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Astronomy of Ice and Fire: the Language of Leviathan

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------======o)))  Ironborn Theology - Oh So Stormy  (((o======------

 

In the first essay, I laid out the case that the story of Azor’s Ahai’s killing of his wife Nissa Nissa to forge the fiery sword Lightbringer is actually telling the story of the fall of the Long Night.  The Long Night itself seems to have involved a series of magically enhanced versions of natural disasters brought on by a comet’s collision with a second moon, which was destroyed and no longer exists.  The moon’s explosion resulted in a fiery rain of black meteors which caused massive destruction to the planet, both on a physical level and a magical one.

 

In the previous essay, I laid out the case that the “Bloodstone Emperor” – a dark sorcerer king who murdered his sister the Amethyst Empress and usurped the throne of the Great Empire of the Dawn; who worshipped a black stone that fell from the sky and performed abominable acts of dark magic and necromancy, slavery and torture; who was the first High Priest of the sinister Church of Starry Wisdom and whose deeds were so evil that the sun hid its face –  is actually just another name or title for the person we know of “Azor Ahai.”  I also made the case that the greasy black stone found in several places including Asshai and the Iron Islands (in the form of the Seastone Chair) are actually meteorites, pieces of the destroyed second moon.  The black stone worshipped by “the Bloodstone Emperor Azor Ahai” was one of these “black bloodstone” moon meteorites and his sword Lightbringer was probably made from a black meteorite as well.  Lightbringer would have been more of a “dark-bringer,” a weapon of dark magic and doom.

 

The first angle we took to support this identification of Azor Ahai as the Bloodstone Emperor was by examining the myth of Azor Ahai itself and the associated legends of heroes with fiery swords, as well the behavior and ideas of the R’hllorists, the religious following that prophesies his return and views him as a savior.  To sum up, we found that there are lots of signs of very dark and shadowy magic around all of these things, legends, people, and places.  I feel pretty solid about the evidence there, but of course its always good to examine things from as many angles as possible.

 

The second angle we took was to examine the real-world mythical lore associated with bloodstone (heliotrope), a very real and interesting semi-precious gemstone, to see if any of these ideas might be relevant to Azor Ahai, Nissa Nissa, Lightbringer, and the fall of the Long Night.  This turned out to be a goldmine, in my opinion, or perhaps a greasy stone mine.  It became quickly apparent why George might have chosen the name “Bloodstone Emperor,” as basically all of the associations of bloodstone fit right into the Azor Ahai / Long Night / moon destruction cocktail that George is serving up.  We saw bloodstone connected to ideas about astrology and magical warfare, blood sacrifice of divine beings, eclipses and turning the sun’s reflection bloody when immersed into water, lightning and thunderstorms, healing and withdrawing poison, with mother goddesses and flowers which turn to follow the sun, and of course reflecting, bending or drinking the sun’s light in various ways.  Heliotrope means “the sun; to turn,” “to turn the sun,” “to bend the sun,” “sun-turner,” etc.

 

This last one was the one we spent the most time on in the last essay, as we examined the sun-drinking nature of several things and places associated with Azor Ahai, Lightbringer, and moon meteors.  As we continue this exploration of the various mythical properties and associations of bloodstone, we’re going to dive into the deep end of Ironborn theology, beginning with the legend of the Grey King and the sea dragon Nagga.  The Long Night disaster was essentially the worst storm in “Planetos” history, so it’s no surprise to find that the Ironborn myths of the Grey King and Storm God might be talking about this event – and that is exactly the hypothesis I am proposing here and in the next few essays.

 

Two of the mythical associations of bloodstone which stand out as being relevant to the Ironborn legends are the idea that man can use bloodstone to predict and even cause lighting and thunderstorms, as well as slightly more esoteric idea that bloodstone can turn the sun’s reflection to the color of blood when immersed in water.  A stone which causes lightning and thunderstorms, becomes immersed in “bloody” water, and has something to do with killing or bleeding the sun – this is quite similar to the idea of a meteor strike causing a tsunami during the Long Night, especially if you describe the meteor strike as a thunderbolt.

 

The very Prometheus-like legend of the Grey King stealing the fire of the gods by tricking the Storm God into striking a tree with a thunderbolt does sound suspiciously like a meteor strike, especially when we consider that the Grey King was also the one to supposedly slay the “sea dragon” which drowns whole islands in her wroth.  If comets and flaming meteors are symbolically equivalent to dragons, then a “sea dragon” which drowns islands is likely to be a meteor strike as well, but one which lands in the sea or near the sea, causing earthquakes which shatter the land and triggering apocalyptic floods.

 

These two stories might be talking about the same thing.  Our favorite thing – flaming moon meteors.

 

Take a look at this quote from Theon’s first chapter of A Clash of Kings where Pyke and the Iron Islands are introduced:

 

The point of land on which the Greyjoys had raised their fortress had once thrust like a sword into the bowels of the ocean, but the waves had hammered at it day and night until the land broke and shattered, thousands of years past.  All that remained were three bare and barren islands and a dozen towering stacks of rock that rose from the water like the pillars of some sea god’s temple, while the angry waves foamed and crashed among them.  {…}

 

The Sea Tower rose from the outmost island at the point of the broken sword, the oldest part of the castle, round and tall, the sheer- sidedpillar on which it stood half- eaten through by the endless battering of the waves. The base of the tower was white from centuries of salt spray, the upper stories green from the lichen that crawled over it like a thick blanket, the jagged crown black with soot from its nightly watchfire.

 

The point of the broken sword of land has a tower with a black crown and a nightfire.  That’s the sword which once thrust into the bowels of the ocean, and it appears to be a flaming sword, at least at night.    Flaming swords were the very first symbolic representation of a flaming meteor that we decoded, way back in the first essay.  The nightfire-crowned Sea Tower is even covered with salt and smoke, calling to mind the Azor Ahai prophecy of being reborn amidst salt and smoke, with the nightfire suggesting the nightfires of the R’hllorists and the Long Night itself.

Two paragraphs later, the comet makes an appearance:

 

Theon had never seen a more stirring sight. In the sky behind the castle, the fine red tail of the comet was visible through thin, scuttling clouds. All the way from Riverrun to Seagard, the Mallisters had argued about its meaning. It is my comet, Theon told himself, sliding a hand into his fur-lined cloak to touch the oilskin pouch snug in its pocket. Inside was the letter Robb Stark had given him, paper as good as a crown.(ACOK, Theon)

 

Just like the black crown of the Sea Tower, Theon’s parchment crown is burned, as Balon casually tosses it in the fire upon receiving it.  The parchment “curled, blackened, and took flame,” recalling the curved Sea Tower with its black crown of flame.  Of course placing the comet right behind the castle which sits on a point of land which thrust into the bowels of the sea like a longsword is a pretty good clue to associate the two.

 

Putting it all together, this is an outstanding metaphor for a dragon meteor plunging into the ocean at the time of the Long Night.  We were already on to this idea because of the wrathful, island-drowning nature of the sea dragon.  And lo and behold, we have islands which have been drowned by “angry” waves.  Could this wrathful sea-dragon-sword-comet’s impact have shattered the arm of land on which Pyke sits?  Could these angry waves be the ones generated by the sea dragon’s fall from the heavens?

 

Outside, beneath the snoring of his drowned men and the keening of the wind, he could hear the pounding of the waves, the hammer of his god calling him to battle.  (AFFC, The Prophet)

 

Recall the description of Oathkeeper and Widow’s Wail: “waves of blood and night upon some steely shore.”  That’s the same image created in these last two quotes, where the divine, angry waves are hammering and pounding upon the shore of land that is like a broken sword.  I don’t think it was merely the gradual hammering of the waves which shattered the “broken sword” on which Pyke sits, although the black and bloody tide is surely a part of the picture.  Rather, it was that thunderbolt / meteor strike from the “Storm God” which set the tree on fire, hammered the land quite literally, and triggered the black and bloody tide.  That thunderbolt was a moon meteor.

 

 

Consider: Pyke’s outer curtain wall is described as “a crescent of dark stone that ran from cliff to cliff” in A Clash of Kings – that’s quite moon-like, with the connotation of dark stone indicating the one which was destroyed and made the black bloodstone meteors.  Robert breaks it with his war-hammer during the Greyjoy rebellion, and the first through the breach is Thoros of Myr, with his flaming sword.  Recall also that Thoros’s swords always break after being set on fire, just as Pyke’s “broken sword” point of land may have been broken by a fiery sword meteor.

 

All this hammering also puts us in mind of the Hammer of the Waters, an event which also caused earthquakes and floods and breaking of the land.  Robert Baratheon draws heavy inspiration from the the Norse god Thor, of course, so it’s worth noting that Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir, causes lightning and thunderbolts.  The Hammer of the Waters, I believe, is related to this thunderbolt and the moon meteor strikes, as I have suggested.  The Hammer of the Waters is another topic which I will only touch on in passing during this essay and get to in further detail in a separate essay.  Suffice it to say that Robert’s breaking of Pyke’s crescent wall of dark stone with his warhammer also implies a lightning strike, and the presence of Thoros’s flaming (and soon to be broken) sword reinforces the idea lightning, flaming swords, and hammers are are describing the same thing: moon meteors.  Iron dragons.

 

Just to tease the idea of the Hammer of the Waters being connected to the lightning bolt, here’s scene from A Feast for Crows.  This is at the inn of the crossroads, where Brienne fights her tragic duel with Rorge and Biter.  Gendry, the son of Robert Baratheon, plays the “Thor” role here, and Brienne plays the moon maiden:

 

There was life at the crossroads inn, though. Even before they reached the gate, Brienne heard the sound: a hammering, faint but steady. It had a steely ring. “A forge,” Ser Hyle said. “Either they have themselves a smith, or the old innkeep’s ghost is making another iron dragon.”


“Worse?” Brienne asked. “Thieves,” said a boy’s voice from the stables. “Robbers.” Brienne turned, and saw a ghost. Renly. No hammerblow to the heart could have felled her half so hard. “My lord?” she gasped. “Lord?” The boy pushed back a lock of black hair that had fallen across his eyes. “I’m just a smith.”


Brienne sucked in her breath and drew Oathkeeper. Too many, she thought, with a start of fear, they are too many. “Gendry,” she said in a low voice, “you’ll want a sword, and armor. These are not your friends. They’re no one’s friends.” 

“What are you talking about?” The boy came and stood beside her, his hammer in his hand. Lightning cracked to the south as the riders swung down off their horses. For half a heartbeat darkness turned to day. An axe gleamed silvery blue, light shimmered off mail and plate,and beneath the dark hood of the lead rider Brienne glimpsed an iron snout and rows of steel teeth, snarling.


The door to the inn banged open. Willow stepped out into the rain, a crossbow in her hands. The girl was shouting at the riders, but a clap of thunder rolled across the yard, drowning out her words.  (AFFC, Brienne)

 

This is the inn of the crossroads, which used to be the inn of the clanking dragon, named for it's multi-part black iron dragon sign which clanked in the wind. It was ultimately destroyed (the sign), being broken up and thrown into the river. Fragments of iron dragons thrown into the river - that's a very close match to the idea of sea dragon meteors falling into the sea. 

You'll notice that in the first paragraph, the maker of the new "iron dragon" (meteorite) is either a smith, or a ghost. Only a couple paragraphs later, Gendry (the hammer wielder) is identified as a ghost and a smith.  He's the hammer wielder, and he makes iron dragons (the last of which was smashed apart and fell into the water).  Shortly after this, one sentence ends with "his hammer in his hand," while the next begins with "lightning cracked." That's Thor's hammer, baby! There's more to be wrought from this scene which we will revisit when we examine the Hammer of the Waters in detail, but I take this as a clue that iron dragons that are smashed and fall into the water are the same as: 

  • the lightning strike of the Storm God enticed by the Grey King
  • the slaying of the sea dragon
  • the hammer of the waters

Just to mop up the symbolism here, the steely ring of the hammer recalls the black iron crown of the Ironborn, of the Barrow King, of the King of Winter, and the Gardener Kings when they went to war. The golden crown a king wears is an imitation of the sun's rays - so a black iron crown is an inversion of that, implying a dark sun. And of course, the hammer / dragon / lightning / fire from heaven landing on Planetos is the thing which caused the sun to go dark, so that hammer does indeed have a steely ring.  ;)

 

Throughout the first two essays, we’ve dissected the comet-kills-moon aspect of the Long Night disaster.  Throughout the next few essays, we will be using Ironborn mythology as a key and a reference point to decode the next phase of the Long Night disaster: fiery things falling from space, and the damage they cause when they land.  We will be dealing with the various motifs individually, but we will see most or all them in every quote we pull, so I am introducing them now: hammers, lightning, burning trees, dead trees, shattering of land, broken swords, the sea dragon, flaming sword meteors, and the black and bloody tides.  This is the lexicon of the leviathan: it’s a language of doom and devastation.

 

Last but not least, we’ll also continue to learn more about Azor Ahai and the forging of Lightbringer.

 

The first thing that happened after the second moon exploded was fire falling from the sky, remembered as the Grey King’s thunderbolt and the island-drowning sea dragon which he slew.  In this essay, we’ll be dealing primarily with the sea dragon herself; the other forms of leviathan language will be addressed in subsequent essays.  As usual, I once had all of these topics crammed into one monstrous essay, but it kept growing new heads and I simply had to split them off into a handful of slightly smaller monsters.

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------======o)))  The Sea Dragon and the Drowned Goddess  (((o======------

 

Let’s kick the Ironborn theology lesson into high gear with a bit of sermonizing from Aeron Damphair, The “Drowned Prophet:”

 

“Every morning brings a new day, much like the old.” 

 

“In Riverrun, they would tell you different.  They say the red comet is a herald of a new age.  A messenger from the gods.”

 

“A sign it is,” the priest agreed, “but from our god, not theirs. A burning brand it is, such as our people carried of old. It is the flame the Drowned God brought from the sea, and it proclaims a rising tide.  It is time to hoist our sails and go forth into the world with fire and sword, as he did.”  (ACOK, Theon)

 

The red comet is like a burning brand, and proclaims the time to go out with fire and sword… or perhaps with a “fiery sword?”  It’s interesting that the Drowned God brought this fiery brand from the ocean – how did fire get in the ocean, I wonder?  We think we know the answer – a fiery & wrathful sea dragon-comet-sword was thrust into the bowels of the ocean, shattering the land.  This lines up well what the Ironborn say about themselves and their origins: the Iron Islands are named for their people, who are like iron, and that the Ironborn themselves come from the sea.  Iron people that emerge from the sea with burning brands who will go forth with fire and sword.  But what about this burning brand?  Another comet metaphor, right?

 

They could see the fire in the night, glimmering against the side of the mountain like a fallen star.  It burned redder than the other stars, and did not twinkle, though sometimes it flared up bright and sometimes dwindled down to no more than a distant spark, dull and faint.  

...

“The wolf will remain with us,” Qhorin said. “White fur is seen too easily by moonlight.” He turned to Stonesnake. “When it’s done, throw down a burning brand.  We’ll come when we see it fall.”  (ACOK, JON)

 

A “stone snake” will throw down a burning brand when he climbs high enough to reach the flaring bright red fallen star fire suspended in the night.  Got it.  Also, add “stone snake” to the growing list of comet metaphors (one of my favorites).

Putting this together, we see that a stone snake (comet) collides with a red star fire (the fire moon), blood is spilled (three people at the fire for the three dragon meteors), and then the burning brand falls from the sky.  That burning brand is the sea dragon moon meteor which was thrust into the bowels of the sea.   Remembering that the moon is a goddess, the wife of the sun, what we really have here is a Drowned Goddess.  The Drowned Goddess is the one with red star fire that fell into the sea.  She is the Sea Dragon, the Leviathan.

 

Right before the “pounding of the waves = hammer of his god” quote we cited above, the Damphair prays to the waves thusly:

 

My god, he prayed, speak to me in the rumble of the waves, and tell me what to do. The captains and the kings await your word. Who shall be our king in Balon’s place? Sing to me in the language of leviathan, that I may know his name. Tell me, O Lord beneath the waves, who has the strength to fight the storm on Pyke? 

 

Though his ride to Hammerhorn had left him weary, Aeron Damphair was restless in his driftwood shelter, roofed over with black weeds from the sea. The clouds rolled in to cloak the moon and stars, and the darkness lay as thick upon the sea as it did upon his soul. Balon favored Asha, the child of his body, but a woman cannot rule the ironborn.  (AFFC, The Prophet)

 

What Damphair doesn’t realize is that Leviathan is a girl, hah.  That’s why he doesn’t know her name.  His declaration that a woman cannot rule the Ironborn is thus revealed to be deeply ironic.  “Mr. Fishy Patriarchy Man” is actually an unwitting servant of the drowned goddess, in a manner of speaking.  That’s worth a chuckle or three.   ;)

 

I should probably take this moment to mention that just as with dragons are neither male nor female, planets, suns, moons, and stars which are perceived as divinities ultimately do not have a gender.  I believe that A Song of Ice and Fire mythology is the same as world mythology in this regard.  Venus, the Morningstar, is female to many cultures (Venus, Aphrodite, etc) but is also perceived as Quetzalcoatl, a strong male deity from Mesoamerican myth, and of course both Jesus and Lucifer are Morningstar Deities as well.  We are used to the idea that the sun god is usually male and the moon god female, but that is not always the case either.

 

George touches on these ideas with the Faith of the Seven, “the seven faces of god who are one;” with the basic theology of the House of Black and White, who call their god “Him of Many Faces;” and with the Great Empire of the Dawn’s “Maiden-Made-of-Light,” a female interpretation of the sun.  I’m calling the sea dragon the “Drowned Goddess” here slightly tongue in cheek – don’t make too much of the gender in this case.  The moon was a ‘goddess in the sky,’ representing Nissa Nissa, but her body was clearly transformed in her demise, so I’m not sure flaming moon rocks ultimately have a gender.. know what I mean?

 

 

------======o)))  That Which is Gathered into Folds  (((o======------

 

Kidding aside though, what is a leviathan?  It has become a generic word for any large sea creature, often the greatest of whales.  In A Song of Ice and Fire, whales are referred to as grey leviathans on a couple of occasions, and fat Samwell is called a leviathan derogatorily by Lazy Leo.  But a leviathan is actually a well-known mythological sea creature with a very specific description: it’s a multi-headed sea dragon.  “Leviathan” is a hebrew word meaning “twisted, coiled,” or “that which gathers itself into folds.”  It certainly makes you think of Valyrian steel, steel made from dragon fire which is folded in on itself thousands of times.

 

(go check out this badass 1865 engraving of Yaweh slaying the leviathan by Gustave Doré.)

 

The biblical sea dragon leviathan was probably based on similar, older ideas in the same region; specifically, that of “ocean of chaos” dragons Tiamat and Lotan (or his Greek incarnations Ladon and the Hydra ), all of whom were slaughtered to effect some kind of creative process on the world.  In the beginning, Yaweh (who was originally a Storm God akin to the Canaanite Yam) created two leviathans, but he killed the female and neutered the male.  Since we have one female moon-mother-of-dragons who was killed, and one moon that was not; one comet which exploded and one which has returned, it’s tempting to see some kind of loose parallel here.

 

As I have mentioned, I suspect the two moons were “Moons of Ice and Fire,” so to speak, with the fire moon being the one which died in dragon childbirth to cause the Long Night, and the white, icy moon being the one which remains.  Considering that dragons seem to be the children or the avatar of this fire moon on earth, the Others would certainly be the avatar of the ice moon – and they are in fact neutered in a sense (like the male leviathan), because they cannot reproduce on their own, and need Craster’s sons to make more white walkers.

 

Even more interesting is the association with the skin of the Leviathan and light-bringing: Yaweh makes clothes of light from the skin of the slain female leviathan, a very close match to the idea of making the sword Lightbringer from the moon meteors.  Supposedly Yaweh will make an illuminating cover for the entire sky out of the skin of the male leviathan at the end times.  That sounds an awful lot like the Qarthine prophecy that the second moon will one day crack and trigger the return of dragons.

 

George also may very well be inverting certain aspects of this idea – darkness covering the world instead of light, light-drinking instead of light-giving – as he does with many of his inspirations.  The first leviathan-slaying and moon destruction caused the first Long Night – if there is to be a new Long Night in The Winds of Winter, and I certainly think there will be, it’s pretty logical to suspect that the same mechanism will be the cause: the Qarthine prophecy will come true, and the comet will impact the remaining (hypothetically) icy moon to trigger the new Long Night and the full-blown invasion of the Others, ice spiders and all.

 

You heard it here first, everyone, this is an official prediction:  In the Winds of Winter, the comet will hit the remaining moon and trigger the fall of a second Long Night.  If I am right that the first moon was a fire-aspected moon, and that our remaining moon is an ice-aspected one, then the dragons that come this time might be ice dragons, in one form or another.  A more likely alternative is that the “ice dragons” that come will simply be the Others and their ice spiders.  A dragon in Qarthine myth may well be an ice spider in Northman myth.  We’re all waiting for the full-scale assault of the Others and the army of the dead, so essentially what I am predicting is that the comet striking the remaining moon will simply be the trigger mechanism… albeit a fairly spectacular one.

 

*takes off magician’s hat speckled with stars and backs away from glass candle…*

 

Returning to the idea of a leviathan or sea dragon being slaughtered to effect some huge transformation upon the world, let’s take a look at the Persian fire dragon, Gōčihr.  We’ve seen that much of the Lightbringer mythology comes from Roman Mithraism, which itself was at least partially based on Persian ideas of Mithra as well as Zoroastrianism.  The translation of Azor Ahai as “fire dragon” derives from Zoroastrian and Vedic Sanskrit phonetic roots.  This is THE local fire dragon myth in this part of the world:

 

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

 

Gōčihr, however, is not an actual dragon, but a red comet.  It terrifies the world like a wolf terrifies (keep that dragon – wolf connection in your back pocket).  The dragon melts the metal of the earth for means of purification, ideas which are similar to the idea of fire being a cleansing agent such as in Daenerys’s dream in A Game of Thrones.  The first comet strike didn’t purify the world, however; perhaps we’ll be luckier somehow with the second one.  Molten metal makes sense especially in association with the idea of Valyrian steel and dragonsteel being related to the comet.

 

We’ve breifly touched upon the tauroctony, that is, Mithras’s slaying of the white bull which was a part of himself.  I’m saving a more detailed look at that for the next essay, but its worth a brief mention here because it’s essentially the same idea.  Mithras sacrifices the white bull, and the bull’s blood flows out into the world and triggers a regeneration of life.  The legend of Lightbringer, to return to the main subject at hand, involves a blood sacrifice in order to end the darkness and bring light and life to the world – this is definitely a major theme that George is working with.  The twist here is the inversion – the sacrifice of the moon seems to have brought only death and destruction… the language of a flaming leviathan crashing to earth.

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------======o)))  Some Smelly Fish  (((o======------

 
Theres a really terrific Sea Dragon passage to be found in A Storm of Swords when Daenerys is and youre going to like this sailing to Slavers Bay on three ships named after Aegons three dragons.  Sea dragons of another color.     ;)  This chapter begins by introducing the idea that Daenerys loves the sea, and builds on the sea dragon idea through the naming of the ships and finally the activity of the dragons themselves.  Here is the beginning of the chapter:
 

Across the still blue water came the slow steady beat of drums and the soft swish of oars from the galleys. The great cog groaned in their wake, the heavy lines stretched taut between. Balerions sails hung limp, drooping forlorn from the masts. Yet even so, as she stood upon the forecastle watching her dragons chase each other across a cloudless blue sky, Daenerys Targaryen was as happy as she could ever remember being.

 

Her Dothraki called the sea the poison water, distrusting any liquid that their horses could not drink. On the day the three ships had lifted anchor at Quarth, you would have thought they were sailing to hell instead of Pentos. Her brave young bloodriders had stared off at the dwindling coastline with huge white eyeseach of the three determined to show no fear before the other two, while her handmaids Irri and Jhiqui clutched the rail desperately and retched over the side at every little swell. The rest of Danys tiny khalasar remained below decks, preferring the company of their nervous horses to the terrifying landless world about the ships. When a sudden squall had enveloped them six days into the voyage, she heard them through the hatches; the horses kicking and screaming, the riders praying in thin quavery voices each time Balerion heaved or swayed. 

 

No squall could frighten Dany, though. Daenerys Stormborn, she was called, for she had come howling into the world on distant Dragonstone as the greatest storm in the memory of Westeros howled outside, a storm so fierce that it ripped gargoyles from the castle walls and smashed her fathers fleet to kindling.

 

The narrow sea was often stormy, and Dany had crossed it half a hundred times as a girl, running from one Free City to the next half a step ahead of the Usurpers hired knives. She loved the sea. She liked the sharp salty smell of the air, and the vastness of horizons bounded only by a vault of azure sky above. It made her feel small, but free as well. She liked the dolphins that sometimes swam along beside Balerionslicing through the waves like silvery spears, and the flying fish they glimpsed now and again. She even liked the sailors, with all their songs and stories. Once on a voyage to Braavos, as shed watched the crew wrestle down a great green sail in a rising gale, she had even thought how fine it would be to be a sailor. But when she told her brother, Viserys had twisted her hair until she cried. You are blood of the dragon, he had screamed at her. A dragon, not some smelly fish. 

 

He was a fool about that, and so much else, Dany thought.

 
Ill cut in here to have a laugh at Viseryss expense.  Weve already seen that Viserys isnt too good with symbolism and metaphor he got burned by that whole I am the dragon, and I will be crowned! thing, after all.  We, however, pay much closer attention, and we cannot fail to miss all the dragon-fish comparison going on here.
 
The three ships are named for Aegons three dragons, and the narrative weaves the ships and Dany watching her dragons fly through the air together in the very first paragraph.  Dany herself is a sea-dragon, the blood of the dragon who loves the water and the sea.  Shes at one with the storm, unafraid, the Stormborn.  Shes born on a dragon-stone in the middle of the sea (itself a clue about dragons which are stones landing in the ocean), during the worst storm in memory.  Of course, the only memories we have of the actual worst storm in history, one which also raged around dragon stones in the ocean, are hidden under layers of myth but thats why we are doing what we are doing, after all.  Chasing down the worst storm in history.
 
Rounding out the storm imagery, note the gargoyles ripped from the castle walls weve seen in Cressens prologue chapter from A Clash of Kingsthat the hundreds of stone gargoyles are yet another item used as a meteor shower metaphor.  The fleet was smashed to kindling, conjuring the image of burning wood. The dragon fish comparison take flight in the next paragraph with flying fish and dolphins like silvery spears that swim alongside Balerion the dragon-boat.  Theres more talk of Dany herself loving everything about the sea, and then a direct comparison between dragons and fish as Viserys says that a dragon is not a fish.  The next words are He was a fool about that, and so much else.  Thats clear enough.  The only way it could be any more clear is if Old Nan showed up with a copy of Septon Barths Dragons, Wyrms, and Wyverns: Their Unnatural History to read us a bedtime story about sea dragons.
 
Actually, is does get a bit more clear, as someone does directly compare the comet to a fish:
 

Catelyn raised her eyes, to where the faint red line of the comet traced a path across the deep blue sky like a long scratch across the face of god.  The Greatjon told Robb that the old gods have unfurled a red flag of vengeance for Ned.  Edmure thinks its an omen of victory for Riverrun he sees a fish with a long tail, in the Tully colors, red against blue.  (ACOK, Catelyn)

 
So far, there seems to be a bit of truth to be found in every single thing the comet has been directly compared to: dragons, flaming swords, blood and fire, an omen, a messenger or herald, the sword that slays the seasons, a torch, a flag of vengeance and now a fish with a long tail.  This has never really made sense until I dug into all this sea dragon stuff, but it fits right in here.
 

The captain appeared at her elbow. Would that this Balerion could soar as her namesake did, Your Grace, he said in bastard Valyrian heavily flavored with accents of Pentos. Then we should not need to row, nor tow, nor pray for wind. 

...

And her crew, once as fearful as they were curious, had begun to take a queer fierce pride in their dragons. Every man of them, from captain to cooks boy, loved to watch the three fly though none so much as Dany.

 

They are my children, she told herself, and if the maegi spoke truly, they are the only children I am ever like to have.

 

Viserions scales were the color of fresh cream, his horns, wing bones, and spinal crest a dark gold that flashed bright as metal in the sun. Rhaegal was made of the green of summer and the bronze of fall. They soared above the ships in wide circles, higher and higher, each trying to climb above the other. 

 

Dragons always preferred to attack from above, Dany had learned. Should either get between the other and the sun, he would fold his wings and dive screaming, and they would tumble from the sky locked together in a tangled scaly ball, jaws snapping and tails lashing. The first time they had done it, she feared that they meant to kill each other, but it was only sport. No sooner would they splash into the sea than they would break apart and rise again, shrieking and hissing, the salt water steaming off them as their wings clawed at the air. Drogon was aloft as well, though not in sight; he would be miles ahead, or miles behind, hunting. 

 

He was always hungry, her Drogon. Hungry and growing fast. Another year, or perhaps two, and he may be large enough to ride. Then I shall have no need of ships to cross the great salt sea. 

 

But that time was not yet come. Rhaegal and Viserion were the size of small dogs, Drogon only a little larger, and any dog would have out-weighed them; they were all wings and neck and tail, lighter than they looked. And so Daenerys Targaryen must rely on wood and wind and canvas to bear her home.

 
Sea Dragon, ahoy!  The symbolic association between the boats and the dragons continues all throughout these paragraphs, as Dany and the captain compare dragons and ships to each other as a means of crossing the sea.
 
And then, we have a dragon eclipse(!), as the dragons try to get between each other and the sun (creating an eclipse) before dive-bombing/.  Remember that the second moon was in an eclipse position when it gave birth to dragons, according to the theory.  At the moment of the dragon eclipse, we get our sea dragon meteor, plummeting towards the ocean, which is really a terrific confirmation of the eclipse idea and a good match for all the times Drogons wings passed before the sun and darkened the world (as we saw in the last essay).
 
The dragons splash into the water in a scaly ball the image couldnt be any more vivid  and then break apart (like the broken sword of land) and rise again  harder and stronger, perhaps?  According to Ironborn theology, the Leviathan rose from the sea, as did the Grey King and the Drowned God himself, so this is an important part of the process.  This may well be original drowning which gave rise to the practice of drowning and resuscitating people on the Iron Islands.  This connotation of resurrection tied to the sea dragon meteors reminds us of the notion that the Bloodstone Emperor practiced necromancy, an idea we will build upon later.
 
The hissing and steaming reminds me of a sword being tempered in cold water as well as a hot meteor stone landing in the ocean and producing hissing and steaming.  The dark golden spinal crest, horns, and wing bones of Rhaegal flashed as bright as metal in the sun, reinforcing the link between dragons, meteors, and metal to make swords which flash sunlight, as does the idea of the dragon folding as he dives.  Recall that leviathan means that which is gathered into folds, and of course Valyrian steel is folded back on itself hundreds of times.
 
And now its time for another translation of a version of Nissa.  The Nysiades were Greek Okeanid water nymphs of Mount Nysa (a different subset of Okeanid nymphs than that of Klytie the heliotrope), one of whom was actually named Nysa.  I believe that the entire concept of mermaids in A Song of Ice and Fire actually relates to this idea of Drowned Goddess, and this will be the topic of a future essay.  For now, simply know that there is already a drowned goddess named Nissa (Nysa) and she is connected with a myth (Klytie) which George also seems to be using to create his sacrificed moon goddess lore.
 
In Theons first chapter of A Clash of Kings, as hes sailing to Pyke, he passes by the ruins of Lordsport and we get a leviathan reference which reinforces the ships-as-sea-dragons idea:
 

When last hed seen Lordsport, it had been a smoking wasteland, the skeletons of burnt longships and smashed galleys littering the stonyshore like the bones of dead leviathans, the houses no more than broken walls and cold ashes. After ten years, few traces of the war remained. The smallfolk had built new hovels with the stones of the old, and cut fresh sod for their roofs. A new inn had risen beside the landing, twice the size of the old one, with a lower story of cut stone and two upper stories of timber. The sept beyond had never been rebuilt, though; only a seven- sided foundation remained where it had stood. Robert Baratheons fury had soured the ironmens taste for the new gods, it would seem.

 

Theon was more interested in ships than gods.  (ACOK, Theon)

 
Here we have a direct comparison between the leviathan (sea dragon) and ships in this case, burnt and smashed ships are compared the bones of dead leviathans.  Shortly thereafter, the ships are compared to gods, completing the circle and bringing us back to the notion of the leviathan as a god or goddess.  Im going to quote from the burning of the Seven on Dragonstone a bit later, but Ill just note here that the wooden masts of the ships which brought the blood of the dragon (the Targaryens) to Westeros were made into the wooden statues of the Seven which Melisandre burned.  Those ships were sea dragons in the sense that they carried Targaryens and dragons on them, and then they became wooden gods which ultimately  burned, just like the burned leviathan skeletons at Lordsport.
 
We keep seeing these burning trees and burning wood in the midst of our sea dragon scenes these are references to the tree which was set ablaze by the Storm Gods thunderbolt as well as burning weirwoods in general.  This certainly has to do with Naggas bones on Old Wyck, which most people believe to be petrified weirwood trees when Victarion first comes to Old Wyck in A Feast for Crows, he thinks that the ribs of Nagga rose from the earth like the trunks of great white trees, as wide around as a dromonds mast and twice as tall.  Of course well be doing a full break-down of Naggas bones and petrified weirwoods, but I wanted to mention them here, because it too plays into the symbolic equivalency of ships, sea dragons, weirwoods, and gods & Goddesses.
 
Lets take a quick look around at the scene here at Lordsport, starting with the name.  This is the place where the gods come into port.  Thats our sea dragon goddess, coming in to bring her heavenly cargo.  The rest of the scene gives a good rundown of the leviathan language lexicon: its a smoking, ash-covered wasteland with burnt wood, scattered stones, broken walls, and smashed sea dragon skeletons.  To complete the picture, Theon recalls that it was Robert Baratheon who was responsible for creating the smoking wasteland, which brings the symbols of the war hammer and the thunderbolt into the mix.  These are of course references to the Hammer of the Waters and the thunderbolt of the Grey King / Storm God legend.
 
Interpreting the myth-speak here in this scene, we have a holy leviathan which came into port like a hammer and like a thunderbolt and left behind a smoking wasteland, drowning and burning itself in the process. Thus I believe we can conclude that the Drowned God is actually the Drowned Goddess, the Sea Dragon Leviathan who gave the Ironborn their fire.
 
Youll notice the general confusion in the Ironborn myths about where the Ironborn obtained their fire one story says the Grey King stole fire from the Storm God with the burning tree trick; another says the Grey King kept Naggas living fire for a thrall; and finally, Aeron talks about the Drowned God (who is not the same as the Grey King) carrying a burning brand from the ocean.  Although they all sound like different stories, we have seen that they are actually all telling the same story  the fire came from the sky like a thunderbolt, set fire to trees, drowned in the ocean, severed the land, and somehow was possessed or wielded by the Ironborn.
 
Aeron Damphair replays part of this sequence after immersing himself in the sea and praying to leviathan:
 
 

And gaunt and pale and shivering, Aeron Damphair struggled back to the shore, a wiser man than he had been when he stepped into the sea. For he had found the answer in his bones, and the way was plain before him.  The night was so cold that his body seemed to steam as he stalked back toward his shelter, but there was a fire burning in his heart, and sleep came easily for once, unbroken by the scream of iron hinges. (AFFC, The Prophet)

 

- - - - -

 

(here is an incredible wall carving of two Chinese dragons - Chinese dragons are usually depicted

as partially immersed in water, and they are always chasing a flaming and smoky golden orb...)

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------======o)))  The Folded Black Fire of the Sea Dragon  (((o======------

 

We’ve already seen the association between dragon-steel, comet-steel, black steel, Valyrian steel, etc. and the sea dragon, notably in the last scene with Rhaegal folding and diving into the sea, his scales flashing “as bright as metal in the sun.”  We’ve seen Ned’s Valyrian steel sword Ice made into twin red and black blades, whose appearance is like “waves of night and blood upon some steely shore.”  We’ve also seen that Lightbringer itself is intimately connected with these black bloodstone meteors – the meteors symbolize Lightbringer, and the actual sword Lightbringer was made from the black meteor stone.

 

Heck, we’ve even noticed the pun in the name “Sea Dragon Point.”  (Well, we have now anyway.)

 

So how was the sea dragon’s fire possessed by the Ironborn? Well, there’s a clue in The World of Ice and Fire, concerning the ancient salt kings of the Ironborn:

 

“And when battle was joined upon the shores, mighty kings and famous warriors fell before the reavers like wheat before a scythe, in such numbers that the men of the green lands told each other that the Ironborn were demons risen from some watery hell, protected by fell sorceries and possessed of foul black weapons that drank the very souls of those they slew.”  (TWOIAF, The Ironborn)

 

Recall that Lightbringer supposedly drank Nissa Nissa’s blood and soul when it slew her.  I have been proposing that Lightbringer was a black steel sword made from a moon meteor, so it’s very tempting to draw a connection between Lightbringer and these soul-drinking black weapons in the hands of the Ironborn who rose from the sea with the fire of the drowned goddess.

 

Geroge R. R. Martin is a well known lover of heraldry, and I believe he often makes use of heraldry to drop massive clues about the mysteries of the series.  House Volmark of the Iron Islands bears the sigil of a black leviathan on grey, which certainly invites further scrutiny.  It turns out that the only significant Volmark in history besides the young Lord Volmark in the main story is Quorin Volmark, a distant relation to King Harwyn “Hardhand” Hoare who briefly claimed the Seastone chair in 2 AC after King Aegon the Conqueror roasted Black Harren Hoare and all his sons at Harrenhall.  Quorin Volmark declared himself the rightful heir of “the black line,” referring to the supposedly “black-blooded” members of House Hoare.  Of course we’ve seen that black blood is a very important motif in our collection of moon death symbolism – having the”fire inside you” turns your blood black – so this detail stands out as significant.

 

The crux of Quorin’s story is this, from TWOIAF and AFFC:

 

“Other claimants soon arose on Great Wyck, Pyke, and Orkmont, and for a full year and a half their followers fought each other by land and sea. Aegon the Conqueror put an end to that fighting in 2 AC when he and Balerion descended upon Great Wyck, accompanied by a vast war fleet. The Ironmen collapsed before him.  Qhorin Volmark died at the Conqueror’s own hand, cut down by Aegon’s Valyrian steel blade, Blackfyre.  (TWOIAF)

 

Aegon wields the sword Blackfyre, while his dragon Balerion breathes black fire – they are matching symbols.  Balerion descends upon Old Wyck, the exact location of “Nagga’s bones” – this is reenacting the sea dragon’s landing on the Iron Islands (perhaps on Old Wyck itself).  Meanwhile, Aegon kills Qhorin the black leviathan with Blackfyre the sword.  The Grey King slew Nagga, and possessed her fire – and here that is represented by Aegon slaying the black leviathan and possessing black fire.  This would seem a match for the black, soul-drinking weapons possessed by the Ironborn.

 

As a side note, the vast war fleet accompanying the black dragons would be the meteor shower which accompanied the two large moon meteors (remember the idea is three dragon moon meteors descending to Planetos, with one breaking up into the meteor shower and two making large impacts).

 

This event is referenced in A Feast for Crows at the Kingsmoot by Eric Drum, wielder of the Valyrian sword Red Rain:

 

“When the black line was consumed by dragon-fire, the ironborn gave the primacy to Vickon Greyjoy, aye … but as lord, not king.”  (AFFC, The Drowned Man)

 

I’ve included this quote because it is phrased in such a way as to suggest the idea of the moon’s blood being incinerated and blackened by the comet’s impact and the resulting explosion.  We’ve seen in the last essay that fire magic and black blood are interconnected; this is more of the same here.

 

There’s a nice companion to Aegon and Balerion’s attack on the Iron Islands to be found in A Dance with Dragons, as Daenerys rides her black dragon, Drogon.  This too reinforces the idea of the Iron Islands having been shaped by the fire of sea dragon, the black leviathan:

 

In a dozen heartbeats they were past the Dothraki, as he galloped far below. To the right and left, Dany glimpsed places where the grass was burned and ashen. Drogon has come this way before, she realized. Like a chain of grey islands, the marks of his hunting dotted the green grass sea.

 

There’s another nice clue about black fire and black weapons on the Iron Islands at the time of the Long night to be found in House Harlaw and their Valyrian steel sword, Nightfall.  House Harlaw’s sigil is the silver scythe, indicating the harvest season and perhaps a bit of grim reaping – as we know, the Ironborn do not sew, they’re all about reaping.  The lord of the Iron Islands also styles himself “Lord Reaper.”  As we saw in our examination of the solar cycle and the cycle of the seasons, the harvest season, fall, coincides with sunset and nightfall, and here we see that exact association.  The sword Nightfall itself has a moonstone pommel – this is the first clue that that I caught about this sword.  We have a sword made in part from “moon-stone” associated with nightfall, reaping, and death – this certainly sounds like my idea of “dark lightbringer,” a black steel sword made from black bloodstone moon meteorite and associated with the cause of the Long Night, the nightfall of all nightfalls.  Lastly I’ll note that the sword was taken for house Harlaw by the Red Kracken Dalton Greyjoy.  Nobody knows how the sword came in the possession of House Harlaw, but the Red Kracken himself is an Azor Ahai / Bloodstone Emperor symbol who will receive further analysis in the future – take my word for it, he’s the right guy to be associated with the moonstone Valyrian sword Nightfall.  

 

The parade of Ironborn sigil-based symbolism continues on Great Wyck, in the Hardstone Hills, at the Hammerhorn Keep of House Goodbrother.  They draw their wealth from their mines, which produce iron and other minerals.  Their sigil is a gold-banded black warhorn on a field of red, which bears an uncanny resemblance to Euron’s dragonbinder horn (which “split the air” as “sharp as a sword thrust” when it is sounded) as well as the “fake” horn of Joramun that Melisandre burns at the Wall in A Dance with Dragons.  These horns are associated with dragons and earthquakes, respectively, both of which come together at the Iron Islands, where the sea dragon caused an earthquake.  The description of the breaking of the Arm of Dorne with the Hammer of the Waters – “giants awoke in the earth, and all Westeros shook and trembled” – matches the description of the horn of Joramun’s supposed effects, and here we find a “Hammerhorn” keep. If that weren’t enough, cadet branches of House Goodbrother are found at places with such symbolically rich names as “Crow Spike Keep,” “Downdelving,” “Corpse Lake,” and “Shatterstone.”

  • Crow Spikes – the black meteors, which are described as crows and ravens
  • Down-Delving – the mines where they mine black iron (perhaps that of the sea dragon’s corpse), the downward trajectory of the falling meteors
  • Corpse Lake – the corpse of the moon goddess / sea dragon landed in the water
  • Shatterstone –  Pyke’s broken sword of land which shattered

Here’s a quote from the very first Ironborn chapter A Feast For Crows, where Aeron Damphair is coming up to Hammerhorn Keep after casually drowning some fanatics:

 

It was long after dark by the time the priest espied the spiky iron battlements of the Hammerhorn clawing at the crescent moon. Gorold’s keep was hulking and blocky, its great stones quarried from the cliff that loomed behind it. Below its walls, the entrances of caves and ancient mines yawned like toothless black mouths. The Hammerhorn’s iron gates had been closed and barred for the night. Aeron beat on them with a rock until the clanging woke a guard.  {…}

 

The hall was dank and drafty, full of shadows. One of Gorold’s daughters offered the priest a horn of ale. Another poked at a sullen fire that was giving off more smoke than heat.  (AFFC, The Prophet)

 

If we were wondering whether the name “Hammerhorn” was supposed to be a clue about the Hammer of the Waters, the Hammerhorn’s spiky iron is clawing at the moon, connecting the idea of the moon being pulled down with hammers and horns and iron claws.  Specifically, the spiky iron is the comet which Aeron beats on the iron gate of the keep with a stone, giving us the rock-hitting-moon motif in a slightly different arrangement. George often gives us a metaphor in more than one form in the same scene just to drive the point across.  Aaron being offered a “horn” of ale in between the sentences about the shadowy hall and the sullen fire is another example of the same technique.

 

The idea here is that the keep, the mountain behind it, and the moon above it are all symbolically equivalent, and so the symbols are presented in quick succession as a means of telling us that we should associate them together.

 

The Hammerhorn keep is made from the stone of the mountain, while the Hammer of the Waters was made from the stone of the moon (moon meteor).

 

The Ironborn bring black iron out from the inside of the “black mouths” of the mountain’s mines, while the black bloodstone comes from the insides of the sea dragon.

 

The Ironborn supposedly made foul, black, soul-drinking weapons with their black iron, just as blood-drinking and soul-drinking Lightbringer was made from the black bloodstone moon meteors.

 

Inside the keep itself, it’s full of shadows, and lit by a fire that gives off more smoke than heat, which is more or less how I have been describing the magic of the R’hllorists for a long time – more shadow than light.  This “fire which does not give off much light or heat” is a reoccurring motif which always seems to apply to the shadowy, corrupted fire magic that we see throughout the series.

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------======o)))  Pirates from Asshai  (((o======------

 

So what does this all mean?  Is the Grey King Azor Ahai?  Did he forge Lightbringer on the Iron Islands?  Well, it does seem like the Bloodstone Emperor Azor Ahai did come to / invade Westeros by sea (my essay about that is here) at the time of the Long Night, and the three places he seems most tied to are the Iron Islands, Oldtown, and Starfall (the seat of House Dayne).

 

To briefly sum up: at Battle Isle in the Whispering Sound at Oldtown, we find the fused stone fortress that now serves as the base of the Hightower.  Fused stone, to the best of our knowledge, can only be created through dragon fire and sorcery, as the Valyrians did – yet Valyria arose some centuries after the Long Night, while the fused stone fortress was supposedly found in situ by the first First Men to arrive there.  This would seem to indicate the presence of dragonlords capable of making fused stone in Westeros in the Dawn Age, meaning “before the Long Night.”  We also have stories of dragons roosting at Battle Isle in the Dawn Age, as well as stories of dragonslayers from the Reach such as Serwyn of the Mirror Shield and Davos Dragonslayer.  Other stories of pre-First Men activity from Battle Isle include talk of sea-faring traders come to either trade with or enslave the children of the forest and the giants as well as a story of a “pirate lord” on the Isle of Ravens, a creepy old castle with a half-dead weirwood which is the oldest part of the Citadel.

 

The Daynes are not incredibly relevant to us here, except to generally support the idea of the presence of dragonlords in Westeros in the Dawn Age.  Their sometimes purple-eyes and silver hair indicates a potential common ancestor with the Valyrians (this is discussed at length in the essay linked above).  If this is the case, their bloodline would surely have something to do with the presence of these Dawn Age dragonlords and Azor Ahai.

 

As for the Iron Islands and Azor Ahai, I have come around to the opinion that his fleet probably sailed east from Asshai and arrived on the west coast of Westeros, which is the explanation behind the scattered but persistent talk of a land across the sunset sea.  From the kingsmoot in A Feast for Crows:

 

This would-be king was a tall spare lord with a melancholy visage, his lantern jaw shaved clean. His three champions took up their position two steps below him, bearing his sword and shield and banner. They shared a certain look with the tall lord, and Aeron took them for his sons. One unfurled his banner, a great black longship against a setting sun. 

 

“I am Gylbert Farwynd, Lord of the Lonely Light,” the lord told the kingsmoot. Aeron knew some Farwynds, a queer folk who held lands on the westernmost shores of Great Wyk and the scattered isles beyond, rocks so small that most could support but a single household. Of those, the Lonely Light was the most distant, eight days’ sail to the northwest amongst rookeries of seals and sea lions and the boundless grey oceans. The Farwynds there were even queerer than the rest. Some said they were skinchangers, unholy creatures who could take on the forms of sea lions, walruses, even spotted whales, the wolves of the wild sea. 

 

Lord Gylbert began to speak. He told of a wondrous land beyond the Sunset Sea, a land without winter or want, where death had no dominion. “Make me your king, and I shall lead you there,” he cried. “We will build ten thousand ships as Nymeria once did and take sail with all our people to the land beyond the sunset. There every man shall be a king and every wife a queen.” His eyes, Aeron saw, were now grey, now blue, as changeable as the seas. Mad eyes, he thought, fool’s eyes. (AFFC, The Drowned Man)

 

I have reason to believe that the folks from the Great Empire of the Dawn / ancient Asshai would be fairly tall, and also that the dragon-dragonrider bond, which likely originated in Asshai, is a form of the skinchanger bond.  That’s something I will definitely be getting into in future essays, but I thought I’d throw it out here since it fits the topic.

 

I also think the shadowlands by Asshai would have originally been a source of fire magic more in line with the heart of winter – a “heart of summer.”  Thus it’s interesting that the Farwynds speak of this wondrous faraway land as being a land without winter – the R’hllorists, too, prophesy a summer without end, and I certainly think they are tied to Asshai.  The idea of death having no dominion puts us in mind of the Bloodstone Emperor’s necromancy and the sort of extended lifespans that shadowbinders seem to be able to live.

 

The sigil of the House Farwynd of the Lonely Light is a black ship superimposed over (eclipsing) a red sun setting in the ocean – the exact image of a ship sailing east, from the west.  There’s even a scene where the Ironborn act out the Farwynd sigil, as they attack the Shield Islands at the mouth of the Mander (the “roses” in this scene are the soldiers from the Reach, in service to Highgarden).  I think this might be one of those scenes where events from the past are being replayed, with the Ironborn attacking Oldtown from the west and Euron playing the role of “pirate from Asshai.”  Take a look and see what you think :

 

The white roses were falling back before the iron tide. Some tried to flee belowdecks, as others cried for quarter. Victarion could feel warm blood trickling down his fingers beneath the mail and leather and lobstered plate, but that was nothing.


Euron had sent Torwold Browntooth and the Red Oarsman up the Mander with a dozen swift longships, so the lords of the Shield Islands would spill forth in pursuit. By the time his main fleet arrived, only a handful of fighting men remained to defend the isles themselves. The ironborn had come in on the evening tide, so the glare of the setting sun would keep them hidden from the greybeards in the watchtowers until it was too late. The wind was at their backs, as it had been all the way down from Old Wyk. It was whispered about the fleet that Euron’s wizards had much and more to do with that, that the Crow’s Eye appeased the Storm God with blood sacrifice. How else would he have dared sail so far to the west, instead of following the shoreline as was the custom?

 

The ironborn ran their longships up onto the stony shingles and spilled out into the purple dusk with steel glimmering in their hands. By then the fires were burning in the high places, but few remained to take up arms. Greyshield, Greenshield, and Southshield fell before the sun came up.  (AFFC, The Reaver)

 

Euron the pirate king sailing a ship with a crew from Asshai and wizards who do blood sacrifice, invading Westeros from the west like an iron tide with the setting sun at his back.  Just sayin, maybe there’s something there.

 

I mentioned the Red Kracken Dalton Greyjoy above in regards to the Valyrian steel sword Nightfall – and now it will make sense for me to tell you this one extra detail I was holding back before: he took Nightfall from a dead corsair.  A dead pirate.  This would seem a potential match with the idea of someone taking Azor Ahai’s sword after he got to Westeros – which is something that I have seen some clues in support of.  The idea would be that Azor Ahai was defeated, perhaps at Battle Isle, and his sword taken, eventually winding up in the hands of the Last Hero to become the dragonsteel of legend which fought the Others.  That’s certainly quite speculative and well ahead of where my more thorough research is, but again I’m throwing the idea out for consideration since we are talking about this hypothetical invasion.

 

I will actually make brief mention of the Daynes here, because there may be similar hints about Azor Ahai’s actions in Westeros.  If the wielder of magical white sword Dawn is the “sword of the morning,” I think the wielder of Azor Ahai’s black “Lightbringer” sword would be a kind of “sword of the evening.”  Thus, it’s interesting to note that non-“sword of the morning” Daynes do things that sound like they might fit Azor Ahai’s style.  Vorian Dayne, who was actually called “the sword of the evening” was sent to the Wall by Nymera – this might be a parallel to the Last Hero taking Lightbringer (dragonsteel) to the Wall to fight the Others.  Gerold “Darkstar” Dayne, he who “is of the night,” (melodramatic much, Ser Gerold?) slashes moon-maiden Myrcella’s face, just as Azor Ahai the sun king “scratched” the face of the moon.  Samwell Dayne, called “the Starfire,” sacked and burned Oldtown, just Azor Ahai the “pirate from Asshai” might have done.

 

Returning to the Ironborn, I’d like to point out that their advanced seafaring skill is completely unique among the First Men, the rest of whom have absolutely no sea-faring skill until much later in history.  This to me has always been a red flag pointing to a potential foreign origin for the Ironborn.  Now maybe they just learned to make longships and sail them with great skill because they lived on islands and didn’t have any choice – but it’s also possible that this anarchistic knowledge came from a more advanced culture who came to Westeros in the Dawn Age.

 

The other big red flag would the Ironborn’s insistence that, like the fused stone fortress in Oldtown, the Seastone Chair and even the castle of Pyke itself were found as is by the first First Men to arrive on the scene:

 

Lord Balon occupied the Seastone Chair, carved in the shape of a great kraken from an immense block of oily black stone. Legend said that the First Men had found it standing on the shore of Old Wyk when they came to the Iron Islands. (ACOK, Theon)

 

Archmaester Haereg once advanced the interesting notion that the ancestors of the ironborn came from some unknown land west of the Sunset Sea, citing the legend of the Seastone Chair. The throne of the Greyjoys, carved into the shape of a kraken from an oily black stone, was said to have been found by the First Men when they first came to Old Wyk. Haereg argued that the chair was a product of the first inhabitants of the islands, and only the later histories of maesters and septons alike began to claim that they were in fact descended of the First Men. (TWOIAF)

 

Pyke is so ancient that no one can say with certainty when it was built, nor name the lord who built it.  Like the Seastone Chair, its origins are lost in mystery.  (TWOIAF)

 

One last note about Pyke: like Winterfell and Storm’s End, the castle at Pyke is a “round tower” design built long before that design existed in Westeros.  Supposedly, round-tower architecture only came to Westeros with the Andals – all the other older keeps in Westeros are square tower design.  Winterfell and Storm’s End date back to the time of the Long Night to the best of our knowledge, so it’s possible we are seeing the traces of a more advanced building technique from these Dawn Age visitors.

 

Taken with the rest of this… I do think there is a direct, literal connection here between the Bloodstone Emperor and the Iron Islands, and the stories of those soul-drinking black weapons of the ancient Ironborn must surely have something to do with the black bloodstone meteors.  Without dragons, they would not have been able to make Valyrian steel, but the Ironborn have been making cruder weapons out of their black iron for as long as anyone can recall, so it’s likely that that is what we are talking about here: crude black iron weapons made from the moon meteorites.

 

Azor Ahai himself, however, may well have had a dragon, so there is that wildcard to consider.

 

While it’s most likely an oversimplification to say “the Grey King was Azor Ahai,” at least at this point, it does seem like part of the Grey King mythos may be based on Azor Ahai’s invasion.  I’ll qualify that by saying that I think the Grey King story may actually be made up of multiple elements or people, even contradictory ones, and that we’ll just  have to keep an open mind and keep gathering evidence.  We’ll revisit this question of the hypothetical invasion of the pirates from Asshai at the end of the next essay, after we’ve learned a bit more about the Ironborn myths.

 

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I didn't include it in the main essay, but of course the idea of black, soul-driking weapon idea is highly suggestive of Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone series, which is a big influence on George R. R. Martin. 

 

Elric of Melnibone plot-summary spoiler:

[spoiler]Elric's finding of the sword Stormbringer serves as both his greatest asset and greatest disadvantage. The sword confers upon Elric strength, health, and fighting prowess, but it must be fed by the souls of those struck with the black blade. In the end, the blade takes everyone close to Elric and eventually Elric's own soul as well. Most of Moorcock's stories about Elric feature this relationship with Stormbringer, and how it—despite Elric's best intentions—brings doom to everything he holds dear. (wikipedia)[/spoiler]

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This is very impressive. I really loved the idea of Robert being the Smith/AA and Thoros being his flaming sword during the siege of Pyke.

 

The reign of Robert was described like this:

 

Corruption!” the man cried shrilly. “There is the warning! Behold the Father’s scourge!” He pointed at the fuzzy red wound in the sky. From this vantage, the distant castle on Aegon’s High Hill was directly behind him, with the comet hanging forebodingly over its towers. A clever choice of stage, Tyrion reflected. “We have become swollen, bloated, foul. Brother couples with sister in the bed of kings, and the fruit of their incest capers in his palace to the piping of a twisted little monkey demon. Highborn ladies fornicate with fools and give birth to monsters! Even the High Septon has forgotten the gods! He bathes in scented waters and grows fat on lark and lamprey while his people starve! Pride comes before prayer, maggots rule our castles, and gold is all . . . but no more! The Rotten Summer is at an end, and the Whoremonger King is brought low! When the boar did open him, a great stench rose to heaven and a thousand snakes slid forth from his belly, hissing and biting!” He jabbed his bony finger back at comet and castle. “There comes the Harbinger! Cleanse yourselves, the gods cry out, lest ye be cleansed! Bathe in the wine of righteousness, or you shall be bathed in fire! Fire!”

 

This is more or less the same as the seven deadly sins from the reign of the Opal Emperor.

 

Dominion over mankind then passed to his eldest son, who was known as the Pearl Emperor and ruled for a thousand years. The Jade Emperor, the Tourmaline Emperor, the Onyx Emperor, the Topaz Emperor, and the Opal Emperor followed in turn, each reigning for centuries...yet every reign was shorter and more troubled than the one preceding it, for wild men and baleful beasts pressed at the borders of the Great Empire, lesser kings grew prideful and rebellious, and the common people gave themselves over to avarice, envy, lust, murder, incest, gluttony, and sloth.

                                                                             

The thousands of snakes bursting from Robert’s belly of course remind us of thousands of moon meteorites coming down on earth after the comet impact on the moon. What does this say about Robert the Usurper who had so many parallels with AA/BSE as you explained?

 

Note that the rupture of Robert’s belly (=moon) was mainly due to the betrayal of his spouse. Again, what does this say about the events took place between BSE and AE?

 

Another crackpot idea: both the boar and Robert died could not survive that confrontation but some people made an interesting case about Bloodraven skinchanging into that boar at the time of the hunt. That means the boar was a double entity but a part of it survived the crash into Robert’s belly (=moon). What does that say about the red comet splitting in half?

 

That is all for now.

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This is very impressive. I really loved the idea of Robert being the Smith/AA and Thoros being his flaming sword during the siege of Pyke.

 

The reign of Robert was described like this:

 

Corruption!” the man cried shrilly. “There is the warning! Behold the Father’s scourge!” He pointed at the fuzzy red wound in the sky. From this vantage, the distant castle on Aegon’s High Hill was directly behind him, with the comet hanging forebodingly over its towers. A clever choice of stage, Tyrion reflected. “We have become swollen, bloated, foul. Brother couples with sister in the bed of kings, and the fruit of their incest capers in his palace to the piping of a twisted little monkey demon. Highborn ladies fornicate with fools and give birth to monsters! Even the High Septon has forgotten the gods! He bathes in scented waters and grows fat on lark and lamprey while his people starve! Pride comes before prayer, maggots rule our castles, and gold is all . . . but no more! The Rotten Summer is at an end, and the Whoremonger King is brought low! When the boar did open him, a great stench rose to heaven and a thousand snakes slid forth from his belly, hissing and biting!” He jabbed his bony finger back at comet and castle. “There comes the Harbinger! Cleanse yourselves, the gods cry out, lest ye be cleansed! Bathe in the wine of righteousness, or you shall be bathed in fire! Fire!”

 

This is more or less the same as the seven deadly sins from the reign of the Opal Emperor.

 

Dominion over mankind then passed to his eldest son, who was known as the Pearl Emperor and ruled for a thousand years. The Jade Emperor, the Tourmaline Emperor, the Onyx Emperor, the Topaz Emperor, and the Opal Emperor followed in turn, each reigning for centuries...yet every reign was shorter and more troubled than the one preceding it, for wild men and baleful beasts pressed at the borders of the Great Empire, lesser kings grew prideful and rebellious, and the common people gave themselves over to avarice, envy, lust, murder, incest, gluttony, and sloth.

                                                                             

The thousands of snakes bursting from Robert’s belly of course remind us of thousands of moon meteorites coming down on earth after the comet impact on the moon. What does this say about Robert the Usurper who had so many parallels with AA/BSE as you explained?

 

Note that the rupture of Robert’s belly (=moon) was mainly due to the betrayal of his spouse. Again, what does this say about the events took place between BSE and AE?

 

Another crackpot idea: both the boar and Robert died could not survive that confrontation but some people made an interesting case about Bloodraven skinchanging into that boar at the time of the hunt. That means the boar was a double entity but a part of it survived the crash into Robert’s belly (=moon). What does that say about the red comet splitting in half?

 

That is all for now.

 

Thanks a lot Mithras!

 

Man, you sure do love you some "obscure Bloodraven skinchanging" theories ;)

 

Great catch on that quote! I knew that quote existed, but I hadn't read it in a while and forgot about the 1,000 snakes part. That's dead giveaway at this point. 

 

So as for Robert / the horned god characters (Baratheon brothers): the horned lord doesn't represent just the sun or just the moon - the horned lord is actually the entire picture, put together. I was saving this, but since you went there...

 

Look at my avatar pic. The skull in from of the sun represents the fire moon, and the horns - the antlers - represent the crescent of the ice moon, which is "the watcher." It was close by the other moon, creating the Serwyn of the Mirror Shield image - but not in a double eclipse. The ice moon would have been just above the sun-moon-God's Eye alignment to create the image of horns. The horned Lord... is the same as the one-eyed greenseer motif. 

 

Robert, in other words, represents the entire conjunction which occurred at the moment of truth, as far as I can tell. 

 

As for why the horned lord is in the position of wielding the hammer - recall that the greenseers were supposedly responsible for calling down the hammer. I've been saying for a while that I don't think the children would do this - but human greenseer sorcerers? Much more likely. The sacred order of green men, I believe, is our culprit - these are the horned lords, the greenseers with green skin and horns or antlers. These motherfuckers are the ones who called down the hammer, if anyone did. 

Which leads me back to an idea I have tossed out before - Azor Ahai was a greenseer, a dark horned god. He would be the older, darker version of garth the green who demands human sacrifice to turn the seasons. A goat-horned, baphomet type of horned god. 

This is why I was messaging you about my research into "Old Ones" - I think the green men and the old ones are the same thing. The old one seeing on Leng, and the clues of skinchanging ability there, seem a fit to the idea of Azor Ahai being a horned greenseer type. 

 

I'm still working on this line of inquiry, but that's where I see things headed. 

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btw the boar is another analog to the dragon, with its long tusks. Bulls and stags and dragons and boars are all animals which can be predators or prey. They have horns and are aggressive, but can be sacrificial animals also. In the Robert scene, the boar would be the comet. There are hints about this in the Boroq scene in ADWD also. 

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This has me going on so many tangents...

Right now I am just stuck on the IRON. Iron Born, Iron men, Iron islands. There is the fact that the Others don't like iron for some reason.

Seems like the Iron Born should have a very mining, smithy type culture rather than a sea centric. The Iron Isles don't sound like a place you'd have lots of trees to build fleets of ships.

If they did have a connection to the East then wouldn't they have the more Asian features of Yi Ti?

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Well, we'd be talking about a connection that actually predates Yi Ti, back to the dawn of days and the Great Empire of the Dawn, which I believe WAS the original builder of Asshai, before the shadowlands were corrupted. Check out my fingerprints of the dawn essay if you want to see my evidence for that. Additionally, we are probably talking about a small population which would have been absorbed into the First Men. However, I believe the Bloodstone Emperor had black eyes, due to my research on what George is doing with his version of bloodstone. The Ironborn frequently have those black eyes, and they are very large people, although that's hardly unique. I think there is more to the story o fthe Ironborn, but it does seem like there is some level of influence from overseas.  

I'm very curious what is the meaning behind the idea of the Others not liking iron. 

 

The houses on the Iron Islands that mine are a bit different form the sea folk - check out the first Aeron Damphair chapter in AFFC when he goes to the Hammerhorn keep of house Goodbrother. Aeron has some inner monologue about Ironborn who live too far from the sea and how awful mining is. 

TWOIAF tells us that they used to have trees on the Iron Islands, but that they cut them all down building ships, and this was one of the reason that they began raiding along the coasts. 

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I'm very curious what is the meaning behind the idea of the Others not liking iron.


I read a great post on that earlier in the week. about the Others not being human but more mental constructs of ice and cold and the iron messes up electromagnetic currents holding them all together!

I am bit confused on your section about ships. Are you saying that people arrived there on dragons?

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The main point about the ships is that they serve as metaphors for the concept of sea dragons. ;)

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I read a great post on that earlier in the week. about the Others not being human but more mental constructs of ice and cold and the iron messes up electromagnetic currents holding them all together!

I am bit confused on your section about ships. Are you saying that people arrived there on dragons?


Actually, now that I think about it, you might be on to something. My point WAS that the use of ships to symbolize the sea dragon supports my identification of the sea dragon as a meteor impact... but then there's the question of WHY George is using ships to symbolize leviathans and gods at the same time - what's he saying here? Your idea that it might indicate people first came here on dragons is actually really clever and that could well be one of the implications here. I certainly do think Azor Ahai was a dragon rider, and that the dragon rider bond was created in Asshai / the Great Empire of the Dawn. So it certainly fits. ;)

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Bumping, because everyone needs to read this.

I have half a mind to forward this to GRRM, in the same way the lemon-gate question was asked, because he needs to know you're on to him :)

 

Hey Regular John Umber,

 

First off thanks for the endorsement! And second, yes, I have myself wondered myself about the possibility of george catching wind of my theory and what might happen. If it's true (meaning some part of my general premise, not every detail of course), then he probably wouldn't say a damn thing. If it's false, he might comment to dismiss it in the way he did about the corn code (I was unaware that he was asked about lemon gate). I suppose somewhere in the back of my mind I dread the possibility that I will log into Westoeros.org one day to see 15 messages about George dismissing my theory... ;)

 

Of course I for the most part feel confident that I am braking up the right tree, again with the broad strokes, but everyone feel stood bout their own theory, so who knows. I am surely biased. All I know is that the more I look through the book for these themes and symbols, I keep finding more evidence to corroborate.  If you notice, my essays primarily point out the symbolic connections, as opposed to making a lot of predictions.  My thinking on a lot of this is simply to show the connections to everyone so they can make of it what they will and we can interpret these things together.  Sometimes I have to remind myself to dew conclusions about what they mean for the main story... otherwise a lot of people just don't care that much. The point is, I am very confident about the idea that George is hiding the clues about the Long Night disaster in his text, and that his text is written in highly symbolic fashion, referencing the LN disaster and the character archetypes he has created (solar king, Nissa Nissa moon, etc). Anything beyond that, I'm willing to listen to different ideas about what these symbols mean. 

I think a lot of people are simply underestimating George and the level of complexity and specificity with which he writes. The whole "gardener" thing has led to some misperceptions, in my opinion. What he has done is to create a replicating pattern involving replicating archetypes... so whatever he does with the story, he uses these astronomy patterns - sun kills moon with comet sword, meteor children are born, etc - to create a basic framework with which to weave his story. It's like a skeleton. Anyway, I don't want to ramble on and on, but I am a sucker for talking about writing technique and methodology. Thanks again.

Any specific questions or comments about the interpretatiosnhere? What you do think of the "pirates from Asshai" possibility? 

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Any specific questions or comments about the interpretations here?


Not yet, it's a lot to absorb, so I'm reading it all again :)

What you do think of the "pirates from Asshai" possibility?


Definitely on to something there. I've always felt there was more to the Ironborn than met the eye. This analysis lends weight to that. They seem to always be enacting some ancient, lost ritual with everything they do, without really understanding it: paying the iron price; the 'old way'; Drowning (What is Dead may Never Die). There's something ancient and forgotten about them.

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Not yet, it's a lot to absorb, so I'm reading it all again :)


Definitely on to something there. I've always felt there was more to the Ironborn than met the eye. This analysis lends weight to that. They seem to always be enacting some ancient, lost ritual with everything they do, without really understanding it: paying the iron price; the 'old way'; Drowning (What is Dead may Never Die). There's something ancient and forgotten about them.

 

Yes, I really think they are a bit "underrated" in terms of importance... I think George really likes his fake Vikings, in the same way that he is a bit biased in favor of ice magic and the Starks. In any case, I have found their mythology to be the most rich of anyone in ASOIAF. This essay is only one out of either 3 or 4 essays examining all their legends. They are also the first place we saw the greasy black stone, in Theon's early chapters of ACOK. 

I totally agree about their amnesiac status - everyone does this to an extent, but they really seem to have some interesting stuff which has been forgotten. I really can't wait to rip into the weirwoods / Nagga's bones - Ihave that section written already for the most part, it's really exciting stuff. Why is the biggest weirwood circle in all of Westeros (that we have seen) on the Iron Islands? That in and of itself is a huge mystery which has always gnawed at me. There was a weirwood culture there, but it must have been pre-Long Night. I can't help but wonder if the Iron Isladns were joined to the mainland then, since we have not seen Weirwoods on islands like Dragonstone, the three sisters, etc. The Isle of Ravens sits in the middle of the river Honerwine; I don't think that counts. Point is, I think weirs need to be connected to the mainland, to the earth. That's why they won't grow in the Eyrie - too much stone in between the earth and the trees. With all the ideas of shattering land around the Iron Isles, I tend to suspect the trees date back from the time that they were joined to Westeros. 

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Also, there are 44 weirs in the Old Wyck circle, and 44 islands in the Iron Islands chain. 13 are in the Lonely Light group, leaving 31. 31 is the huber of weirs at the High Heart. Coincidence? Perhaps. But it is suggestive, since those are the only two weirwood circles we see south of the Wall. 

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<snip

I'm very curious what is the meaning behind the idea of the Others not liking iron. 

 

<snip

Puddles once dared The Great Other to put his tongue on some cold iron. ;)

 

I have notes for each section.  So I'll quote the relevant bits.  Might break this into several posts.

 

 

 

------======o)))  Ironborn Theology - Oh So Stormy  (((o======------

<snip

 

Consider: Pyke’s outer curtain wall is described as “a crescent of dark stone that ran from cliff to cliff” in A Clash of Kings – that’s quite moon-like, with the connotation of dark stone indicating the one which was destroyed and made the black bloodstone meteors.  Robert breaks it with his war-hammer during the Greyjoy rebellion, and the first through the breach is Thoros of Myr, with his flaming sword.  Recall also that Thoros’s swords always break after being set on fire, just as Pyke’s “broken sword” point of land may have been broken by a fiery sword meteor.

 

<snip

Do they actually break?  I thought they just warped and were useless after.  

 

I didn't realize there were so many Iron Islands references to broken swords.  The broken sword points (no pun intended) are interesting, especially compared to AA's sword breaking during the tempering in water.  

 

 

 

------======o)))  The Sea Dragon and the Drowned Goddess  (((o======------

 

<snip

 

Putting this together, we see that a stone snake (comet) collides with a red star fire (the fire moon), blood is spilled (three people at the fire for the three dragon meteors), and then the burning brand falls from the sky.  That burning brand is the sea dragon moon meteor which was thrust into the bowels of the sea.   Remembering that the moon is a goddess, the wife of the sun, what we really have here is a Drowned Goddess.  The Drowned Goddess is the one with red star fire that fell into the sea.  She is the Sea Dragon, the Leviathan.

 

Right before the “pounding of the waves = hammer of his god” quote we cited above, the Damphair prays to the waves thusly:

 

My god, he prayed, speak to me in the rumble of the waves, and tell me what to do. The captains and the kings await your word. Who shall be our king in Balon’s place? Sing to me in the language of leviathan, that I may know his name. Tell me, O Lord beneath the waves, who has the strength to fight the storm on Pyke? 

 

Though his ride to Hammerhorn had left him weary, Aeron Damphair was restless in his driftwood shelter, roofed over with black weeds from the sea. The clouds rolled in to cloak the moon and stars, and the darkness lay as thick upon the sea as it did upon his soul. Balon favored Asha, the child of his body, but a woman cannot rule the ironborn.  (AFFC, The Prophet)

 

What Damphair doesn’t realize is that Leviathan is a girl, hah.  That’s why he doesn’t know her name.  His declaration that a woman cannot rule the Ironborn is thus revealed to be deeply ironic.  “Mr. Fishy Patriarchy Man” is actually an unwitting servant of the drowned goddess, in a manner of speaking.  That’s worth a chuckle or three.   ;)

 

<snip

 

 

------======o)))  That Which is Gathered into Folds  (((o======------

 

 

 

As I have mentioned, I suspect the two moons were “Moons of Ice and Fire,” so to speak, with the fire moon being the one which died in dragon childbirth to cause the Long Night, and the white, icy moon being the one which remains.  Considering that dragons seem to be the children or the avatar of this fire moon on earth, the Others would certainly be the avatar of the ice moon – and they are in fact neutered in a sense (like the male leviathan), because they cannot reproduce on their own, and need Craster’s sons to make more white walkers.

 

 

You heard it here first, everyone, this is an official prediction:  In the Winds of Winter, the comet will hit the remaining moon and trigger the fall of a second Long Night.  If I am right that the first moon was a fire-aspected moon, and that our remaining moon is an ice-aspected one, then the dragons that come this time might be ice dragons, in one form or another.  A more likely alternative is that the “ice dragons” that come will simply be the Others and their ice spiders.  A dragon in Qarthine myth may well be an ice spider in Northman myth.  We’re all waiting for the full-scale assault of the Others and the army of the dead, so essentially what I am predicting is that the comet striking the remaining moon will simply be the trigger mechanism… albeit a fairly spectacular one.

 

 

 

We’ve breifly touched upon the tauroctony, that is, Mithras’s slaying of the white bull which was a part of himself.  I’m saving a more detailed look at that for the next essay, but its worth a brief mention here because it’s essentially the same idea.  Mithras sacrifices the white bull, and the bull’s blood flows out into the world and triggers a regeneration of life.  The legend of Lightbringer, to return to the main subject at hand, involves a blood sacrifice in order to end the darkness and bring light and life to the world – this is definitely a major theme that George is working with.  The twist here is the inversion – the sacrifice of the moon seems to have brought only death and destruction… the language of a flaming leviathan crashing to earth.

 

I really love the idea that Aeron's completely missed the Drowned Goddess telling him that Asha should lead them!  

 

Did you know this is one of my pet issues?  We have zero proof that the Others can't reproduce, and we don't know what they do with Craster's sons.  We know they take them...that's it.  One of Craster's wives think they become Others, but we get no indication that she's ever seen the babies being taken or transformed--there is nothing to back up her idea.  I noticed that you used both terms--Others and White Walkers--do you think the two are separate?  And if so, do you think that the babies are used as a blood sacrifice to work the spell that creates White Walkers (which are not human, as evidenced by the fact that they melt when stabbed)?

 

I still don't see how a moonless Planetos would work but as I seem to have misplaced my crystal ball ;) , I can't really offer anything to counter your prediction.

 

Did Gerold "the White Bull" Hightower's death trigger any regeneration of life?  Or do you think GRRM just threw that nickname in for fun?
 

 

 

------======o)))  Some Smelly Fish  (((o======------

 

 

<snip  The only way it could be any more clear is if Old Nan showed up with a copy of Septon Barths Dragons, Wyrms, and Wyverns: Their Unnatural History to read us a bedtime story about sea dragons.
 
Actually, is does get a bit more clear, as someone does directly compare the comet to a fish:
 

Catelyn raised her eyes, to where the faint red line of the comet traced a path across the deep blue sky like a long scratch across the face of god.  The Greatjon told Robb that the old gods have unfurled a red flag of vengeance for Ned.  Edmure thinks its an omen of victory for Riverrun he sees a fish with a long tail, in the Tully colors, red against blue.  (ACOK, Catelyn)

 

 <snip

 

 

Love that bit about Old Nan's bedtime stories. You have a way with words. :D

 

Edmure is wrong.  The Tully trout is silver.  The background is red and blue.  You'd think he'd know his own sigil. *shakes head at Edmure*   Brynden, however, has a black fish.  Which probably means nothing, but it's a fun thought.  Black dragons, white/cream dragons, black wolves/grey wolves/white wolf, black fish/silver fish...

 

Speaking of colors...and storms... The Grey King.  The Greyjoys.  The Stark colors, grey and white.  The Storm God.  Storm's End (designed by the first Stark) and Durran Godsgrief who married the Storm God's daughter (if I recall correctly).  Storm Kings. Kings of Winter. Winter is coming. Blizzards are storms.  Storms at sea.  Kind of seems like these houses were bound to come together in some way involving conflict.  The Durrandon/Baratheons, the Starks, and the Greyjoys.  Robert and Ned.  Theon and Robb.  Stormy friendships that lead to destruction.  Let's hope Stannis and Jon can do better, of course Jon is only half Stark so maybe that will help.

 

You mentioned mermaids at some point...the Manderlys sigil is a mermaid.  I was going to mention this along with colors and storm associations but it didn't quite fit.  But it's interesting that the Manderlys are Stark men even when the Starks seem to be gone, and are tied to Theon as well through Wex.  Lord Wyman may be able to absolve Theon of the worst of his crimes by proving that Rickon at least was not killed.  So he's a tie between Stark and Greyjoy, who has promised to support a Baratheon, pending the Rickon retrieval being successful.  The Manderlys were chased out of the Riverlands. I wonder if it was by the Ironborn back when they claimed that region.

 

 

 

------======o)))  The Folded Black Fire of the Sea Dragon  (((o======------

 

We’ve already seen the association between dragon-steel, comet-steel, black steel, Valyrian steel, etc. and the sea dragon, notably in the last scene with Rhaegal folding and diving into the sea, his scales flashing “as bright as metal in the sun.”  We’ve seen Ned’s Valyrian steel sword Ice made into twin red and black blades, whose appearance is like “waves of night and blood upon some steely shore.”  We’ve also seen that Lightbringer itself is intimately connected with these black bloodstone meteors – the meteors symbolize Lightbringer, and the actual sword Lightbringer was made from the black meteor stone.

 

 

<snip

 

 Nobody knows how the sword came in the possession of House Harlaw, but the Red Kracken himself is an Azor Ahai / Bloodstone Emperor symbol who will receive further analysis in the future – take my word for it, he’s the right guy to be associated with the moonstone Valyrian sword Nightfall.  

 

Aeron Damphair is coming up to Hammerhorn Keep after casually drowning some fanatics:

 

It was long after dark by the time the priest espied the spiky iron battlements of the Hammerhorn clawing at the crescent moon. Gorold’s keep was hulking and blocky, its great stones quarried from the cliff that loomed behind it. Below its walls, the entrances of caves and ancient mines yawned like toothless black mouths. The Hammerhorn’s iron gates had been closed and barred for the night. Aeron beat on them with a rock until the clanging woke a guard.  {…}

 

The hall was dank and drafty, full of shadows. One of Gorold’s daughters offered the priest a horn of ale. Another poked at a sullen fire that was giving off more smoke than heat.  (AFFC, The Prophet)

 

If we were wondering whether the name “Hammerhorn” was supposed to be a clue about the Hammer of the Waters, the Hammerhorn’s spiky iron is clawing at the moon, connecting the idea of the moon being pulled down with hammers and horns and iron claws.  Specifically, the spiky iron is the comet which Aeron beats on the iron gate of the keep with a stone, giving us the rock-hitting-moon motif in a slightly different arrangement. George often gives us a metaphor in more than one form in the same scene just to drive the point across.  Aaron being offered a “horn” of ale in between the sentences about the shadowy hall and the sullen fire is another example of the same technique.

 

<snip

 

The Ironborn supposedly made foul, black, soul-drinking weapons with their black iron, just as blood-drinking and soul-drinking Lightbringer was made from the black bloodstone moon meteors.

 

Inside the keep itself, it’s full of shadows, and lit by a fire that gives off more smoke than heat, which is more or less how I have been describing the magic of the R’hllorists for a long time – more shadow than light.  This “fire which does not give off much light or heat” is a reoccurring motif which always seems to apply to the shadowy, corrupted fire magic that we see throughout the series.

 

Are we thinking that the bloodstone of the series is a fantasy bloodstone?  You keep mentioning the bloodstone and the black meteor stones (and sometimes the oily black stone) as if they are interchangeable terms, but real bloodstone has other colors besides black (most notably red, hence the "blood" part of the name) yet none of the references to either the black swords or the oily black stone mention any red, green, or other colors to be found in real life bloodstone.  

 

Red Kraken. Red sword of heroes. Sounds like a good connection.

 

:lmao: Casually drowning fanatics.  Good one.

 

Aeron's being offered a "horn" of ale is also a bit of historical/cultural accuracy.  The Ironborn are largely modeled on the viking raiders of Scaninavia, and they drank from horns at least for a time.  I'm sure other cultures also drank from horns, but the vikings got more press. 

 

Wait, how can a black steel sword be made from black bloodstone moon meteorite? I seem to be missing something.  Can steel be made from or combined with bloodstone/meteorite?  Maybe I'm overthinking.

 

Could you help me understand how smoke = shadow?  I was thinking that was just a climate-ly accurate detail given that in a damp place it would be hard to find dry wood, and wet wood smokes a lot.  But a double meaning works quite well.  The hall being full of shadows doesn't really have anything to do with the smoke though.  Any keep would be mostly in shadow unless the hearth(s) were suitably huge (or there were enough candles) to really light up the space.  For all that we--read "I"--like to romanticize castles, they are cold, dark places.  GRRM doesn't say the fire doesn't give off much light, but I suppose it could be interpreted that it's implied by the shadows in the hall.  Where the heck are the candles and/or lamps?  The hearth is not supposed to bear the entire burden of lighting the hall.  Poor, overworked hearth!

 

*...to be continued...* 

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