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Schmendrick

R + L = Lightbringer -- Updated with Part II

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And here is an interesting exchange between Dany and Hiszahr in ADWD:






Dany folded her hands together. "Words are wind, even words like love and peace. I put more trust in deeds. In my Seven Kingdoms, knights go on quests to prove themselves worthy of the maiden that they love. They seek for magic swords, for chests of gold, for crowns stolen from a dragon's hoard."



Hizdahr arched an eyebrow. "The only dragons that I know are yours, and magic swords are even scarcer..."



Interesting that a quest to seek a magic sword and a crown stolen from a dragon hoard (or should I say a dragon dynasty) are placed together?


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And here is an interesting exchange between Dany and Hiszahr in ADWD:



Interesting that a quest to seek a magic sword and a crown stolen from a dragon hoard (or should I say a dragon dynasty) are placed together?





I wonder if "crowns stolen from a dragon's hoard" is an obscured reference to Targaryen kingship (as in, the crown stolen from the Targaryen "dragons")? Perhaps Robert is the "knight," here. Lyanna would be "the maiden that [he] love[d]" (just as she's the capital "M" Maiden in the Burning of the Seven). Robert's "quest" in the wake of Lyanna's supposed abduction ended with him taking the dragons' crown (and the dragons' treasury with its initial surplus of "gold," too). And Ned presumably hid Jon (the "magic sword") from Robert because he feared that, if Robert ever learned Jon's true identity, he would "seek" out and kill him.



The "magic swords are even scarcer" line is interesting, too. Might be a hint that the dragons aren't Lightbringer (despite some contradictory evidence).



Edit: Oops, you already suggested that the dragon the crown was stolen from was metaphorical. Just swap the "I wonder if" part for an "I agree that ...." :p


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Yes, I took the line crowns stolen from a dragon's hoard to possibly be a subtle reference to a Targaryen heir whose crown was "stolen" from him. Which is why I found it so interesting that it would be in the same passage as a quest for a magic sword. Because if Jon is indeed "Lightbringer" and the only surviving son of Rhaegar than he would fit both objects of the quest.



Further on during the same conversation:





Hizdahr looked thoughtful. "Ninety days and ninety nights without a corpse, and on the ninety-first we wed?"



"Perhaps," said Dany, with a coy look. "Though young girls have been known to be fickle. I may still want a magic sword."




Maybe foreshadowing for a time when Dany and Jon may unite?

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Yes, I took the line crowns stolen from a dragon's hoard to possibly be a subtle reference to a Targaryen heir whose crown was "stolen" from him. Which is why I found it so interesting that it would be in the same passage as a quest for a magic sword. Because if Jon is indeed "Lightbringer" and the only surviving son of Rhaegar than he would fit both objects of the quest.

Further on during the same conversation:

Maybe foreshadowing for a time when Dany and Jon may unite?

I am now officially kicking myself for failing to do an e-book search for "magic sword." Awesome catch.

I actually think that Dany is one of the prime candidates for AAR (though not the only one). I know that's an unpopular opinion, but there it is. I think that the whole business about passing beneath the shadow to touch the light is Quaithe telling Dany how to proceed in order to claim Lightbringer (Jon) and become AAR.

Granted, my guess is that AAR is an apocalyptic figure rather than a savior figure ....

Edit: To be clear, I don't think Dany is preordained to be Lightbringer. I think there are multiple potential candidates and Quaithe is trying to show Dany her path to becoming AAR.

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Not only do I agree with your notion that there are multiple candidates for AAR, my guess is multiple people will fulfill the role.



Where did Martin come up with the name of Azor Ahai?



In your initial post you mentioned the Zoroastrianism, the ancient Iranian religion that was the model for the R'holor religion. Azar was the Zoroastrian name for flame. Today, Azar is the Iranian name for the ninth month of the year (November), the month which immediately precedes winter. My guess is Azor was intentionally used by GRRM as a one off on Azar.



Ahai was a Jewish sage in the Babylonian Talmud.



So we put the two words together and we get a scholar of flame.



We know the Azor Ahai of legend created a magical weapon that produced a great fire.



Both Aegon V and Rhaegar seemed to fulfill this role as both were great scholars who were interested in fulfilling ancient prophecies involving bring back "The dragon" of legend as well as actual dragons.



Dany seems to fulfill the role, through some kind of subconscious knowledge she was able to hatch her dragon eggs.



I think another potential candidate is Tyrion. Certainly reborn in smoke and salt (look at his role in the battle of the Blackwater and his subsequent near death experience among the fiery waters). He has also proved to be a knowledgeable scholar in the ways of dragons as well.



And certainly there are other potential candidates as well. Perhaps, Davos, or Jaime?



My guess is AAR will be the one (or ones) that will somehow make use of (or perhaps unite with) Jon in his role as "Lightbringer".



Another interesting question that I hope you will attempt to address in this thread, is what does it mean to be "Lightbringer"? Does it have to do with Jon's unique skills as someone with a Targaryen bloodline who also happens to be a Warg?



And of course there is also the interesting idea of "Lightbringer" as something sinister. After all, wasn't Lucifer the "Lightbringer" as well? And Satan was also referred to as a dragon in Revelations.


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100% sure that Lightbringer is a sword and Jon is AA.

And that's where you will be eventually proved wrong in my opinion. GRRM loves to subvert tropes, and the magical sword trope is no exception. I think Lightbringer may be a person, and the three forging of the swords in my opinion refers to Rhaenys, Aegon, and Jon.

Rhaenys was forged symbolically in water; she was female, and her mother was a Martell, so that's the Rhoynar and Salty Dornishman talking.

Aegon was killed by the Lannister henchmen Gregor Clegane, and his skull spilt and shattered when his head was dashed against the walls of Elia's room.

Jon killed his mother, Lyanna in childbirth, and he was spirited away to Winterfell, and concealed from Robert Baratheon under a false name.

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<snip>

Really outstanding stuff!

My take on the etymology of Azor Ahai is pretty similar to yours. I agree completely that Azor means fire. Azer/azar/azor/atar are all etymological variations on the ancient Persian word for "fire."

I think Ahai means "dragon," though (I could certainly be wrong -- I like your translation as well). "Aži" is the Avestan (Zoroastrian) word for "serpent" or "dragon" (edit: as in Aži Dahāka, the evil three-headed dragon of Iranian mythology whose legend has some unsettling parallels with Dany's story ....). It's also a cognate of the Vedic Sanskrit word "ahi," which means "snake." Obviously, Ahi/Aži are fairly close to Ahai, and it keeps the translations of "Azor" and "Ahai" within the same language family.

So, I think Azor Ahai means "Fire Dragon." Plus, there happens to be a "fiery dragon" in Zoroastrian mythology. It's not a literal dragon, though. It's a red comet called Gōčihr:

At the end of time Gōčihr will fall down on the earth, which it will terrify like a wolf does a sheep; its fire and halo will then melt the metal of Šahrewar in the hills and mountains, thus providing the river of molten metal necessary for the purification of men. (Gōčihr appears to be the only fiery dragon in ancient Iran.) At the end, after Ohrmazd himself has come down to earth to send Āz and Ahriman back to the Darkness whence they had come, Gōčihr the serpent burns in the molten metal and the pollution of Hell burns and Hell becomes pure (Bundahišn TD1, pp. 193.11-16, 195.17-196.2; TD2, pp. 225.3-8, 227.12-15; tr. Anklesaria. pp. 288-91; tr. West, pp. 125f., 129).

Source.

It gets even better. Gōčihr is supposed to crash to Earth after an unusually long winter, ushering in the Zoroastrian end times. I think Azor Ahai is the red comet (although I think a person will have the title as well, before series' end). As for smoke and salt:

"[Melisandre] talks of prophecies...a hero reborn in the sea ...."

ASoS, Davos V.

If a fiery comet crashes into the sea ... you'd have evaporated saltwater and lots and lots of smoke.

I completely agree with you that the person who winds up being AAR (along with the comet) will ally with Jon (for better or worse). Agree with your choice of candidates too.

As far as the question of what it means to be Lightbringer, yes, I address that directly in Part II. I should have the second half posted sometime this week.

The Lucifer/Lightbringer thing is definitely interesting. The Revelations connections too. There are some pretty unsettling parallels between Dany and the Queen of Babylon ....

Edit: There's a lot more to be written about the Azor Ahai stuff. At some point after I finish this theory, I'll take a crack at writing that one up. The above is a super-simplified version.

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Brilliant counter analysis.

Sorry, what I meant to say was, the first book is called "Game of Thrones". Football is a game. When was there no football? That's right, during medieval days, when people had swords. So Lightbringer is a sword. See, THEORY WITH PROOF.

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Really outstanding stuff!

My take on the etymology of Azor Ahai is pretty similar to yours. I agree completely that Azor means fire. Azer/azar/azor/atar are all etymological variations on the ancient Persian word for "fire."

I think Ahai means "dragon," though (I could certainly be wrong -- I like your translation as well). "Aži" is the Avestan (Zoroastrian) word for "serpent" or "dragon" (edit: as in Aži Dahāka, the evil three-headed dragon of Iranian mythology whose legend has some unsettling parallels with Dany's story ....). It's also a cognate of the Vedic Sanskrit word "ahi," which means "snake." Obviously, Ahi/Aži are fairly close to Ahai, and it keeps the translations of "Azor" and "Ahai" within the same language family.

So, I think Azor Ahai means "Fire Dragon." Plus, there happens to be a "fiery dragon" in Zoroastrian mythology. It's not a literal dragon, though. It's a red comet called Gōčihr:

It gets even better. Gōčihr is supposed to crash to Earth after an unusually long winter, ushering in the Zoroastrian end times. I think Azor Ahai is the red comet (although I think a person will have the title as well, before series' end). As for smoke and salt:

If a fiery comet crashes into the sea ... you'd have evaporated saltwater and lots and lots of smoke.

I completely agree with you that the person who winds up being AAR (along with the comet) will ally with Jon (for better or worse). Agree with your choice of candidates too.

As far as the question of what it means to be Lightbringer, yes, I address that directly in Part II. I should have the second half posted sometime this week.

The Lucifer/Lightbringer thing is definitely interesting. The Revelations connections too. There are some pretty unsettling parallels between Dany and the Queen of Babylon ....

Edit: There's a lot more to be written about the Azor Ahai stuff. At some point after I finish this theory, I'll take a crack at writing that one up. The above is a super-simplified version.

Your theory for the inspiration behind Ahai is probably correct. I wouldn't be suprised if GRRM synthesized all of the above (that seems to be his move). The Zoroastrian comet is very intriguing. There's another thread out there which discusses the Pendragon comet as well.

Speaking of which, have you checked out the following book, Ragnarok an age of fire and gravel by Ignatius Donelly? It was written back in the late eighteen hundreds and it's kind of a pseudo-science theory about how all of the world's apocalyptical mythologies may derive from an ancient comet strike. It had to have been an inspiration for GRRM when he wrote these books (especially with all the Ragnarok imagery contained in the first book).

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Your theory for the inspiration behind Ahai is probably correct. I wouldn't be suprised if GRRM synthesized all of the above (that seems to be his move). The Zoroastrian comet is very intriguing. There's another thread out there which discusses the Pendragon comet as well.

Speaking of which, have you checked out the following book, Ragnarok an age of fire and gravel by Ignatius Donelly? It was written back in the late eighteen hundreds and it's kind of a pseudo-science theory about how all of the world's apocalyptical mythologies may derive from an ancient comet strike. It had to have been an inspiration for GRRM when he wrote these books (especially with all the Ragnarok imagery contained in the first book).

I haven't read the book, but I did come across references to it while researching my AA theory. There are definitely a lot of Ragnarok references in the books. There are a decent number of references to the Zoroastrian end times, too. What's interesting is how similar the two end times scenarios are (which I guess fits right in with Donelly's theory).

Both Zoroastrian end times and Ragnarok begin with an unusually long winter, after which fire has a turn. In Ragnarok, you've got the fire giants (including Surtr with his flaming sword) and in Zoroastrian tradition you've got a vast river of molten metal sweeping over the earth, burning those who aren't righteous.

The Zoroastrian scenario involves the forces of good battling a giant wolf, a giant snake and an evil, three-headed dragon (Aži Dahāka) which finally breaks free from age-old bonds at the end of the world. Ragnarok involves ... a giant wolf (Fenrir), a giant serpent (Jormungandre) and ... Loki, who finally breaks free from age-old bonds at the end of the world.

George has acknowledged that the Robert Frost poem Fire and Ice is one of his inspirations for ASoIaF. And it appears he's worked multiple references to an Ice version of the end times (Ragnarok) and a Fire version (Zoroastrianism) into the books (mixed in with plenty of references to other religions and traditions, obviously).

Sometimes, when I'm feeling pessimistic, I wonder if the role of Lightbringer will be to unwittingly help usher in some sort of epic magical disaster:

“Captain ser!” Matthos touched [Davos'] shoulder.

It was Swordfish .... Her ungainly iron ram, fashioned after the likeness of the fish from which she took her name, parted the surface of the river before her. Directly ahead, drifting toward her and swinging around to present a tempting plump target, was one of the Lannister hulks, floating low in the water. Slow green blood was leaking out between her boards.

When he saw that, Davos Seaworth’s heart stopped beating.

"No,” he said. “No, NOOOOOO!” Above the roar and crash of battle, no one heard him but Matthos. Certainly the captain of the Swordfish did not, intent as he was on finally spearing something with his ungainly fat sword. The Swordfish went to battle speed. Davos lifted his maimed hand to clutch at the leather pouch that held his fingerbones.

With a grinding , splintering , tearing crash, Swordfish split the rotted hulk asunder. She burst like an overripe fruit, but no fruit had ever screamed that shattering wooden scream. From inside her Davos saw green gushing from a thousand broken jars, poison from the entrails of a dying beast, glistening, shining, spreading across the surface of the river …

....

Swordfish and the hulk were gone, blackened bodies were floating downstream beside him, and choking men clinging to bits of smoking wood. Fifty feet high, a swirling demon of green flame danced upon the river. It had a dozen hands, in each a whip, and whatever they touched burst into fire.

....

A wall of red-hot steel, blazing wood, and swirling green flame stretched before him. The mouth of the Blackwater Rush had turned into the mouth of hell.

ACoK, Davos III.

Worst. Foreshadowing. Evar. The bit about "poison from the entrails of a dying beast" is especially disturbing, since the giant wolf and the giant snake in the Zoroastrian end times are supposed to poison the waters and the earth with the corruption that oozes from their bodies once they're killed.

(I don't actually think the series will end in unmitigated disaster ... I think at least some of the disaster will be mitigated :P)

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Reserved for Part II.

I'd initially wanted to wait for Part II before asking, but it case it won't be covered there, I was wondering if dragonbirth might work a bit more neatly for this than Jon. I'm with you on the sword= penis thing, Nissa's birthing, etc, but doesn't this apply to (literal) dragons as well, in so far as we've seen at least 1 in utero exchange of baby-dragon, and in light of how the dragons are also likened to "swords?"

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I'd initially wanted to wait for Part II before asking, but it case it won't be covered there, I was wondering if dragonbirth might work a bit more neatly for this than Jon. I'm with you on the sword= penis thing, Nissa's birthing, etc, but doesn't this apply to (literal) dragons as well, in so far as we've seen at least 1 in utero exchange of baby-dragon, and in light of how the dragons are also likened to "swords?"

I think in some ways it does. I spend a good deal of time looking at literal and metaphorical dragon births (and tying the two together) in Part II.

I'm starting to really kick myself for not waiting and putting the whole thing out at once. I was worried that people would be put off reading such a huge theory if I put it all out there in one go, but it's hard to discuss half a theory. :( Chalk it up to a rookie mistake for my first thread.

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And it appears he's worked multiple references to an Ice version of the end times (Ragnarok) and a Fire version (Zoroastrianism) into the books (mixed in with plenty of references to other religions and traditions, obviously).

Boom goes the dynamite. I think you hit the nail on the head.

Now to completely oversimplify it:

Fenrir wolf: Bran?

Jormungandr: Iron Islands?

Loki: Mance????

Zoroastrian Wolf: ummmm, Arya and her Nymeria pack??

Zoroastrian Serpent: Dorne?

Three headed dragon: Dany and ?? and ??

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I think in some ways it does. I spend a good deal of time looking at literal and metaphorical dragon births (and tying the two together) in Part II.

I'm starting to really kick myself for not waiting and putting the whole thing out at once. I was worried that people would be put off reading such a huge theory if I put it all out there in one go, but it's hard to discuss half a theory. :( Chalk it up to a rookie mistake for my first thread.

oh, hey, it's ok. I think there's benefit to doing something this complex piecemeal.

I guess I was asking because I might approach the AA business from a different premise, and wondered if you'd contemplated the same angle when writing this. In general, I see AA as an agent of fire (Mel calls him the "warrior of fire," which would seem to go against the idea of an ice and fire composition, at least in terms of AA himself. So, from my premise, that AA and everything related to him pertains to fire exclusively, your OP fit with my understanding of Lightbringer, only with a different referent (Jon instead of dragons). It was just interesting to me-- I guess if you understand Lightbringer/ AA as the story's overall hero, those clues add up to Jon, but if you're looking at it from the view he's a champion of fire, your OP might yield dragons = Lightbringer.

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