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The Snark of Winterfell

Hyrkoon the Hero, Azor Ahai, Yin Tar, Neferion and Eldric Shadowchaser, same person or different?

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Well, my position is that the story of the Last Hero did not travel all around the world, but stories about various heroes developed independently of each other in various cultures because all those cultures were affected by the Long Night and had to deal with it - and the fact that it suddenly ended - in one way or another. Later on Yin Tar, Hyrkoon, Azor Ahai etc. seems to have melted into one hero, as the cultures in the Far East had more contact with each other, but nothing suggests that Yin Tar, Hyrkoon, or Azor Ahai are based on some guy from Westeros, or even are supposed to have done stuff a guy in Westeros did.



Your quotes don't support your theory that stories travel all the way from Westeros to Asshai/Yi Ti and have a deep and lasting effect on that culture. Just that stories travel back and forth, but this does not mean that people start incorporate such stories in those cultures. Just because the Citadel knows some stuff about the history of Yi Ti does not mean that the Westerosi are suddenly adapting Yi Tish culture, like their religion, holidays, food etc. People realize that stories about Yi Ti are stories about Yi Ti. They have nothing to do with Westeros. You are claiming that something like that has happened with those supposed stories of the Last Hero which eventually traveled into the East.


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Well, my position is that the story of the Last Hero did not travel all around the world, but stories about various heroes developed independently of each other in various cultures because all those cultures were affected by the Long Night and had to deal with it - and the fact that it suddenly ended - in one way or another. Later on Yin Tar, Hyrkoon, Azor Ahai etc. seems to have melted into one hero, as the cultures in the Far East had more contact with each other, but nothing suggests that Yin Tar, Hyrkoon, or Azor Ahai are based on some guy from Westeros, or even are supposed to have done stuff a guy in Westeros did.

Your quotes don't support your theory that stories travel all the way from Westeros to Asshai/Yi Ti and have a deep and lasting effect on that culture. Just that stories travel back and forth, but this does not mean that people start incorporate such stories in those cultures. Just because the Citadel knows some stuff about the history of Yi Ti does not mean that the Westerosi are suddenly adapting Yi Tish culture, like their religion, holidays, food etc. People realize that stories about Yi Ti are stories about Yi Ti. They have nothing to do with Westeros. You are claiming that something like that has happened with those supposed stories of the Last Hero which eventually traveled into the East.

They sure do. We can talk about the Greek mythology if you like. Even the name of the primary deity (Zeus) is not of Greek origin. You can find countless things that were imported from other mythologies (sphinx, Pegasus, Circe, Cybele and so on) into the Greek mythology.

I claim that Westeros and Essos are not isolated from each other. We know that trade existed between these continents and legends travelled back and forth since the Dawn of Days. That is how the myths mingled.

Mithras is another such example. It was an Indian deity which was imported by the Persians as Mithra. Then the Romans took it from the Persian as Mithras.

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But we are not talking about mythology here. We are talking history. And there is no reason to believe that one culture should suddenly think a historical hero of another cultures was their hero.



In my opinion, it is much more likely that many cultures attributed the ending of the Long Night to one of their own heroes, people who most likely actually existed, and only later some people may have realized that this may have been one hero, as many cultures had made up similar stories how their hero ended the Long Night.


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I'm still saying that since Westerosi mythology doesn't mention Lightbringer at all, the sword is purely from the eastern mythological tradition, and has nothing to do with the stories of the the Last Hero at all.


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I'm still saying that since Westerosi mythology doesn't mention Lightbringer at all, the sword is purely from the eastern mythological tradition, and has nothing to do with the stories of the the Last Hero at all.

The Last Hero's sword froze and snapped. He sought the magic of the CotF and he found it. He was supposedly slaying the Others with a "dragonsteel" blade and they could not stand against it.

So, we cannot say that Lightbringer and the dragonsteel blade of the LH have nothing to do with each other.

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But we are not talking about mythology here. We are talking history.

History of the things happening some ten thousands years ago? And the only evidence we have is from the oral traditions?

And there is no reason to believe that one culture should suddenly think a historical hero of another cultures was their hero.

Why, that is exactly what happened in Real World and we have examples in ASOIAF too. An ironborn king tried to unite the Faith and the Drowned God religion. He claimed that the Drowned God is the Stranger. A similar thing was done in Braavos on a much grander scale.

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Mithras,



we have discussed this thing already. The cultures who had intimate contact in antiquity (that is, the Greece, Rome, and the Persian world) did exchange myths and gods etc., but this does not mean that they suddenly decided or confused they own innate myths and traditions - if they had such - with those of other cultures and peoples.



The history of the ancient was also not passed orally down through the generations in Westeros. While they were still an influential power, the greenseers would have preserved the exact knowledge of the past as it occurred, and a select few are still privy - or will soon be privy to - that kind of knowledge.



The example you gave is religion. Gods and religious entities are fictional creations, they are subject to change. History is not - at least history as it happened isn't; history as historians write it, is.



Just look at it like that:



You are an ancient Yi Tish, Sarnori, Rhoynar, whatever, and suffer from the Long Night. You look to your leaders and your gods for help, you pray, beg, sacrifice, do everything you can imagine to get the light back and make the cold go away. Suddenly exactly that happens. Surely you would attribute this event to something you or your culture/people did, and you would be eager to believe if some people told you about some guy who actually did it, most likely some guy who also happens to be your people's hero or leader in the years following the Long Night. If I wanted to consolidate my power over my subject following such a devastating event I'd surely claim that I made the light come back. Who is going to contradict me?



Later on the various cultures and newer religions - R'hllorism - seems to have molded various local heroes into one archetypal hero - the Azor Ahai guy who is supposed to come back eventually and who still bears different names in various cultures/regions. It may be that some of the people creating those myths and prophecies had a glimpse of the real truth - that there was indeed a hero who ended the Long Night, and who will come back - but the idea that the Azor Ahai figure they created or believed in was actually inspired by the Last Hero of Westeros is not believable to me.


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The Last Hero's sword froze and snapped. He sought the magic of the CotF and he found it. He was supposedly slaying the Others with a "dragonsteel" blade and they could not stand against it.

So, we cannot say that Lightbringer and the dragonsteel blade of the LH have nothing to do with each other.

Where does it even say the Last Hero had a blade? Dragonsteel is said to hurt the Others (whatever that is, it can't be steel since we're talking millenia before the invention of steel in this Universe), but I really doubt one man with a dragon steel blade would make any difference. We know dragonglass is obsidian, and I think the First Men who turned the tide against the Others probably had a good arsenal of both obsidian and dragon glass.

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Where does it even say the Last Hero had a blade? Dragonsteel is said to hurt the Others (whatever that is, it can't be steel since we're talking millenia before the invention of steel in this Universe), but I really doubt one man with a dragon steel blade would make any difference. We know dragonglass is obsidian, and I think the First Men who turned the tide against the Others probably had a good arsenal of both obsidian and dragon glass.

So as cold and death filled the earth, the last hero determined to seek out the children, in the hopes that their ancient magics could win back what the armies of men had lost. He set out into the dead lands with a sword, a horse, a dog, and a dozen companions. For years he searched, until he despaired of ever finding the children of the forest in their secret cities. One by one his friends died, and his horse, and finally even his dog, and his sword froze so hard the blade snapped when he tried to use it.

“I found one account of the Long Night that spoke of the last hero slaying Others with a blade of dragonsteel. Supposedly they could not stand against it.”

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Could you give us any information concerning the moonsingers that were key to the founding of Braavos?



As you know, they were slaves who fled from Valyria and they found a place as far away from Valyria that they could get. What basically happened was that a Valyrian fleet, which was rowed by slaves, was taken over by the slaves after they mutined. And they decided to get as far away to the north as they could, sailing through the narrow sea to find a refuge. The founded Braavos and kept the city secret for about a hundred years. For those first hundred years, practically no one knew of the city's existence. Because the city is founded by slaves, it's not a homogenous population, there were slaves from all sorts of different places with different ethnicities, different homelands, different customs, different religions. So they create a new religion, one with one god that can be applied to all the other fatihs and is tolerant of all the other faiths. Braavos has people of all kinds, all ethnicities and colors, so there's no standard appearance for a Braavosi because it's a conglomerate of differnet people. In the case of the Lyseni, they do have distinct ethnic features because it was a Valyrian colony: it was only and entirely Valyrian, so the Lyseni have common features with the Valyrians. It's another religion, the moonsingers, and they basically continue to follow this religion that I discussed, that's very tolerant and open. They were very important in the founding and early history of Braavos, but they still exist to this day. Beyond that, I don't expect they'll have much importance to the present story.... and where's Elio when I need him?

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Mithras,

 

we have discussed this thing already. The cultures who had intimate contact in antiquity (that is, the Greece, Rome, and the Persian world) did exchange myths and gods etc., but this does not mean that they suddenly decided or confused they own innate myths and traditions - if they had such - with those of other cultures and peoples.

 

The history of the ancient was also not passed orally down through the generations in Westeros. While they were still an influential power, the greenseers would have preserved the exact knowledge of the past as it occurred, and a select few are still privy - or will soon be privy to - that kind of knowledge.

 

The example you gave is religion. Gods and religious entities are fictional creations, they are subject to change. History is not - at least history as it happened isn't; history as historians write it, is.

 

Just look at it like that:

 

You are an ancient Yi Tish, Sarnori, Rhoynar, whatever, and suffer from the Long Night. You look to your leaders and your gods for help, you pray, beg, sacrifice, do everything you can imagine to get the light back and make the cold go away. Suddenly exactly that happens. Surely you would attribute this event to something you or your culture/people did, and you would be eager to believe if some people told you about some guy who actually did it, most likely some guy who also happens to be your people's hero or leader in the years following the Long Night. If I wanted to consolidate my power over my subject following such a devastating event I'd surely claim that I made the light come back. Who is going to contradict me?

 

Later on the various cultures and newer religions - R'hllorism - seems to have molded various local heroes into one archetypal hero - the Azor Ahai guy who is supposed to come back eventually and who still bears different names in various cultures/regions. It may be that some of the people creating those myths and prophecies had a glimpse of the real truth - that there was indeed a hero who ended the Long Night, and who will come back - but the idea that the Azor Ahai figure they created or believed in was actually inspired by the Last Hero of Westeros is not believable to me.

 

They share the same basics. I provided the mechanism for possible travel of the Last Hero myth. It is pretty believable for me that the LH and AA are the two versions of the same event and considering that it all happened in Westeros and AA myth seems to be younger than the LH myth, hence it should originate from the LH myth.

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Well, I still don't buy all that stuff. Cannot say anything else to that. Except that nobody would buy the tales of some foreigners that back in their homeland thousands of leagues away the decisive battle was fought that caused the end of the Long Night. That makes no sense if your culture has already attributed the end of the Long Night to that woman with the monkey's tail or that old chap Hyrkoon standing right there.

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Well, I still don't buy all that stuff. Cannot say anything else to that. Except that nobody would buy the tales of some foreigners that back in their homeland thousands of leagues away the decisive battle was fought that caused the end of the Long Night. That makes no sense if your culture has already attributed the end of the Long Night to that woman with the monkey's tail or that old chap Hyrkoon standing right there.

 

Except they did buy them. They imported the elements of the myth of the LH into their own heroes. This is plain enough to see.

 

This process should have taken millennia. Not like that ridiculous scenario you posted.

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If you were right one should expect that the Sunset Kingdoms would be mentioned as the battle field/place of the hero's struggle in the ancient Essosi legends - which they are not. We have no textual evidence that story about the Last Hero and the Others was exported from Westeros into Essos, and subsequently you claiming that this is the case isn't worth anything.

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If you were right one should expect that the Sunset Kingdoms would be mentioned as the battle field/place of the hero's struggle in the ancient Essosi legends - which they are not. We have no textual evidence that story about the Last Hero and the Others was exported from Westeros into Essos, and subsequently you claiming that this is the case isn't worth anything.

 

You still do not understand.

 

You are proposing a ridiculous mechanism for the import of the LH legend, something I never argued. Then you use it to disprove the idea of import.

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But we are not talking about mythology here. We are talking history. And there is no reason to believe that one culture should suddenly think a historical hero of another cultures was their hero.

 

In my opinion, it is much more likely that many cultures attributed the ending of the Long Night to one of their own heroes, people who most likely actually existed, and only later some people may have realized that this may have been one hero, as many cultures had made up similar stories how their hero ended the Long Night.

 

With so much time between "then" and "now" - history has become mythology.  We see this in modern day too - King Arthur is a weird amalgamation of history, legend and mythology (especially Christian mythology after Geoffrey of Monmouth got a hold of him!).  Robin Hood, too, though there's less mythology and more history and legend.  There's more, but I'm at work...and already wasting too much time :)

 

And plenty of cultures take another culture's hero and turn it into their own - like Heracles/Hercules.  He was a Greek hero, but the Romans became convinced (especially after they won Greece, but even before) that he was their hero.  There were even tales told of Hercules saving a young Rome, and one of Rome's oldest temples was a temple to Hercules.  It wasn't a temple on par with Jupiter Optimus Maximus of course, but it was still a temple with priests and a statue (a statue that got dressed up just like a triumphing general, when there was a triumph going on).  Again, there are more!  But I'm still at work!

 

There are a number of different variations that are just as likely as the next - we all just have our particular preferences!  It's entirely possible that the heroes are separate, but over time one group (we'll use the Hyrkoon Patriarchy for an example) make their "hero" Hyrkoon, tells their tales about him, hear about Neferion from some travellers, some singer figures it sounds like a great story, but he knows his audience so when he re-tells the tale about Neferion he heard, he swaps "Neferion" for "Hyrkoon" and, voila!, Hyrkoon has another heroic deed attributed to him.  And all that would have worked the other way too - the traveller who told the singer about Neferion hears about Hrykoon, goes home to tell Hrykoon's tales, but again, swaps "Hyrkoon" for "Neferion" and, voila!, more deeds attributed to Neferion!  And even a hundred years later, it would be impossible to determine who's "right" and who's "wrong."  A thousand years later, and a lot of story-swapping, and they all sound like they *might* be the same person. 

 

On the other hand, it's entirely possible that there was a single hero, but with each different culture wanting to "remake" their hero to fit their new circumstances they add deeds to Hrykoon's tales that, rightly, might belong to another hrykoonite who's name has been lost to time.  Giving each hero those parts of the story that don't mesh with the other heroes that other cultures are "remaking" as their own.  

 

The problem is the amount of time.  It only take a couple of generations for histories, stories, tales and myths to change.  The story of Romulus isn't the same in the early Republic as it was in the late Republic.  And once the Empire was born, the story was altered again!  Not drastically, and not so much that the people noted the changes (unless they were scholars, and in that case they were probably already aware how much the story had changed already).  The King Arthur we know isn't the King Arthur Geoffrey of Monmouth knew. Basically, even in-world, we aren't ever going to find out which scenario, one hero or many heroes, is the "true" one.  History doesn't work like that, and given how carefully GRRM confuses the timeline, my personal opinion is that the intent is to keep it mysterious.  In real life, we have no idea if Remus and Romulus were real or not (modern day we tend to assume myth, but Romans truly believed they had lived), and we will never, ever know.  And in-world, I think the intent is that we'll never, ever know whether any of these "heroes" were real or if they were myths and/or legends.  They're just as important to the story as Robin Hood or King Arthur are to us - interesting stories, some possibly true, but it doesn't matter one way or the other if they were actually real!  In this case, the tales and stories of these heroes may be relevant, but whether they were real or not is not relevant.  Just like the tales of Robin Hood are relevant, whether he existed or not.  The tales aren't useless if Robin Hood never existed, they're still good stories, they still tell a moral tale, but they don't depend on whether Robin Hood was real.  If the Last Hero turns out to be a "Robin Hood" it doesn't make his story useless or "wrong" or untrue - Bran has already got his "money's worth," so to speak, out of that tale and it seems like we'll get more info on it in the future as well.  But the story itself, and the info contained within it, isn't irrelevant if these heroes turn out to be nothing but the imaginations of previous storytellers.  Stories are a great way to pass on valuable information, and has been used to great effect throughout our world - until of course, writing begins to be used.  That's when stories are more likely to lose their effectiveness, because the written word becomes the repository for history, where in an "illiterate" culture stories are all they have and are very formulaic in order to effectively pass on relevant and valuable information.

 

Sorry, Lord Varys, I started out responding to you but then I got a little carried away!  

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Jak Scaletongue,

 

well, the difference between Westeros and, say, Yi Ti and Asshai on the one hand and the real world examples you are citing is that the lands around the Mediterranean and Medieval Europe are close to each for a strong cultural exchange to take place. Especially in Antiquity during the days of the Roman Empire (and earlier, during the days of Alexander the Great and his successor in Central and Middle Asia and Greece).

 

I'm not doubting that there was great cultural exchange between the ancient Ghiscari and the Valyrians, the various petty kingdoms in Westeros, or all the client states controlled and governed by Valyria. Nor do I doubt that Yi Ti influenced its immediate neighbors and vice versa.

 

What I do not only doubt but outright reject as a silly idea is the notion that the tale of the Last Hero and the Others could have been exported to the far corners of the world and then assimilated by those cultures in their own myths and legends in a way that omitted the Others as well as Westeros. That doesn't make any sense, and is about as convincing as a medieval Italy suddenly incorporating, say, the Chinese Jade Emperor into their mythology/religion just because Marco Polo had been there and brought the story of him back. It doesn't make any sense.

 

I'd agree that the 'Eastern hero conglomerate' - that is this guy that Yandel claims is known among many names some of which are Hyrkoon the Hero, Azor Ahai, Neferion, Yin Tar, and Edric Shadowchaser - sort of evolved over time when the peoples east of the Bones traded tales and had more and more contact with each other. And later still smart scholars looked at the similarity of all those tales and wondered whether there were really this many different heroes doing pretty much the same/or very similar things, asking the question whether there was only one hero who had gotten different names in various cultures.

 

If some of them were actually historical persons - and I think Hyrkoon is, considering the name of the Patrimony of Hyrkoon whose rulers also happened to practice fire magic - then my guess is that the people surviving the Long Night actually believed their claims that they had ended the Long Night - especially if they had been the guys in charge then trying to do just that with, say, blood sacrifice, praying, fighting what they considered to be evil, etc. - or tradition decided to attribute it to them. But some of them could just be complete inventions cut after the cloth of hero popular in a neighboring land.

 

My general take on this thing is that the Long Night was such a dreadful and devastating global catastrophe that it had a huge impact on any civilization existing at that time. Any culture and any people had to cope with it, and the people would have tried to find and explanation as to why this happened and how it could be reversed (and, considering human egocentricity, complaining 'what did we do to deserve that'). Once the light and warmth suddenly returned people all over the world would also have searched for an explanation as to why and how that happened, and came thus up with an explanation for that. Primitive people do that in mythology. Check Genesis - the Fall of Man is a story which tries to explain why humanity has to suffer in general, with a specific focus on why childbirth is painful, to make a living tedious, and as a bonus provides us even with the much-craved explanation as to why snakes don't have legs. People surviving the Long Night not knowing what had actually happened would have come up with similar stories to make sense of it all.

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could Eldric Shadowchaser be a champion of the others?

Actually best bet is whichever race taught the Valyrians about controlling dragons. 

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I think that previous humans easily circumnavigated the globe, something one of the current saga characters must also do i think.

East is west, west is east. The story travelled west AND east from westeros.

I think we'll find the five forts are relatively close to the wall, just not many people even know or realise.

All these other eastern civilizations were added for a reason. We don't know what west of the sunset sea for a reason. We don't know what the different rock types are for a reason.
Hopefully it will get explained. Hopefully.

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