Selyse + Mel = Shireen fire

“I had bad dreams,” Shireen told him. “About the dragons. They were coming to eat me.”

Morganlfay
Morgan le Fay

George RR Martin is very specific with the creative meaning behind the main characters. He once said that he cannot figure out who the character is until he gives them a name. Melisandre/Melony is not exception. Melanie is a feminine given name derived from the Greek μελανία (melania), “blackness” and that from μέλας (melas), meaning “dark”. Melanie also means honey, and honey is a running theme in ths ASOAIF series… and it is not all comparable as the same. The dose makes the poison. Eddard Stark likes honey sweetened milk, but Pycelle over sweetens it because Pycelle is lying to Eddard (and possibly trying to poison him). Val’s hair is colored as honey-blonde and she a “snow bear’ and is most likely a woods witch that will heal Jon after his mutiny stabbing. Melisandre- Melony lot seven- is black honey; corrupt and of the shade.

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Shawn and the brazier-ship in Bitterblooms. artist: Mark Poole

GRRM developed this Melisandre type character a few different ways in stories past. The most clear parallel is in the story Bitterblooms as the  red-haired, charlatan witch who lives in a giant brass brazier looking spaceship, sees visions on her screen that are false while manipulating the protaganist and bending them (temporarily) to her will using food and sex, all the while happening during a long winter and where special blue flowers grow. Oh, and a “vampire” shrike attacks the protagonist from above, like R’hllor’s fiery hand. This witch is named Morgan Le Fay and is based on one of the common aspects of the trickster enchantress Morgan le Fay of Arthurian legend.

 

  • Bitterblooms

“I am magic,” the woman said. “I am magic and I can do magic things and I will live forever. And so will you, Carin child, Shawn, when I teach you. You can travel with me, and I will teach you all the magics and tell you stories, and we can be lovers. You are my lover already, you know, you’ve always been, at Gathering. Shawn, Shawn.” She smiled.
“No,” Shawn said. “That was some other person.”
“You’re tired, child. The vampire hurt you, and you don’t remember. But you will remember, you will.”

“I am not afraid of you, Shawn,” Morgan said. “Not you, my Shawn, my lover.” She moved around the sword easily, and took off the scarf she wore, a gossamer of gray spidersilk set with tiny crimson jewels, to drape it around Shawn’s neck. “See, I know what you are thinking,” she said, pointing to the jewels. One by one, they were changing color; fire became blood, blood crusted and turned brown, brown faded to black. “You are frightened of me, nothing more. No anger. You would never hurt me.”
She tied the scarf neatly under Shawn’s facemask, and smiled.
Shawn stared at the gems with horror. “How did you do that?’ she demanded, backing off uncertainly.
“With magic,” Morgan said. She spun on her heels and danced back to the window. “Morgan is full of Magic”
“You are full of lies,” Shawn said. “I know about the six Alynnes. I’m not going to eat here and starve to death. Where are my skis?”

  • A Dance with Dragons – Melisandre I

While the boy was gone, Melisandre washed herself and changed her robes. Her sleeves were full of hidden pockets, and she checked them carefully as she did every morning to make certain all her powders were in place. Powders to turn fire green or blue or silver, powders to make a flame roar and hiss and leap up higher than a man is tall, powders to make smoke. A smoke for truth, a smoke for lust, a smoke for fear, and the thick black smoke that could kill a man outright. The red priestess armed herself with a pinch of each of them.

The carved chest that she had brought across the narrow sea was more than three-quarters empty now. And while Melisandre had the knowledge to make more powders, she lacked many rare ingredients. My spells should suffice. She was stronger at the Wall, stronger even than in Asshai. Her every word and gesture was more potent, and she could do things that she had never done before. Such shadows as I bring forth here will be terrible, and no creature of the dark will stand before them. With such sorceries at her command, she should soon have no more need of the feeble tricks of alchemists and pyromancers.

[and then]
She made it sound a simple thing, and easy. They need never know how difficult it had been, or how much it had cost her. That was a lesson Melisandre had learned long before Asshai; the more effortless the sorcery appears, the more men fear the sorcerer. When the flames had licked at Rattleshirt, the ruby at her throat had grown so hot that she had feared her own flesh might start to smoke and blacken. Thankfully Lord Snow had delivered her from that agony with his arrows. Whilst Stannis had seethed at the defiance, she had shuddered with relief.
[and then]
The red priestess shuddered. Blood trickled down her thigh, black and smoking. The fire was inside her, an agony, an ecstasy, filling her, searing her, transforming her. Shimmers of heat traced patterns on her skin, insistent as a lover’s hand. Strange voices called to her from days long past. “Melony,” she heard a woman cry. A man’s voice called, “Lot Seven.” She was weeping, and her tears were flame. And still she drank it in.

544px-House_Florent
House Florent Sigil

Melisandre and Selyse are working together as heads of a fiery dragon. Yes, Selyse is a fire dragon symbol in this story despite her Florent origins, and it was Selyse that accepted Melisandre in to this three-way with Stannis. I will add that in the story The Stone City, a story about a man’s conquest to break through bureaucracy to get a “berth” on a ship to escape a planet he is stranded on because of work, the main antagonist are a race of fox-men called the Dan’lai. The fox-men always give empty promises of a “berth”, which is a nautical term for a spot on a ship but has that double meaning in ASOAIF with skinchange and second-life, etc. The frustration with the Dan’lai is they never follow through with their promise of a “berth” which would allow Holt to leave. Selyse also has never “birthed” a son for Stannis.

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Bureaucratic Dan’Lai foxman. Artist: Caffeine.

  • A Clash of Kings – Jon I

    “And his brothers?” Jon asked.

    The armorer considered that a moment. “Robert was the true steel. Stannis is pure iron, black and hard and strong, yes, but brittle, the way iron gets. He’ll break before he bends. And Renly, that one, he’s copper, bright and shiny, pretty to look at but not worth all that much at the end of the day.”

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon I

“I know that,” Stannis said, unhappily. “I have spent hours speaking with the man. He knows much and more of our true enemy, and there is cunning in him, I’ll grant you. Even if he were to renounce his kingship, though, the man remains an oathbreaker. Suffer one deserter to live, and you encourage others to desert. No. Laws should be made of iron, not of pudding. Mance Rayder’s life is forfeit by every law of the Seven Kingdoms.”

The burning will be the one even that will actually break Stannis. It won’t happen right away in The Winds of Winter, as GRRM has said there is a lot going on at Castle Black first, so I am thinking the middle to end of The Winds of Winter. It seems Melisandre and Selyse will burn Shireen and they may do so over at Nightfort at the Black Gate, if not at the gate through the wall at Castle Black, or maybe even at Winterfell after the battle.  Wherever it takes place, we know Selyse is an extreme religious zealot, and that Melisandre is misreading her flames at every turn. There are a few GRRM stories where the main protag warns against religious zealotry quite clearly, and this sub-plot in ASOIAF seems to be following that same thematic structure.

Stannis’ plan is to put Shireen on the throne as his heir, but the twist will be the fickle flames (Melisandre) that change direction with the wind and Selyse making another call that contradicts her husband’s wishes (as we see Selyse do with arranging marriages while Stannis is away, and moving in on Castle Black without Stannis’ permission).

We already see that Shireen is dreaming of her own fiery death by “dragon”.

  • A Clash of Kings – Prologue

An ugly little girl and a sad fool, and maester makes three . . . now there is a tale to make men weep. “Sit with me, child.” Cressen beckoned her closer. “This is early to come calling, scarce past dawn. You should be snug in your bed.”

“I had bad dreams,” Shireen told him. “About the dragons. They were coming to eat me.”

The child had been plagued by nightmares as far back as Maester Cressen could recall. “We have talked of this before,” he said gently. “The dragons cannot come to life. They are carved of stone, child. In olden days, our island was the westernmost outpost of the great Freehold of Valyria. It was the Valyrians who raised this citadel, and they had ways of shaping stone since lost to us. A castle must have towers wherever two walls meet at an angle, for defense. The Valyrians fashioned these towers in the shape of dragons to make their fortress seem more fearsome, just as they crowned their walls with a thousand gargoyles instead of simple crenellations.” He took her small pink hand in his own frail spotted one and gave it a gentle squeeze. “So you see, there is nothing to fear.”

R’hllor and those that follow that “god” are all dragon-beings.

  • A Storm of Swords – Davos V

Melisandre put her hand on the king’s arm. “The Lord of Light cherishes the innocent. There is no sacrifice more precious. From his king’s blood and his untainted fire, a dragon shall be born.”

Stannis did not pull away from Melisandre’s touch as he had from his queen’s. The red woman was all Selyse was not; young, full-bodied, and strangely beautiful, with her heart-shaped face, coppery hair, and unearthly red eyes. “It would be a wondrous thing to see stone come to life,” he admitted, grudging.

And we know R’hllor and the fires are a hungry god.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon III

But most came on. Behind them was only cold and death. Ahead was hope. They came on, clutching their scraps of wood until the time came to feed them to the flames. R’hllor was a jealous deity, ever hungry. So the new god devoured the corpse of the old, and cast gigantic shadows of Stannis and Melisandre upon the Wall, black against the ruddy red reflections on the ice.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon X

Melisandre raised her hands, and the ditchfire leapt upward toward her fingers, like a great red dog springing for a treat. A swirl of sparks rose to meet the snowflakes coming down. “Oh, Lord of Light, we thank you,” she sang to the hungry flames. “We thank you for brave Stannis, by your grace our king. Guide him and defend him, R’hllor. Protect him from the treacheries of evil men and grant him strength to smite the servants of the dark.”

  • A Storm of Swords – Daenerys I

He was always hungry, her Drogon. Hungry and growing fast. Another year, or perhaps two, and he may be large enough to ride. Then I shall have no need of ships to cross the great salt sea.


However, later in the story when Stannis has moved away from Melisandre’s presence, he becomes less infatuated with the flames and burning. It is only the Queen’s Men R’hllorist followers with Stannis that perpetuate the flames; Corliss Penny (linked to the dragons of Corlos from And Seven Times…), Godry “Giantslayer” Farring, and Lord Peasbury, etc.

  • A Dance with Dragons – The Wayward Bride (Asha 2)

That tale she had from Justin Massey, who was less devout than most. “A sacrifice will prove our faith still burns true, Sire,” Clayton Suggs had told the king. And Godry the Giantslayer said, “The old gods of the north have sent this storm upon us. Only R’hllor can end it. We must give him an unbeliever.”

“Half my army is made up of unbelievers,” Stannis had replied. “I will have no burnings. Pray harder.”

 

The “new” Baratheon sigil of the Stannis branch is the stag engulfed in flames. This is exactly what Melisandre is doing. She is consuming each member, from Renly on down, one at a time, and the last will be when she burns the intended heir, Princess Shireen. A rather common theme in all of GRRM’s work is ‘be careful what you wish for‘. Unfortunately this lesson may come too late for Shireen and Selyse.

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And we know Stannis has taken Nightfort as his seat, and now Selyse is moving in on it fast to take Stannis’ seat and usurp his authority, just as she has done with making marriage pacts and making other “kingly” orders. Selyse is upjumping her dragon status by leeching it from Stannis, just as Melisandre leeches the life out of Stannis with her shadow baby making. (sorry leeches) This is a twist on the Aegon the Dragon/Conquerer whose two sister-wives were the ones to make the most “progress” riding out on their dragons. By the way, in all of GRRM’s work, when he uses the term “progress”, it is always associated with dragons or fire, and always means submission of some sort, not unlike what happened to Native Americans.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon VIII

“And other matters,” said Bowen Marsh. “The men have concerns, my lord.”

And who is it who appointed you to speak for them? “As do I. Othell, how goes the work at the Nightfort? I have had a letter from Ser Axell Florent, who styles himself the Queen’s Hand. He tells me that Queen Selyse is not pleased with her quarters at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea and wishes to move into her husband’s new seat at once. Will that be possible?”

And Melisandre is has already shown us two times that icons are best burnt at the gate.
  1. Burning of the Seven gods at Dragonstone: The burning gods cast a pretty light, wreathed in their robes of shifting flame, red and orange and yellow. Septon Barre had once told Davos how they’d been carved from the masts of the ships that had carried the first Targaryens from Valyria. Over the centuries, they had been painted and repainted, gilded, silvered, jeweled. “Their beauty will make them more pleasing to R’hllor,” Melisandre said when she told Stannis to pull them down and drag them out the castle gates.
  2. Burning of the old gods/weirwood at Castle Black gates: “Leave it in my chambers.” The wildling would eat it, like as not. “Lord Snow has need of me, beyond the Wall.” He does not know it yet, but soon …Outside, a light snow had begun to fall. A crowd of crows had gathered around the gate by the time Melisandre and her escort arrived, but they made way for the red priestess.

    *This is the same place where in ASOS we see Mel and her followers praying at the fires at the gate: Beneath the Wall, the queen’s men were kindling their nightfire. He saw Melisandre emerge from the tunnel with the king beside her, to lead the prayers she believed would keep the dark away. “Come, Ghost,” Jon told the wolf. “With me. You’re hungry, I know. I could feel it.” They ran together for the gate, circling wide around the nightfire, where reaching flames clawed at the black belly of the night. (< fiery hand of R’hllor again)

    *And Stannis goes along with fires before gates: “That is my concern. I shall require a list from you, detailing the present state of every castle and what might be required to restore it. I mean to have them all garrisoned again within the year, and nightfires burning before their gates.”

     

Melisandre and Selyse have both already begged to burn another child, Edric Storm. Thank goodness Stannis rejects burning his blood and Davos later saves the stormchild from the flames.

  • A Storm of Swords – Davos V

Give me the boy for R’hllor,” the red woman said, “and the ancient prophecy shall be fulfilled. Your dragon shall awaken and spread his stony wings. The kingdom shall be yours.”

Ser Axell went to one knee. “On bended knee I beg you, sire. Wake the stone dragon and let the traitors tremble. Like Aegon you begin as Lord of Dragonstone. Like Aegon you shall conquer. Let the false and the fickle feel your flames.

Your own wife begs as well, lord husband.” Queen Selyse went down on both knees before the king, hands clasped as if in prayer. “Robert and Delena defiled our bed and laid a curse upon our union. This boy is the foul fruit of their fornications. Lift his shadow from my womb and I will bear you many trueborn sons, I know it.” She threw her arms around his legs. “He is only one boy, born of your brother’s lust and my cousin’s shame.”

“He is mine own blood. Stop clutching me, woman.” King Stannis put a hand on her shoulder, awkwardly untangling himself from her grasp. “Perhaps Robert did curse our marriage bed. He swore to me that he never meant to shame me, that he was drunk and never knew which bedchamber he entered that night. But does it matter? The boy was not at fault, whatever the truth.”

And in this Sam scene, we have Stannis and Melisandre both showing some interest in the Black Gate at Nightfort. Hmmm, curious because this is two lines before Stannis shows off his Lightbringer sword that is false, and all that Stannis has been told by Mel is false/mixed up, so their combined understanding of this gate and its purpose is also most probably false or distorted (like flames). Maybe this is what physically brings the wall down causing the earthquake that is the giants waking from earth? Fires at the Nightfort Black gate in Rat Cook’s kitchen.

The Black Gate is hidden at the bottom of a seemingly ritualistic well. I detailed it here in another thread if you want to take a peek.

  • A Storm of Swords – Samwell V

“The B-black Gate,” Sam stammered. “Below the Nightfort.”

“The Nightfort is the largest and oldest of the castles on the Wall,” the king said. “That is where I intend to make my seat, whilst I fight this war. You will show me this gate.”

However, at this point in the story Stannis is far away from the wall and any wall castles, but Melisandre and Selyse are not. Also at this point in the story Stannis is presumed dead and possibly a Ramsay Bolton attack is coming to the wall because Jon is (temporarily) incapacitated meaning Jon cannot “return Arya” to Winterfell, which was part of the bastard-pink letter threat. Also, with Jon being stabbed and Marsh and co. being outnumbered by the free folk (who, for the most part, see Jon as their leader), there is going to be a lot of chaos at Castle Black. And let’s not forget that the wall has just symbolically “come down” because the brothers did not stand strong together when they stabbed their leader which means the Long Night v2.0 has just begun.

What are Selyse and Melisandre to do? Possibly flee with the girl Shireen to Nightfort as a night queen would.

The historic man that is thought to be Night’s King is just a tale. What we are getting now in the current story is the history repeating, just with a twist. Night’s King is now Night’s Queen- Selyse, and the corpse bride is now Melisandre (for many reasons). Remember, “dragons” change gender. This is probably just as much of a hint to readers not to stick to the historic details too closely, because in the retellings of fire stories, the genders will flip. The broad strokes are what matter most, and Selyse and Mel fit.

However… Selyse does have a mustache… so Selyse is a bearded dragon. (as also detailed in the Snarks and Grumkins post).

Additionally, the other fiery dragon lady, Cersei Lannister, is also called a bearded as well. There is some truth to what Maester Aemon says about dragons changing gender.

  • A Feast for Crows – Samwell IV

On Braavos, it had seemed possible that Aemon might recover. Xhondo’s talk of dragons had almost seemed to restore the old man to himself. That night he ate every bite Sam put before him. “No one ever looked for a girl,” he said. “It was a prince that was promised, not a princess. Rhaegar, I thought . . . the smoke was from the fire that devoured Summerhall on the day of his birth, the salt from the tears shed for those who died. He shared my belief when he was young, but later he became persuaded that it was his own son who fulfilled the prophecy, for a comet had been seen above King’s Landing on the night Aegon was conceived, and Rhaegar was certain the bleeding star had to be a comet. What fools we were, who thought ourselves so wise! 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. The language misled us all for a thousand years. Daenerys is the one, born amidst salt and smoke. The dragons prove it.” Just talking of her seemed to make him stronger. “I must go to her. I must. Would that I was even ten years younger.”

  • A Dance with Dragons – Tyrion III

“Best not,” Duck warned darkly.

“As you say. If we encounter this Lady Korra, I will just slip into a skirt and say that I am Cersei, the famous bearded beauty of King’s Landing.”

This time Duck laughed, and Haldon said, “What a droll little fellow you are, Yollo. They say that the Shrouded Lord will grant a boon to any man who can make him laugh. Perhaps His Grey Grace will choose you to ornament his stony court.

Selyse Florent-Baratheon, the new Night's *Queen*. artist Daria Tuzova
Selyse Florent-Baratheon. Artist Daria Tuzova.
  • A Clash of Kings – Prologue

Lord Stannis scowled. “I do not beg. Of anyone. Mind you remember that, woman.”

“I am pleased to hear it, my lord.” Lady Selyse was as tall as her husband, thin of body and thin of face, with prominent ears, a sharp nose, and the faintest hint of a mustache on her upper lip. She plucked it daily and cursed it regularly, yet it never failed to return. Her eyes were pale, her mouth stern, her voice a whip. She cracked it now. “Lady Arryn owes you her allegiance, as do the Starks, your brother Renly, and all the rest. You are their one true king. It would not be fitting to plead and bargain with them for what is rightfully yours by the grace of god.”

God, she said, not gods. The red woman had won her, heart and soul, turning her from the gods of the Seven Kingdoms, both old and new, to worship the one they called the Lord of Light.

If Selyse and Mel escape and run to Nightfort now that the Long Night has begun, Selyse will “rule” from there.
  • A Storm of Swords – Bran IV

“Some say he was a Bolton,” Old Nan would always end. “Some say a Magnar out of Skagos, some say Umber, Flint, or Norrey. Some would have you think he was a Woodfoot, from them who ruled Bear Island before the ironmen came. He never was. He was a Stark, the brother of the man who brought him down.” She always pinched Bran on the nose then, he would never forget it. “He was a Stark of Winterfell, and who can say? Mayhaps his name was Brandon. Mayhaps he slept in this very bed in this very room.”

No, Bran thought, but he walked in this castle, where we’ll sleep tonight. He did not like that notion very much at all. Night’s King was only a man by light of day, Old Nan would always say, but the night was his to rule. And it’s getting dark.

 

 


CRACKPOT: Selyse is a “dragon from stone” that Melisandre is meant to crack. Melisandre’s male dominated worldview thinks it should be Stannis, but in reality it is also Selyse in her own way. And it is possible that Selyse and Mel become lovers out of necessity, if not already. IF, and I stress IF, Melisandre and Seyse are having sex, it was to create the shadow baby “fiery hand of R’hllor” that was the last thing to stab Jon during the mutiny attack at Castle Black. Selyse is just the type of overly zealous religious fanatic to allow and encourage this action to happen.

 

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon XIII

Let them die,” said Queen Selyse.

It was the answer that Jon Snow had expected. This queen never fails to disappoint. Somehow that did not soften the blow. “Your Grace,” he persisted stubbornly, “they are starving at Hardhome by the thousands. Many are women—”

…and then…

[Jon] “A word from you might have swayed the queen.”

[Melisandre] “Selyse has the right of this, Lord Snow. Let them die. You cannot save them. Your ships are lost—”

“Six remain. More than half the fleet.”

 

The precedent for a Melisandre + Selyse sexual encounter is set up in our other two dominating fire women. Daenerys in ASOS II when she takes Irri to task for sexual relief, but it is a dragon that screams out dominance across the cabin; “Still, the relief she wanted seemed to recede before her, until her dragons stirred, and one screamed out across the cabin, and Irri woke and saw what she was doing.” Also with Cersei, who already has penis envy and thinks of herself as “Tywin with teats“, has this sexual power play with Taena Merryweather, “But it was no good. She could not feel it, whatever Robert felt on the nights he took her. There was no pleasure in it, not for her. For Taena, yes. Her nipples were two black diamonds, her sex slick and steamy. Robert would have loved you, for an hour. The queen slid a finger into that Myrish swamp, then another, moving them in and out…”

In Martin’s book Fevre Dream, which takes place on a ship, he gives the most clear expectations of how a religious zealot is not to be had on a ship, or in the service to the main character, Josh York. Here are a few examples:

  • [Joshua York] …be trustworthy, since I will give all management over into his hands. He must have courage. I do not want a weakling, or a superstitious man, or one who is overly religious. Are you a religious man, Captain?” “No,” said Marsh. “Never cared for bible-thumpers, nor them for me.”
  • [and later again] When the Fevre Dream steams up the bayou, I want her manned only by our best and most reliable, the bare minimum needed to run her. No religious fanatics, no one who is easily frightened, no one prone to rashness.” “Hairy Mike and I will do the pickin’,” Marsh said.

Think back to this quote and notice what Selyse says about shadows in wombs. Sex is heat, and the shadows are brought forth from flames (of passion), and Melisandre is a “red shadow”. Melisandre will magic a shadow baby from Selyse, cracking her “stone” womb.

  • A Storm of Swords – Davos V

Give me the boy for R’hllor,” the red woman said, “and the ancient prophecy shall be fulfilled. Your dragon shall awaken and spread his stony wings. The kingdom shall be yours.”

Ser Axell went to one knee. “On bended knee I beg you, sire. Wake the stone dragon and let the traitors tremble. Like Aegon you begin as Lord of Dragonstone. Like Aegon you shall conquer. Let the false and the fickle feel your flames.

Your own wife begs as well, lord husband.” Queen Selyse went down on both knees before the king, hands clasped as if in prayer. “Robert and Delena defiled our bed and laid a curse upon our union. This boy is the foul fruit of their fornications. Lift his shadow from my womb and I will bear you many trueborn sons, I know it.” She threw her arms around his legs. “He is only one boy, born of your brother’s lust and my cousin’s shame.”

“He is mine own blood. Stop clutching me, woman.” King Stannis put a hand on her shoulder, awkwardly untangling himself from her grasp. “Perhaps Robert did curse our marriage bed. He swore to me that he never meant to shame me, that he was drunk and never knew which bedchamber he entered that night. But does it matter? The boy was not at fault, whatever the truth.”

[and then]

Melisandre put her hand on the king’s arm. “The Lord of Light cherishes the innocent. There is no sacrifice more precious. From his king’s blood and his untainted fire, a dragon shall be born.”

Stannis did not pull away from Melisandre’s touch as he had from his queen’s. The red woman was all Selyse was not; young, full-bodied, and strangely beautiful, with her heart-shaped face, coppery hair, and unearthly red eyes. “It would be a wondrous thing to see stone come to life,” he admitted, grudging.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon VI

I am not a wolf, he thought. “And how would I do that?”

“I can show you.” Melisandre draped one slender arm over Ghost, and the direwolf licked her face. “The Lord of Light in his wisdom made us male and female, two parts of a greater whole. In our joining there is power. Power to make life. Power to make light. Power to cast shadows.”

Shadows.” The world seemed darker when he said it.


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Stannis contemplates his “Lightbringer”. Artist: Magali Villeneuve

Stannis will rise as the Baratheon Fury

  • The Winds of Winter – Theon I

“As you command,” Ser Justin said.
[Stannis] “It may be that we shall lose this battle,” the king said grimly.  “In Braavos you may hear that I am dead.  It may even be true.  You shall find my sellswords nonetheless.”
The knight hesitated.  “Your Grace, if you are dead — “
” — you will avenge my death, and seat my daughter on the Iron Throne.  Or die in the attempt.”
Ser Justin put one hand on his sword hilt.  “On my honor as a knight, you have my word.”

And this all brings me to why I do not think it will be Stannis. Just like in And Seven Times Never Kill Man, when the Jaenshi move away from the pyramids, the bewitching bond is broken. In A Dance with Dragons Stannis has moved away from Melisandre and his the fiery grip that Melisandre has on him seems to be waning.

Never in the Theon chapter in The Winds of Winter does Stannis, or anyone, ever speak of the flames, R’hllor, Melisandre, or any of the fiery lot. Instead we get plenty of speak about trees.

  • The Winds of Winter – Theon I

“Then do the deed yourself, Your Grace.”  The chill in Asha’s voice made Theon shiver in his chains.  “Take him out across the lake to the islet where the weirwood grows, and strike his head off with that sorcerous sword you bear.  That is how Eddard Stark would have done it.  Theon slew Lord Eddard’s sons.  Give him to Lord Eddard’s gods.  The old gods of the north.  Give him to the tree.”

And suddenly there came a wild thumping, as the maester’s ravens hopped and flapped inside their cages, their black feathers flying as they beat against the bars with loud and raucous caws.  “The tree,” one squawked, “the tree, the tree,” whilst the second screamed only, “Theon, Theon, Theon.”

Theon Greyjoy smiled.  They know my name, he thought.

I would recommend a re-read of the three Asha Greyjoy chapters in A Dance with Dragons because that starts this journey with Stannis being away from Melisandre, and away from her enscorceling she does to people and the Asha/Wayward Bride chapter shows the readers the power and majics of the north and trees. From there we see Stannis care less and less about Melisandre… but the Queen’s Men (Melisandre’s in truth) are the ones who do all of the worshipping, praying, and asking for Mel and the ones asking to burn people.

Stannis does not. Stannis does not pray or chant or sing or talk about Melisandre. Stannis did not set up the pyres. His dwindling faith is  and based on the TWOW chapter, his eyes are now opening.

  • A Dance with Dragons – The Sacrifice

“Where is the king?” asked Ser Corliss Penny.

Four days ago, one of the king’s own squires had succumbed to cold and hunger, a boy named Bryen Farring who’d been kin to Ser Godry. Stannis Baratheon stood grim-faced by the funeral pyre as the lad’s body was consigned to the flames. Afterward the king had retreated to his watchtower. He had not emerged since … though from time to time His Grace was glimpsed upon the tower roof, outlined against the beacon fire that burned there night and day. Talking to the red god, some said. Calling out for Lady Melisandre, insisted others. Either way, it seemed to Asha Greyjoy, the king was lost and crying out for help.

“Canty, go find the king and tell him all is ready,” Ser Godry said to the nearest man-at-arms.

And even Justin Massey, one of the only ones to be nice to Asha as well as being Staniss’ advisor and the one Stannis entrusts Shireen to, has lost faith in Melisandre.

  • A Dance with Dragons – The Sacrifice

“My champion,” Asha said to Justin Massey. He deserved that much, whatever his motives. “Thank you for the rescue, ser.”

“It will not win you friends amongst the queen’s men,” said the She-Bear. “Have you lost your faith in red R’hllor?”

“I have lost faith in more than that,” Massey said, his breath a pale mist in the air, “but I still believe in supper. Will you join me, my ladies?”

The only ones keeping faith to fires in the way of burning people are the religious zealot R’hllorist Melisandre men.

  • A Dance with Dragons – The King’s Prize

On the fifth day of the storm, the baggage train crossed a rippling expanse of waist-high snowdrifts that concealed a frozen pond. When the hidden ice cracked beneath the weight of the wagons, three teamsters and four horses were swallowed up by the freezing water, along with two of the men who tried to rescue them. One was Harwood Fell. His knights pulled him out before he drowned, but not before his lips turned blue and his skin as pale as milk. Nothing they did could seem to warm him afterward. He shivered violently for hours, even when they cut him out of his sodden clothes, wrapped him in warm furs, and sat him by the fire. That same night he slipped into a feverish sleep. He never woke.

That was the night that Asha first heard the queen’smen muttering about a sacrifice—an offering to their red god, so he might end the storm. “The gods of the north have unleashed this storm on us,” Ser Corliss Penny said.

“False gods,” insisted Ser Godry, the Giantslayer.

  • A Dance with Dragons – The King’s Prize

Even when the shout came down the line to make camp for the night, it was no easy thing to warm yourself. The tents were damp and heavy, hard to raise, harder to take down, and prone to sudden collapse if too much snow accumulated on top of them. The king’s host was creeping through the heart of the largest forest in the Seven Kingdoms, yet dry wood became difficult to find. Every camp saw fewer fires burning, and those that were lit threw off more smoke than heat. Oft as not food was eaten cold, even raw.

Even the nightfire shrank and grew feeble, to the dismay of the queen’smen. “Lord of Light, preserve us from this evil,” they prayed, led by the deep voice of Ser Godry the Giantslayer. “Show us your bright sun again, still these winds, and melt these snows, that we may reach your foes and smite them. The night is dark and cold and full of terrors, but yours is the power and glory and the light. R’hllor, fill us with your fire.”

Later, when Ser Corliss Penny wondered aloud whether an entire army had ever frozen to death in a winter storm, the wolves laughed. “This is no winter,” declared Big Bucket Wull. “Up in the hills we say that autumn kisses you, but winter fucks you hard. This is only autumn’s kiss.”

  • A Dance with Dragons – The King’s Prize

The horses and the common men had it hardest. Two squires from the stormlands stabbed a man-at-arms to death in a quarrel over who would sit closest to the fire. The next night some archers desperate for warmth somehow managed to set their tent afire, which had at least the virtue of heating the adjacent tents. Destriers began to perish of exhaustion and exposure. “What is a knight without a horse?” men riddled. “A snowman with a sword.” Any horse that went down was butchered on the spot for meat. Their provisions had begun to run low as well.

Peasebury, Cobb, Foxglove, and other southron lords urged the king to make camp until the storm had passed. Stannis would have none of that. Nor would he heed the queen’smen when they came to urge him to make an offering to their hungry red god.

That tale she had from Justin Massey, who was less devout than most. “A sacrifice will prove our faith still burns true, Sire,” Clayton Suggs had told the king. And Godry the Giantslayer said, “The old gods of the north have sent this storm upon us. Only R’hllor can end it. We must give him an unbeliever.”

 

  • A Dance with Dragons – The Sacrifice

It is not you the queen’s men want to burn. “Then go. You have my word, I will not run. Where would I go? To Winterfell?” Asha laughed. “Only three days’ ride, they tell me.”

Six queen’smen were wrestling two enormous pinewood poles into holes six other queen’smen had dug out. Asha did not have to ask their purpose. She knew. Stakes. Nightfall would be on them soon, and the red god must be fed. An offering of blood and fire, the queen’s men called it, that the Lord of Light may turn his fiery eye upon us and melt these thrice-cursed snows.

“Even in this place of fear and darkness, the Lord of Light protects us,” Ser Godry Farring told the men who gathered to watch as the stakes were hammered down into the holes.

And Stannis going back to a beacon fire atop a tower means something, an old gods/Citadel connection through Bran. There are different kinds of fire in this world, just as their are different kinds of cold. Stannis going to a beacon fire is a signal of seeking knowledge, or, finding knowledge.
  • A Dance with Dragons – The Sacrifice

Wordless, King Stannis walked away, back to the solitude of his watchtower. Back to his beaconfire, Asha knew, to search the flames for answers. Arnolf Karstark made to hobble after him, but Ser Richard Horpe took him by the arm and turned him toward the longhall. The watchers began to drift away, each to his own fire and whatever meagre supper he might find.

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Thanks for reading along with the Fattest Leech of Ice and Fire blog.

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