Selyse + Mel = Shireen fire

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

I have this page broken down in to short sections that cover points of this theory. Book text is included throughout… like a champ!

  1. What’s in a name? Discussing Melisandre’s name and origin.
  2. And Baby Slips Free. Baby’s with king’s blood have escaped before.
  3. Berth-Birth Wordplay. How Selyse plays a role in this starting with her introduction.
  4. King need not apply. Decisions are made without Stannis’ permission.
  5. Show Talk Shireen! Breaking my own rules to address what Martin never said.
  6. Shireen Queen! Stannis has a future for his child.
  7. Step away from the flames. Stannis’ change as he moves away from Melisandre.
  8. Bearded Dragon. Selyse is a dragon of her own type. A bit about the “Selyse” origin.
  9. Crackpot Corner… will Selyse and Mel kindle together?
  10. Stannis the Baratheon Fury. How Stannis will react.
  11. Ananda-Melisandre Twist. GRRM likes his themes.
  12. Wild Card. Who and what is the real target in this?

UPDATE 10/7/2020: Do I need to eat some tofu-crow? Maybe, but only the books will tell. At this time in space, there is a new released book written by journalist James Hibberd titled Fire Cannot Kill A Dragon, available at most stores and Amazon. This is a compilation of many sources that gives behind the show-scenes decision making processes of the tv show Game of Thrones. This is a good book to read, as I have done, and I recommend this book to those who like this type of information related to the show, but a tad extraneous when it comes to the books. The point I want to add here is this bit of information that was cleverly worded regarding Shireen, posted in these pics taken from Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon

This will be addressed further down under a show tab where a similar ‘blank’ statement was used in a previous statement years ago. If it turns out that Stannis really is the one to strike the match on Shireen, that he gives the order and is there to witness this event, and that somehow Melisandre (who is already melting snow just by being at the wall) makes it to Stannis in the middle of deep winter snows, if this happens, I will humbly eat all of the tofu-crow that is served.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Melisandre I

    At last. “If it please the lord commander.”

    As they walked beneath the Wall, she slipped her arm through his. Morgan and Merrel went before them, Ghost came prowling at their heels. The priestess did not speak, but she slowed her pace deliberately, and where she walked the ice began to drip. He will not fail to notice that.

Until then, as with every show change ever, the book version of the scene will play out a bit differently 😉

Morgan le Fay

What’s in a name?

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 no exception. Melanie is a feminine given name derived from the Greek μελανία (melania), “blackness” and that from μέλας (melas), meaning “dark”. This is also apparent in the name Ananda that Martin used for the antagonist in his story Armageddon Rag. Melanie also means honey, and honey is a running theme in the ASOAIF series… and it is not all comparable as the same; context matters. 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 dark honey-blonde and she a ‘snow bear‘ and is most likely a woods witch that will assist Jon after his mutiny stabbing. Val being described as she is is directly linked to Melantha Jhirl, the heroine and love interest to Royd Aris in the story Nightflyers.

Melisandre of Asshai, also known as Melony lot seven, is black honey; corrupt and of the shade. In the long-run, I don’t think Melisandre is an intentional villain, I think her corruption is that she is being used and in turn is using people along the way to do what she assumes is her bidding. Road to hell paved by “good” intentions, and all that jazz.

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

GRRM developed this Melisandre type character a few different ways in stories past. Characters of Martin’s literary past that are the fire-hand zealot types include Proctor Wyatt, a Steel Angel, and even Saagael of Only Children are Afraid of the Dark. Even in Armageddon Rag, Martin has a character names Ananda. This lovely fire woman, who serves waffles but doesn’t eat,  is related to both a bloody heart and a prophecy that could kill a young woman (detailed below). However, most clear parallel to Melisandre directly 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 protagonist 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. In the legend, Morgan sends Arthur a supposed offering of peace in the form of a rich mantle cloak; Morgan’s messenger maiden is made put on the cursed gift and it burns her to cinders.

  • 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.

In addition to this story, in the GRRM story Armageddon Rag, there is a fiery religious zealot named Ananda Caine who is intent on bringing back a dead singer for a “greater cause”; a type of Armageddon to bring about a new world as she sees fit. Ananda is playing everyone involved like they were her personal instruments for blood sacrifice. There is a bloody, burning heart involved, and a prophetic dream where the reader is expecting someone to burn a girl, the tension grows tight, and then you realize that girl might get burned by someone else in reality. I will add the book quotes when I can. In the meantime… read this story as it is quite revealing about GRRM’s personal style. Oh, and Stannis is the Edan Morse while Melisandre is the Ananda Cain.

There is an SSM from Martin as recent as 2012 where a fan asked George about Melisandre and her mission specifically. I am so pleased the fan asked the question, and especially that George gave a decent answer (he can be tricky in that aspect).

  • Fan: Why did Melisandre seek out Stannis? Did she see him in her flames and decided to seek him out on her own, or is she on a mission on behalf of the red priests? It doesn’t seem at any point as if the latter is the case, when you compare to Moqorro who has been sent out by the priesthood.

    GRRM: You’re right. Melisandre has gone to Stannis entirely on her own, and has her own agenda.

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And Baby Slips Free

We are expecting Melisandre to burn “Monster“, Craster’s baby boy. The entire reason Jon did the baby switch with Gilly in his first A Dance with Dragons chapter is to set up a perceived danger for the baby who is assumed to have “king’s blood” and Mel’s itchy fire fingers ready to get at him. Readers are given intel pretty much right away when Selyse enters the scenes at Castle Black that she is absolutely, almost romantically, definitely fanatically linked to flames.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon XII

    Amongst the stream of warriors were the fathers of many of Jon’s hostages. Some stared with cold dead eyes as they went by, fingering their sword hilts. Others smiled at him like long-lost kin, though a few of those smiles discomfited Jon Snow more than any glare. None knelt, but many gave him their oaths. “What Tormund swore, I swear,” declared black-haired Brogg, a man of few words. Soren Shieldbreaker bowed his head an inch and growled, “Soren’s axe is yours, Jon Snow, if ever you have need of such.” Red-bearded Gerrick Kingsblood brought three daughters. “They will make fine wives, and give their husbands strong sons of royal blood,” he boasted. “Like their father, they are descended from Raymun Redbeard, who was King-Beyond-the-Wall.”

    Blood meant little and less amongst the free folk, Jon knew. Ygritte had taught him that. Gerrick’s daughters shared her same flame-red hair, though hers had been a tangle of curls and theirs hung long and straight. Kissed by fire. “Three princesses, each lovelier than the last,” he told their father. “I will see that they are presented to the queen.” Selyse Baratheon would take to these three better than she had to Val, he suspected; they were younger and considerably more cowed. Sweet enough to look at them, though their father seems a fool.

And to give a bit more weight to this idea, we have Martin’s input to take into consideration:

Q: I’m sorry to bother you again, but one thing struck me as off, when I read about Mance Rayder’s wife, Dalla, preparing to give birth. I know that you haven’t asked, but in case there are other births in your books…

…Fierce warrior women would not take birth lying down! They would be active, strong, and show how powerful they are while bringing forth new life.

GRRM: Well, point taken. I’ll take a look at that book if it turns out that I need to describe another birth… especially if it’s from the viewpoint of one of POV characters.

However, in my own defense, I should note that Dalla was not a “warrior woman” per se. She was from a warrior culture, yes; one that gave women the right, but not the obligation, to be fighters. Ygritte was a warrior woman, as was (most conspicuously) the fearsome Harma Dogshead. Dalla and Val were not.

Also, though I don’t go into details, something was obviously amiss during Dalla’s labor, since it killed her. Childbirth isn’t quite the killer in Westeros that it was in medieval Europe in the real world, since Westeros has the maesters, who are a considerable improvement over medieval barber/surgeons… but the levels of mortality for both infant and mother would still be frighteningly high by modern standards. And the wildlings don’t have maesters. Nor do they have any handy healing magics, such as we see in many other fantasy epics. Dalla did not even have a midwife at the crucial moment. Presumably the midwife was scared off by the big battle going on all around them as the birth was happening. Dalla had only her sister Val. All that being said, if I do depict another birth, I promise to consider all of this more thoroughly beforehand. Source

What was happening during Dalla’ delivery of Mance’s baby boy? The life of Dalla was taken and used to create fire and blood magic from above.

  • A Storm of Swords – Jon X

Then the skinchanger threw back his head and screamed.

The sound was shocking, ear-piercing, thick with agony. Varamyr fell, writhing, and the ‘cat was screaming too . . . and high, high in the eastern sky, against the wall of cloud, Jon saw the eagle burning. For a heartbeat it flamed brighter than a star, wreathed in red and gold and orange, its wings beating wildly at the air as if it could fly from the pain. Higher it flew, and higher, and higher still.

Gods,” Val whispered, “gods, why are they doing this?”

“Go inside the tent and stay with Dalla. It’s not safe out here.” It wouldn’t be a great deal safer inside, but she didn’t need to hear that.

“I need to find the midwife,” Val said.

“You’re the midwife. I’ll stay here until Mance comes back.” He had lost sight of Mance but now he found him again, cutting his way through a knot of mounted men.

  • A Storm of Swords – Jon XI

    “Your Lord Mormont trusted too easily. Else he would not have died as he did. But we were speaking of you. I have not forgotten that it was you who brought us this magic horn, and captured Mance Rayder’s wife and son.”

    Dalla died.” Jon was saddened by that still. “Val is her sister. She and the babe did not require much capturing, Your Grace. You had put the wildlings to flight, and the skinchanger Mance had left to guard his queen went mad when the eagle burned.” Jon looked at Melisandre. “Some say that was your doing.”

    She smiled, her long copper hair tumbling across her face. “The Lord of Light has fiery talons, Jon Snow.”

Jon has to make an icy hard decision to make and it requires Gilly to help save the babes. I do find it interesting that Jon uses fire to teach his icy lesson that ends in a fire and ice analogy.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon II

“Down. Let it kiss you.”

Gilly lowered her hand. An inch. Another. When the flame licked her flesh, she snatched her hand back and began to sob.

“Fire is a cruel way to die. Dalla died to give this child life, but you have nourished him, cherished him. You saved your own boy from the ice. Now save hers from the fire.”

Jon and Val know about the Monster switch, but Melisandre does not know. Melisandre has not seen this in her fires… or maybe she has and she has not revealed it to the reader (doubtful, but possible). King’s blood boys have slipped through her fiery grasp before:

  • A Storm of Swords – Davos VI

“You are he who must stand against the Other. The one whose coming was prophesied five thousand years ago. The red comet was your herald. You are the prince that was promised, and if you fail the world fails with you.” Melisandre went to him, her red lips parted, her ruby throbbing. “Give me this boy,” she whispered, “and I will give you your kingdom.”

He can’t,” said Davos. “Edric Storm is gone.”

“Gone?” Stannis turned. “What do you mean, gone?”

“He is aboard a Lyseni galley, safely out to sea.” Davos watched Melisandre’s pale, heart-shaped face. He saw the flicker of dismay there, the sudden uncertainty. She did not see it!

The king’s eyes were dark blue bruises in the hollows of his face. “The bastard was taken from Dragonstone without my leave? A galley, you say? If that Lysene pirate thinks to use the boy to squeeze gold from me—”

Monster is under protection of Val by (approx.) the middle of A Dance with Dragons. She knows Monster is not her sister Dalla’s baby, but she still will protect him just the same from Melisandre.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon VIII

“I have heard you singing to him.”

“I was singing to myself. Am I to blame if he listens?” A faint smile brushed her lips. “It makes him laugh. Oh, very well. He is a sweet little monster.”


“His milk name. I had to call him something. See that he stays safe and warm. For his mother’s sake, and mine. And keep him away from the red woman. She knows who he is. She sees things in her fires.”

Which leaves Stannis. Without a doubt, what Stannis did to the free folk at the wall was atrocious. He and Melisandre gave the choice of ‘no choice’, to bow or burn to R’hllor, making the free folk chose between freedom or the Others, making them burn bits of weirwood, etc. However, just as Jaime is on a transition arc, Stannis already is coming around as Jon did (realizing the free folk are simply humans, working with the mountain clans, etc) and will show his regrets. Stannis will be that boy as he has his own Proudwing moment of flight. Flight being associated with Greenseeing is Enlightenment, what happens after this new ASOIAF “interrgenum” when society advances and flight happens.

The man who makes statements about Ser Stupid, saving the realm first before claiming the throne, and that laws are made of iron, not pudding, even Stannis makes a promise to not burn anyone. By the second and last Asha chapter in A Dance with Dragons, you can see how he is turning away from the fiery religion and most likely going to reject Melisandre. More in Stannis below.

The “first” Long Night. The interregnum as described in Martin’s Thousand World’s Universe. Definition source: Dying of the Light.

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Berth-Birth Wordplay

No, Dany wanted to say, no, not that, you mustn’t, but when she opened her mouth, a long wail of pain escaped, and the sweat broke over her skin. What was wrong with them, couldn’t they see? Inside the tent the shapes were dancing, circling the brazier and the bloody bath, dark against the sandsilk, and some did not look human. She glimpsed the shadow of a great wolf, and another like a man wreathed in flames.

The Lamb Woman knows the secrets of the birthing bed,” Irri said. “She said so, I heard her.”

“Yes,” Doreah agreed, “I heard her too.”

A Game of Thrones – Daenerys VIII

House Florent Sigil

Birth- The emergence of a new individual from the body of its parent womb. A state resulting from being born especially at a particular time or place or lineage.

Berth- The place where a ship lies when at anchor or at a wharf, to bring (something, such as a ship or automotive vehicle) into a berth

berth- A berth is a bed or sleeping accommodation on vehicles. Various vessels (sea, ship, space, trains) have accommodations have contributed to certain common design elements of berths.

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 admittance/passage on a ship but has that double meaning in ASOAIF with skinchange and second-life, rebirth, etc. The frustration with the Dan’lai is they never follow through with their promise of a “berth” which would allow Holt to leave the planet where he is essentially trapped.

Selyse also has never “birthed” a son for Stannis, and right now as of A Dance with Dragons, Stannis is physically and spiritually trapped in the snow while trying to formulate a plan to re-take Winterfell.

And to add to this point, in the GRRM story Fevre Dream, there is a very Catelyn/Selyse-like character named Katherine that is of the antagonist fire-side of the story, but temporarily crosses over to the the icy blue-white protagonist side, then just to convert back to the fire. Much like both Catelyn (who is more symbolic and less “evil”), but even more so like Selyse Florent-Baratheon. Here is but a small example of Katherine and her fiery-fox character.

  • Fevre Dream

A few yards away, the ghastly old woman Katherine was standing and staring at him, cold malevolence in her eyes. Marsh decided to brazen it out. He tipped his cap. “Good evening, ma’am,” he said to her.

Katherine smiled slowly, a creeping rictus of a smile that twisted her vulpine face into a mask of terrible glee. “Good evening, Captain,” she said. Her teeth, Marsh noted, were yellow, and very long.

Bureaucratic Dan’Lai foxman. Artist: Caffeine.
  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon X

    Alys Karstark leaned close to Jon. “Snow during a wedding means a cold marriage. My lady mother always said so.”

    He glanced at Queen Selyse. There must have been a blizzard the day she and Stannis wed. Huddled beneath her ermine mantle and surrounded by her ladies, serving girls, and knights, the southron queen seemed a frail, pale, shrunken thing. A strained smile was frozen into place on her thin lips, but her eyes brimmed with reverence. She hates the cold but loves the flames. He had only to look at her to see that. A word from Melisandre, and she would walk into the fire willingly, embrace it like a lover.

    Not all her queen’s men seemed to share her fervor. Ser Brus appeared half-drunk, Ser Malegorn’s gloved hand was cupped round the arse of the lady beside him, Ser Narbert was yawning, and Ser Patrek of King’s Mountain looked angry. Jon Snow had begun to understand why Stannis had left them with his queen.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon X

Jon crossed to Queen Selyse, with Ghost beside him. His boots crunched through piles of old snow. It was growing ever more time-consuming to shovel out the paths from one building to another; more and more, the men were resorting to the underground passages they called wormways.

“… such a beautiful rite,” the queen was saying. “I could feel our lord’s fiery gaze upon us. Oh, you cannot know how many times I have begged Stannis to let us be wed again, a true joining of body and spirit blessed by the Lord of Light. I know that I could give His Grace more children if we were bound in fire.”

To give him more children you would first need to get him into your bed. Even at the Wall, it was common knowledge that Stannis Baratheon had shunned his wife for years. One could only imagine how His Grace had responded to the notion of a second wedding in the midst of his war.

  • A Game of Thrones – Daenerys X

    She could smell the odor of burning flesh, no different than horseflesh roasting in a firepit. The pyre roared in the deepening dusk like some great beast, drowning out the fainter sound of Mirri Maz Duur’s screaming and sending up long tongues of flame to lick at the belly of the night. As the smoke grew thicker, the Dothraki backed away, coughing. Huge orange gouts of fire unfurled their banners in that hellish wind, the logs hissing and cracking, glowing cinders rising on the smoke to float away into the dark like so many newborn fireflies. The heat beat at the air with great red wings, driving the Dothraki back, driving off even Mormont, but Dany stood her ground. She was the blood of the dragon, and the fire was in her.

    She had sensed the truth of it long ago, Dany thought as she took a step closer to the conflagration, but the brazier had not been hot enough. The flames writhed before her like the women who had danced at her wedding, whirling and singing and spinning their yellow and orange and crimson veils, fearsome to behold, yet lovely, so lovely, alive with heat. Dany opened her arms to them, her skin flushed and glowing. This is a wedding, too, she thought. Mirri Maz Duur had fallen silent. The godswife thought her a child, but children grow, and children learn.

    Another step, and Dany could feel the heat of the sand on the soles of her feet, even through her sandals. Sweat ran down her thighs and between her breasts and in rivulets over her cheeks, where tears had once run. Ser Jorah was shouting behind her, but he did not matter anymore, only the fire mattered. The flames were so beautiful, the loveliest things she had ever seen, each one a sorcerer robed in yellow and orange and scarlet, swirling long smoky cloaks. She saw crimson firelions and great yellow serpents and unicorns made of pale blue flame; she saw fish and foxes and monsters, wolves and bright birds and flowering trees, each more beautiful than the last. She saw a horse, a great grey stallion limned in smoke, its flowing mane a nimbus of blue flame. Yes, my love, my sun-and-stars, yes, mount now, ride now.

Another bit of wordplay is with shadows, dancing, and dragons. Patchface, who touched the veil of death while in the sea, sings plenty of diddies that spook those around him. It just so happens that as much as Shireen likes Patchface, he also sings this particular song that scare her. Foreshadowing through tales, much like Bran and the children’s stories Old Nan tells him.

Melisandre, the fiery woman, is the shadowbringer. This is very much like the Gates of Corlos being opened allowing Saagael to come through.

  • A Clash of Kings – Prologue

    “A few words. As I said, they are clever, these birds.”

    “Clever bird, clever man, clever clever fool,” said Patchface, jangling. “Oh, clever clever clever fool.” He began to sing. “The shadows come to dance, my lord, dance my lord, dance my lord,” he sang, hopping from one foot to the other and back again. “The shadows come to stay, my lord, stay my lord, stay my lord.” He jerked his head with each word, the bells in his antlers sending up a clangor.

    The white raven screamed and went flapping away to perch on the iron railing of the rookery stairs. Shireen seemed to grow smaller. “He sings that all the time. I told him to stop but he won’t. It makes me scared. Make him stop.”

And little Shireen does not know that “always summer under the sea” means Patchface has some sort of knowledge of Essos/ancient history and what happened there thousands of years ago that left that land a forever summer, something that repeating again but coming to Westeros.

The red priests of R’hllor are praying for a summer that never ends… and this is death the same as a never-ending deep winter would be. The silver seaweed is a deathcloth , similar in purpose the one shared by Arik NeKrol and the Bitterspeaker in …And Seven Times Never Kill Man. The merwife is Daenerys as the fire god reborn, the nennymoan in her hair is voices/fire/a brazier-styled cap?, and the gown is silver death- dragon fire, this time by Mel and Selyse dragons.

  • A Clash of Kings – Prologue

    Patchface rang his bells. “It is always summer under the sea,” he intoned. “The merwives wear nennymoans in their hair and weave gowns of silver seaweed. I know, I know, oh, oh, oh.”

    Shireen giggled. “I should like a gown of silver seaweed.”

    “Under the sea, it snows up,” said the fool, “and the rain is dry as bone. I know, I know, oh, oh, oh.”

  • … And Seven Times Never Kill Man:The bitter speaker stared at her. “Arik deathcloth. Gave.” Ryther nodded, abstractly. She had it now, hanging just above her bunk; a strange small thing, woven partly from Jaenshi fur and mostly from long silken strands of flame red hair. On it, gray against the red, was a crude but recognizable…

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King Need Not Apply

I think GRRM wants us to stop trying to measure characters against this nebulous concept of “honor”, and consider the real consequences of actions when we decide whether someone is a good or bad person.

We have already witnessed in-story the fact that even though Stannis is king, Melisandre and Selyse are burning people (Stannis’ direct prisoners), without Stannis’s knowledge or consent. Think back to Lord Guncer Sunglass as he was burned while Stannis was away during the Battle of Blackwater.

  • A Storm of Swords – Davos II

    “You are an onion smuggler, what do you know of skulkings and stabbings? And you are ill, you cannot even hold the dirk. Do you know what will be happening to you, if you are caught? While we were burning on the river, the queen was burning traitors. Servants of the dark, she named them, poor men, and the red woman sang as the fires were lit.”

    Davos was unsurprised. I knew, he thought, I knew before he told me. “She took Lord Sunglass from the dungeons,” he guessed, “and Hubard Rambton’s sons.”

    “Just so, and burned them, as she will burn you. If you kill the red woman, they will burn you for revenge, and if you fail to kill her, they will burn you for the trying. She will sing and you will scream, and then you will die. And you have only just come back to life!”

  • A Storm of Swords – Davos III

    “. . . a horror.” Davos retreated from her. “I want no part of you, my lady. Or your god. May the Seven protect me.”

    Melisandre sighed. “They did not protect Guncer Sunglass. He prayed thrice each day, and bore seven seven-pointed stars upon his shield, but when R’hllor reached out his hand his prayers turned to screams, and he burned. Why cling to these false gods?”

    “I have worshiped them all my life.”

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. I will add that with our without Stannis’ involvement, I do strongly believe that this will happen at Nightfort.

  • 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.”

Melisandre Black Gate

It seems Melisandre and Selyse will burn Shireen and they may do so over at Nightfort at the Black Gate, as in calling the god Saagael through a gate in the story Only Kids are Afraid of the Dark. Saagael is a dark god that Martin added to his ASOIAF world in his Targaryen history book Fire & Blood. Read the full quotes here.

  • 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.

  • Fire & Blood: And every time a child went missing, the ignorant would look at one another and talk of Saagael’s insatiable thirst for blood.

We know Melisandre has asked Jon to burn the weirwood at Winterfell (Jon refuses), and that Melisandre requires the free folk to burn tree parts as they enter “saved” through the gates at Castle Black. Melisandre wants Nightfort, and if she gets there and finds the weirwood black gate, and adds fire- Kaboom! She has now created a week spot for the whatever Other to pass through.

All Others come through a gate/mirror/realm, which is why people need a shield that guards the realms of men.


  • Melisandre and the Black Gate

Q: Hope you’re doing well! I hope this is a somewhat innocuous email that you might answer for me. Melisandre mentions that she expects Sam to show her (and Stannis, if I recall) the Black Gate under the Nightfort. There’s no mention of Sam’s having left Castle Black before taking ship to Braavos, so am I correct in assuming that he never returned to the Nightfort to show the gate to Melisandre?

GRRM: I am sure she found it on her own.

If not at the gate through the wall at Castle Black, or maybe even at Winterfell after the battle, but with all of the chaos, and free folk most likely taking control and making order of the place, I doubt it can happen there.

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.

Top of Shireen Page


I am going to slightly fudge my own “NO show talk” rule. I will take my walk of shame for this later, but for now, I want to address this issue as some think it pertains to the books.

As far as Shireen is concerned, there is a common idea in the fandom that George R.R. Martin actually confirmed a fairly large plot piece. There is “Inside the Episode” commentary from the showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss that says George told them “this”, the “this” being that Shireen burns, not that Stannis burns Shireen. No such detail that specifically names Stannis (or his men) doing the burning is ever given that I have ever seen, and never from GRRM’s mouth himself. If I am wrong about this, please, please, please send me a message with the video clip of Martin confirming Stannis will burn Shireen in the book canon. I will give you the credit here for bringing this information forward 🙂

This is what we do have from the showrunners. Here is a link to the Shireen commentary on YouTube. The comment comes after the 1:30 mark. The quote in question is below (to which the showrunners also get many things incorrect, such as the show burnings on Dragonstone and Stannis’ “ambitious” intent):

  • “… Stannis sadly that choice is ambition. When George first told us about this it was one of those moments where I remember looking at Dan and it’s just like that’s so it’s so so horrible and so good in the story sense because it all comes together you know from the beginning from the very first time we saw Stannis and Melisandre they were sacrificing people they were burning people alive on the beaches of Dragonstone” — Benioff

There is a Cinema Blend article (separate source from the Inside the Episode info)  that has circulated through the fandom a bit, and it tells us considerably less than the commentary I linked to just above. The only part that is in quotes from Martin himself is the short phrase, “his intention”. The rest is article author fill-in with nothing more from Martin himself. There is no clip from the Blu-Ray commentary to support this article author and this claim. If there is, please share it and I will update this information accordingly.

  • Cinema Blend Link: We think it’s safe to say that Game of Thrones has become an unequivocal phenomenon over the last five years. The popular HBO series has taken on a life of its own, and in many ways exists in its own distinct world from George R.R. Martin’s source material. That being said, events that occurred during Season 5 of Game of Thrones may in fact have an influence on how Martin proceeds with future Game of Thrones literary material. Apparently, Shireen was always meant to be sacrificed to the Lord of Light.

The Cinema Blend article simply paraphrases what Den of Geek was already paraphrasing, possibly out of necessity to keep to a fast read info list. Den of Geek did leave out quite a bit of details, though. Details matter. READ UPDATE BELOW…

  • Den of Geek: 109. Although it has yet to feature in A Song Of Ice And Fire, George R.R. Martin has confirmed that it was always his intention for Stannis and Melisandre to sacrifice Shireen to the God of Light.


GRRM’s own stories that changed (sometimes drastically) from book to screen, even though GRRM was involved. George has told how In the Lost Lands, Fevre Dream and The Skin Trade have been optioned for the screen. All I can say is that as of right now, THANK GAWD none of those made it. I’d hate for those stories to be reworked and ruined.:

  1. Remembering Melody. Rather close to the short story, but they made significant character changes that amped up the tv drama (in a mostly sexist way). Transcribed here.
  2. Sandkings, almost totally unrecognizable, aside from a few names and the bugs.
  3. Nightflyers, the 1897 movie.
  4. Nightflyers, the 2018 SciFi channel show. At this point it has more weird changes than the 1987 movie.
  5. According to different sources, Martin is going to oversee the production of his children’s story The Ice Dragon as it is brought to screen as an animated movie. Let’s hope no changes occur. Read here at Not A Blog.
  6. I believe as of this writing, there are some Wildcards universe stories planned to hit a screen?
  7. A Song of Ice and Fire. Yes, the show A Game of Thrones has diverged greatly from the cannon source material, starting with the AGOT prologue hitting the screen. Season 3 really made a great divide and it has been fully two different stories since then.

UPDATE: I now have the Blu-Ray for this season and episode. Nowhere in this episode does George R.R. Martin himself, or Benioff and Weiss, speak on the issue. There is a separate feature where Martin and few historians talk about real-world inspirations for the book characters, but nothing about Stannis with Shireen.

Apologies for the video of a video format but it was my only option to get the source posted here. The noted speakers are Peter Dinklage (show Tyrion), Iain Glenn (show Jorah), and episode director David Nutter. At no point do they ever say anything to the like of, “George told us Stannis burns his daughter Shireen.” Nope. David Nutter makes no such comments that  Stannis specifically burns Shireen or has anything to do with it. Just the same vague ‘Shireen burns’ type of statement, and the vague when “this” happens. This Blue-Ray does not seem to confirm George said Stannis will burn Shireen. Again, if I have missed it, please point it out and I will update the information here.

Iain Glenn starts the book conversation after the 2:10 mark when he asks Nutter if this was in the books, and Nutter replies, “I have to tell you that I do not know the answer to that question…”.

Dinklage says that Stannis actor Stephen Dillane is a tremendous actor, even though he never worked with him, then Dinklage seems to get defensive about the showrunners and Dinklage claims GRRM “confirmed” this, but Dinklage never says Martin told him, he assumes. How would Peter Dinklage know and not one of the show directors? And in a plot arc that the character Tyrion was never present?

On the show, Selyse, Melisandre, Davos, and Shireen travel from Castle Black out into the warpath towards Winterfell where hey get “stuck” by the snow. In the books Selyse, Melisandre, and Shireen are at Castle Black about to move to Nightfort, and Davos is on a ship headed toward Skagos. Stannis is stuck in the snow, but he is with his army, Theon, Asha, and Stannis has other plans.

On the show, Melisandre convinces Stannis to burn his daughter to melt the snow nas Selyse hangs herself. In the books, Stannis and Mel aren’t in the same vicinity as each other. Melisandre is already melting snow at Castle Black as she draws extra power from the magic within the wall.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Melisandre I

    At last. “If it please the lord commander.”

    As they walked beneath the Wall, she slipped her arm through his. Morgan and Merrel went before them, Ghost came prowling at their heels. The priestess did not speak, but she slowed her pace deliberately, and where she walked the ice began to drip. He will not fail to notice that.

    Beneath the iron grating of a murder hole Snow broke the silence, as she had known he would. “What of the other six?”

And back to the James Hibberd book, this is showrunner information being shared and discussed based on what happens in the show… just like they did with Lady Stoneheart/Jon Snow a few years back when asked about the show specifically.

Shireen Queen!

I wish, but we readers know this will never happen. Stannis has a plan in place 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 King-husband’s wishes (as we see Selyse do with arranging marriages while Stannis is away, and moving in on Castle Black without Stannis’ permission, etc).

We already see that Shireen is dreaming of her own fiery death by “dragon”, which happens to be the first time we see Shireen on page.

  • 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 fire “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.

Top of Shireen Page

Step Away from the Flames…

However, later in the story when Stannis has moved away from Melisandre’s presence, he becomes less infatuated with the flames and burning. This is the same how George writes it in stories such as And Seven Times Never Kill Man and with Edan Morse in Armageddon Rag as he moves away from the fiery Ananda Cain. When the Jaenshi in Seven Times move away from the strange mental enthrallment of the pyramids, the gold flecks in their eyes disappear and they start to regain their own consciousness. Then when the Steelangels (Andals/Faith of 7+Targs in ASOIAF= The Steel Andal Invasion) move in closer to the pyramids, they quickly develop gold flecks of color in their eyes and become entranced with Bakkalon. In ASOIAF 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 Only Kids are Afraid of the Dark, as well as And Seven Times…), Godry “Giantslayer” Farring (already in the red for killing an idiginous humanoid giant), 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.


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.

Top of Shireen Page

Bearded Dragon

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). George has used this “bearded dragon” symbolism before in his unfinished novel Black and White and Red All Over.

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.

Top of Shireen Page

Crackpot Corner

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 the Baratheon Fury

Stannis contemplates his “Lightbringer”. Artist: Magali Villeneuve


  • 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 ThroneOr 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. At this point in the story (A Dance with Dragons) Stannis is literally and spiritually stuck- but more on this in an upcoming post.

I believe we readers saw a glimpse of this broken bond setup in the first northern chapter in A Dance with Dragons. Here Jon makes a note of the different factions being opposites, in two corners, just as we see with the beetles in Sandkings. Battles and tourneys in ASOIAF tend to be a clue to certain parts of the upcoming story. We see Jon and Mancelshirt (Mance glamoured to look like Rattleshirt) fight each other in the practice yard, which I speculate is foreshadowing of a later event, just as we see this next scene already starting to work out on page:

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon I

    A few of Stannis’s knights were sparring on the far side of the yard. King’s men in one corner and queen’s men in another, Jon did not fail to note, but only a few. It’s too cold for most of them. As he strode past them, a booming voice called after him. “BOY! YOU THERE! BOY!”

In the Theon chapter in The Winds of Winter, never 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’s men 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’s men. “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’s men 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. Stannis is not exempt from standing by and allowing someone to burn while under his command in his army. Complacency is a crime in this literary world. Stannis will pay, not sure how just yet, but he is the iron- brittle
  • 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.

  • A Clash of Kings – Jon I

    “Aye. I was his man, a Baratheon man, smith and armorer at Storm’s End until I lost the arm. I’m old enough to remember Lord Steffon before the sea took him, and I knew those three sons of his since they got their names. I tell you this—Robert was never the same after he put on that crown. Some men are like swords, made for fighting. Hang them up and they go to rust.”

    “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.”

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Ananda-Melisandre Twist

At the beginning of this page I mentioned the GRRM story Armageddon Rag. That story of his was considered a commercial flop even though it received favorable reviews. And on the main blog page here, I note where GRRM says he holds on to his preferred ideas to use them again as he sees fit. Well, this Stannis and Shireen situation is no exception. So far the build-up hits every one of the broad (and medium) strokes from one story to another. There are several quotes in both stories I can add here, but I will add just the more prominent ones for sake of post length.

Throughout Armageddon Rag, we read of this intense, “ragin’” bass guitar player, Maggio, and his relationship with Francie, the younger girl that truly adores him. The main character, Sandy Blair, witnesses Maggio grow harsh and almost cruel towards Francie. Sandy even has a prophetic dream that Francie hops up on stage during a specific concert and Francie is sacrificed upon a large X-shaped cross- Sandy thinks back to this dream repeatedly. Yeah, the X-shaped cross is very Ramsay Bolton, which is more proof that despite Ramsay being a Snow of the north, he is on the side of fire in ASOIAF… but that is another topic.

Later in the story Sandy realizes these prophetic dreams he has of the sacrifice are being induced by the oh-so-charming fire woman Ananda, the extremist. Martin also writes about the proximity of the enchanter overwhelming the enchanted in his story And Seven Times Never Kill Man as Bakkalon and the pyramids. The ending of this excerpt also starts to get into the topic of overcoming/controlling pain. That is what GRRM has referred to as a type of Painlord in other stories which I quoted on this Cyrain page and it is always related to fiery people keeping “un”slaves, or thralls.

  • Armageddon Rag

But the longest dream, and the one he recalled most vividly, was one he had dreamed before, that terrible night in Chicago. Yet this time it had been longer, more real, more detailed. In some huge dark hall, the dance went on forever. The Nazgûl were up on stage, playing the “Armageddon/ Resurrection Rag” again, but they were hideous. Gopher John was gray and horribly burned, and ash flew from him as he played. Maggio’s sneer had become satanic, and his chest crawled with maggots. Faxon’s face was serene and handsome on one side and bleeding from a hundred grisly slashes on the other. And in front Hobbins stood, twice as large as life yet somehow insubstantial. Sandy could see through him, to the back of the stage, where a naked woman had been nailed up to a great X-shaped cross. She was a thin, big-eyed child-woman, and she was screaming in anguish as blood dripped from her nipples and ran out her vagina and down her legs. Her voice was strangely familiar, but none of the dancers paid her any mind. Froggy was there, dancing with a blond and trying to feel her up. Maggie and Lark danced together, around and around. Bambi sat on the sidelines, surrounded by children, waiting for a partner. Burning men and corpses and flayed women moved through the press of dancers. And Sandy was shouting at them, warning them of the coming bloodtide, but none of them would hear.

Ananda broke him from the grisly reverie when she returned with a tray bearing a hot, fragrant pot of black coffee, two cups, plus orange juice and waffles. The smell was heavenly, and Sandy suddenly realized that he was ravenous. “Want to go outside?” she asked him. “The sun’s burning off the fog, and it’s getting nice and warm.”

Sandy nodded absently, got up, and opened the sliding glass doors for her. There were a white iron table and three chairs out there. Ananda set down the tray and Sandy settled into a chair. She poured him a cup of coffee, and he took a good healthy swallow of it before she even had time to serve the waffle.

She did make good waffles. He drowned his in butter and maple syrup—real maple syrup, the one-hundred-percent kind that costs the gross national product of Ecuador—and found that after a few bites he felt much better. He looked up at her. “Did I get drunk last night, or what?” he said. “I don’t have a hangover, but I sure as hell had some weird dreams.”

“Not dreams,” Ananda said seriously. “Visions.”

Sandy scowled. “Visions?”

“Don’t you remember any of it?” she asked.

“I remember my little conference with your boss real well,” Sandy said. “He took that motherfucking knife and slashed his palm halfway to the bone and bled all over the goddamned desk. It was one hell of a memorable conversational gambit, I’ll tell you that much. It didn’t bother him, either.”

“Edan has learned disciplines that can banish pain,” Ananda said.

So at this point, Sandy is starting to mistake this could happen for a will happen, as we see Stannis is confused about what to do with Edric (until Mel steps in), and as Melisandre tells Jon. Humans err.

  • A Dance with Dragons – Jon I

    Melisandre laughed. “It is his silences you should fear, not his words.” As they stepped out into the yard, the wind filled Jon’s cloak and sent it flapping against her. The red priestess brushed the black wool aside and slipped her arm through his. “It may be that you are not wrong about the wildling king. I shall pray for the Lord of Light to send me guidance. When I gaze into the flames, I can see through stone and earth, and find the truth within men’s souls. I can speak to kings long dead and children not yet born, and watch the years and seasons flicker past, until the end of days.”

    “Are your fires never wrong?”

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

We later see that at the penultimate rising action of Armageddon Rag, that the scenario Sandy dreams about looks like it is coming true… but it doesn’t. And this is in tandem with Sandy choosing to make a better decision, as well as Maggio admitting to Sandy, and more importantly himself, that he does love Francie.

  • Armageddon Rag

[music] Queens beat aces every time, yeah!

Do queens beat jokers, too? he wondered. He wasn’t sure; he wasn’t sure of anything. The Nazgûl were singing, and half a million people sang along.

[music] Wolfman looked into the mirror and Lon Chaney looked back out

Sandy stared up at the black, churning, overcast sky. A cold wind shivered through him. The rifle felt heavy and oily in his hand, alien. Wavering discords and strange echoes vibrated through the air around him. He studied the stage again, saw Francie dancing, saw the huge X behind her. Unless he shot, they would nail her up, bleed her, strip her, rip her eyes out while the crowd danced to the Rag, the endless Rag, while the demons gathered outside and no one listened to his warning. Unless he stopped it. Unless he shot.

Or … or maybe … if he shot?

  • A Dance with Dragons – Melisandre I

    The flames crackled softly, and in their crackling she heard the whispered name Jon Snow. His long face floated before her, limned in tongues of red and orange, appearing and disappearing again, a shadow half-seen behind a fluttering curtain. Now he was a man, now a wolf, now a man again. But the skulls were here as well, the skulls were all around him. Melisandre had seen his danger before, had tried to warn the boy of it. Enemies all around him, daggers in the dark. He would not listen.

Top of Shireen Page

Wild Card

Now, we all know of GRRM’s involvement with the Wild Cards shared universe, right? This universe was spawned of a spawn of a spawn from a Lovecraft board game. One of the important elements in Wild Cards is the Joker. In a forced duel, Kings and Jokers beat all other cards but are equal to each other. This is Stannis and Jon, respectively, Jon being the hybrid Joker with special (warg/greensee/sea) talents.
Lyrics George added to the song “Aramgeddon/Resurrection Rag”
  • “Which side are we?” Sandy demanded. “Which side are we?” “That’s one you got to work out yourself, friend. This ain’t like in Tolkien, is it?” He started to move away.
  • “Listen to the music,”
  • “This is the day we all arrive at, This is the day we choose.”

So in addition to Stannis not being the one to burn Shireen, I have also speculated that the target Melisandre was supposed to get, and kill, was Jon- the anathema to the red fire god. I have a page dedicated to this idea, but I wanted to add this quote here from Armageddon Rag. It shows that the girl is not the target, but rather it is the main character Sandy (an icy Jon type).

  • Armageddon Rag

The world swam dizzily. The night sky was striped, bands of overcast alternating with bands of stars in clear black ink. Below was an endless army. Below was a small and frightened crowd. The sound tower seemed insubstantial. He looked down through solid metal at the ground below. On his wrist, Spiro Agnew had both hands pointed straight up. Sandy pushed the rifle aside and stood. He had taken three steps toward the back of the tower when she stepped out from behind the amps and stared at him, her face baffled and angry. “What are you doing?” she demanded, screaming it at him above the music. “Get back there. Shoot!” Mirrors must have told her, Sandy thought. She was so lithe and quiet, he had never even heard her ascend the tower. “That’s what you want,” he shouted back at her. “It’s been me all along, right? The joker in the deck. The assassin.”

“Shoot him!” she screamed. She was not beautiful now. Her hair streamed in a black icy wind, and her face was distorted with an almost animal rage.

“Go put the fucking spaghetti in your hair!” Sandy told her.


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Thanks for reading along with the jambles and jumbles of the Fattest Leech of Ice and Fire blog, by gumbo!

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