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Lunar Origins of the Others, and More


Moon Man
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A theory.

The Others are ancient aliens from a destroyed moon, survivors of an apocalypse perpetrated by humanity. Only gravity remembers the cataclysm clearly, though it can be felt in the fluctuating seasons. Only The Wall recalls the truce that calmed the war fought to finish off the victims, a pact never settled in a final treaty. History and myth offer only black propaganda about the past. The “prince that was promised” is not a prophecy, but an unfulfilled obligation. In the end our heroes will make peace by standing trial and dying willingly, eating the sin of genocide.
 
The Seasons

"Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance.”

Thus begins the back cover description blurb on the first edition of A Game of Thrones. This is the real story. The disaster that started it all. The very origin of the concept in the author’s mind, explicitly intended to evoke our fears about climate change. But what dislocated the seasons from their annual cycle? What follows assumes that the answer to this question is implicated in all that has come after it, that seasonal disruption is not merely a detail of world-building but a foundation of it. Attempts to answer any other questions about the origins of the world as we know it in A Song of Ice and Fire must account for the seasons.

Two Moons

‘Once there were two moons in the sky, but one wandered too close to the sun and cracked from the heat. A thousand thousand dragons poured forth, and drank the fire of the sun. That is why dragons breathe flame. One day the older moon will kiss the sun too, and then it will crack and the dragons will return.’

Many years ago when a friend was first describing Game of Thrones to me they quite correctly led with the wonky seasons. As I recall I immediately suggested the indication of an axial wobble in the planet the story was set on. I felt it was strongly implied by the very concept. My friend conceded that this could be the case, but explained that this was more of a fantasy and that it was likely attributable to something more magical.

One of the keys to GRRM’s undertaking, as I think is widely understood, is perspective. Alternating points of view by chapter allows Martin to transmit information from many sources. It also highlights that he is in tight control of the narrative perspective, and that nothing comes to us without passing through its filter. I will argue below that virtually everything from the historical and mythological background of the story should be regarded as not just unreliable, but often as lies. Would this not be the fun, the interest, in such an undertaking? To imagine a story, a world, vastly more complicated than its inhabitants can conceive, then reveal it to the reader with both such strict adherence to and utter mastery of literary device that it becomes a great and clever puzzle to be experienced more than solved?

‘Once there were two moons in the sky’

There used to be two moons. Now there is only one. We have to take everything like this as myth at best and lies at worst. But here, in the first book of a series that (I argue) is foundationally informed by the dysregulation of the seasons and the event that caused it, one of the first things we hear out of the distant past happens to involve the loss of a celestial body.

Among the many effects of the loss, destruction, or collision of an orbiting moon on any planet world be changes to its orbit and rotation. Even with magic involved, the erratic pattern of the seasons must not just be caused by, but in a way literally describes an axial wobble. I find this hard to ignore.

If this all begins (both in the story and the motivation of the author) with the discombobulation of the seasons, I suggest that this is where we must look for the origins of The Others. They represent the other big idea looming over the story, and its future. I would guess they are importantly connected. But by what? Another act of magic? 

Shifting Responsibility

Magical politics, perhaps? Could the Children of the Forrest have done this? Just as in the show, started it all? Perpetrated this hugely important act for not just the world, but for the story? I find this unsatisfying. Even boring. Who is at fault in all this? Am I to believe GRRM has put all this thought and all this work into a story in which humanity are bystanders? If I recall, in the show it is implied they created them as a weapon against the genocidal First Men. This is getting warmer, so to speak. But it’s still too boring for me. Humanity, the people from whom our heroes descend and must redeem, probably have to be directly culpable for literally everything. Humans must have made a clear choice that set this all in motion for the story to be worth telling.

Genesis Predates Politics

Perhaps, as in Tolkien, the Others are merely more natural inhabitants of this planet. In that world, the elves and dwarves and the rest come out of more than just fairy tale logic, to be unquestioningly accepted. They emerge from creation myth. Indeed, the action of the story is set so briefly after the creation of the world by its gods that there are people alive who knew people who were among the Adams and Eves of Arda. Oh and some of the gods are main characters too. The peoples of middle earth only really have the cultures, languages, and technologies that allow them to build their unnatural little cities as heavenly gifts of the Valar. They practically exist outside of politics, except those implied by the conflict between the dark lords and everyone else. This does not sound like the task Martin is engaged in, to me. 

The Anthropology of Ice Demons

The Others have a culture. They have language. They have technology. They can shape powerful things out of ice, (I can’t be the only one who read the first description of their armor and thought of Predator (1987), but let’s set that aside). They have or had some functioning mode of production that I don’t think naturally developed over the last 8000 years at Santa’s North Pole workshop. The Others didn’t spring from the earth. Nor were they called forth by incantation. No, they owe their situation to the folly (or malice) of man, and a high concept plot involving the moon.

Recognizing Evil

I remember hearing about AGoT in the early 2000s and the buzz was of this grizzly, machiavellian tale of people who didn’t let questions of ends and means weigh them down. It sounded like a kind of realpolitik or utilitarian Atlas Shrugged. When I was exposed to the show I formed some different opinions. Firstly, there seemed to be an interesting project at work wherein Martin was setting up all these unlikely heroes to eventually take center stage, reversing expectations. Secondly, the moral was likely the opposite of what I had been led to believe. This would be a tale about rejecting cold hearted and ultimately self centered realism for something like solidarity and self sacrifice.

It was after watching David Lightbringer’s youtube video ‘Azor Ahai the Bad Guy (Why Jon Won't Kill Dany)’ that I first considered the Azor Ahai myth. In the essay David takes the same stance on the moral message, but backs it up with evidence and suggests a framework for understanding how people get this wrong. He convincingly offers that Martin has given the reader a choice, perhaps set a trap, by repeatedly answering grave moral questions incorrectly. Azor Ahai, he says, is presented as a great mythical hero who fulfills some ultimate good by killing his wife. The point of view character who hears this tale is confused, offering that he must not be cut out to be a hero because he could never do something so monstrous. The reader (and the showrunners), suggests David, are left to choose which is right. Should you trust what you know, that killing your wife would be a terrible evil? Or believe the hype that great people doing great things sometimes have to make hard choices and murder people and it’s the right thing even if you don’t understand it?

I agree with David that GRRM is not asking us to side with murder, to excuse slaughter in the name of order, or to feel bad for the genocidaire who is troubled by the burden of power. But I would take it further.

Azor Ahai as Genocidaire

What to make of the Azor Ahai myth if we are confident that murdering your wife is evil and we already know that the dysregulation of the seasons (which set the whole concept in motion) was caused by the loss of the second moon? Let us also assume that we believe he is in some way associated with the Long Night.

‘...he summoned his wife. ‘Nissa Nissa,’ he said to her, for that was her name, ‘bare your breast, and know that I love you best of all that is in this world.’ She did this thing, why I cannot say, and Azor Ahai thrust the smoking sword through her living heart. It is said that her cry of anguish and ecstasy left a crack across the face of the moon, but her blood and her soul and her strength and her courage all went into the steel. Such is the tale of the forging of Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes.’

Most of what we hear about this hero of legend is that he created a powerful magic sword by plunging it into his wife’s chest. This is a myth, of course, and we should not make the mistake of taking it literally as some of the characters might. 

‘A crack across the face of the moon.’ 

I propose that this is the true original meaning of the Azor Ahai myth. The details have been confused over time and translation and interpretation, but even through the ancient game of telephone that’s brought it to our characters, the most important detail is audible. This is the jerk who destroyed the moon. Perhaps he didn’t even kill his wife. The point of that detail is what we’ve already gleaned. That it was a great evil, and more, a great betrayal. Perhaps he wasn’t even a man, or an emperor, but an empire. Or perhaps he really represents the whole of humanity. Or, humanity’s guilt. We’ve been looking for guilt. Someone to blame. If it has to be someone’s fault this all happened, don't we get a lot more mileage out of a monstrous crime than a hubristic blunder? If we believe it’s about love and self sacrifice in an otherwise cruel and unjust world, wouldn’t it be nice to have a terrible wrong to right?

This is also a parable about climate change. A looming, society rending disaster being caused by the same human society. Strange to engage with this horror without pinning the coming long winter on the humans of planetos. But how to engage? Climate change, when it comes, will be the result of a complex array of political and economic forces which have driven the course of history for the last few hundred years. We sum it all up simply as ‘capitalism.’ To avoid didacticism in this already complex story we need a powerful, simplifying literary device. What better metonymy for capitalism than ‘genocide’?

An Ancient Narrative Reconstructed

'The oldest histories we have were written after the Andals came to Westeros. The First Men only left us runes on rocks, so everything we think we know about the Age of Heroes and the Dawn Age and the Long Night comes from accounts set down by septons thousands of years later. There are archmaesters at the Citadel who question all of it.'

Over eight thousand years before A song of Ice and Fire, Planetos was a home to vastly more developed societies, some of the ruins of which survive. A very different world, more populous, more advanced. Importantly, it was a part of a larger interplanetary society, consisting of at minimum one or two of its moons. The Moon Men came and went between the bodies and brought with them magic or technology, likely including the dragons and the weirwood trees. They shared their technology with man.

Perhaps they established colonial realms, such as in the north and the north pole. Perhaps they merely traded, or lived as ambassadors within the cities of men. In either case. There was a marriage. A bond and a promise. Something which violated would constitute a grave betrayal. An alliance.

The alliance was betrayed. Azor Ahai wanted a magic sword, and he was willing to do great evil to get it. He stole a great weapon from his generous friends and either as part of the caper, or merely to keep his prize, he used its great power against the moon men. He, or humanity, started a war by destroying their home, killing billions. The legend says the moon cracked from coming too close to the sun. Not exactly, but there would have been a lot of heat and a flash involved. Lightbringer indeed.

We can guess that it was the moon man’s more advanced weaponry that he used because one wonders if even such a monster as he would pull that trigger knowing what it would do to one’s own world. The Long Night. A generation or more when the sun was blotted out. Yes, it was the ever important meteors which kicked up the dust, but those and every one that’s fallen to planetos since are from that doomed moon.

The contemporaries in ASOIAF sometimes link the Long Night to the coming long winter, or to the legends of the Others and their tendency to bring the cold. But a generation without the sun is not a winter. On the other hand, a government which had just caused the the sun to be blotted out might be looking for someone to blame. And if they had just annihilated a planet they might find that the other-worldly survivors of the moon man race, those living peacefully on planetos, would make a good scapegoat. They are already alien ‘others’ in every literal sense. Mass murder has to be justified. It’s the perfect inversion, blaming them for the side effects of their own murder.

This Long Night would necessarily be a society collapsing affair. Mass death, the breakdown of all systems of sustenance, the end of all previous social relations and politics. But if someone were in a position to try and organize a polity, whether or not they were the original Azor Ahi figure, and whether or not they waited until the sun came out again or pressed on under the shade, a war is a superior medium for a political project.

From the ashes humanity and the Last Hero rise to hunt down and eradicate all the moon men on the planet, accusing them of a dastardly sneak attack, blaming them for all that has befallen the people of the world. But they are not beaten. Their superior weapons and human disorganization make even this grizzly death squad operation a fair fight.

The Night’s Peacekeepers

Politics reemerge. Someone knows or learns the truth, or those who know assert power. Enter the Night’s Watch, and possibly the ancestors of the Starks. The Long Night is not so much ended by anyone as it finally subsides. A truce is brokered between the Moon Men and a less bloodthirsty human political formation. The wall, a kind of 38th parallel, is built jointly with the moon men, using their ice technology (weird to build an ice wall to stave off attacks from ice demons, no?). It is manned in a joint peacekeeping operation by the Moonies and the newly formed Night’s Watch in order to protect the last northern stronghold of the refugees from the larger part of humanity who still find it easier to believe the aliens attacked them, than assume the bloody legacy. Many never even heard the truth.

Lucky 13

When an important figure is effectively erased from history, chiseled out of stone, their letters and documents burned, it does not tend to be because the people doing the erasing are desperate for everyone to know the truth about them. And yet, (we and) the people of Westeros accept the story passed down by the current order about the Thirteenth Lord Commander, who they call the Night’s King. The contemporary Night’s Watch, who claim continuity all the way back the Lord Commander 14, would have us believe that 13 was marrying Otherish women and doing blood magic and human sacrifices. This sounds like libel to me. Propaganda to further incite people against the Others, explain the necessity of deposing #13, and discredit the whole project of the Night’s Watch up to that point. 

A change in the political situation south of the wall in the early centuries after it was built would explain this. Forces unwilling to accept the guilt of planet murder or willing to use fear of the other toward securing their own power take control. They attack and murder the whole of the Night’s Watch, libeling them all with blood magic rituals, slandering #13 as the Night’s King, and ultimately implicating the influence of the Others. They assert the Others as the enemy, and install a new Night’s Watch to man the wall against them.

The destruction of the records of #13 is the only remembered detail of what must have been a massive propaganda effort to blot out the entire history of not only the night’s watch, but the long night, the truce, and the genocide. They establish a new myth of the Last Hero, drawn like their new Night’s Watch from actual happenings to create an illusion of continuity. This continuity extends to the forces of Azor Ahai or whoever prosecuted the ground war, who they claim succeeded in driving back the others and ending the Long Night. What passes down to our heroes, and us, is mostly lies.

Blood Libel

Stealing and killing babies is apparently a central part of the propaganda promoted against the Others. This exactly recapitulates the ‘blood libel’ of our own history. That should be our first clue that it’s bullshit.

‘Ah but the infant sons of Craster,’ you say! He says he sacrifices them to his gods! Craster is a psychopath. Not a great source for interpretations of the world. Is Craster really playing a relevant part in this massive saga, planetary in scale, playing out across eons? One guy who for a few decades has been having a lot of kids on the very edge of Other territory? But what about the babies? This psycho is leaving crying children out in the cold to die? What would you do if you came across a helpless baby? If we are to take any meaning at all from the totally inconsequential figure of Caster it might be evidence that the ill will the Others bare human kind is not unconditional. It’s not simply evil, or even racial hated. They see an innocent babe for what it is. We may yet meet some of the sons of Craster, alive and well, if a little changed. Or perhaps we already have.

The Price Who Was Promised to Someone

Someone has to pay. The war with the Others clearly never ended. They are coming back for the first time in millennia, apparently to launch an invasion, and all without any new input or change in the status quo. This implies a truce. One meant to lead to a final peace. A war in limbo like on the Korean peninsula. Thus it is not any new event or offense that provokes the Others to invade after all this time, but the absence of one.

Someone has to pay. The Night’s Watch brokered a truce, but to get it they offered restitution. Justice. They offered them Nuremberg. A public trial at which humanity’s guilt could be established and paid for. Maybe they promised them Azor Ahai himself, themselves. Maybe they just never caught him. Maybe it was always intended to be symbolic, and just never happened.

Prophecy is used by Martin as a device for motivating his characters. It’s about how they interpret and then react, or don’t. This is hardly a novel interpretation. But I will take it a step further. The prophecy of the Prince who was Promised is not a prophecy. It’s an unfulfilled treaty obligation, garbled by passing through time. Melisandra, Amon, and Rhaegar among many, have tried to figure out which specific person or persons will fulfill (or could be made to fulfill) the prophesy. But they are all off the mark. What someone, or some force, or simply the last scraps of a destroyed history is trying to tell them is that somebody has to stand trial. Someone relevant. A king is not just a question of rank, but also implies a political commitment, a statement of trust that could signal a seriousness about peace. Maybe it is or was important to someone that a person of the genocidaire’s bloodline receive judgment, for want of the actual guy. It’s possible that they could have fulfilled this requirement of the pact, forestalling the coming invasion, at any point over the last 8000 years if the people of the world could agree to bend the knee to a court of judgment and offer up someone to eat their sin.

It's not just the prophesy obsessed who's worldviews are informed by the massive guilt of humanity. It likely weighs in one way or another on all the cultures of the world. Take the mysterious Faceless Men and their insistence that 'all men must die.' This could be taken literally as an incitement to genocide. I take it as an acknowledgment of man's culpability for that crime, their version on the prince who was promised. Someone, or everyone has to pay.

Why Now?

Why have the Others woken up now? What woke them? Some event of the last few decades? Is it just, magically, time?

Recall that it’s the wobble of the axis around which planet spins that’s at the center of everything. The great random but unchangeable clock setting the pace. The people of the world caused this but they can’t stop it wobbling. They will still have uneven seasons for a long time to come. Nor could the Others, moonfaring technology aside. It’s way too big. But the Others can predict it. If they can go from the moon to the earth they have the math and physics to project the wobble out infinitely. Whether they’ve been asleep beneath the ice, or making toys at the north pole, they’ve been waiting for two things. First: a diplomatic development. Maybe they gave up on this long ago, before going into hibernation, but either way it hasn’t come. Second: a strategic advantage. 

They didn’t make the Long Night, but they can bring the cold. And they seem to like it. We can guess their moon world was pretty chilly. The peace accord is a failure and they remain vulnerable. They’ve been hiding out where man can’t reach them, but they must know that eventually they will be found. At some point humans will develop technology which can find and challenge them. They seem to be relieved that they have not done so in 8000 years, actually laughing at their enemy, but they remain under existential threat. They have no planet to go back to.

At minimum, they must attack while humanity is still vulnerable. At maximum, they must lunaform their new home into a livable icy world for the future of their culture. Why wait then? They are quite simply min-maxing. They’ve known for 8000 years that there will one day come a long and powerful winter that will weaken their enemies and strengthen them. They can add their powers of refrigeration to the season itself to cover the world in an ice age it will not recover from even when the summer comes. They made the correct assumption that a humanity that barely survived astronomical calamity, its civilizations in ruins, would not bounce back in 8 millennia. They awake to find human population, political organization, and technology are still far behind where they left them. Even the weapons used to destroy their home and hunt them down are all lost. Now is their chance.

How does the story end?

Our heroes will fight a losing war as the world is covered in glacier. Eventually they will pull off one of the greatest reversals of all time and make peace with the Others. Very possibly actually dying for humanity’s sins. Thus undoing everything that underpinned the stasis of the last 8000 years. Except the wobbly seasons. They’re stuck with that mess.

Who will be King?

Everything that made the world of the story is founded on the cataclysm of the Long Night and what followed. If that is undone or resolved, and I think it will be (apart from the wobble), the old forms of seven kingdoms and powerful families will be meaningless. Plus they are all going to die in two wars, all their castles are getting destroyed. If Bran is made King or Sansa made Lady of Winterfell there will still be a thousand pages to go. No king. Probably between the winter and the Others most of Westeros will be covered in a decent glacier before the peace. They might just give frozen Westeros to the Others in perpetuity.

Technology All?

It's not necessary to view this whole story and all the magic through a science fiction technological lens for this theory to make sense. But it would fit. I guess I’m saying maybe this is the challenge Martin set himself and the rubric he uses to invent the magic of his world. He’ll never come out and say it explicitly because our characters would never come to this conclusion, but I think it’s part of the fun for him. 

Jack Vance’s Dying Earth stories are set on an earth so far in the future, so wrecked by innumerable apocalypses that it is barely recognizable but for some fun little clues from time to time. There’s swordplay, and magic, and wizards, and demons and monsters, and also creatures from other planets and galaxies and who knows where. This was apparently the biggest original influence on Dungeons and Dragons. Many of the creatures and spells and place names still inhabit that world.

If I recall, in one story it is implied that when you verbally cast an incantation you are actually ordering around some kind of demon-like creatures who sit around in dimensions overlapping ours listening for just the right words. If performed correctly, the creatures use their interdimensional nature to act out the desired result. They do so because they are made to by some law, enforced by more powerful creatures. Like it’s their job. Thus in Vance’s fantasy world with a clever science fiction backstory he has taken magic spells out of the supernatural, barely involved the physical, and landed his explanation in political economy.

Martin is a big Vance fan. I can see him setting himself the challenge, among others, of taking this concept of the scifi world fallen into fantasy after apocalypse to the furthest extent of his literary skill. If technology, significantly advanced, would be indistinguishable from magic, as Arthur Clarke said, what better way to explore this idea than by remaining fanatically and masterfully devoted to maintaining the pure narrative point of view of your ignorant fantasy characters?

Recall that the Long Night would have by definition ended whatever society came before it. Why should we imagine a prehistoric society much like the contemporary one? Isn’t it more interesting, if you are starting from the concept of collapse, to make it a big one? Martin introduces the fall of empire, the loss of technology, and its remaining ruins in the form of Valyria. This is just a hint. A microcosm. The largest and strangest ruins of the world are from before the apocalypse. Even some attributed to the Valyrians may be far older. For all we know the Valyrian roads are the tops of vastly more ancient walls. The implied networks of tunnels in various locals could easily be ancient cities, mostly buried by time.

Eugenics In Space

It was not lost on people that Martin was very interested in the eugenic obsessions of his characters. All those eye colors. Imagine the Moon Men are skilled geneticists and that this is the basis for a lot of their technology. They engineered the dragons from moon creatures who could not fly and certainly not breath fire. It is precisely because fire breathing dragons would make such a perfect weapon against ice people in an ice realm with ice technology that we should suspect they created them in the first place. Generally speaking, one designs weapons to fight one's own people. They engineered the weirwood trees, again on the moon, to serve as their information and communication technology. And they engineered themselves. Perhaps to make themselves impervious to conventional weapons, certainly to bond them to the dragons. It was these genes they gave their human friends who they would make dragon lords, as allies or vassals. Either by marriage or injection, it is from Moon Man DNA that the Targarians and others before them bonded with their beasts. It’s where they got their looks, and the confused idea that they have dragons blood in their veins.

Other Others

The name ‘Children of the Forest’ is suspicious as hell. They aren’t children and I don’t think they are from the forest. They’re marooned here just like the Others. Either because they are the same as the others, or they are from the other moon: not totally destroyed, but probably suffered calamity and collapse like the planet below.

What say you?

I'm new to this forum. Please forgive my ignorance of your customs. I’m interested in seeing where other people here or elsewhere online are talking about these subjects or similar theories. I’d also like to hear any conflicting evidence or attempts to discredit what I have proposed. Change my mind, as they say.

Though I have come to often different conclusions, a few of the youtube videos of both David Lightbringer and In Deep Geek were helpful in presenting the historical and mythological information which informed my thinking. I don't know of they are on this forum or how to find them if they are.
 

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9 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

I like the idea that Azor Ahai isn't the hero figure he's portrayed to be. But why would he/what he represents want to attack the moon with Lightbringer? So he/they/it could take over? Would they not realise that the consequences of such an action would ruin their chances of having much to rule over?

Tragic, isn't it?

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17 hours ago, Moon Man said:

The Others are ancient aliens from a destroyed moon, survivors of an apocalypse perpetrated by humanity. Only gravity remembers the cataclysm clearly, though it can be felt in the fluctuating seasons. Only The Wall recalls the truce that calmed the war fought to finish off the victims, a pact never settled in a final treaty. History and myth offer only black propaganda about the past. The “prince that was promised” is not a prophecy, but an unfulfilled obligation. In the end our heroes will make peace by standing trial and dying willingly, eating the sin of genocide.

The moon-breaking-meteor-raining theory crafted by LmL (David Lightbringer) caused quite a stir when he released it and it's a compelling explanation for the asynchronous seasons, provided one reasons that such a catacylsm could have resulted in a shift in the planet's axial tilt. I do recall however, that the author tweeted something to the effect that there was no astronomy involved. According to GRRM and Septon Barth (one of the more reliable off-screen characters in the books), the underlying cause is magic. Well, one could argue that George is holding his secrets tight and "magic" can theoretically explain anything out of the ordinary, really. 

What we do have in possible real in-world evidence is the explosion of the 14 flames of Old Valyria and its aftermath. As you've pointed out, the world may have never recovered technologically from whatever caused the Long Night and there are examples of dead civilizations such as Yeen that may have existed even before the last Long Night. The icy Grey Waste is an area little discussed or incorporated into current theories. This region in the East of Essos is a mystery. Was it always an icy wasteland, did it become one as a result of the a cataclysim connected to the Long Night or was it turned into a wasteland long before even that event? If the Pearl Emperor really built the five forts along its borders as legend has it, then it seems the region was uninhabitable even during the time of the GEotD. So what turned the Grey Waste into a wasteland and how might this relate to the later cause of the Long Night?

I kind of doubt an extraterrestial origin of the White Walkers. That Craster's wives believe they are their own sons plants the idea of a human origin in the reader's mind. This does not mean the babies are actually turned into White Walkers but the seed is there. In the House of the Undying, Daenerys enters a chamber where a group of normal human-looking people greet her with "we are the Undying of Qarth." They claim to have waited for her for a thousand years. In the next chamber, Dany sees those "Undying" for what they really are - withered husks barely clinging to existence. Were the people in the first room merely a vision, were they apparitions or perhaps even glamoured? Whatever they were, we get the idea that the Undying, who have basically lost their physical form and are almost down to bare souls, may be able to project as perfectly normal looking. What if the white walkers employ comparable effects, creating bodies of ice around ancient souls, the better to survive and maneuver in their icy environment?  

Azor Ahai is a bit of an enigma. That he was a villain rather than a hero is likely, or perhaps a bit of both. A Daemon Targaryen character is what the author is probably going for here. That his name is remembered in Essos while there is no mention of him in Westeros where we know a battle for the Dawn was fought is also puzzling. In contrast, the Westerosi "last hero" who was instrumental in achieving some kind of turning point is not even remembered in name. Could it be that "Azor Ahai" never exsisted in Essos at all? That his legend and prophecy is something the red priests have only seen in their flames? And that the real "hero" was indeed the "last hero," a man of dubious repute, so much so that his name and deeds have been obliterated from the continent's history?

Questions upon questions. 

Edited by Evolett
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58 minutes ago, Evolett said:

I do recall however, that the author tweeted something to the effect that there was no astronomy involved. According to GRRM and Septon Barth (one of the more reliable off-screen characters in the books), the underlying cause is magic. Well, one could argue that George is holding his secrets tight and "magic" can theoretically explain anything out of the ordinary, really.

I'd love to see that quote.

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1 hour ago, Evolett said:

The moon-breaking-meteor-raining theory crafted by LmL (David Lightbringer) caused quite a stir when he released it and it's a compelling explanation for the asynchronous seasons, provided one reasons that such a catacylsm could have resulted in a shift in the planet's axial tilt.

Is LmL on here? Has he also connected the loss of the moon to the wobbling rotational axis and dysregulated seasons?

 

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2 hours ago, Moon Man said:

I'd love to see that quote.

Had to search for it, long time ago. It was part of a series of comments picked up by someone at an event during which GRRM answered questions. You'll find the discussion in this thread at thelasthearth forum:

http://In this thread: https://thelasthearth.freeforums.net/post/9042/thread

 

 

2 hours ago, Moon Man said:

Is LmL on here? Has he also connected the loss of the moon to the wobbling rotational axis and dysregulated seasons?

He hasn't been active here in years. LmL replied to the assertion and talked about why he decided not to connect the moon to axial tilt in this post in the same thread:

https://thelasthearth.freeforums.net/post/9771/thread

 

 

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3 hours ago, Evolett said:

Had to search for it, long time ago. It was part of a series of comments picked up by someone at an event during which GRRM answered questions. You'll find the discussion in this thread at thelasthearth forum:

http://In this thread: https://thelasthearth.freeforums.net/post/9042/thread

 

 

He hasn't been active here in years. LmL replied to the assertion and talked about why he decided not to connect the moon to axial tilt in this post in the same thread:

https://thelasthearth.freeforums.net/post/9771/thread

 

 

Thank you. Very interesting that LmL arrived at but discounted the axial wobble concept even before this apparent pronouncement from Martin. All I could find in that thread, however, of the pronouncement itself was a second hand paraphrase which was very vague and called into question in the replies. Does anyone know of better direct quotes out there on the subject of astronomy/astrophysics from GRRM?

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Enjoyed reading it but one very simple question, if others had technology so advanced that they can travel from Secundos Lunos to Planetos, why are they using weapons like swords that would be so primitive to them? 
Except their extra planetostial origin, I agree with most of this.

Edited by Corvo the Crow
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GRRM: I have people constantly writing me with science fiction theories about the seasons — "It's a double star system with a black dwarf and that would explain–" It's fantasy, man, it's magic.

The Others were created through a colossal blood magical ritual. This ritual caused the second moon to crash into the earth, putting its tilt out of balance + long night

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Welcome to the forum!

 

I like your post, and especially your methodical style of writing. I did notice a huge gap in what you focused on when talking about the origin of magical disruption: the weirwoods!

My working theory (inspired in part from various patterns found in GRRM's non-ASOIAF writings) is that there is an alien life form that came to Planetos, via panspermia. The sexual reproduction of the species either requires seed pods that function like meteors, or meteors carrying its seed are pulled via telekinesis. That's a "supernatural" take on the moon meteor theory that blends sci-fi elements in a way that's characteristic of his other works, and presents it from the perspective of a fantasy story (which he's done a few other times).

The "species" I mention is really three blood lines of a species that can create walker bodies of varying shapes, perhaps depending on what blood it is mingled with. The weirwoods are one such species. The Green Men may be their original walkers, but they have also roped in the Children of the Forest, and eventually some humans as well. I suspect their is some icy mother brain in the heart of winter, with the Others as her walkers. And perhaps in the Fourteen Flames there is a similar one for the fire blood line.

Check out my own topic posts regarding my "trichromatic theory" of magic on Planetos. I would appreciate some feedback to see if I could root out weaknesses in the theory. Though beware: if you don't like spoilers for non-ASOIAF GRRM content, my writing is riddled with them.

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Corvo the Crow said:

Enjoyed reading it but one very simple question, if others had technology so advanced that they can travel from Secundos Lunos to Planetos, why are they using weapons like swords that would be so primitive to them? 
Except their extra planetostial origin, I agree with most of this.

A valid question. I would say this. Imagine the whole project is about exploring the concept of advanced technology as indistinguishable from magic from the point of view of the ignorant. Imagine Martin wants to take us along on this ignorant perspective, allowing us to also interpret everything as magical, like the characters. There are two classic scenarios in science fiction which set you up to engage with this idea: Visitation by a more advanced extraterrestrial culture, and the fall of an advanced society long before your story.

Martin's concept here, I argue, is to combine the two for maximum effect. To turn the dial up even higher he has set the story not on earth, but another world entirely. This, ultimately, is what makes it a fantasy story (what makes anything a fantasy story), and the crux of the innovation at work here. It's not science fiction or speculative fiction because there is no fixed point from which to speculate. We have no direct cultural connection to either the present or the past. So even as we try to piece together the technology or magic of the fallen society of which we know so little about, we aren't ever going to see perfect clues to the technological past. No one is ever going to find an IBM server farm deep in tunnels below the Gods Eye. This is one more barrier which keeps us trapped within the narrative perspective of the characters. So even if we might connect some dots that individual characters might not (because we have multiple points of view), we remain trapped in their cultural narrative perspective because just like to them, all the magic or technology of the past is genuinely alien. 

This is a long way of saying that if this really is Martin's project, he's committed to it. He's decided that magic and technology are interchangeable concepts. Just like Jack Vance he's created a world wherein there is some tangible explanation for all magic, even if he hasn't worked out every detail. In such a fantasy world, so removed from our own, which we know virtually nothing about, who's to say what technology some alien culture would have, or in what order, or millennia after the destruction of their entire society? Who knows what you would come up with if the material conditions of your world led you first to develop the manipulation of ice? Perhaps your weapon of mass destruction, your lightbringer, would use oxygen instead of uranium as fuel for fusion (unlikely). Martin can come up with whatever justification we wants for the ice swords instead of gunpowder. Herbert did it in Dune because he was interested in thinking about a scifi future when people had both rejected and were otherwise constrained from using certain technologies. And because he wanted there to be swordplay. Because he thought it would be cool. Martin wants there to be swordplay, even with the Others (so far as we know) because those are the terms of bringing us along into the perspective of the people who populate his fantasy planet. It has to feel like a medieval fantasy. He can't just give it away.

Who knows how the Others got to Planetos in the first place.  If I'm am correct, Martin may have some vague idea, but we will likely never hear about it directly.

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9 hours ago, Tyrosh Lannister said:

GRRM: I have people constantly writing me with science fiction theories about the seasons — "It's a double star system with a black dwarf and that would explain–" It's fantasy, man, it's magic.

That's just what he would say.

Edited by Moon Man
wrong quote
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1 hour ago, Moon Man said:

A valid question. I would say this. Imagine the whole project is about exploring the concept of advanced technology as indistinguishable from magic from the point of view of the ignorant. Imagine Martin wants to take us along on this ignorant perspective, allowing us to also interpret everything as magical, like the characters. There are two classic scenarios in science fiction which set you up to engage with this idea: Visitation by a more advanced extraterrestrial culture, and the fall of an advanced society long before your story.

Martin's concept here, I argue, is to combine the two for maximum effect. To turn the dial up even higher he has set the story not on earth, but another world entirely. This, ultimately, is what makes it a fantasy story (what makes anything a fantasy story), and the crux of the innovation at work here. It's not science fiction or speculative fiction because there is no fixed point from which to speculate. We have no direct cultural connection to either the present or the past. So even as we try to piece together the technology or magic of the fallen society of which we know so little about, we aren't ever going to see perfect clues to the technological past. No one is ever going to find an IBM server farm deep in tunnels below the Gods Eye. This is one more barrier which keeps us trapped within the narrative perspective of the characters. So even if we might connect some dots that individual characters might not (because we have multiple points of view), we remain trapped in their cultural narrative perspective because just like to them, all the magic or technology of the past is genuinely alien. 

This is a long way of saying that if this really is Martin's project, he's committed to it. He's decided that magic and technology are interchangeable concepts. Just like Jack Vance he's created a world wherein there is some tangible explanation for all magic, even if he hasn't worked out every detail. In such a fantasy world, so removed from our own, which we know virtually nothing about, who's to say what technology some alien culture would have, or in what order, or millennia after the destruction of their entire society? Who knows what you would come up with if the material conditions of your world led you first to develop the manipulation of ice? Perhaps your weapon of mass destruction, your lightbringer, would use oxygen instead of uranium as fuel for fusion (unlikely). Martin can come up with whatever justification we wants for the ice swords instead of gunpowder. Herbert did it in Dune because he was interested in thinking about a scifi future when people had both rejected and were otherwise constrained from using certain technologies. And because he wanted there to be swordplay. Because he thought it would be cool. Martin wants there to be swordplay, even with the Others (so far as we know) because those are the terms of bringing us along into the perspective of the people who populate his fantasy planet. It has to feel like a medieval fantasy. He can't just give it away.

Who knows how the Others got to Planetos in the first place.  If I'm am correct, Martin may have some vague idea, but we will likely never hear about it directly.

I know all these concepts, though thanks for the long explanation as Others may yet benefit from it.

"Slow blade that penetrates the shield" was on my mind while asking the question, but there is a valid explanation there with the Holtzman shields and energy weapons interactions, but the problem is everyone uses Holtzman shields there, everyone is on equal ground so no one can use energy weapons, kind of a Mutually Assured Distraction, in fact, not kind of since it is actually MAD, whereas here, humans just use high medieval era arms and armor at best, so no explanation here.

Sure, we may argue that advanced enough technology can be considered magic and that Others arms and armor are technologically far superior that they are "magical" but the problem remains that however technologically advanced materials and process you use to say, forge a sword, a sword is still a sword, used for slashing, stabbing etc. a primitive weapon for a race that has the propulsion to escape their Lunos' gravity and come to Planetos, they need not to have developed energy weapons or gunpowder but at the very least they could use equipment -not just weapons- that derive from the technology that allowed them to leave their moon in the first place.

Why don't they use, say, rockets to blow up castles? These rockets don't even need to have explosives attached, just huge masses with a propulsion aimed towards the castles. They obviously didn't because if anythings should've survived through legend, it shouldn't be something like "oh giant spider transportation"(could very well be something like a starwars AT-AT walker) but this, since short of raising the dead, scariest thing to a primitive planetosi would be that their castles that they've worked so hard and for years to built and felt safe inside with a decent garrison and supply getting destroyed in mere seconds with ground shaking(literally) effect. They would be so terrified it would be etched forever in their memories and carried on in tales generation after generation. Joramun's Horn could be claimed to be one such weapon but the problem is a) We have no legend of him having used it and b) Joramun is supposed to be a human and not just any human that who may have been a White Walker whose identity is forgotten but a human that is fighting against another human that worked with White Walkers.

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35 minutes ago, Corvo the Crow said:

I know all these concepts, though thanks for the long explanation as Others may yet benefit from it.

"Slow blade that penetrates the shield" was on my mind while asking the question, but there is a valid explanation there with the Holtzman shields and energy weapons interactions, but the problem is everyone uses Holtzman shields there, everyone is on equal ground so no one can use energy weapons, kind of a Mutually Assured Distraction, in fact, not kind of since it is actually MAD, whereas here, humans just use high medieval era arms and armor at best, so no explanation here.

Sure, we may argue that advanced enough technology can be considered magic and that Others arms and armor are technologically far superior that they are "magical" but the problem remains that however technologically advanced materials and process you use to say, forge a sword, a sword is still a sword, used for slashing, stabbing etc. a primitive weapon for a race that has the propulsion to escape their Lunos' gravity and come to Planetos, they need not to have developed energy weapons or gunpowder but at the very least they could use equipment -not just weapons- that derive from the technology that allowed them to leave their moon in the first place.

Why don't they use, say, rockets to blow up castles? These rockets don't even need to have explosives attached, just huge masses with a propulsion aimed towards the castles. They obviously didn't because if anythings should've survived through legend, it shouldn't be something like "oh giant spider transportation"(could very well be something like a starwars AT-AT walker) but this, since short of raising the dead, scariest thing to a primitive planetosi would be that their castles that they've worked so hard and for years to built and felt safe inside with a decent garrison and supply getting destroyed in mere seconds with ground shaking(literally) effect. They would be so terrified it would be etched forever in their memories and carried on in tales generation after generation. Joramun's Horn could be claimed to be one such weapon but the problem is a) We have no legend of him having used it and b) Joramun is supposed to be a human and not just any human that who may have been a White Walker whose identity is forgotten but a human that is fighting against another human that worked with White Walkers.

We don't really know what technology or magic the Others have, much less what they or humanity had 10 millennia earlier. More importantly, it's fantasy. I don't accept as given that swords and interbody transportation are mutually anachronistic. He can come up with whatever reasoning he wants and then tell us about it or not. 

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9 hours ago, Moon Man said:

We don't really know what technology or magic the Others have, much less what they or humanity had 10 millennia earlier. More importantly, it's fantasy. I don't accept as given that swords and interbody transportation are mutually anachronistic. He can come up with whatever reasoning he wants and then tell us about it or not. 

Even in our world we still have swords with sports and ceremonial use and not even a century ago they were still weapons, but Others who manage that transportation would definitely have the technology to use other weapons, still using swords would put them in a more evil light. In the world wars only a small percentage of people actually shot to kill and there was a reason where firing squads were, well, squads, because most people don’t want to kill other people, a firing squad gave you the chance to not be the one delivering the killing shot and even then it wasn’t enough, sometimes blank cartridges were issued as well to be put in some of the rifles. A sword on the other hand is up close and personal and you’ll definitely be delivering that death blow and know that it was you. This would show us that Others as a society are willing to kill, not just some few Others, because despite being able, they haven’t replaced those weapons. Not to mention the fact that they are giving up on a serious advantage as well. For what purpose then? Only explanation that I can come up with is that they enjoy their killing and this desire to get the pleasure of kill makes them give up any advantage they’ll have through weapons that put a distance.

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On 11/28/2022 at 3:45 AM, Moon Man said:

The Anthropology of Ice Demons

The Others have a culture. They have language. They have technology. They can shape powerful things out of ice, (I can’t be the only one who read the first description of their armor and thought of Predator (1987), but let’s set that aside). They have or had some functioning mode of production that I don’t think naturally developed over the last 8000 years at Santa’s North Pole workshop. The Others didn’t spring from the earth. Nor were they called forth by incantation. No, they owe their situation to the folly (or malice) of man, and a high concept plot involving the moon.

There's plenty of room for speculation where the Others are concerned. Perhaps they do not reproduce at all but are the very same white walkers that appeared the last time round.  After reading the fate of "Ser Puddles," my first thought was Terminator 2 - that they can reform from the puddle after being defeated. If the Others can do amazing things with ice, perhaps they can reconstitute their bodies too.

So GRRM may be going for a variation on cyborgs here. His short story named The Glass Flower features a cyborg whose human body parts were replaced by mechanical ones over the course of time. He was believed dead for 800 years and is practically immortal. This and a period of cryopreservation account for his long life. He basically wants to exchange his cyborg physique for a body of flesh and blood so he can die. A portion of his soul, a "ghost," resides within his cyborg body, blending the supernatual with the mechanical. 

There are so many echoes of his own past writings as well as allusions to mythology and history that figuring it out is difficult.  

 

On 11/29/2022 at 2:11 PM, Phylum of Alexandria said:

The "species" I mention is really three blood lines of a species that can create walker bodies of varying shapes, perhaps depending on what blood it is mingled with. The weirwoods are one such species. The Green Men may be their original walkers, but they have also roped in the Children of the Forest, and eventually some humans as well. I suspect their is some icy mother brain in the heart of winter, with the Others as her walkers. And perhaps in the Fourteen Flames there is a similar one for the fire blood line.

There's certainly a walker motif in the narrative, most notably Viserys who becomes a "walker" when he is ordered to walk behind the Khalasaar by Daenerys. He then becomes a "Cart King," a state of affairs even worse than walking in the eyes of the Dothraki horselords. In contrast, Daenerys will eventually fly. As a leader of the FM to Westeros, Garth the Green may have been a "walker" himself. The FM had no horses. And of course the green man reference is not the only one we have. There are the folk with green tinged skin that live on the sunken Thousand Islands as well. Men with green coloured skin could also be a reference to the extraterrestial "little green men."  I'll have  to find time to read your theory. 

Those of you interested in alien origins might like this one: The Plutonian Others by sweetsunray.

 

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