falcotron

What's the Dayne-Valyrian connection theory?

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28 minutes ago, falcotron said:

the second part, he couldn't find any evidence for beyond a poem written more than a decade after AGoT by a new age snake oil saleswoman who claims to be descended from the Seneca

LOL!

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@falcotron no need to get pushy about this, it's not a debate. I think you're just expecting a much more straightforward explanation than can be given. That's the nature of literature - we are supposed to read between the lines and make conclusions. If every detail had a clear, factual exposition in the text, it would be terrible literature. 

As to the validity of LmL's ideas, I agree there are tenuous connections in many places, but the subtext is definitely there if you start looking at the action of the scenes with those symbols in mind. The universality of the myth is established in the text by the World book's mention of there being multiple Heroes of the Long Night, with names that recalls geographically disparate cultures, mostly Essosi. Thus we know that at least Westeros and Essos share this history. The specific cause of the Long Night is mythologized across those cultures, and it has to be a monomyth because there was only one Long Night with only one physical cause. 

The "Lightbringer forging" action is indeed  symbolically present in the action and settings (food, especially) in almost every chapter. The specific symbols are very consistent within the text, so if any alternative explanation would have to accommodate that. 

That's all to say that the symbolism we're working from is grounded in the text, even without reference to real world mythology. 

Now as to the Dayne/Targ thing... GRRM draws a pretty straight line between the GEotD and Danaerys with the ancient emperors named for gems, who are echoed in Dany's "wake the dragon" vision. The implication is that she is heir to a line that goes back to the Dawn Age.

And while no such explicit link with the Daynes is made, they are literally the only other people ever mentioned to have those eye colors. Eye color being entirely heritable, this lets us draw a speculative but strong conclusion that the Targaryens (or Valyrians in general) are from the same stock as the Daynes. We can declare it coincidence, but this is literature and every word is on the page intentionally. There is no shortage of physical characteristics to choose from if GRRM didn't wish to draw a connection between those families. 

But we can also look at more thematic evidence. The Daynes were founded by someone who followed a shooting star and founded their house wherever they stopped walking. Danaerys also follows a shooting star, and it leads her Qarth, where she uses her dragons for the first time, beginning her arc as a conquerer. 

And there's the Qartheen myth that connects dragons with meteors/comets, thus providing symbolism that links Dany to the Daynes via the idea of chasing a dragon. 

Further, the Dawn and Valyrian steel are connected not just in sharpness but in theme. And to be clear, intentionally contrasting themes are connected because one is typically intended to tell us something about the other. We are given every reason to think that Valyrian steel requires blood magic. Not just from the AA myth, but because it's real life inspiration, Damascus steel, was also rumored to be tempered by running it through a person's chest. The result is a sword made with blood and fire that resembles the smoke. And the first time we ever see a Valyrian steel sword it's being used to kill someone who didn't exactly deserve death (do we ever Ice deliver a deserving death? Gared, Lady, Ned). Dawn, on the other hand, is rumored to be made from the heart of a fallen star, but is bright instead of dark, and we have seen it used only honorably. We are not give any reason to think that blood and fire were involved. 

Why would two families of apparently similar lineage have such different swords? The speculation is that the Blood Betrayal tainted one line of the ancient family, symbolized by the passing of a sword made with blood and fire, while the other struck out on its own.

Like I said, this isn't hard evidence and we shouldn't expect hard evidence. People adhere to this theory because it ties up several otherwise loose ends. It adds a layer of interest to the story, but isn't in itself consequential to the plot.

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Let me start at the end, because you've finally given me an answer, and thank you for that:

3 hours ago, cgrav said:

And while no such explicit link with the Daynes is made, they are literally the only other people ever mentioned to have those eye colors.

But they aren't even close to the only other people.

In the WoIaF chapter on the Quarrelsome Daughters, "The blood of Valyria still runs strong in Lys, where even the smallfolk oft boast pale skin, silver-gold hair, and the purple, lilac, and pale blue eyes of the dragonlords of old." So there are thousands, maybe millions, of people who look more Valyrian than Ashara does. We see a few specific ones—Lysono Maar is the first one I found in a search, but I'm pretty sure the Rogare sister who married Prince Viserys is another, and there may be more.

There's also at least two slaves with purple eyes, one of whom (Sweets) is Ghiscari. Daario has dark blue eyes that look almost purple, just like Edric's (and fAegon's, and Egg's). There are even non-human primates—the lemurs Dany sees outside of Qohor in AGoT.

And GRRM went out of his way to tell us that purple eyes exist in every ethnic group when asked about Ashara's eyes.

So, the problem isn't that these hints aren't hard evidence, it's that these hints are not actually in the books.

And that's exactly why I've been asking. So often, these flights of fancy aren't answering a mystery that's in the books, but instead a mystery that springs from the head of one fan who mistakenly remembered something 12 years ago, and that mistake has been perpetuated unquestioningly within fandom by people who love tinfoil. The fact that it took me three pages of replies before anyone even attempted to answer me serves to demonstrate how that happens. And that's worth knowing, because there's a big difference between a crackpot theory to answer a mystery in the text, which is worth discussing, and a crackpot theory to answer a mystery accidentally invented by some fan that didn't need an answer in the first place, which is pointless.

3 hours ago, cgrav said:

I think you're just expecting a much more straightforward explanation than can be given.

No, I'm just expecting some attempt to answer what I actually asked, and it really shouldn't take three pages of replies.

Imagine this conversation:

  • You: What's the population of France?
  • Me: I have a theory that explains why the French population always ends in the same digit as the Polish one no matter when you compare them. See, it starts with—
  • You: Hold on. That sounds interesting, but before we discuss it, can you give me some examples of the French and Polish population statistics that end in the same digit?
  • Me: Have you heard about ABC's theory that explains why the Polish population has always had a 7 in it somewhere when expressed in base 13 ever since the failed reunion with Lithuania?
  • You: OK, but before we get into that, what is the population of France, or Poland?
  • Me: First I have to explain why ABC's theory is connected to why the Romanian word for "seven" is "poland".
  • You: Are you sure? I thought the Romanian word for seven would be something related to most other Indo-European languages' word. But anyway, we're getting off track. What's the population of France?

Would you get frustrated at some point?

OK, now go back and look at the answers I've been given. I ask what mysterious similarities people are trying to explain with all these theories about shared Valyrian descent, and the response is "Decended from members of the Golden Empire of the Dawn, possibly along wit House Hightower. So, proto-Valyrians." And the more I try to bring things back on topic, the more people want to talk about their own tinfoil built on top of LmL's tinfoil.

But now, since we're already side-tracked, let's get to LmL again.

3 hours ago, cgrav said:

As to the validity of LmL's ideas, I agree there are tenuous connections in many places, but the subtext is definitely there if you start looking at the action of the scenes with those symbols in mind. The universality of the myth is established in the text by the World book's mention of there being multiple Heroes of the Long Night

This is exactly what I'm talking about. Of course the Long Night is a universal myth on Planetos—but that doesn't in any way license the idea that everything else you can find in or even out of the story is a universal myth.

And looking for false connections gets in the way of examining the actual connections within the story. For example, there are obvious and intentional connections between Lightbringer and dragons ("living fire" vs. "fire made flesh"), and between Lightbringer and the discovery of steel (the myth clearly describes a steel forging process despite being from a bronze age culture), and so on. Put the half dozen interesting connections together, and that might tell us something interesting. But scramble them up with dozens of other connections that aren't actually in or relevant to the story (and often aren't even true), like Nissa Nissa meaning grandmother moon and every culture worshipping the moon as a grandmother and so on, and whatever GRRM wanted to get across will get lost in the wash.

I want to actually discuss the mythology of ASoIaF, not a mythology built by free associating off of random bits of ASoIaF.

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On 9/17/2017 at 4:18 PM, falcotron said:

Well, that's exactly what I'm asking: Where did you get that understanding?

Is there any evidence or even hint of it in the text? Or is it just people wanting to believe the Daynes are Valyrians, despite GRRM saying otherwise, and therefore assuming that they all must look like Valyrians, and then using that assumption as evidence to prove that if the Daynes aren't Valyrians the Valyrians must be Daynes?

Also, what features? Are there any common Dayne features that we've heard about? Is there anything about Ashara other than her eyes that sounds Valyrian? For that matter, what are typical Valyrian, or Targaryen, features?

 

No, no evidence. Yes, just people wanting to believe it.

Typical Valyrian/Targaryen features we know about: Purple eyes in varying shades, and sometimes blue instead; silver-gold hair; incredible beauty; sometimes described as otherworldly; Targaryen men are supposed to be tall. Other than dragon control and a tendency toward madness or greatness, that's kind of it. Some are lithe and muscular, some are prone to fat. Some have straight hair and some have curly. Nothing about specific noses, chins, eye-sets, ears, mouths, etc.

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@falcotron

It's hard to fault your incredulity. This is, in the big picture, a pretty meaningless detail and with nothing more than circumstance and implication to support it. This whole thing is just not a mystery that has been set out for us to solve. It's not RLJ, it's not "What do the Others want", it's not the Horn of Joramun. It's just an Easter egg that seems to fit in very nicely with the, so far, most thorough explanation of the books' underlying mythology. If GRRM needed readers to understand this in order to "get" the story, it would be more present in the main story. 

 

But

1) All these counter examples are people who look Valyrian because the *are* Valyrian in some measure. Are the Daynes the only ones who look Valyrian without any Valyrian blood? That strikes me as even stranger. 

While I'll concede the technical accuracy of my claim, this argument isn't exactly working in your favor.

Really, whats the harm in presuming some shared ethnic background just because of their looks? It doesn't have to matter to the story. So the Targs and Daynes share an ancient ancestor - we can leave it at that, if it's easier to swallow without all the bulky symbolism.

2) I think you're mischaracterizing the mythology. There's no claim of universal moon worship in Planetos past, but the extreme prevalence of moon mythology in real human history makes it entirely reasonable to make it a monomyth in the books. And like a huge number of real life myths have something like a great flood, Planetos has its own disaster that isn't stated outright. We just know that the Long Night and Others happened, and are given only a few other bits of information directly related to them. I feel the symbolism strongly supports the hypothesis of the moon disaster. Bear in mind that the symbols used are not unique to Ice and Fire; they're co-opted from real world mythology. Moon/woman symbolism is as old as it gets in the real world. The idea of the thematic repetition of events over time is prominent in mythology - just look at the old and new testaments.

I think it's entirely reasonable for the author to use real world mythology in this way. It provides a very rich connection to the canon of mythological literature, which enriches the story by attaching the characters to larger traditional archetypes.  Pretty standard fare for any effective character writer, it's just that there are a ridiculous number of characters in this story, so there's a lot of stuff to sift through.

At the end of the day, yeah, this is all pretty speculative, and it's speculative because it probably doesn't matter. It's a conclusion we've drawn because it's consistent with other conclusions we've drawn, and answers some questions that come up along the way. But I think making conclusions and sometimes just guessing is what GRRM (or any decent writer) asks us to do as readers. These books could so easily become encyclopedias, but for the author's decision to leave some things unsaid.

 I don't think, or hope not anyway, that anyone here is particularly attached to why a couple fictional characters have similar ethnic features. Sometimes an implication is all we'll get, but if we follow it to something consistent that enriches the story... well I frankly don't see the harm in being wrong for a little while. Sometimes you have to try an idea on to see if it fits.

edit: with regard to crackpottery, I draw a distinction between theories that simply allow for the possibility of something  and theories that actually demonstrate consistency with a purpose to the story as literature. It takes a lot more intention by the author to make something consistent in terms of plot, theme, and symbolism than to leave a few days on the timeline unaccounted for. So when an idea does manage to work on multiple levels, I'm inclined to give it some extra credit.

Edited by cgrav

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22 minutes ago, cgrav said:

1) All these counter examples are people who look Valyrian because the *are* Valyrian in some measure. Are the Daynes the only ones who look Valyrian without any Valyrian blood? That strikes me as even stranger. 

You think the Ghiscari, and even the lemurs of the Forests of Qohor, have Valyrian blood?

22 minutes ago, cgrav said:

Really, whats the harm in presuming some shared ethnic background just because of their looks? It doesn't have to matter to the story. So the Targs and Daynes share an ancient ancestor - we can leave it at that, if it's easier to swallow without all the bulky symbolism.

But the people suggesting this don't want to just leave it at that. The entire point of suggesting it is to try to insist that there's evidence for things like "Decended from members of the Golden Empire of the Dawn, possibly along wit House Hightower. So, proto-Valyrians." Which means I want to know what that evidence is. Is that really unreasonable?

If all anyone cared about was explaining Ashara's eyes, they'd probably come to the same conclusion as Ran—the simplest answer is that their grandmother is a half-Valyrian Martell. And GRRM's response to that is maybe, but there are purple eyes in every ethnic group in the world.

And the harm is exactly what I explained at the end: When you start throwing in a bunch of elements that aren't even remotely based on the books, they drown the elements that actually are in the books, making it impossible to look at the fascinating mythology and symbolism that GRRM actually gave us.

22 minutes ago, cgrav said:

Moon/woman symbolism is as old as it gets in the real world.

This is the kind of mistake I'm talking about.

It is, as you say, entirely reasonable for the author to use real world mythology. And it's reasonable for us to expect the author to have used real world mythology. But it is not at all reasonable for the author to use some fan's mistaken beliefs about real world mythology that only developed long after the author had invented his world.

If you start with the idea that the moon is universally a grandmother in real world mythology, then of course you're going to assume that GRRM would know that and work it into his story. But in many of the mythologies that inspired GRRM (Germanic, Persian, and most other Indo-European cultures), the moon is a husband. In some (the Greeks and those who borrowed from them), the moon is a young maiden. If you're looking for grandmother symbolism where he's working off husband or maiden symbolism, you're going to draw the wrong conclusions.

As a side note, I don't think there's any evidence that GRRM is interested in Joseph Campbell. Everyone who actually studies mythology considers Campbell a worthless crackpot. He's only interesting because of his effect on post-Star Wars film and TV—because George Lucas and a few others like JJ Abrams and Dan Harmon have found his monomyth idea to be a useful structure to build their plots around, regardless of whether any, much less all, actual myths work that way. I don't think GRRM is one of those writers—I can't find any mention of "monomyth" or "Campbell" (except for John C. Campbell, of course) in any SSMs or interviews, whereas you can't get people like Lucas to shut up about him.

22 minutes ago, cgrav said:

Sometimes an implication is all we'll get, but if we follow it to something consistent that enriches the story... well I frankly don't see the harm in being wrong for a little while. Sometimes you have to try an idea on to see if it fits.

But again, sometimes we don't even get an implication, and if we invent one and follow that, it doesn't enrich the story. It's basically fan fiction.

Of course it's fine to be wrong for a little while sometimes, but it's not ok to go out of our way to be wrong when we could easily have known better. It's always worth asking what is the evidence for this mystery before trying to fit a solution to that mystery into a larger edifice. Because if half of the ideas that edifice is built out of aren't actually connected to the books, then the other half will be so twisted out of shape that it won't matter that they were connected.

For example, there does seem to be a possible connection between Dany and the Dawn Empire. That's interesting. And yet, I've never seen a single person discuss it without throwing in the "facts" that Asshai was the capital of the Dawn Empire, and the Daynes and Hightowers are colonies of the Dawn Empire, and that the Long Night actually happened after Night's King and what the Last Hero was fighting was an invasion by a Dawn Empire faction, and so on. So, very quickly, they're not talking about Dany's connection to the Dawn Empire in ASoIaF, they're talking about Dany's connection to some fan fiction in their heads, which doesn't illuminate anything at all about Dany.

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Is it simply the Dayne connection to Valyria that bothers you? Or does a Dayne connection to TGEOTD bother you too? 

Dayne's having no link to Valyria other than the two have a familial link back to the Empire of the Dawn? Just trying to understand your position exactly.

Cause honestly there is no direct connection to Valyria, so i can totally see the whole jumble up. If not and you dont see either connections then curious.

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Daeron II married Mariah Martell (Brown hair) and had a few kid

Baelor Breakspear- Dark Hair who weds Jena Dondarrion ? and have

Valarr- Brown Hair with streak of gold- sound like any particular Dayne? Gerold Dayne?

Just an off the cuff link.

About the Empire of the Dawn and Westeros and Dayne association by proximity, technology similarities of Dawn to Valyrian steel.

Association through proximity? House Hightower. Said to have possibly come to Battle Isle before the first men, and having decended from some sea faring culture. Maybe possibly the same sea faring culture to settle the Iron Islands in a time when the first men had no boats. 

House Dondarrion of Black Haven is built of the same Black Basalt associated to Moat Cailyn and appears oily when wet. Linking its similarities to the Sea Stone Chair on the Iron Islands bringing us right back to the mysterious sea faring people who settle the Iron Isle and may have been the one to make the mazes beneath the Hightower but maybe not. House Dondarrion possibly having some ties as Bealor who had dark hair wed Jena Dondarrion  and they had a child with a gold streak. Again, House Dondarrion having a link possibly to the oily black stone associated to the Iron Isles, the Toad Stone, Yeen, and Asshai.

Dawn it self being forged of a fallen star. A fallen star many have linked to the falling star that appears in many legends. Hypothesizing that this was one event and not multiple events. This same event then would be linked to the fallen black stone said to have been worshiped by the Bloodstone Emperor who has an association to Asshai and its oily blackstone through proximity. The Bloodstone Emperor being a memeber of the GEOTD that may have been these ancient sea faring peoples who settled parts of Westeros before the first men and mingled with the ancient Valyrian sheppards located in the hills of Valyria. The first Dayne who forged dawn from the fallen stone possibly being the same Bloodstone Emperor who also was obsessed with a stone fallen from the sky. Thus House Dayne has a familial link along with Valyrians back to memebers of the Empire of the Dawn. Much the same way ancestors live on in us today. Like mayans, Egyptians and Indians such who didn't fully disappear from the world but were also assimilated. 

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7 hours ago, falcotron said:

You think the Ghiscari, and even the lemurs of the Forests of Qohor, have Valyrian blood?

You understand I'm referring to Valyrian as an ethnicity, not a nationality, right? We're given no other name to call those features. I'd expect nearly everyone in southern Essos to have some Valyrian blood because nearly everyone there descended from the GEotD. And as I mentioned earlier, GRRM gives us good reason to think that Dany shares that ancestry as well. 

And if you keep holding up animals as counter arguments to human genetics, I'm going to dismiss your thoughts as pure pedantry. 

Understand that you are on the verge of denying heritability of physical traits like eye and hair color. The physical resemblance is the primary clue in favor of the Daynes having some common ancestry with the Valyrians. Where else would they get those features?

And remember that this is literature, not history. We have authorial intent to deal with. GRRM chose to make the Daynes look like Targaryens, and unlike nearly everyone else in Westeros, presumably for some reason. There are no coincidences in literature. Things like repeated phrases, numbers, even food descriptions are meant to tie disparate characters and themes together. 

At some point you have to address this on a thematic level, or else you're just not looking at this as literature.

7 hours ago, falcotron said:

If you start with the idea that the moon is universally a grandmother in real world mythology,

Where are you getting this? I've read/heard LmL's essays multiple times and at no point does he posit this as a foundational myth in Ice and Fire or real life. You yourself already noted the Moon/Maid symbolism in real life mythology, and that's the primary moon symbolism in Ice and Fire, as well. Maybe Grandma Moon is one thing LmL found to show the prevalence of moon mythology in our own histories, but it's not something that anyone argues is a part of Ice and Fire. 

I really think you misunderstand the points being made in those essays. GRRM has crafted a handful of mythologies within the story that refer to the Long Night and whatever caused it. The actual history is lost to our characters, but shows up symbolically in the action of nearly every chapter. There is simply a ridiculous number of instances in which a something terrible happens to a person/thing representing the moon and then something comes out of it, often destruction. Pick a random chapter and I can almost guarantee you that it's present. I will do the analysis myself if you like.

And this symbolic replaying of the Long Night's cause is a big  part of the story's dramatic irony. The main characters are following the arcs of mythological figures but don't realize it. 

Ultimately, I think you very much overestimate how significant people think the Dayne/Targ thing is. It's not significant. Unless fAegon is actually a Dayne (a possibility nobody seems willing to indulge), the connection is purely thematic. It provides a clear explanation as to why the Daynes have features found otherwise only in Essos, why the Daynes are such an old house, and why their sword has this yin/yang thing going with Valyrian swords. I have tried many times to emphasize that this is not a big deal either way, and that it's just something a lot of people think is very possible based on a handful of thematic and textual hints. 

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20 hours ago, AlaskanSandman said:

Is it simply the Dayne connection to Valyria that bothers you? Or does a Dayne connection to TGEOTD bother you too? 

Dayne's having no link to Valyria other than the two have a familial link back to the Empire of the Dawn? Just trying to understand your position exactly.

Cause honestly there is no direct connection to Valyria, so i can totally see the whole jumble up. If not and you dont see either connections then curious.

I'm not bothered by whatever connections are or aren't there; I'm bothered by people asserting connections between things and then not providing any evidence, even when directly asked for the evidence.

So, let me ask you four questions:

  1. What is the evidence for a Dayne familial link to the Dawn Empire?
  2. What is the evidence for a Valyrian familial link to the Dawn Empire?
  3. Even if both of those connections are real, how would that solve the apparent mystery of the Daynes looking like Valyrians? Do you think everyone in eastern Essos had purple eyes?
  4. What is the evidence that Daynes generally look like Valyrians, or that there's any other mystery to solve, in the first place?

 

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16 hours ago, cgrav said:

You understand I'm referring to Valyrian as an ethnicity, not a nationality, right? We're given no other name to call those features. I'd expect nearly everyone in southern Essos to have some Valyrian blood because nearly everyone there descended from the GEotD. And as I mentioned earlier, GRRM gives us good reason to think that Dany shares that ancestry as well.  

Nearly everyone in southern Essos descended from the Dawn Empire? What is that based on?

16 hours ago, cgrav said:

Understand that you are on the verge of denying heritability of physical traits like eye and hair color. The physical resemblance is the primary clue in favor of the Daynes having some common ancestry with the Valyrians. Where else would they get those features?

Not even close.

Is Ran denying heritability of physical traits when he suggests that Ashara's eyes came from a half-Targaryen Martell mother or grandmother? Is GRRM denying heritability of physical traits when he answers "not all those with blue eyes are Swedes, and not all Swedes have blue eyes"? Of course not.

No, the people who are denying genetics are the ones who insist that it must instead mean that she has some ancestor from 10000 years ago who somehow is not an ancestor of all the other people in Dorne, despite her family intermarrying with everyone around them for those 10000 years, and who probably didn't have purple eyes in the first place.

I could accept that if the answer were "It's not genetics, it's magic". But you're insisting that it's genetics, and then offering an answer that makes no sense genetically.

16 hours ago, cgrav said:

And remember that this is literature, not history. We have authorial intent to deal with. GRRM chose to make the Daynes look like Targaryens, and unlike nearly everyone else in Westeros, presumably for some reason.

Let's look at authorial intent here.

He chose to make people who are closely descended from Targaryens look like Targaryens, so this could be a hint that the current generation of Daynes have a recent Targaryen ancestor. Which is something that could actually turn out to matter in the story.

He also reminded us that there are non-Valyrians with purple eyes—remember, his own answer to this question is "not all those with blue eyes are Swedes". So he could be using Ashara and Gerold to show that point in-story—and, more importantly, to show how other people treat the purple-eyed, how it's a special prestige market in their society.

He could also have secretly plotted out a whole history that contradicts the history he wrote in everything he's published so far, and that he isn't going to reveal to us, and then given us Ashara and Gerold as a clue.

The first one would have a plot function. The second one would have a thematic function. The third one would just be a riddle. So, why does the third one seem to you to be not only the most likely, but the only one even worth considering?

16 hours ago, cgrav said:

Where are you getting this?

From LmL's website, and his posts on this forum before he started that website. He has toned down the importance of that "Nissa" poem since his original posts here, but it's still part of his first essay. And he does not primarily use the moon as a maiden, he uses it as a mother, and sometimes as a grandmother. "… the Nissa Nissa moon is the mother of dragons" is central to his ideas.

But look, this thread is not a debate on the relevance of LmL's ideas. The only reason LmL matters here at all is that some of the same people who invent mysteries to solve that aren't there also keep citing LmL's theories as facts about ASoIaF.

16 hours ago, cgrav said:

Ultimately, I think you very much overestimate how significant people think the Dayne/Targ thing is.

I think most people don't think it's significant at all. But there are some people who do. I'm not the one who blew this up into something about the Dawn Empire, the Hightower, LmL, etc.

But i really doesn't matter either way. I don't care whether it's significant to people or not. I want to know whether there's actually a mystery to be solved in the first place, because, if not, it doesn't matter how significant any alleged solution to that mystery is.

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17 hours ago, falcotron said:

Nearly everyone in southern Essos descended from the Dawn Empire? What is that based on?

Southern Essos, as in, the area formerly likely occupied by the Great Empire of the Dawn and the later Valyrian empire. Genes and ethnic features don't disappear with the political boundaries. If Ashara and Gerold Dayne have no Valyrian/Great Empire ancestry, then there's implied contention of yet another ethnicity heretofore unmentioned that comes with those eye colors. But as far as we know, the only ethnicity that comes with those colors are the Valyrians and Dany's ancestors who she saw in her tent dream. And with the information in the World Book, we can conclude that those ancestors are the same as those mentioned as ruling the Great Empire. 

The problem with the "Valyrian aunt" idea is that it's basically wasted words in the book unless there's some actual significance to it. If that's all there is to it, then I'd have to guess that the only reason the Daynes resemble the Targs is so that Aegon has a way of being fake (though that's entirely compatible with the common ancestry theory). 


Of your three options, the one I'm advocating is thematic. I think this isn't a backstory of the Daynes, but of Dawn, and hinting at at a common source of both "alive with light" Dawn and "smoky" Ice (or VS swords in general) enriches the story on a thematic/symbolic level. 
 

But let's look at the facts about the Daynes here, because they certainly feel more significant than the other random houses that come in and out of the plot. 
-Extremely old House, possibly dating to the Dawn age, the same as the GEotD

-House Founder followed a falling star
-One-of-a-kind white sword made from a metoeorite
-Apparent ethnic resemblance to Valyrians
-Sword of the Morning is the same name as a major constellation

-Daynes are close friends of the Targaryens

This not an inauspicious background for a minor house. But now let's compare these details to some of the Great Empire:
-Dates back to the Dawn age
-Founder worshipped a fallen star
-Apparent ethnic resemblance to Valyrians
-Founder also founded Church of Starry Wisdom

This looks a lot like the same story being told from two different perspectives. I mean sure, there could be an explanation like maybe there were two meteorites and one family used theirs for good while the other used their's for blood magic. But regardless, this being literature, we can be reasonably certain that these similarities aren't coincidence. So what's the purpose? What's GRRM getting at with the Daynes' outsized backstory and uncanny similarity to an otherwise irrelevant ancient history? Hell, why does the GEotD even exist if it doesn't tie into the rest of the series? We don't need that background for Dany, so who else would it be relevant to?

If we conclude that those similarities are indeed intentional and meaningful in some way to the story's themes, then we can see how they might fit into the themes. The primary conflict in the story is a battle between light and darkness, and that draws on themes of death and rebirth and seasonal change which go back thousands of years in literature and storytelling. GRRM drops a lot of hints about mythical tropes, eg "Corn! King!", the death of the White Bull, and, yes, various feminine moon tropes. These are not unusual or obscure themes. There's no textual "proof" of a thematic concept, because that's how literature and the 4th wall work. These hints are all we get, and they are in the books because we are supposed to do some interpreting.

But back to the rationale: If we further accept the basic premise of Ice and Fire's themes and symbols revolving around night/day, dark/light, death/birth, etc. Then a sword named Dawn that keeps coming up could well be significant. Dawn's wielder having been slain seems no coincidence in a story about the impending Long Night. And given that Dawn was made around the same time as the first Long Night, well, it looks like GRRM has very intentionally put this sword in the penumbrae of both Nights. At this point, I'm going to say coincidence has been ruled out: this sword is in the story for a reason, whether thematic or plot-related. I'd guess that the sword may be important to the plot, even if the Daynes themselves aren't. 

So let's take this back to some basic facts. The Valyrians and their dragons are pretty clearly more associated with the dark/night/smoke/flaming death side of things: "Fire and blood", Balerion the Black Dread, smoke-black magical steel, black dragonglass, Rhaegar's black armor and rubies... while their doppelgangers have the exact opposite color pallet: white sword, Dawn, Arthur's white cloak. We already know that Valyrians descend from the GEotD, and the  Dayne founding story sounds extraordinarily similar to the GEotD founding.

At this point the last step is obvious. This appears to be part of the "two opposites make a whole" theme that permeates the story. It fits the facts, explains them to some extent, and it works seamlessly with themes that exist with or without the Dayne/Targ connection. If this were science, we could call this a proper Theory. We have no way of objectively proving it once and for all, but it really ties the the room together, so to speak.

As for GRRM's thing about blue eyes and Swedes, I don't think we're using "Valyrian" for the same thing here. Any shared background would be from long before the Valyrian Empire existed, so the Daynes would not be Valyrian per se, they would just share ethnic background with Valyrians. No, you could not conclude that two blonde blue eyed people were both Swedes, but neither could you conclude that one was Swedish and the other of a Central African ethnicity. But you could, with a nearly 100% chance of being correct, conclude that they both were primarily of European descent. This is why it seems a little silly, to me anyway, to hold out for hard textual evidence when we have this conspicuous resemblance, which, if observed in real life, would very easily be assumed as a shared ethnic background. And since GRRM has been kind enough to link Dany to the GEotD, we can make a reasonable conclusion that people who look like her have similar ancestry. 

It's also possible that GRRM was just dropping a hint about Aegon being an imposter.

This is a lot of text for something that I frankly don't think is all that important to the story's action, but I do think it's important to be willing to look at these books (or any really) as founded on themes rather than character plots. The plot and the details communicate the themes, so it's entirely up to us to find them and work with them. Sometimes you have to take a supposition and run in through the text to see if it bears out. You can't just wait for everything to spelled out explicitly, because in cases like this, it's never going to be. It's too much background to put directly in the text, so the thematic elements have been scattered about and we have to assemble them. This is why I think it's valid to rely so heavily on thematic "evidence" to form conclusions. Sure you can stay agnostic on everything and never move past the first unprovable hypothesis, but where's the fun in that? It's just a book. You can go down all the rabbit holes you want, and eventually you might find the one where the author is hiding out.

Edited by cgrav

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59 minutes ago, cgrav said:

Southern Essos, as in, the area formerly likely occupied by the Great Empire of the Dawn and the later Valyrian empire.

What makes you think it's likely they occupied the same area?

What we're told of the Great Empire of the Dawn is: “…all the land between the Bones and the freezing desert called the Grey Waste, from the Shivering Sea to the Jade Sea (including even the great and holy isle of Leng), formed a single realm ruled by the God-on-Earth”.

The Valyrian Freehold started off in Valyria, and extended east to take in much of the former Ghiscari Empire, as far as Slaver's Bay.

There's no overlap at all between those two territories.

Also, I'm not sure why you italicized "southern" when quoting me saying "southern Essos". Both the Empire and the Freehold managed to expand all the way to the Shivering Sea.

1 hour ago, cgrav said:

-Extremely old House, possibly dating to the Dawn age, the same as the GEotD

-House Founder followed a falling star
-One-of-a-kind white sword made from a metoeorite
-Apparent ethnic resemblance to Valyrians
-Sword of the Morning is the same name as a major constellation

-Daynes are close friends of the Targaryens

Look at how tenuous most of these connections are.

  • The Royces and many other houses date to the Dawn Age. None of them are connected to the Great Empire of the Dawn.
  • The Daynes have an apparent ethnic resemblance to Valyrians, and the Great Empire is a Yi Tish legend about the ancestors of Yi Ti, and the Yi Tish look nothing like Valyrians, but it's not quite impossible that the Great Empire did look like Valyrians because we know so little about them, so therefore it must be true just so there can be a connection.
  • "Sword of the Morning is the same name as a major constellation" connects to "founded Church of Starry Wisdom" because… why? House Peake, the Dothraki, the Andals, the town of Starfish Harbor, medieval astrologers, and Carl Sagan are all interested in stars, and none of them are connected to a death cult devoted to Nyarlathotep that GRRM borrowed from Lovecraft just because it has "Starry" in the name, any more than they're connected to each other.
  • Daynes are close friends of the Targaryens. Because who wouldn't be close friends with anyone who shared an ancestor with you 10000 years ago that you didn't know about. And all those other houses that are closer friends of the Targaryens and aren't related to them… ignore the man behind the curtain.

Seriously, this borders on the kind of apophenia you see in schizophrenics and temporal-lobe epileptics.

1 hour ago, cgrav said:

What's GRRM getting at with the Daynes' outsized backstory and uncanny similarity to an otherwise irrelevant ancient history?

But they don't have an outsized backstory. We actually hear a lot less about House Dayne than about many, many other houses in the story. Using the same example again, look at how much is written about the Royces compared to the Daynes.

1 hour ago, cgrav said:

Hell, why does the GEotD even exist if it doesn't tie into the rest of the series?

OK, now I understand the problem.

Lots and lots of things that are only mentioned in WoIaF exist and don't tie into the rest of the series. Do you think the boneless men, the N'Ghai, Ulthos, the old God-Kings of Ib, the battles between the Sarnori princes, or the foundations of the three Hyrkoon mountain fortresses are going to tie into the rest of the series?

GRRM had a very sketchy design for his world when he started the series. As he went along, he came to enjoy the world building much more than he'd originally expected to. He started filling in all kinds of other stuff. What used to be just "Here be monsters", he started putting names on. Then he and Jonathan Roberts created Lands of Ice and Fire:

Quote

The idea was to do something representing the lands and seas of which, say, a maester of the Citadel might be aware... and while the maesters know more about Asshai and the lands beyond than a medieval monk knew about Cathay, distance remains a factor, and past a certain point legends and myths will creep here. Here there be winged men, and such.

And he had fun doing that, and people liked it. So he had Ran and Linda write The World of Ice and Fire, which, among many other things, fleshed out some of those names and gave some backstory.

The vast majority of that backstory is just flavor text to make the world-building more interesting and lifelike. The idea that every sentence in WoIaF is part to some puzzle we're supposed to figure out that's relevant to the plot and themes of ASoIaF if you only find the secret hidden connections is just ridiculous. The City of the Winged Men is there just to show us "here there be winged men". And the Great Empire of the Dawn is just there to be the kind of legend that a country like Yi Ti would have about its past, like medieval Chinese legends of Xia China controlling most of Asia, but with a dark Clark Ashton-Smith twist on it. Of course the Great Empire have a Long Night myth, because it's an important part of the story that every culture in Planetos has a Long Night myth, and they all have variations on it. And beyond that, we know almost nothing about the Great Empire. They get a few paragraphs in the section on Yi Ti, and one brief mention somewhere else in the book. We get more on the Jogos Nhai than on them.

1 hour ago, cgrav said:

This is a lot of text for something that I frankly don't think is all that important to the story's action, but I do think it's important to be willing to look at these books (or any really) as founded on themes rather than character plots.

Yes, but it's even more important to look at the themes that are actually in the books, rather than to take some other themes that you think are neat and try to find a way to twist the books to fit.

Which, once again, is why I started this thread. I wanted to know if there was any actual textual support for the mystery people are trying to solve, because if there is, it might be worth looking into those solutions and the connections they draw, but if there isn't, it's pointless.

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14 hours ago, falcotron said:

Yes, but it's even more important to look at the themes that are actually in the books

Then what are those themes and what evidence do you have for them?

And you're still looking at the as if it were history rather than literature. Do you understand the difference in approach? In literature every word on the page is intentional. We don't get to presume mere coincidence.

Edited by cgrav

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Sorry to revive this but can someone reminde me what similarities are there between Daynes and Valyrians besides the purple eyes, which is very common in Essos?

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On 9/20/2017 at 0:07 AM, falcotron said:

I'm not bothered by whatever connections are or aren't there; I'm bothered by people asserting connections between things and then not providing any evidence, even when directly asked for the evidence.

So, let me ask you four questions:

  1. What is the evidence for a Dayne familial link to the Dawn Empire?
  2. What is the evidence for a Valyrian familial link to the Dawn Empire?
  3. Even if both of those connections are real, how would that solve the apparent mystery of the Daynes looking like Valyrians? Do you think everyone in eastern Essos had purple eyes?
  4. What is the evidence that Daynes generally look like Valyrians, or that there's any other mystery to solve, in the first place?

 

Sorry, didn't see your response.

1 and 2 are ideas you have to arrive to through logical deduction.

  • Hightowers were in westeros already when the first men arrived. Meaning the First men were not First. 
  • Iron Islanders date back to the First men, yet the first men didn't sail. So how did the Iron Islanders arrive on Westeros/Iron Islands?
  • The Grey King may have sailed to Westeros as the First King of the True First Men, upon a weirwood boat made from Ygg. 
  • The Grey King is Garth Green, the First King of the First Men. A sea faring race that came from where? Begining  a new kingdom in Westeros.
  • The First Dayne followed a falling star to make a sword Dawn from it and build a castle Star fall upon where it landed. 
  • The Bloodstone Emperor worshiped a fallen stone (Same stone?)

So the idea laid out in the clues is that some one sailed from the Empire of the Dawn to Westeros and their began a new kingdom. When his kingdom collapsed though, it became fractured. The remaining member's of this family became watered down with time, with different member's holding different features over time, while others were lost through breeding with other men.

3. What?? No. Why would the Daynes and Valyrians sharing a familial link mean every one in Essos had purple eyes??? Clearly there were other races in Westeros even in ancient days such as the Zoqora, Cymerri, and Gipps. Just means some did, and some didnt. Some who did, lost it. 

4. The way you worded that goes against what we just discussed. They dont look Targaryen. They look GeoDawnish, and so do the Targaryens. Members of the Empire of the Dawn, having varying eye colors, including purple. Hair colors also include platinum and gold. 

As you have pointed out, the Daynes dont look fully Targaryen (or what ever you want to call it). This doesn't prove or disprove anything though. Despite anything. There were many Targaryen's would DID NOT LOOK Targaryen. So that fact alone kinda derails this whole debate of yours. The Targaryens just have a look they identify as them, as they've managed to keep this specific look through breeding. Maybe they just liked the look, or maybe they just thought it helped make them look more unique and god like. Or it's just linked to the dragon gene their trying not to lose. Hard to say for sure. 

A mystery that's not there? Well i guess that's up to debate. The fact that Dawn exist in a family draws interest in and of it's self. The fact that some share Tagaryen features is interesting. The fact that two Daynes are central to our story is interesting. The fact that Daenerys looks like a Dayne is interesting. The fact that Daenerys's name literally gives away that she is the Dayne Heir(ess), draws more interest. Martin has gone out of his way to peak interest in this family. To what ever end. 

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On 9/16/2017 at 2:33 AM, falcotron said:

A lot of people on this forum throw out the idea that the Daynes and the Valyrians have "many mysterious similarities", and go on to propose crackpot theories about the Daynes being the ancestors of all the Valyrians, or being Valyrians who came to Westeros long before the Doom (which requires shuffling around the timeline so Valyria was founded before the First Men migrated, but crackpotters love shuffling timelines), etc.

But what are these many mysterious similarities?

There is no connection beyond a marriage. The only physical connection is purple eyes, and even though the author himself said that purple eyes are not unique to valyrians, this is what people glom on to and base their wishful thinking on 

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3 hours ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

There is no connection beyond a marriage. The only physical connection is purple eyes, and even though the author himself said that purple eyes are not unique to valyrians, this is what people glom on to and base their wishful thinking on 

Hey your name seems familiar...there was a poster called Dorian Martell. Are you him?

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1 hour ago, Falcon2909 said:

Hey your name seems familiar...there was a poster called Dorian Martell. Are you him?

I am not my dad 

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