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Phylum of Alexandria

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. It's the idea that the Long Night was caused by a comet crashing into a second Moon and causing a magical impact winter--and that something similar will happen to bring on a new Long Night. It was advanced by David Lightbringer, formerly Lucifer Means Lightbringer, or LmL. He made some recent videos that summarize it pretty nicely:
  11. This is to account for the moon meteors? A thousand, thousand dragons... It can also accounts for smaller size meteors making it to the planet. Meteor shower - Wikipedia Certainly possible. I am a fan of Moon Meteor theory, though.
  12. If we go by the premise that the people in ancient Planetos associated comets with dragons, then the Qartheen story would be about comets, not dragons. I think that this is something we will see in TWoW. Yeah, and as far as the solar eclipse goes, perhaps the second moon happened to fall in the path of the comet when it was in the eclipse position. Or, if we're going the magic route, perhaps the celestial alignment was perfect for some blood magic/psionic presence to pull the comet towards the earth, and thereby hitting the moon.
  13. Not related to your thesis, but I like that the Strong sigil has the red, green, and blue stripes against a white field. Perhaps some soft support for my trichromatic theory of magic!
  14. This stuff is interesting to think about, and I think it's pretty clear that GRRM has some plans for House Strong and their seed. One question though: You mention the German meaning of "stark," but how does that factor into House Strong, in-story? To me, House Stark lines up pretty well with the plain English meaning of stark: stiff, rigid, obstinate; stern, severe, hard, or harsh.
  15. Nice that you can pull off puns in your second language! I agree that water plays a significant role. Or, some sort of mimesis on the part of the weirwood species, some sort of ability to adapt to different elemental surroundings, including water (not to mention blood-bonding with certain life forms). Need to give that some more thought.
  16. Hmmm, interesting. I'm thinking the oily black stone references are at least partially GRRM dropping some love for H.P. Lovecraft's stories and the larger Cthulu mythos. But, that said, I don't know what inspired Lovecraft to write about his oily black stones. At the very least, it conjures the feeling of lost, and cursed, civilizations.
  17. Someone on reddit once said that Robert is basically as bad as Cersei. While I agree that they have plenty of similarities, Robert's ability to not just seek out the council of men who give him hard truths, but to sometimes reign in his impulses or course correct because of these men puts him well ahead of Cersei, who thinks even a shameless Lannister lickspittle like Pycelle is not obsequious enough to tolerate.
  18. Thinking more, though, there is also the black oily stone in Asshai and elsewhere that drinks the light. There's a similar description for Shade-of-the-Evening tree bark. Now, drinking the light may not be the same as drinking souls, but it's possible. Certainly there is a cursed, sorcerous feel to both of those substances (incidentally, Crowfood's Daughter argues that the oily black stone is simply petrified Shade trees). Also, it was a Dothraki who described the Shade tree as drinking light, in a warning to Dany. That reminded me that Dothraki are very suspicious about magic, which probably includes magical relics. It could be that dragon bones on their own are harmless, and are made magical via a forging spell. Either that, or we should be looking toward more intrinsically magical raw ingredients, like the Shade bark, as crucial for these cursed soul-drinking swords.
  19. If they had the skeleton, i think, they put it in a good use and made weapons. They still use dragonbone for this purpose, Dothraki use it in their bows and it's expensive as shit. That quote you provided always made me think of Valyrian steel, which seems to require blood sacrifice. Also, I don't know if Lightbringer was the same as Valyrian steel or even similar, but Nissa Nissa's "blood, soul, strength, and courage went into the steel of the sword." I have always assumed that dragon fire is necessary for the forging of Valyrian steel, but maybe its dragon bones that are an essential ingredient, and how they get the dark color.
  20. I'd say that any extent that Roose's actions have a patina of legitimacy according to Westerosi norms, GRRM is critiquing the hell out of those Westerosi norms.
  21. I like the connection to volcanoes. I have had the thought that a lot of weirwood sites seem to be on small islands, that perhaps were meteor impact sites. Maybe they're linked to the volcanoes as well... https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn3171-earths-volcanism-linked-to-meteorite-impacts/
  22. In Dreamsongs, Martin talks about how difficult it was for him to write Meathouse Man, and how he still is unhappy with it, mostly because it is uncomfortable and personal, but also because he couldn't see it as good writing. But he put a lot of work into it, so he sent it out, and had to undergo substantial revisions, and he was still unhappy with it. Yet they finally published it. To this day, Martin doesn't like the story, but he opted to include it in the Dreamsongs collection, if only because its writing and publication took so much effort. But, despite its disturbing nature, Meathouse Man a solid story and well worth a read, even if GRRM himself hates it. So I'd say the lesson is, push on. Get other people's perspectives. Maybe go back and forth with other projects if one is giving you trouble? Unless the entire world has been waiting 10+ years for your next book. Then I'd skip the other projects.
  23. Yeah, I agree. I think that disillusionment will be an important part of GRRM's narrative, but there is a risk of cheapening everything that came before if it doesn't feel organic. And yes, we have already had some disillusionment, in the House of the Undying, and even to some extent with Bran peering "behind the curtain" of the Old Gods. In both cases, there is power in learning the mechanics behind the fantasy, but the truth's not all that attractive!
  24. Makes sense to me! It's good to have other things to fall back on. I'm in the middle of the Dune series, and have been reading some of GRRM's other works as well. You know, for all the sass GRRM gets for his bad sex scenes, I think Frank Herbert takes the prize for this line: "There was an adult beefswelling in his loins." --Children of Dune
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