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chrisdaw

The Coming and Defeat of the Ice Dragon (a Real One)

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There will be an ice dragon., the following will detail who will be responsible for it and how it will be defeated.

The description.

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These colossal beasts, many times larger than the dragons of Valyria, are said to be made of living ice, with eyes of pale blue crystal and vast translucent wings through which the moon and stars can be glimpsed as they wheel across the sky.

So first thing it is not a wighted dragon, not an ice zombie dragon. It is an Other dragon, living ice, not frozen flesh.

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No human metal had gone into the forging of that blade. It was alive with moonlight, translucent, a shard of crystal so thin that it seemed almost to vanish when seen edge-on. There was a faint blue shimmer to the thing, a ghost-light that played around its edges, and somehow Will knew it was sharper than any razor.

Like that.

In ASOIAF dragon's wings means shadows.

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Wings shadowed her fever dreams.

"You don't want to wake the dragon, do you?"

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A great knife of pain ripped down her back, and she felt her skin tear open and smelled the stench of burning blood and saw the shadow of wings. And Daenerys Targaryen flew.

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And now the stone was gone and she flew across the Dothraki sea, high and higher, the green rippling beneath, and all that lived and breathed fled in terror from the shadow of her wings.

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Balerion . . . his fire was as black as his scales, his wings so vast that whole towns were swallowed up in their shadow when he passed overhead."

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When she gave a yank, the black dragon raised his head, hissing, and unfolded wings of night and scarlet. Kraznys mo Nakloz smiled broadly as their shadow fell across him.

And on and on. There should be no doubt when GRRM describes wings he's thinking shadows.

An ice dragon however has translucent wings. That is to say light passes through, no shadow. Fire dragon to ice dragon, shadow to no shadow. Simple enough inversion.

With the idea that translucent wings means no shadow, note the symmetry between this.

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with eyes of pale blue crystal and vast translucent wings through which the moon and stars can be glimpsed

And this.

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a blue-eyed king who cast no shadow.

But translucent wings would not cast no shadow at all. Wings made of ice would be moving translucent prisms that would cause light to scatter. What it would look like is this.

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King Stannis pointed a finger. "There you err, Onion Knight. Some lights cast more than one shadow. Stand before the nightfire and you'll see for yourself. The flames shift and dance, never still. The shadows grow tall and short, and every man casts a dozen. Some are fainter than others, that's all. Well, men cast their shadows across the future as well. One shadow or many. Melisandre sees them all."

Or another description perhaps, dancing shadows.

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"Clever bird, clever man, clever clever fool," said Patchface, jangling. "Oh, clever clever clever fool." He began to sing. "The shadows come to dance, my lord, dance my lord, dance my lord," he sang, hopping from one foot to the other and back again. "The shadows come to stay, my lord, stay my lord, stay my lord." He jerked his head with each word, the bells in his antlers sending up a clangor.

Mel says in general terms dark shadows are good.

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"Shadow?" Davos felt his flesh prickling. "A shadow is a thing of darkness."

"You are more ignorant than a child, ser knight. There are no shadows in the dark. Shadows are the servants of light, the children of fire. The brightest flame casts the darkest shadows."

So dancing shadows of different degrees of paleness one would think is bad. Terrible perhaps.

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She was stronger at the Wall, stronger even than in Asshai. Her every word and gesture was more potent, and she could do things that she had never done before. Such shadows as I bring forth here will be terrible, and no creature of the dark will stand before them.

But shadows she is not bringing forth.

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"No." Perhaps he should have lied, and told her what she wanted to hear, but Davos was too accustomed to speaking truth. "You are the mother of darkness. I saw that under Storm's End, when you gave birth before my eyes."

"Is the brave Ser Onions so frightened of a passing shadow? Take heart, then. Shadows only live when given birth by light, and the king's fires burn so low I dare not draw off any more to make another son. It might well kill him." Melisandre moved closer. "With another man, though . . . a man whose flames still burn hot and high . . . if you truly wish to serve your king's cause, come to my chamber one night. I could give you pleasure such as you have never known, and with your life-fire I could make . . ."

She thinks it may kill Stannis, and she hasn't had anyone else she's trade take her up on her offers.

But suppose she did, one more. A third shadow baby, threes work a charm. What would a shadow baby drawn from a man whose fires burn low look like? Weak? Pale?

What happens should, as Melisandre fears, Stannis die from creating another shadow Stannis? The Shadow him disappears at some point and no-more Stannis? Seems unlike him, the Stannis that would fight to the death and then some. Could the shadow Stannis perhaps live on? A shadow come to stay my lord?

Suppose it happens at the wall. The spell warded wall that Bran the Builder helped construct. Recall Storm's End, apparently also spell warded and built with Bran the Builder's help, and Mel's issue there with a shadow Stannis.

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"There was no need," she said. "He was unprotected. But here . . . this Storm's End is an old place. There are spells woven into the stones. Dark walls that no shadow can pass—ancient, forgotten, yet still in place."

The shadow could not pass the magic walls, Mel had to get inside, beneath, to birth the shadow Stannis. Might a shadow Stannis birthed at the wall, at Nightfort, be trapped at the wall? In the wall?

A Stannis broken.

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Stannis is pure iron, black and hard and strong, yes, but brittle, the way iron gets. He'll break before he bends.

A shadow Stannis trapped in ice.

Nightfort . . .

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"There are ghosts here," Bran said. Hodor had heard all the stories before, but Jojen might not have. "Old ghosts, from before the Old King, even before Aegon the Dragon, seventy-nine deserters who went south to be outlaws. One was Lord Ryswell's youngest son, so when they reached the barrowlands they sought shelter at his castle, but Lord Ryswell took them captive and returned them to the Nightfort. The Lord Commander had holes hewn in the top of the Wall and he put the deserters in them and sealed them up alive in the ice. They have spears and horns and they all face north. The seventy-nine sentinels, they're called. They left their posts in life, so in death their watch goes on forever. Years later, when Lord Ryswell was old and dying, he had himself carried to the Nightfort so he could take the black and stand beside his son.

Coming in the night.

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The Nightfort had figured in some of Old Nan's scariest stories.

. . .

where the 'prentice boys had faced the thing that came in the night,

Stalking at night, doing those things of his nightmares in life.

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Devan said the king scarcely slept of late. "Since Lord Renly died, he has been troubled by terrible nightmares," the boy had confided to his father. "Maester's potions do not touch them. Only the Lady Melisandre can soothe him to sleep."

The whisperings of the Other.

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She had no time for sleep, with the weight of the world upon her shoulders. And she feared to dream. Sleep is a little death, dreams the whisperings of the Other, who would drag us all into his eternal night.

Killing his brother.

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For a long time the king did not speak. Then, very softly, he said, "I dream of it sometimes. Of Renly's dying. A green tent, candles, a woman screaming. And blood." Stannis looked down at his hands. "I was still abed when he died. Your Devan will tell you. He tried to wake me. Dawn was nigh and my lords were waiting, fretting. I should have been ahorse, armored. I knew Renly would attack at break of day. Devan says I thrashed and cried out, but what does it matter? It was a dream. I was in my tent when Renly died, and when I woke my hands were clean."

In cold blood, cold as ice.

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"Cold," her king said, puzzled, and a shadow moved without a man to cast it, and her sweet lord's blood came washing through the green steel of his gorget to drench her hands. He had been a warm man, but his blood was cold as ice. This is not real, she told herself. This is another bad dream, and soon I'll wake.

Both his brothers.

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"R'hllor chooses queerly, then." The king grimaced, as if he'd tasted something foul. "Why me, and not my brothers? Renly and his peach. In my dreams I see the juice running from his mouth, the blood from his throat. If he had done his duty by his brother, we would have smashed Lord Tywin. A victory even Robert could be proud of. Robert . . ." His teeth ground side to side. "He is in my dreams as well. Laughing. Drinking. Boasting. Those were the things he was best at. Those, and fighting. I never bested him at anything. The Lord of Light should have made Robert his champion. Why me?"

Killing all his brothers.

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Mad Axe had once walked these yards and climbed these towers, butchering his brothers in the dark.

Ruling the night.

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No, Bran thought, but he walked in this castle, where we'll sleep tonight. He did not like that notion very much at all. Night's King was only a man by light of day, Old Nan would always say, but the night was his to rule. And it's getting dark.

But how to get from a shadow Stannis to an ice dragon?

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There were dragons here two hundred years ago, Sam found himself thinking, as he watched the cage making a slow descent. They would just have flown to the top of the Wall. Queen Alysanne had visited Castle Black on her dragon, and Jaehaerys, her king, had come after her on his own. Could Silverwing have left an egg behind? Or had Stannis found one egg on Dragonstone? Even if he has an egg, how can he hope to quicken it? Baelor the Blessed had prayed over his eggs, and other Targaryens had sought to hatch theirs with sorcery. All they got for it was farce and tragedy.

Maybe there is a dragon's egg at the wall, and shadow Stannis will simply hop inside of it. Maybe one will yet arrive. Maybe it is in the blood.

I don't know how exactly Stannis will bring about an ice dragon, if he will ride it or become it, raise it or be reborn as it. I lean heavily towards the ice dragon being Stannis's second life. But an ice dragon there will be and it will be Stannis's doing, and the ice that will make it will be from the broken wall. The association in the language and thematic alignment is too layered to be coincidence. As per all the above and below.

Stannis will burn Shireen, and that will thematically represent the heart of winter. The big bad of Bran's vision that must be defeated in the war for the dawn to end the Long Night. He will burn her for dragons to win the war, but in the end create an ice dragon.

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Jon could feel her warmth. She has power. The thought came unbidden, seizing him with iron teeth, but this was not a woman he cared to be indebted to, not even for his little sister. "Dalla told me something once. Val's sister, Mance Rayder's wife. She said that sorcery was a sword without a hilt. There is no safe way to grasp it."

"A wise woman." Melisandre rose, her red robes stirring in the wind. "A sword without a hilt is still a sword, though, and a sword is a fine thing to have when foes are all about.

And so the lesson of trusting in sorcery, and the culmination of Mel's means to an end approach. In her willingness to do horrific things to save the world she will create its greatest threat. In trying to create a fire breathing dragon to defeat the Others she will help create their greatest weapon, an ice dragon.

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So the new god devoured the corpse of the old, and cast gigantic shadows of Stannis and Melisandre upon the Wall, black against the ruddy red reflections on the ice.

Their influence on the wall.

The ice dragon is Jon's old friend.

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So many stars, he thought as he trudged up the slope through pines and firs and ash. Maester Luwin had taught him his stars as a boy in Winterfell; he had learned the names of the twelve houses of heaven and the rulers of each; he could find the seven wanderers sacred to the Faith; he was old friends with the Ice Dragon,

And Davos's of course.

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The clouds hid most of the Ice Dragon, all but the bright blue eye that marked due north. The sky is full of smugglers' stars. They were old friends, those stars; Davos hoped that meant good luck.

But lost to Dunk, after Dunk's time.

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Dunk need only lift his eyes to find familiar friends: the Stallion and the Sow, the King's Crown and the Crone's Lantern, the Galley, Ghost, and Moonmaid. But there were clouds to the north, and the blue eye of the Ice Dragon was lost to him, the blue eye that pointed north.

In the paragraph preceding Sam thinking on dragon eggs at the wall and how Stannis may hope to quicken it he rides the cage up the wall.

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Without the great stair there was no way to reach the top of the Wall except by the chain winch, however. And as much as Samwell Tarly hated steps, he hated the winch cage more. He always closed his eyes when he was riding it, convinced that the chain was about to break. Every time the iron cage scraped against the ice his heart stopped beating for an instant.

An iron cage he fears will break against the wall. Iron is Stannis as per this again.

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Stannis is pure iron, black and hard and strong, yes, but brittle, the way iron gets. He'll break before he bends.

It is reoccurring in the foreshadowing.

When the iron cage scrapes against the ice Sam's heart stop beating an instant.

Part of the ice dragon description.

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Whereas common dragons (if any dragon can truly be said to be common) breathe flame, ice dragons supposedly breathe cold, a chill so terrible that it can freeze a man solid in half a heartbeat.

 

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Posted (edited)

By the ice dragon's eye there are multiple possible parallels, Aemond Targaryen being the one I can make something off of. The ice dragon's end.

Aemond lost an eye the day he gained a dragon, in it he placed a blue sapphire. Easy enough connection.

Aemond's death.

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And it was then, the tales tell us, that Prince Daemon Targaryen swung a leg over his saddle and leapt from one dragon to the other. In his hand was Dark Sister, the sword of Queen Visenya. As Aemond One-Eye looked up in terror, fumbling with the chains that bound him to his saddle, Daemon ripped off his nephew’s helm and drove the sword down into his blind eye, so hard the point came out the back of the young prince’s throat. Half a heartbeat later, the dragons struck the lake, sending up a gout of water so high that it was said to have been as tall as Kingspyre Tower.

Lots to work with. A dragon fight, a Valyrian steel sword through the eye, the blind eye, the sapphire eye. And a colossal splash.

A sword through the noted blue eye is a rather fitting way for the ice dragon to be defeated and a good purpose for Lightbringer. And when an ice dragon dies,

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As ice dragons supposedly melt when slain, no actual proof of their existence has ever been found.

big splash.

Aemond leads into Stannis. He covets a dragon as the other children all have one of their own.

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King Viserys had suggested traveling to Dragonstone after the funeral, and informed Aemond, who out of all his siblings was the only one yet without a dragon of his own, that he could claim a dragon egg or hatchling on Dragonstone for his own, if he was "bold enough". Annoyed by his father's comment, Aemond resolved to claim Vhagar

Stannis is preoccupied somewhat with having a dragon, Mel's fault, but wait until he gets word of Dany's dragons to see how far his desire can go.

Aemond is the middle brother of three. The eldest was king, Aemond thinks the crown suited him better than his elder brother. The youngest Daeron plays well to Renly in ways.

Had a rivalry with the other three royal boys, Jacarys, Lucerys and Joffrey. Lannister children parallels, as Stannis wars against Joff. Aemond alludes to the children being bastards, it goes a way to kickstarting the enmity that leads to war. Parallel with Stannis obvious, he wars Joff because he believes he is illegitimate.

Aemond kills Lucerys in an act treachery, and for it becomes known as a kinslayer. Stannis kills Renly in an act of duty and justice which some misguided people mistake for an act of treachery, though it is certainly kinslaying.

Shipbreaker Bay has two claims to fame. During a storm Stannis's parents died there. And Aemond killed Lucerys there. If not for the stom Stannis's parents would have lived, if not for a storm Lucerys probably would have escaped Aemond.

Shadow Stannis the enemy for Dany.

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I am still at war, Dany realized, only now I am fighting shadows. She had hoped for a respite from the killing, for some time to build and heal.
. . .
"You are fighting shadows when you should be fighting the men who cast them," Daario went on.

Foreshadowing for Jon mounting a dragon, not knowing how he did it, Lightbringer in hand, flying for the ice dragon's eye and the dawn.
 

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He rested for a while to let the horse graze. She did not wander far. That was good. Hobbled with a bad leg, he could never have caught her. It was all he could do to force himself back to his feet and climb onto her back. How did I ever mount her before, without saddle or stirrups, and a sword in one hand? That was another question he could not answer.

Thunder rumbled softly in the distance, but above him the clouds were breaking up. Jon searched the sky until he found the Ice Dragon, then turned the mare north for the Wall and Castle Black. The throb of pain in his thigh muscle made him wince as he put his heels into the old man's horse. I am going home, he told himself. But if that was true, why did he feel so hollow?

He rode till dawn, while the stars stared down like eyes.

 

 

Edited by chrisdaw

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Do think we'll see an ice-dragon, mostly because of how oddly proud of himself GRRM seemed to be for thinking of the idea when he talks about it in the forward he wrote in his Dreamsongs compilation. He credits himself with inventing the idea. Maybe he did, I don't know, but the fact that he feels so strongly about his ownership of the concept makes it difficult to believe he wouldn't include it in the story.

That said, I don't find your case for linking Stannis to it very compelling.

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