*Reminder: Full spoilers from all Martin stories, past and present, are openly discussed here. Be prepared 🙂
“In the annals of the Further East, it was the Blood Betrayal, as his usurpation is named, that ushered in the age of darkness called the Long Night. Despairing of the evil that had been unleashed on earth, the Maiden-Made-of-Light turned her back upon the world, and the Lion of Night came forth in all his wroth to punish the wickedness of men.”
Two aspects of the same god.
Expecting the Lannisters to be the only “lions” in the story? The thing is, Martin seems to have established various totem animals to each of his characters. The magical sigil is just the foundation stone to the animal tower.
For instance with Queen Alysanne George R. R. Martin has stated that “You might consider Alysanne as the Eleanor of Aquitaine of Westeros, and model her on Katherine Hepburn’s portrayal of Eleanor in the film The Lion in Winter.” Being a lion runs through Daenerys’ blood.
- Queen Eleanor (Female, 61) – Eleanor is the wife of Henry and a beautiful woman of hot temperament, and great authority and presence. She has been a queen for nearly 46 years and is thoroughly capable of holding her own in a man’s world. She schemes against Henry and loves him intensely at the same time. She has contempt for her children but is not willing to see them harmed.
For this section, I would highly recommend reading both George RR Martin’s cautionary tale
- In the Lost Lands, a short enough story to read in about an hour or so, and the scenes between Daenerys and Drogo going out to find a white lion hrakkar is amazingly similar to this story… including being careful what you wish for in the long run. You will also recognize the other elements in the story In the Lost Lands that are used again in Daenerys’ Dothraki sea experiences, as well as a skosh for the Faceless Men (but very little), as well as plenty that directly relates to the various “fire people” such as Cersei and other R’hllorists in ASOIAF.
- And Seven Times Never Kill Man
- The Glass Flower
And as we read through ASOIAF, readers start to piece together the notion that Martin is building Daenerys up to be the magical fire goddess of the story. She is the great fiery other-boss to R’hllor, if not R’hllor herself. Chances are there are no real gods, just a magical force that humans chose to use for good or bad, giving a god-name to a force… this is where religion and mass control rules. Cup of ice/cup of fire.
We will see this fiery taloned hand strike at either Aegon VI (or Jon?) as well (detailed farther down), the difference being Aegon VI is the passive receiving end whereas Daenerys is the active fire hand who uses the “magic”. What will this mean for the endgame?
If this is for Aegon VI, this is because he is Rhaegar’s son and as such is being puppeted as the mummer’s dragon, a threat to Daenerys’ claim to the throne that she so covets. She will eventually kill/burn Aegon, which will give her the sword Blackfyre, making her and Aegon the 7th type of character (along with Drogon and his black fire flame). This will also give readers the current Blackfyre rebellion story that has been buidling since the first book.
If this is for Jon, as he is the Sun’s Son, how will this play out during the author promised Dance of Dragons 2.0? Most likely connected to the Rhaegar’s rubies on the Trident and Enlightenment. Not 100% sure just yet, but the more we examine Martin’s entire body of work, how he uses his influences in his own endgame, the closer we get.
- In the Lost Lands
The Lady Melange did not come herself to Gray Alys. She was said to be a clever and a cautious young woman, as well as exceedingly fair, and she had heard the stories. Those who dealt with Gray Alys did so at their own peril, it was said. Gray Alys did not refuse any of those who came to her, and she always got them what they wanted. Yet somehow, when all was done, those who dealt with Gray Alys were never happy with the things that she brought them, the things that they had wanted. The Lady Melange knew all this, ruling as she did from the high keep built into the side of the mountain. Perhaps that was why she did not come herself.
Instead, it was Jerais who came calling on Gray Alys that day; Blue Jerais, the lady’s champion, foremost of the paladins who secured her high keep and led her armies into battle, captain of her colorguard. Jerais wore an underlining of pale blue silk beneath the deep azure plate of his enameled armor. The sigil on his shield was a maelstrom done in a hundred subtle hues of blue, and a sapphire large as an eagle’s eye was set in the hilt of his sword. When he entered Gray Alys’ presence and removed his helmet, his eyes were a perfect match for the jewel in his sword, though his hair was a startling and inappropriate red.
Gray Alys received him in the small, ancient stone house she kept in the dim heart of the town beneath the mountain. She waited for him in a windowless room full of dust and the smell of mold, seated in an old high-backed chair that seemed to dwarf her small, thin body. In her lap was a gray rat the size of a small dog. She stroked it languidly as Jerais entered and took off his helmet and let his bright blue eyes adjust to the dimness.
“It is said also that you have powers, Gray Alys. It is said that you are not always as you sit before me now, a slender woman of indeterminate age, clad all in gray. It is said that you become young and old as you wish. It is said that sometimes you are a man, or an old woman, or a child. It is said that you know the secrets of shapeshifting, that you go abroad as a great cat, a bear, a bird, and that you change your skin at will, not as a slave to the moon like the werefolk of the lost lands.”
“All of these things are said,” Gray Alys acknowledged.
“I refuse no one,” Gray Alys replied.
Jerais scowled in confusion. “I shall have what I ask?”
“You shall have what you want.”
“Excellent,” said Jerais, grinning again. “In a month, then!”
“A month,” agreed Gray Alys.
And so Gray Alys sent the word out, in ways that only Gray Alys knew. The message passed from mouth to mouth through the shadows and alleys and the secret sewers of the town, and even to the tall houses of scarlet wood and colored glass where dwelled the noble and the rich. Soft gray rats with tiny human hands whispered it to sleeping children, and the children shared it with each other, and chanted a strange new chant when they skipped rope. The word drifted to all the army outposts to the east, and rode west with the great caravans into the heart of the old empire of which the town beneath the mountain was only the smallest part. Huge leathery birds with the cunning faces of monkeys flew the word south, over the forests and the rivers, to a dozen different kingdoms, where men and women as pale and terrible as Gray Alys herself heard it in the solitude of their towers. Even north, past the mountains, even into the lost lands, the word traveled.
It did not take long. In less than two weeks, he came to her. “I can lead you to what you seek,” he told her. “I can find you a werewolf.”
He was a young man, slender and beardless. He dressed in the worn leathers of the rangers who lived and hunted in the windswept desolation beyond the mountains. His skin had the deep tan of a man who spent all his life outdoors, though his hair was as white as mountain snow and fell about his shoulders, tangled and unkempt. He wore no armor and carried a long knife instead of a sword, and he moved with a wary grace. Beneath the pale strands of hair that fell across his face, his eyes were dark and sleepy. Though his smile was open and amiable, there was a curious indolence to him as well, and a dreamy, sensuous set to his lips when he thought no one was watching. He named himself Boyce.
“Do you dwell in the lost lands, Boyce?” Gray Alys asked of him.
“No. They are no fit place for dwelling. I have a home here in town. But I go beyond the mountains often, Gray Alys. I am a hunter. I know the lost lands well, and I know the things that live there. You seek a man who walks like a wolf. I can take you to him. But we must leave at once, if we are to arrive before the moon is full.”
At last another light caught her eye. A spreading dimness in the east, wan and ominous. Moonrise.
Gray Alys stared calmly across the dying camp fire. Boyce had begun to change.
She watched his body twist as bone and muscle changed within, watched his pale white hair grow longer and longer, watched his lazy smile turn into a wide red grin that split his face, saw the canines lengthen and the tongue come lolling out, watched the wine cup fall as his hands melted and writhed and became paws. He started to say something once, but no words came out, only a low, coarse snarl of laughter, half-human and half-animal. Then he threw back his head and howled, and he ripped at his clothing until it lay in tatters all about him and he was Boyce no longer. Across the fire from Gray Alys the wolf stood, a great shaggy white beast, half again the size of an ordinary wolf, with a savage red slash of a mouth and glowing scarlet eyes. Gray Alys stared into those eyes as she rose and shook the dust from her feathered cloak. They were knowing eyes, cunning, wise. Inside those eyes she saw a smile, a smile that presumed.
A smile that presumed too much.
The wolf howled once again, a long wild sound that melted into the wind. And then he leapt, straight across the embers of the fire he had built.
Gray Alys threw her arms out, her cloak bunched in her hands, and changed.
Her change was faster than his had been, over almost as soon as it began, but for Gray Alys it lasted an eternity. First there was the strange choking, clinging feeling as the cloak adhered to her skin, then dizziness and a curious liquid weakness as her muscles began to run and flow and reshape themselves. And finally exhilaration, as the power rushed into her and came coursing through her veins, a wine fiercer and hotter and wilder than the poor stuff Boyce had mulled above their fire.
She beat her vast silvery wings, each pinion tipped with black, and the dust stirred and swirled as she rose up into the moonlight, up to safety high above the white wolf’s bound, up and up until the ruins shrunk to insignificance far beneath her. The wind took hold of her, caressed her with trembling icy hands, and she yielded herself to it and soared. Her great wings filled with the dread melody of the lost lands, carrying her higher and higher.
Boyce tried to sit up, winced at the pain, and settled back onto the blanket she had laid beneath him. “I thought … thought I was dead,” he said.
“You were close to dead,” Gray Alys replied.
“Silver,” he said bitterly. “Silver cuts and burns so.”
“But you saved me,” he said, confused.
“I changed back to myself, and brought you back, and tended you.”
Perhaps Jerais was afraid of what she might give him, for he did not return to Gray Alys alone. He brought two other knights with him, a huge man all in white whose shield showed a skull carved out of ice, and another in crimson whose sigil was a burning man. They stood at the door, helmeted and silent, while Jerais approached Gray Alys warily. “Well?” he demanded.
Across her lap was a wolfskin, the pelt of some huge massive beast, all white as mountain snow. Gray Alys rose and offered the skin to Blue Jerais, draping it across his outstretched arm. “Tell the Lady Melange to cut herself, and drip her own blood onto the skin. Do this at moonrise when the moon is full, and then the power will be hers. She need only wear the skin as a cloak, and will the change thereafter. Day or night, full moon or no moon, it makes no matter.”
Jerais looked at the heavy white pelt and smiled a hard smile. “A wolfskin, eh? I had not expected that. I thought perhaps a potion, a spell.”
“No,” said Gray Alys. “The skin of a werewolf.”
“A werewolf?” Jerais’ mouth twisted curiously, and there was a sparkle in his deep sapphire eyes. “Well, Gray Alys, you have done what the Lady Melange asked, but you have failed me. I did not pay you for success. Return my gem.”
“No,” said Gray Alys. “I have earned it, Jerais.”
“I do not have what I asked for.”
“You have what you wanted, and that is what I promised.” Her gray eyes met his own without fear. “You thought my failure would help you get what you truly wanted, and that my success would doom you. You were wrong.”
That day there was bitter lamentation in the high keep on the mountain, when Blue Jerais knelt before the Lady Melange and offered her a white wolfskin. But when the screaming and the wailing and the mourning was done, she took the great pale cloak and bled upon it and learned the ways of change. It is not the union she desired, but it is a union nonetheless. So every night she prowls the battlements and the mountainside, and the townsfolk say her howling is wild with grief.
And Blue Jerais, who wed her a month after Gray Alys returned from the lost lands, sits beside a madwoman in the great hall by day, and locks his doors by night in terror of his wife’s hot red eyes, and does not hunt anymore, or laugh, or lust. You can buy anything you might desire from Gray Alys. But it is better not to.
[The end, and, whew! That was a lot of information. Thanks for sticking with me this far. Much faster reads from here on out.]
Compare to Drogo acting as a combination of Boyce and the knight named Blue Jarais in this scene. It is Blue Jarais who is out to get his princess, the Lady Melange, all that she desires from the witch named Gray Alys… which comes with a cost; madness. It is Boyce that is a werewolf, of whom Gray Alys steals his skin through a blood and fire ritual, and his skin is the gift given to the Lady Melange by Blue Jarais.
- A Game of Thrones – Daenerys VI
Khal Drogo did not want to hear it. “We will speak no more of wooden horses and iron chairs.” He dropped the cloth and began to dress. “This day I will go to the grass and hunt, woman wife,” he announced as he shrugged into a painted vest and buckled on a wide belt with heavy medallions of silver, gold, and bronze. “Yes, my sun-and-stars,” Dany said. Drogo would take his bloodriders and ride in search of hrakkar, the great white lion of the plains. If they returned triumphant, her lord husband’s joy would be fierce, and he might be willing to hear her out.
[and then just a few lines later she goes into a “madness” to hatch her dragon eggs]
Was it madness that seized her then, born of fear? Or some strange wisdom buried in her blood? Dany could not have said. She heard her own voice saying, “Ser Jorah, light the brazier.”
“Khaleesi?” The knight looked at her strangely. “It is so hot. Are you certain?”
She had never been so certain. “Yes. I … I have a chill. Light the brazier.”
He bowed. “As you command.”
When the coals were afire, Dany sent Ser Jorah from her. She had to be alone to do what she must do. This is madness, she told herself as she lifted the black-and-scarlet egg from the velvet. It will only crack and burn, and it’s so beautiful, Ser Jorah will call me a fool if I ruin it, and yet, and yet …
Cradling the egg with both hands, she carried it to the fire and pushed it down amongst the burning coals. The black scales seemed to glow as they drank the heat. Flames licked against the stone with small red tongues. Dany placed the other two eggs beside the black one in the fire. As she stepped back from the brazier, the breath trembled in her throat.
She watched until the coals had turned to ashes. Drifting sparks floated up and out of the smokehole. Heat shimmered in waves around the dragon’s eggs. And that was all.
Your brother Rhaegar was the last dragon, Ser Jorah had said. Dany gazed at her eggs sadly. What had she expected? A thousand thousand years ago they had been alive, but now they were only pretty rocks. They could not make a dragon. A dragon was air and fire. Living flesh, not dead stone.
The brazier was cold again by the time Khal Drogo returned. Cohollo was leading a packhorse behind him, with the carcass of a great white lion slung across its back. Above, the stars were coming out. The khal laughed as he swung down off his stallion and showed her the scars on his leg where the hrakkar had raked him through his leggings. “I shall make you a cloak of its skin, moon of my life,” he swore.
When Dany told him what had happened at the market, all laughter stopped, and Khal Drogo grew very quiet. “This poisoner was the first,” Ser Jorah Mormont warned him, “but he will not be the last. Men will risk much for a lordship.”
Drogo was silent for a time. Finally he said, “This seller of poisons ran from the moon of my life. Better he should run after her. So he will. Jhogo, Jorah the Andal, to each of you I say, choose any horse you wish from my herds, and it is yours. Any horse save my red and the silver that was my bride gift to the moon of my life. I make this gift to you for what you did.
“And to Rhaego son of Drogo, the stallion who will mount the world, to him I also pledge a gift. To him I will give this iron chair his mother’s father sat in. I will give him Seven Kingdoms. I, Drogo, khal, will do this thing.” His voice rose, and he lifted his fist to the sky. “I will take my khalasar west to where the world ends, and ride the wooden horses across the black salt water as no khal has done before. I will kill the men in the iron suits and tear down their stone houses. I will rape their women, take their children as slaves, and bring their broken gods back to Vaes Dothrak to bow down beneath the Mother of Mountains. This I vow, I, Drogo son of Bharbo. This I swear before the Mother of Mountains, as the stars look down in witness.”
CLOAK of the LION of NIGHT
The death god has many cloaks, just as Gray Alys does. The combination of this magic of the many animal cloaks, along with the blood and fire of these fiery women equates sphinxes themselves. Notice the repeated themes and imagery in this section that are re-purposed in ASOIAF. Objects such as braziers, dancing fires, clawed hands that maim or attempt murder (wolves in most cases), skinchanger cloaks, and even hidden wall panels that are used quite regularly in many other GRRM stories. There is even a little bit that directly relates to the Fire & Blood Alysanne in the North excerpt that GRRM released.
- In the Lost Lands
“Yes,” said Boyce. He ladled some of the hot wine into his cup, and tried a swallow. “No need to rush off hunting, though,” he said, smiling lazily. “The wolf will come to us. Our scent will carry far in this wind, in this emptiness, and the smell of fresh meat will bring him running.”
Gray Alys said nothing. She turned away from him and climbed the three wooden steps that led up to the interior of her wagon. Inside she lit a brazier carefully, and watched the light shift and flicker against the weathered gray wallboards and the pile of furs on which she slept. When the light had grown steady, Gray Alys slid back a wall panel, and stared at the long row of tattered garments that hung on pegs within the narrow closet. Cloaks and capes and billowing loose shirts, strangely cut gowns and suits that clung like a second skin from head to toe, leather and fur and feathers. She hesitated briefly, then reached in and chose a great cloak made of a thousand long silver feathers, each one tipped delicately with black. Removing her simple cloth cloak, Gray Alys fastened the flowing feathered garment at her neck. When she turned it billowed all about her, and the dead air inside the wagon stirred and briefly seemed alive before the feathers settled and stilled once again. Then Gray Alys bent and opened a huge oaken chest, bound in iron and leather. From within she drew out a small box. Ten rings rested against worn gray felt, each set with a long, curving silver claw instead of a stone. Gray Alys donned them methodically, one ring to each finger, and when she rose and clenched her fists, the claws shone dimly and menacingly in the light from the brazier.
In ASOIAF we have another “death god” called the Lion of Night. This ancient story happens again in the current story with a twist. This time the Lion of Night is a female, and the maiden-made-of-light is Sun-and-stars Khal Drogo. Their son, Rhaego, was supposed to be the Stallion that Mounts the World, instead of the God on Earth, but both ascended to the heavens.
This is another of many parallels that GRRM planned between Daenerys and Cersei, with Daenerys being more of the metaphorical “death god” aspect, and Cersei being more of the literal Lannister lion goddess of death and wildfire.
Lucifer was said to have given Lilith the ‘cloak of night’ as a gift after she had wandered the lands outside of Eden, scorched and tortured. In ASOIAF we see this (above) when Daenerys and her people enter Vaes Tolorro. Drogo gives Dany a lion pelt that she keeps with her the whole time, even though it smells musty. And we have ASOIAF tales of the Lion of Night.
A Clash of King’s – Daenerys I
Her hair had burned away in Drogo’s pyre, so her handmaids garbed her in the skin of the hrakkar Drogo had slain, the white lion of the Dothraki sea. Its fearsome head made a hood to cover her naked scalp, its pelt a cloak that flowed across her shoulders and down her back. The cream-colored dragon sunk sharp black claws into the lion’s mane and coiled its tail around her arm, while Ser Jorah took his accustomed place by her side.
“We follow the comet,” Dany told her khalasar. Once it was said, no word was raised against it. They had been Drogo’s people, but they were hers now. The Unburnt, they called her, and Mother of Dragons. Her word was their law.
It was Drogo who had given her the pelt she wore, the head and hide of a hrakkar, the white lion of the Dothraki sea. It was too big for her and had a musty smell, but it made her feel as if her sun-and-stars was still near her.
The Lion of Night is a god in Yi Ti. The Faceless Men believe that is just another representation of the Many-Faced God. There is a statue of it in the House of Black and White which is most commonly visited by rich men. Also, there is a statue of the Pale Child Bakkalon in the HoBW as well. The Faceless Men are a death cult. Essentially what Arya shows the reader are the many aspects that Daenerys is manifesting herself as. Each region has their own death god, and Daenerys is the embodiment of all of them.
Eventually abandoned by both, Lilith met the wandering banished descendant of her ex-husband, the First Murderer (as named in the Bible) Caine. She took Caine in, tended to his injuries, fed and healed him, and taught him secret wisdom — the seeds of which blossomed into the vampiric disciplines (just like Daemon Julian mentioned above). And how does Caine repay Lilith? By abandoning her as well, to wander forever apart, mother of monsters and thief of infant breaths. Caine goes on to found Enoch and Lilith leaves the scene. We can see how an easy author remix gives us Mirri Mas Duur.
There are more than one type of sphinx used within the A Song of Ice and Fire world. There are the sphinxes at the Citadel, and then there are the Valyrian sphinxes of Old Valyria, and that also guard the entrance to the council chamber doors at the red keep.
The connection to Old Valyria is key here, as that is a connection to keeping slaves and practicing blood “purity” incest. Daenerys, for all her slave liberation in the three sister cities, still likens herself to things like Maegor the Cruel and Old Valyria. The many cloaks of Daenerys makes her a sphinx.
A Valyrian sphinx is a mythical creature, with the body of a dragon and the head of a female human, as Tyrion notices and describes. The Valyrians made statues of Valyrian sphinxes, some very large. Valyrian sphinxes are now relics, left over from Old Valyria, prior to the Doom. They are still seen in Essos and Westeros. They are still used as decoration and may be a sign of wealth and influence.
The most important part, the woman’s head on a dragon body is the literal manifestation used to show Daenerys mind controlling dragons. This current story is the most important part, and these details and histories of the past are provided ot give clues to the incoming future. This is one of those details.
Whether they were made using advanced Valyrian techniques, such as spells and magic, or by more ordinary techniques is unknown.
A Game of Thrones – Daenerys IX
The Dothraki exchanged uncertain glances. “Khaleesi,” the handmaid Irri explained, as if to a child, “Jhaqo is a khal now, with twenty thousand riders at his back.”
She lifted her head. “And I am Daenerys Stormborn, Daenerys of House Targaryen, of the blood of Aegon the Conqueror and Maegor the Cruel and old Valyria before them. I am the dragon’s daughter, and I swear to you, these men will die screaming. Now bring me to Khal Drogo.”
He was lying on the bare red earth, staring up at the sun.
The blooded cloak has been present in Daenerys’ arc since A Game of Thrones.
A Game of Thrones – Daenerys IV
Viserys scrambled back to his feet. “When I come into my kingdom, you will rue this day, slut.” He walked off, holding his torn face, leaving her gifts behind him.
Drops of his blood had spattered the beautiful sandsilk cloak. Dany clutched the soft cloth to her cheek and sat cross-legged on her sleeping mats.
“Your supper is ready, Khaleesi,” Jhiqui announced.
“I’m not hungry,” Dany said sadly. She was suddenly very tired. “Share the food among yourselves, and send some to Ser Jorah, if you would.” After a moment she added, “Please, bring me one of the dragon’s eggs.”
Irri fetched the egg with the deep green shell, bronze flecks shining amid its scales as she turned it in her small hands. Dany curled up on her side, pulling the sandsilk cloak across her and cradling the egg in the hollow between her swollen belly and small, tender breasts. She liked to hold them. They were so beautiful, and sometimes just being close to them made her feel stronger, braver, as if somehow she were drawing strength from the stone dragons locked inside.
She was lying there, holding the egg, when she felt the child move within her … as if he were reaching out, brother to brother, blood to blood. “You are the dragon,” Dany whispered to him, “the true dragon. I know it. I know it.” And she smiled, and went to sleep dreaming of home.
Which brings us back to Daenerys is actually practicing the beginnings of the fire and blood ritual here as Rhaego and Rhaegal exchange lives within their respective eggs.
Dark Sun Cersei
Martin has stated he intended Cersei and Daenerys to be parallels. If we look at Cersei as another Lion of Night-type, we see that much information shown of this being comes from the Arya point of view chapters… and Arya has Queen Cersei on her death prayer list. I don’t think Arya will dwell too long on that list and that she won’t personally kill all those remaining. Arya is a chooser of the slain as a type of Valkyrie herself, a cup bearer of sorts, but Arya discussion will be kept for another time and place.
A Feast for Crows – Arya II
Worshipers came to the House of Black and White every day. Most came alone and sat alone; they lit candles at one altar or another, prayed beside the pool, and sometimes wept. A few drank from the black cup and went to sleep; more did not drink. There were no services, no songs, no paeans of praise to please the god. The temple was never full. From time to time, a worshiper would ask to see a priest, and the kindly man or the waif would take him down into the sanctum, but that did not happen often.
Thirty different gods stood along the walls, surrounded by their little lights. The Weeping Woman was the favorite of old women, Arya saw; rich men preferred the Lion of Night, poor men the Hooded Wayfarer. Soldiers lit candles to Bakkalon, the Pale Child, sailors to the Moon-Pale Maiden and the Merling King. The Stranger had his shrine as well, though hardly anyone ever came to him. Most of the time only a single candle stood flickering at his feet. The kindly man said it did not matter. “He has many faces, and many ears to hear.”
A Feast for Crows – Cat Of The Canals
“Him of Many Faces.”
“And many names,” the kindly man had said. “In Qohor he is the Black Goat, in Yi Ti the Lion of Night, in Westeros the Stranger. All men must bow to him in the end, no matter if they worship the Seven or the Lord of Light, the Moon Mother or the Drowned God or the Great Shepherd. All mankind belongs to him . . . else somewhere in the world would be a folk who lived forever. Do you know of any folk who live forever?”
“No,” she would answer. “All men must die.”
- The World of Ice and Fire – The Bones and Beyond: Asshai-by-the-Shadow
The ships come nonetheless. For gold, for gems, and for other treasures, for certain things spoken of only in whispers, things that cannot be found anywhere upon the earth save in the black bazaars of Asshai.The dark city by the Shadow is a city steeped in sorcery. Warlocks, wizards, alchemists, moonsingers, red priests, black alchemists, necromancers, aeromancers, pyromancers, bloodmages, torturers, inquisitors, poisoners, godswives, night-walkers, shapechangers, worshippers of the Black Goat and the Pale Child and the Lion of Night, all find welcome in Asshai-by-the-Shadow, where nothing is forbidden. Here they are free to practice their spells without restraint or censure, conduct their obscene rites, and fornicate with demons if that is their desire.Most sinister of all the sorcerers of Asshai are the shadowbinders, whose lacquered masks hide their faces from the eyes of gods and men. They alone dare to go upriver past the walls of Asshai, into the heart of darkness.
By the end of A Dance with Dragons, and especially in A Feast for Crows, the reader is shown the decent of Cersei into a type of madness. Cersei, as well as Danerys and Arya, are the three bald women of the story now, with possible interactions between each at some point. Readers are along for the de-crowning ritual of Cersei, the lioness, loosing her main of golden curls. This is Cersei’s response:
A Dance with Dragons – Cersei II
“Nor will it.” Septa Unella beckoned to the novices. They brought lye soap, a basin of warm water, a pair of shears, and a long straightrazor. The sight of the steel sent a shiver through her. They mean to shave me. A little more humiliation, a raisin for my porridge. She would not give them the pleasure of hearing her beg. I am Cersei of House Lannister, a lion of the Rock, the rightful queen of these Seven Kingdoms, trueborn daughter of Tywin Lannister. And hair grows back. “Get on with it,” she said.
The elder of the two silent sisters took up the shears. A practiced barber, no doubt; her order often cleaned the corpses of the noble slain before returning them to their kin, and trimming beards and cutting hair was part of that. The woman bared the queen’s head first. Cersei sat as still as a stone statue as the shears clicked. Drifts of golden hair fell to the floor. She had not been allowed to tend it properly penned up in this cell, but even unwashed and tangled it shone where the sun touched it. My crown, the queen thought. They took the other crown away from me, and now they are stealing this one as well. When her locks and curls were piled up around her feet, one of the novices soaped her head and the silent sister scraped away the stubble with a razor.
Cersei was once a “rising sun”, but she is now in the winter of her life, “madness” is taking over, and her bright light is now inverted into a dark sun. I have always been of the mind that Cersei is prophetic sun who rises in the West(erlands) and sets in the east (King’s Landing). This was part of a series of events that has to happen in the over all plot for Daenerys to be reunited with Khal Drogo.
A Dance with Dragons – Epilogue/ Kevan Lannister
The fire soon thawed him, and the wine warmed his insides nicely. It also made him sleepy, so he dare not drink another cup. His day was far from done. He had reports to read, letters to write. And supper with Cersei and the king. His niece had been subdued and submissive since her walk of atonement, thank the gods. The novices who attended her reported that she spent a third of her waking hours with her son, another third in prayer, and the rest in her tub. She was bathing four or five times a day, scrubbing herself with horsehair brushes and strong lye soap, as if she meant to scrape her skin off.
She will never wash the stain away, no matter how hard she scrubs. Ser Kevan remembered the girl she once had been, so full of life and mischief. And when she’d flowered, ahhhh … had there ever been a maid so sweet to look upon? If Aerys had agreed to marry her to Rhaegar, how many deaths might have been avoided? Cersei could have given the prince the sons he wanted, lions with purple eyes and silver manes … and with such a wife, Rhaegar might never have looked twice at Lyanna Stark. The northern girl had a wild beauty, as he recalled, though however bright a torch might burn it could never match the rising sun.
A Game of Thrones – Daenerys IX
“When will he be as he was?” Dany demanded.
“When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east,” said Mirri Maz Duur. “When the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child. Then he will return, and not before.”
Collective of Many Death Gods
And to make a further connection that the Him of Many Faces is just a collective name of all the death gods, we have this tale of the Lion of Night that is near exactly to what GRRM has established as the foundation of the Pale Child Bakkalon, and the fact that Saagael and Bakkalon were added to the book Fire & Blood vol.1:
- The World of Ice and Fire – The Bones and Beyond: Yi Ti
When the daughter of the Opal Emperor succeeded him as the Amethyst Empress, her envious younger brother cast her down and slew her, proclaiming himself the Bloodstone Emperor and beginning a reign of terror. He practiced dark arts, torture, and necromancy, enslaved his people, took a tiger-woman for his bride, feasted on human flesh, and cast down the true gods to worship a black stone that had fallen from the sky. (Many scholars count the Bloodstone Emperor as the first High Priest of the sinister Church of Starry Wisdom, which persists to this day in many port cities throughout the known world).
In the annals of the Further East, it was the Blood Betrayal, as his usurpation is named, that ushered in the age of darkness called the Long Night. Despairing of the evil that had been unleashed on earth, the Maiden-Made-of-Light turned her back upon the world, and the Lion of Night came forth in all his wroth to punish the wickedness of men.
How long the darkness endured no man can say, but all agree that it was only when a great warrior—known variously as Hyrkoon the Hero, Azor Ahai, Yin Tar, Neferion, and Eldric Shadowchaser—arose to give courage to the race of men and lead the virtuous into battle with his blazing sword Lightbringer that the darkness was put to rout, and light and love returned once more to the world.
In the preceding quote, we can see the parts of the blood betrayal that apply to Daenerys via her reaction to Khla Drogo killing (King) Viserys, which serves as a way for Daenerys to usurp her Targaryen claim now that her brother is gone. This is ASOIAF version how Cyrain of Litlith and Ash uses her lover, Khar Dorian, to win at the “game of mind”. Danerys is Cyrain of Ash and Lilith.
- A Game of Thrones – Daenerys V
At the last, Viserys looked at her. “Sister, please … Dany, tell them … make them … sweet sister …”
When the gold was half-melted and starting to run, Drogo reached into the flames, snatched out the pot. “Crown!” he roared. “Here. A crown for Cart King!” And upended the pot over the head of the man who had been her brother.
The sound Viserys Targaryen made when that hideous iron helmet covered his face was like nothing human. His feet hammered a frantic beat against the dirt floor, slowed, stopped. Thick globs of molten gold dripped down onto his chest, setting the scarlet silk to smoldering … yet no drop of blood was spilled.
He was no dragon, Dany thought, curiously calm. Fire cannot kill a dragon.
Little did Viserys know how correct he was back in Daenerys’ first chapter of A Game of Thrones… how sweet:
A Game of Thrones – Daenerys I
“No,” Dany said meekly.
Her brother smiled. “Good.” He touched her hair, almost with affection. “When they write the history of my reign, sweet sister, they will say that it began tonight.”
When he was gone, Dany went to her window and looked out wistfully on the waters of the bay. The square brick towers of Pentos were black silhouettes outlined against the setting sun. Dany could hear the singing of the red priests as they lit their night fires and the shouts of ragged children playing games beyond the walls of the estate. For a moment she wished she could be out there with them, barefoot and breathless and dressed in tatters, with no past and no future and no feast to attend at Khal Drogo’s manse.
That brings us to the next ‘god-dess’. Bakkalon the Pale Child as described by GRRM in And Seven Times Never Kill Man compared to Daenerys with her own fiery reaver sword. Additionally detailed on this page here.
Lyon and DaHan both nodded, among others. “Speak wisdom to us,” Fieldbishop Dhallis said then.
Proctor Wyatt agreed. One of the lesser-ranking squadmothers brought him the Book, and he opened it to the Chapter of Teachings.
“In those days much evil had come upon the seed of Earth,” the Proctor read, “for the children of Bakkalon had abandoned Him to bow to softer gods. So their skies grew dark and upon them from above came the Sons of Hranga with red eyes and demon teeth, and upon them from below came the vast Horde of Fyndii like a cloud of locusts that blotted out the stars. And the worlds flamed, and the children cried out, ‘Save us! Save us!’
“And the pale child came and stood before them, with His great sword in His hand, and in a voice like thunder He rebuked them. ‘You have been weak children,’ He told them, ‘for you have disobeyed. Where are your swords? Did I not set swords in your hands?’
“And the children cried out, ‘We have beaten them into plowshares, oh Bakkalon!’
“And He was sore angry. ‘With plowshares, then, shall you face the Sons of Hranga! With plowshares shall you slay the Horde of Fyndii!’ And He left them, and heard no more their weeping, for the Heart of Bakkalon is a Heart of Fire.
“But then one among the seed of Earth dried his tears, for the skies did burn so bright that they ran scalding on his cheeks. And the bloodlust rose in him and he beat his plowshare back into a sword, and charged the Sons of Hranga, slaying as he went. Then others saw, and followed, and a great battle-cry rang across the worlds.
“And the pale child heard, and came again, for the sound of battle is more pleasing to his ears than the sound of wails. And when He saw, He smiled. ‘Now you are my children again,’ He said to the seed of Earth. ‘For you had turned against me to worship a god who calls himself a lamb, but did you not know that lambs go only to the slaughter? Yet now your eyes have cleared, and again you are the Wolves of God!’.
“And Bakkalon gave them all swords again, all His children and all the seed of Earth, and He lifted his great black blade, the Demon-Reaver that slays the soulless, and swung it. And the Sons of Hranga fell before His might, and the great Horde that was the Fyndii burned beneath His gaze. And the children of Bakkalon swept across the worlds.”
The Proctor lifted his eyes. “Go, my brothers-in-arms, and think on the Teachings of Bakkalon as you sleep. May the pale child grant you visions!”
The Icy Element
Now we have the red god in action. Jon is the nemesis to the fiery god, and as such, the fire god wants Jon gone. The A Game of Thrones prologue had the Others testing Waymar Royce as he was a Jon Snow look alike. This is idea is something I wrote about a while back in regards to the Night’s Watch vows, here if you want to read, or not?
A Game of Thrones – Bran IV
“Well,” Bran said reluctantly, “yes, only …”
Old Nan nodded. “In that darkness, the Others came for the first time,” she said as her needles went click click click. “They were cold things, dead things, that hated iron and fire and the touch of the sun, and every creature with hot blood in its veins. They swept over holdfasts and cities and kingdoms, felled heroes and armies by the score, riding their pale dead horses and leading hosts of the slain. All the swords of men could not stay their advance, and even maidens and suckling babes found no pity in them. They hunted the maids through frozen forests, and fed their dead servants on the flesh of human children.”
A Dance with Dragons – Jon XIII
[at the mutiny stabbing] “For the Watch.”…
Jon fell to his knees. He found the dagger’s hilt and wrenched it free. In the cold night air the wound was smoking. “Ghost,” he whispered. Pain washed over him. Stick them with the pointy end. When the third dagger took him between the shoulder blades, he gave a grunt and fell face-first into the snow. He never felt the fourth knife. Only the cold …
Why the icy fire in the cold? Val tells us why, in addition to watching it happen on page…
A Dance with Dragons – Jon VIII
Dragons again. For a moment Jon could almost see them too, coiling in the night, their dark wings outlined against a sea of flame. “If she knew, she would have taken the boy away from us. Dalla’s boy, not your monster. A word in the king’s ear would have been the end of it.” And of me. Stannis would have taken it for treason. “Why let it happen if she knew?”
“Because it suited her. Fire is a fickle thing. No one knows which way a flame will go.” Val put a foot into a stirrup, swung her leg over her horse’s back, and looked down from the saddle. “Do you remember what my sister told you?”
“Yes.” A sword without a hilt, with no safe way to hold it. But Melisandre had the right of it. Even a sword without a hilt is better than an empty hand when foes are all around you.
The Others seem to be searching for that special hot human blood. There are plenty of reasons why (R’hllor has its own prophecy, Melisandre is a pawn of the god, etc), and I have written about the possible series of events on other pages if you want to take a look. As Melisandre says about herself, “If I have mistaken a warning for a prophecy, or a prophecy for a warning, the fault lies in the reader, not the book,” so she has set readers up for a surprise twist.
- “Oh, you think he’s dead, do you?”
- Fourth knife at Jon’s mutiny.
- Melisandre tricked Ghost to like her.
- What will happen to Bowen Marsh?
- Jon is the Sun’s son.
So, when do we first see this ‘god’ attack Jon? Back in A Storm of Swords when Jon has an interaction with a fiery hand/talon of R’hllor figure, just as Grey Alys is when she takes the shape of a giant raptor bird with fierce, skin stealing talons and dives down on Boyce the werewolf. This was the ‘second attack on Jon, first was actually Waymar, third is the mutiny attempt. This time here also shows a bloody cheek and eye, which is another link to Jon and Bran + Bloodraven, an archetype trio that is always in unison with each other as written in other GRRM stories.
A Storm of Swords – Jon XI
“Dalla died.” Jon was saddened by that still. “Val is her sister. She and the babe did not require much capturing, Your Grace. You had put the wildlings to flight, and the skinchanger Mance had left to guard his queen went mad when the eagle burned.” Jon looked at Melisandre. “Some say that was your doing.”
She smiled, her long copper hair tumbling across her face. “The Lord of Light has fiery talons, Jon Snow.”
- A Storm of Swords – Jon II
“Do you know ‘The Last of the Giants’?” Without waiting for an answer Ygritte said, “You need a deeper voice than mine to do it proper.” Then she sang, “Ooooooh, I am the last of the giants, my people are gone from the earth.”
Tormund Giantsbane heard the words and grinned. “The last of the great mountain giants, who ruled all the world at my birth,” he bellowed back through the snow.
Longspear Ryk joined in, singing, “Oh, the smallfolk have stolen my forests, they’ve stolen my rivers and hills.”
“And they’ve built a great wall through my valleys, and fished all the fish from my rills,” Ygritte and Tormund sang back at him in turn, in suitably gigantic voices.
Tormund’s sons Toregg and Dormund added their deep voices as well, then his daughter Munda and all the rest. Others began to bang their spears on leathern shields to keep rough time, until the whole war band was singing as they rode.
In stone halls they burn their great fires, in stone halls they forge their sharp spears. Whilst I walk alone in the mountains, with no true companion but tears. They hunt me with dogs in the daylight, they hunt me with torches by night. For these men who are small can never stand tall, whilst giants still walk in the light. Oooooooh, I am the LAST of the giants, so learn well the words of my song. For when I am gone the singing will fade, and the silence shall last long and long.
There were tears on Ygritte’s cheeks when the song ended.
“Why are you weeping?” Jon asked. “It was only a song. There are hundreds of giants, I’ve just seen them.”
“Oh, hundreds,” she said furiously. “You know nothing, Jon Snow. You—JON!”
Jon turned at the sudden sound of wings. Blue-grey feathers filled his eyes, as sharp talons buried themselves in his face. Red pain lanced through him sudden and fierce as pinions beat round his head. He saw the beak, but there was no time to get a hand up or reach for a weapon. Jon reeled backward, his foot lost the stirrup, his garron broke in panic, and then he was falling. And still the eagle clung to his face, its talons tearing at him as it flapped and shrieked and pecked. The world turned upside down in a chaos of feathers and horseflesh and blood, and then the ground came up to smash him.
The next he knew, he was on his face with the taste of mud and blood in his mouth and Ygritte kneeling over him protectively, a bone dagger in her hand. He could still hear wings, though the eagle was not in sight. Half his world was black. “My eye,” he said in sudden panic, raising a hand to his face.
“It’s only blood, Jon Snow. He missed the eye, just ripped your skin up some.”
His face was throbbing. Tormund stood over them bellowing, he saw from his right eye as he rubbed blood from his left. Then there were hoofbeats, shouts, and the clacking of old dry bones.
“Bag o’ Bones,” roared Tormund, “call off your hellcrow!”
“There’s your hellcrow!” Rattleshirt pointed at Jon. “Bleeding in the mud like a faithless dog!” The eagle came flapping down to land atop the broken giant’s skull that served him for his helm. “I’m here for him.”
“Come take him then,” said Tormund, “but best come with sword in hand, for that’s where you’ll find mine. Might be I’ll boil your bones, and use your skull to piss in. Har!”
“Once I prick you and let the air out, you’ll shrink down smaller’n that girl. Stand aside, or Mance will hear o’ this.”
Ygritte stood. “What, is it Mance who wants him?”
“I said so, didn’t I? Get him up on those black feet.”
Tormund frowned down at Jon. “Best go, if it’s the Mance who’s wanting you.”
Ygritte helped pull him up. “He’s bleeding like a butchered boar. Look what Orell did t’ his sweet face.”
Can a bird hate? Jon had slain the wilding Orell, but some part of the man remained within the eagle. The golden eyes looked out on him with cold malevolence. “I’ll come,” he said. The blood kept running down into his right eye, and his cheek was a blaze of pain. When he touched it his black gloves came away stained with red. “Let me catch my garron.” It was not the horse he wanted so much as Ghost, but the direwolf was nowhere to be seen. He could be leagues away by now, ripping out the throat of some elk.
Brynden was an albino and thus had milk-white skin, long white hair, and red eyes. On the right side of his face he had a red winestain birthmark that extended from his throat up to his right cheek from which he earned his name Bloodraven, as the birthmark was said to look somewhat like a raven drawn in blood. However, Ser Duncan the Tall thought the birthmark just a blotch. According to George R. R. Martin it is more a suggestion of a raven shape, like an ink blot.
Thank you for reading the jabmles and jumbles of the Fattest Leech of Ice and Fire. I could be wrong about anything here, but I try to use Martin to decode Martin.
Feature image artist: Daenerys Targaryen by nastjastark
The next parts of the of the character review are:
- Daenerys the Silver Coin Queen
- Bakkalon the Pale Child and Flames
- Daemon Reaver… and Roads
- Lilith: Lullaby, Beauty, Gardens
- Lilith the Leviathan and Asteroid
Or maybe these?: