Curled Finger

The Curiosity of Abominations & Sphinxes

13 posts in this topic

Haggon tells Varamyr that abomination is the blackest sin of all.  Varamyr lists 3 things considered abominations in the ADWD prologue:

Cannibalism

To mate as wolf with wolf

To seize the body of another man

Most commonly incest is considered an abomination as is seen in multiple references to Cersei and Gilly’s children.  Slavery is an abomination along with worshiping false gods and wights.  The word abomination is then used to describe pain or smell.   To heighten fear and engage rebellion against King Aenys the High Septon began calling him King Abomination in response to the marriage of his son to his daughter.  Tyrion refers to himself as an abomination.  A handful of births, near births and stillborns are deemed abominations.

Targaryans historically wed their children to each other or near relatives.  Cersei cites the Targaryan tradition of incest as her right to have her brother as her lover.  The first abominations or “monstrosities” are seen in King Maegor’s attempts to produce an heir. Alys of House Harroway became queen after Maegor brought her back from Pentos. She was the first woman to become pregnant by the king in the year 48 AC, but she lost the babe soon after. What was expelled from her womb was a monstrosity, eyeless and twisted, (AWOIAF Targ Kings Aenys I)   Elinor of House Costaine, too, became pregnant, and gave birth to a stillborn abomination said to have been born eyeless and with small wings. (AWOIAF Targ Kings Maegor 1) Jeyne of House Westerling was with child in 47 AC, but three moons before the child was due, her labor began, and from her womb came another stillborn monster. (AWOIAF Targ Kings Maegor 1)  The sad mischance of these babies continues to plague the Targaryans.  Before the Dance of the Dragons The Rogue Prince Daemon experienced his own grief when his wife, Laena Velaryon, finally gave birth to the son Prince Daemon had so long desired—but the babe was twisted and malformed, and died within the hour.  He experiences this again with his new wife, Rhaenyra:

 On Dragonstone, no cheers were heard. Instead, screams echoed through the halls and stairwells of Sea Dragon Tower, down from the queen’s apartments where Rhaenyra Targaryen strained and shuddered in her third day of labor. The child had not been due for another turn of the moon, but the tidings from King’s Landing had driven the princess into a black fury, and her rage seemed to bring on the birth, as if the babe inside her were angry too, and fighting to get out. The princess shrieked curses all through her labor, calling down the wroth of the gods upon her half brothers and their mother the queen, and detailing the torments she would inflict upon them before she would let them die. She cursed the child inside her too. “Get out,” she screamed, clawing at her swollen belly as her maester and her midwife tried to restrain her. “Monster, monster, get out, get out, GET OUT!”  When the babe at last came forth, she proved indeed a monster: a stillborn girl, twisted and malformed, with a hole in her chest where her heart should have been and a stubby, scaled tail…(TPATQ)

Regardless of paternity, Tyrion Lannister’s birth is described:

In 273 AC, however, Lady Joanna was taken to childbed once again at Casterly Rock, where she died delivering Lord Tywin's second son. Tyrion, as the babe was named, was a malformed, dwarfish babe born with stunted legs, an oversized head, and mismatched, demonic eyes (some reports also suggested he had a tail, which was lopped off at his lord father's command). Lord Tywin's Doom, the smallfolk called this ill-made creature, and Lord Tywin's Bane. Upon hearing of his birth, King Aerys infamously said, "The gods cannot abide such arrogance. They have plucked a fair flower from his hand and given him a monster in her place, to teach him some humility at last."   (AWOIAF Targ Kings Aerys II)

Note that Tyrion is the 1st child we know of who survives his birth.   

Finally we have our own description of Rhaego after he’s taken from Danaerys Targaryan. 

"Monstrous," Mirri Maz Duur finished for him. The knight was a powerful man, yet Dany understood in that moment that the maegi was stronger, and crueler, and infinitely more dangerous. "Twisted. I drew him forth myself. He was scaled like a lizard, blind, with the stub of a tail and small leather wings like the wings of a bat. When I touched him, the flesh sloughed off the bone, and inside he was full of graveworms and the stink of corruption. He had been dead for years."  (AGOT Dany 10)

 We understand that Tyrion is a human dwarf.  He’s not malformed and he’s not a monster, with the bit about the tail most probably just a tale.  His eyes are mismatched.   So were Shiera Seastar’s, David Bowie’s and many huskies’.   Tyrion doesn’t really fit the descriptions of the Targaryan babies.   It only illustrates that he isn’t a golden Lannister.  Even the description of Tyrion isn’t as colorful as some of the others.   It’s obvious people believe Tyrion is just a dwarf.

 Let’s take a look at the Targaryan babies…

Alys’ baby was eyeless and twisted, Elinor’s baby was eyeless with small wings, Jeyne’s baby is simply another stillborn monster, Laena’s baby was twisted and malformed, Rhaenyra’s baby was twisted and malformed with a hole in her chest instead of a heart and a stubby scaled tale, Rhaego was said to be twisted, scaled like a lizard, blind, with a stubby tail and small leather wings.  His fleshed is said to have sloughed from his bones.   He was full of graveworms, stank of corruption and was dead for years.   

Sphinxes are a wonder of the world.  Our 1st view is at the doors of the small council meeting room.    

a pair of Valyrian sphinxes flanked the door, eyes of polished garnet smoldering in black marble faces. (AGOT Eddard 4)

Sam runs into another pair:.

The gates of the Citadel were flanked by a pair of towering green sphinxes with the bodies of lions, the wings of eagles, and the tails of serpents. One had a man's face, one a woman's. (AFFC Samwell 5)

Tyrion and Illyrio happen across a sphinx.

The next evening they came upon a huge Valyrian sphinx crouched beside the road. It had a dragon's body and a woman's face.

"A dragon queen," said Tyrion. "A pleasant omen."  "Her king is missing." Illyrio pointed out the smooth stone plinth on which the second sphinx once stood, now grown over with moss and flowering vines. "The horselords built wooden wheels beneath him and dragged him back to Vaes Dothrak."  That is an omen too, thought Tyrion, but not as hopeful.  (ADWD Tyrion 2) 

Hrm, green with the bodies of lions, wings of eagles and serpent’s tails or Valyrian Sphinxes with human faces with red eyes and dragon’s bodies.  Valyrian Sphinxes are black. We have no evidence that any of the babies were black or had red eyes, but we do have 4 babies with dragon features.  Rhaego had a tail and wings even.   Sphinxes are mentioned 30 times over all the text while the word abomination pops up 32 times. I think it's pretty clear that there has been some genetic tinkering going on over the years.  Could these Targaryan babies be sphinxes of a sort, a call back to the creatures Valyrians were crossed with to create dragons of the reptilian and human nature?   Can we use this example to further detect how magic works through bloodlines Valyrian and otherwise? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I was reading the OP, I was struck by the similarities in the horrific childbirth ordeal of Rhaenyra Targaryen and Thistle's reaction when Varamyr attempts to skinchange into her. Your comparison of the "abomination" babies and sphinxes is a good catch, but your documentation here implies that skinchangers are like unborn babies or abominations as well. The nickname "Lump" is another connection between the skinchanger and the pregnancy imagery. So maybe skinchanging, sphinxes and abomination babies should be considered together.

Like the sphinxes made up of parts of several animals, Varamyr has three wolves, a snow bear, a shadowcat and an eagle in his repertoire. Like Tyrion, he wears a shadowcat cloak.

For what it's worth, I suspect that "lump" and "plum" are a wordplay pair in the books, with the name Lump referring to the pregnant belly of Varamyr's birth mother. The first time the reader meets Dany, mother of dragons, she is wearing plum-colored silk. And then there are the Brown Ben Plumm, Ossifer Plumm and Maynard Plumm connections to the Targaryen history and lore. You could make a case that each of these plums has a mysterious bloodline, conception or identity story. The red eye of Bloodraven, who was almost certainly disguised as Maynard Plumm, would also tie into your red-eyed sphinxes, and possibly into Varamyr's wolf called One Eye.

I don't know if GRRM gives us enough sphinx information to be able to trace the origins of Targaryens and dragons, but sphinx symbolism sounds like a good way to gain some insights into Targaryen (or hidden Targ) characters. Here's one bit of guesswork:

I have a suspicion that there is some symbolic role reversal for the genders when our Westeros POVs travel to Essos. (One piece of information for this is that men are described as wearing skirts in Dany POVs, while mother figures tend to wear skirts in Westeros.) So the missing male sphinx that has been wheeled off by the Dothraki could actually represent Dany, who has been in Vaes Dothrak and is actually supposed to be living there among the dosh khaleen at that point. Perhaps the mateless "Dragon Queen" sphinx beside the road represents Tyrion himself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well said and well thought, CF.

I would like to add Arya of the many names to the roster of sphinxes? She is her own riddle.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

Hrm, green with the bodies of lions, wings of eagles and serpent’s tails or Valyrian Sphinxes with human faces with red eyes and dragon’s bodies.  Valyrian Sphinxes are black. We have no evidence that any of the babies were black or had red eyes, but we do have 4 babies with dragon features.  Rhaego had a tail and wings even.   Sphinxes are mentioned 30 times over all the text while the word abomination pops up 32 times. I think it's pretty clear that there has been some genetic tinkering going on over the years.  Could these Targaryan babies be sphinxes of a sort, a call back to the creatures Valyrians were crossed with to create dragons of the reptilian and human nature?   Can we use this example to further detect how magic works through bloodlines Valyrian and otherwise? 

The first thing I conclude is that what the Targaryans are heir to and have taken to incest to preserve is fundamentally an abomination- a hybrid of two different systems of magic. This doesn't seem to happen to anyone else- the Starks don't have stillborn sphinxes (or at least that we don't have any information on such- but you never know).

Secondly, that this is caused by the misuse of the "natural" cycle of souls. The Targaryan's have a blood bond with dragons due to the Lightbringer incident and this somehow involves sharing souls with dragons and that somehow in all of the fire(dragons) and the blood (babies) sometimes things go wrong? Eggs don't hatch and abominations are stillborn.

And a couple questions:

What do you make of the distinction between sphinxes and valyrian sphinxes? I think GRRM makes enough of it for it to be significant.

Do you think these sphinxes are spontaneous? Or is it only something that happens due to outside agencies? Would Rhaego have been monstrous if Dany hadn't struck her foolish bargain? I think some of the others listed in the worldbook are questionable as well. I'm honestly not sure myself.

Edited by hiemal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, hiemal said:

The first thing I conclude is that what the Targaryans are heir to and have taken to incest to preserve is fundamentally an abomination- a hybrid of two different systems of magic. This doesn't seem to happen to anyone else- the Starks don't have stillborn sphinxes (or at least that we don't have any information on such- but you never know).

Secondly, that this is caused by the misuse of the "natural" cycle of souls. The Targaryan's have a blood bond with dragons due to the Lightbringer incident and this somehow involves sharing souls with dragons and that somehow in all of the fire(dragons) and the blood (babies) sometimes things go wrong? Eggs don't hatch and abominations are stillborn.

And a couple questions:

What do you make of the distinction between sphinxes and valyrian sphinxes? I think GRRM makes enough of it for it to be significant.

Do you think these sphinxes are spontaneous? Or is it only something that happens due to outside agencies? Would Rhaego have been monstrous if Dany hadn't struck her foolish bargain? I think some of the others listed in the worldbook are questionable as well. I'm honestly not sure myself.

I've added Craster and the Lannister twins for the purpose of relating (or trying to) abominations as the result of transgression against social norms...among other things.   It's clear to me that the Targaryans if not all Valyrians, pay a very high price for just being.   We've previously discussed how sphinxes may tie into everything and I've thought long and hard about this.  I absolutely do believe these poor babies are a call back to the original procedures that literally related the Valyrians to dragons.  

Best as I can tell Valyrian Sphinxes are black and consist of human head and dragon body exclusively.  The green sphinxes Sam sees at the Citadel are a more traditional combination of many animals as guardians of the gate.   The Valyrian Sphinxes outside the small council conference room are mentioned 5 times (I think).  Even Sansa notices them and that tells me to look at it.  The overwhelming majority of text I found mentioning sphinxes relate to Arellas.  S/He's very dark of skin, assumed to be half Summer Islander.  But a Valyrian Sphinx?  I can't tie it together--yet.  It could well be that Arellas, our Sphinx, is in fact a guardian of something.  

I'm not sure if the babies are an organic conception, gestationally harmed or a curse.   I'm leaning toward a combination of the 1st 2, with emphasis on Visenya's line; that is, sorcery.  Prince Daemon was a sorcerer and Dany was involved in a blood magic ritual when Rhaego was lost.   I don't think Jorah or any of the Dothraki would experience the same resulting offspring.   It's absolutely a Valyrian thing.   Though I am sure sorcery plays a part in this, I'm not sure it's exclusive to the sorcerers.   I'm sure I've missed some of the "abominations" and Tyrion is there to balance the tin foil.   

I'm thinking if the traditional sphinxes are guardians the Valyrian sphinxes are specifically not the same thing.  All they really have in common is a human head.  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, hiemal said:

Well said and well thought, CF.

I would like to add Arya of the many names to the roster of sphinxes? She is her own riddle.

 

There I go reading from the bottom up.   Sorry, but yes, if the sphinx is the riddle, Arya definitely qualifies.   She could even be a clue to what our Valyrian sphinxes may be. 

 

2 hours ago, Seams said:

 

yep, bottom up 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Through child sacrifice Targs bound their blood with dragons and can second life them. Greyjoys can second life/skinchange Krakens. A Targ and Greyjoy parented child when sacrificed will produce a kraken-dragon hybrid - a sphinx. That is what a sphinx is, the blending of bloodlines into new beings, they have occurred before and they will occur again. The Foresaken chapter tells us rather bluntly Euron will command them. He will likely force mate his followers to create them.

The riddle of the sphinx is for Dany, it is about what blood typed father she needs to find for her child so that she may produce a proper clean dragon.

Thematically, abomination is about the Targs willingness to do any outrageous immoral action in order to achieve power. It is about their willingness to sacrifice their own children to form the blood bond with dragons. Then it is about their willingness to mate with immediate relatives to retain their blood bond with dragons. Where the rest of the world dared not to tread, where they believed it immoral and godless, so went the Targs. Abominations. Hence why they were the only ones in the world to discover how to ride dragons, as they were the only ones willing to pay the price for that power.

Enter Euron in the contemporary, willing to pay any price for power, to show us first hand how it was all done. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Seams said:

As I was reading the OP, I was struck by the similarities in the horrific childbirth ordeal of Rhaenyra Targaryen and Thistle's reaction when Varamyr attempts to skinchange into her. Your comparison of the "abomination" babies and sphinxes is a good catch, but your documentation here implies that skinchangers are like unborn babies or abominations as well. The nickname "Lump" is another connection between the skinchanger and the pregnancy imagery. So maybe skinchanging, sphinxes and abomination babies should be considered together.

Like the sphinxes made up of parts of several animals, Varamyr has three wolves, a snow bear, a shadowcat and an eagle in his repertoire. Like Tyrion, he wears a shadowcat cloak.

For what it's worth, I suspect that "lump" and "plum" are a wordplay pair in the books, with the name Lump referring to the pregnant belly of Varamyr's birth mother. The first time the reader meets Dany, mother of dragons, she is wearing plum-colored silk. And then there are the Brown Ben Plumm, Ossifer Plumm and Maynard Plumm connections to the Targaryen history and lore. You could make a case that each of these plums has a mysterious bloodline, conception or identity story. The red eye of Bloodraven, who was almost certainly disguised as Maynard Plumm, would also tie into your red-eyed sphinxes, and possibly into Varamyr's wolf called One Eye.

I don't know if GRRM gives us enough sphinx information to be able to trace the origins of Targaryens and dragons, but sphinx symbolism sounds like a good way to gain some insights into Targaryen (or hidden Targ) characters. Here's one bit of guesswork:

I have a suspicion that there is some symbolic role reversal for the genders when our Westeros POVs travel to Essos. (One piece of information for this is that men are described as wearing skirts in Dany POVs, while mother figures tend to wear skirts in Westeros.) So the missing male sphinx that has been wheeled off by the Dothraki could actually represent Dany, who has been in Vaes Dothrak and is actually supposed to be living there among the dosh khaleen at that point. Perhaps the mateless "Dragon Queen" sphinx beside the road represents Tyrion himself.

It's so good to enjoy a conversation with you Seams!  Let me qualify everything upfront with the OP was posted backward.  The abominations should have come after the sphinxes, but I couldn't stand another copy and paste exercise.   There is a sort of correlation between these alien babies and literal foreigners inhabiting another's consciousness.   The act has been described as mind rape many times.  I'm trying to hone in on the babies I call sphinxes.  

I have become interested in possible other elementals in ASOIAF.  I would classify a sphinx as an air element.  From what I remember, they are guardians.  But these Valyrian sphinxes are something completely else.  I suspect this else is related to Craster's sons.   Cersei seems to be either recreating the sins of the Valyrians to feed that ego of hers, or she's using the Targs as an excuse to revel in her unnatural appetite for her brother.  She's a poser to the Targs.   I have yet to read an answer that satisfies my curiosity about Craster's sons.  Gilly's baby got away, but what says Craster's male abominations aren't grey and cold to the touch, devoid of skin?  Or something like that.  

Good catch yourself with Bloodraven's eye.   I remembered Ghost and Mel, but the OP got so long I opted to explore the eyes in the discussion.  You've brought up a lot of connections here and I sure appreciate your quick reply with all of them.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, chrisdaw said:

Through child sacrifice Targs bound their blood with dragons and can second life them. Greyjoys can second life/skinchange Krakens. A Targ and Greyjoy parented child when sacrificed will produce a kraken-dragon hybrid - a sphinx. That is what a sphinx is, the blending of bloodlines into new beings, they have occurred before and they will occur again. The Foresaken chapter tells us rather bluntly Euron will command them. He will likely force mate his followers to create them.

The riddle of the sphinx is for Dany, it is about what blood typed father she needs to find for her child so that she may produce a proper clean dragon.

Thematically, abomination is about the Targs willingness to do any outrageous immoral action in order to achieve power. It is about their willingness to sacrifice their own children to form the blood bond with dragons. Then it is about their willingness to mate with immediate relatives to retain their blood bond with dragons. Where the rest of the world dared not to tread, where they believed it immoral and godless, so went the Targs. Abominations. Hence why they were the only ones in the world to discover how to ride dragons, as they were the only ones willing to pay the price for that power.

Enter Euron in the contemporary, willing to pay any price for power, to show us first hand how it was all done. 

It's good to see you, Ser.  I've read enough of your posts to understand where you're coming from.  I appreciated you picking up on that "willing to pay the price" bit with the Valyrians.  I believe these occasional sphinx babies are part of that price.   I don't think all Targs are specifically marked to ride dragons or bear sphinxes.   I suspect this has to do with a Targ's interest in sorcery or blood magic.   Maybe not, but my examples are all involved in some wicked magic.   I look forward to more examples of these babies to Targs who maybe aren't magic users.  

Always, always looking forward to Euron's shenanigans!  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

 

Best as I can tell Valyrian Sphinxes are black and consist of human head and dragon body exclusively.  The green sphinxes Sam sees at the Citadel are a more traditional combination of many animals as guardians of the gate.   The Valyrian Sphinxes outside the small council conference room are mentioned 5 times (I think).  Even Sansa notices them and that tells me to look at it.  The overwhelming majority of text I found mentioning sphinxes relate to Arellas.  S/He's very dark of skin, assumed to be half Summer Islander.  But a Valyrian Sphinx?  I can't tie it together--yet.  It could well be that Arellas, our Sphinx, is in fact a guardian of something. 

Oldtown and the Citadel:

"Obara would have me go to war."
Nym laughed. "Yes, she wants to set the torch to Oldtown. She hates that city as much as our little sister loves it." AFfC
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh good subject!  I tend to think that the Valyrian sphynx represents a god-figure, since one of them ends up at Vaes Dothrak where lesser gods submit to the mother of mountains.  A dragon body with a male or female head implies skin-changing or second lifers and this lines up with the concept of Targaryen dragon gods or great dragons.

The island of Dragonstone is said to be a place that was raised by sorcery and sorcery has a price if Mirri Maaz Duur is to be taken seriously.  So far this seems to be the only magic that has resulted in the hatching of dragon eggs.  Or at least Dany has some knowledge of it that isn't readily accessible to her consciously:

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Daenerys X

Bound hand and foot, Mirri Maz Duur watched from the dust with disquiet in her black eyes. "It is not enough to kill a horse," she told Dany. "By itself, the blood is nothing. You do not have the words to make a spell, nor the wisdom to find them. Do you think bloodmagic is a game for children? You call me maegi as if it were a curse, but all it means is wise. You are a child, with a child's ignorance. Whatever you mean to do, it will not work. Loose me from these bonds and I will help you."

Someone has suggested and forgive me for not remembering who it was; that the presence of magic or the misuse of magic has the effect of corrupting or transforming the unborn child into these abominations.  Dany seems to stumble onto the correct formula or magic but the cost is her own unborn child.  Or something else entirely is driving the process, the soul contained within the black egg itself.  

Dany is first transformed by the singing dragon of her dreams, the night when she conceives in blood and pain:

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Daenerys III

Even the nights brought no relief. Khal Drogo ignored her when they rode, even as he had ignored her during their wedding, and spent his evenings drinking with his warriors and bloodriders, racing his prize horses, watching women dance and men die. Dany had no place in these parts of his life. She was left to sup alone, or with Ser Jorah and her brother, and afterward to cry herself to sleep. Yet every night, some time before the dawn, Drogo would come to her tent and wake her in the dark, to ride her as relentlessly as he rode his stallion. He always took her from behind, Dothraki fashion, for which Dany was grateful; that way her lord husband could not see the tears that wet her face, and she could use her pillow to muffle her cries of pain. When he was done, he would close his eyes and begin to snore softly and Dany would lie beside him, her body bruised and sore, hurting too much for sleep.

Day followed day, and night followed night, until Dany knew she could not endure a moment longer. She would kill herself rather than go on, she decided one night …

Yet when she slept that night, she dreamt the dragon dream again. Viserys was not in it this time. There was only her and the dragon. Its scales were black as night, wet and slick with blood. Her blood, Dany sensed. Its eyes were pools of molten magma, and when it opened its mouth, the flame came roaring out in a hot jet. She could hear it singing to her. She opened her arms to the fire, embraced it, let it swallow her whole, let it cleanse her and temper her and scour her clean. She could feel her flesh sear and blacken and slough away, could feel her blood boil and turn to steam, and yet there was no pain. She felt strong and new and fierce. 

And the next day, strangely, she did not seem to hurt quite so much. It was as if the gods had heard her and taken pity. Even her handmaids noticed the change. "Khaleesi," Jhiqui said, "what is wrong? Are you sick?"

The black dragon and the black egg are the same thing or the soul within it singing to her is now awakened and by transforming her; gives her temporary immunity from fire and the magic to hatch the eggs. This cannot be Drogo but rather the singing dragon is her blood, a reincarnation of Rhaegar as a great dragon or dragon god, the valyrian sphinx with the head of a man. 

The Westerosi sphinx is another thing altogether:  the body of a lion, the wings of eagles and tails of serpents, male and female heads.

Quote

In Greek tradition, it has the head of a human, the haunches of a lion, and sometimes the wings of a bird. It is mythicised as treacherous and merciless. Those who cannot answer its riddle suffer a fate typical in such mythological stories, as they are killed and eaten by this ravenous monster.[1] This deadly version of a sphinx appears in the myth and drama of Oedipus.[2] Unlike the Greek sphinx, which was a woman, the Egyptian sphinx is typically shown as a man (an androsphinx). In addition, the Egyptian sphinx was viewed as benevolent, but having a ferocious strength similar to the malevolent Greek version and both were thought of as guardians often flanking the entrances to temples.[3]

In this version of the sphinx, there is a malevolent and benevolent version, male and female.  A creature with the body of a lion and wings of an eagle is the Griffin (minus the head of an eagle). 

Quote

The griffin, griffon, or gryphon (Greek: γρύφων, grýphōn, or γρύπων, grýpōn, early form γρύψ, grýps; Latin: gryphus) is a legendary creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion; the head and wings of an eagle; and an eagle's talons as its front feet. Because the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle the king of birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. The griffin was also thought of as king of all creatures. Griffins are known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions.[1]

Another chimera is the Harpy:

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Daenerys II

In the center of the Plaza of Pride stood a red brick fountain whose waters smelled of brimstone, and in the center of the fountain a monstrous harpy made of hammered bronze. Twenty feet tall she reared. She had a woman's face, with gilded hair, ivory eyes, and pointed ivory teeth. Water gushed yellow from her heavy breasts. But in place of arms she had the wings of a bat or a dragon, her legs were the legs of an eagle, and behind she wore a scorpion's curled and venomous tail.

Quote

The harpies seems originally to have been wind spirits (personifications of the destructive nature of wind). Their name means "snatchers" or "swift robbers"[10] and they steal food from their victims while they are eating and carry evildoers (especially those who have killed their family) to the Erinyes. When a person suddenly disappeared from the earth, it was said that he had been carried off by the Harpies[11] thus, they carried off the daughters of king Pandareus, and gave them as servants to the Erinnyes.[12] In this form they were agents of punishment who abducted people and tortured them on their way to Tartarus. They were vicious, cruel and violent

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Daenerys II

The harpy of Ghis, Dany thought. Old Ghis had fallen five thousand years ago, if she remembered true; its legions shattered by the might of young Valyria, its brick walls pulled down, its streets and buildings turned to ash and cinder by dragonflame, its very fields sown with salt, sulfur, and skulls. The gods of Ghis were dead, and so too its people; these Astapori were mongrels, Ser Jorah said. Even the Ghiscari tongue was largely forgotten; the slave cities spoke the High Valyrian of their conquerors, or what they had made of it.

Yet the symbol of the Old Empire still endured here, though this bronze monster had a heavy chain dangling from her talons, an open manacle at either end. The harpy of Ghis had a thunderbolt in her claws. This is the harpy of Astapor.

Quote

The harpies were called "the hounds of mighty Zeus" thus "ministers of the Thunderer (Zeus)".[13] Later writers, listed the Harpies among the guardians of the underworld along other monstrosities including the Centaurs, Scylla, Briareus, Lernaean Hydra, Chimera, Gorgons and Geryon.[14]  

Harpies in the infernal woods:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harpy#/media/File:DVinfernoForestOfSuicides_m.jpg

The guardians of the underworld include the gorgon; the maid with serpents in her hair:

Quote

Jane Ellen Harrison argues that "her potency only begins when her head is severed, and that potency resides in the head; she is in a word a mask with a body later appended... the basis of the Gorgoneion is a cultus object, a ritual mask misunderstood."[7]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medusa

I think we should also consider the winged wolf a chimera:

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Bran III

That won't do any good, the crow said. I told you, the answer is flying, not crying. How hard can it be. I'm doing it. The crow took to the air and flapped around Bran's hand.

"You have wings," Bran pointed out.

Maybe you do too.

Bran felt along his shoulders, groping for feathers.

There are different kinds of wings, the crow said.

Bran was staring at his arms, his legs. He was so skinny, just skin stretched taut over bones. Had he always been so thin? He tried to remember. A face swam up at him out of the grey mist, shining with light, golden. "The things I do for love," it said.

Bran's wings seem to be skin stretched taught over bones like a bat rather than a dragon.

Bran Vras has some interesting things to say about the Black Bat:

Quote

Somehow, we can't help thinking that Martin's universe is supported by hidden structures. Of course, the author would never give us explicitly the keys. Why would he ? No character will spell out what the armature of the story is.

Our suggestion here is that one of those hidden structures, perhaps, is the importance of maternal lineages. As the insistence of the Targaryens to wed women of their own kin proves, they don't count for nothing, even if the Seven Kingdoms form a patriarchal society, where the family name is carried through the male line, which thus essentially defines the noble houses. But it seems fruitful to pay attention to the other side of the genealogy, even if it seems difficult to keep track of.

This is the second part of the exploration of this theme. In the first part, we tried to see what could lie behind Lyanna Stark's maternal lineage, and its relations to Dalla.

After Sansa fled from King's Landing, a little folk tale is reported to the Hound by Polliver.

“I forgot, you’ve been hiding under a rock. The northern girl. Winterfell’s daughter. We heard she killed the king with a spell, and afterward changed into a wolf with big leather wings like a bat, and flew out a tower window. But she left the dwarf behind and Cersei means to have his head.”
That’s stupid, Arya thought. Sansa only knows songs, not spells, and she’d never marry the Imp.

(Arya XII, ASoS)

...with big leather wings like a bat…

I suggest that, unlike Arya, we take that story seriously and see where it leads us. We will explore three themes: the story of Harrenhal, the maternal lineage of Sansa, the possibility of Sansa's inheritance of the castle.

http://branvras.free.fr/HuisClos/Bat.html

Edited by LynnS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, hiemal said:

Oldtown and the Citadel:

"Obara would have me go to war."
Nym laughed. "Yes, she wants to set the torch to Oldtown. She hates that city as much as our little sister loves it." AFfC
 

Well done!  I completely forgot that part! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, LynnS said:

Oh good subject!  I tend to think that the Valyrian sphynx represents a god-figure, since one of them ends up at Vaes Dothrak where lesser gods submit to the mother of mountains.  A dragon body with a male or female head implies skin-changing or second lifers and this lines up with the concept of Targaryen dragon gods or great dragons.

The island of Dragonstone is said to be a place that was raised by sorcery and sorcery has a price if Mirri Maaz Duur is to be taken seriously.  So far this seems to be the only magic that has resulted in the hatching of dragon eggs.  Or at least Dany has some knowledge of it that isn't readily accessible to her consciously:

Someone has suggested and forgive me for not remembering who it was; that the presence of magic or the misuse of magic has the effect of corrupting or transforming the unborn child into these abominations.  Dany seems to stumble onto the correct formula or magic but the cost is her own unborn child.  Or something else entirely is driving the process, the soul contained within the black egg itself.  

Dany is first transformed by the singing dragon of her dreams, the night when she conceives in blood and pain:

The black dragon and the black egg are the same thing or the soul within it singing to her is now awakened and by transforming her; gives her temporary immunity from fire and the magic to hatch the eggs. This cannot be Drogo but rather the singing dragon is her blood, a reincarnation of Rhaegar as a great dragon or dragon god, the valyrian sphinx with the head of a man. 

The Westerosi sphinx is another thing altogether:  the body of a lion, the wings of eagles and tails of serpents, male and female heads.

In this version of the sphinx, there is a malevolent and benevolent version, male and female.  A creature with the body of a lion and wings of an eagle is the Griffin (minus the head of an eagle). 

Another chimera is the Harpy:

Harpies in the infernal woods:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harpy#/media/File:DVinfernoForestOfSuicides_m.jpg

The guardians of the underworld include the gorgon; the maid with serpents in her hair:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medusa

I think we should also consider the winged wolf a chimera:

Bran's wings seem to be skin stretched taught over bones like a bat rather than a dragon.

Bran Vras has some interesting things to say about the Black Bat:

http://branvras.free.fr/HuisClos/Bat.html

Hats off to you LynnS, where do you keep all this stuff in your memory!   Gads that's some great stuff and yes, we are looking for creatures like sphinxes to fit our air elemental theme.   There seems to be a bit of a poll going here regarding how the sphinx babies are conceived.   We are batting around sorcery, but I hope for some of the sphinx babies I've missed to get a more rounded idea.  It would have been very helpful to have some description of the baby who lived for an hour.  Maybe just more description all the way around.   Still, I do appreciate the other creatures you've brought to the conversation.   

By the way, to anyone who sees this conversation and hasn't yet checked out the link LynnS provided to the Huis Clos by Bran Vras--click on it immediately.   It's a long but utterly brilliant read.  Thanks LynnS! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now