Sea Dragon

There are no religions in the story?

59 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, Therae said:

<snip

In any case, I do think the George did a pretty darn spectacular job with building religion into Planetos. It's complicated and controversial and probably makes for poor dinner-party conversation. ;)

All great thoughts, and very well put, but I like that last part best. :cheers:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/14/2017 at 2:00 PM, Sea Dragon said:

there is no real "gods" of any religion because religion does not exist. Is that right?

Whoa whoa whao. Religions everywhere!  

But what's "gods?"  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

I was under the impression that the story is about human individuals choosing how to act. The battle between good and evil being waged within the human heart, as GRRM has said.

R'hllor being real wouldn't defeat the purpose of the story. It wouldn't even make him a god necessarily. It's not him but the people who believe in him who drive that aspect of the story. And they choose to believe.

We do not "know" that the Old Gods are not literal gods. We assume. "Similar to things from GRRM's sci-fi stories." Pardon me for thinking he'd be able to come up with something else instead of just elaborating on the same thing over and over and over again.

Yes, I know the Seven parallels the Catholic Church with some paganism and a few other things thrown in.

Beliefs in heaven and hell or a great war between good and evil also motivate people in both the real world and ASOIAF to take rational and moral actions. There are two sides to every coin, which GRRM takes pains to show in this series. He's fair about it, and does not inject his own bias into the story. If he were going to do that he would have said flat out every time he's been asked that the gods aren't real, instead of leaving it for each reader to decide. Personally I don't care one way or the other whether the gods are real.

Any of the gods being real does not justify evil actions. Being real doesn't mean being good, or being right, or being all-powerful. For all we know R'hllor could be a short, bald man named Stan behind a curtain in Valyria, throwing toxic smoke and pyrotechnics at anyone who sails too close...which we'll never see of course because Stan won't be appearing on the page.

First off, if GRRM is trying to write a story that is basically a big puzzle, and one of the mysteries we are supposed to solve is whether or not the gods are real, he wouldn't just flat out tell us. That's like saying that if R+L=J were really true, GRRM would just tell us every time he is asked who Jon's mother is, instead of leaving it for each reader to decide. He is not going to give away the ending early.

Yes the story is obviously about human individuals choosing how to act, because GRRM has said that. It is also about religion, war, slavery, racism, feminism, economics, military science, and other things. GRRM is extremely heavy-handed with his social commentary.

We do know the Old Gods are not literal gods, because we are told the nature of their existence. They were COTF, alive at one point, and joined some sort of hive-mind in the weirnet when they died. Now, I personally doubt that's exactly what happens, but regardless they are not some sort of universe-creating, omnipotent god. It appears, based on our limited knowledge of history, that the Old Gods are real and are powerful, but they are not all-powerful like a "literal" god. And I have no idea why you are against the idea of GRRM recycling concepts from his sci-fi stories. He has obviously done it a ton in asoiaf. Just to list one example, take skinchanging. GRRM did not invent skinchanging for asoiaf. He had already used it before. And GRRM specifically has hive-minded organisms in several other stories that have striking similarities to the Old Gods.

Actually, acting based on faith instead of acting based on evidence is the very definition of taking irrational action.

I think you missed my point about the existence of gods justifying evil actions. Let me elaborate with a narrow example. I have long subscribed to the theory that Stannis and Mel will burn Shireen in TWOW for her king's blood, so let's go with that. We don't know what the exact situation will be, but the basic setup will probably be: Stannis is down on his luck and failed to rally the north behind him, all his plans have failed, and Mel says his only choice is to sacrifice Shireen to R'hllor. Mel will claim that if Stannis does this, dragons will be woken from stone, and Stannis will be greatly rewarded for his sacrifice and become king.

So for the sake of my point, let's assume this will happen. Does R'hllor being real change the message of the story? Well, if R'hllor does not exist, then the act of burning Shireen is definitely a tragedy. Mel thinks she is sacrificing Shireen to save the world, when really all she is doing is burning a child alive. If R'hllor is real and Mel is 100% correct, then Shireen will still be horrifically burned alive, but it would be for the greater good. Either way, the morals of Stannis and Mel are the same. Whether or not they are correct does not change their intentions or how good or evil they are. But it completely changes the message that GRRM is trying to convey with his writing. If Mel somehow turns out to be correct (she is almost certainly wrong about Stannis being AA at least), then one could argue that burning Shireen was justified. That would go against the grain of everything GRRM has ever written. The whole point of stories like And Seven Times Never Kill Man is that religious extremism is never justified, because the religious leaders are wrong in their beliefs.

Ultimately, this argument is key to the end of the story. I personally believe that most of mankind will be rallied into a war against the Others by following Jon and Dany into battle, thinking that one or the other or both are AA reborn and that the Others are super evil and must be eradicated. But really, the AA prophecy is a lie, the Others aren't evil, the characters are all being tricked into a genocidal war in the name of religious extremism, and GRRM has tricked most readers into going right along for the ride, rooting for genocide against the "evil Others" themselves. So if I'm right, after the last book comes out GRRM can sit back and laugh at most readers and say, "Wow you guys sure are a bunch of extreme religious genocidal maniacs." If R'hllor is real, and all the characters were justified in committing genocide, that would effectively make asoiaf a pro-genocide, pro-extremism, pro-war story. I'm sorry, but I just can't in any way see that happening.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, 40 Thousand Skeletons said:

First off, if GRRM is trying to write a story that is basically a big puzzle, and one of the mysteries we are supposed to solve is whether or not the gods are real, he wouldn't just flat out tell us. That's like saying that if R+L=J were really true, GRRM would just tell us every time he is asked who Jon's mother is, instead of leaving it for each reader to decide. He is not going to give away the ending early.

Yes the story is obviously about human individuals choosing how to act, because GRRM has said that. It is also about religion, war, slavery, racism, feminism, economics, military science, and other things. GRRM is extremely heavy-handed with his social commentary.

We do know the Old Gods are not literal gods, because we are told the nature of their existence. They were COTF, alive at one point, and joined some sort of hive-mind in the weirnet when they died. Now, I personally doubt that's exactly what happens, but regardless they are not some sort of universe-creating, omnipotent god. It appears, based on our limited knowledge of history, that the Old Gods are real and are powerful, but they are not all-powerful like a "literal" god. And I have no idea why you are against the idea of GRRM recycling concepts from his sci-fi stories. He has obviously done it a ton in asoiaf. Just to list one example, take skinchanging. GRRM did not invent skinchanging for asoiaf. He had already used it before. And GRRM specifically has hive-minded organisms in several other stories that have striking similarities to the Old Gods.

Actually, acting based on faith instead of acting based on evidence is the very definition of taking irrational action.

I think you missed my point about the existence of gods justifying evil actions. Let me elaborate with a narrow example. I have long subscribed to the theory that Stannis and Mel will burn Shireen in TWOW for her king's blood, so let's go with that. We don't know what the exact situation will be, but the basic setup will probably be: Stannis is down on his luck and failed to rally the north behind him, all his plans have failed, and Mel says his only choice is to sacrifice Shireen to R'hllor. Mel will claim that if Stannis does this, dragons will be woken from stone, and Stannis will be greatly rewarded for his sacrifice and become king.

So for the sake of my point, let's assume this will happen. Does R'hllor being real change the message of the story? Well, if R'hllor does not exist, then the act of burning Shireen is definitely a tragedy. Mel thinks she is sacrificing Shireen to save the world, when really all she is doing is burning a child alive. If R'hllor is real and Mel is 100% correct, then Shireen will still be horrifically burned alive, but it would be for the greater good. Either way, the morals of Stannis and Mel are the same. Whether or not they are correct does not change their intentions or how good or evil they are. But it completely changes the message that GRRM is trying to convey with his writing. If Mel somehow turns out to be correct (she is almost certainly wrong about Stannis being AA at least), then one could argue that burning Shireen was justified. That would go against the grain of everything GRRM has ever written. The whole point of stories like And Seven Times Never Kill Man is that religious extremism is never justified, because the religious leaders are wrong in their beliefs.

Ultimately, this argument is key to the end of the story. I personally believe that most of mankind will be rallied into a war against the Others by following Jon and Dany into battle, thinking that one or the other or both are AA reborn and that the Others are super evil and must be eradicated. But really, the AA prophecy is a lie, the Others aren't evil, the characters are all being tricked into a genocidal war in the name of religious extremism, and GRRM has tricked most readers into going right along for the ride, rooting for genocide against the "evil Others" themselves. So if I'm right, after the last book comes out GRRM can sit back and laugh at most readers and say, "Wow you guys sure are a bunch of extreme religious genocidal maniacs." If R'hllor is real, and all the characters were justified in committing genocide, that would effectively make asoiaf a pro-genocide, pro-extremism, pro-war story. I'm sorry, but I just can't in any way see that happening.

That's not one of the mysteries we have to solve. 

No, we are not specifically told any of that. We are told they were the gods of the CotF, not "they were the CotF." 

I'm not against him using things he's used before, or using things others have used before. I'm against the idea that he is doing that exclusively, because I happen to think he's creative and talented enough to add in new things along with the old ones. I can't quite determine whether you are misunderstanding me because I haven't been clear enough, or you are assigning other, alternate meanings to what I write, or are deliberately twisting my words. Probably not the latter. But for future reference, if I write "X" I mean "X." Even if other people who write "X" usually mean "Y" by it, I do not. And I thought I'd never use algebra again. ;)

Depends on how you define faith. Some faiths are rational and justified. If someone's faith in a higher power leads them to help other people because they believe said higher power wants them to help other people, that doesn't make the action irrational. You've reminded me of a great line from 3rd Rock From the Sun about how the only thing that keeps us humans from flying off into space is our misplaced faith in gravity. :D

You know, this works as a great example for another reason entirely. In a way, you have "faith" that Stannis will allow Mel to burn Shireen. I consider this to be wrong and faith-misplaced because my understanding of Stannis' character plus the knowledge that he is nowhere near Mel and Shireen, plus what I read in a TWOW spoiler chapter leads me to have "faith" that Stannis will have nothing to do with Shireen being burned. Poor kid is doomed, but I disagree about who all will be involved. 

If R'hllor is real, Mel can still be wrong though. You're saying that the first equals the second, but it doesn't. R'hllor being real and Mel being right are not the same issue. What if he's not real, but Mel is right? What if burning Shireen does wake a dragon (or dragons) from stone, but there is no R'hllor? The sacrifice of an innocent child for the sake of the world is tragic even if it does work. 

You're assuming that the series is about one great big, giant, flashing moral. That goes rather against what GRRM has said about wanting the readers to make up their own minds, and add their own interpretations. He's trying to get people to ask themselves hard questions, as he has said, but he is not trying to give us the answers. 

So really this isn't about whether the gods exist or not in the story, it's about what you think the story is supposed to be--namely an extremely long anti-religious rant by the author. I really don't see that being the case. GRRM is not one to ram his own beliefs or lack of them down anyone's throats. He's a pretty open-minded and tolerant guy from what I know. Having written one or more stories in the past dealing with the dangers of religious extremism does not make him a one-note writer who can't do anything else. I have way too much respect for him as a writer to believe that of him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

That's not one of the mysteries we have to solve. 

No, we are not specifically told any of that. We are told they were the gods of the CotF, not "they were the CotF." 

I'm not against him using things he's used before, or using things others have used before. I'm against the idea that he is doing that exclusively, because I happen to think he's creative and talented enough to add in new things along with the old ones. I can't quite determine whether you are misunderstanding me because I haven't been clear enough, or you are assigning other, alternate meanings to what I write, or are deliberately twisting my words. Probably not the latter. But for future reference, if I write "X" I mean "X." Even if other people who write "X" usually mean "Y" by it, I do not. And I thought I'd never use algebra again. ;)

Depends on how you define faith. Some faiths are rational and justified. If someone's faith in a higher power leads them to help other people because they believe said higher power wants them to help other people, that doesn't make the action irrational. You've reminded me of a great line from 3rd Rock From the Sun about how the only thing that keeps us humans from flying off into space is our misplaced faith in gravity. :D

You know, this works as a great example for another reason entirely. In a way, you have "faith" that Stannis will allow Mel to burn Shireen. I consider this to be wrong and faith-misplaced because my understanding of Stannis' character plus the knowledge that he is nowhere near Mel and Shireen, plus what I read in a TWOW spoiler chapter leads me to have "faith" that Stannis will have nothing to do with Shireen being burned. Poor kid is doomed, but I disagree about who all will be involved. 

If R'hllor is real, Mel can still be wrong though. You're saying that the first equals the second, but it doesn't. R'hllor being real and Mel being right are not the same issue. What if he's not real, but Mel is right? What if burning Shireen does wake a dragon (or dragons) from stone, but there is no R'hllor? The sacrifice of an innocent child for the sake of the world is tragic even if it does work. 

You're assuming that the series is about one great big, giant, flashing moral. That goes rather against what GRRM has said about wanting the readers to make up their own minds, and add their own interpretations. He's trying to get people to ask themselves hard questions, as he has said, but he is not trying to give us the answers. 

So really this isn't about whether the gods exist or not in the story, it's about what you think the story is supposed to be--namely an extremely long anti-religious rant by the author. I really don't see that being the case. GRRM is not one to ram his own beliefs or lack of them down anyone's throats. He's a pretty open-minded and tolerant guy from what I know. Having written one or more stories in the past dealing with the dangers of religious extremism does not make him a one-note writer who can't do anything else. I have way too much respect for him as a writer to believe that of him.

You say it's not one of the mysteries, I say it might be.

Jojen specifically tells us they were COTF. Quote from ADWD Bran III:

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one. The singers of the forest had no books. No ink, no parchment, no written language. Instead they had the trees, and the weirwoods above all. When they died, they went into the wood, into leaf and limb and root, and the trees remembered. All their songs and spells, their histories and prayers, everything they knew about this world. Maesters will tell you that the weirwoods are sacred to the old gods. The singers believe they are the old gods. When singers die they become part of that godhood."

I think we both misunderstood each other. I don't think GRRM exclusively recycled old material to create asoiaf. But since he had been a writer for over 20 years before starting asoiaf, I think it makes sense to look at similarities in his past work to try to figure out what is going on in the story. I got the impression from your earlier comment that you were against the idea of GRRM recycling concepts (which some other people on the forum absolutely are), but as you clarified, you are not. :)

Whether we are talking about asoiaf or the real world, religious faith in itself is not rational by definition. The entire reason why "faith" is necessary is due to a lack of proof. If one had proof that a religion was correct, then faith would no longer be required. If someone's faith leads them to help other people, you could easily argue that helping the other people was rational. And you could even argue that making the choice to be religious because it will motivate you to be good is rational. But you cannot argue that belief in something without proof is rational, because that is literally the opposite of being rational.

I don't have faith that Stannis will burn Shireen. I think that is the most likely outcome based on evidence. I didn't receive a vision from a man in the sky telling me it will happen. I thought about it and came to a rational conclusion. And if it doesn't happen, I won't be surprised to be wrong.

No, I'm not saying that. Yeah, I sort of gave that impression because I was trying to give a concise example to illustrate my point, but you are absolutely correct that R'hllor could be real and Mel could still be wrong about certain things. And yes I agree the sacrifice is tragic even if it works, but my point is that in addition to being tragic, it would also be justified if it is actually the will of a benevolent omnipotent deity like Mel thinks (and like almost all devout religious people think), and I believe GRRM is trying to make the basic point that evil actions taken in the name of god are never justified. R'hllor being real, powerful, and benevolent would go directly against his point. I guess you could argue that R'hllor could be real and just not benevolent or something, but I don't think GRRM would do that, because it would really undercut his point by diminishing the parallels to religious wars in real life. That's my opinion though, and I'm certainly biased being an atheist myself.

That is kind of what I think, but again it is based on evidence and not assumptions. Primarily, the character arcs of Bran, Jon, Dany, and Arianne lead me to believe that 1) The war against the Others is a big setup by the Old Gods and the moral thing to do would be to make peace, and 2) Dornish law will be enacted in Westeros, which would be a super win for the feminist Dornish and also provide robust social welfare programs for the small folk, as illustrated in TWOIAF by the proposed reforms of the boy king Gaemon Palehair. I could always be wrong. And I don't think GRRM will actually come out publicly like on his blog and chastise his fan base for being tricked or anything like that. GRRM is obvisouly making a ton of different important points about morals and life throughout the story, but I do think the biggest overall point will be something like: See? A bunch of these POV characters tried to be good people, and it led to war and death and famine and evil things, because intentions are not enough. Results matter, and if society is going to thrive and minimize suffering, then we need to learn how to stop going to war and how to take care of each other.

I don't think it's really an anti-religious thing; it's an anti-religious extremism thing. GRRM shows arguably "pro-religious" scenes of people praying before battle and such. He's not a one-note writer, but you can't deny that we have already seen a fair amount of religious extremism in asoiaf, and the plot has clearly been set up around Dany (and probably Jon too) for followers of R'hllor to follow her into a religious war, believing her to be the savior of all mankind. Think about that for a second. No matter how many innocent people die, no matter how many soldiers are burned alive by her dragons, no matter what decisions she makes even if she goes crazy, Dany is infallible because she is AA reborn. And if she wants to commit an evil genocide against the Others, they will follow her into battle. And if the Dothraki believe Dany is the SWMTW, they will also follow her unquestioningly into battle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

12 hours ago, 40 Thousand Skeletons said:

<snip

Jojen specifically tells us they were COTF. Quote from ADWD Bran III:

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one. The singers of the forest had no books. No ink, no parchment, no written language. Instead they had the trees, and the weirwoods above all. When they died, they went into the wood, into leaf and limb and root, and the trees remembered. All their songs and spells, their histories and prayers, everything they knew about this world. Maesters will tell you that the weirwoods are sacred to the old gods. The singers believe they are the old gods. When singers die they become part of that godhood."

I think we both misunderstood each other. I don't think GRRM exclusively recycled old material to create asoiaf. But since he had been a writer for over 20 years before starting asoiaf, I think it makes sense to look at similarities in his past work to try to figure out what is going on in the story. I got the impression from your earlier comment that you were against the idea of GRRM recycling concepts (which some other people on the forum absolutely are), but as you clarified, you are not. :)

<snip

But you cannot argue that belief in something without proof is rational, because that is literally the opposite of being rational.

I don't have faith that Stannis will burn Shireen. I think that is the most likely outcome based on evidence. I didn't receive a vision from a man in the sky telling me it will happen. I thought about it and came to a rational conclusion. And if it doesn't happen, I won't be surprised to be wrong.

No, I'm not saying that. Yeah, I sort of gave that impression because I was trying to give a concise example to illustrate my point, but you are absolutely correct that R'hllor could be real and Mel could still be wrong about certain things. And yes I agree the sacrifice is tragic even if it works, but my point is that in addition to being tragic, it would also be justified if it is actually the will of a benevolent omnipotent deity like Mel thinks (and like almost all devout religious people think), and I believe GRRM is trying to make the basic point that evil actions taken in the name of god are never justified. R'hllor being real, powerful, and benevolent would go directly against his point. I guess you could argue that R'hllor could be real and just not benevolent or something, but I don't think GRRM would do that, because it would really undercut his point by diminishing the parallels to religious wars in real life. That's my opinion though, and I'm certainly biased being an atheist myself.

That is kind of what I think, but again it is based on evidence and not assumptions. Primarily, the character arcs of Bran, Jon, Dany, and Arianne lead me to believe that 1) The war against the Others is a big setup by the Old Gods and the moral thing to do would be to make peace, and 2) Dornish law will be enacted in Westeros, which would be a super win for the feminist Dornish and also provide robust social welfare programs for the small folk, as illustrated in TWOIAF by the proposed reforms of the boy king Gaemon Palehair. I could always be wrong. And I don't think GRRM will actually come out publicly like on his blog and chastise his fan base for being tricked or anything like that. GRRM is obvisouly making a ton of different important points about morals and life throughout the story, but I do think the biggest overall point will be something like: See? A bunch of these POV characters tried to be good people, and it led to war and death and famine and evil things, because intentions are not enough. Results matter, and if society is going to thrive and minimize suffering, then we need to learn how to stop going to war and how to take care of each other.

I don't think it's really an anti-religious thing; it's an anti-religious extremism thing. GRRM shows arguably "pro-religious" scenes of people praying before battle and such. He's not a one-note writer, but you can't deny that we have already seen a fair amount of religious extremism in asoiaf, and the plot has clearly been set up around Dany (and probably Jon too) for followers of R'hllor to follow her into a religious war, believing her to be the savior of all mankind. Think about that for a second. No matter how many innocent people die, no matter how many soldiers are burned alive by her dragons, no matter what decisions she makes even if she goes crazy, Dany is infallible because she is AA reborn. And if she wants to commit an evil genocide against the Others, they will follow her into battle. And if the Dothraki believe Dany is the SWMTW, they will also follow her unquestioningly into battle.

 Jojen tells us what the maesters say and what the singers believe. He does not tell us that it's factual, or even what he thinks about what the singers and maesters say.

Yeah. Easy enough to do. We're good. :)

See this is a major point. Who says there's no proof? What convinces person A is proof to person A, but does not necessarily convince person B and thus is not proof to person B. Religious faith is very individual and people who believe have different reasons for believing, just as people who don't believe have different reasons for not believing. And we as a species are always constantly learning new things. A hundred years ago we didn't know it was possible to keep diabetics alive. There was certainly no proof. But someone decided it was worth trying, had faith in the idea or in themselves, and found the way to do it. Faith isn't just about religion, and open minds are often good things to have. What appears to be irrational or impossible today, may be something every five year old knows in another century. The human mind is wired to go beyond what can be heard or seen, which is why we've ended up with so many wonderful things in our lives like pizza, and books, and chocolate milk. We don't know what wonderful (or terrible) discoveries future generations will make, what they will prove or disprove. For all our wonderful knowledge and advances, some day someone will look back on us and our time and think we were savages with no clue. 

And yet the same evidence leads me to a very different conclusion. See what I'm getting at here? We both looked rationally at the material, and both rationally came to opposite conclusions. Rational does not equal right. Rational has it's limits. It was not rational for the Wright Brothers to build a flying machine. It could be argued that Tolkien (without whom we wouldn't be here because the genre of fantasy as we know it wouldn't exist) was not being remotely rational when he wrote "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit." What was rational about that? What the heck was a hobbit? Of course we know the answer now, but anyone looking at that scribbled note would have wondered if it were time for the professor to take a holiday. It was absolutely not ration for Dany to walk into a funeral pyre expecting to come out unharmed. What is needed is balance between rational and irrational, not one side being eliminated. I think that is one of the major points of the series...balance.

I agree with that, but I don't think he's trying to hit anyone over the head with it. C.S. Lewis did the same thing in The Last Battle, but more overtly and with a definite pro-religion slant. It's a popular sentiment among writers who tackle the whole good vs evil conflict, probably because it's a good one.

I don't think being an atheist makes you biased. Some people are better at being objective than others, but it doesn't necessarily matter what they believe. It's just a quirk of humanity that we all have different ways of thinking and looking at things. 

Okay, I get Bran, Jon, and Dany, but what does Arianne have to do with a giant religious war? She doesn't seem to care about religion of any kind. She's pretty much just into what's best for herself. Or did you throw her in for the Dornish law bit?

I don't see Dornish law automatically equaling better social welfare programs for the smallfolk. The Dornish smallfolk don't seem to be demonstrably better off than any other smallfolk in Westeros despite having had equal-er rights for hundreds of years.

Well you may be right, but even if you are I don't think it will be an obvious "this is the moral of the story" thing. Like I said before he wants us to ask the questions, but he's not going to give us the answers. Those who are given answers never learn to seek for them and find them for themselves. He's also lived long enough to know that the answers, if they exist, are not going to be easy ones. I think he's shown that very well in the series thus far. 

Yes, because there's been a fair amount in history and he likes his stories to seem realistic--though he's actually gone pretty easy on the gore in that respect. 

Eh, yes and no. Dany herself doesn't follow R'hllor and has been warned by Quaithe not to trust the Dark Flame aka Moqorro. And we have plenty of characters who either don't know about or don't believe in the prophecies. Heck we barely know the prophecies. We do know the Others are coming, and that they kill people and then wight the bodies to use as disposable infantry. That makes them a very real threat and that threat must be dealt with. But it's actually not the Others but whatever is behind them that's the problem. When Sam stabbed Puddles GRRM said that it "broke the spell that was holding him together" which means he's not a physical being, but more like just animated ice. Something or someone created the Others and is sending them to wipe out humanity. Humanity is not likely to take that lying down.

Nobody ever said AAR was infallible. He or she is supposed to save the world, but nobody said that the necessary hero is going to be Baelor the Blessed reborn, or even anyone we like. It could be Ramsay Bolton even.

Nobody said anything about genocide against the Others either. You're assuming that's what will happen or perhaps what will be necessary to save mankind. It may or may not be. Clearly the Others were not wiped out last time around. By the way, genocide is not the right term given that the Others are magical stooges rather than say a human ethnic group somebody just doesn't like. The Others are attacking, and the people have a right to defend themselves. 

This has turned into a pretty awesome conversation. :D 

I wanted to mention something about the R'hllorists. We've only "met" four of them. We've got Mel, Moqorro, Benerro, and Thoros. M&M burn people, but we have no knowledge of Benerro doing so, and Thoros doesn't seem to have done it. But only Thoros has managed to bring someone back from the dead...accidentally at first, and repeatedly after that. Benerro is firmly on Team Dany but hasn't done anything more than warn people about the coming Long Night and put on a light show. If we were to assume that R'hllor was in fact real, which of the four should we consider to be true followers of the Red God? Is it even possible for us to know? Rhetorical really. I thought it was an interesting quandary. I thought about starting a thread but I'm not sure we know enough from the text to justify a whole thread.

And either way, what's the deal with Thoros? Seriously, thus far the most unreligious R'hllorist in the series is the only one to resurrect anyone. It's like Sam drawing first blood against the Others. Is this just GRRM's sense of humor?

Edited by Lady Blizzardborn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

On 14/03/2017 at 8:46 PM, The Fattest Leech said:

when George was asked about it later at one of the parties he scoffed - "You can't have gods as characters! That just doesn't work." (paraphrased).

Just want to point our that this statement is basically wrong. Not that GRRM hasn't said it, but to me it's about as ridiculous as his pathological need to see details about the taxation laws, trade agreements and spelling reforms during Aragorn's reign ("because otherwise, ruled good and wise for many years, what does that even mean?")

I mean: The Narnia Books (though well it's technically furry Jesus, not furry God) and the Space Trilogy also by Lewis (though technically angels there, not gods, but they do take the shape of the Greek Gods), American Gods, more Discworld Novels than you can shake a stick at, works based on pagan legends...also pretty sure that some gods creep up somewhere int he Elric of Melnibone novels (iirc). Do all those stories not exist according to GRRM? Or are they doing it "wrong"? Who is he to decide that for everyone and absolute?

I would also list Tolkien's works, thing is God only shows up in one little part of the Silmarillion and there is no form of organized religion in the LoTR or the Hobbit itself.  

I will say that I have the feeling that GRRM doesn't really understand faith. He understands the vestiges of organized religion and how it was and is used in societies, but not faith. Two very different things, faith and religion. And all the religions he has made up for Planetos seem very hollow, they have all the trimmings but little/no "meat".

If we were to compare the "faith and religion" situation in Planetos and Middle Earth I'd say Planetos has religion without faith (which fits the story) Middle Earth has faith without religion (which fits the story) well...and Narnia has faith and religion (which fits the furry Jesus fanfiction the story, because its basically allegory and philosophical discussion disguised as a story).

Of course I stand by the statement that I have never had the feeling that the story of ASoIaF itself tries to push any sort of religious philosophy, not any more or any less than with Tolkien. I have the impression he leaves it up to the reader how much they want/need/wish to buy into the (non-) existence of Gods in ASoIaF.

The only condition I can accept and even agree with such a statement like that is if we put forward the idea that God/a God(dess)/the Powers that Be would be so much beyond a human and thus so alien that it would be impossible to have them as characters in a story. That is correct imho, it would be impossible to do that justice. That's basically why my DnD settings never have gods. 

Edited by Orphalesion

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Orphalesion said:

Just want to point our that this statement is basically wrong. Not that GRRM hasn't said it, but to me it's about as ridiculous as his pathological need to see details about the taxation laws, trade agreements and spelling reforms during Aragorn's reign ("because otherwise, ruled good and wise for many years, what does that even mean?")

I mean: The Narnia Books (though well it's technically furry Jesus, not furry God) and the Space Trilogy also by Lewis (though technically angels there, not gods, but they do take the shape of the Greek Gods), American Gods, more Discworld Novels than you can shake a stick at, works based on pagan legends...also pretty sure that some gods creep up somewhere int he Elric of Melnibone novels (iirc). Do all those stories not exist according to GRRM? Or are they doing it "wrong"? Who is he to decide that for everyone and absolute?

I would also list Tolkien's works, thing is God only shows up in one little part of the Silmarillion and there is no form of organized religion in the LoTR or the Hobbit itself.  

I will say that I have the feeling that GRRM doesn't really understand faith. He understands the vestiges of organized religion and how it was and is used in societies, but not faith. Two very different things, faith and religion. And all the religions he has made up for Planetos seem very hollow, they have all the trimmings but little/no "meat".

If we were to compare the "faith and religion" situation in Planetos and Middle Earth I'd say Planetos has religion without faith (which fits the story) Middle Earth has faith without religion (which fits the story) well...and Narnia has faith and religion (which fits the furry Jesus fanfiction the story, because its basically allegory and philosophical discussion disguised as a story).

Of course I stand by the statement that I have never had the feeling that the story of ASoIaF itself tries to push any sort of religious philosophy, not any more or any less than with Tolkien. I have the impression he leaves it up to the reader how much they want/need/wish to buy into the (non-) existence of Gods in ASoIaF.

The only condition I can accept and even agree with such a statement like that is if we put forward the idea that God/a God(dess)/the Powers that Be would be so much beyond a human and thus so alien that it would be impossible to have them as characters in a story. That is correct imho, it would be impossible to do that justice. That's basically why my DnD settings never have gods. 

Those aren't my words, just the words of the tricksy author. 

I actually think he has more religion and gods than he admits to n

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 18/03/2017 at 4:31 AM, The Fattest Leech said:

Those aren't my words, just the words of the tricksy author. 

I actually think he has more religion and gods than he admits to n

Oh no I was talking about the author, not you.

And well, he also has more Elves than he admits to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Orphalesion said:

Oh no I was talking about the author, not you.

And well, he also has more Elves than he admits to.

Hahaha. I definitely agree with that one :lol: NO DOUBT!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

THERE IS NO GOD BUT GOD

There is plenty of religions , but there isn't the appearance of one god either good or bad .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/17/2017 at 6:13 PM, Lady Blizzardborn said:

Jojen tells us what the maesters say and what the singers believe. He does not tell us that it's factual, or even what he thinks about what the singers and maesters say.

I am assuming that Jojen's explanation of the singers' beliefs is the most accurate we have heard. The wording makes it sound like Jojen is more knowledgeable on the subject than the maesters. So according to the best source we have, the trees literally are the Old Gods, and singers join the godhood over time.

On 3/17/2017 at 6:13 PM, Lady Blizzardborn said:

See this is a major point. Who says there's no proof? What convinces person A is proof to person A, but does not necessarily convince person B and thus is not proof to person B. Religious faith is very individual and people who believe have different reasons for believing, just as people who don't believe have different reasons for not believing. And we as a species are always constantly learning new things. A hundred years ago we didn't know it was possible to keep diabetics alive. There was certainly no proof. But someone decided it was worth trying, had faith in the idea or in themselves, and found the way to do it. Faith isn't just about religion, and open minds are often good things to have. What appears to be irrational or impossible today, may be something every five year old knows in another century. The human mind is wired to go beyond what can be heard or seen, which is why we've ended up with so many wonderful things in our lives like pizza, and books, and chocolate milk. We don't know what wonderful (or terrible) discoveries future generations will make, what they will prove or disprove. For all our wonderful knowledge and advances, some day someone will look back on us and our time and think we were savages with no clue. 

And yet the same evidence leads me to a very different conclusion. See what I'm getting at here? We both looked rationally at the material, and both rationally came to opposite conclusions. Rational does not equal right. Rational has it's limits. It was not rational for the Wright Brothers to build a flying machine. It could be argued that Tolkien (without whom we wouldn't be here because the genre of fantasy as we know it wouldn't exist) was not being remotely rational when he wrote "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit." What was rational about that? What the heck was a hobbit? Of course we know the answer now, but anyone looking at that scribbled note would have wondered if it were time for the professor to take a holiday. It was absolutely not ration for Dany to walk into a funeral pyre expecting to come out unharmed. What is needed is balance between rational and irrational, not one side being eliminated. I think that is one of the major points of the series...balance.

First off, I used the word proof, but guess more accurately you could say "evidence". Acting on the basis of evidence is rational. You are conflating having an open mind with having faith. Those are 2 totally different things. Obviously we should conduct scientific experiments and discover new things, no faith required. It was not rational of the Wright Brothers to build a flying machine? I don't think you are using the word "rational" correctly. They applied their knowledge of physics and engineering to create an amazing machine. That's rational. Was Tolkien being rational? Yeah, he was an author writing a book. Was Dany being rational walking into a fire? No, that was faith, and it was a pretty fucking crazy thing to do, even if it worked. Balance is a point of the series, but not balance between rational and irrational. That's an absurd proposition. We would be best off with a balance of 100% rational and 0% irrational.

On 3/17/2017 at 6:13 PM, Lady Blizzardborn said:

Okay, I get Bran, Jon, and Dany, but what does Arianne have to do with a giant religious war? She doesn't seem to care about religion of any kind. She's pretty much just into what's best for herself. Or did you throw her in for the Dornish law bit?

I don't see Dornish law automatically equaling better social welfare programs for the smallfolk. The Dornish smallfolk don't seem to be demonstrably better off than any other smallfolk in Westeros despite having had equal-er rights for hundreds of years.

Well you may be right, but even if you are I don't think it will be an obvious "this is the moral of the story" thing. Like I said before he wants us to ask the questions, but he's not going to give us the answers. Those who are given answers never learn to seek for them and find them for themselves. He's also lived long enough to know that the answers, if they exist, are not going to be easy ones. I think he's shown that very well in the series thus far. 

Yes, because there's been a fair amount in history and he likes his stories to seem realistic--though he's actually gone pretty easy on the gore in that respect. 

Eh, yes and no. Dany herself doesn't follow R'hllor and has been warned by Quaithe not to trust the Dark Flame aka Moqorro. And we have plenty of characters who either don't know about or don't believe in the prophecies. Heck we barely know the prophecies. We do know the Others are coming, and that they kill people and then wight the bodies to use as disposable infantry. That makes them a very real threat and that threat must be dealt with. But it's actually not the Others but whatever is behind them that's the problem. When Sam stabbed Puddles GRRM said that it "broke the spell that was holding him together" which means he's not a physical being, but more like just animated ice. Something or someone created the Others and is sending them to wipe out humanity. Humanity is not likely to take that lying down.

Nobody ever said AAR was infallible. He or she is supposed to save the world, but nobody said that the necessary hero is going to be Baelor the Blessed reborn, or even anyone we like. It could be Ramsay Bolton even.

Nobody said anything about genocide against the Others either. You're assuming that's what will happen or perhaps what will be necessary to save mankind. It may or may not be. Clearly the Others were not wiped out last time around. By the way, genocide is not the right term given that the Others are magical stooges rather than say a human ethnic group somebody just doesn't like. The Others are attacking, and the people have a right to defend themselves. 

This has turned into a pretty awesome conversation. :D 

I wanted to mention something about the R'hllorists. We've only "met" four of them. We've got Mel, Moqorro, Benerro, and Thoros. M&M burn people, but we have no knowledge of Benerro doing so, and Thoros doesn't seem to have done it. But only Thoros has managed to bring someone back from the dead...accidentally at first, and repeatedly after that. Benerro is firmly on Team Dany but hasn't done anything more than warn people about the coming Long Night and put on a light show. If we were to assume that R'hllor was in fact real, which of the four should we consider to be true followers of the Red God? Is it even possible for us to know? Rhetorical really. I thought it was an interesting quandary. I thought about starting a thread but I'm not sure we know enough from the text to justify a whole thread.

And either way, what's the deal with Thoros? Seriously, thus far the most unreligious R'hllorist in the series is the only one to resurrect anyone. It's like Sam drawing first blood against the Others. Is this just GRRM's sense of humor?

Yes I threw her in for the Dornish law bit. I see Dornish law including better social welfare programs specifically from this quote:

An example of the differing Dornish laws and attitudes due to the influence of the Rhoynar may be found, curiously, in the last days of the Dance of the Dragons. From Archmaester Gyldayn's history concerning Gaemon Palehair's brief reign.

One decree after another came down from the House of Kisses, where the child king had his seat, each more outrageous than the last. Gaemon decreed that girls should henceforth be equal with boys in matter of inheritance, that the poor be given bread and beer in times of famine, and that men who had lost limbs in war must afterward be fed and housed by whichever lord they had been fighting for when the loss took place. Gaemon decreed that husbands who beat their wives should themselves be beaten, irrespective of what the wives had done to warrant such chastisement. These edicts were almost certainly the work of a Dornish whore named Sylvenna Sand, reputedly the paramour of the king's mother Essie, if Mushroom is to be believed.

I agree it won't be an obvious "this is the moral of the story" thing.

Nobody said AAR would be infallible, but it's sort of implied when you are the savior of all mankind.

Again, no one explicitly said, "we should try to kill all the Others, those super scary demons from our childhood horror stories", but I think it's pretty obvious that's where the story is headed. Maybe I'm wrong. Are the Others attacking? So far we have seen them kill Waymar Royce. And they have probably killed a fair amount of wildlings, and we don't know their motivation. That's not as bad than some of the things our human characters have been done, like Tywin drowning hundreds of innocent people or Ramsay hunting women for instance. I think calling for all-out war against them without trying to talk to them first would be super premature. And given that the Others look similar to humans, I'm going to say killing all of them would be genocide unless we are shown they lack consciousness or something.

Well, I don't think it's really important which ones are "true" followers of the Red God. What's important is that Benerro and Moqorro may convince people in Essos that Dany is AAR and tell everyone to follow her, most significantly the slave population of Volantis. And Mel and Thoros may do the same thing in Westeros with Jon. Mel and the BwB have been priming Westeros for AAR by spreading the religion.

What's the deal with Thoros? Well, I think it's just part of a big setup by the Old Gods to get everyone to go to war, and they have actually been the ones resurrecting Beric/Cat. We already know that Coldhands exists, and their resurrections seem most similar to his. Coldhands is dead, and Beric and LS are also clearly dead. Like, if LS had a beating heart blood would just spurt out her neck. And Beric wouldn't be able to breathe after having a lance driven through his lung, never mind his other injuries.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/14/2017 at 3:02 PM, Dorian Martell's son said:

gods, except for the old gods of the weirwoods, which are not traditional gods,  exist in the story in the same way they exist in the real world. In people's fantasy and imagination 

I see this point all the time, and I just don't understand it. It seems like we're comparing the Old Gods to the ominopotent, omniprescient, timeless deity of the Abrahamic faiths - but that's not how gods have worked for a lot of different people. Gods like Zeus and demigods like Heracles are not all-powerful or all-knowing - ultimately, they're just (mostly) immortal, pluripotent shapechanging sorcerers. That doesn't make them not gods - by definition, no gods in a pantheon or animist faith will be on the same plane as the deity of a monotheistic religion in terms of theoretical powers. In fact, the Old Gods are in a sense the only gods we know actually exist - as an pseudo-immortal, claivoyant skinchanging hive mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, velo-knight said:

I see this point all the time, and I just don't understand it.

That's ok 

1 hour ago, velo-knight said:

 It seems like we're comparing the Old Gods to the ominopotent, omniprescient, timeless deity of the Abrahamic faiths - but that's not how gods have worked for a lot of different people. Gods like Zeus and demigods like Heracles are not all-powerful or all-knowing - ultimately, they're just (mostly) immortal, pluripotent shapechanging sorcerers. That doesn't make them not gods - by definition, no gods in a pantheon or animist faith will be on the same plane as the deity of a monotheistic religion in terms of theoretical powers.

There is magic in planetos, that is seen by the reader. People seem to wield magic in the name of gods, but Rhillor, the drowned god, the storm god, the gods of the three sisters, all the aspects of the 7 etc. will never be seen by the reader. the old gods are not like any traditional human god, polytheistic or otherwise. Although we see manifestations of the old gods, we do not meet "them" either, although we are given insight into their process and "existence."  All the rest are imaginary 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, 40 Thousand Skeletons said:

I am assuming that Jojen's explanation of the singers' beliefs is the most accurate we have heard. The wording makes it sound like Jojen is more knowledgeable on the subject than the maesters. So according to the best source we have, the trees literally are the Old Gods, and singers join the godhood over time.

First off, I used the word proof, but guess more accurately you could say "evidence". Acting on the basis of evidence is rational. You are conflating having an open mind with having faith. Those are 2 totally different things. Obviously we should conduct scientific experiments and discover new things, no faith required. It was not rational of the Wright Brothers to build a flying machine? I don't think you are using the word "rational" correctly. They applied their knowledge of physics and engineering to create an amazing machine. That's rational. Was Tolkien being rational? Yeah, he was an author writing a book. Was Dany being rational walking into a fire? No, that was faith, and it was a pretty fucking crazy thing to do, even if it worked. Balance is a point of the series, but not balance between rational and irrational. That's an absurd proposition. We would be best off with a balance of 100% rational and 0% irrational.

Yes I threw her in for the Dornish law bit. I see Dornish law including better social welfare programs specifically from this quote:

An example of the differing Dornish laws and attitudes due to the influence of the Rhoynar may be found, curiously, in the last days of the Dance of the Dragons. From Archmaester Gyldayn's history concerning Gaemon Palehair's brief reign.

One decree after another came down from the House of Kisses, where the child king had his seat, each more outrageous than the last. Gaemon decreed that girls should henceforth be equal with boys in matter of inheritance, that the poor be given bread and beer in times of famine, and that men who had lost limbs in war must afterward be fed and housed by whichever lord they had been fighting for when the loss took place. Gaemon decreed that husbands who beat their wives should themselves be beaten, irrespective of what the wives had done to warrant such chastisement. These edicts were almost certainly the work of a Dornish whore named Sylvenna Sand, reputedly the paramour of the king's mother Essie, if Mushroom is to be believed.

I agree it won't be an obvious "this is the moral of the story" thing.

Nobody said AAR would be infallible, but it's sort of implied when you are the savior of all mankind.

Again, no one explicitly said, "we should try to kill all the Others, those super scary demons from our childhood horror stories", but I think it's pretty obvious that's where the story is headed. Maybe I'm wrong. Are the Others attacking? So far we have seen them kill Waymar Royce. And they have probably killed a fair amount of wildlings, and we don't know their motivation. That's not as bad than some of the things our human characters have been done, like Tywin drowning hundreds of innocent people or Ramsay hunting women for instance. I think calling for all-out war against them without trying to talk to them first would be super premature. And given that the Others look similar to humans, I'm going to say killing all of them would be genocide unless we are shown they lack consciousness or something.

Well, I don't think it's really important which ones are "true" followers of the Red God. What's important is that Benerro and Moqorro may convince people in Essos that Dany is AAR and tell everyone to follow her, most significantly the slave population of Volantis. And Mel and Thoros may do the same thing in Westeros with Jon. Mel and the BwB have been priming Westeros for AAR by spreading the religion.

What's the deal with Thoros? Well, I think it's just part of a big setup by the Old Gods to get everyone to go to war, and they have actually been the ones resurrecting Beric/Cat. We already know that Coldhands exists, and their resurrections seem most similar to his. Coldhands is dead, and Beric and LS are also clearly dead. Like, if LS had a beating heart blood would just spurt out her neck. And Beric wouldn't be able to breathe after having a lance driven through his lung, never mind his other injuries.

Me too. But that doesn't mean it's 100% accurate. We just don't know yet.

Yes but they started with the idea. The idea on it's own was not rational. Only by adding the science to it did it become rational and feasible.

Actually, no. He wasn't. He had a thought and he wrote it down. He didn't know he was going to write a book based on that. The book came later. 

100% and 0% is not balance. That's the exact opposite of balance.

I'd hold out more hope for Dornish law meaning better social programs if that hadn't been the work of a child king and discarded as such. But I suppose someone might go back to it and say "hey that kid was ahead of his time." Sam would be a good person to stumble across Gaemon Palehair's ideas at the Citadel.

Eh. I can see how most people would think so. My view is that it's impossible for any human being to be infallible. And it's also possible for a rotten person to do a good thing, even for many people, and still not be a good person. Thus my fear of some of our baddies becoming heroes in the fight against the Others.

I don't really see why they would have killed Royce or any Wildlings, or sent masses of wight infantry against the Watch at the Fist of the First Men if they aren't attacking. Then there are the wights who tried to kill Mormont, who presumably the Others have never met and have no grudge against. Sounds like they're after a war to me. 

And that makes sense. Except there may be no way to talk to them. Unless the Children can speak Other we may have an insurmountable language barrier. And I agree about Tywin and Ramsay.

They don't look all that similar to humans really. I do see your point about the unfairness of just taking them out with no attempt at diplomacy. It's actually one of my pet theories that the last war with the Others ended with a treaty of some kind, so it would be nice to see that happen again, or find out that the ones causing all the trouble are a rogue group and the regular Others will team up with the humans to stop the bad Others.

I don't think one person will emerge as the overall hero though. I think all of the characters are going to have to work together to face the threat and find a way to keep the human population from being destroyed. GRRM has said that the readers should pay less attention to the prophecies and more to Old Nan's stories. Maybe I'm being optimistic in my thoughts, but I take that to mean that none of that savior of mankind stuff is really going to be all that important to the story overall.

Okay, so you're thinking the hivemind Old Gods are setting up this massive war. What would be their goal in doing that? 

Coldhands is clearly a type of undead, but Beric and LS are a different kind. Coldhands has black extremities, while Beric and unCat do not. I'm not sure what Coldhands is exactly but he's not an Other-created wight. I've been calling him a Wight Watcher. ;)  Beric and LS however I think are the revenants mentioned by Ser Bonifer Hasty. Now the difference between CH and B/LS could be location, or it could be how long they were dead prior, but I also think Mel is a revenant and she's pretty obviously got a fire thing going as opposed to CH's ice. It looks like two different kinds of magic from where I'm setting.

You might enjoy hiemal's thread about the different kinds of magic. It's possible that the magic was all one kind once and it got split and that's what messed things up and created dragons, and Others, and funky seasons. GRRM did say the seasons have a magical cause and that we'd learn what it was. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

Me too. But that doesn't mean it's 100% accurate. We just don't know yet.

Yes but they started with the idea. The idea on it's own was not rational. Only by adding the science to it did it become rational and feasible.

Actually, no. He wasn't. He had a thought and he wrote it down. He didn't know he was going to write a book based on that. The book came later. 

100% and 0% is not balance. That's the exact opposite of balance.

I'd hold out more hope for Dornish law meaning better social programs if that hadn't been the work of a child king and discarded as such. But I suppose someone might go back to it and say "hey that kid was ahead of his time." Sam would be a good person to stumble across Gaemon Palehair's ideas at the Citadel.

Eh. I can see how most people would think so. My view is that it's impossible for any human being to be infallible. And it's also possible for a rotten person to do a good thing, even for many people, and still not be a good person. Thus my fear of some of our baddies becoming heroes in the fight against the Others.

I don't really see why they would have killed Royce or any Wildlings, or sent masses of wight infantry against the Watch at the Fist of the First Men if they aren't attacking. Then there are the wights who tried to kill Mormont, who presumably the Others have never met and have no grudge against. Sounds like they're after a war to me. 

And that makes sense. Except there may be no way to talk to them. Unless the Children can speak Other we may have an insurmountable language barrier. And I agree about Tywin and Ramsay.

They don't look all that similar to humans really. I do see your point about the unfairness of just taking them out with no attempt at diplomacy. It's actually one of my pet theories that the last war with the Others ended with a treaty of some kind, so it would be nice to see that happen again, or find out that the ones causing all the trouble are a rogue group and the regular Others will team up with the humans to stop the bad Others.

I don't think one person will emerge as the overall hero though. I think all of the characters are going to have to work together to face the threat and find a way to keep the human population from being destroyed. GRRM has said that the readers should pay less attention to the prophecies and more to Old Nan's stories. Maybe I'm being optimistic in my thoughts, but I take that to mean that none of that savior of mankind stuff is really going to be all that important to the story overall.

Okay, so you're thinking the hivemind Old Gods are setting up this massive war. What would be their goal in doing that? 

Coldhands is clearly a type of undead, but Beric and LS are a different kind. Coldhands has black extremities, while Beric and unCat do not. I'm not sure what Coldhands is exactly but he's not an Other-created wight. I've been calling him a Wight Watcher. ;)  Beric and LS however I think are the revenants mentioned by Ser Bonifer Hasty. Now the difference between CH and B/LS could be location, or it could be how long they were dead prior, but I also think Mel is a revenant and she's pretty obviously got a fire thing going as opposed to CH's ice. It looks like two different kinds of magic from where I'm setting.

You might enjoy hiemal's thread about the different kinds of magic. It's possible that the magic was all one kind once and it got split and that's what messed things up and created dragons, and Others, and funky seasons. GRRM did say the seasons have a magical cause and that we'd learn what it was. 

I don't think Jojen's explanation is actually 100% accurate, but I think it makes it clear that the "Old Gods" physically exist within the weirnet somehow and have real but finite power. They are not some sort of tradition all-powerful deity.

Rational just means logical. Attempting to fly is logical. It is super beneficial technology. Faith is not logical. It is, by definition, a belief in something not based on logic or evidence. Any exploration of science on the other hand, has the potential to benefit people, so virtually all scientific endeavor is rational.

Personally, I think the wights who tried to kill Mormont were sent by the Old Gods, not by the Others. Specifically to spark a war.

The Others are extremely similar to humans. They have arms and legs and eyes and mouths and presumably noses. They wear armor and fight with swords. They speak. I think the most likely explanation for their existence is that they are genetically mutated humans.

I think the goal of the Old Gods is the 1) survival of the weirnet and 2) the domination of mankind.

I think CH and LS and Beric look like pretty similar "types of magic". I'm betting the Old Gods were responsible for all 3. And if Jon dies and is brought back to life, I'm betting they will be responsible for that too.

I don't believe that "magic" in a traditional fantasy sense exists in asoiaf. I think everything is basically limited to the sci-fi rules/mechanics GRRM has established in his Thousand Worlds Universe. Everything is just telepathy and telekinesis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, 40 Thousand Skeletons said:

I don't think Jojen's explanation is actually 100% accurate, but I think it makes it clear that the "Old Gods" physically exist within the weirnet somehow and have real but finite power. They are not some sort of tradition all-powerful deity.

Rational just means logical. Attempting to fly is logical. It is super beneficial technology. Faith is not logical. It is, by definition, a belief in something not based on logic or evidence. Any exploration of science on the other hand, has the potential to benefit people, so virtually all scientific endeavor is rational.

Personally, I think the wights who tried to kill Mormont were sent by the Old Gods, not by the Others. Specifically to spark a war.

The Others are extremely similar to humans. They have arms and legs and eyes and mouths and presumably noses. They wear armor and fight with swords. They speak. I think the most likely explanation for their existence is that they are genetically mutated humans.

I think the goal of the Old Gods is the 1) survival of the weirnet and 2) the domination of mankind.

I think CH and LS and Beric look like pretty similar "types of magic". I'm betting the Old Gods were responsible for all 3. And if Jon dies and is brought back to life, I'm betting they will be responsible for that too.

I don't believe that "magic" in a traditional fantasy sense exists in asoiaf. I think everything is basically limited to the sci-fi rules/mechanics GRRM has established in his Thousand Worlds Universe. Everything is just telepathy and telekinesis.

It is now but it wasn't at the time the idea was first suggested. Human beings do not have wings and our bodies are not very aerodynamic. Flight was not a logical step.

Some faith is based on evidence. It's just not evidence that everyone would agree constitutes evidence. 

I have to disagree with any exploration of science having the potential to benefit people. We've seen in human history explorations in science entirely designed in order to harm people not benefit them. Science, like anything else, including religious belief, depends on the people who practice it. 

Skunks have arms, legs, eyes, mouths, and noses. That doesn't make them similar to humans...well to some humans maybe. ;)  The Others do not wear armor like humans do. They were magical armor. They use magical ice blades. And GRRM's words about them make them sound decidedly not human, not only his calling them inhuman but his calling them essentially an ice version of the sidhe.

I can see preservation of the weirnet. But how do they dominate mankind by bringing in ice zombies and starting a war? 

Perhaps there is an advantage then to not having read his Thousand Worlds Universe. I have no pre-conceived notions about what he will or won't do except for the trope-busting I've heard so much about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.