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Knepah

Ethnicity and race

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I am entering on the touchy subject of ethnicity and racial traits of the tribes kingdoms of Essos and the Nine Free Cities. It's not really touched upon on the Wikipedia page.

Whilst it's firmly established that the Summer Islanders and Sothorosi are black, I keep finding myself confused as to the ethnic and racial descriptions of all the different various peoples in the world of ice and fire. For example, I was under the impression that the Lysene had very pale skin and light hair, but they have cast a black actor to Saladhor Saan for the TV show?

I think it would help if there could be some physical descriptions of all the folks of Martin's world, simply because when I'm reading and re-reading I keep crossing wires and confusing myself as to what these characters look like!

Thanks in advance and sorry if some of my choice of words offend some people.

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I am entering on the touchy subject of ethnicity and racial traits of the tribes kingdoms of Essos and the Nine Free Cities. It's not really touched upon on the Wikipedia page.

Whilst it's firmly established that the Summer Islanders and Sothorosi are black, I keep finding myself confused as to the ethnic and racial descriptions of all the different various peoples in the world of ice and fire. For example, I was under the impression that the Lysene had very pale skin and light hair, but they have cast a black actor to Saladhor Saan for the TV show?

I think it would help if there could be some physical descriptions of all the folks of Martin's world, simply because when I'm reading and re-reading I keep crossing wires and confusing myself as to what these characters look like!

Thanks in advance and sorry if some of my choice of words offend some people.

Perhaps the producers of the show have correctly realised that having silver haired purple eyed people so close to the equator is ridiculuous?

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Regarding race, there seem to be some ethnicities in ASoIaF that don't even exist in the real world, most notably the Qartheen and Ghiscari peoples. We've also yet to see any people with Native American or East Asian features, though there also seems to be a very large part of the world that we don't know anything about.

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Regarding race, there seem to be some ethnicities in ASoIaF that don't even exist in the real world, most notably the Qartheen and Ghiscari peoples. We've also yet to see any people with Native American or East Asian features, though there also seems to be a very large part of the world that we don't know anything about.

The Absence of Native American's is easy to explain: it's 300 years after 1066 (the Norman Conquest) so the New World-or Nuossos is a long way off being discovered.

Yi Ti does sound very Chinese. Actually typing Yi Tai into google will give you either a Mongolian or Chinese company.

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I thought so too when I first read about it, but isn't Yi Ti right by Asshai, where people have pale skin and red hair?

I don't think Melisandre is actually from Asshai.

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Maybe not, I haven't read the latest book yet so I still don't know much about her. I just never pictured the Asshai people as Asian.

According to the wiki, the Asshai people have a "dark and solemn appearance" which doesn't match Melisandre's description, but doesn't sound like a description of Oriental features either. It also says that the people of Yi Ti are "bright eyed," for all that it matters. I guess we can't know for sure unless we actually see these places in the later books...

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Maybe not, I haven't read the latest book yet so I still don't know much about her. I just never pictured the Asshai people as Asian.

According to the wiki, the Asshai people have a "dark and solemn appearance" which doesn't match Melisandre's description, but doesn't sound like a description of Oriental features either. It also says that the people of Yi Ti are "bright eyed," for all that it matters. I guess we can't know for sure unless we actually see these places in the later books...

Well, it could be that Asshai could be the equivalent of Israel or Saudi Arabia...

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I keep finding myself confused as to the ethnic and racial descriptions of all the different various peoples in the world of ice and fire.
There's a risk in expecting strict conversions. It's a fantasy novel: there are probably some real life inspirations (direwolves, for instance, were real animals but the were contemporaries of saber-toothed tigers, I believe; they never coexisted beside modern humans) but there's also an element of fantasy that's just beyond what we'll know. There just might not be any parallel for some ethnicities. Some ethnicities we know in the real world may not have a counterpart in Martin's world.

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I've got Asshai being analogous to Kashmir/Tibet, the mysterious lands in the east where ancient religion evolved. Wouldn't be shocked if The Seven and The Children link back to Asshai either.

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I've got Asshai being analogous to Kashmir/Tibet, the mysterious lands in the east where ancient religion evolved. Wouldn't be shocked if The Seven and The Children link back to Asshai either.

Yes but since the R'hllor religion is monotheistic (atleast in comparison to the Faith of the Seven) then Saudi Arabia or Israel would be closer fits, although the Manichean element to R'hllorism originates in Zoroastrianism (which as you know comes from Persia).

So if you take the faith of 7 to be the Catholic Church, then R'hllorism would be analogous to Islam: the scary monotheistic religion that is coming from the East, and wants to burn all the idols. Also the way Quaithe wears a mask is very similar to the mask that some Arab women wear (not the Niqab but this thing)

http://www.art.com/products/p14040549-sa-i2832232/ralph-crane-arab-woman-eyes-closed-wearing-traditional-mask-and-additional-bird-like-mask-over-her-face.htm

that was the best example from a website that wasn't like this website

http://burqa.de/tagged/afghani_niqab_pictures (this website contains inaccuracies, the women in masks are not Afghani, but Arabs, most like from Yemen or Saudi Arabia)

Which would make Asshai= Saudi Arabia

But if you take the 7 to be analogous to Greco Roman Paganism (with the Old Gods being the Celtic Pantheon) then R'hllorism would be Christianity, which was a scary intolerant semi-monotheistic religion that comes from the East and burns people alive. Asshai would be analogous to Israel... favouring this example is that I doubt the beliefs of Quaith and Melisandre have much in common, just as the religions of Augustine of Canterbury and Rav Simuna have even less in common.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_mission

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simuna

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Yes but since the R'hllor religion is monotheistic (atleast in comparison to the Faith of the Seven) then Saudi Arabia or Israel would be closer fits, although the Manichean element to R'hllorism originates in Zoroastrianism (which as you know comes from Persia).

So if you take the faith of 7 to be the Catholic Church, then R'hllorism would be analogous to Islam: the scary monotheistic religion that is coming from the East, and wants to burn all the idols. Also the way Quaithe wears a mask is very similar to the mask that some Arab women wear (not the Niqab but this thing)

http://www.art.com/p...er-her-face.htm

that was the best example from a website that wasn't like this website

http://burqa.de/tagg..._niqab_pictures (this website contains inaccuracies, the women in masks are not Afghani, but Arabs, most like from Yemen or Saudi Arabia)

Which would make Asshai= Saudi Arabia

But if you take the 7 to be analogous to Greco Roman Paganism (with the Old Gods being the Celtic Pantheon) then R'hllorism would be Christianity, which was a scary intolerant semi-monotheistic religion that comes from the East and burns people alive. Asshai would be analogous to Israel... favouring this example is that I doubt the beliefs of Quaith and Melisandre have much in common, just as the religions of Augustine of Canterbury and Rav Simuna have even less in common.

http://en.wikipedia....egorian_mission

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simuna

I get most of that. To me the Red Religion is Zoroasteran in belief with a little "Fear of Islam" being thrown in (though the Westerosi don't actually seem to consider it pagan or inherently evil compared to medieval Christians, I guess it's easier to hide fire-blood sacrifice then full-scale conversion by sword!)

When i meant religions from the east, I meant the idea that Judaism was just a more jewish-friendly retelling of Sumerian tales of Gilgamesh, which were perhaps just retellings of religions even father east (the ancient Hindu epics). There's also conspiracies that Jesus' missing years were spent learning in the mystery schools of India. Not to metion the mystery cults already in Egypt and Greece. [speaking of that, Pythagoras had is own cult, wonder if GRRM will have the Maesters' try their hand at a science-based religion, wouldn't be shocked if they knew more about The Children (druids almost one-to-one in relation to our world] then anyone knows.]

Anyways my main gist is that we'll find out all the religions go back to one source, and even the red priests' R'hllor and The Great Other are corruptions of their true nature in/beyond the Shadowlands, even though it's unlikely anyone in the books will make it that far physically.

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Most things in the world of ASoIaF don't correspond perfectly with things in our world, that's why it's fantasy and not historical fiction. Religion is no exception. One thing I noticed is that the religions shown in the series usually seem to combine the belief system of one real world religion with the societal and cultural role of a different real world religion: The worship of the Old Gods combines elements of Celtic Paganism, Shamanism, and Pantheism. The Faith of the Seven seems to mostly be based on the Catholic Church in terms of its role in Westerosi society, and partially in its dogma as well (the Seven are just different aspects of a single God, similar to the Christian Trinity) but the Seven themselves seem more similar to Greco-Roman deities. Similarly, the Cult of R'hllor has a very Zoroastrianism worldview, but judging by their actions and reputation they have more in common with Muslims during the Crusades or Christians during the time of the Roman Empire. Stannis' conversion to their faith as a means of winning a war for succession stands out as a direct parallel to Emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity. The religion of the Drowned God seems to have the same importance to the Ironborn that Norse Paganism did to the Vikings, but as far as beliefs go it's nothing like any real world religion I can think of.

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I get most of that. To me the Red Religion is Zoroasteran in belief with a little "Fear of Islam" being thrown in (though the Westerosi don't actually seem to consider it pagan or inherently evil compared to medieval Christians, I guess it's easier to hide fire-blood sacrifice then full-scale conversion by sword!)

When i meant religions from the east, I meant the idea that Judaism was just a more jewish-friendly retelling of Sumerian tales of Gilgamesh, which were perhaps just retellings of religions even father east (the ancient Hindu epics). There's also conspiracies that Jesus' missing years were spent learning in the mystery schools of India. Not to metion the mystery cults already in Egypt and Greece. [speaking of that, Pythagoras had is own cult, wonder if GRRM will have the Maesters' try their hand at a science-based religion, wouldn't be shocked if they knew more about The Children (druids almost one-to-one in relation to our world] then anyone knows.]

Anyways my main gist is that we'll find out all the religions go back to one source, and even the red priests' R'hllor and The Great Other are corruptions of their true nature in/beyond the Shadowlands, even though it's unlikely anyone in the books will make it that far physically.

It really gets on my nerves when my partner tries to argue that every single religion in the world derives from Hinduism, and that all religions are one...

and what do you mean by Judaism is just a more Jewish friendly retelling of the sumerian tales...

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It really gets on my nerves when my partner tries to argue that every single religion in the world derives from Hinduism, and that all religions are one...

and what do you mean by Judaism is just a more Jewish friendly retelling of the sumerian tales...

ha! had no idea bout that. Not hinduism specifically but the idea of duality, light needs dark and dark needs light, etc. I think Christianity and maybe Islam are the only ones that differ in that regard (Judaism as well if you don't count the kabballah)

As far as Judaism, Mesopotamia is more accurate then Sumeria. I'm sure you're familiar with Gilgamesh: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_of_Gilgamesh , which is pretty much just a rough draft of Noah's Ark. Then there's the Nephilihim in the Dead Sea Scrolls vis-a-vis the Annunaki of Sumeria, not to mention the whole judaic idea of One God may have been influenced by their time in captivity in Egypt.

Not saying I subscribe to these theories IRL, but I'm sure GRRM is familiar with them enough to weave them into his song if he wants to go deeper into the religion of his world.

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Is there a list of the distinguishing features of the races of ASOIAF? I remember one race having amber skin or something.

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ha! had no idea bout that. Not hinduism specifically but the idea of duality, light needs dark and dark needs light, etc. I think Christianity and maybe Islam are the only ones that differ in that regard (Judaism as well if you don't count the kabballah)

As far as Judaism, Mesopotamia is more accurate then Sumeria. I'm sure you're familiar with Gilgamesh: http://en.wikipedia....ic_of_Gilgamesh , which is pretty much just a rough draft of Noah's Ark. Then there's the Nephilihim in the Dead Sea Scrolls vis-a-vis the Annunaki of Sumeria, not to mention the whole judaic idea of One God may have been influenced by their time in captivity in Egypt.

Not saying I subscribe to these theories IRL, but I'm sure GRRM is familiar with them enough to weave them into his song if he wants to go deeper into the religion of his world.

I would say that the Egyptians took monotheism from the Jews, who are after all the inventors of ethical monotheism (or atleast the people who God chose to speak to), after all the Egyptians, who were incestous idol worshiping polytheists, abandoned monotheism very quickly after Akhenaten died (who could be seen as the Pharoah whom Joshua befriended). the captivity beginning with the subsequent pharoahs who reverted back to Egyptian polytheism.

Christianity and Islam are both incredibly Manichean, atleast in comparison to Judaism (which doesn't regard the Satan as being particularly powerful or having independent agency).

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Whilst it's firmly established that the Summer Islanders and Sothorosi are black, I keep finding myself confused as to the ethnic and racial descriptions of all the different various peoples in the world of ice and fire. For example, I was under the impression that the Lysene had very pale skin and light hair, but they have cast a black actor to Saladhor Saan for the TV show?

I guess they wanted to have at least a cool character played by a black actor, so they picked the pirate prince from overseas as the least disruptive option (if they had made a black guy into a lord or knight, they would have had to explain it, but, a foreign pirate captain? not so difficult).

Regarding race, there seem to be some ethnicities in ASoIaF that don't even exist in the real world, most notably the Qartheen and Ghiscari peoples. We've also yet to see any people with Native American or East Asian features, though there also seems to be a very large part of the world that we don't know anything about.

Yes, I think G.R.R. Martin has wisely avoided making every race from his book a copycat of a real-world race; I think he has purposely made the cruel ghiscarian slavers red-haired and the decadent qartheen milk-skinned as to avoid being labeled as racist (their cultures seem kind of orient-inspired, so, if he had made them racially oriental too, he would have been accused of being racist against arabs, or persians or hindus or somebody else...).

I would say that the Egyptians took monotheism from the Jews, who are after all the inventors of ethical monotheism (or atleast the people who God chose to speak to), after all the Egyptians, who were incestous idol worshiping polytheists, abandoned monotheism very quickly after Akhenaten died (who could be seen as the Pharoah whom Joshua befriended). the captivity beginning with the subsequent pharoahs who reverted back to Egyptian polytheism.

Christianity and Islam are both incredibly Manichean, atleast in comparison to Judaism (which doesn't regard the Satan as being particularly powerful or having independent agency).

There are monotheistic religions that are quite older than judaism; as a matter of fact, many primitive tribes from America, Africa and Oceania are mostly monotheistic. Many pre-pharaonic egyptians were almost monotheistic themselves (or at least had a very powerful creator/great god far above the other deities), but when Egypt was unified, all the gods where clumsily grouped into a single pantheon (that´s the reason they had several creator gods, several Sun gods and several supreme gods; their religion was in fact a mix of several different ones).

What Ankhenaton did was to say: "From now on, MY favorite great creator and supreme god is to be considered the right one, and all your great creator supreme gods are fake" instead of allowing the rival cults to coexist side by side. Aton/Atum was a very different god from YHWH; the latter was always described as strongly anthropomorfied (his hands, eyes, breath, feelings and so on are mentioned) while Atum was literally the physical Sun, a shining ball of light without humanoid features. As a matter of fact, Akhenaten ruled Egypt around 1353-1336 a. C., almost a hundred years after the habiru or hebrew invaded Canaan about 1420 a.C. and about two hundred years after the XVIII dinasty started to push the semitic colonists of northen Egypt out of their kingdom (at the end of the hyksos dinasties, who where probably far kin to the semitic habiru).

The Egyptian religion was not as debased as it has been presented by christian and jew authors: It had a quite complex phylosophy baking it, and had some good ethical and moral foundations: They thought there were a number of sins to avoid and good actions to do in order to reach a good afterlife, and about the time of Setna Khaemuese, son of Ramses II and high priest of Path, the belief that people could enjoy a happy afterlife despite not having the proper funeral rituals started to develop: look for the tale of Horus Siosiris, and how he explains his father Setna it was virtue, not birth or riches, what makes you gain a good afterlife.

The egiptians practiced sibling incest, that´s true, but that was thousands of years before Mendel discovered his laws on heredity (at that time people still thought diseases were produced by curses or the jealously of the gods; they knew nothing of recessive traits and endogamy); christians, jews and muslims all were happiliy practicing first cousin marriage during the XIX century and later, sometimes for several consecutive generations, without realizing the dangers of it

All of the three main monotheistic religions have been influenced by Zoroastrism to some degree, Judaism included. As for Manicheism, it´s a more moderm religion than even Christianism; Mani was born 216 years after Jesus, and his followers were prosecuted by the christians when they reached Europe. Manicheism has certainly influenced the three monotheistic religions, Christianism included, but it´s influence was mostly a folk thing before the Reformation; the mainstream Catholics official doctrine originally was that the devil had little power over believers, and even the Spanish Inquisition dismissed withcraft as a folktale (look for the Edict of Silence). After the Reformation, some of the new protestant churches took a very rationalist view of the matter, outright rejecting that the devil had any power at all, while other ones become more devil-obssesed and manichean, and started to see demons behind every little sin...

Eblis/Shaitan is almost as irrelevant to Islam as he is to Judaism

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I guess they wanted to have at least a cool character played by a black actor, so they picked the pirate prince from overseas as the least disruptive option (if they had made a black guy into a lord or knight, they would have had to explain it, but, a foreign pirate captain? not so difficult). Yes, I think G.R.R. Martin has wisely avoided making every race from his book a copycat of a real-world race; I think he has purposely made the cruel ghiscarian slavers red-haired and the decadent qartheen milk-skinned as to avoid being labeled as racist (their cultures seem kind of orient-inspired, so, if he had made them racially oriental too, he would have been accused of being racist against arabs, or persians or hindus or somebody else...). There are monotheistic religions that are quite older than judaism; as a matter of fact, many primitive tribes from America, Africa and Oceania are mostly monotheistic. Many pre-pharaonic egyptians were almost monotheistic themselves (or at least had a very powerful creator/great god far above the other deities), but when Egypt was unified, all the gods where clumsily grouped into a single pantheon (that´s the reason they had several creator gods, several Sun gods and several supreme gods; their religion was in fact a mix of several different ones). What Ankhenaton did was to say: "From now on, MY favorite great creator and supreme god is to be considered the right one, and all your great creator supreme gods are fake" instead of allowing the rival cults to coexist side by side. Aton/Atum was a very different god from YHWH; the latter was always described as strongly anthropomorfied (his hands, eyes, breath, feelings and so on are mentioned) while Atum was literally the physical Sun, a shining ball of light without humanoid features. As a matter of fact, Akhenaten ruled Egypt around 1353-1336 a. C., almost a hundred years after the habiru or hebrew invaded Canaan about 1420 a.C. and about two hundred years after the XVIII dinasty started to push the semitic colonists of northen Egypt out of their kingdom (at the end of the hyksos dinasties, who where probably far kin to the semitic habiru). The Egyptian religion was not as debased as it has been presented by christian and jew authors: It had a quite complex phylosophy baking it, and had some good ethical and moral foundations: They thought there were a number of sins to avoid and good actions to do in order to reach a good afterlife, and about the time of Setna Khaemuese, son of Ramses II and high priest of Path, the belief that people could enjoy a happy afterlife despite not having the proper funeral rituals started to develop: look for the tale of Horus Siosiris, and how he explains his father Setna it was virtue, not birth or riches, what makes you gain a good afterlife. The egiptians practiced sibling incest, that´s true, but that was thousands of years before Mendel discovered his laws on heredity (at that time people still thought diseases were produced by curses or the jealously of the gods; they knew nothing of recessive traits and endogamy); christians, jews and muslims all were happiliy practicing first cousin marriage during the XIX century and later, sometimes for several consecutive generations, without realizing the dangers of it All of the three main monotheistic religions have been influenced by Zoroastrism to some degree, Judaism included. As for Manicheism, it´s a more moderm religion than even Christianism; Mani was born 216 years after Jesus, and his followers were prosecuted by the christians when they reached Europe. Manicheism has certainly influenced the three monotheistic religions, Christianism included, but it´s influence was mostly a folk thing before the Reformation; the mainstream Catholics official doctrine originally was that the devil had little power over believers, and even the Spanish Inquisition dismissed withcraft as a folktale (look for the Edict of Silence). After the Reformation, some of the new protestant churches took a very rationalist view of the matter, outright rejecting that the devil had any power at all, while other ones become more devil-obssesed and manichean, and started to see demons behind every little sin... Eblis/Shaitan is almost as irrelevant to Islam as he is to Judaism
Sorry to get off topic mods but... Since all God asks of us as non Jews is seven things, with a prohibition of idolatry being amongst them*, I wouldn't be surprised if primitive people around the world where monotheistic, after all God would not ask of of something that is impossible (like accepting Jesus Christ as your personal saviour if you are living on an Island in the South Pacific 500 years before the missionaries will show up), now whether they became monotheistic 2 thousand years ago, or 2 weeks before the missionaires showed up cannot be known, since they have no writing system.... Zoroastrianism is younger than Judaism by a good many years. Rant: Please just admit that God chose the little money grubbing hook noses with their annoying legalistic dietary laws** and loving home lives***. Not the deeply spiritual sister f-ckers with elaborate burial rituals, or deeply spiritual Hindus and Buddhists who run off and meditate in mountains, starving themselves and abstaining from dirty women and annoying children... God cares about actions. Failing to wash, being celibate, whipping oneself, smoking pot, meditating and yoga, help nobody...they do not help you get closer to God. However leaving grain out, freeing your prisoner of war/slave after seven years, killing animals humanely etc will help you get closer to God as will eating nice food and having sex with your partner and raising a family... Since God created the human race (and no I don't believe he did it in 7 days), we have an instinct towards monotheism, even the Greeks, who were pretty foul antisemites, admitted that their was something philosophically appealing about monotheism. Unfortunately many people a) have a mistaken belief that fasting continously, self harm, celibacy, running off into a forest and being a hermit, failing to bathe and growing long matted hair, smoking pot and entering into some sort of dream state, meditating for hours on end and yoga will bring them closer to the divine. b] since Jews do none of these supposedly spiritually beneficial things, how could those "little money grubbing hook noses with their annoying legalistic dietary laws" possibly have invented an awesome concept like monotheism... it must have come from another people, a more refined, spiritual people, because it's so much easier to feel spiritual or to relegate a godly life to ascetics whilst behaving like an animal oneself, then to act well or to be both godly and whilst living in the world with a wife and kids. Btw the Muslims I know seem obsessed with Shaitan, but then they like anything that allows them to avoid personal responsibility.

end rant

*the other 6 are no murder,no stealing, no sexual immorality, no blasphemy, no animal cruelt and having a functional justice system... **which is the antisemitic stereotype *** which is the thing that freaks like Saint John Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria, John of Capistrano, are secretly jealous of and frightened of... I mean how dare people have a loving relationship with their wives and have a loving relationship with God?

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