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LynnS

The Dawn Sword

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3 hours ago, LynnS said:

It's hard to get past my bias that the sword is made of metal. Obsidian is volcanic glass and it's brittle and easily broken by iron.  The story that the Others hate cold iron is more consistent with the Others being the COTF, since they had no defense against it.  Until the WWs were conjured out of snow and ice an cold.

The Dawn sword could be the exception and there is such a thing as desert glass which looks like milkglass.  This is a material the COTF could work since it is similar to obsidian, but extraterrestrial with all the magic properties the story gives such things.  That could make desert of Dorne its place of origin.

However, we do have Dany's dream:

 There is a good chance that the sword of pale fire is the Dawn sword handed down from king to king in Dany's line of ancestors.  With their gemstone eyes, it would place the origin of the sword in Essos.  So I'm still inclined to think the pale sword is some kind of metal.

One bias that Martin sets up from the beginning is the notion that Starfall is the place where this star fell and so it's also the place where the sword was forged.  I like the idea that a falling star or comet was followed in the same sense that Dany thinks the red comet is showing her which direction to travel.  

I'm starting to think that Starfall is more akin to the word landfall and there is a connection between the early religion of the Andals; the iconography of the Stars and Swords and House Dayne.  I think the Dawn sword came into their possession at some point and was brought to Westeros eventually landing at Starfall.  House Dayne being the ancestral house of the last fallen star.    

This would be consistent with the story of the wanderers, the seven stars of the Andal religion that came down from the sky to walk the earth - the stars that fell to earth.  Potentially, the heroes of various legends. 

It's interesting to note where Melisandre conflates the prophecies of the PWIP and AA.  The original prophecy said:

I don't think this is about the red comet, but rather the Poor Fellows:

However, I do think the red comet has made more than one appearance over Planetos, as comets usually do.  In this case causing the Andals to see it as a sign and portent, something they followed to Westeros.  We don't know exactly when they first landed, possibly 6,000 years in the past.   So the bleeding star or comet makes it into their religion expressed by carving a star into the flesh.

It's not really clear to me if the sword that AA forges and the Dawn sword are the same item.  AA is perhaps just one of the heroes with his own legendary weapon.  The Dawn sword seems to come down from the line of the gemstone kings/emperors rather than from the red religion.

Potentially we can track the ownership of the Dawn sword in Brienne's to Galladon of Morne.  It seems that the sword was once held by one of her ancestors.

 

Ah great post and such interesting ideas.   Your desert glass is a nice find and works well with the overall concept you put forth.   While I realize that obsidian, glass and meteors are unlikely additions to any fine wootz I will offer up that blood and dragon fire as as unlikely.  There is magic here and after years of pounding my logical mind against the wall of this unlikeliness I came to accept that magic is not necessarily a thing I understand, so why not glass if spells are among the ingredients?  Dawn is such a storied sword, but it seems to be famous for its being more than effectiveness as a weapon.   Dawn set the standard for fine sword weight and balance which is so apparent in the descriptions of Valyrian Steel.  The dark swords are a sort of imitation.  That Dawn might be a relic or technology (magic) lost to history reaching back to the Gemstone Emperors isn't a stretch of credulity.  Could be GEoTD tech--not unlike Damascus Steel in our own world!  The Amethyst Empress and Bloodstone Emperor are the children of the Opal Emperor.  If the gemstones mean anything at all I envision Dawn's appearance to resemble an opal...a captured frozen sort of starburst.    What could that possibly mean?   

I have a friend who has made the jump as you submit about the Andals and their symbolism and draws similar interesting conclusions.  I'm not great with symbolism, so I leave that detective work to minds who get it.   I can offer that yours is not the only instance of Andal symbolism pointing to many older things that predate their invasion of Westeros.  The idea that Dawn is Lightbringer is definitely implied in the text if not actual names of the swords.  But what exactly Lightbringer is is a whole other discussion.   Is it a sword?  If not, is Dawn really a sword?  This train of thought follows the thinking that Lightbringer is a key more than a weapon regardless of its appearance and general use.   Or is the name Dawn the same as the regions heroes of the Long Night--The Last Hero/Ice in the North, Azor Ahai/Lightbringer in the Essos and possibly Yin Tar/Dawn in the far East (just an example).  Maybe they are all the same person/thing and maybe all these heroes and weapons/keys were in play at the same time.   I dunno.  I do kinda like the idea that House Stark is a bastard line of House Dayne and that Dawn became Ice over time.   Simple reductionist thinking, but an interesting idea that could tie the disappearances of swords together as well as Ned's insistence on returning Dawn to House Dayne.   

The carved stars in the foreheads of the Andals reminds me so much of Charles Manson's followers during their trials in the early 70s.   I got nothing good for this because that's always where I end up.   But that forehead carving is soooo interesting.   We know the Thenns burn and "tattoo" their faces with ash and the Burned Men of the Vale mountains mutilate themselves to prove their machismo--I cannot help but wonder if these examples point to blood sacrifice of sorts across cultures and time?   

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5 hours ago, LynnS said:

A Clash of Kings - Davos I

Melisandre was robed all in scarlet satin and blood velvet, her eyes as red as the great ruby that glistened at her throat as if it too were afire. "In ancient books of Asshai it is written that there will come a day after a long summer  when the stars bleed and the cold breath of darkness falls heavy on the world. In this dread hour a warrior shall draw from the fire a burning sword. And that sword shall be Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, and he who clasps it shall be Azor Ahai come again, and the darkness shall flee before him." She lifted her voice, so it carried out over the gathered host. "Azor Ahai, beloved of R'hllor! The Warrior of Light, the Son of Fire! Come forth, your sword awaits you! Come forth and take it into your hand!"

This quote really grabbed my attention, but not in the same way it spoke to you. I am focused on the last line, where Melisandre says, "take it into your hand."

Melisandre thinks she is talking to Stannis, in this stage-managed scene where she hopes to persuade the audience that he is the reborn Azor Ahai. But readers quickly suspect that Melisandre's visions have more to do with Jon Snow than with Stannis and this seems to be another example. That line may refer to Jon Snow putting his hand in the fire in Mormont's bed chamber, grabbing the burning drapes to better insure that wighted Othor is destroyed by the flames. 

But the underlying magic that speaks to me is that a flaming sword can be "taken into the hand" of the reborn warrior / smith known as Azor Ahai - the warrior and the sword become one. Jon Snow's hand is badly burned by the flaming curtains. Rereading AGoT, Chap 52, Jon VII, the subtle language may be telling us that Jon Snow is absorbing Othor into his body in various ways - Othor slams into him, Othor jams its fingers down Jon's throat, Othor's face is against Jon's face (like the transfer of a face among the Faceless Men?), Ghost tears at Othor's gut (like Bran's direwolf, Summer, eating flesh that Bran can taste?).

More support for these "arm as sword" and "clash as embodiment" notions may come from Ghost's partnership with Jon in defeating the wight. I have suspected for a long time that Stark kids take on the characteristics of people attacked by their direwolves: Rickon's wolf bites Maester Luwin, Robb's wolf bites fingers off of Great Jon Umber, Jon Snow's wolf bites Qhorin Halfhand as Jon battles his mentor in the pre-arranged combat witnessed by the wildlings. In the Othor scene, we see Ghost attacking the arm - biting the five "heads" (fingers) off of the crawling, disembodied hand. (So interesting to compare this to Stannis cutting the fingers off the hand of Davos Seaworth!) 

Like the forging of a sword, fire is used to complete the melding of Othor and Jon. On the surface, Jon is defeating the wight with fire; in the subtext, they are melting together and Jon is praying, "Let it burn." Later we see Lannister red and Stark grey melded together to make Oathkeeper and Widow's Wail. Maybe this idea of melding characters to make new "weapons" can help us to understand some of the other unexpected combinations of characters who team up for a given purpose.

The fire that Jon grabs to set the drapes aflame is the lantern carried by Jeor Mormont. Important to note that the Night's Watch brothers nickname the comet, "Mormont's Torch." Shortly after that comet nickname is mentioned in the text, Jon will grab a torch to light his way on the trail to the obsidian cache. I think Jeor Mormont is the mentor / smith in Jon's arc, performing the "smith magic" necessary to forge Jon into a new sword.

If Melisandre's hint to us can be believed, and a hand can represent a sword, this would help to make sense of other details in the books. Jaime often refers to his missing sword hand. The infected wound of his stump is cured by Qyburn, who remarks that Jaime also has an inflamed eye (which I take as a reference to a flaming sword because of the eye/Ice symbolism). Like Jon Snow, Victarion Greyjoy suffers a serious hand injury that is cured by fire - Moqorro, a priest of R'hllor. (Note that Moqorro loses several assistants - nicknamed "Fingers" by Tyrion - during the storm aboard the Selaesori Qhoran.)  Melisandre would approve of the R'hllor connection. Interestingly, Catelyn also suffers a serious hand injury when she fights off the catspaw with help from Bran's wolf, Summer. (Hmm. Jon fights a wighted hand, Catelyn fights a catspaw.) Much later, Catelyn is "revived" by followers of Red R'hllor. We have seen Cersei burning the Tower of the Hand. I suspect this is part of the wounded hand symbolism. I don't know whether the burning itself is enough to put Cersei in the company of hand-wounded Jaime, Victarion, Catelyn and Jon, or whether there has to be a follow-up healing by followers of the Red God. (Maybe Cersei's time in the dungeon of the Great Sept counts as the equivalent of her healing by fire. Interesting, too, that no one wants to serve as Hand of the King while Cersei is regent. Finally the position goes to Mace Tyrell, who immediately starts to rebuild the Tower of the Hand.) 

I may be mistaken, but I suspect that GRRM threw in the reference to the "gathered host" in the Melisandre scene as an anagram hint about "the red Ghost" (with the letter A left over) of Jon Snow's wolf. The wolf's eyes and tongue (described in the Othor scene) are red. I believe that Melisandre also gives us the lines about magic being like a sword without a hilt, which seems to match up with a number of these hand injuries.

But all of this ties in neatly with the sword known as Long Claw. Claws are weapons that are parts of hands. Mormont gives the sword to Jon Snow as a direct result of Jon's actions to attack (meld with) the wight in Mormont's bed chamber. If Jon is supposed to take the sword "into" his hand, the presentation of Long Claw would seem to confirm the success of this effort. 

"Claw" and "walk" have seemed like a wordplay pair to me, and I suspected that Jon Snow was being presented to us as the "Wall King" who is frequently shown "walking." So Long Claw (long walk?) fits with that symbolism, too.

But I am also seeing a logic in Brienne's long walk with Nimble Dick and Pod to Crack Claw Point. Some key moments in Brienne's story seem to be about fixing the problems created by Starks: returning Jaime to King's Landing, killing Rorge and Biter (turned loose by Arya). She and Jaime kill a bear at Harrenhal and she walks past the seat of House Brune (sounds like bruin?) on her long walk to Crack Claw Point. So there is some kind of Mormont / bear symbolism in her story and it doesn't seem congenial.

Jon Snow squeezed through a passage in the stones at the Fist to go find the obsidian cache that is part of the Lightbringer symbolism in his arc. Brienne squeezes through an overgrown stone gap to get into the ruins of the Whispers, seat of House Crabb, where she and Pod work together to kill Pyg, Timeon and Shagwell. She had kept Oathkeeper sheathed until the moment she arrived at The Whispers. Does Brienne's clash with enemies at Crack Claw Point foreshadow a clash between Brienne and Jon Snow, wielder of Long Claw? (There are many "Are you well" references associated with Jon Snow around the Othor and the obsidian cache scenes, perhaps tying him to Shagwell and his companions, Pyg and Timeon. All of them were part of severing Jaime's sword arm. Timeon also emerges from a well.) 

All of which feeds into another line of thinking: that there is not one single, Azor Ahai or Prince that Was Promised. I think Jon Snow and Brienne each embodies part of the "heroic" resolution of the problems of Westeros. I suspect Jaime, Catelyn, Tyrion, Victarion, Davos and Dany will also play important roles. I'm going to start looking more at the people who take swords "into" their hands to see who carries Dawn, Lightbringer, the Morningstar, the moon (there are lots of references to blades reflecting light), the sun, the comet, the stars or, more simply, fire. 

"What the hand dare seize the fire?" - William Blake

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On 6/4/2021 at 10:36 AM, LynnS said:

Well you can stop a fire with another fire. What if the Wall traps ice magic and that is reflected in it's basic material from which it's built.  What we don't know or can't see is what magic or spells went into it's construction.  I'm guessing it's equally fire and ice and this is why Mel's power is growing at the Wall.  Storms End seems to be warded against fire and/or shadow assassins. Bran the Builder is responsible for both the Wall and Storms End.  Mel has to be brought across the ward in the same way that Othor and Jafr have to be  brought through the Wall.  The Wall interferes with a warg bond.  Orell's eagle bursts into flames when it flies too high over the Wall.  Mel takes credit for that but was it her casting fire into the Eagle or was she just taking credit for it?  Dragons will not cross the Wall.  The Wall falls if the wards fail.  

 

Still, why use ice if it's the magic that's important? Ice will be in dwindling supply now that the Long Night is receding, while wood and stone -- which men, including Brandon, have been using all along to build other structures, even magical ones -- remain in abundance. Ice is exceedingly difficult to work with. It melts. It's slippery. And it is not nearly as solid as stone. It offers no benefit to the the structural integrity of the Wall, nor to the protection of the realm. If anything, it can only enable the ice-wielding Others if the wards ever fail.

What did Mel have to do to pass the Wall? I don't recall anything out of the ordinary. I'm certain she didn't die in the north and was then revived at Castle Black. And she walks on top of the Wall with Stannis most every night.

And I think it's safe to say that Mel did torch Orell's eagle. He has been spying on the Wall for the entire battle with no problem. It's only when Mel shows up that he lights up, and drives Varamyr insane in the process.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/6/2021 at 1:00 PM, Seams said:

This quote really grabbed my attention, but not in the same way it spoke to you. I am focused on the last line, where Melisandre says, "take it into your hand."

It's always fascinating to have a look through that lens you use so well.  The idea of forging the character into a sword resonates because I think we are talking about the soul.  I've wondered if Jon had become marked as R'hllor's instrument, as one of the Fiery Hands.  I've wondered the same thing about Sandor Clegane and his burned face.  With Jaime, he tells Bran to take his hand, before throwing him off the tower.  That has been replaced with a golden hand.

This is the bit about Othor that has stuck with me for a long:

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A Game of Thrones - Jon VII

Dead Othor slammed into him, knocking him off his feet.

Jon's breath went out of him as the fallen table caught him between his shoulder blades. The sword, where was the sword? He'd lost the damned sword! When he opened his mouth to scream, the wight jammed its black corpse fingers into Jon's mouth. Gagging, he tried to shove it off, but the dead man was too heavy. Its hand forced itself farther down his throat, icy cold, choking him. Its face was against his own, filling the world. Frost covered its eyes, sparkling blue. Jon raked cold flesh with his nails and kicked at the thing's legs. He tried to bite, tried to punch, tried to breathe …

This gesture of Othor forcing his fingers/hand into Jon's mouth always calls up this passage between Arya and Jaqen

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Arya IX

"Swear it," Arya said. "Swear it by the gods."

"By all the gods of sea and air, and even him of fire, I swear it." He placed a hand in the mouth of the weirwood. "By the seven new gods and the old gods beyond count, I swear it."

 What is the connection between Jon's mouth and the mouth of the weirwood?  Any thoughts?

Edited by LynnS

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Posted (edited)
On 6/6/2021 at 11:06 AM, Curled Finger said:

That Dawn might be a relic or technology (magic) lost to history reaching back to the Gemstone Emperors isn't a stretch of credulity.

This would make sense.  When empires fall; technology is lost especially if it was guarded.  

On 6/6/2021 at 11:06 AM, Curled Finger said:

I have a friend who has made the jump as you submit about the Andals and their symbolism and draws similar interesting conclusions.

I am interested to know what your friend thinks about it.

On 6/6/2021 at 11:06 AM, Curled Finger said:

But what exactly Lightbringer is is a whole other discussion.   Is it a sword?  If not, is Dawn really a sword?  This train of thought follows the thinking that Lightbringer is a key more than a weapon regardless of its appearance and general use. 

I'm starting to think that the Dawn sword is an extension of this sort of light:

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Davos II

There was no answer but a soft rustling. And then a light bloomed amidst the darkness.

Davos raised a hand to shield his eyes, and his breath caught in his throat. Melisandre had thrown back her cowl and shrugged out of the smothering robe. Beneath, she was naked, and huge with child. Swollen breasts hung heavy against her chest, and her belly bulged as if near to bursting. "Gods preserve us," he whispered, and heard her answering laugh, deep and throaty. Her eyes were hot coals, and the sweat that dappled her skin seemed to glow with a light of its own. Melisandre shone.

And this:

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A Game of Thrones - Bran III

Bran was staring at his arms, his legs. He was so skinny, just skin stretched taut over bones. Had he always been so thin? He tried to remember. A face swam up at him out of the grey mist, shining with light, golden. "The things I do for love," it said.

So I'm that whoever generates this light will turn out to be Lightbringer another name for the one who becomes Sword of the Morning and carries the Dawn sword.,  You could consider Lightbringer to be another name for the sun.

Edited by LynnS

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3 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Still, why use ice if it's the magic that's important?

You mean why have a physical barrier at all?  Does it stop the Others from passing beyond that point or does it also stop men from advancing further North and encroaching on the territory reserved for the COTF and the old gods? 

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35 minutes ago, LynnS said:

So I'm that whoever generates this light will turn out to be Lightbringer another name for the one who becomes Sword of the Morning and carries the Dawn sword.,  You could consider Lightbringer to be another name for the sun.

I'm not so sure about this conclusion, although related, I do not think we should conflate the sun with the "lightbringer", especially given all the astronomical and mythological references in the series.

In general, I think that "light bringer", "the light that brings the dawn", and "the morning star" can all be seen as referencing the same thing.

The Sword of the Morning is also a constellation of stars.

This appears to me to be clearly distinct from the Sun.

In classic greek myth, it's probably worth noting, the Titans Hyperion and Theia had three children, Helios (Sun), Selene (Moon) and Eos (Dawn). Eos in turn, with the Titan Astraeus ("of the Stars") became the mother of the Anemoi ("winds"), of the virgin goddess of justice, Astrae ("starry one"), and most importantly here, of the Morning Star, Eosphoros ("the dawn-bringer").

That brightest of stars appeared, Eosphoros, that most often heralds the light of early-rising Dawn - Homer, The Odyssey 13.93

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3 hours ago, LynnS said:

What is the connection between Jon's mouth and the mouth of the weirwood?  Any thoughts?

Maybe we need to broaden that theory about direwolf bites: I suspected that Stark children take on characteristics of people bitten by their direwolves; an expanded biting theory could be that Stark kids take on characteristics of people bitten by their direwolves, weirwoods or themselves? If the notion is correct that Jon is melding with wighted Othor in the fight at Mormont's chambers, the wight's hand down his throat would support the idea that Jon is taking on the characteristics of Othor by ingestion, among other forms of contact. In the passage you cite, Arya is separated from her wolf but perhaps substitutes the weirwood and is able to "ingest" some of the qualities of Jaqen H'ghar vicariously through the tree. 

When Jon Snow visits the wildling village known as Whitetree, he sees a couple of burned human skulls in the mouth of the weirwood tree there. Maybe this is a "the dragon has three heads" moment for Jon, like the moment when Daario presents Dany with the heads of the reluctant sellsword leaders. (In Brienne's arc, Hyle Hunt collects and carries the three heads of Shagwell, Timeon and Pyg to show to Randall Tarly.) The skulls burned in the tree combine the fire and weirwood elements of Jon's bloodlines.

Or maybe it's not just Stark kids being nourished. Maybe there is an old gods ritual involving biting and characters feed the old gods when they are mouthed by direwolves, weirwoods or Jon Snow. 

I wonder what it means that Arya steps through the open mouth of one of the dragon skulls in the lower level of the Red Keep? Tyrion and Shea are the only other characters we see interacting with those skulls.

Of course everyone's childhood sweetheart, Biter, should come into the analysis. He is a finger eater after the Weasel Soup attack on the dungeon guards at Harrenhal. One of the suspected wordplay pairs involves the words "biter" and "bitter." So the character Bittersteel should also be in the mix, along with the implication that steel can bite. (When Jaime gives Oathkeeper to Brienne and when Brienne gives a sword to Dick Crabb, both recipients react as if they think the sword is going to bite.) 

Then again, the wighted Othor might have been trying to pull Jon's beating heart out of his chest. I saw a theory about that at one point (was it yours?) and it sounded like a good explanation. 

Quote

He had once heard his uncle Benjen say that the Wall was a sword east of Castle Black, but a snake to the west. It was true. Sweeping in over one huge humped hill, the ice dipped down into a valley, climbed the knife edge of a long granite ridgeline for a league or more, ran along a jagged crest, dipped again into a valley deeper still, and then rose higher and higher, leaping from hill to hill as far as the eye could see, into the mountainous west. (ASoS, Jon IV)

In response to some of the debate about the nature of Lightbringer, I would offer that line about the wall. The Wall is a wall but it is also a sword and a snake. It's also important that Jon mentions the Wall running along a knife edge: people have provided examples of edges of blades that reflect light - Jon's obsidian dagger; when Jaime gives Oathkeeper to Brienne, "A finger of reflected light ran red along the edge." 

In other cases, the blades themselves seem to give off light (or, at least, color). In Jaime's dream: "The fire took on the color of the steel itself so it burned with a silvery-blue light, and the gloom pulled back." (ASoS, Jaime VI)

So we should probably look for clues about Lightbringer by seeing which swords reflect light and which are sources of light. Or maybe a sword can be both a reflector and a light source, depending on circumstances or the eye of the beholder. The Greek myth notes from @Mourning Star are helpful: Dawn is not the same person as dawn-bringer, although they are related. 

I would note, too, another possible wordplay pair: "dawn" and "Wand." Wand is the German word for Wall. This could be one answer to Quaithe's, "To go north, you must journey south" prophecy. In Dorne, it's a sword and it's called Dawn. In The North, it's a "Wand" and it's called The Wall. And The Wall is possessed by Jon Snow.

Quote

Noye pointed north. "Loose enough arrows, might be you'll find a few. At least you'll make them fretful." He looked around the ring of firelit faces. "I need two bows and two spears to help me hold the tunnel if they break the gate." More than ten stepped forward, and the smith picked his four. "Jon, you have the Wall till I return."

For a moment Jon thought he had misheard. It had sounded as if Noye were leaving him in command. "My lord?" (ASoS, Jon VIII)

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Septon Cellador cleared his throat. "Lord Slynt," he said, "this boy refused to swear his vows properly in the sept, but went beyond the Wall to say his words before a heart tree. His father's gods, he said, but they are wildling gods as well."

"They are the gods of the north, Septon." Maester Aemon was courteous, but firm. "My lords, when Donal Noye was slain, it was this young man Jon Snow who took the Wall and held it, against all the fury of the north. He has proved himself valiant, loyal, and resourceful. (ASoS, Jon IX)

Interesting, isn't it, that a smith gives the Wall to Jon Snow.

I like the anagram "Smith Donal Noye = Dayne Monoliths" or "Dayne moon's hilt." On planet earth, we know that the moon can be a light bringer when it reflects light from another source. The Wall isn't made of stone, but it might qualify as a monolith, loosely defined. 

The Wall does seem to be more of a reflector than a glower:

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By the time Jon left the armory, it was almost midday. The sun had broken through the clouds. He turned his back on it and lifted his eyes to the Wall, blazing blue and crystalline in the sunlight. Even after all these weeks, the sight of it still gave him the shivers. Centuries of windblown dirt had pocked and scoured it, covering it like a film, and it often seemed a pale grey, the color of an overcast sky … but when the sun caught it fair on a bright day, it shone, alive with light, a colossal blue-white cliff that filled up half the sky. (AGoT, Jon III)

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Sometimes it seemed to Jon almost a living thing, with moods of its own. The color of the ice was wont to change with every shift of the light. Now it was the deep blue of frozen rivers, now the dirty white of old snow, and when a cloud passed before the sun it darkened to the pale grey of pitted stone. (ACoK, Jon I) 

 

Edited by Seams

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Posted (edited)
On 6/1/2021 at 8:36 AM, LynnS said:

A simple question.  What kind of visual or mental image does this description of the Dawn Sword leave in your mind's eye?  Describe the sword. 

Iron and steel do not produce light.  One possible correlation between the gemstone rulers of the old empire and the swords could help connect the swords to the past.  Perhaps they were not named for their eyes nor their jewelry.  They were named according to the family swords.  The Daynes are distant relations to the Targaryens.  Which explains their strong loyalty to the royal family. 

Edited by Aline de Gavrillac

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11 hours ago, Seams said:

Or maybe it's not just Stark kids being nourished. Maybe there is an old gods ritual involving biting and characters feed the old gods when they are mouthed by direwolves, weirwoods or Jon Snow.

Perhaps another example of "take my hand"?  Is this offering a form of vow?  Does Othor recognize that Jon/Ghost belongs to the old gods?  Is he telling Jon to take his hand?  That seems to be what Jaqen is doing when he places his hand in the mouth of the weirwood.  

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14 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

I'm not so sure about this conclusion, although related, I do not think we should conflate the sun with the "lightbringer", especially given all the astronomical and mythological references in the series.

There are many references to the sun in the red religion.  It's the sun that brings the light of day and banishes the darkness. 

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Davos I

Because he is your rightful king, Davos thought. Because he is a strong man and a just one, the only man who can restore the realm and defend it against the peril that gathers in the north. Because he has a magic sword that glows with the light of the sun. The words caught in his throat. None of them would sway the Lord of Sweetsister. None of them would get him a foot closer to White Harbor. What answer does he want? Must I promise him gold we do not have? A highborn husband for his daughter's daughter? Lands, honors, titles? Lord Alester Florent had tried to play that game, and the king had burned him for it.

 

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A Storm of Swords - Davos VI

The title still rang queer in his ears, yet Davos turned away from the window. "Aye. It's time." Stannis, Melisandre, and the queen's men would be at their prayers an hour or more. The red priests lit their fires every day at sunset, to thank R'hllor for the day just ending, and beg him to send his sun back on the morrow to banish the gathering darkness. A smuggler must know the tides and when to seize them. That was all he was at the end of the day; Davos the smuggler. His maimed hand rose to his throat for his luck, and found nothing. He snatched it down and walked a bit more quickly.

 

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Davos VI

"R'hllor who gave us breath, we thank you," sang Melisandre. "R'hllor who gave us day, we thank you."

"We thank you for the sun that warms us," Queen Selyse and the other worshipers replied. "We thank you for the stars that watch us. We thank you for our hearths and for our torches, that keep the savage dark at bay." There were fewer voices saying the responses than there had been the night before, it seemed to Davos; fewer faces flushed with orange light about the fire. But would there be fewer still on the morrow . . . or more?

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A Storm of Swords - Davos VI

The nightfire burned against the gathering dark, a great bright beast whose shifting orange light threw shadows twenty feet tall across the yard. All along the walls of Dragonstone the army of gargoyles and grotesques seemed to stir and shift.

Davos looked down from an arched window in the gallery above. He watched Melisandre lift her arms, as if to embrace the shivering flames. "R'hllor," she sang in a voice loud and clear, "you are the light in our eyes, the fire in our hearts, the heat in our loins. Yours is the sun that warms our days, yours the stars that guard us in the dark of night."

Interesting that there is no mention of the moon.  The Red Lot pray all night for the return of the sun.  The stars watch and protect them at night.  Could these stars be a reference to the fallen stars of the Andals?  Another instance where one religion melds with another? 

Davos says that Lightbringer is a magic sword that glows with the light of the sun.  That's an interesting description.

GLOW -VERB

give out steady light without flame.

"the tips of their cigarettes glowed in the dark"

synonyms:

radiate heat · burn without flames · smolder

NOUN

a steady radiance of light or heat.

"the setting sun cast a deep red glow over the city"

synonyms:

radiance · light · brightness · luminosity · shine · gleam · glimmer · 

[more]

Edited by LynnS

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, LynnS said:

There are many references to the sun in the red religion.  It's the sun that brings the light of day and banishes the darkness. 

The sun which blinds you from seeing the other stars... the god of flame and shadow who consumes other gods...

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"Mother, have mercy," Davos prayed. "Save me, gentle Mother, save us all. My luck is gone, and my sons." He was weeping freely now, salt tears streaming down his cheeks. "The fire took it all . . . the fire . . ."
Perhaps it was only wind blowing against the rock, or the sound of the sea on the shore, but for an instant Davos Seaworth heard her answer. "You called the fire," she whispered, her voice as faint as the sound of waves in a seashell, sad and soft. "You burned us . . . burned us . . . burrrrned usssssss."
"It was her!" Davos cried. "Mother, don't forsake us. It was her who burned you, the red woman, Melisandre, her!" He could see her; the heart-shaped face, the red eyes, the long coppery hair, her red gowns moving like flames as she walked, a swirl of silk and satin. She had come from Asshai in the east, she had come to Dragonstone and won Selsye and her queen's men for her alien god, and then the king, Stannis Baratheon himself. He had gone so far as to put the fiery heart on his banners, the fiery heart of R'hllor, Lord of Light and God of Flame and Shadow. At Melisandre's urging, he had dragged the Seven from their sept at Dragonstone and burned them before the castle gates, and later he had burned the godswood at Storm's End as well, even the heart tree, a huge white weirwood with a solemn face.
"It was her work," Davos said again, more weakly. Her work, and yours, onion knight. You rowed her into Storm's End in the black of night, so she might loose her shadow child. You are not guiltless, no. You rode beneath her banner and flew it from your mast. You watched the Seven burn at Dragonstone, and did nothing. She gave the Father's justice to the fire, and the Mother's mercy, and the wisdom of the Crone. Smith and Stranger, Maid and Warrior, she burnt them all to the glory of her cruel god, and you stood and held your tongue. Even when she killed old Maester Cressen, even then, you did nothing.

A Storm of Swords - Davos I

I do not think this is the kind of savior any man should wish for.

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Davos says that Lightbringer is a magic sword that glows with the light of the sun.  That's an interesting description.

It isn't Lightbringer, it is a false sword and a false light, only a glamour, and misguided faith only leads further into darkness.

"Now do you see my meaning? Be glad that it is just a burnt sword that His Grace pulled from that fire. Too much light can hurt the eyes, my friend, and fire burns."

-

I remembered that, so I allowed myself to hope . . . perhaps I wanted to . . . we all deceive ourselves, when we want to believe. Melisandre most of all, I think. The sword is wrong, she has to know that . . . light without heat . . . an empty glamor . . . the sword is wrong, and the false light can only lead us deeper into darkness

Edited by Mourning Star

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1 hour ago, Mourning Star said:

The sun which blinds you from seeing the other stars... the god of flame and shadow who consumes other gods...

I'm not really talking about Melisandre's version of Lightbringer.  What she does is put on monster, horror, chiller theater.  Basically to exert power by scaring the crap out of people.   When she says that fire is the cleanest form of death, what does that mean?  Dany is also cleansed by the fire without being physically burned.  Its a a cleansing of the soul, or joining with the soul of fire, or touching the light, if you like.

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20 hours ago, LynnS said:

You mean why have a physical barrier at all?  Does it stop the Others from passing beyond that point or does it also stop men from advancing further North and encroaching on the territory reserved for the COTF and the old gods? 

No, I mean why a barrier of ice, to stop ice creatures? It just seems to make more sense that the ice creatures, who make things out of ice and can glide over ice and snow easily, would be more likely to build a wall, to keep something in the south from coming north. 

And I think we can conclude that the ice in the Wall is in fact magicked somehow. It's too intact at this point. Hundreds of centuries of melting and freezing and melting and freezing is bound to wear away the sharp edges and steep cliffs so that the Wall would be more of a mound than a wall by now. Even stone castles down south have shown more wear and tear. Something unnatural is keeping it together like this.

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On 6/1/2021 at 11:05 AM, LynnS said:

Sam also describes the WW he slays a 'thin as a sword'.  The sword of the Others made without metal calls to mind Martin's statement that we will be surprised with what the Others can do with ice.  Not only can they make weapons, but armor that reflects the light to make them near invisible in the background.  Their armor acts like a mirror.  So I wonder about the story of Serwyn of the Mirror Shield.

The Others swords are translucent whereas milkglass is opaque.

I’ve observed that all swords in AGOT prologue are a personification of it’s owner. “Alive with light” is like “fire of the Gods” language. Note also that the word “shard” is used to describe the sword. Shard, like a shard of glass, means that it’s a part of a great whole. 
 

Moonlight…moon blood….blood and fire….life fire. Life fire of Ghost? “Ghost light”

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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, LynnS said:

I'm not really talking about Melisandre's version of Lightbringer.  What she does is put on monster, horror, chiller theater.  Basically to exert power by scaring the crap out of people.

She knows she is putting on a show, but I still think she is deluding herself as well.

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  When she says that fire is the cleanest form of death, what does that mean? 

It doesn't leave behind anything, like say bones or a body which could be turned into a wight. The dead are consumed, a clean end. It fits with the general theme of ice preserving and fire consuming. One isn't good and the other evil, they are both necessary and are dangerous when taken to the extreme. Part of our living world.

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Dany is also cleansed by the fire without being physically burned.  Its a a cleansing of the soul, or joining with the soul of fire, or touching the light, if you like.

Dany is clearly special, and her not being consumed by the fire, and instead emerging with living dragons is certainly miraculous, but I'm not sure it can be used as any sort of standard.

But, it is a good example of how the cleansing nature of fire can be both good and bad.

Cleansing one's self of weakness and doubt can certainly be positive. But when religious fanatics start preaching about cleansing the world I think it's time to fill one's heart with doubt...

He jabbed his bony finger back at comet and castle. "There comes the Harbinger! Cleanse yourselves, the gods cry out, lest ye be cleansed! Bathe in the wine of righteousness, or you shall be bathed in fire! Fire!"

-

"In Volantis, thousands of slaves and freedmen crowd the temple plaza every night to hear Benerro shriek of bleeding stars and a sword of fire that will cleanse the world.

I think we need to be careful about conflating all the sources of "light". Starlight and fire may not represent the same thing. 

She saw sunlight on the Dothraki sea, the living plain, rich with the smells of earth and death. Wind stirred the grasses, and they rippled like water. Drogo held her in strong arms, and his hand stroked her sex and opened her and woke that sweet wetness that was his alone, and the stars smiled down on them, stars in a daylight sky. "Home," she whispered as he entered her and filled her with his seed, but suddenly the stars were gone, and across the blue sky swept the great wings, and the world took flame.

The "living plain", with both sunlight and earth/death, a balance. Wind and grass like water... So fire (sunlight), earth, wind, and water... I think it's no mistake that the four elements here are all represented in the image of the "living plain". And love (and sex) represented by the stars, the morning star (and evening star) are actually the planet Venus (love) and this theme of stars representing love is a major theme not just in this series but in many of it's major inspirations, in particular Dante.

'The Seasons of My Love.' Sweet and sad, if you understand the words. The first girl I ever bedded used to sing it, and I've never been able to put it out of my head." Tyrion gazed up at the sky. It was a clear cold night and the stars shone down upon the mountains as bright and merciless as truth. "I met her on a night like this,"

-

She saw crimson firelions and great yellow serpents and unicorns made of pale blue flame; she saw fish and foxes and monsters, wolves and bright birds and flowering trees, each more beautiful than the last. She saw a horse, a great grey stallion limned in smoke, its flowing mane a nimbus of blue flame. Yes, my love, my sun-and-stars, yes, mount now, ride now.

-

"Willas has a bad leg but a good heart," said Margaery. "He used to read to me when I was a little girl, and draw me pictures of the stars. You will love him as much as we do, Sansa."

-

"Be quiet, I haven't given you leave to speak. You enticed him, just as your mother did that night in Riverrun, with her smiles and her dancing. You think I could forget? That was the night I stole up to his bed to give him comfort. I bled, but it was the sweetest hurt. He told me he loved me then, but he called me Cat, just before he fell back to sleep. Even so, I stayed with him until the sky began to lighten. Your mother did not deserve him. She would not even give him her favor to wear when he fought Brandon Stark. I would have given him my favor. I gave him everything. He is mine now. Not Catelyn's and not yours."

-

"Yes. And yet Summerhall was the place the prince loved best. He would go there from time to time, with only his harp for company. Even the knights of the Kingsguard did not attend him there. He liked to sleep in the ruined hall, beneath the moon and stars, and whenever he came back he would bring a song. When you heard him play his high harp with the silver strings and sing of twilights and tears and the death of kings, you could not but feel that he was singing of himself and those he loved."

-

"And that was the fault in him," she would add, "for all men must know fear." A woman was his downfall; a woman glimpsed from atop the Wall, with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars. Fearing nothing, he chased her and caught her and loved her, though her skin was cold as ice, and when he gave his seed to her he gave his soul as well.

-

Griffin's Roost had been his, eventually, if only for a few short years. From here, Jon Connington had ruled broad lands extending many leagues to the west, north, and south, just as his father and his father's father had before him. But his father and his father's father had never lost their lands. He had. I rose too high, loved too hard, dared too much. I tried to grasp a star, overreached, and fell.

The examples are honestly too plentiful to give full evidence to here, but I tried to pick out a variety, fire and ice, happy and sad, true and false... honestly I just think it's a fantastic topic, so sorry for rambling! The important part is that it is all very human and seemingly at the crux of pretty much every major part of the story. The song of ice and fire isn't just about war it's about love.

Edited by Mourning Star

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Posted (edited)

Some somehow related quotes...

The NW's men by the laws of ancient cargo cult are swords and the light that brings the dawn :

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"I am the sword in the darkness," Samwell Tarly said. "I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers. I am the shield that guards the realms of men."

Jon Snow as LC now has a heart of stone:

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Instead, he blamed Jon Snow and wondered when Jon's heart had turned to stone. Once he asked Maester Aemon that very question, when Gilly was down at the canal fetching water for them. "When you raised him up to be the lord commander," the old man answered.

and has fallen:

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Jon fell to his knees. He found the dagger’s hilt and wrenched it free. In the cold night air the wound was smoking. “Ghost,” he whispered. Pain washed over him. Stick them with the pointy end. When the third dagger took him between the shoulder blades, he gave a grunt and fell face-first into the snow. He never felt the fourth knife. Only the cold …

Fallen light with a heart of stone?

Edited by Tucu

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1 hour ago, John Suburbs said:

No, I mean why a barrier of ice, to stop ice creatures? It just seems to make more sense that the ice creatures, who make things out of ice and can glide over ice and snow easily, would be more likely to build a wall, to keep something in the south from coming north. 

I'm not sure that Wall works one way.  It's a demarcation separating the land.  Men can go so far and no further. This is the preserve of the COTF and old gods.  The wall is like a sword placed across the knee:  you are not welcome here.  There is a threat implied.  The WW's are held in check by the Wall in some fashion.  The purpose of the WWs may be to protect that territory but the only thing holding them back is the Wall.

As for the material used to build it; ice is elemental magic.  Why did Brandon the Builder use it?  Perhaps it is part magical and part practical.  Ice blocks are easier to harvest than stone.

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A Storm of Swords - Bran IV

She wasn't really climbing, the way he used to climb. She was only walking up some steps that the Night's Watch had hewn hundreds and thousands of years ago. He remembered Maester Luwin saying the Nightfort was the only castle where the steps had been cut from the ice of the Wall itself. Or maybe it had been Uncle Benjen. The newer castles had wooden steps, or stone ones, or long ramps of earth and gravel. Ice is too treacherous. It was his uncle who'd told him that. He said that the outer surface of the Wall wept icy tears sometimes, though the core inside stayed frozen hard as rock. The steps must have melted and refrozen a thousand times since the last black brothers left the castle, and every time they did they shrunk a little and got smoother and rounder and more treacherous.

The Wall is more than ice and stone:

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A Storm of Swords - Bran IV

"The Wall. The Wall is more than just ice and stone, he said. There are spells woven into it . . . old ones, and strong. He cannot pass beyond the Wall."

 

  

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1 hour ago, Mourning Star said:

Dany is clearly special, and her not being consumed by the fire, and instead emerging with living dragons is certainly miraculous, but I'm not sure it can be used as any sort of standard.

There is a subtext to the rituals Melisandre expounds.  There is the theater for small men who understand nothing about the 'mysteries'.  When you look at Dany's spiritual awakening, there is another meaning altogether.  This is where we should look to understand Melisandre and the things she says.

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2 hours ago, Nadden said:

I’ve observed that all swords in AGOT prologue are a personification of it’s owner. “Alive with light” is like “fire of the Gods” language. Note also that the word “shard” is used to describe the sword. Shard, like a shard of glass, means that it’s a part of a great whole. 
 

Moonlight…moon blood….blood and fire….life fire. Life fire of Ghost? “Ghost light”

Agreed.  I don't think they can be separated.  Syrio Forell tells us as much.

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