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ASoIaF Third Eye - Pineal Gland?


Craving Peaches
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I find all the theories that try and connect the magic in ASoIaF with science very interesting (for example the stuff about certain magical traits being passed down on the X chromosome) and recently I was reading some weird and probably not true but interesting theories on how the pineal gland (see here if this is new to you: Pineal gland - Wikipedia) is the 'third eye', which got me thinking about the third eye in the series. Things associated with the pineal gland include pine trees and pine cones. I went on A Search of Ice and Fire to see if there was a link between using the third eye and the symbols associated with the pineal gland. There were a few passages that looked interesting.

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Beyond was dense forest of pine and spruce, and the mountain like a black wall, but the steps were there, chiseled deep into the rock, ascending into the sky. "Some people find it easier if they close their eyes," (Close your eyes to better access the inner eye for 'flying'? Seems reminiscent of Bran's fall....)

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He could feel the high stone calling him. Up he went, loping easy at first, then faster and higher, his strong legs eating up the incline. Birds burst from the branches overhead as he raced by, clawing and flapping their way into the sky. He could hear the wind sighing up amongst the leaves, the squirrels chittering to one another, even the sound a pinecone made as it tumbled to the forest floor. (Also reminiscent of Bran's Fall?)

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A raven looked down from a soldier pine and quorked as he went past.

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 To hear him tell it, the men of Crackclaw Point had watered their pine trees with blood. (Sounds like they were treating the pine treats the way the Weirwood was treated in Bran's vision?)

And this one from The World of Ice and Fire:

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Their eunuch priests wore eyeless hoods in honor of their god; only in darkness, they believed, would their third eye open, allowing them to see the "higher truths" of creation that lay concealed behind the world's illusions. (This seems quite similar to some of the more fantastical claims made about the Pineal gland).

There are also frequent mentions of pines and pinecones when skinchaging is occurring, though that may be just a coincidence since they are common in the North. Pine nuts also come up now and then but I'm not sure about the connection there.

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I don't know about a third eye, but Descartes thought that the human soul resided in the pineal gland. Why, I have no idea. It was just some trivia that neuro grad students would chuckle at.

Such science-adjacent writing is not beneath GRRM, though I haven't seen evidence that the brain in particular is something that he focuses on in his works. Not impossible, I'm thinking not likely.

Still, even if it's not an actual topic of focus, the pineal gland could be wrapped up in a larger cluster of older beliefs that GRRM is drawing from. It's worth chewing on.

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How strange, I have just heard about this today. I immediately thought of ASOIAF then saw this thread. While most vertebrates have the pineal gland in the brain, some reptiles and other animals have an actual physical 'Parietal eye' or 'third eye' between the other two that can sense light and might have other functions. I'd previously believed that 'three eyes' was totally fantastical!

I wonder whether this pineal gland/eye could create an interesting link between the 'ice' magic and the 'fire' magic in the series. You have already outlined how pines and forest imagery might be associated with the third eye in the series. These things are in turn associated with the 'Northern' magic including skinchanging and the Three Eyed Crow. However, the third eye in real life is often observed in lizards. I am not sure how, or even if, dragons in ASOIAF are related to lizards or other reptiles. However, if we assume that dragons might have a photosensitive 'third eye' based on their potentially reptilian origin, to me this quite clearly throws up the comparison to the 3EC and Northern magic. Could the dragons have their third eye opened?

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