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About asimetrikal

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  • Birthday 06/25/1984

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    lone star state
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    history, comparative mythology, evolution, linguistics

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  1. asimetrikal

    Queries about dragons

    But to respond to the above quoted text, I feel what you've written here actually bolsters my point: the bloodlines get diluted (again, whatever that means), and not everyone gets the ability to ride a dragon. Well, what decides who DOES get the ability to ride one? Valyria began its expansion after the fall of Ghis some thousands of years before the events of the novels, yes? Is everyone cognizant of the extent to which their genes would have spread throughout the world by that point? Even if we only limited those who could ride the dragons to one of the forty families of dragonlords, the gene would have spread into every land which had people living in it after thousands of years. This article from PHYS.org contains the following paragraph: I fully recommend reading the entire article, it's fascinating, but for me it shows that after 3,000 or so years, everyone in our world is related to (and thus shares genes with) everyone else. If the Valyrians started their empire 5,000 years ago when they defeated the Ghiscari, and they were able to do this because of their use of dragons as weapons of war, then the association of blood, magic and dragonriding began 5,000 years ago, and in the time between then and that of the novels, the 'blood of Old Valyria' would have diluted/pervaded/migrated (call it what you want) through all the people of their world. The same problem occurs with the 'Stark' warging ability. All of this is to say there must be something more than consanguinity that allows someone to be a dragonrider, or looked at through the other end of the scope, prohibits them from being one. I mean even the notion of 'blood quantum' becomes slightly laughable when considering that dragons are extremely dangerous. Consider: 'Oh, you're Targaryen? Go ahead and saddle up then, the dragons won't burn you to a crisp.' 'Well what about my second cousin there? Can he try to climb atop one too?' 'Second cousin, you said?' 'Yeh, that's right.' 'Okay well that means he's 12.5% the blood of Old Valyria, and the dragon will accept that. But you try to let anyone less than 10% on there and it's your ass!' Now of course the above hypothetical is silly and inane, but that's purposeful to use the exchange as an illustration of just how nebulous this concept of 'blood of Old Valyria' is. The way I'm reading what evidence I see is this: those who end up taming/riding/bonding with a dragon are said to have 'the blood of Old Valyria', and those that get fucked up trying to do it, like Quentyn Martell, either don't have 'the blood of Old Valyria' or somehow, 'not enough'. The whole notion seems to me to be dangerously close to circular reasoning (You can ride dragons if you have the blood of Old Valyria, and you have the blood of Old Valyria if you can ride dragons.) but perhaps more importantly doesn't really have much explanatory power. I do have a request for your sources, good sir (madam?). You've made frequent mention of 'strong hints' and the like that dragons and riders are bound magically. Can you give me some book and page numbers? I have all the ASOIAF series as e-pubs, and I can buy/check out digitally from my local library the books I may need to if you can cite those details so I can get a feel for what you mean when you say that. Cheers!
  2. asimetrikal

    Queries about dragons

    @Ghost+Nymeria4Eva Okay, kudos on the bit about no textual evidence that dragons ever get tired. We know Dany's dragons were free flying most of the time, and they weren't sequestered in that pit for long, and while they were there they don't seem to have been content or done particularly well. As for evidence that dragons were confined to pits in the past, I know it exists, but I don't know how regular it was or even how feasible for the particularly large specimens. Also, I'd like to direct your attention to this StackExchange, well, exchange, about whether or not one has to be a Targaryen to ride a dragon (and yes, this bleeds over into the question of whether or not one even has to be 'Valyrian' to ride a dragon). I mean, what is the 'blood of Old Valyria' anyway? The Targaryens, to say nothing of the other Valyrian houses in Westeros, have been marrying out, however slowly, and 'diluting' (for lack of a better word) whatever this 'blood' is. The first answer in that StackExchange makes the point that while dragonseeds, those people not of the Valyrian houses of Westeros who could ride dragons and employed during the Dance of the Dragons, were explained away as being 'bastard children' we don't actually know that that's true. This could have been cover for the competing dynasties to maintain the facade of prestige that even came from the notion of 'the blood of Old Valyria'. Moreover, some of these dragonseeds had features decidedly 'un-Valyrian' (in their physical appearance, I mean), indicating either possession of none of this pixie dust 'blood' or such a small percentage that it may not be a bar to riding a dragon. After all, since the Doom we only have Valyrian families who had dragons to even ride, and since the dragons were the backbone of their power, why not cement that monopoly with a cultural taboo against anyone not related to them having any ability whatsoever to exercise influence over that backbone? This is, all, of course, academic and somewhat tangential to the original question I asked you, which was about the dragon's magical connection to the rider's state, which given your somewhat sourced response I'm more ready to accept as part of their constitution. What do you think of the StackExchange question?
  3. asimetrikal

    Queries about dragons

    As regards caret 1, look at a map of Essos, showing also the distances over the Summer Sea to Sothoryos/the Summer Islands, and the Narrow Sea to Westeros, and we see that actually the distance into other continents is not so great as the distance over singular continents, at least Essos considered east to west or Westeros considered north to south. I mention this because the Valyrians had trading outposts on Sothoryos, went to the Summer Islands sometimes, and had a half a handful of lower-upper class families settled on islands in the Narrow Sea before the Doom. The Freehold proper seems to have been constrained to continental Essos, suggesting perhaps, that dragons couldn't fly as far without respite as may seem otherwise; if they could the Valyrians would've made farther inroads into more distant territories in the many centuries in which they were a great power. As regards caret 2, even assuming that dragons are magical creatures, why is it that the second position necessarily follows from the first? To illustrate why I think this is a non-sequitur, replace 'tire when the rider tires' with any number of other mental, emotional or physical states. To wit: 'Remember that dragons are magical creatures. So they probably get horny when the rider gets horny.' Or 'Remember that dragons are magical creatures. So they probably fear turning into their parents when the rider fears turning into their parents.' Or even 'Remember that dragons are magical creatures. So they probably get confused by double negatives when the rider gets confused by double negatives.' We quickly come to see the inane nature of some of these 'Rider feels A, so dragon must feel A' statements. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm only asking why it is that a dragon being magical would tie its own physical condition at any given moment to its riders. And not to belabor the point, but dragons spend most of their lives and time in the air riderless, and we must therefore ask - if you're correct - when do dragons get tired whenever it is they don't have riders which is, of course, most of the time?
  4. asimetrikal

    Queries about dragons

    Well, if 'magic helps out' then there's very little we can safely deduce about the real-world characteristics of dragons or their behaviors because assumptions we make about starting conditions are unmanageably arbitrary. I mean, the dragons have huge wingspans, and wings with thin, translucent membranes between digits I assume to catch and contact as much air as possible, as bats do nowadays and pterosaurs in the past, because that's how flight works in an atmosphere not unlike the Earth's. But, if 'magic helps out' they may have those wings only to look cool and appear more intimidating. This article - which I realize is from 2015 - is a pretty good explainer on the (somewhat) recent discussion/debate about thermoregulation in dinosaurs. But even if everyone agreed on how dinosaurs thermoregulated, what about their nature is being used to give us some workable knowledge of the biology of dragons in ASOIAF? Real question, not sassiness or sarcasm. For me, an animal that can breathe fire at will is much more safely assumed to be warm-blooded because they have to be able to generate the heat that will cause whatever chemicals are emitted from their mouths to ignite, which doesn't happen at 'room temperature' since the dragons aren't exploding randomly from the inside where the chemicals are produced/stored. Unless, of course, 'magic helps out' and we're back at having next to no safe starting points for assumptions for any of our calculations. What do you think? If we must concede magic exists in-universe (and we know it does), what are some legitimate parameters we can place on its 'effectiveness' so we can even begin to talk about reaching meaningful conclusions about dragons' biology and behavior?
  5. asimetrikal

    Queries about dragons

    The blue whale can only grow that massive because the buoyancy of its marine environment allows that much biological 'stuff' to be packed into such a shape but not crushing the bones and/or organs under their own weight. It's a stretch to argue a land animal could reach these dimensions/proportions, but there's just no way a flying animal could do so. Further, given that dragons can breathe fire (somehow), it's actually safer to assume they have a metabolism closer to mammalian than reptilian. After all, the temperature of their bodies - and the fire jetting forth from their mouths - are being regulated by internal processes. They don't have to bask in the sun or under the terrarium heat lamp to 'charge up' a fire blast. Not trying to nitpick, only offering what I think are legitimate corrections if we're going to try some real math to develop answers to these questions.