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The Doom Of Valyria mystery

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What caused the Doom interests me more than anything going on at the Wall.  It was moderate let down for me when Fire And Blood did not go into this topic.  That was the perfect time for Martin to reveal the cause.  The fact that he didn't in FandB can mean he has no intention of telling us.  There are many theories on the subject but none are completely satisfactory.  The Valyrians were pushing their luck.  Mining near an active volcano is foolhardy enough but fourteen is playing with fire.  Some say greed got the better of them.  Another fraction believe the faceless men did in the warlocks who kept the volcanoes contained.  I don't buy that for a minute.  Another popular suggestion says the fighting among the ruling houses caused the deaths of too many sorcerers who kept nature contained.  Maybe this.  

Martin didn't just put the doom in there for little to no reason.  It's a herald of what will happen in Westeros.  The ruling families in the west are doing exactly what the Valyrians did and their quarrels weakened the unity of the land.  If I had to choose one family in Westeros to survive through the Long Night it will be the Darry clan.  I like the Darrys but they are all but gone.  I would love to see a Darry bastard get legitimized to reward that family for what Ser Willem did for Daenerys and Viserys.  

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9 hours ago, King Gilgamesh said:

What caused the Doom interests me more than anything going on at the Wall.  It was moderate let down for me when Fire And Blood did not go into this topic.  That was the perfect time for Martin to reveal the cause.  The fact that he didn't in FandB can mean he has no intention of telling us.  There are many theories on the subject but none are completely satisfactory.  The Valyrians were pushing their luck.  Mining near an active volcano is foolhardy enough but fourteen is playing with fire.  Some say greed got the better of them.  Another fraction believe the faceless men did in the warlocks who kept the volcanoes contained.  I don't buy that for a minute.  Another popular suggestion says the fighting among the ruling houses caused the deaths of too many sorcerers who kept nature contained.  Maybe this. 

Very possibly a combination of all. The Valyrians were sacrificing to powers they didn't understand and these poweres grew hungrier and hungrier to the point of instability.  The infighting among the ruling families prevent join action against that. At the same time the faceless men were killing key members, fueling the said infighting and weakening Valyrian magic,

 

 

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The situation at the Wall will most likely parallel events that transpired in Valyria prior to the Doom. I'm reminded of the quote, "Magic is like a sword without a hilt." 

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11 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

Very possibly a combination of all. The Valyrians were sacrificing to powers they didn't understand and these poweres grew hungrier and hungrier to the point of instability.  The infighting among the ruling families prevent join action against that. At the same time the faceless men were killing key members, fueling the said infighting and weakening Valyrian magic,

 

 

Exactly. I have the impression that Valyrians never fully understand their magical powers and by the time of the Doom they were surely abusing them for a long time. The situation of constant fight prevented them to see that a problem was brewing and the faceless man added more fuel to this combination. 

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All through the ASOIAF books, there are signs that magical forces, which have long been dormant, are re-awakening. "The glass candles are burning again," etc. Before that, we know that there was a time when these forces were fading away, as shown by the Targaryen dragons, which became smaller and weaker in each successive generation.

So it seems that magical power rises and falls cyclically, like the ocean tides.  But we don't know the length of the cycle. The Doom happened about 100 years before the Conquest. It's possible that the tide was already going out at that time.  As the OP pointed out, running a mining operation near an active volcano must have been difficult. If they were using magic to keep the mines open, then as the power of their spells faded, there may have been a critical point where the death of one sorcerer was all it took to bring the whole system down.

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4 hours ago, Aebram said:

All through the ASOIAF books, there are signs that magical forces, which have long been dormant, are re-awakening.

4 hours ago, Aebram said:

So it seems that magical power rises and falls cyclically, like the ocean tides.

I think you've got it backwards. There definitely is a theme of magic reawakening in the world, but it isn't just a tidal ebb and flow. Most signs point to the rebirth of Dany's Dragons and (more importantly, in my opinion) the one-time magical event that allowed them to be reborn, as triggering the reawakening. The Undying say their spells are suddenly more effective and, of course, the glass candles. I have no idea what the connection between the dragons and greater magic is, but it seems to exist. 

Thus, I would say the Doom of Valyria triggered the rapid decline of magic, not the other way around. I don't think we have any evidence that magic was waning before the Doom (not that we have much evidence for any of it). It's possible waning magic did them in, but with the suggestions that the dragons triggered the revival don't support that. WHY did the Doom trigger the decline of magic? No idea. 

22 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

The Valyrians were sacrificing to powers they didn't understand and these poweres grew hungrier and hungrier to the point of instability. 

This is what I think is most likely. The magic it must have taken to maintain mines deep within active volcanoes. Even basics like pumping air underground would be very difficult, let alone dealing with the intense heat.  I think the Valyrians just pushed their talents too far and suffered an epic collapse. Maybe a massive eruption pushed them past their abilities. 

 

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5 hours ago, Lord Vance II said:

I think you've got it backwards. There definitely is a theme of magic reawakening in the world, but it isn't just a tidal ebb and flow. Most signs point to the rebirth of Dany's Dragons and (more importantly, in my opinion) the one-time magical event that allowed them to be reborn, as triggering the reawakening.

Sorry, what one-time event are you thinking of?  The red comet?

There are a few places in the story where the characters have trouble distinguishing cause and effect.  E.g. do the Others come when it gets cold, or does it get cold when they come?  Similarly,  does the return of magical energy trigger the birth of dragons, or is it the other way 'round?  I think the books are deliberately vague about this, to keep us wondering.  It's working :) .

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Posted (edited)

Definitely think the FM were a good chunk of the equation :)

Quote

"Some did," he said. "Revolts were common in the mines, but few accomplished much. The dragonlords of the old Freehold were strong in sorcery, and lesser men defied them at their peril. The first Faceless Man was one who did."

"Who was he?" Arya blurted, before she stopped to think.

"No one," he answered. "Some say he was a slave himself. Others insist he was a freeholder's son, born of noble stock. Some will even tell you he was an overseer who took pity on his charges. The truth is, no one knows. Whoever he was, he moved amongst the slaves and would hear them at their prayers. Men of a hundred different nations labored in the mines, and each prayed to his own god in his own tongue, yet all were praying for the same thing. It was release they asked for, an end to pain. A small thing, and simple. Yet their gods made no answer, and their suffering went on. Are their gods all deaf? he wondered . . . until a realization came upon him, one night in the red darkness.

All gods have their instruments, men and women who serve them and help to work their will on earth. The slaves were not crying out to a hundred different gods, as it seemed, but to one god with a hundred different faces . . . and he was that god's instrument. That very night he chose the most wretched of the slaves, the one who had prayed most earnestly for release, and freed him from his bondage. The first gift had been given."

Arya drew back from him. "He killed the slave?" That did not sound right. "He should have killed the masters!"

"He would bring the gift to them as well . . . but that is a tale for another day, one best shared with no one." He cocked his head. "And who are you, child?"

"No one."

 

Edited by Vaith

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On 4/30/2019 at 9:18 AM, TheThreeEyedCow said:

The situation at the Wall will most likely parallel events that transpired in Valyria prior to the Doom. I'm reminded of the quote, "Magic is like a sword without a hilt." 

The Wall is too small to represent Valyria.  What's happening in Westeros will parallel the events that transpired in Valyria.  And who knows when and where else this social drama caused the end to a people.  It all started with Robert's rebellion and made worse by the Starks and the Lannisters when they started the war of the five kings.  The Targaryens have managed to keep the land whole despite all of the problems caused by the Blackfyres.  The Baratheons and the Starks managed to bring the land to ruin in a matter of 15-16 years.

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On 4/30/2019 at 3:25 PM, El Diego said:

You have to remember that Fire & Blood is 'written' by a maester. How would they know what happened? If maesters knew, we'd know by now through the main books.

And the maesters do not have a lot of information when it involves the history of Essos.  Most maesters have never left Westeros.  

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On 4/29/2019 at 11:28 PM, King Gilgamesh said:

What caused the Doom interests me more than anything going on at the Wall.  It was moderate let down for me when Fire And Blood did not go into this topic.  That was the perfect time for Martin to reveal the cause.  The fact that he didn't in FandB can mean he has no intention of telling us.  There are many theories on the subject but none are completely satisfactory.  The Valyrians were pushing their luck.  Mining near an active volcano is foolhardy enough but fourteen is playing with fire.  Some say greed got the better of them.  Another fraction believe the faceless men did in the warlocks who kept the volcanoes contained.  I don't buy that for a minute.  Another popular suggestion says the fighting among the ruling houses caused the deaths of too many sorcerers who kept nature contained.  Maybe this.  

Martin didn't just put the doom in there for little to no reason.  It's a herald of what will happen in Westeros.  The ruling families in the west are doing exactly what the Valyrians did and their quarrels weakened the unity of the land.  If I had to choose one family in Westeros to survive through the Long Night it will be the Darry clan.  I like the Darrys but they are all but gone.  I would love to see a Darry bastard get legitimized to reward that family for what Ser Willem did for Daenerys and Viserys.  

History gives life and realism.  It's not always there because it has something to do with the future.  Though I think in this case it does.  It's a reminder that even a city that has stood for thousands of years can perish.  A stray meteor can end life as we know it.  Ice and cold will kill the people of Westeros.   

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17 hours ago, Aebram said:

Sorry, what one-time event are you thinking of?  The red comet?

Dany stepping into the pyre with the eggs and emerging unharmed with live dragons. I don't remember the exact phrasing, but GRRM has stated that it wasn't some ancient method or something and Dany isn't really fireproof, it was a one-time thing that couldn't be duplicated. Maybe that was the tipping point in allowing magic to recover. 

10 hours ago, Vaith said:

Definitely think the FM were a good chunk of the equation :)

They certainly did damage, but do you think they knew it would result in magic taking a big hit? (if the two events are related, of course, we don't know). Surely their powers are magical too. 

9 hours ago, Mordred said:

And the maesters do not have a lot of information when it involves the history of Essos.  Most maesters have never left Westeros.  

I also think there's a chance the Maesters know much more than is revealed in the world book. As Marywn tells us, the Citadel does not want magic in the world and possibly conspired to kill the last Targ dragons. I'm not saying the Citadel had a hand in the Doom (though I'm not saying they didn't). But if WE can draw parallels between the Doom and waning magic, surely they did and tried to learn what they could. TWoIaF isn't just written by a maester, it's written specifically for the king. No reason to leave breadcrumbs of a conspiracy in it. 

 

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12 hours ago, Vaith said:

Definitely think the FM were a good chunk of the equation :)

Quote

Yeh. The kindly man's story makes it clear that the Faceless Men at least believe that they were the cause of the doom. And I'm not about to question no one.

Before your above quote, he mentions that they flowered in Braavos after first taking root in Valyria. We know that Braavos was founded by escaped slaves who would have had an intense hatred for the Valyrians. I can imagine a situation where the Braavosi engage the Faceless Men to destroy Valyria and the doom is how they do it.

 

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On 4/29/2019 at 11:28 PM, King Gilgamesh said:

What caused the Doom interests me more than anything going on at the Wall.  It was moderate let down for me when Fire And Blood did not go into this topic.  That was the perfect time for Martin to reveal the cause.  The fact that he didn't in FandB can mean he has no intention of telling us.  There are many theories on the subject but none are completely satisfactory.  The Valyrians were pushing their luck.  Mining near an active volcano is foolhardy enough but fourteen is playing with fire.  Some say greed got the better of them.  Another fraction believe the faceless men did in the warlocks who kept the volcanoes contained.  I don't buy that for a minute.  Another popular suggestion says the fighting among the ruling houses caused the deaths of too many sorcerers who kept nature contained.  Maybe this.  

Martin didn't just put the doom in there for little to no reason.  It's a herald of what will happen in Westeros.  The ruling families in the west are doing exactly what the Valyrians did and their quarrels weakened the unity of the land.  If I had to choose one family in Westeros to survive through the Long Night it will be the Darry clan.  I like the Darrys but they are all but gone.  I would love to see a Darry bastard get legitimized to reward that family for what Ser Willem did for Daenerys and Viserys.  

Martin may never reveal the cause.   It's not important because it comes down to people making bad decisions.

I want good things to happen for the remaining Darryl family.  They can be taken to Essos in safety.   Paying them back for taking care of Viserys and Daenerys.  If one family deserved to be saved, it's the Darrys. 

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On 4/30/2019 at 5:28 AM, King Gilgamesh said:

What caused the Doom interests me more than anything going on at the Wall.  It was moderate let down for me when Fire And Blood did not go into this topic.  That was the perfect time for Martin to reveal the cause.  The fact that he didn't in FandB can mean he has no intention of telling us.  There are many theories on the subject but none are completely satisfactory.  The Valyrians were pushing their luck.  Mining near an active volcano is foolhardy enough but fourteen is playing with fire.  Some say greed got the better of them.  Another fraction believe the faceless men did in the warlocks who kept the volcanoes contained.  I don't buy that for a minute.  Another popular suggestion says the fighting among the ruling houses caused the deaths of too many sorcerers who kept nature contained.  Maybe this.  

Martin didn't just put the doom in there for little to no reason.  It's a herald of what will happen in Westeros.  The ruling families in the west are doing exactly what the Valyrians did and their quarrels weakened the unity of the land.  If I had to choose one family in Westeros to survive through the Long Night it will be the Darry clan.  I like the Darrys but they are all but gone.  I would love to see a Darry bastard get legitimized to reward that family for what Ser Willem did for Daenerys and Viserys.  

 

Perhaps also, to have a parallelism with Winterfell : a Stark is always needed at Winterfell (and there, after a while without a Stark, in ADWD, you have the snow storm, for example), so a Targaryen could be also needed at Valyria to prevent some fire storm. Ironically, Daenys the Dreamer dreamt of the Doom and convinced her family to flee : it could be funny that she caused the Doom and realized a prophecy thinking that she was just saving her family.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/29/2019 at 8:28 PM, King Gilgamesh said:

A faction believe the faceless men did in the warlocks who kept the volcanoes contained.   Another popular suggestion says the fighting among the ruling houses caused the deaths of too many sorcerers who kept nature contained. 

Anything's possible, but i imagine the dragonlords fought limited wars, not total wars.  Civilized affairs, with some gore thrown in like when the occasional lord got gobbled.  But the wizards sustaining their way of life would be off limits, most of the time.  The dragonlords want to beat the other family, not undercut their whole society.   The Faceless were the ones who'd want to do away with the whole dragonlord way of life; they'd target the implosion sources which would have been shameful for a dragonlord to strike at.  But the faceless would of course frame someone and make it look like that shameful act of societal sabotage, all to enrage the other families into more of a total war in which they did target each other's "load bearing mages" in retaliation.

Does that square up at all with Fire and Blood?  If not, sorry.

This Valyrian era of over-delving and Doom 'should' happen at the height of magic, so that it's caused by sins of excess, not scarcity.

 

What about this, to answer the question of whether dragons bring magic or magic brings dragons:

Both.  Centifugal Force is at play between worlds here.    The magician (anchored in this world) and the magic (calling to us from the great beyond) are spinning each other round like entanglement theory.  Which came first, the chicken or the egg?   The magic or the dragon?   Their cause and effect has been bent into a circle, they cause each other now, push and pull each other cyclically, i.e. magic tides.    The original linear birth sequence of the magic arts is lost to deep history, all that remains to us is the endless spin cycle they're in now, which perhaps drives planetos to have such cyclical political history repeating itself over and over.   Is this the wheel Daenerys breaks and Bran decodes via timeline vision?   Severing the magic cycle to sever the war cycle.  Eh.

Ooooh!  Another relevant analogy:

A airplane can go into a tailspin (the current state of magic) and a pilot who knows what's going on (Bloodraven?  Bran, at the end?)  can hope to redeem the plane by pulling it out of the spin and righting it (returning magic and history to balance and bending the circle path back into a line so planetos can move forward again at last.  The scary part of this is someone has to address history's original sins we've been avoiding this whole time, facing the Others instead of hiding behind a wall, facing slavery & Shadow instead of blowing up Valyria.  Etc.)

Edited by The Mother of The Others

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Posted (edited)

Fire and Blood is just a small picture of the long history of the Targaryens.  It was meant to be a fragment of their history.  It was not meant to include time prior to their arrival on Dragonstone.  You can say the Long Night is just a small picture of what's happening on planetos.  The people of Sothoryos might live on blissfully unaware of the death of Westeros from the cold and darkness.  We are not meant to see the complete picture.

Edited by The Coonster

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On 5/2/2019 at 1:47 AM, Mordred said:

The Wall is too small to represent Valyria.  What's happening in Westeros will parallel the events that transpired in Valyria.  And who knows when and where else this social drama caused the end to a people.  It all started with Robert's rebellion and made worse by the Starks and the Lannisters when they started the war of the five kings.  The Targaryens have managed to keep the land whole despite all of the problems caused by the Blackfyres.  The Baratheons and the Starks managed to bring the land to ruin in a matter of 15-16 years.

Oh it started long before RR. It looks like you've created this idealistic version of Targaryen rule. Read Fire & Blood. Their reign is marred with millions of needless deaths. You speak of keeping the land whole... what does that even mean? It's as if the mere picture of unification is enough for you. The Targaryens did not bring peace. They brought fire and blood. What do you think the IT represents? 

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The Targaryens brought long periods of peace.  Enough for the common people to get some breathing room from the ceaseless quarreling of the high lords.  They built King's Landing, Sept of Baelor, and the roads.  

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