Ckram

Why was Qarth left out of TWOIAF?

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Posted (edited)

TWOIAF speaks little about Qarth, and in relation to its history, Yandel states: "While as for mysterious Qarth, I can point to no better source than Colloquo Votar's Jade Compendium, the foremost work on the lands around the Jade Sea." (The World of Ice and Fire - Other Lands).

However, in an interview with Adria's News (also reported on reddit), Elio stated that GRRM deliberately withheld information on Qarth, Meeren and Summerhall from TWAOIF. While it is easy to understand that information on Meereen and Summerhall may spoil the plot of both ASOIAF and Dunk & Egg novellas, suppressing information on Qarth's history did not seem a clear move to me.

We know Jade Compendium have the text of Azor Ahai Prophecy, and that's why we don't expect to have access to it either.

What's in Qarth's story that could spoil ASOIAF plot at this point?
Maybe something related to the dragon's bones in the Red Waste? 
Should we interpret that Yandel is also deliberately trying to hide information from the reader (Tommen)?

Edited by Ckram
Making it clearer

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Information on the Warlocks, perhaps could be a bit spoilery. Euronext has some with him, they swore vengeance on Dany, and according to the app

Euron took Dragonbinder from them

 

so could maybe be that

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Didn't catch that before, but, yeah, from what we learn via the App and what may be behind the power of shade of the evening (twisted/different kinds of weirwood trees) it seems to be pretty clear that Qarth is likely going to come back in an important way.

TWoIaF gave us the Qaathi and sort of implied that Qarth was not that great of a place before the Doom took Valyria - and it is clear that the current prominence of the Qartheen grew from them being able to exploit that power vacuum very effectively - but the Undying of Qarth in their prime must have been powerful enemies. And there are dead dragons in the Red Waste.

Now, it seems as if Valyria eventually forced the Qartheen to pay them tribute/acknowledge their status as the big power in their corner of the world, but since Euron apparently took Dragonbinder from Pyat Pree and his warlocks, the chances are pretty good that the ancient Undying actually beat the dragonlords back one time, killing some dragons and salvaging more than just trinkets after they downed the dragons.

At least that's a much more plausible scenario in my opinion than either the Undying/warlocks or Euron ever visiting Valyria after the Doom.

In any case, even the briefest history of Qarth should mention tensions/conflicts between the Qartheen and the Valyrians, and give us theories on speculations on the nature/history of Qartheen magic. Which George may not have been willing to do at this point.

In fact, chances are pretty good that Qarth is going to come back even as a location in the books. Daenerys is now a dragonrider, she can return to Qarth. And she should, considering that the Qartheen have actually joined the Yunkish allies in their campaign against her. And Xaro Xhaon Daxos is still alive, too. He certainly presumed too much when he tried to lecture her on slavery, etc. back in ADwD. I don't think she is going to let this go.

Besides, Quaithe might still be in Qarth, and Daenerys might finally meet her again to find out who the hell she actually is behind that mask. Not to mention that learning about the warlocks of Qarth from whatever warlocks are still left in the city would also come in handy when Dany is finally going to deal with Euron - whose current magical powers seem to be based on Qartheen sorcery to a great deal.

In that sense, the chances are pretty good that Dany will send/lead a khalasar (or multiple khalasars) to Qarth to put down her enemies there. If she doesn't do that then slavery will return to Essos as soon as she leaves the region.

Qarth could also be the place where Archmaester Marwyn finally catches up with Daenerys. It could be where he and Quaithe finally tell her what she should do with all the power she has acquired - take her warriors and dragons to Westeros and help save mankind from certain death. She is not likely going to learn about that in Vaes Dothrak.

And if there is a connection between the shade of the evening and the weirwoods then the warlocks of Qarth might also be able to give Dany/Marwyn/Quaithe some insight into the power of the greenseers and, perhaps, even into the Others (if they have been created by or are connected to weirwood magic).

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I think preventing spoilers is the most logical answer. What’s interesting is the fact Qarth was removed from TWOIAF completely, which suggests you can’t tell its story at all without giving major things away (unlike Asshai for example).

As Lord Varys said, I think the safest bet is that they beat the dragonlords at some point (the Dornish are suspected of doing the same with Meraxes, so it’s not unthinkable). Qarth is an anomaly, a powerful ancient city the Valyrians don’t seem to have conquered. Query whether the dragonlords turned west towards the Narrow Sea and founded the Free Cities in that direction precisely because Qarth somehow barred their progress further east? The east is fabulously wealthy, unlike the comparatively undeveloped west, so it would have been the logical direction for conquest.

Spoiler

 

And then there is the matter of Pyat Pree and what the warlocks had with them: a dragon egg and the horn.

Plus I think Euron’s suit of valyrian steel from the Foresaken chapter also came from Pree. It makes a certain sort of symbolic sense that the warlocks had 3 powerful objects: a dragon egg, a horn to bind the dragon to a rider, and a suit for that rider to wear. It would be a clear advantage over Dany, who rides her dragon exposed and vulnerable.

Perhaps that’s how the Undying kept the Valyrians at bay, in a sort of pact: you leave Qarth alone, and we won’t make dragons of our own.

 

 

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21 hours ago, Ckram said:

What's in Qarth's story that could spoil ASOIAF plot at this point?
Maybe something related to the dragon's bones in the Red Waste? 
Should we interpret that Yandel is also deliberately trying to hide information from the reader (Tommen)?

I noticed this pecularity too, but if you search "Qarth" in the ebook version, a lot of tidbits come up.

But of course most of the information is available in the Dany chapter in ACOK. Remember that Xaro I think tells Dany that Qarth is the "center of the world," maybe this is a hint. But the biggest deal is the House of the Undying. When Dany goes there, she descends, as in take stairways down and down, but realizes that the House has no towers. And at the end of her vision, she sees something like Pyat Pree that tries to make her stay, but when she leaves, the Pyat Pree form crumbles and something "pale and wormlike" appears. Dany leaves soon afterward. So there's a possibly a connection to the Great Other here.

Also, in TWOIAF, we are told that the old Quartheen town or cities are all gone now. Considering the presence of the Red Waste, this might be where that ancient cataclysm happened.

In Qarth, Dany also sees a statue of two snakes, and it's colors are "jade, obsidian, and lapis lazuli." These are the colors of the Drowned God. According to Patchface, under the sea, "flames burn green and blue and black." There maybe a connection here to a god or one of the gods that play a major role in the story. Qarth probably has the answers to the major mystical mysteries in the books. 

If Yandel is withholding something, then it's probably because the info about Qarth are things the maesters consider too superstitious and trivial to include. But it's really GRRM that's doing the withholding. 

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@HelenaExMachina @Lord Varys

To tell the story of Qarth it might not be imperative to detail the operations of the Warlocks or their inventory.

TWOIAF has a chapter on Braavos but kept the secrets of faceless men intact. Even the Alchemists' Guild remained as mysterious as it was portrayed in ASOIAF. In addition to that, TWOIAF talks about Asshai, where it is also said to have warlocks in action.

Further researchs on dragon's bones revealed that they actually can't be considered unmistakable evidence of war against Valyria.

If on the one hand, Daenerys heard that Dragons arose from the "Shadow Lands beyond Asshai and the islands of the Jade Sea" (AGOT, Daenerys III), on the other, the dragon bones found from Ib to Sothoryos are said to be evidences of that Dragons "must have been spread across much of the known world before they were tamed" (TWOIAF, Ancient History: The Rise of Valyria). So the bones in the Red Waste might be from a wild dragon aswell.

In addition, Dragonbinder may not have been taken from the Valirians as war spoils, but purchased or won by the Warlocks as a way to deal with such wild dragons or even as decoration or study.

19 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Besides, <snip>

Quaite is an exciting possibility. Not so much that your identity is revealed; more so she can interact with characters other than Daenerys, and so we can learn more about shadowbinders.

Daenerys learning in Qarth how to counter Warlock powers that are possibly being taught to Euron seems weird. I suspect there are no more warlocks in Qarth to teach her anything, since Xaros had warned Daenerys "Pyat Pree was gathering the surviving warlocks together to work ill on her" (ACOK, Daenerys V).

Moreover, since possibly there are warlocks left over in Asshai, perhaps it is there that Marwyn and Daenerys eventually meet. But it would have been weird for Marwyn to meet Daenerys when she was on the wrong way to go Westeros. In deed, Marwyn travelling to the same region from which he returned not a month ago makes the plot seem a bit offhand to me.

I'm hoping he'll end up on the Summer Islands to find out that Euron is the Corsair King who raid Tall Trees Twon and did so to steal their famous sea charts/maps to execute a larger naval plot against the Iron Throne (theories of mine, of course).

As for the Dothraki, I think Daenerys is pretty aware that leading a Khalasar through the Red Waste is the same as condemn them to death, so I don't think she will march to Qarth.

Regarding the Shades of the Evening, although I like the idea, I think figuring greenseers and of the Others by studying the blue wine would be a great feat of reverse engineering.

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2 hours ago, Lord_Pepsi_Cupps said:

What’s interesting is the fact Qarth was removed from TWOIAF completely, which suggests you can’t tell its story at all without giving major things away

Exactly.

I think Valyria headed west because the lands were vast and unexplored by other empires and inhabited by weak peoples.

Thinking about the egg, the horn and the suit, I think those dragon bones may actually be a hint of how the warlock got them.

Qarth's strategy against Valyria that you discribed is also plausible, but there would have to be a more elaborate explanation as to why there are no dragons in Qarth today. On the other hand, the impression that TWOIAF gives us is that only the Valirians knew how to tame dragons.

2 hours ago, Ghost+Nymeria4Eva said:

search "Qarth" in the ebook version, a lot of tidbits come up

I know. That is why I refer specifically to "Qarth 'history" (sorry for the "story").

I failed to the see the connection of the vision and the Great Other.

As for the Red Waste, another information that might be on the Jade Compendium. I suspect what made the green lands around Quarth turn into a red desert was the Long Night.

Regarding the snake statues, that's a good catch. Especially since GRRM would actually tend to hide those colors in the text in that way.
Have you ever read this theory that relate this patchface rhyme with an tapestry of Valyria from before the Doom?

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1 hour ago, Ckram said:

 

Qarth's strategy against Valyria that you discribed is also plausible, but there would have to be a more elaborate explanation as to why there are no dragons in Qarth today. On the other hand, the impression that TWOIAF gives us is that only the Valirians knew how to tame dragons.I

If the horn works, it works, that’s all there is. But I think the Qartheen really do hate dragons and didn’t want to have any to begin with, and this might be older than their contact with Valyria, reaching back into the Long Night or the Great empire of the dawn.

We’re kind of invited/encouraged to dislike the Qartheen because they’re not great to Dany, and while I think all kinds of doubts about the Undying are fair (and they also seem to be distrusted by the other Qartheen), i’m not sure the Qartheen themselves are in the “bad camp” just because they think Dany’s dragons are “a terror, a flaming sword above the world” and want to stop her. They’re not exactly wrong, ya know? We love Dany, but dragons are unmatched monsters and they really shouldn’t exist.

If the Qartheen history hides some juicy tidbits, it might well be something about how they remember that the entire Long Night and the messed up seasons is tied to dragons (either because that’s how/when they were created, or because the Long Night was caused by someone wanting to stop the original dragonlords). In either case, dragons are likely essential to the “original sin” that messed up the world. That’s what I mean by saying the Qartheen may genuinely not have wanted to bring more dragons into the world, and the Undying are now reacting to what Dany has done.

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6 hours ago, Lord_Pepsi_Cupps said:

As Lord Varys said, I think the safest bet is that they beat the dragonlords at some point (the Dornish are suspected of doing the same with Meraxes, so it’s not unthinkable).

The Dornish didn't use some special weapon on Meraxes, though. But it wa suspected that Meria Martell had bought some anti-dragon weapon from the Lyseni. The Undying may have been able to create such weapons in their prime.

6 hours ago, Lord_Pepsi_Cupps said:

Qarth is an anomaly, a powerful ancient city the Valyrians don’t seem to have conquered.

Yandel claims they paid tribute to Valyria at one point. It doesn't have to mean that the Qartheen were ever physically conquered but they may have lost more battles than they won, eventually being forced to sign unfavorable treaties, etc. Still, it doesn't strike one as the full story that Qarth just exploited the power vacuum after the Doom.

6 hours ago, Lord_Pepsi_Cupps said:

Query whether the dragonlords turned west towards the Narrow Sea and founded the Free Cities in that direction precisely because Qarth somehow barred their progress further east? The east is fabulously wealthy, unlike the comparatively undeveloped west, so it would have been the logical direction for conquest.

It seems that the Valyrians expanded east just as far as they expanded west. The colonies they founded or took over there were just destroyed by the Dothraki later on.

As to Euron's dragon egg. There is no indication that Euron told the truth about having such an egg - and even if he did, there is no reason to believe his egg came from the warlocks. The man was raiding hundreds of ships during his long career, and it is certainly possible that he chanced on somebody who also had a genuine dragon egg when he was raiding some ship years ago. 

I doubt Euron would have thrown a dragon egg into the sea after he had learned about Daenerys and her dragons. After all, another dragon egg would have been the perfect wedding gift for her.

Spoiler

The Valyrian armor would likely come from the same source as Dragonbinder, i.e. the Qartheen warlocks. The only other place where to find that kind of stuff is Valyria itself, and Euron most likely wasn't in Valyria.

Another idea that just hits me right now is that it might turn out that one or multiple of the Undying in the House of the Undying might actually have been originally exiled/banished Valyrian dragonlords. We never asked the question as to why the Undying are so interested in Daenerys nor why their powers could reveal so much about her fate and future. Sure, could all be just 'magic', but perhaps there was a deeper personal connection there?

Aenar Targaryen seems to have been the first dragonlord who permanently left Valyria and took his dragons with him, but there may have been many other families who fell from grace and ended up leaving the Freehold who were not able to take their dragons with them. Such people could have settled down in Qarth just as well as anywhere else, and if they did - and if they had been really great dragonlords once - they could have brought both Valyrian armor and a horn like Dragonbinder with them.

Pyat Pree would have only found those artifacts after the death of the Undying allowed him to thoroughly explore the ruins of the House of the Undying. I mean, the Undying wouldn't have shared any/all their secrets with the common warlocks, also explaining why the hell Pyat Pree never offered Dany Dragonbinder or Valyrian armor while he was still sucking up to her.

4 hours ago, Ckram said:

Further researchs on dragon's bones revealed that they actually can't be considered unmistakable evidence of war against Valyria.

If on the one hand, Daenerys heard that Dragons arose from the "Shadow Lands beyond Asshai and the islands of the Jade Sea" (AGOT, Daenerys III), on the other, the dragon bones found from Ib to Sothoryos are said to be evidences of that Dragons "must have been spread across much of the known world before they were tamed" (TWOIAF, Ancient History: The Rise of Valyria). So the bones in the Red Waste might be from a wild dragon aswell.

Or not. We don't know. It makes sense to assume the dragon bones in Westeros are remains from wild dragons because the Valyrians never were there. But we know Qarth paid them tribute at one point which makes it very clear that the Valyrians once were in Qarth in some fashion at least once - and more likely rather often.

4 hours ago, Ckram said:

In addition, Dragonbinder may not have been taken from the Valirians as war spoils, but purchased or won by the Warlocks as a way to deal with such wild dragons or even as decoration or study.

Dragonbinder doesn't strike me as the kind of magical artifact you buy and sell. Much less so Valyrian armor.

4 hours ago, Ckram said:

Quaite is an exciting possibility. Not so much that your identity is revealed; more so she can interact with characters other than Daenerys, and so we can learn more about shadowbinders.

We don't necessarily need to learn a lot of shadowbinders since there is no reason to believe their profession as such is relevant to the plot. They are just one type of sorcerers. If Quaithe showed up again at Qarth it would be in another Dany chapter, and we have no reason to believe she would then accompany her. Could be - or not. Perhaps she just dies.

4 hours ago, Ckram said:

Daenerys learning in Qarth how to counter Warlock powers that are possibly being taught to Euron seems weird. I suspect there are no more warlocks in Qarth to teach her anything, since Xaros had warned Daenerys "Pyat Pree was gathering the surviving warlocks together to work ill on her" (ACOK, Daenerys V).

I sincerely doubt that the handful of warlocks Euron captured are all what remains of the warlocks of Qarth. Those were the ones who went out to put Daenerys down. But Xaro told Dany that the powers of the warlocks were rising again - which makes it not unlikely that the warlocks are now very much the de facto rulers of Qarth - or very close to be just that by the time we return to Qarth.

4 hours ago, Ckram said:

Moreover, since possibly there are warlocks left over in Asshai, perhaps it is there that Marwyn and Daenerys eventually meet. 

Nope, George told us that nobody is going to go physically to Asshai in this story. All we might be getting is memories of Asshai from Mel's POV or talk from Marwyn.

4 hours ago, Ckram said:

But it would have been weird for Marwyn to meet Daenerys when she was on the wrong way to go Westeros. In deed, Marwyn travelling to the same region from which he returned not a month ago makes the plot seem a bit offhand to me.

Marwyn might go to Qarth to meet Daenerys because he might now that's where she will be when he arrives there. He has a glass candle.

4 hours ago, Ckram said:

I'm hoping he'll end up on the Summer Islands to find out that Euron is the Corsair King who raid Tall Trees Twon and did so to steal their famous sea charts/maps to execute a larger naval plot against the Iron Throne (theories of mine, of course).

That would be a completely irrelevant detour.

4 hours ago, Ckram said:

As for the Dothraki, I think Daenerys is pretty aware that leading a Khalasar through the Red Waste is the same as condemn them to death, so I don't think she will march to Qarth.

They can take provisions with them. Or follow the passes that actually lead through the Red Waste (which are seen on the maps we have). Presumably it is more safe to take those roads than to just walk through the waste with no plan or maps.

Also note that Dany would be the Stallion Who Mounts the World at that point. She would be the unquestioned and absolute ruler of the Dothraki, worshiped as a messiah/living god. If it means that they lose half their horses and their people obeying her command they will still do it. And half a khalasar - or halves of multiple khalasars - should be more than enough to storm and sack Qarth. They do not exactly have a very powerful standing army.

4 hours ago, Ckram said:

Regarding the Shades of the Evening, although I like the idea, I think figuring greenseers and of the Others by studying the blue wine would be a great feat of reverse engineering.

You have to keep in mind that those trees from which they make the shade of evening look as if they could be a sort of weirwood or be related to weirwoods. If that's the case then the people using this kind of magic could certainly also know or figure out stuff other people did with weirwood magic.

In addition, if Euron ended up becoming some sort of twisted greenseer then it is quite clear right now that he'll accomplish this via shade of the evening. His magical powers are either completely rooted in or at least greatly strengthened by shade of the evening. We don't know what kind of power this stuff has or how it can change you permanently when you drink it in as large quantities as Euron currently does.

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On 18.03.2018 at 9:46 AM, Ckram said:

What's in Qarth's story that could spoil ASOIAF plot at this point?

Quaithe's story.

I'm 90 or maybe even 99% sure, that she is Shiera Seastar.

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8 hours ago, Ckram said:

I failed to the see the connection of the vision and the Great Other.

It's just the creatures is pale and worm-like. The pale attributes are associated with the magic of the Great Other. The Undying were very highly flammable, so they probably practiced "ice magic" rather than the fire magic associated with Valyrians and R'hllor. It's just a theory. 

8 hours ago, Ckram said:

Have you ever read this theory that relate this patchface rhyme with an tapestry of Valyria from before the Doom?

Now I have. Thanks for that. But that theory thinks the Red God brought Patchface back to life. The Drowned God is ignored. 

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11 hours ago, Lord_Pepsi_Cupps said:

the Qartheen may genuinely not have wanted to bring more dragons into the world

I see your point, but i think you're taking Undying One's opnion on dragons as representative of all of the Qartheen, while we have good reasons to believe that Xaros was actually very interested on having a dragon of his own.

7 hours ago, Megorova said:

Quaithe's story.

I can't see how telling the history of Qarth would spoil Quaithe's. She's not even Qartheen.

4 hours ago, Ghost+Nymeria4Eva said:

It's just a theory. 

Got it.

5 hours ago, Ghost+Nymeria4Eva said:

But that theory thinks the Red God brought Patchface back to life. The Drowned God is ignored.

Give it a chance.

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11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

dragon bones in Westeros

As I said, it's not an unmistakable evidence. But I don't what you mean by "dragon bones in Westeros" that predates the Targaryen.

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Dragonbinder doesn't strike me as the kind of magical artifact you buy and sell. Much less so Valyrian armor.

Valyrian Steel blades are traded, why not other itens? They can be insanely expensive, but not invaluable. I think you will agree that the price is high in large part because the Doom ended the production, making it rare.

The same is the case of Dragonbinder. With so many wild dragons around the world, surely someone would pay to have a magic item that (supposedly) could neutralize one of them, and would use as many slaves as needed to blow it.

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

We don't necessarily need to learn a lot of shadowbinders

I just have a curiosity about shadow magic. Plot relevance is a thing yet to be seem in everything about Quaithe.

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I sincerely doubt that the handful of warlocks Euron captured are all what remains of the warlocks of Qarth.

Regarding Qarth's warlock numbers, further research led me to Xaros saying "phantom tortoises have been seen carrying messages between the windowless houses on Warlock's Way" (ACOK, Daenerys V). So maybe you have a point.

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9 hours ago, Ckram said:

As I said, it's not an unmistakable evidence. But I don't what you mean by "dragon bones in Westeros" that predates the Targaryen.

I mean that there are dragon bones found in Westeros that predate the Targaryen presence in Westeros.

9 hours ago, Ckram said:

Valyrian Steel blades are traded, why not other itens? They can be insanely expensive, but not invaluable. I think you will agree that the price is high in large part because the Doom ended the production, making it rare.

Nope, we hear that Valyrian steel weapons were even rare and costly before the Doom, although the Doom definitely made them rarer still, considering that the knowledge/means to create was lost afterwards.

Spoiler

Aeron is literally stricken by awe when he realizes that Euron wears Valyrian armor. That's not something people by and sell, most likely not even back in Old Valyria. Perhaps the dragonlords and sorcerer princes sold Valyrian armor to each other, but (assuming Yandel can be believed) Qarth was never in the same league fortune-wise as Valyria, at least not before the Doom.

Thus I think the best guess is that whoever took the Valyrian steel armor Euron is now wearing took it from the corpse/estate of a dead dragonlord.

Now, come to think of it - we do know that the Valyrian dragonlords intermarried with at least one Yi Tish emperor. It could also be that the Valyrian dragonlord providing Pyat Pree with Dragonbinder and Valyrian armor was simply a Valyrian dragonlord marrying into a Qartheen family, eventually joining the ranks of the Undying because he was also a powerful sorcerer.

A connection like that could make more sense than the Qartheen just buying or stumbling on insanely powerful/costly artifacts.

I mean, if there was a trade in such items then the Volantenes and the Lyseni should have them, too, considering that the dragonlords spent much time at those places back in the day, and were even (closely) related to many of the people living there.

But there is no indication that any of the Old Blood wear Valyrian armor.

9 hours ago, Ckram said:

The same is the case of Dragonbinder. With so many wild dragons around the world, surely someone would pay to have a magic item that (supposedly) could neutralize one of them, and would use as many slaves as needed to blow it.

That would mean the Valyrians were sharing their secret to control dragons with others - which they apparently never did. Besides, the way to deal with wild dragons is to have a dragonslayer kill them. That's how this is done.

9 hours ago, Ckram said:

I just have a curiosity about shadow magic. Plot relevance is a thing yet to be seem in everything about Quaithe.

Her relevance to the plot apparently is to give Daenerys certain information that's relevant to her fate/destiny and that, in turn, is relevant to the plot. The nature of shadowbinding is about as important as an answer to the question how exactly greenseeing and skinchanging is working.

And we actually do know to a point what's meant by this whole thing. Shadowbinding can be used to create certain kinds of glamors (Mance's, for instance, is part created from a shadow) as well as to birth shadow assassins by draining a man of his life force. Melisandre is a shadowbinder, too.

The idea that the origins of that particular school of magic are going to be given isn't very likely.

9 hours ago, Ckram said:

Regarding Qarth's warlock numbers, further research led me to Xaros saying "phantom tortoises have been seen carrying messages between the windowless houses on Warlock's Way" (ACOK, Daenerys V). So maybe you have a point.

Sure, Pyat Pree seems to be one of the more prominent warlocks in Qarth prior to Dany's arrival, and he certainly is the guy who took it upon himself to avenge his masters, the Undying, but we also learn the magic of the warlocks got considerably stronger in Qarth after the arrival of the dragons, which could mean that by the time we return to Qarth many of the charlatans the merchants and Pureborn were looking down upon back in the day aren't charlatans anymore.

That tendency already begins back in ACoK.

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Posted (edited)

12 hours ago, Ckram said:

As I said, it's not an unmistakable evidence. But I don't what you mean by "dragon bones in Westeros" that predates the Targaryen.

As Lord Varys said, there were ancient dragons in Westeros in the Age of Heroes. Thousands of years before the Targaryens arrived. Thousands of years before the Valyrians tamed dragons, in fact. That's where the legends of ancient Westerosi dragonslayers come from, like Ser Clarence Crab and other heroes from folklore. Because there really were dragons in ancient Westeros, and they weren't Valyrian dragons.

Martin was asked about this and his answer was: "There were dragons all over, once".

We know that by the time the Valyrians found dragons hatching in the Fourteen Flames, there were no other known dragons in the world. Which means these dragons were a remnant population, that survived when dragons died out everywhere else in the world. So what could have killed the natural population of wild dragons over the entire world, other than in Valyria? Well, as it happens, we know of one particular event that affected the whole world. Namely the Long Night. And it was an event associated with cold and starvation, two factors which would be particularly devastating to dragons. And it would even explain why the Valyrian dragons survived to be discovered by primitive Valyrian sheepherders around 5000 years ago. Because the volcanoes had sheltered a few eggs from the Long Night just long enough to have a small breeding population survive.

And this would then give us a timeline for the existence of non-Valyrian dragons "all over", as Martin put it. And this timeline would place them prior to the Long Night. Meaning either 6000 or 8000 years ago, going by the best available evidence.

By 5000 years ago, they only remained in Valyria - and maybe in a few other volcanic or isolated warm areas. But we don't have proof of any other surviving dragon lineages. Just some theories and rumours, such as the Cannibal's origin on Dragonstone, possibly.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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To be clear, we have no idea when there were dragons all over the world. I'd say it is quite likely that the Westerosi dragons were (mostly) killed during the Dawn Age and the Age of Heroes because we never learn anything about dragons troubling the Westerosi First Men and Andals in the centuries after the Long Night.

But us not knowing about any of those dragons doesn't mean they weren't there. Nobody expected there to be wild dragons out of Targaryen control on Dragonstone yet we learned that such creatures existed in TPatQ.

33 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

We know that by the time the Valyrians found dragons hatching in the Fourteen Flames, there were no other known dragons in the world.

There is no textual evidence for such a claim. We don't know whether and where dragons were still living at the time the Valyrians tamed their first dragons. We don't even know exactly when that happened.

33 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Which means these dragons were a remnant population, that survived when dragons died out everywhere else in the world. So what could have killed the natural population of wild dragons over the entire world, other than in Valyria? Well, as it happens, we know of one particular event that affected the whole world. Namely the Long Night. And it was an event associated with cold and starvation, two factors which would be particularly devastating to dragons. And it would even explain why the Valyrian dragons survived to be discovered by primitive Valyrian sheepherders around 5000 years ago. Because the volcanoes had sheltered a few eggs from the Long Night just long enough to have a small breeding population survive.

That is also claim not supported by the text, simply because we don't know how large this world is nor whether the people down in Ulthos or southernmost Sothoryos - or whatever landmasses are in the farthest south, east, and west (beyond the Sunset Sea) - were even affected greatly by the Long Night.

Supposedly, there are still dragons in the Shadowlands to this day, so they are not necessarily all gone.

If there are creatures who should have been able to survive the Long Night rather easily it should have been the dragons. After all, dragons are fire made flesh, and fire keeps you warm.

Dragons living in the north of Westeros - close to the Others and their ice magic - may have been killed by them, but for the dragons of Essos and Sothoryos the Long Night shouldn't even have been that much of a problem. The Rhoyne was only frozen shut down till Dagger Lake, not down to the mouths of the river - which means winter may have been felt down there, but wouldn't have been as bad as farther up south. And at the Summer Isles and Sothoryos the Long Night may have just been a chilly autumn or spring.

I mean, creatures with a built-in heating device would have had infinitely better chances to survive the Long Night than, say, direwolves, shadow cats, and mammoths. Yet they survived the Long Night in Westeros, too.

In that sense it would have been men who put down the dragons, seeing themselves as rival top predators as well as a danger to themselves. That way, only the domesticated Valyrian dragons survived.

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11 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

To be clear, we have no idea when there were dragons all over the world. I'd say it is quite likely that the Westerosi dragons were (mostly) killed during the Dawn Age and the Age of Heroes because we never learn anything about dragons troubling the Westerosi First Men and Andals in the centuries after the Long Night.

But us not knowing about any of those dragons doesn't mean they weren't there. Nobody expected there to be wild dragons out of Targaryen control on Dragonstone yet we learned that such creatures existed in TPatQ.

There is no textual evidence for such a claim. We don't know whether and where dragons were still living at the time the Valyrians tamed their first dragons. We don't even know exactly when that happened.

That is also claim not supported by the text, simply because we don't know how large this world is nor whether the people down in Ulthos or southernmost Sothoryos - or whatever landmasses are in the farthest south, east, and west (beyond the Sunset Sea) - were even affected greatly by the Long Night.

Supposedly, there are still dragons in the Shadowlands to this day, so they are not necessarily all gone.

If there are creatures who should have been able to survive the Long Night rather easily it should have been the dragons. After all, dragons are fire made flesh, and fire keeps you warm.

Dragons living in the north of Westeros - close to the Others and their ice magic - may have been killed by them, but for the dragons of Essos and Sothoryos the Long Night shouldn't even have been that much of a problem. The Rhoyne was only frozen shut down till Dagger Lake, not down to the mouths of the river - which means winter may have been felt down there, but wouldn't have been as bad as farther up south. And at the Summer Isles and Sothoryos the Long Night may have just been a chilly autumn or spring.

I mean, creatures with a built-in heating device would have had infinitely better chances to survive the Long Night than, say, direwolves, shadow cats, and mammoths. Yet they survived the Long Night in Westeros, too.

In that sense it would have been men who put down the dragons, seeing themselves as rival top predators as well as a danger to themselves. That way, only the domesticated Valyrian dragons survived.

Of course, we can only talk about the known world. However, until we know otherwise, we have no proof of other dragon populations. I would like it if there are indeed more wild populations. Given how desperately everyone else would have wanted a dragon, however, it seems the Valyrian dragon population is the only one we are aware of since the Long Night. The Qartheen were desperate to get their hands on a dragon, so one would think they would have wanted to do the same with any wild dragon found anywhere in ancient times. And would have had the magical means and trading network to track them down.

My view is not that Dragons froze to death during the Long Night. Their internal fires would keep them warm. But those fires require massive amounts of food to fuel them. And that is what would have been in short supply during the Long Night. A massive reduction in prey species coupled with massive increases in energy required to maintain their body temperatures combined into wiping out the vast majority of dragons in the Northern hemisphere. Why they don't infest and dominate Sothoryos is a mystery, but maybe the diseases there are equally harmful to dragons or some other such contrived explanation.

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24 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Of course, we can only talk about the known world. However, until we know otherwise, we have no proof of other dragon populations.

We have, since George confirmed there lived once everywhere. They are just all gone today.

24 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

I would like it if there are indeed more wild populations. Given how desperately everyone else would have wanted a dragon, however, it seems the Valyrian dragon population is the only one we are aware of since the Long Night. The Qartheen were desperate to get their hands on a dragon, so one would think they would have wanted to do the same with any wild dragon found anywhere in ancient times. And would have had the magical means and trading network to track them down.

There is no indication that the Qartheen - or everyone - wanted to get their hands on a dragon. In fact, before the Valyrians proved that dragons could be great assets in war, it seems that nobody ever thought about using them in that way before. The way the ancient peoples would have dealt with the dragons - both before and after the Long Night - would have been to put them down because they were a danger to themselves and their animals.

The ancient Ghiscari, Qaathi, Sarnori, Yi Tish, etc. would all have wiped the dragons from their reaches of the world.

24 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

My view is not that Dragons froze to death during the Long Night. Their internal fires would keep them warm. But those fires require massive amounts of food to fuel them. And that is what would have been in short supply during the Long Night. A massive reduction in prey species coupled with massive increases in energy required to maintain their body temperatures combined into wiping out the vast majority of dragons in the Northern hemisphere. Why they don't infest and dominate Sothoryos is a mystery, but maybe the diseases there are equally harmful to dragons or some other such contrived explanation.

Even if this was true - and there is basically nothing to support your view on this since we don't know whether dragons have to feed constantly to survive or whether they simply like to eat when food is available - this would do nothing to explain the fact that there are no dragons at the Orange Coast, say, in Sothoryos, or the Summer Isles. If there was no deadly winter there - and it doesn't seem as if it was there - then the animals there wouldn't have died in vast numbers.

Considering the might of dragons it is also rather weird to assume dragons would die out before all their prey animals. They can fly and they can breathe fire. No animal (or human being) can outrun or hide from them, no matter what they do. And, you know, there are dragons like Grey Ghost which only prey on fish. Nothing affected the abundance of fish in the seas of the world during the Long Night as far as we know.

In that sense, the best guess is human beings took care of the dragons, just as they are taking care of all other wild animals they don't want to compete with. They are the only creatures smart enough to make a concentrated effort to eradicate dragons.

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Posted (edited)

30 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

We have, since George confirmed there lived once everywhere. They are just all gone today.

There is no indication that the Qartheen - or everyone - wanted to get their hands on a dragon. In fact, before the Valyrians proved that dragons could be great assets in war, it seems that nobody ever thought about using them in that way before. The way the ancient peoples would have dealt with the dragons - both before and after the Long Night - would have been to put them down because they were a danger to themselves and their animals.

The ancient Ghiscari, Qaathi, Sarnori, Yi Tish, etc. would all have wiped the dragons from their reaches of the world.

Even if this was true - and there is basically nothing to support your view on this since we don't know whether dragons have to feed constantly to survive or whether they simply like to eat when food is available - this would do nothing to explain the fact that there are no dragons at the Orange Coast, say, in Sothoryos, or the Summer Isles. If there was no deadly winter there - and it doesn't seem as if it was there - then the animals there wouldn't have died in vast numbers.

Considering the might of dragons it is also rather weird to assume dragons would die out before all their prey animals. They can fly and they can breathe fire. No animal (or human being) can outrun or hide from them, no matter what they do. And, you know, there are dragons like Grey Ghost which only prey on fish. Nothing affected the abundance of fish in the seas of the world during the Long Night as far as we know.

In that sense, the best guess is human beings took care of the dragons, just as they are taking care of all other wild animals they don't want to compete with. They are the only creatures smart enough to make a concentrated effort to eradicate dragons.

There are a number of problems with that argument. Firstly, it would not explain the eradication of dragons in wild places like Sothoryos and other sparsely populated areas. And secondly, one struggles to think how primitive humans could have wiped out dragons across the known world.

As for dragons and their prey, it is about the equation of energy spent vs energy gained from a hunt. The further a dragon has to fly to consume sufficient pounds of protein to fuel it, the more energy is expended. This gets worse the bigger the dragon gets. And once large prey animals become scarce enough that the equation of energy gained vs energy spent gives a negative result, the dragon will slowly start starving. Not overnight, but over a 10 year winter it is very plausible.

Given the state of the world prior to the First Men migration, we know Essos was a patchwork of primitive barbarian tribes, with large areas of wilderness all over the world. It seems implausible that humans would have eradicated every dragon between Asshai and Casterly Rock in that era.

And granted, even with the Long Night argument, the issue of dragons in the southern hemisphere is not addressed. But then, we have no idea how the southern hemisphere was affected by the Long Night. You don't need ice everywhere to disrupt the eco system. Massive droughts to compensate for the northern winter could have had a similar devastating effect on animal life.

And it all then comes back to density of prey per square mile. And as the dragon has to fly further per calory consumed, it slowly starts to starve.

That's my theory and I'm sticking to it for now, because I don't see primitive humans wiping out all dragons in the known world as a plausible scenario.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

dragon bones found in Westeros that predate the Targaryen presence in Westeros

There's textual evidence of it? All I can remember is Yandel saying "But there were dragons in Westeros, once, long before the Targaryens came, as our own legends and histories tell us." In other words, Yandel doesn't have archaeological evidence (ie. dragon bones) to support his statement, just legends and histories. 

@Free Northman Reborn

Hi, there. I see your point on the dragons. Do you have an opinion on why Qarth's history could spoil ASOIAF plot at this point?

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