CATCHING UP WITH LILITH
Lilith means “the night,” and she embodies the emotional and spiritual aspects of darkness: terror, sensuality, and unbridled freedom. Just like the character Cyrain of Ash, there is an enormous amount of parallels between Cyrain and Lilith with Daenerys. This is but a small portion.
A visual of Lilith, one of the wives of Satan (fire). And we know Daenerys is already a bride of fire and mother to fire-breathing dragons. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilith#/media/File:Lilith_(John_Collier_painting).jpg
A few good links to expand the info of Lilith:
We need to keep in mind that the author rarely does one-to-one copies, but he chooses the broad strokes, the important parts, and he works them in to his own character or story. There are many tales of Lilith from the Middle Eastern area of the world, while not all the same in every small detail, they do share the same broad strokes betweeen stories. The question I am wanting to know the answer to is if George is turning this Lilith idea on its head to make it the opposite?
Immortality – Lilith is immortal and will live forever. Will Daenerys second life one of her dragons?
Invulnerability – Lilith cannot be harmed by Earthly means, just like Dany wasn’t hurt in the Drogo funeral pyre.
Flight – Lilith can fly through the Heavens with her demonic wings. Dany on Drogon.
Seduction – Lilith can seduce any man with her sexuality. There are many ways we see this, but mostly it is Dany playing the coy child with her, “I am but a little girl and know little of the ways of war.”
Soul Consumption – Lilith consumes the souls of men to gain strength. Daenerys takes the sould of Viserys, Drogo, and Rhaego to hatch her dragons.
Dream Walking – Lilith can invade people’s dreams. I don’t think we have seen this in ASOAIF as stated, but more that GRRM changed it so that it was Quaithe that invaded Dany’s dreams or subconsciousness.
Harm to babies – this goes without saying when you look at how Daenerys’ own khalisar is raveged and how Daenerys gives her own baby to the flames.
The Bible mentions Lilith only once, as a dweller in waste places (Isaiah 34:14), but the characterization of the Lilith or the lili (in the singular or plural) as a seducer or slayer of children has a long pre-history in ancient Babylonian religion.
Archibald Sayce (1882) considered that Hebrew lilit (or lilith) and the earlier Akkadian līlītu are from proto-Semitic. Charles Fossey (1902) has this literally translating to “female night being/demon”, although cuneiform inscriptions from Mesopotamia exist where Līlīt and Līlītu refers to disease-bearing wind spirits. Another possibility is association not with “night”, but with “wind”, thus identifying the Akkadian Lil-itu as a loan from the Sumerian lil “air” — specifically from Ninlil, “lady air”, goddess of the south wind (and wife of Enlil) — and itud, “moon”.
- Drogon rose, his wings covering her in shadow.
- The horses broke and ran when the shadow (Drogon) fell upon them, …
- And to touch the light I have to pass beneath the shadow.”
- Bones they were, broken bones and blackened. The longer ones had been cracked open for their marrow.
“It were the black one,” the man said, in a Ghiscari growl, “the winged shadow. He come down from the sky and … and …”
No. Dany shivered. No, no, oh no.
One of the reasons Lilith was cast away as Adam’s first wife was that she refused to lie beneath him during sex. Well, we see see Dany do the same thing, only in a GRRM sorta way:
When the first man, Adam, saw that he was alone, God made for him a woman like himself, from the earth. God called her name Lilith, and brought her to Adam. They immediately began to quarrel. Adam said: “You lie beneath me.” And Lilith said: “You lie beneath me! We are both equal, for both of us are from the earth.” And they would not listen to one another.
- Khal Drogo followed her out into the moonlight, the bells in his hair tinkling softly. A few yards from her tent was a bed of soft grass, and it was there that Dany drew him down. When he tried to turn her over, she put a hand on his chest. “No,” she said. “This night I would look on your face.”
There is no privacy in the heart of the khalasar. Dany felt the eyes on her as she undressed him, heard the soft voices as she did the things that Doreah had told her to do. It was nothing to her. Was she not khaleesi? His were the only eyes that mattered, and when she mounted him she saw something there that she had never seen before. She rode him as fiercely as ever she had ridden her silver, and when the moment of his pleasure came, Khal Drogo called out her name.
They were on the far side of the Dothraki sea when Jhiqui brushed the soft swell of Dany’s stomach with her fingers and said, “Khaleesi, you are with child.”
In the Renaissance, Michelangelo portrayed Lilith as a half-woman, half-serpent (see linked picture), coiled around the Tree of Knowledge. Later, her beauty would captivate the English poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti. “Her enchanted hair,” he wrote, “was the first gold.” However, our Daenerys is both Lilith and a denerius silver coin:
- “Look at her. That silver-gold hair, those purple eyes … she is the blood of old Valyria, no doubt, no doubt …
And remember Cyrain of Ash: Her hair is silver-gold, long and straight, a glittering cascade that falls nearly to her heels.
THE BEAUTIFUL LILITH
“Half of me is beautiful
but you were never sure which half.”
— Ruth Feldman, “Lilith”
And we are back to the sides of Targaryen coin.
One thing George RR Martin has tried to undo in his own works are the cliché tropes of beauty=good, while ugly and dark=evil. And not all evil is born that way, but rather a sum of all of their experiences. We do see this with all of our ASOIAF characters, but none so much as the top three; Daenerys, Jon, and Bran.
Martin has Jon wearing the black, but really the black brothers of the Night’s Watch are the only good guys of the story that are sworn to save humanity (as long as the Night’s Watch remembers its true purpose). And we see Dany dressing in silks and pearls and exposing her breast. She hates her tiny slippers, though, as they restrictive to her Lilithian feet.
But don’t we read of Daenerys being “the most beautiful woman in the world” several times over? Yes, and that probably is not a good thing if you follow how Martin is undoing the cliché. This also has a parallel to the other fiery woman, Cersei Lannister, but that will be discussed in seperate post.
- A Dance with Dragons – The Spurned Suitor
“They’re dead,” said Gerris. “They won’t care.”
“All dead,” Quentyn agreed. “For what? To bring me here, so I might wed the dragon queen. A grand adventure, Cletus called it. Demon roads and stormy seas, and at the end of it the most beautiful woman in the world. A tale to tell our grandchildren. But Cletus will never father a child, unless he left a bastard in the belly of that tavern wench he liked. Will will never have his wedding. Their deaths should have some meaning.”
[And a few more times]
- “My queen,” he said, “and the bravest, sweetest, and most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Daenerys—”
The iron captain had no time to wait for laggards. Not with his bride encircled by her enemies. The most beautiful woman in the world has urgent need of my axe.
And now the most beautiful woman in the world was waiting in Meereen,…
What does George RR Martin have to say about the physical characteristics of his heroes and villains?
The battle between good and evil is a theme of much of fantasy. But I think the battle between good and evil is thought largely within the individual human heart, by the decisions that we make. It’s not like evil dresses up in black clothing and you know, they’re really ugly. These are some of the things that Tolkien did; he made them work fabulously, but in the hands of his imitators, they become total clichés. I mean the orc-like creatures who always do dress in black and … they’re really ugly and they’ve got facial deformities or something. You can tell that if somebody’s ugly, he must be evil. And then Tolkien’s heroes are all very attractive people and all that, of course, again this become cliché in the hands of the Tolkien imitators. http://entertainment.time.com/2011/04/18/grrm-interview-part-2-fantasy-and-history/
I did not want to write another version of the War Between Good and Evil, where the antagonist is called the Foul King or the Demon Lord or Prince Rotten, and his minions are slavering subhumans dressed all in black (I dressed my Night’s Watch, who are basically good guys, all in black in part to undermine that annoying convention). Before you can fight the war between good and evil, you need to determine which is which, and that’s not always as easy as some Fantasists would have you believe. http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/1427
Thematically, power is at the center of this – the use of power, the corrupting influences of power, what people will do to get power and what power will do to them. http://collider.com/george-r-r-martin-interview-game-of-thrones/
LILITH BEGONE LULLABY CONNECTIONS
And it is said that Lilith is responsible for infant mortality and even abortion. Irish novelist James Joyce cast her as the “patron of abortions.” Yes, I am sure these are old tales that try and explain what we know now in this modern age, but we are working in myth and story here. And this makes me second guess the berries Daenerys ate while out in the dry grass sea. Dany knew the price to be paid for Drogo, and that was the life of her unborn baby Rhaego.
- A Game of Thrones – Daenerys V
“As swift as the wind he rides, and behind him his khalasar covers the earth, men without number, with arakhs shining in their hands like blades of razor grass. Fierce as a storm this prince will be. His enemies will tremble before him, and their wives will weep tears of blood and rend their flesh in grief. The bells in his hair will sing his coming, and the milk men in the stone tents will fear his name.” The old woman trembled and looked at Dany almost as if she were afraid. “The prince is riding, and he shall be the stallion who mounts the world.”
“The stallion who mounts the world!” the onlookers cried in echo, until the night rang to the sound of their voices.
The one-eyed crone peered at Dany. “What shall he be called, the stallion who mounts the world?”
She stood to answer. “He shall be called Rhaego,” she said, using the words that Jhiqui had taught her. Her hands touched the swell beneath her breasts protectively as a roar went up from the Dothraki. “Rhaego,” they screamed. “Rhaego, Rhaego, Rhaego!”
- A Game of Thrones – Daenerys VIII
Khal Drogo writhed feebly as Rakharo and Quaro lowered him into the bath. “No,” he muttered, “no. Must ride.” Once in the water, all the strength seemed to leak out of him.
“Bring his horse,” Mirri Maz Duur commanded, and so it was done. Jhogo led the great red stallion into the tent. When the animal caught the scent of death, he screamed and reared, rolling his eyes. It took three men to subdue him.
“What do you mean to do?” Dany asked her.
“We need the blood,” Mirri answered. “That is the way.”
Remember, the dose makes the poison in ASOIAF world. In the ADWD-Daenerys X chapter, her eating the berries before she has a miscarriage is analogous with eating the berries to flavor her roast ‘kid’ as her fire body consumes the baby.
- A Feast for Crows – Alayne II
“It was too soon. My lady, you do not understand. As I’ve told the Lord Protector, a pinch of sweetsleep will prevent the shaking, but it does not leave the flesh, and in time . . .”
- A Feast for Crows – Cat of the Canals (Arya)
“A few grains will slow a pounding heart and stop a hand from shaking, and make a man feel calm and strong. A pinch will grant a night of deep and dreamless sleep. Three pinches will produce that sleep that does not end.
- A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys X
Just past midday she came upon a bush growing by the stream, its twisted limbs covered with hard green berries. Dany squinted at them suspiciously, then plucked one from a branch and nibbled at it. Its flesh was tart and chewy, with a bitter aftertaste that seemed familiar to her. “In the khalasar, they used berries like these to flavor roasts,” she decided. Saying it aloud made her more certain of it. Her belly rumbled, and Dany found herself picking berries with both hands and tossing them into her mouth. …[and then a few paragraphs later]… For a moment she did not realize what it was. The world had just begun to lighten, and the tall grass rustled softly in the wind. No, please, let me sleep some more. I’m so tired. She tried to burrow back beneath the pile of grass she had torn up when she went to sleep. Some of the stalks felt wet. Had it rained again? She sat up, afraid that she had soiled herself as she slept. When she brought her fingers to her face, she could smell the blood on them. Am I dying? Then she saw the pale crescent moon, floating high above the grass, and it came to her that this was no more than her moon blood.
If she had not been so sick and scared, that might have come as a relief. Instead she began to shiver violently. She rubbed her fingers through the dirt, and grabbed a handful of grass to wipe between her legs. The dragon does not weep. She was bleeding, but it was only woman’s blood. The moon is still a crescent, though. How can that be? She tried to remember the last time she had bled. The last full moon? The one before? The one before that? No, it cannot have been so long as that. “I am the blood of the dragon,” she told the grass, aloud.
Once, the grass whispered back, until you chained your dragons in the dark.
In folk Judaism, the primary myths about Lilith continue to identify her principally as a stealer of babies. Numerous amulets for pregnant women and babies from medieval through modern times use the three names of the angels mentioned in the Alphabet of Ben Sira (Sanvi, Sansanvi, and Samangelof) to ward away Lilith. Such amulets may also contain a circle with the names of Adam and Eve on the inside of the circle, and the name of Lilith on the outside: a clear warning to Lilith to stay outside the family realm. A red ribbon is also sometimes placed on a crib to ward off Lilith.
I believe we also get glimpses of this in Tyrion’s POV as he moves closer to Daenerys in the world.
- A Dance with Dragons – Tyrion VI
“That’s a prophecy even I could make. Ah, supper.”
Supper was a plate of roasted goat served on a bed of sliced onions. The meat was spiced and fragrant, charred outside and red and juicy within. Tyrion plucked at a piece. It was so hot it burned his fingers, but so good he could not help but reach for another chunk. He washed it down with the pale green Volantene liquor, the closest thing he’d had to wine for ages. “Very good,” he said, plucking up his dragon. “The most powerful piece in the game,” he announced, as he removed one of Qavo’s elephants. “And Daenerys Targaryen has three, it’s said.”
Milking the Venom Snake
The lilītu (Lilith) dwells in desert lands and open country spaces and is especially dangerous to pregnant women and infants. Her breasts are filled with poison, not milk. The ardat lilī is a sexually frustrated and infertile female who behaves aggressively toward young men.
I want to talk about her breasts filled with poison, not milk. Martin has his own rules in his own world, however, he was quite specific with how he wanted his dragons represented. Since it is rather clear that #1 GRRM knows who Lilith is because of how he used her as Cyrain of Ash (a near exact pre-Dany), #2 is consistently using Bible iconography in his Essosian story line, it is safe to say that GRRM knows this poison breasts detail and what we see Dany doing after her dragons hatch is not nursing with milk, but poison as a metaphor- because reptilian creatures hatched from eggs don’t nurse milk. And we know different poisons in the story are often related to being like milk.
A Game of Thrones – Daenerys I
Dany said nothing. Magister Illyrio was a dealer in spices, gemstones, dragonbone, and other, less savory things. He had friends in all of the Nine Free Cities, it was said, and even beyond, in Vaes Dothrak and the fabled lands beside the Jade Sea. It was also said that he’d never had a friend he wouldn’t cheerfully sell for the right price. Dany listened to the talk in the streets, and she heard these things, but she knew better than to question her brother when he wove his webs of dream. His anger was a terrible thing when roused. Viserys called it “waking the dragon.”
Her brother hung the gown beside the door. “Illyrio will send the slaves to bathe you. Be sure you wash off the stink of the stables. Khal Drogo has a thousand horses, tonight he looks for a different sort of mount.” He studied her critically. “You still slouch. Straighten yourself.” He pushed back her shoulders with his hands. “Let them see that you have a woman’s shape now.” His fingers brushed lightly over her budding breasts and tightened on a nipple. “You will not fail me tonight. If you do, it will go hard for you. You don’t want to wake the dragon, do you?” His fingers twisted her, the pinch cruelly hard through the rough fabric of her tunic. “Do you?” he repeated.
“No,” Dany said meekly.
(aah, but later Dany does wake the dragon).
- A Game of Thrones – Daenerys X
When the fire died at last and the ground became cool enough to walk upon, Ser Jorah Mormont found her amidst the ashes, surrounded by blackened logs and bits of glowing ember and the burnt bones of man and woman and stallion. She was naked, covered with soot, her clothes turned to ash, her beautiful hair all crisped away … yet she was unhurt.
The cream-and-gold dragon was suckling at her left breast, the green-and-bronze at the right. Her arms cradled them close. The black-and-scarlet beast was draped across her shoulders, its long sinuous neck coiled under her chin. When it saw Jorah, it raised its head and looked at him with eyes as red as coals.
Wordless, the knight fell to his knees. The men of her khas came up behind him. Jhogo was the first to lay his arakh at her feet. “Blood of my blood,” he murmured, pushing his face to the smoking earth. “Blood of my blood,” she heard Aggo echo. “Blood of my blood,” Rakharo shouted.
- A Feast for Crows – The Queenmaker
“Watch where you set your feet,” Drey cautioned. “It has been a while since Prince Oberyn milked the local vipers.”
“I was weaned on venom, Dalt. Any viper takes a bite of me will rue it.” Ser Gerold vanished through a broken arch.
- A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys VI
Bless me, Dany thought bitterly. Your city is gone to ash and bone, your people are dying all around you. I have no shelter for you, no medicine, no hope. Only stale bread and wormy meat, hard cheese, a little milk. Bless me, bless me.
What kind of mother has no milk to feed her children?
“Too many dead,” Aggo said. “They should be burned.”
So throughout all of this is the idea that Lilith has an adverse relationship with the young and unborn. We have seen that with Daenerys two times now. Three if you count Drogon eating Hazzea.
So what did people do to ward off this night demon? They developed songs asking for divine protection. An old hebrew translation of “Lullaby” is “Lilith-abi”, which in turn translates to “Lilith Begone.” We see Daenerys has a connection to songs, and birth, including at the time of her dragon birth. It is possible that Mirri Maz Duur was singing a birthing song. Here we see the singing dragon transforms Daenerys in to something stronger; reborn as the last dragon (taking the helm from Rhaegar):
- A Game of Thrones – Daenerys III
Yet when she slept that night, she dreamt the dragon dream again. Viserys was not in it this time. There was only her and the dragon. Its scales were black as night, wet and slick with blood. Her blood, Dany sensed. Its eyes were pools of molten magma, and when it opened its mouth, the flame came roaring out in a hot jet. She could hear it singing to her. She opened her arms to the fire, embraced it, let it swallow her whole, let it cleanse her and temper her and scour her clean. She could feel her flesh sear and blacken and slough away, could feel her blood boil and turn to steam, and yet there was no pain. She felt strong and new and fierce.
And the next day, strangely, she did not seem to hurt quite so much. It was as if the gods had heard her and taken pity. Even her handmaids noticed the change. “Khaleesi,” Jhiqui said, “what is wrong? Are you sick?”
“I was,” she answered, standing over the dragon’s eggs that Illyrio had given her when she wed. She touched one, the largest of the three, running her hand lightly over the shell. Black-and-scarlet, she thought, like the dragon in my dream. The stone felt strangely warm beneath her fingers … or was she still dreaming? She pulled her hand back nervously.
- A Game of Thrones – Daenerys VII
“Before,” Dany said to the ugly Lhazareen woman, “I heard you speak of birthing songs …”
“I know every secret of the bloody bed, Silver Lady, nor have I ever lost a babe,” Mirri Maz Duur replied.
“My time is near,” Dany said. “I would have you attend me when he comes, if you would.”
- A Game of Thrones – Daenerys X
A rising heat puffed at her face, soft and sudden as a lover’s breath, but in seconds it had grown too hot to bear. Dany stepped backward. The wood crackled, louder and louder. Mirri Maz Duur began to sing in a shrill, ululating voice. The flames whirled and writhed, racing each other up the platform. The dusk shimmered as the air itself seemed to liquefy from the heat. Dany heard logs spit and crack. The fires swept over Mirri Maz Duur. Her song grew louder, shriller … then she gasped, again and again, and her song became a shuddering wail, thin and high and full of agony.
So here we see Daenerys asking a bloodmaege witch who knows birthing songs to attend her birth, however, that labor of love doesn’t reward with a human Rhaego, but instead three undead daemons. In short, YES, Mirri Maz Duur attends by way of song and burning. This is the same fire that Daenerys describes as a “wedding”, meaning, Daenerys is the bride of fire as she is the mother of dragons (fire made flesh).
Additionally, readers are repeatedly given the information over and over that dragon eggs are put in the cradle of Targaryen babies for some sort of bond/hatching ritual. A soul sharing action no matter what it is called. Except in Daenerys’ case, the eggs were dead and the soul of baby Rhaego went one way in to the egg with the dead dragon soul leaving the corruption of death in it’s place. This speaks very much to the real world idea that woman are the cradle of life, as well as Daenerys manipulating the natural order of nature.
- The Mystery Knight
“Your dragon’s egg.” They put it in his cradle. Dunk was so used to Egg that sometimes he forgot Aegon was a prince. Of course they’d put a dragon egg inside his cradle. “Well, see that you don’t go mentioning this egg where anyone is like to hear.”
- The Rogue Prince
By royal decree, each of the Velaryon boys was presented with a dragon’s egg whilst in the cradle.
- The World of Ice and Fire – Viserys I
But at Viserys’s command, each had a dragon’s egg placed in his cradle, and each egg hatched, producing the dragons Vermax, Arrax, and Tyraxes.
- A Game of Thrones – Daenerys IV
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.
LILITH and GARDENS
Lilith was born is a garden, and to a garden she shall return. I speculate that Daenerys will have to make a few stops at a few keys gardens in the story… and wherever Daenerys goes, “twisted little monkey demon” Tyrion is sure to follow… because Tyrion goes where “whores” go.
Which gardens will Daenerys visit next? She already ate of the fruit from the living dead gardens of Vaes Tolorro.
- Illyrio’s manse? Probably. There must a reason why readers are told so many times in ASOIAF that sacks of suet and fat burn so fast.
- Sunspear watergardens? Probably. I suspect Daenerys will ride through Hellholt as well.
- Highgarden? Kinda makes sense if you map the proximity of garden to garden.
According to Bahari legend, Lilith enjoyed an extensive sequence of affairs with both Yahweh and Lucifer, who were Gods with their own gardens; the gardens is significant key here. We have in ASOIAF the gardens in Dorne that were created for a Daenerys of past. And Dany remembers the lemon tree, and the plotting Doran does to get Arianne and Quentyn to dragons happens in the Gardens.
One of the most important steps in getting Daenerys to Qarth where she meets the Undyine Ones, is her stop in Vaes Tolorro, and they eat the fruits of the “city of bones”. This is in clear contrast to Craster’s Keep, which is guarded by bones of the dead, and Jon refuses to eat the food of Craster and partake his hospitalty, therfore putting him in Craster’s debt.
- ACOK, Daenerys I: And so they went, the bells in their hair ringing softly, while Dany settled down with her small band of survivors in the place they named Vaes Tolorro, the city of bones. Day followed night followed day. Women harvested fruit from the gardens of the dead.
- ACOK, Daenerys I: Irri broke her reverie to tell her that Ser Jorah Mormont was outside, awaiting her pleasure. “Send him in,” Dany commanded, sand-scrubbed skin tingling. She wrapped herself in the lionskin. The hrakkar had been much bigger than Dany, so the pelt covered everything that wanted covering.
“I’ve brought you a peach,” Ser Jorah said, kneeling. It was so small she could almost hide it in her palm, and overripe too, but when she took the first bite, the flesh was so sweet she almost cried. She ate it slowly, savoring every mouthful, while Ser Jorah told her of the tree it had been plucked from, in a garden near the western wall.
“Fruit and water and shade,” Dany said, her cheeks sticky with peach juice. “The gods were good to bring us to this place.”
Thanks for reading along with the Fattest Leech of Ice and Fire blog.