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LmL

Astronomy of Planetos: Children of the Dawn, Part One

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Read their description in the appendix of the early books. They are freaky, and we vary conspicuously do not get many descriptions of their looks. This quote about Lynesse resembling Daenerys is one of the only things we have to go on.

Rhaenyra had kids with a Strong, and they looked "common", all three. If I understand it correctly, all four of Alicent's children looked "Targaryen". If this were real genetics, we'd have to say that it's a recessive trait (unlike dragonriding, which seems to be dominant), and since Alicent didn't look Targaryen but her children did, she must be a carrier; she has "Targaryen" (wink wink nod nod) ancestry.

Almost like it's a hint - they may not look it, but they've got the "blood".

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Rhaenyra had kids with a Strong, and they looked "common", all three. If I understand it correctly, all four of Alicent's children looked "Targaryen". If this were real genetics, we'd have to say that it's a recessive trait (unlike dragonriding, which seems to be dominant), and since Alicent didn't look Targaryen but her children did, she must be a carrier; she has "Targaryen" (wink wink nod nod) ancestry.

Almost like it's a hint - they may not look it, but they've got the "blood".

It's hard to say what the Hightowers look like, or looked like when they came, because they (as you said) married everyone who came along. How many Hightower's are we given physical descriptions for, does anyone know??? Gerold Hightower's looks aren't described, are they?

But hey, maybe his presence there at the ToJ should be examined. Was he a believer in prophecy? I always thought that was an under examined angle on the old "why were those 3 KG at the ToJ?" question - perhaps Rhaegar convinced them it was "magically delicious" i mean important. Maybe Gerold already knew. Dayne certainly may be privy to insider info. Whent, hard to say.

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But what is their agenda?

I know I queried whether they might have desperately been trying to get some Targ blood and dragons, but their generally lax approach to outsider blood suggests they stand in stark contrast to almost all other families, who boast about purity. The Targs most of all, of course.

We Light the Way also suggests MUCH and more (beacon of knowledge; first outpost of an empire in a new land; a religious claim: the Way, as in the Milky Way ("we illuminate the starry way") etc etc).

Overall, the Hightowers seemed to be associated with knowledge (reasoning/planning - even their magic is talked about in terms of the Hightowers pouring over books and scrolls), as opposed to the Targaryens, who are associated with blood (their magic is described in terms of fire and blood, and seems innate). Subtlety and knowledge versus blood and raw power is how each operates and also how they pass on their "power" generation to generation: Targs through their blood purity (to the point of marrying brother to sister), Hightowers through a long long long term plan that involves the Citadel (control of knowledge) and the Faith (influence over morality and behaviour) and crucially by using advantageous outside marriages, instead of resistance - almost telegraphing their disdain for something as primitive as an obsession with "blood".

But godsdamnit that still doesn't deliver an agenda... Although I suppose "reason over blood" sounds like a decent enough slogan.

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On the blood/reason thing: even if the Starks are the polar opposites to the Targs, they still have a blood focus (the Other blood, most likely). The Hightowers almost stand "outside" the brutal conflict between ice and fire, so their agenda may legitimately be to minimise the damage or avoid that war. Whole heap of implications re link with Azor Ahai, and what his role was.

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Who decided the CoSW is a corrupting influence? This is based purely on Yandel calling it "sinister", and making a link with the BSE, right?

Well, that and the whole "Azor Ahai / Bloodstone Emperor murdered, usurped, caused the Long Night, reign of darkness and terror, etc. thing, which seems like a point against the CoSW being benevolent. However, I am open to the idea that we may need a bit of starry wisdom to solve certain problems in the endgame, so I take your meaning. We shouldn't assume Quaithe and Marwyn are necessarily villains. Some people think Bloodraven is evil (certainly not me), and i think we are of course supposed to question everyone's motivations.

He says the BSE worshipped a stone that fell from the sky, and then sounds as if it would be obvious for people to assume a link with the CoSW - so the latter must also either worship a stone that fell from the sky, or something similar. But other than that, we don't really know much about them, and the fact they're introduced as sinister makes me suspicious.

As she made her way past the temples, she could hear the acolytes of the Cult of Starry Wisdom atop their scrying tower, singing to the evening stars.

To me, the idea of the CoSW being founder by the BSE makes a lot of sense because of the nature of the Long Night events. I don't think he caused the comet to hit the moon - but I damn sure bet he was anticipating the alignment, and perhaps even the impact, and likely timed his magical actions, whatever they were. to coincide with the god's eye eclipse which I think happened at the moment of impact. The first God Emperor ascending to the stars upon the conclusion of his rule just screams of deeply astrological religious beliefs. I think the BSE as the chief astrologer dark sorcerer of all time. Who else to be the High Priest of the Church of Starry Wisdom?

Quaithe, if anyone, is surely a CoSW person. She uses the glass candles extensively and proficiently. She learned her arts in Asshai, former home of the GEotD, the Bloodstone Emperor Azor Ahai, and thus the CoSW. The COSW people in our story are all trying to help Dany wake the dragon. They are pro fire magic, just as you'd expect from magicians from Asshai. To me, it all fits pretty well. Astrology, fire from heaven, starry wisdom, dragon power. All these ideas are related.

Their fingerprints are literally all over Valyria culture

By the by, I 100% buy into the AA -> Hugor name link, with the Sarnori link in between; I don't know if it will turn out to be the case, but I agree GRRM certainly seems to want us to think about it. The question is whether anything will come of this, or if GRRM is just hinting that all religions are really the same story (as was pointed out above). Hugor would have lived quite a bit after the Long Night, correct? I suppose we don't know when the early Andals kicked off their religion...

Hugor is such a legend that it's hard to say, but likely post LN, yes. They Andals seem to have left the grasslands west of the Silver Sea during the LN, when the Silver Sea shrank and the Fisher Queens' kingdom ended. I have more thoughts on this as well as the linguistic connections between Huzhor Amai, Hugor Hill, Azor Ahai, etc etc in my next Children of the Dawn essay, which is almost ready. That's going to cover Dothraki, Jogos Nhai, Sarnori, First Men, Andals, Faith of the Seven, and Oldtown / Hightowers. I may use some of your Hightower observations and give you a shoutout :)

Hightowers

I've always thought of the Hightowers as just opportunistic ("subtle and sophisticated"). But let's set that aside and consider their suspicious behavior.

A particularly curious thing is that the High Septon at the time of the Conquest "convinced" Manfred Hightower to accept Aegon as king, and the faith itself anointed him. Do we believe he "prayed" on it and came to this conclusion? Given the opportunism of the Hightowers, I doubt Manfred needed convincing not to fight the Targs; they handled the Andals by marrying them (and apparently the FM as well, taking them into the Hightower fold through Merris' marriage to Uthor). The way the High Septon recommended the Targs be handled absolutely stinks of the typical Hightower strategy. Manfred wasn't told anything, he agreed with the HS on what the outcome of his "praying on the Targaryen threat" would be: let them in and welcome them. Those should be the Hightower words!

Did they want the Targs there, purely for the purpose of the Hightowers marrying into them to destroy dragons as a source/manifestation of magic? They keep trying this until they finally succeed with Alicent (who spent all that time reading Barth to the Old King... she'd have learnt a thing or two if she hadn't already known them). This lines up fairly closely with the deaths of the last dragons, so the most obvious explanation is that the Hightowers were looking for a way to infiltrate the Targs, to kill the dragons.

I think the opposite is true. The Hightowers were a secret pillar of support for the Targs, scheming with the High Septon (was he a Hightower too?) to accept the Targs as kings in a way that won't poss people off ("I prayed on it and the Crone said to do it").

Why did they support the Targs? Well... if we don't think they're just a family with a history of making the right political choices (up until Otto and Alicent), then presumably they wanted to mix some Hightower blood in with the Targs and get a family claim to some dragons; but for a more "sinister" purpose? If they're motivated by a religion started by the BSE...

Anyway, the Dance of the Dragons wasn't part of the Hightower plan. That was a purely personal clash between Alicent and Rhaenyra that swept up everything in its path; the point of that story is that you can't discount the power of the personal, even when looking at a plan that may have been centuries/millennia in the making; now NO ONE gets dragons! I think Alicent snapped with Helena's death: her cursing Rhaenyra indicates to me that this is the point she goes from a political mastermind to just doing as much damage to the non-Hightower Targs (and their dragons) as she can.

I've already commented on some of this, but I agree that the actions of the Hightower's in the Dance may not be what some think - Otto and Alicent really seem like self-serving people scheming for power, not cult members carrying an 8,ooo year old agenda. Just my take. I can buy the citadel manipulating self-serving Hightowers in this case to provoke Targ war, but it's pretty Machiavellian since tart civil wars are pretty horrific on the small folk.

One angle we should consider, especially with Marwyn, is the idea that maybe he doesn't want to help Daenerys. Maybe he is the anti-magic person that learns about magic to destroy it; and even uses magic to destroy magic. He's using the candles to stay up on the events of the Wall, but maybe his endgame is throwing the dragons against the Others, hoping for mutual annihilation of all magic users. Which... isn't really evil at all. I kind of doubt this - I think Marwyn is a COSW magic user, full tilt - but it bears mentioning in the interest of staying open minded. I don't think we are meant topic down exactly what the COSW is doing, at this point - we are rely just picking up on them as a player in the background. We'll know to keep an eye for them next book, as Marwyn should be arriving to Dany with a candle and magical knowledge. I rely think Dany may "go"to Asshai via candle with Marwyn or Quaithe's help.. at least I thin kit would be cool.

Citadel

Hmm yes, they do seem to be very CotF-focused at the start. Did the Hightowers come to Westeros precisely to commune with the CotF? If they're Geo-exiles, who came to Westeros to collect knowledge (all the most useful Westerosi knowledge at that time would have been with the CotF, not men), that almost sounds like a bastardised (original?) version of the Last Hero story.

Maybe the Citadel was set up precisely as a repository of CotF knowledge, in the aftermath of the LN: to preserve the knowledge in case it's needed again.

I really do think they are GEotD folks.

Yes, I thin they came here for magical knowledge - its either that or resources. I mean, they skipped over vast stretches of Essos to arrive in Oldtown... unless they came the other way around, east from Asshai. That's entirely possible. But anyway, I think TWOIAF is suggesting the truth bit by bit here - yes, they were traders, yes they were dragonlords, and yes, the Hightowers are descended from them. Uthor marrying Marris is indeed an integration. Caryying this forward, Peremore the twisted, the second son of Uthor who founded the citadel, may well be a cotf-hybrid and a greenseer. Garth is an interesting subject - I'm working on stuff about him right now - he is certainly very associated with earth, as the cotf are. He started the order of the green hand, and he sounds a lot like a member of the sacred order of the green men o n the Isle of Faces:

The Green Men[1] or green men[2][3] is a sacred order entrusted with the guardianship of the Isle of Faces in the Riverlands. Some nursery tales claim they are horned and have dark, green skin.[4]

So there is a close, very close, association with Garth and the cotf, or at least these green men on the isle who are connected to the cotf. Thus, Garth's daughter marrying Uthor and one of their children being a cripple (implying potential green sight) makes a lot of sense.

I have some different ideas about chronology than the standard accepted version. I happen to think the arm of drone was shattered by a meteor strike at the beginning of the LN, and the pact at true God's Eye took place right after the LN. I thin kit was the cotf helping the FM to survive the LN which motivated them to leave behind their old religions are take up tree worship. If Evolett is right that weirwoods have something to do with guarding against Deep One attacks, then we really have a connection (the Deep Ones came as a magical manifestation of the tsunamis during the LN, just as the Others were a magical manifestation of Winter). Brandon Bloody Blade, son of Garth, was massacring cotf; but his probable son sought them out (Bran the Builder). This indicates a change in attitude around the time of BtB - the end of the LN. Also corroborating this Marris wedding Uthor. Marris is a daughter of Garth, and BtB supposedly built the first real Hightower keep above the fused stone fortress for Uthor, indicating they may have all lived in the relative same time. It seems Uthor's marrying of Marris may have even helped bring things together, lighting the way perhaps. If the sacred order of green men was formed at this time, that all fits to me. Don't forget, the ancient dragonlords suffered a reversal at Battle Isle. I think the cotf must have been instrumental in helping the FM / Green Men to repel the GEotD / BSE, another reason for the FM to take up tree worship.

Garth's son Garth Gardener was the High King of all men everywhere, and ruled from the oaken seat, a living tree throne. Dude sounds like an OG greenseer to me.

​and wouldn't you know it, when the Andals invaded, one of the Gardener Kings has an interesting notion:

Gwayne IV (the Gods-fearing) sent his warriors searching out the children of the forest, in hopes that the greenseers and their magic could halt the invaders. Mern II (the Mason) built a new curtain wall around Highgarden and commanded his lords banner men to see to their own defenses. Mer II (the Madling) showered gold and honors on a woods witch who claimed that she could raise armies of the dead to throw the Andals back. (TWOIAF)

“To be sure. Lord Leyton’s locked atop his tower with the Mad Maid, consulting books of spells. Might be he’ll raise an army from the deeps. Or not.

Then, over time, as more men come to study, the act of studying becomes the purpose; the Citadel (Citadel! That's a military installation!) becomes a centre of learning as such, and slowly "forgets" that it had a much more specific purpose. To the point where that original purpose (protect CotF knowledge) seems foolish and childish.

I can see that happening both because someone planned it, but also its just how learned people think.

Agree. The secret knowledge has gone more underground. The Andals really changed everything by warring on the cotf. After the LN, man and the cotf lived in relative peace for thousands of years. During this time the citadel likely maintained close ties to magic and esoteric thinking; the Andals brought writing and rigid religious dogma. After 2500 years or so of Andals, we have a septic citadel where magic is frowned upon... but they don't have that rod and mask and ring of Valyrian steel for nothing, you know? It's an undeniable part of their tradition.

I wonder what the Hightowers were called before there was a High Tower. The name is clearly a later adoption.

Not to quibble, but there have been some kind of watchtower there as long as anyone can remember. Uthor built the first stone one, four wooden ones preceded it, supposedly. SO that's likely their original name, or the name they took whenever they established their house.

The first named Hightower is Uthor. Like Uther Pendragon, which may suggest something general like either their dragon obsession (as per the intrigues to marry into the Targs), or that they have a close link with the creation of dragons (or other events around the LN time).

More specifically, Wikipedia on Pendragon:

Uther's epithet Pendragon literally means "Chief-Dragon", but in a figurative sense, "foremost leader" or "chief of warriors".[2] The name was misinterpreted by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the Historia to mean "dragon's head",[2] and further misinterpreted in the Lancelot-Grail Cycle to mean "hanging dragon".

This dragon imagery connected with the first known Hightower can't be accidental, not since we're also told that the first Hightower chased out the dragons from Battle Isle. And since GRRM is a romantic, I wonder which of the possible meanings he most intended to hint at (it wouldn't necessarily be the "correct" one)... Maybe the Lancelon-Grail Cycle one, "hanging dragon" connected with the dragons roosting at Battle Isle until the Hightowers chased them out. They roost upside down, but also may be displayed upside down after they're killed.

The dragon stuff aside.. Uther Pendragon is the goddamned father of King Arthur. The Daynes and the Hightowers share a descent, maybe even in that the Daynes are a cadet branch of whatever house the Hightowers really are.

The Daynes' much-talked about antiquity and purple eyes/silver hair (and confirmation they're not Valyrian) allow us to deduce a connection between House Dayne with the GeoDawnians. If the Daynes are also offshoots of House ?Hightower?, then the Hightowers are also secret GeoDawnians as well (not that this is the first hint, but it does allow us to use hints that previously only applied to the Daynes, like the looks). The Hightowers lost their distinctive features because they've always been big fans of outside marriages - the opposite of the in-marriages needed to preserve the purple eyes and silver hair.

I might be losing my mind here.

George used the Arthurian stuff with his Fisher Queen ideas as well, as Equilibrium pointed out on my last essay. The Fisher Kings are keepers of the grail, the sacred bloodline... and here we find Huzhor Amai, the amazing, who was the last son of the Fisher Queens (sacred bloodline). Fisher Queens are also stars that sailors use for navigation, so there's that. In any case, he actually uses things drawn from influences... occasionally I see someone dismiss something as being in any way relevant because its Lovecraftian-influenced - but no, he's doing stuff there. He's capitalizing on the fact that Lovecraftian ideas are common knowledge; thus, he can say "Deep Ones" and imply a bunch of stuff without explaining it. It's the same as fantasy writers using Tolkien's language - which everyone does - and I am guessing George thinks of Lovecraft in the same way. Anyway, Arthurian legend is fair game, for sure.

Not only that, but hanging dragon just screams comet. I mean, screams.

​Some interesting Hightower quotes here:

To Sam’s relief, they flew King Tommen’s stag-and-lion banner above the stepped white tower of Oldtown, with its crown of flame. The captain of the Huntress was a tall man in a smoke-grey cloak with a border of red satin flames.

{...}

This time it was Lord Leyton’s son Gunthor who came aboard, in a cloth-of-silver cloak and a suit of grey enameled scales. Ser Gunthor had studied at the Citadel for several years and spoke the Summer Tongue, so he and Qurulu Mo adjourned to the... (AFFC, Sam)

The Hightowers of Oldtown are among the oldest and proudest of the Great Houses of Westeros, tracing their descent back to the First Men. Once kings, they have ruled Oldtown and its environs since the Dawn of Days, welcoming the Andals rather than resisting them, and later bending the knee to the Kings of the Reach and giving up their crowns whilst retaining all their ancient privileges. Though powerful and immensely wealthy, the Lords of the High Tower have traditionally preferred trade to battle, and have seldom played a large part in the wars of Westeros. The Hightowers were instrumental in the founding of the Citadel and continue to protect it to this day. Subtle and sophisticated, they have always been great patrons of learning and the Faith, and it is said that certain of them have also dabbled in alchemy, necromancy, and other sorcerous arts. The arms of House Hightower show a stepped white tower crowned with fire on a smoke-grey field. The House words are We Light the Way.

LEYTON HIGHTOWER, Voice of Oldtown, Lord of the Port, Lord of the High Tower, Defender of the Citadel, Beacon of the South, called THE OLD MAN OF OLDTOWN,

—Lord Leyton’s eldest son and heir, SER BAELOR, called BAELOR BRIGHTSMILE, m. Rhonda Rowan,

—Lord Leyton’s daughter, MALORA, called THE MAD MAID,
—Lord Leyton’s son SER GARTH, called GREYSTEEL,

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That motherfucker is gonna hit the ice moon, don't say I didn't call it.

Yoo guys are counting on a rare comet to make 2 back to back appearances. That'll be some surprisingly abundant rareness. Won't the flight plan for that comet look butt stupid all of a sudden when it decides to omit 99% of its usual orbit? We got cometted already. You gots to use a unicorn horn for your next fate omen artifact. Luckily one will be found on Rickon 's corpse.

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Yoo guys are counting on a rare comet to make 2 back to back appearances. That'll be some surprisingly abundant rareness. Won't the flight plan for that comet look butt stupid all of a sudden when it decides to omit 99% of its usual orbit? We got cometted already. You gots to use a unicorn horn for your next fate omen artifact. Luckily one will be found on Rickon 's corpse.

We saw the comet go around one side of its orbit... it disappeared from view for a bit (going around the sun), and now it appears to be returning, just in time to resurrect Jon and wake the ice dragon (which may be Jon):

The comet’s tail spread across the dawn, a red slash that bled above the crags of Dragonstone like a wound in the pink and purple sky.

This was how Cressen described the red comet. Now here is Barristan at the end of ADWD:

A thin red slash marked the eastern horizon where the sun might soon appear. It reminded Selmy of the first blood welling from a wound. Often, even with a deep cut, the blood came before the pain.

The end of the chapter immediately before this Barristan chapter where he sees the comet as blood welling from a wound:

“Wick, put that knife …” … away, he meant to say. When Wick Whittlestick slashed at his throat, the word turned into a grunt. Jon twisted from the knife, just enough so it barely grazed his skin. He cut me. When he put his hand to the side of his neck, blood welled between his fingers. “Why?”

*hat-tip Mithras
When the comet first appears, it is the evenstar - it appears as the first star at night when Dany sees it. Now Barristan sees it in the morning, and names it a "Dragon Dawn." Oh yes, indeed. But not a fire dragon - the sword of Dawn is white, and compared to icy things like milkglass, the bones of the Others... no, this time I think we are going to get an Ice Dragon. :devil:

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LmL, :bowdown: your starry wisdom.

I'm still chewing on all that, but here's my thoughts on Garth the Green and his CotF connection, one of my favourite mysteries from TWOIAF.

The key thing to understand about Garth is that he is an amalgamation of stories about a pre-Westeros god of the FM, and stories about the guy who led the FM to Westeros.

Garth the Green was the deity worshiped by the First Men before they came to Westeros - he seems to have been a fertility god. In terms of real world parallels, he invokes almost to the T the Green Man (or the Horned God/Lord), the son/lover of the female fertility deity (Mother/Maiden/Crone) whom she gives birth to, marries and kills every year with the cycle of the seasons. Even to the green colour and horns symbolism. Side note: where is his female counterpart?? In the theme of "gods dying", it would be cool if her death in some fashion (as a deity, not as part of the normal cycle) triggered the first wave of FM migration into Westeros. End side note.

Anyway, its curious that the earliest stories about this deity talk about him requiring blood sacrifice. If thats the EARLIEST thing about him that is known, and he is considered the FIRST (and maybe the only, for a time) "man" in Westeros - then how can we be sure that the blood sacrifice thing we see in the context of the weirwoods and the old gods originated as a practice of the CotF, instead of it being part of the earliest religion of the FM (before they came to Westeros)?

After they accepted the old gods, they may have syncretised the new beliefs with some old practices, like human sacrifice (to weirwoods, instead of out in the fields to Garth the Green, presumably). The CotF might not have thought this was a shame or a great waste, horrified as they were by how quickly men multiplied. Is it only the coming of the Andals that stopped this (in the south definitively by overthrowing the old gods, and in the North slowly over time, as one rare example of cultural influence seeping into the North). The Andals ended human sacrifice? The same people weve been discussing in the context of the CoSW infiltrating and corrupting their religion. Hmm

As for Garth the Man and how those myths came about. The FM seem to have made their first permanent settlement in the Reach. If you compare it to Dorne (which they would have just gone through) and whatever else they were so keen to leave behind in Essos, the Reach is a paradise of abundance. The man (lets assume there was one guy for the sake of the story) that brought the FM there would have truly felt blessed by the gods. So fertile was this land that it seemed no matter where you threw a seed, crops grew; and the people were full and happy. What stories will they tell about the guy who brings them over? Over time, the allegory and metaphor (and poetic embellishments) about Garth come to be taken literally, and Garth Greenhand starts sounding like a mythical character.

He is later merged with the much older Garth the Green, perhaps by confused septons when they were first writing the stories down, or maybe just over time as the stories were retold but Garth the Green himself became less relevant and worthy of particular note (his worship having been abandoned as such).

His worship died off more quickly in the North presumably, which is why he isnt remembered as being so prominent there - not much "greenness" in the North to inspire the FM to keep up that kind of religion. In fact, the harsh northern conditions favour the survival of the other aspect of the worship of Garth the Green: ritual blood sacrifice. Appeasing gods is more of a priority when youre freezing and you think the gods are doing it, meaning it's much more of a thing around Winterfell than in the Reach (where youre too busy writing poems about all the food youre eating in the sunshine all the time).

On the other hand, its possible Garth the historical figure is buried in the North (as the First King). He led the FM to the Reach, where his children stayed (his line spread there, and the stories with it), but he himself continued to the North (with perhaps the hardiest of the FM).

The setup at the God's Eye almost backs this: the earliest religious order of men (harking back to Garth the Green) symbolically watching over the Pact, together with the weirwoods (representing the CotF).

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We saw the comet go around one side of its orbit... it disappeared from view for a bit (going around the sun), and now it appears to be returning, just in time to resurrect Jon and wake the ice dragon (which may be Jon):

The comet’s tail spread across the dawn, a red slash that bled above the crags of Dragonstone like a wound in the pink and purple sky.

This was how Cressen described the red comet. Now here is Barristan at the end of ADWD:

A thin red slash marked the eastern horizon where the sun might soon appear. It reminded Selmy of the first blood welling from a wound. Often, even with a deep cut, the blood came before the pain.

The end of the chapter immediately before this Barristan chapter where he sees the comet as blood welling from a wound:

“Wick, put that knife …” … away, he meant to say. When Wick Whittlestick slashed at his throat, the word turned into a grunt. Jon twisted from the knife, just enough so it barely grazed his skin. He cut me. When he put his hand to the side of his neck, blood welled between his fingers. “Why?”

*hat-tip Mithras

When the comet first appears, it is the evenstar - it appears as the first star at night when Dany sees it. Now Barristan sees it in the morning, and names it a "Dragon Dawn." Oh yes, indeed. But not a fire dragon - the sword of Dawn is white, and compared to icy things like milkglass, the bones of the Others... no, this time I think we are going to get an Ice Dragon. :devil:

These are great finds. The comet is repeatedly referred to as a sword, as you've pointed out, and there's an actual Sword of the Morning (which is what the comet would be in the Barry chapter) in the story that is more than a little curious... Neat.

I've thought of Dawn as the only surviving dragonsteel blade, whose final special property (light/heat when the obsidian alloyed with the metal is "ignited", and possibly glass candle-like vision - thanks Radio Westeros) hasn't been activated in a long time. It may have not been possible until Dany's dragons came back, in the vein of glass candles, and now the Daynes may not know how; or they may know exactly how. We haven't seen Dawn since the end of Robert's Rebellion after all. If the Daynes are watching the story unfold via Dawn (in its capacity as a glass candle)... I wonder who they're watching in particular.

Anyway. The association between Dawn and ice is the bit I'm unsure about. In my mind, it's a "fire" blade, not an "ice" blade. Its description is given as such to highlight an absence of heat, signifying that it is yet to be (re)ignited. It doesn't remind me of the Others' swords.

Going against the "Jon will do bad" tendency, it looks like the comet is signifying Jon's return, while also symbolically bringing back dragonsteel (the Sword of the Morning), which Jon will need in the coming fight.

Without Dawn being it, there's no candidate for an existing dragonsteel blade... :(

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About Deep ones , i agree that weirwoods may hold deep ones away. Then we have Lonely light , the most western point in Westeros. It's ruled by the Farwynds who are said to take forms of different sea animals , so it seems the Farwynds are wargs and then have COTF- weirwood connection. Maybe the Farwynds are keeping the DO away?

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Hey LPC, If you have a minute, take a look at the Solar Cycle essay. it has more detail on why I think Dawn is icy... although I have a whole massive essay about the swords on the way. Dawn is "a" Lightbringer sword, imo, one of two, but "Dragonsteel." Take a look and get back to me.

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About Deep ones , i agree that weirwoods may hold deep ones away. Then we have Lonely light , the most western point in Westeros. It's ruled by the Farwynds who are said to take forms of different sea animals , so it seems the Farwynds are wargs and then have COTF- weirwood connection. Maybe the Farwynds are keeping the DO away?

Yeah it's weird to think about how the first Deep Ones / selkies / merlings came to breed with humans. Skinchangers don't crossbreed with animals. The Deep Ones / Selkies thng is different. The half breed people actually have fishy aspects to their bodies. I think the stories of them being skinchangers are wrong in the sense that their ability, such as it is, seems to be a different kind of magic.

I'm assuming that magic was involved with the Deep Ones manifestation on the land and their crossbreeding with humans. It's possible skinchanger magic was a part of creating that ability and now the fish people are something else entirely. There are definitely clues that the Iron Islands used to have a pro-weirwood culture, perhaps when the island chain was still a peninsula.

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I'm as cautious as the next guy/gal/selkie when it comes to that, but the parallels with Arthurian myth ring more of a bell than most - there's already so much in there. They aren't quite in the same category as nods to other writers and their works (Vance, Atranta, Jordayne) or quirky ones like the muppets. Although that last one might explain Edmure, just in general.

Poor Edmure.

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We saw the comet go around one side of its orbit... it disappeared from view for a bit (going around the sun), and now it appears to be returning, just in time to resurrect Jon and wake the ice dragon (which may be Jon):

The comet’s tail spread across the dawn, a red slash that bled above the crags of Dragonstone like a wound in the pink and purple sky.

This was how Cressen described the red comet. Now here is Barristan at the end of ADWD:

A thin red slash marked the eastern horizon where the sun might soon appear. It reminded Selmy of the first blood welling from a wound. Often, even with a deep cut, the blood came before the pain.

The end of the chapter immediately before this Barristan chapter where he sees the comet as blood welling from a wound:

“Wick, put that knife …” … away, he meant to say. When Wick Whittlestick slashed at his throat, the word turned into a grunt. Jon twisted from the knife, just enough so it barely grazed his skin. He cut me. When he put his hand to the side of his neck, blood welled between his fingers. “Why?”

*hat-tip Mithras
When the comet first appears, it is the evenstar - it appears as the first star at night when Dany sees it. Now Barristan sees it in the morning, and names it a "Dragon Dawn." Oh yes, indeed. But not a fire dragon - the sword of Dawn is white, and compared to icy things like milkglass, the bones of the Others... no, this time I think we are going to get an Ice Dragon. :devil:

Yes, but no. When the comet first appears it is neither a morning nor evening star. It is outside of the orbit of Planetos. We may first see it in the early evening, but we see it at night and during the day if I am remembering correctly. It would then pass inside of the orbit of Planetos taking on the feature of a morning or evening star, being only visible during the very early evening or morning. Then it disappears completely for a while and we would expect that depending on its orbit it might reappear, which seems to be the case in Baristan's chapter. At this time is specifically appearing just before dawn as a morning star, because it is currently interior to the orbit of Planetos and moving outward.

I do caution ha his seems to be an awfully long amount of time to pass between the inward and outward passes of the comet, butt the writing matches beautifully.

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Thanks for the extra detail on that Durran, you are correct.


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The comet comes back when George is ready for it to come back. The important thing is that it IS coming back. It has an oath to keep.


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LmL, :bowdown: your starry wisdom.

I'm still chewing on all that, but here's my thoughts on Garth the Green and his CotF connection, one of my favourite mysteries from TWOIAF.

The key thing to understand about Garth is that he is an amalgamation of stories about a pre-Westeros god of the FM, and stories about the guy who led the FM to Westeros.

Garth the Green was the deity worshiped by the First Men before they came to Westeros - he seems to have been a fertility god. In terms of real world parallels, he invokes almost to the T the Green Man (or the Horned God/Lord), the son/lover of the female fertility deity (Mother/Maiden/Crone) whom she gives birth to, marries and kills every year with the cycle of the seasons. Even to the green colour and horns symbolism. Side note: where is his female counterpart?? In the theme of "gods dying", it would be cool if her death in some fashion (as a deity, not as part of the normal cycle) triggered the first wave of FM migration into Westeros. End side note.

Anyway, its curious that the earliest stories about this deity talk about him requiring blood sacrifice. If thats the EARLIEST thing about him that is known, and he is considered the FIRST (and maybe the only, for a time) "man" in Westeros - then how can we be sure that the blood sacrifice thing we see in the context of the weirwoods and the old gods originated as a practice of the CotF, instead of it being part of the earliest religion of the FM (before they came to Westeros)?

After they accepted the old gods, they may have syncretised the new beliefs with some old practices, like human sacrifice (to weirwoods, instead of out in the fields to Garth the Green, presumably). The CotF might not have thought this was a shame or a great waste, horrified as they were by how quickly men multiplied. Is it only the coming of the Andals that stopped this (in the south definitively by overthrowing the old gods, and in the North slowly over time, as one rare example of cultural influence seeping into the North). The Andals ended human sacrifice? The same people weve been discussing in the context of the CoSW infiltrating and corrupting their religion. Hmm

As for Garth the Man and how those myths came about. The FM seem to have made their first permanent settlement in the Reach. If you compare it to Dorne (which they would have just gone through) and whatever else they were so keen to leave behind in Essos, the Reach is a paradise of abundance. The man (lets assume there was one guy for the sake of the story) that brought the FM there would have truly felt blessed by the gods. So fertile was this land that it seemed no matter where you threw a seed, crops grew; and the people were full and happy. What stories will they tell about the guy who brings them over? Over time, the allegory and metaphor (and poetic embellishments) about Garth come to be taken literally, and Garth Greenhand starts sounding like a mythical character.

He is later merged with the much older Garth the Green, perhaps by confused septons when they were first writing the stories down, or maybe just over time as the stories were retold but Garth the Green himself became less relevant and worthy of particular note (his worship having been abandoned as such).

His worship died off more quickly in the North presumably, which is why he isnt remembered as being so prominent there - not much "greenness" in the North to inspire the FM to keep up that kind of religion. In fact, the harsh northern conditions favour the survival of the other aspect of the worship of Garth the Green: ritual blood sacrifice. Appeasing gods is more of a priority when youre freezing and you think the gods are doing it, meaning it's much more of a thing around Winterfell than in the Reach (where youre too busy writing poems about all the food youre eating in the sunshine all the time).

On the other hand, its possible Garth the historical figure is buried in the North (as the First King). He led the FM to the Reach, where his children stayed (his line spread there, and the stories with it), but he himself continued to the North (with perhaps the hardiest of the FM).

The setup at the God's Eye almost backs this: the earliest religious order of men (harking back to Garth the Green) symbolically watching over the Pact, together with the weirwoods (representing the CotF).

Always love the Garth talk... good ideas here again, Lord Pepsi Cupps. It's worth noting the specific language here:

A few of the oldest tales of Garth Greenhand present us with a considerably darker deity, one who demanded blood sacrifice from his worshippers to ensure a bountiful harvest. In some stories the green god dies every autumn when the trees lose their leaves, only to be reborn with the coming of the spring. This version of Garth is largely forgotten.

So, as you say, the god which dies in the fall and resurrects in the spring is one of the oldest myths we have in the world. But if he is Ba'al, where is Astarte? That's a damn good question. They are always a pair, aren't they? I am wondering if the reason we haven't heard of her directly is because her act of resurrection is a big fucking secret that can't be given a way. Do we know of any female characters involved with resurrecting things? Melisande, of course, but what about in the Dawn Age? The Night's Queen is the only candidate. She's connected with Garth, potentially, by way of the Barrow King. The Barrow King may be Garth's grave, as you say LPC, and the Night's Queen may have come from there. The Night's Queen seems to have been producing Others with the NK, a la Craster and his babies, but with more potent blood. You know how the Dustin's have that rusted iron crown for a sigil?

And yet there was a difference, in degree if not in kind, for almost all the noble houses of the reach shared a common ancestry, deriving as they did from garth Greenhand and his many children. It was that kinship, many scholars have suggested, that gave House Gardener the primacy in the centuries that followed; no petty could ever hope to rival the power of Highgarden, where Garth the gardener’s descendants sat upon a living throne (the Oakenseat)that grew fro man oak that Garth Greenhand himself had planted, and wore crowns of vines and flowers when at peace, and crowns of bronze thorns (later iron) when they rode to war.

The Kings of Winter wore Iron and Bronze longsword crowns, and the Barrow King a rusted iron crown. Here we see that there's a tradition of the Gardener Kings wearing such a crown. And then, right by Oldtown, we find a place called... Blackcrown. The home of house Bulwer, a son of Garth the Green and an indication of sacrifice (sacrificial bull, which Garth played the role of).

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WOW :eek: ! You never fail to amaze me! Great analysis! :bowdown: I am waiting for more.

JQC I missed your very kind words of praise when you posted them, I just wanted to say thank you and cheers, and to let you know I saw and appreciated. I have lots more coming.

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* ON



For those who now seriously expect to see a 2nd comet pass,



the reason I'm cautioning everyone not to actually believe in this bounce-back comet is because outside of the story you've got physics saying no. Statistically no orbit exists that would bring the same comet past the same planet on both its inbound and outbound trips to and from the sun. I mean if you bend the entire solar model to just that purpose then yes you can force it to happen, but you do so by making the planet the center of everything (as if the planet's experiences are what matters, and not the force of gravity---this may be true for us readers because we care more about Westeros than about the ortibal paths, but the sun and the comet most assuredly don't care and won't adjust their physics to suit our wishes). History's God-based thinkers tried to solve the mysteries of the universe similarly to this thread, by making Earth the center too, until Galileo or whomever told them to stop. If we keep the sun as the center of everything as it should be then the planet realistically can't be expected to get a 2nd comet show. Because the sun spins the comet back outward from it at an apogee that has nothin' to do with Westeros. Getting direct bounce-back that shoots a comet straight back at the planet's orbit comes off as childish oversimplification of the solar model. If magic is given the task to mimic gravity & pull the comet back around for this unlikely 2nd pass, that also doesn't help the children's lit feel of it. In some ways it's cool children's lit, reminding me of how Final Fantasy 7 pulled off comet attack magic pretty well. Here you'd have the Great Other throwing a massive tantrum or something and willing the comet to hone in on Oldtown from millions of miles away to suicide-strike the planet. Cool, yet goofy as the end to a world that's been so blue collar up till this point, so sweat-and-blood grind-it-out "reality fest."



What'd be slightly more likely is if the coming of Winter has taken the planet's orbit out further from the sun into an asteroid belt minefield that can provide for your moon collision with a stellar object composed of the requisite evil substance. The comet would then go back to being what it rightly is---a harbinger of fate. In this case a portent of the fate that was waiting for Planetos as the planet wobbled into deeper orbits where such oort cloud objects were commonplace and collisions more likely. Still not gonna happen though...



I believe the "gravity" of this theory has pulled your minds into the oort cloud. Gazing too closely at the starry sky of Martin's backstory can tempt one to expect too much from that backstory, as if it's destined to come to the forefront and supplant the main story for everyone the way it has for you. It won't. Remember, it's people who dominate this story, not magic. People and their POVs are the sun here that will in the end blot out the background light from the starry sky of more distant stars, no matter how wise those lesser lights may be. People see comets, wonder at them, and then move on to the next thing in their lives. The next earthen event. This comet-centric doomsday would end those people's concerns by turning this into the comet's story instead of theirs. Is that likely to be how Martin's human-centric saga ends? Really? (The answer has been provided upside down at the beginning of this post for those who don't mind spoilers and who are able to tilt their screens).



I'm not saying I'm disgusted by this religion, because it obviously intrigues me enough that I'm popping up regularly to poke it. What I'm saying is just because it's cool doesn't mean one has to actually believe it for real. I'm advocating we celebrate the Dawn Empire connections and the comet threat but that we treat this mythos the same way we treat vampires---- as something that can provide hours and hours and hours of entertainment without ever really materializing for real to drain our blood. I mean we don't look for vampires hiding behind the hedges at In And Out Burger, and we shouldn't really expect a comet strike in Dreams of Spring. Cuz that'd be one crunked up Spring-related dream, yo. But the imagining of it is sweet, and obsessing about it is totally hot! Mmmmmm, comet strike. Yes. But it's one of those woman-style fantasies that she doesn't actually want to happen in real life. In real life, a comet strike would totally crisp your genitals and the pleasure of it would be much less than it is in this imaginary phase we're in now.


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TMOTO, that was quite a tirade. It's all good, because you have the best sense of humor on the board and I love your TMOTO-style. Anyway, I've addressed these ideas before - the fact that the characters' choices will always be the main focus of the story. We're not in conflict there. The pattern I am picking up, start to finish, is that the events in the sky and the events on the ground seem to correlate. I am not certain what is he cause-effect relationship, or how that works, but the same things happen in the sky as on the ground. There are a lot of ways that can work out.

I am not sure why you think that the backstory and main story would be disrupted by a huge magical / natural disaster. Responding to the disaster is going to take oodles of heroism. The Others are basically the personification of an ice age, a nature phenomena. Reacting to the Others has already been a major part of the choice-making burden placed in many of our characters. Reacting to war and other forces of power and chaos has been a major theme through the series, so a moon disaster word only be a continuation of that theme.

If the comet hits the other moon, as the Qarthine legend prophesies, then it will likely act as a trigger for an all-out Other invasion and the fall of the second Long Night - something we all expect to happen. The comet / moon thing is just the mechanism, it's nothing to get tripped up on. It's the same as the dragons - yes, they are impressive, but they aren't the point, really. We all know that. This is more of the same. Its backstory. It's relevant, and important, like most backstory, but only because it's relevant to the main characters. I mean, we've learned a lot about Daenerys and Jon through this astronomy process, both about who they are and what kind of destinies might being trying to embrace them. This essay in particular brought out some interesting information about the people trying to steer Daenerys in different directions and what kind of history might be coming back around for her to deal with.

As for the celestial mechanics, comets can orbit the sun in a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion. If the comet's orbit is clockwise and Planetos's is counterclockwise, like earth, then we could indeed get two passes, depending on the speed of the comet and the location of earth in its orbit. The comet hangs in the air for a LONG time in the books (I should consult the timeline and figure out how long I suppose), which indicates it's not moving very fast.

And it's certainly hard to dismiss the specific language of the dragon dawn which Barristan sees, the thin red line that is the same description Cressen gives, and right after Jon (who symbolizes Lightbringer) is stabbed and feels the blood welling.

MOTO, my general principle when trying to solve puzzles in the book is to follow the symbolism first, and then see how the logistics might explain it. This is because I have consistently found the symbolism to be the most "reliable narrator" in the books. RLJ is true because of blue roses, not logistical arguments about the tourney at Harrenhall, know what I mean? George is saying that the sun killed the moon with a comet, and he is saying it in every book, chapter after chapter. I'm just trying to figure out how and why. I didn't make any of this up, it's all based on my efforts to interpret his symbols, for better or worse. There just seems to be a lot of foreshadowing of the comet coming back to hit the second moon. It's almost every astronomy metaphor. It's the Oathkeeper half of the comet.

I don't make many predictions, I mostly focus on uncovering patterns for general inspection. But I keep seeing this foreshadowing... I could be wrong, sure, but I don't see how it would be disruptive to the story in any way. It's simply the trigger for the Others' invasion and possibly Jon's resurrection, two things we all see coming.

ETA: you could even say that what we are learning about is what the choices that the characters make will mean. What does it mean for Dany to embrace Fire and Blood? What does it mean for anyone to be Azor Ahai reborn, in any capacity? Where did the Others come from? All this stuff is solvable, and the astronomy patterns sometimes act like a key or a Rosetta Stone to match the symbolism with the actions and characters in a meaningful way. The entire first book for Daenerys is her replaying the actions of the fire moon, over and over, in many ways. Her taking the sun to wife, eating a heart and dipping into the womb of the world, immolation herself in the sun's fire to bring forth dragons with a crack as loud as the breaking of the world - all of it. The astronomy is just another layer, and an impressive one. It matches with the story... Bottom line, George spends waaayyyy too much time depicting these celestial patterns of them to be irrelevant. Half the chapters in the series are actually long, extended metaphors like the Jon chapter Voice and I broke down back on page 10,11, and 12. He puts a lot of effort into these. The least we can do is try to follow them.

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