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Symbolism of A Song of Ice and Fire

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To start with; I will mostly cover things that have not been covered by the threads linked below, or where my interpretation differs.

A Song of Ice and Fire can refer to multiple things. First and most obvious meaning is the conflict between Others and humans: ice is a symbol of death, whereas fire is a symbol of life. The Others are ice demons, and they utilize revived corpses as main component of their armies. For humans, a cult of fire god R'hllor is gaining in the South. Its priests, much like Others, are capable of reviving dead people - but while Wights are zombies controlled by magic, people revived by the Red God are actual people, no different from how they were before the death.

Second is the conflict between Others and dragons. Others are based on ice, as noted, whereas Daenerys will likely be bringing dragons to Westeros. Both are creatures of magic, living legends whose existence was not believed until recently (and for the most part still isn't in the south of Westeros). Others are ice made flesh: they freeze whatever they touch (turning babies into more of themselves etc.). Dragons are fire made flesh: they can grow as long as there is food and space, much like real fire.

Third is question of dynasties. In this case it is not about conflict, but rather joining of dynasties. Starks are the rulers of the North, and Targaryens formed the Seven Kingdoms, but their power base was always in the South. Starks and Targaryens have also been joined dynastically: whatever other changes are made from the books, it is almost certain that Jon Snow is a son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. If he is Azor Ahai - something heavily hinted at in the books already, through Melisandre's visions (she tried to see Stannis, but saw only snow) - then that means that the Saviour of Seven Kingdoms is the product of union of a Stark and Targaryen, of a "song" of Ice and Fire. Both Starks and Targaryens are seen as "outsiders", being apart from the culture of most of Westeros: Starks because they still hold to traditions of First Men, and Targaryens because they came from outside Westeros.

Seven Kingdoms are based on the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. This is also relevant from legends. The Children of the Forest are the original inhabitants of Westeros. Much like Elves from Lord of the Rings, they are based on Tuatha De Danann, which later evolved into Aos Sidhe. Tuatha are supernatural race in Irish mythology, and are capable of performing magic - including necromancy. Main rivals of Tuatha De Danann are Fomorians, hostile and monstruous beings which come from the sea and the underground, and are associated with death, darkness and cruelty, as well as winter. Tuatha defeat them in Battle of Mag Tuired, but that is not the end for either group. Tuatha then are in turn defeated by Milesians, who are the final race to settle in Ireland, and thus can be linked to Celts. Thus, the Others could be linked to Fomorians, while First Men may be linked to Milesians / Celts, who took over the kingdoms of Tuatha De Danann. Celts themselves were - in southeast of Great Britain - conquered/replaced by the Anglo-Saxons, who brought their own political structure, and established the Heptarchy, much like the Andals established Seven Kingdoms after invasion of Westeros. [So in short: Children of the Forest = Tuatha De Danann, Others = Fomorians, First Men = Milesians / Celts, Andals = Anglo-Saxons, Seven Kingdoms = Ango-Saxon Heptarchy).

Faith of the Seven is based on Christianity.

Red Faith is a strong dualistic belief, based around the conflict between a Good of Good, and representative of Evil. It appears to be based largely on Zoroastrism: it comes from the east, is monotheistic faith which believes in messianism, but also includes - as I noted - a dualist belief within its system. This goes back to a symbolism I discussed in "A Song of Ice and Fire" section.


Some more threads:


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when dany drinks the juice in book 2 she see a blue rose in a ice wall. this is symbolian for jon snow being at the wall,

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