Jon is the Sun’s son (sorry Quentyn)

The direwolf had no answer, but he licked Jon’s face with a tongue like a wet rasp, and his eyes caught the last light and shone like two great red suns.

A Storm of Swords – Jon XII

9936d217853626a46561a8fbfa01f81f--wolf-face-wolf-eyes

Ok, this grew to be a little longer than expected, but it is a great read regardless. I tried to keep the quotes down to the bare minimum, but please ask if there are some other quotes you would like to see.

Section headings:

  1. Quaithe and trust.
  2. Riddles, not Quentyn
  3. Who is the sun
  4. Jon is the Sun’s son
  5. Jon is acting as the king-father
  6. King Stark, father of families
  7. Why the warning to Daenerys
  8. When will the ice hit the fire
  9. A bit on the Mummer’s Dragon

Other GRRM stories I reccomend for this essay are:

  1. Fevre Dream
  2. Dying of the Light
  3. Nightflyers
  4. Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr

I do want to touch on whisperjewels, used often in several other Martin stories, but repurposed in a way to fit A Song of Ice and Fire. Not to be confused with other jewels such as the swirlstone, glowstones, etc. The whisperjewel is a crystal that has been psionically “etched” to retain certain emotions or thoughts, which are thereafter perceptible when the crystal is held by “resonant” or sympathetic minds. Any type of crystal may be fashioned into a whisperjewel, but certain kinds of gemstones retain the patterns far better than others.  Ghost is Jon’s whisperjewel, especially when you see the parallel in the birth of each of them and the  vernix caseosa detailed in the When was Val introduced page.

The mixed metaphor of stones and stars/sun in place of eyes is used a number of times in ASOIAF. In effort to stay concise in the idea here, I will not quote all of story mentions, but it happens with Quaithe, Symeon Star-Eyes, Mors Umber, and maybe a few others I am forgetting at the moment.

All of this is to say that basically, Jon and Ghost are connected at the molecular level.

  • AGOT- “Take a lesson, Bran. The man who trusts in spells is dueling with a glass sword. As the children did.
  • AGOT- “And now it begins,” … The blade was pale as milkglass, alive with light.
  • ASOS-[Ghost] and his eyes caught the last light and shone like two great red suns.
  • AGOT- The direwolf’s red eyes were darker than garnets and wiser than men. Jon knelt, scratched his ear, and showed him the pommel of the sword. “Look. It’s you.”
  • ASOS, Jon 2- but he thought this must be the first time where a direwolf took the place of the sword.

Quaithe and Trust

A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys II

“Are you here?”

“No. Hear me, Daenerys Targaryen. The glass candles are burning. Soon comes the pale mare, and after her the others. Kraken and dark flame, lion and griffin, the sun’s son and the mummer’s dragon. Trust none of them. Remember the Undying. Beware the perfumed seneschal.”

“Reznak? Why should I fear him?” Dany rose from the pool. Water trickled down her legs, and gooseflesh covered her arms in the cool night air. “If you have some warning for me, speak plainly. What do you want of me, Quaithe?

Quaithe. Artist: Azalea Dolls
Quaithe. Artist: Azalea Dolls

And I think it is important to keep Daenerys’ thoughts about Quaithe in mind, and how they compare to Melisandre, when readers try to speculate about the future plot. Here we can see Daenerys is still undecided about how to read Quaithe.

  • A Storm of Swords – Daenerys I

And there was Quaithe of the Shadow, that strange woman in the red lacquer mask with all her cryptic counsel. Was she an enemy too, or only a dangerous friend? Dany could not say.

Compare to:

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon VIII

Dragons again. For a moment Jon could almost see them too, coiling in the night, their dark wings outlined against a sea of flame. “If she [Melisandre] knew, she would have taken the boy away from us. Dalla’s boy, not your monster. A word in the king’s ear would have been the end of it.” And of me. Stannis would have taken it for treason. “Why let it happen if she knew?”

Because it suited her. Fire is a fickle thing. No one knows which way a flame will go.” Val put a foot into a stirrup, swung her leg over her horse’s back, and looked down from the saddle. “Do you remember what my sister told you?”

“Yes.” A sword without a hilt, with no safe way to hold it. But Melisandre had the right of it. Even a sword without a hilt is better than an empty hand when foes are all around you.


Riddles, not Quentyn

As the son of Doran Martell, and the Martell sigil being a sun transfixed by a spear, Quentyn may be a sun’s son, but he is not the sun’s son. Let’s look at ol’Quentyn the Fireball.

Daenerys is riddled with riddles in her arc. Something that starts to make her question reality and those in it from time to time. The riddles that Quaithe tells her are the touched on several times in the story. This parallels Melisandre and her reading the flames and the repeated mistakes she makes in her interpretation, as she admits.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon I

“Are your fires never wrong?”

“Never … though we priests are mortal and sometimes err, mistaking this must come for this may come.”

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon XIII

“Your fires have been known to lie.”

“I have made mistakes, I have admitted as much, but—”

Daenerys has this same result when trying to parse out who the different warning figures are. She tries hard to “read the flames”, the flames being the fickle words of Quaithe, and Daenerys is making mistakes in her conclusions… because she has not yet met the Sun’s son.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys II

Moonlight shone in the woman’s eyes. “To show you the way.”

“I remember the way. I go north to go south, east to go west, back to go forward. And to touch the light I have to pass beneath the shadow.” She squeezed the water from her silvery hair. “I am half-sick of riddling. In Qarth I was a beggar, but here I am a queen. I command you—”

“Daenerys. Remember the Undying. Remember who you are.”

  • A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys VII

“A sun in splendor, transfixed by a spear.”

The sun’s son. A shiver went through her. “Shadows and whispers.” What else had Quaithe said? The pale mare and the sun’s son. There was a lion in it too, and a dragon. Or am I the dragon? “Beware the perfumed seneschal.” That she remembered. “Dreams and prophecies. Why must they always be in riddles? I hate this. Oh, leave me, ser. Tomorrow is my wedding day.”

  • A Dance with Dragons – Daenerys VIII

“The Yunkai’i grow weaker as well. The bloody flux has taken hold amongst the Tolosi, it is said, and spread across the river to the third Ghiscari legion.”

The pale mare. Daenerys sighed. Quaithe warned me of the pale mare’s coming. She told me of the Dornish prince as well, the sun’s son. She told me much and more, but all in riddles. “I cannot rely on plague to save me from my enemies. Set Pretty Meris free. At once.”

The popular theory among the fandom is Quentyn Martell is the sun’s son whom Daenerys is not supposed to trust. But when you look at the story, Quentyn Martell really is not a threat, and had Daenerys trusted him, that would have given Daenerys the boatloads of Westerosi support she desperately needs. Alas, Daenerys cannot make that flight to Westeros just yet as her Essos arc is not complete; she must first bind the DOthraki to her will as the folk god Khal of Khals and Drogon who mounts the world.

House_Martell.svg

Again, don’t get me wrong, Quentyn Martell is a son of a sun, but not the Sun’s son. I mean, the sigil for House Martell is literally a sun. So obvious… but also too obvious. It is being overplayed.

Remember the three-fold reveal that GRRM’s editor, Anne Groell, talks about. It is a three tier reveal:

Q: Anne, although you’re the envy of many a GRRM fan, do you ever wish you didn’t have to edit the books so that you could be surprised by them all at once along with the rest of us?

Anne: No. As above, he doesn’t tell me a lot. He feels I am most effective at my job if I am surprised along with everyone else. And it is easier to tell when he’s overplaying a hand and revealing things too early if you don’t actually know going in what will happen. That said, now that I’ve realized his three-fold revelation strategy, I see it in play almost every time. The first, subtle hint for the really astute readers, followed later by the more blatant hint for the less attentive, followed by just spelling it out for everyone else. It’s a brilliant strategy, and highly effective.

 

And what threats did Quentyn bring? A suggestion of marriage to appease a contract that was once between his sister Arianne Martell and Viserys Targaryen. Well, that isn’t so bad because a union such at that brings financial and military support. And Daenerys was not even cruel in her denial of marriage to Quentyn. She actually treated him rather well, despite her conclusion that Quentyn is the sun’s son. However, Barristan also gives the reader another perspective, and it is still not a threat:

  • A Dance with Dragons – The Discarded Knight [Barristan]

Prince Quentyn was listening intently, at least. That one is his father’s son. Short and stocky, plain-faced, he seemed a decent lad, sober, sensible, dutiful … but not the sort to make a young girl’s heart beat faster. And Daenerys Targaryen, whatever else she might be, was still a young girl, as she herself would claim when it pleased her to play the innocent. Like all good queens she put her people first—else she would never have wed Hizdahr zo Loraq—but the girl in her still yearned for poetry, passion, and laughter. She wants fire, and Dorne sent her mud.

You could make a poultice out of mud to cool a fever. You could plant seeds in mud and grow a crop to feed your children. Mud would nourish you, where fire would only consume you, but fools and children and young girls would choose fire every time.

Setting the two chained dragons free? Well, in terms of Daenerys’ plot, that isn’t so bad either. Rhaegal and Viserion were chained in a dungeon, derived of sunlight and free flying and hunting. This means they were not growing properly. Quentyn gave his life to set the two dragons free- only death can pay for life. In the end, Quentyn setting the dragons free helps them grow large, they eat the dead bodies being flung in to Meereen, and they roost their fiery arses atop the pyramids like their fiery mother does; another sign of Daenerys being the war god/dess Bakkalon the Pale Child.

  • A Storm of Swords – Daenerys I

Ser Jorah shrugged. “A dragon’s natural span of days is many times as long as a man’s, or so the songs would have us believe . . . but the dragons the Seven Kingdoms knew best were those of House Targaryen. They were bred for war, and in war they died. It is no easy thing to slay a dragon, but it can be done.”

The squire Whitebeard, standing by the figurehead with one lean hand curled about his tall hardwood staff, turned toward them and said, “Balerion the Black Dread was two hundred years old when he died during the reign of Jaehaerys the Conciliator. He was so large he could swallow an aurochs whole. A dragon never stops growing, Your Grace, so long as he has food and freedom.” His name was Arstan, but Strong Belwas had named him Whitebeard for his pale whiskers, and most everyone called him that now. He was taller than Ser Jorah, though not so muscular; his eyes were a pale blue, his long beard as white as snow and as fine as silk.

“Freedom?” asked Dany, curious. “What do you mean?”

Dragons are analagous to swords in this story. On a sword, the crossguard, also known as quillons, could be a play on words for Quentyn’s name. The crossguards were not only used to counter enemy attacks, but also to get a better grip on the sword at the hilt. The hilt is the main point of control, the handle of the sword. In the Dragontamer chapter, Quentyn and companions cross-dress as Brazen Beasts guards to gain access to the dragons, the swords. Notice how once again we see a person have to have a “magic word”, no more no less, to get through the door/portal just as Arya and Samwell once had to do.

  • A Dance with Dragons – The Dragontamer

Four Brazen Beasts stood guarding the door. Three held long spears; the fourth, the serjeant, was armed with short sword and dagger. His mask was wrought in the shape of a basilisk’s head. The other three were masked as insects.

Locusts, Quentyn realized. “Dog,” he said.

The serjeant stiffened.

[and then]

When he raised his whip, he saw that the lash was burning. His hand as well. All of him, all of him was burning.

Oh, he thought. Then he began to scream.

It seems Daenerys’ dragon swords, enities raised by fire and blood magic, have lost their control. Is this symbolic of Daenerys’ grasp on Meereen as a whole? Feel free to speculate in the comments below.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon VIII

“Because it suited her. Fire is a fickle thing. No one knows which way a flame will go.” Val put a foot into a stirrup, swung her leg over her horse’s back, and looked down from the saddle. “Do you remember what my sister told you?”

“Yes.” A sword without a hilt, with no safe way to hold it. But Melisandre had the right of it. Even a sword without a hilt is better than an empty hand when foes are all around you.

“Good.” Val wheeled the garron toward the north.

However, the fact that Quentyn was sent to Daenerys to make an offer to Daenerys, and now Quentyn is dead, this may pose to be a great issue later down the road for Daenerys.


Who is the Sun?

It seems we readers were told this information way, way back in the good ol’days of the first book. If you do a re-read, pay close attention to what Lyanna and Rhaegar and moon-maid information is revealed in relation to each other over the POV’s. This sun stealing moon analogy comes after four consecutive Eddard chapters where the slow reveal of the Rhaegar and Lyanna relationship is carefully spelled out to readers.

  • A Game of Thrones – Daenerys III

“A trader from Qarth once told me that dragons came from the moon,” blond Doreah said as she warmed a towel over the fire. Jhiqui and Irri were of an age with Dany, Dothraki girls taken as slaves when Drogo destroyed their father’s khalasar. Doreah was older, almost twenty. Magister Illyrio had found her in a pleasure house in Lys.

Silvery-wet hair tumbled across her eyes as Dany turned her head, curious. “The moon?”

“He told me the moon was an egg, Khaleesi,” the Lysene girl said. “Once there were two moons in the sky, but one wandered too close to the sun and cracked from the heat. A thousand thousand dragons poured forth, and drank the fire of the sun. That is why dragons breathe flame. One day the other moon will kiss the sun too, and then it will crack and the dragons will return.”

The two Dothraki girls giggled and laughed. “You are foolish strawhead slave,” Irri said. “Moon is no egg. Moon is god, woman wife of sun. It is known.”

“It is known,” Jhiqui agreed.

In this instance, both Doreah and Irri are correct. Both tell the basic tale that dragons come from the moon, and there were two moons… just as Rhaegar had his two moon-woman-wives Elia Martell and Lyanna Stark. It seems little Rhaenys is truly dead and gone, but that baby Aegon survived and is making his comeback as Aegon/Young Griff, which will make him the mummer’s dragon of Quaithe’s warning.

That leaves Jon Snow, the dragon born of the second god-moon-woman-wife Lyanna. George loves polygamous marriages. In countless stories of his he writes about various poly-amorous relationships- regardless of gender or marriages. This free love theme is a much more constant ideal he writes about, way more than incest even. And hardly, if ever, do these poly-amorous relationships cause destruction the way that he writes incest does.

So, Lyanna wandered too close to the sun and cracked from the heat. This is all a fancy-pants way of saying Lyanna and Rhaegar had a sexual relationship (consensual or forced?), she became pregnant, “cracked” and birthed a dragon (Jon), who drank the fire of the sun (stealing magic/becoming the Sun’s son). I have an essay that discusses Lyanna as the Knight of the Laughing Tree here, but maybe not as you know the common theory. Additionally, Jon seems to be somewhat retracing his blood father’s footsteps and stealing after the moon-maid. Val is also a honey-moon, which is another name for a rose-moon.

dragon_wolf_moon_by_dragonwolface
Dragon wolf moon by by DragonWolfACe

Jon is the Sun’s son

A long while back in the Westeros.org forum, I started a thread with the purpose of showing the similarities Jon has to his blood father Rhaegar. I did this because there seemed to be a fandom idea that Jon has nothing in common with Rhaegar, which is something I disagreed with, but wanted to explore further. Jon also seems to follow the theory that the first born to a non-Targaryen (mother) and a Targagryen (father) follows the outward physical appearance of the non-Targaryen parent, while the subsequent children that follow could be a reverse or a mix of each parents traits. Jon seems to follow his mother’s Stark looks, while exhibiting much of his Targaryen father’s personality traits.

That thread lists quite a bit of comparison between Jon and Rhaegar, and it is worth a look, however, for the sake of brevity I will not list every detail in this post, just a few:

  1. Both are related to songs. Rhaegar with the music he plays and the woman that weep at his words, Jon in other, more symbolic ways.
  2. Both “die” in a rebellion or mutiny (which is just a synonym for rebellion).
  3. “Stealing” when saving the free folk because Jon realizes the free folk are just humans. Rhaegar tells Jaime that he wants to make some “changes” when he comes back from battle.
    • There is some discussion that points to Jon stealing Val. In wildling to common tongue translation, to steal means to marry. Could this be proof that Rhaegar married Lyanna and Jon is legitimate = not a bastard?
  4. Jon “locks” his potential queen/wildling princess in Hardin’s Tower as Lyanna was locked in a tower by Rhaegar.
  5. Both were born in Dorne.
  6. Jon is naturally good at most things he attempts. We know Jon does read, while not his favorite activity, he knows its worth and the value in knowledge and tasks Sam to read to learn everything he can about the Others.
    • “She [Cat] was looking at him the way she used to look at him at Winterfell, whenever he had bested Robb at swords or sums or most anything.”
  7. Jon’s first encounter with a lover is when he thinks he is going after a male wildling and it turns out to be a female, Ygritte. When Rhaegar sets out after the Knight of the Laughing Tree, he is expecting a male, but gets Lyanna instead.
  8. They both share a melancholy. There are several instances of Jon thinking about Ned, Winterfell and all of his siblings… yes, even Sansa, and many make him sad. Jon thinks about, talks to or compares himself to Robb 74 times, 75 if you count the time he and Sam talked about Robb. It is double that of any other sibling, The term “father” comes up 230 times, but some of that is talk of other fathers, so I won’t count that here:
  • A Clash of Kings – Jon VI

Longclaw was not so long or heavy a sword as his father’s Ice, but it was Valyrian steel all the same. He touched the edge of the blade to mark where the blow must fall, and Ygritte shivered. “That’s cold,” she said. “Go on, be quick about it.”

He raised Longclaw over his head, both hands tight around the grip. One cut, with all my weight behind it. He could give her a quick clean death, at least. He was his father’s son. Wasn’t he? Wasn’t he?


Jon is acting as the king-father

jon_snow_and_ghost_by_satelliteghost-d9qzi9f

Jon acting as an Odin Allfather type (or maybe just an extension of) could make Jon Snow a usurper in Daenerys’ opinion. He is a “son” of Ned Stark,  who was a friend and hand to the Baratheon’s, and Jon is now ‘king’ over her perceived domain.

Just as Eddard Stark is the antithesis to Tywin when it comes to that generations fathering skills, Jon is the antithesis to Joffery when it comes to being the protector of the realm. The Night’s Watch are the ‘true’ protectors, not the mummer’s fart that is happening down in the den of snakes that is King’s Landing politics. Not everybody loves the fire kings down in King’s Landing. Oh no.

Compare with each of these “kings”:

  • A Game of Thrones – Eddard XIV

Janos Slynt met them at the door to the throne room, armored in ornate black-and-gold plate, with a high-crested helm under one arm. The Commander bowed stiffly. His men pushed open the great oaken doors, twenty feet tall and banded with bronze.

The royal steward led them in. “All hail His Grace, Joffrey of the Houses Baratheon and Lannister, the First of his Name, King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm,” he sang out.

And then in this scene where fire queen Cersei rips up the words of the “old gods”, written by Eddard, and in the form of paper (trees). Trees hate the flames is a repeated subtext in ASOIAF. History repeats, but each time with a twist.

  • A Game of Thrones – Eddard XIV

Ned produced Robert’s letter. “Lord Varys, be so kind as to show this to my lady of Lannister.”

The eunuch carried the letter to Cersei. The queen glanced at the words. “Protector of the Realm,” she read. “Is this meant to be your shield, my lord? A piece of paper?” She ripped the letter in half, ripped the halves in quarters, and let the pieces flutter to the floor.

“Those were the king’s words,” Ser Barristan said, shocked.

Then compare to the words of the Night’s Watch. However, play close attention to the “modern” vows compared to the simpler vows that Sam recites in a Bran chapter. This is all that was required to open one of, if not the, oldest part of the Night’s Watch defenses. It is also important to note that these vows were said in front of Bran, and the Black Gate allowed Bran to pass, which adds to the theory that Bran will be Jon’s “ice armor”. This is also another link between the working relationship of the Watch to the Starks:

  • A Game of Thrones – Jon VI

They said the words together, as the last light faded in the west and grey day became black night.

“Hear my words, and bear witness to my vow,” they recited, their voices filling the twilit grove. “Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. 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, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.”

The woods fell silent. “You knelt as boys,” Bowen Marsh intoned solemnly. “Rise now as men of the Night’s Watch.”

  • A Storm of Swords – Bran IV

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.

So, this seems to add more to the various clues that Jon will become a king. King of what??? I dunno, but between Jon and Bran, they will be the King in the North, and/or Jon Snow the King of Winter, or some other king (hint hint).

Another way Jon is acting as the father is in marriage. Again, Jon is the antithesis to the incest-born mad King Joffery Lannister. Where Joffery takes a twisted pleasure in the forced marriage as hostage taking of Sansa to Tyrion, and later tells Sansa he will rape her anyway, Jon arranges the marriage of Alys Karstark to Sigorn, the new Magnar of Thenn as a way to seal wound in the realm… and both Alys and Sigorn are mutual participants. And both marriages discuss the loss of a father who would have normally given away the daughter for marriage.

Joffrey, who beheads Eddard Stark even after he was given the option to join the Night’s Watch, takes glee in reminding Sansa of his cruelty:

  • A Clash of Kings – Sansa III

“That was Arya’s wolf,” she said. “Lady never hurt you, but you killed her anyway.”

“No, your father did,” Joff said, “but I killed your father. I wish I’d done it myself. I killed a man last night who was bigger than your father. They came to the gate shouting my name and calling for bread like I was some baker, but I taught them better. I shot the loudest one right through the throat.”

Compare to Jon in the north. Jon is avoiding the abominable Cregan powergrab incest that is trying to be forced on Alys, while sealing the realms of men. He chooses honor and attempts at peace. It is traditionally a kings job to make marriage arrangements to higher ranking houses, as well as develop the arms for such house. Jon does it all:

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon X

Cregan shook his head. Chunks of ice had formed about the tangles in his hair, and clicked together softly when he moved. “Never,” he said. “Never, never, never.”

I should make his head a wedding gift for Lady Alys and her Magnar, Jon thought, but dare not take the risk. The Night’s Watch took no part in the quarrels of the realm; some would say he had already given Stannis too much help. Behead this fool, and they will claim I am killing northmen to give their lands to wildlings. Release him, and he will do his best to rip apart all I’ve done with Lady Alys and the Magnar. Jon wondered what his father would do, how his uncle might deal with this. But Eddard Stark was dead, Benjen Stark lost in the frozen wilds beyond the Wall. You know nothing, Jon Snow.

“Never is a long time,” Jon said. “You may feel differently on the morrow, or a year from now. Soon or late King Stannis will return to the Wall, however. When he does he will have you put to death … unless it happens that you are wearing a black cloak. When a man takes the black, his crimes are wiped away.” Even such a man as you. “Now pray excuse me. I have a feast to attend.”

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon IX

“Your uncle … would that be Lord Arnolf?”

“He is no lord,” Alys said scornfully. “My brother Harry is the rightful lord, and by law I am his heir. A daughter comes before an uncle. Uncle Arnolf is only castellan. He’s my great-uncle, actually, my father’s uncle. Cregan is his son. I suppose that makes him a cousin, but we always called him uncle. Now they mean to make me call him husband.” She made a fist. “Before the war I was betrothed to Daryn Hornwood. We were only waiting till I flowered to be wed, but the Kingslayer killed Daryn in the Whispering Wood. My father wrote that he would find some southron lord to wed me, but he never did. Your brother Robb cut off his head for killing Lannisters.” Her mouth twisted. “I thought the whole reason they marched south was to kill some Lannisters.”

“It was … not so simple as that. Lord Karstark slew two prisoners, my lady. Unarmed boys, squires in a cell.”

…and then…

“My uncle declared for Stannis, in hopes it might provoke the Lannisters to take poor Harry’s head. Should my brother die, Karhold should pass to me, but my uncles want my birthright for their own. Once Cregan gets a child by me they won’t need me anymore. He’s buried two wives already.” She rubbed away a tear angrily, the way Arya might have done it. “Will you help me?”

Marriages and inheritance are matters for the king, my lady. I will write to Stannis on your behalf, but—”

Alys Karstark laughed, but it was the laughter of despair. “Write, but do not look for a reply. Stannis will be dead before he gets your message. My uncle will see to that.”

“What do you mean?”

“Arnolf is rushing to Winterfell, ’tis true, but only so he might put his dagger in your king’s back. He cast his lot with Roose Bolton long ago … for gold, the promise of a pardon, and poor Harry’s head. Lord Stannis is marching to a slaughter. So he cannot help me, and would not even if he could.” Alys knelt before him, clutching the black cloak. “You are my only hope, Lord Snow. In your father’s name, I beg you. Protect me.

And union:

House_Karstark.svg
House Karstark
  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon X

Like so much else, heraldry ended at the Wall. The Thenns had no family arms as was customary amongst the nobles of the Seven Kingdoms, so Jon told the stewards to improvise. He thought they had done well. The bride’s cloak Sigorn fastened about Lady Alys’s shoulders showed a bronze disk on a field of white wool, surrounded by flames made with wisps of crimson silk. The echo of the Karstark sunburst was there for those who cared to look, but differenced to make the arms appropriate for House Thenn.

The Magnar all but ripped the maiden’s cloak from Alys’s shoulders, but when he fastened her bride’s cloak about her he was almost tender. As he leaned down to kiss her cheek, their breath mingled. The flames roared once again. The queen’s men began to sing a song of praise. “Is it done?” Jon heard Satin whisper.

House_Thenn.svg
House Thenn

sidenote: A secret wish for me, based on nothing!, is that the new House Thenn name will change to be Karthenn. This could be a wordplay on one of GRRM’s inspirations for ASIOAF, Carthage. Or not?


King Stark, father of families

Speaking of new Kartsark families, this is also a repeat of history, just now with a twist.

The Karstarks are a branch of the Starks, only slightly modified… like the new Thenn-Karstark sigil.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon X

“So,” said Alys, as Jon poured, “I am now a woman wed. A wildling husband with his own little wildling army.”

“Free folk is what they call themselves. Most, at least. The Thenns are a people apart, though. Very old.” Ygritte had told him that. You know nothing, Jon Snow. “They come from a hidden vale at the north end of the Frostfangs, surrounded by high peaks, and for thousands of years they’ve had more truck with the giants than with other men. It made them different.”

“Different,” she said, “but more like us.”

What we do know about House Karstark of Karhold is they are a noble house from Karhold in the north. They were founded as a cadet branch of their overlords, the Starks of Winterfell, and are among their principal bannermen. Their blazon is a white sunburst on black and their motto is “The Sun of Winter“.

… The Sun of Winter? As in, the son of Jon Snow, King of Winter???

A cadet branch is a noble House that descends from another noble House. They are usually created when a younger member of a noble House, who is not the current heir of the family seat, is granted lands and titles of his own. House Thenn is now the Sun’s son of the Kar+Stark history. And baby makes three!

There is also some wordplay in the “cadet” branch of the terminology. Aside from the fact that cadet in it’s old form means a younger son or daughter, it is also a military ranking. Jon is prepping for winter, all right.

  • A Storm of Swords – Jon III

Jon bowed his head stiffly, and went. If all the wildlings were like Styr, it would be easier to betray them. The Thenns were not like other free folk, though. The Magnar claimed to be the last of the First Men, and ruled with an iron hand. His little land of Thenn was a high mountain valley hidden amongst the northernmost peaks of the Frostfangs, surrounded by cave dwellers, Hornfoot men, giants, and the cannibal clans of the ice rivers. Ygritte said the Thenns were savage fighters, and that their Magnar was a god to them. Jon could believe that. Unlike Jarl and Harma and Rattleshirt, Styr commanded absolute obedience from his men, and that discipline was no doubt part of why Mance had chosen him to go over the Wall.

Again, this goes back to Jon having some Odin-like characteristics. One of Odin’s countless names is “Allfather” (Old Norse Alfaðir), “because,” according to Snorri Sturluson, “he [Odin] is the father of all of the gods.”

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon VII

“The spearwives will be so happy. You might do well to bestow a castle on the Magnar.”

Jon’s smile died. “I might if I could trust him. Sigorn blames me for his father’s death, I fear. Worse, he was bred and trained to give orders, not to take them. Do not confuse the Thenns with free folk. Magnar means lord in the Old Tongue, I am told, but Styr was closer to a god to his people, and his son is cut from the same skin. I do not require men to kneel, but they do need to obey.”


Why the warning to Daenerys?

Because Daenerys and Jon will come to blows on the Trident and the fire R’hllorists are looking to protect their god returned. They are awaiting Azor Ahai reborn, only the flame reading from Melisandre may not be correct… or not fully understood. A summer that never ends is another example of extremism, an imbalance of nature, just as devastating as a winter that never ends.

  • A Clash of Kings – Davos I

Melisandre was robed all in scarlet satin and blood velvet, her eyes as red as the great ruby that glistened at her throat as if it too were afire. “In ancient books of Asshai it is written that there will come a day after a long summer when the stars bleed and the cold breath of darkness falls heavy on the world. In this dread hour a warrior shall draw from the fire a burning sword. And that sword shall be Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, and he who clasps it shall be Azor Ahai come again, and the darkness shall flee before him.” She lifted her voice, so it carried out over the gathered host. “Azor Ahai, beloved of R’hllor! The Warrior of Light, the Son of Fire! Come forth, your sword awaits you! Come forth and take it into your hand!”

  • A Dance with Dragons – Tyrion VI

“Her. Daenerys?”

Haldon nodded. “Benerro has sent forth the word from Volantis. Her coming is the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy. From smoke and salt was she born to make the world anew. She is Azor Ahai returned … and her triumph over darkness will bring a summer that will never end … death itself will bend its knee, and all those who die fighting in her cause shall be reborn …”

History repeats, but with a twist each time. I am sure George RR Martin has some esoteric meaning built in to this upcoming battle. I speculate that this battle will come down to a battle of the minds (in a way), the way that Cyrain of Ash and Lilith plays the game of mind, and the way that Damon Julian of Fevre Dream plays another game of mind, and the fact that Bran drank from the cup of ice while Daenerys drank from the cup of fire.

This is not to say that Daenerys will not be completely destructive to Westeros. George does not write too many characters as totally black. I am sure there is a reason why she is bringing dragons, but she is also bring a virtual plague of locusts in the way of the Dothraki hordes. And above all, she wants the iron throne and to put down the “usurpers dogs”.

These reasons, as well as how George describes the dragons in an interview, could mean that, in the long run, the people of Westeros do not want a fire hungry ruler such as Daenerys.

  • George RR Martin: 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.

This could be why Jon will have to stop Daenerys. The iron throne is a wretched reminder of the fire on the lands and blood of the peoples that was spilled when the swords were collected to make the throne. It is a sign of domination and forced submission. Not something to be admired, which is why all the the ‘villains’ of the story are the ones to covet the bloodletting chair; Cersei, Joffrey (who was more about abuse of power), Euron, Viserys, Daenerys. Not even Robert Baratheon was conquering to take the throne, just to stop the madness of King Aerys. His becoming king was almost a mistake, a side effect.

Marc_Simonetti_Bran_theironthroneJoff
According to George R. R. Martin this painting is the closest to how he envisions the Iron Throne. Artist: Marc Simonetti

George’s thoughts on the iron throne:

  • And yet, and yet… it’s still not right [the GoT show throne]. 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…
  • A sign of dominance and conquest when you stand before it you’re supposed to remember that you know look on my works ye mighty and despair was a little bit of the of the psychology of that; he [Aegon I] won a battle by burning everybody.
    • Just to note, the phrase “look on my works ye mighty and despair” is from the Percy Shelley poem Ozymandias. George uses this poem, and the name Ozymandias, in his book Fevre Dream. The main dark villain, Damon Julian (fire, Daenerys, and Euron protoype), takes over the ship belonging to Joshua York and paints the red and white ship black so it can hide in the night, and in doing so, the name of the ship is changed to Ozymandias.
      • In short, Weirwoods/water magic = the ship Fevre Dream; Iron Throne and fire magic = the ship Ozymandius.
    • A central theme of Ozymandias is the inevitable decline of leaders of empires and their pretensions to greatness. This also is reflected in the way GRRM writes incest and the associated elitism as a downfall of a dynasty.

When will the ice hit the fire?

There are so many stories of GRRM’s where the main battle takes place on the water, usually a river. If not a body of water, than it is space. The two seem interchangeable in Martin’s mind. This could go back to his childhood when he talks about dreaming of the ships on the water in his hometown of Bayonne, New Jersey. It is possible that this idea is merged with the Catholic idea of doom coming from the east:

  • The World of Ice and Fire – The Reach: Oldtown

If indeed this first fortress is Valyrian, it suggests that the dragonlords came to Westeros thousands of years before they carved out their outpost on Dragonstone, long before the coming of the Andals, or even the First Men. If so, did they come seeking trade? Were they slavers, mayhaps seeking after giants? Did they seek to learn the magic of the children of the forest, with their greenseers and their weirwoods? Or was there some darker purpose?

Such questions abound even to this day. Before the Doom of Valyria, maesters and archmaesters oft traveled to the Freehold in search of answers, but none were ever found. Septon Barth’s claim that the Valyrians came to Westeros because their priests prophesied that the Doom of Man would come out of the land beyond the narrow sea can safely be dismissed as nonsense, as can many of Barth’s queerer beliefs and suppositions.

More troubling, and more worthy of consideration, are the arguments put forth by those who claim that the first fortress is not Valyrian at all.

sidenote: the lands beyond the Narrow sea are lands to the east.

  • The Bible

The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.

Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” (Rev 16:12-16)

sidenote: these ASOIAF king from the East are the Dothraki sand kings, which is a GRRM story that is a prototype for Daenerys and her arc.

I would recommend the following stories at minimum to read to witness the repeated themes: Fevre Dream, And Seven Times Never Kill Man, For a Single Yesterday, The Skin Trade happens in the heavy rain, the Dunk & Egg story The Sworn Sword, Override, and maybe a few others that I am forgetting at the moment.

Two sides of the river; men must chose where they stand.

What we have in the A Song of Ice and Fire story are the battle dreams that Jon and Daenerys have. This all points to a recreation of the Battle of the Trident, and this could happen after the battle for humanity (Others, Great Other, whatever else, etc). After the dust settles, and people breathe a sigh of relief, and then turn to observe who the survivors are, this is when other, final, issues will arise.

Who will rule, and how to rebuild?

This battle of dreams is very much like the “game of mind” that Cyrain of Ash and Lilith plays in the story The Glass Flower. This information along with the what we read in the story Override could be archetypal clues to the mental game Daenerys and Bran will play between each other, with Jon serving as the legged knight that Bran always wanted to be. Jon will be a Raven’s Teeth, so to speak.

16f5dd4c2d681d9585b39130eb1f40cf--stark-family-bran-stark
Bran is a powerful greenseer and all three of his eyes are open.

Daenerys often dreams of battle, and being the last dragon, which is basically a take over for the warrior side of Rhaegar. I discussed the comparisons in detail here. Remember, dreams are symbolic, not literal.

  • A Storm of Swords – Daenerys III

Ser Jorah had no answer. He only smiled, and touched her hair, so lightly. It was enough.

That night she dreamt that she was Rhaegar, riding to the Trident. But she was mounted on a dragon, not a horse. When she saw the Usurper’s rebel host across the river they were armored all in ice, but she bathed them in dragonfire and they melted away like dew and turned the Trident into a torrent. Some small part of her knew that she was dreaming, but another part exulted. This is how it was meant to be. The other was a nightmare, and I have only now awakened.

She woke suddenly in the darkness of her cabin, still flush with triumph. Balerion seemed to wake with her, and she heard the faint creak of wood, water lapping against the hull, a football on the deck above her head. And something else.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon XII

That night he dreamt of wildlings howling from the woods, advancing to the moan of warhorns and the roll of drums. Boom DOOM boom DOOM boom DOOM came the sound, a thousand hearts with a single beat. Some had spears and some had bows and some had axes. Others rode on chariots made of bones, drawn by teams of dogs as big as ponies. Giants lumbered amongst them, forty feet tall, with mauls the size of oak trees.

“Stand fast,” Jon Snow called. “Throw them back.” He stood atop the Wall, alone. “Flame,” he cried, “feed them flame,” but there was no one to pay heed.

They are all gone. They have abandoned me.

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. He slew a greybeard and a beardless boy, a giant, a gaunt man with filed teeth, a girl with thick red hair. Too late he recognized Ygritte. She was gone as quick as she’d appeared.

The world dissolved into a red mist. Jon stabbed and slashed and cut. He hacked down Donal Noye and gutted Deaf Dick Follard. Qhorin Halfhand stumbled to his knees, trying in vain to staunch the flow of blood from his neck. “I am the Lord of Winterfell,” Jon screamed. It was Robb before him now, his hair wet with melting snow. Longclaw took his head off. Then a gnarled hand seized Jon roughly by the shoulder. He whirled …

  • A Dance with Dragons – Bran II

Something about the way the raven screamed sent a shiver running up Bran’s spine. I am almost a man grown, he had to remind himself. I have to be brave now.

But the air was sharp and cold and full of fear. Even Summer was afraid. The fur on his neck was bristling. Shadows stretched against the hillside, black and hungry. All the trees were bowed and twisted by the weight of ice they carried. Some hardly looked like trees at all. Buried from root to crown in frozen snow, they huddled on the hill like giants, monstrous and misshapen creatures hunched against the icy wind. “They are here.”

The ranger drew his longsword.

And even the fiery R’hllorists are prepping for this war. Keep in mind, this is coming from a religious zealot who thinks Stannis is Azor Ahai reborn and who admits she is often wrong in her flame reading interpretations… so some opposites are most likely true:

  • A Storm of Swords – Davos III

“The war?” asked Davos.

“The war,” she [Melisandre] affirmed. “There are two, Onion Knight. Not seven, not one, not a hundred or a thousand. Two! Do you think I crossed half the world to put yet another vain king on yet another empty throne? The war has been waged since time began, and before it is done, all men must choose where they will stand. On one side is R’hllor, the Lord of Light, the Heart of Fire, the God of Flame and Shadow. Against him stands the Great Other whose name may not be spoken, the Lord of Darkness, the Soul of Ice, the God of Night and Terror. Ours is not a choice between Baratheon and Lannister, between Greyjoy and Stark. It is death we choose, or life. Darkness, or light.” She clasped the bars of his cell with her slender white hands. The great ruby at her throat seemed to pulse with its own radiance. “So tell me, Ser Davos Seaworth, and tell me truly—does your heart burn with the shining light of R’hllor? Or is it black and cold and full of worms?” She reached through the bars and laid three fingers upon his breast, as if to feel the truth of him through flesh and wool and leather.

“My heart,” Davos said slowly, “is full of doubts.”

Compare to the lesson both Leaf and Brynden Bloodraven Rivers are teaching Bran:
  • A Dance with Dragons – Bran III

[Leaf] “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.”

However, this war and outcome could be devastating on both sides in this timeline replay. Chances are, what remains of Jon and Deanerys are the tenets that they preach, not the extremes of all ice or all fire. A union of the two types of thought, a repeated theme of GRRM’s. This is where Bran and Samwell Tarly will be the closest to a hero we will get. Old Gods knowledge and Maesters skills combined, like ravens to a tree.

  • A Clash of Kings – Daenerys II

“I am not Viserys.”

“No,” he admitted. “There is more of Rhaegar in you, I think, but even Rhaegar could be slain. Robert proved that on the Trident, with no more than a warhammer. Even dragons can die.”

Dragons die.” She stood on her toes to kiss him lightly on an unshaven cheek. “But so do dragonslayers.”


A bit on the Mummer’s Dragon

That leaves Aegon/Young Griff as the Mummer’s Dragon that Daenerys will slay. I wrote more about where Aegon came from here, as well as linking Daenerys to Aerion the Monsterous/Brightflame here.

What it boils down to is that Daenerys will see something Aegon does as acting out one her her “betrayals” she will know… just as Aerion does back in The Mystery Knight. However, Aegon/Young Griff’s betrayal could come in the form of taking Arrianne as his Dornish lover… which Daenerys will not approve of for whatever reason.

In this book scene, again we see that the Dornish are not the threat, but rather the assumed betrayal/treason of a mummer is what causes Aerion to grow all fiery-like. Run, Aegon, Run. Actually, Jon Snow should beware Daenerys as well, as the part of Dunk represents Jon in this scene.

  • The Hedge Knight

A wall of watchers had gathered around the puppeteers. Dunk shouldered through them, ignoring their curses. A man-at-arms in the royal livery stepped up to block him. Dunk put a big band on his chest and shoved, sending the man flailing backward to sprawl on his arse in the dirt.

The puppeteer’s stall had been knocked on its side. The fat Dornishwoman was on the ground weeping.

One man-at-arms was dangling the puppets of Florian and Jonquil from his hands as another set them afire with a torch. Three more men were opening chests, spilling more puppets on the ground and stamping on them. The dragon puppet was scattered all about them, a broken wing here, its head there, its tail in three pieces. And in the midst of it all stood Prince Aerion, resplendent in a red velvet doublet with long dagged sleeves, twisting Tanselle’s arm in both hands. She was on her knees, pleading with him. Aerion ignored her. He forced open her hand and seized one of her fingers. Dunk stood there stupidly, not quite believing what he saw. Then he heard a crack, and Tanselle screamed.

One of Aerion’s men tried to grab him, and went flying. Three long strides, then Dunk grabbed the prince’s shoulder and wrenched him around hard. His sword and dagger were forgotten, along with everything the old man had ever taught him. His fist knocked Aerion off his feet, and the toe of his boot slammed into the prince’s belly. When Aerion went for his knife, Dunk stepped on his wrist and then kicked him again, right in the mouth. He might have kicked him to death right then and there, but the princeling’s men swarmed over him. He had a man on each arm and another pounding him across the back. No sooner had he wrestled free of one than two more were on him.

[and then]

“You took me for a stableboy.”

Aerion smiled redly. “I recall. You refused to take my horse. Why did you throw your life away? For this whore?” Tanselle was curled up on the ground, cradling her maimed hand. He gave her a shove with the toe of his boot. “She’s scarcely worth it. A traitor. The dragon ought never lose.”

He is mad, thought Dunk, but he is still a prince’s son, and he means to kill me. He might have prayed then, if he had known a prayer all the way through, but there was no time. There was hardly even time to be afraid.


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