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References and Homages

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Wow. It's been a while since I was here. Anyway, for another biblical reference (which might have been brought up before), Jacob was born clutching the heel of Esau, who he ended up betraying for his birthright. Jaime was born holding the heel of Cersei. Foreshadowing of Jaime betraying Cersei (arguably already happened) and receiving the right to Casterly Rock?

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Here's something of an homage in reverse. I just read the Spider Robinson/Robert Heinlien book Variable Star. There's a couple named George R Mardsen and London McBee. And both GRRM and Parris are acknowledged in the afterword by Spider Robinson, so no doubt it is intentional.

SPOILER: Variable Star

George R. Mardsen dies a fairly brutal and unexpected death, which at first made me question just how good a friend he may be to Spider Robinson, but on second thought is probably a further homage to GRRM's high body count writing style.

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I always wondered if Dany was (at least) partly inspired by Marion Zimmer Bradley's character Dorilys from her Darkover novel STORMQUEEN (1978), both are called Stormborn, because they were born during a heavy storm. Dorilys' mother dies while birthing her and she is married I think to her half-brother whom she kills in fury.

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The Doom of Valyria always puts me in mind of the Fall of Numenor. Smoking sea, etc. You might even say Aegon and his sisters are like Elendil and his sons, but that might be a bit of a stretch (especially considering the methods of 'Conquest').

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The Doom of Valyria always puts me in mind of the Fall of Numenor. Smoking sea, etc. You might even say Aegon and his sisters are like Elendil and his sons, but that might be a bit of a stretch (especially considering the methods of 'Conquest').

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These historical events seem strangely familar to me, does anybody have any more.

Genghis Khan executed many of the inhabitants and executed Inalchuq by pouring molten silver into his ears and eyes, as retribution for his actions.

(taken from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genghis_Khan)

Tyrion probably read about The Seige of constaninople to get the idea about the chain

"Emperor Leo III provided the tactical solution in the form of the famous barrier chain. Made of giant wooden links that were joined by immense nails and heavy iron shackles, the chain could be deployed in an emergency by means of a ship hauling it across the Golden Horn from the Kentenarion Tower in the south to the Castle of Galata on the north bank. Securely anchored on both ends, with its length guarded by Byzantine warships at anchor in the harbor, the great chain was a formidable obstacle and a vital element of the city's defenses."

As for using napalm that was used as well

"On two occasions, from 674 to 677, and again in 717-18, Arab armies besieged Constantinople by land and sea. Superior military organization, the leadership of Leo III (the Isaurian) and the timely intervention of one of history's most decisive weapons, a medieval form of napalm dubbed "Greek fire," enabled the Byzantines to weather the storm. The cost to both sides was high. Byzantium lost most of her territory south of the Taurus Mountains and much of the remainder of the empire lay devastated. The Arabs lost untold thousands of men through futile attacks against Constantinople's defenses, as well as a series of disastrous defeats on land and sea. Many more perished of disease and cold in dire encampments before the Land Walls. Of the 200,000 Muslims who laid siege to Constantinople in 717, only 30,000 crossed back into Syria the following year. "

Both of these are taken from

http://www.historynet.com/wars_conflicts/a...rs/3025281.html

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We know from GRRM that the Red Wedding was inspired by "the Black Dinner" or something, where one Scottish lord invited a rival to dinner and subsequently murdered him. It's there somewhere in So Spake Martin.

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Harbor chains weren't unique to Constantinople, either. I believe medieval Tyre had something similar, and likely many other fortified harbors.

GRRM is a student of history and fully admits to repackaging good ideas.

Edited by Bazzlebane

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There is a pinned thread on this topic in General that contains many such historical and literary (well, for a braod definition of 'literary' ;)) references. I'm moving this there. :)

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GRRM uses the number 3 throughout the books. This could be an idea taken from the classic Sci-fi book by Arthur Clarke, Rendezvous with Rama. In that book it is shown repeated that the "Ramans do everything in 3's." Meaning there is always a repetition of things 3 times.

In ASOIAF, there also is a repetition of things happening 3 times. I'll list some. There are probably many more.

  • The Targaryen sigil - The dragon has 3 heads
    Dany has 3 dragons
    There are 3 dragonriders.
    Dany has 3 treacheries in the prophesies
    Dany has 3 mounts in the prophesies
    Dany has 3 handmaids
    Dany has 3 bloodriders
    3 people from Quarth come to meet Dany and her dragons (also referring to the 3 wise men coming to Jesus when he was born.)
    Dany leaves Quarth in 3 ships
    Dany conquers 3 cities

    3 main characters have their mothers die at childbirth - Tyrion, Dany, and Jon (assuming Lyanna is his mother)
    King Aerys has 3 children - Rhaegar, Vicerys, Dany
    Rhaegar has 3 children (assumiing Jon is his child) - Rhaenys, Aegon, Jon
    Tywin Lannister has 3 children
    Cercei has 3 children
    Arya has 3 wishes from Jaqen and there were 3 men chained in the wagon.

On second thought I'm not sure if the number of children is so significant as other Lords have different numbers.? But plenty of the number "3"; especially for the Targaryens.

Edited by Hedge Knight

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The number '3' is pretty culturally significant generally in the West: consider the Holy Trinity, fairy tales and other stories (there are always three princes, three wishes, three witches: Peter denies Jesus three times, etc.). Whole books have been written about this in anthropology. So I'm fairly sure this is not drawn from a specific source. Particularly as to some degree GRRM seems to have deliberately used seven rather than three as a culturally significant number in Westeros.

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The number 3 as you have pointed out has many predesessors for references. That I can accept. Many authors, including GRRM use these age-old concepts and weave them into their writings. The thing about Rendezvous with Rama is that in the very last paragraph, the researchers realize that the Ramans do everything in 3's. Their first space probe is leaving our solar system, but they realize that they can expect 2 more to come in the future.

If we apply logic to ASOIAF, then we can speculate/predict some possibilities that have been hinted at in ASOIAF. If things happen in 3's, then it is most probable that:

1. Rhaegar had a 3rd child....probably with Lyanna....and it is probably Jon.

2. Jon switched 1 baby (Mance's) to save its life. Perhaps 2 others have been/or will be switched. One theory is that Rhaegar's son, Aegon was switched and is still alive. Another theory, though far more crackpot, is that Mirri Maz Duur switched Dany's baby and left a dragon fetus in its place. (I think that was Nightflyer, but really, when one thinks about it, it is hard for me to believe that Dany went into the tent with a very alive and kicking human baby and gave birth to a dead dragon fetus). But if not this baby, then another one somewhere in the series could pop up.

This isnt a post to debate the specific speculations raised above, but to point out a theme in the books. Look for things/events/concepts in ASOIAF to happen 3 times.

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Well, I agree with you there... but is it due to a deliberate reference/homage to Rama? Almost certainly not.

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The Doom of Valyria always puts me in mind of the Fall of Numenor. Smoking sea, etc. You might even say Aegon and his sisters are like Elendil and his sons, but that might be a bit of a stretch (especially considering the methods of 'Conquest').

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So many references to add, and so little time. :-)

Let me start with my favorite, the inspiration for Bran.

An obscure 1940s novel called Nightmare Alley, written by William Lindsay Gresham, tells the story of the rise and fall of a Stanton (Stan) Carlisle. He is one of the most despicable figures of literature, who becomes a charlatan in the spiritualism craze of early 20th century America. Now, onto the details.

Here are some interesting quotes and events that should seem very familiar to a reader of ASOIAF.

"He peered further over. Two people were lying on an Indian Blanket and with a hot rush Stan knew that one was a man and the other was a woman and this was what men and women did secretly together that everybody stopped talking about when he came around... Curiosity leaped inside of him at the thought of spying on them when they didn't know he was there..." Upon Stan finding his mother in an affair. If you think back to AGOT, you should remember what seen Bran comes upon.

"[stan thinking] Magic is all right, but if only I knew human nature like Zeena. She has the kind of magic that ought to take anybody right to the top. It's a convincer--that act of hers."

"Stan, boy, you sure done noble. I always knew you were a mentalist. Imagine that--giving a cold reading to a cop and getting away with it! Oh, I just love you." After using his powers of "see" the future and present of a police officer going to close down a carnival. Stan is a magician at the carnival who does readings for the locals.

"They don't understand, my boy. I know why you have to present it as second sight . They're not ready to receive the glorious truth of survival. But our day will come, my boy. It will come. Develop your gift--the young lady's mediumship. Cherish it, for it is a fragile blossom. But what a soul-stirring thing it is... this precious gift of mediumship, this golden bridge between us and those who have joined the ranks of the liberated, there to dwell on our ascending planes of spiritual life." After one magic performance on the road, an onlooker at the show talks to Stan about how he imagines the secret is Stan's wife's true identity as a medium. This marks Stans turn from magic into spiritualism, the belief his act lets him communicate with the dead.

These are a few quotes, but you can't even grasp the entire similarities between the two characters without reading the novel. Bran is the anti-Stan. Martin loved the character from Nightmare Alley, but chose to make him good by adding a few alterations. While Stan remembers the traumatic experience of his mother's betrayal, Bran was blessed with forgetting his like experience. Stan is a fraud, while Bran can do real magic. But both were captivated by the supernatural as kids, but while Stan lived in the "real world", Bran grew up in Westeros.

Artanaro

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Fenris, of course is one of three monsters born to Loki and Angrboða. The others are the world-serpent, Jörmungandr, and the death-goddess, Hel. We have wolves and dragons aplenty in aSoIaF, but I don't see a family with Hel as their sigil.

It's possible. aGoT was released August 6, 1996. Jordan's book 4, The Shadow Rising (where the Car'a'carn is first explained) was released on September 15, 1992. Still, Mongolia and Genghis Khan provide strong historical antecedents for Drogo and Rhaego. Notably, Jordan's Aiel clans live in a desert and have no horses. Further, both aSoIaF and the Wheel of Time have a mysterious nation in the utmost east that smacks of China.

Edited by Mykael Clegane

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GRRM has cited Hadrian's Wall as the primary influence for his Wall. :)

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When I first read AGoT I thought it to be a more or less direct representation of medieval Britain. Of course I know it isnt a direct representation but there are many similarities. We all know about the geographical similarities and of course the wall and what have you but lately Ive been trying to figure if the 7 houses represented specific ancient powers. Im just a speculating teenager though so dont show me up to bad. I was thinking that: Stark=Scott. Tyrell=French. Martel=Spain. Lannister=English. Greyjoy=Viking. Baratheon=Welsh?. Tully=Also seems nordic. Arryn=German?. Also I thought Targaryen reminded of Rome. Andals and First Men possibly saxons and normans or something. Again this is just teenage speculation who bases all his history off of Sid Meiers ;P. Im sure Im far off here but anyhow thats what Im thinking.

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