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Astronomy of Ice and Fire: the Language of Leviathan

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Just some heads up..... think the link to Evolett's essay is a bit wonky....brings me to this topic :)


Awesome thanks for the heads up! I'll fix that in one moment... TY

 

ETA: sweet. Here it is again for good measure. 

 

the maiden, the lion, and the weaver girl

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Unravelling Ironborn legend and history is probably the key to discovering a great deal about events that occurred prior to the LN, the actual show down (breaking of the moon) and the immediate aftermath itself, that I don’t doubt at all. That’s the main reason I would take care not to merge so many symbols into one and why I think the Ironborn myths do not tell one single story.

 

Take the sea dragon for instance.

In your scenario, Drowned God = the sea dragon = leviathan = the fire moon = Nissa Nissa = moon rock.  Not forgetting the bones which = fossilized weirwoods.

 

My first reply explains why the sea dragon may be a representation of the original Maiden-of-Light. The dragon itself is a solar symbol and a sun that no longer rises from the backdrop of an ocean may be perceived to have drowned – you may not agree but the idea is not that far-fetched from the point of view of an ancient people.  Besides being a solar symbol, the dragon is also a symbol of wisdom and power, so by ‘slaying’ it the Grey King obtains both authority, the wisdom to teach his people as well as its life-supporting fire - a solar dragon that ‘drowns’ will be wrathful and must be subdued to obtain its benefits. And his starfish table is another representation of the sun, a star.

 

So does the text support the notion of a wise, powerful, life-supporting sea dragon?

 

The Sea Dragon Tower on Dragonstone
- it’s a tower, reaching into the sky

- the top of the tower houses the King’s offices with the Painted Table, his seat of authority

- it also houses the maesters chambers, the seat of learning and wisdom

Sea Dragon Point

- the place Asha would like to make her seat when she puts herself forward as queen, she sees it as a place of peace and plenty. In another passage we learn the location teams with life, both flora and fauna etc.

 

“Peace,” said Asha. “Land. Victory. I’ll give you Sea Dragon Point and the Stony Shore, black earth and tall trees and stones enough for every younger son to build a hall. We’ll have the northmen too … as friends, to stand with us against the Iron Throne. Your choice is simple. Crown me, for peace and victory. Or crown my nuncle, for more war and more defeat.”

 

 

Sea Dragon Point also boasts weirwood circles, which Asha mentions. That brings me to Nagga’s bones and weirwood. Could it be that the symbolic sea dragon and weirwoods share similar qualities? The children are the little wise men of the forest, green men are the wise men looking after the weirwoods and greenseers possess wisdom, as deep as the roots of the trees..

 

A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees

 

The first men attacked the trees with fire and sword, so did the Ironborn; that should come as no surprise. The Ironborn also used the wood to build their longships, the Grey King his hall and throne. Seems to me the Grey King (whom I would agree was a greenseer king) knew the benefits of surrounding himself with harvested weirwood. Dead weirwoods induce visionary dreams. I believe being in their vicinity also prolongs life. In combination with fire, they may be even more effective – at least the resurrection process that revives Beric suggests this (weirwood power + fire magic = an undead with the ability to think and plan as opposed to being a complete zombie) and Beric’s sigil includes the thunderbolt.

 

The Grey King tricked the Storm God, his opponent, into releasing a thunderbolt onto a tree. Does the thunderbolt represent a comet? I don’t think so. It’s too different from a comet to serve as an analogy. It’s pure energy, electrical energy, which when released is converted to another form.  Let’s take a look at the weirwoods in relation to prolonging life – BR sits a tree, a live tree and has merged with the tree. It prolongs his life but the price is being part of the tree. The GoHH lives somewhere around or under the weirwood circle. She’s as old as the hills but isn’t physically tied to the trees. These are the very trees that remember being felled with ‘fire and sword’. The Grey King also lives for donkey’s years. He also burnt the trees and sits on one. More support is needed here but the implication is there – dead weirwoods, killed by fire may prolong life and allow a ‘user’ to remain independent of the tree.

 

 

Another thing concerns the symbolism of the thunderbolt itself. It’s normally applied in terms of divine retribution. Zeus dealt out his lightning to punish. For Jupiter, Zeus Roman counterpart the thunderbolt was a symbol of his authority. He was a ‘divine witness to oaths, the sacred trust on which justice and good government depended’. So all this has to do with wise rulership, just punishment, vengeance etc. Does the comet symbolize this?

 

Or was the breaking of the moon a punishment, divine vengeance for some wrong done to the gods?  
I don’t think so but it’s a fair question which bears thinking about. So, if the Grey King tricked the Storm God into releasing his thunderbolt, then the Grey King was probably punished in some way for his audacity. My guess is he suffered the curse of the Barrow King – a really good theory on the curse was posted by someone here, which I’ll have to look for to reference properly. The sea god and goddess of the wind unleashing storms to annihilate Durran falls in the category of vengeance, imo. I don’t see it as a representation of the cosmic disaster.

 

Anyway, to convince me that the thunderbolt belongs within the symbolism of comets or the LN, means explaining why the Harpy of Old Ghis held one, why the wooden staircase leading to the top of the Wall is in the shape of one and why thunderbolts seems to strike lakes in particular. I don’t have the answer, but a comet metaphor doesn’t gel with me at this point.

 

 

My last bone of contention regards the leviathan = sea dragon. This doesn’t feel quite right to me. The leviathan itself is represented variously as a whale or seven-headed dragon in mythology and the question is, which of these two did the author choose? It seems to me he’s using the whale. First, interestingly, we have three sea monsters mentioned:

 

Krakens, Whales and Dragons mentioned in one sentence, three separate entities

 

Nagga had been the first sea dragon, the mightiest ever to rise from the waves. She fed on krakens and leviathans and drowned whole islands in her wrath …

 

Differentiation here again

 

The eunuch drew a parchment from his sleeve. “A kraken has been seen off the Fingers.” He giggled. “Not a Greyjoy, mind you, a true kraken. It attacked an Ibbenese whaler and pulled it under. There is fighting on the Stepstones, and a new war between Tyrosh and Lys seems likely. Both hope to win Myr as ally. Sailors back from the Jade Sea report that a three-headed dragon has hatched in Qarth, and is the wonder of that city—

 

 

Then there are a number of quotes identifying or suggestive of the leviathan being a whale:

 

Samwell. A new novice, come to see the Mage.”

“The Citadel is not what it was,” complained the blond. “They will take anything these days. Dusky dogs and Dornishmen, pig boys, cripples, cretins, and now a black-clad whale. And here I thought leviathans were grey.”

 

Here's the Yellow Whale, described as a leviathan

 

 “Four,” called a monstrously fat Yunkishman from the litter where he sprawled like a leviathan.

 

“Twelve hundred.” The leviathan in yellow. A slave beside him handed him a drink. Lemon, no doubt. The way those yellow eyes were fixed upon the block made Tyrion uncomfortable.

 

The Leviathan / Whale is the entity connected to blood, tar and oil etc:

 

Two of the ships that had been here yesterday were gone, Cat saw, but five new ones had docked; a small carrack called the Brazen Monkey, a huge Ibbenese whaler that reeked of tar and blood and whale oil, two battered cogs from Pentos, and a lean green galley up from Old Volantis.

 

Ibbenese whalers who reeked of blood and blubber, a pair of bravos with scented oil in their hair, a fat man out of Lorath who complained that Pynto’s booths were too small for his belly.

 

The point is, if we have three different sea monsters, they likely represent three different things. The sea dragon can’t be Nissa Nissa, the moon, Sam and the Yellow Whale all rolled in one. In fact, I think the leviathan as the whale is a valuable clue pointing at the Manderlys (Lord Manderly is very obese). They are another House strongly associated with the sea. They engage in shipping, have a fleet etc. The castle boasts a Merman’s Court, complete with undersea imagery and so on. A comparison of the Manderlys and Ironborn might be enlightening.

 

So, I’m not throwing your baby over board – I agree with most of what you write, falling moon rock and all. But there are some finer points that need looking at, that’s all I’m saying. It would be boring if no one gave you anything to think about  :devil:   :)

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I would simply say that each of the different metaphors for the falling meteors expresses a different aspect. A large part of "stealing fire from the gods" is gaining divine knowledge, the terrible knowledge which man may not even be capable of handling. The lightning bolt symbolizes this, but so does the torch and the falling star.

You keep talking about suns drowning - but suns don't drown in any of these metaphors. Moons drown, and when the moon meteors fall, they appear as falling stars. Suns are stars, yes, but meteorites are falling stars, and that's what all of these stories - all of them - are about, stars falling from heaven. Goddesses falling from heaven. A "starfish" fits right in as a star that went fishing, a goddess that goes swimming. The starfish concept could apply to the sun if we saw a bunch of metaphorical examples of the sun drowning. But we don't, we have moon drowning symbols all over the iron islands, and they also already have furniture that is (hypothesis) made from a moon meteor right on the iron islands - the Seastone Chair. I'm not sure how you would make a table out of a sun which simply sank below the horizon one day and never rose again, even IF that idea was suggested in the text. 

The leviathan aspect describes the effects of the impact of one out of three meteors - the one which fell into the sea. I am well aware of the whales as leviathans - I mentioned that in my essay - because leviathan can be a generic word as well as a specific one. The classic leviathan is a sea dragon. I mean, thats what it is. When damphair prays to the waves to speak to him in the language of leviathan, he isn't talking about whales. That would be a bit silly.

Sam does symbolize the leviathan - check out the scene where he comes out of the well at the Nightfort. First, the weirwoods branches appear to be trying to pull the moon down into the well, where there is water and possibly something lurking in the deeps, and then Sam the leviathan comes UP out of the well and flops around in a "pool of moonlight." That's because the sea dragon was a moon meteorite which fell into the sea, and that was the leviathan. It rose from the sea, just as the ironborn and the Grey King and the Drowned God did.

As for the lightning, I have plenty to say about that, and yes I can absolutely explain the stairway on the Wall, the broken trees the lightning leaves, why Beric has a lightning sigil, why the others's swords are like lightning... the meaning of "A Storm of Swords..." you bet. But we'll just have to wait for that.

I enjoyed the comments about punishment and enlightenment. I believe those are strong themes present on the mix here. All of the characters who stole something from heaven - Durran, AA / BSE, Grey King - they were all attacked by the gods in some fashion. I think that's the punishment for stealing something from heaven.

 

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ETA: here's the Sam coming out the well quote:

 

The well was the thing he liked the least, though. It was a good twelve feet across, all stone, with steps built into its side, circling down and down into darkness. The walls were damp and covered with niter, but none of them could see the water at the bottom, not even Meera with her sharp hunter’s eyes. “Maybe it doesn’t have a bottom,(just like the cold black  lake called the Womb of the World and the cold black pond at Winterfell) Bran said uncertainly.

...

Far, far, far below, they heard the sound as the stone found water. It wasn’t a splash, not truly. It was more a gulp, as if whatever was below had opened a quivering gelid mouth to swallow Hodor’s stone. Faint echoes traveled up the well, and for a moment Bran thought he heard something moving, thrashing about in the water.

...

Bran wriggled closer to the fire. The warmth felt good, and the soft crackling of flames soothed him, but sleep would not come. Outside the wind was sending armies of dead leaves marching across the courtyards (personified trees = greenseers who pulled down the moon) to scratch faintly at the doors and windows. The sounds made him think of Old Nan’s stories. He could almost hear the ghostly sentinels calling to each other atop the Wall and winding their ghostly war horns. (the personified trees are directly equated to sentinels atop the Wall - and I have proposed that the original Nightswatch were undead greenseers or skinchangers. This is the chapter where Sam tells Bran of Coldhands, who I believe to be an undead skinchanger or greenseer NWmen. Jon is about to become an undead skinchanger NW man.) Pale moonlight slanted down through the hole in the dome, painting the branches of the weirwood as they strained up toward the roof. It looked as if the tree was trying to catch the moon and drag it down into the well. Old gods, (the old gods - the greenseers - pulled down the moon, into the water, just as this weirwood is trying to do) Bran prayed, if you hear me, don’t send a dream tonight. Or if you do, make it a good dream. The gods made no answer.

...
Then he heard the noise. His eyes opened. What was that? He held his breath. Did I dream it? (greenseers creating the leviathan again) Was I having a stupid nightmare? He didn’t want to wake Meera and Jojen for a bad dream, but … there … a soft scuffling sound, far off … Leaves, it’s leaves rattling off the walls outside and rustling together (remember the wind in the leaves is how the Old Gods talk to bran in AGOT and Theon in ADWD) … or the wind, it could be the wind … The sound wasn’t coming from outside, though. Bran felt the hairs on his arm start to rise. The sound’s inside, it’s in here with us, and it’s getting louder. He pushed himself up onto an elbow, listening. There was wind, and blowing leaves as well, but this was something else. Footsteps. Someone was coming this way. Some thing was coming this way. 
...
It’s coming from the well, he realized. That made him even more afraid. Something was coming up from under the ground, coming up out of the dark. Hodor woke it up. He woke it up with that stupid piece of slate, (the stone that went splash) and now it’s coming. It was hard to hear over Hodor’s snores and the thumping of his own heart.
 
Quick break from the action to explain who the leviathan-waker Hodor is, at least sometimes (perhaps only when Bran inhabits his mind?):
 
The moon was a black hole in the sky. Wolves howled in the wood, sniffing through the snowdrifts after dead things. A murder of ravens erupted from the hillside, screaming their sharp cries, black wings beating above a white world. A red sun rose and set and rose again, painting the snows in shades of rose and pink. Under the hill, Jojen brooded, Meera fretted, and Hodor wandered through dark tunnels with a sword in his right hand and a torch in his left. Or was it Bran wandering?  (ADWD, Bran)
 
A sword and a torch? Hi there, Mithras! Mithras is of course the biggest single inspiration for Azor Ahai, so this is a pretty clear reference. The word "wander" is used twice to suggest the celestial wanderers.  We see the moon as a black hole, and in the next sentence the ravens "erupt" from the hillside. The next paragraph, which I will not quote, compares the blackness of the abyss, where light is an unwelcome trespasser, to the feathers of the raven - because the ravens represent the black, sun-drinking moon meteors. They erupt when the moon is a black hole (more light-drinking - moon connections). 
 
Returning to our scene, it was Hodor (who is soon to be inhabited by Bran), playing the Azor Ahai role (you knew it was coming sooner or later) who threw the stone into the water and "woke" the leviathan. 
...
From the well came a wail, a piercing creech that went through him like a knife. (Euron's dragonbinder horn splits the air like a sword, a very similar idea) A huge black shape heaved itself up into the darkness and lurched toward the moonlight, and the fear rose up in Bran so thick that before he could even think of drawing Hodor’s sword the way he’d meant to, he found himself back on the floor again with Hodor roaring “Hodor hodor HODOR,” the way he had in the lake tower whenever the lightning flashed. (There is no real reason to mention the lighting strike here except to create this association between the leviathan, moon drownings, and the lightning.  Oh and BTW, the Queenscrown chapter is full of Lightbringer clues, including the idea that the crown of the tower (where the lightning hit) is painted gold in honor of the Targaryen queen who came here with her dragon.) But the thing that came in the night was screaming too, and thrashing (note the same word used to describe the thing down in the water at the bottom of the well) wildly in the folds of Meera’s net. Bran saw her spear dart out of the darkness to snap at it, and the thing staggered and fell, struggling with the net. The wailing was still coming from the well, even louder now. On the floor the black thing flopped and fought, screeching, “No, no, don’t, please, DON’T …” 
 
Meera stood over him, the moonlight shining silver off the prongs of her frog spear. “Who are you?” she demanded. 
 
“I’m SAM,” the black thing sobbed. “Sam, Sam, I’m Sam, let me out, you stabbed me …” He rolled through the puddle of moonlight, flailing and flopping in the tangles of Meera’s net. Hodor was still shouting, “Hodor hodor hodor.” 
...
It was Jojen who fed the sticks to the fire (burning trees) and blew on them until the flames leapt up crackling. Then there was light, (lightbringer swords come after the moon drowns, leviathan emerges from the depths, and trees are burnt) and Bran saw the pale thin-faced girl by the lip of the well, all bundled up in furs and skins beneath an enormous black cloak, trying to shush the screaming baby in her arms. (screaming baby of leviathan maiden = Lightbringer) The thing on the floor was pushing an arm through the net to reach his knife, but the loops wouldn’t let him. He wasn’t any monster beast, or even Mad Axe drenched in gore; only a big fat man dressed up in black wool, black fur, black leather, and black mail. “He’s a black brother,” said Bran. “Meera, he’s from the Night’s Watch.” (the wielder of Lightbringer was eventually the Last Hero, who was a member of the NW)
 
“Hodor?” Hodor squatted down on his haunches to peer at the man in the net. “Hodor,” he said again, hooting. 
 
“The Night’s Watch, yes.” The fat man was still breathing like a bellows. (because swords are forged from the sea dragon moon meteors) “I’m a brother of the Watch.” He had one cord under his chins, forcing his head up, and others digging deep into his cheeks. “I’m a crow, please. Let me out of this.
 
A bit later in this chapter, we see that things falling from the moon can be symbolized as many, many different things, each with different implications.  This one here might very well be a foreshadowing of the ice moon's impending impact by comet:
 
A shadow detached itself from the broken dome above (that's the broken dome of the sky, and the hole in the dome is where the moonlight fell through to puddle on the floor, and the hole through which the weirwood tries to pull down the moon into the well) and leapt down through the moonlight. Even with his injured leg, the wolf landed as light and quiet as a snowfall. The girl Gilly made a frightened sound and clutched her babe so hard against her that it began to cry again. “He won’t hurt you,” Bran said. “That’s Summer.” (the ice moon destruction brings snowfall and the new Long Night, but right around the corner is summer. Just as the last moon destruction also seems to have given us the solution to the problem, it might be the same here. The snowfall comes, but so does summer.)
 
Jon said you all had wolves.” Sam pulled off a glove. “I know Ghost.” (Ghost and Jon are going to be at the center of the new Long Night events. Ghost may be sacrificed to resurrect Jon, just as the wolf in this scene represents the ice moon (?) falling from the sky like a snowfall.) He held out a shaky hand, the fingers white and soft and fat as little sausages. Summer padded closer, sniffed them, and gave the hand a lick.  (ASOS, Bran)

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Let's also recall that the very first symbolic representation of the meteor shower - the moon meteors, not just the comet - was the thousand dragons pouring forth from the moon's cracking. If dragons = moon meteors, the sea dragons = moon meteors landing in the ocean. Don't overthink it, I would say.

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I'm putting the finishing touches on my revised Black and Bloody Tides essay, which will focus on moon drownings. A small preview:

 

Seek the hill of Nagga and the bones of the Grey King’s Hall, for in that holy place when the moon has drowned and come again we shall make ourselves a worthy king, a godly king.” He raised his bony hands on high again. “ Listen! Listen to the waves! Listen to the god! He is speaking to us, and he says, We shall have no king but from the kings moot!  (AFFC, The Prophet)

 

This is a great quote because it has, in rapid succession, the following ideas: 

  • the hill of Nagga the sea dragon
  • the moon downing
  • the drowned moon coming again
  • the idea that their god is under the sea
  • the god speaks through ocean waves
  • a king will be made when the drowned moon reappears

We've also seen that the pounding waves, the voice of their drowned god, can also be a hammer:

 

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)

 

The following quote was included in the OP, but the analysis below did not, and is being edited into the OP. 

 

God's hammer? That's the one which throws lightning, surely. It's also the one which makes iron dragons.  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. 

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Unless there is more, I don't interpret this to be ruling out the possibility of the dragon bond being related to greenseer magic. It doesn't seem that the dragonlords skinchange their dragons - that's not what I am suggesting. I am suggesting that the GEotD was using greenseer magic of some sort when they bonded with dragons. It may have been mutated, akin to the magic that might have created the Others - a one time act of magic used for the "wrong" purpose. Or maybe the original dragon bond WAS skinchanging, but the Bloodstone Emperor, who seems to have generally twisted all of the GEotD magic and culture, warped or twisted this bond into the "blood of the dragon" crossbreeding experiments, whatever those were. The Valyrians would be using the BSE's form of the GEotD magic, so they used binding spells and those awful, awful horns. 

 

It's possible the targaryens went back to an older version of dragonbonding once they came to Westeros - the targaryens are never said to have used or possessed on of those horns. They had to consensually bond with their dragons - the dragons can choose to say "no," or even "you look appetizing." Those dragon horns are basically psychic rape. 

 

George's quote almost seems to imply that warging a dragon COULD in fact happen, just that it hasn't in known history. Of course if anyone does this, it will be Jon or Bran.

Don't forget Bloodraven, who has a lot more practice than either Jon or Bran.  And he's already a symbolic dragon.

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Don't forget Bloodraven, who has a lot more practice than either Jon or Bran.  And he's already a symbolic dragon.

 

Oh, true that. I was just kind of assuming he was mostly done with action - he exists to teach bran, I figure Bran will do the heavy lifting. But maybe a kamikaze - like suicide dragon skinchanging mission? That would be going out in style. Hah. 

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the pre-thousand islands island... or penninsula was also hit by this kind of moon meteorite


You know, I always assumed that was a case of sea level rise, but you could be right. I do think sea level has risen since the Long Night - the entire planet seems to be warming, and large parts of the east are drying out. I think this is due to the severing of the land bridge at the Arm of Dorne, because prior to that severing, the Shivering Sea and Summer Sea did not connect.

The isolation of the Shivering Sea likely means that the northern hemisphere would have been very, very cold indeed. I suspect everything above the neck would have been more like the far north in this time.

The Long Night was a kind of nuclear winter, when it got very cold for a short time, but after this cleared up, the planet seems to have been warming. That's stands to reason, as ocean currents have a HUGE effect on climate, and George has intentionally designed a land bridge which is placed in a position to isolate the seas from one another.

The 1,000 islands have stone carvings below the tideline - if this were real archeology, we'd say that indicates they were carved before the sea level rise to cover the elevation. That's likely the case here, but we can't rule out more exotic explanations because this is fantasy fiction.

The other notable thing is that the inhabitants are fish-like people, which fits with fishy people on Toad Isle in the Basilisks, the Sisterton fishy people, and the stories of Ironborn descent from Deep Ones. I certainly think all these fishy culottes indicate that Deep Ones did interbreed with humans - but I don't think it was pleasant. those 1000 people are TERRIFIED of the water. Mithras has pointed out that it may be the case that those fishy stone idols under the tideline might exist as a warning to the people living on the islands. "Don't come back in the water or we will fuck your shit up." The Seastone Chair was originally found on the shore of Old Wyck - perhaps it's a similar deal. Left on the shore by Deep Ones as a warning.

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Oh, true that. I was just kind of assuming he was mostly done with action - he exists to teach bran, I figure Bran will do the heavy lifting. But maybe a kamikaze - like suicide dragon skinchanging mission? That would be going out in style. Hah. 

That's exactly what I'm thinking.  Bloodraven needs Bran because he knows his days are numbered.  Second life in a dragon, fly into the Heart of Winter to end the threat once and for all.  I also think Tyrion will volunteer for this mission and get as drunk as he can, thus he'll need BR's help with the steering.

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That's exactly what I'm thinking.  Bloodraven needs Bran because he knows his days are numbered.  Second life in a dragon, fly into the Heart of Winter to end the threat once and for all.  I also think Tyrion will volunteer for this mission and get as drunk as he can, thus he'll need BR's help with the steering.

 

 

Independence Day style world rescue mission, lol. And then we discover that whatever is behind the curtain of light is really an alien spaceship which sends daughter 'comets' to harvest Planetos' natural resources every 77 years. Area 51 would be Winterfell, the Black Knights the Night's Watch, Will Smith as Jon Snow.

 

Just joking - but it wouldn't surprise me if aSoIaF is really a si-fi novel in disguise ;)

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E = PC?

[spoiler]Evolett = Preston Jacobs?[/spoiler]

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[spoiler]No, my own creative mind, sparked by the thought of Tyrion heading for the Heart of Winter on his very own living missile ;)[/spoiler]

 

I'm sure I can come up with a suitable theory^^

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Iron is for raven craft, copper for astronomy, and Valyrian steel for the higher mysteries. I'm working on those certainly, but what I really want is in the vault... or at least it was, until my man stole the key... 

 

Now if you'll excuse me, I am late for for the star singing atop the scrying tower... 

I love reading your essays, and this reminded me of something. Old Nan says that the Others hate iron, and throughout the books iron is noted as being for raven craft, but when Jon is talking to Aemon about Sam becoming a steward, he mentions that black iron is for warcraft. I've never found this mentioned anywhere else, and had no idea if it meant something. Any ideas?

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OK finally read through in detail. Another killer bit of discussion!

 

General comment: your theories a starting to need a wiki of their own, or at least an index/reference guide! So many images and cross-refering interpretations to keep in mind.

 

Ironborn origin myths

 

We've talked about this before, I think you rightly point out the contradictory nature of the Ironborn origin myths.

 

Clearly, a pre-Long Night “weirwood culture” (“the tree”) existed on the Iron Islands. The Long Night (“the storm”) ended it: most likely by severing the physical connection to Westeros (as you pointed out elsewhere) but also because the incoming cultural influences associated with the Long Night (being the seafaring GeoDawnians) overpowered the remnants of the broken native culture.

 

Longships as Lightbringer

 

There’s no evidence that seafaring had any relevance to the Ironborn before the Long Night. This all changes if the Long Night made them island-dwellers, instead of mainlanders, by destroying the land bridge to Westeros. The arrival of the GeoDawnians conveniently provided the means to overcome their newfound island isolation: being advanced seafaring (celestial navigation / starry wisdom).

 

So, in a sense, the longships of the Ironborn are like the sword that Azor Ahai forges: folded steel millennia before the technology was “discovered” in the proper course. Steel was an incredible advantage to whoever wielded it. This is similar to the advantage that longships would offer in a civilisation that doesn’t have advanced seafaring: the Ironborn ships are weapons (incredibly advanced, unmatched weapons), more than they are just a way to get across water.

 

The Storm forged the Ironborn into reavers armed with longships

 

So the Ironborn origin myth has to capture a devastating destruction (the meteor hitting Old Wyk, the “storm” as the Storm God’s wrath), but one that at the same time marked the beginning of the “true” Ironborn culture. So the destruction of the original Old Way (the weirwood religion) was recast as a victory won by the Drowned God’s champion, the Grey King.

 

The destruction of the Long Night gave them fire: they say literally, but in a metaphorical sense it also “put the fire in them” by forging them into the reavers they became. And of course by putting longships at their disposal. This may be at the root of the Ironborn’s conflicted origin story: was the destruction/moon drowning a disaster, or a necessary and hailed step in the forging of the Ironborn?

 

 

Greyjoy Rebellion

 

I think you’re spot on that this is an even re-enacting one of the schematic plot points.

 

But is there more it can tell us? The Ironborn rebelled against their rightful king, and that screams “usurpation” – a common theme in the Long Night mythos. But if you flip that around: their “rightful” king – the king they swore fealty to - was a Targaryen (certainly not Robert the horned Storm King: at least in the Ironborn context, everything is wrong about him).

 

The BSE (the “fire dragon”) once gave the Ironborn their culture, their seafaring, which gave them a way out of the destruction of the Long Night (the “storm”). In a real sense, the Dragon delivered them from the Storm. Let’s ignore the fact that the BSE may have “caused” the storm as well, and was likely a conqueror rather than a liberator – it just goes towards the moral ambiguity of these characters. One culture’s villain is another’s hero.

 

Anyway, when Robert overthrew the Targaryens, it’s a symbolic victory of the Storm over the Dragon: the Long Night come again? Could the Ironborn do anything but rebel? 

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OK finally read through in detail. Another killer bit of discussion!

 

General comment: your theories a starting to need a wiki of their own, or at least an index/reference guide! So many images and cross-refering interpretations to keep in mind.

 

 

Thanks very much LPC, for reading and for the comments. :)  

I have been thinking about making a reference table for symbolic equivalencies, something like that. It is a lot to hold in you rheas - the problem for me is that my research is out in front of my actual finished essays, so I have to pay attention to whether or not I have introduced a specific symbol or not.  It's tricky!

 

 

Ironborn origin myths

 

We've talked about this before, I think you rightly point out the contradictory nature of the Ironborn origin myths.

 

Clearly, a pre-Long Night “weirwood culture” (“the tree”) existed on the Iron Islands. The Long Night (“the storm”) ended it: most likely by severing the physical connection to Westeros (as you pointed out elsewhere) but also because the incoming cultural influences associated with the Long Night (being the seafaring GeoDawnians) overpowered the remnants of the broken native culture.

 

Longships as Lightbringer

 

There’s no evidence that seafaring had any relevance to the Ironborn before the Long Night. This all changes if the Long Night made them island-dwellers, instead of mainlanders, by destroying the land bridge to Westeros. The arrival of the GeoDawnians conveniently provided the means to overcome their newfound island isolation: being advanced seafaring (celestial navigation / starry wisdom).

 

So, in a sense, the longships of the Ironborn are like the sword that Azor Ahai forges: folded steel millennia before the technology was “discovered” in the proper course. Steel was an incredible advantage to whoever wielded it. This is similar to the advantage that longships would offer in a civilisation that doesn’t have advanced seafaring: the Ironborn ships are weapons (incredibly advanced, unmatched weapons), more than they are just a way to get across water.

 

The Storm forged the Ironborn into reavers armed with longships

 

So the Ironborn origin myth has to capture a devastating destruction (the meteor hitting Old Wyk, the “storm” as the Storm God’s wrath), but one that at the same time marked the beginning of the “true” Ironborn culture. So the destruction of the original Old Way (the weirwood religion) was recast as a victory won by the Drowned God’s champion, the Grey King.

 

The destruction of the Long Night gave them fire: they say literally, but in a metaphorical sense it also “put the fire in them” by forging them into the reavers they became. And of course by putting longships at their disposal. This may be at the root of the Ironborn’s conflicted origin story: was the destruction/moon drowning a disaster, or a necessary and hailed step in the forging of the Ironborn?

 

 

This is really terrific analysis here Lord Pepsi.   :bowdown:  This is an entirely different manifestation of the same pattern, another way in which the metaphor is true. I love it... Sometimes it's hard for me to see stuff like this because I am thinking about astronomy and myth... but yeah, but the Longships as a kind of advanced technology and the forging of the Ironborn themselves are apt interpretations of the broader metaphor of their mythology. 

 

 

 

Greyjoy Rebellion

 

I think you’re spot on that this is an even re-enacting one of the schematic plot points.

 

But is there more it can tell us? The Ironborn rebelled against their rightful king, and that screams “usurpation” – a common theme in the Long Night mythos. But if you flip that around: their “rightful” king – the king they swore fealty to - was a Targaryen (certainly not Robert the horned Storm King: at least in the Ironborn context, everything is wrong about him).

 

The BSE (the “fire dragon”) once gave the Ironborn their culture, their seafaring, which gave them a way out of the destruction of the Long Night (the “storm”). In a real sense, the Dragon delivered them from the Storm. Let’s ignore the fact that the BSE may have “caused” the storm as well, and was likely a conqueror rather than a liberator – it just goes towards the moral ambiguity of these characters. One culture’s villain is another’s hero.

 

Anyway, when Robert overthrew the Targaryens, it’s a symbolic victory of the Storm over the Dragon: the Long Night come again? Could the Ironborn do anything but rebel? 

 

 

The tricky thing here is that the the "Storm God" seem to have much in common with the dragons - it'a the storm god who flings the thunderbolt, the fire from heaven, and the ravens are "servants of the storm god."  Euron serves the Storm God, and he's playing the role of conquering pirate / BSE, I believe. Dragons are "fire and air," so I think those two go together, but it's hard to say what the rules are. But as for the horned man, that's a very complex symbol. Remember that the greenseers are supposed to have called down the hammer, but the BSE caused the Long Night. If the BSE AA was a horned greenseer, the dark version of Garth, thence might have an explanation for those two different ideas about who caused the Long Night. The point is that the symbolism of the Baratheons is tricky to decode - there are three of them, and they all go through different kinds of transitions.  But as far as the idea of Robert as the one who wields a war hammer, this would be the greenseer who represents the ones who called down the Hammer of the Waters. Robert, as a horned god, does not represent cotf... he's much more like a sacred order of green men horned person.  Robert is also the most famous "usurper" in the books - that's basically his nickname, "the usurper." That would put him in the role of BSE. In other words, Robert represents the Bloodstone Emperor (Azor Ahai) AND the sacred order of green men stag person, and he wields the hammer in all the symbolically relevant places.  This would all make sense if Azor Ahai was a horned greenseer, wouldn't it?

 

Renly goes even farther with this, with his dark green armor and golden horned helm really making him look like a green man (they had green skin and antlers). But "resurrected" Renly's horns are blazing with fire, and he leads an army of demons - against his brother Stannis. So who's who here? Is Stannis the Night's King, or Azor Ahai? He's kind of like AA turning into the NK, so it's hard to say. But Renly with his golden flaming antlers and green armor leading a host of demons sure sounds like AA the fiery greenseer. 

 

We are told about two version of ancient Garth the Green - one where he is sacrificed every year touring the spring, and another one where he DEMANDS sacrifice instead to turn the seasons. Perhaps we have two horned gods, kind of like an Oak King and Holly King situation. 

 

One last thing - when we are decoding metaphors with Ironborn, we may need to stop and determine if it is talking about the conquering ironborn or the native ironborn.

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One last thing - when we are decoding metaphors with Ironborn, we may need to stop and determine if it is talking about the conquering ironborn or the native ironborn.


I don't think there were any "native" Ironborn: they were just First Men. When the meteor hit, they would have suffered huge losses, but the survivors then mixed with the arriving GeoDawnians, to "forge" the Ironborn.

The Goodbrothers (incidentally the only living family to produce more kings than the Greyjoys) are descended from the GK's leal eldest brother - saying they didn't get his wife's "merling" genes. Perhaps representing the original First Men who didn't marry the arrivals, but accepted the Drowned God. The ones who didn't accept him became the very first thralls (slaves; thanks again BSE).

The Grey King taking a mermaid to wife... hmm, there's that hybrid stuff again. And the western-most Ironborn, the Farwynds, are of course the most obviously "merling"-blooded; pretty clearly pointing to something come from the west. I wonder if it was the GeoDawnians as such that came to the Iron Islands at all, or only an army/navy of the BSE's hybrid human-fish people. There's no gemstone eyes and those tell-tale signs among the Ironborn to suggest traditional GeoDawnian descent... but there's webbed feet associated with merlings.

As for the dragon/storm stuff: I was looking at it through Ironborn myth only, where the storm is the enemy, and the Grey King who defeated it was the dragon. The myth is a one-sided interpretation precisely because it fails to acknowledge the storm-dragon connection (ie the dragon caused / is the storm).

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Great job, LmL. It is really enjoyable to read. Concerning swords - or I've missed it or it wasn't mentioned - the valiryan steel sword of house Harlaw, Nightfall. We know from Wiki the sword has a moonstone pommel and that Dalton Greyjoy took Nightfall from a dead corsair, but it is unknown how the sword passed to House Harlaw. Could the part of taking this sword from a dead corsair (pirate) be another replay of ancient history and thus another evidence for the part of BSE had been defeated at Battle Isle and his sword taken?

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Heh, I think Nightfall and the pirate lord are both in there in LmL's essay ;)

Yes? I suppose it missed me. Didn't have time to read the whole essay at once, so I've read part to part in a couple of days instead. :-(

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