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The Astronomy Behind the Legends of Planetos

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15. What was the most difficult thing to cut from the book [TWOIAF]?



Ran: I won't say it was cut, per se, but very early on one of the planned illustrations would have been a maester's star chart, showing the constellations as they exist in the setting, marking out the "twelve houses of heaven" and so on, as the maesters are quite interested in mapping the sky as part of their efforts to determine the change of the seasons and such. It felt like a really neat, if geeky, touch. Alas, it was something that never gelled and was dropped.


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I really tried hard to find the pattern of the comet's recurrence... Not seeing anything regular happening every 16 or 17 years (the time since Aegon's birth and the last comet sighting), I tried combinations of numbers to add to 17, like 17 and 25, in case it was an irregular comet. I tried to see if anything lined up with Summerhall, the birth of "dragon" Targs, or other similar big events. I was not able to find a pattern. If the comet does trigger something each time it passes - most likely war, or something magical - then there should be a pattern. I just couldn't find it.

I haven't read all of the comments yet. Has anyone suggested that it is likely Lyanna was conceived or born around that time?

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I haven't read all of the comments yet. Has anyone suggested that it is likely Lyanna was conceived or born around that time?

No not yet. Oh my. 10 years before Elia was born, and Rhaegar too, so its not them.

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Congratulations for this huge work, you've found the basis of a great unifying theory that links up many themes scattered in the whole saga. I'll have to digest it a bit before making commets, but I agree with foreign675's arguments that at first sight the destruction of a moon should have had more lethal consequences on Planetos.

As for the unusual seasons of Westeros, they are best explained by some sort of wobble to the planetary axis, likely due to the loss of this second moon. This wobble overlays the various natural cycles of the planet's orbit in an irregular fashion. These discordant cycles produce a mostly symmetrical, if elongated pattern with asymmetrical fluctuations. That's why a long summer tends to equal a long winter, but occasionally we get those false springs and seasons of irregular length.

At first I also thought of a wobble to the planetary axis to explain the irregular seasons, but there's one problem. The axis meets the celestial sphere at the North Star for the northern hemisphere, and the text from both ASOIAF and the Dunk & Egg tales 80 years earlier says the North Star is the blue eye of the Ice Dragon. If the axis wobbled to change the seasons, the North Star should often change.

Edit : typo

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Congratulations for this huge work, you've found the basis of a great unifying theory that links up many themes scattered in the whole saga. I'll have to digest it a bit before making commets, but I agree with foreign675's arguments that at first sight the destruction of a moon should have had more lethal consequences on Planetos.

At first I also thought of a wobble to the planetary axis to explain the irregular seasons, but there's one problem. The axis meets the celestial sphere at the North Star for the northern hemisphere, and the text from both ASOIAF and the Dunk & Egg tales 80 years earlier says the Northern Star is the blue eye of the Ice Dragon. If the axis wobbled to change the seasons, the Northern Star should often change.

Could it be a planet?

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15. What was the most difficult thing to cut from the book [TWOIAF]?

Ran: I won't say it was cut, per se, but very early on one of the planned illustrations would have been a maester's star chart, showing the constellations as they exist in the setting, marking out the "twelve houses of heaven" and so on, as the maesters are quite interested in mapping the sky as part of their efforts to determine the change of the seasons and such. It felt like a really neat, if geeky, touch. Alas, it was something that never gelled and was dropped.

*insert sad face here*

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At first I also thought of a wobble to the planetary axis to explain the irregular seasons, but there's one problem. The axis meets the celestial sphere at the North Star for the northern hemisphere, and the text from both ASOIAF and the Dunk & Egg tales 80 years earlier says the Northern Star is the blue eye of the Ice Dragon. If the axis wobbled to change the seasons, the Northern Star should often change.

I agree with you on this part, and your evidence is solid. We have certainly not heard of navigators complaining about the stars being unreliable. I tend to think the seasons are magical, largely because George has more or less said so. Rather I tend to think that the magical unbalancing of the seasons was caused by the destruction of an astrologically significant object more so than an astronomical significant moon.

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15. What was the most difficult thing to cut from the book [TWOIAF]?

Ran: I won't say it was cut, per se, but very early on one of the planned illustrations would have been a maester's star chart, showing the constellations as they exist in the setting, marking out the "twelve houses of heaven" and so on, as the maesters are quite interested in mapping the sky as part of their efforts to determine the change of the seasons and such. It felt like a really neat, if geeky, touch. Alas, it was something that never gelled and was dropped.

Too bad, that might have made things more clear.

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Here’s what I have as far as procreation: procreation and self sacrifice seem to be thematic polar opposites from betrayal and murder. I think the cause of the Long Night was a betrayal and murder, both in the sky and on the ground. The cure, both the temporary one which ended the Long Night, and the ultimate resolution to come, should be mirror opposites of the cause - and so, procreation and self-sacrifice will feature heavily in my interpretation of the cure for the Long Night, yet to come of course. I think the stories we are presented with as the cause and cure of the long night are jumbled, both thematically and literally. I do however think there is a way to decode it.

The important thing to remember is that good and evil does exist in Martinworld: harmony and balance are his version of “good," and discord and imbalance his “evil.” These concepts of good and evil exist only in the abstract, however: no person or branch of magic is going to be wholly 'good' or ‘evil.’ People sometimes go to far, IMO, thinking that Martin has done away with good and evil altogether. He hasn’t; he’s just depicted them the way that they exist in real life - as abstract concepts. As this pertains to the cause and cure of the Long Night, well, the cause was the 'original sin,’ the original discord, the cause of the messed up seasons. To me, that’s the explosion of the second moon, the elf moon (and yes, I do think it was made of black stone, but that is for part 2). To bring harmony again, it’s going to take both sacrifice and procreation, probably literally and symbolically. That’s how I am approaching this.

Mirrored opposites? Do tell.

I saw you were looking for a set tmeline for the comets apperance. I would not bother, remember this is a world of magic and like the seasons, things can be a bit wanky Given it is a comet that could be seen by Daylight it must be very large. The idea for the comet actually comes from Ceasers comet.

You may also want to look at how in Martins cycles things invert with new cycles. Now you are looking at teh Red Comet and Moon/Moons. So a couple of things the long night may have been some kind of prolonged eclipse. The Red comet knockes the moon out of it's orbit It'ss pointed out with the maiden made of light that she does not die but returns, though she was hiding. Note that with Sun and Moon, the Sun is male and the Moon female. But in maiden and lion Darkness is make and light is female. Then with Azor it inverts again to Male light, Female night.

Now if you look at what me and JStar talked about 3 into 1 and 1 into 3 you get some sense of the inversion. Another name for the comet is the sword that slays the seasons. And sure enough everytime Dany inverts she loses her hair and the white Ravens fly.

There is also the idea of the Red wanderer and the Moonmaid. Thought the Red Wanderer goes by many names, Smith, theif. Though female Dany has been very much the red wandered, and as you note Jon is kissed by the moon and his shadow cast upon the wall. It very much parallels the Red Comet and the Moon. But also Rhaegar and Lyanna, for Rhaegar is a Dragon, and he was wondering about before he stole the Maid.

When you addressd Sam you looked at the two roads but they only give you the one direction. Daeron the Young Dragon of course faces Dorne. Given the nature of Dany and inverse you may be looking at an allusion to the Dragons. Which is a very big part of the last chapter of Crows. In fact Sam is looking for a way to fight the Others and Contact Dany. You also have the Weirwood tree he passes, nearly dead and covered in purple and Ravens. Symbolic of Bloodraven I would think.

Now of course youu had the sphinxes two, Valyrian Sphinxes. Do not forget Dany wears a White Lions main which is very much symbolic of the Sphinx head, but also an inverse of the Lion of Night, light instead of Dark. Now Tyrion in Dance ties this togther, when he comes acorss a sphinx the male is missing.

Going back to Sam it easy to see what is missing, the male Sphinx. And what is Sam doing in Oldtown to begin with? And what connects Jon and Dany? Aemon. One of the pieces is missing. Of course we know what Sam does not know.

Another intresting idea is Bran and Bloodraven. A first man and a Targaryen, a boy and super old guy. Blood raven has a red eye, but Bran does not have teh traditional Grey eyes of the Starks, his are blue. In fact we had multiple blue eyed Starks.

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Kudos on another great OP. Lots to absorb, so I don't have much to comment. General query, I wonder if the original (lost) Ice is actually the current Dawn, not to step on the importance of the current Ice and it's splitting.


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Could it be a planet?

I'm sorry, I don't get your question, what could be a planet ?

I agree with you on this part, and your evidence is solid. We have certainly not heard of navigators complaining about the stars being unreliable. I tend to think the seasons are magical, largely because George has more or less said so. Rather I tend to think that the magical unbalancing of the seasons was caused by the destruction of an astrologically significant object more so than an astronomical significant moon.

I also thought Planetos circled at an erratic speed around the Sun, but a SSM states Planetos makes one complete revolution around the sun in one year, so indeed it looks like the reason is purely magical and gets the upper hand over astronomical facts. But you intrigue me, what kind of "astrologically significant object" do you have in mind ?

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15. What was the most difficult thing to cut from the book [TWOIAF]?

Ran: I won't say it was cut, per se, but very early on one of the planned illustrations would have been a maester's star chart, showing the constellations as they exist in the setting, marking out the "twelve houses of heaven" and so on, as the maesters are quite interested in mapping the sky as part of their efforts to determine the change of the seasons and such. It felt like a really neat, if geeky, touch. Alas, it was something that never gelled and was dropped.

Yeah, THIS would have been helpful. Like, super helpful. It does at least confirm that Geprge was thinking about astronomy pretty heavily.

I've thought of this many times as I worked on the post.

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This is a very enjoyable read and it became one of my favorite theories. Comet (a head with a tail) >>> Moon (a larger sphere, likened to eggs in the series) is also a metaphor for Sperm (a head with a tail) >>> Egg (a larger sphere).

Here are some quotes from The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy by Adrienne Mayor. I am sure that everybody will find these both familiar and intriguing.

{snip}

Wow, that's high praise indeed, coming from someone who's written so much excellent stuff on the board. Humbled and grateful to hear you say so, Ser.

Funny, I read the Poison King about two years ago, and I really loved it, but that was before I really got into analyzing A Song of Ice and Fire. Wow, that's all super loaded stuff. The bit about the horse was great, it helps something I want to show in the next section. Thanks so much for dropping that quote, I'll have to go back and re-read parts of that book.

I totally missed that a coma with a tail = sperm / moon = egg thing. That's right on the nose, certainly. That fits perfectly and corroborates the idea that a comet did shatter the elf moon.

Thanks a bunch Mithras. :)

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Great, great, work here. The sort of theory I'd never come up with myself, but that makes so much sense when reading, that I have to wonder how no-one saw it before! this is really great, thanks for sharing Lucifer means Lightbringer.

I think Lightbringer the comet, has to have an orbit of hundreds of years...in that sense, I don't think it is the same as the one Rhaegar spotted when Aegon was conceived. On planetos, as in our world, there's bound to be lots of comets, hundreds of them.

Or we are not talking of a single comet, but a cluster of comets like these:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kreutz_Sungrazers

First of thanks so much for the praise! It was very exciting to follow this trail. :)

Wow that's really great info, and very useful. It kind of goes to what someone said above about the first two forgings potentially being related to the constellation the comet appeared from. It also provides a nice explanation for for the type of comet I was thinking of. It makes me wonder how far apart these first and second forgings were. Seems like they should be close to eachother, to be woven into the same myth. The stuff about the moon (the surviving one) taking an even 30 days to orbit Planetos, and thus 6 months equals six turns and half a year, has me thinking as I was originally - the three "forgings" probably happened on one trip of the comet through. I bet if we look at the math and the numerology George used, we can figure out exactly when the forgings happened.

The section on Sarnor, particularly the piecemeal destruction of Sarnori cities in the WOIAF is one giant version of this story. Everyone who's hip to this basic astronomy pattern I laid out should read that section and see if they can decode it. It may be the most detailed version.

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I had made this suggestion when Lucifer was working on this. My problem was that I was looking for an Aquarius equivalent to match water and didn't see it, so it remains speculative. The Milky Way hadn't occurred to me and for tidiness, I would prefer a water constellation, but if the Milky Way turns up in the text eventually, I guess I don't get to be choosy. The Maya see the Milky Way as the corn god and as a canoe depending on its position, so I am not sure it is a given that the cultures of Planetos see it as water, but it remains possible.

Thanks King Monkey and Durranx2, this line of thought seems to bear more inquiry. I'll have to be on the look out for clues about this. They should be there.

Interesting that the Milky Way is associated with Nymeria's ships in Dorne.

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I agree with you on this part, and your evidence is solid. We have certainly not heard of navigators complaining about the stars being unreliable. I tend to think the seasons are magical, largely because George has more or less said so. Rather I tend to think that the magical unbalancing of the seasons was caused by the destruction of an astrologically significant object more so than an astronomical significant moon.

Yes, this is a valid point. I was thinking about "a giant magical comet destroyed a moon that reigned down magical rocks on the planet" as a 'magical explanation' for the seasons, but you're right that a large or fast wobble would make the stars unavoidable. I haven't looked into that adequately it seems, but let me ask: what a smaller or slower wobble? Could it be enough to throw off the seasons and mess up navigation a little bit, but not so much as to move the North Star significantly?

What other somewhat rational ideas do we have to explain the wobble?

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Mirrored opposites? Do tell.

I saw you were looking for a set tmeline for the comets apperance. I would not bother, remember this is a world of magic and like the seasons, things can be a bit wanky Given it is a comet that could be seen by Daylight it must be very large. The idea for the comet actually comes from Ceasers comet.

You may also want to look at how in Martins cycles things invert with new cycles. Now you are looking at teh Red Comet and Moon/Moons. So a couple of things the long night may have been some kind of prolonged eclipse. The Red comet knockes the moon out of it's orbit It'ss pointed out with the maiden made of light that she does not die but returns, though she was hiding. Note that with Sun and Moon, the Sun is male and the Moon female. But in maiden and lion Darkness is make and light is female. Then with Azor it inverts again to Male light, Female night.

Now if you look at what me and JStar talked about 3 into 1 and 1 into 3 you get some sense of the inversion. Another name for the comet is the sword that slays the seasons. And sure enough everytime Dany inverts she loses her hair and the white Ravens fly.

There is also the idea of the Red wanderer and the Moonmaid. Thought the Red Wanderer goes by many names, Smith, theif. Though female Dany has been very much the red wandered, and as you note Jon is kissed by the moon and his shadow cast upon the wall. It very much parallels the Red Comet and the Moon. But also Rhaegar and Lyanna, for Rhaegar is a Dragon, and he was wondering about before he stole the Maid.

When you addressd Sam you looked at the two roads but they only give you the one direction. Daeron the Young Dragon of course faces Dorne. Given the nature of Dany and inverse you may be looking at an allusion to the Dragons. Which is a very big part of the last chapter of Crows. In fact Sam is looking for a way to fight the Others and Contact Dany. You also have the Weirwood tree he passes, nearly dead and covered in purple and Ravens. Symbolic of Bloodraven I would think.

Now of course youu had the sphinxes two, Valyrian Sphinxes. Do not forget Dany wears a White Lions main which is very much symbolic of the Sphinx head, but also an inverse of the Lion of Night, light instead of Dark. Now Tyrion in Dance ties this togther, when he comes acorss a sphinx the male is missing.

Going back to Sam it easy to see what is missing, the male Sphinx. And what is Sam doing in Oldtown to begin with? And what connects Jon and Dany? Aemon. One of the pieces is missing. Of course we know what Sam does not know.

Another intresting idea is Bran and Bloodraven. A first man and a Targaryen, a boy and super old guy. Blood raven has a red eye, but Bran does not have teh traditional Grey eyes of the Starks, his are blue. In fact we had multiple blue eyed Starks.

J Sargaryen actually messaged me a couple of excerpts from the thread you're talking about, or ones dealing with that same info. You guys have explored the Jon and Dany symbolism waaaay more thoroughly than I could hope to do in the few weeks I spent working on this. I really appreciate all that info.. I'm not going to go line by line at the moment because I'll never wrote the second part otherwise, but difficult it to say a bunch of that stuff is either directly helpful or contextually insightful. Please feel free to send me a link to anything you think would be relevant, I love reading other people's good work here. That's been perhaps the greatest part of this wonderful response to this thread - all the other good thread people are linking to. I'm really enthused to have all these great threads drawing attention again, as they well deserve it.

3 into 1 and 1 into 3 play into this pretty ha ill. I'll be curious to see what you think of where I take that. Put it this way: Lightbringer the sword has three materials in it, I am almost certain. I've found a couple of clever sword composition analogies laying around - check out the section of TWOIAF about the Bones mountains. :)

Tha so again for all the input :)

Edit: addition: mirrored opposites as in the fact that your image is reversed right-to-left in a mirror. The solution mirrors, but inverts, the cause of the problem, or something like that. There's definitely a lot of inverting going on, and subsequent reverting. That's something he used to create cover for some of his mysteries, I feel. Just when you think you have something figured out, you realize you have it upside down. So yes, I'm definitely hip to this concept of inversion.

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Kudos on another great OP. Lots to absorb, so I don't have much to comment. General query, I wonder if the original (lost) Ice is actually the current Dawn, not to step on the importance of the current Ice and it's splitting.

Bingo. I shall not say more.

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There's something I don't understand.

Dany's sojourn at Vaes Tolloro in ACOK is loaded with comet / Lightbringer symbolism. After trudging endlessly in the Red Waste, Daenerys and company reach the ruins of an ancient city / town and recuperate for a bit. She sends out her three blood riders ("blood of my blood") each with three horses in three directions - southwest, south, and southeast, the last of which is in the direction of the comet, and as it turns out, Quarth.

I agree the book tells us the comet points southeast. But shouldn't it be southwest ?

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. If the sun had a tail, it would point east, so the sun itself would point west. When the comet is first spotted, the sun had set in the west, and the comet appeared low in the east. As time goes by, the comet comes closer to sun, and so begins to be spotted by day, but it follows the sun's direction, so shouldn't it point west too ? It should point east only when the comet has passed the perihelion and gets away from the sun. But Dany crosses the Red Waste just after the dragons have hatched, so at a time the comet should point west.

I can't believe GRRM made a mistake like this, so there must be a flaw in my reasoning, but where ?

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