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Black Crow

Heresy 223 and where we go from here

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18 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I still think the real problem [as GRRM is suggesting] does not lie with the in-book characters taking her word as gospel, but with those book readers who conclude that this is all about a struggle between R'hllor and the Great Other - and that since R+L=J, Jon Snow must therefore be Azor Ahai.

And, that many readers think that if there is an ancient prophecy then a) the ancient prophecy must be fulfilled and b) fulfillment of the ancient prophecy will be the climax (and indeed the whole purpose) of the story.    ie common or garden, standard fantasy trope.   Rather than that the story is about people who (perhaps misguidedly) believe in a ancient prophecy,  sometimes in different ways, and the  far-reaching consequences of their subsequent actions.  

Had Rhaegar not foolishly believed in the stupid PTWP prophecy, none of this would have ever happened ......  ;) 
 

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Stannis was born on Storms End. He only inherited Dragonstone, because Robert continued the tradition of making Dragonstone the seat of the heir apparent. Even thought Robert was basically making Stannis his heir, Stannis took offense that Renly got the Baratheon seat of Storms End, saying Storms End had more vassals and wealth than Dragonstone making it a miserly gift.

Holding Dragonstone doesn't equate to being born amongst the smoke and salt like Daenerys, but why Melisandre incorporates the prince that was promised prophecy into identifying Azor Ahai is a mystery. To me it demonstrates that she has some understanding that there has been some overlapping of the wheel of time between the two continents and their historical events. Melisandre is from Asshai as is another shadowbinder from Asshai - Quaithe - who also demonstrated that she knew the wheel of time was flipped when she advised Dany on how to navigate it:

Quote

 

Dany’s wrist still tingled where Quaithe had touched her. “Where would you have me go?” she asked. 

   “To go north, you must journey south. To reach the west, you must go east. To go forward you must go back, and to touch the light you must pass beneath the shadow.”

 

Quaithe's words describe what has happened to the wheel of time and demonstrates that she knows that historic events have gotten jumbled. The events that have happened in the past to the north are now happening in the south, and the historical events of the west are now occurring in the east. Somehow Melisandre and all the other shadowbinders of Asshai do know that historic events have gotten screwed up.

As I explained upthread Azor Ahai has been combined with the Nights King to go against Garin the Great (Mance) and his "curse", while the Last Hero and his friends have taken over dragon-killing-duties against Dany the Valyrian dragonlord. Melisandre, while she may have made a mistake in identifying Stannis, does know that Azor Ahai will be reborn in Westeros.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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7 minutes ago, JNR said:

I agree with most of your post -- the Popsicles are just not going to win -- but there really is no big hero in this series IMO.  Or even a protagonist.  

I could go either way on that, but I think your position is a defensible one, and one I am sometimes inclined to myself. But there has to be an arc, right? (Mostly I wanted to make fun of the show, in which Jon's sole and entire significance was... he made Dany jealous).

 

10 minutes ago, JNR said:

It seems likely to me too.  What AA actually does, though, is largely up for debate.  

The Red Faith is not likely to be much more accurate about that than Mel is on her personal prophecies.

I bet they're going to be mostly right on the substance, but wrong on what it means. There will be an AA, but it's gonna suck, for him and for you. Benerro should be frightened, not triumphant, etc. To wit:

"The way the world is made. The truth is all around you, plain to behold. The night is dark and full of terrors, the day bright and beautiful and full of hope. One is black, the other white. There is ice and there is fire. Hate and love. Bitter and sweet. Male and female. Pain and pleasure. Winter and summer. Evil and good." She took a step toward him. "Death and life. Everywhere, opposites. Everywhere, the war."

Right as far as it goes, only she's dead wrong to consider fire the unalloyed good opposing the evil that is ice.

That dumpster fire of a series ending had me going back to the books over the past few weeks. I hit most of the northern chapters, skipped most of the Dany and KL chapters, good Heretic that I am. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed this series, damn that Turtle. Anyway, is Stannis becoming Night's King, or a night king? We hear of NK that he loved his white queen, and "when he gave his seed to her he gave his soul as well." Further, we know from Davos' POV that Mel doesn't want to bone ole Stan the Man anymore, because "the king's fires burn so low." The parallels are obvious. Could Stannis' next ejaculation be his last? Coldhands speaks of blood pooling in his hands and freezing there. What if Stannis becomes a sort of fiery coldhands, doomed to eternal priapism? 

It would be GRRMish, I think, if Mel in all sincerity thinks she's doing The Right Thing, but ends up turning Stannis into a soulless monster just the same. If the soi-disant Mummers are to be believed, the Children created the White Walkers, who would be their undoing. Why not Mel, too?

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1 hour ago, Essan said:

Had Rhaegar not foolishly believed in the stupid PTWP prophecy, none of this would have ever happened ......  ;) 

subverting ancient greek prophecy expectations ... the GRRM Hollywood edition ... kind of a pointless thing for including them in the first place. 

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5 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

What is a Manx cat?  I had one once and he did plenty of great tricks.  But I don't think you mean Melisandre played fetch with aluminum foil balls.

Old joke

Customer walks into pet shop and asks if they have any Manx casts

"No sir", says the shopman, picking up a cleaver. "But I can make you one"

 

In this case Mel wants to find an Azor Ahai, so she makes one

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48 minutes ago, Direwolf Blitzer said:

Anyway, is Stannis becoming Night's King, or a night king? We hear of NK that he loved his white queen, and "when he gave his seed to her he gave his soul as well."

Stannis cannot be the Nights King reborn, because he was never the Lord Commander of the Watch, but he can be King Sherrit reborn who called down a curse upon the Andals from the Nightfort. Stannis has assumed control of the Nightfort as his castle. Jon estimates that it will take half a year to make it livable. Selyse stopped at Castle Black on her way to the Nightfort, and Jon sent Othyl Yarwick and some other builders to restore it.

Stannis is like King Sherrit in that he is waging his battle to take Westeros by conquest from the seat of the Nightfort.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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6 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

Do we have any clues as to why she picked Stannis?

As quoted on the prior page, she seems to be giving a great deal of significance to Dragonstone as a location. There are potentially two errors here, in that Dragonstone isn't necessarily the "place of smoke and salt," and that even if it were, it's Dany that was born at Dragonstone, and Dany would have been the Lady of Dragonstone (under Targaryen inheritance) around the time that Mel was coming west.

A variety of other things that Melisandre (or the Queen's Men) have spoken about could apply to Dany as well: waking dragons from stone, the significance of the red comet, "a hero reborn in the sea" (the Dothraki Sea, in Dany's case), sacrificing father and son, etc.

I remain torn between Jon and Dany for AAR; if AAR is to be a great warrior, and wield a literal red sword against the Others, then that seems like a fair prospect for Jon's future, given the general trend of his arc, his appearance in Mel's flames, and his own dreams of wielding a burning sword.

However, if we don't read the "Red Sword" as literal, I feel as though Dany is a more intuitive fit for all of the signs and portents that Mel seems to value--she emerged from the fire beneath the red comet with newly 'forged' weapons in the dragons, and that act possibly played a role in significantly strengthening fire magic. Under that scenario, AAR becomes a more dangerous figure, a true fire messiah who has come to radically reorder the world--something more in line with Benero's preaching, or the Stallion that Mounts the World prophesy.

Edited by Matthew.

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3 hours ago, Matthew. said:

As quoted on the prior page, she seems to be giving a great deal of significance to Dragonstone as a location. There are potentially two errors here, in that Dragonstone isn't necessarily the "place of smoke and salt," and that even if it were, it's Dany that was born at Dragonstone, and Dany would have been the Lady of Dragonstone (under Targaryen inheritance) around the time that Mel was coming west.

A variety of other things that Melisandre (or the Queen's Men) have spoken about could apply to Dany as well: waking dragons from stone, the significance of the red comet, "a hero reborn in the sea" (the Dothraki Sea, in Dany's case), sacrificing father and son, etc.

I remain torn between Jon and Dany for AAR; if AAR is to be a great warrior, and wield a literal red sword against the Others, then that seems like a fair prospect for Jon's future, given the general trend of his arc, his appearance in Mel's flames, and his own dreams of wielding a burning sword.

However, if we don't read the "Red Sword" as literal, I feel as though Dany is a more intuitive fit for all of the signs and portents that Mel seems to value--she emerged from the fire beneath the red comet with newly 'forged' weapons in the dragons, and that act possibly played a role in significantly strengthening fire magic. Under that scenario, AAR becomes a more dangerous figure, a true fire messiah who has come to radically reorder the world--something more in line with Benero's preaching, or the Stallion that Mounts the World prophesy.

I actually like a lot of what you've said here, and I think your last paragraph is exactly what the shadowbinders from Asshai are afraid of - that Dany is on a more dangerous path. The wheel and the world is breaking down. Dany's original destiny was to become the princess that was promised, but that has all changed. Her destiny is now more like the dragonlords and fulfilling the Stallion that Mounts the World prophecy - which sounds like someone determined to fuck the world!

I think Quaithe knows that Dany's destiny has changed and is hoping that she can divert it by reminding Dany of who she is. Dany was awakened earlier to learn that nine of her Unsullied had been killed by the Sons of the Harpy - including Missandei's brother. After instructing her men to question the suspects "sharply" she tried to sleep, but decided to bathe instead. Quaithe came to her via a glass candle. First she gave her warnings:

Quote

"No. Hear me, Daenerys Targaryen. The glass candles are burning. Soon comes the pale mare, and after her the others. Kraken and dark flame, lion and griffin, the sun's son and the mummer's dragon. Trust none of them. Remember the Undying. Beware the perfumed seneschal."

"Reznak? Why should I fear him?" Dany rose from the pool. Water trickled down her legs, and gooseflesh covered her arms in the cool night air. "If you have some warning for me, speak plainly. What do you want of me, Quaithe?"

Moonlight shone in the woman's eyes. "To show you the way."

 

Quaithe is trying to show Dany the way, but Dany says she remembers the way. Does she really?

Quote

"I remember the way. I go north to go south, east to go west, back to go forward. And to touch the light I have to pass beneath the shadow." She squeezed the water from her silvery hair. "I am half-sick of riddling. In Qarth I was a beggar, but here I am a queen. I command you—"

"Daenerys. Remember the Undying. Remember who you are."

"The blood of the dragon." But my dragons are roaring in the darkness. "I remember the Undying. Child of three, they called me. Three mounts they promised me, three fires, and three treasons. One for blood and one for gold and one for …"

Dany says she is the blood of the dragon, but does she remember she's a Targaryen or is she just another Valyrian dragonlord? The dragonlords were slavers, but Dany has been freeing the slaves. Quaithe wants Dany to remember the Undying - the ancient warlocks that present themselves as looking beautiful in appearance, but in actuality are ancient and withered. What is the lesson that Quaithe wants her to remember? To not be fooled by appearances? Dany said she used to be a beggar and now she's a queen, which might be Quaithe's point. Don't let the beautiful power and position keep you from your purpose, because Meereen is a lost cause. Then she reminds Dany to remember who she is. Who is she? The daughter of Targaryens and heir to their throne, not some dragonlord that will use her dragons to force her will upon Meereen. So I think Quaithe is trying to guide Dany away from being lured into following the path of a dragonlord and remember her original purpose to go to Westeros and quit fiddle-fucking around in Meereen, but it will take some effort to navigate the invisible forces placed upon her by the wheel of time.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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7 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

Dany says she is the blood of the dragon, but does she remember she's a Targaryen or is she just another Valyrian dragonlord? The dragonlords were slavers, but Dany has been freeing the slaves. Quaithe wants Dany to remember the Undying - the ancient warlocks that present themselves as looking beautiful in appearance, but in actuality are ancient and withered. What is the lesson that Quaithe wants her to remember? Is it to not be fooled by appearances? Is this in reference to the Sons of the Harpy? Then she says for Dany to remember who she is. Who is she? The daughter of Targaryens and heir to their throne, not some dragonlord that will use her dragons to force her will upon Meereen. So I think Quaithe is trying to guide Dany away from being lured into following the path of a dragonlord and remember her original purpose to go to Westeros, but it will take some doing to navigate the forces placed upon her by the wheel of time.

Yeah I agreed that Quaithe was trying to remind her Westeros is her real business not playing with these Essossi. 

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I wonder if GRRM's retcon about Aegon being conceived when red comet was se above KL while Rhaegar/Elia was supposed to be in Dragonstone is also related to Rhaegar believing Aegon to be PTWP? Born amid salt and smoke, wouldn't work if he was born/conceived in KL? Though I also love the idea of Rhaela conceiving a child after Rickard's burning and that child being Aegon so still PTWP. 

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11 minutes ago, Jova Snow said:

I wonder if GRRM's retcon about Aegon being conceived when red comet was se above KL while Rhaegar/Elia was supposed to be in Dragonstone is also related to Rhaegar believing Aegon to be PTWP? Born amid salt and smoke, wouldn't work if he was born/conceived in KL? Though I also love the idea of Rhaela conceiving a child after Rickard's burning and that child being Aegon so still PTWP. 

I believe the prince that was promised prophecy only required that he be born on Dragonstone. Conception probably doesn't matter, but the red comet was noted as being seen above Kings Landing when Aegon was conceived. 

Aerys did like raping Rhaella every time he burned someone. Many assume Dany was born 9 months after Aerys burned Chelsted, but he burned other people prior like Brandon and Rickard, so Dany could have been conceived a lot earlier than some readers think. I think this is why some people like to stretch the rebellion timeline going off GRRM's words that Dany was born about nine months after Jon.

I suspect that Jon was born in August 282 nine months after the Harrenhal tourney, which could place Dany's birth as early as May 283. I do realize that this causes some issues with Dany's 14th birthday which was said to occur in 298 when a Game of Thrones was just getting going. I seem to recall that GRRM did say some of Dany's events occurred prior to when the story begins, but the Small Council does talk about her being pregnant prior to Ned's death, unless news is traveling really slow and they are getting these updates months late?

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10 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

Do we have any clues as to why she picked Stannis?

Other than what's been quoted, which sounds a bit justification after the event we're not actually told, but the smoking island in the salt sea is heavily emphasised.

That said, as I suggested earlier, it may well have come from Selyse originally. Stannis evidently didn't have much time for the Red Woman but Selyse is a true believer and could very well have persuaded Mel that her own dear heart was the very man she was seeking. Of course we know that Stannis wasn't actually born on Dragonstone, but Azor Ahai might have been in that after-dark beach party

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Kind of an off topic, but throwing this out for posterity...There was a line in ADWD chapter 42 where Asha hears a few comparisons between Robert and Stannis and learns that it's a sore subject. The knights were estimating that it will take them 15 days to get from Deepwood Motte to Winterfell, but only 10 days if Robert were leading them. It made me wonder if this is supposed to be a clue to help us with the Rebellion timeline?

Edited by Feather Crystal

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15 minutes ago, Jova Snow said:

@Feather Crystal so is there a possibility Rhaegar/Elia was in KL when they conceived Aegon but in Dragonstone at his birth? And yes there is a possibility RR was fast phased until Robert is injured

How was the passage worded again? Did it just say the red comet was seen over Kings Landing, or that Rhaegar was in Kings Landing when he saw it? Is it possible that he saw the comet from Dragonstone while looking towards the mainland so that the comet appeared to be over Kings Landing?

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As I recall the text says it was seen over King's Landing.

However its worth recalling the prophecy about AA and smoke and salt. This has been interpreted in all sorts of strange and interesting ways in trying to shoehorn Jon Snow into the role, but Aegon [the one who supposedly got his head bashed in] is interesting. Why did Rhaegar think he was the the one? GRRM's emphasis on a smoking island in a salt sea [twice in as many pages] seems a significant pointer to Dragonstone, but of course given how little we actually know about the prophecy there are probably other signs, just as there are differing interpretations of what the Prince/AA is for.

The Targaryens think he/she is a good thing but we don't know why. The Red Lot think he/she is a good thing but differ as to whether he/she is to go North [Mel] or next door to Volantis [Benero] which suggests a certain confusion as to whether the Great Other is an individual. Salador Saan on the other hand warns that Azor Ahai perhaps aint so good by citing the story of his slaying his beloved wife in order to create his sword - mirrored both by Mel's private thoughts and Benero's preaching of how those who aint the elect will be doomed, with a very strong hint that they will be doing the dooming

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1 hour ago, Matthew. said:

I remain torn between Jon and Dany for AAR; if AAR is to be a great warrior, and wield a literal red sword against the Others, then that seems like a fair prospect for Jon's future, given the general trend of his arc, his appearance in Mel's flames, and his own dreams of wielding a burning sword.

What if AAR is the Dragon, with three heads? Maybe Jon AND Dany AND (f)Aegon will fulfill the prophecy. 

 

23 minutes ago, Jova Snow said:

I wonder if GRRM's retcon about Aegon being conceived when red comet was se above KL while Rhaegar/Elia was supposed to be in Dragonstone is also related to Rhaegar believing Aegon to be PTWP? Born amid salt and smoke, wouldn't work if he was born/conceived in KL? Though I also love the idea of Rhaela conceiving a child after Rickard's burning and that child being Aegon so still PTWP. 

This could be a barrel of red herrings, too. Dany is most likely Targaryen, because the dragons love her (we have proof of this phenomenon in Brown Ben Plumm), but @markg171 has a masterful thread elsewhere proving (to me anyway) that she's been lied to about the circumstances of her birth.  While we don't know what this means, exactly, what if Dany is Rhaegar's daughter, and not his sister? Certainly possible. He is looking right at her when he says there must be another.

1 hour ago, Feather Crystal said:

Stannis cannot be the Nights King reborn, because he was never the Lord Commander of the Watch, but he can be King Sherrit reborn who called down a curse upon the Andals from the Nightfort. Stannis has assumed control of the Nightfort as his castle.

I had forgotten he claimed the Nightfort! I'm not trying to suggest he is anyone reborn, or is even a proper noun Night King. But he is, like NK, loving an unnatural woman and giving her his soul. The more I ruminate on this the more I think it will happen. 

Here's a related thread: How many people in Westeros are unnaturally alive? Coldhands, Dondarrion (RIP), Stoneheart. Maybe Mel and Moqorro. I would put Victarion on this list, too, with his weird "pork crackling" arm. (And what are the odds that Euron is skinchanging or somehow spying on the Dusky Woman; 110%?)

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22 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

but why Melisandre incorporates the prince that was promised prophecy into identifying Azor Ahai is a mystery. To me it demonstrates that she has some understanding that there has been some overlapping of the wheel of time between the two continents and their historical events

I know we have discussed this in the past and that you have a different interpretation, but I think Azor Ahai and the Prince that was Promised is akin to the Greek and Roman gods, for instance. Zeus and Jupiter are the same, just different names in different cultures.  AA is more of an "eastern"/Asshai name whereas the Prince that was Promised, I think, has Valyrian roots.

21 hours ago, Direwolf Blitzer said:

Mostly I wanted to make fun of the show, in which Jon's sole and entire significance was... he made Dany jealous).

To be fair, the show did this poorly, but if something similar happens in the books (RE: Dany's jealousy) I wouldn't be surprised.  Throughout Dance (and the Meereenese Blot has excellent essays on this that even GRRM has said are well-done and that the author "got it") Daenerys has a growing paranoia - preoccupied with the treasons prophecy, etc.  Not that there weren't legitimate attempts to thwart her rule! But the more I reflect on her chapters in Dance, it is her descending into a paranoid state that, as we know, has not behooved Targaryen's in the past. .  So, I wouldn't say that she was jealous per se, but she saw how people loved Jon and flocked to him and raved about him and followed him, and I think that fed a paranoia that was already there.  That said, I think the show did a piss poor job of showing this paranoia because that paranoia started when she heard the treason prophecies (which the show cut), and grew during the Meereen insurgency (which they failed to show her mental state during that time).

21 hours ago, Direwolf Blitzer said:

Right as far as it goes, only she's dead wrong to consider fire the unalloyed good opposing the evil that is ice.

Reminds me of Robert Frost's Fire and Ice poem. 

21 hours ago, Direwolf Blitzer said:

It would be GRRMish, I think, if Mel in all sincerity thinks she's doing The Right Thing, but ends up turning Stannis into a soulless monster just the same. If the soi-disant Mummers are to be believed, the Children created the White Walkers, who would be their undoing. Why not Mel, too?

Interesting take! I like it.  The road to hell being paved in good intentions and what not.

20 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

Stannis cannot be the Nights King reborn, because he was never the Lord Commander of the Watch, but he can be King Sherrit reborn who called down a curse upon the Andals from the Nightfort. Stannis has assumed control of the Nightfort as his castle. Jon estimates that it will take half a year to make it livable. Selyse stopped at Castle Black on her way to the Nightfort, and Jon sent Othyl Yarwick and some other builders to restore it.

Stannis is like King Sherrit in that he is waging his battle to take Westeros by conquest from the seat of the Nightfort.

But he is a king at the Night's Fort, and if the rumors of the Night's King being a Stark are true, the Night's King was killed by his brother, Lord Stark, but Stannis had his brother killed (Renly), which would be an inversion.

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22 hours ago, Direwolf Blitzer said:

If the soi-disant Mummers are to be believed, the Children created the White Walkers, who would be their undoing.

I certainly agree AAR's true role is yet to be determined... but re the above I don't think they are to be believed.

HBO's already told us the next show will feature "the true origin of the white walkers."  There are a hundred ways they could have marketed the Long Night show without saying GOT's version was bullshit, but they did say that.

There are other problems as well, aside from the general silliness of making Popsicles out of men by tying them to trees and stabbing them with dragonglass.  For instance, the show version was way out of the timeline (given in both the books and the show's own DVD History features) in putting the Long Night thousands of years too early -- prior to the Pact. 

Some in Heresy think that is what actually happened in the books, but I'm pretty sure Old Nan had it pegged:

Quote

Now these were the days before the Andals came, and long before the women fled across the narrow sea from the cities of the Rhoyne, and the hundred kingdoms of those times were the kingdoms of the First Men, who had taken these lands from the children of the forest.

This is an important point.  The reason there could be so many petty kingdoms is exactly because the First Men had spread all over the continent due to the Pact, quite some time before the Long Night, and there was all that space to fill with political power.

Notice also that the show never explained what it was that brought the Popsicles back... all of a sudden, after an absence of thousands of years.  This is absolutely not a thing I expect GRRM to skip, but instead a crucially important revelation that will also tell us something about the original Long Night.

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