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RedShirt47

Lightbringer is actually a sword.

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Here is my meta-argument for why I believe Lightbringer is an actual sword. There are several threads already giving theories on what Lightbringer is based on evidence from the books, I am taking a different approach.

Firstly I want to debunk the notion that GRRM "doesn't do Cliche". These books are full of standard Fantasy tropes but they have been subverted, inverted or tweaked so far to be unrecognisable.

From King Arthur to Luke Skywalker, Aragorn to Richard Cypher Fantasy is crowded with hero princes orphaned and raised by good people far away from the centre of power. This trope is so engrained in the genre that even Terry Prachett parodied it with Captain Carrott. Like Prachett, GRRM has subverted this trope with R+L=J. Most readers completely miss that Jon is a Targaryen so this trope appears to have been averted but actually it's there in a camouflaged form.
This trope has another aspect, each of these characters has their special sword. King Arthur has Excalibur, Luke Skywalker has his father's Lightsaber, Aragorn has Andúril and Richard Cypher has the Sword of Truth. And there are many other examples of hero-princes with their sword.
Likewise I believe Jon Snow will weild a special sword, Lightbringer, and I don't think Long Claw is special enough - there are 200+ Valyrian Steel swords in the Seven Kingdoms. Like how Jon Snow is a subverted hero-prince trope I think Lightbringer is a subverted special sword trope. I think Lightbringer is Dawn as this sword is almost hidden to the reader, it is discussed quite a bit by us on the forums but there is little about it in the books themselves.

I don't know enough about the title "Sword of the Morning" to know if Jon can qualify for this but I do believe that somehow Jon will wield Dawn. I think there is more to Dawn than it being light-weight and very sharp like Valyrian Steel swords. Whatever this extra-special power is will play a part in the war against The Others.

Also while GRRM does use symbolism in his prophecies these symbols generally represent people, so dragons are Targaryens or the rising sea is the Ironborn. So I don't see Lightbringer being a symbol for Dragons or The Night's Watch. I think Lightbringer is actually a sword and that sword is Dawn.

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34 minutes ago, RedShirt47 said:

Here is my meta-argument for why I believe Lightbringer is an actual sword. There are several threads already giving theories on what Lightbringer is based on evidence from the books, I am taking a different approach.

Firstly I want to debunk the notion that GRRM "doesn't do Cliche". These books are full of standard Fantasy tropes but they have been subverted, inverted or tweaked so far to be unrecognisable.

From King Arthur to Luke Skywalker, Aragorn to Richard Cypher Fantasy is crowded with hero princes orphaned and raised by good people far away from the centre of power. This trope is so engrained in the genre that even Terry Prachett parodied it with Captain Carrott. Like Prachett, GRRM has subverted this trope with R+L=J. Most readers completely miss that Jon is a Targaryen so this trope appears to have been averted but actually it's there in a camouflaged form.
This trope has another aspect, each of these characters has their special sword. King Arthur has Excalibur, Luke Skywalker has his father's Lightsaber, Aragorn has Andúril and Richard Cypher has the Sword of Truth. And there are many other examples of hero-princes with their sword.
Likewise I believe Jon Snow will weild a special sword, Lightbringer, and I don't think Long Claw is special enough - there are 200+ Valyrian Steel swords in the Seven Kingdoms. Like how Jon Snow is a subverted hero-prince trope I think Lightbringer is a subverted special sword trope. I think Lightbringer is Dawn as this sword is almost hidden to the reader, it is discussed quite a bit by us on the forums but there is little about it in the books themselves.

I don't know enough about the title "Sword of the Morning" to know if Jon can qualify for this but I do believe that somehow Jon will wield Dawn. I think there is more to Dawn than it being light-weight and very sharp like Valyrian Steel swords. Whatever this extra-special power is will play a part in the war against The Others.

Also while GRRM does use symbolism in his prophecies these symbols generally represent people, so dragons are Targaryens or the rising sea is the Ironborn. So I don't see Lightbringer being a symbol for Dragons or The Night's Watch. I think Lightbringer is actually a sword and that sword is Dawn.

I will play along... I've long wondered about the significance of the Sword of the Morning wielding Dawn, and what role he and it might play in the War for the Dawn at the end of the saga. Perhaps this was part of the reason for the closeness between Arthur Dayne and Rhaegar Targaryen. If there were such a prophecy, and if Rhaegar and Arthur were able to convince House Dayne, perhaps that's why House Dayne was so quick to forgive Arthur's killer. And perhaps that's partly to explain why there is no current Sword of the Morning. Perhaps Ashara's mysterious death plays into this. It's all just speculation, but there are some interesting things to play with here. 

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18 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

I will play along... I've long wondered about the significance of the Sword of the Morning wielding Dawn, and what role he and it might play in the War for the Dawn at the end of the saga. Perhaps this was part of the reason for the closeness between Arthur Dayne and Rhaegar Targaryen. If there were such a prophecy, and if Rhaegar and Arthur were able to convince House Dayne, perhaps that's why House Dayne was so quick to forgive Arthur's killer. And perhaps that's partly to explain why there is no current Sword of the Morning. Perhaps Ashara's mysterious death plays into this. It's all just speculation, but there are some interesting things to play with here. 

Agreed. I think Ashara is alive and well and that Dawn is with her. I know GRRM says that Dawn is at Starfall "until another Sword of the Morning shall rise," but I'm not sure I buy it. But I digress.

Dawn being Lightbringer certainly seems to "fit." After all, it is dawn that brings the light and ends the (long) night. It's always just seemed too easy for me, though. Then again...Occam's Razor...

A while back I read a thread suggesting that Dawn is actually the original Ice. I don't know if I subscribe to that theory, but it was definitely an interesting read. My question is, if Dawn = Lightbringer, who is the Dayne who will rise to Sword of the Morning and wield it? I'm betting against the Darkstar ;)

Jon does seem to the be obvious choice, though. I'm thinking that the Daynes are guardians of the sword, entrustred to keep it and only allow it to be wielded by worthy knights of House Dayne until the "true" Sword of the Morning (read: Azor Ahai, PtwP, take your pick) shall rise.

The only prospective Dayne I can think of is Danaerys, if you believe that she is the bastard of Ashara and Aerys, but I don't see her wielding a greatsword -- and why would she, she's got Drogon.

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I think the Red Sword of legend is an actual sword as well.  We're told often enough that the warrior also becomes the sword, the shield, the horn... Syrio Forrel tells us that the sword is a part of the sword master's body; an extension of his arm.  In Arthur Dayne's case, he is also named after his sword and so the sword also becomes the identity of the one who wields it.    Perhaps something to do with magical properties of these legendary weapons that binds the weapon to the one who claims it; lending strength, speed as we see with Brienne and  Oathkeeper.  She is faster, stronger, etc when she wields the blade in combat. 

The Dawn Sword and the Red Sword seem to be two different weapons.  The Dawn Sword isn't a fiery blade.  I suspect that the Red Sword is yet to be found and may be made of obsidian or red obsidian specifically; like Melisandre's ruby that contains it's own fire.  Legend says that is will be drawn from a fire and I take that literally.  I don't think it has to be reforged again as in the story of AA.

Lightbringer on the other hands seems to be a title.  As Aemon says after examining Stannis' sword; the sword is wrong, it should be warm to the touch.  That isn't a fiery blade either.  Lightbringer is the one who the forges the sword and so the sword is also called Lightbringer.  The clue that this is so is in Mel persistance when she tells Jon that she is 'warm to the touch'.  In a sense, she is casting herself in the role of Lightbringer, the one who forges the sword.  In this case, Stannis and later Jon or so she hopes.  It may be that one has to be transformed by fire in order to claim the Red Sword or transform a sword with fire; the sword drawing heat from the master.

This is demonstrated in a small way when Sam kills the White Walker with his obsidian blade.  The blade can't be touched afterwards because it has drawn the cold from the WW.  The Red Sword might work the same way.

The Dawn Sword seems to be it's opposite with it's ice imagery.   

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Lightbringer was a sword according to the myth of Azor Ahai. But there is also a myth of the Last Hero who did stop the long night that does not involve any sword. My problem with it being a literal sword is it will prove that the Azor Ahai legend is the true one and not a myth. As a believer of 'No true chosen saviour, only few being interpreted as one' theory, I hate the Lightbringer being a literal sword theory because for me nothing else will feel more tropish than a 'special sword'. 

And what I find interesting about the AA story is not the sword itself but the forging of the Lightbringer. It talks about the sacrifices he made to save the world and in my opinion that's the important part. 

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51 minutes ago, maegiithefrog said:

~snipped~

The only prospective Dayne I can think of is Danaerys, if you believe that she is the bastard of Ashara and Aerys, but I don't see her wielding a greatsword -- and why would she, she's got Drogon.

Maybe???

A Game of Thrones - Daenerys X

She nodded, as calmly as if she had not heard his answer, and turned to the last of her champions. "Ser Jorah Mormont," she said, "first and greatest of my knights, I have no bride gift to give you, but I swear to you, one day you shall have from my hands a longsword like none the world has ever seen, dragon-forged and made of Valyrian steel. And I would ask for your oath as well."
"You have it, my queen," Ser Jorah said, kneeling to lay his sword at her feet. "I vow to serve you, to obey you, to die for you if need be."

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17 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

Maybe???

A Game of Thrones - Daenerys X

She nodded, as calmly as if she had not heard his answer, and turned to the last of her champions. "Ser Jorah Mormont," she said, "first and greatest of my knights, I have no bride gift to give you, but I swear to you, one day you shall have from my hands a longsword like none the world has ever seen, dragon-forged and made of Valyrian steel. And I would ask for your oath as well."
"You have it, my queen," Ser Jorah said, kneeling to lay his sword at her feet. "I vow to serve you, to obey you, to die for you if need be."

It says dragon forged. Is Dawn dragon forged? But if Ajorahai theory becomes true it will be poetic.

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3 hours ago, khal drogon said:

It says dragon forged. Is Dawn dragon forged? But if Ajorahai theory becomes true it will be poetic.

Not that we know of! From the Wiki:

According to legend, the founder of House Dayne tracked a falling star to the mouth of the Torentine, and Starfall was then constructed where a magical stone was discovered.[2] The greatsword Dawn was forged from the heart of this fallen star[3] and has possibly been wielded by Daynes for ten thousand years.[4] The sigil of the Daynes depicts the white sword and falling star.[5]

The blade is as pale as milkglass,[1] unlike dark Valyrian steel, but is similar in strength and sharpness.[6] Unlike other houses who have ancestral swords, House Dayne does not pass its sword from lord to heir. Only a knight of House Dayne who is deemed worthy can wield Dawn, and the Sword of the Morning is envied throughout the Seven Kingdoms.[6]

The last known user of the sword was Ser Arthur Dayne, a chivalrous knight in the Kingsguard of Aerys II Targaryen.[7] The Smiling Knight of the Kingswood Brotherhood tried to claim Dawn from Arthur, but the robber knight was killed by the Sword of the Morning.[8] After Arthur died in combat at the tower of joy during Robert's Rebellion, Eddard Stark rode to Starfall to deliver Dawn to Arthur's sister, Ashara Dayne.[9]

Okay, here's a little something I've been thinking about but don't really have flushed out. Hope y'all don't mind being my sounding board here while I go on a bit of a tanget  (OP - my intention is to support your statement that Lightbringer is actually a sword).

The blade is said to be "pale as milkglass" and "forged from the heart of this fallen star."

Milk Glass - What are the properties of milkglass? Pay close attention to the picture where it shows the Tyndall effect. "Some glasses are somewhat more blue from the side, and somewhat red-orange in pass-through light"  Now I'm not saying that Dawn is made of milkglass - definitely not - but think this property of milkglass is interesting in a metaphorical sense.

Forged from the Heart:  From the Wiki:

Quote

This time, he called for his wife, Nissa Nissa, and asked her to bare her breast. He drove his sword into her breast, her soul combining with the steel of the sword, creating Lightbringer, while her cry of anguish and ecstasy left a crack across the face of the moon

Fallen Star -- Above I said I didn't think that Dawn was made of milkglass, so what is it actually made of?  Meteorites -- and that's what "falling stars" are,but taking that a step further, I'd say lunar (from the moon) meteorites from the "crack across the face of the moon." That's why the Dayne's ancestral home is called Starfall -- it's where the lunar meteorite landed. Interestingly, lunar meteorites are typically found in deserts (Dorne, anyone?).

Quote

According to legend, Starfall was built where the first Dayne found a magic stone after he followed the path of a shooting star. The Daynes grew in power to become the Kings of the Torrentine and one of the strongest houses of Dorne.[7]

I think the sword was forged from the core of the lunar meteorite that landed at Starfall.

More Conjecture

In The World of Ice and Fire, there's this interesting little tidbit:

Quote

"...while in Qarth the tales state that there was once a second moon in the sky. One day this moon was scalded by the sun and cracked like an egg, and a million dragons poured forth"

I'm thinking these "million dragons" were lunar meteorites - perhaps that counts as "dragon-forged?" (Hell, we can get anything to fit our theory if we apply ourselves! I know it's a stretch). And while the core of these may be milky white, the exterior is oily, black stone ;) But I won't go down that rabbit hole right now!

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4 hours ago, khal drogon said:

Lightbringer was a sword according to the myth of Azor Ahai. But there is also a myth of the Last Hero who did stop the long night that does not involve any sword. My problem with it being a literal sword is it will prove that the Azor Ahai legend is the true one and not a myth. As a believer of 'No true chosen saviour, only few being interpreted as one' theory, I hate the Lightbringer being a literal sword theory because for me nothing else will feel more tropish than a 'special sword'. 

And what I find interesting about the AA story is not the sword itself but the forging of the Lightbringer. It talks about the sacrifices he made to save the world and in my opinion that's the important part. 

AA is from the first LN, he is the blood stone emperor who brought about the first LN that destroyed the GEotD. Then after the LN people from that empire migrated west until the first men made their way to westeros. Then the second LN happened and it was the last hero who ended this one.

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I think the current iteration of Lightbringer has yet to be forged.

One of the tropes that has not yet appeared in ASoIaF is the reforging of the dynastic sword, which represents the restoration of some family or tradition. In its original form, a warrior reforges the pieces of a sword given to his predecessor by the Norse god Odin. The more modern appearance is Anduril, forged from the Shards of Narsil that cut the Ring from Sauron's hand.

I just today ran across an interesting intersection between Dawn, Ice, The Shadow, and the Others:

1) After being dyed, Oathkeeper and Widow's Wail are described as "ripples of night and blood". That description is strikingly similar to Drogon's egg, which supposedly originated in the Shadow lands

2) Ice is first described as having been folded 100 times. Lightbringer, a far eastern myth, was finally forged in 100 days. It was also described as a "smoking sword", while Ice is described as "smoky".

3) only three objects are ever described as "pale as milkglass": Dawn, the Other's bones, and the "ghost grass" in the Shadow Land that the Dothraki believe will overtake the world.

4) the Others are described as "white shadow"

Dawn and Ice look like opposites. Others and dragons as well. Yet they all seem to have the Shadow in common. I wonder if the "shards of Ice" will be combined with Dawn, realizing an Ice and Fire theme in the sword itself.

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