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Black Crow

Heresy 217 Dreams and Dust

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Welcome to Heresy, the long-running thread  that takes a slightly sideways look at the story and in particular at Winterfell, its sons, daughters and old lords and their connection with the Dark Narnia which lies beyond the Wall that dragons cannot pass.

By popular request 217 in the series offers an opportunity to look again at Danaerys the Dragonlord's trip in the House of the Undying. Not a new topic of discussion by any means, but one focussing on any of her visions which might concern Winterfell and the magical otherlands - in particular whether there might be any connection between that dragon rising from a stone tower and the very similar vision by Summer of a dragon above the burning Winterfell.

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Here is an SSM:

2. At the beginning of the final chapter of A Clash of Kings, Summer appears to see something strange above a burning Winterfell - the description makes it sound an awful lot like a dragon. Is it meant to be a dragon, a vision of a dragon, or something else entirely, say Summer's misinterpretation of the comet in the sky? But if the latter, why would Summer bare his teeth at it when he's seen the comet for quite a while at that point? Moreover, why would it vanish when Summer looks again?

No comment. I like it to my readers to make sense of signs and portents.

 

 

I think we can take this as a confirmation that Summer didn't literally see a physical dragon, at least not in the present time.

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46 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

whether there might be any connection between that dragon rising from a stone tower and the very similar vision by Summer of a dragon above the burning Winterfell

There might be a symbolic connection, but I think Summer saw the comet. Text reads:

Quote

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.

Summer often uses alternate terms for nouns -- "man claws" and "hardskin" for swords and armor -- to reflect his limited comprehension of the world. 

I think "great winged snake" is the similar approximation of comet

Also, the reason the "snake" could be "gone" is given to us in the text: smoke, much of it coming from "fires" that are "eating up the stars."  In other words, smoke came between Summer and the comet, removing it from his field of view.

Edited by JNR

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Here is the text from the HOTU:

 

Quote

Then phantoms shivered through the murk, images in indigo. Viserys screamed as the molten gold ran down his cheeks and filled his mouth. A tall lord with copper skin and silver-gold hair stood beneath the banner of a fiery stallion, a burning city behind him. Rubies flew like drops of blood from the chest of a dying prince, and he sank to his knees in the water and with his last breath murmured a woman’s name. . . . mother of dragons, daughter of death . . . Glowing like sunset, a red sword was raised in the hand of a blue-eyed king who cast no shadow. A cloth dragon swayed on poles amidst a cheering crowd. From a smoking tower, a great stone beast took wing, breathing shadow fire. . . . mother of dragons, slayer of lies . . . Her silver was trotting through the grass, to a darkling stream beneath a sea of stars. A corpse stood at the prow of a ship, eyes bright in his dead face, grey lips smiling sadly. A blue flower grew from a chink in a wall of ice, and filled the air with sweetness. . . . mother of dragons, bride of fire . . .

 

Edited by Brad Stark

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We can also examine the HOTU vision as coming from Dany's perspective:

Quote

From a smoking tower, a great stone beast took wing, breathing shadow fire

If Dany thinks it's a "great stone beast," there's probably a good reason for that.  It's certainly not a comet; she would know a comet when she sees it (as she has before) and use that term.

And we should bear in mind that this is after she has mothered her three dragons, so she certainly knows a dragon when she sees one of those, too.  This great stone beast resembles a dragon in broad description, but Dany doesn't perceive it as a dragon, at least not overtly.  Similarly, "shadow fire" is probably not what she would describe as coming from dragons like hers.

Finally, I think the resemblance between the HOTU vision with the following is pretty strong:

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"Give me the boy and I shall wake the stone dragon."

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"Your brother's blood," Melisandre said. "A king's blood. Only a king's blood can wake the stone dragon."

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"I am a small man," Davos admitted, "so tell me why you need this boy Edric Storm to wake your great stone dragon, my lady."

I propose that the stone dragon (singular -- not dragons) that Mel talks about waking is shown in the event from Dany's HOTU vision and will occur in a future book, and furthermore, it will not be a literal dragon (or Dany would have thought of it as one).   Mel thinks of it as a dragon because that is the term used in prophecy, but such terms are inexact and prophecies can be misleading.

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A tall lord with copper skin and silver-gold hair stood beneath the banner of a fiery stallion, a burning city behind him.

  - Is this Rhaego's future if he lived?

 

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Glowing like sunset, a red sword was raised in the hand of a blue-eyed king who cast no shadow.

Stannis?

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 A cloth dragon swayed on poles amidst a cheering crowd.

Other than the Dunk and Egg story, I have no idea.

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5 minutes ago, JNR said:

We can also examine the HOTU vision as coming from Dany's perspective:

If Dany thinks it's a "great stone beast," there's probably a good reason for that.  It's certainly not a comet; she would know a comet when she sees it (as she has before) and use that term.

And we should bear in mind that this is after she has mothered her three dragons, so she certainly knows a dragon when she sees one of those, too.  This great stone beast resembles a dragon in broad description, but Dany doesn't perceive it as a dragon, at least not overtly.  Similarly, "shadow fire" is probably not what she would describe as coming from dragons like hers.

Finally, I think the resemblance between the HOTU vision with the following is pretty strong:

I propose that the stone dragon (singular -- not dragons) that Mel talks about waking is shown in the event from Dany's HOTU vision and will occur in a future book, and furthermore, it will not be a literal dragon (or Dany would have thought of it as one).   Mel thinks of it as a dragon because that is the term used in prophecy, but such terms are inexact and prophecies can be misleading.

I agree this can't be a comet, but I disagree Dany would describe a dragon as such.  Even if Dany knew it was a dragon, she could still describe it as a "great stone beast" as it is very different from her own baby dragons.  We have yet to see another creature in ASOIAF that breaths fire and has wings, so I think we should assume it is a dragon.

I am not sure if we should assume this is a metaphorical dragon and not a literal one.  Every single vision Dany had in the HOTU, except this one, is a literal vision - whether past, present, future, or in the case Rhaego, something that might have happened but did not.

Edited by Brad Stark

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13 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

Other than the Dunk and Egg story, I have no idea.

The cloth dragon is likely a reference to a (temporary) triumphant Aegon as he is the mummer's dragon

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"A cloth dragon on poles," Dany explained. "Mummers use them in their follies, to give the heroes something to fight."

 

Edited by Tucu

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6 minutes ago, JNR said:

I propose that the stone dragon (singular -- not dragons) that Mel talks about waking is shown in the event from Dany's HOTU vision and will occur in a future book, and furthermore, it will not be a literal dragon (or Dany would have thought of it as one).   Mel thinks of it as a dragon because that is the term used in prophecy, but such terms are inexact and prophecies can be misleading.

I think this is one of the "days that never were" visions. Davos changed fate when he smuggled Edric Storm out and then guided Stannis to The Wall.

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5 minutes ago, Tucu said:

I think this is one of the "days that never were" visions. Davos changed fate when he smuggled Edric Storm out and then guided Stannis to The Wall.

So you think Mel burning Edric would have literally woken a dragon from stone?

We've seen clues in Fire and Blood that without heat, dragons turn to stone.  I suspect at least 1 of the dragons whose death we didn't see is still alive, but in a stonelike hibernation and will wake before the end of the story to replace one of Dany's dragons that die.

 

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3 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

So you think Mel burning Edric would have literally woken a dragon from stone?

We've seen clues in Fire and Blood that without heat, dragons turn to stone.  I suspect at least 1 of the dragons whose death we didn't see is still alive, but in a stonelike hibernation and will wake before the end of the story to replace one of Dany's dragons that die.

 

I think she would have been able to shadowbind a dragon's shadow lingering in Dragonstone. The vision has the dragon "breathing shadow fire"

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I apologize for the highly pedantic note, but it seems pertinent in HOTU chapter discussion to be cautious in interpreting narrator descriptions; often, narration and character perception blend, and the distinction mostly doesn't matter, but the distinction does exist. The narrator rarely exercises too much omniscience or independence from the subjectivity of the viewpoint character, but such breaks do occur--for example, in the AGOT Prologue ("the Others made no sound"), and in the ADWD chapter where Victarion is being 'healed' by Moqorro.

The point being that the purposely ambiguous descriptions within the HOTU ('stone beast,' 'dying prince,' etc.) are not necessarily to be read as Dany's interpretations. The narrator describes a "blue flower" growing in the Wall, and a "cloth dragon," but Dany herself in her conversations with Jorah recognizes these as a blue rose and a mummer's dragon, respectively.

In that sense, the ambiguous use of "stone beast" could imply something that doesn't appreciably resemble a dragon to Dany, but it could also just be the author being purposely ambiguous and tricky, or poetic, as it tends to be his style for his prose to loosen up during moments of mysticism (see also: the author's prose during Dany's pyre scene). 

With all of that in mind, I personally view this as being one of the chapters where the third person narrator is most explicitly channeling the author's literary voice, and do not view many of the descriptions as being tethered to Dany's knowledge or 'voice.' 

Edited by Matthew.

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2 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

Stannis?

Stannis is the most straightforward read, though I think some Heretics have also floated the idea that it might represent a Jon who has been resurrected by ice magic.

I prefer Stannis, as "a sword that glows like sunset" seems evocative of a false Lightbringer, a sword that cannot bring the dawn; should Stannis survive the battle of Winterfell and take up residence in the Nightfort as he had been planning, the vision could also have greater implications than just suggesting that Stannis is a false Azor Ahai.

Edited by Matthew.

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three heads has the dragon  
the ghost chorus yammered inside her skull with never a lip moving, never a breath stirring the still blue air  
mother of dragons  
child of storm  
The whispers became a swirling song  
three fires must you light
one for life and one for death and one to love  
Her own heart was beating in unison to the one that floated before her, blue and corrupt  
three mounts must you ride  one to bed and one to dread and one to love  
The voices were growing louder, she realized, and it seemed her heart was slowing, and even her breath  
three treasons will you know  
once for blood and once for gold and once for love.  

Anyone notice how the math works?  We have 3 fires, 3 mounts, and 3 treasons.  When Dany says "“I don’t understand.. Help me. Show me", we get 9 more visions before the visions speed up:

Fire of life - Viserys screamed as the molten gold ran down his cheeks and filled his mouth
Fire of death - A tall lord with copper skin and silver-gold hair stood beneath the banner of a fiery stallion,
Fire of love - Rubies flew like drops of blood from the chest of a dying prince, and he sank to his knees in the water and with his last breath murmured a woman’s name

Mount to bed - Glowing like sunset, a red sword was raised in the hand of a blue-eyed king who cast no shadow
Mount to dread - A cloth dragon swayed on poles amidst a cheering crowd
Mount to love - From a smoking tower, a great stone beast took wing, breathing shadow fire.

Treason for blood - Her silver was trotting through the grass, to a darkling stream beneath a sea of stars
Treason for gold - A corpse stood at the prow of a ship, eyes bright in his dead face, grey lips smiling sadly.
Treason for love - A blue flower grew from a chink in a wall of ice, and filled the air with sweetness

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3 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

Then phantoms shivered through the murk, images in indigo. Viserys screamed as the molten gold ran down his cheeks and filled his mouth. A tall lord with copper skin and silver-gold hair stood beneath the banner of a fiery stallion, a burning city behind him. Rubies flew like drops of blood from the chest of a dying prince, and he sank to his knees in the water and with his last breath murmured a woman’s name. . . . mother of dragons, daughter of death . . . Glowing like sunset, a red sword was raised in the hand of a blue-eyed king who cast no shadow. A cloth dragon swayed on poles amidst a cheering crowd. From a smoking tower, a great stone beast took wing, breathing shadow fire. . . . mother of dragons, slayer of lies . . . Her silver was trotting through the grass, to a darkling stream beneath a sea of stars. A corpse stood at the prow of a ship, eyes bright in his dead face, grey lips smiling sadly. A blue flower grew from a chink in a wall of ice, and filled the air with sweetness. . . . mother of dragons, bride of fire . . .

Lets break this down into sections: 

1. Viserys, Rhaego? and Rhaeghar. "Mother of Dragons, Daughter of Death". These are all people in her family that have died, not meeting their lifes work? and possibly dying due to Dany herself? 

2. Azor Ahai (possibly fake), Cloth Dragon on Poles (Aegon?), Great Stone Beast. "Mother of Dragons, Slayer of Lies. I think that what this part is telling us is that Dany will reveal that these are lies. I think that the Azor Ahai is Stannis, that the Cloth dragon on Poles is a fake Aegon, and what about the Great Stone beast? Perhaps she will reveal something about Jon Connington, the Griffin who is turning into a Stone Man. 

3. Silver trotting, Corpse on the prow of the ship, blue flower in a chink in a wall of ice. "Mother of Dragons, Bride of Fire". I think this gets into prophesy, in whom Dany will marry. the Silver trotting would be Drogo, the corpse on the Prow of a ship could be Euron or Victarion Greyjoy. Finally, though it pains me to say it, the blue flower growing at the Wall could be Jon. 

 

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20 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

Anyone notice how the math works?  We have 3 fires, 3 mounts, and 3 treasons.  When Dany says "“I don’t understand.. Help me. Show me", we get 9 more visions before the visions speed up:

Fire of life - Viserys screamed as the molten gold ran down his cheeks and filled his mouth
Fire of death - A tall lord with copper skin and silver-gold hair stood beneath the banner of a fiery stallion,
Fire of love - Rubies flew like drops of blood from the chest of a dying prince, and he sank to his knees in the water and with his last breath murmured a woman’s name

Mount to bed - Glowing like sunset, a red sword was raised in the hand of a blue-eyed king who cast no shadow
Mount to dread - A cloth dragon swayed on poles amidst a cheering crowd
Mount to love - From a smoking tower, a great stone beast took wing, breathing shadow fire.

Treason for blood - Her silver was trotting through the grass, to a darkling stream beneath a sea of stars
Treason for gold - A corpse stood at the prow of a ship, eyes bright in his dead face, grey lips smiling sadly.
Treason for love - A blue flower grew from a chink in a wall of ice, and filled the air with sweetness

I think we were bouncing around each other. I think the mounts and the treasons are switched around, but I can't be sure. 

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3 hours ago, Matthew. said:

In that sense, the ambiguous use of "stone beast" could imply something that doesn't appreciably resemble a dragon to Dany, but it could also just be the author being purposely ambiguous and tricky

He is no doubt being tricky, but I think he's pretty consistent in his trickery.

Waking dragons from stone is one thing.  A good case could be made that that's what Dany did.

But a beast that appears to be -- no matter from whose perspective -- made of stone is quite a different thing from that.

Whenever Dany looks at her dragons, she perceives them as being covered in scales, not stone.  Typical case:

Quote

Viserion sensed her disquiet. The white dragon lay coiled around a pear tree, his head resting on his tail. When Dany passed his eyes came open, two pools of molten gold. His horns were gold as well, and the scales that ran down his back from head to tail.

I'd be surprised if Dany, or anyone else, would describe any of her dragons as a stone beast. 

In fact, the phrase stone beast, like shadow fire, only appears that one time in canon.

Then there's the smoking tower to account for.  One can, with an awkward reach, say "Well, Dany's dragons were loose in Meereen, and there were defensive towers on the walls," but it remains an awkward reach.

And finally, we have the curious way Mel arbitrarily switches between singular dragon and plural dragons in making her predictions on this topic, while also mixing up the PtwP and AA.  This doesn't inspire confidence, and instead makes me think those are different prophecies, with different meanings, and if they're different, I think most of the AA prophecy has yet to come true -- burning sword in particular, but stone dragon as well.

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2 hours ago, JNR said:

I'd be surprised if Dany, or anyone else, would describe any of her dragons as a stone beast. 

In fact, the phrase stone beast, like shadow fire, only appears that one time in canon.

Dany's dragons (or any living dragon), perhaps not, but a petrified dragon, or dead dragon within a petrified egg might be a "stone beast," particularly in the narrative voice GRRM is utilizing in that chapter--which is purposely surreal and ambiguous.

Given that it is included in the "slayer of lies" group of visions, I take it as a given that it is not a true dragon of any variety - not one of Dany's, or any others that might theoretically live or be awakened - but I do think it is something that will be raised by Mel in a failed attempt to reawaken a dragon; furthermore, I'm not reading the vision as a literal representation of a future event, but as a symbolic representation (in much the same way that the cloth dragon or winter rose are representative)--that the "stone beast" will take wing in the form of a terrible shadow drawn out of the stone, rather than there being a literal moving stone beast flying about. 

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"A corpse stood at the prow of a ship, eyes bright in his dead face, grey lips smiling sadly" reminds me of Aemon on the ship to Braavos. This would mean that the visions are not really grouped but are coming in a chaotic way like the visions in Mel's fires.

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The next day the rains began, and the seas grew rougher. "We had best go below, where it's dry," Sam said to Aemon, but the old maester only smiled, and said, "The rain feels good against my face, Sam. It feels like tears. Let me stay awhile longer, I pray you. It has been a long time since last I wept."

If Maester Aemon meant to stay on deck, old and frail as he was, Sam had no choice but to do the same. He stayed beside the old man for nigh unto an hour, huddled in his cloak as a soft, steady rain soaked him to his skin. Aemon hardly seemed to feel it. He sighed and closed his eyes, and Sam moved closer to him, to shield him from the worst of the wind. He will ask me to help him to the cabin soon, he told himself. He must. But he never did, and finally thunder began to rumble in the distance, off to the east. "We have to get below," Sam said, shivering. Maester Aemon did not reply. It was only then that Sam realized the old man had gone to sleep. "Maester," he said, shaking him gently by one shoulder. "Maester Aemon, wake up."

The lack of order is reinforced by the next group of visions. This one appears to be about the treason for gold: the wine merchant friendly with the dothraki trying to kill the wife of a khal.

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Behind a silver horse the bloody corpse of a naked man bounced and dragged.

This is one seems to be the fire for life (as in only dead can pay for life):

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Mini Maz Duur shrieked in the flames, a dragon bursting from her brow.

And this might be the treason for blood (Mirri's revenge ritual)

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Shadows whirled and danced inside a tent, boneless and terrible.

 

Edited by Tucu

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14 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

From a smoking tower, a great stone beast took wing, breathing shadow fire

The wording is what tricks us into thinking "dragon", but I think this is open to interpretation.

14 hours ago, Matthew. said:

In that sense, the ambiguous use of "stone beast" could imply something that doesn't appreciably resemble a dragon to Dany, but it could also just be the author being purposely ambiguous and tricky, or poetic, as it tends to be his style for his prose to loosen up during moments of mysticism (see also: the author's prose during Dany's pyre scene). 

Dragon eggs have the appearance and weight of stones, and I think this is our clue. What else is made of stone and could "hatch"? I suspect this is in reference to the crypts. Some of the old Kings of Winter have risen - the ones with missing swords. The rising Kings of Winter could be likened to a "great stone beast". If they left to go in pursuit of white walkers they could be said to be "breathing shadow fire". When someone is running away from an enemy, the enemy can be said to be "breathing down our necks". The white walkers are made of ice - they are white shadows. To kill an icy white shadow you'd need a fiery dark shadow blade.

My interpretation of 'Winterfell' and 'Winter is Coming' indicate to me that the Starks defeated winter, becoming Kings of over Winter. The icy cold hell is the standing guard, and the ability to call them back from the dead to fight.

14 hours ago, Tucu said:

The cloth dragon is likely a reference to a (temporary) triumphant Aegon as he is the mummer's dragon

 

Mummers don't necessarily have to mean that Aegon is a fake. Mummers are actors, or rather 'players' - as in players of the Game of Thrones. Therefore the mummer's dragon just means that Aegon is in their possession and that they will be backing him.

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