Hey there friends, patrons of the arts, and fellow mythical astronomers! It is I, LmL, your starry host, back with the B-Side to the Stark that Brings the Dawn episode, and this one, as you just heard, is called Eldric Shadowchaser. Last time I gave you the background on Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melnibone character, who seems to have been a big influence on George R.R. Martin when he fashioned his own characters of Bloodraven, Jon Snow, and the larger Azor Ahai archetype, and today we are going to follow up on that in a big way.
In the last episode, we saw that Eldric Shadowchaser is the only one of the five names given for the flaming sword hero of the Long Night which doesn’t have an obvious origin in the far east, but that this name does seem to be echoed in the Houses of Stark and Dayne, the two houses with obvious ties to the last hero mythology. After giving a quick rundown of the various members of Stark and Dayne with Eldric name variants, we spent the rest of the episode exploring the last hero symbolism of Stark and Dayne in detail.
More than anything, we saw that Stark and Dayne are something like the yin and yang of the last hero archetype. Along the way, we dipped our feet in the Tolkien pond to show even more evidence for House Dayne being the descendants of the Great Empire of the Dawn, enhancing their connection to Azor Ahai and in turn, Azor Ahai’s connection to Westeros. We explored the strange black “sword of mourning” symbolism which seems to apply to House Stark and the Night’s Watch, and we saw Ned fighting the Others at the Tower of Joy with a shadowsword crew and stealing an Other baby and a white sword. I even threw you a little more evidence for the long-speculated existence of a magical black sword made from a meteorite by showing that this very thing is a prominent part of Tolkien’s Silmarillion which Martin would be aware of, being familiar with the Silmarillion as he is.
I brought you all that lore from Tolkien and Moorcock’s Elric of Melnibone because I think it’s highly relevant background info for understanding what Martin is doing with his last hero figure and the stolen Other baby, who are either the same person or two connected people. Similarly, we dove into the topic of Daynes and Starks and their sword of the morning and evening symbolism because I think it’s helpful to get a good grip on that stuff first before we do what we are going to do today. Namely, we are going to do a proper symbolic examination of a fresh crop of characters who represent the stolen Other baby-turned-Stark, beginning with those handful of members of House Stark and Dayne who wear Eldric-based names, and continuing with a somewhat surprising inclusion of a familiar, well-loved character we haven’t talked about too much.
One important thing to keep in mind: all of this is really about Jon. It’s also about House Stark as a whole, but Jon is essentially the focal point of this would-be Other child-turned Stark archetype, which I sometimes call “the good Other” or the “stolen Other baby” or “stolen Night’s Queen baby.” This figure represents the tamed wolf, the wolf trained to guard the flock against the other wolves. He’s like the Others, but different, and most importantly, he fights for the living. This figures personal symbols include the ice dragon and dragonglass or frozen fire, as both of these concepts express the idea of turning a fiery dragon cold. That is what defines the blood of the Other, which is the blood of House Stark. Jon is the epitome of this, with his own half-dragon, half winter-wolf parentage recreating the original mix of bloodlines which created House Stark, that of Night’s King and Queen.
So, as we go through all these Eldric figures and related stolen Other baby figures, we’ll be constantly comparing their symbolism to Jon Snow, since that is ultimately what the archetype is about. Jon is the Stark that will bring the dawn if anyone is, and that’s going to involve some white-shadow chasing, we can be sure. As you’d expect, we will see Jon’s trademark frozen fire and ice and fire unity symbolism with basically every example of this good Other archetype. And just as Jon is about to become a resurrected skinchanger Night’s Watchmen, what I call a “green zombie,” and just as we suspect that the original last hero was a green zombie, we are going to run into a fair amount of green zombie and Night’s Watch symbolism with our stolen-Other-baby figures.
I: Astronomy Explains the Legends of I&F
II: The Bloodstone Emperor Azor Ahai
III: Waves of Night & Moon Blood
IV: The Mountain vs. the Viper & the Hammer of the Waters
V: Tyrion Targaryen
VI: Lucifer means Lightbringer
We Should Start Back
I: AGOT Prologue
Naturally, nearly all of them will be tied to magic swords, both black and white. So in other words, no matter who we are talking about in this episode, we’ll be constantly backsliding into talking about Jon Snow and black and white swords.
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We’ll have our livestream QnA one week from the release of this pod, which will be Saturday April 7th at 3:00 EST / 12:00 PST / 8:00 London time on the lucifermeanslightbringer YouTube channel. Robert from In Deep Geek will be my special guest, and we’re going to geek it up, so come join us and send in your questions and witty remarks ahead of time if you have the chance.
Alright, let’s chase the shadows!
Portrait of a Eldric as a Snow-Man
To sort of sum up what learned last time in the simplest way possible, we can say that House Stark and House Dayne both have a ton of sword of the morning and last hero symbolism, as well as lots of people named Edric and Elric and Ulrick. If we take a collective look at the things our various Eldric characters are known for, it both paints a familiar portrait and expands upon that portrait. For most of these Eldric characters, there is scant information to go on, but what is there is dripping with import. King Edric Snowbeard Stark and young Edric Dayne are the exceptions – we have lots of info on Edric Dayne, and the “snow-beard” thing turns out to be a potent line of symbolism which will send us hither and yon. So, we’ll start with the historical Starks and Daynes that have less information and work our way to Edrick Snowbeard and Ned Dayne, the Dayne named after a Stark.
In addition to the famous and fabulously named King Edrick Snowbeard Stark, there are two other Eldric name variants in House Stark, both of whom lived in the last seven generations of House Stark. Although there isn’t much in the records about Elric Stark and the non-snowbearded Edric Stark, they certainly do occupy interesting places in the family tree. First, there’s Elric Stark; he had brothers named Brandon and Benjen, just as Eddard does, which is interesting because Ned is an Eldric figure as well, by way of the Daynes considering Edric a variant of Eddard. Elric Stark turns out to be the cousin of Cregan Stark, whose son was the Edric Stark, the non-Snowbearded one. That Edric also has a brother named Brandon, which, of course, that’s hardly remarkable with as many Brandon Starks as there are, but he also has a sister named Lyanna, as Ned does, as well as a more famous brother named Barthogen – that’s our boy Barth Blacksword, who later became Lord of Winterfell.
Best of all, the non-snowbearded Edrick Stark also has a brother named Jonnel “One Eye” Stark – I’m sure I don’t have to remind you of Jon Snow’s one-eye wound form the eagle which gives him the trademark Odin symbolism.
In case that came too fast, what I just said was that we have an Elric Stark with a Brandon and a Benjen for brothers, and his second cousin is Edric Stark, whose siblings are Brandon, Lyanna, Barth Blacksword, and Jonnel One-Eye . Quite the family there. Given the various titles that contain “Black Sword” in the Elric of Melnibone series and Tolkien’s Silmarillion, it’s not a surprise to see Edric Stark had a brother named “Blacksword.” Recall that one of Moorcock’s Elric stories was actually titled “The Black Sword’s Brothers,” and that Elric of Melnibone had two cousins with black swords of their own. Finding Elric Stark with a Blacksword Brother is akin to finding that Eldric Shadowchaser and Hyrkoon the Hero are two names for the great flaming sword hero of the Long Night; Martin is again drawing from Moorcock in such a way as to emphasize the idea of brothers or cousins or perhaps even a father and son who both wield magic swords.
In fact, when we stop and consider that Edric and Elric Stark of the past and Eddard Stark of the present all had brothers named Brandon, and that Edric Stark also had a brother named Blacksword, we have to be thinking about the official legend of Night’s King being the brother of Brandon the Breaker who threw him down. But consider this: Old Nan implies that Night’s King’s name was Brandon, and supposedly his brother was Brandon the Breaker – but is it likely that we’d have a pair of brothers, both named Brandon? Somebody has to be not-Brandon. Otherwise it’s the Bruce Sketch from Monty Python. And when we look at the family tree, we keep seeing Brandons matched up Eldric variants. Brandon and Eldric, Eldric and Brandon… Finkle and Einhorn, Einhorn and Finkle…
This very thing is highlighted in this quote from ASOS, where Cat is sitting at Hoster’s deathbed and speaking with Jeyne Westerling:
“I told Robb I’m sure to give him twins. An Eddard and a Brandon. He liked that, I think. We . . . we try most every day, my lady. Sometimes twice or more.” The girl blushed very prettily. “I’ll be with child soon, I promise. I pray to our Mother Above, every night.”
“Very good. I will add my prayers as well. To the old gods and the new.”
When the girl had gone, Catelyn turned back to her father and smoothed the thin white hair across his brow. “An Eddard and a Brandon,” she sighed softly. “And perhaps in time a Hoster. Would you like that?”
Since we know that Eddard is an Eldric variant, repeating Eddard and Brandon here is as good as saying “Eldric and Brandon,” as we just were. Twins, even! We’ll actually get into a hearty analysis of the Eddard and Brandon Stark that we are most familiar with in the next episode, so fear not. We’ll talk a bit more about Elric’s cousin Barth Blacksword later in the episode as well.
Getting back to the idea that everyone can’t be named Brandon, I have to remember the part of the Night’s King legend that says “all records of Night’s King had been destroyed, his very name forbidden” and wonder if his name can really have been Brandon, one of the most famous names in Westeros (along with Garth, Aegon, and of course, Pate). Perhaps it was Eldric – and perhaps when our Stark rescuer took home the stolen Other baby to raise as his son and heir, he might have named it Eldric after his father, Night’s King. Or perhaps Eldric is a name going back even further, to the original line of Azor Ahai before the fall (which could mean the father or grandfather of Night’s King).
I hope you see the general point I am making – this pairing of Brandon and Eldric names suggest a brother-brother or cousin relationship going back to the original events of the Long Night and House Stark, which makes sense if the Eldric Shadowchaser archetype is the same thing as the stolen other baby archetype, as I believe it is.
Taking a look at House Dayne and their Eldric variants, it’s quite notable that one of the few named Swords of the Morning is Ulrick Dayne, who of course carried Dawn. That would parallel the idea of the original Eldric Shadowchaser carrying Dawn, perhaps as the last hero with his dragonsteel. That quote we cited last time about Ulrick Dayne is a bit concerning; if you don’t recall, it was Eustace Osgrey speaking about the greatness of Daemon Blackfyre, and he said “When Prince Daemon had Blackfyre in his hand, there was not a man to equal him . . . not Ulrick Dayne with Dawn, no, nor even the Dragonknight with Dark Sister.” I’d like to think our Eldric Shadowchaser is up to the task, so what’s up with that?
Of course, we know the last hero broke his first sword and seems to have suffered a setback before he emerged with dragonsteel to slay the Others, and I believe he was even killed and resurrected before being able to win the War for the Dawn. I also think it’s possible Night’s King was the one who first wielded “original Ice,” a.k.a. Dawn, with our Eldric figure needing to use a black sword to claim it from him, as discussed in the last episode. After all, Lord Eddard Stark is a man who owns “black Ice” and yet briefly claims “white Ice,” if you will. In fact, since Ned was leading a group of grey wraiths with shadowswords against a sword of the morning with a white sword, we can see Daemon Blackfyre and Ned as being somewhat parallel – both having the ability to triumph over a Dayne with Dawn. It will really be interesting to see what happens with Dawn if it comes out to play in the next two books, and if we see Night’s King figure Darkstar Dayne possessing Dawn.
The main thing to take away is the ever-present black and white sword duel – Ulrick Dayne with his white and purple house colors and white sword vs. Daemon Blackfyre with his black and red house colors and his black sword. Aemon the Dragonknight is a delightful mingling of their symbolism, being a white sword of the Kingsguard who carries a black sword, Dark Sister. We’ll talk about Aemon the Dragonknight a bit later, actually, as I think he is another example of our “good Other” figure, mixing fire and ice symbolism – a white shadow Kingsguard with a black dragon sword certainly qualifies.
Alright, we’ve served up the appetizers, now it’s time for a good old-fashioned snow-bearding – and let’s start with something dramatic, shall we? Ok, remember how we discussed last time the possibility that the stolen Other baby turned Stark might have an affinity for ice magic that may have enabled him to build the Wall? It was essentially a logical hunch based on the idea that there might have a been this escaped Other baby-turned-Stark who might possess a connection to ice magic. That’s a good start, but we should find some clever hints in the text to suport htis idea if it is true – and it turns out that Edrick Snowbeard Stark, during his nearly-hundred year rule, was the one who built the great outer wall of Winterfell.
That’s right. Here we find an Eldric figure – the best one, really, Edrick Snowbeard – building a large and significant wall to defend the Northmen against their foes. We’ve seen Sansa build a snow-castle version of Winterfell before, so it’s not even that hard to read about Edrick Snowbeard building the outer wall of Winterfell and imagine the original Eldric figure building a great Wall of ice. Eldric the Builder!
Also notable is the fact that Edrick Snowbeard ruled for almost a hundred years, which kind of hearkens back to the tales of long-lived kings from the Age of Heroes, thereby encouraging us to view Edrick Snowbeard as a personification of the heroic Stark archetype. His snowbeard implies him as one who can use ice magic, or one whose nature is partially comprised of ice magic, and that is consistent with our idea of the stolen Other baby archetype. Again I will mention that Edric Snowbeard’s grandson was named Brandon “Ice Eyes” Stark, who is another fellow that will come up again later in our episode today.
That’s all pretty great stuff regarding King Edrick Snoweard, but apart from that, there just isn’t a ton else written about the man. However, the snow-beard does seem to be a symbol Martin is using to say something about the archetype we’ve been exploring, as I mentioned at the top. For example, lets break the ice with this really cool Hodor scene which seems to reinforce the idea of Edrick Snowbeard as some kind of icy magician:
Swaying in his wicker basket on Hodor’s back, the boy hunched down, ducking his head as the big stableboy passed beneath the limb of an oak. The snow was falling again, wet and heavy. Hodor walked with one eye frozen shut, his thick brown beard a tangle of hoarfrost, icicles drooping from the ends of his bushy mustache. One gloved hand still clutched the rusty iron longsword he had taken from the crypts below Winterfell, and from time to time he would lash out at a branch, knocking loose a spray of snow. “Hod-d-d-dor,” he would mutter, his teeth chattering.
For those of you who are not hiding from the TV show, you can see some clear foreshadowing in that last line. I won’t say it, since a few are still trying to remain unspoiled. Setting that aside though, look at Hodor, with one eye frozen shut to give us an icy version of the famous Odin symbolism which denotes an open third eye and ability to use magic. His beard is a tangle of hoarfrost, complete with icicle mustacios, and later in ADWD, Hodor’s beard becomes “solid ice” as well, repeating the snow beard symbolism. Hodor’s hoarfrost beard in the scene we quoted actually gives us snowbeard symbolism and white dragon symbolism, since Vhagar was the “hoary old bitch.”
Fabulously, Hodor carries a rusty iron longsword here – meaning a black and red sword, like the two swords made from Ned’s Black Ice! It’s from the crypts of Winterfell, so it is specifically a black and red King of Winter sword, again, just like the swords made from Ned’s sword. He’s attacking a snow-covered tree with it, and of course a snow-covered tree is an excellent metaphor for an Other – most notably when we see a “pale shadow of a weirwood armored in ice” in the Varamyr Sixskins prologue of ADWD.
The inclusion of the snowbeard symbolism in a scene such as this surely adds to Edrick Snowbeard’s mystique, and specifically points us in the direction of a heroic Stark King of Winter who can use ice magic. That’s our man, right?
Those who are familiar with the Weirwood Compendium series will recognize the line at the beginning of the last quote about Bran being in the wicker basket as yet more King of Winter symbolism. Hodor himself parallels the wick basket that carries Bran, as Hodor is sometimes a vessel which carries Bran’s consciousness, and this ties the King of Winter symbolism even more directly to Hodor… and implies him as something that can catch on fire, in keeping with the real-world wicker man and king of winter traditions. Hopefully that is just symbolism and Hodor won’t catch on fire. More probably, we are to see him as filled with the fire of Bran’s greenseer spirit when Bran inhabits his body.
There is one other person who specifically has hoarfrost in his beard, and that’s the wighted version of Small Paul. That again sends us in the direction of zombified Night’s Watch brothers – ones who catch on fire, as Small Paul does. Here’s that quote:
Yet even so the wight’s grip did not loosen. Sam’s last thoughts were for the mother who had loved him and the father he had failed. The longhall was spinning around him when he saw the wisp of smoke rising from between Paul’s broken teeth. Then the dead man’s face burst into flame, and the hands were gone.
Sam sucked in air, and rolled feebly away. The wight was burning, hoarfrost dripping from his beard as the flesh beneath blackened. Sam heard the raven shriek, but Paul himself made no sound. When his mouth opened, only flames came out. And his eyes . . . It’s gone, the blue glow is gone.
I wanted to pull the quote here because of the dragon symbolism – first, there is smoke rising from between Paul’s broken teeth (with broken teeth looking more like pointy dragon’s teeth), and then “when his mouth opened, only flame came out,” as if he were a fire-breathing dragon. This dragon symbolism, paired with his ice and fire symbolism, his Night’s Watchmen status, and the “hoarfrost” beard which may also imply hoary old Vhagar the symbolic ice dragon… well it makes him easy to identify. So far we are two for two with snowbeard figures matching all of the stolen Other baby symbolism.
It’s much the same for the heads of the three decapitated rangers that the Weeper mounted on ashwood spears north of the Wall – their beards were “full of ice.” These three rangers, Garth Greyfeather, Hairy Hal, and Black Jack Bulwer, all have strong green man symbolism, and their bloody, carved faces mounted on ash wood spears creates a kind of grisly weirwood tree symbol, which is more Weirwood Compendium stuff in case you are not familiar. Point being, I believe that our original stolen Other baby turned Stark was also a green zombie, if indeed he was the last hero, since I am pretty sure the last hero was a green zombie. That seems to be the message of these dead Night’s Watch rangers with snowy and icy beards, so that all checks out.
There’s also call-outs to magic swords and bleeding stars here. The empty eye sockets of these severed heads are black and bloody holes in the scene where Jon finds them, while Melisandre foresees this event before it happens, seeing the empty eyes sockets “weeping blood” followed by “a black and bloody tide.” All of these are different versions of the blades of Oathkeeper and Widow’s Wail, which appear as “waves of night and blood.” We traced out this symbolism on Bloodstone Compendium 3, Waves of Night and Moon Blood, and the end result is that the Night’s Watchmen’s heads mounted on spears are also symbols of meteors, of bleeding stars, with the ash wood spears mimicking the trail of ash smoke following behind the ‘head’ of the meteor, and then the head of the meteor weeps the bloody tide to complete the bleeding star symbolism.
Another notable person with a snow-white beards is Ser Barristan, who wears snow white, hard as ice armor with a white dragon helm in ADWD – and of course the ice dragon seems linked to Jon and the stolen Other baby archetype he epitomizes. Said another way, Barristan may well be a good Other figure, something like Aemon the Dragonknight may be.
Next we Tormund Giantsbane, who has a snow-white beard, and he is of course a horn-blower figure with a ton of magical symbolism. Think of the Night’s Watch vowing to be the horn that wakes the sleepers, and then recall that Tormund eventually commands one of the castles on the Wall, Oakenshield. Tormund’s snow-white hair is especially meaningful because it used to be red, “kissed-by-fire” hair – so that’s a fire to snow transformation, which again fits Jon and this Eldric archetype to a T. There’s obviously a lot more to say about Tormund, but he’s going to feature prominently in our horn of winter episode, let’s stick to the snow-beard theme and keep moving.
When the Umbers come down from the Last Hearth for the harvest feast at Winterfell in ACOK, there’s more snow-beards and more horn-blowing, and it sounds like this:
The blast of horns woke him. Bran pushed himself onto his side, grateful for the reprieve. He heard horses and boisterous shouting. More guests have come, and half-drunk by the noise of them. Grasping his bars he pulled himself from the bed and over to the window seat. On their banner was a giant in shattered chains that told him that these were Umber men, down from the northlands beyond the Last River.
The next day two of them came together to audience; the Greatjon’s uncles, blustery men in the winter of their days with beards as white as the bearskincloaks they wore. A crow had once taken Mors for dead and pecked out his eye, so he wore a chunk of dragonglass in its stead. As Old Nan told the tale, he’d grabbed the crow in his fist and bitten its head off, so they named him Crowfood.
White bearskins come from snowbears, so, by the transitive property of symbolism, these blustery men in the winter of their days effectively have snowbeards. Plus, ‘snowbear’ is just ‘snowbeard’ without the ‘d’ at the end. Especially notable is the snowbearded guy with the dragonglass eye – what’s going on there? Well, I’d say Mors Crowfood has a bad case of the dragon-locked-in-ice-face; it’s actually a dragonglass eye locked in ice. It’s very comparable to Hodor with one eye frozen shut or to Bloodraven the one-eyed dragon-blooded greenseer (~one-eyed one-horned flyin purple people eater~). It’s also very comparable to Jon, who is symbolized by dragonglass and has the Odin-like one-eye wound via Orell’s eagle, and whom I predict will have snow white hair himself – maybe he’ll even grow a beard, har! And yes, that was a Tormund ‘har.’
Interpreting Mors’s ‘dragonglass eye with a snow-beard’ symbolism in the most straightforward fashion suggests a snowy northern who can use a dragonglass candle to see, or perhaps fire magic such as Melisandre uses. I’m not sure if that’s a thing or not, but it is safe to say that the combination of dragonglass and snow-beard symbolism is consistent with frozen fire being the symbol of the stolen Other figure and the Night’s Watch, and once again the one-eye symbol is recognized as a sign of one who has opened their third eye and attained magical sight.
The horn blowing is really a thing with Umbers, it must be said; not only do they ride in blowing horns and drinking from horns, Mors also leads a host of “green boys” to harass the Boltons at Winterfell in ADWD by blowing horns at all hours of the day. Then we have the horn-blowing at the Harvest Feast in ACOK:
The music grew wilder, the drummers joined in, and Hother Umber brought forth a huge curved warhorn banded in silver. When the singer reached the part in “The Night That Ended” where the Night’s Watch rode forth to meet the Others in the Battle for the Dawn, he blew a blast that set all the dogs to barking.
And there you have it – the horn that wakes the sleepers to fight the Others. We’ll follow up on the Umbers and compare their horn-blowing to Tormund when we revisit that topic, but for now I think we can say that all the horn-blowing symbolism relates to the War for the Dawn in some way. We also have to consider the Umber sigil, a giant in shattered chains, which surely speaks of the ways in which horn-blowing relates to waking giants in the earth, knocking over ice walls, and the like.
Moving right along, we have another one-eyed magic user, and this one is a skinchanger. It’s Varamyr Sixskins of course, and just listen to this:
A wave of dizziness washed over Varamyr. He found himself upon his knees, his hands buried in a snowdrift. He scooped up a fistful of snow and filled his mouth with it, rubbing it through his beard and against his cracked lips, sucking down the moisture. The water was so cold that he could barely bring himself to swallow, and he realized once again how hot he was.
We can’t quote the whole prologue of ADWD, which is just loaded with symbolism, but I will tell you that right before this quote, he spends a whole paragraph plotting to perform a body-snatching on the wildling spearwife, Thistle. This is “the blackest sin,” according to Varamyr’s teacher Hagon (who bonded a wold named Greyskin). Then he rubs snow in his beard, and yet feels hot – giving us the requisite ice and fire harmonization symbolism – and right after that, he hobbles over to the weirwood and picks up a fallen weirwood branch as a crutch. I think that’s a similar symbol to the Magnar’s weirwood spear, of the High Septon’s weirwood staff, or even to Galon Whitestaff or Ironborn legend, who had a weirwood staff. This signifies some sort of ability or link to the weirwoods, I have to think, which in the end is similar to the one-eye symbolism which in ASOIAF ultimately refers to greenseers and weirwood magic.
Varamyr’s weirwood crutch breaks right before he tries to bodysnatch Thistle, and this to me represents him defiling his gift by performing this blackest of sins, or perhaps it simply symbolizes Varamyr’s imminent death, where his skinchanger abilities will not prove strong enough. As for Varamyr’s one-eyed symbolism, he gets it after he tries to bodysnatch Thistle, fails, and then experiences his spirit flying through the weirwood, through the forest, past Bran and company on the back of the great elk, and then finally landing inside one of his bonded wolves – One-eye, of course. Even better, the merged One-Eye / Varamyr wolf gets into a fight with Summer, Bran’s direwolf. This seems like yet another depiction of the eternal struggle, with Varamyr the chilly one-eyed wolf representing winter and Summer the golden-eyed direwolf with fur the color of silver and smoke, representing summer, of course.
The night and blood motif makes an appearance at the scene of the battle, the clearing with the eviscerated bodies of the Night’s Watch mutineers. It’s in the form of a frozen puddle of red and black blood – red and black blood ice, in other words – which is a really strong call-out to the swords made from Ned’s Black Ice which now have blades with waves of night and blood. I continue to point out symbols of Oathkeeper and Widow’s Wail because even split in half and slapped with a golden lion’s head pommel, these are the swords of the King of Winter, and you better believe out stolen Other baby, Eldric Shadowchaser, is a King of Winter figure.
Moving right along, we have old Hoster Tully, whose “hair and beard had been brown, well streaked with grey. Now they had gone white as snow.” Here’s the operative quote about him, from a Catleyn chapter of ACOK:
Lightly she kissed his hand. The skin was warm, blue veins branching like rivers beneath his pale translucent skin. Outside the greater rivers flowed, the Red Fork and the Tumblestone, and they would flow forever, but not so the rivers in her father’s hand. Too soon that current would grow still.
The three forks of the River Trident are, from North to South, Green, Blue, and Red. Most people I know tend to see those as the three main branches of magic; greenseer, ice, and fire. Riverrun sits at the junction of the Red Fork and the Tumblestone River, which is even easier to interpret – the red fork is a river of blood, and a tumbling stone is a meteor, so the message here is of a river of bleeding stones. That’s where fire magic comes from, sure enough. The signature Tully look however, passed on to Robb, Sansa, and Bran, is a merging of ice and fire: red, kissed-by-fire hair and blue eyes. It’s the same with Hoster Tully’s blue veins being compared to the Red Fork river outside – it’s an ice and fire unity, or we might even say it’s showing a fire-to-ice transformation. Hoster’s pale skin is veined with blue, like all the chilly white marble at ice moon locations, and yet it is warm to the touch, as he’s dying and has a fever.
Finally, I’ll add that the Tully funeral rites involve both drowning in the river and burning, so basically everything about the Tully symbolism, right down to their red, silver, and blue sigil, reflects a blend of ice and fire. They’ve even got a Blackfish with an obsidian fish for a cape clasp! He lives in the Eyrie too, so he’s a dragonglass Blackfish locked in ice.
Lord Denys Mallister of the Night’s Watch has a “beard as white as snow.” He’s the commander of the Shadow Tower, and has blue grey eyes. The idea of a snow-bearded Night’s Watchmen is certainly familiar to us, we can say that much. The main thing I associate with House Mallister and their eagle is that they seem to play the part of the eagle in the Prometheus myth – the one who eats him anew every day. The Mallisters are basically dedicated to opposing and battling the Ironborn, and of course the hero of the Ironborn is the Promethean figure known as the Grey King – so you have the fire-stealer and the eagle, set to oppose one another for all time. This is made more evident by the fact that Denys ends up in a fierce competition with Cotter Pyke of the Iron Islands to be the next Lord Commander. We also see the eagle and Prometheus myth acted out when Jon is attacked by Orell’s eagle:
Jon turned at the sudden sound of wings. Blue-grey feathers filled his eyes, as sharp talons buried themselves in his face. Red pain lanced through him sudden and fierce as pinions beat round his head. He saw the beak, but there was no time to get a hand up or reach for a weapon. Jon reeled backward, his foot lost the stirrup, his garron broke in panic, and then he was falling. And still the eagle clung to his face, its talons tearing at him as it flapped and shrieked and pecked. The world turned upside down in a chaos of feathers and horseflesh and blood, and then the ground came up to smash him.
The blue-grey eagle is a match for the eagle of House Mallister and the blue-grey eyes of Lord Denys, and Jon is of course the Prometheus figure. The eagle is doing a fairly good job of eating Jon here, which makes the myth come to life.
So what does this mean? Well, the blue grey eagle symbolism seems to belong to the same family as icy comets or ice moons meteors, and to the Others and white swords and the like. The flaming swords wielding by Brienne and Jaime in Jaime’s weirwood stump dream, for instance, are described as burning with “pale flame” and “silvery-blue flame.” So in terms of Lord Denys, he’s a man with icy, Other-like symbolism who serves the Night’s Watch with distinction… and a snow-beard. This is very basic, recognizable “good Other” symbolism. Think of him as analogous to Coldhands, essentially. And hey, now that I think about it, I think we’ve solved the puzzle of what is beneath Coldhands’ scarf: a big, fat, centuries-old snowbeard.
And though the eagle is attacking Jon here, what it’s doing symbolically is representing the opening of Jon’s third eye, just as the three-eyed crow pecks Bran’s forehead to open his third eye. That’s almost like Jon – or the frozen Other baby archetype, really – awakening to the powers of ice magic in his blood via magical transformation. That’s something that would have to happen at some point if our stolen Other baby / Eldric / good-other archetype used ice magic to build the Wall, and so many of our snow-beard figures we’ve looked at so far show clues about being able to use ice magic, or they show a combination of weirwood symbolism and ice magic symbolism.
The next snow beard is grand maester Pycelle, whom I’ll admit, I don’t really have anything for at the moment. Feel free to chime in if you have any ideas. But then there’s this guy at the Kingsmoot, Erik Ironmaker, who is one “L” short of being “Elrik Ironmaker”:
“Me!” a deep voice boomed, and once more the crowd parted.
The speaker was borne up the hill in a carved driftwood chair carried on the shoulders of his grandsons. A great ruin of a man, twenty stones heavy and ninety years old, he was cloaked in a white bearskin. His own hair was snow white as well, and his huge beard covered him like a blanket from cheeks to thighs, so it was hard to tell where the beard ended and the pelt began.
There’s the snow beard and snow bear skin paired again, as with the one-eyed Mors Crowfood and his brother, and once again I’d say the symbolism here serves a similar purpose of implying the archetype as a magic user. The driftwood chair reads like a stand-in for a weirwood throne, especially considering the implication of Grey King have a weirwood throne. The other driftwood throne we hear of is on the Isle of Driftmark, supposedly given by the Merling King to he first Verlaryon, and again all the symbolism there is about blood-of-the-dragon people becoming greenseers. One other note on Elrick Ironmaker: Euron marries him to Asha in absentia, so now he’s a moon maider-stealer, and of course with a name like “Ironmaker,” you know his weapon of choice is a huge warhammer. Finally, his booming voice reminds of the fact that Ser Denys Mallister was born beneath the Booming Tower at Seagard, and Tormund’s voice booms when he hugs Jon Snow one time.
Ok, well forgive me if I indulged a bit on the snow-beard symbolism – I just love Edrick Snowbeard, and Mors Crowfood and Erik Ironmaker are two of my favorite bit characters as well. To be honest, the Edrick Snowbeard section was originally only two paragraphs, but once I started looking at all the characters with snow-beards and saw that they all fit the archetype, I figured I’d be holding out on you guys if I didn’t include all that… and I’d never hold out on you guys, you all know that.
Alright, so far our look at the historical Edrics, Elrics, and Ulricks of House Dayne and Stark has built the following composite picture: our Eldric figure commands ice magic (which we can think of as frozen dragon magic), built the Wall, wields either Dawn (the original Ice) or a “Black Sword” (Black Ice), has a snowy beard (chuckles), seems to be a skinchanger or greenseer, and has a brother named Brandon – and probably a father or uncle too. That’s a good start, but let’s speak of the living and focus a bit more closely on Edric “Ned” Dayne for a moment, who seems like something of an immaculate conception of raw symbolism.
Milk Brother from an Other Mother
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Edric “Ned” Dayne is quite the fellow. He isn’t technically rescued or abducted from his parents, at least not in the dramatic sense, however at age seven he was sent to squire with Beric Dondarrion when his aunt, Allyria, was betrothed to Beric. This means that, like our other stolen Other babies, he’s growing up with a different family than his natural one. It also means that Beric would have become Ned’s uncle! Taking Ned as his squire also places Beric in a father figure role to young Ned, which reminds us immediately of the general idea of that Azor Ahai, Night’s King, and the last hero may be separate people who descend from one another.
Beric, who “took” Ned away from his real family and becomes like a new father, would Ned Dayne’s rescuer figure, and it’s not hard to see Beric in that role, what with his flaming sword and symbolic weirwood affiliations. Beric is implied as a undead greenseer version of the flaming sword hero, much as Jon may become. Beric is a burning straw man figure – a King of Winter, in other words, drawing on the real-world King of Winter / wicker man legend – who parallels the burning scarecrow brothers in Jon’s Azor Ahai dream. All of this implies Beric as being aligned with the Watch and Jon and the greenseers and the Kings of Winter, and indeed, he was sent out on his original mission by none other than Ned Stark.
Edric Dayne is a bit young to carry Dawn yet, but squiring for Beric is probably good practice. I hope you thought it was cool that Beric was almost Edric Dayne’s uncle, because if so, you’re going to think it’s even cooler when you stop to realize that Ser Arthur Dayne was also Edric Dayne’s uncle! How’s that for having cool uncles? Arthur died before Ned was born, but it can’t be a coincidence that Edric Dayne of all people has two magic sword heroes for uncles – one an undead, Azor Ahai type with a flaming sword, the other dressed up in snow white, Otherish armor with a glowing sword as pale as milkgalsss… that again reminds of the swords and symbolism of the Others.
Edric Dayne squiring for Beric actually compares very well to another rescued Night’s Queen baby, Theon, acting as Ned’s squire. Theon notably serves up Ice to Ned when he beheads Gared in the first chapter of AGOT – that’s important because it’s the role Theon is first presented to us in – a stolen child who is Ned’s squire. As for Edric Dayne having Arthur Dayne and Beric for uncles, well, that compares very well to Jon Snow, most significant of all Night’s Queen babies, whose uncle is of course our beloved Ned.
Think about it this way: Edric Dayne has two magic sword uncles, one with a white ice sword and one with a fire sword, but Jon’s uncle Ned combines both ideas, having taken Dawn from Arthur Dayne, and I can certainly see Ned’s Valyrian steel Ice correlating to Beric’ flaming sword (because remember, Oathkeeper and Widow’s Wail have crossguards which flame gold). Jon’s aunt also has a huge black dragon, that’s pretty cool, and perhaps a bit of important symbolism.
Jon also squires for someone important – the Old Bear, Geor Mormont, who is the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Jon is also implied as an honorary son to the Lord Commander when Mormont gives him his family sword, Longclaw, which would have gone to his actual son, Jorah, had he not dishonored himself. In the sense that the legend says Night’s King was a man who lead the watch – though we question that, obviously – the stolen NK baby would be the son of a Lord Commander, like Jon as Mormont’s adopted son. Mormont leading the Watch also compares well to Beric leading the Brotherhood without Banners, or to Ned leading his grey shadow wraiths with shadowswords at the Tower of Joy. All of these heroic figures have stolen Other babies as squires and nephews, and all follow the old gods in a sense: Ned and Lord Commander Mormont worship the Old Gods, and Beric is implied as a greenseer by his weirwood throne and weirwood cave.
It’s possible I should have pointed this out already, but if Night’s King was the brother of Brandon the Breaker Stark, and if Brandon the Breaker was the last hero who stole the baby from Night’s King and Queen, then Brandon would have been rescuing his own nephew, as Ned was at the Tower of Joy. Heck, it’s possible Night’s Queen could have been related to the Starks or the Azor Ahai people as well… but that’s another question entirely.
Returning to Edric Dayne in particular, his physical description is certainly interesting:
“Ned had big blue eyes, so dark that they looked almost purple. And his hair was a pale blond, more ash than honey.”
Ash blond hair basically looks like very desaturated gold hair, meaning that it is paler, almost silvery-tan looking. By way of comparison to other Targaryens, Ned Dayne is a good match for Egg from Dunk and Egg (Aegon IV Targaryen). The first description of Egg, from The Hedge Knight, sounds like this:
“He had blue eyes, Dunk saw, very dark, almost purple. His bald head made them seem huge, somehow.”
Ned has “big blue eyes, so dark that they looked almost purple,” while Egg has “huge” “blue eyes” which were “very dark, almost purple.” This description of Egg is from The Sworn Sword:
Egg had big eyes, and somehow his shaven head made them look even larger. In the dimness of the lamplit cellar they looked black, but in better light their true color could be seen: deep and dark and purple. Valyrian eyes, thought Dunk. In Westeros, few but the blood of the dragon had eyes that color, or hair that shone like beaten gold and strands of silver woven all together.
We see more or less the exact same coloration in the eyes of Young Griff a.k.a. fake-Aegon VI a.k.a. fAegon Blackfyre, who has eyes which are dark blue in daylight, purple by the light of dusk, and black in lamplight. There are also a few Targaryens which have some degree of blueness to their eyes, such as Valarr Targaryen, who has “cool blue eyes,” while Rhaegar’s are also called indigo, which is of course a dark blue-purple. It’s also worth mentioning the people of Lys, because in TWOIAF it says that “The blood of Valyria still runs strong in Lys, where even the smallfolk oft boast pale skin, silver-gold hair, and the purple, lilac, and pale blue eyes of the dragonlords of old.”
In other words, the hypothetical latent dragonlord genes of House Dayne seem to have come through pretty strong in the person of young Ned: our Dayne-named-after-a-Stark also bears the hallmarks of the dragonlords! If he walked into the Red Keep in the heyday of House Targaryen, he’d fit right in. However, look again – blue eyes and pale hair effectively bends his Dayne-dragonlord looks to resembling an Other. Of course, the idea of a dragonlord who looks a bit Otherish fits the rescued Other baby archetype to a T. This is just like Jon being the “good Other,” a snow-affiliated blood of the dragon person. Needless to say, the correlation between House Dayne pale sword / white star symbolism and the symbolism of the Others as cold falling star beings with pale swords is well established, so anyone from House Dayne would be predisposed to icy Others symbolism, even if they don’t join the ‘Sacred Order of White Shadow Knights’ known as the Kingsguard, as Arthur Dayne does.
Ned Dayne also has more specific icy symbolism applied to him. One thing he tells Arya about himself is that he had the same wetnurse at Starfall, Wylla, that Jon Snow had when Ned stopped at Starfall with baby Jon after the Tower of Joy. This relationship is expressed by Edric as Jon being his “milk brother.” That’s pretty cool because it draws a direct comparison between Edric and Jon, and placing them at the same ‘teat’ and calling them ‘brothers’ after a fashion makes them both ice moon children. I think it’s safe to think about Wylla as an ice moon maiden, for two reasons: first, the name Wylla seems like just another variant on the Lyanna / Lya / Lysa / Alyssa / Alannys name tree, and second, Wylla is actually the cover story for Jon’s parentage lie! Ned tells Robert that Jon’s mother is named Wylla, and when Ned Dayne mentions Wylla while telling his ‘me and Jon and milk brothers’ story, Arya asks him who Wylla is and he says “Jon Snow’s mother. He never told you? She’s served us for years and years. Since before I was born.” In other words, If Edric and Jon are milk brothers, the milk they are drinking is the ice moon kind.
Milk brothers also sounds like Others talk, since the Others are a effectively brotherhood of beings with milk-white skin and bones like milkglass. According to my theory, the Others would indeed be the brothers of the stolen Other baby, in a very real sense – and therefore you can see the Others as the long-lost brothers all of House Stark, with Jon being the focal point of that symbolism. Or as Emilio Camacho Erice from YouTube put it, the stolen Other baby and the Others are “brothers from an-Other mother.” I’m a little embarrassed I didn’t think of that one last time, but Emilio had my back so we are all good. The role of the rescued other baby is that of “milk brother” to the Others.
As a final comparison between Edric Dayne and Jon, I will again point out that Beric’s Brotherhood Without Banners seems to be a symbolic stand-in for the Night’s Watch. The Brotherhood emerging form the weirwood cave and seeking guidance from a weirwood goddess inside a weirwood grove at the High Heart correlates perfectly to the origins of the Night’s Watch being tied to the children of the forest, the Night’s Watch saying their vows before heart trees, and to my green zombie Night’s Watchmen theory, which entails the dead companions of the last hero being resurrected through weirwood magic to become Other-killing zombies – most likely in front of heart trees. Beric leads his band with a flaming sword, while the the Lord Commanders of the Night’s Watch sometimes possess Valyrian steel (Mormont, Jon, and probably Bloodraven if he took Dark Sister with him to the Wall) and Jon dreams of defending the Wall with a burning red sword… surrounded by burning scarecrow brothers who correlate perfectly to Beric, a scarecrow knight animated by fire.
In other words, Edric Dayne joining the Brotherhood under Beric is very comparable to Jon joining the Night’s Watch. Jon Snow also seem to basically combine the symbolism of Edric Dayne’s two uncles, even more than Ned does, since Jon has a Valyrian steel sword with a “pale stone” pommel which burns red in his dream and runs with morning light twice in real life. Beric’s fire wight status seems likely to be a foreshadowing of Jon’s resurrected status.
Edric Dayne has apparently left the Brotherhood Without Banners after Beric passed his flame of life to Stoneheart, which kind of makes sense, since he was Beric’s squire. He probably returned home to Starfall, though we don’t know for certain, and I think all of this might correlate to Jon leaving the Night’s Watch to return to Winterfell after he is resurrected. We’ll have to see what Ned Dayne is up to and where he turns up in TWOW, and I’d expect everything he does to drip with symbolic import. I’d love to see him take part in slaying Darkstar and taking back Dawn, if indeed that’s a plotline that is going to happen.
There’s one more living Edric in the story of course, though he’s neither Stark nor Dayne, and that’s Edric Storm, the bastard son of Robert Baratheon. Edric Storm is famously smuggled away from Stannis and Melisandre and a fate involving blood magic and human sacrifice by Davos, Maester Pylos, and a few others. Although Edric is Stannis’s nephew instead of his son, and also not a baby, it’s still a pretty strong echo of the main idea of stealing a child from Night’s King and Queen before it could be used in a magic ritual. As we know, Stannis is a Night’s King figure and Mel is a temperature-inverted Night’s Queen in many respects, and they want to use sacrifice Edric to wake a dragon from stone, which is kind of the fire equivalent to sacrificing a baby to make an Other.
Davos, playing the Samwell / Ned role, smuggles Edric away to save him from his fate, a great parallel to Gilly’s Monster and even Jon, because the whole reason Lyanna made Ned swear to hide Jon’s Targaryen bloodline was to keep him safe from Robert, who was trying to exterminate House Targaryen at the time.
Edric’s parents are Stannis’s brother King Robert and Delena Florent – and you will recall from our discussion of Selyse that House Florent’s sigil has that ring of twelve blue flowers which remind us so much of Lyanna’s crown of blue winter roses. That’s what you call a home run – any Florent maiden can be a Night’s Queen figure due to their sigil, making Edric a blue-eyed, son-of-the-Night’s Queen figure. For that matter, Robert can be viewed as a usurper, which is the defining role of the Bloodstone Emperor, and Night’s King as well. Therefore, when Davos smuggles him away from a different set of Night’s King and Queen figures to save his life, it sure seems like another match for today’s theory.
The origins of House Baratheon actually shouldn’t be overlooked here, because they are tied to a marriage between the blood of the dragon and the blood of the First Men. During Aegon’s Conquest, Orrys Baratheon, a suspected bastard brother of Aegon, married into the House of Durrandon, the fabled line of Storm Kings, by taking to wife the daughter of the last Storm King, Argella Durrandon. House Baratheon has had two intermarriages with House Targaryen since then, the most recent of which involved Robert’s Targaryen grandmother. In a roundabout way, this expresses the same symbolism of Stark and Dayne – a union of the blood of the dragon and the blood of the First Men.
Although Eldric is being rescued from Stannis and not by Stannis, it’s noteworthy that Edric Storm has a flaming sword guy for an uncle… just like Edric Dayne has a flaming sword guy for an almost-uncle and a Sword of the Morning for a real Uncle, and like Ned is Jon’s uncle, and so on. If we can ever find Thoros’s nephew, I’m sure he’ll have stolen Other baby symbolism as well, ha ha.
Now if you stop and think about it, the simple fact that Martin has repeated this ‘son of Night’s King and Queen’ symbolism and stolen Other baby symbolism with Edric Storm is telling. Finding five different Eldric name variants among Stark and Dayne makes a ton of sense, as these Houses already fit the last hero / Night’s King mythology, as we’ve seen. Edric Storm, however, isn’t a Stark or Dayne – but his name is one letter away from Eldric Shadowchaser’s first name. That is a REALLY strong clue that the Eldric Shadowchaser name itself is indeed tied to the ‘son of Night’s Queen’ figure.
In fact, Edric Storm ‘s name is even more closely connected to Elric of Melnibone, because Elric of Melnibone can also be named after his sword and is sometimes referred to as “Elric Stormbringer.” Elric Stormbringer, Edric Storm – it’s pretty great. There’s a funny passage about Edric’s name which highlights his stormy nature in ASOS:
“You are making me angry, Davos. I will hear no more of this bastard boy.”
“His name is Edric Storm, sire.”
“I know his name. Was there ever a name so apt? It proclaims his bastardy, his high birth, and the turmoil he brings with him. Edric Storm. There, I have said it. Are you satisfied, my lord Hand?”
“Edric—” he started.
“—is one boy! He may be the best boy who ever drew breath and it would not matter. My duty is to the realm.”
He may be the best boy who ever drew breath! Why? Because he has the blood of the Melniboneans in his veins! The blood of fallen Numenor, the blood of the Dunedain! The blood of the dragon and the blood of the Others!
And Stannis wants to kill him! It’s actually a very Night’s King thing to do, of course. Don’t @me, @BryndenBFish.
At the risk of stating the obvious, it’s important to realize that Edric Storm, as a symbolic smuggled Night’s Queen baby, is analogous to Jon, who is the most important smuggled Night’s Queen baby. Jon Snow, like Edric Storm, is a kind of ‘royal bastard’ raised with the so-called “legitimate offspring,” and for what it’s worth, Jon and Edric’s last names combine to make “snow-storm,” ha ha ha. That may be more than a joke though, because we saw the idea of the Eldric figure being someone who could wield ice against the Others with Edrick Snowbeard building the outer wall of Winterfell, and with all snowbeard figures who manifest greenseer and one-eyed sorcerer symbolism. In general terms, when we see the idea of a heroic figure wielding ice against the Others, we should think of the Watch using “frozen fire” to kill the Others, of Coldhands, a cold wight playing on team living, and of course we should think of Jon, armored in black ice with a burning red sword.
I’m not sure if this is intentional or not, but a humorous parallel to Gilly’s Monster (the actual stolen Other baby) is created when Edric Storm meets Davos on Dragonstone in the garden and explains that “we were playing monsters and maidens. I was the monster.” Coldhands is labelled a monster by Bran (he even says “Your monster, Brandon Stark” as a way of saying “at your service”). Most importantly, Jon is going to be fairly similar to Coldhands after he is resurrected; whether Jon is a fire wight or an ice wight, he will be a monster too. In this I think he will be echoing the last hero, who would be the original monster.
There’s a fun link between Edric Dayne and Edric Storm involving catching a cold., and this find comes to us courtesy of another friend and collaborator, Unchained. When Davos returns to Dragonstone in ASOS, Stannis tell shim that Edric Storm is sick, and that Maester Pylos has been leeching him. After Davos says that he hopes Edric will recover soon..
Stannis waved a hand, dismissing his concern. “It is a chill, no more. He coughs, he shivers, he has a fever. Maester Pylos will soon set him right. By himself the boy is nought, you understand, but in his veins flows my brother’s blood. There is power in a king’s blood, she says.”
Interesting that the potential magical power of Edric’s blood is remarked upon here in the same quote about him being sick – in particular, he’s got an ice and fire thing happening – he both shivers and has a fever. It’s that special ice and fire blood! It’s potent. It’s the same for Edric Dayne when he catches sick after getting rained on at the High Heart:
It rained all through that night, and come morning Ned, Lem, and Watty the Miller awoke with chills. Watty could not keep his breakfast down, and young Ned was feverish and shivering by turns, with skin clammy to the touch.
From very hot to very cold by turns – once again the ice and fire theme is depicted. This whole bit is the sort of needless detail that seems obviously injected for symbolism – there’s really nothing gained in the plot Edric Dayne catching this nasty fever chill. You could argue Edric Storm catching cold gives him an excuse to be leeched, but Mel could have that done anyway I would think. You may also recall the snowbearded and blue-veined Hoster Tully, whose skin was warm to the touch with fever.
So if our Edrics catching fever chills is meaningful, what does it mean? Well probably, it’s just a general clue about this archetype being an ice / fire character, as Jon is. More specifically, it would seem to compare to Jon growing hard and cold at the Wall, as Bran says, which alludes to Jon dying and being resurrected – quite possibly as a conscious cold wight like Coldhands. In the scenario that the rescued Night’s King baby grows up to become the last hero, then the green zombie theory would suggest that he did indeed become zombified and wighted. Which, as we’ve seen, is tantamount to being turned in to a monster – Just as Edric Storm plays the monster.
Alright, well, that does it for our Eldric Shadowchaser section, but we aren’t done with the archetype. I’m not sure if we’ll ever see Edric Storm again – I’d like to think we will – but I bet we will be seeing more from Edric Dayne, Jon Snow’s milk bother. If Edric Storm does show up, he and Gendry might end up as the best candidates to continue to line of House Baratheon.
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Davos whatnow? Yeah, that’s right! It’s Davos time!
Now, I hate to do this to you, but I have to tell you that Eldric Shadowchaser may be an inherited title just as Azor Ahai may be. I mean, we’ve kind of been beating around that bush as it is, but I wanted to say it flat out. I know it would be nice to pin everything down all nice and neat, but time and time again, no matter the archetype, we see that father and son often repeat the same symbolism. For example, in the very chapter that Davos plays the rescuer role, smuggling ice queen baby Edric Storm away to safety, Davos himself is also suggested to us as an Eldric Shadowchaser figure! Then, in ADWD, Davos’s son is implied as Eldric Shadowchaser too, and in the exact same way that Davos was! It’s an Eldric Shadowchaser Russian doll trick. Eldric-ception.
Alright, well first things first, let me show you what I mean, starting with the passage that establishes Davos as a shadowchaser. I’m going to quote the paragraph before and after the key line, because they’re written beautifully and contain a few other clues about what’s going on here. Davos is returning to the chamber of the painted table to await Stannis’s judgement, and note the Morningstar language here:
The steps seemed longer and steeper than before, or perhaps it was just that he was tired. The Mother never made me for tasks like this. He had risen too high and too fast, and up here on the mountain the air was too thin for him to breathe. As a boy he’d dreamed of riches, but that was long ago. Later, grown, all he had wanted was a few acres of good land, a hall to grow old in, a better life for his sons. The Blind Bastard used to tell him that a clever smuggler did not overreach, nor draw too much attention to himself. A few acres, a timbered roof, a “ser” before my name, I should have been content. If he survived this night, he would take Devan and sail home to Cape Wrath and his gentle Marya. We will grieve together for our dead sons, raise the living ones to be good men, and speak no more of kings.
The Chamber of the Painted Table was dark and empty when Davos entered; the king would still be at the nightfire, with Melisandre and the queen’s men. He knelt and made a fire in the hearth, to drive the chill from the round chamber and chase the shadows back into their corners. Then he went around the room to each window in turn, opening the heavy velvet curtains and unlatching the wooden shutters. The wind came in, strong with the smell of salt and sea, and pulled at his plain brown cloak.
So there’s the shadow-chaser line – Davos is chasing the shadows into their corners with fire. In the first paragraph, he is spelled out as a Mornigstar figure, once who reaches too high and then has a great fall, like the classic Lucifer or Prometheus. This language implies Davos as an Azor Ahai figure reaching for the fire of the gods, and now we see him… using fire to “chase the shadows.” At the same time, he’s also using fire to “drive the cold from the room,” which implies the shadows as cold ones. The scene continues with Davos looking to the stars:
At the north window, he leaned against the sill for a breath of the cold night air, hoping to catch a glimpse of Mad Prendos raising sail, but the sea seemed black and empty as far as the eye could see. Is she gone already? He could only pray that she was, and the boy with her. A half moon was sliding in and out amongst thin high clouds, and Davos could see familiar stars. There was the Galley, sailing west; there the Crone’s Lantern, four bright stars that enclosed a golden haze. The clouds hid most of the Ice Dragon, all but the bright blue eye that marked due north. The sky is full of smugglers’ stars. They were old friends, those stars; Davos hoped that meant good luck.
Ok, so going back, Mad Prendos is the ship carrying Edric Storm to safety. “Prendo” is a word found on both Latin and Spanish which means something along the lines of “captivate, capture, to grasp or take hold of,” etc. Mad Prendos, therefore, is kind of like “mad collector” or “mad capturer,” or even “mad smuggler,” if you will, which fits the drama play perfectly. This probably refers to characters like the Mad Huntsman or Coldhands (who helps Sam and Gilly rescue baby Monster) or the Thing that Came in the Night who captures the ‘Prentice Boys. Davos himself is a mad collector by way of his being a career smuggler and pirate, and he remarks on the fact that what he’s done to save Edric Storm may result in him not surviving the night. Essentially, Mad Prendos the capturer is an extension of Davos the capturer.
Next Davos breathes in the “cold night air” and looks to the northern stars for reassurance. These are “smuggler’s stars” and old friends for Davos Shadowchaser, the quintessential smuggler! He sees the Galley sailing West like the mad Prendos is, which simply makes this celestial galley a mirror of Mad Prendos, and thus Davos. The Crone’s Lantern is sacred to Davos, a faithful adherent to the Seven who was “taught to pray to the Crone for wisdom” as a boy. It goes without saying the stand-out is the Ice Dragon – the idea of Davos and the Ice Dragon being “old friends” fits perfectly with our idea of the Eldric archetype as a frozen dragon or ice dragon figure. I can’t imagine it’s an accident George has Davos label the northern stars as smuggler’s stars and friends, given that this is his shadow-chaser scene.
However, taken in context with Davos have just used fire chase the shadows and drive the chill from the room, it seems almost paradoxical to see him then let in the cold night air and revel in the sight of the ice dragon. But if Eldric Shadowchaser was a frozen dragon / ice dragon figure who fights the Others – which is what he seems to be according to all the symbolism we have looked at in the last two episodes – then it actually makes perfect sense to see the Shadowchaser figure allied with the ice dragon, yet chasing cold shadows with fire.
I think Jon’s Azor Ahai dream is super instructive here. In that dream, Jon defends the Wall, armored in black ice and wielding a sword that burns red, which Jon identifies as Longclaw, a Valyrian steel sword. Jon’s an icy fellow with a black sword that burns red – an ice and fire harmonization, in other words, which fits the Eldric / stolen Other baby archetype. His foes scuttle up the ice like spiders and need to be killed “again,” implying both ice spiders and the army of the undead coming from the north and Jon being the one to meet them. So, perhaps we can see Davos Shadowchaser implied along the same lines – an icy figure with a black sword who fights the Others with fire.
Oh, but I’m getting ahead of myself – yes, Davos does indeed have a black sword in this scene, and it’s one we’ve seen before:
But when he lowered his gaze from the sky to the castle ramparts, he was not so certain. The wings of the stone dragons cast great black shadows in the light from the nightfire. He tried to tell himself that they were no more than carvings, cold and lifeless. This was their place, once. A place of dragons and dragonlords, the seat of House Targaryen. The Targaryens were the blood of old Valyria …
The wind sighed through the chamber, and in the hearth the flames gusted and swirled. He listened to the logs crackle and spit. When Davos left the window his shadow went before him, tall and thin, and fell across the Painted Table like a sword.
As much as Davos fears these “cold and lifeless” stone dragons – which he refers to as “frozen dragons” earlier in the chapter while smuggling Edric Storm off the island – consider the symbolism of what is happening here. Davos and the frozen black stone dragons are doing the exact same thing – casting black shadows in the light of a nightfire, with Davos even having lit the fire in Chamber of the Painted Table himself.
Similarly, Davos is fearful and reluctant about the shadowbaby thing, but nevertheless, Davos did enable the birth of the shadowbaby beneath Storm’s End, rowing Melisandre into the cave under cover of night, which nobody else could have done. He was practically the midwife! Fittingly, the shadowsword that Davos casts over Westeros here is a direct call-out to the shadowsword of the shadowbaby in Renly’s tent, which as we know, is called that exactly, a “shadowsword.”
It’s also a match for the shadowswords carried by Ned’s grey wraiths at the Tower of Joy, and of course all of this shadowsword business refers to smoke dark Valryrian steel swords, dragonglass, and most importantly, the Night’s Watch, who are “black shadows” and “swords in the darkness.” Like the Watch and the shadowbabies with burning hearts, Davos pairs his shadowsword with the use of fire as a weapon – and this is also like Jon being armored in black ice with his black sword burning red, of course. Ergo, I think we should see Davos here in the mold of the Eldic shadowchaser archetype, using Valyrian steel or dragonglass against the cold shadows – the Others. Davos does end up convincing Stannis to go north to help the Night’s Watch, after all, and when last we saw him, he was even being sent to rescue a Stark child, Rickon.
Armed with his shadowsword and a bit of fire and ready to chase the shadows, Davos is basically like an honorary Night’s Watchmen or honorary Stark, a match for our other rescuer figures. There’s Ned, a Stark; Sam, a Night’s Watchman; Theon who calls himself “a Stark at last” right before he rescues Jeyne posing as Arya; there’s Beric, who parallels both Bloodraven and the fiery scarecrow brother Night’s Watchmen, and whose Brotherhood without Banners parallels the Night’s Watch… and who captures / rescues Arya, a Stark child… and now that I think about it, Beric and Thoros were both front and center at the assault on Pyke where Ned captured and collected Theon. As you can see, all of our rescuer figures are affiliated with the Night’s Watch or the Starks, either literally or symbolically.
To clinch Davos as being Stark-affiliated, consider this: Davos’s wife’s name is Marya, which is just Arya with an “m” in front of it. This may have been done to imply Davos Shadowchaser as marrying a Stark maiden / marrying into the Stark family, just as Eldric Shadowchaser might have. Who knows, maybe Arya will marry another Eldric figure, Ned Dayne, when it is all said and done – wouldn’t that be something. She’s more often linked to a future romance with Gendry, who gets stolen Other baby honorable mention since he was a bastard who never knew his father who was rescued from death by the Night’s Watch – and he also has ice-blue eyes. Like Ned Dayne, Gendry has joined the Brotherhood without banners, who again are Night’s Watch analogs, and before that, Gendry was grabbed by Yoren as a Night’s Watch recruit and smuggled out of King’s Landing before he could be killed by Cersei.
So, getting back to the last quote, you can see why it makes sense for Davos to be old friends with the Ice Dragon, and why it makes sense to see Davos placed in parallel with the cold, black, frozen stone dragons, with both casting shadows in nightfires in the same scene. A frozen black dragon that is a stone is basically synonymous with dragonglass, a primary symbol of Jon and the Eldric archetype. So too for the ice dragon symbol, which is heavily associated with Jon. Fun fact: there are nine times the phrase “ice dragon” appears in the five main books: twice in Bran chapters, SIX times in Jon chapters, and this once for Davos.
Above all, the overarching theme of the stolen Other turned Stark is the idea of unifying ice and fire, and to be more specific, unifying the blood of the Other and the blood of the dragon. These ideas are expressed by the symbols of the ice dragon and dragonglass as frozen fire, and that’s probably the best way to summarize what Davos does in this scene. He’s old friends with the ice dragon and parallels the frozen stone dragons, but uses fire and black swords to chase the shadows and drive out the cold.
There’s one other appearance of the shadowsword which I haven’t mentioned yet, one which happens to be very similar to this Davos scene. It’s actually found at Oldtown, where the High Tower’s “shadow cut the city like a sword.” The Hightower sigil is a white tower crowned with flame on a smoke grey field, and its words are “we light the way” – and yet here is the tower, casting a shadow sword! This basically equates the white lighthouse tower with Davos himself. That actually makes sense; Eldric Shadowchaser is a light-bringer, right?
Thinking of the Eldric figure as a white lighthouse makes me think of the possibility of Jon being reborn with white hair and potentially being animated with ice magic like Coldhands… and still wielding a black Valyrian steel sword, just as the white Hightower lighthouse casts the shadowsword, and just as Davos Shadowchaser casts the shadowsword. This kinda sounds like the good Other symbolism again – white ice dragon person with a black dragon sword – something which we’ll also see when we look at the later part of Jaime Lannister’s arc.
As a matter of fact, there have only been three Kingsguard who ever wielded Valyrian steel swords: Jaime, if only for a moment in between when Tywin gave him Oathkeeper and when he gave it to Brienne; Ser Gwayne Corbray of the Kingsguard of King Daeron II, who wielded Lady Forlorn, and a fellow known as Aemon the Dragonknight, who wielded Dark Sister. Not coincidentally, when Jon Snow reminisces over his childhood, when he and Robb would pretend to be great heroes while play fighting, the first name Jon remembers calling out for himself is Aemon the Dragonknight. Not only does Jon claim Aemon the Dragonknight – he also grows close to maester Aemon Targaryen, who tells Jon he was named for Aemon the Dragonknight, a blood of the dragon hero locked in snow white armor who wielded black dragon sword. An ice dragon with a black ice sword, and that sounds like Jon. The other people we know of who wielded Dark Sister are ice dragon or white dragon figures too – Visenya Targaryen and Bloodraven, whose sigil is a white dragon breathing red fire on a smoke-grey field… which is actually very similar to the Hightower sigil!
Ser Gwanye Corbray, the Kingsguard who wielded Lady Forlorn, adds to this symbolism, as it turns out. House Corbray has a great sigil: three black ravens in flight clutching red hearts on a white field. Three blood-ravens locked in ice! Kidding aside, this sigil would seem to be a depiction of black meteor hearts from the fire moon becoming locked in ice, with the ice represented by the white field. House Corbray hails from Hearts Home in the icy Vale, reinforcing the dragon locked in ice symbolism. Famously, Gwayne Corbray has an incredible duel with Daemon Blackfyre during the first Blackfyre rebellion, which he lost, only moments before Bloodraven’s archers slew Daemon. I think it’s cool Bloodraven and Gwayne were on the same side, teaming up to defeat Daemon Blackfyre, since the Corbray’s sigil implies Bloodravens locked in ice, and because both fit the mold of white dragon person or kingsguard ice armor person with a black dragon sword, which is itself an expression of the dragon locked in ice.
Finally, Gwayne is a green man name – it’s a call-out to Gwayne the Green Knight, to be specific. This implies the dragon locked in ice as a former green man – and that is of course entirely consistent with the dragon locked in ice figures like Jon becoming green zombies, and with the extensive green man symbolism present in so many members of the Night’s Watch, which we covered in the Sacred Order of Green Zombies series. It’s also consistent with the one-eyed symbolism and weirwood symbolism we found in most of our snowbeard figures, which also implies connections to Garth, the green men, and the weirwoods.
Now in terms of this image of a good Other in snow white armor who wields a black sword, I don’t think the point is to pick out what exact outfit the last hero actually wore. If he was smart, he would have worn white just for reasons of camouflage, but that’s just me being practical. No, the point is that showing u s a white dragon person or snow-armored person with a black sword is probably just another way of depicting the ice and fire, Others and dragons unification. Mors Crowfood, for example, has a white snowbeard and a dragonglass eye, which is not exactly the same as Aemon the Dragonknight, but it works much the same way in terms of Eldric symbolism. Ergo, the white tower crowned with red flame that sprouts a shadowsword like Davos Shadowchaser can be seen as the good Other in tower form, lighting the way with a black sword. Appropriately, it’s about to be attacked by a Night’s King figure, the blue-eyed, moon faced Euron, him and his “other” ships.
As a side note in the Hightower’s shadow cutting the city like a sword, I’ll mention that I think we can also interpret the idea of a white tower with a black shadowsword as an expression of the harmonization of opposites – like Daenerys the pale-haired silver queen with her black shadow, Drogon, or Jon, the man in black, who has a white shadow wolf at his side. Just as Venus is both Morningstar and Evenstar, we’ve been saying for a long time that Azor Ahai caused the Long Night – and yet he, or his descendant seems to have been out there fighting the Others and trying to end it, like a man trying to clean up either his own mess or that of his father or grandfather. The Black Shadow Night’s Watch and white shadow Others may represent two sides of a split that must be reconciled, and this rescued other baby-turned-Stark is probably the key to that. That certainly seems like Jon’s role, and fits with the idea of Jon being the song of ice and fire.
And that is what I make of this scene with Davos mooning over the ice dragon while using fire to chase the chilly shadows and wielding a shadowsword.
Returning to the theme of Eldric being an inherited title, it seems more than coincidental that Davos’s son, Devan, does something very similar to his father’s shadowchasing in Melisandre’s POV chapter from ADWD:
Devan fed fresh logs to the fire until the flames leapt up again, fierce and furious, driving the shadows back into the corners of the room, devouring all her unwanted dreams. The dark recedes again … for a little while. But beyond the Wall, the enemy grows stronger, and should he win the dawn will never come again. She wondered if it had been his face that she had seen, staring out at her from the flames. No. Surely not. His visage would be more frightening than that, cold and black and too terrible for any man to gaze upon and live. The wooden man she had glimpsed, though, and the boy with the wolf’s face … they were his servants, surely … his champions, as Stannis was hers.
Melisandre went to her window, pushed open the shutters. Outside the east had just begun to lighten, and the stars of morning still hung in a pitch-black sky.
These two scenes – this one here and Davos’s scene chasing the shadows – have resonance not only because of the shadow chasing, but because of the similar context of both scenes. Here’s what I mean: on one hand, we have Melisandre’s thoughts here about the war for the dawn and the champions of light and dark, including Jon Snow, and on the other hand, we have Davos’s scene, where he does the Edric-smuggling routine and then participates in a conversation with Stannis and Mel about the Prince That Was Promised and standing against the Great Other, a conversation which is ended by Stannis drawing Lightbringer. In both scenes there is celestial observation with significant symbolism: Mel sees “the stars of Morning,” while Davos regards the Ice Dragon and other northern constellations fondly. Even the locations of the two scenes, Dragonstone and Castle Black, compare well as black stone castles which are currently under the control of Stannis when these scenes occur.
Better yet, at the end of the Davos Shadowchaser scene from ASOS, Davos reads the letter from the Night’s Watch about the Fist of the First Men and the Others, and advises Stannis (with Melisandre’s support, actually) that the best way to be king was to do his duty of protecting the realm and head north. That leads to Stannis coming to Castle Black and then helping Jon prepare the Watch to chase the white shadows… whereupon Davos’s son does his own shadowchaser routine. In other words, the two scenes are linked, because one leads to the other.
And yeah, it said “driving the shadows in to their corners” instead of chasing, but I think it’s close enough given that there are so many matching elements between the two scenes, Davos and Devan are father and sun, and the “into the corners” language is identical. Besides, when Davos chased the shadows, it also says that he lit the fire to “drive the chill from the room.” Eldric Shadowchaser, Eldric Shadowdriver, what’s the difference, right?
Consider that line about devouring Melisandre’s unwanted dreams – the very dragon-like fire which leaps up fierce and furious to drive the shadows into their corners also devours Mel’s unwanted dreams. In this same chapter, only moments before these lines, Mel thinks to herself that “Sleep is a little death, dreams the whisperings of the Other, who would drag us all into his eternal night.” So, Devan’s fire is driving the shadows away and, in Melisandre’s mind, devouring the whisperings of the Great Other. That’s useful for identifying what kind of shadows are being driven away, since we have many types of shadows in the world of George Martin’s imagination. Shadows which are the whisperings of “the Other”… would clearly be Other shadows, the white shadows.
So, to sum up, we get two similar scenes with father and son doing the Eldric Shadowchaser routine, lighting fires and chasing or driving the shadows back into their corners. Both scenes are set against a meaningful symbolic backdrop of celestial observation and discussion of Azor Ahai and fighting the Others. Said another way, Davos rescues an Eldric Shadowchaser character in Edric Storm, then plays the Eldric Shadowchaser role himself, then later his son also plays the Eldric role. So like I said, it could be a title passed down, or a matter of father and son repeating the same symbolism, as with Jon and Rhaegar both repeating the dark solar king with two wives pattern, Garth the Green naming his firstborn son Garth Gardener, every Stark in the Age of Heroes being named Brandon, and so on.
Similarly, it seems like the last hero was the son of Night’s King, but characters like Jon and Waymar show us both Night’s King and last hero symbolism. Night’s King might be Azor Ahai, but he could also be Azor Ahai’s son, as I’ve said, and obviously people like Jon, Stannis, and Euron have both Azor Ahai and Night’s King symbolism. It’s almost like Azor Ahai, Night’s King, and last hero could be regarded as three phases in a cycle. This cycle could be acted out by one person going through all three phases, or by three generations of the same bloodline occupying the various phases, and work very well either way. That’s why I always hesitate to try to pin down the specifics too much, ha!
Nevertheless, it’s not really a problem where it concerns our icy origin of House Stark hypothesis – we’ve seen enough children of Night’s King and Queen figures taken from their parents and raised by someone else that we know it’s something that happened, regardless of how many generations there were between Azor Ahai and Night’s King, and regardless of whether the last hero should be regarded as the rescued Other baby or the rescuer. If we keep the focus on the escaped Night’s Queen baby archetype as we sift through all the examples of this figure looking for commonalities, things will sort themselves out.
Now, you may be scoffing at how quickly I labelled Davos an Azor Ahai reborn figure. Was that just for convenience since I want to make a point about shadowchasing? That’s a valid question, and of course, Davos and Devan aren’t the main incarnations of Azor Ahai or his son – but they do have symbolic flag markers to help us identify the roles that they are playing. Davos, for example, has the shadowsword of course, and more importantly, he undergoes a fiery death and rebirth at the Battle of the Blackwater, with plenty of smoke and salt around. We can’t break down the Battle of the Blackwater right now, but the operative line actually comes after the fact, when he’s reflecting on all the people who died there. Of the dead, he thinks
“Drowned or burned, with my sons and a thousand others, gone to make a king in hell.”
That quote is matched by the flaming chain turning the mouth of the Blackwater into “the mouth of hell” at the actual battle – a mouth of hell that Davos entered and passed through. We’ve already seen that the drowned men of the Ironborn symbolize others, and here a thousand “others” are drowned or burned to make a king in hell, who can only be Azor Ahai as a dark lord or Night’s King himself, which is more or less the same thing. .
I think this is another line about the creation of the Others being tied to Azor Ahai, and the idea of burning men turning into Others seems like more symbolism about the blood of the dragon giving rise to the Others. Most importantly, Davos goes into this mouth of hell and does indeed drown… only to come back from the dead, in a manner of speaking.
When he comes back from the dead, he returns to Dragonstone, chases the shadows, and rescues Edric Storm, and then later in ADWD, turns up in Sisterton sporting a last hero’s dozen:
“M’lord,” said the captain, “we found this man in the Belly o’ the Whale, trying to buy his way off island. He had twelve dragons on him…”
Davos brought twelve dragons with him – that’s a last hero’s mission right there. And indeed, the next place he goes after Sisterton is White Harbor, which is a clear ice moon symbol (and I’d think the idea of being in the belly of the whale, an allusion to the Biblical story of Jonah, is analogous to being locked in the ice moon as well). And that means that yes, Davos’s imprisonment at White Harbor depicts Davos becoming the dragon locked in ice. That will be the topic of our final section – Davos’s imprisonment in the Wolf’s Den.
Now, in the course of the last two episodes, we’ve mentioned every single named Sword of the Morning, except one, and bonus points if you’ve been calling this out already: it’s Ser Davos Dayne, of course, the Sword of the Morning who married Princess Nymeria! Nymeria sent Vorian Dayne, the Sword of the Evening, to the Wall, and right after, she married Davos Dayne, who we assume was related to Vorian and could well have been a brother or son. So, for what it’s worth, we can say that Davos Seaworth married Marya and Davos Dayne married Nymeria, while Arya Stark has a wolf named Nymeria… and will one day marry Edric Dayne! Haha, I promised someone a very G-rated Arya and Ned Dayne ship, so there you go. Most importantly, I think it’s safe to say that George deciding to stick a “Davos Dayne” in TWOIAF is done to enhance Davos Seaworth’s Eldric shadowchaser symbolism, just as he’s hidden all those excellent snowbeard figures in the books to help add to the larger Eldric archetype. It’s almost like making Davos an honorary Dayne, a nice counterpoint to his honorary Stark and honorary Night’s Watch symbolism.
There’s one other Davos in ASOIAF history, and that’s a legendary figure from the Age of Heroes known as Davos Dragonslayer. I’m not quite sure what to make of that, since Davos seems to be on team dragon and team ice dragon, and dead set against the Others. Perhaps this is George simply reminding us of the eternal cycle of morning and evening sword symbolism, similar to how Starks and Daynes both have morning-sword and evening-sword symbolism. I have wildly speculated that Dawn is a dragonkiller sword, just as Valyrian steel kills Others, which could fit with Davos Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. I am not, however, predicting Davos killing Viserion with Dawn, so don’t put those words in my mouth.
Perhaps the most heroic aspect of Davos’s character is found in his inner monologue. I’m referring to how, after hearing the legend of the forging of Lightbringer in the heart of Nissa Nissa, Davos thinks to himself that he would not able to kill his wife for any reason, just like me and you and every other sane person in the world. A true hero!
As for Devan, well, besides being Mel’s hearth-boy, he’s the guy who picks up Lightbringer after Stannis draws it from the fire on Dragonstone and then plants it in the sand, as I mentioned way back in Moons of Ice and Fire 2. It was actually Devan and Bryen Farring, and if you recall, House Farring has the sigil with a purple swordsman on white and a white swordsman on purple, combatant, which is basically a purple and white yin yang symbol with knights and swords that reminds us of House Dayne and the idea of two magic Lightbringer swords, as well as Venus symbolism in general. The Seaworth sigil, on the other hand, has a ship with black sails and a white “onion” which looks like a moon, which also gives us a kind of harmony of opposites thing going on.
My analysis of all this is that Devan and Bryen Farring are playing a last hero role, claiming the sword of Azor Ahai as it were, almost like Ned Dayne squiring for Beric, and I think the harmony of opposites type symbolism Devan and Bryen are showing us refers to ice and fire. That’s kind of the theme of this figure – frozen fire, a harmonization of ice and fire. To this end, Bryen Farring meets his end via “succumbing to the cold and hunger,” with his corpse subsequently being burnt. Frozen, and then burnt, perhaps meant as more ice and fire symbolism, similar to Edric Storm and Edric Dayne catching a chill and a fever at the same time.
There’s another frozen fire / dragon locked in ice clue at the burning of the Seven scene with Devan and Bryen Farring, and that’s the new sigil they wear on their doublets, and this is Davos observing his son, Devan, in ACOK:
The boy wore a cream-colored doublet with a fiery heart sewn on the breast. Bryen Farring was similarly garbed as he tied a stiff leather cape around His Grace’s neck.
Cream is a moon color (think of the Arryn sigil with it’s cream-colored moon and falcon), so the cream colored doublets with fiery hearts on the breast is kind of like a fiery heart locked inside a moon. It’s very similar to the new Karstark sigil Sigorn of Thenn takes when he marries Alys Karstark – a red and copper sunburst on a snow white field. We also interpreted that as a dragon locked in ice symbol, since Alys was playing a winter queen role in that scene and because we had a ton of “turning fire cold” symbolism there. All of the rescued Night’s Queen babies have dragon locked in ice symbolism because they all represent the seed of Night’s King, which was given Night’s Queen, who is like the ice moon. So, it makes sense to see Bryen and Davos, who are squires and or children of Azor Ahai figures, decked out in dragon-locked-in-ice outfits.
It’s much the same with the Corbray sigil with the three ravens clutching the bloody hearts on a white field – the three bloodravens locked in ice! I think we should be imagining the black ravens as carrying the fiery heart of R’hllor, which makes sense as they seem meant as meteors symbols. They also remind us of the Night’s Watch, both because ravens and crows are cousins and because of the fact that they are blood-ravens. Thinking about bloody and fiery hearts locked in ice in the context of the Night’s Watch also puts us in mind of Mel speaks of needing “men whose hearts are fire” to fight the Others, meaning the Night’s Watch, and the Night’s Watch themselves are like burning scarecrows locked in the ice of the Wall.
Even more relevant to the point of this essay is Davos’s imprisonment in the Wolf’s Den at White Harbor for a time, which is a five-alarm dragon-locked-in-ice fire.
The Wolf’s Den
This final section is brought to you by three more of our stellar Zodiac Patrons: Wyrlane Dervish, Woods Witch of the Wolfswood, earthly avatar of Celestial House Scorpio; Direliz, the Alpha Patron, a descendant of Gilbert of the Vines and Garth the Green, earthly avatar of Heavenly House Aquarius; and Lord Leobold the Victorious, the Firelion of Lancasterly Rock, earthly avatar of the Heavenly House Leo
While every ice moon city and fortresses have some sort of representation of the dragon locked in ice symbolism, White Harbor is about as good as it gets. We know that it has whitewashed stone buildings, a domed sept called The Sept of the Snows, a river called The White Knife, white marble mermaids, and so on, all of which is great ice and snow symbolism. As the Lord of White Harbor, Wyman Manderly’s titles include “Warden of the White Knife,” a loaded phrase if ever there was one. But locked away in the heart of the old city is a little old place called the Wolf’s Den, an old fortress made of black stone which predates the rest of the city. In other words, the black stone Wolf’s Den was enveloped by the white stone of White Harbor as the city grew. The Wolf’s Den has become a prison, so not only is it locked in ice, it also locks things inside it – dragon locked in ice figures like Davos, for example. We’ve seen a lot of prisons used this way, such as the sky cells of the Eyrie, the cells in the Sept of Baelor, Mance Raydar’s cold cage, the ice cells in the Wall where Jon’s body may be stored, and so on. The Wolf’s Den, however, takes the cake as far as ice moon prisons go.
Before Davos is thrown in the Wolf’s Den, he’s threatened with being thrown in the Wolf’s Den:
The pink woman pointed a plump finger down at Davos. “We want no part of any treason, you. We are good people in White Harbor, lawful, loyal people. Pour no more poison in our ears, or my good-father will send you to the Wolf’s Den.”
White Harbor is an ice moon symbol, so pouring poison into it akin to Euron pouring dark shade of the evening into his blue-eyed moon face, something we considered in Moons of Ice and Fire 4: The Long Night Was His to Rule. That poison darkness flowing into the ice moon represents the darkness of the fire moon meteor entering the ice moon, of course, and this I believe is the reason why drinking shade of the evening is like having “fingers of fire coiling around your heart,” as well as tasting like “hot blood and molten gold.” It’s a fiery drink going in, but it turns your lips blue… and if you keep drinking it long enough, you end up a cold blue shadow like the Undying.
In the Bloodstone Compendium, we saw that those black moon meteors shows many signs of being toxic or poisonous where they hit the earth, like a snakebite or a kiss from a poisonous flower, so the black meteor striking the ice moon can also be seen as a poisoning. Davos’s “poisoning” of White Harbor is a dragon locked in ice symbol, and for that crime, he’s threatened with and then served up imprisonment in the Wolf’s Den, which is another dragon locked in ice symbol. Much like the Cat’s Paw’s blade biting Cat’s Paw and Cat biting the Cat’s Paw’s paw right back, we have some sort of demented Russian doll trick of symbolism happening.
As for that Wolf’s Den, well, it’s made of black stone, like I said, and the first thing that jumps off the page when you get to this part of the chapter is that the Wolf’s Den has a jailer named Garth! He even has two wives… after a fashion.
Once Garth brought his ladies by to introduce them to the dead man. “The Whore don’t look like much,” he said, fondling a rod of cold black iron, “but when I heat her up red-hot and let her touch your cock, you’ll cry for mother. And this here’s my Lady Lu. It’s her who’ll take your head and hands, when Lord Wyman sends down word.” Davos had never seen a bigger axe than Lady Lu, nor one with a sharper edge. Garth spent his days honing her, the other keepers said.
The black iron which can be red-hot, the Whore, would be Garth’s fire moon “lady,” obviously (it’s not much to look at anymore, because it isn’t in the sky, ha ha), and Lady Lu, the huge axe, is spoken of “by the other keepers,” and Garth spends his “days” honing her, implying her as being daytime and light-associated, an axe of the morning if you will. He’s a Garth with moon wives of ice and fire, and as we’ll see in a moment, he’s quite the interesting fellow.
I’ve mentioned a few times that I am saving the weirwood related symbolism of the Others and the ice moon for later so these essays don’t go in seven directions at once, but if you’ve listened to any weirwood compendium episodes, you know that a fishing “weir” is a sort of river-damn designed to trap fish (i.e. a kind of wooden prison), and that a fishing weir can also be called a fishgarth. The word “garth” can also refer to a private, enclosed garden, very like a godswood, which leads us back to wooden prisons – the weirwoods. We’ve found a whole line of symbolism about Garth traps and weirwoods, and of course weirwoods and moons are used to symbolize one another as well, so… you may be able to see already what’s happening here with Garth being a jailer inside the ice moon – being locked in the ice moon prison is more or less synonymous with being inside the weirwoodnet, or perhaps some part of the weirwoodnet. That’s why we find White Harbor’s godswood inside the Wolf’s Den, with a jailor named Garth.
If that doesn’t immediately make sense, don’t worry, we will be coming back to the Wolf’s Den for all the greenseer stuff at a later time (don’t forget the Manderlys still consider themselves “knights of the green hand”). The basic idea is that the weirwoods are prisons or traps for greenseers, who are like Garth people. Once they have a Garth inside them, they are Garth trees as well, making Garth both the jailer and the prisoner.
As it turns out, although Davos is actually the sole prisoner here, Garth is not the only jailer:
He knew there were true dungeons down in the castle cellars—oubliettes and torture chambers and dank pits where huge black rats scrabbled in the darkness. His gaolers claimed all of them were unoccupied at present. “Only us here, Onion,” Ser Bartimus had told him. He was the chief gaoler, a cadaverous one-legged knight, with a scarred face and a blind eye. When Ser Bartimus was in his cups (and Ser Bartimus was in his cups most every day), he liked to boast of how he had saved Lord Wyman’s life at the Battle of the Trident. The Wolf’s Den was his reward.
The rest of “us” consisted of a cook Davos never saw, six guardsmen in the ground-floor barracks, a pair of washerwomen, and the two turnkeys who looked after the prisoner. Therry was the young one, the son of one of the washerwomen, a boy of ten-and-four. The old one was Garth, huge and bald and taciturn, who wore the same greasy leather jerkin every day and always seemed to have a glower on his face. His years as a smuggler had given Davos Seaworth a sense of when a man was wrong, and Garth was wrong. The onion knight took care to hold his tongue in Garth’s presence.
Ah ha! A one-eyed cadaverous fellow named Bartimus!I’ve said before that Barthogan Stark, a.k.a. Barth Blacksword, was like the evil Garth, like a frozen, northern Garth with a black sword? Well, here at the Wolf’s Den, we have a real evil Garth – call him Garth the Wrong – whose cohort is another Barth, Bartimus One Eye.
Another thing we won’t fail to notice is the last hero math: there’s Bartimus the chief goaler and the cook we don’t see (one, two), then six guardsman to make eight total, then two washerwomen and two turnkeys, of which Garth is the old one. That makes twelve, and Davos is the thirteenth man, the last hero figure. Davos Shadowchaser! Recall that he started this mission with twelve golden dragons, which is more great last hero math, and with dragon symbolism as befits team last hero.
Now the reason we can group Davos with the twelve people that live at the Wolf’s Den is just that – because they live at the Wolf’s Den! Even though they serve as the staff that holds Davos prisoner, they can be regarded as being locked in the Wolf’s Den along with Davos, because of the fact that they live there full time. It’s very akin to the idea of a Garth person being both the prisoner and the jailer inside the weirwoodnet.
The symbolism of this is powerful: Davos and the dozen residents of the Wolf’s Den are like a last hero group of thirteen waiting to be reborn as green zombies to fight the Others. Following behind Davos Shadowchaser, we’d have a nasty, undead Garth figure and a cadaverous, one-eyed Bartimus at the very least, and both of those sound like fantastic green zombies. It may be appropriate to think of the dozen golden dragons Davos set out with as the living companions of the last hero, which are now represented by twelve haggard, wrong, or cadaverous people living in the Wolf’s Den.
Now, it’s not just one-eyed Bartimus who is “cadaverous”:
The onion knight had not forgotten Wyman Manderly’s last words to him. Take this creature to the Wolf’s Den and cut off head and hands, the fat lord had commanded. I shall not be able to eat a bite until I see this smuggler’s head upon a spike, with an onion shoved between his lying teeth. Every night Davos went to sleep with those words in his head, and every morn he woke to them. And should he forget, Garth was always pleased to remind him. Dead man was his name for Davos. When he came by in the morning, it was always, “Here, porridge for the dead man.” At night it was, “Blow out the candle, dead man.”
It continues all through the chapter:
The food had come as a surprise as well. In place of gruel and stale bread and rotten meat, the usual dungeon fare, his keepers brought him fresh-caught fish, bread still warm from the oven, spiced mutton, turnips, carrots, even crabs. Garth was none too pleased by that. “The dead should not eat better than the living,” he complained, more than once.
And then later, when Robett Glover comes to escort Davos secretly back to the palace to talk to Wyman, he’s told that “It would not do for you to be seen, my lord. You are supposed to be dead,” to which Davos thinks to himself, “porridge for the dead man.”
The meaning is obvious, and I’ve been alluding to it already: the dragon being locked in ice and eventually reborn from it constitutes a death and rebirth transformation sequence. The dragon locked in ice can be considered dead – on ice, if you will – and this correlates to Jon’s death, where he never felt the fourth knife, only the cold, with his body likely to be stored in the ice cells of the Wall, which of course represents the ice moon. It’s an echo of Jon being in Lyanna’s womb, because he is preparing to be reborn. It may go without saying, but a place called “The Wolf’s Den” works pretty well as an analog to the place when Jon’s spirit resides while he’s temporarily dead.
Here’s the great thing: Bartimus the One-Eyed jailer (who’s much friendlier than Garth “the Wrong”) tells Davos who built the Wolf’s Den: some guy named… King Jon Stark!! That’s King in the North Jon Stark to you, sir! I kid, but it’s no joke – the only Jon Stark in history is a King in the North who built a black stone fortress to protect the White Knife from sea raiders and named it’s the Wolf’s Den. That’s just… highly appropriate, since the Wolf’s Den is a tremendous dragon locked in ice symbol, and Jon epitomizes the dragon locked in ice… and also the stolen Other baby / shadowchaser archetype, of course.
Thus, Davos being imprisoned in the Wolf’s Den, built by Jon Stark, is equivalent to Jon being temporarily dead, with his body probably stored in an ice cell in the Wall and his spirit stored in his white wolf. I think this again implies that the original stolen Other baby does indeed undergo a transformation, death-and-rebirth experience, almost certainly as a green zombie Night’s Watchmen, presumably the last hero himself, right? Jon is about become a green zombie – a resurrected skinchanger – and I have already hypothesized that the original last hero became a green zombie by following many other lines of symbolism. Davos won’t be actually killed and resurrected, but that’s the obvious implication of all this “porridge for the dead man” symbolism. Wyman actually does pretend to kill Davos, executing a common prisoner and passing them off as Davos, which implies Davis as dying here… only to be “resurrected” and sent a new rescuer mission to save Rickon.
Wyman Manderly’s final words to Davos concerning the manner of his execution made mock of his sigil: “Take this creature to the Wolf’s Den and cut off his head and hands,” and then “I shall not be able to eat a bite until I see this smuggler’s head upon a spike, with an onion shoved between his lying teeth.” That brings us to the topic of Davos’s sigil: a black ship on a grey field with a white onion on its sail – very yin and yang, wouldn’t you say? We saw that Euron’s mostly black ship (the desk are painted red) was a burnt fire moon symbol, and I’m inclined to view Davos’s black ship that way, with the white onion on its sails representing a whole moon – likely the fire moon before impact, I think, though I’m not certain of this. Think about this: the black ship carries the white onions. It the single onion on the sail represents a moon, a bunch of small onions would be a bunch of moon pieces.
This interpretation is enhanced by the moonless night that Davos used to smuggle the onions to Stannis:
Then came a night when the moon was new and black clouds hid the stars. Cloaked in that darkness, Davos the smuggler had dared the Redwyne cordon and the rocks of Shipbreaker Bay alike. His little ship had a black hull, black sails, black oars, and a hold crammed with onions and salt fish.
A new moon is the night when no moon is visible, so this is a moonless night – and look, clouds are hiding the stars. That implies the night when the moon came out of the sky and became pieces of moon, which Davos carries on his ship (and later, he retraces the same steps and carries Melisandre, a fire moon maiden, on his ship as well). It’s actually the white cliff face that Davos rows into, and the cave inside, that represents the ice moon – Davos is smuggling fire moon things into the ice moon, so to speak.
So, getting back to the symbol of the onion, when Wayman orders Davos’s head mounted on a spike with a moon onion shoved in his mouth, he’s combing two symbols. First, it speaks of Davos consuming the fire of the gods and undergoing death transformation, because the moon meteors signify the fire of the gods, and Davos’s severed head would be consuming it. This is similar to the men hung on trees in the Riverlands who had chunks of salt stuck in their mouth – the hanging is an Odin metaphor for death transcendence as they consume the fire of the gods (the lunar chunks of white salt).
Secondly, the head on a spike a is moon meteor head with smoke-trail symbol we’ve seen a few times: notably, the eyeless heads of the three Night’s Watch brothers impaled on ash wood spears that Jon finds north of the Wall, which were also moon meteor symbols that doubled as metaphors for Night’s Watchmen undergoing death transformation and entering the weirwoodnet – and recall that one of them was Garth Greyfeather, just as Garth the Wrong now inhabits the Wolf’s Den.
Now when Jon comes back to life, he’ll be the walking dead, and this is what Davos is after he’s let out of the Wolf’s Den to begin working in alliance with Wyman Manderly in secret. This is Wyman talking to Davos at the end of the chapter:
“Lord Davos, you will not know, but you are dead.”
Robett Glover filled a wine cup and offered it to Davos. He took it, sniffed it, drank. “How did I die, if I may ask?”
“By the axe. Your head and hands were mounted above the Seal Gate, with your face turned so your eyes looked out across the harbor. By now you are well rotted, though we dipped your head in tar before we set it upon the spike. Carrion crows and seabirds squabbled over your eyes, they say.”
Davos shifted uncomfortably. It was a queer feeling, being dead.
Head dipped in tar – Davos Shadowchaser is now Yin Tar, another one of the five names of the great flaming sword hero! Perhaps. In any case, having been reborn from the Wolf’s Den, Davos Shadowchaser is like the walking dead – again, like Jon will be. And what is he sent to go do by Wyman? Why, to go rescue a Stark boy, of course! The dragon locked in the ice moon is like a sleeping hero, and here Davos is being woken from that his version of the prison inside the ice moon to go play the hero, just as Jon will be resurrected from the ice cells of the Wall to play the hero.
Davos is being sent to Skagos, of course, an island of wildling-like people who are reputed cannibals. Here’s what TWOIAF has to say about Skagos:
Skagos has often been a source of trouble for the Starks—both as kings when they sought to conquer it and as lords when they fought to keep its fealty. Indeed, as recently as the reign of King Daeron II Targaryen (Daeron the Good), the isle rose up against the Lord of Winterfell—a rebellion that lasted years and claimed the lives of thousands of others, including that of Barthogan Stark, Lord of Winterfell (called Barth Blacksword), before finally being put down.
Barth Blacksword and “thousands of others,” dying in a great war huh? I think we know which war that was! The line reminds me of Davos talking about all the men at the Blackwater who were “drowned or burned, with my sons and a thousand others, gone to make a king in hell.” We’ll just have to see what kind of symbolism pops up on Skagos when Davos goes there. The words “skag” means “stone-born,” so they are ripe for moon meteor symbolism of some kind. Also, I love that Barth Blacksword keeps turning up, obviously that’s one of my favorite Starks. 🙂 He kinda sounds like the last hero here, dying in a valiant fight against the Others… only to be symbolically resurrected here at the Wolf’s Den in the form of cadaverous Bartimus One-Eye, perhaps.
So that’s White Harbor and the Wolf’s Den for you – it’s a pretty amazing dragon locked in ice symbol in its own right, and Davos builds on this symbolism by becoming a dead man and being imprisoned there. Most importantly, all of this symbolism is parallel to Jon, his body growing cold and dead as his spirit wanders the bardo, waiting for rebirth. After all, what is a wolf’s den but a place where wolves go to sleep?
The ultimate wolf’s den is of course Winterfell, and that’s where we are going next – in the next episode that is. I did mention that Edric Dayne was named for Eddard Stark, right? That means we need to consider the symbolism of Lord Eddard himself. Clearly, it’s far too late in the podcast to bring up a topic like “the Ned,” so you can expect the next episode to packed with Ned Stark and Winterfell analysis. Plus, we’ll broach a topic I’ve been waiting a long time to broach… the impending ice moon disaster, a.k.a. “the beginning of the end.”
Or, if your typing is sloppy, it’s the beginning of the Ned.
This bonus section is brought to you by all the anonymous supporters of Mythical Astronomy, for they are the blackness between the stars, the cosmic womb tomb of eternity
Back at the Wolf’s Den, our friends Ser Bartimus actually has a bit more Stark history for us, one of the cooler backstories of any place I’ve come across in ASOIAF, and best of all, it features our buddy Edrick Snowbeard. I’m actually going to do something I haven’t done before, which is that I’m going to read you an awesome symbolic passage – I mean, it’s just flat-out fantastic – but I’m not going to tell you immediately what I think it means. As a matter of fact, this is one of those passages that can be read one of two opposite ways, and I am not sure exactly which side of the fence I fall on! I’m going to leave you with this and some basic analysis, and then we will talk about it further on the livestream that will take place on Saturday, one week following the release of this episode. Here’s the quote:
When old King Edrick Stark had grown too feeble to defend his realm, the Wolf’s Den was captured by slavers from the Stepstones. They would brand their captives with hot irons and break them to the whip before shipping them off across the sea, and these same black stone walls bore witness. “Then a long cruel winter fell,” said Ser Bartimus. “The White Knife froze hard, and even the firth was icing up. The winds came howling from the north and drove them slavers inside to huddle round their fires, and whilst they warmed themselves the new king come down on them. Brandon Stark this was, Edrick Snowbeard’s great-grandson, him that men called Ice Eyes. He took the Wolf’s Den back, stripped the slavers naked, and gave them to the slaves he’d found chained up in the dungeons. It’s said they hung their entrails in the branches of the heart tree, as an offering to the gods. The old gods, not these new ones from the south. Your Seven don’t know winter, and winter don’t know them.”
There’s our buddy Edrick Snowbeard again, losing the black stone of the Wolf’s Den to raiders from the Stepstones – from Bloodstone Island, surely. Those would be pirates and slavers, like the pirates from Asshai led by the Bloodstone Emperor, and their capturing the Wolf’s Den sound’s like Night’s King coming in to power. We can certainly think of the wights as slaves, and those that raise them as slavers.
Appropriately, during a cruel winter with cold winds howling from the North, the White Knife froze solid – meaning that a frozen white sword appears with the cold winds and the cruel winter, which I can only interpret as a reference to Dawn being the original Ice. And along with these cruel winds of winter and the frozen white knife comes a terrible fellow named Brandon Ice Eyes to recapture the Wolf’s Den for the Starks and restore traditional northern sacrifice to the Old Gods.
Now, like I said, there are really two ways to interpret this story. At first you might read this as Brandon Ice Eye being the last hero, wielding Dawn (the frozen white knife) and winning a battle for team Stark. We think that the escaped Other baby can wield ice magic, so someone with ice eyes coming with the cold winds at their back and wielding a frozen white sword doesn’t have to necessarily be on team Others. So maybe that’s it – Brandon Ice Eyes is the last hero hero, and the slavers are the Others.
However, it also makes sense to interpret it in the opposite way – Brandon Ice Eyes comes down from the north with the cold, cruel winds of winter at his back and kills a bunch of people, so maybe he’s Night’s King and his armies represent the Others. After all, the Night’s King’s name was – mayhaps – Brandon, and Night’s King most certainly could be described as having ice eyes, having undergone cold transformation himself. I’m also increasingly in favor of Night’s King wielding or even forging Dawn, as Brandon Ice-Eyes is implied to here since he attacked when the White Knife froze hard.
We could look at this and see that Night’s King Brandon Ice Eyes comes down with his winds of winter and icy white sword and kills people who like to live in black stone fortress, like the Castles of the Night’s Watch. These people huddling around fires in the black stone fortress come from Bloodstone Island, implying them as dragonlords affiliated with the Bloodstone Emperor and Azor Ahai, which could be a match for the fire dragon symbolism of the Nigh’ts Watch. Davos’s last hero’s dozen were originally golden dragons, which sort of symbolically transformed into the twelve residents of the Wolf’s Den, so it’s not hard to see the slavers in the Wolf’s Den as being parallel to the last hero’s dozen, the original Night’s Watch. The slavers both lived in the Wolf’s Den and kept people prisoner there, just like the twelve residents of the Wolf’s den both live there and hold people prisoner there. I know I said the Others are like slavers, but then again, so was the Bloodstone Emperor, who enslaved his people. The Night’s Watch can be viewed as slaves themselves, bound to the Wall and deprived of most freedoms.
If that’s the case, when these Bloodstone slavers are hung from trees, well, that simply represents Azor Ahai dying and going into the weirwoodnet, as we think he does. The same thing is implied by fake Davos being hung from the walls of White Harbor when he enters the Wolf’s Den! This could also correlate to the first death of the last hero, as I have speculated that in fact, he and his twelve dead companions were raised as zombies before they could successfully confront the Others. They may well have been deliberately and ritually sacrificed in front of heart trees as part of the green zombie process. Imagine the slavers from Bloodstone Island who were hung on trees as sacrificed Night’s Watchmen going into the weirwoodnet, but then being resurrected as green zombies, as represented by the dozen people in the Wolf’s Den with Davos. Most people in the Night’s Watch were sent there as punishment for crimes, after all, just as the slavers were punished by being sacrificed to the heart tree.
So, is Jon Ice Eyes the last hero, or the Night’s King? Similarly, what sword did the Night’s King wield, the white or the black one, and the same question applies to the last hero: was Dragonsteel a white or black sword? I have more evidence to offer for either side, and I do love leaving things up for debate. So, take a look at this passage again and think about it, and then at the livestream we’ll discuss it a bit further. Naturally, I would be thrilled if you would like to leave a comment and let me know what you think about those questions, and you can do that on WordPress, on YouTube, on Twitter, or on Patreon.
I’m really looking forward to our Ned Stark and Winterfell episode, and I’m really looking forward to finally unleashing some ice moon disaster prophecy symbolism on you guys, so until then…