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Black Crow

Heresy 226 of wolves, dragons and other familiars

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Welcome to Heresy 226, the latest chapter in a thread which began 8 years ago as The Wall, The Watch and a Heresy, and has been running continuously ever since, racking up well over 89,000 posts in the process.

So what’s it all about and why has it been so successful? The short answer is that we look in a lot of depth at the Song of Ice and Fire, as it was originally outlined in GRRM’s 1993 synopsis. The story as it has actually been written has moved a long way since then of course, but broadly speaking we still follow the same premise then as now that the story is about Westeros and about its ancient Stark family, rather than the parvenu Targaryen succession and some mythic Middle-Eastern hero known as Azor Ahai.

That's why, here and in the back-issues you’ll find more information and discussion than anywhere else on the Westeros forum anent the Wall, the Watch and the Otherlands which lie beyond. And as for the Heresy, well that revolves around discussion not only of the true nature and origins of the Others, but also of the true nature of the Starks and their direwolves and their connection to Winter.

Currently, there's an argument going on about the nature of the Others, with Sweet Sunray and friends considering a scientific approach, while others among us favour the magic and the likelihood that the white walkers were once Starks and may be the old kings of Winter come again.

There is after all an old heretic joke that in the end this may not be the story of the dragons saving Westeros from the Others, but of the Others saving Westeros from the Dragons.

So off we go, but remember that another reason why this thread has lasted so long and prospered is that while we disagree all the time, the basic rule in the strap line below has always been cheerfully observed, for which I thank you all.

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7 hours ago, Black Crow said:

There is after all an old heretic joke that in the end this may not be the story of the dragons saving Westeros from the Others, but of the Others saving Westeros from the Dragons.

Over the last three years my focus has been on deciphering the titled chapters, and I've never really had much interest in the Targaryens even before then, but the last Heresy thread made me realize that there did seem to be a concerted effort to stymie the prince that was promised prophecy from coming true. Previously I had suspected Aerys and Rhaella of sacrificing their own children in some secret dragonlord ritual down in Maegor's Holdfast, but now I'm equally of the mind that someone may have been poisoning Rhaella when she was pregnant, and poisoning the children that were born alive - someone sweet and gentle that wouldn't draw suspicion. Ashara, perhaps? Or whatever happened to Shiera Seastar?

The old woods witch said the prince that was promised would be born of Aerys and Rhaella's line. They did successfully bring to adulthood three children, but the males are now dead. Rhaegar brought forth two children and was working on a third when his first two were murdered. But prophecy is a funny thing and if something is destined to happen, it will find a way to manifest.

Daenerys is the princess that was promised, and as promised she hatched three dragons from eggs that people believed were "stone". She is a child of three, because she had two living brothers. That's the "three". The "dragon" has three heads. IMO that means that the princess that was promised would have two siblings. Check. Now what? 

I suspect Bloodraven is Oz behind the curtain manipulating events in order to prevent his own family from hatching dragons - but why? Why is it so important to allow the Others to infiltrate the realm once more? I believe the Children feel there's a need to aright a past wrong and that it cannot be done if dragons were to swoop on in and interfere. Which makes me feel more confident that Daenerys will never even come to Westeros.

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21 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

Over the last three years my focus has been on deciphering the titled chapters, and I've never really had much interest in the Targaryens even before then, but the last Heresy thread made me realize that there did seem to be a concerted effort to stymie the prince that was promised prophecy from coming true. Previously I had suspected Aerys and Rhaella of sacrificing their own children in some secret dragonlord ritual down in Maegor's Holdfast, but now I'm equally of the mind that someone may have been poisoning Rhaella when she was pregnant, and poisoning the children that were born alive - someone sweet and gentle that wouldn't draw suspicion. Ashara, perhaps? Or whatever happened to Shiera Seastar?

The old woods witch said the prince that was promised would be born of Aerys and Rhaella's line. They did successfully bring to adulthood three children, but the males are now dead. Rhaegar brought forth two children and was working on a third when his first two were murdered. But prophecy is a funny thing and if something is destined to happen, it will find a way to manifest.

Daenerys is the princess that was promised, and as promised she hatched three dragons from eggs that people believed were "stone". She is a child of three, because she had two living brothers. That's the "three". The "dragon" has three heads. IMO that means that the princess that was promised would have two siblings. Check. Now what? 

I suspect Bloodraven is Oz behind the curtain manipulating events in order to prevent his own family from hatching dragons - but why? Why is it so important to allow the Others to infiltrate the realm once more? I believe the Children feel there's a need to aright a past wrong and that it cannot be done if dragons were to swoop on in and interfere. Which makes me feel more confident that Daenerys will never even come to Westeros.

I still think that the parvenu Targaryens are the red herring in all of this and that Bloodraven's real significance lies in his being Bran Blackwood of Raventree Hall rather than a Targaryen by-blow, just as Jon's lies in his being a son of Winterfell rather than another Targaryen by-blow. All of Bran Blackwood's magic and eldritch connections lie with the ravens and the trees rather than with dragons, just as Jon's come from the wolves.

Whether there are wrongs to be righted or not, or rather whatever the nature and history of those wrongs they lie deep in the history of Westeros and its own peoples.

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21 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

 

Daenerys is the princess that was promised, and as promised she hatched three dragons from eggs that people believed were "stone". She is a child of three, because she had two living brothers. That's the "three". The "dragon" has three heads. IMO that means that the princess that was promised would have two siblings. Check. Now what? 

 

I'm still minded of that SSM which said that the three heads of the dragon need not be Targaryens. That immediately tells me that they need not be siblings and while there was a popular theory at the time that the heads equated to dragon-riders and that the SSM could be interpreted as hinting Tyrion might be one of the three, I'm more inclined to go with Alienarea's entirely sensible suggestion that it in fact relates to a triumvirate. They might also be dragonriders or at least two of them might if one isn't a Targaryen, but being a head and a dragonrider clearly aren't synonymous

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1 hour ago, Black Crow said:

I still think that the parvenu Targaryens are the red herring in all of this and that Bloodraven's real significance lies in his being Bran Blackwood of Raventree Hall rather than a Targaryen by-blow, just as Jon's lies in his being a son of Winterfell rather than another Targaryen by-blow. All of Bran Blackwood's magic and eldritch connections lie with the ravens and the trees rather than with dragons, just as Jon's come from the wolves.

Whether there are wrongs to be righted or not, or rather whatever the nature and history of those wrongs they lie deep in the history of Westeros and its own peoples.

Yes, I agree whatever was done happened 8000-10,000 years ago and allowing the Others to breach the Wall and infiltrate Westeros is part of setting things right. Preventing or twisting the prince that was promised prophecy was a proactive attempt to keep dragons from interfering.

1 hour ago, Black Crow said:

I'm still minded of that SSM which said that the three heads of the dragon need not be Targaryens. That immediately tells me that they need not be siblings and while there was a popular theory at the time that the heads equated to dragon-riders and that the SSM could be interpreted as hinting Tyrion might be one of the three, I'm more inclined to go with Alienarea's entirely sensible suggestion that it in fact relates to a triumvirate. They might also be dragonriders or at least two of them might if one isn't a Targaryen, but being a head and a dragonrider clearly aren't synonymous

Let’s see that SSM. Can anyone help?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

Let’s see that SSM. Can anyone help?

Sure, it's here.

Quote

This third Targaryen might very well be -not- a Targaryen, to quote his exact words... "Three heads of the dragon... yes... but the third will not necessarily BE a Targaryen..."

This, unfortunately, is one of the ones in which a fan is talking, not GRRM. 

Still, I agree broadly with BC above that there is no equation in the text between dragonriders and heads of the dragon -- not even close.

The actual text, so famously and commonly interpreted in that way, is:

Quote

"He has a song," the man replied. "He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire." He looked up when he said it and his eyes met Dany's, and it seemed as if he saw her standing there beyond the door. "There must be one more," he said, though whether he was speaking to her or the woman in the bed she could not say. "The dragon has three heads."

One can choose to infer Rhaegar is thinking there must be one more child, and many do, but that is only an inference. 

He could just as easily have meant, more simply, that he had identified two of the three dragon heads meant to advise or counsel the PtwP (whom he believed to be his son Aegon), but he did not know the identity of the third.  In this scenario, his own children might have been none of the dragon heads.

But whatever we think "dragon heads" are in Rhaegar's mind, or who Rhaegar thought they were, or whether he was right about that... he has zero to say about riding dragons.  That's just the collective fan imagination at work.

Edited by JNR

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6 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I'm still minded of that SSM which said that the three heads of the dragon need not be Targaryens. That immediately tells me that they need not be siblings and while there was a popular theory at the time that the heads equated to dragon-riders and that the SSM could be interpreted as hinting Tyrion might be one of the three, I'm more inclined to go with Alienarea's entirely sensible suggestion that it in fact relates to a triumvirate. They might also be dragonriders or at least two of them might if one isn't a Targaryen, but being a head and a dragonrider clearly aren't synonymous

Yup, a triumvirate makes a hell of a lot of sense.  Although, in it's simplest form it could just mean:  father, mother, teacher.  But as an end game results,  I can imagine an Aegon/Sansa/Tyrion triumvirate. 

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40 minutes ago, redriver said:

A trinity or a triumvirate?

Ya! Wow! That too.  Do Bran, Jon and Arya fit as a trinity? 

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Well, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. I think “the dragon has three heads” and “child of three” are defined as three Targaryen siblings with one of them being the prince(ss) that was promised. The PTWP was meant to be a Targaryen who successfully hatched dragons, and it’s a foregone conclusion that they’d become the riders.

Since Aemon mentioned a 1000 year old prophecy, I think there must be something additional that hasn’t yet been made clear. Maybe it does tie into Azor Ahai reborn? Maybe Lightbringer was a volcano and Nissa Nissa was the sacrifice that made it explode? The “great beast” that was slain may have been all the dragonlords.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, LynnS said:

Ya! Wow! That too.  Do Bran, Jon and Arya fit as a trinity? 

They do as a trinity but not as a triumvirate which is all male I believe.

 

1 hour ago, Feather Crystal said:

Well, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. I think “the dragon has three heads” and “child of three” are defined as three Targaryen siblings with one of them being the prince(ss) that was promised. The PTWP was meant to be a Targaryen who successfully hatched dragons, and it’s a foregone conclusion that they’d become the riders.

Since Aemon mentioned a 1000 year old prophecy, I think there must be something additional that hasn’t yet been made clear. Maybe it does tie into Azor Ahai reborn? Maybe Lightbringer was a volcano and Nissa Nissa was the sacrifice that made it explode? The “great beast” that was slain may have been all the dragonlords.

That would be my take too as far as the Targ version of the prophesy is concerned.There is no mention of princes or any royalty in the Asshai version.Mel herself seems to muddy things up.

She introduces the statue burning ceremony in the tongue of Asshai,High Valyrian and the common tongue.So she probably has some knowledge of the PWWP angle and it's she who tells Stannis he is the promised prince.She also wants to wake dragons from stone through sacrifice.No mention of that when Saan tells the tale.

I would think the Targ prophesy predates the Doom and was probably written by Daenys in Dreams and Portents.

My own personal head canon believes the original three heads of the dragon were meteors one or all of which may have landed in Valyria giving rise to volcanic activity and bringing proto dragons as the Qartheen tale implies.

ETA Martin began this tale watching Shoemaker-Levy 9 approach Jupiter,break apart in 1992 and collide in 1994.

 

Edited by redriver

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We know that Valyrian nouns are genderless, i.e. it could be Prince or Princess.

Maybe wolf and dragon are synonymous in old Valyrian? :P

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47 minutes ago, alienarea said:

We know that Valyrian nouns are genderless, i.e. it could be Prince or Princess.

Maybe wolf and dragon are synonymous in old Valyrian? :P

That could very well not be,perhaps:D

I would agree with BC above that the actions the original myths and prophecies are based on are Westerosi and the resolution,if there is to be one,will based there too.The Hammer of the Waters was the origin,or original sin of those myths.Hammer is the clue.Something that impacts from above.Something to stay or halt the advance of the First Men.It may have been known as the Horn of Winter by some.Or the Dragon.Or the Shadow.All a matter of perspective.

Calling down a comet might seem like grand magic but maybe they didn't ask for that.Maybe they just asked,prayed for and sacrificed to halting the First Men.The comet was what they got,as well as the Others,prototype dragons,a long night and unreliable seasons.

And weird prophecies from faraway lands.

Sorcery is indeed a glass sword without a hilt.

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How do you think Melisandre expected Stannis to wake dragons from stone? Do you think she carried dragon eggs from Dragonstone to the Wall?

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4 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

How do you think Melisandre expected Stannis to wake dragons from stone? Do you think she carried dragon eggs from Dragonstone to the Wall?

The problem is that we and Our Mel are so far from the original that we don't know how much of the prophecy is real and how much is metaphorical, especially as there are different versions of those myths/prophecies floating about, which may not necessarily relate to the same thing. Mel came to the Wall proclaiming her version of the Azor Ahai story, Saladhor Saan  told another, and seemingly [albeit JNR disagrees] there's another version in the Jade Companion.

Mel claims the story was written down [not necessarily originating] in the books of Asshai 3,000 years ago and Aemon says she's talking about the Battle for the Dawn. He has read the Jade Companion so knows what she is talking about. She thinks he's talking about the Prince, but he refers to the Targaryens  being mistaken about it for 1,000 years.

The two therefore may not be one and the same and neither has anything to do with Westeros

 

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22 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

The PTWP was meant to be a Targaryen who successfully hatched dragons

It's really never specified in canon what the PtwP is supposed to do.  Without the exact language, we can only fumble at the edges of various possibilities.

For instance, there's this Aemon line:

Quote

Daenerys is the one, born amidst salt and smoke. The dragons prove it.

We can decide this means Aemon thinks the PtwP is supposed to hatch dragons... but there are any number of alternate interpretations. 

Suppose the prophecy actually says: "The prince that is promised will bathe the world in flame."  

Aemon could read this, think "that means dragons," and therefore perceive Dany's hatching dragons as proving she is the PtwP... but that wouldn't make him right.  We need the actual text.

I also notice Dany doesn't seem to have been born under a bleeding star, or in a time when the stars bleed.  Aemon conveniently ignores this problem, which makes me question his analysis.

10 hours ago, Black Crow said:

Mel came to the Wall proclaiming her version of the Azor Ahai story, Saladhor Saan  told another, and seemingly [albeit JNR disagrees] there's another version in the Jade Companion.

I don't disagree with that at all; they're all clearly all about AA.  And you can add to that what we hear in Essos from Benerro:

Quote

Benerro has sent forth the word from Volantis. [Dany's] coming is the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy. From smoke and salt was she born to make the world anew. She is Azor Ahai returned … and her triumph over darkness will bring a summer that will never end … death itself will bend its knee, and all those who die fighting in her cause shall be reborn …

So here we get even more detail about AA, and more confirmation of what we heard from Mel -- that AA is supposed to be a messianic savior.

Mel is unique in equating AA and the PtwP, though.  Notice Benerro has nothing whatever to say about princes that were promised, what they will do, or how they will be known.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 8/16/2019 at 10:10 AM, Feather Crystal said:

Over the last three years my focus has been on deciphering the titled chapters, and I've never really had much interest in the Targaryens even before then, but the last Heresy thread made me realize that there did seem to be a concerted effort to stymie the prince that was promised prophecy from coming true. Previously I had suspected Aerys and Rhaella of sacrificing their own children in some secret dragonlord ritual down in Maegor's Holdfast, but now I'm equally of the mind that someone may have been poisoning Rhaella when she was pregnant, and poisoning the children that were born alive - someone sweet and gentle that wouldn't draw suspicion. Ashara, perhaps? Or whatever happened to Shiera Seastar?

The old woods witch said the prince that was promised would be born of Aerys and Rhaella's line. They did successfully bring to adulthood three children, but the males are now dead. Rhaegar brought forth two children and was working on a third when his first two were murdered. But prophecy is a funny thing and if something is destined to happen, it will find a way to manifest.

Daenerys is the princess that was promised, and as promised she hatched three dragons from eggs that people believed were "stone". She is a child of three, because she had two living brothers. That's the "three". The "dragon" has three heads. IMO that means that the princess that was promised would have two siblings. Check. Now what? 

I suspect Bloodraven is Oz behind the curtain manipulating events in order to prevent his own family from hatching dragons - but why? Why is it so important to allow the Others to infiltrate the realm once more? I believe the Children feel there's a need to aright a past wrong and that it cannot be done if dragons were to swoop on in and interfere. Which makes me feel more confident that Daenerys will never even come to Westeros.

I feel like the Children and the Dothraki have similar goals. The Dothraki consider it sinful to erect cities and castles because they believe the earth should be left alone. That's why they are nomads and why they so destructive when it comes to cities. They eventually believe that ghost grass will cover the earth and that will be the end of the world.

Ghost grass, if you read up on it, sounds a lot like the weirwood heart trees.

Edited by Jabar of House Titan

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Posted (edited)
On 8/18/2019 at 9:42 AM, alienarea said:

We know that Valyrian nouns are genderless, i.e. it could be Prince or Princess.

Do we?
Are there other genderless nouns in Valyrian that we know of?

I thought we knew that the word Dragon, was genderless, as dragons themselves can switch between genders. And that the word Dragon was the same as the word for Prince (and thus princess, though it seems that prince and princess are themselves gendered words.)

It sounds to me like the wod for dragon became the word for (a Targaryen) prince. I suspect the word for princess in a feminized version of the word for prince. Aemon is saying that the original word in the prophecy, Dragon, was taken by the Targaryen's interpreting it to be the default masculine gender prince because that was their common usage and that they had forgotten that the original word dragon is in fact, genderless.

Quote

 "No one ever looked for a girl," he said. "It was a prince that was promised, not a princess. Rhaegar, I thought . . . the smoke was from the fire that devoured Summerhall on the day of his birth, the salt from the tears shed for those who died. He shared my belief when he was young, but later he became persuaded that it was his own son who fulfilled the prophecy, for a comet had been seen above King's Landing on the night Aegon was conceived, and Rhaegar was certain the bleeding star had to be a comet. What fools we were, who thought ourselves so wise! The error crept in from the translation. Dragons are neither male nor female, Barth saw the truth of that, but now one and now the other, as changeable as flame. The language misled us all for a thousand years. Daenerys is the one, born amidst salt and smoke. The dragons prove it." 

 

On 8/17/2019 at 12:43 PM, JNR said:

As to saviors, you're right that that's Mel's take on AAR, whom she also sees as PtwP: the champion of her god. 

But Aemon makes no such remarks about the PtwP; those are just reader inferences.

As to the bleeding stars/salt and smoke, it's true both prophecies seem to involve that language (though we have yet to read the text of either one).

Aemon directly references the Prince that was promised with all the same markers as Mel and Benerro use for the AA prophecy.

On 8/17/2019 at 7:54 PM, Black Crow said:

I never suggested that the Prince came into the conversation. Mel was talking about Stannis and the sword and proclaiming him as Azor Ahai returned. Aemon was recommending Jon to read up on Azor Ahai, not the Prince, presumably because Mel was telling a different story from that set out in the Companion

About tPtwP (shouldn't it really be the Dragon that was promised? At least in Valaryian?):

Quote

 "No one ever looked for a girl," he said. "It was a prince that was promised, not a princess. Rhaegar, I thought . . . the smoke was from the fire that devoured Summerhall on the day of his birth, the salt from the tears shed for those who died. He shared my belief when he was young, but later he became persuaded that it was his own son who fulfilled the prophecy, for a comet had been seen above King's Landing on the night Aegon was conceived, and Rhaegar was certain the bleeding star had to be a comet. What fools we were, who thought ourselves so wise! The error crept in from the translation. Dragons are neither male nor female, Barth saw the truth of that, but now one and now the other, as changeable as flame. The language misled us all for a thousand years. Daenerys is the one, born amidst salt and smoke. The dragons prove it." 

Aemon is clearly referencing tPtwP prophecy, no matter what other context is around the conversation.
The elements we can pick out are that tDtwP would be born amidst smoke and salt, there would be a bleeding star, and the dragons prove it. And this is at least 1000 years old (so definitely from before the Targs lost their dragons, even before the Doom. So no indication at all that its anything inherently about them regaining their lost dragons).

About AA(v2):
From Melisandre (twice)

Quote

 It is written in prophecy as well. When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone. The bleeding star has come and gone, and Dragonstone is the place of smoke and salt. 

From Yandel

Quote

It is also written that there are annals in Asshai of such a darkness, and of a hero who fought against it with a red sword. His deeds are said to have been performed before the rise of Valyria, in the earliest age when Old Ghis was first forming its empire. This legend has spread west from Asshai, and the followers of R'hllor claim that this hero was named Azor Ahai, and prophesy his return.

From Benerro 

Quote

Haldon nodded. "Benerro has sent forth the word from Volantis. Her coming is the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy. From smoke and salt was she born to make the world anew. She is Azor Ahai returned … and her triumph over darkness will bring a summer that will never end … death itself will bend its knee, and all those who die fighting in her cause shall be reborn …"

It s very clear the that tPtwP prophecy is the Azor Ahai reborn prophecy. And its at least 1000yrs old, predating the Doom and the loss of Targaryen Dragons. It may or may not predate the rise of Valyria - clearly AAv1 does, but that does not tell us when the prophecy of his return started.
Its also clear that the prophecy relates to dragons somehow, since both Aemon (talking about tPtwP) and 

Each group takes out of the rebirth of AA/tPtwP its own wish-fulfillment, sort of.
Targaryens think because the High Valyrian word dragon is used, that the prophesied hero will be a Targaryen Prince - tPtwP. Is their prophecy the original, from 1000yrs ago? Or is it  a Valyrian copy (or reinvention) of an older prophecy? Impossible for us to tell at this stage at least.
Rh'lorrists think that the prophecied hero will remake the world and bring and end to darkness and winter. I suspect the "death will bend its knee" and "reborn fighters" are religious additions for religious reasons, rather than the original prophecy, but we can't really tell that for sure either.

Due to the 1000yr old PtwP datapoint and the Rh'lorrist waking dragons out of stone data point, I think its pretty clear that the PtwP prophecy is not a private Targaryen prophecy aimed at the rebirth of dragons, but it is fact the AA prophecy about saving the world. Rebirthing dragons is a side bonus, so to speak, for the Targaryens.
Still, the waking dragons out of stone part would have made it even more imperative for post-dragon Targaryens to want the prophecy fulfilled, for their own political/power reasons, as well as saving the world.
 

Edited by corbon

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