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Spilledguts

A few questions

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1- I get that most of the dragons died in the civil wars and the ones born after were small and stunted. However, there were quite a few "Wild" Dragons - what happened to them? If they are so long lived, would they still not be around after a hundred years? Were they hunted to extinction as seems to be the case in Essos after the doom?

2- Nettles tamed a dragon with sheep. Is it safe to assume that anyone can tame a dragon? Or do you all believe she was a "dragonseed" and some Valyrian ancestry is required? By this logic, if you look at the real world for example Genghis Khan, a reasearch some 10 years ago or so said that his Y chromosome was in approx 16 Million men. Seeing as how they conquered all of Essos, nearly every person there would have some Valyrian blood. Can anyone in Essos tame a dragon but not anyone in Westeros - seems weird.  

3- With the magic returning to the world, do you think that the "crazy" ideas and plots to hatch dragons such as drinking wildfire, burning Kingslanding or whatever happened at Summerhall would now work? If all that is required is "A life must pay for a life'' as Danny believes, then would every dragon egg in KL hatch if it was burned and people died? Could this be the reason for the hidden wildfire?

4- In the Malazan series they have these sayings that "Power draws power" or that "Power answers Power". Strong entities will converge and fight. One character explained it like this: When curses collide, you might say. Flaws and virtues, the many faces of fateful obsession, of singular purpose. Powers and wills are drawn together, as if one must by nature seek the annihilation of the other.

Also, in a battle where a strong mage will participate, a weaker mage will discover new strengths to sort of "answer" or a new entity shows up as the "answer" to fight the powerful mage. 

We are introduced to the others first. Then the dragons come. Now, all in the series seem to say that magic is coming back to the world. However, Bloodraven has been hooked to a Tree doing some crazy things for quite some time. The COTF have been chilling around and the Ghost of High heart has some gifts of prophecy no? So magic has not diappeared, but destructive magic or human magic yes? Do you think we will see different types of magic such as the Rhoynar who could answer to dragons and fight back? Or is it only Dragons are the answer to the Others and the magic of the Weirwoods is neutral?

Could the Doom have been the answer, because no force left could stand against the dragons?

 

 

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1. We know a little about vanishing dragons (Grey Ghost for example); Marwyn however does imply that the maesters did something to make the dragons go extinct - at this moment we do not know what this could have been.

2. Many theories here. The Targs did think that it needed dragons blood to tame a dragon (and that Nettles "drop" was enough); however: we don't know if this is true (I don't think so), it may well be that it is "only" necessary to form a bound with the dragon, as Nettle did by feeding Sheepstealer. (I also don't think that Vic's horn does bind one or more dragons to the horns owner, but that the horn will somehow drive the dragons to actively search a bounding partner-human. Just my theory here, as the Targs did not need a horn at all - but we will see how the horn does play out)

3. We don't know for sure, but it does sound as if the sacrifice needed for hatching dragons is a really big one, so most of the tries would still fail, albeit maybe doing something completely different.

4. It is stated in the books that the winters are getting longer and tougher since the last dragon died, so they indeed seem to have been a result/symptom/indication for the counterpart to (or truce with) the Others. Fire magic for sure diminished since the dragons extinction and is coming back/getting stronger since Dany hatched her dragons. I don't remember if this is also true for other human magic, or even the magic of the CotF, but other people might recall if this was stated somewhere? However I think (can't look it up at this moment) Quaithe did speak about magic in general awakening.

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1. The whole "dragons getting smaller/stunted toward the end" thing is a misconception. The very last Targ dragons were small and stunted, but it is explicitly theorized by characters that those were poisoned. And there were not many wild dragons. Only 3 that we know of. Grey Ghost was killed at the end of the Dance, Sheepstealer went off with Nettles, and Cannibal disappeared. Balerion died of old age at around 220 years old, so presumably Sheepstealer and Cannibal probably died of old age at some point since the Dance.

2. It may be possible for anyone to tame a dragon in the fashion of Nettles, even without the right genes. But we know that people like Dany have a sort of telepathic connection to their dragons, similar to the Starks with their direwolves. It may be the case that Nettles was able to tame and ride her dragon but never had a more potent telepathic connection to it. As for the Genghis Khan analogy, keep in mind that Genghis had a giant harem and basically had sex/children with as many women as possible, while the Valyrian royalty by contrast was incestuous and specifically made an effort to keep the dragon genes within the family. The reason why Lys has so many people with the features of Valyrian royalty is because that was where they went to engage prostitutes. Nettles may indeed be a dragonseed from one of the Targaryens on Dragonstone.

3. I don't think drinking wildfire would work, but Summerhall maybe. In the GRRM story Nightflyers, the telepathic abilities of people are enhanced when a powerful telepathic creature (flying through space) called a volcryn flies close to the planet. For instance, it is implied that the resurrection of Jesus was facilitated by the volcryn flying close to Earth. A similar principle may be at work in asoiaf. That is, the simple presence of living dragons may enhance the telepathic/magical abilities of others by proximity (even being hundreds or thousands of miles away). And we actually have no confirmation that dragons died off completely in the far east. Dany even specifically questions this fact and is told by the notoriously ignorant Irri and Jhiqui that all dragons everywhere are dead. It may be that any dragons alive in the far east are just too far away for them to affect people in the west like Dany's dragons seem to be doing.

4. See answer to 3. Yeah, "magic" certainly never disappeared entirely. Again it may be that the presence of dragons enhances magical abilities of everyone else by proximity. Keep in mind that the Others haven't shown themselves to be much more "magical" than regular people (the Starks being wargs for instance). They seem to just be genetically mutated humans who can't live in a traditional warm environment and instead are forced to live in cold climates/underground. And at least some of them seem to have similar abilities to wargs, being able to make dead bodies fight for them. As for the weirnet, I personally don't think the weirnet is neutral. I think it may even be responsible for creating dragons and Others in the first place and is nefariously manipulating them into a violent war against each other. Keep in mind that it isn't just Bloodraven hooked up to a tree. Bran found an entire room of COTF hooked up to weirwoods just like Bloodraven, clearly implying that this is the standard procedure for what the COTF do with greenseers.

56 minutes ago, Morte said:

1. We know a little about vanishing dragons (Grey Ghost for example); Marwyn however does imply that the maesters did something to make the dragons go extinct - at this moment we do not know what this could have been.

Almost all the dragons died in the Dance. So Marwyn's statement can clearly be taken to imply that the maesters caused/influenced that war and its outcome. For instance, we don't know why Ulf White and Hugh Hammer betrayed the Blacks and switched sides, and the maesters may have had something to do with that. And for another example, Maester Norren may have forged the letter purportedly from Rhaenyra to Daemon (demanding Nettles' death) that led to Daemon having a suicidal battle with Aemond One-Eye (which resulted in the deaths of both their dragons).

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18 hours ago, 40 Thousand Skeletons said:

1. The whole "dragons getting smaller/stunted toward the end" thing is a misconception. The very last Targ dragons were small and stunted, but it is explicitly theorized by characters that those were poisoned. And there were not many wild dragons. Only 3 that we know of. Grey Ghost was killed at the end of the Dance, Sheepstealer went off with Nettles, and Cannibal disappeared. Balerion died of old age at around 220 years old, so presumably Sheepstealer and Cannibal probably died of old age at some point since the Dance.

Thanks for clarifying which of the wild dragons died and which disappeared, had confused Cannibal and Grey Ghost here.

18 hours ago, 40 Thousand Skeletons said:

Almost all the dragons died in the Dance. So Marwyn's statement can clearly be taken to imply that the maesters caused/influenced that war and its outcome. For instance, we don't know why Ulf White and Hugh Hammer betrayed the Blacks and switched sides, and the maesters may have had something to do with that. And for another example, Maester Norren may have forged the letter purportedly from Rhaenyra to Daemon (demanding Nettles' death) that led to Daemon having a suicidal battle with Aemond One-Eye (which resulted in the deaths of both their dragons).

This may be true indeed, albeit I also tend to think that the poison-theory on the last hatchlings is not far fetched at all, maybe even will be revealed in the last books. And in this the maesters would most likely play a major part, too.

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On 10/11/2017 at 9:11 AM, Spilledguts said:

2- Nettles tamed a dragon with sheep. Is it safe to assume that anyone can tame a dragon? Or do you all believe she was a "dragonseed" and some Valyrian ancestry is required? By this logic, if you look at the real world for example Genghis Khan, a reasearch some 10 years ago or so said that his Y chromosome was in approx 16 Million men. Seeing as how they conquered all of Essos, nearly every person there would have some Valyrian blood. Can anyone in Essos tame a dragon but not anyone in Westeros - seems weird.  

Nettles must be in the story for a reason, and the two most obvious reasons are to show us either (a) you don't actually need dragonlord blood to tame a dragon, or (b) a lot more people have dragonlord blood than people in-world believe (including people who look about as far from Targaryens as possible). I don't know which of the two it is, but either way, you get the same results.

But I wouldn't exactly call it safe to assume that anyone can tame a dragon. Most people who've tried—including half the dragonseeds who definitely did have plenty of Valyrian blood, and of course poor Quentyn—died or were horribly maimed.

So, if it's so hard, how did the Targaryens manage to pull it off regularly for centuries without those horrendous casualties? That's the big question.

Clearly Valyrian blood is neither necessary nor sufficient, but that doesn't necessarily mean it isn't relevant. Maybe having more Valyrian blood gives you better odds?

Or maybe it is genetic, but not in the way people think? Most dragonriders who didn't hatch the eggs themselves inherited their dragons from a pretty close relative, like a grandmother or an uncle, so maybe it's just a matter of being a close relative of the person who hatched the dragon (e.g., by having similar pheromones), not a matter of how much blood you have from a special ancestor hundreds of generations ago.

Or maybe genetics has nothing to do with it. For example, maybe Dany's talk about horns and spells is the key? (Sure, we don't see that in TPatQ, but if you were the Targaryens, would you tell the Maesters the secrets of dragonriding?)

Or maybe it's "just magic". The ancestors of each of the dragonlord families made some great sacrifice that binds dragons to their family, and that binding works based on whatever the original caster's idea of "family" was.

Any of these could be pressed into service (with the right assumptions) to explain Nettles, and Quentyn, and so on. Although none of us really let us predict what will happen when, say, Jon meets a dragon. (We can guess based on narrative/thematic reasoning a lot better than based on in-world knowledge.) Or anything else useful to the story. So, it may be that GRRM will just never give us the answer, or may not even have the answer himself. (There'd still have to be a reason for the dragonseeds story—but then it already serves an example of the mistaken beliefs people have about noble/kingly blood that perpetuate medieval oppression.)

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On 10/11/2017 at 9:11 AM, Spilledguts said:

With the magic returning to the world, do you think that the "crazy" ideas and plots to hatch dragons such as drinking wildfire, burning Kingslanding or whatever happened at Summerhall would now work? If all that is required is "A life must pay for a life'' as Danny believes, then would every dragon egg in KL hatch if it was burned and people died? Could this be the reason for the hidden wildfire?

There are a few questions here.

First, I don't know that it's really true that "a life must pay for a life" is all it takes. Lots of people get killed near dragon eggs, and they're not all hatching. I don't think we should expect to see anyone in-universe understand how magic works well enough to give us an explanation that we can apply like a scientific principle. GRRM has explained that he doesn't write that kind of fantasy. There will be characters who are sure they understand things, but they'll turn out to be tragically wrong. Dany, meanwhile, is basically just guessing, based on a single event she didn't understand.

Meanwhile, we're pointedly shown the return of all kinds of old magic that used to work in the past—dragons, Others, glass candles, Beric-reviving, flaming swords lit by blood, etc.—but nothing new. That may not actually be true (is Qyburn doing successful "research magic"?), but if it is, we'd have to ask which of those crazy ideas actually attempts to reproduce rituals that used to work, and which were actually just crazy. And we don't really know for sure which were which. I mean, Aerion was mad, but he also spent years researching the black arts, so was drinking wildfire come crazy idea he came up, or part of some ancient spell he'd discovered—or even somewhere in between, part of some ancient spell he'd discovered but madly misinterpreted?

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15 hours ago, Morte said:

Thanks for clarifying which of the wild dragons died and which disappeared, had confused Cannibal and Grey Ghost here.

This may be true indeed, albeit I also tend to think that the poison-theory on the last hatchlings is not far fetched at all, maybe even will be revealed in the last books. And in this the maesters would most likely play a major part, too.

Welcome ;) 

Yes the poison theory is not far fetched and is explicitly mentioned in The Hedge Knight:

Quote

He sat naked under the elm while he dried, enjoying the warmth of the spring air on his skin as he watched a dragonfly move lazily among the reeds. Why would they name it a dragonfly? he wondered. It looks nothing like a dragon. Not that Dunk had ever seen a dragon. The old man had, though. Dunk had heard the story half a hundred times, how Ser Arlan had been just a little boy when his grandfather had taken him to King's Landing, and how they'd seen the last dragon there the year before it died. She'd been a green female, small and stunted, her wings withered. None of her eggs had ever hatched. "Some say King Aegon poisoned her," the old man would tell. "The third Aegon that would be, not King Daeron's father, but the one they named Dragonbane, or Aegon the Unlucky. He was afraid of dragons, for he'd seen his uncle's beast devour his own mother. The summers have been shorter since the last dragon died, and the winters longer and crueler."

The maesters certainly may have poisoned the dragon themselves. Though I think GRRM will probably leave it ambiguous because that is his general style of writing.

Just for context, 18 dragons died in the Dance: Vhagar, Caraxes, Syrax, Arrax, Tyraxes, Vermithor, Sunfyre, Vermax, Vermithor, Dreamfyre, Greyghost, Seasmoke, Morghul, Shrykos, Tessarion, Moondancer, Stormcloud and Melys.

4 dragons survived the Dance. Sheepstealer and Cannibal disappeared. Morning and Silverwing both died shortly after the Dance of unknown causes, so again mayhaps the maesters had something to do with their deaths too. And the above mentioned "last dragon" died in 153 AC which was 22 years after the Dance ended. I doubt there were any other dragons born in that period but we don't know for sure.

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On 10/11/2017 at 0:11 PM, Spilledguts said:

1- I get that most of the dragons died in the civil wars and the ones born after were small and stunted. However, there were quite a few "Wild" Dragons - what happened to them? If they are so long lived, would they still not be around after a hundred years? Were they hunted to extinction as seems to be the case in Essos after the doom?

Dragons are not hunted to extinction.  They are at the top of the food chain.  The reason why the Targaryen dragons declined in health is not yet known.  Three hundred years is a short time in terms of evolution.  One theory proposes to blame it on the maesters.  Another says the confinement in the Dragon Pit caused them to get stunted.  We will have to wait until George is ready to tell us.

2- Nettles tamed a dragon with sheep. Is it safe to assume that anyone can tame a dragon? Or do you all believe she was a "dragonseed" and some Valyrian ancestry is required? By this logic, if you look at the real world for example Genghis Khan, a reasearch some 10 years ago or so said that his Y chromosome was in approx 16 Million men. Seeing as how they conquered all of Essos, nearly every person there would have some Valyrian blood. Can anyone in Essos tame a dragon but not anyone in Westeros - seems weird.  

Sheepstealer was not a Targaryen dragon.  He was a wild dragon.  Having Targaryen blood will not make a person more appealing to him.  With Sheepstealer, everyone had equal opportunity.  He was not genetically engineered to bond with a Targaryen.  

3- With the magic returning to the world, do you think that the "crazy" ideas and plots to hatch dragons such as drinking wildfire, burning Kingslanding or whatever happened at Summerhall would now work? If all that is required is "A life must pay for a life'' as Danny believes, then would every dragon egg in KL hatch if it was burned and people died? Could this be the reason for the hidden wildfire?

Summer Hall failed because Aegon V is not Daenerys Targaryen.  Egg was not Azor Ahai.  Only AA could bring back dragons from extinction.  Aerion was obviously not AA.  The eggs hatched because Dany is AA.

4- In the Malazan series they have these sayings that "Power draws power" or that "Power answers Power". Strong entities will converge and fight. One character explained it like this: When curses collide, you might say. Flaws and virtues, the many faces of fateful obsession, of singular purpose. Powers and wills are drawn together, as if one must by nature seek the annihilation of the other.

Also, in a battle where a strong mage will participate, a weaker mage will discover new strengths to sort of "answer" or a new entity shows up as the "answer" to fight the powerful mage. 

We are introduced to the others first. Then the dragons come. Now, all in the series seem to say that magic is coming back to the world. However, Bloodraven has been hooked to a Tree doing some crazy things for quite some time. The COTF have been chilling around and the Ghost of High heart has some gifts of prophecy no? So magic has not diappeared, but destructive magic or human magic yes? Do you think we will see different types of magic such as the Rhoynar who could answer to dragons and fight back? Or is it only Dragons are the answer to the Others and the magic of the Weirwoods is neutral?

The Others were always around.  The NK was sleeping with a female Other.  Craster made a deal long ago with the Others.  The return of the dragons is a recent event.  

Could the Doom have been the answer, because no force left could stand against the dragons?

The Valyrians had access to ancient history.  I think they knew of the Others and purposely stayed away from the western continent to avoid conflict with the others.  Could be an ancient agreement was made between the ancestors of the Valyrians and the others.  Each to stay on their side of the world.  Humans only came to Westeros with the First Men.  No humans lived in the west prior to that time.

 

 

 

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On 13. 10. 2017 at 4:31 AM, falcotron said:

First, I don't know that it's really true that "a life must pay for a life" is all it takes

Almost certainly not - I believe "fire and blood" is the right recipe, and not just any blood. King's blood, but not in the sense of a person whose ass got to polish a chair but a person with power. Perhaps originally, king = the strongest mage? The HotU vision shows dragons bursting from Mirri's head, so burning Mirri, who did possess magic, was then the key.

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9 minutes ago, Ygrain said:

Almost certainly not - I believe "fire and blood" is the right recipe, and not just any blood. King's blood, but not in the sense of a person whose ass got to polish a chair but a person with power. Perhaps originally, king = the strongest mage? The HotU vision shows dragons bursting from Mirri's head, so burning Mirri, who did possess magic, was then the key.

This works, but the problem here is that there are too many explanations that all work, and too little to decide between them.

Why shouldn't Drogo's blood, or Rhaego's, be powerful? Magic based on "king's blood" does seem to work. And there are lots of ways to explain it—e.g., having tens of thousands of people believe in you as a king is the kind of things that magic feeds on in many worlds. Being the "Stallion that Mounts the World" seems even more likely to be magically potent. The only real argument against these are that they'd mean Melisandre is pretty close to being right with her "king's blood" idea. But, even if we want to assume Melisandre can't be that close to right, there are plenty of other alternatives that work too.

We've seen from the Faceless Men that how much a sacrifice is worth to you is sometimes more important than how much it's worth objectively, and that's an idea that runs from Samuel I in the Old Testament up to half of modern fantasy. So maybe it worked just because of how much Drogo and Rhaego meant to Dany.

Also, one more thing to keep in mind: GRRM has repeatedly described Dany's dragon hatching as a unique, one-time-only event. That could mean that Dany stumbled onto a ritual and it's just incredibly unlikely anyone else will ever stumble on it accidentally again. But it could also mean that there is no ritual. Maybe something wanted Dany to have dragons (probably a "something" that will never be explained in-story, and would be borderline incomprehensible even if GRRM explained it perfectly, rather than some anthropomorphic god like R'hllor), so there was a miracle.

And so on.

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7 hours ago, falcotron said:

Why shouldn't Drogo's blood, or Rhaego's, be powerful?

It might, but they were dead already, and the HotU vision shows the dragons in connection with Mirri, not those two (but it also begs asking if the vision was correct in the first place). 

7 hours ago, falcotron said:

Magic based on "king's blood" does seem to work. And there are lots of ways to explain it—e.g., having tens of thousands of people believe in you as a king is the kind of things that magic feeds on in many worlds. Being the "Stallion that Mounts the World" seems even more likely to be magically potent. The only real argument against these are that they'd mean Melisandre is pretty close to being right with her "king's blood" idea. But, even if we want to assume Melisandre can't be that close to right, there are plenty of other alternatives that work too.

It is well possible that the magic works through the life force in blood and that Mel, as usually, doesn't exactly know what she is doing :D

7 hours ago, falcotron said:

Also, one more thing to keep in mind: GRRM has repeatedly described Dany's dragon hatching as a unique, one-time-only event. That could mean that Dany stumbled onto a ritual and it's just incredibly unlikely anyone else will ever stumble on it accidentally again. But it could also mean that there is no ritual. Maybe something wanted Dany to have dragons (probably a "something" that will never be explained in-story, and would be borderline incomprehensible even if GRRM explained it perfectly, rather than some anthropomorphic god like R'hllor), so there was a miracle.

Yeah, I think "stumbled" covers it exactly.

However, since the dragons used to hatch just fine before: was it the same ritual as before? Was it something special because the eggs were petrified? Why did the eggs stop hatching in the first place?

I hope we will find out, eventually.

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20 hours ago, Ygrain said:

However, since the dragons used to hatch just fine before: was it the same ritual as before? Was it something special because the eggs were petrified? Why did the eggs stop hatching in the first place?

I hope we will find out, eventually.

It can't have been the same ritual, because we know Targaryens are not fireproof, so they would not be able to walk into a raging bonfire with a clutch of eggs and walk out with dragons.

I think dragons may have hatched pretty naturally. The Targs don't seem to have been doing anything special* (although I haven't read Sons of the Dragon yet, because I'm lame and want to read the paper copy before the ebook for some reason I can't explain even to myself). Of course they did try all kinds of stuff after the dragons stopped hatching, but none of it ever came close to working, so I wouldn't put much stock in what they tried.

There may have been a ritual 5000 years that did involve someone walking into a fire with an egg, but if so, I'd bet it was a slave walking into the fire, while the dragonlord sat safely outside the fire ordering their spellcasters around, and in general it looked completely unlike what Dany did. In other words, I think "one time only" here may really mean "one time only", not an ancient ritual that Dany rediscovered accidentally.

ETA: And I think we may find out why the dragons stopped hatching, but we're never going to find out why Dany's dragons did hatch.

---

* Except putting the eggs in a crib with Targ babies, but I assume that was about hoping it would make it easier for that baby to later bond with that dragon.

Edited by falcotron

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