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Platypus Rex

Poll: Did Summer See a Dragon?

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1 hour ago, White Ravens said:

Dany's dragons hatched amid flames and blood magic.  What do think lead to a dragon hatching at Winterfell?

 

Blood happened, flames happened, and dragons hatched, but it is not at all factual that blood magic happened or that those things were the cause of the dragons hatching. It is a strong hypothesis but it isn't more than a hypothesis. I think that's worth clarifying moving forward.

I don't know that the dragon hatched at Winterfell. It may have hatched somewhere else and traveled to Winterfell. It may not have even flown out of Winterfell but came to visit the enormous fire. It's possible that it hatched at Winterfell but I wouldn't confine my investigation to that idea by any means. The dragon may have flown to Winterfell  hundreds of years ago and been hibernating in or beneath it somewhere the whole time. R'hllor knows there are plenty of places it could have been hiding such as under the hot springs, in the crypts or in the walls. And R'hllor knows there are plenty of other states of being the dragon could have occupied other than hibernation or even life. There's a whole castle built out of stone dragons with a mythos surrounding it that seems to allude to the idea that those dragons were once real before the Targaryens petrified them in the construction of a castle. There is also a prophecy floating around about a great stone beast coming to life, there are historical Targaryens who have visited Winterfell before, there's the fact that Dany's eggs are not the only dragon eggs left in the world, there are historical dragons who have gone missing, never found dead, gone on secret mating vacations to lay eggs that nobody knows about, changed sexes whenever convenient, and there is evidence that dragons have never ceased to exist near Asshai the whole time.

So those are a few reasons off the top of my head why I think it's an egregious case of intellectual laziness to dismiss the possibility that Summer saw a real dragon. The fact that no people reported seeing it is easily believable for a number of reasons. Many of the people were already dead. Their vantage point was obscured by smoke and fire. Nobody happened to be looking up at the sky because who even does that during a battle? And the dragon's roar, if that description is even referring to an audible roar, is the kind of thing that men would easily attribute to a collapsing building or literally any mundane explanation imaginable OTHER THAN a dragon, because none of them have ever seen or heard a dragon in their lives and they don't even believe dragons exist anymore.

Entertaining the possibility that the dragon did hatch at Winterfell, then it must have hatched at least a few years ago in order to match the description which is "GREAT winged snake." That narrows the search a little but not much.

Edited by rustythesmith

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1 hour ago, White Ravens said:

Dany's dragons hatched amid flames and blood magic.  What do think lead to a dragon hatching at Winterfell?

A "great" winged snake, is not necessarily a hatchling.  But in any event, when you see a bear in your back-yard, the first thing to do is to acknowledge that you see a bear in your back yard.  Then you can wonder how it got there and who its mother was.

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1 hour ago, rustythesmith said:

Blood happened, flames happened, and dragons hatched, but it is not at all factual that blood magic happened or that those things were the cause of the dragons hatching. It is a strong hypothesis but it isn't more than a hypothesis. I think that's worth clarifying moving forward.

I don't know that the dragon hatched at Winterfell. It may have hatched somewhere else and traveled to Winterfell. It may not have even flown out of Winterfell but came to visit the enormous fire. It's possible that it hatched at Winterfell but I wouldn't confine my investigation to that idea by any means. The dragon may have flown to Winterfell  hundreds of years ago and been hibernating in or beneath it somewhere the whole time. R'hllor knows there are plenty of places it could have been hiding such as under the hot springs, in the crypts or in the walls. And R'hllor knows there are plenty of other states of being the dragon could have occupied other than hibernation or even life. There's a whole castle built out of stone dragons with a mythos surrounding it that seems to allude to the idea that those dragons were once real before the Targaryens petrified them in the construction of a castle. There is also a prophecy floating around about a great stone beast coming to life, there are historical Targaryens who have visited Winterfell before, there's the fact that Dany's eggs are not the only dragon eggs left in the world, there are historical dragons who have gone missing, never found dead, gone on secret mating vacations to lay eggs that nobody knows about, changed sexes whenever convenient, and there is evidence that dragons have never ceased to exist near Asshai the whole time.

So those are a few reasons off the top of my head why I think it's an egregious case of intellectual laziness to dismiss the possibility that Summer saw a real dragon. The fact that no people reported seeing it is easily believable for a number of reasons. Many of the people were already dead. Their vantage point was obscured by smoke and fire. Nobody happened to be looking up at the sky because who even does that during a battle? And the dragon's roar, if that description is even referring to an audible roar, is the kind of thing that men would easily attribute to a collapsing building or literally any mundane explanation imaginable OTHER THAN a dragon, because none of them have ever seen or heard a dragon in their lives and they don't even believe dragons exist anymore.

Entertaining the possibility that the dragon did hatch at Winterfell, then it must have hatched at least a few years ago in order to match the description which is "GREAT winged snake." That narrows the search a little but not much.

Call me intellectually lazy then.  Could it not be that Summer is an unreliable narrator?  You have read an awful lot into a brief abstract observation provided from the perspective of a direwolf.  The same wolf dream shows that Shaggydog was  there with Summer on the edge of the forest watching as fire consumed Winterfell but there is no mention of Shaggy also seeing the dragon or whatever it is that Summer described.  Bran would surely have recognized a dragon if he had seen one through Summer's eyes I would think, but he doesn't mention it to his companions hiding at his side in the crypts below the castle.

 

36 minutes ago, Platypus Rex said:

A "great" winged snake, is not necessarily a hatchling.  But in any event, when you see a bear in your back-yard, the first thing to do is to acknowledge that you see a bear in your back yard.  Then you can wonder how it got there and who its mother was.

We haven't reached a consensus on Summer's description being a definitive dragon ID so it is hard to compare that with a personal eye witness of a bear. 

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3 hours ago, White Ravens said:

Call me intellectually lazy then.  Could it not be that Summer is an unreliable narrator?  You have read an awful lot into a brief abstract observation provided from the perspective of a direwolf.  The same wolf dream shows that Shaggydog was  there with Summer on the edge of the forest watching as fire consumed Winterfell but there is no mention of Shaggy also seeing the dragon or whatever it is that Summer described.  Bran would surely have recognized a dragon if he had seen one through Summer's eyes I would think, but he doesn't mention it to his companions hiding at his side in the crypts below the castle.

 

We haven't reached a consensus on Summer's description being a definitive dragon ID so it is hard to compare that with a personal eye witness of a bear. 

I haven't read anything into it except what is written on the page.

Quote

 

He padded over dry needles and brown leaves, to the edge of the wood where the pines grew thin. Beyond the open fields he could see the great piles of man-rock stark against the swirling flames. The wind blew hot and rich with the smell of blood and burnt meat, so strong he began to slaver.

 
Yet as one smell drew them onward, others warned them back. He sniffed at the drifting smoke. Men, many men, many horses, and fire, fire, fire. No smell was more dangerous, not even the hard cold smell of iron, the stuff of man-claws and hardskin. The smoke and ash clouded his eyes, and in the sky he saw a great winged snake whose roar was a river of flame. He bared his teeth, but then the snake was gone. Behind the cliffs tall fires were eating up the stars.
 
All through the night the fires crackled, and once there was a great roar and a crash that made the earth jump under his feet. Dogs barked and whined and horses screamed in terror. Howls shuddered through the night; the howls of the man-pack, wails of fear and wild shouts, laughter and screams. No beast was as noisy as man. He pricked up his ears and listened, and his brother growled at every sound. They prowled under the trees as a piney wind blew ashes and embers through the sky. In time the flames began to dwindle, and then they were gone. The sun rose grey and smoky that morning.

 

 

What I outlined was the endless number of opportunities and narrative reasons why it might be a real dragon. By no means am I certain that it is one.

If I were to place a bet however I think it's more likely a real dragon than not. Mostly because it looks like the seed of a very interesting surprise later on, planted in a way that is consistent with Martin's style in the rest of the story in multiple ways.

(1) The more fantastical elements in this fantasy are always smuggled in to the reader's (and character's) mind under circumstances that involve just enough ambiguity that we can reasonably support or deny that anything fantastic even happened at all. And whether any individual reader chooses to support or deny those fantastic elements depends in some part on his personality. I think that's a large part of why this series draws people who wouldn't otherwise be very interested in fantasy. Rather than clubbing us over the head with those things that require the most suspension of disbelief, we're permitted to disbelieve.

(2) It subverts the elements of "chosen one" present in Daenerys if she isn't the singular source of dragons.

(3) It creates a mystery where the reader is complicit in the concealment of the mystery's existence. A classic mystery takes the form of "Who did it? What is it? or What happened?" Martin seems to have a great love of mysteries that take for form of "What mystery?" Many of us have skimmed over this line without a second thought, and if a dragon were to appear later we will be able to look back on this passage and blame ourselves for missing it or, better yet, not believing in it, rather than blame the author for contriving it.

I think it could be unreliable narrator, yes. I wouldn't dismiss that as a possibility either. We did not occupy the POV of Shaggy Dog, and so we have no idea whether or not he saw it too. I'm not sure to what degree wargs experience things in the context of the warg's understanding of reality or the wolf's understanding of reality, or to what extent that experience is remembered or re-contextualized when the warg wakes up. I remember the kids remembering some vague things at least, so there must be at least a little bit of recall. I'd be interested in analyzing that a bit more.

Edited by rustythesmith

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11 minutes ago, rustythesmith said:

The dragon may have flown to Winterfell  hundreds of years ago and been hibernating in or beneath it somewhere the whole time. R'hllor knows there are plenty of places it could have been hiding such as under the hot springs, in the crypts or in the walls. And R'hllor knows there are plenty of other states of being the dragon could have occupied other than hibernation or even life. There's a whole castle built out of stone dragons with a mythos surrounding it that seems to allude to the idea that those dragons were once real before the Targaryens petrified them in the construction of a castle. There is also a prophecy floating around about a great stone beast coming to life, there are historical Targaryens who have visited Winterfell before,

I think seeing through the wolf's eyes is meant to convey that what someone sees and describes is not always what was actually there.  To the wolf, swords are man-claws and armor is hardskin and castles are great piles of man-rock.  He interprets what he sees to the best of his ability, constrained by his understanding of the world.  Thus, to a primitive human a laser rifle might be a storm god's thunderbolt, and advanced light-bending camouflage armor might be magical ice armor, advanced blue duralloy swords are magical spacerock swords, and plastic might be greasy black stone, and dragon-shaped spaceships might be dragons, and waking a dragon from stone might be activating a derelict spaceship.  Sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic.  I think Summer saw a dragon, but it wasn't a dragon.

 

Summer saw a winged snake

Then later Osha says, "We made noise enough to wake a dragon,"

"Yet the smallfolk of Winterfell and the winter town have been known to claim that the springs are heated by the breath of a dragon that sleeps beneath the castle."

"warm halls of Winterfell, where the hot waters ran through the walls like blood through a man's body."

There is a parallel to the living fire of Nagga which heated the Grey King's Hall for 1,000 years, and was supposedly a sea dragon.

The Ice Dragon has a rider with a blue eye, if that dragon's name was Winter, and the First Keep was built where he fell.  Winterfell

In Norse mythology, winter is caused by an ice giant called Hraesvelgr ("Corpse-swallower") who lives in the far north, he wears eagle plumage, and when he flaps his wings he causes the winds of winter.  That sounds like the Great Other riding an Ice Dragon.  

" from the icy wastes beyond the Wall, where half-forgotten demons out of legend, the inhuman others, raise cold legions of the undead and the neverborn and prepare to ride down on the winds of winter"

If the Starks are supposed to be the good Others, who protect the realm from the bad Others,

"When a wolf descends upon your flocks, all you gain by killing him is a short respite, for other wolves will come," King Garth IX said famously. "If instead you feed the wolf and tame him and turn his pups into your guard dogs, they will protect the flocks when the pack comes ravening."

part of this deal is that there must always be a Stark in Winterfell, to keep that dragon imprisoned.  But when there is no Stark in Winterfell, all deals are off and the dragon goes back to his master and the Long Night is coming soon, it was like a dead man's switch.

 

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14 hours ago, White Ravens said:

We haven't reached a consensus on Summer's description being a definitive dragon ID so it is hard to compare that with a personal eye witness of a bear. 

If you are quibbling about the failure to use the word "dragon"; allow me to point out that those who do not think it was an actual dragon, also don't think it was an actual "great winged snake whose roar was a river of flame".

As for the "consensus" it is obviously in favor of disbelieving the text in this case.  But I don't see the truth as a popularity contest, or I would not be disagreeing with the "consensus" here.

It is easy to imagine people doubting I saw a bear, using a host of arguments analogous to those used here.  All that is necessary is for them to be reluctant (for whatever reason) to believe I actually saw a bear; just as they are reluctant (for whatever reason) to believe that Summer really did see a "great winged snake whose roar was a river of flame".

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21 hours ago, Platypus Rex said:

A "great" winged snake, is not necessarily a hatchling.  But in any event, when you see a bear in your back-yard, the first thing to do is to acknowledge that you see a bear in your back yard.  Then you can wonder how it got there and who its mother was.

No, because the wolf only saw smoke.  He described what he saw in terms he can understand.  A wolf doesn't know that hot smoke is lighter than cold air.  It's rising; therefore, it's flying.  What flies in nature has wings.  The pooch saw smoke and that is all.

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10 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

I think seeing through the wolf's eyes is meant to convey that what someone sees and describes is not always what was actually there.  To the wolf, swords are man-claws and armor is hardskin and castles are great piles of man-rock.  He interprets what he sees to the best of his ability, constrained by his understanding of the world.  Thus, to a primitive human a laser rifle might be a storm god's thunderbolt, and advanced light-bending camouflage armor might be magical ice armor, advanced blue duralloy swords are magical spacerock swords, and plastic might be greasy black stone, and dragon-shaped spaceships might be dragons, and waking a dragon from stone might be activating a derelict spaceship.  Sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic.  I think Summer saw a dragon, but it wasn't a dragon.

 

Summer saw a winged snake

Then later Osha says, "We made noise enough to wake a dragon,"

"Yet the smallfolk of Winterfell and the winter town have been known to claim that the springs are heated by the breath of a dragon that sleeps beneath the castle."

"warm halls of Winterfell, where the hot waters ran through the walls like blood through a man's body."

There is a parallel to the living fire of Nagga which heated the Grey King's Hall for 1,000 years, and was supposedly a sea dragon.

The Ice Dragon has a rider with a blue eye, if that dragon's name was Winter, and the First Keep was built where he fell.  Winterfell

In Norse mythology, winter is caused by an ice giant called Hraesvelgr ("Corpse-swallower") who lives in the far north, he wears eagle plumage, and when he flaps his wings he causes the winds of winter.  That sounds like the Great Other riding an Ice Dragon.  

" from the icy wastes beyond the Wall, where half-forgotten demons out of legend, the inhuman others, raise cold legions of the undead and the neverborn and prepare to ride down on the winds of winter"

If the Starks are supposed to be the good Others, who protect the realm from the bad Others,

"When a wolf descends upon your flocks, all you gain by killing him is a short respite, for other wolves will come," King Garth IX said famously. "If instead you feed the wolf and tame him and turn his pups into your guard dogs, they will protect the flocks when the pack comes ravening."

part of this deal is that there must always be a Stark in Winterfell, to keep that dragon imprisoned.  But when there is no Stark in Winterfell, all deals are off and the dragon goes back to his master and the Long Night is coming soon, it was like a dead man's switch.

 

The phrase "there must always be a Stark in Winterfell" doesn't likely have anything to do with keeping a dragon imprisoned, at least in the way you are presenting it.  The so-called dragon witnessed by Summer appeared while Bran and Rickon were still there. 

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Maybe I take things too literal sometimes (and although I don't necessarily disagree with what most of you said) but to me, it seems like Summer did see that dragon. :-x

Edited by Remiem

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Honestly the burden of proof is on the non-believers. Not only is the dragon explicitly in the text, but its description is perfectly in line with the way the direwolf describes everything else, which is in reference to things the direwolf is already familiar with.

  • Swords = Man Claws because the direwolf is familiar with claws
  • Armor = Hard Skin because the direwolf is familiar with skin
  • Castle = Man Rock because the direwolf is familiar with rocks
  • Dragon = Winged Snake because the direwolf is familiar with wings and with snakes
  • Breathing Fire = River of Flame because the direwolf is familiar with rivers and flames

Additionally, the direwolf growled at it as if it were a living creature. Until someone can find an instance of a direwolf growling at fire or smoke, then the evidence points to the dragon being real.

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17 hours ago, rustythesmith said:

I haven't read anything into it except what is written on the page.

 

What I outlined was the endless number of opportunities and narrative reasons why it might be a real dragon. By no means am I certain that it is one.

If I were to place a bet however I think it's more likely a real dragon than not. Mostly because it looks like the seed of a very interesting surprise later on, planted in a way that is consistent with Martin's style in the rest of the story in multiple ways.

(1) The more fantastical elements in this fantasy are always smuggled in to the reader's (and character's) mind under circumstances that involve just enough ambiguity that we can reasonably support or deny that anything fantastic even happened at all. And whether any individual reader chooses to support or deny those fantastic elements depends in some part on his personality. I think that's a large part of why this series draws people who wouldn't otherwise be very interested in fantasy. Rather than clubbing us over the head with those things that require the most suspension of disbelief, we're permitted to disbelieve.

(2) It subverts the elements of "chosen one" present in Daenerys if she isn't the singular source of dragons.

(3) It creates a mystery where the reader is complicit in the concealment of the mystery's existence. A classic mystery takes the form of "Who did it? What is it? or What happened?" Martin seems to have a great love of mysteries that take for form of "What mystery?" Many of us have skimmed over this line without a second thought, and if a dragon were to appear later we will be able to look back on this passage and blame ourselves for missing it or, better yet, not believing in it, rather than blame the author for contriving it.

I think it could be unreliable narrator, yes. I wouldn't dismiss that as a possibility either. We did not occupy the POV of Shaggy Dog, and so we have no idea whether or not he saw it too. I'm not sure to what degree wargs experience things in the context of the warg's understanding of reality or the wolf's understanding of reality, or to what extent that experience is remembered or re-contextualized when the warg wakes up. I remember the kids remembering some vague things at least, so there must be at least a little bit of recall. I'd be interested in analyzing that a bit more.

You outlined the endless number of opportunities and narrative reasons why it might be a real dragon and you are by no means certain that it is one but you think it is an egregious case of intellectual laziness to dismiss the possibility that Summer saw a real dragon?  I'm probably no more certain that Summer didn't see a dragon than you are that he did.

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37 minutes ago, White Ravens said:

The so-called [very real] dragon witnessed by Summer appeared while Bran and Rickon were still there. 

Stark in Winterfell, as in ruling Winterfell.  Not Stark below Winterfell, who is not in control.  You don't think the old gods know the difference?  There are hundreds of Starks below Winterfell.

 

If Winterfell is modeled on Hvergelmir ("boiling bubbling spring") one of the three wells that feed the roots of the world tree Yggdrasil, there was a dragon trapped under it called Nidhogg.

Edited by By Odin's Beard

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Just now, By Odin's Beard said:

Stark in Winterfell, as in ruling Winterfell.  Not Stark below Winterfell, who is not in control.  You don't think the old gods know the difference?  There are hundreds of Starks below Winterfell.

Forgive me if I disagree with your interpretation of "there must always be a Stark in Winterfell".  Clearly Bran and Rickon were still there.

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6 minutes ago, White Ravens said:

Forgive me if I disagree with your interpretation of "there must always be a Stark in Winterfell".  Clearly Bran and Rickon were still there.

If you got chased out of your house by pirates, went on the run to escape them, but decided you could sneak back and hide under your house while they burned it down, would anyone in the world consider you to still be in control of your house?

Edited by By Odin's Beard

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24 minutes ago, White Ravens said:

You outlined the endless number of opportunities and narrative reasons why it might be a real dragon and you are by no means certain that it is one but you think it is an egregious case of intellectual laziness to dismiss the possibility that Summer saw a real dragon?  I'm probably no more certain that Summer didn't see a dragon than you are that he did.

I'm not sure what you're trying to suggest. You've represented my stance accurately and nothing about it is contradictory.

Likelihood dragon is real >75%

Likelihood dragon is not real <25%

Number of potential leads >12

I think a stance that says "It's absolutely a dragon" demonstrates undue certainty.

I think a stance that says "It's absolutely not a dragon" demonstrates undue certainty.

I'm open to hear reasons why it isn't a dragon but I can't think of any good ones myself, and the reasons I've heard from others are not convincing to me. That's my personal opinion.

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Considering how badly Winterfell was burned, I think it is possible. I don't think Ramsay is capable of burning Winterfell as badly as it is described, and I don't see why he would burn it so bad if they are just going to take over Winterfell immediately afterwards and have to repair the damage. I always maintained the idea that Cannibal is still alive and on Skagos (hence the rumors of cannibalism). Skagos means stone and Cannibal the dragon living on Skagos, could be the "Stone dragon" Melisandre is referring to. Wex should have some great insight on to what actually happened at the sack of Winterfell, and what Summer actually saw.

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On 11/2/2018 at 3:13 PM, By Odin's Beard said:
On 11/2/2018 at 3:25 AM, rustythesmith said:

 

I think seeing through the wolf's eyes is meant to convey that what someone sees and describes is not always what was actually there.  To the wolf, swords are man-claws and armor is hardskin and castles are great piles of man-rock.  He interprets what he sees to the best of his ability, constrained by his understanding of the world.  Thus, to a primitive human a laser rifle might be a storm god's thunderbolt, and advanced light-bending camouflage armor might be magical ice armor, advanced blue duralloy swords are magical spacerock swords, and plastic might be greasy black stone, and dragon-shaped spaceships might be dragons, and waking a dragon from stone might be activating a derelict spaceship.  Sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic.  I think Summer saw a dragon, but it wasn't a dragon.

Why should a direwolf not know smoke and fire, and thus be forced to interpret it as something else, namely a winged snake?

Summer knows what a fire looks like - sees it every night when men prepare their dinner (and probably keeps close around to get a treat), and where there is fire, there is smoke, which he thus knows also.
And still, he doesn't think he's seeing a fire at Winterfell, he does not liken the smoking castle to a giant "man feeding dish", although his first association to fire and smoke should be food. He does not simply see familiar smoke, but something else.

For the poll: I am unsure, could be a) a true dragon; b) a time anomaly/shadow of the past c) GRRM not watching his metaphors and, being the dragon lover he is, writing without thinking of his over-zealous fandom...
 

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If it was a dragon I doubt it just hatched because a hatchling would not have been described as "great". Nor be able to create a river of flame. 

Edited by Makk

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