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Ghost Grass: The Dothraki prophesy of winter?

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There were many interesting new things I noticed during my re-read of GoT. One of the biggest is the dothraki story of ghost grass. Jorah tells Dany about it when she goes to Vaes Dothrak with the khalasar for the first time. Here's the quote:

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“It’s so green,” she said.

"Here and now,” Ser Jorah agreed. “You ought to see it when it blooms, all dark red flowers from horizon to horizon, like a sea of blood. Come the dry season, and the world turns the color of old bronze. And this is only hranna, child. There are a hundred kinds of grass out there, grasses as yellow as lemon and as dark as indigo, blue grasses and orange grasses and grasses like rainbows. Down in the Shadow Lands beyond Asshai, they say there are oceans of ghost grass, taller than a man on horseback with stalks as pale as milkglass. It murders all other grass and glows in the dark with the spirits of the damned. The Dothraki claim that someday ghost grass will cover the entire world, and then all life will end.”

  

 

 

The pale grass seems like an eerie metaphor for the Others/ The fact that even Dothraki seems to expect pale grass/Others/winter that seems to overtake the world is really unsettling. The Dothraki sea is sort of in the middle of the world. It's also probably the most fertile land now, considering Valyria is gone. I think famine is going to kill people more than the WW. Anyway, does anyone find it interesting that the ghost grass exist in the Shadow Lands? Not in the north, but in the east. I think that's where the Others really come from. Is there's a connection between shadow stuff and WW?

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Ghost grass might be snow, but there is an invasive poisonous type of grass in the region by the Shadow and Asshai. There is another Wall with the Five Forts in the far east of Essos. It was built thousands of years ago to keep the Others out, but not the same as the Others in northern Westeros Beyond the Wall. The Others in Essos include creepy monstrous looking things such as the Lion of Night. It isn't far from Yi Ti. The legend of Azor Ahai and Lightbringer come from this place.

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The Lion of Night is actually a deity in Yi Ti. The Faceless Men of Braavos consider the Lion of Night as a representation of the Many-Faced God, like the Black Goat of Quohor or The Stranger in Westeros.

Ghost grass is probably somewhat a "Plant of the Others". There is some connection, their behaviour is quite similar, both are the enemies of any life. The Others are the enemies of human and animal life, the ghost grass is an enemy of plants.

I t is interesting that, in A clas of kings Danerys is told about growing Ghost Grass in Quarth, after demise of the Undying. It cannot be truly verified, because it is told by Xaro, not a really reliable source.

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Fascinating!  I'm on my third, I think... re-read of book 1 and I missed this reference every time but it does make a lot of sense.  There are a lot of theories about the Others out there of course, some even involve that Essos people are likely to also have contravened some earlier order that the Others are trying to prevent, but yes, I guess they may be slightly different "Others" even if this pans out to be true.

I agree that the "ghost grass" could be grass covered by snow.  The way I see part of it, gods old and knew forbid me from having a chance of guessing this correctly lol, is that the Others represent Winter (which by its mere nature means death, the leaves are gone, animals oftentimes starve etc), that that whatever the ones going for the god of Light are into represent Summer (which yes, it is harvest and abundance and seems wonderful in principle but also can represent the over-reproduction, of say, viruses, overpopulation blah).  I think the key is in achieving balance and what that series is about.  Okay, I am leaning heavily on the Celtic myth of the Court of Winter and Court of Summer but the parallels are just too striking to ignore...

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Green grass turning to a sea of blood, a world full of different grasses, yellow, indigo, blue, orange and rainbow, the legend of a ghost grass from a distant mysterious land.

I wonder if this is a bit of forshadowing to the story as a whole. Westeros is at peace and full of green boys wanting to fight in  war. The war of the five kings break up (five colours of grass) and turn the river lands into a feast for crows or a sea of blood? All the while pale as milk glass creatures with an army of the dead amass in a distant mysterious land, ready to destroy all life. @Ghost+Nymeria4Eva, you already pointed out the connection to the others.

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On 2/28/2018 at 4:46 AM, ScaledBird said:

Green grass turning to a sea of blood, a world full of different grasses, yellow, indigo, blue, orange and rainbow, the legend of a ghost grass from a distant mysterious land.

I wonder if this is a bit of forshadowing to the story as a whole. Westeros is at peace and full of green boys wanting to fight in  war. The war of the five kings break up (five colours of grass) and turn the river lands into a feast for crows or a sea of blood? All the while pale as milk glass creatures with an army of the dead amass in a distant mysterious land, ready to destroy all life. @Ghost+Nymeria4Eva, you already pointed out the connection to the others.

GRRM is probably using it as foreshadowing as well for the coming Doom of Man and whatnot. Interesting that you mention the colors. GRRM uses colors in metaphors quite a lot. The three colors under the sea Patchface sings about, the three colors on columns Dany sees in Quarth in ACoK, and the colors of ice and fire. The color white, or paleness, is prominently used when describing the weather like snow and winter, which is common of course. But it is also strongly associated with certain elements, like the Others, and strangely, also with the Valyrians, who should be associated with fiery colors. Valyrians have silver hair and pale skin, and some creatures around Valyria, like some type of forest koalas, also have similar silvery fur. I think the tri-color code goes as green, blue, and black. 

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On 2/27/2018 at 6:16 PM, ScaledBird said:

Green grass turning to a sea of blood, a world full of different grasses, yellow, indigo, blue, orange and rainbow, the legend of a ghost grass from a distant mysterious land.

I wonder if this is a bit of forshadowing to the story as a whole. Westeros is at peace and full of green boys wanting to fight in  war. The war of the five kings break up (five colours of grass) and turn the river lands into a feast for crows or a sea of blood? All the while pale as milk glass creatures with an army of the dead amass in a distant mysterious land, ready to destroy all life. . . .

 

On 3/2/2018 at 4:49 PM, Ghost+Nymeria4Eva said:

GRRM is probably using it as foreshadowing as well for the coming Doom of Man and whatnot. Interesting that you mention the colors. GRRM uses colors in metaphors quite a lot. . . .

I think Ser Jorah's description of the various grasses and the way they change with the seasons is a metaphor for the story as a whole. And the colors were what brought me to examine the passage recently.

I recently took a look at Renly's Rainbow Guard and found that it finally gave me a way to interpret a lot of GRRM's use of colors - particularly combinations of colors. The history of each of the noble houses represented in the Rainbow Guard as well as their sigils, participation in tourneys and association with other symbols provide further hints about foreshadowing.

The importance of tournaments - who participates, who is beaten by whom, how badly the person is injured, etc. - makes me think that the Battle of Redgrass Field is linked to Ser Jorah's description of the green Dothraki Sea turning into a sea of blood. This was the last battle of the first Blackfyre Rebellion, and names of many of the participants come up again in tournaments and other events in ASOIAF.

Another passage worth examining might be Doran Martell's lines to his nieces:

I am not blind, nor deaf. I know you all believe me weak, frightened, feeble. Your father knew me better. Oberyn was ever the viper. Deadly, dangerous, unpredictable. No man dared tread on him. I was the grass. Pleasant, complaisant, sweet-smelling, swaying with every breeze. Who fears to walk upon the grass? But it is the grass that hides the viper from his enemies and shelters him until he strikes.

(ADwD, The Watcher)

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Fwiw, another thread recently raised the question of "ghostskin," apparently a type of lichen or moss that grows at Moat Cailin. The author of that OP asked whether ghostskin should be compared to ghost grass.

 

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3 hours ago, Seams said:

Fwiw, another thread recently raised the question of "ghostskin," apparently a type of lichen or moss that grows at Moat Cailin. The author of that OP asked whether ghostskin should be compared to ghost grass.

In AWOIAF, ghost grass apparently grows in Asshai and areas near the shadow. So it's not just Dothraki believing a type of white grass to exist, it does exist. 

Speaking of colors, have you noticed the three colors associated with the Drowned God? 

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5 hours ago, Ghost+Nymeria4Eva said:

Speaking of colors, have you noticed the three colors associated with the Drowned God? 

Until hitting on the Rainbow Guard as an initial organizing scheme for a color code, I had despaired of making sense of colors so I wasn't keeping track of them. The wiki let me cheat just now, though, and I found the answer to your question.

The priests of the Drowned God are ill clad, wearing mottled robes of green, grey, and blue, the colors of the Drowned God.

Interesting. Green and Blue are the main colors that (I suspect) Ser Duncan the Tall brings to the "rainbow partnership" with the boy who will be Aegon V. And Grey is the Stark color.

What do you make of that particular color combination?

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1 hour ago, Seams said:

Until hitting on the Rainbow Guard as an initial organizing scheme for a color code, I had despaired of making sense of colors so I wasn't keeping track of them. The wiki let me cheat just now, though, and I found the answer to your question.

The priests of the Drowned God are ill clad, wearing mottled robes of green, grey, and blue, the colors of the Drowned God.

Interesting. Green and Blue are the main colors that (I suspect) Ser Duncan the Tall brings to the "rainbow partnership" with the boy who will be Aegon V. And Grey is the Stark color.

What do you make of that particular color combination?

Not the association with House sigils, but other gods and temples. The green, blue, grey (or rather black) color combination appears in Qarth when Dany goes there. She sees two intertwined snakes clad in these three colors. Patchface also recalls how flames burn in these colors under the sea (obviously). It seems that the Drowned God plays a role in the larger mystery with regards to Long Night, magic, and WW, and the color codes are sort of like hints. I think.  

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17 hours ago, Seams said:

 

Fwiw, another thread recently raised the question of "ghostskin," apparently a type of lichen or moss that grows at Moat Cailin. The author of that OP asked whether ghostskin should be compared to ghost grass.

 

 

Hah! Well would ya look at that :D

Not much to add at the moment, but I just wanted to say that until Seams reminded me of ghostskin just recently in another thread, I had forgotten about it:

A Game of Thrones - Catelyn VIII

Just beyond, through the mists, she glimpsed the walls and towers of Moat Cailin … or what remained of them. Immense blocks of black basalt, each as large as a crofter's cottage, lay scattered and tumbled like a child's wooden blocks, half-sunk in the soft boggy soil. Nothing else remained of a curtain wall that had once stood as high as Winterfell's. The wooden keep was gone entirely, rotted away a thousand years past, with not so much as a timber to mark where it had stood. All that was left of the great stronghold of the First Men were three towers … three where there had once been twenty, if the taletellers could be believed.
The Gatehouse Tower looked sound enough, and even boasted a few feet of standing wall to either side of it. The Drunkard's Tower, off in the bog where the south and west walls had once met, leaned like a man about to spew a bellyful of wine into the gutter. And the tall, slender Children's Tower, where legend said the children of the forest had once called upon their nameless gods to send the hammer of the waters, had lost half its crown. It looked as if some great beast had taken a bite out of the crenellations along the tower top, and spit the rubble across the bog. All three towers were green with moss. A tree was growing out between the stones on the north side of the Gatehouse Tower, its gnarled limbs festooned with ropy white blankets of ghostskin.
"Gods have mercy," Ser Brynden exclaimed when he saw what lay before them. "This is Moat Cailin? It's no more than a—"

A Dance with Dragons - Reek II

He was being watched. He could feel the eyes. When he looked up, he caught a glimpse of pale faces peering from behind the battlements of the Gatehouse Tower and through the broken masonry that crowned the Children's Tower, where legend said the children of the forest had once called down the hammer of the waters to break the lands of Westeros in two.
The only dry road through the Neck was the causeway, and the towers of Moat Cailin plugged its northern end like a cork in a bottle. The road was narrow, the ruins so positioned that any enemy coming up from the south must pass beneath and between them. To assault any of the three towers, an attacker must expose his back to arrows from the other two, whilst climbing damp stone walls festooned with streamers of slimy white ghostskin. The swampy ground beyond the causeway was impassable, an endless morass of suckholes, quicksands, and glistening green swards that looked solid to the unwary eye but turned to water the instant you trod upon them, the whole of it infested with venomous serpents and poisonous flowers and monstrous lizard lions with teeth like daggers. Just as dangerous were its people, seldom seen but always lurking, the swamp-dwellers, the frog-eaters, the mud-men. Fenn and Reed, Peat and Boggs, Cray and Quagg, Greengood and Blackmyre, those were the sorts of names they gave themselves. The ironborn called them all bog devils.
Reek passed the rotted carcass of a horse, an arrow jutting from its neck. A long white snake slithered into its empty eye socket at his approach. Behind the horse he spied the rider, or what remained of him. The crows had stripped the flesh from the man's face, and a feral dog had burrowed beneath his mail to get at his entrails. Farther on, another corpse had sunk so deep into the muck that only his face and fingers showed.

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The other vegetation we see linked with death, but not ghosts is the purple moss:

Quote

It was cool and dim inside the castle walls. An ancient weirwood filled the yard, as it had since these stones had first been raised. The carved face on its trunk was grown over by the same purple moss that hung heavy from the tree's pale limbs. Half of the branches seemed dead, but elsewhere a few red leaves still rustled, and it was there the ravens liked to perch.

And back in GOT wasn't the flower that Arya picked, that was poisonous, purple? The strangler is purple. We also get purple brush with dead brown grass on the Pyre. There is also grey moss and black vines in the dead cities seen in Tyrion's Dance chapters in the Sorrows. All these colors seem to be linked.

And there is grey moss, and black vines in the Sorrows, mentioned in a Tyrion chapter.

And "the endless black grasses of the nightlands," mentioned in a Dany chapter

Red (fire/blood/weirwood) + blue (ice/water/ironwood) = purple (associated with death and poison); Black (fire/dragonglass/ironwood) + white (ice/marble/weirwood) = grey (ash/granite/towers--none of those things are alive) The major human players in the ice fire battle have grey, purple, red, blue and black eyes...hmm the other moss and grass we get is green, that is linked to the Crannog men. This is a life associated color (well and the Lannisters have green eyes, but theirs have gold flecks, so a fall (season) thus impending death associated color so not the right shade, especially when paired with Tyrion's one black fire/death colored eye. Now I want to start an eye color/season thread)

We are told in the Sam chapter above that the black and white ravens squabble and need to be kept apart, could this mean that when the black and white grass fight for dominance they kill all other grass in the process turning it to pale grey glowing ghost grass? (Since Dawn is a sword, and it's described as milk glass I always took that to mean a very pale silver)

Now, how does this link to the long night. I wonder if Fire (summer and the warm golden colors of fall) was kept in Essos, and Ice (winter and the green colors of spring) in Westerose, and that the pact was to separate them as they always squabble and bring death and destruction when they fight. And if that is shown to us by the land of always winter, sunset land, land of always summer, monikers given to the two continents, and the breaking of the arm of Dorne to separate them, and the flooding of the neck to separate North (Ice and winter) and South (water and spring) as well. Dorne being hot could be that, that is as far as summer spread on Westerose before being driven back to Essos. The summer isles with all their colors might show a successful merging? Hence all the colors and wildlife associations? And what we see in Essos with the shadowlands, and Westerose with beyond the wall, the sorrows etc. is the fallout from the last time they fought? 

I know we are lead to believe fire good, ice bad, but does anyone really believe that? I think this is all to show us that fire and ice fighting is bad. 

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On 9/6/2017 at 6:19 AM, Ghost+Nymeria4Eva said:

There were many interesting new things I noticed during my re-read of GoT. One of the biggest is the dothraki story of ghost grass. Jorah tells Dany about it when she goes to Vaes Dothrak with the khalasar for the first time. Here's the quote:

 

The pale grass seems like an eerie metaphor for the Others/ The fact that even Dothraki seems to expect pale grass/Others/winter that seems to overtake the world is really unsettling. The Dothraki sea is sort of in the middle of the world. It's also probably the most fertile land now, considering Valyria is gone. I think famine is going to kill people more than the WW. Anyway, does anyone find it interesting that the ghost grass exist in the Shadow Lands? Not in the north, but in the east. I think that's where the Others really come from. Is there's a connection between shadow stuff and WW?

It's so funny, I was actually just re-reading this chapter last night and this same exact thing really stuck out to me.  What also really stuck out to me was that "pale as milkglass" description.  I knew I had read that phrase before and as it turns out, the books describe the great Dayne sword Dawn as "pale as milkglass."  I don't know if that means anything, but I did find it really interesting.  Also when you factor in all the "pale" descriptions of the Others, the Night's King's Queen, etc...it does seem like there's something there.  Perhaps someone smarter than me can put together how Dawn plays into this if there's a theory to be had here.

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I recently read this in my reread I'm doing and was caught by it automatically. I thought wow this is massive foreshadowing of the....well a lot, the Others, the winter that is coming, etc. It was a really cool thing to pick up on on a reread.

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