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Heresy 218 a brief walk on the dark side

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Welcome to the latest iteration of the Heresy thread, where we try to take a bit of a sideways look at this everyday tale of happy countryfolk, their gods and their dogs.

To continue the recent Targaryen discussion, we start off with a guest editorial by one of the longest surviving heretics, a thinker long steeped in the darkest heresies - Alien Area

House Targaryen and the Old Gods

One central mystery to GRRM's Planetos is the Summerhall tragedy, connecting the Dunk and Egg stories with the ASoIaF timeline and establishing Rhaegar as a brooding over and being obsessed by prophecies.

And, though I personally dislike it as fantasy cheese, R+L=J seems to be true.

The most interesting part of it is that Jon, Rhaegar's son, is firmly rooted in his belief of the Old Gods, taking his Nightwatch vows in the traditional way in front of the weirwoods. Of course, this is also symbolized by Ghost, who belongs to the Old Gods and is picked by Jon or vice versa.

What is so fascinating about this? In a straightforward story, either Bran should have picked Ghost or Jon would have become the three-eyed-crow. Jon, a half-Targaryen, is the starkiest Stark. Daenerys is as ruthless at times as the Starks of legend, compare the crucification of the slavers to the wolf's den, for example.

I guess what I'm aiming at, and kindly ask you for your contribution, is a missing connection between House Targaryen and the Old Gods. 

The Targaryens weren't the only dragonlords of Valyria, and they weren't the ruling family either. Have they been picked by the Old Gods to survive the doom like Noah was?

This may fit with an ASoIaF ending having a divine ruler, as in another GRRM story. The Prince that was promised?

There isn't ice magic and fire magic, but simply magic. And it's "a sword without a hilt". 

Or, as Jim Morrison put it in An American Prayer: "Let's reinvent the gods, all the myths of the ages.

Celebrate symbols from deep elder forests.

Have you forgotten the lessons of the ancient war?

We need great golden copulations.

The fathers are cackling in trees of the forest.

Our mother is dead in the sea ... "

Please share your thoughts on House Targaryen and the Old Gods.

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The Blackwoods are an Old Gods thread across Starks and Targs. Brynden Rivers is a Blackwood through Melissa; the children of Aegon V through Betha; the Starks kids have a recent drop of Blackwood blood via Melantha.

I don't expect many of them to make it to the end. Even Dany with her dragons is just a piece in the game.

 

 

 

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Talking about Noah's Ark and the dark side. Today I watched an episode of NightFlyers that includes this theme. The story goes like this:

Spoiler

After receiving a message from a "shooting star", a group of women scientists take over a ship heading to establish a colony in Europa; this star may be or not a ship from yet unseen aliens that might be telepathic. Under the effects of the shooting star they kill all the men save one and forcefully extract his "seed" for 14 years to create brainless clones of men for food. This is their version of an utopic self-sustaining society without conflict.

How twisted is GRRM's mind? that guy was truly a Last Hero...also, wight steak anyone?

Edited by Tucu

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I am not sure that I really see much of an old gods connection to the Targaryen's. We never hear of a godswood at Dragonstone, and the Sept at Dragonstone has seven gods carved from the masts of the ships that brought the Targaryen's to Dragonstone. Even if Aegon and his sister's never believed, each subsequent generation seems to have followed, some even heavily embraced, the Faith of the Seven. I see no connection to the old gods at this place of power for the Targaryen's.

Then the Targaryen family built the Red Keep. While the Red Keep does have a godswood, it has no weirwood that we know of and the heart tree is a great oak tree with no face carved into it. This doesn't really seem like a connection to the old gods either, although the castle is red in color, and that might be some sort of nod to the old gods and the sap/blood and leaves of the weirwoods.

We do have these hints around Jenny of Oldstones with her woods witch friend, but there is nothing specifically to connect the woods witch to the old gods. Most woods witches are practitioners of herb medicine, although some seem to have a gift for prophecy. Woods witches seem to exist all over westeros, including places where the old gods don't seem to hold the population, like in the Iron Islands, so I don't think they are specifically connected to the old gods, although they certainly could be. Jenny herself claims decent from a line of First Men kings, and many of the First Men families seem more tied to the Old Gods still than the rest of the population.

If magic is just magic, then it's all tied together, and it would not matter which religion a person practiced. I understand that the weirwoods seem to be tied to visions in our story, but the old gods are said to be the gods of the rocks and woods and streams, not just the weirwoods, so even if visions come from the weirnet and are fed to Targaryen's, it might not mean that they are tied to one religion or not. 

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While I strenuously disagree with the premise that Rhaegar is Jon’s father (for the record I strongly believe that Brandon is Jon’s father) I do think that we can tie Rhaegar into matters usually reserved with the North and the Old Gods.

As stated above, we have Rhaegar’s great grandmother, Black Betha Blackwood.  Then we have the Ghost of High Hearth (presumably) Who prophecises that the prince that was promised will come from the line of Aerys and Rhaella.  

Aemon ties the prince that was promised to the War for the Dawn.

Quote

But all of them seemed surprised to hear Maester Aemon Murder, “It is the war for the dawn you speak of, my lady.  But where is the prince that was promised?”

And the war for the dawn (or battle for the dawn) is directly tied to the Night’s Watch

Quote

When the singer reached the part in “The Night That Ended” where the Night’s Watch rode forth to meet the Others in the Battle for the Dawn, he blew a blast that set all the dogs to barking.

And then we need to turn to the Harrenhal tourney, which was apparently arranged and organized by Rhaegar Targaryen.  One of the invitees was a recruiter from the Night’s Watch who made a pitch for knights to join the Night’s Watch.

And of course both Rhaegar and Aerys took notice of the mystery knight with the similar of the laughing Weirwood.

And of course we have this

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“He has a song,” the man replied.  “He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire.”  

Which perhaps is related to the oath House Reed made to the Starks:

Quote

“I swear it by earth and water,” said the boy in green.

“I swear it by bronze and iron,” his sister said.

”We sweat it by ice and fire,” they finished together.

Now my gut feeling is that Rhaegar’s story arc directly related to Rhaegar’s love of Summerhall.

Quote

“And yet Summerhall was the place the prince loved best.  he would go there from time to time, with only his harp for company.  Even the knights of the Kingsguard did not attend him there.  He liked to sleep in the ruined hall, beneath the moon and stars, and whenever he came back he would bring a song.  When you heard him play his high harp with the silver strings and sing of the twilights and tears and the death of kings, you could not bu feel that he was singing of himself and those he loved.”

And in turn Summerhall dealt with dragons:

Quote

Did we learn nothing from Summerhall?  No good has ever come from these dreams of dragons,...

And of course the prince that was promised is one of the three heads of the dragon.

Now if Rhaegar was preparing for the Long Night then it makes sense that he would want a weapon that could generate it’s own heat.

Quote

Clyde blinked.  “A sword that makes its own heat ... “

”... would be a fine thing on the Wall.”  Jon put aside his wine cup and drew on his black moleskin gloves.

But of course we have to ask ourselves what was Rhaegar willing to do to create a weapon that would be needed to fight the battle for the dawn?  Was Rhaegar operating from the same ancient texts that Melisandre was drawing from?

Quote

“Give me the boy, Your Grace.  It is the surer way.  The better way.  Give me the boy and I shall wake the stone dragon.”

 

Quote

“A king’s son, with the power of kingsblood in his veins.”  Melisandre’s ruby glowed like a red star at her throat.  “Do you think you’ve saved this boy, Onion Knight?  When the long night falls, Edric Storm shall die with the rest, wherever he is hidden.”

 

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If the old gods are the gods of wood, stream and stone; it might follow that dragons waking from stone, stone dragon eggs, etc; include dragons as an aspect of the old gods along with the wierwood.

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The Targs are newcomers to Westeros, relatively speaking.

The old gods, on the other hand, appear to be the oldest possible oldcomers, judging by the definition of old gods we are essentially given in ADWD -- greenseers -- and quite likely those of the CotF who are

Quote

"Gone down into the earth," she answered. "Into the stones, into the trees."

And we've never heard of the old gods being worshipped outside Westeros, nor of Targs having anything to do with Westeros prior to the point when they relocated permanently to Dragonstone.

So I don't believe there's much of an overt connection between the two, aside from the fact that the bastard son of Aegon Targaryen IV, Brynden Rivers, became the current "last greenseer," who (as all greenseers) amounts to an old god (or perhaps an old god-to-be, after he dies and takes the spiritual route cited above by Leaf).

Jon as Rhaegar's son?  Well, that seems a deeply problematic concept to me, just as it always has, for numerous reasons. 

For instance, assuming RLJ, Ned would probably not have agreed to raise Jon as his bastard, because the odds are Jon would have eventually grown to resemble Rhaegar in some obvious sense -- whether his face or his hair or his eyes or some combination of them -- and thus, get them both killed by Robert.  This would completely defeat Lyanna's presumed goal of keeping her son safe.  And since Jon clearly doesn't resemble Rhaegar in any sense whatsoever, either Ned got remarkably lucky, or else he knew in advance that would happen when he agreed to the plan.

However, even if he does turn out to be Rhaegar's son I don't think there would be any inherent problem with him following the faith of the First Men, or any special explanation required, just as Selyse's queen's men decided to start worshipping R'hllor.  People do as they see fit in their circumstances, and I don't think there's any hidden connection between the queen's men and R'hllor to be found.

Edited by JNR

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3 hours ago, St Daga said:

I am not sure that I really see much of an old gods connection to the Targaryen's. We never hear of a godswood at Dragonstone, and the Sept at Dragonstone has seven gods carved from the masts of the ships that brought the Targaryen's to Dragonstone

Agreed--and the Stranger from Aegon's sept has a face "carved to look more animal than human." So far, that's the only Stranger image in the novels that is animalistic.

Given the skin changers in Westeros--and the possibility that the skin changing is similar to the children going into the trees and stones--seems like there's a chance Aegon and Co. feared whatever they knew about Westerosi gods--an opposition, not a "connection."

1 hour ago, LynnS said:

If the old gods are the gods of wood, stream and stone; it might follow that dragons waking from stone, stone dragon eggs, etc; include dragons as an aspect of the old gods along with the wierwood.

Or the dragons might be an extreme/amplified version of it. I buy the theory that it's likely the Ice Dragon is the Others--the Others, like the dragons, may have been initially "woken" without thinking of the potential complications.

11 minutes ago, JNR said:

And we've never heard of the old gods being worshipped outside Westeros, nor of Targs having anything to do with Westeros prior to the point when they relocated permanently to Dragonstone.

Yes--if anything, the Targs show some fear/hostility toward the North and their Old Gods.

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3 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

But of course we have to ask ourselves what was Rhaegar willing to do to create a weapon that would be needed to fight the battle for the dawn?  Was Rhaegar operating from the same ancient texts that Melisandre was drawing from?

Or, perhaps Rhaegar had a Melisandre figure in his life? A Night's Queen figure who believed in the prophecies and was willing to encourage sacrifices?

We've got Mel with Stannis--that's easy to see. Even kind of echoes with Dalla's warning against sorcery, but Val's being willing to kill/cleanse Shireen to save them all.

But we also have other potential sacrificial echoes: Lysa with Sansa at the Moon Door. Yes, her willingness to chuck Sansa into oblivion isn't "prophetic"--it's jealousy and disappointment. But that Moon Door is clearly tied to sacrificial imagery with weirwood and the moon face. 

Did Rhaegar have a woman other than Elia who was interested in magic and prophecy and willing to sacrifice? Willing to talk Rhaegar into sacrifice? Possibly even in love with him as Lysa is with Baelish?

Yes--my money would be on Ashara for this, since I think she is Quaithe.

 But I'm wondering if Rhaegar had "encouragement"--as we see with Mel. And somewhat with Lysa. And even a bit  with Val. 

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2 hours ago, Sly Wren said:

Yes--my money would be on Ashara for this, since I think she is Quaithe.

What's your case?

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3 hours ago, JNR said:

Jon as Rhaegar's son?  Well, that seems a deeply problematic concept to me, just as it always has, for numerous reasons. 

For instance, assuming RLJ, Ned would probably not have agreed to raise Jon as his bastard, because the odds are Jon would have eventually grown to resemble Rhaegar in some obvious sense -- whether his face or his hair or his eyes or some combination of them -- and thus, get them both killed by Robert.  This would completely defeat Lyanna's presumed goal of keeping her son safe.  And since Jon clearly doesn't resemble Rhaegar in any sense whatsoever, either Ned got remarkably lucky, or else he knew in advance that would happen when he agreed to the plan.

However, even if he does turn out to be Rhaegar's son I don't think there would be any inherent problem with him following the faith of the First Men, or any special explanation required, just as Selyse's queen's men decided to start worshipping R'hllor.  People do as they see fit in their circumstances, and I don't think there's any hidden connection between the queen's men and R'hllor to be found.

It does to me as well. Have to agree with this a great deal. Even to the point that Ashara seems out of the question as well because her traits may throw a problem into the gene pool. Why not Whylla? Maybe she was of the North?....Or maybe she was Salty Dornish?.... Maybe Ned fell into a situation like his son did. Wounded and fell in love with the woman who cared for him?

 

Ned lying all in all is not a common thing, so maybe Wylla is the truth all along.Personally I believe Ned's one lie is being the KotLT, and due to the situation and anguish it caused, made Ned more Ned than he was already.

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57 minutes ago, JNR said:

What's your case?

1. Someone else posited it and I glommed on--I cannot remember whose idea this is. Maybe @superunknown5???? Or @Lady Dyanna????

2. But roughly: Quaithe has a Westerosi accent; she treats Dany differently than we see Mel or Moqorro treat those they "help;"her eyes are bright (wet???) when she warns Dany; she appears in dreams--gotta be via glass candle--and we know a Westerosi might have access to a glass candle via the Citadel. 

Then there's the stars: Cat first introduces Ashara as the beautiful sister waiting at Starfall. Arthur is associated with his fallen star sword (to Bran) and Bran dreams of Knights with swords made of starfire. And when Dany hears Quaithe again in Dance, Quaithe's mask is made of starlight. 

That "star" association seems key to understanding some of Dany's dreams:

  • Dany's vision/dream after the disastrous ritual where she loses her child: she sees stars in a daylight sky and thinks "home"--stars = safety and home. Then the dragon comes and the whole world, including the stars, turns to ash. When the dream is over, all she can hear are the whisperings of stars. 
  • Then when Quaithe comes to Dany in her dreams at the end of Dance, Dany hears the stars whispering in Quaithe's voice (a reference back to the whispering stars at the end of Game); And in that dream, all her cares slip away and she flies among the stars that whisper to her.

3. It's indirect, but I think it points to the starry nature of the Daynes and thus to Ashara being Quaithe. And to Ashara being Dany's mother (a possibility hinted at by Barristan's thoughts). 

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@Sly Wren if RAD I can see Quaithe as Ashara but still to me Q does nothing but make Daenerys paranoid to people around her. So I won't say I like the character. 

I don't think Valyrians worshipped old gods - it is frustrating we don't know anything about their own religion except they named their dragons after their gods. 

If there is a Noah=Targaryen kinda situation I would like to be informed how OT/NT talks about the story compared to Qur'an - I know one key difference is one of Noah's sons isn't saved in the Qur'an and when he asks why he learns that son was fathered by another man and his wife cheated + his wife is told she will go to hell. Any more difference I have to know? 

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1 hour ago, TheMiddleHero said:

Personally I believe Ned's one lie is being the KotLT

@The Snowfyre Chorus also thinks this, and it's an interesting case IMO. 

Ned's height is never given in the text; he would likely have had extensive training in the joust in the Vale; and of course as a Stark he would have been privy to Howland's situation and therefore in a position to do something about it.

51 minutes ago, Sly Wren said:

Quaithe has a Westerosi accent

What's the text on this?  She does speak Common -- it's how she introduces herself to Dany -- but I didn't remember the accent part.

53 minutes ago, Sly Wren said:

I think it points to the starry nature of the Daynes and thus to Ashara being Quaithe

A symbolic connection I'd never made before. 

That falling star in the Dayne sigil is interesting for several reasons.  Meteoric iron was once more valuable than gold in our world, because it was far stronger than metals we had developed on our own, and that would have been true in Westeros' Dawn Age too. 

Quote

As she led the princess to the fire, Arianne found Ser Gerold behind her. "My House goes back ten thousand years, unto the dawn of days"

If Dawn was forged then, it's a mighty old blade indeed. 

GRRM gets a little shifty in this SSM:

Quote

 

2. You've mentioned that Dawn has an illustrious history -- is there a ballpark figure for how long the Daynes and/or Starfall/Dawn have existed?

Oh, I'd say Dawn goes back a couple thousand years... and before that, things get a little fuzzy anyway.

 

Heh.  Not that fuzzy, really.

I think Starfall was named for the location of the fallen star, Dawn was forged from it, and thus, it is older by far than "a couple thousand years."  And if GRRM's meteoric iron is a much stronger metal than the kind we have, that wouldn't surprise me a tad either.

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35 minutes ago, Jova Snow said:

I don't think Valyrians worshipped old gods - it is frustrating we don't know anything about their own religion except they named their dragons after their gods.  

True, but since the Valyrian gods do have names, they can't be the old gods:

Quote

the blood of the First Men still flowed in the veins of the Starks, and his own gods were the old ones, the nameless, faceless gods of the greenwood

Quote

the children of the forest had once called upon their nameless gods

Which means you're right; the Valyrians did not worship the old gods.

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We do get some information about the Valyrian religion. A few hundred years before the Doom the Dragonlords had rules about religion tolerance and they were apparently irreligious themselves. This tolerance lead to the foundation of two cities from Valyrian religious fanatics.

First of this is Qohor that mainly workships the Black Goat. They do daily animal sacrifices to the Black Goat and they sacrifice the children of the nobles in time of need.

Then we have Lorath that workshiped Boash, the Blind God:

Quote

Their eunuch priests wore eyeless hoods in honor of their god; only in darkness, they believed, would their third eye open, allowing them to see the "higher truths" of creation that lay concealed behind the world's illusions. The worshippers of Boash believed that all life was sacred and eternal; that men and women were equal; that lords and peasants, rich and poor, slave and master, man and beast were all alike, all equally worthy, all creatures of god.

An essential part of their doctrine was an extreme abnegation of self; only by freeing themselves of human vanity could men hope to become one with the godhood. Accordingly, the Boash'i put aside even their own names, and spoke of themselves as "a man" or "a woman" rather than say "I" or "me" or "mine."

The workshippers of Lorath seem to share the darkness/blindness/third eye and abnegation of self themes with the Faceless Men and with the Greenseers. The blood sacrifices to the Black Goat is a shared element with the Old Gods religion.

The Bearded Men of Norvos also fled religion tolerance but we do not know much of their religion, except that they wear untanned skins and hair shirts. Maybe some form of cargo cult in relation to skinchangers? The Watcher chapter tells us the simple oath of their military branch: "Serve. Obey. Protect."; I mentioned before that this probably parallels some of our shadowy groups: the Kingsguard (white shadow watchers), the Night's watch (black shadow watchers) and the White Walkers (white shadow watchers)

Edited by Tucu

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1 hour ago, JNR said:

True, but since the Valyrian gods do have names, they can't be the old gods:

Which means you're right; the Valyrians did not worship the old gods.

Is it possible Old Gods were animism/nature itself compared to Weirwoods of CotF? I always thought FM adapted the beliefs of Children after the Pact? Or maybe they created a fusion? Real world religions change always so it is possible there were additions to Old Gods too. 

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1 hour ago, Tucu said:

We do get some information about the Valyrian religion. A few hundred years before the Doom the Dragonlords had rules about religion tolerance and they were apparently irreligious themselves. This tolerance lead to the foundation of two cities from Valyrian religious fanatics.

First of this is Qohor that mainly workships the Black Goat. They do daily animal sacrifices to the Black Goat and they sacrifice the children of the nobles in time of need.

Then we have Lorath that workshiped Boash, the Blind God:

The workshippers of Lorath seem to share the darkness/blindness/third eye and abnegation of self themes with the Faceless Men and with the Greenseers. The blood sacrifices to the Black Goat is a shared element with the Old Gods religion.

I don't believe religious tolerance of Valyrian if they were tolerate then Qohor or Boash won't leave the Empire - I think it is possible Valyria were against their beliefs especially Qohor with blood sacrifice that's why they had to found their own cities. I wonder Valyrian view of Qohor and Boash affected Targaryens view of Old Gods/the North? 

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1 minute ago, Jova Snow said:

I don't believe religious tolerance of Valyrian if they were tolerate then Qohor or Boash won't leave the Empire - I think it is possible Valyria were against their beliefs especially Qohor with blood sacrifice that's why they had to found their own cities. I wonder Valyrian view of Qohor and Boash affected Targaryens view of Old Gods/the North? 

It is a parallel to the hard-core Puritans leaving for the Americas after the tolerance in England became intolerable to them.

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