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About Matthew.

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  1. Matthew.

    Heresy 227 and the Great Turtle

    I hope I'm wrong about that as well, and it'd certainly be nice to see GRRM at least occasionally make utilitarian writing decisions, rather than always following his muse. To not be totally pessimistic, even if she were to go to Vaes Dothrak, there's a path here, if GRRM can achieve something of a return to form; while we often talk about the bloat in the later novels in terms of the number of plot lines and number of new POVs, they've also become bloated in per-chapter word count--I recall that some fan charted this years ago visually. If he can reign himself in to the shorter, tighter chapters he was using in AGOT, and give Dany a disproportionate chapter count - similar to the way that Tyrion had 15 chapters in ACOK, far more than any other POV within that novel - then I think its possible for him to cover all of the ground he needs to cover. Unfortunately, as you've noted, those Arianne TWOW chapters don't exactly inspire confidence that GRRM is going to reign in the number of travelogue chapters. If Dany I TWOW started with Dany already in Vaes Dothrak (with her character thoughts bringing us up to speed on any relevant things we 'missed' since we last saw her) there would be some hope; if Dany I is an entire chapter (or more than one, even!) of her moving from Point A to Point B... then, yikes.
  2. Matthew.

    Heresy 227 and the Great Turtle

    I agree with Snowfyre; I believe that vision is foreshadowing Dany returning to Vaes Dothrak, and emerging leading a massive Khalasar. I acknowledge that I have biases regarding GRRM's use of prophesy, since the vision could be (as you noted) a vision of a future that will never be, or representational of a particular internal characterization idea - eg, the vision is foreshadowing Dany embracing her inner Khaleesi, rather than literally returning to Vaes Dothrak to become the Khal-of-Khals - but I feel that prophesy and visions have been overused to foreshadow specific plot events, and my gut feeling is that that vision is no different. Accordingly, my pessimistic suspicion is that Dany will spend several TWOW chapters resolving her Dothraki business, which wouldn't bode well for the pace of her story. True, there are other directions GRRM could go that wouldn't require a return to Westeros. For example, stories centered around the Dothraki, Benerro and Volantis, and the Doom of Valyria, in which Dany's story eventually progresses to dealing with "Fire" sorcery and the broken seasons, independently of everything else playing out in Westeros. Even so, I'm going with my intuition as to what feels "narratively true" to me, for lack of a better phrase, and what feels narratively true to me is that Dany will set foot on Westerosi soil at least once before she dies, that she will eventually come into conflict with Young Griff, and that she will eventually have her plot line intersect with that of the Others.
  3. Matthew.

    Heresy 227 and the Great Turtle

    Dany in particular gives me great cause for concern regarding GRRM's ability to finish within two books, taking into account all of the plot points we know she still has to deal with, as well as the ones she might hypothetically have to deal with. Off the top of my head, there's the Dothraki, Meereen, securing passage to the West, Benerro and Moqorro, Dragonbinder and Euron, Young Griff, the various other Westerosi nobles and players that she might have to deal with during her invasion plot independently of the Young Griff problem, and the Long Night 2.0. Hypothetically, all of that can be addressed within two books, but can it be addressed satisfyingly--particularly Dany's homecoming, which seems like an arc that needs room to breathe? Is it consistent with the pace GRRM has kept thus far to resolve so many major plots in so short a period? How many chapters will be spent on the Dothraki alone? What about Dany's return to Meereen--will that take up at least a chapter or two? What about the logistics of moving her army westward, how many chapters for that? Will GRRM end one chapter with her sailing, and then return to her POV when she formally lands, or will we have even more chapters (and page count) from her in between? Granted, a lot of those plots don't belong to Dany alone, and will subsume the chapters of Tyrion, Victarion, Arianne, Cersei, Connington, etc. but I'm still feeling pessimistic.
  4. Matthew.

    Heresy 227 and the Great Turtle

    This is how I interpreted it as well--particularly keeping in mind that "themes of colonialism" might not be Goldman's words or intent, but the subjective, inaccurate interpretation of someone at HBO (or the article's author). My assumption is that it would have been exploring CotF/human relations in a post-Pact, pre-Andal Westeros in which (as you say) the CotF are living on their reservations, while the humans live on land stolen from the CotF, worshiping the CotF's gods and utilizing the CotF's magic. Alternately, the show might have been largely ignoring the context of Book World, and telling a story in which the First Men were being invaded and colonized by some outside human faction that doesn't exist in the books; the teaser synopsis for the show promised that it was going to explore "the mysteries of the East," so perhaps there was going to be an Essosi faction or nation involved.
  5. I think there was a recent Q&A where GRRM essentially confirmed that Dawn was crafted from a falling star, which I'd always assumed to mean meteoric iron, but I guess it could be anything GRRM wants--a fantasy ore like mithril, something from a comet, etc. If that's the case, it does raise certain questions under a Dawn = dragonsteel scenario. One issue would be that House Dayne and Dawn do not appear to be widely and famously associated with the original Long Night and the Battle for the Dawn; granted, most of the oral history we've received comes from Old Nan, and presumably has a northern bias, but even so, it seems strange for nobody to have ever vocalized aloud that the first Sword of the Morning played an instrumental role in the Battle for the Dawn--and stranger still if that's the sort of detail that has been widely forgotten. Another issue would be how the tale of the LH intersects with the tale of Dawn and Starfall, and how all of that comes together chronologically with the Last Night and the Battle for the Dawn. Hmm. I don't know, every time I feel like I'm starting to like a particular interpretation of dragonsteel, I play devil's advocate against myself, and then kind of reset back to square one.
  6. I would agree that that seems like the most likely explanation. In addition, a hero called the Sword of the Morning wielding a weapon named Dawn to end the Long Night seems very fitting in a narrative sense. Nonetheless, I've pondered a few alternatives, should it be the case that the blade isn't Dawn: - It is some unknown (and subsequently lost?) blade that the LH forged after meeting with the CotF, perhaps utilizing magic that he acquired from them - There's an SSM where Martin says that dragons once could be found "all over," though the exact context for that comment is a little murky. For example, he might have meant that in the context of some far flung age in which humanity had not yet begun to evolve. However, I think it does leave the door open for people outside of Valyria to have had access to dragons--and, consequently, to have forged a magical blade using those dragons. - Finally, there's the shorter timelines that seem to be occasionally floated in AFFC, ADWD, and the World Book: If the LN were 6,000 years ago, it's still not contemporaneous to the rise of Valyria as an expansionist empire (I'm assuming, anyway), but there may have been some sort of proto-Valyrian culture beginning to take shape, so maybe dragonbinding and weapon forging would have been in play by that point in time. _______________ Ultimately, I'm still inclined toward Dawn, for both the aforementioned reasons, and because Dawn is the explanation that would, IMO, require the least exposition.
  7. I'd assumed they had other conversations off page, though he may also be conflating several different things in that passage--eg, the conversation with Sam that happened on page, things he has heard before about Valyrian steel (separate from any conversation with Sam), and his own supposition about "dragonsteel." If I'm not mistaken, it's an in-world premise that the secret to making Valyrian steel was lost with the Doom, so those comments about it being forged with dragonflame might just be speculation, though it seems an intuitive enough suggestion. (as a personal addition, my theory for Valyrian steel is that its dark and smoky appearance comes from quenching the blade in dragon's blood) That said, if Sam and Jon really did have an additional conversation, I am curious as to what Sam's line of thought would be for speculating that dragonsteel and Valyrian steel are one and the same--whether he believes the timelines are dubious enough for that to be possible, or whether he believes a "Valyrian style" - for lack of a better term - blade had been forged in an era in which Valyria itself did not exist. This ties back into timeline talk from the prior thread. If the Long Night was 8,000 years, then the most straightforward explanation is that dragonsteel is either Dawn, or some unknown ancient magic blade; however, if the LN was closer to 6,000 or 5,000 years ago, other possibilities open up.
  8. This is the criticism of GRRM that I've raised in relation to time altering as well--I don't think it would be good for the novel, and I'd like to hope it won't come in to play, yet GRRM didn't need to frame Bran III ADWD the way that he did; at the moment where Bran is trying to talk to Eddard, and Eddard seems to react, that passage could have just as easily been written with Eddard giving no reaction whatsoever, and Bran being overwhelmed with futility. I really don't like that even the slightest bit of ambiguity was introduced in the first place.
  9. I think you're right (that's a really great interpretation of the Cave of Skulls), and this dream Jon has in ACOK potentially reinforces that read: I wonder whether or not Euron is going by written prophesy, or something that he himself has personally seen under the influence of Shade of the Evening; I would assume the latter.
  10. I agree that Ashara being one of Elia's ladies seems important, and I believe there's an SSM where GRRM says something to the effect that Ashara wasn't nailed down in Starfall, and that they have boats in Dorne, so he's all but explicitly telling us that we'll eventually learn more about her actions during the Rebellion. My three guesses as to the significance are: - If the place with the Red Door is actually in Dorne, she had some role in that conspiracy (which would go toward your theory that Dany is actually Ashara's daughter - If Aegon VI is the real deal, Ashara is the one that helped swap him out of KL, and she's possibly still alive to vouch for his identity - Ashara knew something about Lyanna's disappearance, and she (or one of her servants) is the one that tipped Eddard off and prompted his journey into the Red Mountains
  11. That dream, Jon's unresolved parentage, and the oft-discussed "I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R'hllor shows me only Snow" are all suggestive and compelling, though Jaime has a dream in which he and Brienne are wielding burning swords as well. Jaime's dream also overlaps in other ways with both Jon's dream in ADWD, and Dany's dream of fighting Robert's host in ASOS--they all dream of themselves fighting the ghosts of their past, with the ghosts adorned in imagery of mist and ice. In addition to the question as to whether or not AAR and PTWP are the same thing, and whether Dany or someone else best fits a particular prophesy, I'm also left wondering whether or not "AAR" isn't a role that has been guaranteed to a single figure by birth, but rather, something that is up for grabs--eg, Dany, Jaime, Jon, Brienne and perhaps others all have the potential to become AAR. Alternately, perhaps the "three heads of the dragon" are three people that will all undergo their own personal variation of the Azor Ahai journey in the build up to Long Night 2.0.
  12. I agree, and while I have my own theories about a new Lightbringer (as a literal sword) being forged, I'm content to accept Drogon as a "burning sword;" besides the fact that I don't think it's that unreasonable as a figurative interpretation, I think that Dany also has a lot going for her in terms of her character arc. Particularly, more than any other character - at least for now - I think that her journey in AGOT is the one that most closely thematically parallels the AA/Nissa Nissa tale: she slowly 'forged' her weapon over the course of the novel, beginning by leaving the eggs in burning braziers, holding them close to her belly while she was pregnant with Rhaego, and finally sacrificed what she loved most in the world to acquire her magical weapon. In addition, while a lot of emphasis is being placed on the idea of AAR defeating the Others, there appear to be certain revolutionary expectations being placed on the coming of the fire messiah as well: Obviously, a lot of that is colored by Benerro's personal ambitions, and the political situation in Volantis, but the notion of a prophesied figure coming to re-order the world is not exclusive to Benerro's preaching, and perhaps not exclusive to the AAR prophesy. It's reminiscent to me of Aeron's Shade of the Evening visions of Euron: (Spoilers TWOW) There's also the Dothraki idea of a prophesied messiah - a conqueror whose Khalasar will stretch to the ends of the earth, and who appears to Dany in her HoTU visions with a burning city in the background - and this allusion to prophesy from the Green Grace: The coming of a prophesied figure whose enemies will die in fire appears to be a bit of a running theme.
  13. Matthew.

    Heresy 225 and the Snowflakes of Doom

    I would revisit one prospect I've considered in the past: that perhaps the tale did not travel eastward orally, but through dreams and visions, since this is a world where one can experience visions and farsight through a variety of means (Shade of the Evening, fires, green dreams, glass candles, etc.) For example, the Red Wedding appears in symbolic form in the HotU, even though the real event occurs half a world away. As a hypothetical, the true event would be the Last Hero slaying the Others with Dawn, which appears in the dreams and visions of seers in the east in non-literal form--eg, a seer in Asshai has a vision of a figure with a burning sword fighting "the darkness," and those visions spawn the myth of Azor Ahai, with various cultures putting their personal spin on the myth.
  14. Matthew.

    Heresy 225 and the Snowflakes of Doom

    Alternately, the blade could have been a joint effort--human metalworking and CotF spells, assuming that the Last Hero/dragonsteel and the first SotM/Dawn are the same, as the LH seeking the aide of the CotF becomes less relevant if they're different figures, wielding different blades. I like your thinking here, and those quotes from Maester Aemon bring me to mind of something I've wondered in the past about both Dawn and Valyrian steel: is there some missing X-Factor necessary to bring them up to their full potential? As it stands, none of the magical swords appear to be true firebrands. One possible scenario is that these weapons are meant to be ideally wielded by a fire wight that can set the blades ablaze with their own blood, ala Beric. However, jumping off from your Dany quote, it may be that a sacrifice will be necessary to create a true Lightbringer 2.0. If that were the case, Dany or Mel seem like possible prospects, though I have a crackpot theory that Ice might be reforged and quenched in Stoneheart's heart to absorb her animating fire. Edit: Also, we haven't seen Dawn in the present era, so I wonder whether the blade is behaving differently now that magic is strengthening.
  15. Matthew.

    Heresy 225 and the Snowflakes of Doom

    We've discussed in the past the prospect that "First Men" might have been a scholarly term developed later to lump the various early humans together under one umbrella. An alternative prospect could also be that it was a term coined by the First Men themselves to imply preeminent social status, or a certain amount of cultural arrogance relative to the other pre-Andal humans. In addition to some of the oddities you cite, such as Moat Cailin, it may be that there are also competing founder myths--Garth Greenhand and the First King, both viewed as High King figures that are responsible for leading humanity across the Arm of Dorne. The former is associated with fertility and verdancy, while the latter is more vaguely defined, and possibly has little cultural relevance outside of Barrowton. Even so, a myth about a king that could have lead the FM across the Arm of the Dorne, and made his way north of the Neck by the time he died might be noteworthy. I'm personally inclined toward the notion that the First Men were distinct from, say, the crannogmen (who may have been living in harmony with the CotF even before the Pact), and distinct also from whoever built Moat Cailin; IMO, the First Men did not arrive as a slow trickle of pioneers, but as organized aggressors, and it is against the First Men specifically that the Hammer of the Waters was utilized.