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LmL

Mythical Astronomy covers Arya, Nissa Nissa as a COTF

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Hey there friends! I actually put this essay / podcast out about a week and a half ago, but it was right after the first episode of the new season of HBO's show so the forums were on the fritz when I went to post. So, you guys know the drill - you can read the essay at lucifermeanslightbringer.com or you can listen to the podcast version on itunes or embedded at the top of the essay. Here is the first part to entice you to click on the rest... which, as usual, is a bit too long for a post. 

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When we talk about the main characters in ASOIAF playing into various archetypal roles and carrying around their own personal symbolism, there’s really nothing quite so stunning and clear as Arya. Sure, it’s easy to spot Jon as an Azor Ahai reborn type when he dreams of wielding a burning red sword, and it wasn’t too hard to figure out that Daenerys transitions from a moon maiden to an Azor Ahai reborn figure when she walks into Drogo’s pyre and wakes the dragons; and sure, George calls the antler-helmed Robert “a horned God” right out in the open in A Game of Thrones. But one of the most obvious symbolic associations in the whole series, one which is basically ‘hidden in plain view,’ is the idea of Arya symbolizing a child of the forest.

There are a lot of subtle clues about Arya symbolizing a child of the forest in the first four books, which we will discuss throughout this episode, but Martin really cuts to the chase when Bran finally lays eyes on a child in ADWD as the company fights off the wights to gain entrance to Bloodraven’s cave:

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A cloud of ravens was pouring from the cave, and he saw a little girl with a torch in hand, darting this way and that. For a moment Bran thought it was his sister Arya … madly, for he knew his little sister was a thousand leagues away, or dead. And yet there she was, whirling, a scrawny thing, ragged, wild, her hair atangle.

Lest we think this an offhand remark, the comparison is carried on through the next section, which also doubles as our first detailed, in-person description of those who sing the song of earth, whom we can call “earth singers” for shorthand:

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The next he knew, he was lying on a bed of pine needles beneath a dark stone roof. The cave. I’m in the cave. His mouth still tasted of blood where he’d bitten his tongue, but a fire was burning to his right, the heat washing over his face, and he had never felt anything so good. Summer was there, sniffing round him, and Hodor, soaking wet. Meera cradled Jojen’s head in her lap. And the Arya thing stood over them, clutching her torch.

“The snow,” Bran said. “It fell on me. Buried me.”

“Hid you. I pulled you out.” Meera nodded at the girl. “It was her who saved us, though. The torch … fire kills them.”

“Fire burns them. Fire is always hungry.”

That was not Arya’s voice, nor any child’s. It was a woman’s voice, high and sweet, with a strange music in it like none that he had ever heard and a sadness that he thought might break his heart. Bran squinted, to see her better. It was a girl, but smaller than Arya, her skin dappled like a doe’s beneath a cloak of leaves. Her eyes were queer—large and liquid, gold and green, slitted like a cat’s eyes. No one has eyes like that. Her hair was a tangle of brown and red and gold, autumn colors, with vines and twigs and withered flowers woven through it.

“Who are you?” Meera Reed was asking.

 

No one has eyes like that – get it? Arya is “no one,” famously, so that’s one extra sneaky Arya reference to go along with the more straightforward ones that Bran draws. We are also presented with two lines of animal symbolism for the earth singers – they have dappled skin like a deer (think of the white spots on a faun), and they have slitted golden eyes like a cat. As we will soon see, these are both very important, and not by coincidence, Arya possesses both cat symbolism – such as when she goes by “Cat of the Canals” or skinchanges a cat at the House of Black and White – and a bit of slightly more cryptic deer / dappled skin symbolism.

The other line of animal symbolism that the children of the forest have comes in the very next lines after the last quote, where Meera asked “who are you?” upon seeing the singer they would come to call Leaf:

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Bran knew. “She’s a child. A child of the forest.” He shivered, as much from wonderment as cold. They had fallen into one of Old Nan’s tales.

“The First Men named us children,” the little woman said. “The giants called us woh dak nag gran, the squirrel people, because we were small and quick and fond of trees, but we are no squirrels, no children. Our name in the True Tongue means those who sing the song of earth. Before your Old Tongue was ever spoken, we had sung our songs ten thousand years.”

 

I probably don’t even have to remind you that Arya is called “skinny squirrel” several times – three to be exact, and all by a person named Greenbeard, whom we’ll talk about more in a little bit.

So that’s where it starts. The child of the forest that Bran sees is compared to Arya, and the three lines of animal symbolism possessed by the children – squirrels, deer, and cats – are also possessed by Arya. You’ll also notice the bit about the children being fond of trees; Old Nan actually tells us that they used to live in “secret tree towns,” and we will see Arya dip into this line of arboreal symbolism as well. She climbs trees like a squirrel, in other words, and when she does, ‘the symbolism’ happens, if you know what I mean. We’re going to cover all this and more today, but before we go further with children of the forest symbolism, I need to say a word about Arya’s other major character archetype, as we will be tripping all over it as we go.

That other symbolic archetype would be what we might call “death goddess.” Specifically, she is the Nissa Nissa reborn character – the female version of Azor Ahai reborn, the dark solar king. These are really the same figure – in terms of mythical astronomy, Azor Ahai reborn and Nissa Nissa reborn both represent the infamous black moon meteors, the dark children of the sun and moon. The death messengers, the shadow swords, that sort of thing. Arya has this symbolism in spades.

The Ghost of High Heart calls Arya “dark heart” and “blood child,” while Jaqen H’ghar calls her “evil child.” For a time she thinks of herself as “the Ghost in Harrenhall” as she has Jaqen carry out assassinations at her behest, with Arya herself slinking about her deadly mischief whispering her suitably ghost-like mantra “quiet as a shadow.” Arya also thinks of herself as the Nightwolf, because at night when she dreams, she frequently sees through the eyes of her wild direwolf, Nymeria, as she and her great pack ravage man and beast and bloody mummer alike in the Riverlands.

Of course, a major part of her story so far involves Arya becoming a faceless man in training, where she endeavors to become “no one.” This is the culmination of the theme of identity erasure which saturates Arya’s character arc, even to the point of gender erasure. More obviously, the faceless men are the world’s foremost assassins,  and Arya is training to become one of them, an instrument of Him of Many Faces, the God of Death.

It’s quite the list of alter-egos: dark heart, blood child, evil child, ghost in harrenhall, Nightwolf, wolf girl, faceless man. Even the more innocent-sounding “water-dancer” identity that she aspires to is just a fancy name for a certain type of sword fighter – it still comes down to sticking them with the pointy end, or as Syrio puts it, “All men are made of water, do you know this? When you pierce them, the water leaks out and they die.” So, it’s just another killer identity for Arya, and thus you see what I mean about her being a death goddess figure many times over.

More specifically – and I just want to re-emphasize this – she is a death goddess version of Azor Ahai reborn, at least in many scenes. This lines up with what we expect her plot arc to involve in the last two books… namely, a lot of killing. Freys and Boltons, preferably, but really, the sky is the limit.

One of my favorite lines about Arya as a female Azor Ahai reborn figure comes in ASOS, after Gendry tells Arya of Thoros bravely climbing the walls of Pyke during King Robert’s attack, wielding his signature flaming sword, “setting ironmen afire with every slash.” Arya replies,

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“I wish I had a flaming sword.” Arya could think of lots of people she’d like to set on fire.

A vengeful death goddess with a flaming sword, now we’re talking! Again we see the foreshadowing of Arya leaving a trail of corpses behind her as she comes into her power.

Now before Arya transforms into this death goddess, she shows us distinct Nissa Nissa symbolism, and that’s the final thing we need to set up in this intro. Just as Daenerys transforms from moon goddess to vengeful dragon, Arya does something similar in a couple different scenes in AGOT.

By way of example, let’s use the scene where Arya receives her last lesson from Syrio Forel, which takes place right before the Goldcloaks and Kingsguard come to seize her as the Lannisters take control of the throne:

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“Left,” Syrio sang out. “Low.” His sword was a blur, and the Small Hall echoed to the clack clack clack . “Left. Left. High. Left. Right. Left. Low. Left!”

The wooden blade caught her high in the breast, a sudden stinging blow that hurt all the more because it came from the wrong side.

 

A blow to the breast, just as Lightbringer plunged into Nissa Nissa’s breast, and it’s a blow whose hurt went beyond the physical pain, because it felt like a betrayal. This calls to mind our theory that Azor Ahai’s murder of Nissa Nissa was the same event as the Blood Betrayal of the Amethyst Empress by the nefarious Bloodstone Emperor, and ties into the larger idea that the moon breaking was a sin, a wrong blow.

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“Ow,” she cried out. She would have a fresh bruise there by the time she went to sleep, somewhere out at sea. A bruise is a lesson, she told herself, and each lesson makes us better.

Syrio stepped back. “You are dead now.”

Arya made a face. “You cheated,” she said hotly. “You said left and you went right.”

“Just so. And now you are a dead girl.”

“But you lied! ”

“My words lied. My eyes and my arm shouted out the truth, but you were not seeing.”

“I was so,” Arya said. “I watched you every second!”

“Watching is not seeing, dead girl. The water dancer sees. Come, put down the sword, it is time for listening now.”

 

Syrio is symbolizing the deceptive, lying Azor Ahai, with his “wrong” blow to the breast of Arya, who must be the moon maiden. She is now a dead girl, and that’s the idea – the moon is ‘killed’ and then reborn in the form of those killer black meteors, which can be seen as death messengers or undead shadow figures, in line with all of Arya’s death goddess symbolism. This is Arya playing the role of Nissa Nissa moon maiden – struck in the breast and killed, and thereby transformed into a living dead thing.

Arya also speaks “hotly,” which gives her a bit of fire symbolism in her moment of sword death. We mentioned that Arya calls herself the Ghost in Harrenhall, and it happens that the ghosts which are said to haunt Harrenhall are fiery in nature as well:

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Arya was remembering the stories Old Nan used to tell of Harrenhal. Evil King Harren had walled himself up inside, so Aegon unleashed his dragons and turned the castle into a pyre. Nan said that fiery spirits still haunted the blackened towers. Sometimes men went to sleep safe in their beds and were found dead in the morning, all burnt up.

Arya is the Ghost in Harrenhal, so perhaps we are meant to think of her death goddess form as being of a fiery nature, and that fits pretty well with all the fiery tree spirit / burning tree woman / shy maiden symbolism we saw in the Nissa Nissa figures in the last episode. We’ll go back to Harrenhall for some of Arya’s scenes there and dive into this ghost symbolism a bit deeper.

So, that’s Arya in a nutshell. A skinny squirrel… in a nutshell. Ha HA! The thing we have to consider is the mixture of child of the forest symbolism, Nissa Nissa symbolism, and all this death goddess stuff. What’s the meaning of this? We’ll consider that question throughout this episode as gather more information, but right away we can put our finger on the general idea being suggested here: Nissa Nissa may have been a child of the forest before she was sacrificed, or at least a human / child of the forest hybrid, and she may have had some sort of life after death as a vengeful tree spirit or perhaps even a zombie or something like that.

I’ve teased these ideas before, particularly the idea of Nissa Nissa as a child of the forest or elf woman, and today we are going to present all the evidence for it. If the unofficial subtitle of the last episode was “Nissa Nissa was a weirwood tree,” you could call this one “Nissa Nissa was a child of the forest,” although I want to add the caveat that she could also have been a female of the “green man” race, if there is such a thing. The topic is more Nissa Nissa than Arya, essentially, though it will have a ton of Arya in it. The title of this one gives it away – It’s an Arya Thing, as in ‘look at that elf woman, it’s an Arya thing!’ Ultimately the point is Nissa Nissa and the children of the forest.

As it happens, there are many, many clues about Nissa Nissa being some sort of “elf woman” to be found with pretty much all of our Nissa Nissa moon maidens, including all the ones we examined in the Venus of the Woods, plus a few more. Arya has some of the best clues in this regard, so I couldn’t really do “Nissa Nissa was an elf” episode without diving into her symbolism pretty heavily. In fact, I’ve actually been saving Arya for this episode, knowing that it was coming at some point.

So here’s how this is going to go. Before we focus on Arya primarily, I want to establish the link between Nissa Nissa and the children of the forest, which is a very strong connection in its own right, irrespective of Arya’s symbolism. We are going to do this by picking up right where we left off in Venus of the Woods, talking about some of those fiery moon women who are tied to weirwood trees. Weirwood goddesses, I called them, or “burning ash tree women,” since the ash symbolism seems to be the most identifiable part of this archetype. That archetype also includes the shy maiden character, the ash tree maiden who combines fire, tree, and moon symbolism and who always wakes from a ground-zero Lightbringer bonfire. Among the weirwood goddesses we examined were, Lady Catelyn Stark and Lady Stoneheart, Masha Heddle, Brienne of Tarth, Melisandre of Asshai, Asha Greyjoy, the wildling spearwives Osha, Ygritte, Rowan, and Thistle, and even the petrified weirwood bones of the sea dragon Nagga.

We saw this weirwood goddess figure in many scenes, always sacrificing stag people to themselves or to actual heart trees, and frequently manifesting the weirwood stigmata – the acquisition of bloody hands, a bloody mouth or ‘red smile’ as they say, tears or bloody tears, and so on. Now we are going to examine a whole new line of symbolism – several, actually –  which suggest that this Nissa Nissa weirwood goddess archetype has something to do with elves; by which I mean the children of the forest and green men, both of whom we already know are tied to the weirwood trees.

If any of that recap was foggy for you, it might be a good idea go back and re-read or re-listen to Venus of the Woods, as we are going to pretty much grab the baton and run here. If you’re skipping around and reading or listening out of order because you like Arya and you saw Arya in the title, may R’hllor have mercy on your soul, because some of this sh*t will make very little sense (although I’m quite grateful to have here!) You will definitely want to read at least Venus of the Woods before this one, take my word for it.

So now that we have introduced Arya’s major symbolism, we will also be able to weave her freely into our study of Nissa Nissa reborn weirwood moon goddesses. We’ll start with a few of the women we discussed last time, and then get in to some Arya’s best scenes and see what is going on. Throughout all of it, we will see a constant juxtaposition of children of the forest symbolism and death goddess symbolism, and getting to the bottom of that is the mission of this episode and the next.

I should also mention that there are a couple of other characters and places making their Mythical Astronomy debut in this episode besides Arya: The Ghost of High Heart, Jenny of Oldstones, Mance Raydar, Jaquen H’ghar, and Lyanna Stark a.k.a. the Knight of the Laughing Tree (although we’ve mentioned Lyanna a tiny bit in the past). In the next episode, we’ll get our first real dose of Cersei Lannister, the House of Black and White, and even the Red Widow of the Dunk and Egg novella The Sworn Sword, so you’ve got those to look forward to… plus there will be another nice helping of Arya material.

CONTINUE READING...

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It's amazing. A lot of food for thought here, but I have to wait for the next one before I finish all those thoughts! 

Always anxiously awaiting additional, um, material. 

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Great piece.  Very detailed as always methodically chipping away.  Keep it up.

 

I have a bit of a one-track mind right now, but in what I am working on right now I think the female character in the ancient drama I am trying to add a piece to, does a few Gaia things.  She is an angry earth goddess who is always killing one cruel male god or another for mistreating her and/or her children in the Greek creation story.  She tends to do that by empowering his son to usurp him.  I think that is something I see. 

 

She is also suffering at a couple points having her children imprisoned inside her.  That may be something that George is pulling from for the awfully unhappy looking trees which have something trapped in there.  Her response to her husband trapping them in there is to castrate him having his godly blood fall everywhere.  Of course, she also works with the Melai to save Zeus and use him as a weapon against Cronus.  The Melai save Zeus from being consumed.  The CotF seem to do the exact inverse feeding the last hero to the weirwood goddess to fight something.  At least that is how I interpret a "stick them with the pointy end" showing up at Jon's death in addition to the children making greenseers out of two other last heroes in Bran and Bloodraven.   

 

Arya and Lady Stoneheart are both full time vengeful nature spirits.  If Sansa kills Littlefinger in some way like everyone thinks I think that would be the same thing right?  I think I can explain some more about what is going on there, if that actually happens of course.            

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So, I don't really have the time to organize my thoughts here, so I am just going to brain dump here.

So, you know, I sometimes question your methodology, and it might be just that I was listening to the while putting up drywall in my garage in 95 degree weather, yesterday, but I will be damned it there really isn't a lot of tree and squirrel symbolism around Arya. Good show.

The whole thing brought me back to the whole weirwood net though and your idea of these mythical being being in the weirwood net and just the notion of the spirits in the trees, like dryads.Unrelated to what you were specifically talking about at the moment, but touching on this idea, I was thinking of a children's movie my daughter has been into called the Song of the Sea. It's worth checking out actually. It's an Irish production company, not Americanized stuff, and the story revolves around a little girl whose mother is a selkie, and at the end of the movie the girl has to sing the Song of the Sea so that the fey folks can leave this world and go across the sea to Tir na Nog. This of course always makes me think of Tolkien, and then I start thinking about the Sunset Sea and the the Farwyns at Lonely Light, and the references to sea lion and seals and skinchanging surrounding them, and of course this is because it is all rooted in the same Irish and Welsh source mythology.

Anyhow, the point of that little stream of consciousness rant is that, It seems increasingly obvious that the whole Ironborn mythology metaphorically references the weirwood net. In Irish folklore, Tir na Nog, is accessed through burial mounds or by passing underwater or crossing the sea. The Ironborn seem to have more than their share of the last two in their mythology. And now we finally know what the crap Patchface is talking about when he says under the sea. It's not exactly death like so many people assume. It's the weirwood net, which is the stand in for Tir na Nog.

SO then today, I'm listening to the latest VOK while painting the drywall that I hung in the garage yesterday, and they are doing their reread, where they've hit Aaron's first chapter and in the chapter and they mention Aaron referencing the Drowned Moon as a time, which they were a bit confused about astronomically. So, I looked up the quote, "Seek the hill of Nagga and the bones of the Grey King’s Hall, for in that holy place when the moon has drowned and come again we shall make ourselves a worthy king, a godly king.” So, it might simply be that a Drowned Moon is a new moon, but regardless of what actual phase this references  it makes sense that the visual imagery of the moon setting into the ocean would be a pretty familiar concept and the reference could be a memory of the other moon drowning in the ocean. Honestly you've probably covered all of this before, but it hit me earlier and a I thought I would share it.

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15 minutes ago, Durran Durrandon said:

The whole thing brought me back to the whole weirwood net though and your idea of these mythical being being in the weirwood net and just the notion of the spirits in the trees, like dryads.Unrelated to what you were specifically talking about at the moment, but touching on this idea, I was thinking of a children's movie my daughter has been into called the Song of the Sea. It's worth checking out actually. It's an Irish production company, not Americanized stuff, and the story revolves around a little girl whose mother is a selkie, and at the end of the movie the girl has to sing the Song of the Sea so that the fey folks can leave this world and go across the sea to Tir na Nog. This of course always makes me think of Tolkien, and then I start thinking about the Sunset Sea and the the Farwyns at Lonely Light, and the references to sea lion and seals and skinchanging surrounding them, and of course this is because it is all rooted in the same Irish and Welsh source mythology.

I've seen that move few years ago, and it's definitely worth checking out.

Quote

SO then today, I'm listening to the latest VOK while painting the drywall that I hung in the garage yesterday, and they are doing their reread, where they've hit Aaron's first chapter and in the chapter and they mention Aaron referencing the Drowned Moon as a time, which they were a bit confused about astronomically. So, I looked up the quote, "Seek the hill of Nagga and the bones of the Grey King’s Hall, for in that holy place when the moon has drowned and come again we shall make ourselves a worthy king, a godly king.” So, it might simply be that a Drowned Moon is a new moon, but regardless of what actual phase this references  it makes sense that the visual imagery of the moon setting into the ocean would be a pretty familiar concept and the reference could be a memory of the other moon drowning in the ocean. Honestly you've probably covered all of this before, but it hit me earlier and a I thought I would share it.

Hmm... I think you're right here.

Btw, some time ago I've made some 'second moon of Planetos' images, and one of them was the Hill of Nagga with two moons drowning.

https://theambercompendium.wordpress.com/2017/07/19/the-second-moon-of-planetos/

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LmL another 10/10.  I don't think anyone else out there is approaching ASOIAF analysis in such a complete way as you are.  It's difficult to think that this isn't what the author intended.  I do think that maybe he hoped that everything you've picked up on maybe didn't get revealed until the series is complete, as it does allow for you to make some pretty accurate predictions about things to come.

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You know, for some reason the notifications weren't working and I thought nobody had responded, and then I came here and find all these nice responses. How lovely!

On 8/3/2017 at 11:54 AM, Tom Cruise said:

LmL another 10/10.  I don't think anyone else out there is approaching ASOIAF analysis in such a complete way as you are.  It's difficult to think that this isn't what the author intended.  I do think that maybe he hoped that everything you've picked up on maybe didn't get revealed until the series is complete, as it does allow for you to make some pretty accurate predictions about things to come.

If Tom Cruise is happy, everyone is happy. Nobody likes agitated Tom jumping up and down on the couch.;)

As for my method of analysis, it's evolved a bit over time but honestly the template was set by Schmendrick's R+L=Lightbringer, and I've also been heavily influenced by Graham Hancock's writing style. I can't imagine any other way to do it... I think most people that write about it make videos about ASOIAF are placing themselves under the constraints of brevity, but I crossed that bridge early on and haven't looked back. There's just no shorter way to do close readings of the text and bring out all the symbolism. If we want to understand what "alive with light" or "black blood" really means in ASOIAF, you really do have to look at every scene where the symbol or phrase is used and study them all. My main thing is throw in enough jokes to keep it lively! 

At the end of the day I feel that Martin's work is just really complex and deep and to get the big picture it takes this much time and effort. And not just me - look at people like @sweetsunray and all the other people doing deep analysis from a little different standpoint (non astronomical)... You have to grok the role of the bears and the valkyrie figures and the chronic realms too if you want to get everything out of the series that is there. And so on and so forth. I have a feeling analysis of the books will continue long after they are finished. 

Doom and ruination to anyone who says they won't be finished!

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On 8/3/2017 at 3:27 AM, Durran Durrandon said:

So, I don't really have the time to organize my thoughts here, so I am just going to brain dump here.

So, you know, I sometimes question your methodology, and it might be just that I was listening to the while putting up drywall in my garage in 95 degree weather, yesterday, but I will be damned it there really isn't a lot of tree and squirrel symbolism around Arya. Good show.

The whole thing brought me back to the whole weirwood net though and your idea of these mythical being being in the weirwood net and just the notion of the spirits in the trees, like dryads.Unrelated to what you were specifically talking about at the moment, but touching on this idea, I was thinking of a children's movie my daughter has been into called the Song of the Sea. It's worth checking out actually. It's an Irish production company, not Americanized stuff, and the story revolves around a little girl whose mother is a selkie, and at the end of the movie the girl has to sing the Song of the Sea so that the fey folks can leave this world and go across the sea to Tir na Nog. This of course always makes me think of Tolkien, and then I start thinking about the Sunset Sea and the the Farwyns at Lonely Light, and the references to sea lion and seals and skinchanging surrounding them, and of course this is because it is all rooted in the same Irish and Welsh source mythology.

Anyhow, the point of that little stream of consciousness rant is that, It seems increasingly obvious that the whole Ironborn mythology metaphorically references the weirwood net. In Irish folklore, Tir na Nog, is accessed through burial mounds or by passing underwater or crossing the sea. The Ironborn seem to have more than their share of the last two in their mythology. And now we finally know what the crap Patchface is talking about when he says under the sea. It's not exactly death like so many people assume. It's the weirwood net, which is the stand in for Tir na Nog.

SO then today, I'm listening to the latest VOK while painting the drywall that I hung in the garage yesterday, and they are doing their reread, where they've hit Aaron's first chapter and in the chapter and they mention Aaron referencing the Drowned Moon as a time, which they were a bit confused about astronomically. So, I looked up the quote, "Seek the hill of Nagga and the bones of the Grey King’s Hall, for in that holy place when the moon has drowned and come again we shall make ourselves a worthy king, a godly king.” So, it might simply be that a Drowned Moon is a new moon, but regardless of what actual phase this references  it makes sense that the visual imagery of the moon setting into the ocean would be a pretty familiar concept and the reference could be a memory of the other moon drowning in the ocean. Honestly you've probably covered all of this before, but it hit me earlier and a I thought I would share it.

Yeah that's how I see that passage - the surface meaning is just "next month," with the Ironborn referring to the new moon as a drowning. But in terms of symbolism it is the moon drowning or the moon meteors drowning, and as you say, we now know from @ravenous reader's discovery that under the sea means under the see, and that means entering the wwnet. In fact, it's not just the Ironborn myth that is actually talking about the wwnet, it's all the aquatic symbolism. Which, 90% of it is Ironborn, but also the Velaryons and a few other things. Thats way Arya is "Cat of the Canals," a cat woman (cotf) that lives in the water.. the canals being the under the see motif crossed with the webbing of a spiderweb. 

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On 8/2/2017 at 6:15 PM, Jon Ice-Eyes said:

It's amazing. A lot of food for thought here, but I have to wait for the next one before I finish all those thoughts! 

Always anxiously awaiting additional, um, material. 

The next one will really be a continuation of this essay and it's various assertions, so you have the right idea. Even then I won't be nearly done with Arya - I haven't touched her scenes with the Hound or the dragon skull chambers under KL. Those scenes teach a different lesson, so I'll come back for them later. This is how it always happens - I was writing a weirwood compendium episode and had a couple paragraphs about how NN and the weirwoods overlap. Then I realized it needed a while essay, which was Venus of the Woods. But then I realized the weirwood goddess thing went further and made a whole series. This shit so deep.

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On 8/3/2017 at 0:45 AM, Blue Tiger said:

I've seen that move few years ago, and it's definitely worth checking out.

Hmm... I think you're right here.

Btw, some time ago I've made some 'second moon of Planetos' images, and one of them was the Hill of Nagga with two moons drowning.

https://theambercompendium.wordpress.com/2017/07/19/the-second-moon-of-planetos/

Nice... splash some blood upon the moon with me!

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Wow, sorry this essay was so boring everyone. 

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@LmL The forum has been down for me all weekend. I have some theories, but as I alluded to, I think you may have already written them in your next essay... so I am hesitant to put them here, cause I figure you'll just go ahead and say that shit soon, but more completely and with better evidence. 

On second thought, fuck it. I'll spitball here in a minute, and you can comment as/if you please.

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Yeah have at it, there's no time like the present...

And yeah, with the forums down so much, it's almost pointless to even come here. I love my friends here, but if the shit never works.... I just figured these topics - Arya and NN as a cotf - would be big discussion topics. But no. 

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This place feels like a party that ended a long time ago. 

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2 hours ago, LmL said:

This place feels like a party that ended a long time ago. 

I am hoping it is just the extra traffic from the HBO show killing the servers. 

 

Something that is related to Arya is the idea of "Mercy".  In particular I wonder about the Mother's mercy. 

 

Quote

 

Gentle Mother, font of mercy,

save our sons from war, we pray,

stay the swords and stay the arrows,

let them know a better day.

 
Gentle Mother, strength of women,
help our daughters through this fray,
soothe the wrath and tame the fury,
teach us all a kinder way.

 

 
Sansa sings this song making the Hound cry at the battle of the blackwater.  I cannot prove it, but I get the distinct feeling that the hidden story here is the hound being sacrificed for the mercy of everyone else.  Cat prays to the mother to spare the sons about to be in the battle outside Storm's End between Stannis and Renly.  She calls out "In the name of the mother" right before the shadow shows up to grant that "mercy" to everyone by killing Renly.  I was just posting about the idea of a sacrifice in ASoIaF for everyone else's benefit being something based in part on "Those that walk away from Omelas" which is one of more famous works used to start discussions on morality.  I think Renly and the hound are like the child that is kept in horrible conditions for everyone else's benefit.  George seems the type to think that a moral person would walk away.  He may be working this into his story by having people killed to end a war, such as Cat, come back harder and stronger with a vengeance.  If the people you mistreat to create your new world, such as Cat or Dany in the case of King Robert, come back from the dead and hatch dragons it kinda makes your Machiavellian worldview fail pretty hard. 
 
 
 
On a different note, I liked your catch about Arya getting hit with the wooden sword after being lied to being an example of Nissa Nissa getting stabbed.  What do you make of Tyrion being offered Mandon Moore's left hand?  Tyrion notes that it is odd, then gets slashed with the right.  Seems like the same thing to me with a fool character in place of Nissa Nissa.  I am thinking in terms of an Azor Ahai - Nissa Nissa reaction these days more so than people carrying those names.  If a fool character, such as the last guy in Bran's retrograde vision, is bled out in front of a heart tree for someone else's benefit, is that person Nissa Nissa?  Or Azor Ahai as a sacrificed fool?  Maybe both?  I think that there was a person who was first the sacrificed Nissa Nissa giving power to another who then played an Azor Ahia role as some sort of Lann-type sun fire thief.  
 
Another white sword, Arthur Dayne, is said to be able to kill green men (Loras and his buddies) with his right hand while taking a piss with his left according to Jaime.  I consider Tyrion to be a walking, talking offensive act of sex sometimes and thinking of him as a human penis makes sense too.  That is one of the things that the comet is after all, the sun's penis.  A tricky descendant of sneaky impregnating, sun stealing Lann could have that symbolism.  Is Mandon holding Tyrion in his left hand and killing with his right the same as Arthur holding his own "comet" in his left and killing green men with his right?  I think it is, but I am not sure what it means yet.  Given your find about Arya and Syrio, it looks like a Lighbringer forging with a fool/green man serving as Nissa Nissa to me.       
 
 
 
I guess Tyrion is the moon momentarily here getting a slash across his face.  Before he is playing the meteor death god role coming down from the wall and killing everyone.  Like a male version of what Arya is always doing.  
 
 

 

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Regarding Arya's iron studding clothing possibly being a militant weirwood door, Belwas wears an iron studded vest and has tree trunk arms.  When he fight Mereen's champion, whose hair is in the shape of horns, he gives him a blow right between the eyes where his third eye would be.  That sounds like another killer, this time a giant eunuch, sending souls of horned people into the net.  

 

Arya's saving Jaqen from a burning tree symbol and gaining his services sounds like the Tempest where Ariel the air sprite is saved and his power harnessed by a wizard.  That story has a lot of events that seem important, ship wrecks, magic storms, a usurped person using magic to get revenge and reclaim his throne.  I think it is heavily used.  

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37 minutes ago, Unchained said:

Regarding Arya's iron studding clothing possibly being a militant weirwood door, Belwas wears an iron studded vest and has tree trunk arms.  When he fight Mereen's champion, whose hair is in the shape of horns, he gives him a blow right between the eyes where his third eye would be.  That sounds like another killer, this time a giant eunuch, sending souls of horned people into the net. 

Strong Belwas actually has a lot of moon symbolism. Read the chapter where Drogon comes into the fighting pit, it's got  a ton of Lightbringer stuff. Recall that Strong Belwas has a big, round belly with lots of scars, visually resembling the moon.

The first thing that happens is a deception: the poisoned locusts (sweet/sour or sweet/hot have been discussed as metaphors for deception)

The next is Barsena being gored by the boar and screaming loudly, echoing Nissa Nissa's cry. Her wound is from the thigh to the groin, highlighting the moon/maiden blood symbolism.

Belwas says Barsena's screame is causing his head and belly to hurt, and shortly after he starts retching. That's the metaphorical sickness and explosion of the moon.

At the same time, Drogon is descending into the pit, which is itself is a symbol of Lightbringer penetrating the moon. Dany then commandeers Drogon out of the pit, just as AA pulled the hot sword out of NN after stabbing her.

Of course his symbolism isn't exclusively lunar, because moon symbolism overlaps with NN and Weirwood symbolism. The weirwood represents the moment of lunar transformation/destruction, being white and wreathed in red leaves, so it makes perfect sense for moony Belwas to also carry some tree-ish symbols.

This scene is also a wonderful example of the recursive symbolism in the books. One event begets a further generation of the same. The moon is destroyed by a flying object, and then the moon itself becomes a bunch of flying objects that wreak havoc on the planet, and then the people on the planet turn the even into legend and symbolically reenact it, and eventually the longest recursion cycle comes back around and causes another disaster, etc. What we see in the fighting pit is a series of LB reenactments, each one pushing the metaphor further along.

The same concept shows up in Lord of the RingsNjal's Saga, and other Norse-based myth (plus plenty of other cultures' myths I'm sure): the same events keep happening because of some paradigm or ultimate problem that must be overcome. In LotR, it's the existence of Sauron and the Ring. In Njal's, it's the generational cycle of blood fueding. In the Norse myths, it's the conflict between giants and gods, which ends in Ragnarok. And Ice and Fire... well that's what we're trying to figure out in these discussions.

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28 minutes ago, cgrav said:

The same concept shows up in Lord of the RingsNjal's Saga, and other Norse-based myth (plus plenty of other cultures' myths I'm sure): the same events keep happening because of some paradigm or ultimate problem that must be overcome. In LotR, it's the existence of Sauron and the Ring. In Njal's, it's the generational cycle of blood fueding. In the Norse myths, it's the conflict between giants and gods, which ends in Ragnarok. And Ice and Fire... well that's what we're trying to figure out in these discussions.

I will take a look at the cycle you are talking about, that is not something I am familiar with.  What I am looking for are cases in the books where the sacrifice is not the moon for something I am writing.  I think there is something to the first two failed forgings that has not been discussed that sheds light on the particular characters involved.  I think I have a few, but I could use some more.  

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Nothing like randomly kicking everyone out to kill a sweet vibe. It was a great party when it was rocking, so I'll have a go at getting something started again. 

First, let me say that Nissa Nissa as a weirwood was pretty damn good. The next leap -- Nissa Nissa as a death goddess -- while logical in hindsight, blew my skull wide open. So thanks are in order. 

First, let me share my method. An excellent historian I had in grad school passed along some ancient wisdom. There are two types of history essay: cowshit and bullshit. Cowshit is too many examples without enough general conclusions, and bullshit is too many general conclusions without enough examples. This post is mostly bullshit. 

Weirwood trees, as we all know by now, are stand-ins for the World Tree. Yggdrasil. They have their roots underground and underwater -- the Underworld, where the dead are -- with trunks running through the world as we know it, and their leaves up in the sky -- the Heavens, where the stars and the gods live. That's a metaphor, kind of, but not really, but pretty much it is. 

I follow many others before me in theorizing that if you are going to climb the tree, you have to start at the bottom. The roots, the realm of the dead. You have to die. The exception being the Odin figure, who can hang sacrificially on the tree and exist astride all these realms. This is a special place for a magical person -- Odin is the god of magic -- and not available to just anyone.

Odin is also the god of life and death, the chooser. His Valkyries go and take the slain, but -- in many myths -- he says who lives and who dies. He is also the law-giver, which explains Arya as a Valkyrie: she enforces the most sacred and basic laws. (Shout out to the genius who made the Valkyrie connection.. was it @ravenous reader? @Pain killer Jane? @sweetsunray? Forgive me, I've forgotten.)

The tie-in to NN, where she goes into the weirwoods and becomes tied to their death-life spanning power, is really interesting. She becomes, in a sense, Hel, the overlord of the place of the dead. She's there, in the roots. As all the super fucked up imagery shows, she was a bloody sacrifice... but to my mind, she is pissed. Like Hel, she is an image of cruel and unfeeling vengeance. 

That's what I am seeing, which is all pretty much there in the podcast. But this is all just an aspect of the weird and dark cosmology that the Norse myth has to offer. Hel isn't exactly some sort of unnatural part of things... she's got a real and important part in the underworld. She's cold and sometimes malevolent, but fits in the structure in her way.

Compare to Arya, the Faceless Men, and the Others -- all of whom share a bunch of imagery. As more perspicacious readers than I point out! My conclusion is simply that these are forces of death that are out to drag the deserving screaming into the underworld. In a sense, they are righting the imbalance. Which has implications for the fiery dragon and fire-wight side of the equation.

That's a good start. Am I on to something? Or maybe just taking a tiny step beyond what was in the essay already? I dunno! 

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12 hours ago, Unchained said:

I am hoping it is just the extra traffic from the HBO show killing the servers. 

 

Something that is related to Arya is the idea of "Mercy".  In particular I wonder about the Mother's mercy. 

 

 
Sansa sings this song making the Hound cry at the battle of the blackwater.  I cannot prove it, but I get the distinct feeling that the hidden story here is the hound being sacrificed for the mercy of everyone else.  Cat prays to the mother to spare the sons about to be in the battle outside Storm's End between Stannis and Renly.  She calls out "In the name of the mother" right before the shadow shows up to grant that "mercy" to everyone by killing Renly.  I was just posting about the idea of a sacrifice in ASoIaF for everyone else's benefit being something based in part on "Those that walk away from Omelas" which is one of more famous works used to start discussions on morality.  I think Renly and the hound are like the child that is kept in horrible conditions for everyone else's benefit.  George seems the type to think that a moral person would walk away.  He may be working this into his story by having people killed to end a war, such as Cat, come back harder and stronger with a vengeance.  If the people you mistreat to create your new world, such as Cat or Dany in the case of King Robert, come back from the dead and hatch dragons it kinda makes your Machiavellian worldview fail pretty hard. 
 
 
 
On a different note, I liked your catch about Arya getting hit with the wooden sword after being lied to being an example of Nissa Nissa getting stabbed.  What do you make of Tyrion being offered Mandon Moore's left hand?  Tyrion notes that it is odd, then gets slashed with the right.  Seems like the same thing to me with a fool character in place of Nissa Nissa.  I am thinking in terms of an Azor Ahai - Nissa Nissa reaction these days more so than people carrying those names.  If a fool character, such as the last guy in Bran's retrograde vision, is bled out in front of a heart tree for someone else's benefit, is that person Nissa Nissa?  Or Azor Ahai as a sacrificed fool?  Maybe both?  I think that there was a person who was first the sacrificed Nissa Nissa giving power to another who then played an Azor Ahia role as some sort of Lann-type sun fire thief.  
 
Another white sword, Arthur Dayne, is said to be able to kill green men (Loras and his buddies) with his right hand while taking a piss with his left according to Jaime.  I consider Tyrion to be a walking, talking offensive act of sex sometimes and thinking of him as a human penis makes sense too.  That is one of the things that the comet is after all, the sun's penis.  A tricky descendant of sneaky impregnating, sun stealing Lann could have that symbolism.  Is Mandon holding Tyrion in his left hand and killing with his right the same as Arthur holding his own "comet" in his left and killing green men with his right?  I think it is, but I am not sure what it means yet.  Given your find about Arya and Syrio, it looks like a Lighbringer forging with a fool/green man serving as Nissa Nissa to me.       
 
 
 
I guess Tyrion is the moon momentarily here getting a slash across his face.  Before he is playing the meteor death god role coming down from the wall and killing everyone.  Like a male version of what Arya is always doing.  
 
 

 

Hey @Unchained. As usual I am in agreement with you. Tyrion getting clashed across the face by a white sword is the comet hitting the moon, and in most scenes Tyrion is the reborn figure, which can be called either AA reborn or NN reborn. That's why he wears the shadowcat skin, and that's something I'll talk about in the next essay about Catwoman. A Shadowcat works very well as a symbol of a resurrected Catwoman, I'm sure you can see. Lots of the Moon Maiden figures have Shadowcat symbolism, but the Nights Watch and other reborn AA figures like Tyrion have it too. You are right to point out that vengeance is a major part of both Tyrion and Arya's plot.

As for the sacrificed figure being either NN of a green man figure, I think that's correct in some sense. I have wondered if the green man might not represent the earth in terms of mythical astronomy. The green earth was turned black, you know? Poisoned by AA reborn / the black meteors. Setting aside the astronomy, killing the green man is a good way to end summer and bring on winter, so it makes sense that that might have happened early in the sequence. I'm not sure if "NN the sacrificed cotf" is the underlying reality here - meaning that the Green Man symbolism you're seeing simply applies to her - or if there are multiple sacrifices. I tend to think that AA is the sacrificed Green Man, and that he has to die to be transformed. That's what Renly seems to be showing us. 

The other thing to keep in mind is that we could be dealing with the same story shown different ways. In some configurations of the story, it could be brothers fighting each other, more like the winter and summer King, wall in a different permutation, it's a man killing his wife. It could all be the same thing, or they could be different parts of a sequence.

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