LadySaeryn

What Made Valyrians Dragonlords?

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This has been a question that has been plaguing me for some time.. I don't know why Valyrians were the only race able to control and ride dragons. As I recall, there were only forty main Valyrian families that could do this. This always puzzled me because they made sure not to "spoil" their bloodline by keeping it pure with incest. This tells me it might have something to do with blood? 

 

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Welcome!  IMO they're like the First Men of Westeros, there's something in the blood that allows them to receive the gift.  A genetic marker of sorts.  Where the descendants of the FM wolves and can skin change other animals, the Valyrians had dragons. 

Edited by DarkSister1001

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And there's this from Marwyn:

Quote

All Valyrian sorcery was rooted in blood or fire.

AFfC, Chapter 45

 

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11 hours ago, DarkSister1001 said:

Welcome!  IMO they're like the First Men of Westeros, there's something in the blood that allows them to receive the gift.  A genetic marker of sorts.  Where the descendants of the FM wolves and can skin change other animals, the Valyrians had dragons. 

I don't think this is really true. The warging was originally the domain of the Children of the Forest while the First Men waged war on these very Children. Only later and only later did this magic sprout with the First Men. Also note that wolves is a Stark thing, not a general First Man thing. In large wolves are no different from other animals in their relation to the race of the First Men.

In regards to the Valyrians they were, if I recall, a people of shepherds before they managed to tame the dragons and became sorcerer-lords. Why and how did this happen? Probably because the Valyrians just happened to live near dragons and after a thousand guys had been roasted while trying to take control over a dragon, someone finally figured it out and the rest is history. I think we can see an example of this is in the Dance where many potential Dragonseeds would be killed or maimed when attempting to tame a dragon and a rare few did manage to make it work.

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4 hours ago, LionoftheWest said:

I don't think this is really true. The warging was originally the domain of the Children of the Forest while the First Men waged war on these very Children. Only later and only later did this magic sprout with the First Men. Also note that wolves is a Stark thing, not a general First Man thing. In large wolves are no different from other animals in their relation to the race of the First Men.

In regards to the Valyrians they were, if I recall, a people of shepherds before they managed to tame the dragons and became sorcerer-lords. Why and how did this happen? Probably because the Valyrians just happened to live near dragons and after a thousand guys had been roasted while trying to take control over a dragon, someone finally figured it out and the rest is history. I think we can see an example of this is in the Dance where many potential Dragonseeds would be killed or maimed when attempting to tame a dragon and a rare few did manage to make it work.

I respectfully disagree with the bolded.  Varamyr had 3 wolves and was not of the Stark line, as far as we know, but he was a descendant of the FM. 

ETA:  Though the confusion could be on my part, I was interrupted mid-sentence by RL and didn't articulate well.  To clarify, It's my understanding that the Starks parallel the Targs in their gifts.  The Starks come from the FM and the Targs from Valyria and that the abilities they have are a result of those bloodlines.  Where they originated before that is still a mystery. 

Edited by DarkSister1001

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2 hours ago, DarkSister1001 said:

I respectfully disagree with the bolded.  Varamyr had 3 wolves and was not of the Stark line, as far as we know, but he was a descendant of the FM. 

ETA:  Though the confusion could be on my part, I was interrupted mid-sentence by RL and didn't articulate well.  To clarify, It's my understanding that the Starks parallel the Targs in their gifts.  The Starks come from the FM and the Targs from Valyria and that the abilities they have are a result of those bloodlines.  Where they originated before that is still a mystery. 

Varamyr has regular ol' wolfie wolves. He wanted Jon's direwolf, but couldn't get it and it might be, among other things, The Direwolf, in particular, is the Stark sigil and association.

This is the Dance prologue: "He had known what Snow was the moment he saw that great white direwolf stalking silent at his side. One skinchanger can always sense another. Mance should have let me take the direwolf. There would be a second life worthy of a king. He could have done it, he did not doubt. The gift was strong in Snow, but the youth was untaught, still fighting his nature when he should have gloried in it."

A few things to note here

  1. Mance said NO because Mance knew better and had future plans.
  2. Note the following line of a second life worthy of a king. What does that mean????
  3. Also note how the gift was strong in the young, untrained Jon, yet he doesn't glorify himself in it. The Direwolves are to the Starks like peanut butter is to jelly.

As to the OP, this from the World book could help answer a few questions.

  • The great beauty of the Valyrians—with their hair of palest silver or gold and eyes in shades of purple not found amongst any other peoples of the world—is well-known, and often held up as proof that the Valyrians are not entirely of the same blood as other men. Yet there are maesters who point out that, by careful breeding of animals, one can achieve a desirable result, and that populations in isolation can often show quite remarkable variations from what might be regarded as common. This may be a likelier answer to the mystery of the Valyrian origins although it does not explain the affinity with dragons that those with the blood of Valyria clearly had.

And there is a rumor somewhere in the books that the Targs actually mixed their blood with the dragons blood. That could just be the Targ madness spreading propaganda, though.

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I've held a view for a while that the Valyrians didn't learn to tame dragons by accident.

There is a fair bit of evidence in the world book that dragons have existed for a long time on Planetos and also suggestions that other "civilizations" in the ancient world made use them long before the Valyrians even existed.
Five Forts for example is a group of structures made of fused stone that predates the rise of even the Freehold. So there's a strong hint that dragons might have been used long ago.

Once the Great Empire of the Dawn collapsed thousands of years ago a lot of "refugees" migrate west, over the Bone Mountains. These refugees were the ancestors of the various tribes roaming the lands of Essos now, the Dothraki, Lhazareen, Valyrians etc.
It is possible the dragons fled too and by all accounts the Great Empire fell with the coming of the Long Night, not a friendly situation for dragons., Maybe they were forgotten over the intervening centuries or millenia as they fled into an empty continent.

I think some of those people escaping from the east knew of the means to tame & breed dragons and were just biding their time until they could use that knowledge again. Perhaps they grew into the Valyrians or perhaps they moved among them and taught them what to do.
I believe that nobody really knew about dragons until there were "rediscovered" living in the Fourteen Flames"

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1 minute ago, The Fattest Leech said:

Varamyr has regular ol' wolfie wolves. He wanted Jon's direwolf, but couldn't get it and it might be, among other things, The Direwolf, in particular, is the Stark sigil and association.

This is the Dance prologue: "He had known what Snow was the moment he saw that great white direwolf stalking silent at his side. One skinchanger can always sense another. Mance should have let me take the direwolf. There would be a second life worthy of a king. He could have done it, he did not doubt. The gift was strong in Snow, but the youth was untaught, still fighting his nature when he should have gloried in it."

A few things to note here

  1. Mance said NO because Mance knew better and had future plans.
  2. Note the following line of a second life worthy of a king. What does that mean????
  3. Also note how the gift was strong in the young, untrained Jon, yet he doesn't glorify himself in it. The Direwolves are to the Starks like peanut butter is to jelly.

As to the OP, this from the World book could help answer a few questions.

  • The great beauty of the Valyrians—with their hair of palest silver or gold and eyes in shades of purple not found amongst any other peoples of the world—is well-known, and often held up as proof that the Valyrians are not entirely of the same blood as other men. Yet there are maesters who point out that, by careful breeding of animals, one can achieve a desirable result, and that populations in isolation can often show quite remarkable variations from what might be regarded as common. This may be a likelier answer to the mystery of the Valyrian origins although it does not explain the affinity with dragons that those with the blood of Valyria clearly had.

And there is a rumor somewhere in the books that the Targs actually mixed their blood with the dragons blood. That could just be the Targ madness spreading propaganda, though.

I agree with you.  I was disagreeing earlier that wolves were a Stark thing, not Direwolves

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Just now, DarkSister1001 said:

I agree with you.  I was disagreeing earlier that wolves were a Stark thing, not Direwolves

Gotcha :thumbsup:

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I assume that the first valyrian shepherds had elders who practiced some kind of primitive blood magic (no fire magic yet) and sacrificed sheep and perhaps humans to their gods regularly. No doubt those dragons nesting in the Fourteen fires came down to steal sheep from the valyrians daily. So after a while, the shepherds god used to the dragons and were no longer afraid. But even then I don't think they went after the grown up dragons, It's more likely they used the sheep as a distraction and stole some eggs! And then those village sorcerers used blood magic to somehow fuse the blood of some of the unborn babies from the village to the unhatched dragons... Or sacrificed those unborn children in an attempt to bind the will of the future dragon to their own - life for a life. Is fire needed to hatch a dragon egg? Maybe they were unsuccessful until they added fire to the blood ritual and the rest is history. Just a theory.

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4 hours ago, Daenyra said:

I assume that the first valyrian shepherds had elders who practiced some kind of primitive blood magic (no fire magic yet) and sacrificed sheep and perhaps humans to their gods regularly. No doubt those dragons nesting in the Fourteen fires came down to steal sheep from the valyrians daily. So after a while, the shepherds god used to the dragons and were no longer afraid. But even then I don't think they went after the grown up dragons, It's more likely they used the sheep as a distraction and stole some eggs! And then those village sorcerers used blood magic to somehow fuse the blood of some of the unborn babies from the village to the unhatched dragons... Or sacrificed those unborn children in an attempt to bind the will of the future dragon to their own - life for a life. Is fire needed to hatch a dragon egg? Maybe they were unsuccessful until they added fire to the blood ritual and the rest is history. Just a theory.

That all makes sense really, I wouldn't want to go after a fully grown adult dragon! But the way it's writen sounds more like the Valyrians found the dragons one day, rather than they were getting their sheep stolen by wild dragons. Maybe they were a semi-migratory people and they moved into the area of the Fourteen Flames and came across the dragons.

But Danny's dragons were born with fire & blood and a similar method so would this also hatch other dragon eggs? 

We've also got whatever happened at Summerhall to look at as well though and that seems to contradict the theory, there was so much death there from people killed in the fire, why didn't any eggs hatch (or did they...).

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Hey thank you all for your input! It's super mysterious, but I did read somewhere that 40 members of each family performed some kind of ritual to bind their blood with the blood of the dragons they tamed, possibly with help of bloodmages from Asshai? What we know is the magic Valyrians used was rooted in blood and fire, so it could be something like that? 

 

Thanks again!

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Historically there is actually a good hint that neither wolves nor direwolves were always a 'Stark thing' since the ancient Starks supposedly defeated the Warg King of Sea Dragon Point at one time, slaying all his sons, beasts, and greenseers in the process, but taking his daughters as prizes. That could explain how the skinchanger gene entered into the Stark line.

As to the Valyrians:

On 19.3.2016 at 11:47 AM, LionoftheWest said:

In regards to the Valyrians they were, if I recall, a people of shepherds before they managed to tame the dragons and became sorcerer-lords. Why and how did this happen? Probably because the Valyrians just happened to live near dragons and after a thousand guys had been roasted while trying to take control over a dragon, someone finally figured it out and the rest is history. I think we can see an example of this is in the Dance where many potential Dragonseeds would be killed or maimed when attempting to tame a dragon and a rare few did manage to make it work.

I'm not sure we can take the shepherd thing at face value. It is brought up in a slandering way by the Astapori, and despite the fact that Yandel repeats this in TWoIaF this doesn't mean all the ancient Valyrians were shepherds. Some would have done other stuff, and just as there are sorcerers among the Lhazareen there may also have been sorcerers among the first Valyrians who figured out how to magically bond their bloodlines to those of the dragons.

However, we also know that the Valyrians didn't just ride dragons, they also bred them, suggesting that they actually changed the dragon population in the Fourteen Flames to fit their own needs. If we assume that the Valyrians didn't artificially create their dragons (say, by crossbreeding fire wyrms and wyverns) but actually found a natural dragon population then it might actually be that the dragonbonding process was some sort of trial-and-error process.

Say, the natural dragons were relatively small animals (and only those the Valyrians later bred grew to such insane proportions), then it might have been possible for some adventurous/courageous people to actually tame and ride some of them (say, because somebody raised a hatchling and naturally bonded with it like you would with a cat or a dog).

But such a preliminary dragonrider wouldn't be the same as a dragonlord of the later days because this kind of bond wouldn't be of the same nature as the magical bond of the Targaryens later on. You could tame multiple dragons at the same time just as you can tame and ride a bunch of horses at the same time. And vice versa, a dragon raised and tamed by a couple or a family should be expected to accept every member of that family on his back, not just one specific rider (which is the case with the dragons the dragonlords later rode).

Therefore I'd say that some sort of magic entered into the whole affair at one point which permanently connected the Valyrians with their dragons - presumably this bound the bloodline of a Valyrian family to the bloodline of a particular dragon group.

How you later entered into the elite circle of the Valyrian dragonlords isn't clear at all. One imagines that you could rise through the ranks, amass a lot of wealth, and then marry an impoverished dragonlord heiress, securing this way that your children and grandchildren would inherit her dragonlord genes. Not to mention that a particularly fertile dragonlord family could have formed multiple branches. But it is also possible that the dragonlords remembered the spells and rituals necessary to bind a new bloodline to a dragon, and occasionally admitted upstarts into their ranks when the need arose - which could have been the case after one of those Valyrian civil wars. Multiple dragonlord families could have been killed in those wars, and if we assume that the dragonlords couldn't remain in control of the political machine of Valyria if there were too few of them then this certainly would have been the way to solve this problem.

1 hour ago, LadySaeryn said:

Hey thank you all for your input! It's super mysterious, but I did read somewhere that 40 members of each family performed some kind of ritual to bind their blood with the blood of the dragons they tamed, possibly with help of bloodmages from Asshai? What we know is the magic Valyrians used was rooted in blood and fire, so it could be something like that? 

Well, the Asshai'i claim that their ancestors were the first to ever tame dragons. But we don't know if that's true. Theoretically it is not impossible that whatever magics the early Valyrians used to master their dragons is based on some spells first invented/used by the Asshai'i. Could even be that some Asshai'i settled on the Lands of the Long Summer for some reason thousands of years ago. That would make some sense if dragons and dragonriders also played a role during the Long Night (if there was an Asshai'i dragonrider fighting in the War for the Dawn he or she could have decided not to return to Asshai but to settle in the Lands of the Long Summer).

But that's just speculation. Perhaps the Asshai'i never rode dragons at all. Or if they did they used a different (and much inferior) method than the one the Valyrians later discovered. Or they rode a different species of dragons altogether. What we can clearly say is that the Asshai'i never seemed to use their dragons as weapons of war in the same way the Valyrians did.

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Well, the Asshai'i claim that their ancestors were the first to ever tame dragons. But we don't know if that's true. Theoretically it is not impossible that whatever magics the early Valyrians used to master their dragons is based on some spells first invented/used by the Asshai'i. Could even be that some Asshai'i settled on the Lands of the Long Summer for some reason thousands of years ago. That would make some sense if dragons and dragonriders also played a role during the Long Night (if there was an Asshai'i dragonrider fighting in the War for the Dawn he or she could have decided not to return to Asshai but to settle in the Lands of the Long Summer).

This is my preferred view of the whole thing. 

I think someone taught the Valyrians the tricks to tame dragons, and I would not be supprised at all if some ancient tribe or the remains of a civilisation from the Far East fled to the Valyrian homelands before they got there, taking their knowledge with them. These guys then developed into the Valyrians, or were living with them as they learnt their new dragon taming.

We already know that the Long Night supposedly started in the Far East with the fall of the Great Empire of the Dawn, and that all sorts of people were fleeing west over the Bone Mountains. If these proto-Valyrians were the ones who used dragons initially then maybe the rise of the freehold was just them reclaiming a power they'd temporarily lost. 

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The Ashaii CREATED dragons, by magically breeding wyverns with firewyrms. I suspect that a key breeding facility of theirs was originally located among the Fourteen Fires of Valyria, because that was where firewyrms naturally occurred, and it was not too far from Sothoryos where wyverns could be sourced from.

This happened before the Long Night. As part of the creation process, they would naturally have built in some mechanism to control the new beasts they had created. Anyway, it is clear that dragons existed before the Long Night, and since Valyria only arose well after the Long Night, someone bred dragons before Valyria was around. This is strongly hinted to be the Ashaii. It seems these dragons spread across the ancient world, as ancient dragon bones have been found even in Westeros, and they occur in ancient Westerosi tales from the Age of Heroes.

Then the Long Night arrived and wiped out 99% of dragons across the world. The only place they survived was in the Fourteen Fires of Valyria. It seems a remnant of the Ashaii also survived the Long Night, and ventured to Valyria, maybe in the hope of reviving their ancient civilization, which was based on the power of dragons. But since all the controlled dragons were now dead, they had to try and capture some of the wild dragons that still remained in Valyria. And for that, no doubt, some costly blood magic was required.

Maybe they were too few in number to sacrifice some of their own people in the blood magic rituals necessary. So they were forced to teach some of the primitive Valyrian shepherds how the rituals worked. To use them in the magic. In any case, it seems the Ashaii were too few, or else the Valyrian savages turned on them and wiped them out as soon as they had learnt how the rituals worked.

But at least some Valyrian shaman/sheep entrail readers/primitive blood sorcerors managed to acquire knowledge of the dragon bonding ritual from the Ashaii, and used it to tame the first wild Valyrian dragon. And the shaman who did so became the first Dragonlord. And this bond was passed down through both his lineage, and the lineage of the dragon he had tamed. And thus the first Valyrian dragonlord family was born.

Maybe 40 shaman learnt the ritual, or maybe others learnt the ritual from the original shaman over time, until they realized that it was a precious source of power that had to be kept among the initiated.

The point is, this is how the primitive Valyrians learnt to bond the dragons that lived in their volcanos. And became the mightiest Empire since the Long Night.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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28 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

stuff

I don't think it is confirmed that dragons really are artificial created beings - especially not creatures created by the Asshai'i. We have no reason to believe they hung out on the Lands of the Long Summer before the Long Night, after all.

Dragons might just be naturally occurring creatures but the Valyrian dragons could have been crossbred with wyverns (for size or aggressiveness) and firewyrms (for the heat of the fire) to make them more suitable to the needs of the dragonlords.

We have no reason to believe the Asshai'i ever used dragons for the same purpose as the Valyrians - as weapons and means to subdue other people. There is also no reason to believe that the ancient Asshai'i civilization was human (the Old Ones on Leng clearly aren't, and Asshai is an insanely huge and strange city) nor that whatever humans first settled there built an empire using dragonfire.

That's all speculation.

Even if we go with one or multiple Asshai'i settling near in the Lands of the Long Summer there is no reason to assume there was some sort of quarrel between them and the ancient Valyrians. They could just have integrated themselves into that culture, handing down the knowledge from which the early dragonlords eventually came from. This doesn't have to be a quick process, and neither do we have to assume the founders of the forty dragonlord families Gyldayn later mentions were already there in the beginning. One would assume there was a first dragonlord, and then later other people repeated the process, whatever it was, and then it was refined overtime, eventually people figuring out that the incest was crucial to keep everything together. At first, one would assume the dragonlords married among each other, not only among their own lines.

We don't even know if Valyria had already been founded by the time the dragonlords rose or if the first dragonlords built the city. If the latter is the case then the first dragonlords would, most likely, have been ruling with an iron fist over their primitive dragonless peers, making the early Valyrian more an absolutist monarchy than the Freehold thing that developed later (most likely in the wake of Valyrian society getting bigger and more complicated).

If we check Asshai then the weirdness of the city suggests some sort of magical catastrophe in the very ancient past, perhaps even long before the Long Night. Something is really, really wrong in Asshai, and the original Asshai'i may have been long dead by the time of the Long Night (making whoever called themselves 'Asshai'i' later on just the same category as the present-day Asshai' - which are all immigrants, not people born there due to the fact that there are no children in Asshai).

I see no reason to necessarily try to bind everything together and make it one big theory. If George wanted to do that then he would have Yandel introduce Asshai as the capital of some huge pre-Long Night empire, but that's not the case.

I'm with you, though, that the Long Night could have greatly contributed to the death of the dragons in Westeros. However, there is no reason to believe that the Long Night could have killed dragons all over the world. Only in Westeros things became really bad. The Rhoyne didn't freeze all over, and things would have been not that bad down in Sothoryos or the Summer Isles.

Therefore it is more likely that dragons were actually killed by humans all around the world. After all, those creatures were potentially dangerous.

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Genetic engineering through technology now lost, or more traditional fantasy(and there for, bleh) a blood binding type ceremony.

i have this feeling the GEOTD and asshaii were far more advanced civilisations than the ones we have now.

Edited by The Dragon has three heads

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Haha exactly ;)

 

I mean look, no where in GRRMs other work is there 'magic' for magic's sake.  If this is the first time it's strange and I'd be a little disappointed honestly.

"cause magic" is the worst answer.

 

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