Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Jon Targaryen

[Pre-ADwD Spoilers] Jon 2 - Spoilers for ADWD

Recommended Posts

There's no reason to discount R'hllor's existence, either. Certainly Thoros seems genuine in his belief that his powers come from his devotion and his prayers. I feel the same about Melisandre, personally, but we'll probably find out for certain come her chapter(s) in ADwD.

More in reply to Rhodan than Peter; these books have tons of supernatural elements in them, and as they go they creep a little more to the forefront (weirwood gate in Nightfort, for example). R'hllor's not going to show up like a clownish DragonLance god, but kept at a distance and properly enigmatic, he fits the atmosphere like a glove.

Back to the topic of the horn, my bet is that the Horn of Winter is the one with the chip in it that Ghost found back in ACOK. But I agree, such a device does feel a little high fantasy...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's no reason to discount R'hllor's existence, either. Certainly Thoros seems genuine in his belief that his powers come from his devotion and his prayers. I feel the same about Melisandre, personally, but we'll probably find out for certain come her chapter(s) in ADwD.

I'm sure that they are totally genuine, but that just means that they're sincere, not that they're right or even that they have any reason for their belief beyond faith. I'm sure that R'hllor, god of fire, didn't come to Melisandre's graduation ceremony or something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sure that they are totally genuine, but that just means that they're sincere, not that they're right or even that they have any reason for their belief beyond faith. I'm sure that R'hllor, god of fire, didn't come to Melisandre's graduation ceremony or something.

Right.... but if we agree Thoros is sincere in his belief, why would we suspect he's wrong? He's resurrecting the dead somehow, and the first time he did Beric, he just gave the corpse a kiss - according to him, this was a routine religious observation, not the sort of thing where there was any magical preparation. Remember, Thoros was a drunken showman, not a devout believer - it was Rh'llor suddenly working through him that changed him into the pious man he is now.

I don't see any cause for skepticism. All the gods have shown some power - even the Seven gave Catelyn that one vision, before Renly died. (If I remember right, I think only the Dothraki crones fail the test.) If Rh'llor is fake, it must be one heck of a conspiracy to trick Thoros and Melisandre into thinking their visions and powers over death are a result of their faith. (Though of course, I grant you anything may happen with Martin at the helm - the Faceless Men belief that there is but one God with many faces, and all that.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sure that R'hllor, god of fire, didn't come to Melisandre's graduation ceremony or something.

True. However, in R'hllor's defense it was a really busy week, and Mel did wait until the last minute to send the invite.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He's resurrecting the dead somehow, and the first time he did Beric, he just gave the corpse a kiss - according to him, this was a routine religious observation, not the sort of thing where there was any magical preparation.

That doesn't fit with how Thoros describes it. According to him, it was a spell: "So when his poor torn chest stopped moving, I gave him the good god's own kiss to send him on his way. I filled my mouth with fire and breathed the flames inside him, down his throat to lungs and heart and soul. The last kiss it is called, and many a time I saw the old priest bestow it on the Lord's servants as they died." I don't know about you, but that sounds an awful lot like fire-magic to me.

If Rh'llor is fake, it must be one heck of a conspiracy to trick Thoros and Melisandre into thinking their visions and powers over death are a result of their faith.

Do you know a lot of very religious people? It's actually quite easy to convince a devout evangelical Protestant that Jesus is responsible for mundane events, because most already believe that Jesus is working in the world to bring out various results, either to reward people or to test them. A job offer, a good result after a mammogram, the sudden recovery from an illness, a death--all of these things are signs of God working in the world, to those who are predisposed to believe God is doing that very thing, and a series of random events to those who aren't.

The same thing is true for Melisandre. Because she believes that the whole world is run by two Great Powers, everything is the result of either R'hllor or the Great Other. Jon getting offered Winterfell by Stannis is a gift from the Lord of Light. Davos surviving the Battle of the Blackwater, Davos meeting Edric Storm in the gardens, Jon being at the Wall when Stannis arrives, the Red Wedding, the Purple Wedding, Euron having Balon Greyjoy killed.... all of these things are attributed to the Lord of Light. It wouldn't take "one heck of a conspiracy" to get Melisandre to believe what she very much wishes to be true. It wouldn't take anything except her own stubborn adherence to a dualistic view of the world.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That doesn't fit with how Thoros describes it. According to him, it was a spell: "So when his poor torn chest stopped moving, I gave him the good god's own kiss to send him on his way. I filled my mouth with fire and breathed the flames inside him, down his throat to lungs and heart and soul. The last kiss it is called, and many a time I saw the old priest bestow it on the Lord's servants as they died." I don't know about you, but that sounds an awful lot like fire-magic to me.

Good call on the description, I stand corrected. However, you skip the first part of that passage where Thoros specifically says, "I have no magic, child. Only prayers." I guess it's your prerogative to say he's... mistaken somehow, but I gotta ask you to back that and the rest of this anti-Rh'llor theory up with more than skepticism.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be arguing that Martin's magic works like Rowling's, where there's this free-for-all, religiously neutral font of energy out there everyone can just tap into willy nilly. And that Thoros knows some universally available "negate death" spell but somehow doesn't understand the spell he's casting... or even that he's casting a spell in the first place? Wha?

So I guess my questions are:

Do you think ALL the gods are fake? Do you think, say, the Faceless Men's One True God is "masquerading" as Rh'llor and giving Thoros and Melisandre (and hey, maybe Aeron) these powers? Or do you think the church of Rh'llor was founded by some fraud who found a book of nondenominational magic spells he passed off as prayers? Or some other option?

My personal bottom line is that anything can happen, sure. We know very little about Martin's gods and magic, and he's a crafty trickster in the first place. But we have no reason to suspect that the main gods of the story are fake - in fact, the truth of their existence is heavily implied more than once - so why Rh'llor?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good call on the description, I stand corrected. However, you skip the first part of that passage where Thoros specifically says, "I have no magic, child. Only prayers." I guess it's your prerogative to say he's... mistaken somehow, but I gotta ask you to back that and the rest of this anti-Rh'llor theory up with more than skepticism.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be arguing that Martin's magic works like Rowling's, where there's this free-for-all, religiously neutral font of energy out there everyone can just tap into willy nilly. And that Thoros knows some universally available "negate death" spell but somehow doesn't understand the spell he's casting... or even that he's casting a spell in the first place? Wha?

For all what we know, we can say that "R´hllorists" are kinda like Jedi, with spirituality-based magic, only their concepts are antropomophized. In our world, it´s quite obvious that believer in any religion is capable of spiritual experience yet he is ultimately bound to the concepts he/she believes in. I´ve got impression that in the saga, magic can be similar.

So I guess my questions are:

Do you think ALL the gods are fake? Do you think, say, the Faceless Men's One True God is "masquerading" as Rh'llor and giving Thoros and Melisandre (and hey, maybe Aeron) these powers? Or do you think the church of Rh'llor was founded by some fraud who found a book of nondenominational magic spells he passed off as prayers? Or some other option?

My personal bottom line is that anything can happen, sure. We know very little about Martin's gods and magic, and he's a crafty trickster in the first place. But we have no reason to suspect that the main gods of the story are fake - in fact, the truth of their existence is heavily implied more than once - so why Rh'llor?

Martin seems to be actually fond of kinda ridiculing deities by showing them linked to the particular culture (The Great Shpeherd and Drowned God come to mind). God of many faces is quite artificial concept himself, names for various Death gods brought to one place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you think ALL the gods are fake?

More or less. At least, I wouldn't take their existence for granted. We've seen magic, we know that it works, but we've never seen a spell that one has to believe in a god to pull off. (Suppose Bran followed the Seven. Would his warging powers suddenly not work?) Fire magic in general is nondenominational, as is shadowbinding. (We haven't seen anybody but Thoros and Lord Beric perform the last kiss, to be sure; but based on what Marwyn says I suspect that it's an old Valyrian spell.) Meanwhile, before the events of A Game of Thrones, all of the faith in the world wouldn't have made Thoros's spell effective. As magic got stronger, Thoros was able to raise the dead without having much faith at all.

Or do you think the church of Rh'llor was founded by some fraud who found a book of nondenominational magic spells he passed off as prayers?

That seems a bit harsh. I think the church of R'hllor was probably founded by a charismatic individual who believed sincerely in whatever he was saying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now, I might stand corrected. Somebody commented that GRRM already said in interview (I have no source)that he wants to keep existence of gods ambigious and let the reader to decide. So, yeah, I don´t belive in R´hllor. Unfortunaly, I´ve just realized this also means that origin of Others might be left ambigious as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now, I might stand corrected. Somebody commented that GRRM already said in interview (I have no source)that he wants to keep existence of gods ambigious and let the reader to decide. So, yeah, I don´t belive in R´hllor. Unfortunaly, I´ve just realized this also means that origin of Others might be left ambigious as well.

I think it's better. ambiguity and mistery improve fascination ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's better. ambiguity and mistery improve fascination ;)

That, and it would be damn near impossible to write a version of ASOIAF in which gods actually existed and were trying to bring various things about, without making the gods the most important characters in the story. But at the same time, if the gods are the most important characters, why have we been following these other assholes for four books and counting?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I had a cookbook and one did not know the mechanics of culinary arts, I could claim the cake I baked was magic from the gods, and the recipe was the spell needed for the deed. That is sort of the idea I am getting with magical forces as related to this book. Anyone who knows the right "recipe" can work the required spell and attribute the result to any god he cared to credit. Dondarion was no priest of Rh'llor, yet when he did Thoros's kiss of fire for Catelyn Stark, the spell worked as it had for Thoros, who WAS a red priest. The books make no mention of Dondarion's level of faith, even though it would appear many of the Brotherhood were adherents of the Rh'llor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you know a lot of very religious people? It's actually quite easy to convince a devout evangelical Protestant that Jesus is responsible for mundane events, because most already believe that Jesus is working in the world to bring out various results, either to reward people or to test them. A job offer, a good result after a mammogram, the sudden recovery from an illness, a death--all of these things are signs of God working in the world, to those who are predisposed to believe God is doing that very thing, and a series of random events to those who aren't.

That is different from having a specific set of rituals that produce a specific predictable result like what Melissandre does. I do not really see how that is comparable. The devout religious of our world believe that their God does what it does out of its own divine plan not because they performed the job offer dance.

When you perform a religious ritual and dead return to kill Frey's you do not really need religious faith in the our world sense.

If performing these rituals to a God actually gives you supernatural powers...does it really matter what you call it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I had a cookbook and one did not know the mechanics of culinary arts, I could claim the cake I baked was magic from the gods, and the recipe was the spell needed for the deed. That is sort of the idea I am getting with magical forces as related to this book. Anyone who knows the right "recipe" can work the required spell and attribute the result to any god he cared to credit. Dondarion was no priest of Rh'llor, yet when he did Thoros's kiss of fire for Catelyn Stark, the spell worked as it had for Thoros, who WAS a red priest. The books make no mention of Dondarion's level of faith, even though it would appear many of the Brotherhood were adherents of the Rh'llor.

Yes you could but Melissandre and Thoros are not doing that they are true believers. Now the original guy who designed these rituals might have trained wizards through some sort of religion...but why? Why not just train wizards? Maybe to make it more palatable to the common people.

Anyway if a God supposedly brought me back from the dead I would probably be an adherent but if it is some sort of wizardry wouldn't that make it all the more important for Beric to be trained as a priest? Magic strikes me as harder to do than simply being a religious believer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is different from having a specific set of rituals that produce a specific predictable result like what Melissandre does.

But she doesn't know that it's R'hllor behind it. Marwyn can do fire-magic without following R'hllor, as can the warlocks, Quaithe, the Qartheen street performer, Daenerys Targaryen... why does this particular bit of fire-magic come from a god when all the others come from having innate magical ability and knowing how to use it?

And if R'hllor is behind all this magic, where the hell was he five years earlier when the red priests were doing the last kiss and getting no results whatsoever?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

why does this particular bit of fire-magic come from a god when all the others come from having innate magical ability and knowing how to use it?

How do you know it doesn't? If it is simply some sort of knowing how to use a force or having innate abilities...then why did it go away? Seems straightforward enough: R'hllor is here to combat the god of of the Others and he is empowering his rituals and allowing dragons to hatch and blah blah.

I sort of doubt whatever this supernatural power Melissandre calls 'R'hllor' is exactly as she describes it, but it seems more than simply knowing magic tricks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That, and it would be damn near impossible to write a version of ASOIAF in which gods actually existed and were trying to bring various things about, without making the gods the most important characters in the story. But at the same time, if the gods are the most important characters, why have we been following these other assholes for four books and counting?

Well I guess it comes down to what exactly a god is in Martinworld. If they are like the Greek Gods or whatever then yes. If they are some sort of strange alien supernatural force then that is something different.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How do you know it doesn't? If it is simply some sort of knowing how to use a force or having innate abilities...then why did it go away?

Seems straightforward enough: R'hllor is here to combat the god of of the Others and he is empowering his rituals and allowing dragons to hatch and blah blah.

To be clear, I think that it's a combination of (1) having the aptitude to harness magical forces; (2) having the knowledge to direct them where you want; and (3) the magical forces being there to begin with. It appears that for a long time, (3) was lacking, and that it waxes and wanes for reasons that haven't yet been established. They seem to have something to do with Valyria, and dragons which are commonly associated with Valyria; but the Valyrians were polytheists, not followers of R'hllor.

Now, under your scenario as I understand it, R'hllor doesn't restrict his fire powers to believers, R'hllor doesn't require faith as a prerequisite to feats of sorcery... in fact, R'hllor doesn't seem to have any sort of agency at all. In other words, it sounds like R'hllor is very much the impersonal magical force that I was imagining as requirement (3). Am I wrong?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×