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The Sleeper

There is no Lightbringer

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Or rather, there is no particular sword that is the prophesied Lightbringer, while there may be the historical Lightbringer, which would be none other than Dawn.

Bear with me as we go into obsidian, or as is otherwise known in the series as dragonglass, or frozen fire. Martin has his obsidian have some very interesting properties. In Clash there is a scene in Qarth where a firemage is putting on a show for the crowd. In the audience Dany and Quaithe have a sort conversation about the resurgence of magic, during which Quaithe mentions that that particular firemage could not wake fire from obsidian before the birth of the dragons. We have seen an Other melting into a puddle after being stabbed with an obsidian dagger. There are also the glass candles, which are apparently portable clairvoyance devices, that their use reminds of the way the red priests look into the flames. Then we have the fantasy names for it. Dragonglass and frozen fire sounds like something someone would name that was capable of creating its own fire. But magic is required to awaken it.

Then we have the report Sam found in Night's Watch archives about a blade of dragonsteel. If we draw a parallel between dragonglass and dragonsteel, then the latter is steel that create its own fire. The thing that Dawn and obsidian have in common is that they were both formed in very intense heat, beyond human means to recreate.

We have also seen swords set ablaze. In Arya's chapters in Storm both Beric and Thoros fight with burning swords. Beric sets his own fire with his blood and Thoros probably performs some sort of spell, as he wouldn't have access to wildfire in the midst of the Riverlands. We can assume that the effect is not permanent nor does regural steel fare well under this treatment.

There is, however another material that is both manufactured under extreme heat and is said to be near indestructible. That would be Valyrian steel. Reputed to be made with dragonfire and blood magic, it sounds like the thing Beric or Thoros would need. If Valyrian does indeed share properties with obsidian and Dawn then what is needed is a Valyrian steel blade and firemagic for making a Lightbringer. And there are two characters with burnt hands attended by red priests.

Given that the world book heavily implies that human sacrifice is needed to make Valyrian steel, then the tale of Nissa Nissa, kind of sounds like a recipe for making it. The two first swords shattered when tempered. It took blood to bind the fire into the steel.

Some other things mentioned in the books makes me think that Valyrian steel blades might be kind of alive. Like Tobho Mott, saying that old swords have memory, or how Brienne was faster than she had ever been with Oathkeeper. Particulary, considering that bloodmagic was used to make them.

 

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Hey, i actually like that! Always thought about making a thread about this topic myself. :P

I also believe that "Lightbringer" is more of the legend that comes from weapons that kill the White Walker, and in the re-tellings of stories it got glorified into this one weapon Lightbringer. If we look of how Sam killed the WW " When he opened his eyes the Other's armor was running down its legs in rivulets as pale blue blood hissed and steamed around the black dragonglass dagger in its throat. It reached down with two bone-white hands to pull out the knife, but where its fingers touched the obsidian they smoked. " I can see the Image of a burning sword when fighting an other... So maybe the real "burning" of the sword isn't as literal as we think.

However your Idea of Burned Hands with Red Priests and Fire binding onto a sword is interesting! As I always thought it strange that we get so many burned hands (Jon, Victarion) and lost hands ("Victarion",Jamie) ect. that there may be more to it then to just take the fighting power from them but some actual Plot.

 

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You'd still need an actual sword to act like obsidian, or maybe not, after a couple of thousand years of legends, obsidian daggers could have turned into a sword of "dragonsteel".

On the other hand, there have been actual burning swords (Beric and Thoros), obsidian candles burning without being consumed, Valyrian steel and fire magic, so I think the ingredients are there.

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1 hour ago, The Sleeper said:

You'd still need an actual sword to act like obsidian, or maybe not, after a couple of thousand years of legends, obsidian daggers could have turned into a sword of "dragonsteel".

Oh yeah, i didnt ment Obsidian daggers only, but Valirian Steel / Dragonsteel swords aswell, more like all weapons that can possible kill WW.

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I definitely think obsidian will be part of the Lightbringer solution, although the person who carries the obsidian will be as important as the blade itself. Our first clue:

Gared's hood shadowed his face, but Will could see the hard glitter in his eyes as he stared at the knight. For a moment he was afraid the older man would go for his sword. It was a short, ugly thing, its grip discolored by sweat, its edge nicked from hard use, but Will would not have given an iron bob for the lordling's life if Gared pulled it from its scabbard. (AGoT, prologue)

Gared's ugly sword has a descendant in the blade made by fellow-deserter Jon Snow:

Jon slid his new dagger from its sheath and studied the flames as they played against the shiny black glass. He had fashioned the wooden hilt himself, and wound hempen twine around it to make a grip. Ugly, but it served. Dolorous Edd opined that glass knives were about as useful as nipples on a knight's breastplate, but Jon was not so certain. The dragonglass blade was sharper than steel, albeit far more brittle. (ACoK, Jon V)

So many of the swords and daggers in the books have elaborate hilts that express something about the family or wealth of the bearer. I believe these are the only two that have handmade grips and that are described as ugly. I suspect that it's also significant that Jon is his own "smith". It would not surprise me at all if Jon's obsidian dagger ends up being Lightbringer.

This was what Jon saw when he first laid eyes on the obsidian cache:

A length of frayed rope bound the bundle together. Jon unsheathed his dagger and cut it, groped for the edges of the cloth, and pulled. The bundle turned, and its contents spilled out onto the ground, glittering dark and bright. He saw a dozen knives, leaf-shaped spearheads, numerous arrowheads. Jon picked up a dagger blade, featherlight and shiny black, hiltless. Torchlight ran along its edge, a thin orange line that spoke of razor sharpness. Dragonglass. What the maesters call obsidian. Had Ghost uncovered some ancient cache of the children of the forest, buried here for thousands of years? The Fist of the First Men was an old place, only . . . (ACoK, Jon IV)

I realize other blades are described as catching or reflecting the light so maybe I'm reading too much into this. It just seems like something GRRM would do, getting us to think in terms of forging a steel blade and then to give us a stone or glass blade instead. There are other details in the obsidian scene that tell me the cache is very significant - it is compared to finding the direwolf pups and to Drogo's funeral pyre where the dragons are hatched. Also significant are the dagger / Gared wordplay and the turning of the bundle (= turncloak) as Jon unearths it.

I guess we'll have to wait and see.

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2 hours ago, The Sleeper said:

while there may be the historical Lightbringer, which would be none other than Dawn.

Dawn interests me, because the name is so... relevant. The dawn brings light. Dawn (the sword) is described as seeming to shine. And we have the Long Night and the War for the Dawn.

None of this convinces me that Dawn is that important, though. There are lots of reasons to think it might be, but the more reasons to think it's important, the more I think it's too obvious. Even in-universe, the relevance of the name is so obvious that you'd assume characters had considered the sword and dismissed it as unimportant. It would be like finding living dragons in a room in Dragonstone marked "Here be dragons" that no one thought to check for 150 years or so.

But here's the key part: Stannis's "Lightbringer" seems to be a fake, because it only brings light, not heat. We've never heard that Dawn produces any heat, and the dawn (or just after) is actually the coldest part of the day. The dawn doesn't bring heat, it just promises it later.

So... maybe Lightbringer comes from Dawn somehow? Maybe it has to be reforged. I'm not that convinced.

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19 minutes ago, Ser Petyr Parker said:

Dawn interests me, because the name is so... relevant. The dawn brings light. Dawn (the sword) is described as seeming to shine. And we have the Long Night and the War for the Dawn.

None of this convinces me that Dawn is that important, though. There are lots of reasons to think it might be, but the more reasons to think it's important, the more I think it's too obvious. Even in-universe, the relevance of the name is so obvious that you'd assume characters had considered the sword and dismissed it as unimportant. It would be like finding living dragons in a room in Dragonstone marked "Here be dragons" that no one thought to check for 150 years or so.

But here's the key part: Stannis's "Lightbringer" seems to be a fake, because it only brings light, not heat. We've never heard that Dawn produces any heat, and the dawn (or just after) is actually the coldest part of the day. The dawn doesn't bring heat, it just promises it later.

So... maybe Lightbringer comes from Dawn somehow? Maybe it has to be reforged. I'm not that convinced.

I think your reasoning is flawed, in the sense that the relevant prophesies and legends were known or considered at the start of the story by two characters, total, one of which Aemon is dead. Ok, there is probably Marwyn, as well. Other than that, for the majority this an unknown subject. It has come into consideration at the Wall and only lately. Dawn itself, neither sparkles nor burns, so there is no reason to think of it in general as other than an oddity.

Besides, if I am correct, while Dawn might have been unique back in the day, it wouldn't be now.

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30 minutes ago, Seams said:

snip

What I was suggesting was that Dawn and Valyrian steel have the ability to melt the Others, like obsidian does and/or can be made to actually burn, again like obsidian has been suggested can be made to burn through magic. The last passage you quoted makes it sound like obsidian contains fire. And in general appears as a staple in fire magic.

As for the cache, obviously someone (probably Benjen) left it for the Watch to be able to fight Others. The horn is also probably the horn of Joramund.

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3 hours ago, The Sleeper said:

Or rather, there is no particular sword that is the prophesied Lightbringer, while there may be the historical Lightbringer, which would be none other than Dawn.

Bear with me as we go into obsidian, or as is otherwise known in the series as dragonglass, or frozen fire. Martin has his obsidian have some very interesting properties. In Clash there is a scene in Qarth where a firemage is putting on a show for the crowd. In the audience Dany and Quaithe have a sort conversation about the resurgence of magic, during which Quaithe mentions that that particular firemage could not wake fire from obsidian before the birth of the dragons. We have seen an Other melting into a puddle after being stabbed with an obsidian dagger. There are also the glass candles, which are apparently portable clairvoyance devices, that their use reminds of the way the red priests look into the flames. Then we have the fantasy names for it. Dragonglass and frozen fire sounds like something someone would name that was capable of creating its own fire. But magic is required to awaken it.

Then we have the report Sam found in Night's Watch archives about a blade of dragonsteel. If we draw a parallel between dragonglass and dragonsteel, then the latter is steel that create its own fire. The thing that Dawn and obsidian have in common is that they were both formed in very intense heat, beyond human means to recreate.

We have also seen swords set ablaze. In Arya's chapters in Storm both Beric and Thoros fight with burning swords. Beric sets his own fire with his blood and Thoros probably performs some sort of spell, as he wouldn't have access to wildfire in the midst of the Riverlands. We can assume that the effect is not permanent nor does regural steel fare well under this treatment.

There is, however another material that is both manufactured under extreme heat and is said to be near indestructible. That would be Valyrian steel. Reputed to be made with dragonfire and blood magic, it sounds like the thing Beric or Thoros would need. If Valyrian does indeed share properties with obsidian and Dawn then what is needed is a Valyrian steel blade and firemagic for making a Lightbringer. And there are two characters with burnt hands attended by red priests.

Given that the world book heavily implies that human sacrifice is needed to make Valyrian steel, then the tale of Nissa Nissa, kind of sounds like a recipe for making it. The two first swords shattered when tempered. It took blood to bind the fire into the steel.

Some other things mentioned in the books makes me think that Valyrian steel blades might be kind of alive. Like Tobho Mott, saying that old swords have memory, or how Brienne was faster than she had ever been with Oathkeeper. Particulary, considering that bloodmagic was used to make them.

 

Like Stormbringer? Arioch! Arioch! Blood and Souls for my Lord Arioch! I don't think so. In those stories, don't the swords demonstrate some independence from their wielder? I know there a few descriptions when Jon and Brienne are wielding their Valyrian steel blades that the blades feel alive, but I think that just shows how they are impossibly light and easy to wield and that they are so much more bitchin' than regular swords. 

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3 hours ago, The Sleeper said:

You'd still need an actual sword to act like obsidian, or maybe not, after a couple of thousand years of legends, obsidian daggers could have turned into a sword of "dragonsteel".

On the other hand, there have been actual burning swords (Beric and Thoros), obsidian candles burning without being consumed, Valyrian steel and fire magic, so I think the ingredients are there.

Beric's sword wasn't Valyrian steel was it? But it was more like the original Lightbringer that Stannis’s Lightbringer. Beric Dondarrion's blood caused the blade to burn, rather than Melisandre’s trick. That suggests to me that the key to Lightbringer is not the constituent material, but the person wielding the blade.  

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Valyrian steel is steel that has to some degree been second lifed. Lightbringer will be steel or a sword that has been partly second lifed by the blood of the dragon. That's the recipe. Child in the womb -> Dragon, Dragon -> child in the womb, mother's blood becomes contaminated with dragon's blood. Allows her to do shit like survive a funeral pyre. Then she or those with her blood -> steel = flaming sword.

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@Lost Melnibonean Well, Valyrian steel swords are almost black. You think that Martin didn't have Stormbringer in mind when he thought of them? Granted I don't have anything solid on that. It's more of a feeling about blood magic in general and what it means in the books.

Beric's sword wasn't Valyrian steel. And it broke. Also as it wasn't on fire when he drew from the scabbard, so I'm assuming the effect isn't peramanent. Also the reason is up and moving and that his blood can set things on fire is because Thoros breated fire into him. Who by the way was wielding a flaming sword himself in the next chapter when they were attacking the Bloody Mummers at the sept. So, it sounds like the source is Thoros.

I am thinking that if he did something like that to a Valyrian steel blade or Dawn, it wouldn't go out and it wouldn't weaken by the temperature, like the obsidian candles burn but are not consumed.

So, a fire spell and the proper material to withstand it.

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2 hours ago, The Sleeper said:

I think your reasoning is flawed, in the sense that the relevant prophesies and legends were known or considered at the start of the story by two characters, total, one of which Aemon is dead. Ok, there is probably Marwyn, as well. Other than that, for the majority this an unknown subject.

I don't think that's true at all. It's maybe not that important to lots of people because it's just an old legend, but remember that a lot of what we find out about Azor Ahai and Lightbringer comes from Salladhor Saan. He might just happen to be one of the few people who has heard this story, but that seems very unlikely. Anyone who follows R'hllor will have heard of Lightbringer, and Dawn is well-known, so there is certain to be enough crossover that followers of R'hllor would have noticed it and probably mentioned it to other followers who wouldn't have heard of Dawn themselves.

Besides, more importantly, I'm also thinking about the audience's perspective. It would seem weird to me if it were so simple.

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19 minutes ago, Ser Petyr Parker said:

I don't think that's true at all. It's maybe not that important to lots of people because it's just an old legend, but remember that a lot of what we find out about Azor Ahai and Lightbringer comes from Salladhor Saan. He might just happen to be one of the few people who has heard this story, but that seems very unlikely. Anyone who follows R'hllor will have heard of Lightbringer, and Dawn is well-known, so there is certain to be enough crossover that followers of R'hllor would have noticed it and probably mentioned it to other followers who wouldn't have heard of Dawn themselves.

Besides, more importantly, I'm also thinking about the audience's perspective. It would seem weird to me if it were so simple.

And Salla is relating it as mythology. I grant you Saan is probably aware of even who the Daynes are. You think that the average Lyseni or Pentosi follower of R'hlor will know who the Daynes are, or preoccupied with discovering the original Lightbringer? As far as Mel's followers go they already have a lightbringer and Mel made it so they are not looking for the old one. And the legend is not a Westerosi one.

Besides, the connection between Dawn and Lightbringer is made from translating the latter into Latin as in Lucifer, which was originaly the name of Venus or the morning star. I'm pretty sure they don't have Latin in Westeros. Ironically, Martin has used it as a name. Now if somewhere someone refers to the morning star as lightbringer, that would be a different deal.

There is practically no overlap between Dawn and Lightbringer in the story. They have different origins and different descriptions and nobody ever mentioned about Dawn being used in the war for the dawn.

To be clear, I think the legend of the making of Lightbringer is supposed to be just a story inspired by the manufacture of Valyrian steel. The reason I think Dawn was the original Lightbringer, is because, like obsidian it was created by immense heat and has similar properties in terms of magic.

 

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