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Phylum of Alexandria

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Posts posted by Phylum of Alexandria

  1. 3 minutes ago, Nathan Stark said:

    If I remember correctly, Crowfood's Daughter has argued that Weirwood and Ironwood trees are related, and implies that Shade of the Evening trees are some sort of corrupted Ironwood trees. I haven't watched that video in a while, so I might have things confused, but I find it an interesting addition to your theory anyway.

    I'd have to go back and check; I think she gets close to saying this stuff, but doesn't quite. It could very well be that she reached the same conclusion but I didn't quite catch it, or she doesn't quite state it.

  2. I wonder if you do actually know what literary allusions and foreshadowing are, and that storytelling is not a literal equation. Maybe some writers' stories are more like equations than others, but GRRM the self-described gardener loves making broad associations, dipping into myths, symbolic imagery, and all sort of fun literary stuff that you might call insane.

    And if you really do think that actual characters from Lovecraft are going to feature in this series, well, hats off to you, sir. You are free to enjoy that universe, but it is an alternative dimension that I will not occupy.

    Save your smug "You just don't get its" and "Yes I knows" for someone who actually thinks you have anything worthwhile to say. Your quick Wikipedia searches on Lucifer in Isaiah don't do you any favors. "May or may not be Satan." Just admit that you have no idea of what you're talking about.

    Have fun with your "equations," dude.


  3. 52 minutes ago, Craving Peaches said:

    So the Shade of the Evening Trees are Weirwoods corrupted by the Black Stone?

    I would guess that "the black stone" is really corrupted weirwood, or some relative of weirwood. Maybe it was scorched by the meteor impact. I'm guessing it wasn't a substance on the impacting stone itself, because the significance of the literary ties seem to be the Shade tree itself. 

    And it's one more bit of evidence that the magic of Planetos goes back to a common source, albeit with unique bloodlines.

  4. Yes, I’m misquoting Aerys in my title. Read on.

    I was re-reading Dany’s chapter in the House of the Undying, trying to learn more about the nature of the magic behind the Shade of the Evening Trees.

    Here are some descriptors. What’s the theme that emerges here?

    • Black tiles covered the palace roof, many fallen or broken; the mortar between the stones was dry and crumbling. She understood now why Xaro Xhoan Daxos called it the Palace of Dust.”
    • “Dany raised the glass to her lips. The first sip tasted like ink and spoiled meat, foul, but when she swallowed it seemed to come to life within her.”
    • “A long stone table filled this room. Above it floated a human heart, swollen and blue with corruption, yet still alive.”

    Two themes, both related. There’s dust, crumbling, fallen, broken. And then there’s spoiled and corrupt. Together, they contribute to the state of being nearly dead, but still alive.

    Also, does “blue with corruption” have any literary or real-world significance to it? Because if not, it’s basically GRRM telling us that the blue, rotten-tasting leaves of the Shade trees have been corrupted.

    Why do I care about this stuff? I think this has more general relevance for the deeper magical plot of ASOIAF.

    Crowfood’s Daughter has already made the case that the oily black stone that the Bloodstone Emperor worshipped, the stone used for the Seastone Chair, the cursed Lovecraftian stuff that has made Asshai and Yeen nigh uninhabitable, is actually petrified Shade tree. Here’s the video if you haven’t seen it:

    Although a tree petrifying implies that the tree is dead, I think the above text from the House of the Undying points to a different answer: the Shade Trees have been corrupted; they are close to death, but still alive.

    And if their blue colored-leaves are an indication of their corruption, then they are pretty much all corrupted. Crowfood’s Daughter points us to the world map, to look at Ulthos, right near the Shadowlands. It looks like a giant forest of indigo-violet trees.

    The Bloodstone Emperor story indicates that the black stone came from the sky, and I think that’s broadly right, but perhaps it’s a bit jumbled.

    Maybe there were giant stones that came from the shattered moon, which ushered in the Long Night, and the impact brought this particular network of magical trees close to death. And from that impact, the Shade trees took on their blue colored leaves, and their black, greasy stone trunks. Which then were used for magical properties, but which subsequently proved toxic and cursed. It's not as catchy as "Bloodstone Emperor," but I like the "King of Charred Bones and Spoiled Meat." :D

    ...Wait, what magical properties, you ask?

    Well, it’s not just the black stone that was said to drink light. Certain magical swords have been described that way, including the Grey King’s black magical swords, and Jaime’s reforged Valyrian steel blade Oathkeeper. I think the corrupted Shade root could be an essential ingredient there.

    And maybe other purposes. You know, just like with the tree itself: what is dead does not die, but makes us harder and stronger.


  5. 57 minutes ago, Gilbert Green said:

    How is this digression even relevant to the discussion?

    The sword Dawn had no connection to Lucifer; and it has no connection to the planet Venus either. It is connected, separately, to mornings, and to a falling star.

    You ignore the actual objection, and then make condescending remarks implying that I am ignorant, of this, that or the other irrelevant thing.  I'm glad I skipped your class, Professor.

    I'm not disputing that Satan might have some association with the Planet Venus; or with the name "Lightbringer" and the name "Lucifer".  But that still does not get you to the sword Dawn.

    I can't even call what we're having a discussion. You pick certain points of my comments to respond to, ignore other chunks, and then ask a question that could be answered by my previous comments. You start out quite condescending (you assumed I didn't know GRRM was referencing Lovecraft simply because my interpretation is different than yours), then you feel slighted when I eventually respond in kind. To be clear though, I'm not getting truculent simply because I think you're ignorant. Everyone is ignorant about something. It's the mix of ignorance and rude smugness that gets my goat.

    When I brought up Lucifer and Venus, you didn't simply ask what they had to do with Dawn. You smugly acted as if you knew the lore around Satan and how he has many names. As if the notion of Satan hadn't itself evolved over time, largely through extra-biblical conjecture based on syncretic trends. It's fine to ask for clarity on what this myth might mean for Dawn, but you also made it seem like such a conflation of Lucifer and Venus, which is pretty much an indisputable fact about the history of the myth, was kookiness.

    What I have been trying to highlight are the dualities in ASOIAF's in-story myths. White stone, white sword (positive associations); blood stone, Lightbringer (initially positive, but a good deal that's negative). While there may indeed be two magical swords that pop up in the story proper, Dawn and Lightbringer, I guarantee that it will not be a simple duality of good and evil. The Lightbringer/Lucifer myth help cue us to that fact. It also plays out in the character arcs that are already published. Stannis seems to embody Azor Ahai, but also Night's King. Dany also wants to be Azor Ahai, but her embrace of fire and blood may help us learn that the hero's prophecy had a darker side to it.

    And Dawn, who knows who will wield Dawn, probably Jon. Who is on his own potential path of cynicism and anger that he'll have to step away from.

    As for the magical side of the plot, I would not be surprised at all if the magic that help forge these swords of destiny was also directly tied to the start of the Long Night. That's informed by themes in GRRM's other writing, but also buttressed by the Lucifer myth, which GRRM has seeded into his text at various points. But, I fully admit, this is wild conjecture.

  6. 1 minute ago, Gilbert Green said:

    The professor is handing out assignments to the "smug" student.

    We're all students when we're open to learning new things. I've learned quite a bit from other commenters here. Hopefully you're open to learning about Lucifer, and syncretism in general, when it comes to how mythic symbols evolve and accrue over time.

  7. 1 minute ago, Corvo the Crow said:

    What no! If all are dead someone else will have to populate those dreary isles. 

    Plus, you know, if the rising harder and stronger stuff is true, then there will be an island full of people who are both despicable and UNSTOPPABLE.

  8. 45 minutes ago, Corvo the Crow said:

    Red leaves still contain chlorophylls and does photosynthesis and Iron is needed for chlorophylls, so blood sacrifice is an important nutrition source for Weirwoods, supplying them with the necessary iron. Iron Islanders, as the name suggest, live and grow in an iron(and many other metals) rich environment and their diet consists of fish, which are known to accumulate heavy metals. So it is my guess that Ironborn would make the best blood sacrifice for Weirwoods. Bring in the copper sickles!

    Methinks this is your pitch to have GRRM write in an Ironborn genocide...

  9. 15 minutes ago, Gilbert Green said:

    I'm very curious. 

    Okay, Mr. Curious: find me a reference that explains the origin of how Satan came to be called "Bringer of Light" without a mention of the planet Venus. Just for your own curiosity, check it out some time. I won't hold my breath though...

  10. 1 hour ago, Springwatch said:

    Two opposing sets of 'gods' would really get the game of thrones going.

    That's in And Seven Times Never Kill Man!  :D

    The Steel Angels are these orthodox true-believers in a religion based on the Pale Child Bakkalon: a demon spirit that GRRM first wrote about as a teenager, then turned into one of "The Seven" in his Thousand World stories. Seems more like Seven evil spirits rather than gods, but at least the Steel Angels worshipped the Pale Child as their god. No clear evidence in the story that he exists, though that's pretty much like ASOIAF, where the Faith of the Seven seems to be the one religion with no proper magical basis. 

    Then there are the Jaenshi followers of the pyramid gods who remain nameless.

    Interestingly enough, Arya comes across a statue of Bakkalon in the HoBaW. But I'm pretty sure that's just a cute Easter egg. :)


  11. 4 minutes ago, Gilbert Green said:

    What's the point of asking you?  You want to mash all myths, and other things, together into an amorphous meaningless pudding.  If I want to understand the myth of Judeo-Christian Satan, I'm certainly not going to ask the guy who treats Satan as one and the same as the Greek Aphrodite or the Roman Venus.  And if I wanted to discuss the mythological significance of morning stars and shooting stars, I would want to discuss it with someone who knows that morning stars and shooting stars are not the same thing.

    Well, let's cut to the chase. You don't seem to want to have a discussion with me, and I have found you smug and incurious from the start, strengthening that impression with every response you post. So why don't we just "agree to disagree" and leave it at that?

    But, if you ever actually want to learn something about the history of mythology and how meanings and associations evolve and accrue over time, you might want to start with a search on something like "syncretism." Or, at least stop being so smug and incurious. Taa-taa.

  12. 25 minutes ago, KingEuronGreyjoy said:

    Not yet. I don’t think the Night King exists physically currently. I think it exists as like the Great Other, or a spirit in the Heart of Winter.  And I think the Others are currently looking for it’s human vessel. Personally I think the Others will use Jon’s body first, cuz he is the Prince that was Promised….to The Others. Then he’ll be freed, possibly by Daenerys, and will team up to defeat them in some fashion. I think Euron could possibly jump in there after Jon is freed and become the Night King aka the Vessel of the Great Other.

    and F-off with the condescending attitude m8

    Don't ye know, he who doth speaketh the content of the show be guilty of HERESY!!

  13. 2 minutes ago, Gilbert Green said:

    Yes, I know that.  But so what? 

    What's the point of any myth? Why does GRRM bring in the ruins of once-great cities, which call to mind Atlantis, Babel, or maybe Numenor from Tolkien? Traditional myths were used to transmit messages and convey values and meanings. The best fantasy fiction recontextualizes the myths in order to revitalize them and give them new relevance (while the worst fiction merely recycles tired tropes over and over.

    GRRM uses his own Atlantis myths to seed the themes of the story he is building. He likely will subvert or update the myth in some way (as he did in his Thousand Worlds stories, using for instance, sci-fi settings to tell tales of great civilizations gone to ruin, and the limits of science). 

    GRRM also is using the Venus/Lucifer duality to play on his grand hero drama. It's not a coincidence that several of our powerful characters (Stannis, Dany, and potentially Jon) ride on the knife's edge between heroism and villainy, and are often perceived as one or the other, depending on the party involved. My guess is that the power behind all of Planetos' magic is fundamentally neutral, but in practice can be used for great good or great evil, sometimes by the same person. Who is the "hero" and who is the "villain" is something that GRRM is playing with. He's not fully subverting it, just focusing on the fuzzy lines and complexities that muddy most people's simplistic idea of what a hero is. He wants an inspiring narrative, ultimately, but one that feels earned, and not cheap and easy. The Venus/Lucifer symbolism help to highlight that duality, and that larger conundrum.

  14. Just now, Gilbert Green said:

    These games of association are way too loose for me.  Dawn is not associated with the morning star or with the evening star.  It is associated with a shooting star.   Aphrodite and Satan don't seem very similar to me, and if you can conflate them with the phrase "Lucifer Morning Star/Venus myths" (as if all such myths were the same) you can conflate pretty much anything.

    Lucifer literally means Bringer of Light, and the planet Venus was called the Star of the Morning or Dawnstar as well as the Evenstar, due to how and when it emerged in the night sky relative to the sun.

    I'm not a hardcore myth-head with respect to GRRM's writing, but at very least--just as with Lovecraft and other references--it's good to know the tropes and themes that he is going to put his own spin on. Totally cool if you aren't personally interested in pursuing those threads, but don't wave your ignorance about world mythology around like it's other people's problem.

  15. 30 minutes ago, Gilbert Green said:

    I didn't accuse GRRM of being a bad writer.  If you think the Lovecraft references make him a bad writer (and I don't say you do) then that's your beef, not mine.

    But it's still a Lovecraft reference.  And I sufficiently trust the connection between the Bloodstone Emperor's creepy black stone and Lovecraft's shining trapezohedron that I don't think it has anything to do with forging swords.  More likely to be a crystal used as a gateway for summoning demons.

    Simply, I don't think one falling star has anything to do with the other.  Dunk's falling star and the Dayne's falling star both have positive associations.  The Bloodstone Emperor's creepy bloodstone, not so much.  Outer Space is a big place; like I said.

    Nyarlathotep was a many faced god (The Many Faced God?).  One would not expect him to be recognizable unless he is actually referred to as "Nyarlathotep", which I don't expect GRRM to do.  But he's basically The Devil, rather like the Luciferian figure who makes a vague appearance in GRRM's The Armageddon Rag.

    A third possibility is that a stone from the stars might have "magical" or special properties that are not sinister or creepy or demonic.  This is my opinion in the case of Dawn.  I don't think bat-winged flapping avatars of Satan will get summoned if you stare too long into the surface of Dawn's shining blade.

    I can't write much now (work), but just wanted to point out that the "Lightbringer" and "Sword of the Morning" imagery corresponds with Lucifer Morning Star/Venus myths, which are about a star rising to great heights and then falling. It could be that GRRM is using this to set up a take of ambition gone wrong. Or, simply to say that there are two sides to the same coin. Greatness has the power for evil, as well as for good. And some great figures will be known for both. BSE and Azor Ahai are two sides of the same coin, if not literally the same people.

  16. 7 hours ago, Gilbert Green said:

    But it does not feel right.  What of the falling star on Dunk's shield?  Should I also associate that with the demon god Nyarlathotep, who seeks to lead all humanity into madness and despair?  Or does it have more positive associations?

    Well, what about it doesn't feel right? Does Dunk's star ever "drink the light?" Or cause ancient civilizations to go mad? Again, GRRM is pretty clear when he's referencing Lovecraft, and when he's not. When those references are there, it's for the sake of horror, for something that is or was bad, ominous. Not Nyarlathotep, but this universe's version of him.

    Sometimes a falling star is just that. And sometimes it's an astral body that lands on earth and seeds an alien life that that enables crazy, destabilizing magical powers in the world.

  17. 7 hours ago, Gilbert Green said:

    The Bloodstone Emperor's alien black stone is a Lovecraft reference.

    GRRM is a huge fan of Lovecraft, and there is a ton of Lovecraft references in GRRM's world. But they are not merely references. Or, let's say, if it's ultimately just a ton of slavish references to some other guy's stories without being integrated into his own story, serving no purpose beyond fan boy easter eggs, well, then GRRM would prove to be a pretty poor writer.

    He is also a huge fan of Tad Williams. I've never read the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series, but despite the similarities and the borrowing, it's not like reading MS&T will piece together all of the puzzles of ASOIAF's plot. Because GRRM is writing his own story.

    GRRM has been planting Lovecraft references for sharp readers to pick up on ever since Book 2 (and really ramping them up in TWOIAF to hit us over the head with it), but how the Lovecraftian aspects of the narrative actually culminate in the larger story is another matter entirely. Perhaps Euron's shenanigans really will cause Chthulu to show up and photo-bomb the entire series...but I think it's more likely that the Lovecraftian elements will stem from things already in the story. Such as the Weirwoods!

    The Weirwoods are the Great Old Ones of GRRM's story, and always have been. I would bet money that Euron's krakens of the deep are enormous maggot-white "tentacles" juiced up by blood sacrifice. Giants awakened from the earth.

  18. 1 hour ago, KingEuronGreyjoy said:

    Will Euron attain some form of godhood? Like becoming the next Night King or being the human vessel of the Great Other? Some other form of godhood?


    or will he be driven mad by the spells he is attempting?

    Euron seems to be stewing in all of the Lovecraftian elements of the story, and as such I think a fitting end would be the power-hungry wannabe-sorceror who does successfully bring the Eldtrich gods into the realm, but then is either consumed by madness, used as a puppet, ripped to shreds, etc. You got your gods, buddy!

  19. 16 minutes ago, The Sleeper said:

    I don't think that there is a particular need to connect everything.

    In general, your responses here seem to amount to a lot of "agree to disagree" territory. Which is fine. GRRM is pretty good at seeding his stories in ways that feel like natural progressions but nevertheless contain surprises, and so it's not crazy if people speculating on where the story is going will disagree, and place focus on different details and themes.

    It's just that if we're in agree-to-disagree territory, I'm less inclined to provide an in-depth, line-by-line response. I would say that if you happen to be interested in my line of thinking on these matters, I have written a few lengthy topic posts about magical bloodlines, the nature of magic, and where the story could be heading as a result. You're welcome to check them out and tell me what you think. But given that you don't seem all that interested in that particular line of thought, I'm just gonna leave it at that.

    21 minutes ago, The Sleeper said:

    You could see how human beings projecting their own desires and preconceptions could fuck things up. For instance imagine the hatreds of past generations living forever in weirwoods and influencing the current generation. Which is a theme in the books actually.

    That is a cool thought. Certainly a possibility.

  20. For what it's worth, both A Song for Lya and And Seven Times Never Kill Man mention the possibility of the passive-seeming symbiotes actually being more parasitic. The former mentions psy-lures, which we possibly see evidence of in Robb's dream of Lyanna; and the latter mentions Hrangan use of Githyanki soul-sucks and other "vampires of the mind" to control their enemies without their knowing it. It's quite possible that the pyramids worshipped as gods are actually some kind of Hrangan psy-tech used for nefarious purposes. 

    So while I agree that both stories largely depict the symbiotes as passive catalysts of psy-harmony among their hosts, I think at best it's left to be somewhat ambiguous.

  21. 29 minutes ago, Corvo the Crow said:

    She’s a dragonlord of Valyria through and through. She terrorizes people and opresses the masses with her dragons. She’s a few steps away from being Maegor with tits, which by the way she also uses as instruments in her misrule, a trait she shares with Cersei.

    But you're forgetting or dismissing all of Dany's positive characteristics. Her empathy and ability to adapt. Her compassion for the downtrodden. Her desire to deliver justice, her capacity to forgive, and her perceived responsibility to stay and plant trees.

    Not to mention, there is the part of her that fears her dragonlord nature, and that fears the madness that consumed her father and brother. I'm not saying she won't succumb to those urges for fire and blood--she's clearly on that path as ADWD ends. But those other character traits and arcs were put there for a reason, not least to distinguish her from Viserys, Aerys, and Cersei.

    If anything, she's most like Stannis, as someone who rides the line between heroism and villainy. I am of the opinion that Stannis will prove a tragically failed hero, while Dany will prove to be a more consequential hero, though it may be that they are both remembered as villains.

  22. Well, I wouldn't be surprised if my pet theory was wrong. But one of its primary strengths is that it ties up a lot of stuff that is otherwise quite puzzling. So If it's wrong, we would still have to ask why the CotF sacrificed babies, why the Others also want human babies of certain bloodlines. How the man at the Black Gate was fused into this crazy hybrid giant tree thing.  What's the purpose of the Green Men, and lore about Garth Greenhand planting seed and impregnating human women, especially when it would be possible to interbreed with CotF for greenseer abilities. And so on and so forth.

    23 minutes ago, The Sleeper said:

    And yes that it might be Hodor.

    It couldn't be Hodor, because Hodor walked through the Gate. I understand that Hodor's "hold the door" moment could well involve a link between past and present, which potentially creates some paradoxes, but the Black Gate giant is not stuck in time; he's been there waiting the whole time. GRRM would not be so sloppy with his paradoxes. His other time travel writing confirms this.

    23 minutes ago, The Sleeper said:

    I don't believe that Euron is greeneer or anything like that. I think that his involvement with magic started when he captured the warlocks. After all, he was mentioned before in the series. He was always a dangerous prick, but there was no mention of him being weird.

    Euron stood by the window, drinking from a silver cup. He wore the sable cloak he took from Blacktyde, his red leather eye patch, and nothing else. "When I was a boy, I dreamt that I could fly," he announced. "When I woke, I couldn't . . . or so the maester said. But what if he lied?"
    Victarion could smell the sea through the open window, though the room stank of wine and blood and sex. The cold salt air helped to clear his head. "What do you mean?"
    Euron turned to face him, his bruised blue lips curled in a half smile. "Perhaps we can fly. All of us. How will we ever know unless we leap from some tall tower?" The wind came gusting through the window and stirred his sable cloak. There was something obscene and disturbing about his nakedness. "No man ever truly knows what he can do unless he dares to leap."

    That's some really close pairing with Bran's third eye being opened. Fall from the tower, dreaming about flying, maester playing it down. Speaking of eyes being opened, his sigil is an eye adorned by two crows.

    23 minutes ago, The Sleeper said:

    There is a known greenseer from the South. Bloodraven.

    Yes, just so. I think Euron knows him too. 


  23. 9 minutes ago, Corvo the Crow said:

    Dany has already committed numerous atrocities, she’s her father’s daughter and likely Cersei’s sister to boot.

    She has indeed committed atrocities, and is a darker character than some fans want to acknowledge, but come on. She's not gonna go all Mad Queen in the same way that Aerys did. That's Cersei's fate, and Dany is very different than Cersei.

    Dany will ride the knife's edge between heroism and villainy, but there's more than enough evidence to suggest that she will avoid going full villain. Although her acting heroically yet being reviled as a villain could definitely happen.

  24. 58 minutes ago, SeanF said:

    It’s a world at war.  Almost all of us would consider WW2 a just war.  That doesn’t alter the fact that the Western allies fought the war with extreme brutality against the Axis (the Red Army was even more brutal).  We can’t expect sympathetic characters in this tale to display more restraint than people like Churchill, Truman, Curtis Le May did.

    Arson, execution of hostages and collaborators , pillage, eye for an eye punishment, torture for information are all normative.  Any leader has to get his/her hands dirty.  Most of us would do these things in war, or condone them, if the stakes were high enough.

    Trying to hold people to the standards of a modern liberal democracy in peace time would just be unreasonable.

    GRRM himself has said that WW2 was all in all a just war, despite generally being a conscientious objector. But saying that a war is justified overall doesn't mean that the brutal details, and especially the consequences, should be glossed over to make the rationale for war more palatable. That's essentially what wartime propaganda does, and--not completely coincidentally, given their history--what a lot of superhero fiction narratives do as well.

    GRRM doesn't deny even his best behaved characters the reality of some shortcomings and weaknesses; he certainly won't let the ugly realities of war get swept under the rug, even when a war is justified. One of the central themes of the series is that war is a solution that tends to create ever more problems down the road. It's the endless cycle, part of the titular song of ice and fire, at least as originally voiced by Robert Frost.

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