone on earth who wouldn't obey him with a flood. He's the guy that demanded Abraham be willing to sacrifice his own son to "please God," and the guy who didn't want us to posses the knowledge of good and evil. Worship of Jehovah / Yaweh, which had been around for a millennia or more already, began to replace worship of El throughout Canaan between 1000BCE - 600 BCE, as his followers began to asset his primacy over El, Ba'al, Asherah, and other still older Caananite deities. The followers of Yaweh became increasingly intolerant of the existence of other deities, eventually asserting that no other gods existed at all, attributing all divine attributes of the other gods to Yaweh. This was a conversion from decentralized pantheism to hierarchical monotheism, which is quite significant. Now, Because the Old Testament is composed of various that were books written hundreds and even thousands of years apart, Yaweh and El are now written and interpreted as being the same god, when they originally had very different characteristics.

This is what happens with religion and mythology over time. 'Mythology' is really just very old religion - there's essentially no difference. Stories of gods and heroes are symbols crafted by man, and then later re-crafted and shaped, and sometimes twisted outright to serve an agenda of a given group of people. They’re passed down by people who have forgotten the original meaning, at times. The same symbol can be used by people committing great acts of evil and by people committing great acts of love. As we consider the mythology of Planetos, we must consider this phenomena and how legends like that of Azor Ahai or the Night's King may have been altered over time, either intentionally or accidentally. Intentionally is far more interesting, so we'll keep an eye on that one. In the case of Azor Ahai and Lightbringer allegedly being the cure for the Long Night, and not the cause, that is the word of the red priests of R'hllor, from Asshai-by-the-Shadow. I find them to be highly suspect, to say the least. Just what kind of fire magic thrives in a place called "The Shadow," anyway? The light-bringing kind? Or something.... darker?

I leave you with this passage from a Brienne chapter in AFFC, where someone named Lord Lucifer is mentioned in close proximity to a story about a hero with a magic sword. It begins with a narrative summary of some of the stories nimble Dick has been telling on the road to the whispers, where Brienne will kill several people with her own "magic sword" in front of a heart tree.

The conclusion:

LMLB: This is some excellent work and i especially like the above part because i think ultimately this is where the story comes full circle.Below is the link to a theory i've had for about two years and one of the themes that i saw reoccuring in this story is the myth of the Oak(Summer) and Holly(Winter) Kings two dieties that have been involved in a neccassary struggle that started when time began.Melissandre though she's a bit of a crackpot is right and wrong when she tells Davos

:

"The war," she affirmed. "There are two, Onion Knight. Not seven, not one, not a hundred or a thousand. Two! Do you think I crossed half the world to put yet another vain king on yet another empty throne? The war has been waged since time began, and before it is done, all men must choose where they will stand. On one side is R'hllor, the Lord of Light, the Heart of Fire, the God of Flame and Shadow. Against him stands the Great Other whose name may not be spoken, the Lord of Darkness, the Soul of Ice, the God of Night and Terror.

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/94335-the-cold-the-wight-and-the-wight-walker/

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I'm completely on board the idea that many of the myths of the different cultures of Planetos are based in ancient astronomical events. The high altitude dispersion of particulates as a result of multiple impacts is a marvelously credible theory - it's what happened to the dinosaurs and so many other terrestrial species at the K-T boundary event, after all. And multiple impacts of large chunks of a moon can most surely cause a planet to wobble on its axis, and trigger volcanic eruptions as the shock waves propagate through the crust and mantle. If the damage caused by the impact(s) was great enough the planet's crust might have been ruptured, leading to great fissure eruptions - outpourings of basalt, like the Deccan Plateau basalts in India or the Columbia River Plateau basalt in Washington & Oregon. The volcanism would surely result in great quantities of obsidian, which is aluminosilicate (think clay plus quartz sand) glass formed when lava cools quickly, before it has a chance to form crystalline structures. What you describe as "tektites" are the result of shock metamorphism. Evidence of shock metamorphism is found on Earth around impact craters, and is quite distinctive, such as planar deformation features and shatter cones in the rocks around the impact area. But tektites and other products of shock metamorphism would NOT be called obsidian. And I can't think of a way to tie formation of chalcedony (bloodstone/heliotrope or other varieties) to impacts or volcanism. Chalcedony is pretty much (geologically speaking) a low-temperature, low pressure secondary mineral - that is, it's commonly found in igneous rocks, but is not formed as primary minerals in a magma or lava, but rather during the relatively slow infiltration of fluids. 8,000 or 10,000 years seems to me to be too short a time for the bloodstone to form as result of the impact.



None of these observations about the mineralogy of impacts takes away from your great insights into the origin of the myths in celestial events or the natural explanations for the planet's unpredictable seasons. But what we should look for in the impact area is evidence of shock, including very high-pressure minerals (bring on the fullerenes! and maybe even diamonds) and shearing. And, if the impacts ruptured the crust, large plateaus of very dark (to black) rocks that may still be have hot interiors. We should also look for evidence of masses of iron-nickel meteorites, such as might be used to make Valerian steel. Iron-nickel meteorites are beautiful when polished up - there's a huge one polished in the American Museum of Natural History in New York. See this link for some photos of other ones. What Planetos potentate wouldn't want one for his/her throne room?


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Two other items I meant to add to my post about shock minerals, above.


  1. The statistical probability of the remainder of the same comet striking the remaining Planetos moon or Planetos itself on its next orbit must be vanishingly small. There's no reason to expect it, except at GRRM' pleasure.
  2. This link is to a lot more photographs of polished iron-nickel meteorites. Given that the meteorites were the product of a shattered moon, there's every reason to expect the moon had an iron-nickel core, which would survive atmospheric entry more readily than an equally sized meteorite composed of less refractory materials.

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Brienne has Lightbringer. It is known.



But yeah this is something I can get on board. Fire moons, ice moons! Greasy stone moons!


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Brienne has Lightbringer. It is known.

But yeah this is something I can get on board. Fire moons, ice moons! Greasy stone moons!

:agree:

You’ll like the next section :drunk:

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Two other items I meant to add to my post about shock minerals, above.

  1. The statistical probability of the remainder of the same comet striking the remaining Planetos moon or Planetos itself on its next orbit must be vanishingly small. There's no reason to expect it, except at GRRM' pleasure.

This link is to a lot more photographs of polished iron-nickel meteorites. Given that the meteorites were the product of a shattered moon, there's every reason to expect the moon had an iron-nickel core, which would survive atmospheric entry more readily than an equally sized meteorite composed of less refractory materials.

I’m super short on time (I’m moving this weekend!) but thanks for all your great comments Deja Vu :cheers:

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Rarely has a pseudonym been apter than yours : you bring so much enlightenment here ! I have two congratulations to make : one for you, for unveiling all this with the few hints GRRM left, and one for GRRM himself. The Worldbook was already fine with all the world development inside, but you show us GRRM went a lot deeper than what we could have thought.

I follow you on pretty much everything you've put here. There's just one thing that made me raise an eyebrow, it's that the comet might come back. I had assumed the comet had already turned around the sun and either had been back from where it came or had melted. The hint you found with Barristan noticing the thin red slash before dawn is brilliant and might indeed tell us the comet is coming back. But isn't the timing weird ? The comet is first spotted at the end of Game, when she enters the solar system, and is seen in the sky during Clash, then is no more mentioned during Storm and Feast/Dance. So it took her one book to come from out the solar system to near the sun, and two books just to go around the Sun ?

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First of all thank you very much for the kind words. When I started writing this, I had no idea what kind of reaction I would get, if it would be crickets or if people would dig it... So it really means a lot to know folks are enjoying it. Cheers.

And yeah, the more I figure out what kind of puzzles George has created for us, and how deep his tapestry goes, I am totally awestruck. Wow.

I hadn't looked up exactly when the comet disappeared - so no comet sighting in Asos? That does seems like a long absence. Of course, we don't know how elliptical its orbit is... But I agree with you in general. Not sure what's up with that. I guess the comet waits patiently for George to write books - more than can be said for us. :)

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As for the worldbook... I've been trying to tell folks they need to look harder it.... I chuckle when some dismiss it as being tertiary to the series, as if was just some money-grab coffee-table companion book. Ha. It's a complex series of puzzles wrapped enigmas wrapped in a fake history book.

I am convinced at this point that the MAIN reason this book exists is for the secrets. And the thing is, no matter how weird some of the worldbook stuff seems - he's actually laid it out in the text. The Great Empire of the Dawn emperors were cheering Dany on in book 1! We've been hearing about Azor Ahai since book 2, as well as Selkies and human hybrids and all the other bizarre stuff. Check out all the squishes talk from Dick Crabb in book 4. Wild! The first time we read this stuff, a lot of it goes right by the eyes and escapes notice. He's very subtle the way he distracts you and then slipped in information about something. Anyway. Yeah. The Worldbook. Tons more secrets in there, I've got a lot still to cover just off of the original set of discoveries I made. We still need to talk about what the Lightbringer swords were made out of exactly; what the moons are made of exactly, a bunch of eclipse related stuff, and then of course this is all leading to figuring out what happened at Battle Isle and the War for the Dawn. Ways to go yet. :)

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First of all thank you very much for the kind words. When I started writing this, I had no idea what kind of reaction I would get, if it would be crickets or if people would dig it... So it really means a lot to know folks are enjoying it. Cheers.

And yeah, the more I figure out what kind of puzzles George has created for us, and how deep his tapestry goes, I am totally awestruck. Wow.

I hadn't looked up exactly when the comet disappeared - so no comet sighting in Asos? That does seems like a long absence. Of course, we don't know how elliptical its orbit is... But I agree with you in general. Not sure what's up with that. I guess the comet waits patiently for George to write books - more than can be said for us. :)

To be fair it is not like that comet actually had to wait 11 years between SoS and ADwD befor making its return. Does someone have the actual time that lapsed between the disappearance of the comet and the end of ADwD? It is fair to note that the comet would not have been visible for much of its entrance into the solar system.

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There you go Durran! Save the theory! She was listing off dangerously towards the rocks. :)

Thanks again for all of your contributions Durran D, I look forward to your writings which I expect to draw some different conclusions from some of the research we have shared. Cheers!

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I'm not married to BSE = AA, but I think it is likely, 60% or so.

As for AA being a bad guy, it is important to note here that if you told me that someone was Darth Vader reborn, my first reaction would be to think that was a bad thing. After all Darth Vader was a horrible bad guy. Then I would remember that the last thing Darth Vader did before he died was to save the life of his son and kill the ultimate bad guy of the galaxy. When we last saw Vader, he was at peace among the souls of Obi-wan and Yoda. AA was bad, probably, AAR does not need to be. Given that Juan Targaryen-Stark is likely AAR, I think this is worth noting. I think many of us are working under the assumption that AA was the Last Hero. If this is true we do know, or believe we know, that he was more or less defeated before being saved and aided by the CotF. This is a pretty big character arc, from the all powerful emperor of evil.

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