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Winter's Knight

A Unifying Theory of Magic In ASoIaF

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There are six types of magic, five of which have been used by humans on-screen:

1.Earth:

  • Patroned by the Old Gods. Magical race associated with it are the Children of the Forest
  • Likely passed onto humans through intermarriage with the CotF.
  • Prophetic dreams or greendreams are one example of this magic.
  • Warging is another.
  • Patron animal: the direwolf
  • Connecting network: the weirwood

2.Fire:

  • ​Patron God: Rh'ilor. No magical race associated with it has been mentioned thus far.
  • Prophetic dreams or Dragon dreams are one example. Glamour by rubies are another.
  • There have been hints that skin-changing with dragons is another-Dany's increased depression after her dragons are chained and Drogon's appearing after she snaps at the fighting pits for instance.
  • Patron animal: dragons
  • Connecting network: fire.

3. Air

  • Seems to exist only in myths thus far and in legends of the Ironborn.
  • The above is an interesting point when one notes that the Iron Isles are on the other side of the continent from Storm's End, where the Storm God is said to have been defeated.
  • It has been suggested to me that the patron animal is possibly the Griffin.

4.Water:

  • Patron God: The Drowned God
  • Patron animal: the Krawken
  • Connecting network: the sea-Aeron listens for the voice of the Drowned God in the waves.
  • Patchface's prophecies are another form this magic can take.

5.Ice:

  • Associated with the Others, Not yet seen in humans-possibly because the two races have never mingled?

6.Dark/Blood Magic:

  • Does not appear to have a patron God or animal but needs to be combined with one of the other four.
  • Requires a sacrifice-wiling or not-from another human.
  • Examples: birth of the dragons, Varys' castration.

The Source of Magic

It seems that there exists a source of power or magic beyond the Wall that send out pulses of power which may be manipulated by those who are born with the ability to do so. This ability seems to be in-born-except in the case of dark or blood or shadow magic, which is probably why it requires another's sacrifice and chants.

The Effects of Trauma

Those who live beyond the Wall have full exposure to the Magic and begin to show their abilites early in life, while those who live south of the Wall appear to do so only after experiencing severe trauma. Examples include: the Stark children, Patchface and Aeron.

The Night's Watch and Magic

There is one universal source of magic North of the Wall that fuels any and all magical phenomena such as wargs, dragons and direwolves.The Night's Watch acts as a shield or forcefield holding the magic away from the rest of the world.

Observations:

  1. Crirca 50-100AL Jaehearys disbands the Faith militia.
  2. Logically speaking, that results in a large number of unattached men. Assume that a majority are sent to the Wall.
  3. This strengethens the Watch and coincidentally, direwolves are not seen again for two hundred years.

Also:

  1. Around 129 AL.there are plenty of healthy dragons.
  2. After 131 AL and the Dance of the Dragons, the dragons start getting sickly.
  3. By 150 AL, in nineteen years, the last dragon dies.
  4. After the first Dance, there would've been another large infusion of men at the Wall.

and

The direwolves, the Others and dragons return just when the Watch is at it's weakest.

There have always been wargs North of the Wall.

Mel feels that her power is strongest at the Wall.

Comment:

This is further evidence for Apple Martini's theory that the Night's Watch is Lightbringer and that water,lion and Nissa Nissa in the original story stand for lands, glory and love respectively.

Azor Ahai and Bloodlines

Following my idea that humans can use magic because they inter-married with other magical races, it follows that Jon Snow is more powerful than most humans because he is the child of two families both of which are capable of different forms-earth and fire-giving him the potential to master three forms, if one includes dark magic.

Thoughts?

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Dragonglass would be the fire network, wouldnt it?

Bran can see the past,present and future through the weirwood, just as Mel does through her flames-communication is another matter.

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I'm not really convinced these types of magic are inherently different from one another, except shadowbinding perhaps. If we examine the Reeds' vow to the Starks, we see earth, water, fire and ice are all there.

ACoK, Bran:

“To Winterfell we pledge the faith of Greywater,” they said together. “Hearth and heart and harvest we yield up to you, my lord. Our swords and spears and arrows are yours to command. Grant mercy to our weak, help to our helpless, and justice to all, and we shall never fail you.”

“I swear it by earth and water,” said the boy in green.

“I swear it by bronze and iron,” his sister said.

“We swear it by ice and fire,” they finished together.

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Interesting ideas, although I think the divisions are a lot more fluid than you're giving them credit for. Additionally, I don't think we've seen Aeron Damphair as a practitioner of magic in any meaningful capacity thus far.

I'd make this the short list of people who (so far) in the story have demonstrated the ability to practice some kind of magic:

  1. Mirri Maz Duur (shadowbinding, blood magic)
  2. Melisandre (shadowbinding, fire-seeing, glamor)
  3. Quaithe (glass candles - discipline unknown, far-seeing)
  4. Thoros of Myr (fire-seeing, kiss of life, igniting blades - by extension, Beric Dondarrion)
  5. Bran Stark (warging, greenseeing, greendreams)
  6. Jojen Reed (greendreams)
  7. Jon Snow (warging)
  8. Arya Stark (warging)
  9. Moqorro (fire-seeing, fire-healing)
  10. Varamyr (warging)
  11. Orell (warging)
  12. Borroq (warging)
  13. Bloodraven (warging, greenseeing)
  14. Benerro (glamor/conjuring)
  15. Faceless Men (glamor)
  16. Warlocks of Qarth/Undying (disciplines unknown)
  17. The Ghost of High Heart (greendreams?)
  18. The cutpurse firemage of Qarth (conjuring/glamor)

Possibilities:

  1. Euron's warlocks (blood magic)
  2. Maggy the Frog (blood magic)
  3. Jenny of Oldstones (discipline unknown)
  4. Mother Mole (discipline unknown)
  5. Morna White Mask (discipline unknown)
  6. Shiera Seastar (discipline unknown)
  7. The Farwynds (discipline unknown)
  8. Various Mormonts (warging?)
  9. Patchface (seeing - discipline unknown)

I think we can safely say that, excluding greenseeing and warging, most of the magic we've seen performed in the series is transactional. A practitioner makes an offering of blood or a living being and that offering acts as fuel to drive the spell. This seems to be the central theme of shadow magic rituals, blood magic, and fire magic. To me, that suggests an external source of power for those magics. These disciplines all seem to be ones that can be learned and mastered academically if the "tide" of magic is high enough in the world to permit such things.

Warging, as I mentioned briefly, seems to be different in that it's an inborn capacity that seems to use the self as a source of power. From Bloodraven, we've learned that greenseeing power can seemingly be amplified by weirwood paste and by becoming entwined with weirwood trees.

There are several disciplines of magic mentioned that we have yet to see demonstrated by anyone -- Moonsinging (especially birthing songs), stormsingers, spellsingers, and aeromancers (all mentioned in Game), spell-forgers, Valyrian rock-fusing techniques (like those used to build Dragonstone, the Black Wall, and their roads). Perhaps these disciplines are only practiced in certain areas of the world, as many seem to be associated with Asshai. Perhaps others require a higher "level" of magic in the world in order to function.

Finally, there are hints that the Faith may have once had a relationship with magic, through one of its militant branches. In Feast, the Warrior's Sons are described like this: "They were the Swords. Holy men, ascetics, fanatics, sorcerers, dragonslayers, demonhunters . . . there were many tales about them. But all agree that they were implacable in their hatred for all enemies of the Holy Faith." These may just be folktales, but they show that the history of the Faith is not without accusations that some of its practioners had access to magic.

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The Faceless Men are not just using glamours. What they do with the faces is in addition to the glamours they know, but it is clear there is actual physical transformation going on. Perhaps that is a sort of blood magic.

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Interesting. Consider a significance of the red comet bleeding -- consider a comet made of rock (earth) and ice, but evaporating as it approaches the sun (fire), thus trailing water.

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An addition to the list of Magic practitioners:

Tobho Mott of Qohor, the armourer-smith at the pinnacle of sword street to whom Gendry was apprenticed claimed to use spells in the reworking of Valyrian steel...

(Though he could simply be trying to oversell his skills & services, we have other indications that Valyrian steel and the Dragonflame and Valyrian artistry in general involve something special, like magick. The Valyrians are the great sorcerors of history).

Tobho Mott did rework Ice into two blades.

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There is only one type of magic - Blood Magic.

All magic is powered by the life force of living things. Some use directly sacrificed life force, and some use stored up life force, such as by the weirwood network, which absorbs the life force of all natural creatures that die in the North.

Fire Magic uses the life force of living creatures that were burned to death.

The Others use the life force of living creatures that were frozen to death.

Thus, all magic has one unifying factor - life force that is sacrificed to power magical spells.

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I wonder more stormsingers/aeromancers.
According to appendix, Bloodraven is a dreamwalker. I think that means he can enter someone's dreams.
I think Quaithe is a dreamwalker too.
I'm pretty sure that glamor is a shadowbinding skill.

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There is only one type of magic - Blood Magic.

All magic is powered by the life force of living things. Some use directly sacrificed life force, and some use stored up life force, such as by the weirwood network, which absorbs the life force of all natural creatures that die in the North.

Fire Magic uses the life force of living creatures that were burned to death.

The Others use the life force of living creatures that were frozen to death.

Thus, all magic has one unifying factor - life force that is sacrificed to power magical spells.

I like your theory. By far the most logical one I've ever seen. Magic in ASoIaF has been one of the two things that bother me in ASoIaF, because I couldn't think of any logic in it. (The other botherer is the shape of the continents. Westeros is a high rectangle, Essos is a wide rectangle.)

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Free Northman

I like your theory. By far the most logical one I've ever seen. Magic in ASoIaF has been one of the two things that bother me in ASoIaF, because I couldn't think of any logic in it. (The other botherer is the shape of the continents. Westeros is a high rectangle, Essos is a wide rectangle.)

I think this is the perfect explanation for how magic works in asoiaf. Like war, it gains more power the more blood is spilled. And with Rhaego and Drogo's blood to add to the supply, it can grow quickly,

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If all magic is "bloodmagic" (a result of sacrificing someone) than why does the "amount" of magic fluctuate?

Going back to OP - if it's about the Wall, shouldn't there be a proximity issue? Like, people from the North can somehow use "more" magic than say Danny? And isn't the Wall itself a bit magical? It seems a bit odd to use magic as a barrier for magic :/

I do like the idea that there is a common reason for all types of magic, but i think the Others can equally be another form of magic that canges together (rather than before) with all the other types.

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There is only one type of magic - Blood Magic.

All magic is powered by the life force of living things. Some use directly sacrificed life force, and some use stored up life force, such as by the weirwood network, which absorbs the life force of all natural creatures that die in the North.

Fire Magic uses the life force of living creatures that were burned to death.

The Others use the life force of living creatures that were frozen to death.

Thus, all magic has one unifying factor - life force that is sacrificed to power magical spells.

It always seemed to me that Blood Magic is what allowed "normal" people to cast spells. Those that have "magical" blood, such as Starks and Targs, don't seem to have much problem using magic without blood sacrifice. Folks like Mel on the other hand, need "magic" blood for their spells to work. It just so happens that kings tend to have the type of blood they need, since the ruling families of Westeros have likely made some type of blood bond with true magic users like COTF.

To me, life force is something different. I see some correlations between the life force and the strength of a particular magic, particularly if the NW is Lightbringer theory is correct.

I could see how non-magical humans could perceive blood magic as the only true source of magic, since it seems to take some kind of blood offering for their spells to work.

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What magic we've actually witnessed so far:

1) Possession (warging/wights)

2) Scrying/Projection (Weirwood Network/Fires/Dreams)

3) Illusion (Glamor/Faceless Men/House of the Undying)

4) Conjuring (Fire Ladders/??)

5) Healing/Resurrection (Moqorro/Thoros)

6) Divination (Quaithe, Maggy the Frog)

7) Summoning (Shadow Babies/Dragons?/White Walkers?) - Requires Blood/Life Energy Sacrifice

As you see, most of these types of magic can be done across more than one element, so I don't think magic here is elemental at all. Elements merely provide some sort of energy source or conduit for the magic, blood being the most powerful source of energy.

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I think magic in the ASOIAF world is the product of various supernatural forces which influence the world. These forces are in conflict with others, with humans perceiving the conflict as a dispute between deities, such as the natural conflict between Ice and Fire (R'hllor and the Great Other) or between Sea and Sky (The Drowned God and the Storm God). It may even be the case that some of these more significant forces are actually embodied by some kind of abstract sentience such as a God, but not one that human minds could ever really comprehend. Magic is the result of humans finding ways to tap into and draw on these forces, in ways that allow them to effect reality, though rarely without some kind of cost. THe different types of magic seem to depend on these forces. Abilities don't seem to be restricted to certain forces though, as the Red Priests can manipulate and use life just as the Blood Maegi can. The three main types we have seen are:

Skinchanging/Greensight: Skinchanging and Greensight seem to have originally been present in the Children of the forest. The Children had a highly symbiotic relationship with nature, especially with trees, animals and the Earth. This brought them closer to the natural forces of those aspects of nature and they developed the unique magics. When the First Men began to share their religion, they began to show similar powers.

Priests of R'hllor: Several Priests of R'hllor have shown supernatural abilities in the series. Rh'llor seems to be the embodiment of life, light and fireMelissandre glimpses the future in the flames, is immune to cold, poisons and is also said to have some degree of control over fire. Moqorro heals Victarion, glimpses the future and sacrifices the Maester to bring wind. Thoros of Myr resurrects Beric Dondarion several times from death. The powers of the Red Priests have increased greatly in recent years, coinciding with the apparent return of The Others. Perhaps the conflict between R'hllor and the Great Other (or the forces they represent) is reaching a peak, as it did 8000 years ago, and so R'hllor's followers grow in power to aid in the fight. This would make sense, as the series is called A Song of Ice and Fire. It would be understandable if a conflict between Ice and Fire is a constant in the world.

Blood Magic: Life, Blood and Death also seem to be powerful forces in the ASOIAF world. Mirri Maz Durr sacrifices a Horse and Danaery's child to keep Drogo alive, the Maegi known as Maggy sees Cersei's future by a drop of blood, the Faceless Men use blood and the faces of the Dead to conduct assassinations. To me it seems like the forces of Life, Blood and Death need to remain in balance. Mirri Maz Durr needs to trade the life of the Drogo's horse to save him, Thoros brings back Beric but not completely and the Faceless Men are not biased in who they assassinate. I think Blood magic encompasses magic that involves the whole life/death circle. Qyburn ressurrecting Gregor is probably an art similar in origin to the Maegi keeping Drogo alive.

Other magics seem to be practices that tap into multiple forces, using powers from different aspects of the world. These seem to have once been powerful, perhaps because they used multiple different abilities. However they have grown weaker over the years, perhaps because they are not tied to specific forces or Deities.

Valyrian Magic: Valyrian magic is described as having been 'rooted in blood and fire'. It seems like Valyrian magic was part Rh'llor fire magic and also Blood Magic. Possibly the Valyrians were originally followers of Rh'llor in some form. This would explain how they managed to tame dragons (the essence of fire). It seems they began to tap into blood magic, to increase their power. Perhaps the Doom occurred because the Valyrians got greedy and arrogant, giving themselves the power to twist and corrupt the forces of life, leading Rh'llor to cast their empire down.

Alchemists: The Alchemists are said to have once been able to transmute metals and conjure creatures of flame, as well as Wildfire creation. Their power has waned and now wildfire is all that is left to them. This suggests that Wildfire is perhaps not so magical a process, with a more sciency aspect to it.

Warlocks of Qarth: The Warlocks seem to have powers to extend life unnaturally as in the case of the Undying, which suggests some form of Life magic.

I think magic in the Asoiaf world is a question of powerful and abstract arcane forces. Some may be embodied by actual sentient entities, but even if they are, the entities would probably be beyond the comprehension of mortals.

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Azor Ahai and Bloodlines

Following my idea that humans can use magic because they inter-married with other magical races, it follows that Jon Snow is more powerful than most humans because he is the child of two families both of which are capable of different forms-earth and fire-giving him the potential to master three forms, if one includes dark magic.

Thoughts?

Jon Snow is the Avatar!!!!! :leaving:

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