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What Happened at Summerhall


chrisdaw
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I don't seem to have ever created a topic for my own theory, so I'm doing it now.

There was at Summerhall attempts to wake dragons by multiple mostly harmless methods. There was however someone(s) who believed or suspected the sacrifice of Targaryen lives was a requirement to waking dragons. In pursuit of this idea they sabotaged an event at Summerhall for the purpose of sacrificing Targaryen lives to wake dragons, the result was the tragedy at Summerhall. The offender was/is correct as far as if Rhaegar had died and burned dragons would have been hatched, but Dunk saved Rhaegar.

The death of a child is a requirement to waking dragons, it happened in the series, Dany did it by accident. The text makes clear through symbolism (and theme) that the death of her unborn child Rhaego (not coincidentally named for Rhaegar) was key to the process. In the fever dream occurring during or directly after she lost Rhaego there are these passages, between the reoccurring line warning her of, and then prompting her to, wake the dragon.

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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.

Dany conceives Rhaego with Drogo, and instantly comes the great wings and the world becomes fire, obviously dragon symbolism.

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She could feel the heat inside her, a terrible burning in her womb. Her son was tall and proud, with Drogo's copper skin and her own silver-gold hair, violet eyes shaped like almonds. And he smiled for her and began to lift his hand toward hers, but when he opened his mouth the fire poured out. She saw his heart burning through his chest, and in an instant he was gone, consumed like a moth by a candle, turned to ash. She wept for her child, the promise of a sweet mouth on her breast, but her tears turned to steam as they touched her skin.

She sees Rhaego's future, but it turns into fire. Fire out his mouth and fire in his chest, and he is lost. When she weeps for him her tears turn to steam. It is simple symbolism for a simple trade, Rhaego's life for fire, Rhaego for a dragon. Don't even weep for him because you were compensated in return for his life with the gift of fire. It goes to this line,

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"What feeds a dragon's fire?" Marwyn seated himself upon a stool. "All Valyrian sorcery was rooted in blood or fire.

The answer to Marwyn's question in the case of Dany's dragons is that Rhaego feeds the fire, the child's soul. Thus the requirement of the sacrifice in waking dragons, they're what feed the dragon's fire. The premise is what the fiery heart of R'hllor symbolises and the inscription on Dragonbinder. It is a key component and someone around Summerhall knew it and tried to make it into reality, but who?

Bloodraven, being morally dubious and a (basically confirmed) sorcerer is a decent candidate. A better candidate though is Shiera Seastar. Shiera is a reputed sorcerer with a thirst for knowledge of the unknown and arcane. She'd bed Bloodraven but would not marry him, because, in GRRM's own unfiltered through a POV words, she enjoyed making him jealous. Men die around her like no other woman in the series, in duels for her favour and by suicide after falling out of her favour. The love two brothers had for her it is said caused the Blackfyre Rebellion and all the deaths that came with it. She is a curious, bold, mischievous, the type to test the boundaries of what she can do just for the sake of proving to herself she can, or even just the fun in it. She is this universes Loki, and seemingly perfect for this part.

The how of it could go a few ways. The person with the knowledge could have understood Egg would never agree to such a sacrifice and so resorted in secret to the sabotage. They could have pitched the sacrifice to Egg and been rebuffed and so resorted to the sabotage. Or they could have won Egg over, and Egg have agreed in the belief the sacrifice of a few would be a price worth paying for the ultimate good he would do realm wide with the unfettered power of being a dragon rider, but would want to keep the sacrifice secret so as not to appear the monster, and the execution of it all just got out of hand.

Whatever the case, the tragedy at Summerhall was a result of someone understanding that sacrifices were required to wake dragons, and attempting to make it happen. And had Dunk not saved Rhaegar, they would have succeeded. And that's why we know (correction, we don't know this, it is just strongly suggested Dunk saved someone(s) life from the fires) Dunk saved Rhaegar, why it's the ending/pinnacle of the (D&E and Summerhall) story and why the events of Summerhall are a spoiler for the rest of the series.

Edited by chrisdaw
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Looking at the history, which other deaths of Targaryens (or Targaryen children) can we match up with hatchings of dragons? Were those deaths sacrifices, per se, or just deaths that came about for other reasons? 

If you are right that 

17 hours ago, chrisdaw said:

The death of a child is a requirement to waking dragons,

it seems as if GRRM would give us more than one example of this cause and effect.

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My very simple-minded explanation about the tragedy at Summerhall starts with the Wood Witch's prophecy that the Prince Who is Promised would come from the line of Aerys and Rhaella and that this birth would coincide with the birth of dragons.  So as Rhaella neared her delivery date; king and court departed for Summerhall with pyromancers and dragon eggs anticipating a successful prophecy.  The pyromacers assuring Aerys that they could hatch the eggs using wildfire which they attempted when Rhaella went into labor.  The wildfire got out of hand and it ended in tragedy.

I don't think they really knew what they were doing.

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19 hours ago, chrisdaw said:

Whatever the case, the tragedy at Summerhall was a result of someone understanding that sacrifices were required to wake dragons, and attempting to make it happen. And had Dunk not saved Rhaegar, they would have succeeded. And that's why we know Dunk saved Rhaegar, why it's the ending/pinnacle of the (D&E and Summerhall) story and why the events of Summerhall are a spoiler for the rest of the series.

Has it been established that Dunk saved Rhaegar and not Aerys? I think Rhaella and Rhaegar were safe but Aerys and Jahaerys were probably super close to the Aegon.

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4 hours ago, Seams said:

Looking at the history, which other deaths of Targaryens (or Targaryen children) can we match up with hatchings of dragons? Were those deaths sacrifices, per se, or just deaths that came about for other reasons? 

If you are right that 

it seems as if GRRM would give us more than one example of this cause and effect.

It's not an ongoing requirement, 1 for 1. It brought them back and would have been how each of the Valyrian dragon riding houses established the blood bond in the first instance, but once dragons exist they procreate (albeit the info on that is shady).

But just look at the symbolism, quoted and otherwise. Thematically the price and reward, great sacrifice for great power. What is one child's life against the realm? The language, only death may pay for life. You knew the cost. Show me what I have bought with my son's life. 

3 hours ago, Brynden"Bloodraven" Rivers said:

Has it been established that Dunk saved Rhaegar and not Aerys? I think Rhaella and Rhaegar were safe but Aerys and Jahaerys were probably super close to the Aegon.

No. I'm only working from the letter (and the artwork).

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the blood of the dragon gathered in one …
… seven eggs, to honor the seven gods, though the king's own septon had warned …
… pyromancers …
… wild fire …
… flames grew out of control … towering … burned so hot that …
… died, but for the valor of the Lord Comman …

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The Ghost of Higheart sabotaged the event, but caused Jenny's death in the process as the later attempted to save Duncan the Small who she had come to love (even if originally she did not actually love him as she had just been working with the GoHH to create a split in the Targs).

Aegon sought to sacrifice the pregnant Rhaella/Rhaegar, but was stopped by Duncan the Tall. The GoHH possibly pushed Duncan to stop Aegon.

Basically look at the GoHH as pulling a Red Wedding on them all, as she sought to stop the return of the dragons.

The "prince that was promised" is probably a prince who the CotF were promised to create a blood tie so that their united "house" would rule over mankind, but the promise was not kept by humans. This prince was sought repeatedly, as with Jacaerys + Sara Snow, then Duncan the Small + Jenny, then Rhaegar + Lyanna, and maybe again with Jon + Dany eventually. The mention of it as a prophecy is probably "a lie", something the CotF kept using to try to bring the Targs under the worship of the old gods because they foresaw all the weirwood being burned by a dragon one day.

Edited by Egged
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I think that Summerhall burned because of the conspiracy against the Targaryens, crafted by the joined forces of Maelys Blackfyre and the Faceless Men (who were amongst the Kingsguards). The FM prevented Targaryens from hatching dragons too soon, and Maelys kidnapped Jenny. On the same night when Rhaella gave birth to Rhaegar, Jenny gave birth to Melisandre. So the "Kingmaker" is Mel, not Rhaegar.

Then Maelys impregnated Jenny, and before going to Westeros with the War of the Ninepenny Kings, left Jenny with the Silvertongue - the Tyrant of Tyrosh. Then Jenny gave birth to Maelys' twin-children - Serra and Varys. Six years later Silvertongue sold all three of Jenny's children into slavery, and then Jenny poisoned him using blood-magic. Then, either Jenny was afterwards killed by the Silvertongue's people, or could be that she is still alive. She could be the woman with the Undying (not the one with the dwarfs, but the one near the blue heart - "They stared unseeing at the ancient woman on the opposite side of the table, whose gown of pale silk had rotted on her body. One withered breast was left bare in the Qartheen manner, to show a pointed blue nipple hard as leather. She is not breathing." - ACOK, Dany IV), or she could be the Green Grace Gallaza Galare, or she could be the Widow of the waterfront (the old woman who provided Tyrion and Jorah with the ship on which they were supposed to go to Qarth/Meereen), or she could be someone else (though not Quaithe, because Quaithe is Shiera Seastar).

So what happened at Summerhall, in my opinion, is the birth of Melisandre. She will crown the King of the 7K - Aegon VII Targaryen/Jon Snow, because that is her role in ASOIAF - to crown the true King.

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Targ eggs would be fresher than Dany's - probably needing less magic/sacrifice to get them hatching.

Quote

"Dragon's eggs from the Shadow Lands beyond Asshai," said Magister Illyrio. "The eons have turned them to stone [...]

Eons - an immeasurably long period of time.

Edited by Springwatch
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15 minutes ago, Springwatch said:

Eons - an immeasurably long period of time.

Dany's eggs were stolen by Elissa Farman from the Targaryens, in 54 AC.

Then Elissa sold them to the Sealord of Braavos, and a different Sealord, several generations later, gave them as a grand gift to Penny, Oppo and Hop-Bean, who then gave them to Illyrio, who then gave them to Dany.

So they are ~250 years old, not eons.

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43 minutes ago, Megorova said:

Dany's eggs were stolen by Elissa Farman from the Targaryens, in 54 AC.

Then Elissa sold them to the Sealord of Braavos, and a different Sealord, several generations later, gave them as a grand gift to Penny, Oppo and Hop-Bean, who then gave them to Illyrio, who then gave them to Dany.

So they are ~250 years old, not eons.

are you talking about the penny we met in Tyrion's chapters? I don't understand... Why would the Sealord give such expensive gifts away to mummers? and why would Penny , Oppo and Hop-bean give them to Illyrio instead of selling them and becoming rich?

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19 hours ago, Seams said:

Looking at the history, which other deaths of Targaryens (or Targaryen children) can we match up with hatchings of dragons? Were those deaths sacrifices, per se, or just deaths that came about for other reasons? 

If you are right that 

it seems as if GRRM would give us more than one example of this cause and effect.

I think it would be more accurate to say that the re-awakening of dragons after their extinction required a significant sacrifice. Before that, the dragons hatched in baby Targs' cribs.

The thing with Summerhall is that it was Aegon trying to hatch an egg, but he did not make the necessary sacrifice, like Dany did with Rhaego (and Drogo and MMD), and Azor Ahai did with Nissa Nissa. He needed to sacrifice something far nearer and dearer to him than a great grandson.

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1 hour ago, John Suburbs said:

like Dany did with Rhaego (and Drogo and MMD)

"When the fire died at last and the ground became cool enough to walk upon, Ser Jorah Mormont found her amidst the ashes, surrounded by blackened logs and bits of glowing ember and the burnt bones of man and woman and stallion." - AGOT, Dany X.

man - Drogo = Drogon, woman - MMD = Viserion, stallion - the horse killed in the beginning of that chapter, and whose corpse was placed on the bottom of the funeral pyre = Rhaegal. Those three sacrifices paid for the hatching of Dany's dragons. And Rhaego is alive. Khal Pono kidnapped him. You know - the guy whose khalasar Dany met in her last chapter in ADWD? So in TWOW Dany will be reunited with her son, who then will become Rhaegal's rider.

The stallion paid for Rhaegal, and Rhaegal's future rider - Rhaego, is the Stallion who Mounts the World. More on this topic here:

Swan Song part 12/16. The dragon has three heads

I wrote there a detailed analysis of that chapter's text, in sections "The Three Sacrifices", "The Meaning of Placement & The Meaning of Colors", and "The Meaning of Sound Effects". Based on all those elements, that GRRM had inserted into the text of that chapter, Rhaego's life wasn't one of the sacrifices.

Why everyone just ignore that poor horse  - "burnt bones of man and woman and stallion"? His life paid for one of Dany's dragons, but people totally overlooked him.

3 hours ago, EggBlue said:

Why would the Sealord give such expensive gifts away to mummers?

Because of the prophecy. The prophecy that the Faceless Men have been using as their guide-book. GRRM will reveal the details later.

3 hours ago, EggBlue said:

and why would Penny , Oppo and Hop-bean give them to Illyrio instead of selling them and becoming rich?

Because Illyrio sent them to the Sealord, to steal the eggs for him. But the Sealord gave them away on his own. Because of the prophecy.

And Illyrio knew that the Sealord has those eggs, because one of Illyrio's parents was a Lyseni-bastard of Aerion Brightflame, and thus the previous Sealord brought that child from Lys (with the intention for that child to hatch those three eggs that the Braavosi got from Elissa Farman) and later that person became the Sealord's courtier. So originally Illyrio was from Braavos, and when he was a teen, that's when he migrated to Lys - the city of his parent's origin. Illyrio - a bastard-dragonseed, sending mummer-dwarfs to steal a dragons eggs, is a parallel to Bloodraven - a bastard-dragonseed, sending mummer-dwarfs to Whitewalls to steal there a dragon egg from Ambrose Butterwell in The Mystery Knight novel (the third novel in the Dunk & Egg series).

More about those eggs, and what various Sealords were doing with them, you can read here:

Iron Shell part 2/4. Chicks, eggs and chickens

So back to your question - why Hop-Bean didn't just sold those eggs, instead of giving them to Illyrio - the guy who hired him to get those eggs? Because if he did that, then Illyrio would have found and killed him, and his children too.

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3 hours ago, EggBlue said:

are you talking about the penny we met in Tyrion's chapters? I don't understand... Why would the Sealord give such expensive gifts away to mummers? and why would Penny , Oppo and Hop-bean give them to Illyrio instead of selling them and becoming rich?

Because it's essential in order for the fanfic to "fit" together. Elementary, my dear Watson. 

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On 12/3/2021 at 3:32 PM, Megorova said:

"When the fire died at last and the ground became cool enough to walk upon, Ser Jorah Mormont found her amidst the ashes, surrounded by blackened logs and bits of glowing ember and the burnt bones of man and woman and stallion." - AGOT, Dany X.

man - Drogo = Drogon, woman - MMD = Viserion, stallion - the horse killed in the beginning of that chapter, and whose corpse was placed on the bottom of the funeral pyre = Rhaegal. Those three sacrifices paid for the hatching of Dany's dragons. And Rhaego is alive. Khal Pono kidnapped him. You know - the guy whose khalasar Dany met in her last chapter in ADWD? So in TWOW Dany will be reunited with her son, who then will become Rhaegal's rider.

The stallion paid for Rhaegal, and Rhaegal's future rider - Rhaego, is the Stallion who Mounts the World. More on this topic here:

 

Quote

"Hatchlings," Ser Jorah said. "One swipe from an arakh would put an end to them, though Pono is more like to seize them for himself. You dragon eggs were more precious than rubies. A living dragon is beyond price. In all the world, there are only three. Every man who sees them will want them, my queen."

"They are mine," she said fiercely. They had been born from her faith and her need, given life by the deaths of her husband and unborn son and the maegi Mirri Maz Duur.

Only death can pay for life, and it must be commensurate in value to the life give. Sorry, but there is no way you can sacrifice a horse, especially one that Dany had zero emotion connection to, and get a dragon in return.

And if you look at the personalities of the dragons, you can see the lives they contain. Drogon is obvious. Rhaegal is MMD. Look at how leery she is to Dany, always hissing at her, like she doesn't trust her. Viserion is Rhaego: needy, clingy, always want to be held, like a child begging for his mother's affection.

Dothraki custom is to sacrifice the deceased's horse in the pyre too, so he can ride it through the nightlands. They also believe that if a child too young to ride dies they do not pass into the nightlands but are born again. So sorry, but no, Drogo's stallion was not for Rhaego, but for Drogo.

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On 12/2/2021 at 4:42 PM, Seams said:

Looking at the history, which other deaths of Targaryens (or Targaryen children) can we match up with hatchings of dragons? Were those deaths sacrifices, per se, or just deaths that came about for other reasons? 

If you are right that 

it seems as if GRRM would give us more than one example of this cause and effect.

I think there is a marked difference for some reason, post Dance to pre Dance.  Pre Dance, there didn't seem to be any need for extraordinary measures to hatch dragon eggs.  Post Dance, for some reason, they couldn't hatch any dragon eggs, so it required some thinking outside of the box.

So I wouldn't look to attempts to hatch dragon eggs prior to the events of the Dance as a blueprint.

So post Dance, we're told that the Targaryens started to look at all sorts of other means to hatch their eggs.  It all kind of depends on what direction Aegon V took for his Summerhall plans.  I think the Worldbook specifically told us that he looked to writings out of Asshai for inspiration. 

Quote

The last years of Aegon's reign were consumed by a search for ancient lore about the dragon breeding of Valyria, and it was said that Aegon  commissioned journeys to places as far away as Asshai by the Shadow with the hopes of finding texts and knowledge that had not been preserved in Westeros.

If so, then it's very possible he might have come to the same conclusion that Melisandre (who was also operating from ancient texts from Asshai) did, that a human sacrifice was necessary to produce life from dragon eggs that have previously proven to be non viable.

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6 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

And if you look at the personalities of the dragons, you can see the lives they contain. Drogon is obvious. Rhaegal is MMD. Look at how leery she is to Dany, always hissing at her, like she doesn't trust her. Viserion is Rhaego: needy, clingy, always want to be held, like a child begging for his mother's affection.

Viserion = Viserys. Coloured for his crown.

Quote

Viserys stood before her, screaming. "The dragon does not beg, slut. You do not command the dragon. I am the dragon, and I will be crowned." The molten gold trickled down his face like wax, burning deep channels in his flesh. "I am the dragon and I will be crowned!" he shrieked, and his fingers snapped like snakes, biting at her nipples, pinching, twisting, even as his eyes burst and ran like jelly down seared and blackened cheeks.

Antogonistic brother who would be king, like . . . Viserion's eventual rider will be, Tyrion (also defined by the mother's love he never had). Viserys + Tyrion. Just as with Drogo = Drogon and a lot of things that came at the start of the series, it's fairly straight-forward because it wasn't envisioned we'd have decades of internet discussion between books to collectively puzzle things out.

Rhaego's part of the sacrificed (Valyrian blooded) child is more the mechanism that fuels it or allows it all to happen (hence why Euron needs a child specifically by Dany as he plans to become a dragon too).

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