Greenseeing is Enlightenment

Bran’s eyes filled with tears. We came such a long way. The chamber echoed to the sound of the black river.

You will never walk again, Bran,” the pale lips promised, “but you will fly.”

A Dance with Dragons – Bran II

“So will you,” said Meera. That made Bran sad. What if I don’t want to remain when you are gone? he almost asked, but he swallowed the words unspokenI . He was almost a man grown, and he did not want Meera to think he was some weepy babe. “Maybe you could be greenseers too,” he said instead.

“No, Bran.” Now Meera sounded sad.

“It is given to a few to drink of that green fountain whilst still in mortal flesh, to hear the whisperings of the leaves and see as the trees see, as the gods see,” said Jojen. “Most are not so blessed. The gods gave me only greendreams. My task was to get you here. My part in this is done.”

…and then…

“Only one man in a thousand is born a skinchanger,” Lord Brynden said one day, after Bran had learned to fly, “and only one skinchanger in a thousand can be a greenseer.”

“I thought the greenseers were the wizards of the children,” Bran said. “The singers, I mean.”

“In a sense. Those you call the children of the forest have eyes as golden as the sun, but once in a great while one is born amongst them with eyes as red as blood, or green as the moss on a tree in the heart of the forest. By these signs do the gods mark those they have chosen to receive the gift. The chosen ones are not robust, and their quick years upon the earth are few, for every song must have its balance. But once inside the wood they linger long indeed. A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees. Greenseers.”

A Dance with Dragons – Bran III

  • Enlightenment- the action of enlightening or the state of being enlightened. Gaining knowledge.

This is the parrallel opposite idea of The 17-18th century Age Enlightenment, which was a time of new ideas and advancements in science. But the slave trade also boomed, and this is where Daenerys’s half comes in to plot.

The George R.R. Martin stories I recommend for this essay are detailed on the main Bran page, but I will relist them here with a few additions:

  1. Override. This story is a great example of a man discovering a psi-like talent within himself, and using that talent to override an override box of someone trying to kill him.
  2. For A Single Yesterday. First published 1983. This is another story that tells how in the end, the trees are what is required to reform the world. Humans use the trees to learn from just as Martin always uses trees/towers as libraries and keepers of history. Transcribed here.
  3. Nightflyers. A main hero, Royd Eris (another Jon-Bran-Bloodraven prototype), sits alone in his dark quarters behind a “wall”, and that is where he gains his knowledge and insights.
  4. The Second King of Loneliness. Again, the theme of solitary existence brings a reflection.
  5. The Way of Cross and Dragon. Reflection of religion as a way to control the masses.
  6. The Glass Flower. This story shows that in the end, trees and nature literally take back the land that was theirs. Trees/nature is the ruler in the end after a reign of fire and blood. I highly recommend reading this story to help understand Daenerys. Transcribed here.
  7. Fevre Dream. This story addresses many issues such as the two forms of slavery- bodily and mental, as well as evolution and coexistence, with the most important driving factor behins the progress as being able to see in the ‘darkness”. There is an an eye-opening sight that takes place within oneself that allows the hero to navigate the two types of darkness, one being the mental slave war, one being a “long night“. Enlightenment. This story also gives us another hero, Josh York, that is the prototypical Jon-Bran-Bloodraven type GRRM loves to reuse. Brief Fevre Dream wiki synopsis here.
  8. Armageddon Rag. This story deals heavily with the idea of the corporate-militant institutions are destroying the real world. Sandy Blair, the main character, has many dreams and pseudo-visions of how this corporate toxicity will bring about an end through means of fire and weaponry. It is only through choosing the opposite can humanity survive. This book is filled with flying nuclear fighter plane imagery, and GRRM has said the dragons in ASOIAF are “nuclear deterrents” and “destructive forces”.
  9. The Stone City. I am adding this one here because there is a very clearly defined Bloodraven prototype that is a direct influence in the Bran scene when Bran meets Bloodraven. I covered it in the (work in progress) Bloodraven blog page here. Also there is a scene with drug use and being hooked up to a machine being used as a type of time travel. Transcribed here.
  10. Roger Zelazny anything, but especially the Chronicles of Amber and The Lord of Light. Much more on this particular subject down below, but in general it has to do with normalizing the gods to even out existence for all. George has a page dedicated In Memoriam to Zelazny on his blog.
    • Chronicles of Amber has been credited as one of the main inspirations for George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. Article source here.
  11. Harlan Ellison anything.
  12. Heinlein- Have Space Suit, Will Travel, which GRRM said was a major influence on him.

I have been talking about this ‘greenseeing means enlightenment’ idea for years, and incidentally, Martinworld quotes have added up over time. Because this is a longer essay due the copious book quotes that are included, here is a list of the topics in this essay that will be discussed:

  1. Flipping the Lids. Change in governmental ruling system is coming to Westeros.
  2. The Neutralizer. Water is balance.
  3. You Have to Have Courage. The enlightenment of breaking free.
  4. Ozy-man-dee-us. Change happens. The symbol of the iron throne versus weirwood trees. The trees win.
  5. The Corporeal Pear. How Martin depicts bureaucratic and corporate entities in his works.
  6. Dragons of All Shapes. Various dragon-forms across Martinworld stories.
  7. Sea Lord Bran. The highest rank of the Night’s Watch.
  8. Of Toth and Tablet. Intro in to the Emerald Tablet.
  9. Three Parts of Wisdom of the Whole Universe. Trees, towers, libraries are all vessels of wisdom.
  10. Becoming a Knight of the Mind. Bran training to be the next Three-eyed Crow. I have been rambling for a few years now about Bran becoming THE Knight of the Mind.
  11. Princesses in Amber. The Zelazny effect and sea queens.
  12. Bringer of Enlightenment. The wall of self reflection.
  13. What goes around, comes around. History repeating with a twist.
  14. Secret of Secrets. The Emerald Tablet teachings.

Flipping the Lids

Readers of all Martinworld stories will notice that the theme of “dragons” is a loose allegory for either Corporate-Capitalism, or for over-reaching governmental rule… and they often wrap intimately hand in hand with each other. Blue or red, a dragon is still a dragon. The ideas of the Enlightenment undermined the authority of the monarchy (blood “right” Targaryens) and the Church (Steel Andal Invasion) and paved the way for the political revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Essentially what it seems the author is setting up in the story is the end of oppressive hierarchical feudalism and the emergence of his own version of an ASOIAF Age of Enlightenment, and Bran will be our Sea Lord at the ship’s helm. George’s stories that have the Jon archetype, also have this character blended with a Bran and Bloodraven- three branches of the same tree. It is in ASOIAF that George R.R. Martin has the literary room to expand this one in to three, but they are still working in tandem in this new story.

  • A Storm of Swords – Arya VIII

“Nay,” said the dwarf. “You’re not. The black fish holds the rivers now. If it’s the mother you want, seek her at the Twins. For there’s to be a wedding.” She cackled again. “Look in your fires, pink priest, and you will see. Not now, though, not here, you’ll see nothing here. This place belongs to the old gods still . . . they linger here as I do, shrunken and feeble but not yet dead. Nor do they love the flames. For the oak recalls the acorn, the acorn dreams the oak, the stump lives in them both. And they remember when the First Men came with fire in their fists.” She drank the last of the wine in four long swallows, flung the skin aside, and pointed her stick at Lord Beric. “I’ll have my payment now. I’ll have the song you promised me.”

This is a current day play on the old tale of John the Oak. Current Jon Snow plays the part of John the Oak/tree. Bran is the stump and “knight of the mind” as will be detailed in this essay, but knights are associated with chivalry, so there is that connection. Brynden Bloodraven Rivers is playing the part of Garth Greenhand. There is a repeating theme in all of GRRM’s work that always brings the “Bloodraven” type back to water/rivers.

  • John the Oak is a legendary son of Garth Greenhand and a giantess. He was a huge man, eight feet tall in some tales, or even ten or twelve in others. Even though chivalry was brought by the Andals millennia later, he’s credited with bringing chivalry to Westeros. His descendants became House Oakheart.
  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon VI

“The heart is all that matters. Do not despair, Lord Snow. Despair is a weapon of the enemy, whose name may not be spoken. Your sister is not lost to you.”

“I have no sister.” The words were knives. What do you know of my heart, priestess? What do you know of my sister?

Melisandre seemed amused. “What is her name, this little sister that you do not have?”

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The Neutralizer

What do you get when you mix the extremes of fire and ice? Water. Nature. Balance.

I speculate this is what the weirwood trees represent as they have both fire and ice symbolism. They are the neutral “green fountain” as the third option to the cup of ice/cup of fire examples we are given elsewhere. I believe this is why GRRM gave Brynden Bloodraven Rivers the option of taking then rejecting his Targaryen name and choosing to keep his bastard name “Rivers”. I also think this is why Bran has blue eyes as opposed to the green or red other greenseers have. Robert “Sweetrobin” Arryn is the twisted parallel to Bran in this story and he has “watery eyes”, and this reason is probably why.

Back to the point; for humanity to survive, the extremes of fire and ice have to be neutralized once again to bring about the normalcy of genetic progression, and even to normalize the magically out of balance seasons. Nature is both glorious as well as dangerous, but never out of balance. A night that never ends is just as dangerous as the proposed summer that never ends.

ASOIAF- Winter Is Coming by DameDeBrume. Lyanna Stark in the Godswood.

Enlightenment thinkers in Britain, in France and throughout Europe questioned traditional authority and embraced the notion that humanity could be improved through rational change, which I am speculating is what we are going to witness after the new long night.

Realm: territory, kingdom, domain, dimension.

What is the song of ice and fire? Water. Yes, that is an oversimplified way to put it, but every song must have its balance, as Leaf says (above quote).

When Ice and Fire dance, the result is water. The great neutral that balances and nourishes everything. Bran will span all realms- physical and mental. No boundaries.

  • A Storm of Swords – Samwell II

“We never knew . . .”

“We never knew! But we must have known once. The Night’s Watch has forgotten its true purpose, Tarly. You don’t build a wall seven hundred feet high to keep savages in skins from stealing women. The Wall was made to guard the realms of men . . . and not against other men, which is all the wildlings are when you come right down to it. Too many years, Tarly, too many hundreds and thousands of years. We lost sight of the true enemy. And now he’s here, but we don’t know how to fight him. Is dragonglass made by dragons, as the smallfolk like to say?”

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You have to have Courage

There is a fantastic essay by Enlightenment philosopher Immanuael Kant, and in it he describes courage and knowing… You know nothing, Jon Snow. Additionally, this is the exact concept Martin has made the basis in his story Override, where a man, Matt Kabaraijian, has to learn he has the knowledge and power within himself to override another persons override controller using his own mind. This, and the toxicity of the corporate environment suppressing the common people. Oh yeah, as much as lost love, flying banshees, greenseeing, dying suns, etc are a common theme in Martin’s work, so is the slavery of big corporations:

  • Enlightenment philosophy: Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed nonage (immaturity, youth- kill the boy). Nonage is the inability to use one’s own understanding without another’s guidance. This nonage is self-imposed if its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one’s own mind without another’s guidance. Dare to know! (Sapere aude.) “Have the courage to use your own understanding,” is therefore the motto of the enlightenment.

We readers are given this lesson in the opening chapter of the series, AGOT Bran I, and then later during Bran’s near death third-eye awakening, he recalls this lesson:

  • A Game of Thrones – Bran III

Bran looked at the crow on his shoulder, and the crow looked back. It had three eyes, and the third eye was full of a terrible knowledge. Bran looked down. There was nothing below him now but snow and cold and death, a frozen wasteland where jagged blue-white spires of ice waited to embrace him. They flew up at him like spears. He saw the bones of a thousand other dreamers impaled upon their points. He was desperately afraid.

Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?” he heard his own voice saying, small and far away.

And his father’s voice replied to him. “That is the only time a man can be brave.”

The opening line to the story Override is:

“The only way to break free of a controlling force is to first recognize exactly what that force is.”

  • Override

Three dead men; stalking. But somewhere their handler was hiding. The man with the override box.
Their mind and their will. But where?
The launch was coming closer. Was it leaving? Maybe they thought he’d run for it? Or . . . no, probably the enemy was going to blockade the exit, and then search the cave.
Did they see him? Did they know where he was?
Suddenly he remembered his corpse controller, and his hand fumbled under water to make sure it was still intact. It was. And working; controllers were watertight. It no longer controlled. But it still might be useful …
Kabaraijian closed his eyes, and tried to shut off his ears. He deliberately blotted his senses, and concentrated on the distant sensory echoes that still murmured in his mind. They were there. Even vaguer than usual, but less confused; there were only two sets of images now. His third corpse floated a few feet from him, and it wasn’t sending anything.
He twisted his mind tight, and listened, and tried to see. The blurs began to define themselves. Two pictures, both wavering, took form, superimposed over each other. A sense tangle, but Kabaraijian pulled at the threads. The pictures resolved.
One corpse was waist-deep in green water, moving slowly, holding a pick. It could see the shaft of the tool, and the hand wrapped around it, and the gradually-deepening water. But it wasn’t even looking in Kabaraijian’s direction.

  • Override [Kabaraijian figured out he could override the override box, that he has has a rather strong psi-link talent. Bartling is the rep for the corporation who walks around with three bodyguards.]

Kabaraijian waved the, wrench again, his palm sweaty where he gripped it. His other hand touched his shoulder briefly. The bleeding had stopped. He sat slowly, and rested his hand on the motor.
Aren’t you going to ask me how I knew, Ed?” Kabaraijian said. Cochran, sullen, said nothing. “I’ll tell you anyway,” Kabaraijian continued. “I saw you. I looked through the eyes of my corpse, and I saw you huddled here in the boat, lying on the floor and peeking over the side to try and spot me. You didn’t look dead at all, but you looked very guilty. And suddenly I got it. You were the only one with a clear view of that stuff on the beach. You were the only one in the cave.”
He paused, awkward. His voice broke a little, and softened. “Only—why? Why, Ed?”
Cochran looked up at him again. He shrugged. “Money,” he said. “Only money, Matt. What else?” He smiled; not his usual grin, but a strained, tight smile. “I like you, Matt.”
“You’ve got a peculiar way of showing it,” Kabaraijian told him. He couldn’t help smiling as he said it. “Whose money?”
Bartling‘s,” said Cochran. “I needed money real bad. My estimates were low, I didn’t have anything saved. If I had to leave Grotto, that would’ve meant selling my crew just for passage money. Then I’d be a hired handler again. I didn’t want that. I needed money fast.”

  • The World of Ice and Fire – Ancient History: Valyria’s Children

Of the history of Valyria as it is known today, many volumes have been written over the centuries, and the details of their conquests, their colonizations, the feuds of the dragonlords, the gods they worshipped, and more could fill libraries and still not be complete. Galendro’s The Fires of the Freehold is widely considered the most definitive history, and even there the Citadel lacks twenty-seven of the scrolls.

And those who would not be slaves but were unable to withstand the might of Valyria fled. Many failed and are forgotten. But one people, tall and fair-haired, made courageous and indomitable by their faith, succeeded in their escape from Valyria. And those men are the Andals.

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George did not write the Iron Throne to be a positive symbol. No. Instead, it is a symbol of over-extended corporatism, suppression, blood, and fire. A twisted, painful reminder to bow or burn. An inverse, twisted version of the weirwood tree. In the story Fevre Dream, it is the silver/blue/white ship Fevre Dream that is overpowered then suppressed by the red/black dragon Damon Julian, who then takes control of the ship (like Daenerys with Drogon) and proceeds to transform the white-blue-silver ship to black and red. In Martinworld, this transformation from blue to red tends not to be a great thing to have happen.

  • The World of Ice and Fire – The Reach: Garth Greenhand

    Brandon of the Bloody Blade, who drove the giants from the Reach and warred against the children of the forest, slaying so many at Blue Lake that it has been known as Red Lake ever since.

As seen in the story The Ice Dragon, the main POV, a young girl named Adara, was born “cold and blue”, which allowed her to be able to ride an (actual) ice dragon. After a huge battle with fire dragons, the ice dragon melts and the remains transforms into, “a pond that had never been there before, a small quiet pool where the water was very old.” After this happens, Adara is no longer able to touch the ice lizards and other winter critters, as her blood has been transformed into red hot blood and she will melt her little friends.

  • The Ice Dragon

 He [Father] saved whatever he could, and he seemed happy. “Hal is gone, and my land,” he would tell Adara, “and I am sad for that. But it is all right. I have my daughter back.” For the winter was gone from her now, and she smiled and laughed and even wept like other little girls…Geoff and Adara returned with their father to the farm. When the first frost came, all the ice lizards came out, just as they had always done. Adara watched them with a smile on her face, remembering the way it had been. But she did not try to touch them. They were cold and fragile little things, and the warmth of her hands would hurt them.

The new ruler, Damon Julian, changes the name as well to Ozymandias as a way to hide in plain sight…

Fevre Dream ship = weirwood

Ozymandias ship = iron throne

  • GRRM: And yet, and yet… it’s still not right. It’s not the Iron Throne I see when I’m working on THE WINDS OF WINTER. It’s not the Iron Throne I want my readers to see. The way the throne is described in the books… HUGE, hulking, black and twisted, with the steep iron stairs in front, the high seat from which the king looks DOWN on everyone in the court… my throne is a hunched beast looming over the throne room, ugly and assymetric… It’s a throne made by blacksmiths hammering together half-melted, broken, twisted swords, wrenched from the hands of dead men or yielded up by defeated foes… a symbol of conquest… it has the steps I describe, and the height. From on top, the king dominates the throne room. And there are thousands of swords in it, not just a few. This Iron Throne is scary. And not at all a comfortable seat, just as Aegon intended. Look on his works, ye mighty, and despair. (Ozymandias, a poem GRRM uses extensively in his story Fevre Dream.)
    Iron Throne. Artist: Marc Simonetti

Ozymandias is a political poem at heart, written at a time when Napoleon’s domination of Europe was coming to an end and another empire, that of Great Britain’s, was about to take over.

Shelley’s poem encapsulates metaphorically the outcome of such tyrannical wielding of power – that no leader, King, despot, dictator or ruler can overcome time. Overall, this sonnet paints a picture of an egotistical character who thought himself without rival but who was cruel to his people.


I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

And speaking of the throne, there is a very common repeated theme of the dichotomy between the wood and the iron/obsidian and how each “rules”. Curiously, sometimes the devil is in the small details. The only time in all of the Martin stories I have read (outside of any ASOIAF material), he only uses this phrase in two stories- Fevre Dream for the sound of the controller wheel paddles on the ships when they race (or battle), and once with Daenerys and her dragon controller whip:

  • Fevre Dream

The Fevre Dream loomed ahead of them bigger and more formidable than ever. She had almost completed her spin now, and the Eli Reynolds was still paddling toward her, whapwhapwhap, paddling toward those white maggot-faces and darkness and hot red eyes.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys X

Once she was certain which way was south, she counted off her paces. The stream appeared at eight. Dany cupped her hands to drink. The water made her belly cramp, but cramps were easier to bear than thirst. She had no other drink but the morning dew that glistened on the tall grass, and no food at all unless she cared to eat the grass. I could try eating ants. The little yellow ones were too small to provide much in the way of nourishment, but there were red ants in the grass, and those were bigger. “I am lost at sea,” she said as she limped along beside her meandering rivulet, “so perhaps I’ll find some crabs, or a nice fat fish.” Her whip slapped softly against her thigh, wap wap wap. One step at a time, and the stream would see her home.

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 we know Bran had a weirwood throne made for him, so he and Dany do seem to be destined for chase along a river, as we read about in Fevre Dream. The “darkness” talk at the end of this Bran quote mimics almost exactly the same protective reasoning we readers are told about in both Fevre Dream and even in The Glass Flower as the players play the game of mind.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Bran III

The great cavern that opened on the abyss was as black as pitch, black as tar, blacker than the feathers of a crow. Light entered as a trespasser, unwanted and unwelcome, and soon was gone again; cookfires, candles, and rushes burned for a little while, then guttered out again, their brief lives at an end.

The singers made Bran a throne of his own, like the one Lord Brynden sat, white weirwood flecked with red, dead branches woven through living roots. They placed it in the great cavern by the abyss, where the black air echoed to the sound of running water far below. Of soft grey moss they made his seat. Once he had been lowered into place, they covered him with warm furs.

There he sat, listening to the hoarse whispers of his teacher. “Never fear the darkness, Bran.” The lord’s words were accompanied by a faint rustling of wood and leaf, a slight twisting of his head. “The strongest trees are rooted in the dark places of the earth. Darkness will be your cloak, your shield, your mother’s milk. Darkness will make you strong.”

And ya know what happens at the end of The Glass Flower? There is a regime change. The fiery black castle made of mirror-like obsidian and fire is replaced with the living warmth of trees. Cyrain goes on to another life (I think her seventh at this point) in the body she won (stole) from Kleronomas (well, the being that took over after Kleronomas died, basically Bran after he took over for Bloodraven. Kleronomas won the childs body he wanted for its mortality and now rules in a house built of nature. What was that quote GRRM about conquering?


“If a twelve-year old has to conquer the world, then so be it.”GRRM

Too often a fantasy story or a fairy tale might begin with a king on the throne, without us knowing what made him the way he is. “If he’s a noble king, why is he noble? If he’s a selfish king, why is he selfish?” Martin asked. “So you go back to his parents, and their parents, and their parents. Everything leads to everything else.”GRRM


  • The Glass Flower

A new mindlord has begun to reign. She has commanded them to start on a new castle, a structure shaped from living woods, its foundations rooted deep in the swamps, its exterior covered with vines and flowers and other living things. “You will get insects,” I have warned her, “parasites and stinging flies, miner-worms in the wood, blight in your foundation, rot in your walls. You will have to sleep with netting over your bed. You will have to kill, constantly, day and night. Your wooden castle will swim in a miasma of little deaths, and in a few years the ghosts of a million insects will swarm your halls by night.”

“Nonetheless,” she says, “my home will be warm and alive, where yours was cold and brittle.”

We all have our symbols, I suppose.

And our fears.

“Erase him,” she has warned me. “Blank the crystal, or in time he will consume you, and you will become another ghost in the machine.”

“Erase him?” I might have laughed, if the mechanism permitted laughter. I can see right through her. Her soul is scrawled upon that soft, fragile face. I can count her pores and note each flicker of doubt in the pupils of those violet eyes. “Erase me, you mean. The crystal is home to us both, child. Besides, I do not fear him. You miss the point. Kleronomas was crystal, the ghost organic meat, the outcome inevitable. My case is different. I am as crystalline as he is, and just as eternal.”

“Wisdom—” she began.

“Wrong,” I said.

“Cyrain, if you prefer—”

“Wrong again. Call me Kleronomas.” I have been many things through my long and varied lives, but I have never been a legend. It has a certain cachet.

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The Corporeal Pear

The Targaryens and dragons represent the corporate world. In addition to the repeated Targaryen incest that was to control the “blood of the dragon” (code for females), we see Daenerys as a current in-story example of the corporate controller of the ASOIAF world. Everything she does that controls the flow of work and money (slave trade, fighting pits, timber control, weaving mills, etc), adds to her thoughts that she is the rightful person to sit the Iron Throne. She is a Targaryen and taking over because of who your father is/was is the basic definition of nepotism (derived from the word nephew 😉 ), a common corporate problem. Will this change after her time with the Dosh Khaleen? We have to wait for The Winds of Winter to find out.

One thing is for sure, if Daenerys ever makes a comment expressing a desire to stop the recurring practice of tyranny, she will need to stop both incest and implement a more democratic way of electing those who are chosen by the people according to merit over bloodline.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys I

Missandei announced her. The little scribe had a sweet, strong voice. “All kneel for Daenerys Stormborn, the Unburnt, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Khaleesi of Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Shackles, and Mother of Dragons.”

The references to the three bodyguards of Bartling, and the three dead-mean stalking, and Bartling being a rather Pear-like himself in name and physical description. By the way, this is also near exactly the same way GRRM described and wrote the main villain in his psychologically creepy thriller, The Pear-Shaped Man. Also a story about one person controlling another through a group effort (corporate) until they are consumed or absorbed into the corporeal form of the overlord:


  • Override

But his amusement died short minutes later, when Cochran suddenly stiffened and grimaced across the table. “Damn,” he said. “Bartling. What the hell does he want here?”
Kabaraijian turned toward the door, where the newcomer was standing and waiting for his eyes to adjust to the dim light. He was a big man, with an athletic frame that had gone to pot over the years and now sported a considerable paunch. He had dark hair streaked with white and a bristling black beard, and he was wearing a fashionable multicolored tunic.
Four others had entered behind him, and now stood flanking him on either side. They were younger men than he was, and bigger, with hard faces and impressive builds. The bodyguards made sense. Lowell Bartling was widely known for his dislike of corpse handlers, and the tavern was full of them.
Bartling crossed his arms, and looked around the room slowly. He was smirking. He started to speak.

All of this reminds me of Daenerys intent on claiming the Iron Throne, having her three undead dragons as her guards, and she even has several references to pears while on the top of her pyramid in Meereen; Tyroshi pear brandy, Viserion, Daario…

  • A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys I

Viserion sensed her disquiet. The white dragon lay coiled around a pear tree, his head resting on his tail. When Dany passed his eyes came open, two pools of molten gold. His horns were gold as well, and the scales that ran down his back from head to tail. “You’re lazy,” she told him, scratching under his jaw. His scales were hot to the touch, like armor left too long in the sun. Dragons are fire made flesh. She had read that in one of the books Ser Jorah had given her as a wedding gift. “You should be hunting with your brothers. Have you and Drogon been fighting again?” Her dragons were growing wild of late. Rhaegal had snapped at Irri, and Viserion had set Reznak’s tokar ablaze the last time the seneschal had called. I have left them too much to themselves, but where am I to find the time for them?

Viserion’s tail lashed sideways, thumping the trunk of the tree so hard that a pear came tumbling down to land at Dany’s feet. His wings unfolded, and he half flew, half hopped onto the parapet. He grows, she thought as he launched himself into the sky. They are all three growing. Soon they will be large enough to bear my weight. Then she would fly as Aegon the Conqueror had flown, up and up, until Meereen was so small that she could blot it out with her thumb.

She watched Viserion climb in widening circles until he was lost to sight beyond the muddy waters of the Skahazadhan. Only then did Dany go back inside the pyramid, where Irri and Jhiqui were waiting to brush the tangles from her hair and garb her as befit the Queen of Meereen, in a Ghiscari tokar.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys IV

“I have not eaten in two days, but now that I am here, it is enough for me to feast upon your beauty.”

“My beauty will not fill up your belly.” She plucked down a pear and tossed it at him. “Eat this.”

If my queen commands it.” He took a bite of the pear, his gold tooth gleaming. Juice ran down into his purple beard.

Additionally, this line from Override about Bartling, “Lowell Bartling was widely known for his dislike of corpse handlers, and the tavern was full of them.” reminds me of corporate/Targaryen Queen Alysanne might have felt when she closed the wall at Nightfort; the dragon dislikes skinchangers, skinchangers are of the trees, fire consumes trees.

  • Override

“You’re leaving Grotto!” someone shouted. There was laughter all along the bar. “I’ll drink to that,” another voice added.
“No,” said Bartling. “No, friend, you are.” He looked around, savoring the moment. “Bartling Associates has just acquired the swirlstone concession, I’m happy to tell you. I take over management of the river station at the end of the month. And, of course, my first act will be to terminate the employment of all the corpse handlers currently under contract.”

But keep this corporeal-corporation pear in mind as you read the rest of this page, and even the many other Martin stories where he uses this idea.

And again with the corporate takeover GRRM writes about, this time it is the fiery Damon Julian that takes over the Fevre Dream, changing it’s appearance from silver, white, and blue, with flowers to the crudely painted black and red with the name change to Ozymandias.

  • Fevre Dream

Ozy—” That one was hard. He was glad he didn’t have to spell it. “Ozy-man-dee-us.”

Then Abner Marsh’s mind, his slow deliberate mind that never forgot anything, chucked the answer up in front of him, like a piece of driftwood thrown up by the river. He’d puzzled over that damn word before, very briefly and not so long ago, when flipping through a book. “Wait,” he said to Grove. He rose and strode off to his cabin. The books were in the bottom drawer of his chest of drawers.

“What’s that?” Grove asked when Marsh returned.

“Goddamn poems,” Marsh said. He flipped through Byron, found nothing, turned to Shelley. And it was there in front of him. He read it over quickly, leaned back, frowned, read it over again.

“Cap’n Marsh?” Grove said.

“Listen to this,” Marsh said. He read aloud:

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.

“What is it?”

“A poem,” said Abner Marsh. “It’s a goddamn poem.”

“But what does it mean?”

“It means,” said Marsh, closing the book, “that Joshua is feelin’ sorry and beaten. You wouldn’t understand why, though, Mister Grove. The important thing that it means is that we’re lookin’ for a steamboat name of Ozymandias.”

Grove brought out another slip of paper. “I wrote down some stuff from the papers,” he explained, squinting at his own writing. “Let’s see, that Ozy … Ozy … whatever it is, it’s workin’ the Natchez trade. Master named J. Anthony.”

“Anthony,” said Marsh. “Hell. Joshua’s middle name was Anton. Natchez, you say?”

“Natchez to New Orleans, Cap’n.”

“We’ll stay here for the night. Tomorrow, come dawn, we make for Natchez. You hear that, Mister Grove? I don’t want to waste a minute of light. When that damn sun comes up, I want our steam up too, so we’re ready to move.” Maybe poor Joshua had nothing left but despair, but Abner Marsh had a lot more than that. There were accounts that wanted settling, and when he was through, there wasn’t going to be any more left of Damon Julian than was left of that damned statue in the poem.

Yes, eventually Joshua York has a mental battle with Damon Julian and wins, but only with the help of Abner Marsh. Two different sides coming together to create something stronger.

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Dragons of All Shapes

Just as the fire-breathing “powerwagons” from And Seven Times Never Kill Man are the dragons of that story, we have dead men using vibrodrills that act as Viserion and Rhaegal do while under the mountain/pyramid in Meereen.

  • Override

Kabaraijian watched unmoving as the wall came down, and the pile of green stone accumulated around the feet of his dead men. Only his eyes moved; flicking back and forth over the rock restlessly, alert for swirlstones but finding nothing. Finally he pulled the corpses back, and approached the wall himself. He touched it, stroked the stone, and frowned. The crew had ripped down an entire layer of rock, and had come up empty.
But that was hardly unusual, even in the best of caves. Kabaraijian walked back to the sand’s edge, and sent his crew back to work. They picked up vibrodrills and attacked the wall again.
Abruptly he was conscious of Cochran standing beside him, saying something. He could hardly make it out. It isn’t easy to pay close attention when you’re running three dead men. Part of his mind detached itself and began to listen.
Cochran was repeating himself. He knew that a handler at work wasn’t likely to hear what he said the first time. “Matt,” he was saying, “listen. I think I heard something. Faintly, but I heard it. It sounded like another launch.”
That was serious. Kabaraijian wrenched his mind loose from the dead men, and turned to give Cochran his full attention. The three vibrodrills died, one by one, and suddenly the soft slap of water against sand echoed loudly around them.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys II

“She died of a snakebite,” Reznak mo Reznak insisted. “A ravening wolf carried her off. A sudden sickness took her. Tell them what you will, but never speak of dragons.”

Viserion’s claws scrabbled against the stones, and the huge chains rattled as he tried to make his way to her again. When he could not, he gave a roar, twisted his head back as far as he was able, and spat golden flame at the wall behind him. How soon till his fire burns hot enough to crack stone and melt iron?

Once, not long ago, he had ridden on her shoulder, his tail coiled round her arm. Once she had fed him morsels of charred meat from her own hand. He had been the first chained up. Daenerys had led him to the pit herself and shut him up inside with several oxen. Once he had gorged himself he grew drowsy. They had chained him whilst he slept.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys VIII

Every child knows its mother, Dany thought. When the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves … “They call to me. Come.” She took Prince Quentyn by the hand and led him to the pit where two of her dragons were confined. “Remain outside,” Dany told Ser Barristan, as the Unsullied were opening the huge iron doors. “Prince Quentyn will protect me.” She drew the Dornish prince inside with her, to stand above the pit.

The dragons craned their necks around, gazing at them with burning eyes. Viserion had shattered one chain and melted the others. He clung to the roof of the pit like some huge white bat, his claws dug deep into the burnt and crumbling bricks. Rhaegal, still chained, was gnawing on the carcass of a bull. The bones on the floor of the pit were deeper than the last time she had been down here, and the walls and floors were black and grey, more ash than brick. They would not hold much longer … but behind them was only earth and stone. Can dragons tunnel through rock, like the firewyrms of old Valyria? She hoped not.

Could this be related to the slavery the Valyrians used? Were the Valyrians digging for gems? For what end use?

  • A Storm of Swords – Daenerys V

The eunuchs knelt as she passed, raising clenched fists to their breasts. Dany returned the salute. The tide was coming in, and the surf foamed about the feet of her silver. She could see her ships standing out to sea. Balerion floated nearest; the great cog once known as Saduleon, her sails furled. Further out were the galleys Meraxes and Vhagar, formerly Joso’s Prank and Summer Sun. They were Magister Illyrio’s ships, in truth, not hers at all, and yet she had given them new names with hardly a thought. Dragon names, and more; in old Valyria before the Doom, Balerion, Meraxes, and Vhagar had been gods.

  • A Storm of Swords – Tyrion IX

“Let them. Is it treason to say a man is mortal? Valar morghulis was how they said it in Valyria of old. All men must die. And the Doom came and proved it true.” The Dornishman went to the window to gaze out into the night. “It is being said that you have no witnesses for us.”


To be clear, I am not claiming that this rapid governmental change is going to happen overnight. No. What I speculate is that by the end of the story we are going to see the strong seeds of change (epilogue?). The seed is strong, and our author is a hippie, after all.

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Sea Lord Bran

“No,” said Jojen, “only a boy who dreams. The greenseers were more than that. They were wargs as well, as you are, and the greatest of them could wear the skins of any beast that flies or swims or crawls, and could look through the eyes of the weirwoods as well, and see the truth that lies beneath the world.

A Storm of Swords – Bran I


Why do I refer to Bran as the Sea Lord? Well, for two reasons. In A Song of Ice and Fire, the author has been rather successful in setting up a double meaning for most elements of his world-building. Martin is a tricksy bird. The term greenseeing is no exception. I do not believe that Brynden Bloodraven Rivers abandoned his post as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. No. Instead he was “promoted” by whatever green powers that be as the First Sea Lord, which is the highest ranking level of Naval command in the Royal Navy. Bran is the next in line as Sea Lord.

For additional reading that explores Bran’s greenseeing powers role in the story, I suggest this thread at by the amazing Evita mgfs. Link to growing powers here.

An imaginative 17th century depiction of the Emerald Tablet from the work of Heinrich Khunrath, 1606.

The outside inspiration for greenseeing could have come from the Emerald Tablet of Atlantean god, Thoth. Each of the 13 tablets is made of a single piece of emerald gemstone, it contains prophetic text full of hidden meaning. Thoth was an Egyptian god that was often depicted as a man with the head of an ibis or a baboon, animals sacred to him. He played many vital and prominent roles such as maintaining the universe, and being one of the two deities (the other being Maat) who stood on either side of Ra’s solar barge, also called a Solar Bark. Remember, Jon Snow is the Sun’s son. Additionally, not listed in the reading list above, but the GRRM story Bitterblooms has its two characters “board” a solar ship. Good stuff!

Why Thoth when GRRM has used so very much Norse mythology for the north? Because as George RR Martin discusses in Dreamsongs vol. 2, he came in to his writing during a generational shift in the state of mind of science fiction literature. There was a movement in the 1970’s called the New Wave and many of these New Wave SciFi/fantasy authors started this unofficial group as an answer to the formulaic, cheesy space odyssey’s from the 1960’s. One thing may of these authors did was to rework the SciFi to include real world mythos and legends in a way that made it more engaging, or, humanly possible on some scale. This no legendary mythos rock was left un-turned, and this included Egyptian history and tales.

Additionally, in its Western edition, the Emerald Tablets became a mainstay of medieval and Renaissance alchemy. Commentaries and/or translations were published by, among others, Trithemius, Roger Bacon, Michael Maier, Aleister Crowley, Albertus Magnus, and Isaac Newton. The concise text was a popular summary of alchemical principles, wherein the secrets of the philosopher’s stone were thought to have been described.

“In A Song of Ice and Fire, I take stuff from the Wars of the Roses and other fantasy things, and all these things work around in my head and somehow they jell into what I hope is uniquely my own.”   — George RR Martin

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Of Toth and Tablet


The internet is filled with information on these Emerald Tablets. It is basically a theological backbone to the ideas of rebirth and renewal. It has a foundation in Hermeticism and alchemy as well, and that is a huge theme in the ASOIAF universe. Essentially, killing the “boy” to let the man be born. An account of how Hermes Trismegistus received the name “Thrice Great” is derived from the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, wherein it is stated that he knew the three parts of the wisdom of the whole universe. The three parts of the wisdom are alchemy, astrology, and theurgy. Three heads of the dragon? A many faced god? I dunno, but we can speculate the hell out of it anyway.

If you are interested in the writings and teachings of the tablets, I highly recommend a website called Crystal Links because that is where you will have all of the tablets written out to read (it is a rather lengthy read).

If you have about two hours and thirty-five minutes to spare, you can watch/listen to a video version of the tablets being read. Link here.

The feature image of one of the bright green tablets is written in the glyphs of old. However, here is a section translated by Isaac Newton , of all people, that is found among his alchemical papers currently housed in King’s College Library, Cambridge University. It reads like Bran’s journey from fall to cave, and beyond. To look on these green tablets and to learn its knowledge is greenseeing, a form of enlightenment. I added a section of the Emerald Tablets script down at the very end.

Tis true without lying, certain & most true.
That which is below is like that which is above & that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing
And as all things have been & arose from one by the mediation of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.
The Sun is its father, the moon its mother, the wind hath carried it in its belly, the earth is its nurse.
The father of all perfection in the whole world is here.
Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.
Separate thou the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross sweetly with great industry.
It ascends from the earth to the heaven & again it descends to the earth & receives the force of things superior & inferior.
By this means you shall have the glory of the whole world
& thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.
Its force is above all force. For it vanquishes every subtle thing & penetrates every solid thing.
So was the world created.
From this are & do come admirable adaptations whereof the means (or process) is here in this. Hence I am called Hermes Trismegist, having the three parts of the philosophy of the whole world
That which I have said of the operation of the Sun is accomplished & ended.

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Three heads of the weirwood? Bloodraven, Bran, Jon. Artist: Rafael Caravaca

Three Parts of the Wisdom of the Whole Universe

The in-universe realization came to me a while back that while greenseeing most obviously means to go north proper (above the wall), which is “under the sea” according to Patchface. It also means to go in to the subconscious to wake that third eye of enlightenment. An idea I started to write about in my Nymeria thread, and again reaffirmed in another thread, as just going north above the watery Wall is a form of going “under the sea”, with the sea being the link to the trees, going into the trees, and even the magic of “fish” (analogous to humans/religious figures).

Leech Greenseeing Post

Portion of the 9.12.2016 post I made where I identify the link between greenseeing and trees and the sea/water. This is a long-running Martinworld theme that is easily recognizable for GRRM readers to recognize. Full post here.

Another theorist, SweetSunRay, has also made many notes of the “under the sea” connections that apply to leaving Westeros and then returning.

And finally we have another recurring fandom theorist named Ravenous Reader that pulled it all together and added drowning. Read her post here.

And for the post of mine that links greenseeing with going “under the sea”, try this Link to the my comment in the Nennymoan thread here. I also discuss more on Patchface in this Jon page. The long and short, Martin has been using trees-towers-libraries as vessels of wisdom and history for a long time, way before A Song of Ice and Fire came around. This includes the idea that a character has to go “in” to something to experience this awakening.

  • A Clash of Kings – Jon III

A blowing rain lashed at Jon’s face as he spurred his horse across the swollen stream. Beside him, Lord Commander Mormont gave the hood of his cloak a tug, muttering curses on the weather. His raven sat on his shoulder, feathers ruffled, as soaked and grumpy as the Old Bear himself. A gust of wind sent wet leaves flapping round them like a flock of dead birds. The haunted forest, Jon thought ruefully. The drowned forest, more like it.He hoped Sam was holding up, back down the column. He was not a good rider even in fair weather, and six days of rain had made the ground treacherous, all soft mud and hidden rocks. When the wind blew, it drove the water right into their eyes. The Wall would be flowing off to the south, the melting ice mingling with warm rain to wash down in sheets and rivers.

  • A Clash of Kings – Jon IV

Closer at hand, it was the trees that ruled. To south and east the wood went on as far as Jon could see, a vast tangle of root and limb painted in a thousand shades of green, with here and there a patch of red where a weirwood shouldered through the pines and sentinels, or a blush of yellow where some broadleafs had begun to turn. When the wind blew, he could hear the creak and groan of branches older than he was. A thousand leaves fluttered, and for a moment the forest seemed a deep green sea, storm-tossed and heaving, eternal and unknowable.

Ghost was not like to be alone down there, he thought. Anything could be moving under that sea, creeping toward the ringfort through the dark of the wood, concealed beneath those trees. Anything. How would they ever know? He stood there for a long time, until the sun vanished behind the saw-toothed mountains and darkness began to creep through the forest.

The story with the most obvious tree-man-greensee connection is For A Single Yesterday, even though we see bits of this in The Stone City. A few of Martin’s stories use the psychedelic drug use a a euphemism for a way to “fly“.

In …Single Yesterday, after an apocalyptic war, a man named Keith goes to a sit under a tree next to a creek/river and uses a psychedelic drug, Chronine, to help his consciousness travel back in time to re-experience the past, and his lover Sandi. However it is soon realized that the drugs are running low and the need to timetrip should be to learn something from the past to help the current/future set of humanity. Eventually the surviving humans are organized and reformed by the “hero” Rob Winters. Music and song play a large part of the narrative in this story as well. I feel comfortable stating this is another Bran & Bloodraven with a Jon-type of story, with a few extra world-building details sprinkled in.

A little over a mile from the common house, beyond the fields to the west, a little creek ran through the hills and the trees. It was usually dry in the summer and the fall, but it was still a nice spot. Dark and quiet at night, away from the noise and the people. When the weather was right, Keith would drag his sleeping bag out there and bunk down under a tree. Alone.

That’s also where he did his timetripping.

I found him there that night, after the singing was over and everyone else had gone to bed. He was lean­ing against his favorite tree, swatting mosquitoes and studying the creekbed.

I sat down next to him. “Hi, Gary,” he said, without looking at me.

“Bad times, Keith?” I asked.

“Bad times, Gary,” he said, staring at the ground and idly twirling a fallen leaf. I watched his face. His mouth was taut and expressionless, his eyes hooded.

I’d known Keith for a long time. I knew enough not to say anything. I just sat next to him in silence, making myself comfortable in a pile of fresh-fallen leaves. And after a while he began to talk, as he always did.

There ought to be water,” he said suddenly, nodding at the creek. “When I was a kid, I lived by a river. Right across the street. Oh, it was a dirty little river in a dirty little town, and the water was as polluted as all hell. But it was still water. Sometimes, at night, I’d go over to the park across the street, and sit on a bench, and watch it. For hours, sometimes. My mother used to get mad at me.”

He laughed softly. “It was pretty, you know. Even the oil slicks were pretty. And it helped me think. I miss that, you know. The water. I always think better when I’m watching water. Strange, right?”

“Not so strange,” I said.

He still hadn’t looked at me. He was still staring at the dry creek, where only darkness flowed now. And his hands were tearing the leaf into pieces. Slow and methodical, they were.

I reached down by his leg. The cigar box was where I expected it. I held it in both hands, and flipped the lid with my thumbs. Inside, there was the needle, and maybe a dozen small bags of powder. The powder looked white in the starlight. But seen by day, it was pale, sparkling blue.

I looked at it and sighed. “Not much left,” I said.

Keith nodded, never looking. “I’ll be out in a month, I figure.” His voice sounded very tired. “Then I’ll just have my songs, and my memories.”

“That’s all you’ve got now,” I said. I closed the box with a snap and handed it to him. “Chronine isn’t a time machine, Keith. Just a hallucinogen that happens to work on memory.”

He laughed. “They used to debate that, way back when. The experts all said chronine was a memory drug. But they never took chronine. Neither have you, Gary. But I know. I’ve timetripped. It’s not memory. It’s more. You go back, Gary, you really do. You live it again, whatever it was. You can’t change anything, but you know it’s real, all the same.”

He threw away what was left of his leaf, and gathered his knees together with his arms. Then he put his head atop them and looked at me. “You ought to timetrip someday, Gary. You really ought to. Get the dosage right, and you can pick your yesterday. It’s not a bad deal at all.”

Ten minutes of thick silence. I broke it with a ques­tion. “Winters bother you?”

“Not really,” he said. “He seems okay. It was just the uniforms, Gary. If it wasn’t for those damn bastards in uniform and what they did, I could go back. To my river, and my singing.”

“And Sandi,” I said.

His mouth twisted into a reluctant smile. “And Sandi,” he admitted. “And I wouldn’t even need chro­nine to keep my dates.”

I didn’t know what to say to that. So I didn’t say any­thing. Finally, wearying, Keith slid forward a little, and lay back under the tree. It was a clear night. You could see the stars through the branches.

“You go back to a dream world, Keith. And it’s dead, that world. You can’t keep it up. Sooner or later you’re going to have to start living in reality.”

Keith was still looking up at the sky, but he smiled gently as I argued. “No, Gary. You don’t see. The past is as real as the present, you know. And when the present is bleak and empty, and the future more so, then the only sanity is living in the past.”

I started to say something, but he pretended not to hear. “Back in the city, when I was a kid, I never saw this many stars,” he said, his voice distant. “The first time I got into the country, I remember how shocked I was at all the extra stars they’d gone and stuck in my sky.” He laughed softly. “Know when that was? Six years ago, when I was just out of school. Also last night. Take your pick. Sandi was with me, both times.”

He fell silent. I watched him for a few moments, then stood up and brushed myself off. It was never any use. I couldn’t convince him. And the saddest part of it was, I couldn’t even convince myself. Maybe he was right. Maybe, for him, that was the answer.

“You ever been in the mountains?” he asked sudden­ly. He looked up at me quickly, but didn’t wait for an answer. “There was this night, Gary—in Pennsylvania, in the mountains. I had this old beat-up camper, and we were driving through, bumming it around the country.

“Then, all of a sudden, this fog hit us. Thick stuff, gray and rolling, all kind of mysterious and spooky. Sandi loved stuff like that, and I did too, kind of. But it was hell to drive through. So I pulled off the road, and we took out a couple of blankets and went off a few feet.

“It was still early, though. So we just lay on the blankets together, and held each other, and talked. About us, and my songs, and that great fog, and our trip, and her acting, and all sorts of things. We kept laughing and kissing, too, although I don’t remember what we said that was so funny. Finally, after an hour or so, we undressed each other and made love on the blankets, slow and easy, in the middle of that dumb fog.”

Keith propped himself up on an elbow and looked at me. His voice was bruised, lost, hurt, eager. And lonely. “She was beautiful, Gary. She really was. She never liked me to say that, though. I don’t think she believed it. She liked me to tell her she was pretty. But she was more than pretty. She was beautiful. All warm and soft and golden, with red-blond hair and these dumb eyes that were either green or gray, depending on her mood. That night they were gray, I think. To match the fog.” He smiled, and sank back, and looked up at the stars again.

“The funniest thing was the fog,” he said. Very slowly. “When we’d finished making love, and we lay back together, the fog was gone. And the stars were out, as bright as tonight. The stars came out for us. The silly goddamn voyeuristic stars came out to watch us make it. And I told her that, and we laughed, and I held her warm against me. And she went to sleep in my arms, while I lay there and looked at stars and tried to write a song for her.”

“Keith…” I started.

“Gary,” he said. “I’m going back there tonight. To the fog and the stars and my Sandi.”

“Damnit, Keith,” I said. “Stop it. You’re getting yourself hooked.”

Keith sat up again and began unbuttoning his sleeve. “Did you ever think,” he said, “that maybe it’s not the drug that I’m addicted to?” And he smiled very broadly, like a cocky, eager kid.

Then he reached for his box, and his timetrip. “Leave me alone,” he said.

Here is a very brief section of The Stone City with more in the chapter following this, including, being hooked up to a machine and “medicines” being used, and being “out of it” for up to three months at a time, not unlike Bran being out of if for days at a time.

  • The Stone City

On an airless world circling a blue-white star, in its single domed city, Holt met Alaina. She told him about the Pegasus.

“The Captain built her from scratch, you know, right here. He was trading, going in further than usual, like we all do”—she flashed an understanding smile, figuring that Holt too was a trading gambler out for the big find—“ and he met a Dan’la. They’re further in.”

“Oh,” Alaina said, not rebuked in the least. “Well, the Dan’lai jump-gun does something else, shifts you into another continuum and then back again. Running it is entirely different. It’s partly psionic, and they put this ring around your head.”

“You have a jump-gun?” Holt interrupted.

She nodded. “The Captain melted down his old ship, just about, to build the Pegasus. With a jump-gun he bought from the Dan’lai. He’s collecting a crew now, and they’re training us.”

“Where are you going?” he said.

She laughed, lightly, and her bright green eyes seemed to flash. “Where else? In!”

* * *

As always, there are several more book and story quotes I could add but have not because of post length. Please ask if there is something else you want to see.

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Becoming the Knight of the Mind

Bran is in training to become the next greenseer to take over for the current greenseer, Brynden Bloodraven Rivers. Bran is taking the helm, so to speak, by becoming the next Three-Eyed Crow (a title). Coincidentally, this is a parallel to the Daenerys taking the war helm from Rhaegar as the last dragon in her ‘wake the dragon’ dream. Which for anyone not familiar with the Martin story The Glass Flower, this is near exactly how it happens in that story between the Bran (+Bloodraven) and Dany archetypes. Bran and Daenerys are going to have their “game of mind” battle (psychological warfare) on that darkling stream that is the Trident (or the God’s Eye, I can’t decide just yet), as Jon wears his “ice armor” (that being the knowledge from Bran).

George R. R. Martin: Yeah, I think he’s accurate. Yes, that is something that I’m going for. You know, the fight between good and evil—which has been a hallmark of so much fantasy over the years, ever since Tolkien, and Tolkien did it brilliantly! But in the hands—

Ashbrook: And long before.

Martin: —in the hands of his imitators, it’s become kind of a cliché where you have the dark lord, and he has his evil minions. And his evil minions are very evil—you know they’re evil: they dress in black, they’re very ugly, they have no redeeming qualities.

I prefer gray characters. I prefer the philosophy that, you know, the hero is the villain of the other side. You know, there’s—yes, things like the fight between Gandalf and the witch king of Angmar is a great moment, but the fight between Achilles and Hector also, you know, resonates for me and is something that I wanted to draw upon where you have two heroes fighting. I also liked the idea of the story not being predictable. Too much of fantasy is too predictable, you know? — GRRM

We have seen a few times in the story where armour is not literal metal skin that one wears, but a protection of another, more personal device. Here is but one example:

  • A Clash of Kings – Sansa I

“Is that what ‘they’ say, Your Grace?”

Joffrey frowned. Sansa felt that she ought to say something. What was it that Septa Mordane used to tell her? A lady’s armor is courtesy, that was it. She donned her armor and said, “I’m sorry my lady mother took you captive, my lord.”

This psychological warfare will most likely happen after the “saving of the realm” from the first scheduled disaster of the wight invasion. The difference here is in the aftermath there will be choices in how to proceed with humanity. Bran drinks from the cup of ice as Daenerys drinks from the cup of fire.

  • A Game of Thrones – Bran VII

“I think that … unlikely,” Maester Luwin said. “Bran, when a man fights, his arms and legs and thoughts must be as one.”

  • A Clash of Kings – Bran I

“They want to hunt,” agreed Gage the cook as he tossed cubes of suet in a great kettle of stew. “A wolf smells better’n any man. Like as not, they’ve caught the scent o’ prey.”

Maester Luwin did not think so. “Wolves often howl at the moon. These are howling at the comet. See how bright it is, Bran? Perchance they think it is the moon.”

When Bran repeated that to Osha, she laughed aloud. “Your wolves have more wit than your maester,” the wildling woman said. “They know truths the grey man has forgotten.” The way she said it made him shiver, and when he asked what the comet meant, she answered, “Blood and fire, boy, and nothing sweet.” [The Plague Star prologue]

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon XII

Burning shafts hissed upward, trailing tongues of fire. Scarecrow brothers tumbled down, black cloaks ablaze. “Snow,” an eagle cried, as foemen scuttled up the ice like spiders. Jon was armored in black ice, but his blade burned red in his fist. As the dead men reached the top of the Wall he sent them down to die again. …

  • A Storm of Swords – Daenerys II

“When Aegon the Dragon stepped ashore in Westeros, the kings of Vale and Rock and Reach did not rush to hand him their crowns. If you mean to sit his Iron Throne, you must win it as he did, with steel and dragonfire. And that will mean blood on your hands before the thing is done.”

Blood and fire, thought Dany. The words of House Targaryen. She had known them all her life.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys X

No. You are the blood of the dragon. The whispering was growing fainter, as if Ser Jorah were falling farther behind. Dragons plant no trees. Remember that. Remember who you are, what you were made to be. Remember your words.

Fire and Blood,” Daenerys told the swaying grass.


Something else that I think is important to keep in mind when assessing any future with Daenerys is that the dragons weren’t planned from the beginning. It was only later that Martin was convinced by fellow author Phyllis Eisenstein to add actual dragons. The Targaryens were going to have pyrokinetic powers, which fits his storytelling style exactly. A psionic mental power casually referred to as teke (pronounced tech-y)short for telekinesis, is often used in his past stories to some degree or another and not limited to the Thousand Worlds universe. So while GRRM may have given us knights and swords, politics and dragons, he clearly has left the psionic battle open as well.

  • I did consider in the very early stages not having the dragons in there. I wanted the Targaryen’s symbol to be the dragons, but I did play with the notion that maybe it was like a psionic power, that it was pyrokinesis — that they could conjure up flames with their minds. I went back and forth. My friend and fellow fantasy writer Phyllis Eisenstein actually was the one who convinced me to put the dragons in, and I dedicated the third book to her. And I think it was the right call.
  • The World of Ice and Fire – The Targaryen Kings: Aegon V

The first act of Aegon’s reign was the arrest of Brynden Rivers, the King’s Hand, for the murder of Aenys Blackfyre. Bloodraven did not deny that he had lured the pretender into his power by the offer of a safe conduct, but contended that he had sacrificed his own personal honor for the good of the realm.

Though many agreed, and were pleased to see another Blackfyre pretender removed, King Aegon felt he had no choice but to condemn the Hand, lest the word of the Iron Throne be seen as worthless. Yet after the sentence of death was pronounced, Aegon offered Bloodraven the chance to take the black and join the Night’s Watch. This he did. Ser Brynden Rivers set sail for the Wall late in the year of 233 AC. (No one intercepted his ship). Two hundred men went with him, many of them archers from Bloodraven’s personal guard, the Raven’s Teeth. The king’s brother, Maester Aemon, was also amongst them.

Bloodraven would rise to become Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch in 239 AC, serving until his disappearance during a ranging beyond the Wall in 252 AC.

Because of Bloodraven’s talents, he was advanced from Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch up to Sea Lord, which is the highest naval ranking above all. Bloodraven is still serving the Night’s Watch as a watcher on the walls. Bran is set to inherit this job rather soon and in doing so, Bran will usher in the age of enlightenment using able-legged people like Samwell Tarly, Theon Greyjoy (for a while?), Stannis Baratheon (he is rapidly losing faith in Mel/red fire), and even Jon Snow. Bran will be the neutral reasoning between the old ways and the new. A balance between Old Nan and Maester Luwin. A balance between the woods witches and the maesters. In other words, progress. Liberty and tolerance merged together rather than absolute monarchy.

Samwell will become the Slayer of Citadel lies, and this in addition to what information Bran passes on to Samwell via the ravens or weirwood will play a huge part in the future book plots:

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon II

“If you ask the Citadel for more maesters …”

“I mean to. We’ll have need of every one. Aemon Targaryen is not so easily replaced, however.” This is not going as I had hoped. He had known Gilly would be hard, but he had assumed Sam would be glad to trade the dangers of the Wall for the warmth of Oldtown. “I was certain this would please you,” he said, puzzled. “There are so many books at the Citadel that no man can hope to read them all. You would do well there, Sam. I know you would.”

“No. I could read the books, but … a m-maester must be a healer and b-b-blood makes me faint.” His hand shook, to prove the truth of that. “I’m Sam the Scared, not Sam the Slayer.”

“Scared? Of what? The chidings of old men? Sam, you saw the wights come swarming up the Fist, a tide of living dead men with black hands and bright blue eyes. You slew an Other.

[and then]

Kill the boy, Jon thought. The boy in you, and the one in him. Kill the both of them, you bloody bastard. “You have no father. Only brothers. Only us. Your life belongs to the Night’s Watch, so go and stuff your smallclothes into a sack, along with anything else you care to take to Oldtown. You leave an hour before sunrise. And here’s another order. From this day forth, you will not call yourself a craven. You’ve faced more things this past year than most men face in a lifetime. You can face the Citadel, but you’ll face it as a Sworn Brother of the Night’s Watch. I can’t command you to be brave, but I can command you to hide your fears. You said the words, Sam. Remember?”

Top ranking Jewish mystics firmly believe Seth, the son of the Biblical Adam, kept the Emerald Tablet texts and it was passed onto Noah who took it aboard his ark. This parallels Bloodraven’s unadulterated sail north to the wall (excerpt above). Bloodraven being a greenseer is the keeper of knowledge once he is hooked up to a tree.

After 40 days and nights the waters receded and Noah is said to have hidden the Emerald Tablet deep in a cave near Hebron, where it was later discovered by Abraham’s wife Sarah. Another faction of Jewish scholars claim Abraham’s son Hermes gave the tablet to Moses’s daughter Miriam, who in turn placed it in the Ark of the Covenant where they remain today. Either way, Bloodraven, Bran, Meera, Jojen, Hodor, Summer all end up in the cave which holds the potential for global knowledge that is the weirwood network. Meera is also known for going off to explore.

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Princes in Amber- The Zelazny Effect

Illustration part of the “Amber Tapestry” by Gray Morrow, depicting various characters from the Amber series by Roger Zelazny. Moire, queen of the undersea reflection of Amber, Rebma (Amber spelled backwards!), as it would be “under the sea”.

In this series, the main protagonist, Corwin of Amber, wakes to find he has lost most of his memory. Through a process he figures out along the way, he realizes that he is part of a gifted royal family. At one crucial point in the story, Corwin has to go under the sea to walk a reflected maze which allows his memory to return. He is met by the “sea queen” Moire. The maze of the Court (world) of Order is often referred to as The Pattern. The maze of the parallel side of Chaos is referred to as the Logrus.

The name Moire as a name for girls is a Latin name, and Moire means “star of the sea”. Moire is a version of Mary (Latin). Moire is also a derivative of Moira (English, Irish, Gaelic, Latin). This could also be a variant, or easy convenience, of the name and character Mera, the Sea Queen of Atlantis from the DC comic universe as GRRM has stated this being an influence to his works.

Moire allows Corwin to walk the Rebma pattern although she declines him troops, as any conflict in Amber is reflected in its underwater sister kingdom. She engages in a short and pleasant dalliance with Corwin which produces no offspring. She also requires Random to marry her courtier Vialle, in repayment for his previous seduction and abandonment of her firstborn daughter Morganthe who killed herself when Random left her. The child of that union, Martin, is Moire’s grandson and eventually becomes quite important to Random. In the second half of the Amber series, Martin becomes friends with Corwin’s son Merlin and seems to have a very cyber-punk leaning, adding digital and computerized enhancement to his body.

I have noted throughout this blog what close and personal friends Roger Zelazny and George R.R. Martin were. They even lived in the same town and made bets of sorts as to who can slip unicorns in their writing works. All throughout Martin’s work he has payed homage to friends and other authors through his character naming scheme. Zelazny and his unicorns is not exception.

The maze of Order. Bran’s journey north of the wall if a journey under the water, and as you read his travels, even doubling back at the river to cover their trails from Ramsay outside of Winterfell, the entire trip is a a maze that takes Bran on a trip of enlightenment.

The maze of Chaos. I will say that Daenerys, as the opposition to Bran, also has her own maze travels through the House of the Undying. (links to the discussion to be added soon.) Additionally, the riddle that Quaithe gives Dany is also an inverse mirror maze. Mirri Maz Duur is quite probably wordplay for Mirror Maze Door. All are consorts in Dany’s Courts of Chaos.

House_Rogers.svgHouse Rogers and the its sigil is the maze of Amber surrounded by the nine unicorns representing the Princes of Amber. This is a direct homage from GRRM that he gave to his personal friend Roger Zelazny.

I discussed the importance of amber in Jon’s story line, its connects both to the trees and it being the jewel of the north:

Jon Snow- the Wolf and the Bear

There are many quotes from the Chronicles of Amber that show the reader the process of going under the sea to walk the maze. I cannot quote them all so I will add part of the first experience Corwin takes when seeking his own enlightenment:

  • We reached the cairn and Deirdre turned at right angles to it and headed straight toward the sea. I was not about to argue with someone who seemed to know what she was doing. I followed, and from the corner of my eye I saw the horsemen. They were still off in the distance, but they were thundering along the beach, dogs barking and horns blowing, and Random and I ran like hell and waded out into the surf after our sister.

We were up to our waists when Random said, “It’s death if I stay and death if I go on.”

“One is imminent,” I said, “and the other may be open to negotiation. Let’s move!” We did. We were on some sort of rocky surface which descended into the sea. I didn’t know how we would breathe while we walked it, but Deirdre didn’t seem worried about it, so I tried not to be. But I was. When the water swirled and swished about our heads,…

Then we stood at the place where the Pattern began, near to the corner of the room. I moved forward and regarded the line of inlaid fires that started near to the spot where I had placed my right foot. The Pattern constituted the only illumination within the room. The waters were chill about me.

I strode forward, setting my left foot upon the path. It was outlined by blue-white sparks. Then I set my right foot upon it, and I felt the current Random had mentioned. I took another step. There was a crackle and I felt my hair beginning to rise. I took another step. Then the thing began to curve, abruptly, back upon itself. I took ten more paces, and a certain resistance seemed to arise. It was as if a black barrier had grown up before me, of some substance which pushed back upon me with each effort that I made to pass forward. I fought it. It was the First Veil, I suddenly knew.

(and then a rush of memories flood Corwin’s mind.)

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The Bringer of Elightenment

This John Locke style Age of Enlightenment is also reflected in the Black Gate at Nightfort. The “modern” vows have all sorts of additions that seem to detract from the basics of humanity. This thread discusses what I mean by “modern” vows. Enlightenment separated religion and politics and instead relied on the individual and basic morals.

That gate is part of the oldest structure on the wall, as if the wall sprouts from that one location and for Samwell to pass through, the only thing required is that Sam answer who he is; basically that the physical world does not necessarily precede the conscious, self-aware state, as a conscious mind must find itself in a world to attain consciousness in any meaningful state. The basics of the Night’s Watch vows are existentially leaning in its original statements (again, detailed here if you want to take a look, but don’t have to).

All fiction, if it’s successful, is going to appeal to the emotions…

These are some complicated ideas we’re touching on now. I hate to make sweeping statements about fiction in general. Every writer does his own thing. But my own view of the world… I don’t think I’m a misanthrope, or gloomy. I think love and friendship are very important parts of what make life worth living. There is room for happiness. But that having been said, there are some basic truths… Any happy ending where everything is resolved, and everything is jolly, maybe rings false because of what is coming for us.

Another thing that is maybe not so big a part of Ice and Fire, but certainly a huge part of my early work, is the existential loneliness that we all suffer. While we interact with other human beings, we can never really know them. I think these things, that we feel on some deep instinctual level, make us feel the resonances in fiction. Historically, tragedy has always had more respect than comedy…What does that tell us?” — GRRM

Just to drive the point further, this happens in a Bran chapter, so again we have a big dollop of Bran + Samwell foreshadowing.

  • A Storm of Swords – Bran IV

“How did you get through the Wall?” Jojen demanded as Sam struggled to his feet. “Does the well lead to an underground river, is that where you came from? You’re not even wet . . .”

“There’s a gate,” said fat Sam. “A hidden gate, as old as the Wall itself. The Black Gate, he called it.”

The Reeds exchanged a look. “We’ll find this gate at the bottom of the well?” asked Jojen.

{and then]

“Why?” Meera demanded. “If there’s a gate . . .”

“You won’t find it. If you did it wouldn’t open. Not for you. It’s the Black Gate.” Sam plucked at the faded black wool of his sleeve. “Only a man of the Night’s Watch can open it, he said. A Sworn Brother who has said his words.”

“He said.” Jojen frowned. “This . . . Coldhands?”

[and then]

A turn or two later Sam stopped suddenly. He was a quarter of the way around the well from Bran and Hodor and six feet farther down, yet Bran could barely see him. He could see the door, though. The Black Gate, Sam had called it, but it wasn’t black at all.It was white weirwood, and there was a face on it.

[and then]

They were white too, and blind. “Who are you?” the door asked, and the well whispered, “Who-who-who-who-who-who-who.”

I am the sword in the darkness,” Samwell Tarly said. “I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers. I am the shield that guards the realms of men.”

Then pass,” the door said. Its lips opened, wide and wider and wider still, until nothing at all remained but a great gaping mouth in a ring of wrinkles. Sam stepped aside and waved Jojen through ahead of him. Summer followed, sniffing as he went, and then it was Bran’s turn. Hodor ducked, but not low enough. The door’s upper lip brushed softly against the top of Bran’s head, and a drop of water fell on him and ran slowly down his nose. It was strangely warm, and salty as a tear.

The last line that describes Bran being touched on the forehead and it being warm and salty, as opposed to the cold ice one might expect, seems to signify a blessing to Bran. A sort of baptism. Could this be Martin’s fantasy version of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Enthronement ceremony? The old gods welcoming the newest Sea Lord?

  • A Dance with Dragons – Bran III

“You saw what you wished to see. Your heart yearns for your father and your home, so that is what you saw.”

“A man must know how to look before he can hope to see,” said Lord Brynden. “Those were shadows of days past that you saw, Bran. You were looking through the eyes of the heart tree in your godswood. Time is different for a tree than for a man. Sun and soil and water, these are the things a weirwood understands, not days and years and centuries. For men, time is a river. We are trapped in its flow, hurtling from past to present, always in the same direction. The lives of trees are different. They root and grow and die in one place, and that river does not move them. The oak is the acorn, the acorn is the oak. And the weirwood … a thousand human years are a moment to a weirwood, and through such gates you and I may gaze into the past.

And after all, the idea for the A Song of Ice and Fire started with the wolf pups in the snow, which is the first chapter of the series, and Bran’s first chapter. Bran is a prince that was eagerly promised.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Bran II

“Are you the three-eyed crow?” Bran heard himself say. A three-eyed crow should have three eyes. He has only one, and that one red. Bran could feel the eye staring at him, shining like a pool of blood in the torchlight. Where his other eye should have been, a thin white root grew from an empty socket, down his cheek, and into his neck.

“A … crow?” The pale lord’s voice was dry. His lips moved slowly, as if they had forgotten how to form words. “Once, aye. Black of garb and black of blood.” The clothes he wore were rotten and faded, spotted with moss and eaten through with worms, but once they had been black. “I have been many things, Bran. Now I am as you see me, and now you will understand why I could not come to you … except in dreams. I have watched you for a long time, watched you with a thousand eyes and one. I saw your birth, and that of your lord father before you. I saw your first step, heard your first word, was part of your first dream. I was watching when you fell. And now you are come to me at last, Brandon Stark, though the hour is late.”

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What goes around, comes around

Remember the phrase in the quote above that Bloodraven tells Bran, “The oak is the acorn, the acorn is the oak.” Well, that is another reader clue that history is repeating just with a twist each time.

What was Brynden’s main mission in life? To put down the Blackfyre rebellions. And he did so repeatedly. I will expand on House Blackfyre in another post, but for now you can gather many of the main aspects from this page.

Why is greenseeing important to A Song of Ice and Fire?

Because Bran is the breaker of mental chains, while Daenerys is the mental slaver with chains of religion, see Cyrain of Ash as one of many examples. She is the thing that came in the night, which is a scary story to Bran. Daenerys, through a series of unfortunate events through her perspective, is about to come back as a Blackfyre. I guess that would make her a Blackfyre pretender. This is the very thing that Bloodraven has fought his entire existence. Daenerys is a combination of terrors to both Bran and Bloodraven.

I suspect this is why Brynden Bloodraven Rivers was so focused on putting down the Blackfyres each time… somehow he knew the terror that would come from them, but he just did not know when while he was human.

My speculation flows something like this, however, I expect details to vary in the actual published works:

  1. Aegon/Young Griff arrives to cheer in Westeros and he is widely accepted throughout the fire-cult blanketed Riverlands.
  2. Arianne will finally meet with Aegon and they will have a sexual relationship, maybe not completely emotionally connected.
  3. Aegon will deal with the iron throne situation such as Cersei, and possibly *Euron.
    • Daenerys and Euron may team up later. Not sure when yet, but definitely after Daenerys and Aegon split.
  4. Daenerys flies in to town, and through whatever events, Daenerys and Aegon become the new power couple. I assume she is going to feel marrying Aegon is her duty as Viserys told her once that Rhaegar would have married Daenerys if only Daenerys was old enough. There is something prophetic about this idea.
    • ASOS/Daenerys IV- Dany pulled the lion pelt tighter about her shoulders. “Viserys said once that it was my fault, for being born too late.” She had denied it hotly, she remembered, going so far as to tell Viserys that it was his fault for not being born a girl. He beat her cruelly for that insolence. “If I had been born more timely, he said, Rhaegar would have married me instead of Elia, and it would all have come out different. If Rhaegar had been happy in his wife, he would not have needed the Stark girl.”
  5. Daenerys will catch Aegon having an affair with Arianne once again, and Dany will feel this is one of her prophesied betrayals, and Dany will burn the mummer’s dragon, Aegon.
    • Aegon has the sword Blackfyre which Daenerys will take once Aegon is dead. Daenerys also has Drogon who breathes black fire and is a shadow in his own rite. Daenerys will then become the symbolic Blackfyre returned, which is one reason why the author has kept Bloodraven in the story for so long. To again battle a black-fyre. Only kids are afraid of the Dark.
    • “Black or red, a dragon is still a dragon.” — Illyrio Mopatis
    • “The error crept in from the translation. Dragons are neither male nor female, Barth saw the truth of that, but now one and now the other, as changeable as flame.” — Maester Aemon [Targaryen]
  6. This will skew the people’s perception of Daenerys and she will be seen as a kinslayer and kingslayer.
  7. The overwhelming destruction of the Others (?) will now be an on page issue for all. Daenerys *might help to save Westeros, but the real danger comes in the aftermath… the struggle between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. I say *might help to save Westeros because GRRM doesn’t have Dany planned to return until the very end or after The Winds of Winter book. But, that could always change.
  8. This struggle for rule, general change throughout Westeros, melting down the iron throne, etc will boil over in to a battle… at the Trident (or God’s Eye), as time is a river, it repeats with a twist.
  9. Daenerys will be the new last dragon (in possession of the Valyrian armour she takes from Euron?), as Jon Snow will have Bran as his mental ice armour. Prophecies, foretelling, and dreams are coming true, just not how one may have assumed. This will be the Bloodraven/Bran/ice magic battle against the Blackfyre/fire magic all over again, but hopefully for the final time.
  • A Game of Thrones – Bran VII

“I think that … unlikely,” Maester Luwin said. “Bran, when a man fights, his arms and legs and thoughts must be as one.”

Below in the yard, Ser Rodrik was yelling. “You fight like a goose. He pecks you and you peck him harder. Parry! Block the blow. Goose fighting will not suffice. If those were real swords, the first peck would take your arm off!” One of the other boys laughed, and the old knight rounded on him. “You laugh. You. Now that is gall. You fight like a hedgehog …”

“There was a knight once who couldn’t see,” Bran said stubbornly, as Ser Rodrik went on below. “Old Nan told me about him. He had a long staff with blades at both ends and he could spin it in his hands and chop two men at once.”

Chances are at some point, both Daenerys and Jon die (if Jon doesn’t live out life with the free folk as Jon Snow, King of Winter), eliminating the extremes, which will help usher in the Martinworld style age of enlightenment.

Please keep in mind that George RR Martin has said this:

  • Dragons are the nuclear deterrent, and only Dany has them, which in some ways makes her the most powerful person in the world. But is that sufficient? These are the kind of issues I’m trying to explore. The United States right now has the ability to destroy the world with our nuclear arsenal, but that doesn’t mean we can achieve specific geopolitical goals. Power is more subtle than that. You can have the power to destroy, but it doesn’t give you the power to reform, or improve, or build.
  • “I have tried to make it explicit in the novels that the dragons are destructive forces, and Dany (Daenerys Targaryen) has found that out as she tried to rule the city of Meereen and be queen there. She has the power to destroy, she can wipe out entire cities, and we certainly see that in Fire and Blood, we see the dragons wiping out entire armies, wiping out towns and cities, destroying them, but that doesn’t necessarily enable you to rule — it just enables you to destroy.” George RR Martin, November 21, 2018.
Feudal Pyramid


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The Secret of Secrets from the Emerald Tablets (partial)

Now ye assemble, my children,
waiting to hear the Secret of Secrets
which shall give ye power to unfold the God-man,
give ye the way to Eternal life.

Plainly shall I speak of the Unveiled Mysteries.
No dark sayings shall I give unto thee.
Open thine ears now, my children.
Hear and obey the words that I give.

First I shall speak of the fetters of darkness
which bind ye in chains to the sphere of the Earth.

Darkness and light are both of one nature,
different only in seeming,
for each arose from the source of all.
Darkness is disorder.
Light is Order.
Darkness transmuted is light of the Light.
This, my children, your purpose in being;
transmutation of darkness to light.

Hear ye now of the mystery of nature,
the relations of life to the Earth where it dwells.
Know ye, ye are threefold in nature,
physical, astral and mental in one.

Three are the qualities of each of the natures;
nine in all, as above, so below.

In the physical are these channels,
the blood which moves in vortical motion,
reacting on the heart to continue its beating.
Magnetism which moves through the nerve paths,
carrier of energies to all cells and tissues.
Akasa which flows through channels,
subtle yet physical, completing the channels.

Each of the three attuned with each other,
each affecting the life of the body.
Form they the skeletal framework through
which the subtle ether flows.
In their mastery lies the Secret of Life in the body.
Relinquished only by will of the adept,
when his purpose in living is done.

Three are the natures of the Astral,
mediator is between above and below;
not of the physical, not of the Spiritual,
but able to move above and below.

Three are the natures of Mind,
carrier it of the Will of the Great One.
Arbitrator of Cause and Effect in thy life.
Thus is formed the threefold being,
directed from above by the power of four.

Above and beyond man’s threefold nature
lies the realm of the Spiritual Self.

Four is it in qualities,
shining in each of the planes of existence,
but thirteen in one,
the mystical number.
Based on the qualities of man are the Brothers:
each shall direct the unfoldment of being,
each shall channels be of the Great One.

On Earth, man is in bondage,
bound by space and time to the earth plane.
Encircling each planet, a wave of vibration,
binds him to his plane of unfoldment.
Yet within man is the Key to releasement,
within man may freedom be found.

When ye have released the self from the body,
rise to the outermost bounds of your earth-plane.
Speak ye the word Dor-E-Lil-La.

Then for a time your Light will be lifted,
free may ye pass the barriers of space.
For a time of half of the sun (six hours),
free may ye pass the barriers of earth-plane,
see and know those who are beyond thee.

Yea, to the highest worlds may ye pass.
See your own possible heights of unfoldment,
know all earthly futures of Soul.

Bound are ye in your body,
but by the power ye may be free.
This is the Secret whereby bondage
shall be replaced by freedom for thee.

Calm let thy mind be.
At rest be thy body:
Conscious only of freedom from flesh.
Center thy being on the goal of thy longing.
Think over and over that thou wouldst be free.
Think of this word La-Um-I-L-Ganoover
and over in thy mind let it sound.
Drift with the sound to the place of thy longing.
Free from the bondage of flesh by thy will.

Hear ye while I give the greatest of secrets:
how ye may enter the Halls of Amenti,
enter the place of the immortals as I did,
stand before the Lords in their places.

Lie ye down in rest of thy body.
Calm thy mind so no thought disturbs thee.
Pure must ye be in mind and in purpose,
else only failure will come unto thee.

Vision Amenti as I have told in my Tablets.
Long with fullness of heart to be there.
Stand before the Lords in thy mind’s eye.

Pronounce the words of power I give (mentally);
Mekut-El-Shab-El Hale-Sur-Ben-El-Zabrut Zin-Efrim-Quar-El.
Relax thy mind and thy body.
Then be sure your soul will be called.

Now give I the Key to Shambbalah,
the place where my Brothers live in the darkness:
Darkness but filled with Light of the Sun
Darkness of Earth, but Light of the Spirit,
guides for ye when my day is done.

Leave thou thy body as I have taught thee.
Pass to the barriers of the deep, hidden place.
Stand before the gates and their guardians.
Command thy entrance by these words:

I am the Light. In me is no darkness.
Free am I of the bondage of night.
Open thou the way of the Twelve and the One,
so I may pass to the realm of wisdom.

When they refuse thee, as surely they will,
command them to open by these words of power:
I am the Light. For me are no barriers.
Open, I command, by the Secret of Secrets
Edom-El-Ahim-Sabbert-Zur Adom.

Then if thy words have been Truth of the highest,
open for thee the barriers will fall.

Now, I leave thee, my children.
Down, yet up, to the Halls shall I go.
Win ye the way to me, my children.
Truly my brothers shall ye become.

Thus finish I my writings.
Keys let them be to those who come after.
But only to those who seek my wisdom,
for only for these am I the Key and the Way.

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More GRRMspreading…

If you want to browse my own thoughts and speculations on the ASOIAF world using George R.R. Martin’s own work history, use the drop-down menu above for the most content, or click on the page that just shows recent posts -> Recent Posts Page.

I have started a book club re-read for the older works of George R.R. Martin for purposes such as research, scholarship, and teaching. I own all copies of material that is used for this book club. If you have not yet read a story listed, please check with your local bookstore for your own reading material to purchase (Indie Bookstore Finder or The full list of GRRM stories outside of the A Song of Ice and Fire series that I have read can be found on this page here.

books sculpture write reading

It takes a while to transcribe and then note each story for research purposes, even the really short ones, so this page will be quietly updated as each re-read is added. Make sure you subscribe for updates, or click the main book club page for the updated list.

If there is a story in particular you would like to ask about, feel free to do so in comments below.

  1. Bitterblooms– In the dead of deep winter, a young girl named Shawn has to find the mental courage to escape a red fiery witch. Prototyping Val, Stannis, and Arya along with the red witch Melisandre.
  2. The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr – Discarded Knights guards the gates as Sharra feels the Seven while searching for lost love. Many Sansa and Ashara Dayne prototyping here as well.
  3. …And Seven Times Never Kill Man– A look into a proto-Andal+Targaryen fiery world as the Jaenshi way of life is erased. But who is controlling these events? Black & Red Pyramids who merge with Bakkalon are on full display in this story.
  4. The Last Super Bowl– Football meets SciFi tech with plenty of ASOIAF carryover battle elements.
  5. Nobody Leaves New Pittsburg– first in the Corpse Handler trio, and sets a lot of tone for future ASOIAF thematics.
  6. Closing Time– A short story that shows many precursor themes for future GRRM stories, including skinchanging, Sneaky Pete’s, catastrophic long nights…
  7. The Glass Flower– a tale of how the drive for perfection creates mindlords and mental slavery.
  8. Run to Starlight– A tale of coexistence and morality set to a high stakes game of football.
  9. Remembering Melody– A ghost tale written by GRRM in 1981 that tells of long nights, bloodbaths, and pancakes.
  10. Fast-Friend transcribed and noted. Written in December 1973, this story is a precursor to skinchanging, Bran, Euron, Daenerys, and ways to scheme to reclaim lost love.
  11. The Steel Andal Invasion– A re-read of a partial section of  The World of Ice and Fire text compared to the story …And Seven Times Never Kill Man. This has to do with both fire and ice Others in ASOIAF.
  12. A Song for Lya– A novella about a psi-link couple investigating a fiery ‘god’. Very much a trees vs fire motif, and one of GRRM’s best stories out there.
  13. For A Single Yesterday– A short story about learning from the past to rebuild the future.
  14. This Tower of Ashes– A story of how lost love, mother’s milk, and spiders don’t mix all too well.
  15. A Peripheral Affair (1973)– When a Terran scout ship on a routine patrol through the Periphery suddenly disappears, a battle-hungry admiral prepares to renew the border war.
  16. The Stone City– a have-not surviving while stranded on a corporate planet. Practically a GRRM autobiography in itself.
  17. Slide Show– a story of putting the stars before the children.
  18. Only Kids are Afraid of the Dark– rubies, fire, blood sacrifice, and Saagael- oh my!
  19. A Night at the Tarn House– a magical game of life and death played at an inn at a crossroads.
  20. Men of Greywater Station– Is it the trees, the fungus, or is the real danger humans?
  21. The Computer Cried Charge!– what are we fighting for and is it worth it?
  22. The Needle Men– the fiery hand wields itself again, only, why are we looking for men?
  23. Black and White and Red All Over– a partial take on a partial story.
  24. Fire & Blood excerpt; Alysanne in the north– not a full story, but transcribed and noted section of the book Fire & Blood, volume 1.

Thank you for reading the jambles and jumbles of the Fattest Leech of Ice and Fire, by Gumbo!

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