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Phylum of Alexandria

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About Phylum of Alexandria

  • Birthday 05/29/1981

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  1. Seems like GRRM has possibly referenced the armor-body double motif with Loras wearing shadow-victim Renly's armor at the Battle of the Blackwater, though if it's a reference it's an inversion of the standard telling. As for rubies, they're not the only stones that can be used for glamors (e.g., Bloodraven's moonstone brooch), and I doubt that every reference in the series will correspond to glamoring. Still, Blue-eyed Wolf has made the case that the rubies discovered at the Quiet Isle (which may well have been Rhaegar's rubies) should clue us in to a possible future use of glamoring by some of the brothers there (namely the Elder Brother and Gravedigger Clegane), particularly because the mention of the rubies was coupled with the mention of bones, tying in with Melisandre's description of glamoring. Certainly a possibility to think about.
  2. That would be a great way to demonstrate that genetic and environmental factors can lead to similar effects. I do agree that, whatever the outcome of this magical heredity thing, GRRM does not intend it to be a good thing, especially the Valyrian obsession with pure blood, which has echoes of the Nazi aryan obsession.
  3. Yeah, it's hard to say how his arc will pan out. In the published books, his threat has mostly been established through suggestion. Most casual readers disregard him as a late-story interloper; some weird pirate dude who talks big but won't deliver. And yet, the Forsaken chapter certainly establishes him as a credible magical threat, and the suggestions become much more overt. Even there, though, there's so much we still don't know about his knowledge, his abilities, and his full intentions. One of the more anticipated segments of TWOW for me!
  4. I don't know about intelligence, but Asha is the most sensible Greyjoy, the most compassionate one, and hence the most relatable one. And yet, Ironborn culture is so toxic and obviously awful. Asha has found a way to thrive in the culture despite being a woman, but a huge part of that thriving includes embracing the virtues of rape and plunder. GRRM doesn't blame Asha for the awfulness of the culture she was born into, and in fact grants her the desire to reform into something more sustainable, yet he still paints her as having internalized a lot of the Ironborn cultural norms. So even at her best, Asha is ambivalent about what she wants and she is ineffectual at enacting change, at least at this point in the story. As for Euron, I hope that he rides the line between fraud and great threat. Someone who is so convinced of his role as a super villain that he unleashes the actual Final Act Big Boss upon the world and is driven mad or discarded once it happens.
  5. "did he just want to end their conversations and be rid of her? did he feel guilty for the nights he drunken-raped her?" I think you nailed it right there.
  6. I like the idea that Arya gives the "gift of mercy" to Mother Merciless, but it would in practice be a violent act, and horrific for Arya to experience. Stoneheart would not go gently into that good night, but if dismembered, she will finally get the peace she was denied.
  7. Ah, here is a great example of how syncretism can lead into a mess. It is true that Zeus has been associated with Baal and Ammon among some communities, but it's also true that Kronos, Zeus' father, has been associated with Baal and Ammon! Check out the depiction of Saturn on the 15th century Mantegna card deck: he has the "Ammonite" ram's horn. Not only that, but by the Renaissance, Kronos was also conflated with Chronos, and both were depicted as eating babies. So is Zeus the same archetype as his father, the giant Kronos? And is Kronos the same deity as the god of time? The answer is: sometimes, given that culture bleeds and mutates in strange ways, and communities find rhymes in all kind of things, even though sometimes the rhymes are forced.
  8. Yes, I am familiar with syncretism, and I do find it interesting. While I do think that an argument can be made for shared commonalities across cultures, it is also true that an important catalyst for syncretism was the reality of expanding empires, and the need to assimilate and forge shared truths across cultures. It's thus very hard to disentangle parallels that existed before two cultures began to mingle (i.e., original commonalities) with the various convergences that arose as a result of assimilation. Of course, for the most ardently pro-syncretic thinkers (not just Greeks, but a lot of people we now regard as practitioners of the Western Hermetic tradition) such considerations were irrelevant, what mattered to them were the synchronicities and deeper patterns across stories. To some extent, they have a point, because the practical value of any myth is to convey a social, moral, philosophical, or emotional truth. It's not to get facts right. But, a context-specific understanding of how myths and their interpretations evolve across region and over time is also important and quite valuable. A purely syncretic approach often leads to flattened and overly broad generalities, and sometimes risks wanton appropriation of symbols with no respect or regard for the original intention. A context-specific approach will give much more depth and rich detail. However, if there are real connections to be made across cultures, this approach is not well-equipped to highlight them. I would recommend a balanced approach, one that tries to factor in both considerations. More importantly, how relevant are these approaches to how GRRM writes his stories and his supporting world-building details? Clearly he's had at least a basic education in myths, but he has also denied paying much attention to them in recent decades. And Elio has warned fans of relying too much on world mythology. I think it's fine to do so, as long as we are humble enough to know that we risk lodging our heads up our own asses when we do it. We stare into the fires hoping for a vision that will guide us forward, and sometimes we do see something in the flames, but what we make of it is almost always our own invention, serving and revealing our personal motivations.
  9. As for Venus-related mythology, it is important to note that the mythic associations can differ quite dramatically on the details that they focus on. For instance, Jesus as Venus is a falling-then-rising figure. His status as the morning star is a glorious end state. In contrast, the King of Babylon described in Isaiah 14 is called "Lightbringer, star of the morning" as a setup to indicate his eventual downfall. He is a rising-then-falling figure, and his end state is the ignominious evenfall. Sure, these are opposing phases of the same continuous star cycle, but it's the details of focus that guide symbolic language that matters. With Jesus, the focus is salvation after suffering. With Lucifer, it a reign followed by ruin. I know this is pedantry, but it doesn't follow that Jesus is a warrior simply because he and the King of Babylon were both called the morning star. Of course, if Christians want Jesus to be a warrior, then they can focus on passages that seem to support the notion (like Matthew 10:34), and simply depict him as such, like this mosaic. Now, all that said, I do take the point that Azor Ahai may indeed represent both phases of the Venus myth. The Red Priests regard him as a falling-then-rising figure like Jesus, yet there are clues (most notably the similarities between AA and the Bloodstone Emperor) that the guy who is credited with ending the Long Night also brought it all on. This "full cycle" interpretation of the Venus myth does seem to be in keeping with GRRM's ambivalence about greatness and heroism, and so I think the idea has some promise.
  10. These are all good points. I think the best evidence that may suggest otherwise is that Hugor of the Hill is said to possibly be a variant of Hukko, and thus fits in with a larger spectrum of variations on the Azor Ahai character: Azor Ahai --> Huzhor Amai --> Hukko --> Hugor of the Hill --> Hyrkoon the Hero. Moreover, Hukko's slaying of the swan maidens sounds pretty similar to the fisher queens of Huzor Amai. Now, it could be that the Andals merely took this ancient mythic history and mutated it for their own ends. Like Hitler's silly claim that native Germans descended from the ancient "aryans," who were Indo-Iranian. Or, it could be an indication that the Andals do have a deeper history than we tend to think. One that is connected to real magic, unlike the present-day Faith of the Seven.
  11. Narcissism is an exaggerated sense of self-worth to cover up and compensate for deep insecurities and self-loathing. So your intuition is correct. We often take the stuff narcissists say about themselves at face value, but it's mostly bullshit!
  12. I only meant to say that I don't care for LmL's longer videos, not long-form media in general. I think a shorter format forces LmL to marshal his best arguments and tightly organize his points, rather than ramble on and freestyle, as it were. I love Radio Westeros and History of Westeros, particularly because their entries are so well structured. As for the Long Night, maybe we don't disagree all too much. In my head, there have been many smaller meteor/projectile attacks throughout history (including the Isle of Faces), with the Shadowlands representing the impact site of the most catastrophic event, the one that actually brought on the Long Night. But, this is just tinfoil, I fully admit, and people are free to disagree.
  13. That's certainly a possibility, one that people tend not to consider. Obviously Arthur Dayne with Dawn calls to mind our own tales about King Arthur and Excaliber, but GRRM always puts his own spin on the old stories. Perhaps this is one such spin.
  14. Yes, he has committed to being a full-on YouTube content creator for Patreon contributions, and everything that seems to entail. As for me, I appreciate his goofy humor, and--even better--his brief and concise summary videos as opposed to the multi-hour ones he started with. I think a big reason why I like Moon Meteor Theory is because it explains future and deep past mysteries with elements that have featured prominently in the story, and thus would make for an economic utilization of narrative resources. Not only would it explain the Long Night (whose duration we can't really be sure, granted), it could also explain the notion that there were once regular seasons, and now they are irregular. The destruction and absence of a second moon could have upended the position and revolution course of the earth relative to the sun. What LmL's Moon Meteor Theory does not do, however, is explain how the comet would be controlled, beyond assuming that a dark sorcerer did it. My own working theory is that the weirwoods play a big role here, and that the psionic manipulation of astral bodies could be related to how they breed and proliferate, i.e., via panspermia. Just as the mud-pots proved to be bio-engineers to rival Haviland Tuf, I think the weirwoods have their own form of "seed ships," and that Garth Greenhand/God-On-Earth was a walker (i.e, male) of this species. And the spreading of seeds would include some rocket launching into the heavens, as well as pulling and guiding astral bodies from the heavens. GRRM has said that the explanation of the irregular seasons would be "magic," but what that actually means is ambiguous. For me, an astral intervention by psionic plant things juiced up by blood sacrifice sounds pretty darn magical.
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