By Odin's Beard

Norse Mythology and ASOIAF

91 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, Ghost+Nymeria4Eva said:

Freyja the fertility goddess sounds more like Garth Greenhand rather than Mel. GRRM does a gender switch there. Fertility irl is associated with women and female goddesses. In AWOIAF, it's male. 

As @The Fattest Leech points out, I think GRRM is being heavily inspired by Norse and other myths rather than creating parallel characters in the books. I was just listening to Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology audiobook and it was striking how the origin of the world stuff resembled made-up myths in the books. I think GRRM got the ice and fire thing from Norse myths

I am reading Norse Mythology Myths of the Eddas by Rasmus Anderson (1879) and in the first chapter he uses the phrases “chaotic battlefield of frost and fire” and "conflict of Frost and Fire" and he also mentions a god greater than Odin "He who must not be named"  He also points out that a few words referencing the Norse myth have made it into modern usage "A word surviving like the peak of a submerged world"

I think Garth is derived from the horned-god archetype, which doesn't really figure in Norse myth too much, but is found in many other mythologies.  What really seals the Mel = Freyja deal for me is the magical "flame" or "amber" necklace Brisingamen, I have proposed that rubies in ASOIAF are petrified weirwood sap, so the amber reference works too.

 

One of the biggest gender swaps I have found is with the god Freyr, who is represented by Daenarys. 

Freyr (Frey “Lord”) Njord’s son, twin brother of Freyja. “both fair and mighty.  Freyr is one of the most celebrated gods.  He presides over rain and sunshine and all the fruits of the earth, and should be invoked to obtain good harvests, and also for peace.  He is beloved by all. He moreover dispenses wealth among men. Was lord of the Light Elves in Alfheim (valyrians?).  He is a fertility god is who is often depicted with a huge erect penis.  (In Daenarys' most of these qualities are inverted, fertility status is reversed but she is called "mother", she brings chaos where-ever she goes, hated by many)

“his desire is to loosen the fetters of those enchained”

Freyr had a magical sword that could fight on its own, was a great weapon for fighting ice giants.  But he traded it to marry the ice giant Gerd who he spied from atop a wall and instantly fell in love with (Jon Snow?).  Sent his messenger to woo her.  Freyr is killed by the fire giant Sutr ("the black" and has a flaming sword) at Ragnarok because he does not have his sword.

Magical dwarf Sons of Ivaldi “to Freyr he gave the boar, saying that it could run through air and water better than any horse, and it could never become so dark with night or gloom of the Murky Regions that there should not be sufficient light where he went, such was the glow from its mane and bristles”  Also called Slíðrugtanni “dangerous tooth” also called Hildisvini “battle-boar”

(her fylgia spirit-animal is the boar, the boar killed Dany's nemesis Robert Baratheon)

Owns the ship Skidbladner (Old Norse 'assembled from thin pieces of wood'), which was made by the dwarves “It was so large that all the gods with their weapons and war stores could find room on board it.  As soon as the sails are set a favorable breeze arises and carries it to its place of destination, and it is made of so many pieces, and with so much skill, that when it is not wanted for a voyage Frey may fold it together like a piece of cloth and put it into his pocket.” 

In Norse mythology Myths of the Eddas (1879) he describes Freyr's ship Skidbladner as "the ship of the universe

Drakkar longships, are viking longships with dragons carved in their prow. (very similar to  “dracarys”)  Freyr’s magical longship “the God’s ship, Skidbladnir, was crafted by the dwarfs.  A personification of the clouds, it glided across land, sea and air. Although massive enough to convey all the gods and an entire host, it could be folded up and pocketed like a handkerchief.  Thorstein’s fabulous dragon boat, Ellida, was a gift from the sea god, Aegir.  Shaped by the swelling planks which grew together in the form of a winged dragon, Ellida raced with the whistling wind and outstripped the eagle.  The floating fortress was famed far and wide.” (Encyclopedia of mythology, Arthur Cotterell)

So, Freyr has a magical self-propelled vessel of intricate design that is called the "God's ship" that is large enough for an entire host, flies through the air, referred to as the "ship of the universe" in a book that was written 80 years before space flight was achieved, and when not in use it disappears. 

Edited by By Odin's Beard

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On 4/6/2018 at 3:39 AM, The Fattest Leech said:

GRRM: “My major was journalism, but I took a minor in history. My sophomore year I signed up for the History of Scandinavia, thinking it would be cool to study Vikings. Professor Franklin D. Scott was an enthusiastic teacher who invited the class to his home for Scandinavian food and glug (a mulled wine with raisins and nuts floating in it). We read Norse sagas, Icelandic eddas, and the poems of the Finnish patriotic poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg. I loved the sagas and the eddas, which reminded me of Tolkien and Howard, and was much taken with Runeberg’s poem “Sveaborg,” a rousing lament for the great Helsinki fortress “Gibraltar of the North,” which surrendered inexplicably during the Russo-Swedish War of 1808. When it came time to write term papers, I chose “Sveaborg” for my topic. Then I had an off-the-wall idea. I asked Professor Scott if he would allow me to submit a story about “Sveaborg” rather than a conventional paper. To my delight, he agreed. “The Fortress” got me an A … but more than that, Professor Scott was so pleased with the story that he sent it off to The American-Scandinavian Review for possible publication.”

 

sidenote to this: notice how he used to make the mulled wine for his teacher (mentioned here and elsewhere) just as Jon does as the steward for LC Mormont ;)

Thank you, Fat Leech, for confirming my vague memories of GRRM having read Norse mythology (sagas). I didn't know he read Runeberg! He's one of our "great national poets" in Finland. Just last autumn I read the original (in Swedish, educated Finns at the time were mostly Swedish-speaking) and the most standard Finnish translation side by side, a collection of epic, lyric and even comic poems that is the Fänrik Ståls sägner, or Vänrikki Stoolin tarinat (Ensign Stål's tales). "Sveaborg" is one of the "tales", it deals with the "inexpicable" surrender of the mighty fortress Sveaborg just off Helsinki. It's not actually totally inexplicable if you know something of Finnish history and the mindsets of many Finnish military leaders and noblemen.

It'd be nice to read GRRM's "Sveaborg", his take on the events. Do you know where it might be available?

As to Sveaborg itself. The sea fortress, decomissioned, is still there, now called Suomenlinna ('fortress of Finland') and a historic UNESCO World Heritage site, home to several hundred Helsinkians, though no more military, and a very popular tourist destination. Even more popular with ordinary Helsinkians, we go there on extended picnics. Buy some excellent smoked whitefish and other delicacies at the Market Square, take a ferry there, admire the old battlements, maybe explore some vaults or tunnels, catch the sun, swim in the sea, eat and drink well, slowly make your way back to the mainland in one of the waterbuses with other "merry" picnickers as the sun dips low in the horizon. Aah.

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Posted (edited)

I don't know where else to put this but the Prose Edda, one of the main texts of Norse mythology, translates to "tales from a great-grand mother" --who is Old Nan.

 

On 4/6/2018 at 11:40 AM, Ghost+Nymeria4Eva said:

I was just listening to Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology audiobook and it was striking how the origin of the world stuff resembled made-up myths in the books. I think GRRM got the ice and fire thing from Norse myths. 

Yes, there is a giant named Ymir and his children the frost-giants who "were, then, the first race or first dynasty of gods."  But Ymir was evil, as were all his kind.  Odin and his brothers (who were themselves partly descended from the frost-giants) "slew Ymir, but when he fell there ran so much blood out of his wounds, that with that they drowned all the race of the frost-giants save one, who got away with his house-hold. He went on his boat, and with him went his wife, and from them came a new race of frost-giants."

Odin and his brothers then fashioned the Earth from his flesh, from his blood the ocean, from his bones the mountains (the Bones Mountains in Essos reference this), from his hair the trees, from his brains the clouds, from his skull the heavens (i.e., we live inside the eye of a blue-eyed giant), and from his eyebrows the middle realm in which mankind lives.  . . .

"There were not yet any human beings upon the earth" when one day Odin and his brothers found two trees on the beach and created the first humans: the man Askr ("ash tree") and the woman Embla (elm tree or vine, liana), and from them the entire human family is descended.

 

I think Ymir represents the God on Earth from the Great Empire that the Weirwood/Odin destroyed.  The Weirwood built the current world out of or upon the remains of their civilization. And created humans from trees.  The boat-refugees reminds me of the Great Empire refugees who founded Valyria, then also of Dany the Dreamer saving her family on a boat when Valyria got wiped out, and sank below the sea.  Time is cyclical in Norse myth, and at the end of Ragnarok, there is another tidal wave that sweeps across the land, wiping it clean, and destroying civilization.   Which reminds me of Melisandre and the vision of "the towers by the sea, crumbling as the dark tide came sweeping over them, rising from the depths." (towers represent Weirwood)  A few humans survive, and restart civilization.

 

I think the Weirwood is causing all these time-loops   "For men, time is a river. We are trapped in its flow, hurtling from past to present, always in the same direction. The lives of trees are different. They root and grow and die in one place, and that river does not move them. The oak is the acorn, the acorn is the oak. And the weirwood … a thousand human years are a moment to a weirwood, and through such gates you and I may gaze into the past."

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At the center of the Norse spiritual cosmos is an ash tree, Yggdrasil (pronounced “IG-druh-sill”; Old Norse Askr Yggdrasils), which grows out of the Well of Urd (Old Norse Urðarbrunnr). The Nine Worlds are held in the branches and roots of the tree. The name Askr Yggdrasils probably strikes most modern people as being awkwardly complex. It means “the ash tree of the horse of Yggr.” Yggr means “The Terrible One,” and is a byname of Odin. The horse of Odin is Sleipnir. This may seem like a puzzling name for a tree, but it makes sense when one considers that the tree as a means of transportation between worlds is a common theme in Eurasian shamanism. Odin rides Sleipnir up and down Yggdrasil’s trunk and through its branches on his frequent journeys throughout the Nine Worlds. “Urd” (pronounced “URD”; Old Norse Urðr, Old English Wyrd) means “destiny.” The Well of Urd could therefore just as aptly be called the Well of Destiny.

There stands an ash called Yggdrasil,
A mighty tree showered in white hail.
From there come the dews that fall in the valleys.
It stands evergreen above Urd’s Well.

From there come maidens, very wise,
Three from the lake that stands beneath the pole.
One is called Urd, another Verdandi,
Skuld the third; they carve into the tree
The lives and destinies of children
.

These three maidens are the Norns, and their carvings consist of runes, the magical alphabet of the ancient Germanic peoples.

In addition to the inhabitants of the Nine Worlds, several beings live in, on, or under the tree itself. The Eddic poem Grímnismál, “The Song of the Hooded One,” mentions many of them – but, unfortunately, only in passing. An anonymous eagle perches in the upper branches of the tree. A number of dragons or snakes, most notably Nidhogg, gnaw at the roots from below. A squirrel, Ratatosk, carries messages (presumably malicious ones) between Nidhogg and the eagle. Four deer, Dain, Dvalin, Duneyr, and Dyrathror, nibble the highest shoots.

Yggdrasil and the Well of Urd weren’t thought of as existing in a single physical location, but rather dwell within the invisible heart of anything and everything.

Fundamentally, this image expresses the indigenous Germanic perspective on the concepts of time and destiny. the water that permeates the image, flowing up from the well into the tree, dripping from the leaves of the tree as dew, and returning to the well, where it then seeps back up into the tree.

Here, time is cyclical rather than linear. The present returns to the past, where it retroactively changes the past. The new past, in turn, is reabsorbed into a new present, whose originality is an outgrowth of the give-and-take between the waters of the well and the waters of the tree.”

 

Change of subject, but still on the topic of time-loops.

On 4/7/2018 at 0:18 PM, talvikorppi said:

It'd be nice to read GRRM's "Sveaborg", his take on the events. Do you know where it might be available?

@The Fattest Leech  Thanks for the recommendation.  It is called "The Fortress" and it is in Dreamsongs Vol. 1, I just finished it now.  In it the Admiral Cronstedt inexplicably surrenders the well-defended and well-provisioned fortress to the Russians, before the siege has even begun.  The Russians were sending propaganda that convinced the Admiral that he would be defeated, so he surrendered the Fortress to "save" the people inside.  In the end we find out that the Russians were no threat at all, and the Fortress could have easily withstood the attack.

But I am much more interested in the follow-up story, Under Siege, which I haven't read yet, but which turns the story into sci-fi, in which the military in the future has a group of time-travelers who go back in time and change events to steer the course of history.  One of the time-travelers sends his consciousness back into Colonel Anttonnen at Sveaborg to prevent the surrender.  Apparently the time-traveler's consciousness remains in the past.

I haven't read it yet, but is there any indication that Admiral Cronstedt's mind had been infiltrated also--and that is what lead him to surrender the Fortress for no reason?  Because that is what I said happened to the Bloodstone Emperor at Asshai.  It was an impenetrable fortress that could withstand any siege, but the enemy literally got inside the Emperor's head telepathically and he just opened the gates. 

The plot device of the time-traveler who tries to fix the timeline and/or prevent the war also was used in The Mote in God's Eye.  And I think Bran will be doing it in ASOIAF too, and his consciousness remains in the past as the Night's King.  Loki was the "causer of knots/tangles/loops"

I just found this line in Norse Mythology: "In the northern extremity of the heavens sits a giant called 'corpse-swallower'.  Clad with eagles' plumes.  When he spreads out his wings for flight, the winds arise from under them."--Said another way, he brings the cold with him, he is The Winds of Winter, the Corpse-Swallower, (is it  the Ice Dragon named "Winter" who perhaps was imprisoned under Winterfell--who sucked corpses?) who I think will be ridden by the Loki character (Night's King), who steers the "Ship of the Dead" and leads the Frost-Giants south when the Bifrost Bridge is destroyed and Loki breaks free from his prison. 

"The wind was gusting, cold as the breath of the ice dragon in the tales Old Nan had told when Jon was a boy."

The time-loops and pre-destination/fates/prophecy/magic will end when he destroys the weirwood.

 

Edited by By Odin's Beard

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On 4/10/2018 at 1:20 AM, By Odin's Beard said:

I think the Weirwood is causing all these time-loops   "For men, time is a river. We are trapped in its flow, hurtling from past to present, always in the same direction. The lives of trees are different. They root and grow and die in one place, and that river does not move them. The oak is the acorn, the acorn is the oak. And the weirwood … a thousand human years are a moment to a weirwood, and through such gates you and I may gaze into the past."

Oh yes, the disturbed flow of time. I'm not sure if it's in a loop per se. We discussed these time gates in another thread. Anyway, i don't think it's the weirwoods per se that are causing time problems. After all, the Undying also have the ability to open "gates" into the past and the future, without the weirwoods. Some people have the foresight in dreams, like Daenys, or Dany. And people like Mel sees signs of events to come in the flames. There are Children and Maggy the Frog who can discern future events with darn levels of accuracy. 

There's also the story of the Bloodstone emperor and him making sacrifices to a stone that fell from a sky. People have talked about the tree of knowledge and tree of eternal life duality here. Some seem to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge, learning about events to come. Others, the tree of life, never dying. 

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17 minutes ago, Ghost+Nymeria4Eva said:

i don't think it's the weirwoods per se that are causing time problems. After all, the Undying also have the ability to open "gates" into the past and the future, without the weirwoods. Some people have the foresight in dreams, like Daenys, or Dany. And people like Mel sees signs of events to come in the flames. There are Children and Maggy the Frog who can discern future events with darn levels of accuracy. 

There's also the story of the Bloodstone emperor and him making sacrifices to a stone that fell from a sky. People have talked about the tree of knowledge and tree of eternal life duality here. Some seem to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge, learning about events to come. Others, the tree of life, never dying. 

What we learned from the House of Black and White is that there is only one god on Planetos, the weirwood--him of many faces, the god of death.

The Undying are plugged into the Essos weirwoods.

The warlocks were trying to trap Dany in their Essos weirwood network to steal her and her dragons power, just like Bloodraven and the CotF are trying with Bran.  The description of the Undying as ancient and withered beings who live under a stone tree/stone serpent, who subsist on the sap from that tree which gives visions, and want to eat the flesh/drain the life from of one of the main characters to assimilate their powers.  Many enter, but few leave.

They even have a CotF-looking guy "A small dwarf no more than knee high with a snoutish face, garbed in purple and blue livery, is a servant."

The greenseers in Westeros are plugged into the Weirwood.

Mel is a hardcore weirwood avatar, with a weirwood sap necklace, her visions are sent by the Weirwoods, and she is being played.

Quaithe has a weirwood mask, is sending Dany dreams.

The Bloodstone was a piece of weirwood asteroid that fell from the sky and got control of the Bloodstone Emperor's mind.

Maggy is a woods-witch, who is "squat and warty, with crusty yellow eyes, no teeth, and pale green jowls. She spoke in a croaking, accented voice. Westerosi could not pronounce her real name, which was long and foreign sounding. Some considered her a priestess or a half-mad witch woman. Maggy conducted business in a dark green tent with a tall peaked roof"

Very short old woman who lives in the woods, yellow eyes, green face, green tent, frog-ish (like Crannogmen), drinks blood, un-pronounable name (he who cannot be named?)

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Old Nan would have called them singers, but those who sing the song of earth was their own name for themselves, in the True Tongue that no human man could speak.

She is a Child of the Forest, or a near descendant.  They are servitors of the Weirwood and that is where their powers derive.

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On 4/11/2018 at 8:34 PM, By Odin's Beard said:

What we learned from the House of Black and White is that there is only one god on Planetos, the weirwood--him of many faces, the god of death.

That's just what the FM believe, but that doesn't make it true. We know there are at least two gods--the Great Other of ice and the fire god. But there are probably three, including the Drowned God, who are all connected in one way or another. 

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1 hour ago, Ghost+Nymeria4Eva said:

That's just what the FM believe, but that doesn't make it true. We know there are at least two gods--the Great Other of ice and the fire god. But there are probably three, including the Drowned God, who are all connected in one way or another. 

We don’t know that any of these Gods actually exist... while there are clearly religions, and clearly magic, we don’t know if the magic comes from gods or if any, or none, of the religions are true.

The weirwoods exist, but we don’t know if they are, or house, actual gods.

The existence of the Divine in ASoIaF is something, so far, which has been left open ended...

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1 hour ago, Ghost+Nymeria4Eva said:

We know there are at least two gods--the Great Other of ice and the fire god. But there are probably three, including the Drowned God, who are all connected in one way or another. 

"The heart tree," Ned called it. The weirwood's bark was white as bone, its leaves dark red, like a thousand bloodstained hands.

"The red leaves of the weirwood were a blaze of flame"

Weirwood is the Heart tree, with a thousand flaming hands.

"In Volantis, a thousand slave soldiers (never more, and never less), guard the red temple. They are known as the Fiery Hand".

Flaming heart of R'hllor
 

R'hllor and the Great Other are the same thing.

 

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3 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

"The heart tree," Ned called it. The weirwood's bark was white as bone, its leaves dark red, like a thousand bloodstained hands.

"The red leaves of the weirwood were a blaze of flame"

Weirwood is the Heart tree, with a thousand flaming hands.

"In Volantis, a thousand slave soldiers (never more, and never less), guard the red temple. They are known as the Fiery Hand".

Flaming heart of R'hllor
 

 

R'hllor and the Great Other are the same thing.

 

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Dany gave the silver over to the slaves for grooming and entered her tent. It was cool and dim beneath the silk. As she let the door flap close behind her, Dany saw a finger of dusty red light reach out to touch her dragon's eggs across the tent. For an instant thousand droplets of scarlet flame swam before her eyes. She blinked, and they were gone.

Or a thousand red eyes?

How many eyes does Bloodraven have?

or a thousand red doors?

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But it was not the plains Dany saw then. It was King's Landing and the great Red Keep that Aegon the Conqueror had built. It was Dragonstone where she had been born. In her mind's eye they burned with a thousand lights, a fire blazing in every window. In her mind's eye, all the doors were red.

Or a thousand stars?

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Torches flickered all along the ringwall. The night was moonless, but a thousandstars shone overhead.
A sound rose out of the darkness, faint and distant, but unmistakable: the howling of wolves. Their voices rose and fell, a chilly song, and lonely. It made the hairs rise along the back of his neck. Across the fire, a pair of red eyes regarded him from the shadows. The light of the flames made them glow.

Or a thousand faces? (Sansa as we know believes the stories, Sweet (ok not that sweet) Summer Child...) 

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Wordless, she fled. She was afraid of Sandor Clegane . . . and yet, some part of her wished that Ser Dontos had a little of the Hound's ferocity. There are gods, she told herself, and there are true knights too. All the stories can't be lies.

That night Sansa dreamed of the riot again. The mob surged around her, shrieking, a maddened beast with a thousand faces. Everywhere she turned she saw faces twisted into monstrous inhuman masks. She wept and told them she had never done them hurt, yet they dragged her from her horse all the same. "No," she cried, "no, please, don't, don't," but no one paid her any heed. She shouted for Ser Dontos, for her brothers, for her dead father and her dead wolf, for gallant Ser Loras who had given her a red rose once, but none of them came. She called for the heroes from the songs, for Florian and Ser Ryam Redwyne and Prince Aemon the Dragonknight, but no one heard. Women swarmed over her like weasels, pinching her legs and kicking her in the belly, and someone hit her in the face and she felt her teeth shatter. Then she saw the bright glimmer of steel. The knife plunged into her belly and tore and tore and tore, until there was nothing left of her down there but shiny wet ribbons.

At the end of the day, we should all be like Davos, full of doubts:

Quote

 

"The war," she affirmed. "There are two, Onion Knight. Not seven, not one, not a hundred or a thousand. Two! Do you think I crossed half the world to put yet another vain king on yet another empty throne? The war has been waged since time began, and before it is done, all men must choose where they will stand. On one side is R'hllor, the Lord of Light, the Heart of Fire, the God of Flame and Shadow. Against him stands the Great Other whose name may not be spoken, the Lord of Darkness, the Soul of Ice, the God of Night and Terror. Ours is not a choice between Baratheon and Lannister, between Greyjoy and Stark. It is death we choose, or life. Darkness, or light." She clasped the bars of his cell with her slender white hands. The great ruby at her throat seemed to pulse with its own radiance. "So tell me, Ser Davos Seaworth, and tell me truly—does your heart burn with the shining light of R'hllor? Or is it black and cold and full of worms?" She reached through the bars and laid three fingers upon his breast, as if to feel the truth of him through flesh and wool and leather.
"My heart," Davos said slowly, "is full of doubts."

 

Or even a bird of a thousand colors? (It should be noted I suspect Illyrio doubles as Salador Saan, the last Valyrian.)

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"You did not see the gods burn, my lord?" he asked.

"The red priests have a great temple on Lys. Always they are burning this and burning that, crying out to their R'hllor. They bore me with their fires. Soon they will bore King Stannis too, it is to be hoped." He seemed utterly unconcerned that someone might overhear him, eating his grapes and dribbling the seeds out onto his lip, flicking them off with a finger. "My Bird of Thousand Colors came in yesterday, good ser. She is not a warship, no, but a trader, and she paid a call on King's Landing. Are you sure you will not have a grape? Children go hungry in the city, it is said." He dangled the grapes before Davos and smiled.
"It's ale I need, and news."

After all...

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Davos sipped his ale to give himself a moment. The inn is crowded, and you are not Salladhor Saan, he reminded himself. Be careful how you answer. "King Stannis is my god. He made me and blessed me with his trust."

"I will remember." Salladhor Saan got to his feet. "My pardons. These grapes have given me a hunger, and dinner awaits on my Valyrian. Minced lamb with pepper and roasted gull stuffed with mushrooms and fennel and onion. Soon we shall eat together in King's Landing, yes? In the Red Keep we shall feast, while the dwarf sings us a jolly tune. When you speak to King Stannis, mention if you would that he will owe me another thirty thousand dragons come the black of the moon. He ought to have given those gods to me. They were too beautiful to burn, and might have brought a noble price in Pentos or Myr. Well, if he grants me Queen Cersei for a night I shall forgive him." The Lyseni clapped Davos on the back, and swaggered from the inn as if he owned it.
Ser Davos Seaworth lingered over his tankard for a good while, thinking. A year ago, he had been with Stannis in King's Landing when King Robert staged a tourney for Prince Joffrey's name day. He remembered the red priest Thoros of Myr, and the flaming sword he had wielded in the melee. The man had made for a colorful spectacle, his red robes flapping while his blade writhed with pale green flames, but everyone knew there was no true magic to it, and in the end his fire had guttered out and Bronze Yohn Royce had brained him with a common mace.

Foreshadowing of the red god falling before the old gods? Or rather the followers of one victorious over the followers of the other?

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"The heart tree," Ned called it. The weirwood's bark was white as bone, its leaves dark red, like a thousand bloodstained hands.

Combined with Dany's vision:

Quote

Ten thousand slaves lifted bloodstained hands as she raced by on her silver, riding like the wind. "Mother!" they cried. "Mother, mother!" They were reaching for her, touching her, tugging at her cloak, the hem of her skirt, her foot, her leg, her breast. They wanted her, needed her, the fire, the life, and Dany gasped and opened her arms to give herself to them . . .

But then black wings buffeted her round the head, and a scream of fury cut the indigo air, and suddenly the visions were gone, ripped away, and Dany's gasp turned to horror. The Undying were all around her, blue and cold, whispering as they reached for her, pulling, stroking, tugging at her clothes, touching her with their dry cold hands, twining their fingers through her hair. All the strength had left her limbs. She could not move. Even her heart had ceased to beat. She felt a hand on her bare breast, twisting her nipple. Teeth found the soft skin of her throat. A mouth descended on one eye, licking, sucking, biting . . .

The weirwood is equated with the Undying and the shade of the evening trees.  They use false visions to manipulate her into doing what they want.  They want to trick her into staying willingly so they can assimilate her and drain her precious bodily fluids, but Drogon instinctively hates weirwoods and he burns them and saves her.

 

20 hours ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

Dany saw a finger of dusty red light reach out to touch her dragon's eggs across the tent. For an instant thousand droplets of scarlet flame swam before her eyes. She blinked, and they were gone.

That reads like the flames are instructing her on what to do to hatch the eggs.

 

 

20 hours ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

He remembered the red priest Thoros of Myr,

Speaking of Thoros, he a Red Priest who is in a Brotherhood with a weirwood throne-sitting Bloodraven-doppelganger Odin character (has one eye, and he was hanged)

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 huge white roots twisting through them like a thousand slow pale snakes. . .  In one place on the far side of the fire, the roots formed a kind of stairway up to a hollow in the earth where a man sat almost lost in the tangle of weirwood.

The voice came from the man seated amongst the weirwood roots halfway up the wall. . .  A scarecrow of a man, he wore a ragged black cloak speckled with stars and an iron breastplate dinted by a hundred battles. A thicket of red-gold hair hid most of his face, save for a bald spot above his left ear where his head had been smashed in. "More than eighty of our company are dead now, but others have taken up the swords that fell from their hands." When he reached the floor, the outlaws moved aside to let him pass. One of his eyes was gone, Arya saw, the flesh about the socket scarred and puckered, and he had a dark black ring all around his neck. "With their help, we fight on as best we can, for Robert and the realm."

If the Red God hates the weirwood, what is with Beric and Thoros in this weirwood cave?  Who is really reviving Beric, this R'hollor that nobody has actually seen, or the weirwood that Beric is "almost lost in the tangle of"?

Edited by By Odin's Beard

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On 4/9/2018 at 10:50 PM, By Odin's Beard said:

Change of subject, but still on the topic of time-loops.

@The Fattest Leech  Thanks for the recommendation.  It is called "The Fortress" and it is in Dreamsongs Vol. 1, I just finished it now.  In it the Admiral Cronstedt inexplicably surrenders the well-defended and well-provisioned fortress to the Russians, before the siege has even begun. - snip

 

Thank you, Odin's Beard, for giving the reference to the GRRM story. Stories. I'll try to find it/them.

The surrender of Sveaborg is only "inexplicable" from the Swedish point of view. It's quite understandable from the point of view of Finnish military and civic leaders, nominally sworn to the Swedish "rik", realm. Even back then, there were ideas of Finnish independence floating around the upper classes in Finland, and they thought siding with Russia against Sweden could achieve that aim. 

In the event, it took another 100+ years, cutting the cord to Sweden, becoming a Russian "Grand Duchy" with very wide autonomy (kept our own laws, our own reformed Lutheran religion, our customary foreign trade rights, heck, even got our own currency), newly found national identity complete with a national epic, Kalevala, collected by the tireless Dr Lönnroth in his birch bark shoes, and the attempts at "Russification" towards the end of the 19th century, early 20th century, Sibelius's music, Gallen-Kallela's paintings, workers' rights, political rights (first country in the world to give full political rights to all citizens in 1906 - New Zealand gave the vote to women before us but kept the Maori disenfrancised) that did it, pushed us over the edge. Uhm, the Russian revolution might've helped. Lenin was a bit busy in 1917 so signed off our independence, so that was surprisingly easy.

We then promptly made it more difficult by engaging in a bitter civil war. Whites and Reds. Haves and have-nots. Conservative powers that be, teamed with many ordinary large or small farm-owning rural people (such as my great grandparents, my granddad, at 17, fought in the civil war) against poor tenant farmers, the rural landless poor, urban factory workers, socialists. Even today, 100 years after the event, the civil war is a sore point. We can't even agree on what to call it, civil war is the most neutral term but even today many people baulk at it and prefer "freedom war", think "civil war" is a leftist term. Citizens' War, Red Rebellion, Butchers' War... This from the people who stood together in 1939-1945 and keep mythologising our heroic wars. I think why the civil war is still such a sore point is that it doesn't fit the national, heroic narrative engendered during and after the Winter War and Continuation War (1939-1945) and during the reconstruction era. Ho-hum.

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On 4/13/2018 at 10:42 PM, LiveFirstDieLater said:

We don’t know that any of these Gods actually exist... while there are clearly religions, and clearly magic, we don’t know if the magic comes from gods or if any, or none, of the religions are true.

The weirwoods exist, but we don’t know if they are, or house, actual gods.

The existence of the Divine in ASoIaF is something, so far, which has been left open ended...

We do know that R'hllor exists. In Mel's chapter she is shown signs in the flames, and R'hllor is a fire god. And Beric is brought back to life from the flames. Dany sees a flaming heart consuming her unborn son in GoT. 

The existence of the Drowned God isn't blatantly obvious, but we know it's not completely made up because of Patchface. The Drowned God brings him back to life. 

The only gods not to make an appearance are the Seven. It's possible that the Seven is just another term for other gods we have heard of. 

I think we can say that whatever the people in AWOIAF believe to be gods do exist in some way. These things may not necessarily turn out to be divine creatures in the same way that people believe the gods to be. But there is something out there. 

But GRRM has said that there will be no divine intervention in the story. So the gods don't appear to save the say. 

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On 4/13/2018 at 10:55 PM, By Odin's Beard said:

R'hllor and the Great Other are the same thing.

The Great Other is a god associated with the cold, stated as something that hates all things warm. So how can it and the fire god be the same thing?

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Maybe some of the direwolves (alive or undead) will literally eat the sun and moon during the Long Night, like Fenrir's sons did during Ragnarok. 

 

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46 minutes ago, Ghost+Nymeria4Eva said:

We do know that R'hllor exists. In Mel's chapter she is shown signs in the flames, and R'hllor is a fire god. And Beric is brought back to life from the flames. Dany sees a flaming heart consuming her unborn son in GoT. 

The existence of the Drowned God isn't blatantly obvious, but we know it's not completely made up because of Patchface. The Drowned God brings him back to life. 

The only gods not to make an appearance are the Seven. It's possible that the Seven is just another term for other gods we have heard of. 

I think we can say that whatever the people in AWOIAF believe to be gods do exist in some way. These things may not necessarily turn out to be divine creatures in the same way that people believe the gods to be. But there is something out there. 

But GRRM has said that there will be no divine intervention in the story. So the gods don't appear to save the say. 

We don't actually know Rholler or any other gods exist. Magic certainly exists, different people ascribe it to different gods.

Citing Melisandre the Unreliable as proof of Rholler's existence is just funny.

GRRM is an atheist, that is, does not believe in the existence of any god or gods. (I happen to agree.) However, religions are real, in this world and in martinverse.

Religions are what people believe in, constructs to explain the universe, to make sense of the world and life in general. Religion can be a powerful weapon, as demonstrated by the High Sparrow. It doesn't mean the Seven are "real", any more than any other deieties in martinverse. I think we're asked to look at the different peoples and cultures and their religions and how they explain their world, including magic. And maybe reflect on our own world and religions.

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On 4/11/2018 at 8:04 AM, By Odin's Beard said:

What we learned from the House of Black and White is that there is only one god on Planetos, the weirwood--him of many faces, the god of death.

The Undying are plugged into the Essos weirwoods.

The warlocks were trying to trap Dany in their Essos weirwood network to steal her and her dragons power, just like Bloodraven and the CotF are trying with Bran.  The description of the Undying as ancient and withered beings who live under a stone tree/stone serpent, who subsist on the sap from that tree which gives visions, and want to eat the flesh/drain the life from of one of the main characters to assimilate their powers.  Many enter, but few leave.

They even have a CotF-looking guy "A small dwarf no more than knee high with a snoutish face, garbed in purple and blue livery, is a servant."

The greenseers in Westeros are plugged into the Weirwood.

Mel is a hardcore weirwood avatar, with a weirwood sap necklace, her visions are sent by the Weirwoods, and she is being played.

Quaithe has a weirwood mask, is sending Dany dreams.

The Bloodstone was a piece of weirwood asteroid that fell from the sky and got control of the Bloodstone Emperor's mind.

Maggy is a woods-witch, who is "squat and warty, with crusty yellow eyes, no teeth, and pale green jowls. She spoke in a croaking, accented voice. Westerosi could not pronounce her real name, which was long and foreign sounding. Some considered her a priestess or a half-mad witch woman. Maggy conducted business in a dark green tent with a tall peaked roof"

Very short old woman who lives in the woods, yellow eyes, green face, green tent, frog-ish (like Crannogmen), drinks blood, un-pronounable name (he who cannot be named?)

She is a Child of the Forest, or a near descendant.  They are servitors of the Weirwood and that is where their powers derive.

Okay, so you see weirwood everywhere.  But a weirwood asteroid?!  Hahahaha!

It wouldn't surprise me to learn that the black barked trees with the inky blue leaves used for making shade of the evening are related to weirwood but it is a little reckless to talk as if they are the same thing.  There is often speculation that the red sap and leaves of the weirwoods have that colouration because blood sacrifices are made to them and they drink the blood up with their roots.  What makes the sap and leaves of the black barked trees blue?

Is red, the colour red, what leads you connect Melisandre with weirwoods?  It's a tenuous connection unless you are building your assumption on more than the sap of the weirwood being red and rubies also being red. 

Quaithe wears what is described as a red lacquered wooden mask.  No mention of the mask being made from weirwood, unlike the mask worn by Morna White Mask which is specifically described as being weirwood.

Congratulations for coming up with the concept of a weirwood asteroid.  It makes me chuckle. 

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1 hour ago, White Ravens said:

Okay, so you see weirwood everywhere.

I do see Weirwood everywhere.  I think it is the main antagonist of the story.  Westeros itself is described as a living organism.  Its locations are body parts, it has the God's Eye, the Fingers, the Neck.  The Weirwood network runs under the soil throughout all of Westeros, except through solid rock, it is the life-force that animates Westeros.  It is everywhere and sees everything and manipulates people and events to suit its interests--and its interests are mainly just blood sacrifice.

 

1 hour ago, White Ravens said:

It wouldn't surprise me to learn that the black barked trees with the inky blue leaves used for making shade of the evening are related to weirwood but it is a little reckless to talk as if they are the same thing. 

In my post up above I outlined how the House of the Undying directly parallels Bloodraven's cave. 

The warlocks/undying were trying to trap Dany to steal her and her dragons power "They wanted her, needed her, the fire, the life" just like Bloodraven and the CotF are trying with Bran--Bloodraven's cave is littered with thousands of bones of victims of the Weirwood.  The description of the Undying as ancient and withered beings who live under a stone tree/stone serpent--long past normal life span, who subsist on the sap from that tree which gives visions, and want to eat the flesh/drain the life from of one of the main characters to assimilate their powers.  Many enter, but few leave.

They even have a CotF-looking guy "A small dwarf no more than knee high with a snoutish face, garbed in purple and blue livery", is a servant.

The description of shade of the evening is very similar to weirwood paste

"The weirwood paste at first tastes bitter, then better, then almost sweet, tasting of honey"  Fed to Bran by CotF tree nymphs.

shade of the evening "on her tongue was a taste like honey"  Fed to Daenarys by a little dwarf servant

That passage above, in Dany's vision "Ten thousand slaves lifted bloodstained hands" (which is the weirwood descriptor) to grab at her, then they changed into the Undyding grabbing at her.  That is drawing a direct link between weirwood and shade of the evening trees.

It is not reckless, there is a lot of textual support for it.

 

1 hour ago, White Ravens said:

What makes the sap and leaves of the black barked trees blue?

"the five-pointed red leaves turned black by night "

I don't know why they are black, one idea is that they were corrupted by the Bloodstone Emperor when he almost got control of the network.

 

2 hours ago, White Ravens said:

Is red, the colour red, what leads you connect Melisandre with weirwoods?  It's a tenuous connection unless you are building your assumption on more than the sap of the weirwood being red and rubies also being red. 

"The wide smooth trunks were bone pale, and nine faces stared inward. The dried sap that crusted in the eyes was red and hard as ruby." 

" And suddenly Ghost was back, stalking softly between two weirwoods. White fur and red eyes, Jon realized, disquieted. Like the trees …"

"Lady Melisandre was seated near the fire, her ruby glimmering against the pale skin of her throat. . . and her hair was blood and flame."

" Red silk, red eyes, the ruby red at her throat, red lips curled in a faint smile "

"her heart-shaped face, coppery hair, and unearthly red eyes

"Her eyes were two red stars, shining in the dark. At her throat, her ruby gleamed, a third eye glowing brighter than the others. Jon had seen Ghost's eyes blazing red the same way, when they caught the light just right. "Ghost," he called. "To me."  The direwolf looked at him as if he were a stranger."

"Red eyes, Jon realized, but not like Melisandre's. He had a weirwood's eyes. Red eyes, red mouth, white fur. Blood and bone, like a heart tree."

"The direwolf's red eyes were darker than garnets "

" Ghost appeared beside him, his warm breath steaming in the cold. In the moonlight, his red eyes glowed like pools of fire "

" Ghost hunched with white fur bristling. He made no sound, but his dark red eyes spoke blood "

Ghost of High Heart

" The firelight made her eyes gleam as red as the eyes of Jon's wolf. He was a ghost too."

" its slitted red eyes and bloody mouth. It is only sap, she'd told herself, the red sap that flows inside these weirwoods. But her eyes were unconvinced; seeing was believing, and what they saw was frozen blood."

" And for one strange moment it seemed as if it were Bran's face carved into the pale trunk of the weirwood, staring down at him with eyes red and wise and sad."

" The only thing that looked alive in the pale ruin that was his face was his one red eye, burning like the last coal in a dead fire, surrounded by twisted roots and tatters of leathery white skin hanging off a yellowed skull "

" but once in a great while one is born amongst them with eyes as red as blood, or green as the moss on a tree in the heart of the forest. By these signs do the gods mark those they have chosen to receive the gift "

 

Red eyes is how "the gods mark those they have chosen"  Of the 51 mentions of "red eyes" I think 45 were referring to Ghost, Melisandre, and the Weirwood.  Then Bloodraven, and the Ghost of High Heart both have red eyes.  The other mentions are to Euron's sigil, Aenys Frey's "watery red eyes" and a sliced off nipple, and someone getting punched in the eye, and a white mouse with red eyes sigil.

Ghost, the Weirwood, Melisandre, Bloodraven, the Ghost of High Heart, all red eyes, all weirwood avatars.  Melisandre even has a Heart-shaped face, and a third-eye.

This also draws a parallel between blood eyes, fire eyes, weirwood eyes, ruby eyes--all the same thing.

 

I will address the weirwood asteroid in another post.

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14 hours ago, talvikorppi said:

GRRM is an atheist, that is, does not believe in the existence of any god or gods. (I happen to agree.) However, religions are real, in this world and in martinverse.

GRRM was raised Catholic, and for someone who is supposedly atheist, gods and religion plays a major role in most of his stories. He even wrote a story called the Way of Cross and Dragon about the Catholic church in space! I think he has lost faith, but his worldview is still shaped by it. 

And you are right, religions in AWOIAF is not based on mere belief. They seem to have a very real basis, though the people may not understand exactly what that is. 

14 hours ago, talvikorppi said:

Citing Melisandre the Unreliable as proof of Rholler's existence is just funny.

GRRM wrote Mel's POV chapter just to clear up some major misconceptions readers have about her character. Mainly the fact that she might be a total fraud pretending to be a seer or whatever to gain influence over Stannis. In her POV chapter, we know that she does actually get visions in the fire, but her interpretation is not always right and can actually be dead wrong. She overestimates herself and is uncertain at the same time. We can say for certain that she is not making up R'hllor's power. And it's also the first time we see what these fire priests see in the fire. 

14 hours ago, talvikorppi said:

We don't actually know Rholler or any other gods exist. Magic certainly exists, different people ascribe it to different gods.

Yes but the magic isn't coming out of nowhere. It's not a force of its own, like in Harry Potter universe. The magical powers are derived from the gods. As in, different powers come from different gods. The weirwoods are associated with greenseeing, R'hllor with fire resurrection, the Many Faced God with face changing assassinations, and so on. R'hllor and Drowned God seem to be similar in their power of resurrection. And all the known gods, except the Seven, are associated with blood sacrifices. 

As I said in the earlier posts, the gods do exist, but they may not be gods in exactly the same way people believe them to be. There is an undeniable supernatural presence. It could be divine, or just alien. And at least one god mentioned in the story, like the Pale Child, appear in GRRM's other stories as a god. 

14 hours ago, talvikorppi said:

Religions are what people believe in, constructs to explain the universe, to make sense of the world and life in general. Religion can be a powerful weapon, as demonstrated by the High Sparrow. It doesn't mean the Seven are "real", any more than any other deieties in martinverse. I think we're asked to look at the different peoples and cultures and their religions and how they explain their world, including magic. And maybe reflect on our own world and religions.

That's how religion works in real world, to a certain extent. In AWOIAF, religions seem to be built around things that are real or at least were real once upon a time. Most people in this world have forgotten a fundamental part of their history, and with it the religious understanding seem to have changed too.

I think GRRM is showing a major shift or a contradiction between religious belief and religious truth. Mel is the main example. The red god is not made up, it exists. But what Mel does in the name of the red god, like burning people, are problematic. Is this really what the god wants her to do? Not exactly. She makes up her own belief system around the power of R'hllor. Plus, it's highly questionable whether some rituals built around the religion are actually necessary, like burning random things in the name of R'hllor. He doesn't really seem to care. However, the red god does respond to complete devotion and sacrifice. 

The same goes with the Seven. We don't know if the Seven have powers like the red god or the weirwoods.  (The Seven however do appear in another GRRM story called the Lonely Songs of Larren Dorr. In it, they are more vengeful than benevolent). But there's this very organized religion around it. And the actual divine truth may be lost to the belief system made up around it. Sounds like a criticism of the Catholic church, all to prone to human folly, which could at times be too engrossed in dogma and doctrine to the extent of missing the point of Christianity.

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Ghost+Nymeria4Eva said:

As I said in the earlier posts, the gods do exist, but they may not be gods in exactly the same way people believe them to be. There is an undeniable supernatural presence. It could be divine, or just alien. And at least one god mentioned in the story, like the Pale Child, appear in GRRM's other stories as a god. 

Just because magic exists, does not mean gods exist... and maybe we are just nitpicking about the definition of god. I’m saying we have no proof of an intelligence behind the flames or weirwoods that didn’t start out walking and talking like man or child.

There is lots of evidence of magic, but very little proof there is something more godlike than a bitter old corpse in a tree or a cabal of ancient dinner guests

10 hours ago, White Ravens said:

wouldn't surprise me to learn that the black barked trees with the inky blue leaves used for making shade of the evening are related to weirwood but it is a little reckless to talk as if they are the same thing. 

They are the same thing, look closely and the biggest difference is just the color of the trees...

7 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

don't know why they are black, one idea is that they were corrupted by the Bloodstone Emperor when he almost got control of the network.

I would suggest that they may be black the same way Coldhands’s hands are black... after all it’s an pulsing dark indigo heart in their heart chamber... but the “limbs” have turned black, like a corpse, because the blood has stopped flowing. 

Human blood is blue when it lacks oxygen, I would suggest that the House of the Undying is undernourished, wether because it isn’t getting enough blood, or the blood it’s getting doesn’t contain something it’s looking for (King’s blood? First man blood? Dragon blood?)...

 
Quote

 

Only a cat of a different coat,
that's all the truth I know.

 

 

 

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