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Risto

Stannis/Agamemnon parallels and Shireen's fate

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About a year, I stunned people on a thread about Shireen’s fate when I talked about possibility that Stannis might sacrifice her “for the greater good”. The argument I think I have found during my research for Animal project is a parallel with the Greek myth of Agamemnon and Iphigenia, which transfers to Stannis and Shireen.


Before I start, allow me to start with some disclaimers. First and foremost is the usage of external material in order to predict the events in future installments. We have spoken quite a lot on this board about historical and mythological influences in ASOIAF. From the world’s mythologies, over Arthurian legend to Tolkien’s opus, we have argued basically everything. And while my opinion is that Martin does use certain symbols, motives etc. he is not writing ASOIAF as an ode to any particular myth. That said, if something happened in Ragnarok or Arthurian legend, there is no certainty it will happen in ASOIAF. Furthermore, we should always have the narrative, characters’ paths and progress and Martin’s writing in mind. That is why the idea that Jaime Lannister is Azor Ahai Reborn based on what happened in Ragnarok is so fallible.


So the question that one can ask is why this would be any different. Well, despite my understanding of how Martin incorporates certain elements of history and mythology, I believe there is, not only thematic, but very logical parallel between Stannis and Agamemnon. The parallel I am arguing for is drawn with full understanding who Stannis is, having in mind his psyche, struggles, ideologies etc. I also came up with this theory caring that theory “fits” with the rest of the story. Therefore I am comfortable enough to present you with my personal favorite crackpot that this cracked head of mine came up with.


I will start with some other, less noticeable parallels between Stannis and Agamemnon. The entire conflict of War of 5 Kings, which is the most important conflict in Stannis’ life, originates in the adultery of his brother’s wife. This parallels with how Agamemnon used the adultery of Helen and her escape with Paris to start a war against Troy. Furthermore, in Iliad, Agamemnon is compared with the stag by Achilles, which is comparable with Baratheon coat of arms being the crowned stag. But, now we will focus on the myth of Iphigenia’s death.


After Helen escaped for Troy, Agamemnon summoned entire Greek fleet to wage a war against Trojans. They have met at Argos where Agamemnon was chosen as the commander of entire fleet. After 2 years of preparation, fleet gathered at the port of Aulis in Boeotia. According to legend, Agamemnon killed a stag sacred to the goddess Artemis. In rage, Artemis cursed the Greek with a pestilence and perfect calm so the ships were unable to leave the port. After consulting with the seers, Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia to atone his sin. Some versions say that Iphigenia was truly sacrificed, but some say Artemis took her to Tauris and another sacrifice was offered in her place. Whatever the case was, Iphigenia was considered gone from that moment. Another prophecy was derived from another miraculous event in Aulis. Once a sacrifice was offered under the boughs of a tree, a dragon crawled forth from under it and devoured the nest with 8 young birds and their mother. This was interpreted that Greeks will fight for nine years and that Troy will fall in tenth.


Now, transferring the motive in ASOIAF goes this way. Stannis, whom we parallel with Agamemnon, had killed Renly, who would be a stag of this story. Placing Renly as a stag is logical. Renly’s banner was golden Baratheon stag, and in dreams of Ghost of High heart, he is represented as a stag. Stannis committing this murder, conscious or not, can be considered as a grievance against the Gods given that kinslaying is seen as one of the worst possible crimes in Westeros. And now we enter the part of speculations and theory. As mentioned above, seer declared that Iphigenia must be sacrificed and Agamemnon acted upon. Given Melisandre’s influence over Stannis and her persuasive powers, I see Melisandre convincing Stannis to sacrifice Shireen for whatever greater good Melisandre presents in front of Stannis. The question that immediately rises is what Stannis would do in such situation. The answer is actually why this theory works in some twisted way.


Well, Stannis considers his quest for the crown as saving entire humanity. He is named as Azor Ahai reborn, Prince that was promised, savior of the world. Even though Stannis’ religious beliefs are of contractual nature with R’hllor, one can’t deny that Stannis indeed carries the weight of the world upon his shoulders. We clearly see that when the life of Edric Storm is at stake. He doesn’t want to kill the boy, he abhors the idea, but his cold logic is overwhelming: If I must sacrifice one child to the flames to save a million from the dark … Sacrifice … is never easy, Davos. Or it is no true sacrifice.


The line itself is incredibly ominous, and extremely sinister. We are certainly at the place where this kind of sacrifice would cause incredible dilemma with having possible greyscale outbreak or invasion of Others. Stannis is indeed more independent of Melisandre, but without his proverbial angel in Davos nearby him, a strong argument can be made in favor of him sacrificing his daughter for greater good. The moral dilemma that would eat Stannis from inside, his just nature and the burden he carries all can actually be the reason for Stannis to actually do this.


The point of sacrifice wasn’t atonement as much as the way of achieving certain goal. Agamemnon wanted his army to come to Troy, as Stannis would want some miraculous solution to his growing problems, whether we talk about Others invasion or possible grayscale outbreak. The sacrifice is therefore a step of getting solution to a difficult situation.


Another portion of the myth is dragon coming forth from a tree after sacrifice is being offered. Now, dragon in ASOIAF is symbol of Targaryens, and the only one near it is Jon (to evade the usual detractors, OP assumes R+L=J as fact). Jon’s resurrection in front of weirwood tree is certainly a possibility. The way I would interpret the nine birds is actually dragon aka Jon coming forth to take control of them as the King of Seven Kingdoms. Ultimately, Stannis’ decision to burn Shireen could very well push Jon to actually leave Stannis’ cause and fight for himself and his right.


In conclusion, this crackpot theory is based on some parallels between Stannis and Agamemnon and on Stannis’ character as uncompromising, just man capable of going to extremes for the greater good. Whether I am right or wrong, time will tell. But, at the moment, we can discuss the possibility of such scenario.


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I could see Stannis sacrificing Shireen, since she'll be the only one in the general vicinity with king's blood(and jon too if R+L=J is true.). But by your theory does Jon or Stannis prevail through it? You said that Aggemon won but Jon will rise up with the & kingdoms. Just looking for clarification.


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More convoluted Ragnorak/Greek Mythos theories...

(don tinfoil)

If this is convoluted, I don't know what is simple...

I could see Stannis sacrificing Shireen, since she'll be the only one in the general vicinity with king's blood(and jon too if R+L=J is true.). But by your theory does Jon or Stannis prevail through it? You said that Aggemon won but Jon will rise up with the & kingdoms. Just looking for clarification.

Well, Agamemnon certainly won in his war, but Stannis' actions would make everyone look in other direction. I believe that we will come to the moment where Stannis will face the inevitable truth that he can't be King after what he has done. At the end, I do believe Jon will prevail.

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If this is convoluted, I don't know what is simple...

Well, Agamemnon certainly won in his war, but Stannis' actions would make everyone look in other direction. I believe that we will come to the moment where Stannis will face the inevitable truth that he can't be King after what he has done. At the end, I do believe Jon will prevail.

Just saying, when influences on books are discussed, it is always convoluted. Thor will die...

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Just saying, when influences on books are discussed, it is always convoluted. Thor will die...

I sincerely don't know how to answer on this. My suggestion would be to read the OP. You may find there is no Ragnarok references there.

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I completely agree with you. I've been thinking that Shireen would end up being a sacrificial lamb of some sort but thought it would be Mel who did the deed but with your OP, and well spotted with the parallels btw, I'm more convinced that it'll be Stannis. Davos managed to save one child, but he won't be able to save Shireen.



When Agememnon arrives home, his wife Clytemnestra is rather...how shall we say...pissed? That might be the nice twist in this story from GRRM. Where Clytemnestra has taken up with a lover and is plotting Agememnon's death, Selyse is actually more fanatical for R'hllor and what Mel is seeing/saying. (Clytemnestra also kills Cassandra *cough Mel cough* so gotta wonder how that will play out)



I normally don't bring the show into book talk (because more and more it's getting to be two different things) BUT they did make a big point of having Mel and Selyse discuss Shireen with Selyse looking very un-mother-of-the-year. And this was followed by Mel showing Selyse something in the flames and insisting that Shireen must go north with them.


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Well, Agamemnon certainly won in his war, but Stannis' actions would make everyone look in other direction. I believe that we will come to the moment where Stannis will face the inevitable truth that he can't be King after what he has done. At the end, I do believe Jon will prevail.

I like the idea of Stannis doing whatever it takes to gain his throne, realizing its futile and quitting (I feel like by ending his life). Ya know he finally realizes his mistakes and i guess humanizes him.

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I completely agree with you. I've been thinking that Shireen would end up being a sacrificial lamb of some sort but thought it would be Mel who did the deed but with your OP, and well spotted with the parallels btw, I'm more convinced that it'll be Stannis. Davos managed to save one child, but he won't be able to save Shireen.

Thank you... I have to say that I believe that Davos' "mission" is saving the children. First Edric, now Rickon... It perhaps all depends on whether Davos is near or not. But, given his current position, I wouldn't discredit possibility of Stannis going with this.

I like the idea of Stannis doing whatever it takes to gain his throne, realizing its futile and quitting (I feel like by ending his life). Ya know he finally realizes his mistakes and i guess humanizes him.

This isn't about solely getting the throne, but about saving the world. Stannis' episode with Edric revolved around that too, so if Mel plays her card right with him, Stannis will indeed face a serious dilemma. That line about sacrifice not being easy is really sinister.

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Interesting



I just don't get a Agamenmon vibe from Stannis though. If you asked separate readers of both works to describe them with 5 words each, I doubt you would get much commonality.


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I could see this happening, easily. Stannis doesn't seem to care much about Shireen, and there's already the scuttlebutt about how she's "unclean" because of the greyscale. It makes a lot of sense, so I guess we'll see.


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Interesting theory but I do have one issue with it. I would say that Mel at this point (as in end of ADWD) is less sure about who Azor Ahai



From the Mel chapter:



Yet now she could not even seem to find her king. I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R’hllor shows me only Snow.



Capital letter S - that must be significant. I don't think Mel at least still believes that Stannis is Azor Ahai and will not be asking Stannis to sacrifice Shireen. I do think that Shireen will be sacrificed but not by Stannis nor for him.


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Some fans just got to let it go that Shireen will get the thrown instead of Danny. :closedeyes:

:agree:

And for all the fucked up things Stannis might have done earlier on in the series, he would never hurt Shireen or allow her to be hurt for any reason. Whether or not Stannis cares for Shireen (protip: he does) is up for debate, but if nothing else, he cares that he has an heir, and he seems dead set on having Shireen seated on the Iron Throne should he fail to take it during his own life.

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Some fans just got to let it go that Shireen will get the thrown instead of Danny. :closedeyes:

I don't see how this is relevant to anything on this thread though.

Interesting theory but I do have one issue with it. I would say that Mel at this point (as in end of ADWD) is less sure about who Azor Ahai

From the Mel chapter:

Yet now she could not even seem to find her king. I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R’hllor shows me only Snow.

Capital letter S - that must be significant. I don't think Mel at least still believes that Stannis is Azor Ahai and will not be asking Stannis to sacrifice Shireen. I do think that Shireen will be sacrificed but not by Stannis nor for him.

Does she need to believe that Stannis is AAR to persuade him to do her bidding? Manipulation certainly isn't below her.

And for all the fucked up things Stannis might have done earlier on in the series, he would never hurt Shireen or allow her to be hurt for any reason. Whether or not Stannis cares for Shireen (protip: he does) is up for debate, but if nothing else, he cares that he has an heir, and he seems dead set on having Shireen seated on the Iron Throne should he fail to take it during his own life.

I don't argue that Stannis doesn't love Shireen or that he doesn't care about her. Hence, the involvement of "sacrifice" quote. The thing is what would Stannis do if he has to kill his own blood, his own daughter to save millions. Or at least if he is presented with such scenario. Are we really sure that Stannis would say "no"?

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Well, I guess it would be fitting for Stannis to have to sacrifice his own daughter. I mean, I don't think he really cared that much (or at all) for Edric, so he would have to put his money where his mouth is and make a true sacrifice

However, I don't really see how this would come to pass. Melisandre has more than enough kingsblood to burn at the Wall (Gerrick Kingsblood and his daughters, "Mance's" son, Val, Jon, hell, even Axell and Selyse count) to go through such lengths. My guess is that Shireen would be more useful alive for Mel. She can even crown her and burn all those tasty victims in her name, and it would be the most influence Mel would have.

Also (and this is very much a nitpick), I don't think you could do an Agamemnon character and not have him get killed by his wife. Not that I think Selyse would be above that, mind you, as she's a nasty piece of work and could very well be capable of murdering Stan and even Mel (the Cassandra analogue), under the right circumstances.

But overall, I like this theory, it was something new and refreshing, so kudos!

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Thank you... I have to say that I believe that Davos' "mission" is saving the children. First Edric, now Rickon... It perhaps all depends on whether Davos is near or not. But, given his current position, I wouldn't discredit possibility of Stannis going with this.

That might be Davos' tragedy. He is so intent on being loyal to Stannis that he goes on a mission to save Rickon only to be too late to save Shireen.

Some fans just got to let it go that Shireen will get the thrown instead of Danny. :closedeyes:

I literally have no idea what this has to do with anything Mladen posted.

I am a huge Dany fan and I don't even think she'll be on the IT/any throne by the end of the series. Mladen presented a very compelling theory couched in literary analysis and you're pretty much writing him and his well thought out piece off as being baised toward Dany, who isn't part of this conversation at all.

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That might be Davos' tragedy. He is so intent on being loyal to Stannis that he goes on a mission to save Rickon only to be too late to save Shireen.

Oh, poor thing... I don't want him to suffer more, but I bet he would even feel guilty for not being able to save her.

However, I don't really see how this would come to pass. Melisandre has more than enough kingsblood to burn at the Wall (Gerrick Kingsblood and his daughters, "Mance's" son, Val, Jon, hell, even Axell and Selyse count) to go through such lengths. My guess is that Shireen would be more useful alive for Mel. She can even crown her and burn all those tasty victims in her name, and it would be the most influence Mel would have.

Well, that is why I entered the greyscale factor in equation. Melisandre could use even "purification" argument to Stannis, or he will see that his daughter is patient zero. There are several scenarios in which Stannis would be faced with difficult choice of sacrificing his daughter.

But overall, I like this theory, it was something new and refreshing, so kudos!

Thank you very much. I sincerely doubt I came up first with this, although I checked whether there is something similar. It is not new, the theory is product of my work on Stag Animal project, and last January it came to my mind.

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By Clytemnestra's action, though, Agammemnon's victory turned hollow. Adding to it the Melisandre/Cassandra (now, is the similarity of the names coincidental?) parallel, I don't think this bodes good for Stannis and Shireen... :-(


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By Clytemnestra's action, though, Agammemnon's victory turned hollow. Adding to it the Melisandre/Cassandra (now, is the similarity of the names coincidental?) parallel, I don't think this bodes good for Stannis and Shireen... :-(

Probably not coincidental. There are some other parallels as well, apart from the obvious visions and prophetic inclinations. Cassandra is said to have gotten her gift from Apollo (god of the sun, heat and light and prophecy) after either refusing to spend the night with him OR falling asleep in his temple and gaining knowledge (cause snakes whispered to her). We know Mel was probably sold to a temple as a young girl and instructed in the ways of the Red God (god of light). Are there any snake references to Mel just out of curiosity...?

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