hiemal

A Game of Souls: Beyond Fire and Blood

62 posts in this topic

One of my pet projects is trying to spitball my way to a Unified Theory of Magic- I've pursued it in threads like "The Colors of Magic" and "Red Dreams/Green Dreams" and dabbled with subjects like the elements of magic as well. I think it is time, however, to go a little deeper and explore (in my own disorganized fashion) what I believe is the source of all magic- the usurpation and misdirection of soul energy. "Soul" is a squishy term, but in this case I think we are dealing with something midway between simple anima or life energy and an incorporeal, immortal house for intelligence and experience. The soul seems to retain at least some memory and personality (or memory of personality?) but if there are indeed Seven Heavens and Seven Hells apart from the material world we haven't seen them.

The Children and the other followers of the Old Gods seem to take part in a "Soul Cycle" in which soul energy flows through the weirnet.
"Someone else was in the raven," he told Lord Brynden, once he had returned to his own skin. "Some girl. I felt her."
"A woman, of those who sing the song of earth," his teacher said. "Long dead, yet a part of her remains, just as a part of you would remain in Summer if your boy's flesh were to die upon the morrow. A shadow on the soul. She will not harm you."... ADwD
 
This seems to me to be the most "natural" example of soul energy.
 
Melisandre's glamors may seem to have little to do with soul energy, but:
"The bones help," said Melisandre. "The bones remember. The strongest glamors are built of such things. A dead man's boots, a hank of hair, a bag of fingerbones. With whispered words and prayer, a man's shadow can be drawn forth from such and draped about another like a cloak. The wearer's essence does not change, only his seeming." ... ADwD
 
True, those bones were never actually in Rattleshirt's body, but it seems that soul energy is more complicated than simple life essence.
 
Even the Faceless Men make use of this life energy:
"Then came a tug and a soft rustling as the new face was pulled down over the old. The leather scraped across her brow, dry and stiff, but as her blood soaked into it, it softened and turned supple. Her cheeks grew warm, flushed. She could feel her heart fluttering beneath her breast, and for one long moment she could not catch her breath. Hands closed around her throat, hard as stone, choking her. Her own hands shot up to claw at the arms of her attacker, but there was no one there. A terrible sense of fear filled her, and she heard a noise, a hideous crunching noise, accompanied by blinding pain. A face floated in front of her, fat, bearded, brutal, his mouth twisted with rage. She heard the priest say, "Breathe, child. Breathe out the fear. Shake off the shadows. He is dead. She is dead. Her pain is gone. Breathe." ... ADwD
 
The soul may be commonly thought to be in the blood, but it is not so simple. Not all magic is blood magic, but I believe all magic is soul magic. The soul is the power that binds differing, even opposing, elements together in unnatural synthesis. I would to explore a few more specific examples, covering them in tinfoil for your amusement.
 
1. The Wall. I believe the Wall combines the preservation of Ice with the purification of Fire. As Melisandre says "You are wrong. I have dreamed of your Wall, Jon Snow. Great was the lore that raised it, and great the spells locked beneath its ice. We walk beneath one of the hinges of the world." Melisandre gazed up at it, her breath a warm moist cloud in the air. "This is my place as it is yours,"... ADwD How much blood went into the foundations? We have examples of the Wall "eating" people- the Lord Commander and his men entombed in eternal watch, the wildling raider sealed within, and the mouth of the Black Gate. We also have many examples of the Wall described as weeping.
 
2. Valyrian Steel. Fire and Blood. Curiously, fire and blood are each described in different circumstances as both red and black. Black blood, I believe, represents the unstated laws of GRRMverse that innocence is impotent and power corrupts. Black flame likewise seems corrupt. The synthesis here, I hypothesize, is the transformation of fire and the corruption of the Deep Ones (although I do not know if Oily Black Stone is the source or a symptom). The swords are given names and described as having personalities. Lady Forlorn is described "My lady has a thirst," Ser Lyn insisted. "Whenever she comes out to dance, she likes a drop of red."
Blackfyre darkens on Aegon the Conqueror's pyre, as I believe it draws his soul into itself. To what extant might this change the character of the blade?
I believe the Dragonlords probably sacrificed their children to create this steel, my most outlandish tinfoil being that they use Dragonflame to incinerate pregnant women of the high families, although it is infoily possible they simply bleed the children out and the pregnancy angle was solely used to produce dragons, certain women of noble birth being given over to use as birthing tanks like the Axlotl tanks of the Bene Tlielax in Herbert's Dune series ( I know this directly contradicts my theory "fires of the earth made flesh" which postulates that dragons are the remnants of the worlds tectonic energy made tangible but I AM the archmaester of tinfoil and its also possible that the stillbirths are the remnants to produce dragonriders by forging sympathetic bonds through blood magic- it just sounds good, OK!).  Regardless. I feel fairly sure that human souls were integral in the creation of VS and these souls were not common. After all, the price was anything but.
 
3, Circling back to the Faceless Men. Black and White, I believe, refers at least in part to the Faces (phases) of the Moon but I think there is a synthesis of life and death going on here and I suspect that is centered on the element of Water represented by the "poisoned" pool in the House of Black and White. Does this link with the Deep Ones and the Cult of Starry Wisdom in some way? How about the weirwood in the door on a continent where they are at the very least uncommon?
 
4. Glamour. Melisandre's glamors combine light and darkness, flame and shadow. Do they draw upon her own soul energy or does she have another source? Perhaps she stores souls in her ruby pendant?
 
5. Greenseers and the Old Gods. Such magic must be bought with blood and souls, as Bran sees in his visions of Winterfell in the past when his ancestors "bought" into the weirnet soul cycle with human sacrifice.
hen, as he watched, a bearded man forced a captive down onto his knees before the heart tree. A white-haired woman stepped toward them through a drift of dark red leaves, a bronze sickle in her hand.
"No," said Bran, "no, don't," but they could not hear him, no more than his father had. The woman grabbed the captive by the hair, hooked the sickle round his throat, and slashed. And through the mist of centuries the broken boy could only watch as the man's feet drummed against the earth … but as his life flowed out of him in a red tide, Brandon Stark could taste the blood."... ADwD

I suspect that most of their magic is based around earth and sun.

6. The Warlocks of Qarth. "A long stone table filled this room. Above it floated a human heart, swollen and blue with corruption, yet still alive. It beat, a deep ponderous throb of sound, and each pulse sent out a wash of indigo light."... ACoK  I suspect they are using this soul to power their enchantments. Corruption seems to indicate the Deep Ones. My tinfoil is that their Shade of the Evening is nothing other than weirwood that has been corrupted by the Deep Ones Oily Black Stone, making the warlocks blueseers, as I believe the followers of R'hlorr have reddreams Dragonlords might be said to be redseers.

 

Working definition of Soul, Soul Energy, Soul Cycle and Magic:

(Starting with the weirnet system because I think it is the original from which all others are derived)

Soul energy flows into and out of weirwood trees in a natural cycle. Into the weirnet is a meta-reality sustained by a matrix of elemental energy and elemental matter- solar fire and the elements of the growing earth- that is not linear in time or space- by means of the "radio antennae" weirwood trees with their attendant psychopomps. Into the the "roots" of the Soul Cycle. While outside the weirnet, in the physical world, soul energy exists as a soul when it has a nature and a history, personality and memory and it represents a four-dimensional presence in the "real" world for the weirnet. Information and some form of energy can move between embodied souls (skinchanging, for example). The weirwood Soul Cycle is the system that supports this process of souls going into and out of living things and the weirnet. Magic is taking this soul energy and redirecting it by use of elemental energy and elemental matter- Fire and Blood, for example. All of the other Soul Cycles are probably perversions of this system, using different physical foci and providing different manifestations of power as well as being inhabited by guiding Intelligences (gods) that do not take part in the cycle directly but direct it for their own purposes.

 

On Soul Cycles:

I'm going to briefly break down what I believe some of the various magical, soul-based systems are.

1. The weirnet. I believe this was probably the original. The weirwood trees are the foundation, or roots, that provide the tangible network through which souls flow. Ravens and possibly bats function as psychopomps. Some of those who have bought into this system by blood sacrifice to the weirwood somethimes have access to this weirnet, which does not seem to exist wholly in linear time, and can sometimes experience visions (greendreems). Others can send part of their soul energy through network into other beings, usually animals associated with their own blood but sometimes others and even human beings. A very few (greenseers) have even more direct access and can send their energy into virtually anything living and can use the weirnet to "see" freely through the weirnet. Apparently drinking the prepared sap of weirwoods helps in this. Eventually, these few must physically fuse with the weirnet or burn out. Bran is their current champion, the Last Hero, in this Cycle of Prophecy.

2. The Drowned God. When the CotF fought the Deep Ones they sank parts of their own continent as they did when they battled the First Men. This conflict is remembered as the Nagga incident and is the origin of Battle Isle and Moat Cailin as well as the splintering of Pyke. At least one grove of weirwoods was drowned and its attendant CotF became merlings. The Deep Ones were defeated and forced from the surface, but they had their revenge on the merlings and enslaved those around the Iron Islands by poisoned the still-living weirwoods and creating the Drowned God, the Deepnet. -whew- I don't know enough to even guess at how their Soul Cycle might function or what gifts it gives, but I suspect that drinking the prepared sap of corrupted weirwoods (shade of the evening) aids in this causing bluedreams (indigodreams?). Oily Black Stone is the physical substance associated with this Cycle and it can used by those associated with this cycle although I suspect that such a practice is unwholesome and corrupting. I think the warlocks of Qarth use a similar system based around the shade of the evening-poisoned blue heart. The Drowned God's priests have some power to bring followers back from death, harder and stronger, while the Warlocks seem to be focused on personal immortality. I think Euron is the Drowned God's champion.

3. R'hlorr. The Bloodstone's Emperor apotheosis into the tectonic forces of the planet created the Firenet and enshrined him as its overriding intelligence. I think this is a corruption of the weirnet using the Black Stone he caused to be worshipped. Souls seem to use fire in various forms as foci. R'hlorr grants various gifts those bound as slaves to his will seem to have access to various powers including illusion and sometimes visons of the Firenet, reddreams, (which seems to some degree to be temporally non-linear). Those of his blood sometimes have a bond with dragons, the system's sole pyschomp.Obsidian is a physical manifestation of this cycle- fire made stone. It is antithetical to the Great Other's and it can also be used by some to tap into the Firenet by sacrificing blood. Some can also infuse fire into a corpse and recreate a semblance of life's spark. Danaerys, Azor Ahai reborn, is at least one head of his champion.

4. The Great Other, Night's Queen. My best tinfoil is that the Amethyst Empress died in Childbirth but came back as the Great Other due to magical backlash during the Lightbringer event. She became the Mother of Undeath, the first Lady Stoneheart. I doubt she needs a champion Other than herself.

Not a lot to add but that I suspect there might be some kind suspicious ice spires up north like groves of stone weirwoods made of ice. Ice dragon pyschopomps? Ice made flesh. Anyways- the Others, also Ice made Flesh, are sustained by this network. She gives them such "life" as they have and apparently the gift to pass this icy sustaing power onto others and give the dead a semblance of life. I wonder if tools created of the Ice that is also their substance would be antithetical to creatures sustained by Fire?

5. The Many-Faced God. Two tinfoils this but: the Many-Faced God is the collective consciousness of everyone who drinks from the pool at the House of Black and White and those whose faces the FM, his psychopomps(?), soak in it. Alternately he is just one face of the Moon of the Moonsingers. Regardless He grants his followers icky powers to wear faces and give the dead a semblance of life again, as suits their wearers. I suspect they also sometimes have access to visions, blackdreams. One such led Jaqen, his champion, to Arya.

6. The Seven. The Great Emperors of the Dawn ascended. I believe they are associated with the Wanderers,as I've previously tinfoiled. Sometimes they might give healing powers but I don't know of any other gifts associated with them. I do think there is a cycle here but beyond that I have nothing.

7. Mother Rhyone. Not a lot to go but some wild and nebulous tinfoil involving a cycle of expansion and return as the deadly seed of Stone propagates and Her children return home to slowly become statues and eventually stand among their fellows in stony silence at Choryane with their Shrouded Lord. My wildest tinfoil as once they fall into the rivers of their adopted Mother she further adds to their burden with gifts of sediment like the layers of a pearl so that they keep growing until some day their hands may also breach the water, like their Lord's. Why else would there a statue in the middle of the river? The bridge shows she hasn't shifted her banks that much.I suspect that this system was transplanted from the Silver Sea when it dried up, the womb/sea of the Mother becoming a menstrual stream. Apparently they had water magic, and so presumably a soul cycle but not a lot to go on.

Blood Magic operated outside these cycles, tapping and directing power and petitioning Powers directly.

 

This is what I have so far. Please pile on with examples both supprting and contrary, with your own tinfoil, and with your skeptical scorn. This is very much a work in progress and I would like some more soul energy to work with :)

 

 
Edited by hiemal

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Magic is the engine that drives the world.  The analog of petroleum.   I just hope it's a renewable resource.  

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Further thoughts on number 3:

"In the center of the temple she found the water she had heard; a pool ten feet across, black as ink and lit by dim red candles. Beside it sat a young man in a silvery cloak, weeping softly. She watched him dip a hand in the water, sending scarlet ripples racing across the pool. When he drew his fingers back he sucked them, one by one. He must be thirsty. There were stone cups along the rim of the pool. Arya filled one and brought it to him, so he could drink. The young man stared at her for a long moment when she offered it to him. "Valar morghulis," he said."... AFfC

My initial thoughts on the pool were that it is a reflection of the New Moon, the MFG's dark face- the phase of service- and the counterpart of the Moon Pool where the waterdancers duel. I think it may also be the conduit for the Faceless Men's magic and soul cycle in the way that I believe that the weirnet and weirwood sap functions for the Old Gods, flames and obsidian for R'hollor, and the corrupt heart and shade of the evening for the Warlocks. I don't believe, for example. that there is any conventional poison put into this pool, and I I suspect that it would not be fatal for everyone. It is probably also used in the treatment of the faces.

The description also reminds me a bit of solar eclipse with flaming corona. Presaging the Long Night that comes to those who drink?

Edited by hiemal

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I always love your tinfoil @hiemal

I'm going to bed now and will hopefully get back to this with a longer response later, but real quick before I go to sleep, I would like to support your tinfoil by bringing up the concept of a "whisperjewel" from GRRM's Thousand Worlds universe. A brief quote from Nightflyers:

Quote

"It's alive," she said. "Haven't you ever seen one? A whisperjewel, captain. Resonant crystal, etched psionically to hold a memory, a sensation. The touch brings it back, for a time."

Basically whisperjewels are like memory jewels. And in Nightflyers a powerful telepath actually stored her soul in a computer when she died, possibly in a similar fashion to the weirnet:

Quote

...The central core of my computer is resonant crystal, many times larger than your tiny jewel. I think Mother impressed it as she lay dying."

So we know for a fact that GRRM has previously played around with the concept of storing souls/psionic power, and specifically storing it in crystals, so using jewels to aid glamours could definitely be something along these lines. I wouldn't be surprised if Valyrian steel contains souls. And the forging of Lightbringer sounds like AA may have been transferring NN's soul into the blade.

:cheers: 

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16 minutes ago, 40 Thousand Skeletons said:

I always love your tinfoil @hiemal

I'm going to bed now and will hopefully get back to this with a longer response later, but real quick before I go to sleep, I would like to support your tinfoil by bringing up the concept of a "whisperjewel" from GRRM's Thousand Worlds universe. A brief quote from Nightflyers:

Basically whisperjewels are like memory jewels. And in Nightflyers a powerful telepath actually stored her soul in a computer when she died, possibly in a similar fashion to the weirnet:

So we know for a fact that GRRM has previously played around with the concept of storing souls/psionic power, and specifically storing it in crystals, so using jewels to aid glamours could definitely be something along these lines. I wouldn't be surprised if Valyrian steel contains souls. And the forging of Lightbringer sounds like AA may have been transferring NN's soul into the blade.

:cheers: 

:agree: yes! I have had the same thoughts about V steel for a while and Soms of the Dragon gives us a good look at Blackfyre changing when this burnt with Aegon. 

GRRM actually uses the esper-etched whisper jewel in many of his stories. I’ll add some quotes tomorrow because I, too, am going to bed. 

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On Blood Magic:

We have a few examples of what I believe to be "pure" blood magic. Maggy the Frog and the one-eyed Yna at the Happy Port both practice divination by tasting blood provided by a willing victim. Benign enough, but we do not know what price either paid for this ability. It doesn't seem to be tied to any particular system of power, however. The other two I can think of off the top of my head are more troubling, but I believe they are also closely related. The unknown sorcerer sacrifices Vary's literal flesh and blood as well as all of his potential offspring for information (it seems. If Varys is to be believed). Mirri Maaz Duur and the unknown sorcerer who cut Varys to work "pure" magic to directly contact the players behind the other systems. MMD offers up Khal Drogo's favorite stallion, symbolic king's blood and soul both by virtue of possession and contagion, as a starting point for the "real" bargaining took place. This seems to have turned into bidding war judging by the shadows that appear? I doubt the Blood of the Dragon actually bought Drogo's life, such as it was. I think we saw what that blood bought after the pyre, when combined with Drogo's own and Mirri's.

 

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8 hours ago, 40 Thousand Skeletons said:

I always love your tinfoil @hiemal

I'm going to bed now and will hopefully get back to this with a longer response later, but real quick before I go to sleep, I would like to support your tinfoil by bringing up the concept of a "whisperjewel" from GRRM's Thousand Worlds universe. A brief quote from Nightflyers:

Basically whisperjewels are like memory jewels. And in Nightflyers a powerful telepath actually stored her soul in a computer when she died, possibly in a similar fashion to the weirnet:

So we know for a fact that GRRM has previously played around with the concept of storing souls/psionic power, and specifically storing it in crystals, so using jewels to aid glamours could definitely be something along these lines. I wouldn't be surprised if Valyrian steel contains souls. And the forging of Lightbringer sounds like AA may have been transferring NN's soul into the blade.

:cheers: 

Also, we do see Melisandre’s ruby change color on her, and darken while glamouring Mance. George has used the Bloostone emperor who casts glamours in other stories as well... and never are they protagonist. I think this might go along with the way idea of mental enslavment. But more later because I need coffee. 

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9 hours ago, 40 Thousand Skeletons said:

I always love your tinfoil @hiemal

I'm going to bed now and will hopefully get back to this with a longer response later, but real quick before I go to sleep, I would like to support your tinfoil by bringing up the concept of a "whisperjewel" from GRRM's Thousand Worlds universe. A brief quote from Nightflyers:

Basically whisperjewels are like memory jewels. And in Nightflyers a powerful telepath actually stored her soul in a computer when she died, possibly in a similar fashion to the weirnet:

So we know for a fact that GRRM has previously played around with the concept of storing souls/psionic power, and specifically storing it in crystals, so using jewels to aid glamours could definitely be something along these lines. I wouldn't be surprised if Valyrian steel contains souls. And the forging of Lightbringer sounds like AA may have been transferring NN's soul into the blade.

:cheers: 

 

30 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

Also, we do see Melisandre’s ruby change color on her, and darken while glamouring Mance. George has used the Bloostone emperor who casts glamours in other stories as well... and never are they protagonist. I think this might go along with the way idea of mental enslavment. But more later because I need coffee. 

I need to delve more into his other, non-Wild Cards stuff.

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13 hours ago, hiemal said:

Further thoughts on number 3:

"In the center of the temple she found the water she had heard; a pool ten feet across, black as ink and lit by dim red candles. Beside it sat a young man in a silvery cloak, weeping softly. She watched him dip a hand in the water, sending scarlet ripples racing across the pool. When he drew his fingers back he sucked them, one by one. He must be thirsty. There were stone cups along the rim of the pool. Arya filled one and brought it to him, so he could drink. The young man stared at her for a long moment when she offered it to him. "Valar morghulis," he said."... AFfC

My initial thoughts on the pool were that it is a reflection of the New Moon, the MFG's dark face- the phase of service- and the counterpart of the Moon Pool where the waterdancers duel. I think it may also be the conduit for the Faceless Men's magic and soul cycle in the way that I believe that the weirnet and weirwood sap functions for the Old Gods, flames and obsidian for R'hollor, and the corrupt heart and shade of the evening for the Warlocks. I don't believe, for example. that there is any conventional poison put into this pool, and I I suspect that it would not be fatal for everyone. It is probably also used in the treatment of the faces.

The description also reminds me a bit of solar eclipse with flaming corona. Presaging the Long Night that comes to those who drink?

Hi Hiemal -- I still think fire is the central element of magic!  There's no 'soul' -- pun on 'sol'= sun -- without that ineffable 'spark'.  Even the weirnet -- which I characterize as water/ice magic (the same thing IMO) -- requires dragons (e.g. Bloodraven 'burning like the last coal in a dead fire') and others 'kissed by fire' (e.g. Bran) to power it.  The 'drowned god' is therefore the 'fire magic' element drowned within the 'ice/water.'

The same pattern of fire meeting water/ice is manifest in the example you quoted above (great catch re: the Long Night and 'Mythical Astronomy' reference, btw!  I'm sure @LmL would appreciate it too).  So, let me pose a question to you -- if those who come to drink at the black pool are partaking in a 'drowned solar eclipse with flaming corona,' are they drinking from a 'cup of ice' or a 'cup of fire'..?

Here's another example (which may surprise you!) of the same.  Note another possible 'Long Night' reference as the dragon eggs are associated with the 'setting sun'...

Quote

She lifted it delicately, expecting that it would be made of some fine porcelain or delicate enamel, or even blown glass, but it was much heavier than that, as if it were all of solid stone. The surface of the shell was covered with tiny scales, and as she turned the egg between her fingers, they shimmered like polished metal in the light of the setting sun. One egg was a deep green, with burnished bronze flecks that came and went depending on how Dany turned it. Another was pale cream streaked with gold. The last was black, as black as a midnight sea, yet alive with scarlet ripples and swirls. "What are they?" she asked, her voice hushed and full of wonder.

"Dragon's eggs, from the Shadow Lands beyond Asshai," said Magister Illyrio. "The eons have turned them to stone, yet still they burn bright with beauty."

AGOT -- Daenerys II

'The last' (evoking ends) is Drogon's egg.  Note how both elements -- water and fire -- are combined symbolically in his egg:  'black as a midnight sea' and 'scarlet ripples and swirls', respectively.  

In keeping with your 'Last Night' thesis, this is the egg destined to 'break the world':

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Daenerys X

And there came a second crack, loud and sharp as thunder, and the smoke stirred and whirled around her and the pyre shifted, the logs exploding as the fire touched their secret hearts. She heard the screams of frightened horses, and the voices of the Dothraki raised in shouts of fear and terror, and Ser Jorah calling her name and cursing. No, she wanted to shout to him, no, my good knight, do not fear for me. The fire is mine. I am Daenerys Stormborn, daughter of dragons, bride of dragons, mother of dragons, don't you see? Don't you SEE? With a belch of flame and smoke that reached thirty feet into the sky, the pyre collapsed and came down around her. Unafraid, Dany stepped forward into the firestorm, calling to her children.

The third crack was as loud and sharp as the breaking of the world.

For a third instance of the fusion of ice and fire, please see my response to @40 Thousand Skeletons below.

P.S.  I love GRRM's analogy of the cold black water to 'ink', alluding to a secret, magical language, which, as you know, I'm partial to dubbing 'the killing word'!  The weirnet -- the 'sea' of collective knowledge/consciousness by which we 'see' -- is basically a library, the trees the books, the 'ink' allowing us to write the 'words' of remembrance and creation:

Quote

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one. The singers of the forest had no books. No ink, no parchment, no written language. Instead they had the trees, and the weirwoods above all. When they died, they went into the wood, into leaf and limb and root, and the trees remembered. All their songs and spells, their histories and prayers, everything they knew about this world. 

ADWD -- Bran III

In the AGOT show the writers have picked up on GRRM's 'ink' analogy (no, D&D are not always as daft as their latest offerings would have us believe):

Spoiler


 

Although I believe the 'past is already written', the 'ink is NOT dry'!  It's a paradox, to which GRRM has been known to be partial.

 

12 hours ago, 40 Thousand Skeletons said:

the concept of a "whisperjewel" from GRRM's Thousand Worlds universe. A brief quote from Nightflyers:

Quote

"It's alive," she said. "Haven't you ever seen one? A whisperjewel, captain. Resonant crystal, etched psionically to hold a memory, a sensation. The touch brings it back, for a time."

Basically whisperjewels are like memory jewels. And in Nightflyers a powerful telepath actually stored her soul in a computer when she died, possibly in a similar fashion to the weirnet:

Quote

...The central core of my computer is resonant crystal, many times larger than your tiny jewel. I think Mother impressed it as she lay dying."

So we know for a fact that GRRM has previously played around with the concept of storing souls/psionic power, and specifically storing it in crystals, so using jewels to aid glamours could definitely be something along these lines. I wouldn't be surprised if Valyrian steel contains souls. And the forging of Lightbringer sounds like AA may have been transferring NN's soul into the blade.

Hi sweet peter :). That's very interesting!

That information introduces an added dimension to the symbology surrounding all the jewels replacing eyes, or eyes likened to jewels, which abound in the text, including sapphire, ruby, garnet, amethyst, bloodstone, jade, emerald, tiger's eye, opal, tourmaline, obsidian and flint.

According to the pun on 'soul' of 'sol' (Latin for 'sun'), Valyrian steel is said to 'drink the sun', which we can interpret as 'drinking the sol' or 'soul'!

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Tyrion IV

Tyrion wondered where the metal for this one had come from. A few master armorers could rework old Valyrian steel, but the secrets of its making had been lost when the Doom came to old Valyria. "The colors are strange," he commented as he turned the blade in the sunlight. Most Valyrian steel was a grey so dark it looked almost black, as was true here as well. But blended into the folds was a red as deep as the grey. The two colors lapped over one another without ever touching, each ripple distinct, like waves of night and blood upon some steely shore. "How did you get this patterning? I've never seen anything like it."

"Nor I, my lord," said the armorer. "I confess, these colors were not what I intended, and I do not know that I could duplicate them. Your lord father had asked for the crimson of your House, and it was that color I set out to infuse into the metal. But Valyrian steel is stubborn. These old swords remember, it is said, and they do not change easily. I worked half a hundred spells and brightened the red time and time again, but always the color would darken, as if the blade was drinking the sun from it. And some folds would not take the red at all, as you can see. If my lords of Lannister are displeased, I will of course try again, as many times as you should require, but—"

"No need," Lord Tywin said. "This will serve."

 

Quote

"Blood of my blood," Jhogo said in Dothraki, "this is an evil place, a haunt of ghosts and maegi. See how it drinks the morning sun? Let us go before it drinks us as well."

ACOK - Daenerys IV

 

Further, I believe there is a pun on 'steel' with 'steal' -- the Valyrian steel steals souls, just as it steals the sun! (I also think the Last Hero's 'Dragonsteel' has something to do with stealing a dragon, he he...)

 

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3 hours ago, hiemal said:

 

I need to delve more into his other, non-Wild Cards stuff.

I haven’t read much into Wildcards, but I know George mostly edits and coordinates that series as his writing in that series has tapered off, but I could be wrong. 

I do believe that it helps (but not required) to read, and reread, hisnolder work because every single theme we have in ASOAIF started out there first. We get to see how he uses his inspiration in the end. He is not rewriting Tolkien (as he often says), but has established his own, amazing voice as he retells his stories that haunt him and he needs to get out. Write what you know. 

Heck, even the shade of the evening tree has a reference in another story and it is also with a Dany/Rhollor/Fire character exclusively. 

The main series has been picked to death and rebirth and back again. I highly recommend reading his older stuff, it is pretty telling stuff and I will always gladly discuss it with you or anyone else :cheers:

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2 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

Hi Hiemal -- I still think fire is the central element of magic!  There's no 'soul' -- pun on 'sol'= sun -- without that ineffable 'spark'.  Even the weirnet -- which I characterize as water/ice magic (the same thing IMO) -- requires dragons (e.g. Bloodraven 'burning like the last coal in a dead fire') and others 'kissed by fire' (e.g. Bran) to power it.  The 'drowned god' is therefore the 'fire magic' element drowned within the 'ice/water.'

If ti makes any sense, I think there might be a subtle distinction between fire and the fires of the earth- which may be why we run into black, corrupted fire. The anima or soul energy is very well symbolized by mundane fire, burning through the tallow of the body to release the light of being, if I'm not burying myself in imagery. Magic, however, is essentially terrible and unnatural, and one must either burn the candle at both ends (expending one's own life energy directly or by symbolic sacrifice- say an eye?) or "borrowing" someone else's- with or without their knowledge and consent as the situation and the practitioner decide.

So I agree that the weirnet is fueled by fire (the red leaves as much as proclaim it), I think the synthesis here is the sun's fire and the earth's stability, although water/ice makes a lot of sense, too. I guess I just haven't gotten that far. I think dragonfire might be something different, however- but I'm sure you've heard me beat my tectonic energy drums before.

And the Drowned God- definitely. Nagga as undersea volcanoes and all that. We may be approaching from different angles, but I don't think we're too far off from each other on this.

2 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

 

The same pattern of fire meeting water/ice is manifest in the example you quoted above (great catch re: the Long Night and 'Mythical Astronomy' reference, btw!  I'm sure @LmL would appreciate it too).  So, let me pose a question to you -- if those who come to drink at

 

the black pool are partaking in a 'drowned solar eclipse with flaming corona,' are they drinking from a 'cup of ice' or a 'cup of fire'..?

That's a good question. This pool is indoors and can't reflect- the eclipse is eternal. Is that shadow or darkness? Is there a difference? My guess is they are quaffing something closely akin to water and ice with the amount of weirwood about Jaqen's possible interest in killing dragons and his distinction between the Many-Faced God and "him of Fire".

2 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

Here's another example (which may surprise you!) of the same.  Note another possible 'Long Night' reference as the dragon eggs are associated with the 'setting sun'...

'The last' (evoking ends) is Drogon's egg.  Note how both elements -- water and fire -- are combined symbolically in his egg:  'black as a midnight sea' and 'scarlet ripples and swirls', respectively.  

In keeping with your 'Last Night' thesis, this is the egg destined to 'break the world':

The eclipse, Aegon's black iron and "true fire" ruby crown reflected on water? My understanding of water in all of this is lacking TBH, and I suspect this element may be divided into seawater and fresh (at least in part) and reflect the cycle of rain and rivers. Water represents the deep parts of the mind, it supports life, it erodes stone, and of course it becomes Ice. A lot to think about here.

2 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

 

 

For a third instance of the fusion of ice and fire, please see my response to @40 Thousand Skeletons below.

P.S.  I love GRRM's analogy of the cold black water to 'ink', alluding to a secret, magical language, which, as you know, I'm partial to dubbing 'the killing word'!  The weirnet -- the 'sea' of collective knowledge/consciousness by which we 'see' -- is basically a library, the trees the books, the 'ink' allowing us to write the 'words' of remembrance and creation:

In the AGOT show the writers have picked up on GRRM's 'ink' analogy (no, D&D are not always as daft as their latest offerings would have us believe):

  Reveal hidden contents

 

 

Although I believe the 'past is already written', the 'ink is NOT dry'!  It's a paradox, to which GRRM has been known to be partial.

 

 

I'm a big fan of "The Killing Word". The relationship between language and magic is fascinating. Eggs and Aegon's. All the world's dark oceans as a shell hiding the fires of the earth.

Ink also conjures images of Krakens, " When the kraken weds the dragon, brother, let all the world beware." ... AFfC

2 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

 

According to the pun on 'soul' of 'sol' (Latin for 'sun'), Valyrian steel is said to 'drink the sun', which we can interpret as 'drinking the sol' or 'soul'!

Further, I believe there is a pun on 'steel' with 'steal' -- the Valyrian steel steals souls, just as it steals the sun! (I also think the Last Hero's 'Dragonsteel' has something to do with stealing a dragon, he he...)

 

Yep. "Blood and Souls for my lord, R'hlorr", to Moorcock it up. I have mixed feelings about the idea of Bran stealing a dragon, however- if my red dreams/green dreams and fires of the earth made flesh tinfoils hold water (or fire) dragons may be of a sufficiently different order of life and of magic as to make that impossible. Or perhaps anything with a soul can be "ridden"? I wonder what Bran might see/feel if he examined a VS steel sword with his third eye?

Edited by hiemal

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1 hour ago, The Fattest Leech said:

I haven’t read much into Wildcards, but I know George mostly edits and coordinates that series as his writing in that series has tapered off, but I could be wrong. 

I do believe that it helps (but not required) to read, and reread, hisnolder work because every single theme we have in ASOAIF started out there first. We get to see how he uses his inspiration in the end. He is not rewriting Tolkien (as he often says), but has established his own, amazing voice as he retells his stories that haunt him and he needs to get out. Write what you know. 

Heck, even the shade of the evening tree has a reference in another story and it is also with a Dany/Rhollor/Fire character exclusively. 

The main series has been picked to death and rebirth and back again. I highly recommend reading his older stuff, it is pretty telling stuff and I will always gladly discuss it with you or anyone else :cheers:

Which one? Sounds like a must-read.

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On 11/19/2017 at 3:04 PM, hiemal said:

Which one? Sounds like a must-read.

I just don't know where to start :D Each one is like a mini arc, or specific chapter in the main ASOIAF series. And each character has a primary ASOIAF counterpart, but then George tends to expand that one into two or three new ASOIAF characters. I will touch on a few here, but this is by no means a complete list or breakdown.

For instance, in Nightflyers (my second fave behind Meathouse Man) the main protag, Royd Eris, is 90% Jon, about 5% Rhaegar, and the rest Bloodraven/Bran, with a few dollops of other magic touches we see in ASOAIF. That story is set in space, but it is totally the story of Jon (and Val) at the wall and Castle Black. This includes the flirting, the "hiding" behind a wall, the protection that Melantha (Val) gives to Royd, the mutiny attempt with the other crewmen who do not understand what is going on a speculate and get paranoid, the Targagryen madness, the constant references to Royd as a spectre or ghost, genetic manipulation and rejection of the idea of incest, Royd wears a black armored suit in one important scene, that touching increases the psi-link bond, the ship is described as a behemoth made of three eggs (a dragon), etc, etc, etc.... Yes, there is a red watching eye, but that eye is controlled by the mother-ship, who is the epitome of Targ bow or burn madness of the past and things to come. So even though the red watching eye reminds you of Bloodraven, it is more connected to the dragon/fire side of things. If you and I ever sat for coffee together one day then I'd show you my highlighted and noted up book that has page per page hints and clues. That would make my nerd dreams come true :wub:, but we would have to invite @40 Thousand Skeletons

Fevre Dream is another Jon at the wall heavy motif story. This includes the Bolton angle as well. Speaking of Boltons, The Skin Trade is super heavy Bolton themed, and this includes how it relates to both Stark/Bolton history, Reek-Ramsay-Theon, and yes, skinchanging. There is also a glimpse of Euron towards the end. There are also a nice milk glass, shards of falling glass references in this one ;)

For Daenerys (and R'hollorism) I would start with Sandkings and Simon Kress (for sure) and includes a Quaithe character and some of her warnings (amongst many, many additional Dany themes), Only Kids are afraid of the Dark (light and dark combat), the Stone City, the Nightflyers ship/mother, Fevre Dream in Daemon Julian, And Seven Times Never Kill Man for a really good maester/Faith of 7/R'Hollorism archetype and pay attention to the Pale Child Bakkalon (which also has mentions in ASOIAF), and this includes a special idol made of a special blue wood ;) Also in Seven Times we do see a bit of the CotF, once that excitement is over, you can tell that the Jaenshi are just as much the free folk as they are CotF types.

Dying of the Light is most comparable to a variety of ASOAIF ideas. In my opinion, mostly the love triangles we see over and over, and promises, and Rhaegar and Bobby B and the choice of Lyanna and how Ned deals and lives with that choice. Oh, and a long diatribe about "Jenny", which directly relates to our Jenny of Oldstones and how she is an unobtainable dream that no one can truly live up to. There is also escaping/hiding in aircars that look like white wolves with red laser eyes. Not much religion in this one, but plenty, plenty about how history as it is told is wrong (more clues to not trust the World of I&F book without question), and that woman had more of a hand in history than the record keepers allowed, and that history was even changed to reflect the "new" way of thinking. And there is a character in there that is basically 100% Jon Connington back when he was with Rhaegar.

For Arya, read Meathouse Man. It is weird as hell, and you may need a second read to really get all of the references (as with most GRRM works). Also read Bitterblooms- without a doubt heavy Arya references, but also a great example of another one of GRRM's manipulating Melisandre characters that is so crazy that she makes everything worse. There is even an Arya character in Nightlfyers.

For Sansa, this character is a little trickier, but I tend to go for The Lonely Songs of Larren Dor (sp?), and In the Lost Lands (for her Whent heritage). In The Lost Lands also has some Arya clues with her faceless man skills- but only for a small part of the story.

There is a touch of Bran, or just greenseeing, in many of the stories. I'd say the best ones for Bran are This Tower of Ashes and Override. The second one, Override, is very interesting for Bran because it in broadstrokes it is about a man who realizes he has a real psi-talent and can override another, strong, mind control box to save his life.

Also for Bran, and for the time travel issue in the story, I know GRRM has written a three TT stories. Two are no doubt time travel stories and they don't hide it. These two stories also deal with the issue of the butterfly effect of messing with the past and how it affects the future/here and now. This is where I slightly disagree with 40K skeletons. I think Bran is much more like the "time travel" story For A Single Yesterday. The jist of that story is after an apocalyptic event, there is this guy, a singer, who wanders away from his village of survivors to go sit under a red-leafed tree at the edge of the water. He takes a drug that helps him mentally travel back in time where he can interact with history, but only to the point of reliving it. He cannot change anything. He also yearns dearly to go back in time so he can see his loved ones and be "with" them. Then there is this military guy named (something) Winters that helps this first guy along with his healing process. The idea is that this singing greenseer guy (???name???), must share his knowledge to help these survivors rebuild- he goes back in time to learn, to not forget past knowledge, and well, survive. I think it was a war of some sort that caused this apocalyptic situation. This story is set in a modern world like our own.

ADDING: After a current re-read of Stone City, something I had not done in a long time, I can see how there is a lot of Bran and possible time travel clues in this one as well.

Then there is the recurring seemingly random items and themes between each story that also carryover into ASOAIF. Pick a theme, pick and item, and it is there.  And NO! I do not think ASOAIF is part of his 1,000 worlds galaxy or secret sci-fi. George has described these genres as both being related, but different, and I trust him on that. In one of his anthologies he describes the differences as the "furniture". We have analyzed this book series to death over the last few years and we are going in circles with trying to figure things out. Gotta face it, the forum has been a tad boring lately. Troll threads popping up daily. To me, maybe not others and that is ok, but to me it seems the next step to uncovering the clues in ASOAIF means we look at this author and his work, not the work of other authors that have little to nothing to do with this series. How does George use his inspiration.

There is more... but that is probably sufficient for now ^_^

One more thing, there are some new ideas, yes, or themes he has expanded on in ASOIAF because he has the room to do so in this sprawling series. He is not totally ripping himself off. He just likes his own themes.

Edited by The Fattest Leech

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2 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

There is a touch of Bran, or just greenseeing, in many of the stories. I'd say the best ones for Bran are This Tower of Ashes and Override. The second one, Override, is very interesting for Bran because it in broadstrokes it is about a man who realizes he has a real psi-talent and can override another, strong, mind control box to save his life.

That's interesting -- tell me more about overriding this mind control box..!

The 'mind control box' would be the weirnet equivalent?  Perhaps the 'overriding' in ASOIAF would involve a 'greenseer war' or face-off in the weirnet -- i.e. a battle of 'the knights of the mind' for control of the 'mind control box'!  (we have already seen an example thereof when Varamyr and Haggon battle for third-eye possession of the wolf).

Personally, I think Bran's task will be to 'short-circuit' the 'mind control box,' not to save his own life, as in the example you gave, but to save the life of others.  In fact, I see him sacrificing himself along with the 'box' -- 'destroying the cauldron of immortality from within', just as in the myth of Bran the Blessed and his brother Efnisien, except the inverse.

It's important to study GRRM's other works -- it's a good thing I have you and @40 Thousand Skeletons to update me on the important themes (or should I say 'variations' on a theme... :cheers: )-- although it's also valuable to recognize how his themes are evolving.  For example, from what I've been able to glean, GRRM initially viewed belonging to a collective as anathema, e.g. in A Song for Lya, where there were only two choices: join the Greeshka and lose your identity, or keep yourself and lose your girlfriend (!)  vs. in ASOIAF where he seems to be exploring the idea of being a sneaky 'naughty greenseer' archetype, in which you get to 'keep your cake and eat it too', involving joining the collective without really relinquishing ones individuality, dipping in and out, and then making off with the spoils, ultimately forsaking the collective after having benefited from the experience of the union (in short, you get to have yourself and keep Lisa  your girlfriend too, or an unsound variation thereof).  Symbolically, this is what's shown by Daenerys exiting Drogo's funeral pyre, then later fleeing the House of the Undying; or Arya tricking the many-faced god into granting her a bottomless well of wishes, instead of just three, then releasing the prisoners, and fleeing Harrenhal (as in the AGOT show, I predict she'll find a way to squirm out of the House of Black and White too); likewise, I believe Jon will leave his post at the Night's Watch, and Bran will escape Bloodraven's hollow of hypnotic horrors and extricate himself from the krakenesque clutches of the weirnet, even if it means his own death.  The harsh maxim 'only death pays for life' does not always apply to the protagonists, however (when all is tallied, other people around them pay far more in terms of self-sacrifice or ego abnegation, if you like, than they do...), and sometimes I get the feeling GRRM does not intend for it to apply to himself either! 

Edited by ravenous reader

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Interesting suggestions, @hiemal , which takes us beyond the "elements"

As for the "elements"... It's not unknown how George is a fan of Lovecraft, who was a good friend of Aleister Crowley. The latter was a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn and much of his work was the argument that "alchemism" wasn't so much about metallurgy but spiritual transformation. In fact, I have observed that George seems to have used symbolic imagery from Crowley's Tarot card concepts (which deviates on many levels of the more famous Waite deck - Waite was also of the same order, but Waite and Crowley were enemies, and Lovecraft sided with Crowley, as he wrote a short-story with an evil magician called Waite). The most "alchemic" card in that deck is "Art":

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-jZAVQQ_HZqM/UsPLB8ZvumI/AAAAAAAADcY/gXV1_WL6hjg/s1600/14+Temperance+(Art).jpg

Waite calls it Temperance. Crowley called it Art. Waite depicts an angel (https://suzannerbanks.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/temperance.jpg

But Crowley depicts a royal pair, with two heads (male and female) and one unified body. Black and white is intermixed. Notice the moon phases on the chest of the figure.

More differences: Waite's angel lets water flow from one cup into the other, whereas Crowley's royal "twin/hermaphrodite/unified" figure performs an alchemic ritual of mixing water with fire into a cauldron with a salpeter skull engraved into it. Next tot he cauldron you see a red griffon and a white lion. The griffon and lion also appear in another, earlier, Tarot card, the Lovers", but there the lion is red and the griffon white/silver. The Lovers depicts a "royal wedding" of two people of two differnt ethnic backgrounds (the black and white). Both the "twin" figure in Art as well as the color scheme of the lion and griffon depict how after the unification in a symbolical wedding, a new whole is created managing to mix opposites: black vs white, dark vs blonde, fire vs water...

And so yes, George definitely has fire + water as the ideal alchemic mixture set up. 

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2 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

That's interesting -- tell me more about overriding this mind control box..!

The 'mind control box' would be the weirnet equivalent?  Perhaps the 'overriding' in ASOIAF would involve a 'greenseer war' or face-off in the weirnet -- i.e. a battle of 'the knights of the mind' for control of the 'mind control box'!  (we have already seen an example thereof when Varamyr and Haggon battle for third-eye possession of the wolf).

I am a little limited on time this evening because I am trying to finish up a chapter in my own story that is being critiqued tomorrow. I will answer with what mental muscle I have to spare.

To a degree, yes. In Nightflyers it is talked about how a human mind has never been taken over by another race and it would take something extraordinary for that to happen (something that apparently had never been witnessed). Many different stories that play with identity across all of his books. To say the words "A harangan mind" in these stories causes parls to be clutched, the record to screech, silverware dropped, children to cry. This is the ultimate slave holder race and they are feared throughout the galaxy. The thought of being mind controlled is appalling to all.

Quote

Personally, I think Bran's task will be to 'short-circuit' the 'mind control box,' not to save his own life, as in the example you gave, but to save the life of others.  In fact, I see him sacrificing himself along with the 'box' -- 'destroying the cauldron of immortality from within', just as in the myth of Bran the Blessed and his brother Efnisien, except the inverse.

This could happen. The thing is moderation and choice. George doesn't mind religion, as long as it is in moderation and not trying to push anyone into thralldom. It doesn't need to be destroyed, just kept in check/balance.

Quote

 

It's important to study GRRM's other works -- it's a good thing I have you and @40 Thousand Skeletons to update me on the important themes (or should I say 'variations' on a theme... :cheers: )-- although it's also valuable to recognize how his themes are evolving.

There definitely are variations on the details, even if the underpinning are mostly the same. He has the right to change this at anytime should the story dictate it so... or he gets bored :P

Quote

 

  For example, from what I've been able to glean, GRRM initially viewed belonging to a collective as anathema, e.g. in A Song for Lya, where there were only two choices: join the Greeshka and lose your identity, or keep yourself and lose your girlfriend (!)  vs. in ASOIAF where he seems to be exploring the idea of being a sneaky 'naughty greenseer' archetype, in which you get to 'keep your cake and eat it too', involving joining the collective without really relinquishing ones individuality, dipping in and out, and then making off with the spoils, ultimately forsaking the collective after having benefited from the experience of the union

Hmmm, any more examples of what you mean here?

Lya seemed to have a chink in her wall and something sweet got through, whereas Rob did not. Lya, however, was the more talented reader and the massive hivemind overwhelmed her, sucked her in and consumed her like a fire. Rob was almost saved because he did not have her talent. Lya tried to beckon Rob to follow her, but he stayed "cold" and chose to keep his own identity.

There is also the recurring theme of choice. We see this most obviously in the LSH and Brienne scene in AFFC. The results of your choices over time is what makes you the person you are now. Lya chose to go

From Fevre Dream where the "good" vampire is using himself as a way to kill off the "bad" vampires. He, Joshua York, is not trying to kill all vampires, instead he wants them to integrate and to control their "red thirst" with a special drink he has invented. So in this story, the special drink suppresses desire:

“Abner, your people can learn much from mine. But not the things that he had learned. Not that. I felt pity for him. He was old and hideous and without hope. Yet I was angry as well, as angry as I had been in Buda-Pest with the rich woman who liked to wash in blood. In the legends of your race, my people have been made the very essence of evil. The vampire has no soul, no nobility, no hope of redemption, it is said. I will not accept that, Abner. I have killed countless times, have done many terrible things, but I am not evil. I did not choose to be the way I was. Without choice, there can be no good nor evil. My people have never had that choice. The red thirst has ruled us, condemned us, robbed us of all we might have been. But your people, Abner—they have no such compulsion. That thing I encountered in the forest beyond New Madrid, he had never felt the red thirst, he could have been anything, done anything. Instead he had chosen to become what he was. Oh, to be sure, one of my own race shares the guilt—the man who lied to him, promised him things that could never be. Yet I can understand the reason for that, much as I might loathe it. An ally among your people can make all the difference. All of us know fear, Abner, my race and yours alike.

“What I cannot understand is why one of you would lust so after a life in darkness, would desire the red thirst. Yet he did desire it, with a great passion. He begged me not to leave him, as the other bloodmaster had done. I could not give him what he wanted. I would not, even if it had been possible. I gave him what I could.”

“You tore his damn throat out for him, didn’t you?” Abner Marsh said to the darkness.

“I told you,” Valerie said. Marsh had almost forgotten she was there, quiet as she’d been. “He doesn’t understand. Listen to him.”

“I killed him,” Joshua admitted, “with my bare hands. Yes. His blood ran off my fingers, soaked into the earth. But it did not touch my lips, Abner. And I buried him intact.”

Another great silence filled the cabin while Abner Marsh pulled at his beard, and thought. “Choice, you said,” he volunteered finally. “That’s the difference between good and evil, you said. Now it looks like I’m the one got to make a choice.”

“We all make our choices, Abner. Every day.”

“Maybe that’s so,” said Marsh. “I don’t much care for this one, though. You say you want my help, Joshua. Let’s say I give it. How’s that goin’ to make me any different from that damned old mulatto you killed, answer me that!”

“I would never make you into—something like that,” Joshua said. “I have never tried. Abner, I will live for centuries after you are dead and gone. Have I ever tried to tempt you with that?”

“You tempted me with a goddamn steamboat instead,” Marsh replied. “And you sure as hell told me a pack of lies.”

“Even my lies have held a kind of truth, Abner. I told you I sought out vampires to put an end to their evil. Can’t you see the truth in that? I need your help, Abner, but as a partner, not as a bloodmaster needs a human thrall.”

Quote

(in short, you get to have yourself and keep Lisa  your girlfriend too, or an unsound variation thereof). 

Doh!

Quote

Symbolically, this is what's shown by Daenerys exiting Drogo's funeral pyre, then later fleeing the House of the Undying; or Arya tricking the many-faced god into granting her a bottomless well of wishes, instead of just three, then releasing the prisoners, and fleeing Harrenhal (as in the AGOT show, I predict she'll find a way to squirm out of the House of Black and White too);

The House of B&W is interesting. It's not one that has a real direct parallel that I have seen. It does not even compare to the main Greeshka. The closest Arya is in Bitterblooms. In that story, the little girl Shawn of Carinhall, finds the truth in her situation and she does leave and she has to fight her way out... but she gets old and the old are sent out to die to make room for the younger generation, and she steals some food, gathers her knife her father gave her, grabs her leather face mask and heads out to refind the giant brazier that this strange magic woman lives in. When she gets there, things are not as they once seemed and reality sets in. The "alien" flowers have taken over and nothing moved in the wind except for them. That is all I can say without toooooo many more spoilers.

Quote

likewise, I believe Jon will leave his post at the Night's Watch,

This character tends to go a few ways in the details, but his tenets and teachings always live on whether he is there or not.

Quote

and Bran will escape Bloodraven's hollow of hypnotic horrors and extricate himself from the krakenesque clutches of the weirnet, even if it means his own death.  The harsh maxim 'only death pays for life' does not always apply to the protagonists, however (when all is tallied, other people around them pay far more in terms of self-sacrifice or ego abnegation, if you like, than they do...), and sometimes I get the feeling GRRM does not intend for it to apply to himself either! 

This is a possibility. Like I mentioned earlier, Royd Eris is partially Bran. There is never a one-to-one straight comparison between the stories, but the Bran part of Royd is hooked up the the ship-net and he has to stay there because of (basically) health reasons. He does disconnect himself in order to save the girl he loves.

Also, do not underestimate what seem to be secondary characters. ;)

Edited by The Fattest Leech
clarified a word

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52 minutes ago, sweetsunray said:

Interesting suggestions, @hiemal , which takes us beyond the "elements"

As for the "elements"... It's not unknown how George is a fan of Lovecraft, who was a good friend of Aleister Crowley. The latter was a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn and much of his work was the argument that "alchemism" wasn't so much about metallurgy but spiritual transformation. In fact, I have observed that George seems to have used symbolic imagery from Crowley's Tarot card concepts (which deviates on many levels of the more famous Waite deck - Waite was also of the same order, but Waite and Crowley were enemies, and Lovecraft sided with Crowley, as he wrote a short-story with an evil magician called Waite). The most "alchemic" card in that deck is "Art":

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-jZAVQQ_HZqM/UsPLB8ZvumI/AAAAAAAADcY/gXV1_WL6hjg/s1600/14+Temperance+(Art).jpg

Waite calls it Temperance. Crowley called it Art. Waite depicts an angel (https://suzannerbanks.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/temperance.jpg

But Crowley depicts a royal pair, with two heads (male and female) and one unified body. Black and white is intermixed. Notice the moon phases on the chest of the figure.

More differences: Waite's angel lets water flow from one cup into the other, whereas Crowley's royal "twin/hermaphrodite/unified" figure performs an alchemic ritual of mixing water with fire into a cauldron with a salpeter skull engraved into it. Next tot he cauldron you see a red griffon and a white lion. The griffon and lion also appear in another, earlier, Tarot card, the Lovers", but there the lion is red and the griffon white/silver. The Lovers depicts a "royal wedding" of two people of two differnt ethnic backgrounds (the black and white). Both the "twin" figure in Art as well as the color scheme of the lion and griffon depict how after the unification in a symbolical wedding, a new whole is created managing to mix opposites: black vs white, dark vs blonde, fire vs water...

And so yes, George definitely has fire + water as the ideal alchemic mixture set up. 

I own a copy of both of those decks, and I still didn't make the connection! Kudos and thanks! Pondering a bit, but I want to get back to this. For now, though: I've been thinking along somewhat similar lines with the philosopher's stone, lapis exillis, Holy Grails, etc but I was hung up on the eclipse angle (angel, hehe), perhaps? Exciting stuff!

Edited by hiemal

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1 hour ago, sweetsunray said:

Interesting suggestions, @hiemal , which takes us beyond the "elements"

As for the "elements"... It's not unknown how George is a fan of Lovecraft, who was a good friend of Aleister Crowley. The latter was a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn and much of his work was the argument that "alchemism" wasn't so much about metallurgy but spiritual transformation. In fact, I have observed that George seems to have used symbolic imagery from Crowley's Tarot card concepts (which deviates on many levels of the more famous Waite deck - Waite was also of the same order, but Waite and Crowley were enemies, and Lovecraft sided with Crowley, as he wrote a short-story with an evil magician called Waite). The most "alchemic" card in that deck is "Art":

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-jZAVQQ_HZqM/UsPLB8ZvumI/AAAAAAAADcY/gXV1_WL6hjg/s1600/14+Temperance+(Art).jpg

Waite calls it Temperance. Crowley called it Art. Waite depicts an angel (https://suzannerbanks.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/temperance.jpg

But Crowley depicts a royal pair, with two heads (male and female) and one unified body. Black and white is intermixed. Notice the moon phases on the chest of the figure.

More differences: Waite's angel lets water flow from one cup into the other, whereas Crowley's royal "twin/hermaphrodite/unified" figure performs an alchemic ritual of mixing water with fire into a cauldron with a salpeter skull engraved into it. Next tot he cauldron you see a red griffon and a white lion. The griffon and lion also appear in another, earlier, Tarot card, the Lovers", but there the lion is red and the griffon white/silver. The Lovers depicts a "royal wedding" of two people of two differnt ethnic backgrounds (the black and white). Both the "twin" figure in Art as well as the color scheme of the lion and griffon depict how after the unification in a symbolical wedding, a new whole is created managing to mix opposites: black vs white, dark vs blonde, fire vs water...

And so yes, George definitely has fire + water as the ideal alchemic mixture set up. 

That was fascinating, sweetsunray.   Intuitive really, or commonsense even, given that both fire and water are usually needed to cook!

The figure of Crowley's 'Art' is a great visual representation of GRRM's 'overwrinkling of black and white' or the 'mating of fire and ice'.  Their differences notwithstanding, their bodies being one is reminiscent of GRRM's statement via Jojen/Meera that 'the land is one.'  Particularly, I like how the icy beast, namely the white lion, is lapping at the fire, while the fiery one, the red griffon, is sipping water, each to his/her opposite, from the same cauldron.  Until you explained it, I had even thought I'd spied the archetypal trio of the wyvern and hellhound (the dragon and direwolf counterparts) flanking the central figure of the greenseer, as depicted by GRRM on the Dragonstone battlements (the wyvern and hellhound gargoyles flanking the maester) or in the 'trio from hell' loosed by Arya (Rorge and Biter flanking Jaqen...Jaqen who has red and white hair, just like the fire-and-ice dualism in the 'Art' card, or the coloring of the weirwood)...

The 'artist' of the 'Art' is the 'greenseer' -- and in GRRM's meta-case the 'author' -- and his medium is neither ice nor fire...

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2 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

That's interesting -- tell me more about overriding this mind control box..!

The 'mind control box' would be the weirnet equivalent?  Perhaps the 'overriding' in ASOIAF would involve a 'greenseer war' or face-off in the weirnet -- i.e. a battle of 'the knights of the mind' for control of the 'mind control box'!  (we have already seen an example thereof when Varamyr and Haggon battle for third-eye possession of the wolf).

Shoot! I forgot to answer this part.

This is a short story and really rather engrossing from the very first line. Override is part of the Corpse Handler subset series of the 1,000 worlds stories. This tale is about a man who just seems to be ok with how things are on this planet, even though he is not well to do, or anything of that nature. Matt is a corpse handler that controls a team of four (?) dead men with a special mind control box that hangs from his belt. There are many of these corpse handles on this planet. They mine something called swirlstones- "gems without fire". He has a friend, Cochran (also a corpse handler), that tries to persuade him into bypassing the typical work method to start selling these things on the side in order to pocket more money. As they discuss this plan, to which Matt disagrees with, when the big man in town strolls in to the bar and announces a takeover (It is a little predictable at this point). Anyway, Matt agrees to take Cochran and their dead guy teams out to show him where he always finds his best, biggest stones- a secret cave that only Matt knows about. While they are out in this secret cave, Cochran tries to kill Matt by using a secret, actual override box to take control of Matt's dead men and make them turn on Matt. Matt nearly drowns and it is then that he summons the power/knowledge/strength/? to mentally and psionically take over the dead men and saving himself, only realizing afterwards that he did this without the use of a technial box, but his own mind. Matt overrides the override box. Matt finds out that Cochran turned on his friend  because he gave up his morals for money (another recurring theme), and Cochran made a side deal with the big man (forgot his name), and therefore Cochran was acting at the big man's command. Matt lives.

So, here we see a situation that plays out, or will soon, in ASOAIF, including the great other (big man) (or maybe a secondary parllalel as Bloodraven?), mind control of dead people, being betrayed by your friend and "brother", water rebirth and third eye opening, and selling out your integrity for money.

Edited by The Fattest Leech
Always with the bad spelling, I am.

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1 hour ago, sweetsunray said:

Interesting suggestions, @hiemal , which takes us beyond the "elements"

As for the "elements"... It's not unknown how George is a fan of Lovecraft, who was a good friend of Aleister Crowley. The latter was a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn and much of his work was the argument that "alchemism" wasn't so much about metallurgy but spiritual transformation. In fact, I have observed that George seems to have used symbolic imagery from Crowley's Tarot card concepts (which deviates on many levels of the more famous Waite deck - Waite was also of the same order, but Waite and Crowley were enemies, and Lovecraft sided with Crowley, as he wrote a short-story with an evil magician called Waite). The most "alchemic" card in that deck is "Art":

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-jZAVQQ_HZqM/UsPLB8ZvumI/AAAAAAAADcY/gXV1_WL6hjg/s1600/14+Temperance+(Art).jpg

Waite calls it Temperance. Crowley called it Art. Waite depicts an angel (https://suzannerbanks.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/temperance.jpg

But Crowley depicts a royal pair, with two heads (male and female) and one unified body. Black and white is intermixed. Notice the moon phases on the chest of the figure.

More differences: Waite's angel lets water flow from one cup into the other, whereas Crowley's royal "twin/hermaphrodite/unified" figure performs an alchemic ritual of mixing water with fire into a cauldron with a salpeter skull engraved into it. Next tot he cauldron you see a red griffon and a white lion. The griffon and lion also appear in another, earlier, Tarot card, the Lovers", but there the lion is red and the griffon white/silver. The Lovers depicts a "royal wedding" of two people of two differnt ethnic backgrounds (the black and white). Both the "twin" figure in Art as well as the color scheme of the lion and griffon depict how after the unification in a symbolical wedding, a new whole is created managing to mix opposites: black vs white, dark vs blonde, fire vs water...

And so yes, George definitely has fire + water as the ideal alchemic mixture set up. 

I love this. All of the tapestrial details.

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