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OberynBlackfyre

The Shadows in the Tent, and the Powers that Be

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Ok so after doing an extensive deep dive into Asshai and the whole Great Empire of the Dawn, one thing is for sure.  Magic is stronger in certain areas and we know that some things act as magical "batteries" for lack of a better term.   

Obviously there have been two dueling magics that kinda frame the story for A story of ICE and FIRE.  that isn't to say that there could be more deities waalking Planetos- such as the Drowned God, or the Old Man of the Rhoyne- but those are somewhat lesser gods as even the WOIAF point out.  Throughout many cultures though we have two players mostly- the Maiden of Light aka R'Hlor aka The Sun and the Lion of the Night aka Great Other aka Long Night.

I think this is further explained in the fact that only twice has the term "Heart of X" been used within the series.  In Asshai lands lies the Heart of Shadow aka Heart of Darkness- the place where dragons were made, and the R'Hllor religion came from, obviously connected with fire.  

In the Lands of Always Winter you have the curtain of Light, the Heart of Winter, home of the White Walkers, which is obviously connected with Ice.

in my thread I kinda of frame how these seats came to be, and in the beginning they were actually TOGETHER.  
 


Anyway, fast forward to when Mirri Maz Durr was doing her enchantments within the tent, Dany sees shadowS moving within the tent.  Now plural means more than one, but it could also mean less than 3.  As we only get a description for TWO shadows within the tent.....and what are these two described as?  

"Inside the tent the shapes were dancing, circling the brazier and the bloody bath, dark against the sandsilk, and some did not look human.  She glimpsed the shadow of a great wolf, and another like a man wreathed in flames."

Now keep in mind that Dany was essentially going through a VERY TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE, so I don't think she got every detail right, but I do believe she could make out what she described as basically correct.  But who or what were they?

-The being wreathed in flames I think is something or someone we are all familiar with.  It is R'Hllor.....but was it truly a man?  I think what Dany could have been seeing is the entity that the Great Empire of Dawn knew as the Maiden of Light, who dwells within Stygai or Asshai, somewhere within the Shadowlands.  Where the fire power is strongest, and dragons were made and dwell to this day.  

-The Great Wolf is an entity we havent heard of.......or is it? Now for this one I think the facts could be found if we believe Dany just saw it wrong, OR if the Great Empire of Dawn simply didn't have a good translation.  Because I think the "Great Wolf" is the entity that the Great Dawn Empire knew as the LION OF THE NIGHT.  Now I think it's fully possible that Dany could have mistaken seeing a great beast as making it a wolf in her mind........or did the Dawn Empire just not have a word for "wolf"?  Because when you think of it, a Wolf could definitely be eluded to as "Lions of the Night".  ESPECIALLY DIREWOLVES.  They are nocturnal, they howl at the moon.......and as it just so happens they are STRONGLY STRONGLY connected to a certain family that was once known as the KINGS OF WINTER.....the Starks of Winterfell.......Northern Westeros.  

Now obviously there COULD have been other shadows in the tent, as I think the Drowned God could essentially be an euqally powerful entity in its own right, but I think it's interesting that we only get descriptions for these two.  However I believe what we are seeing are symbolic entities that are within the "Hearts" of Westeros, and the batteries for magic that are invoked during....magic.


 

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Nice catch.

Also to add more fuel to your theory, Mirri Maaz Duur learnt these rituals which bring forth the Lion of Night and Maiden of Light - in Asshai (GEOTD) :) 

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3 hours ago, OberynBlackfyre said:

-The being wreathed in flames I think is something or someone we are all familiar with.  It is R'Hllor.....but was it truly a man?  I think what Dany could have been seeing is the entity that the Great Empire of Dawn knew as the Maiden of Light, who dwells within Stygai or Asshai, somewhere within the Shadowlands.  Where the fire power is strongest, and dragons were made and dwell to this day.  

I'm not convinced at all by the GEOD's theory, but I find the perspective of a "woman wreathed in flames" (and Dany mistaking by thinking to a man) very judicious, and with reflexion it's the best proposition I've read about this shadow. 

1. We don't know exactly how Daenerys could identify a man in this one : had the shadow the appearance of a warrior ? In this case, we have some others examples of the same mistake in the serie : Brienne is the most obvious, with Catelyn who at first sight during a melee thinks she is a knight. I also think to Ygritte and some wildling women warriors.

2 Speaking of Ygritte, she is "kissed by fire" and forms a couple with Jon, the bastard (and there is the red Melisandre trying to seduce Ghost and Jon): so you have here the same theme, the couple wolf (winter/ice ?) - fire "maiden" (who is also associated with the moon)

Now, what is interesting is the following question : why does this couple of shadows appear after Mirri's calling ? We know that baby Rhaego dies (Mirri wanted to stop the prophecy of the Stallion who rides the world), does it significates that these shadows are looking for a baby ? For a particular baby ? their baby who was lost/killed/neverborn (or just strongly desired and they never could have one) very long time before ? There is also the story of Craster's sons offered to the Others. 

 

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5 minutes ago, GloubieBoulga said:

I'm not convinced at all by the GEOD's theory, but I find the perspective of a "woman wreathed in flames" (and Dany mistaking by thinking to a man) very judicious, and with reflexion it's the best proposition I've read about this shadow. 

1. We don't know exactly how Daenerys could identify a man in this one : had the shadow the appearance of a warrior ? In this case, we have some others examples of the same mistake in the serie : Brienne is the most obvious, with Catelyn who at first sight during a melee thinks she is a knight. I also think to Ygritte and some wildling women warriors.

2 Speaking of Ygritte, she is "kissed by fire" and forms a couple with Jon, the bastard (and there is the red Melisandre trying to seduce Ghost and Jon): so you have here the same theme, the couple wolf (winter/ice ?) - fire "maiden" (who is also associated with the moon)

Now, what is interesting is the following question : why does this couple of shadows appear after Mirri's calling ? We know that baby Rhaego dies (Mirri wanted to stop the prophecy of the Stallion who rides the world), does it significates that these shadows are looking for a baby ? For a particular baby ? their baby who was lost/killed/neverborn (or just strongly desired and they never could have one) very long time before ? There is also the story of Craster's sons offered to the Others. 

 

Yeah I think what is interesting about this theory is that it remains plausible whether or not the whole GEOTD is true.  

-To talk about your first response I equally found it very interesting that Dany just kind of assumed it was a MAN wreathed in flames.  I mean remember she sees this shape from outside the tent, the only description is that the figure was wreathed in flames.  However we DO know that even shadows can have distinctive features, as Davos, Catelyn, and Brienne saw that the shadow that killed Renly looked like STANNIS.   
Mirri was obviously calling on some magical powers though, so i don't think it would make sense that the shadows that were projected or invited somehow symbolize any mortal person in the series.  What would be the point?  The ONLY other thing I can think of is that it somehow manifested the next loves of Dany's lives.  Remember Dany is said to be the "bride of fire" and even when she goes into the flames she calls it a type of marriage/union.  Could the entity wreathed in flames be whom she married?  R'Hllor? Was the Great Wolf symbolic of Jon?  But he's a Targaryen....

-Now to the third you said- keep in mind that both the Others AND R'Hllor are involved in child/human sacrifice.  I think mostly because they are two sides of the same coin, and when they were ripped apart is when the GEOTD met its end.

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3 hours ago, Falcon2909 said:

Nice catch.

Also to add more fuel to your theory, Mirri Maaz Duur learnt these rituals which bring forth the Lion of Night and Maiden of Light - in Asshai (GEOTD) :) 

yep exactly.  She explicitly says she learned it from a Bloodmage from the Lands of Asshai.  Also both powers are associated with blood sacrifices.

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Lots of things are possible, but as a default I'd want the burning man and the wolf to have meaning just as they are. I'm expecting the wolf to be the equal and opposite of fire - which is ice, not night.

Actually there's a whole list of opposites which you'd think would neatly slot under the headlines fire and ice, but nothing turns out that simple. We've got:

  • Ice / Fire
  • Winter / Summer
  • Moon / Sun
  • Night / Dawn
  • White / Black
  • Water / Oil?
  • Curtain of Light / Asshai of the Shadow?

But nothing burns like ice, and dragons came from the moon, and Ghost has hot red eyes - so there's no simple mapping here.

ETA: Another thought - Mel saw BR with wolf-headed Bran in her flames. She thought she was looking at the enemy of R'hllor.

Edited by Springwatch

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30 minutes ago, Springwatch said:

Lots of things are possible, but as a default I'd want the burning man and the wolf to have meaning just as they are. I'm expecting the wolf to be the equal and opposite of fire - which is ice, not night.

Actually there's a whole list of opposites which you'd think would neatly slot under the headlines fire and ice, but nothing turns out that simple. We've got:

  • Ice / Fire
  • Winter / Summer
  • Moon / Sun
  • Night / Dawn
  • White / Black
  • Water / Oil?
  • Curtain of Light / Asshai of the Shadow?

But nothing burns like ice, and dragons came from the moon, and Ghost has hot red eyes - so there's no simple mapping here.

ETA: Another thought - Mel saw BR with wolf-headed Bran in her flames. She thought she was looking at the enemy of R'hllor.

you know thats VERY interesting.  I wonder if Melisandre feels that way becaue he had a WOLF face?  And I agree that there is a lot of opposites through out the series.  They definitely invoke certain similarities though...

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3 hours ago, OberynBlackfyre said:

you know thats VERY interesting.  I wonder if Melisandre feels that way becaue he had a WOLF face?  And I agree that there is a lot of opposites through out the series.  They definitely invoke certain similarities though...

  I'm digging the symbolism,  lots of things I'd not noticed before.  I wouldn't have thought to equate a wolf with the Lion of Night though, but I'm not surprised Melisandre might have, she's pretty bad at interpreting the visions she sees in the flames.

 

3 hours ago, Springwatch said:

But nothing burns like ice, and dragons came from the moon, and Ghost has hot red eyes - so there's no simple mapping here.

 

 Hadn't thought of it that way, but that makes me think that maybe the imperfect ,contrasting examples symbolize  pivotal  points where the interactions of Fire and Ice  make things happen.

Comets crashing into moons, fire prince and ice princess makin babies in towers of joy,  etc.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Reekazoid said:

  I'm digging the symbolism,  lots of things I'd not noticed before.  I wouldn't have thought to equate a wolf with the Lion of Night though, but I'm not surprised Melisandre might have, she's pretty bad at interpreting the visions she sees in the flames.

 

 Hadn't thought of it that way, but that makes me think that maybe the imperfect ,contrasting examples symbolize  pivotal  points where the interactions of Fire and Ice  make things happen.

Comets crashing into moons, fire prince and ice princess makin babies in towers of joy,  etc.

 

 

 

yeah I definitely think we can somewhat count on Mel as an unreliable narrator at times simply because she tries so hard to determine exactly what prophecies are that much of the time she fails to see the big picture and is wrong.  And I can admit the Lion of the Night being the wolf thing is kinda a stretch but i think its plausible that if the Great Empire didnt have a word for wolf because maybe they were rare or unheard of in their lands, then they called it "Lion of the Night"

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On 9/19/2017 at 10:01 AM, OberynBlackfyre said:

. . . we only get a description for TWO shadows within the tent.....and what are these two described as?  

"Inside the tent the shapes were dancing, circling the brazier and the bloody bath, dark against the sandsilk, and some did not look human.  She glimpsed the shadow of a great wolf, and another like a man wreathed in flames."

Now keep in mind that Dany was essentially going through a VERY TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE, so I don't think she got every detail right, but I do believe she could make out what she described as basically correct.  But who or what were they?

-The being wreathed in flames I think is something or someone we are all familiar with.  It is R'Hllor.....but was it truly a man?  I think what Dany could have been seeing is the entity that the Great Empire of Dawn knew as the Maiden of Light, . . .

-The Great Wolf is an entity we havent heard of.......or is it?  . . .a Wolf could definitely be eluded to as "Lions of the Night". 

Dany's perceptions could have been compromised at that point, I admit. Although maybe they were heightened. But I don't think the author would BOTH create a symbolic scene (allusion or foreshadowing or whatever it might be) AND hide it under a layer of misinterpretation by the narrator. There are times when he does one or the other, but asking the reader to cut through two layers - the indirect message of the symbolism and the mistaken perception of the narrator - that doesn't seem like a fair way to communicate with readers. If he meant that the shadows were actually a woman and a lion, I think he would have told us that and not said a man and a wolf.

@GloubieBoulga also reminds us to put the scene in context:

20 hours ago, GloubieBoulga said:

Now, what is interesting is the following question : why does this couple of shadows appear after Mirri's calling ? We know that baby Rhaego dies (Mirri wanted to stop the prophecy of the Stallion who rides the world), does it significates that these shadows are looking for a baby ? For a particular baby ? their baby who was lost/killed/neverborn (or just strongly desired and they never could have one) very long time before ? There is also the story of Craster's sons offered to the Others.

Are the wolf shadow and the man wreathed in flame fighting over the sacrificed baby?

It's possible that this is just another of the mummer versions of history or prophecy that Dany witnesses throughout her journey, and not directly relevant to the monstrous birth and death of Rhaego.

Instead of R'hllor, what if the man wreathed in flames is Sandor Clegane? He is the main character known to the reader who has literally been in a fire. (Maybe we should consider Rickard Stark, as well, although he didn't live to dance like a shadow afterward.) The wolf could easily be Jon Snow. Maybe this shadow dance foreshadows (ha!) a conflict between Jon and The Hound.

I also looked up the word "wreathed" and it is used very rarely in the five books, always to indicate something (usually a person) on fire or something surrounded by mist or steam. This passage seems directly relevant to the shadows Dany described in the fire:

The wights, Bran realized. Someone set the wights on fire.

Summer was snarling and snapping as he danced around the closest, a great ruin of a man wreathed in swirling flame. He shouldn't get so close, what is he doing? Then he saw himself, sprawled facedown in the snow. Summer was trying to drive the thing away from him. What will happen if it kills me? the boy wondered. (ADwD, Bran II)

I'm not saying that Dany's vision at the tent was Bran at the mouth of the cave, but the threat to Bran's life does echo the death of Rhaego. GRRM creates symbolic patterns with elements that repeat from one arc to another. Dany sees another man wreathed in flame when she escapes Daznak's pit on Drogon's back, as well as a child being protected from harm. (See the embedded "wreathed" link, above and scroll to the last example in the group.) Her flight immediately follows a recollection of the Mirri Maz Duur ritual. No wolf in the scene at Daznak's pit, though, just a dragon.

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When it comes to magic and religion I think the George is writing about a time when many religions coexisted, but not harmoniously, and people believed that magic was a real force. I don't think there is a discernable, provable answer to which god or gods are real, and to what magic really is in this world. But I do think the George put the great wolf and the fire man in that tent for a reason.

What was actually going on in that tent? I think The Dragon was taking Rhaego's place. Daenerys is the Mother of Dragons, and she is riding Drogon, but I don't believe she is going to survive. After Daenerys dies, I think the Prince That Was Promised will ride Drogron. So, my best guess is that the great wolf and the man wreathed in flames are another hint that the special snowflake is very special indeed. 

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4 hours ago, Seams said:

I also looked up the word "wreathed" and it is used very rarely in the five books, always to indicate something (usually a person) on fire or something surrounded by mist or steam. This passage seems directly relevant to the shadows Dany described in the fire:

The wights, Bran realized. Someone set the wights on fire.

Summer was snarling and snapping as he danced around the closest, a great ruin of a man wreathed in swirling flame. He shouldn't get so close, what is he doing? Then he saw himself, sprawled facedown in the snow. Summer was trying to drive the thing away from him. What will happen if it kills me? the boy wondered. (ADwD, Bran II)

I'm not saying that Dany's vision at the tent was Bran at the mouth of the cave, but the threat to Bran's life does echo the death of Rhaego. GRRM creates symbolic patterns with elements that repeat from one arc to another. Dany sees another man wreathed in flame when she escapes Daznak's pit on Drogon's back, as well as a child being protected from harm. (See the embedded "wreathed" link, above and scroll to the last example in the group.) Her flight immediately follows a recollection of the Mirri Maz Duur ritual. No wolf in the scene at Daznak's pit, though, just a dragon.

good catch ! I didn't remember it !

@OberynBlackfyre just to precise : I think Mirri's shadows are what she announced before she called them : "spirits" of dead people (for long time). Perhaps the life of these people inspired visions/legends/prophecies/religions/aso... So the shadows aren't Jon+Ygritte (or other living people), but I mean that Jon + Ygritte could illustrate this sentence : 

 

Quote

"Archmaester Rigney once wrote that history is a wheel, for the nature of man is fundamentally unchanging. What has happened before will perforce happen again, he said.(AFFC, The Kraken's daughter)

 

But the boy Bran (remind me "kill the boy and let the man be born") escapes when baby Rhaego dies. There are other occurrences when the greenseer boy Bran escape from death (and others boys are dying) : threwn by Jaime to save his and Cersei's mortal secret (but joffrey dies); condemned by Theon who kills miller's boys instead; Bran should have die 2 other time by a dagger, but miraculously doesnt (Catelyn III AGOT and Bran VI AGOT)

So, there is something with boy's sacrifice, reliated to shadows (and obviously Others who are defined as shadows). 

Same theme with R'hllor, with a supplement, the notion of "royal blood" = what is exactly the royal blood ? For me, Mel has only a partial interpretation for that.

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3 hours ago, GloubieBoulga said:

 

Same theme with R'hllor, with a supplement, the notion of "royal blood" = what is exactly the royal blood ? For me, Mel has only a partial interpretation for that.

I think the catch might be that royal blood or sang real is holy blood; the use of which increase magic. 

Spoiler

Perhaps also the reason why Euron is collecting various holy men for use in sacrifice.  

Quote

There has been some debate regarding the question whether the "origin" of the Grail legend should be seen as deriving from "Celtic mythology". This view was championed by Roger Sherman Loomis, Alfred Nutt and Jessie Weston. Loomis traced a number of parallels between Medieval Welsh literature and Irish material and the Grail romances, including similarities between the Mabinogion's Bran the Blessed and the Arthurian Fisher King, and between Bran's life-restoring cauldron and the Grail.

Lyanna is also portrayed as the Weeping Woman or weeping tears of blood; so a madonna figure; also holy blood.  She is also represented as the Woman in White/Ghost or banshee.  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee

So we have associations with Jon and Bran with royal blood or holy blood.  

Edited by LynnS

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I think the shadows Daenerys observes dancing with Duur are the same as the shadows Bran sees in his earliest vision. Bran's hound is the same as Daenerys's wolf. Bran's "armored like the sun" is the same as Daenerys's "clothed in fire". The shadow missing from Daenerys's vision, the one Bran sees armored in stone, is missing because that shadow is Harrenhal, and by the time Duur is dancing with her shadows Harrenhal has lost it's Whent and isn't casting it's shadow anymore.

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Mirri uses both Ice and Fire in her ritual for Drago as he’s in a bath (water) yet blood (fire) magic is used. Ice is the purest form of water, as water needs a little fire to take liquid form. Her knife is bronze and leaf-shaped. Bronze is linked to the Old Gods and leaf-shaped calls to mind Leaf, one of the CotF. While runes are linked with Old Gods, it’s glyphs which are linked to fire and Valyria. So the knife has elements of both the Old Gods and Fire. Also, Mirri sings, maybe a Song of Ice and Fire, or at least a variation of it or a part of it. 

AGOT Daenerys VIII

"You must. Once I begin to sing, no one must enter this tent. My song will wake powers old and dark. The dead will dance here this night. No living man must look on them."

...

The stallion kicked and reared as Rakharo, Quaro, and Aggo pulled him close to the tub where the khal floated like one already dead, pus and blood seeping from his wound to stain the bathwaters. Mirri Maz Duur chanted words in a tongue that Dany did not know, and a knife appeared in her hand. Dany never saw where it came from. It looked old; hammered red bronze, leaf-shaped, its blade covered with ancient glyphs. The maegi drew it across the stallion's throat, under the noble head, and the horse screamed and shuddered as the blood poured out of him in a red rush. He would have collapsed, but the men of her khas held him up. "Strength of the mount, go into the rider," Mirri sang as horse blood swirled into the waters of Drogo's bath. "Strength of the beast, go into the man."

In Greek Myth, the Titans are the oldest gods representing the forces of the earth. The Olympians defeat the Titans and replace them, representing Man’s mastery over Nature, of Civilization over more primitive forms of living. The Targs (and now Dany) mastered the Titan of Fire (dragons are Fire made flesh) and Bran the Builder (and perhaps now Bran Stark) mastered the Titan of Ice. I’m ~guessing~ that Ice and Fire are the Titans of ASOIAF (hence “powers old and dark”) and that they the origin of all of the other gods which replaced them in time just as the Olympians replaced the Titans. Mirri is also transferring power from nature (the horse) to the man (Drago). 

 As for Dany seeing a Lion but calling it a wolf and seeing a woman but calling it a man, it’s possible, but that’d feel like a cheap trick to me. It would work better for me if Dany did see accurately, but she missed some important details.

 

8 hours ago, GloubieBoulga said:

Same theme with R'hllor, with a supplement, the notion of "royal blood" = what is exactly the royal blood ?

 

 

I might be wrong, but I'm thinking that King's blood is the symbolic sacrifice of all in his kingdom. Sacrifice the King and it destabilizes the kingdom to some degree in most cases. Sacrifice his family members, and you also weaken the hold of the royal family as there's strength in numbers. Perhaps it's intended as a potential domino effect of blood-sacrifice through blood-shed from war because the kingdom has been weakened to some degree? 

Edited by Lollygag

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