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Curled Finger

Table Setting - The Red Comet

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Posted (edited)

Prophesy is much a part of the legend and lore of ASOIAF.  The oldest legends spawn the more recent prophesies concerning the end of the world.  The rich world of ASOIAF allows an often brutal depiction of life in a far less comfortable time.  Signs and Portents are attended and studied.  Religions sprout up to either explain, fulfill or point to prophesy.  The red comet becomes a prominent if silent character at auspicious times, the morning Winterfell learns of Ned’s death and the day of the night of Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre.  Jhogo tells Dany: It is said that the more fiercely a man burned in life, the brighter his star, presumably an indication that the red comet was Khal Drogo’s star.  Within 2 paragraphs we are witness to Mirri Mas Dur’s immolation.  Scary passage. At that point everyone seems to begin to chime in on the red comet and what its appearance actually means.

The red comet is given a lot of attention in A Clash of Kings prologue.  Maester Cressen tells:   Shireen was unconvinced. "What about the thing in the sky? Dalla and Matrice were talking the red comet is by the well, and Dalla said she heard the red woman tell Mother that it was dragonsbreath. If the dragons are breathing, doesn't that mean they are coming to life?"

The red woman, Maester Cressen thought sourly. Ill enough that she's filled the head of the mother with her madness, must she poison the daughter's dreams as well? He would have a stern word with Dalla, warn her not to spread such tales. "The thing in the sky is a comet, sweet child. A star with a tail, lost in the heavens. It will be gone soon enough, never to be seen again in our lifetimes. Watch and see."  We later read Cressen’s other thoughts regarding the red comet.  Yet when he closed his eyes, he could still see the light of the comet, red and fiery and vividly alive amidst the darkness of his dreams. Perhaps it is my comet, he thought drowsily at the last, just before sleep took him. An omen of blood, foretelling murder . . . yes . . .

The smallfolk and Aeys Oakheart claim it honors Joffrey Baratheon.  Servants in the Red Keep call it  "Dragon's Tail".  Warlocks at the House of the Undying take credit for sending the comet to Danaerys as a guide.  In the same vein Varys spins a self serving tale to Tyrion that the Kingslanders consider the Red Messenger to be a herald warning of war”.  Always the superior optimists, the Faith or begging brothers call the comet "Father's scourge" and the "Harbinger".   Rhaegar takes ownership of the comet in ensuring his son, Aegon, is conceived when it appears some years earlier…because that’s how you make a Prince Who Was Promised. 

Clearly visible and burning bright, this comet is a popular subject with many.  It is called the Red Messenger in the Riverlands.  The Greatjon says it harks of revenge while Edmure Tully believes it foretells of victory.  The Blackfish is adamant the comet means blood.  Cat thinks it could point to the Lannisters.  Gendry calls it the “Red Sword” for it’s shape and appearance.  Arya thinks it looks like Ice after Ned’s beheading. 

 A white raven appears shortly after Septon Chayle declares the comet is a “sword that slays the season”.  Osha tells Bran the comet means blood and fire.  Old Nan says the comet means dragons and punctuates the statement with “I can smell it.”  The comet is called Mormont’s Torch at the Nights Watch…but which Mormont I wonder.   While over at the Iron Islands Theon imagines the comet as his own but Nuncle Damphair straightens him out by assuring Theon the comet is a message of war

 Later we learn Davos considers the red comet a major event of some ambiguous meaning.  Tyrion laughs at the Begging Brother who preaches about the comet and calls Tyrion a twisted demon monkey. Selyse insists the comet is heraldry of Stannis’ divine purpose. Melisandre stands on the same principal when reminding Stannis he is Azor Ahai and this thing says so.  Take it to the bank. 

Not unlike dreams, interpretation of a symbols is a deeply personal process.  It’s interesting how the red comet is construed across the continents and regions and characters.  How can you argue with Gendry or Arya? Their impressions are visual and visceral.  They aren’t wrong and they can’t possibly be right.   Septon Chayle’s quip could be no more than his awareness that the seasons are changing.  Grampa’s magic trick.  Cressen’s thoughts run the gambit of professional teaching, hatred and personal surrender.  Dany thought the comet was a sign of her destiny long before the Warlocks said that’s exactly why they manifest it for her. Jhogo was sweet in offering his opinion of the meaning of the comet—that hope in grief. 

 What does the Red Comet signify?  Can we take its appearance to be some sort of herald of violence or is it all bound to Targaryen prophesy?  Is this Lightbringer of Rhaegar’s study or just a dying star? And Happy New Year, ya book nerds.  

Edited by Curled Finger
Gads

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I don't have anything to add but I always enjoy reading your posts.

 

Happy New Year to you as well!

:cheers:

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2 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

What does the Red Comet signify?

It signifies that occasionally dirty lumps of ice cycle through the Solar System on very long orbits and that human beings are, taken in the whole, superstitious bumpkins that like to ascribe various portentous meanings to stuff which really has no meaning ;)

 

 

2 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

And Happy New Year, ya book nerds.  

and you too, Twisted Digit, my life would be a lesser thing without your posts :cheers:

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Happy new year!

I suspect that this concept is at play in GRRM's world.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correspondence_(theology)#Correspondence_and_esotericism

Quote

The doctrine of analogy and correspondence, present in all esoteric schools of thinking, upholds that the Whole is One and that its different levels (realms, worlds) are equivalent systems, whose parts are in strict correspondence. So much so that a part in a realm symbolically reflects and interacts with the corresponding part in another realm.

So in a sense all these things might be considered symbolically equivalent. 
Red Comet = Flaming Sword = Dragon Breath = MMD's Pyre = Dragon's Tail

Quote

Thus the head is related to the Empyreal, the chest to the ethereal heaven and the belly to the elementary substance.

Quote

She climbed the pyre herself to place the eggs around her sun-and-stars. The black beside his heart, under his arm. The green beside his head, his braid coiled around it. The cream-and-gold down between his legs.

 

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hmmmm , so much to think on!  thanks CF !!
 

the comet 'appeared' in the middle of 298 (right?)
for any sort of reference, Aegon was born 281 or 282 (per WIKI)

i am deducting the comet's recurrence as being 'regular', this could be an event for every 17/18 or so years ... if indeed it were the same comet. IF.
so stating that IF the comet appears every approximate 18 years about then there could be some corresponding events of a previous time that might be fun to think about.
i'm going to make a chart of this ... sounds fun!

& i can't help but wonder what Tyrion's thoughts on the comet would be.

we don't hear anyone's ideas on what the disappearance/unappearance of the comet.
what do the characters think about the comet being not seen anymore?  what did they wonder about that?  wow even more questions!
 

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2 minutes ago, Narsil4 said:

So in a sense all these things might be considered symbolically equivalent.

Oh, man, if you don't already (though I suspect you do) you will appreciate studying the holy qabbala....

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4 minutes ago, Rufus Snow said:

Oh, man, if you don't already (though I suspect you do) you will appreciate studying the holy qabbala....

Anything specific I should look at? I've only skimmed the wiki a few times. 

I've found Hermeticism seems to have some relevance.

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2 minutes ago, Narsil4 said:

Anything specific I should look at? I've only skimmed the wiki a few times. 

I've found Hermeticism seems to have some relevance.

Gematria and notariqon would probably interest you, but to be honest it's always best to find your own path - though you could spend a lifetime just considering 'B'erashith Elohim....'.

Israel Regardie is a good writer on the subject for modern readers, and you can also do a lot worse than Robert Anton Wilson's 'Prometheus Rising' though it tends to short-circuit the whole caboodle in the same way that Timothy Leary said that LSD short-circuits most of transcendental meditation..... also Eliphaz Levi, Dion Fortune, even Crowley, all are good sources. Go further back you might want to consider Maimonides, and get a good version of the Sepher Zohar, too.

... and of course you'd also be free to conclude it was also the best Jewish joke, like, ever,.... but, hey, spiritualty's like that.... you'll be amazed at what your mind can do, eventually.

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7 hours ago, Rufus Snow said:

It signifies that occasionally dirty lumps of ice cycle through the Solar System on very long orbits and that human beings are, taken in the whole, superstitious bumpkins that like to ascribe various portentous meanings to stuff which really has no meaning ;)

Well, comets aren't red in the natural world for one thing.  So why does GRRM introduce an unnatural phenomenon? He is saying that this isn't your run of the mill comet. We could also link the appearance of the red comet to Ned's fever dream of a blood streaked sky and a storm of petals blue as the eyes of death.  He describes it as the 'old dream' that does not bode well.  So, presumably he has had this dream before, perhaps long before the actual appearance and shortly after his own death.  In this context, I would say that it is a harbinger of sorts linked to the reappearance of dragons and the white walkers.  

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Posted (edited)

I really love how mysterious phenomena is used to reveal things about the characters and I suspect we'll get no solid answers on things like Dany's betrayals, Azor Ahai, etc., because they're really about how the characters (and readers!) interpret meaning.

That aside, I have a rather dull and scientific possibility for the comet. Some forum users ascribe some very esoteric scientific knowledge to GRRM and I'm always hesitant with those wondering just how much GRRM knows or cares about science past the 101 level that most of us know. But here it goes -

So the moon will appear red on the horizon if there's a lot of sentiment in the air and that includes volcanic ash.

https://www.universetoday.com/19969/red-moon/

Perhaps the red comet is just a regular ole' comet (seems Westeros comes across them often enough) but it's now being seen through different atmospheric conditions. Maybe if there's a lot of activity currently going on in Valyria, there's enough sentiment in the air to give it a reddish cast. And activity in Valyria can definitely have an effect on dragons hence maybe that's the source of that connection. Maybe Old Nan was really tasting something different in the air.

What especially interests me is that too much volcanic activity (fire) can trigger...Winter! Specifically volcanic winter. And we have the onset of Winter in Westeros and the Others have become curiously active of late.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcanic_winter

There's something in my reading of Asshai that makes me wonder if too much fire leads to too much winter which leads to too much fire...kind of like a yin/yang cycle.

One argument against this would be that we should have reports of red moons but I don't recall them. But maybe they were a neglected detail or maybe this isn't the case at all.

 

13 hours ago, Lord Lannister said:

There are times I think the happiest ending Westeros could have involves the Red Comet crashing into it.

I believe GRRM has threatened to do just that once or twice.

Edited by Lollygag

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19 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

 What does the Red Comet signify?  Can we take its appearance to be some sort of herald of violence or is it all bound to Targaryen prophesy?  Is this Lightbringer of Rhaegar’s study or just a dying star? And Happy New Year, ya book nerds.  

I don't think it's the same comet that Rhaegar mentioned to Maester Aemon with regard to Aegon's conception.

The maester did not believe in omens. And yet . . . old as he was, Cressen had never seen a comet half so bright, nor yet that color, that terrible color, the color of blood and flame and sunsets. (Prologue, ACoK)

If there had been another comet that was as bright as this one, I think that he would have remembered it. So this doesn't sound like some ordinary comet. Or maybe it's much closer to the earth this time. 

This passage has some strong comet and Others symbolism in it, I think, or that's how I've always interpreted it at least;

"No," Ned said with sadness in his voice. "Now it ends." As they came together in a rush of steel and shadow, he could hear Lyanna screaming. "Eddard!" she called. A storm of rose petals blew across a blood-streaked sky, as blue as the eye of death. (Eddard X, AGoT 39)

Maester Aemon talks about his dreams;

"The last dragon died before you were born," said Sam. "How could you remember them?"
"I see them in my dreams, Sam. I see a red star bleeding in the sky. I still remember red. I see their shadows on the snow, hear the crack of leathern wings, feel their hot breath. My brothers dreamed of dragons too, and the dreams killed them, every one. Sam, we tremble on the cusp of half-remembered prophecies, of wonders and terrors that no man now living could hope to comprehend . . . or . . ." (50-Sam III, AFfC 26)

About dragonsbreath, there's a mention of the flower dragon's breath that grows in the godswood of the Red Keep, which I thought was a neat connect;

Sansa drifted to sleep as the moon rose, Arya several hours later, curling up in the grass under Ned's cloak. All through the dark hours he kept his vigil alone. When dawn broke over the city, the dark red blooms of dragon's breath surrounded the girls where they lay. (Eddard V, AGoT 25)

I always felt this was foreshadowing of Targaryen/Stark interaction coming.

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21 hours ago, Rufus Snow said:

It signifies that occasionally dirty lumps of ice cycle through the Solar System on very long orbits and that human beings are, taken in the whole, superstitious bumpkins that like to ascribe various portentous meanings to stuff which really has no meaning ;)

 

 

and you too, Twisted Digit, my life would be a lesser thing without your posts :cheers:

Thanks Maester Cressen.  Always fun with you. 

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21 hours ago, Narsil4 said:

Happy new year!

I suspect that this concept is at play in GRRM's world.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correspondence_(theology)#Correspondence_and_esotericism

So in a sense all these things might be considered symbolically equivalent. 
Red Comet = Flaming Sword = Dragon Breath = MMD's Pyre = Dragon's Tail

 

Ah @Narsil4, this whole thing began with me wanting to list the names and perceptions of the comet.  So a big old Thankee Sai to you for the quick list.   I was thinking precisely what you're thinking maybe trying to get a general consensus.  Many of the scenes involving the comet are sort of exemplified in violence--blood & fire from Osha, war from Damphair and sort of along those lines with the Tullys.  Then I got side tracked by those wicked smart jerks trying to take credit for the comet or expressing themselves as supremely confident in its meaning.   Sparkly stuff.   And that's why we are talking here.  Help me figure out what it really likely means.  I'm going with violence in round 1.  But I just changed that from dragons, so there are already two paths we can go by already from the start.   

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21 hours ago, Lyanna<3Rhaegar said:

I don't have anything to add but I always enjoy reading your posts.

 

Happy New Year to you as well!

:cheers:

It's always good to see you, Lady and thank you very much!

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21 hours ago, Yaya said:

hmmmm , so much to think on!  thanks CF !!
 

the comet 'appeared' in the middle of 298 (right?)
for any sort of reference, Aegon was born 281 or 282 (per WIKI)

i am deducting the comet's recurrence as being 'regular', this could be an event for every 17/18 or so years ... if indeed it were the same comet. IF.
so stating that IF the comet appears every approximate 18 years about then there could be some corresponding events of a previous time that might be fun to think about.
i'm going to make a chart of this ... sounds fun!

& i can't help but wonder what Tyrion's thoughts on the comet would be.

we don't hear anyone's ideas on what the disappearance/unappearance of the comet.
what do the characters think about the comet being not seen anymore?  what did they wonder about that?  wow even more questions!
 

Yaya, I needed those questions because this was never anticipated as the 2nd Table Setting topic, but here we are once I began looking into it.   I did a brief study of the named comets--a remarkably short list.  Maybe half of the real comets I saw swing back into earth's orbit on a predictable basis.   So yah, I was thinking this is the same comet Rhaegar saw or looked for--I mean, Elia had to be convinced into this 2nd pregnancy.  No mention I found during my cursory search of any other comet, but I do think it may be the same.

Tyrion was only connected to the comet in that little blurb in the OP.   The begging brother is squaking about the comet in his diatribe where he calls Tyrion the twisted demon monkey.   I'm always interested in what Tyrion thinks so I will keep my eyes open.  I was quoting chronologically and did a lousy job formatting--sorry about that.  Jhogo is the 1st quote I found and he ties the comet to Khal Drogo's night lands journey.  So that's not disaster and I actually enjoyed the text.  Seems to be more of a harbinger of despair and misery in Westeros.  Good question yourself there, it's good to figure out those answers with you!  

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20 hours ago, Lord Lannister said:

There are times I think the happiest ending Westeros could have involves the Red Comet crashing into it.

Oh Hell yes

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14 hours ago, LynnS said:

Well, comets aren't red in the natural world for one thing.  So why does GRRM introduce an unnatural phenomenon? He is saying that this isn't your run of the mill comet. We could also link the appearance of the red comet to Ned's fever dream of a blood streaked sky and a storm of petals blue as the eyes of death.  He describes it as the 'old dream' that does not bode well.  So, presumably he has had this dream before, perhaps long before the actual appearance and shortly after his own death.  In this context, I would say that it is a harbinger of sorts linked to the reappearance of dragons and the white walkers.  

I can't tell you how I thought of you as I did my little research with the comets yesterday!  It's really good to see you.  Excellent to read your take on this here celestial body. Reading Ned after his imprisonment leaves one with such sadness--I ached for him, so I'm with you on "old dream" not boding well.  

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6 hours ago, Lollygag said:

I really love how mysterious phenomena is used to reveal things about the characters and I suspect we'll get no solid answers on things like Dany's betrayals, Azor Ahai, etc., because they're really about how the characters (and readers!) interpret meaning.

That aside, I have a rather dull and scientific possibility for the comet. Some forum users ascribe some very esoteric scientific knowledge to GRRM and I'm always hesitant with those wondering just how much GRRM knows or cares about science past the 101 level that most of us know. But here it goes -

So the moon will appear red on the horizon if there's a lot of sentiment in the air and that includes volcanic ash.

https://www.universetoday.com/19969/red-moon/

Perhaps the red comet is just a regular ole' comet (seems Westeros comes across them often enough) but it's now being seen through different atmospheric conditions. Maybe if there's a lot of activity currently going on in Valyria, there's enough sentiment in the air to give it a reddish cast. And activity in Valyria can definitely have an effect on dragons hence maybe that's the source of that connection. Maybe Old Nan was really tasting something different in the air.

What especially interests me is that too much volcanic activity (fire) can trigger...Winter! Specifically volcanic winter. And we have the onset of Winter in Westeros and the Others have become curiously active of late.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcanic_winter

There's something in my reading of Asshai that makes me wonder if too much fire leads to too much winter which leads to too much fire...kind of like a yin/yang cycle.

One argument against this would be that we should have reports of red moons but I don't recall them. But maybe they were a neglected detail or maybe this isn't the case at all.

Hrm, I see this here logic and I'm thinking well yah, that would be a natural jump for any one to make in light of the importance of our red moons of legend.  I'm sorry, Lollygag, I did not do a full on research for blood moon or red moon, but I will because it's very interesting and you always surprise me with the most interesting things.  

A year or so ago I studied heroes in Westeros, as they are defined in ASOIAF.  Their ideas are very different from ours in many ways, while maintaining that based in flavor.  Radio Westeros just put out their podcast on exactly that.   What struck me as odd was more than 1 disabled or impaired legendary hero or villain was called a hero and variations on heroes by region or even continent, like you know, Azor Ahai.  I found a similar type of thread here in this comet.  I'm looking for a common thread because if it is an omen that means 1 thing where if it is not I have to figure out if Dany or the Red Priests or Stannis has the right of it or even someone less prominent's interpretation.  My first impression is violence.   I'm getting that vibe off the majority of statements--it's not good.   But that is the glory of posting, I may not get an answer but the conversation is usually good.  

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

I'm going with violence in round 1.  But I just changed that from dragons, so there are already two paths we can go by already from the start.   

I would suspect that perhaps all the interpretations have some aspect of truth to them. Though maybe not always relevant to the specific character expressing those beliefs. 

So if someone sees it as a good omen for their own house, it may rather be a good omen in another context, or for someone elses house. 

6 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

I did not do a full on research for blood moon or red moon

The Blue and Red moons are pretty interesting concepts to consider in the context of GRRM's world. 

As it may suggest that R'hllor(Red) and the Great Other(Blue) are two sides of the same coin/moon. 
Perhaps being a divine celestial representation of the heart in conflict with itself. 

It may also hint at why GRRM had a Blue Mel figure made. 

20 hours ago, LynnS said:

We could also link the appearance of the red comet to Ned's fever dream of a blood streaked sky and a storm of petals blue as the eyes of death. 

I always found that similarity pretty interesting. It would even seem to suggest the ToJ happened the night Aegon was conceived. 

On 12/31/2019 at 7:25 PM, Rufus Snow said:

Gematria and notariqon would probably interest you

Interesting, I'll have to read up on that. Seems like it might lead to understanding some of the possible frameworks that GRRM could have setup. 

 

Edited by Narsil4

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