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LmL

Waves of Night and Moon Blood: Mythical Astronomy of Ice and Fire podcast, episode 3

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Hey there friends, LmL here! Time for a new Mythical Astronomy-like substance! "I can't believe it's not astrophysics!" Well, it's definitely not. 

In this episode, we are going to try to unravel the following: the flood that came during the Long Night, moon blood and a maiden's flowering; Oathkeeper's waves of night and blood; Melisandre's black and bloody tide, Jon Snow's rivers of black ice and Drogo's oily river of darkness; starry cloaks and decapitated bulls; dragon eclipses, lunar eclipses, and solar eclipses; dark stars and black hole moons; black iron roses and black iron ravens. We'll also ponder the possibility of an undead Azor Ahai and his army of zombies, not to mention undead Night's Watch brothers. We'll even wave hello to a few gods and goddesses, and get some divine blood on our hands.

As per my new format, the podcast matches the essay, so you can listen or read as suits your pleasure. Here's the full essay, and here is the podcast (which can also be found on iTunes). 

I'll post the first few sections here just to get it started:

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WAVES OF NIGHT AND BLOOD

Let’s continue with our quest to find the truth of the Bloodstone Emperor Azor Ahai and Lightbringer.  In the last installment, we listed all of the mythical associations of bloodstone, also called heliotrope, and began to explore each one, correlating each “property” or association of bloodstone to an aspect of the Long Night moon catastrophe remembered as the forging of Lightbringer.  The premise is simple – George gave us the story of a dark lord who supposedly caused the Long Night, and he named him the Bloodstone Emperor, so I looked up the associations of bloodstone, and they seem to match everything I was already discovering about the Long Night and Azor Ahai.  I found that bloodstone’s proper name is heliotrope, from the Greek words meaning “sun” and “to turn.”  That’s interesting by itself, because those two names give the stone immediate associations with blood and the sun… in other words, blood and fire. We know that the two key elements of Lightbringer are blood and fire – blood sacrifice to light it on fire, to be exact – and we’ve seen the comet described as a bleeding star or a burning star, and also as the terrible red of blood and flame and sunsets.  Similarly, the moon meteors are coated in moon blood and then burnt by the sun as they drink the sun’s fire.

As you can see, bloodstone, also called heliotrope, makes for a great analog to the concepts George seems to want to work with for Lightbringer and objects which symbolize Lightbringer, like meteors and dragons.   Because comets are basically flying stones, the idea of the red comet as the bleeding star really matches well with the idea of a bloody stone.   And in this way, we can see that the myth of the Bloodstone Emperor causing the Long Night is a nice parallel to the red comet – the bleeding stone – causing the Long Night.

We’ve already covered several of the specific mythical associations of bloodstone and heliotrope.  We took a look at the magical properties of bloodstone as the Warrior’s stone and a stone used in magical warfare between ancient sorcerers or Egypt and Sumeria, which fits with the idea of the Bloodstone Emperor worshipping the black stone and working dark magic.  We saw that it’s associated with aiding astral travel and communication with the celestial realms, ideas which seem to manifest as the Bloodstone Emperor’s creepy starry wisdom church that he started.

We spend quite a bit of time discussing the idea of bloodstone as a stone consecrated with the blood of a sacrificed god; in particular, the blood of the moon goddess which coated the bloodstone meteors.  This idea is represented in the Azor Ahai myth by the idea of Nissa Nissa’s blood coating Lightbringer as it took fire.  We saw that bloodstone is associated with causing lightning and thunderstorms, a reference to the firestorm of swords and the thunderbolt of the Storm God in the Grey King myth.  Finally, we examined bloodstone’s associations with blood, poison, and snake venom, and by doing so we learned that the poisonous snake is one aspect of Lightbringer and the black bloodstone moon meteors.  This also strengthened the identification of the magically toxic oily black stone as some kind of bloodstone – moon meteor stone itself, or perhaps stone burned black in the fiery explosion of a moon meteor impact.

I’ve saved a lot of the coolest bloodstone ideas for this essay, so let’s get started.

 

Pliny the Elder, Bloody Sun Mirrors, Eclipses, and Sun-Drinking

The name “heliotrope” (from Greek ήλιος helios, “Sun,” τρέπειν trepein, “to turn”) derives from the ancient belief that bloodstone had the ability to bend and alter the sun’s reflection.  The source of this information is Pliny the Elder’s Natural History:

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Heliotropium is found in Æthiopia, Africa, and Cyprus: it is of a leek-green colour, streaked with blood-red veins. It has been thus named, from the circumstance that, if placed in a vessel of water and exposed to the full light of the sun, it changes to a reflected colour like that of blood; this being the case with the stone of Æthiopia more particularly.  Out of the water, too, it reflects the figure of the sun like a mirror, and it discovers eclipses of that luminary by showing the moon passing over its disk.

Based on this quote, probably the most well known concerning bloodstone / heliotrope, this section will discuss three main concepts: bloody sun mirrors, darkening or drinking the sun, and eclipses.  All of these ideas kind of work together, as they all have to do with turning the sun in some way.  The bloodstone submerged in water turns the color of the sun’s reflection to that of blood – meaning, it darkens the sun’s light.  Out of water, it reflects the sun like a mirror – now the bloodstone is turning the sun’s light by bending and refracting it.  Eclipses represent a darkening of the sun, and we see that bloodstone can not only darken the color of sunlight, but also discover eclipses.

All three of these concepts also describe qualities and actions of the bloodstone moon meteors – that’s the whole point of talking about them, of course.

First, bloodstone is a sun-mirror, a stone which reflects the light of the sun.  That makes for a great correlation with the moon itself, which only shines with reflected sunlight.  After the moon kisses the sun and explodes, its meteor children the drank the fire of the sun, which also speaks of the sun shining on to the bloodstone.

Next we have the association with eclipses.  This idea is pretty simple – in order for the moon to be perceived as “wandering too close to the sun,” and in order for the comet to look “connected” to the sun and create the image of a sun holding a comet sword, we need an eclipse alignment at the moment of impact.  Thematically, too, the moon explosion blots out the sun, eclipsing it for the duration of the Long Night.  We talked about the idea of the Bloodstone Emperor representing the darkened solar king and the Lion of Night.  Just as Azor Ahai becomes the Bloodstone Emperor by destroying the moon, the actual sun becomes a darkened sun when the moon explodes and hides its face.  This idea of a darkened sun spills out into various related ideas about shadow and drinking light, black fire or shadow fire, etc.  Anything which darkens or drinks light, anything which inverts the bright qualities of fire and light – these ought to put us in mind of the Bloodstone Emperor Azor Ahai, Lightbringer the black sword, and the bloodstone moon meteors.

The third idea, the submerged bloodstone darkening the sun’s light to the color of blood seems like a good fit with the notion of a bloodstone moon meteor which drinks the sun’s fire and lands in the ocean.  The bloodstone is said to darken the sun’s reflection to the color of blood – and since we are dealing with black blood instead of red blood when we speak of the moon’s fire transformation, we get stones covered in black blood instead of red.

To really fit the description, our black bloodstones need to be submersed in water.  This would take the form of the island-drowning sea dragon which the Grey King supposedly slew, I believe – if falling meteors can be perceived as dragons, then a meteor which falls into the sea and triggers tsunamis would make an excellent sea dragon.  The island drowning makes sense, since this legend comes to us from a people who live on islands which probably used to be connected to the main land.  A large moon meteor impact anywhere near the Iron Islands would produce horrible tsunamis which would wash over the entire area, likely killing thousands and reshaping the land.  It’s the kind of event which would be remembered in local myth, as the sea dragon Nagga certainly is.

This deadly flood tide is associated with blood on two counts.  First, it was triggered by the drowning of the moon – the impact of bloody moon meteors in the ocean.  Secondly, the ensuing flood itself can be perceived as a blood tide – specifically, a tide of moon blood.

We’re going to be tackling quite a lot of symbolism, so keep in mind that there are three actual, physical, non-metaphorical things which we are really talking about: the moon meteors, the floods they caused when they landed, and the darkness that they caused when they landed.  We’re kind of always talking about the original Azor Ahai and Lightbringer, that’s a given, but keep the meteors, floods, and darkness in mind as we go along.

I believe there is an overarching Lightbringer motif of blood and darkness, and of red and black, and that it pertains to the floods and darkness triggered by the meteors in particular.  It appears in three slightly different forms: the black and bloody tides, waves of night and blood, and streaks of red fire and rivers of black ice.  In the process of showing the next several mythical associations of heliotrope and bloodstone, we will tackle these three symbolic motifs, and we will try to learn more about the meteors, the floods, and the darkness…. because that’s what Lightbringer has to offer us.

 

The Dark Tide of the Moon

We’ve seen that symbolically speaking, the moon bleeds and burns when it is stabbed by the Lightbringer comet, and the blackened “moon blood” then coats the black moon meteors.  This makes them bloodstones in the sense that they are now consecrated with the blood of the dying moon goddess.  Lyanna’s bed of blood symbolizes this perfectly – it’s the place where the moon maiden dies, bloodying the stones, but also the place where Azor Ahai reborn and Lightbringer emerge from (Jon Snow in this case).  So to for the bleeding and burning heart of Nissa Nissa – the scene of her death, and the birth of Lightbringer.  Like the meteors, Lightbringer is covered in Nissa Nissa’s blood as it is born.  But the moon blood is not done – oh no.  The symbol of the moon blood does not end with bleeding on the bloodstones, meteors, and swords – it also represents the floods triggered by the sea dragon impact, the drowning of the moon.

The idea of a bloody tide caused by a bloodstone meteor fits well with the idea of a bloodstone creating the image of blood in the water which we saw in Pliny the Elder’s quote just now.  Stick a bloodstone in the water, and you get blood in the water, that’s the idea.  But of course it’s not just blood in the water, but a dark, bloody tide.   This is like a trumped up version of the fact that the normal tides are produced by the moon’s gravity.  Moons in the sky produce normal tides, but drowning moons produce bloody tides.  The image here is of blood in the water, a bloody stone in the water, etc.  I actually think Melisandre’s vision of a dark tide in A Dance with Dragons contains clues about this:

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Visions danced before her, gold and scarlet, flickering, forming and melting and dissolving into one another, shapes strange and terrifying and seductive. She saw the eyeless faces again, staring out at her from sockets weeping blood. Then the towers by the sea, crumbling as the dark tide came sweeping over them, rising from the depths.  

And later in that chapter, when she’s describing her vision to Jon Snow:

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“I saw towers by the sea, submerged beneath a black and bloody tide.”  

 

I mentioned last time that the tops of towers and mountains can be used to symbolize the celestial realm, and so a crumbling tower can certainly symbolize a falling heavenly body, as it did at the long-fallen Tower of Joy.  The towers by the sea in Mel’s vision are submerged by the bloody tide, which also recalls the bloody stones of the Tower of Joy – both are crumbled towers covered in blood.  The Tower of Joy symbolized the moon death and the forging of Lightbringer, and I believe this vision does so as well.  To corroborate this conclusion, check out the clear Lightbringer symbols with which this vision ends:

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Through curtains of fire great winged shadows wheeled against a hard blue sky. 
. . .

A thousand red eyes floated in the rising flames.
. . .

The red priestess shuddered.  Blood trickled down her thigh, black and smoking.  The fire was inside her, an agony, an ecstasy, filling her, searing her, transforming her. Shimmers of heat traced patterns on her skin, insistent as a lover’s hand.

 

These ideas all have terrestrial meanings – Mel is literally seeing dragons flying, a likely reference to Dany’s dragons fighting the Others,  and the thousand red eyes refer to Bloodraven’s “thousand eyes and one,” (there’s also a mention of his wooden, corpse white face to go along with it).  But these ideas also have celestial meanings as well – the thousand red eyes surrounded by flame is our thousand dragon meteor shower, and the dragons as winged shadows is a reference to the black dragon meteors which bring darkness, which in turn relates to the concept of eclipsing the sun.

The black blood and the fire inside someone are flashing red lights indicating fire transformation, which refers to both literal fire transformation as Mel undergoes here and Beric does elsewhere, as well as the more symbolic fire transformation of the moon.  The agony and ecstasy language is a specific callout to Nissa Nissa’s cry of anguish and ecstasy, and the fire which is like a lover implies the procreative side of the Lightbringer myth.  We’ve covered these ideas before, and I point them out here to firm up the conclusion that this vision is talking about the forging of Lightbringer.  Even better, Mel begins the vision by wishing for one more glimpse of Azor Ahai, and ends it by musing:

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I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R’hllor shows me only Snow.

Having established this vision as a Lightbringer metaphor, let’s go back to the beginning where we see the skulls weeping blood and the black and bloody tide rising from the depths and sweeping over the crumbling towers by the sea.  In addition to the idea that the tops of towers and mountains can be used to symbolize the celestial realm, I would suggest that the tops of people – heads and crowns – can serve the same purpose.  Decapitation or throat-slitting can therefore symbolize the fall of a moon or heavenly body.  This also fits with the idea of the sun and moon sometimes being perceived as heads with faces, both in A Song of Ice and Fire and in the real world.  The sun and moon are like very, very tall people with invisible bodies, in other words.

The eyeless skulls in Mel’s vision, therefore, would seem to symbolize dead and fallen heavenly bodies, which would be our fallen moon, and the bloodstone meteors that came from the moon.  Their sockets weep blood, suggesting that the black and bloody tide in the vision is coming from the eyes of the skulls.  This would also seem to put the skulls in the position of the moon meteors.  When they land as sea dragons, the dark tide rises from the depths.  That’s our Long Night tsunami.  It’s a flood that is symbolically perceived as blood because it came from the death of the moon, and is triggered by the bloodstone moon meteors.  If those thousand red, fiery eyes can be meteors, then the eyeless skulls also speak of a moon with its eyes torn out.  The idea of the sockets weeping blood also speaks of the blood tide coming from the moon itself, since a decapitated skull – singular – can represent the dead moon.  And later in this chapter, they find the decapitated heads of three Nightswatch brothers stuck on spears of ash wood:

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Where their eyes had been, only empty sockets remained, black and bloody holes that stared down in silent accusation.

A head mounted on a spear makes for a great comet symbol, and it’s one Martin has used a few times.  The shaft of ash wood creates the image of a trail of ash behind the head of the comet, while the head represents the actual meteorite, just as the eyeless skulls do.  And just as the eyeless skulls of Mel’s vision weep the black and bloody tide, here we see the empty sockets of the severed heads are black and bloody holes.  This is what I meant about Martin’s use of symbolism being internally consistent – he often gives us different versions of the same symbol in close proximity so that we can piece everything together.  The black and bloody sockets even “stare down” at Jon and the rest, like stars falling from the heavens.  The black and bloody tide first falls from the heavens, and then it rises from the depths – this is that two part association with the blood tide that I was referring to – first, bloody meteors fall from the sky, then they trigger a bloody tide from the ocean.

Lightbringer is like the fat kid at the pool doing a massive cannonball off the diving board, except the pool is filled with blood and everyone dies.  Well, almost everyone.  That’s what you get for calling people fat, that’s really mean and you should have known better.  Totally inappropriate.  So the moon is a little round – it’s just big boned, you know?  Festively plump.

Martin often seems to hide complementary symbols and concepts in his sigils and house words, particularly of obscure houses.  For example, there’s a house Blacktyde on the Iron Islands.  We know of two Blacktydes: Baelor Blacktyde, and Blind Beron Blacktyde, one of Aeron Damphair’s drowned men.  Their sigil is an interlocking pattern of black on green, creating the image of black tides flooding green lands.  This idea manifests again with Baelor Blacktyde:

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Nightflyer was seized, Lord Blacktyde delivered to the king in chains. Euron’s mutes and mongrels had cut him into seven parts, to feed the seven green land gods he worshiped.

A black tide to feed the green lands, once again, and associated with sacrifice.  Baelor being cut apart to make the black tides is very similar to the moon being cut up to make black bloodstone meteors.  Those moon meteors were night flyers all right, just like the name of Baelor’s ship.  Damphair himself prophesies about this dark tide in A Clash of Kings:

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Aeron Damphair raised his arms.  “And the waters of wrath will rise high, and the Drowned God will spread his dominion across the green lands!” 

As for Blind Beron the drowned man, we’ve just been given the image of the moon’s eyes being torn out and its sockets weeping the black and bloody tides, as well as the moon being drowned to unleash the dark tide… and here we see a drowned, blinded man who is a black tide.

We’ve seen eyes weeping tears of blood in a well known scene, of course, and that was Lyanna’s statue weeping blood in one of Eddard’s dreams.  And that brings us right back to the Tower of Joy once again, yet another parallel between it and Mel’s vision of the black and bloody tide.  Both have the bloody stones and crumbling towers, as well as Jon Snow, who was almost certainly born at the Tower of Joy in Lyanna’s bed of blood and who appears to Mel in her vision when she seeks Azor Ahai.

The fact that Lyanna, the dying moon maiden, is associated with tears of blood strengthens the idea that the eyeless skulls weeping blood represent the bloody moon meteors, the corpse of the dead moon goddess.  The parallels between this vision and the Tower of Joy are a good indication that Mel’s vision also refers to the moon’s death and the forging of Lightbringer.  And indeed, the idea of the bloodstone meteors triggering a black and bloody tide which rises from the depths is exactly what we are looking for, according to my premise that George is working with Pliny’s notion about submerged bloodstones creating bloody water.

As a follow up to the idea of the skulls as meteor symbols, I’d like to point out that Melisandre repeatedly sees the skulls surrounding Jon Snow, who is of course a dark solar king figure.  He’s Azor Ahai reborn, and his servants are the deadly meteors, his dragons woken from stone, and so they surround him:

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The flames crackled softly, and in their crackling she heard the whispered name Jon Snow…. But the skulls were here as well, the skulls were all around him.

…and then again later in the same chapter:

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Skulls. A thousand skulls, and the bastard boy again. Jon Snow.

Of course the meteor shower is often depicted as a thousand of something, or some version of that.  It was a thousand thousand dragons in the Qarthine myth, and occasionally it’s ten thousand of something, but a thousand is the most common.  So what we are seeing here is the dark solar dragon surrounded by his thousand skull meteor children.

The same motif is repeated in the very same vision with Bloodraven, who appears as a corpse face surrounded by a thousand fiery eyes.  I’ve mentioned that Bloodraven seems to be playing into the Bloodstone Emperor Azor Ahai archetype, and we will continue to explore the ramifications of this in the future, but for now I just want to point at the consistent groupings of symbols – Jon Snow surrounded by his thousand fiery or bloody skulls, and Bloodraven surrounded by his thousand fiery eyes.  Also, notice the watery language of Bloodraven’s eyes in Mel’s vision: it says “A thousand red eyes floated in the rising flames.”  That’s very similar to the blood tide of skulls rising from the depths that we saw in that same vision.


Moons and Sickles, The Tauroctony, and the Remaking of the World

The dark tide can come from eyes and eyeless sockets, but it also comes from decapitation, as is implied by the bodiless skulls as symbols of the dead moon and its moon meteor children.  Bran’s vision of Ser Gregor as a stone giant with an empty helmet in A Game of Thrones is instructive: behind the visor there is only darkness and thick black blood.  This foreshadows Gregor’s literal beheading and the blackening of his blood through the Red Viper’s poison spear, but it also gives us the black and bloody tide motif again, and associated with decapitation.  As we’ll see when we break down the Mountain and Viper trial by combat, Ser Gregor the Stone Giant is a tremendous moon symbol.  That’s right – not all moon symbols are feminine, and not all solar characters masculine either.  Nymeria, who brought the sun sigil to Dorne and sat in the sun shaped throne, is a good example, and of course we talked about the Maiden Made of Light of eastern legend being a representation of the bright face of the sun.  Male or female, it makes no matter – decapitating a moon character leads to darkness and black blood, another way of saying “black and bloody tide.”

We’ve made a habit out of referring to Mithras near the beginning of each essay, and it seems we need to do so again.  Many of the Azor Ahai and Lightbringer ideas are drawn from Mithras, and the idea of a blood tide covering the earth is to be found in his story as well.  Besides rock born Mithras with his sword and torch, the other very famous depiction of Mithras – the one which he appears in in over 60% of all Mithras statues – is called the Tauroctony, the slaying of the white bull.  This is a highly astronomical scene, packed with symbolism – just the sort of thing we go for around here!  As Mithras slays the bull, the sun and moon look down in favor, and the twelve constellations of the zodiac usually frame the scene.  The bull, as well as the scorpion, dog, and snake in the scene are thought to refer to constellations.  The exact meaning of the scene and its various elements are the subject of much scholarly debate, but it’s well known that observation of the stars was a central part of Roman Mithraism – they’ve even been called an astronomy cult.

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Here are the important parts of the Tauronctony, the ones which pertain to Lightbringer’s forging and Azor Ahai’s rebirth.  First, Mithras looks away from the bull as he cuts its throat, because the bull is a friend to Mithras and actually represented a part of Mithras himself – just as Ghost the white direwolf is a part of Jon (yes, this is somewhat ominous).  Mithras has to kill the bull to be reborn, and the bull’s blood represents the life giving force, bringing life to the earth – the blood is sometimes depicted as ears of wheat to indicate the bounty of the harvest.  The blood of the sacrificed bull renews the world, and allows Mithras to be reborn.  There are other myths involving the slaying of a great monster – sometimes a dragon or serpent – that brings a global flood which transforms the world.  But we know George is already drawing on the Mithras lore, and so I suspect this might have been the place where he got the notion of symbolizing the flood as a blood tide.

Unfortunately, where Mithras is a solar king, Azor Ahai is an inverted solar king, and so the blood tide unleashed when he sacrificed the moon did the opposite of renewing the world and bringing life – it brought the Long Night, darkness and death.  The Worldbook speaks of the Great Empire of the Dawn legend and says that the world which survived the Long Night was “a broken place where every tribe went it’s own way, fearful of all the others..” There’s also a reference to this idea of remaking the world as Tyrion and Haldon Halfmaester overhear the preaching of the red priests in Selhorys, who say that Benerro has decreed Daenerys to be Azor Ahai reborn, and that she was born from smoke and salt “to make the world anew.”  I suppose that “remaking the world” can cut both ways, but I’m pretty sure Azor Ahai’s remaking will involve a fair amount of blood and fire.

Let me share a bit of indigenous North American folklore concerning a comet remaking the world.  This information is from Graham Hancock’s newest book, Magicians of the Gods, which I very highly recommend, and I’m also borrowing here from an editorial he wrote for DailyMail.com about the book.  It turns out that in the real world, scientists have recently discovered evidence that the 1,200 year mini-ice age known as the Younger Dryas which lasted from 10,800 BCE to 9,600 BCE might have been triggered by a comet impact over the North American Ice Sheet.  A Long Night indeed – the comet seems to have broken apart and made multiple impacts along the northern ice sheets, destabilizing them.  As a result, large parts of the continent were simply erased with basically unfathomably violent flooding, and the ocean received vast amounts of ice cold water, which disrupted the ocean currents.  The atmosphere was also clouded with vaporized ice and tremendous amounts of debris – stop me if you’ve heard this one before.  The clouded sky and changed ocean currents kicked off a significant climate disruption, one which drove much of North America’s megafauna to extinction.  Essentially, George’s Long Night triggered by a comet is a very compressed version of this chain of events triggered by the Younger Dryas comet (as it’s now being called).

It’s nice to have science to tell us what happened ten thousand years ago, but the native peoples have seemingly kept alive stories of this event for that whole period of time (again, stop me if this sounds familiar).  I’m going to cite two in particular but there are many, many similar stories spread across North America.

The Brulé people of the Lakota nation in modern-day South Dakota have a legend of a  

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‘fiery blast [that] shook the entire world, toppling mountain ranges and setting forests and prairies ablaze . . . Even the rocks glowed red-hot, and the giant animals and evil people burned up where they stood.  The rivers overflowed their banks and surged across the landscape. Finally, the Creator stamped the Earth, and with a great quake the Earth split open, sending torrents . . . across the entire world until only a few mountain peaks stood above the flood.’

The Ojibwa people of the Canadian grasslands refer to a comet called the Long-Tailed Heavenly Climbing Star which swept low through the skies, scorching the Earth and leaving behind ‘a different world. After that, survival was hard work. The weather was colder than before.’ 

Ojibwa shaman Fred Pine says 

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“It came down here once, thousands of years ago. Just like a sun. It had radiation and burning heat in its tail.  It was just so hot that everything, even the stones, were cooked. The giant animals were killed off. You can find their bones today in the earth. It is said that the comet came down and spread his tail for miles and miles.”

This legend gives us a good idea of the kind of damage a comet or meteor impact can have.  They can literally set the entire sky on fire at temperatures that melt stone.  They leave behind a different world when they visit the earth,  just as Azor Ahai reborn will remake the world, and just as the Long Night left behind a broken world.

These descriptions could just as easily apply to the Long Night.  However, if George had given us myths this clear, it would have been too easy; so he’s made it just a bit more obscure by doling out pieces of the disaster in separate legends.  There’s so much going on in the story that you don’t really focus on the folktales, but when you line them up as we have done and will continue to do, you can see a picture almost as clear as the quotes we just read:  “The moon cracked open and the bleedings stars came down to earth like dragons and brought blood and flame everywhere they went, drowning islands and waking thunderous giants in the earth, hammering and breaking the world and blotting out the very sun.  The cold that came after was unstoppable and killed everything that the burning stars had spared.”

Also, notice in the above quote that the comet was “just like a sun” – a second sun, you might say, or perhaps “the sun’s son.”  The second sons are a sellsword company, of course, and Quentyn is described by Quaithe as the “sun’s son,” because he’s a child of House Martell, with their sun sigil.  I have a feeling those are all references to the comet – the sun spear – being like a second sun in the sky, as the Ojibwa myth describes their comet experience.

Just as the Dothraki say that one day the other moon will kiss the sun and crack as the first one did, the Ojibwa prophesy a return: 

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‘The star with the long, wide tail is going to destroy the world someday when it comes low again.’ 

 So not only has this myth shaped the past of the Ojibwa and other peoples of North America, it continues to shape their perception of the future.  As you can see, George’s use of mythical astronomy which we’ve been chasing down in all of these podcasts has plenty of precedent in the real world.  I believe that George is essentially showing us a medieval society without the advantage of modern science to explain what happened 10,000 years ago –  all we have is the folklore and scattered bits of hard evidence, just as we did until very recently.  The moon destruction scenario is remembered all over the world, but George has cleverly hidden it in the folklore and legends and then has been sure to heap plenty of scorn on “anything heard at a woman’s tit.”  But it’s all right there, as we’ve been discovering – the moon’s sacrifice lead to tides of blood and darkness.       

Let’s return to the Tauroctony and Mithras’s slaying of the white bull whose blood remakes the world.  It’s easy to correlate the slain bull with the moon because after Mithras kills the white bull, it actually becomes the moon… simple enough.  The moon and the bull are sacrificed, and a blood tide washes over the earth – the correlation between the Mithras story and the Long Night story is striking.

The association between the moon and horned animals like cows, bulls, stags, boars, and goats is actually one of the most widespread notions in all of world mythology.  When the moon is a crescent, it’s called a “horned moon,” because it resembles the horns of these sacrificial animals.  In Egypt, lunar deities like Isis are depicted with cow horns to denote their lunar associations.  The Egyptians also have a tradition of slaughtering the sacred bull, which they called Apis.  His blood and sacrifice was also associated with harvest and fertility, and with the rebirth of the dead king – again, just as with Mithras and the White Bull.  Even more interesting is the idea that Apis was conceived by a ray of sunlight, while his mother was supposedly conceived by a flash of lightning from heaven, or by moon beams.  This is all right in the wheelhouse of the Lightbringer meteors – conceived by sun and moon, fallen to earth like a thunderbolt.  It’s just the kind of myth that George would find useful, and be able to rope into his evolving mythos.

It’s also no coincidence that at Jon’s birth at the Tower of Joy, we find a white bull being slaughtered – Ser Gerold Hightower, the white bull.  That’s a pretty great shout-out to the Mithras legend.  Calling Gerold a tower is even better, as it alludes to the heavenly realms.  Better still, the light of the Hightower’s beacon is described in A Feast for Crows as “a hazy orange moon.”  It seems like George has gone out of his way to equate the white bull with the moon, and the sacrifice of each with the birth of Azor Ahai reborn.

There’s another shoutout to this idea when Arya is getting her tour of the various temples in Bravos, which is where we found another Mithras reference last time, that of three headed Trios.

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Beyond it, by the canal, that’s the temple of Aquan the Red Bull. Every thirteenth day, his priests slit the throat of a pure white calf, and offer bowls of blood to beggars.”

So, in the temple of the bull, we slit the throat of a white calf, and people drink the blood as nourishment, or perhaps asa way to invoke divine favor.  That’s a very close analog to the Tauroctony.  Lest we forget, Lightbringer the sword supposedly drank Nissa Nissa’s blood, which is why we see blood drinking ideas here and there.

The curved horns of the bull evoke the crescent moon, but they also evoke the curved knives which were often used in ritual sacrifice.

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The moon was a crescent, thin and sharp as the blade of a knife.

Four times in Bran’s final chapter of A Dance with Dragons, we get this description of the moon.  That chapter is basically a montage, with the moon descriptions breaking up each mini-scene.  The chapter concludes with this vision:

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Then, as he watched, a bearded man forced a captive down onto his knees before the heart tree. A white-haired woman stepped toward them through a drift of dark red leaves, a bronze sickle in her hand. 

“No,” said Bran, “no, don’t,” but they could not hear him, no more than his father had. The woman grabbed the captive by the hair, hooked the sickle round his throat, and slashed. And through the mist of centuries the broken boy could only watch as the man’s feet drummed against the earth … but as his life flowed out of him in a red tide, Brandon Stark could taste the blood. 

 

So there’s the blood tide unleashed by sacrifice, echoing the bloody tide unleashed by the sacrifice of the moon.  The sacrifice in Bran’s vision takes the form of a throat slitting, and with a sickle-shaped blade – a thin and curved blade, just like the crescent moon.  We’ve also got the blood drinking again, as with Aquan the Red Bull.

We find another slaughtered bull in A Dance with Dragons in the form of Little Walder (the big one).  He’s the one who’s mysterious murder sets off the Freys and Manderlys in Roose Bolton’s Winterfell.  “He was butchered like a hog..” says Ser Hosteen Frey.  The thing is, in an earlier chapter in the same book, during Ramsay and Jeyne’s travesty of a wedding, the mists play tricks with Theon’s eyes and he perceives everyone strangely… and Little Walder appears in the form of a red bull.  No matter what color bull, it seems the fate is the same – cold butchery.

There’s a matching story in The World of Ice and Fire about one of the children of Garth the Green –  Bors the Breaker, who founded House Bulwer.  Supposedly Bors “drank so much bulls blood he grew a pair of shiny black horns,” and this bulls’ blood supposedly gave him the strength of twenty men.   Again we see the same ideas – horns, sacrificing bulls, drinking their blood, and a kind of transformation.  The shiny black horns of course put us in mind of the black dragonbinder horn that demands blood sacrifice to operate, which is entirely in keeping with the theme here.

The tale of Bors the Breaker and House Bulwer creates a tie-in to Mel’s black and bloody tide and the decapitated heads on spears with their black and bloody holes for sockets – one of the heads belongs to Black Jack Bulwer, descendent of Bors.  That serves a direct equation between the idea of a severed bull’s head an a moon meteor, since the heads on spears represent the decapitated moon.  Black Jack’s eyeless head shows us a decapitated moon bull becoming a black and bloody moon meteor, in other words.   I don’t know about you, but these clever little links between scenes with the same symbolism amuse me to no end.  It’s basically like a little treasure hunt, to find all the links between occurrences of the various motifs.

So now, consider Jon Snow, and the Azor Ahai archetype in general as a parallel to Mithras, which we’ve mentioned many times.  Mithras is a solar figure, just as the Azor Ahai is, excepting that Azor Ahai is an inverted, dark solar figure.   Jon has a white animal familiar, Ghost, who is a part of him, just as the white bull is a part of Mithras.  The white bull is sacrificed in order to resurrect Mithras… so… (akward silence)… it may be that Jon’s resurrection will come at a heavy price.  As a silver lining, however, I’ll mention that Jon’s spirit is expected to be stored inside of Ghost for time before his body is resurrected, and when a warg’s spirit does this, it begins to merge with the wolf.  In other words, I think that it’s likely that if this scenario comes about, what we will see is the wolf body being sacrificed, and the merged Ghost-Jon spirit will be transferred back to Jon’s resurrected body.  So it’s not quite as sad, if that turns out to be the case.

Unfortunately, there’s a bit of foreshadowing of this when Arya is down in the underbelly of the Red Keep in A Game of Thrones, in the chamber of the dragon skulls.  She recalls a time when Robb led the other kids down into the Winterfell Crypts:

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Old Nan had told her there were spiders down here, and rats as big as dogs. Robb smiled when she said that. “There are worse things than spiders and rats,” he whispered. “This is where the dead walk.” That was when they heard the sound, low and deep and shivery. Baby Bran had clutched at Arya’s hand. When the spirit stepped out of the open tomb, pale white and moaning for blood, Sansa ran shrieking for the stairs, and Bran wrapped himself around Robb’s leg, sobbing. Arya stood her ground and gave the spirit a punch. It was only Jon, covered with flour. “You stupid ,” she told him, “you scared the baby.”   

So that’s ghostly Jon, the walking dead, a pale white spirit who makes a shivery sound… It’s GhostJon.

Going back to the scene of the three eyeless heads on spears, one of which is Black Jack Bulwer, we see more foreshadowing:

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His huge white direwolf prowled around the shafts, sniffing, then lifted his leg and pissed on the spear that held the head of Black Jack Bulwer.

Aww, no, Ghost, not the one with the decapitated bull’s head, sonuva… Say it ain’t so, Ghost!

There’s actually a lot of foreshadowing about Jon’s resurrection in general, so a dedicated study of all of those scenes is called for and might yield more clues about how it’s going to go down.  For now I refer you to Radio Westeros episode 6, “Jon Snow, Only the Cold” or the matching essay on their page, which deal with the mechanics of Jon’s potential resurrection and the foreshadowing which indicates it.  That’s one of my favorite episodes right there.  While we were talking about Mithras slaying the white bull to be reborn, I had to mention the parallel with Jon Snow and Ghost.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news… but like I said, merged GhostJon is probably going to kick some serious ass, so there is that.

Now, where were we…  bloodstone, bloody stones in the water, bloody tides from sacrificed moons… got it.  Here’s one more little fun tidbit regarding bloody moons and sacrifice.  On the Iron Islands, we find House Wynch, whose sigil is a bloody crescent moon on a field of purple.  A winch is a thing which pulls heavy objects out of place – we’re going to need a very big winch for the moon, of course, but that’s another essay.  And that sigil – it’s a crescent moon which is literally in a bed of blood.  Said another way, a moon crescent could be seen as a blade made of moon – flaming sword moon meteors, in other words, the moon stones which were covered in blood, like the crescent moon of House Wynch.

House Winch really does not do anything important in any of the novels, nor even in Ironborn history.  Literally the only noteworthy thing that George has written about them is their sigil – and I suspect that’s because their sigil IS the important thing about them.  A bloody crescent moon is easy to understand, given what we’ve just looked at concerning sickles and crescent moons and blood sacrifice, and attached to the word winch, it speaks of pulling down the moon.  The purple background may be meant to remind us of the Amethyst Empress and Daenerys, the purple-eyed moon maidens.

The real-world phenomena of a blood moon is the result of the moon passing through the earth’s shadow, a kind of reverse-eclipse where the earth is eclipsing the moon. I’m not sure if this is part of George’s thinking, but it’s interesting and so I thought I would mention it, because it ties together bloody moons and eclipsed moons.

So, we’re almost ready to start making bad menstruation jokes – we are talking about “moon blood,” after all – but not quite yet.  That will come later when we talk about the idea of a maiden “flowering.”  To be honest, I may not need to make any bad jokes; Martin is already having a field day with this.  As it is, we can see why he chose to refer to a women’s monthly visitor as “moon blood,” as it makes for a useful metaphor to give us hints about the moon’s sacrifice during the Long Night.

In all seriousness, my purpose here is to introduce the concept the black and bloody tide as being parts of the Long Night shit-storm of magical and metaphorical disasters, and to show how it’s directly related to moon sacrifice.  We’ve seen it come from eye sockets and eyes, as well as decapitations and throat slitting.  We’ve seen it come from the sky and from the depths.  Bloody swords and bloody moons and bloody stones. Bloody blood, everywhere.  It’s like some kind of lunar abattoir.  Who else feels like they need to wash their hands?  See what we’re really doing here is learning the secrets of the bloody bed.  This is what Mirri Maz Duur had to go through – tons of of bloody symbolism.

I know I said I’d hold off on moon blood jokes, but I’m serious – the bloody bed and the bed of blood are the same thing.  Lyanna’s bed of blood is associated with her death, but it’s where Jon is born.  Mirri Maz Dur says she “learned the secrets of the bloody bed” as a way of referring to midwifery, while the Damphair thinks to himself that the world is a cold place where “women brought forth short-lived children from beds of blood and pain.” It’s a core element of the Lightbringer monomyth, death and life.  It’s George’s own take on the idea of the sacrificial bull whose blood renews the world.  The bull dies, but he was a part of Mithras, and Mithras is reborn.  Remember that Jon’s blue rose in the chink in the Wall “fills the air with sweetness” – perhaps there is a renewal on the way, even though the first blood tide seems to have brought death and destruction.

 

Rivers of Ice and Darkness

While we’re still talking about Jon Snow, I think he’s got his own version of the black and bloody tide.  We discussed it last time – the red fire and black ice Jon thing, which is made up of two parallels scenes: his dream of being armored in black ice and wielding a burning red sword, and this optical illusion which appears in the cracks in the Wall:

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Jon Snow turned away. The last light of the sun had begun to fade. He watched the cracks along the Wall go from red to grey to black, from streaks of fire to rivers of black ice. Down below, Lady Melisandre would be lighting her nightfire and chanting, Lord of Light, defend us, for the night is dark and full of terrors . “Winter is coming,” Jon said at last, breaking the awkward silence, “and with it the white walkers. The Wall is where we stop them. The Wall was made to stop them … but the Wall must be manned.

I interpreted the astronomy as follows: streaks of red fire turning to black ice as the sunlight disappears and people talk of white walkers and defending the Wall is a representation of fiery meteors streaking down to land and cause massive floods during the Long Night.  As you can see, that sequence fits very much with the black and bloody tide ideas, and I think it supports the idea that the rivers of black ice and black and bloody tide motifs do in fact refer to real floods – the rivers of black ice really sound like a flood.  It might be portrayed as icy because one of the meteors impacted a glacier in the north, as with the Younger Dryas comet here on earth, or perhaps it’s a cold flood simply because it came during the Long Night, a prolonged winter.

continue reading... (look for the "Rivers of Ice and Darkness" section)

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Still sailing the Rivers of Ice and Darkness, but wanted to pop in with a thought on tauroctony:

If my memory serves, during the ritual re-enactment two people stand to either side of the ditch, within which are the celebrant and the bull, holding either poles with the heads of a dog and a snake or two torches, one rightside up and the other reversed.

Sounds enough like comet imagery to me.

 

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11 minutes ago, hiemal said:

Still sailing the Rivers of Ice and Darkness, but wanted to pop in with a thought on tauroctony:

If my memory serves, during the ritual re-enactment two people stand to either side of the ditch, within which are the celebrant and the bull, holding either poles with the heads of a dog and a snake or two torches, one rightside up and the other reversed.

Sounds enough like comet imagery to me.

 

Something like that, although I can't claim to have been to any live Mithraic mystery reenactments. ;)

Do you listen or read, @hiemal?

 

Tauroctony_Heddernheim.jpg

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This one is great because you really have it all: the sun looking on in favor, the starry cloak, the zodiac, the torch bearers, all the animals.. 

Mithras-slaying-the-bull.jpg

By the way the one torch up and one down, I believe, refers to the same thing as this:

Baphomet.png

Which is to say, mercy and justice. One tempers the other. Mithras, in his rock-born pose, has the sword and torch to represent death and rebirth, which is somewhat similar. Ties into the greater theme of harmony and balance. 

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I love that picture with the torchbearers. It really does show it all- although the scorpion on the bull's nuts is unclear I think I can live without it.

I'm a reader. Listening is too slow for me, hehe.

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You should check out the acast thing!  I've only listened to House Dayne Part 2 on it, but it's pretty sweet having the pictures show up while you're listening to the podcast!

TBH, I don't know anything else about it (cost and whatnot), but I did enjoy it!

And now I will turn on your episode and start working!

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6 hours ago, LordToo-Fat-to-Sit-a-Horse said:

New essay, awesome. always loved Mithras/Jon analysis.

I´ll have to reread before commenting

 

Thanks Lord2LeFat2Quit! (there's you new screen name when you get tired of your current one). I actually only realize yesterday that I neglected to clearly point out that Mithras has a freaking starry cloak!  Good lord!

4 hours ago, Jak Scaletongue said:

You should check out the acast thing!  I've only listened to House Dayne Part 2 on it, but it's pretty sweet having the pictures show up while you're listening to the podcast!

TBH, I don't know anything else about it (cost and whatnot), but I did enjoy it!

And now I will turn on your episode and start working!

Aziz was telling me about that... my traffic is picking up a lot and I am chewing up my bandwidth on podomatic, so I'm considering looking at other options. I'll check that one out.

I'm going to start doing youtube videos too - short, condensed bits and pieces from my larger essays. That way I can take advantage of the visual aspect to show diagrams and whatnot. 

2 hours ago, Durran Durrandon said:

I'm liking the consolidation of the blood tide material.

Sweet, yeah I felt like it worked really well organized this way. That's lways the biggest trick, organization. Everything "bleeds" into everything else, so after I finish a breakdown of a given scene, there's always a question of which idea it leads into the best. Plus, these scenes have many different symbols in them - so do I use a given scene to demonstrate the lightning, or as an example of the eclipse? If I'm breaking down a scene with an eclipse, but one that also has a "sun spear" symbol - but I haven't introduced the "sun spear" idea yet - then I have to choose whether to ignore it for now and come back to the scene later, or stop to introduce the sun spear. It's very easy to go in 8 directions at once, and then it's unreadable. 

Hopefully i am learning to do a better job of maintaining clear thought flow through. It's lead to a lot of reorganizing of my older material, but I think it's been for the better. Reading things out loud also helps me think about the best way to say things, how long an idea is stored in someone's mental "on deck circle" before the thread is lost, how much sidetracking I can do without losing the main idea, etc. It's definitely been a lot of fun. :)

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4 hours ago, hiemal said:

I love that picture with the torchbearers. It really does show it all- although the scorpion on the bull's nuts is unclear I think I can live without it.

I'm a reader. Listening is too slow for me, hehe.

It's some statement on fertility, no doubt. There is a specific answer. Anytime you see something super weird or painful like that, it's usually symbolic. Nobody actually had their balls stung by a scorpion, I'm pretty sure. 

One thing about listening is that you can get other things done. Go clean your garage and let me read to you in my dulcet LmL tones. Plus my wife reads the quotes (on the first 2 anyway) and she has a lovely voice. Plus I do some funny voices - I'm particularly proud of my "strangled, undead guy" voice that I pulled out for Lord Beric. ;) In the newest one, I whipped out some Ghost of High Heart and Damphair prophesying.

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12 minutes ago, LmL said:

 

Aziz was telling me about that... my traffic is picking up a lot and I am chewing up my bandwidth on podomatic, so I'm considering looking at other options. I'll check that one out.

I'm going to start doing youtube videos too - short, condensed bits and pieces from my larger essays. That way I can take advantage of the visual aspect to show diagrams and whatnot. 

 

I watched/listened to another on acast since I wrote my comment - it's about braiding hair!  I'm not a video person so I kind of liked the mix between podcast and pictures.  Generally, I'm a reader too, like hiemal - I don't "learn" things properly on a video as I do reading with diagrams but this acast thing is a really nice "in-between" for me.  And, @hiemal, LmL's right - I can do dishes AND get his newest essay all at the same time!  It's fabulous!  I really, really love podcasts for exactly that reason!  And Dan Carlin, of course.  Listen to Dan Carlin's Hardcore History and you'll never second-guess podcasts again!

9 minutes ago, LmL said:

It's some statement on fertility, no doubt. There is a specific answer. Anytime you see something super weird or painful like that, it's usually symbolic. Nobody actually had their balls stung by a scorpion, I'm pretty sure. 

One thing about listening is that you can get other things done. Go clean your garage and let me read to you in my dulcet LmL tones. Plus my wife reads the quotes (on the first 2 anyway) and she has a lovely voice. Plus I do some funny voices - I'm particularly proud of my "strangled, undead guy" voice that I pulled out for Lord Beric. ;) In the newest one, I whipped out some Ghost of High Heart and Damphair prophesying.

That's your wife!  She's awesome!  Make sure you tell her that too!  And try to convince her to do more, she's great! Your voices are fine too :D

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56 minutes ago, LmL said:

It's some statement on fertility, no doubt. There is a specific answer. Anytime you see something super weird or painful like that, it's usually symbolic. Nobody actually had their balls stung by a scorpion, I'm pretty sure. 

One thing about listening is that you can get other things done. Go clean your garage and let me read to you in my dulcet LmL tones. Plus my wife reads the quotes (on the first 2 anyway) and she has a lovely voice. Plus I do some funny voices - I'm particularly proud of my "strangled, undead guy" voice that I pulled out for Lord Beric. ;) In the newest one, I whipped out some Ghost of High Heart and Damphair prophesying.

It sticks in my mind not just for the sympathetic pain it brings, but because the scorpion is such an unusual sacred animal and one we don't see a whole lot of in ASoIaF (it suggests Dorne and possibly the Daynes to me). As for the fertility aspect, I agree- and it becomes even better in some reproductions of the tauroctony that show the wound bleeding flowers.

 

I suppose at some point I'll have to join the modern age and start listening to podcasts, but I'm still resisting the smart phone thing...

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Forging my tinfoil link at the Citadel <--- I just saw this!  That's great! Sorry OT, but I hadn't noticed and it's GOLD! 

1 hour ago, LmL said:

 Nobody actually had their balls stung by a scorpion, I'm pretty sure. 

 

Now, I wasn't going to say anything...but now I'm in a silly mood and just can't help myself!

I think it's highly likely people get stung in the balls by a scorpion!  Have you ever seen Jackass?  I don't think they ever used a scorpion, but I may be wrong!  And that's ON PURPOSE!  Can you imagine the poor guy who gets woken up in the middle of camping in the desert to THAT? hehehe (This is when I'm happy I don't have balls...)

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8 minutes ago, Jak Scaletongue said:

Forging my tinfoil link at the Citadel <--- I just saw this!  That's great! Sorry OT, but I hadn't noticed and it's GOLD! 

Now, I wasn't going to say anything...but now I'm in a silly mood and just can't help myself!

I think it's highly likely people get stung in the balls by a scorpion!  Have you ever seen Jackass?  I don't think they ever used a scorpion, but I may be wrong!  And that's ON PURPOSE!  Can you imagine the poor guy who gets woken up in the middle of camping in the desert to THAT? hehehe (This is when I'm happy I don't have balls...)

My first thought was the Reach overseer installed after the first conquest and canopy of scorpions. Pretty close.

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@Jak Scaletongue, @hiemal, 

Ok, so the Qorgyles sigil is three scorpions - that makes them the dragon character in this play. The lord in question is a Tyrell - a flower symbol - representing the second moon via the heliotrope / flower connection, and of course the Reach implies fertility and abundance, which is always associated to a healthy, non-abducted moon maiden in mythology. So the image of black scorpions falling from the sky, poisoning either the moon or the general fertility of the earth - that's how I read that little mini-drama. 

Yes, Dan Carlin's podcast is awesome. Been a listening to that for a while. That's one of Aziz's favorites too (Aziz from History of W). 

Theres also a scorpion - wolf connection to be found in the Scorpio constellation lore. That would take too long to go into, but it's a thing. 

Scorpions also come into play with the myths about Orion. 

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Love the catch of the white bull being sacrificed.

I came here for the moonblood but still wasn't disappointed. 

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LmL,

Another great podcast and essay... again it's so rich. I really loved how you now applied your ideas on several concrete scenes from several characters. And glad that the quotes I mentioned to you about Sansa on the roof on the eve of her menarche, once you told me you were working on that, were of great use to you. And thank you very much for the reference :D

A short nitpick: There is a mistake you seemed to make. Sandor does not place Sansa on his black stallion Stranger. In fact, he double rides the chestnut, reddish mare with her back to the Red Keep, having lost complete sight of Stranger. He even asks his colleagues and Tyrion about the whereabouts of his stallion, Stranger, swearing he'll make them pay if something happened to his horse. The news comes that a fire broke out in Flea Bottom and that it must be put out, and Sandor agrees to go back out there, to look for his horse. Of course, Sandor does drag another Stark daughter onto his black stallion - namely Arya ;)

Loooooove the voice impersonation. Several of them made me smile. And I already watch the Dayne youtube videos from History of Westeros as well, which I absolutely enjoyed from start to end!

I loved the connection you made of Sansa as moon mother singing the mother song and wishing to temper the fierceness and anger of the Hound as AA reborn. With him twice preventing the maiden from falling, I've been wondering whether he might represent the AA archetype changed for the good,instead of the corrupted Blood Emperor.

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3 hours ago, LmL said:

Theres also a scorpion - wolf connection to be found in the Scorpio constellation lore. That would take too long to go into, but it's a thing. 

Scorpions also come into play with the myths about Orion. 

Right to the heart of the matter as always, LML. His dogs, the big and the little, also play their role in the tauroctony- and I wonder at the significance of the brightest star in our sky in the larger dog.

Just as an aside on Orion, I named my firstborn son for his left foot.

True story.

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3 hours ago, Daendrew said:

Love the catch of the white bull being sacrificed.

I came here for the moonblood but still wasn't disappointed. 

Thanks Daen! There's actually a lot more to the bull sacrifice stuff... Samwell tells Jon his dad made him bathe in bull's blood to make him more manly, for example. But Sam has a complex web of personal symbolism which I want to deal with by itself, so I didn't use that. Also, although I've been talking about "lunar figures" and "solar figures," in terms of the lion and dragon being solar animals, but George also has a strain of figures which represent both. That's because the second moon eclipse which happened at the time of collision is so important, and the configuration creates the image of horned lord or a horned animal. Look at my avatar picture - the black circle in the middle is the soon to be destroyed second moon, making the God's Eye eclipse image. Above is the surviving moon, which would appear as a crescent from the planet's point of view and thus crate the image of the horned lord. That's why the distinctly horned animals - the bulls and stags particularly - seem to represent a sun / moon conjunction. I'm going to get into that soon... which is why I didn't include all the throat slitting and sacrifices. Renly's murder is particularly instructional. 

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