Neolaina

The Prophecies Are False/Fake/Wrong; Wait, what?

39 posts in this topic

Prophecy and the fulfillment of it in some way or another is a staple of the fantasy genre. I've often wondered if one of the twists to the genre we would see are all matters and forms of prophecy falling flat. Completely flat. Backfiring in every way or another.

In other words, none of the prophecies we're privy to, none of the prophecies that so many ideas and conspiracies and theories hinge on, none of them come to pass.

What would happen if all the prophecies, in their entirety, were bunk?*

*I do mean this rhetorically. Not looking to make a list of all the things that might affect, although...

I've thought long and hard about this simple idea, and have been using it as a baseline through which to approach every topic here for the past few weeks. It's had the inevitable side effect of me not posting much, because so many threads focus on prophecy - specifically, prophecy coming to fruition in a specific way - that expect me to hold one belief over another.  And I've been thinking about it more and more with each topic that pops up, with each rehashed thread, and subsequent rehashed posts, and the strings of carbon-copy text that follow; there's only so many ways to argue (e.g.) Jojenpaste. 

#FroJo

#NeedsMoreJojen

Aw, man, FroJo would actually be an awesome username...er....

It's a nice change.

====

Why haven't I brought this up in other topics?

  • Every time I try, I find my posts derailing from the threads because many threads hinge upon prophecy and how we interpret it. Those posts are promptly deleted or simply not posted.
  • People like their prophecies. They're something to cling to, they give us connections and baselines and allow us to mirror the future to the past.
  • An awful lot of people would be pissed if the myriad amounts of time invested exploring them amounted to a waste.

====

How does this change how we might look at the future of the novels, without shattering everything into sharp, non-digestible pieces?

How would people feel if all of the prophecies therein were false?

Could this make sense?

And of course, there's a place for self-fulfilling prophecy discussion here, since it's a very important aspect to the topic.

====

Short of self-fulfilling prophecies, which aren't governed by fate or an outside source or what have you, this thread isn't meant to be a grounds to discuss whether certain prophecies are real or fake. For all intents and purposes, there exists the presupposition herein that all prophecies found within ASOIAF are bullshit. 

Note: The historical background to the prophecies, or the first instances of the many second comings (Azor Ahai, etc.) remain real. The idea here is that none of these things will come to pass again, in the present.

Alright, I'll be back in a bit. This coffee's goin' through me way too quickly.

 

 

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That would be quite the twist!

One idea I've seen thrown around a lot is that the prophecies will come true, but it will be open to interpretation how exactly it was fulfilled (e.g. There might be multiple people who fit the criteria for Azor Ahai).

 

Another possibility is that the prophecies won't literally come true; but it's possible to really stretch definitions such that the prophecy was fulfilled, which would make for some interesting discussion.

 

Something else strikes me as a very Martin thing to do: have the prophecies fall flat, but to have people in the book believe they happened (while the reader knows better) e.g. people in the books might believe legends that (as a random example) Stannis/Jon Snow/Danny obliterated the Others Rambo-style, when it happened completely differently (the credit might even go to someone else entirely), leading people to believe that person fulfilled one prophecy or another.

 

Are there any prophecies we know of in the story (at any point in history) that was believed to have been fulfilled? 

 

Melisandre and the House of the Undying prove that some degree of divination is possible in the ASOIAF universe, but that's not exactly reliable enough to prove thousand-year old prophecies.

 

Another thing to note - even in real life people believe that ancient prophecies will be fulfilled in their lifetime, and they have for thousands of years. It could be the same in the ASOIAF universe. For all we know all the prophecies are true, but the story is set a few thousand years too early for us to see them happen.

 

I believe the only two prophecies which have a set time frame is Maggie's prophecy (it has to happen withing Cersei's lifetime) and the crones' version of the Stallion Who Mounts the World (which has already failed; although it's possible the original SWMtW prophecy is real, while the crones' prophecy that it would be Rhaego was not).

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Most tinfoil theories are not true, even GRRM said so.

Readers think GRRM is this super deep author that weaves secrets and riddles into EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE. But he doesn't, he said most of the theories are bullshit.

There's really only 3 theories that have concrete text evidence:

1. Sandor Clegane/Cleganebowl

2. R+L=J

3. Varys being a mermaid/working with Littlefinger to bring down the Wall and flood Westeros. 

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It would simply be pointless writing, charmless, witless.

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14 minutes ago, OIL, BLOOD, Water said:

Most tinfoil theories are not true, even GRRM said so.

Readers think GRRM is this super deep author that weaves secrets and riddles into EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE. But he doesn't, he said most of the theories are bullshit.

There's really only 3 theories that have concrete text evidence:

1. Sandor Clegane/Cleganebowl

2. R+L=J

3. Varys being a mermaid/working with Littlefinger to bring down the Wall and flood Westeros. 

I think you're mixing "theory" and "prophesy". R+L=J and Cleganebowl are theories. A prophesy is something that's magically predicted to happen e.g. Azor Ahai, The Prince that Was Promised, The Stallion Who Mounts the World, Maggie's Prophecy, Daenys' prophecy about the Doom etc. In real life prophecies only exist in religious contexts.

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Prophecies by nature are slippery little suckers. I am putting some weight into the theories I subscribe to (although not a lot, since I am neither the author nor his muse). As far as I am concerned, the various prophecies are the series version of reality TV. They're sometimes entertaining and often make you wonder if the characters are several silvers short of a dragon. 

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3 hours ago, OIL, BLOOD, Water said:

 

3. Varys being a mermaid/working with Littlefinger to bring down the Wall and flood Westeros.

I'm sorry... WHAT!?

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Yes, I don't think prophecies are destined to come true, rather that people will interpret things that happen around them as prophecies coming true, because they believe in them. I don't think there is a Azor Ahai reborn, but people will believe different persons are AAR because they want to believe it.

The crisis looming beyond the wall will not be resolved by Prophecies or Destiny, but by the acts of people.

And in a thousand years people will wait for a Jon Snow Reborn or a Brandon Stark Reborn.

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7 hours ago, OIL, BLOOD, Water said:

Most tinfoil theories are not true, even GRRM said so.

Readers think GRRM is this super deep author that weaves secrets and riddles into EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE. But he doesn't, he said most of the theories are bullshit.

I agree with this 100%

The problem is people have waited SO LONG for each book that it's given them years upon years to read, analyze, study, and daydream about how it's all going to end.  And before you know it....people come up with crackpot ideas, thoughts, and start connecting dots where they don't need to be connected.  GRRM and ASOIAF is one of the most over-analyzed stories/authors I've ever seen.  People think EVERY SINGLE LINE of the books has 4-5 subcontexts and hidden meanings to it.  It's simply not true.  GRRM is a great writer, but not everything has a hidden meaning behind it.

Just take R+L=J for instance.  We all already know Jon's parantage and what happened at the TOJ.  It doesn't take a genius or much analyzing to see.  Yet people still REFUSE to believe it, thinking that there is some sort of hidden text that proves something else happened, or that Lyanna is still alive, or some other stupid nonsense. 

As for the prophecies, GRRM himself has already said on record in multiple interviews that a lot of prophecies these days are bullshit.  He's admitted to enjoying ambiguity because it gives readers a sense of wonder and gives his world life.

I don't think we'll ever know if there is another AA, or another PTWP, or whatever else.  I think it will always be left up to interpretation of the reader, and that's just the way GRRM wants it to be.

 

 

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8 hours ago, OIL, BLOOD, Water said:

Most tinfoil theories are not true, even GRRM said so.

Readers think GRRM is this super deep author that weaves secrets and riddles into EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE. But he doesn't, he said most of the theories are bullshit.

There's really only 3 theories that have concrete text evidence:

1. Sandor Clegane/Cleganebowl

2. R+L=J

3. Varys being a mermaid/working with Littlefinger to bring down the Wall and flood Westeros. 

this guy is funny, I like it

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Im thinking it is going to happen something along the lines of Memory Sorrow Thorn or Harry Potter.

It comes true in the most horrible way imaginable. 

 

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I think the legends that inspire the prophesies are a combination of

a) Natural / environmental / celestial events which have been attributed to God-like characters; a bit like our flood legend which appears in varying forms multiple cultures and religions.  They have an added dimension of magic and a need for it to be balanced.

2) Ancient people whose abilities and deeds have been embelished over time to give them a kind of mythical or superhero status.  This is also seen in some of our religions, either told as a deity working through a person or person possessing God-like powers or living for centuries.

Many of our own myths, legends and religious tales are mirrored across multiple cultures with variances and different names and I think this may be the case with people like AA, TSTMTW, TPTWP and all the various gods.  

What happens in the remainder of this story will no doubt be told differently in a few hundred or a few thousand years, so it could be retold later to fit the fulfilment of the prophecies even if it isn't really how it happened at the time.  This kind of fits with your OP that the prophesies are nonsense. It would probably need to have an epilogue set in the distant future with a future old Nan type character telling the tale, rather than the current story going "and Jon Snow's sword went on fire and he was AAR and killed all the Others"

I am a fan of LmL's podcasts and his view that there are multiple manifestations of the mythological or prophesied characters (Azor Ahai, Amethyst Empress, Last Hero, Moon Goddess, the 7 etc.). I don't believe that anyone is destined from birth to fulfill these roles but I do believe that numerous characters have the potential to do this and that circumstances and their own decisions will be what drives this.

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I can see Cersei's (that is, Maggy's) prophecy not coming true, actually.

Just consider how obsessed she is with her prophecy. She worries over threats to her children and sees Tyrion in every shadow, yet remains competely oblivious to every other threat to her person. Her counselors are all idiots and lickspittles. She drinks heavily. She allowed the Faith Militant to rise again under her nose. She alienates her allies, angers the smallfolk, and gives away positions of power to those she believe to be her allies rather than the most competent, while squandering the crown's money (while flipping off the crown's biggest and most powerful indebtor). Whatever Cersei's demise will be in the end, there are seemingly endless possibilities that won't involve strangulation by her little brother.

My personal favourite hypothesis is that she'll manage to get herself into a position of perceived safety (no little brothers alive/available, both her children safe, powerful enemies dispatched of, etc.), keep drinking, and stumble down a staircase in a drunken stupour. "Wait, this wasn't how it was going to happen!" being her last thought before bashing her head on the stone floor.

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7 hours ago, Ninerings said:

I'm sorry... WHAT!?

I second this. Someone please explain where Varys having a fishy tail in his pants came from.

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Just now, CJ McLannister said:

The nice thing about prophecy is that even when it's wrong, it's right.

Not really. Maggy the Frog's prophecy for example is only about 50% complete before it can be said to be "correct."

In the show, Maggy the Frog's prophecy has been shown to be false and it didn't come true. In the show, Myrcella is already dead so Maggy's "Gold will be their [crowns] and gold their [shrouds.]" line is incorrect. 

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34 minutes ago, sarah.jenice said:

I second this. Someone please explain where Varys having a fishy tail in his pants came from.

If I remember correctly, this...theory originated from a) Varys and Illyrio climbing out of a huge bottomless pit in the Red Keep dungeons back in aGoT, and b ) Varys telling Tyrion he "paddles on" in Clash.

Oh, and there's also this part:

Quote

"I'm a mermaid!", said Varys.

 

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1 hour ago, OIL, BLOOD, Water said:

Not really. Maggy the Frog's prophecy for example is only about 50% complete before it can be said to be "correct."

In the show, Maggy the Frog's prophecy has been shown to be false and it didn't come true. In the show, Myrcella is already dead so Maggy's "Gold will be their [crowns] and gold their [shrouds.]" line is incorrect. 

When a prophecy "fails" is where interpretation comes in.  Myrcella had gold(ish) hair.  Crown can refer to the top of someone's head.  So there you go.  

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13 hours ago, chrisdaw said:

It would simply be pointless writing, charmless, witless.

:agree:GRRM is writing fantasy. He has chosen to include prophecies. They will come true. I am 100% convinced they will come true in some form or other.

There simply is no point in including the prophecies if they do not come true. It would be literary malpractice to introduce a prophecy for it not to come true in some form. The prophecies affect people's actions--leading to self-fulfilling prophecies of one sort or other. People will get the interpretations wrong -- but that only matters if ultimately there is a correct interpretation that in theory they could have made. If the prophecy is just BS, then their incorrect interpretations become literary dead ends.

GRRM is not writing for the nihilists who want every literary convention broken just for the sake of breaking conventions -- because that would lead to a crappy story that the vast majority of people would discount as garbage. GRRM is not writing garbage. The point of the prophecies is for the readers to try to be smarter than the characters to figure out what they really mean. The point cannot be merely distraction and red herring due to them not coming true in any form -- that simply would be, as chrisdaw observed, "pointless writing, charmless and witless." 

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