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The Dance of the Krackens

Eldric Shadowchaser and legacies of the Long Night

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Below you will find my thoughts regarding Eldric Shadowchaser and the Long Night generally. Several of these ideas have been espoused by members on this forum, and a couple have been packaged nicely by Yolkboy and Lady Gwyn of the Radio Westeros podcast. My analysis contains a stitching together of disjointed pieces I have read over the years and some fresh ideas as well. Hope you enjoy.

 

Part 1: Eldric Shadowchaser

The world book revealed that the story of the Long Night is ubiquitous in Planetos, with numerous names assigned to the last hero. One name stands out from the rest as uniquely Westerosi. In this analysis, I propose that Eldric Shadowchaser was the progenitor of House Dayne and is intimately related to many institutions in Westeros such as the Night’s Watch, the Sword in the Morning, the Kings of Winter, and the Citadel.

First, let’s examine the name. Apart from its mention in the world book, “Eldric” does not appear in any ASOIAF texts. However, it is very similar to another known Dayne name: Edric. “Shadowchaser” is the far more interesting name. Broken into its individual pieces, it brings the imagery of literally chasing away the shadows, or bringing the light, the morning, the dawn.

“Dayne, who fought with a blade called Dawn, forged from the heart of a fallen star.”

Radio Westeros has put forth the idea that Azor Ahai (Eldric Dayne in my opinion) forged Dawn through the literal heart of a falling star. A maid of Starfall (the seat of House Dayne), Nissa Nissa, was sacrificed to bring the existence of Lightbringer into the world. Lightbringer was the name assigned to the sword during the Long Night. After the Long Night, the blade no longer was required to bring the light, and was renamed “Dawn.” This blade was then yielded by the Sword of the Morning, which is an institution we will explore further later in this analysis.

 

Part 2: Lightbringer, Glass Candles, and Battle Island

Radio Westeros provided the theory that Lightbringer was forged by the folding of dragonglass and iron (hence “dragonsteel”). I concur with this assessment, and would refer you to their podcast rather than layout out the entirety of the reasons behind this. The tl;dr : Sharper than steel, with properties that would make the blade effective against the Others (obsidian) and wights (iron).

I would submit the location for the forging of Lightbringer: Battle Island. We know that significance has been attached to this location. Many have even theorized that the battle for the dawn took place here. I submit that this was not the location for the battle of the dawn, but for the initial victory against the Others.

In Oldtown, we have a few resources that make it a favorable location for an initial victory against the Others:

-Black stone

-Glass Candles

-Lightbringer

 

 First, we have the black stone from the Empire of the Dawn, which is likely a successful deterrent to the Others (Association with Dawn, material selected for the Five Forts, etc.)

We also have Glass candles: “The sorcerers of the Freehold could see across mountains, seas, and deserts with one of these glass candles.”

Glass candles are essentially an obsidian blade which has the added property of broadcasting. In Oldtown, Eldric was able to improve upon the properties of obsidian blades and iron blades by forging a new hybrid.

On Battle Island, the garrison held out against the Others. The existing glass candles brought light and warmth to the defenders, which helped repel the effects of the Others. The victory was then broadcast to all corners of the world which use glass candles. This is how the story of The Last Hero was able to diffuse throughout Planetos. Each corner of the world gave their own name to Eldric Shadowchaser.

 

Part 3: Winterfell, the Wall, and Ice

When the Long Night descended on the Westeros and possibly the world, there was one location in the heart of winter that stood as an island in the sea of destruction. Winterfell (Or rather, a ringfort predating Winterfell) is situated atop a geothermal heat source. The heat helps to repel the Others and protect the inhabitants within.

The geothermal bowels of “Winterfell” also provide an effective weapon against the others: obsidian. The text connects geothermal heat sources to dragonglass (storms end, Valyria). Similar to Battle Island, the conditions are ripe here for an effective defense against the Others.

Eldric, with his new found ability to see across vast distances (thanks to glass candles), journeys north to link up with the defenders in the North.

Here, something big happened. Either a military defeat of the Others, or more likely a cease fire. Although the Others were still winning the war, it became clear that the realms of men had gained the tools to put up a resistance. This, coupled with the logistics of occupying a foreign territory far from the Lands of Always Winter, the Others make a peace agreement with the progenitor of House Stark (possibly Bran the builder.)

 

Later, Bran the Builder with his magical abilities raises a greater castle on the location, and names it “Winterfell” to commemorate the truce.

As part of this truce, House Stark is established as Kings of Winter and Kings in the North. They rule the “buffer zone”, which is the lightly populated area between the Lands of Always Winter and the southron realms of men. This leads to the saying, “There must always be a Stark in Winterfell”.

To manifest this separation in a single structure, the Wall is established with ice magic. This is likely a collaboration between Brandon the Builder and his new allies, the Others.

Fans of the series have argued whether the wall exists to defend against the others, as GRRM repeatedly asserts (and thus is likely a half-truth), or whether the wall was created by the Others to protect against men. I propose a third option – The Wall was constructed as physical separation of the two combatants. The wall is manned the Watch, which is established by the entourage Eldric Shadowchaser brought north to combat the others, and is supported by House Stark.

Lastly, the Stark of Winterfell is gifted a blade by his former enemies. “Ice” is a blade of the Others, second only to Lightbringer. Later, this technology is made outdated by Valyrian steel. The Starks discover this and replace Ice with a new Valyrian steel sword of the same name. The Others are unaware of this technological development and will not expect Valyrian steel swords, which will prove superior to their weapons. Fortunately for them, the doom and passing years has ensured few of these weapons are in existence (200ish in Westeros).

 

Part 4: Institutions to guard the peace

After a great war, institutions are established to maintain an uneasy peace. Our world provides numerous examples of this phenomenon – League of Nations, United Nations, NATO/Warsaw Pact.

Similarly, a few institutions are formed to guard the balance between the Others and men.

First, the Sword of the Morning is established. The descendants of Eldric of Starfall yield Lightbringer in anticipation of any future conflicts. Eldric establishes House Dayne to provide a pool of candidates for the Sword of the Morning.

Second, the Night’s Watch is formed as the “sword that guards the realms of men” in a clear shout out to Lightbringer. The Watch is a neutral body that does not take part in the wars of men.

Third, House Stark is established to mediate the buffer zone. The descendants of this house are infused with the blood of both men and others. In order to guard this pact, “There must always be a Stark in Winterfell”.

Finally, there is an equivalent institution manned by Others. They may be watching for signs of imbalance against them (Starks dying at the hands of fire magic, humans moving too far north, fire magic coming back into the world, etc.) This institution has read the signs and is mobilizing to press its claim to the neutral zone which is being violated.

 

Part 5: Other points of consideration

This section will explore other implications this analysis may have on the text.

 

1.       The return of Dawn to Starfall - After the ToJ, the heir of House Stark returns Lightbringer (Dawn) to house Dayne. In the action of returning the sword, a lady of house Dayne (Ashara) is “Sacrificed” which draws a strong parallel to Nissa Nissa. (I’m not suggesting that Ashara really died from throwing herself off a tower).

 

2.       “If Not for Howland Reed” – Howland has connections to CotF and may be a greenseer. Could he convince Arthur Dayne, Sword of the Morning, that the institutions of House Stark and Dayne will be needed to guard the realms of men? Perhaps he had knowledge of the return of the Others and was able to reconcile the two heirs.

 

3.       Jon’s parentage

 

a.       Heir to the Kings of the North

 

b.      Heir to the Sword in the Morning? There are a few possibilities here. Either Daynes are proto-Valyrians and Jon is a relation through Rhaegar, or Jon could have Dayne ancestry as some have suggested

 

4.       Coloring of house Dayne – Could House Dayne also have relations to the Others? Others have blue eyes and are fair of hair and skin. This, mixed with the dark coloring of the first men could produce intermediate shades: purple eyes and darker platinum (blonde) hair?

 

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I enjoyed reading that and there are certainly some good points for debate there.  I like the idead of Eldric Shadowchaser as a proto-Dayne, but if the name resonates with any Westerosi noble family then I would lean towards the Starks.  To answer your points for consideration in order, I think that:

1.  There is probably something very different about Dawn. It's been mentioned a lot in the story and in ways that allude to it being different to the Valyrian steel swords that we we have encountered so far.  The possibility that it is an important relic from the Long Night and possesses potency against the others in a manner different to Valyrian steel is certainly intriguing.  The sword remains at Starfall ready for the next Sword of Morning to arise and conveniently enough young Edric Dayne is currently roaming the Riverlands ready to carry out worthy deeds...  Returning the Dawn to Starfall could be as simple as Ned's honour compelling him to do it, with the possible added bonus of helping to reconcile House Dayne to Robert Baratheon seizing the throne.  I remain to be convinced about Ashara Dayne and the circumstances surrounding her purported death and remain to be convinced about the Nissa Nissa parrallel.    

2.  This reiterates just how important Howland Reed is and his importance to many aspects of the story.  Meera and (especially) Jojen  Reed clearly possess powers related to that of a Greenseer and I agree that their father is almost certainly a Greenseer.  I also think that he has had some sort of contact with Bloodraven, possibly without realising who it is he is somehow communicating with.

3.  Heir to the King in the North? It would appear so, though if Jon Snow is ever actually accorded the name of Stark or is acclaimed King in the North/King of Winter is subject to the oh so cruel caprices of GRRM and who know how well he likes to utilise mis-direction and dislocation of expectation in his writing to surprise us the readers.  The next Sword of the Morning?  I'm not convinced that we have the evidence for this yet.  This is another thing that we need Howland Reed for and if HE does appear I don't think that GRRM is going to have him sit down and do a fireside Q & A session.

4.  Colouring of House Dayne.  Could be coincidence or the result of inter marriage with historic post conquest Targeryens.  Relations with the others is in my opinion a remote possibility

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The concept that valyrian steal or dawn or dragonsteal are sharper because a brittle substance has been added to them is a misunderstanding of metal/geology.  Metal does not possess a quality of "sharpness" it possesses the qualities of durability and hardness.  Hardness is the quality that allows a blade to be forged/sharpened into a sharper angle while holding that edge when it comes into contact with other objects/blades.  Durability is the quality that allows the entire sword not to snap when it comes into contact with other objects/blades.  Valyrian steal swords/dragonsteal swords,dawn are not sharper because the material is sharper, they are sharper because they are harder, and can hold a sharper edge which is put on the blade.

Edit: Obsidian blades are sharper than steal blades, but they cannot hold their edge against anything hard, and steal blades cannot hold an edge as sharp as obsidian, mixing the two should not lead to a substance harder than steal, if anything the substance would be softer than normal steal, putting it between obsidian and steal.

Edit#2: A quick google search shows that obsidians melting point is lower than that of iron, so the 2 can be mixed, but if your not adding magic to the mix the result would not lead to a solid substance.

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I enjoyed reading that and there are certainly some good points for debate there.  I like the idead of Eldric Shadowchaser as a proto-Dayne, but if the name resonates with any Westerosi noble family then I would lean towards the Starks.

Thanks for your thoughts, Idle Raven. I do agree that the details are fuzzy between (proto) Stark and Dayne roles in the Long Night. Both appear to have been involved in some way. The reason I assign Eldric Shadowchaser to the Dayne camp is because of the name association with bringing light. The Starks, on the other hand, are a group that I imagine had a darker role in dealing with the Others (e.g., marriage pact).

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Nice thread @The Dance of the Krackens I agree with you that Eldric Shadowchaser is the ancestor of the Daynes and maybe even the Starks. Also agree with you that Daynes and Starks are both important in ending the long night , though i think the Starks are more important than the Daynes. Its probably a connection between Stark and Dayne. 

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I think the idea of a Jon Connor (-ington?) style glass candle resistance network is a brilliant idea, and would really explain why all of the different cultures got the same myth at the same time.

Also, I like the idea of Winterfell being the place where a peace deal was signed. People normally associate it with the sight of a decisive battle against the Others: "Winter Fell." However, this post gave me the idea that "Winterfell" is supposed to be more of a parallel for "Westfall" the site a peace deal, the Peace of Westphalia, that set in motion the end of the 30 Years War. The Thirty Years War was a terribly bloody religious conflict that may have wiped out more than 10% of the population of Europe.

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4 hours ago, Kurus said:

I think the idea of a Jon Connor (-ington?) style glass candle resistance network is a brilliant idea, and would really explain why all of the different cultures got the same myth at the same time.

Also, I like the idea of Winterfell being the place where a peace deal was signed. People normally associate it with the sight of a decisive battle against the Others: "Winter Fell." However, this post gave me the idea that "Winterfell" is supposed to be more of a parallel for "Westfall" the site a peace deal, the Peace of Westphalia, that set in motion the end of the 30 Years War. The Thirty Years War was a terribly bloody religious conflict that may have wiped out more than 10% of the population of Europe.

I like the parallell between Westfall and Winterfell. Kudos ! 

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The Starks/North are based strongly in Northern European culture, language, and myth, so I would see Winterfell first as a Germanic word. It translates as "Stone of Winter" (or, more accurately but less succinctly, "Rocky outcrop of winter"). In modern English it can refer to a cliff or hill, or adjectivally as "terribly strong".  All consistent with Winterfell being the northernmost stronghold in the continent.

 

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Ooooooh very nice @The Dance of the Krackens...Ned's adamant resolution to return Dawn to Starfall despite the time constrictions upon him at that point has always bothered me.   There is definitely more here than we are told.  The other thing that's bugged me since TWOAIF became available is the lack of mention of distinct magic attributed to The Starks. Hmm.   Oh yeah, something's going on here between The Daynes, The Starks and their swords.  Dawn is a boss name for a sword to be carried by a character named Eldric Shadowchaser.   I think you're right, there is some great important thing the mysterious Daynes and their bad ass blade have to do yet.    I think it's safe to connect that important thing to The Long Night.   The title Sword of the Evening only comes up once that I recall, again, no real information about what that title really means, either.  Surely that ties in somehow as well?  

Still we know so little and have conflicting information regarding The Daynes, Starks and swords.    In the way back The Starks were not magical that we know.  We are told the Daynes followed matter falling from the sky to the site impact and there built Starfall and presumably, Dawn.    So began the the rites and passages of the Sword of the Morning to great acclaim.  What do we make of the Vorian Dayne, Sword of the Evening and more currently, of Gerold Dayne who claims to be "of the night" at a time when the Starks are in magic overdrive with their myriad gifts and reemergence of The Others?  Yes, I am dancing around The Last Hero with a purpose here.   You specifically quoted 

" Dayne, who fought with a blade called Dawn, forged from the heart of a fallen star.”

I've been looking for this forever.   Where did you find the quote?

All in all this is nice and tidy.    

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