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Mourning Star

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  1. Bloodraven’s personal sigil is a white wyrm (dragon). And, just a friendly reminder, a raven isn’t a crow, and Bloodraven isn’t the three eyed crow. The frozen spires are the Weirwoods above Bloodraven’s Lair, and the bones of the dreamers are impaled on the points of their roots. And because I love all the outside references you are pulling in here, I will point to one from a different source, The Prophesy of Merlin, in which a white dragon and a red dragon do battle under the earth (causing the usurper’s castle to keep falling down).
  2. I still don’t know what transformation you are talking about… what does it actually mean to be cleansed by fire? What is being cleansed? I think this is a trap. Much like how the series starts with a lesson about fear, and how one can only be brave when you are afraid… not knowing fear is a fault. The whole idea that someone would try to purge themselves of perceived faults is not a good thing. That she is a zealot and seeing the world as purely white and black, good and evil, is a huge mistake. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Melisandre is a clearly misguided individual. Building a worldview around some two sided cosmic war is not only stupid, it leads to making horrible choices. And let’s be honest, it’s Davos who tells us the truth, your heart should be full of doubt.
  3. It's funny to come out with such different interpretations... I think people tend to think Melisandre is either someone willing to do what is necessary to defeat evil, or is somehow representing this great dualistic struggle. I think that, like pretty much every human character, her motivations are personal. I think she is a wildly misguided religious zealot who does great evil in the name of good, and I would be immensely surprised if she is ever redeemed, especially as it sure seems like she will end up supporting Euron. I don't think she is inherently evil, but she has clearly suffered and fallen for a world view that leads her to do great harm. Maybe? It's a description of something, but I'm not at all so sure it's comparable to Mel or Beric. Dany is special, Dany is unburnt, it was a miracle. We see from the bit you quoted that she is not consumed by the fire. However, I do not think the same can be said for others, like Mel and Beric. So here is where I think we are reading this from wildly different perspectives. I don't think that the religion is telling us about the real thing at all, but rather it is obfuscating the truth (and the past). "The power and the glory" are from the doxology at the end of the Lord's Prayer in Mathew 6:13, part of The Sermon on the Mount, one of the most famous sections of the New Testament (although, perhaps interestingly, not in Luke, and may in fact be a more modern addition to the rest of the verse). For the Anglican churches, it is even part of the evensong (evening prayer). I find it of particular interest that there is relevant theological debate over this section: And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. -The King James Bible, Mathew 6:13 Is it god that leads man into temptation? That would seem to be the literal translation, but obviously causes philosophical issues (the nature of evil being one of the big philosophical/theological debate points). Not to mention debates over the "original" translation. Even better in relation to R'hloo, is this implication about "temptation" if we remember that "fire" is synonymous with "desire" in Frost's "Fire and Ice" from which the series A Song of Ice and Fire get's it's name, and the ending of the world. From what I've tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire On that we agree! I am super suspicious of this sort of stuff though... It seems more to me that it's beric being burned away to keep his flesh alive. Not only that, while I'm not sure I trust Aemon's assessment of everything in this series, this section certainly seems relevant and hits home: Anyone claiming to know what happens after you die should be held in the highest suspicion. And this is another of those major theological discussion points. As it happens, we do see what happens to Varamyr's "soul" in his prologue chapter, and it certainly doesn't require any purification by fire. You lost me... but it's fun to speculate! I think this is more a case of the "Seven" representing Mankind and R'hloo burning/consuming, and the whole "if you aren't one of us you are an enemy" mindset is horrifying. I see nothing here about rebirth. To me this, like the burning of the Godswood at Stormsend, seem like great crimes. I don't know that I agree at all here, nor am I convinced that Azor Ahai wasn't the villain of this story. What? It's more revealing about her, that she sees the world as black and white, than her observation is a meaningful representation of the world. I have no idea where you are getting the seven of light vs seven of darkness bit... I do not think this is a story about good versus evil in that traditional sense. No, when it comes to shadows, I'm more inclined to listen to Varys: "Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less." "So power is a mummer's trick?" "A shadow on the wall," Varys murmured, "yet shadows can kill. And ofttimes a very small man can cast a very large shadow." Faith, religious or otherwise, is a source of power, and Melisandre is a kind of mummer even by her own description. I love mythological references but you've completely lost me here.
  4. I don't follow your thinking here... I agree that Melisandre's "rituals" are in large part show, but not entirely, the wind which brought Stannis to the Wall was real enough, as were the shadow babies who killed Renly and Penrose. But, TBH Danny doesn't seem to know much about the "mysteries" either, and I'm not sure what you mean by spiritual awakening or meaning here. Hell, I still have grave doubts about whether any of this was madness or wisdom. But, the astronomical and mythological references abound. The birth of dragons waits for the sun to go down and the first star to come out, in this miraculous case instead of the normal Evenstar (Venus/Love), it is the comet of fire and blood. It is an exceptional moment outside the normal order of things. As an aside, I can't help but think of JRR Tolkien's poem in The Lord of the Rings (based on "The Wanderer") when discussion this scene: Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing? Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing? Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing? Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing? They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow; The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow. Who shall gather the smoke of the dead wood burning, Or behold the flowing years from the Sea returning?
  5. She knows she is putting on a show, but I still think she is deluding herself as well. It doesn't leave behind anything, like say bones or a body which could be turned into a wight. The dead are consumed, a clean end. It fits with the general theme of ice preserving and fire consuming. One isn't good and the other evil, they are both necessary and are dangerous when taken to the extreme. Part of our living world. Dany is clearly special, and her not being consumed by the fire, and instead emerging with living dragons is certainly miraculous, but I'm not sure it can be used as any sort of standard. But, it is a good example of how the cleansing nature of fire can be both good and bad. Cleansing one's self of weakness and doubt can certainly be positive. But when religious fanatics start preaching about cleansing the world I think it's time to fill one's heart with doubt... He jabbed his bony finger back at comet and castle. "There comes the Harbinger! Cleanse yourselves, the gods cry out, lest ye be cleansed! Bathe in the wine of righteousness, or you shall be bathed in fire! Fire!" - "In Volantis, thousands of slaves and freedmen crowd the temple plaza every night to hear Benerro shriek of bleeding stars and a sword of fire that will cleanse the world. I think we need to be careful about conflating all the sources of "light". Starlight and fire may not represent the same thing. She saw sunlight on the Dothraki sea, the living plain, rich with the smells of earth and death. Wind stirred the grasses, and they rippled like water. Drogo held her in strong arms, and his hand stroked her sex and opened her and woke that sweet wetness that was his alone, and the stars smiled down on them, stars in a daylight sky. "Home," she whispered as he entered her and filled her with his seed, but suddenly the stars were gone, and across the blue sky swept the great wings, and the world took flame. The "living plain", with both sunlight and earth/death, a balance. Wind and grass like water... So fire (sunlight), earth, wind, and water... I think it's no mistake that the four elements here are all represented in the image of the "living plain". And love (and sex) represented by the stars, the morning star (and evening star) are actually the planet Venus (love) and this theme of stars representing love is a major theme not just in this series but in many of it's major inspirations, in particular Dante. 'The Seasons of My Love.' Sweet and sad, if you understand the words. The first girl I ever bedded used to sing it, and I've never been able to put it out of my head." Tyrion gazed up at the sky. It was a clear cold night and the stars shone down upon the mountains as bright and merciless as truth. "I met her on a night like this," - She saw crimson firelions and great yellow serpents and unicorns made of pale blue flame; she saw fish and foxes and monsters, wolves and bright birds and flowering trees, each more beautiful than the last. She saw a horse, a great grey stallion limned in smoke, its flowing mane a nimbus of blue flame. Yes, my love, my sun-and-stars, yes, mount now, ride now. - "Willas has a bad leg but a good heart," said Margaery. "He used to read to me when I was a little girl, and draw me pictures of the stars. You will love him as much as we do, Sansa." - "Be quiet, I haven't given you leave to speak. You enticed him, just as your mother did that night in Riverrun, with her smiles and her dancing. You think I could forget? That was the night I stole up to his bed to give him comfort. I bled, but it was the sweetest hurt. He told me he loved me then, but he called me Cat, just before he fell back to sleep. Even so, I stayed with him until the sky began to lighten. Your mother did not deserve him. She would not even give him her favor to wear when he fought Brandon Stark. I would have given him my favor. I gave him everything. He is mine now. Not Catelyn's and not yours." - "Yes. And yet Summerhall was the place the prince loved best. He would go there from time to time, with only his harp for company. Even the knights of the Kingsguard did not attend him there. He liked to sleep in the ruined hall, beneath the moon and stars, and whenever he came back he would bring a song. When you heard him play his high harp with the silver strings and sing of twilights and tears and the death of kings, you could not but feel that he was singing of himself and those he loved." - "And that was the fault in him," she would add, "for all men must know fear." A woman was his downfall; a woman glimpsed from atop the Wall, with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars. Fearing nothing, he chased her and caught her and loved her, though her skin was cold as ice, and when he gave his seed to her he gave his soul as well. - Griffin's Roost had been his, eventually, if only for a few short years. From here, Jon Connington had ruled broad lands extending many leagues to the west, north, and south, just as his father and his father's father had before him. But his father and his father's father had never lost their lands. He had. I rose too high, loved too hard, dared too much. I tried to grasp a star, overreached, and fell. The examples are honestly too plentiful to give full evidence to here, but I tried to pick out a variety, fire and ice, happy and sad, true and false... honestly I just think it's a fantastic topic, so sorry for rambling! The important part is that it is all very human and seemingly at the crux of pretty much every major part of the story. The song of ice and fire isn't just about war it's about love.
  6. The sun which blinds you from seeing the other stars... the god of flame and shadow who consumes other gods... I do not think this is the kind of savior any man should wish for. It isn't Lightbringer, it is a false sword and a false light, only a glamour, and misguided faith only leads further into darkness. "Now do you see my meaning? Be glad that it is just a burnt sword that His Grace pulled from that fire. Too much light can hurt the eyes, my friend, and fire burns." - I remembered that, so I allowed myself to hope . . . perhaps I wanted to . . . we all deceive ourselves, when we want to believe. Melisandre most of all, I think. The sword is wrong, she has to know that . . . light without heat . . . an empty glamor . . . the sword is wrong, and the false light can only lead us deeper into darkness
  7. I'm not so sure about this conclusion, although related, I do not think we should conflate the sun with the "lightbringer", especially given all the astronomical and mythological references in the series. In general, I think that "light bringer", "the light that brings the dawn", and "the morning star" can all be seen as referencing the same thing. The Sword of the Morning is also a constellation of stars. This appears to me to be clearly distinct from the Sun. In classic greek myth, it's probably worth noting, the Titans Hyperion and Theia had three children, Helios (Sun), Selene (Moon) and Eos (Dawn). Eos in turn, with the Titan Astraeus ("of the Stars") became the mother of the Anemoi ("winds"), of the virgin goddess of justice, Astrae ("starry one"), and most importantly here, of the Morning Star, Eosphoros ("the dawn-bringer"). That brightest of stars appeared, Eosphoros, that most often heralds the light of early-rising Dawn - Homer, The Odyssey 13.93
  8. I'm not sure I agree with this parallel, but I think there is a pretty decent chance these three women are all related (by blood). Her daughters had long ago married and moved away and died.
  9. Don't forget Squire Dalbridge! As you say, there are plenty of characters who are old enough to have been around when Aegon V was king.
  10. I've certainly seen a lot of ways one can interpret this conversation! The old woman smiled at him toothlessly. "My stories? No, my little lord, not mine. The stories are, before me and after me, before you too." She was a very ugly old woman, Bran thought spitefully; shrunken and wrinkled, almost blind, too weak to climb stairs, with only a few wisps of white hair left to cover a mottled pink scalp. No one really knew how old she was, but his father said she'd been called Old Nan even when he was a boy. She was the oldest person in Winterfell for certain, maybe the oldest person in the Seven Kingdoms. Nan had come to the castle as a wet nurse for a Brandon Stark whose mother had died birthing him. He had been an older brother of Lord Rickard, Bran's grandfather, or perhaps a younger brother, or a brother to Lord Rickard's father. Sometimes Old Nan told it one way and sometimes another. In all the stories the little boy died at three of a summer chill, but Old Nan stayed on at Winterfell with her own children. She had lost both her sons to the war when King Robert won the throne, and her grandson was killed on the walls of Pyke during Balon Greyjoy's rebellion. Her daughters had long ago married and moved away and died. All that was left of her own blood was Hodor, the simpleminded giant who worked in the stables, but Old Nan just lived on and on, doing her needlework and telling her stories. I tend to think it points to Nan being the Three Eyed Crow. And I love the toothless smile, needles (with their eyes) going click click click as the crow speaks in a voice a sharp as swords. I do think it may be worth noting that Nan doesn't say the stories are "after" Bran though.
  11. It's a conspiracy! If we look at the context however, perhaps there are clues for why it was written this way, although I'm not claiming to be able to make sense of it all: The heads had been dipped in tar to slow the rot. Every morning when Arya went to the well to draw fresh water for Roose Bolton's basin, she had to pass beneath them. They faced outward, so she never saw their faces, but she liked to pretend that one of them was Joffrey's. She tried to picture how his pretty face would look dipped in tar. If I was a crow I could fly down and peck off his stupid fat pouty lips. The heads never lacked for attendants. The carrion crows wheeled about the gatehouse in raucous unkindness and quarreled upon the ramparts over every eye, screaming and cawing at each other and taking to the air whenever a sentry passed along the battlements. Sometimes the maester's ravens joined the feast as well, flapping down from the rookery on wide black wings. When the ravens came the crows would scatter, only to return the moment the larger birds were gone. Do the ravens remember Maester Tothmure? Arya wondered. Are they sad for him? When they quork at him, do they wonder why he doesn't answer? Perhaps the dead could speak to them in some secret tongue the living could not hear. I think it's worth noting that it isn't just "unkindess" that is out of place here, but a "quarrel" is the term for a group of sparrows. Obviously, both crows and sparrows are terms used to refer to groups of men in the series. And we see highlighted here that ravens and crows are distinct. Arya is imagining herself as a crow, and perhaps it could be said she is imagining murdering Jof here... I can only speculate, but it does seem like there is something there... perhaps it is part of a larger metaphor using birds in the series. However, a flock of ravens is referred to as a murder repeatedly, and when I tried to look this up it seems like it might not just be Martin who uses the term this way. He also uses "murder" for crows... "Tommen, when you say your prayers before bed, tell the Mother and the Father that you are thankful you are still a child. Being king is hard work. I promise you, you will not like it. They peck at you like a murder of crows. Every one wants a piece of your flesh." So I honestly don't know how much to try and read into this... clearly the only reasonable answer is more and too much!
  12. After rereading these books too many times, if there is one hill I am wiling to die defending, it is that Old Nan is more than she seems! I cannot disagree with you enough, nor can it be overstated how Old Nan is important. Oh my sweet summer child.. what stupidity? TBH I don't understand what your point here even is besides saying something obviously misguided to stir the proverbial pot. She is literally telling children stories, that doesn't make them stupid or without wisdom. We see the Others do literally hunt people through the woods and take Craster's sons... Nan's stories might require interpretation at times, and shouldn't always be taken literally, but she is reliably more trustworthy than any other source of information. Secret knowledge, absolutely, but what true enemy? I think you will find that the greatest enemy of mankind is mankind. It should also be noted that I don't think anyone suggests she is omnipotent, and she certainly didn't "let" things go sideways. Theon knocked her over... Theon led the way up the stairs. I have climbed these steps a thousand times before. As a boy he would run up; descending, he would take the steps three at a time, leaping. Once he leapt right into Old Nan and knocked her to the floor. So you think she was just a noname commoner? Is that your conclusion here? Just a nobody telling nonsense stories? I have to be honest, I don't know how you read this series, and have the wise old woman who's eye/hair color are not given and come to the conclusion she is a nobody... lol Though Old Nan did not think so, and she'd lived longer than any of them. "Dragons," she said, lifting her head and sniffing. She was near blind and could not see the comet, yet she claimed she could smell it. "It be dragons, boy," she insisted. Bran got no princes from Nan, no more than he ever had. I think the safe money is that Old Nan is the three eyed crow and a Targaryen.
  13. Actually a lot to unpack here... First, at no point does Coldhands say he is taking Bran to the three eyed crow, in fact it's never explicit why any of them think the three eyed crow is beyond the Wall, that is just something Jojen says (and Jojen pretty clearly is not the best at interpreting visions, not to mention his state at the end of Dance sure seems like he is realizing he messed up). Coldhands says this: Meera's gloved hand tightened around the shaft of her frog spear. "Who sent you? Who is this three-eyed crow?" "A friend. Dreamer, wizard, call him what you will. The last greenseer." The longhall's wooden door banged open. Outside, the night wind howled, bleak and black. The trees were full of ravens, screaming. Coldhands did not move. "A monster," Bran said. The ranger looked at Bran as if the rest of them did not exist. "Your monster, Brandon Stark." Two questions and two answers: Who sent you? The Last Greenseer. Wo is the three eyed crow? Your monster, Brandon Stark. As confusing as the dialogue may be, the author goes to great lengths to not explicitly conflate Bloodraven with the three eyed crow. It isn't just Coldhands either: "No. They killed him long ago. Come now. It is warmer down deep, and no one will hurt you there. He is waiting for you." "The three-eyed crow?" asked Meera. "The greenseer." In fact, once they reach Bloodraven's cave, Bran only mentions the three eyed crow once the lights are out and he is in the dark In the dark he could pretend that it was the three-eyed crow who whispered to him and not some grisly talking corpse. And when Bran asks Bloodraven straight up if he is the three eyed crow, Bloodraven has no idea what he is talking about. This isn't the first time Bran asks this question only to receive an unsatisfactory answer... it parallels the interaction with Sam at the Nightfort, conflating "crow" with the Nights Watch and then giving his born name. Bloodraven doesn't even claim to be the three eyed crow: "Are you the three-eyed crow?" Bran heard himself say. A three-eyed crow should have three eyes. He has only one, and that one red. Bran could feel the eye staring at him, shining like a pool of blood in the torchlight. Where his other eye should have been, a thin white root grew from an empty socket, down his cheek, and into his neck. "A … crow?" The pale lord's voice was dry. His lips moved slowly, as if they had forgotten how to form words. "Once, aye. Black of garb and black of blood." The clothes he wore were rotten and faded, spotted with moss and eaten through with worms, but once they had been black. "I have been many things, Bran. Now I am as you see me, and now you will understand why I could not come to you … except in dreams. I have watched you for a long time, watched you with a thousand eyes and one. I saw your birth, and that of your lord father before you. I saw your first step, heard your first word, was part of your first dream. I was watching when you fell. And now you are come to me at last, Brandon Stark, though the hour is late." If one appears with an extra eye in other people's dreams, then the two eyed weirwood fits for Bloodraven. Not only that, you will notice Bloodraven doesn't ever mention talking to Bran, only watching and listening, like the Brooding Weirwood not the three eyed crow. I would suggest that the hour is late for Bloodraven, and that is why he cares so much about finding Bran, a body with greenseer and skinshifting powers (as we learned from Varamyr the powers stay with the body, and are lost if one possesses a body without those powers). It's not even clear Bloodraven is capable of speaking through dreams at all: "He heard a whisper on the wind, a rustling amongst the leaves. You cannot speak to him, try as you might. I know. I have my own ghosts, Bran. A brother that I loved, a brother that I hated, a woman I desired. Through the trees, I see them still, but no word of mine has ever reached them. The past remains the past. We can learn from it, but we cannot change it." I would suggest that the brother he loved was Daemon Blackfyre, but that's kind of a tangent here... Bloodraven says he can't talk through dreams. We see the Weirwood struggle to speak in Bran's dreams, but not the three eyed crow. And finally, I would argue that the real three eyed crow spoke to Bran in the cave: Leaf touched his hand. "The trees will teach you. The trees remember." He raised a hand, and the other singers began to move about the cavern, extinguishing the torches one by one. The darkness thickened and crept toward them. "Close your eyes," said the three-eyed crow. "Slip your skin, as you do when you join with Summer. But this time, go into the roots instead. Follow them up through the earth, to the trees upon the hill, and tell me what you see." Bran closed his eyes and slipped free of his skin. Into the roots, he thought. Into the weirwood. Become the tree. For an instant he could see the cavern in its black mantle, could hear the river rushing by below. Then all at once he was back home again. You will notice the lights are out, and Leaf says it will be the trees teaching Bran. Then the three eyed crow tells Bran to look out of the trees above the cave, in the grove of frozen Weirwoods, which as I'll try to show below is what Bran saw in his original falling dream. Instead, Bran sees what he wants to see, home, Winterfell. Bloodraven appears ignorant of the three eyed crows instructions here, and the Weirwood in Winterfell is exactly how Bloodraven appeared to Bran in his original falling dream. Something about the way the raven screamed sent a shiver running up Bran's spine. I am almost a man grown, he had to remind himself. I have to be brave now. But the air was sharp and cold and full of fear. Even Summer was afraid. The fur on his neck was bristling. Shadows stretched against the hillside, black and hungry. All the trees were bowed and twisted by the weight of ice they carried. Some hardly looked like trees at all. Buried from root to crown in frozen snow, they huddled on the hill like giants, monstrous and misshapen creatures hunched against the icy wind. Those trees up above Bloodraven's Lair are the spires of Ice Bran was plummeting towards in his falling dream: Because winter is coming. Bran looked at the crow on his shoulder, and the crow looked back. It had three eyes, and the third eye was full of a terrible knowledge. Bran looked down. There was nothing below him now but snow and cold and death, a frozen wasteland where jagged blue-white spires of ice waited to embrace him. They flew up at him like spears. He saw the bones of a thousand other dreamers impaled upon their points. He was desperately afraid. "Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?" he heard his own voice saying, small and far away. You will also notice all the fear/bravery language from Ned's lesson in Bran's first chapter surrounding both passages, but more to the point, in Bloodraven's cave, impaled on the roots (points) of the Weirwoods above, are the bones of a thousand other dreamers: "Bones," said Bran. "It's bones." The floor of the passage was littered with the bones of birds and beasts. But there were other bones as well, big ones that must have come from giants and small ones that could have been from children. On either side of them, in niches carved from the stone, skulls looked down on them. Bran saw a bear skull and a wolf skull, half a dozen human skulls and near as many giants. All the rest were small, queerly formed. Children of the forest. The roots had grown in and around and through them, every one. A few had ravens perched atop them, watching them pass with bright black eyes. A raven is not a crow, and Bloodraven is a white raven, the heralds of the changing season, and winter is coming.
  14. And I believe that Bloodraven appeared as the brooding Weirwood in Bran's dream. At the heart of the godswood, the great white weirwood brooded over its reflection in the black pool, its leaves rustling in a chill wind. When it felt Bran watching, it lifted its eyes from the still waters and stared back at him knowingly. And the Crow (the crow and tree dreams are explicitly distinct) talks to Bran about having wings during the falling dream, so it doesn't really make any sense at all to suggest it doesn't know how it appears. "You have wings," Bran pointed out. Maybe you do too. Bran felt along his shoulders, groping for feathers. There are different kinds of wings, the crow said.
  15. I really don't think so... he is not the three eyed crow, nor is he a crow of the Night's Watch. "A … crow?" The pale lord's voice was dry. His lips moved slowly, as if they had forgotten how to form words. "Once, aye. Black of garb and black of blood." Bloodraven doesn't even understand what Bran is talking about... and "once" implies no longer, and he isn't dead, so he has forsaken his vows. The monsters cannot pass so long as the Wall stands and the men of the Night's Watch stay true, that's what Old Nan used to say. And, I don't think it's a mistake that this is in the first chapter: "Old Nan has been telling you stories again. In truth, the man was an oathbreaker, a deserter from the Night's Watch. No man is more dangerous. The deserter knows his life is forfeit if he is taken, so he will not flinch from any crime, no matter how vile. The First Men had horses, and the Brackens were First Men, predating the Andal Invasion. Raventree Hall is South East of Stonhenge on the map I'm looking at... but as you say, small detail. To be clear, I don't think Bloodraven will succeed in body snatching Bran, I suspect Bran will make his escape, possibly via the underground river.
  16. Just a few things, A crow is not a raven. Brynden Rivers, Bloodraven, is not the three eyed crow from Bran's dreams. The Sigil of house Bracken is a red stallion. The sigil of Aegor Rivers, Bittersteel, was a winged red horse breathing flames. The Brakens and the Blackwoods are each others brothers and each others bane, much like the children and the giants. Their feud goes back to before the Andal invasion, and there is blood of both families in all of their veins. I think a song of Ice and fire is more about the two together than a duality of opposites... also not sure what you mean about the relation of the physical locations of Raventree Hall and Stonehenge... I think Raventree Hall is Southeast of Stonehenge? It would seem to me that the Blackwoods were chased out of the North by the Starks, and now the Targaryens have been chased out of King's Landing by the "Usurper" and his dogs... These ancient grievances may yet play a roll in explaining Bloodraven's motivations (or at least justifications), as I expect he will try to take Bran's body and is likely responsible for the return of the Others.
  17. I definitely don't subscribe to this theory. One reason being that it isn't clear Valyria had even been founded when the Long Night ended. Not sure where you are going with the Jaime bit... I see Jaime as a shadow armored like the sun: Now does this make Jaime (or Tyrion) the Sun's Son? Does Jaime giving Brienne (of House Tarth, whose arms are the sun and the moon) the sword Oathkeeper (made by Tywin from Ned's Ice) fit into this? Lots of questions, but I have very few answers... haha the sword is wrong, and the false light can only lead us deeper into darkness
  18. I would even take this a step further, and suggest that Melisandre's "Red Sword of Heroes" is in fact just one aspect of the magic sword, as one color is one aspect of a rainbow. The Jade Compendium. The pages that told of Azor Ahai. Lightbringer was his sword. Tempered with his wife's blood if Votar can be believed. Thereafter Lightbringer was never cold to the touch, but warm as Nissa Nissa had been warm. In battle the blade burned fiery hot. Once Azor Ahai fought a monster. When he thrust the sword through the belly of the beast, its blood began to boil. Smoke and steam poured from its mouth, its eyes melted and dribbled down its cheeks, and its body burst into flame. We see here that Lightbringer changed when it was taken into battle, going from warm like a living person, to fiery hot. We see Beric light his sword on fire using his blood, although it consumes the blade. I think this is an indication that the fire comes from the man and not the blade itself. I would suggest that the blade reflects the wielder, and can likely burn bloody hot or icy cold with hate. Remembering that the Greatsword made of Valyrian Steel Ned brought to King's Landing was not the original Ice, also opens possibilities to ponder. She could see the rippling deep within the steel, where the metal had been folded back on itself a hundred times in the forging. Catelyn had no love for swords, but she could not deny that Ice had its own beauty. It had been forged in Valyria, before the Doom had come to the old Freehold, when the ironsmiths had worked their metal with spells as well as hammers. Four hundred years old it was, and as sharp as the day it was forged. The name it bore was older still, a legacy from the age of heroes, when the Starks were Kings in the North.
  19. I would point out that "pale" is not a color, and that white light is made up of the entire spectrum. I would suggest that alive with light is akin to saying shining like a rainbow or a prism. This works for both the grass described like Milkglass: And the Swords: Which fits, not only with Dawn, the literal sword, but also the constellation, The Sword of the Morning, and how dawn returns color to the world after night.
  20. interesting that a deep cobalt blue sky is associated here with the brightest star in the west, the Evenstar. I can’t get over how much the crown of stars makes me think of JRR Tolkien’s Song of Durin. I actually cut a section about Symeon Star Eyes and Serwyn of the Mirror Sheild. I suspect that these are stories of Others before the Wall was built. sure seems that way Perhaps... Cat was certainly the mother in our original group of PoVs. Perhaps a mother’s vengeance is an aspect of that.
  21. Ser Gallawho of What? Ser Galladon of Morne, the Perfect Knight It is hard not to immediately think of Sir Galahad, the most perfect of all knights in Arthurian myth. A relatively late addition to the Arthurian tradition, Galahad was said to be the illegitimate child of Lancelot and Elaine (who was disguised as Guinevere at the time of conception). His birth was prophesized, he was the most perfect and pure knight of the round table, a bastard, sat in the siege perilous, had a magic sword (or two, depending on the tale, including the Sword of David who slew the giant Goliath), and is the one destined to find the holy grail. He also banishes daemons, heals the sick, and rides a magic boat, the Ship of Solomon, that supposedly came all the way from Jerusalem in the east. More on the "-who" in a moment, but I want to address the “what” in “Ser Gallawho of what”. It begs the question, why didn’t Crabb say “where”? Morne is a place, once the seat of petty kings on the eastern shore of Tarth, which, according to Maester Hubert in The World of Ice and Fire, is now ruins that appear to be of Andal origin and not First Men. Tarth is now ruled by Selwyn Tarth, the Evenstar (evening star?). House Tarth is said to be of Andal descent, and Tarth was the first part of the Stormlands to fall to the Andal invaders. However, the title of Evenstar appears to predate House Tarth. While it’s easy to focus on the ties to House Targaryen here, a careful reader might notice that the Lords of Tarth claim the title “the Evenstar” goes back to the “dawn of days”, but it didn’t necessarily always belong to a member of House Tarth. Tarth became part of the Stormlands when Durran, “the fair”, Durrandon married the daughter of Edwyn Evenstar, who presumably ruled Tarth, at least in part, before the arrival of the Andals and the founding of House Tarth. Brienne’s brother, who drowned when he was eight, was named Galladon. Evenstar Hall, the current seat of House Tarth is on the western coast of Tarth, Morne was on the east coast. The planet Venus, known as the Wandering Star because of its movement across the sky, is the brightest light in the sky besides the sun and moon (the arms of house Tarth). It travels from the east in the morning where it was known as the Morning Star, Phosphoros, to the west where it was known as the Evening Star, Hesperus. The seven wanderers are presumably the "planets" (the word planet is derived from the Greek, planetai, meaning wanderers or wandering stars), of which five are what we would call planets that can been seen from earth with the naked eye, which when added to the sun and moon make up the seven celestial bodies which can be seen to move in the sky. It would appear that the red wanderer (likely analogous to our Mars, which appears red) is sacred to the Smith. One might assume that each of the seven has one of the wandering celestial bodies sacred to them. The “Houses of Heaven” are presumably equivalent to our houses of astrology, the zodiac. The "rulers" of each house are actually each one of the seven wanderers. I think it’s noteworthy that the Maesters and Freefolk both share the "Moonmaid" and the “Sword of the Morning”. We have another house besides Tarth, on the west of Westeros instead of the east, associated with a magic sword, which goes back to the dawn of days, and is connected to morning and stars… House Dayne of Starfall and their Sword of the Morning. So when Crab says, “Ser Gallawho of what?”, I think the answer is Galla- “dawn” of “the morning”. “He would not use the Maid against a mortal man, for she was so potent as to make any fight unfair.” Ser Arthur did use the bloody magic sword when he slew the Smiling Knight. I would suggest that Ser Galladon of Morne was the original Sword of the Morning, and that his blade, “Just Maid” was Dawn, having just been made. I would also go a step further, and suggest that the tale of the bloody magic sword, just made from the heart of a fallen star, was told to us in the tale of Azor Ahai and the forging of Lightbringer. Lucifer, meaning Lightbringer, was also a name for Venus as the morning star, and this fits if Venus is the wanderer sacred to the Maiden. “The Maid herself lost her heart to him” The similarity of the names Sallador and Galladon is not lost on me, nor the fact that the Saan family is apparently Valyrian (Salador’s ship is the proud Valyrian, and Samarro Saan of the Band of Nine was “The Last Valyrian”), meanwhile the Daynes have Valyrian coloring, as perhaps do the Hightowers. More than this, I would suggest that Azor Ahai (Galladon of Morne), was also The Last Hero, and that Galla-don, Durran-don, Bran-don, and Dawn are all connected. I doubt that The Last Hero’s sword was Valyrian Steel as Jon and Sam assume. It’s not even clear that Valyria had been founded at that point, although it is worth noting that the Daynes have remarkably Valyrian like features while both the Stark and Baratheon intermingling with Valyrians result in dark features. Dawn would seem to fit the bill perfectly for a magic sword, besides that it isn’t currently red or on fire. The tales of Azor Ahai slaying a beast, The Last Hero slaying Others, and Galladon using the sword three times against non human opponents (one of which was a dragon) also all seems to fit. (If I had to guess, the other two creatures were the Others and a Giant.) We see Beric able to light his sword on fire using his own blood, but it destroys the blade. I wonder very much what a similar trick would do to Dawn, and suspect it would burn red and fiery hot but not destroy the blade. Resulting in a burning blade and not a burnt one. Hopefully one day we will one day find out. I also wonder if there isn’t a message in the symbol of the Warrior’s Sons of the Faith Militant, not to be confused with the more common Stars. They bear a rainbow sword, and I wonder if just like red is one color that sunlight can be split into using a prism, perhaps the “red sword of heroes” isn’t just one aspect of the white sword, as the warrior or smith are just single aspects of a one godhead. Even if I’m totally off base about these connections between legends, isn’t it a bit head scratching that House Dayne has had this incredible legendary sword going back to a time supposedly long before the Andals even brought iron working to Westeros, The Sunset Kingdoms? The Perfect Knight? The Perfect Fool, he sounds like. Florian the Fool is a legend from the Age of Heroes about a knight who had an iron suit of motley and a magic sword who saw his love Jonquil in a pool, located in Maidenpool. This is a fantastic example of how the legends of Westeros feature knights riding around long before the arrival of the Andals, and both ironworking itself and knightly vows supposedly arrived with the Andals. While it’s certainly reasonable to doubt these local hero stories, I do not think one should dismiss these discrepancies out of hand. Especially, as I will try to show below, when there appears to be other corroborating evidence pointing to a different explanation. I think it’s entirely possible that many of these old tales are the same story told different ways. “Every place has its local heroes.” And it seems that for many of these local heroes, the tales are about one man, The Last Hero, or perhaps some of his twelve companions also. This would explain the title of “the last hero”, at the end of the age of heroes, who succeeded in finding the Singers of the Earth after losing his companions, horse, dog, and having his sword break, in the hopes that their magic could help win back what the armies of men had lost. These tales from the east come from places half a world away from Westeros, but then again, The Long Night was a worldwide event, was said to last a generation, and The Last Hero clearly had a long journey. I believe all this begs the question; Do we see evidence of non First Men in Westeros back at the Dawn of Days? And, I think the answer is yes. To try and explain this, I’ll circle back to Galladon, and more specifically Morne. However, we are given the story of the Storm kings marrying the Daughter of the Evenstar from Morne and acquiring control of Tarth occurring before the Andals invaded. Yet above, the Maeser is saying the ruins indicate Andal construction and not First Men. There is an obvious contradiction here. The conclusion proposed by the World of Ice and Fire is that the tales of Galladon of Morn may have been about a more modern historical figure. However, I am inclined to reach the opposite conclusion. It isn’t just the stories of knights long before the arrival of the Andals, there appear to be a number of sites in Westeros that predate the Andal invasion and yet appear to have more advanced technology than the First Men were known to have. In particular, iron working, round towers, and more advanced seafaring (something evidenced even here by Erich the Sailmaker, and his ability to conquer the islands). Winterfell’s First Keep is a round tower, oddly with gargoyles, and iron sword in the tombs below so old they have rusted away completely. The stories of the Others say they hated iron, this would have been difficult to know if there was no iron around the first time the Others came, long before the Andal supposedly brought ironworking to Westeros. Winterfell is not alone. Storms End is a giant round tower with a sea door. The Hightower, while built on a truly ancient square base of black stone, has a stone tower stretching up to a ridiculous height. Although I admit it’s unclear to me if the stone tower is round or not. All three above examples were said to be associated with Brandon the Builder, and all three appear to be remarkably more advanced than the average First Man construction. Oldtown has been around since the time of the First Men, and the oldest structure in the Citadel is the Isle of Ravens. This old castle, supposedly once home to a pirate lord (read seafaring) has two towers that house the ravens as well as being home to Marwyn the Mage, whose room in the tower is round, presumably implying the tower is round as well. For comparison we can look at Highgarden, arguably the grandest of castles in Westeros, who’s description highlights the difference in towers. Brandon the Builder founded house Stark and built Winterfell. He helped construct Storms End and helped build the Hightower for Uthor of the High Tower. Uthor’s son, Peremore the Twisted, was said to be the cause of the Citadel’s founding, and the oldest structure in the Citadel has round towers. (Uther Pendragon was the father of King Arthur, who got the epithet when he saw a portentous dragon shaped comet which inspired him to put dragons on his banners). In addition, the Isle of Ravens was a “pirate castle”, and the Maesters’ link for ravenry is made of iron. It isn’t to much of a leap to imagine that the “pirate” lord, who’s castle became the Isle of Ravens, was Ironborn. The “Iron” Islands are the home of the “Iron” Born, a people certainly not Andal and perhaps not First Man either. And lo, they too have round towers. What's the point o' having some magic sword if you don't bloody well use it? It's also hard to believe that a people would be called the "ironborn" before they discovered ironworking. Perhaps it is a stretch, but iron is also the metal associated with Mars, our red wanderer sacred to the smith (or the theif). The iron content is what makes it appear red, as it does for blood. While "bloodstone" is it's own thing in real life, it doesn't take much imagination to see how one might call iron, bloodstone. I think this iron-blood connection is also reflected in the Others hating both iron and blood. The Bloodstone Emperor meanwhile was said to have founded the Church of Starry Wisdom, which still persists in many ports throughout the world, including Braavos where Arya hears them singing to the night sky from atop their scrying tower. "Honor," she said. "The point is honor." In conclusion, I suspect that Houses Stark, Durrandon, Hightower, Dayne, and possibly even the Ironborn may have had ancestors from a seafaring people who had advanced ironworking long before the Andals, and construction before round towers were introduced. It's even possible that the names Galladon, Durrandon, and Brandon all ending in "dawn" is not a coincidence. I also believe there is a direct connection between the order of the Night's Watch, the order of Maesters, and the Sword of the Morning. Perhaps rather than all these tales literally being about on man, they are instead about one group, whose journey can be evidenced from Mourne to Starfall, from Storms End to the Hightower, and from the Iron Islands to Winterfell. Perhaps even a faded line of kings, dating back to the dawn of days, possibly even sharing its roots with the predecessors of Valyria, whose coloring can still be evidenced in some of these houses, seemingly predating both the Conquest and perhaps even Valyria itself. It's worth noting that the "Children of the Forrest" of Essos appear to have been wiped out, like the Ifequevron, or enslaved like the servitors of the House of the Undying. So a search for them might well take adventurers to Westeros. The point was not to conquer like Valyria, but to protect, be it from a wall in the north, a library in Oldtown, or using a magic sword with honor. It's not the vows which make a true knight like Sir Gallahad, but doing what is right in service to something greater. A light in the dark, burning against the cold, protecting against ignorance, and a shining example of virtue. So when the world was darkest, and beset by the Long Night, it was the Last Hero who set out to find the Children of the Forrest, to win back what the armies of men had lost, the dawn and their honor.
  22. I actually think this is directly related! There are a number of fantastic Dany/Bran parallels and this is one of them! Bran's very first chapter starts with his first time witnessing his father use his power to administer the king's justice and execute a deserter. The use of power can have a grisly cost even when used justly, and it's important not to close ones eyes to this. It ties directly into the whole lesson of, "the man who casts the sentence should wield the sword", and also to, "A man can only be brave when he's afraid". Literally and figuratively a man should go through life with open eyes, to the good and the bad and the effects of his actions. Later when Bran has made it to Bloodraven's Lair, I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think there are some bright red flags as he's instructed basically the opposite. Hopefully Bran will remember his lessons from his father. Fear is ok! Open your eyes, don't sit in darkness and brood on the past! This goes for his third eye as well, no matter how terrible the knowledge.
  23. Great stuff! I would suggest that Mel made the Shadow baby from Stannis's seed not his blood, and also point out that it was Brandon the Builder who is said to have been involved in the construction of Storm's End, the Hightower, the Wall, and Winterfell. Plus it's very hard not to see the parallel to the Night's King: The connection between the white shadows of the Others, and the shadow babies of Melisandre isn't at all clear to me, but I get the feeling there is something there. They could be something like opposites, shadows of ice and shadows of fire, or perhaps it's just that ice preserves the shadows while the fire ones burn out... all we can do is speculate wildly. As for the deaths in the time of Maegor, I think you make an interesting case. We might consider some of the other mysterious deaths as well, although they may not fit the narrative that the Hightowers were behind the killings. Aenys: In later days, after Visenya's death, it was suggested that King Aenys's sudden demise was Visenya's doing, and some spoke of her as a kinslayer and kingslayer. Did she not prefer Maegor over Aenys in all things? Did she not have the ambition that her son should rule? Why, then, did she tend to her stepson and nephew when she seemed disgusted with him? Visenya was many things, but a woman capable of pity never seemed to be one of them. It is a question that cannot be readily dismissed...nor readily answered. Ceryse: Maegor's first wife, Queen Ceryse Hightower, suddenly fell ill and died shortly after the Red Keep had been completed. A rumor was spread that she had said a shrewish remark that affronted Maegor, after which he had ordered Ser Owen Bush of the Kingsguard to remove her tongue. People claimed that Ceryse had struggled so fiercely that Ser Owens knife slipped and he accidentally slashed her throat. Though the story was never proven and most historians insist it was slander concocted by the king's enemies, it was widely believed at the time.
  24. What I am trying to say is that there is a big difference in arguing that something happens because of a choice, or that it's happening in a story because it's part of the story. For instance, there is no reason to expect that making a morally good choice will result in reward (in fact it's often the opposite), but for the sake of story telling morally good actions (or characters) are often rewarded and morally bad actions (or characters) punished. So, in ASoIaF, we can see both bad things happen to good people and also a sort of "cosmic" or "story driven" justice play out; without this being inconsistent. So this is a whole topic in itself I suppose. But in both cases I think Tywin acted on behalf of Tywin. I think he cared about his own power, wellbeing and legacy. Johanna died giving birth to Tyrion. I would never say Tyrion killed her. Maybe you could blame getting pregnant or the one who impregnated her, but blaming an unborn baby seems silly. Perhaps this is still a good example. If I'm to believe Tywin cared about anyone it was his wife, and perhaps Tyrion was all he had left of her. I do not think Tywin went to war for Tyrion. I think he used Tyrion's abduction as an opportunity. Tywin was perfectly willing to see Tyrion executed (or maybe exiled if what he says after is to be believed) for a crime he knew Tyrion didn't commit. But, we don't ever get Tywin's PoV, all I can do is speculate. Tywin appears to me a selfish, power-hungry, and ruthlessly efficient lord with deep insecurities. He's a fantastic character, but not one to admire.
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