What Was the Cause of the Long Night?

The central hypothesis of the mythical astronomy theory is that many of the ancient legends of Westeros and the rest of the “Planetos” are actually telling us about the global cataclysm which is known as the Long Night through the use of symbolism and metaphor.  This would be consistent with mythology in real life, which is quite often based on observation of the heavens and the cycles and characteristics of nature and its forces.

In the first essay, I’m going to dive into the Azor Ahai / Lightbringer myth and try to explain how I interpret it to be referring to the events of the Long Night.  I’ll be comparing the various legends and myths of the story to the main characters and their symbolism, and to scenes which I think contain metaphorical references to the Long Night events.  As you’ll quickly see, I do not think George chooses his descriptive language haphazardly, but rather with the utmost intention.  The reoccurring turns of phrase that we find throughout the books create a tapestry of symbolism which is remarkably consistent, and I would suggest, meaningful.  For me, it all started coming together when I noticed that the moon cracks in both the Azor Ahai story and the Qarthine “origin of dragons” story…

For a more thorough discussion of George’s use of symbol, metaphor, and esoterism in ASOIAF, click the ‘methodology’ tab above.  If you’d like to hear about the evolution of this project, click the ‘about’ tab.  Otherwise, just dive on in to the first essay, or if you prefer, I will read you the essay aloud as you clean your house or drive to work.  That’s right, each essay has also been recorded as a matching podcast which can be found at the top of each essay page as well as on iTunes.

To be notified when a new essay and podcast are released, please follow the blog here on WordPress or subscribe to Mythical Astronomy of Ice and Fire on iTunes. The podcast RSS feed can be found here.


Mythical Astronomy & History of Westeros present…

Part 2: The Great Empire of the Dawn

Part 1: Asshai by the Shadow

Our collaboration with History of Westeros has become a two part series on the dragonlords of the Dawn Age.  These are available as a video or a podcast only, no accompanying essay.  You can watch here or listen on iTunes.  I hope you all enjoy it, we had a great time making it! Check out all the rest of the great History of Westeros videos on their youtube channel.

The Bloodstone Compendium

I: Astronomy Explains the Legends of Ice and Fire
II: The Bloodstone Emperor Azor Ahai
III: Waves of Night and Moon Blood
IV: The Mountain vs. the Viper and the Hammer of the Waters
V: Tyrion Targaryen
VI: Lucifer means Lightbringer


Sacred Order of Green Zombies

I: The Last Hero and the King of Corn
II: King of Winter, Lord of Death
III: The Long Night’s Watch


The Weirwood Compendium

I: The Grey King and the Sea Dragon
II: A Burning Brandon
III: Garth of the Gallows
IV: In a Grove of Ash


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Friends & Family

Westeros.org

• The Last Hearth forum

History of Westeros

• Radio Westeros

• The Amber Compendium

Mythological Weave of Ice & Fire

• Echoes of Ice and Fire

• Blue Winter Roses

• Pawn to Player

• War & Politics of Ice & Fire

• Weirwood Leviathan

• Culture Wars of Ice & Fire


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Podcast music courtesy of Animals as Leaders

91 thoughts on “

  1. Thank you for this wonderful series of essays. It seems to me that the weather on Planetos can be explained by a wobble or an eccentric orbit caused by comet impacts and/ or an eccentric orbit. Perhaps even a larger collision with a small moon. As you point out; there are no red comets and this signifies the magical nature of these celestial bodies in the story. I wonder if the source of magic derives specifically from periodic impacts. The God’s Eye has always looked like a crater lake to me. Perhaps it is one of the original sources of magic; a wellspring so to speak; the method for infusing magic into the planet itself. That magic becomes stronger as the comet(s) approach signifies a kind of resonance between the shattered pieces of the comet present on the planet and within artifacts made from that source.

    I’m reminded that Maester Luwin recieved a lens for his telescope along with the letter from Littlefinger/Lysa Arryn; the device that began the downfall of House Stark. It seems much more significant to me now.

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  2. Speaking of God’s Eye, I sometimes wonder if that isn’t an homage to Larry Niven’s The Mote in God’s Eye. Great story.

    The God’s Eye (Ojo de Dios) is a spiritual object of the Native Americans that denotes the four cardinal elements: fire, earth, air and water. It symbolizes that which is unknown and unknowable.

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  3. Thanks for the comment Kristin, that’s very interesting. The notion of the various elements combining at the God’s Eye actually kind of makes a lot of sense for ASOIAF – I’ll have to check into that book. Certainly, the blinding of the God’s Eye represents man trying to attain heavenly knowledge – the unknowable – a la the garden of Eden story, Prometheus, Gilgamesh, etc. Tha’s why the Bloodstone Empeeror version of the AA story seems to tell us – a human god-king seeking after starry wisdom who pulled down the “true gods” (the second moon, the pupil of the god’s eye) and worshipped the black stone which fell from the sky (a piece of the moon).

    Can you recall anything else about that story that might be relevant? What did they do with this god’s eye artifact? What did it look like?

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  4. I honestly think George is setting up Brienne to play a profound role in the battle vs the Others.

    She is from a castle called Evenfall, whose lord is referred to as the Evenstar.

    The scientific name for the Evening Star/Evening Primrose (first rose) plant is Oenothera biennis. Brienne could be a name George derived from biennis.

    She is a great fighter who wields Valyrian steel.

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  5. That’s a great find there Jablez! I’ve wondered if we should view Brienne as the Morninstar or Evenstar. Her dad is the Evenstar of course, but the Evenstar gives birth to the Morningstar, so to speak, so I was t sure. The evening primrose suggests Evenstar. The Evenstar is the “sword of the evening” – that’s Azor Ahai’s evil sword, the opposite to Dawn, the SOTM. The sword of the evening heralds evening, and the Morningstar, daybreak. You get the idea.

    I have long been a fan of the idea that Brienne is an important character who is being overlooked. She has a very significant sword,
    no doubt. I believe that Oathkeeper will become a flaming sword at some point, taking fire with red and black flame that matches the steel. I think Azor Ahai’s sword was of blackfire – black flame shot through with red. That’s what I think we will see,
    perhaps as soon as Twow when Brienne does some killing with Oathkeeper in Stoneheart’s lair.

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  6. Great stuff here! I agree with so many of your assertions, though it’s funny how a divergent reading of a couple of passages can lead to a host of different conclusions. In particular the Qartheen dragon moon myth. Where you see a literal second moon and metaphorical dragons (meteorites), I see a metaphorical second moon (beacon tower in Qarth similar to the Hightower in Oldtown) and literal dragons ;D

    This leads to a range of differing conclusions about the nature of the oily black stone, moon meteorite fragments vs molten stone from dragon fire. As well as different degrees of centrality given to astronomical events.

    Though I’m of course totally behind the idea that the Long Night was the result of a meteorite impact and resulting volcanism, I just don’t think it was pieces of an actual moon. I feel like if it were an actual moon that was destroyed, we would have seen more cultures with missing moon or falling moon myths, just like we see many cultures with the Long Night myths.

    On the Bloodstone Emperor, I don’t think he was the monster the prevailing legends suggest, though we have so little to go on, it’s hard to know. I feel pretty sure of my thoughts that he is the founder of House Dayne, and their reputation is so upstanding it’s hard to imagine him as a torturing, sacrificing villain (tiger woman as a bride, maybe I buy that one). Rather it’s more likely that the powers which immediately followed him were eager to lay the blame on the departed ruler, he would be an easy scapegoat, being half a world away. I think it took true insight to search out the impact site of the meteorite and try to investigate the disaster with some sort of rational inquiry.

    Keep up the good work, looking forward to your thoughts on the Daynes in the upcoming HoW podcast, as well as you own future episodes.

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  7. Thanks MrMobius! I’m very conscious of the fact that the same set of symbols can be interpreted many ways, and it’s always very tricky to figure out if the metaphor applies to the heavens, the earth, both, etc.

    One of the reasons I do my essays and podcasts the way that I do, with lots of text quotes and step by step rationalizations, is because I want to focus more on laying out the symbolism and less on my specific interpretation. I certainly might have made some horrible gross error which changes all the other conclusions, while still be right about a lot of the individual metaphorical interpretations. I’m glad other people are considering the folklore and mythology as I am but taking different angles, because that way perhaps someone else can catch the thing it things I might be missing. I very much enjoy the broader conversation, and I’m very pleased to have played some small part in getting it going. 🙂

    What if the Daynes descend from the Amethyst Empress? She’s more of a noble / tragic figure, fitting House Dayne. But also consider that House Dayne sometimes produces a Darkstar or “Sword of the Evening” Dayne. Just as the Am Em and BSE are brother and sister, children of the same parents.
    I do think the Hightowers are also descended from GEotD people. I don’t worry about if it was the Am Em or BSE, because those might be not just individuals but whole dynasties or tribes or whatever. I don’t worry about that fine level of interpretation – I would just say he Daynes and Hightowers and maybe the Ironborn descend from the GEotD and leave it at that.

    Finally, getting back to the different interpretations, I believe the astronomy pattern is the master pattern, and this in turn manifests on earth, over and over. In many ways. The NW symbolize the meteors, tumbling down with black cloaks ablaze while Jon wields the red sword like a red comet. Daenerys wanders into the fire of the sun and cracks eggs to wake dragons from stone. It’s the same story, over and over, different iterations. So absolutely, dragons in the Hightower fits. The tops of towers represent the celestial realm, and dragons come from the moon. The Hightower being like a hazy orange moon, a light that gives no comfort, and with a shadow like a sword that cuts the city, and rumors of dragons roosting – these are all building on the same idea, with the Hightower Beacon symbolizing the moon which gave birth to Lightbringer, which is, variously, a shadow sword whose “light” gives no comfort (AA’s Lightbringer) AND dragons (dragons of the Dawn Age dragonlords who built the fused stone fortress) AND moon meteors (which burned in the air like dragons and then were used to make the sword Lightbringer and perhaps other swords). It’s a nice little circle of symbolism, and I believe that the astronomy version of this pattern is indeed the master template. I think we should look at every other occurrence of this set of symbols and actions as terrestrial manifestations of the heavenly pattern.

    That’s why I understand perfectly why you see the myth as referring to the Hightower and its dragonlords. It fits the pattern, I do think there were dragons there, and it seems
    to be one version or manifestation of the Lightbringer moon pattern. I would simply suggest you might be mistaken in think that the Hightower / dragon idea is the main meaning of the myth, but that’s just my opinion of course.

    I’m just putting the finish on podcast number two – you’ll have it when you wake up tomorrow. Perhaps some of the stuff I’m presenting there will make an impression on you – I’d be curious to hear you feedback regardless. I’m going to be taking about a few versions of the LB pattern, so see what you think.

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  8. Awesome, look forward to hearing it! While I’m not totally on board with the all astronomical symbolism you see, I still very much enjoy your analysis on these lines of inquiry, it’s always thoughtful and well reasoned.

    I agree completely that getting too deep into details of which we have scant knowledge is probably not too helpful (whatever it’s worth, I think Daynes and the Targaryens are descended from both AM_EM and BSE, wife/sister style). However, sometimes it helps my own understanding if I can imagine a sequence of events which could have tied some known pieces together, that’s really all my Long Night/Lightbringer story is. Also, I just enjoy debating the possibilities with good folks like yourself!

    I have a good deal more faith in a few of the central points that we share. 1. Long Night was a natural disaster due to an impact event, though it was interpreted differently by different cultures. The Night’s Watch’s original purpose ties in to the restoration after this event. 2. Daynes, Hightowers, Ironborn, and Valyrians (including Targs) descended from the GEotD, with the added possibility of Lannisters and Bolton.

    On a total side note, any thoughts on the idea that the original God-On-Earth, founder of the GEotD, might the might be the same man as Garth Greenhands? Possibly making him the first human Greenseer and founder of potentially all of the human “magic” bloodlines. This would remove the tricky bit about how did the CotF give men the gift of greensight and skinchanging during the pact. They may have just rounded up those who were his offspring and taught them the necessary skills to use the power that was already innate to them.

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  9. Hey Mr. Mobius! I’m with you in most or all of this. I tend to suspect that the Amethyst Empress Nissa Nissa was probably wife and brother to our beloved Bloodstone Azzhole, moon-breaker extraordinaire. It’s almost not even that important – the BSE and Am Em were siblings, so they have the same genetics for all intents and purposes. Still, the symbolism of the Lightbringer myth kind of implies there must have been a baby involved, since that is one of the important aspects of the overall monomyth here.

    Makes me think about the fact that “Nissa” means helpful or mischievous elf and the idea she may have had some cotf genes or perhaps (and I prefer this) some Old Ones genes – with the Old Ones being the green men, the horned gods.

    I think the idea that the Lengi are tall with medium brown skin and golden eyes suggests they descend from “tall elves,” some sort of taller version of relative of the cotf. That’s how I see the Green Men and Garth.

    So, in other words, the idea that Garth comes from the GEotD has merit IMO, and I also have come about to the opinion that Azor Ahai himself was a greenseer. Many have suggested the dragonbond is a version of the skinchanger bond, and I agree. Mel is showing us that humans can use fire magic to transform themselves – I think AA was simply a greenseer who did this. I have lots of text evidence in notes files, and I’m looking forward to putting that one together in an essay very much. I think George is going to let the Green Men cat out of the bag in the next book, so I want to put my ideas about them out first so I can claim to be either famously precisely or hideously in error. Always fun to dance that knife edge, after all.

    In any case, I think the original FM kings were all greenseers and skinchangers. There’s a ton of scattered evidence for this… I’m surprised more people haven’t picked up on it… it really is everywhere. Again, future essay. Sounds like it will be right up your alley. 🙂

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  10. The Bloodstone Compendium is very well written and entertaining. Thank you for that! The consistency of your ideas and the matching text from the books gives it credibility beyond being just another tinfoil theory. At some points it is almost a bit to much, like hammering home the same idea for the ninth time. Nonetheless, now I have one site more where I am eagerly awaiting new material and I hate you for that :). Do you plan on expanding on the role of the Others? If the consistency of the Moon/Birth/Dragons theme is kept, the Others should have a similar myth of their own or the Azor Ahai myth is their “Apokalypse”.

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  11. Hey Mark, I appreciate your comments. Actually, if you think about their stories, AA and the NK have a lot of parallels. Impregnating moon maidens – yes. AA was king of the Nightlands, the ruler of the Long Night – might as well call him the Night’s King. The NK was a fearless warrior – a warrior of fire maybe? And it may not be coincidence that we see black armored dragon kings guarded by “white shadows” armored in snow white armor – those are terms that apply to KG and the Others. One black dragon, who created white shadows – that could be the NK story of NK = AA.

    I’m not sure if that’s the case, hat they are the same person, or if maybe the NK is the son of AA, repeating his actions with ice. Or just a cosmic parallel, unconnected (not likely). But the pattern is there, no doubt.

    As for the repetition, I understand it’s overkill at times. But the thing is, to really prove what I am claiming about Martin’s use of metaphor and symbolism – the idea that we can identify specific words or phrases as intentional and connect them as I have – I need to show that he’s repeating the patterns over and over again. Many are skeptical that he is that precise and intentional with his wording, and so by showing how consistent it is, how many times we see the same ideas and symbols connected, I begin to make coincidence seem more and more implausible as an explanation. Hopefully I am making it enjoyable along the way. I’m pulling the most interesting quotes I can find as examples, and hopefully we are learning a bit about the characters we study, like Jon and Dany and soon many Others. I mean many others. 😉

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  12. I love these essays and am looking for your podcast to watch. I love your guest appearances on History of Westeros on the Daynes too. Simply stellar.

    I had a thought about the blinding if the God’s Eye mentioned above. The island on the God’s Eye in the books is supposedly inhabited by green seers and Howland Reed is said to visit there. Could blinding the God’s Eye also possibly involve the destruction of the weirwood trees in Westeros? It is likely that weirwoods are on that island and may be a “hub” of the weirwood network south of the Wall. In the attempts the Andals in particular made to eradicate this species of all seeing trees that are imbued with the old gods and seers, I feel they were trying to blind them and disempower them. The presence of this mysterious island actually on the “God’s Eye” feels significant.

    Thank you for such an entertaining, thought provoking, and enlightening take on this subject. It enhances the rereading of the books.

    I also think that the “loss” of the second moon along with the meteors of it substantiates your theory for the impact on Planetos, i.e. Hammer of the water, seasons. The gravitational pull would have been and still be extreme. 💙

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  13. Hey Athelas, glad you found your way over here! The History of Westeros thing was a lot of fun, glad you liked it! I hope I did ok, ’twas my first time on camera like that. Definitely had a great time, and our joint episode on the Great Empire of the Dawn will be a showstopper, I hope. That’s turned out to be the most popular theory or idea that I’ve put out – I think everyone was sniffing at it already and we’re ready to accept it, whereas the Long Night / moon explosion catches some people off guard.

    The loss of a moon would definitely cause all kinds of turbulence to a planet’s stability and climate. If we had no moon, we’d really be fucked and probably spinning on our side or careening back and forth a bit (which means everyone = dead). But yes, flood tides and volcanism, climate destabilization – all these things surely came with the moon disaster. It was a real shitstorm. And that’s without considering the magical ramifications!

    As for the Gods Eye, you’re on the right track I think. I used to have an essay about the Gods Eye up on my page which I pulled down because I want to save it for podcasting, but perhaps you’ve seen it. In any case, the Gods Eye is the second moon superimposed in front of the sun like a black pupil. Gods fiery eye, and it matches the layout of the isle of faces in the Gods Eye lake. Thing is, the moon can also be a face, as well as an eye, and so the isle of faces represents the moon’s face and the pupil of the Gods Eye. And so on that island, the joke continues, because as you point out, the trees have eyes and faces both.

    “Blinding” the God’s Eye can mean one of two things, I think. The main thing is the comet striking the moon, a sword to the eye. You’ll find that all the one-eyes people and animals contain clues about the Gods Eye in this sense. The prologue is classic. Notice that Waymar’s broken sword is like a tree hit by lightning – and the Storm God set a tree ablaze with his thunderbolt when the Grey King stole his heavenly fire.

    This has to do with the second meaning, which tied to Odin. Odin had to lose one of his physical eyes to open up his third eye (to gain magic sight). That’s a common mythical theme, and if you’re familiar with Wheel of Time you’ll notice that Jordan did the same with Matt Cauthon. In any case, the Bloodstone Emperor – he who shot the gods eye, who broke the moon – was trying to gain magical abilities when he did his evil deed, which is similar to the Odin thing. I believe this matches wth the idea that the faces might have been carved in the trees on the Gods Eye AFTER the moon disaster, in the immediate aftermath of the Long Night. The celestial face lost one eye, but the third eye of the seers opened. There seems to be a fire transformation of greenseers which occurs when the moon explodes. Notice the thunderbolt setting fire to the tree idea. A burning tree is a symbol of a fiery greenseer, and George even describes burning wood as “waking fiery sorcerers” or “fiery dancers” to emphasize this. Something about the meteors enabled a fire transformation for some greenseers (not cotf, either human or Green Men) who became fire sorcerers. Bloodraven shows us this idea, because he’s both greenseer and fire person, and he’s got one eye.

    As for the Andals, thematically yes they got right in. Foreign invaders, superior tech, trying to blind gods eyes. They have starry wisdom sept instead of starry wisdom church. Hugor Hill pulled down stars from heaven for his crown and married an aquatic woman, which is in keeping with he themes. It’s most likely just an echo, but it’s the same pattern and likely Martin is using it to tell us about the original invaders of Westeros from the Far East. I know a lot of the battles in TWOIAF, like the Andals vs the First Men in the Vale, are highly metaphorical and seem to predict future events if you can decide them.

    Cheers and stay in touch! Lemme know if you have any GEotD questions or comments for the podcast!

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  14. Wow. You’ve blown my mind again. The God’s Eye being the second moon superimposed upon the fiery eye of God/sun is brilliant. All of it is. I didn’t see the essay about it but I’ll look forward to it in a podcast.

    I’m still perusing your essays and am only halfway through P. 2 of the Dayne ep. I like to take my time on fascinating works like these. But I just had to comment. Sorry it’s taken me awhile to get up to speed. I’ve been busy. I’m winding down a reread of all the books where you read AFfC and ADWD simultaneously and taking notes on things I discover. Im pushing about 700 pages of handwritten notes. It’s just for fun.

    I’m so pleased that Aziz and Ashaya have included you. I think you’ve been a real asset to them and everyone really. I’m sure that they and Lady Gwyn and Yolkboy have read and seen a lot from the fandom. So that they and you have made a harmonious alignment, if you will, should be gratifying to you. I think you’re all special, in a good way.

    I love how well spoken you are and an excellent reader. That is so key to me with podcasters. That you have brilliant and original material that is of the canon is also a hallmark. I mean this following statement in the politest way possible. I was quite amazed at how good looking you are. I mean all of you are. I try not to make too personal of a comment as on the subject of appearances, but I am stating my opinion to be honest and hopefully encourage your confidence in your endeavors. Not that you may require it of course. Anyway, you definitely possess the full armory of attributes for your passion. And I know how kind, firm, and patient you are with your audience.

    Ill have some questions and comments as I finish up reading and watching. One thing I’m curious about is your take on Beric Dondarrion, the Lightning Lord. Love that Dondarrion sigil and combined with R’hllor’s kiss of fire, I find him such an intriguing character and how he may, or may not fit in your theories. But I’m thinking he may.

    Thank you for your reply and pardon my rambling post.

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  15. I’m definitely excited about the GEotD to come. I’ll see if if I can come up with an intelligent question or two. Thanks so much again for sharing your ideas.

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  16. First off, your feeling of amazement at the Gods Eye thing brings me great satisfaction, because that’s exactly how I felt when I figured out what George was doing there, and my goal in writing these (apart from the fun of it) is to point people in the direction of what George has done. It’s pretty dang impressive, I’m constantly getting that mind blown feeling when I make a new connection. I do feel clever at times for figuring things out, but ultimately George is the clever one here. I’m just trying to do a good job at representing the ideas and hopefully improve my writing skill while I’m at it. The podcasting thing is a lot fun too, although it takes a lot of time. I might start a Patreon thing like History of Westeros has, make some t shirts, name each zodiac constellation after a patron, etc. My wife is bugging about how much time I spend on this, you know? 😉

    Thanks for all the kind words, it’s always nice to help defy the stereotypes of fantasy fiction fans as rejected from the “Lowered Expectations” date line. 😉 But you’re right – I mean look at the good looking folks on the Podcast of Ice and Fire, as well as all the folks you named. Tony Teflon’s advocating for the keeping it sexy, always a good way to roll. I mean shit, I think everyone has caught on the sexy cosplayers. My wife makes fun of me for being nerdy, but she married me, so it’s all good. Heh heh.

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  17. I talked about Beric a lot on my second podcast, and I’m coming back for more in the third (which I’m editing now). He’s an important AS
    symbol, because he’s showing us a fire magic user sitting in a weirwood throne – he has one eye like Bloodraven too. And I think he’s showing us that Azor Ahai was undead… like I said I touch on that in episode 2 and 3.

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  18. I can’t wait to delve into your podcasts 2 and 3. I will and soon. I definitely was struck by Beric, the loss of one of his eyes, sitting in that weirwood “throne” in that cave, and the fire magic. Such a great scene from the books. I think the lair, with its weirwood roots, is probably the same “hollow hill” in the White Wood that the CotF emerged from to send hundreds of wolves against the Andals which is mentioned p. 151, TWoI&F, in the Riverlands section.

    I need to get busy reading more and watching more of what you’ve done.

    I think Patreon is a good idea for you to consider. I support History of Westeros monthly as their resident FM through Patreon. But shhh, please, lol. I do support Radio Westeros too though they don’t do Patreon.

    My sincerest praise to your lady wife. She must be exceedingly bright and patient and lovely indeed. I love it that Tony Teflon said to keep it sexy.

    As for the Great Empire of the Dawn, I’m fascinated with the various gemstone emperors, i.e., Jade, Tourmaline, Opal. You opened my mind to thinking of Dany as the Amethyst Empress. So I can’t wait for more on all of this and the Bloodstone Emperor. He sometimes makes me think of Bloodraven in a way only I like Bloodraven for some reason. How is the Tourmaline Brotherhood connected and Ilyrio Mooatis as well, perhaps? The Five Forts, Lion of Nught all seem somehow family to what is happening or may yet happen in Westeros. The legend of the woman with the monkey tail some how averted disaster when the sun hid it’s face from the earth for a lifetime. A Long Night legend I think. Curious that Tyrion is called a monkey or monkey demon a few times. Also that it may have even been a song that she sang? Curios too is that the language of the Dawn Age and CotF was the “song” of water and stone and ice and fire.

    Sorry, as you see I have a hard time posing an intelligible question. These are just some of the things I wonder about and things that strike me as having a significance or similarity to the actual story unfolding. Of course, it’s probably all significant, lol.

    Thank you again. 🙂

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  19. Do some of the gemstone emperors parallel the great Houses too? I was thinking of that huge drinking cup Mace Tyrell gave to Joffrey for a wedding gift. The different stones used on it for the sigils. I think the Stark direwolf was a pearl? Is Sansa a pearl? Tyrells Jade? Etc. Idk. Just popped in my head. Too simplistic maybe.

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  20. I know the chalice you speak of. The pearl Direwolf does make sense, because there’s a moon – pearl connection, and milkglass might be a part of that… meaning the sword Dawn, which might be the original Ice. The god emperor of the GEotD rode around in a pearl palanquin – seems like a moon reference.

    Jade for Tyrell refers to Gardener and Garth the Green. Renly has a jade green stag’s head on his crown, for example. Then we get the jade demon with whips of fire at the Battle of the Blackwater, followed by resurrected Renly with flaming antlers. There’s an archetype there, no doubt, but I am still trying to unravel it and what it means.

    On a general level, there a lot of Starry Wisdom – Faith of the Seven parallels, and this chalice is merely one of many.

    But you know Joffrey’s joke about replacing the pearl direwolf with a squid? That’s because the moon because a drowned goddess. Heh heh.

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  21. Ooh, that’s a really good catch with Joff’s squid remark. Easy to take it as just Theon took Winterfell. Love the ideas on Ice and Dawn and “resurrected Renly”.

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  22. I am a big fan of all of the work that you have done and cannot wait for when the Chapter 2 pt 2: Black Hole Moon is up!!!
    Do you happen to know when that will be?

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  23. Yeah right! what a crock of rubbish. Websites like this are going to get vaulted once the books are out. The ACTUAL story will contain a rather less tinfoil version of events. You need to remember GRRM doesn’t think about all this crap, he leaves ambiguous openings that’s it.

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  24. I’ve really enjoyed your first three podcasts. There is so much information in them I’ve listened to them several times. I hope you will continue to produce more. I think the production quality is excellent as well. I connected through your link to the R + L = Lightbringer essay @ Westeros.org. But I haven’t been able to find Part 2, which is supposed to be there as well. Do you have a direct link for Part 2? I would love to read it.

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  25. Thanks very much blackeyedlily! Man are you going to love the Gods Eye episode, we talk about black eyes quite a bit. 😉

    I apologize for the density of he material; as you know I talk about it being a challenge to sort out all the tangled ideas and present them in a logical, clear format. There’s just no clean way to do it, especially after the first episode. But I’m glad you’re enjoying it and taking the time to re-listen. I certainly have to get very familiar with the material to write each essay – I usually have the comp read my drafts back to me several times for each script, and I frequently shuffle sections around until they make the most sense. Much like the books themselves, the ideas are complex and you just can’t get everything on one fly by.

    As for the future, I have a bunch of episodes written in various states of draft, and notes and ideas for many more. I’m going to be starting a Patreon account here shortly so that kind folks with an extra copper or two can support the podcast and help the episodes come out faster. I’ve got some fun ideas and fake honorary positions to bestow upon the faithful – a place in the zodiac or a title of “moon maiden,” for example, and I’m making some limited run, custom t shirts as well. Should be fun, hopefully a few folks who like all the mythology and symbolism will chip in. Demand has picked up, bandwidth has been expanded, etc. etc.

    I just finished recording with History of Westeros again, we did a big episode on Asshai and the Shadow. That one will be out the general public in about a week. 🙂 You saw the House Dayne episode I did with them right?

    As for R + L = Lightbringer and Schmendrick who wrote it… Schmendrick vanished from the online community suddenly and without fanfare. Nobody knows what happened. There is no part 2. In many ways I like to think I’m picking up his torch (pun intended) and following up on his work.

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  26. Thanks for the reply. I would like to help out through Patreon. I currently support History of Westeros through Patreon. Yes, I heard you on there House Dayne podcast. It is how I found out about you. I look forward to your upcoming productions. What is the best way to hear about new essays and podcasts of yours?

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  27. Just discovered your Podcast through Radio Westeros and I am happily listening to episode 1. There is some great stuff in there but i really just wanted to give you a huge high five for the Animals As Leaders soundtrack! Keep up the great work!

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  28. High five accepted Ser! Let me know what you think when you’re finished with an episode, it’s always great to get people’s reaction. I am pretty sure I figured out the cause of the Long Night, which then starts a whole new conversation about the Dawn Age and the timeline and all that. Pretty soon here I might have some kind of round table wth a couple of guests to just talk about the ramification of some of my ideas. Anyway…

    As for AAL, I’ve been a huge fan for a while and I just thought they’d be perfect for the intro, so I just sent Tosin a FB message and asked if I could use his music, not expecting much, and to my surprise, he was “sure, that would be awesome!” And so, we have copious eight string guitar virtuosity woven into the mythical astronomy. 🙂

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  29. Hey LML, big fan of your scholarship, Ive put together a few ideas, its a bit haphazard but i thought you might like a few points, my favourite finding was the link (pardon the pun) between sausages and dragons through the common symbolism of entrails

    Some ideas on bastards, poison and the link between guts, worms, dragons and sausages:

    I shall start by examining Aegon the worthy as a moon symbol. He begins as a healthy young man and dies morbidly obese (a giant in terms of girth), put this down to drinking too much of the sun’s fire, progression of the lunar cycle, or the striking illusion of a moon of great proportions when it eclipses the setting sun. His death is caused by a mysterious infection, filling him with flesh eating worms, this rotting from within represents the transition of the moon from a solid mass to an egg filled with dragons. Aegon’s corruption and ill health, show a moon filled with poison, or a bad apple gone wormy. Aegon is also intentionally paralleled with Robert Baratheon another moon symbol, furthermore moon Aegon shares a sky with nine other celestial bodies which mirrors his love of nine notable mistresses, along with hundreds of stars (his more numerous minor suitors). Most damning are his actions which potentiated the Blackfyre rebellion, his bestowing of Blackfyre on Daemon, and the blanket legitimization of his bastards on his deathbed, a moon cracking to issue forth dragons, inflicting the first Blackfyre rebellion which culminates in the Battle of the red-grass field, in which “The Hammer and Anvil” plays out.
    Inevitably Bloodraven factors into to this metaphor, as an Azor Ahai reborn symbol. Bloodraven is linked repeatedly to the fleshworms that kill Aegon, “Bloodraven is the root of all our woes, the white worm gnawing at the heart of the realm.” (The Mystery Knight), blood raven in fusing with the weirwood network (like a red comet colliding with the moon) has become one with the tree, therefore the terms in which the tree is described apply directly to blood raven himself.
    “The sight of him still frightened Bran—the weirwood roots snaking in and out of his withered flesh, the mushrooms sprouting from his cheeks, the white wooden worm that grew from the socket where one eye had been.” (Bran III, ADWD)
    “Bran saw great white snakes slithering in and out of the earth around him, and his heart thumped in fear. He wondered if they had blundered into a nest of milk snakes or giant grave worms, soft and pale and squishy. Grave worms have teeth”. (Bran II, ADWD)
    In addition to this we have bloodraven’s personal sigil which is a white dragon, in summary, bloodraven is a flesh eating worm, spawned by Aegon.
    Could Aegon’s infestation have been a poisoning? It would certainly fit with the trend of death through illness (all of which were suspected poisonings, bar aegon IV) running consistently from Baelor the blessed to Daeron the Good. It would not be the first time a biological agent was employed as a poison, which fits with the metaphor of the comet of as a sperm corrupting the moon egg.
    Consider the Tears of Lys, which is an aqueous formulation, difficult to detect and moreover kills through a sickness of the bowls and belly, in order to create the impression of death from disease, true to George RR Martin’s style, i believe he has hidden the truth in plain sight. Furthermore the tears of Lys is a rare and costly thing, just as by today’s standards anthrax spores can be compared with a cruder poison such as cyanide.
    Another candidate as a biological causative agent is Widow’s blood which shuts down the bladder and bowels until the person dies from the body’s own poisons. The cause of Tywin’s demise and subsequent ripeness can in part be attributed to his likely poisoning with widow’s blood which would have been his demise, had it not led to his slaying by inducing a long stay in the privy. “Lord Tywin’s face was so dark that for half a heartbeat Tyrion wondered if he’d drunk some poisoned wine as well”.
    Not only are the aformentioned poisons associated with widows and weeping ladies, but each contributes to the death of a Hand of the King, which serve as moon symbols, I also posit that each poisoning can be impart be attributed to their sons. Lysa poisons Jon at the behest of Petyr to prevent her son’s fostering with Stannis, while Tyrion takes widow’s blood from master Pycelle’s chamber while he is confined to the black cell, allowing Varys access to it when Tyrion is himself imprisoned. This is complicated somewhat by the confusing identity of both Tyrion and Robert Arryn, while both are adequate moon symbols, neither seem to be true sons of their slain fathers. Tyrion being a chimera created through fusing of fraternal twins, one fathered by Aerys, the other by Tywin, making Tyrion a half bastard as well as a half man, in keeping with this chimerism, Oberyn states that Tyrion was rumoured as a hermaphrodite. Robert Arryn’s paternal origin is also questionable given that his dark hair matches neither Tully red or Arryn blonde, making Littlefinger the most likely candidate. All of these observations are congruent with the symbol of bastards causing the downfall of their fathers, real or otherwise, the association of bastards with the long night is undoubtedly cause enough for the stigma that lingers in the societies of ASOIAF.
    In addition to this we have Robert Baratheon who’s death can in part be blamed on his poisoning with alcohol, a plot which is set in motion by Cersei to eliminate Robert before he can learn of her own bastards, a truth which is only realised by the likes of Eddard and Jon Arryn through their observation of Robert’s own bastards. In this sense Robert’s fathering of bastards contributes to his own death by making Cersei’s incest vulnerable to revelation, thereby giving Cersei greater cause to conspire Robert’s end.
    I hypothesis that by siring the bastards Aegor and Brynden, Aegon brought about his own demise by heightening the tension between the ancient houses. His visiting of Aegor resulted in his relationship with Bethany Bracken (Aegor’s Aunt) in the fallout from her affair with Terrence Toyne, the first attempt on Aegon’s life is made by the avenging Toyne brothers but is everted by the sacrifice of Aemon. The execution of Bethany and her father along with the downfall of House Toyne may have been cause enough for a second plot to assassinate Aegon. Furthermore the drawn out poisoning of Aegon may have been intended to further embitter the already corrupted king, providing a means and motive for legitimizing his bastards, resulting in the Blackfyre rebellions which are a grand escalation of the conflict between Bracken and Blackwood in which each family could be accused of seeking to use the cause of Daemon or Daeron as a means of triumphing over the other. Whats more, the marriages of Betha Blackwood to Aegon V and Aegor to Calla Blackfyre mean that the conflicts of Targaryean (Sun) against Blackfyre (Moon), and Blackwood (Moon) against Bracken (Sun) can be paralleled in terms of blood and their recurrence. The fact that house Bracken and Blackwood are at odds as to who started the conflict and how, perfectly mirrors the multiple mythological interpretations as to the cause of the long night, and this is only further complicated through their marriages to houses which operate as their opposing symbols in the mythical astronomy (potentially symbolising the second mating of the sun with the remaining moon).
    Additional evidence includes the accusation by the Blackwoods that the Brackens poisoned the giant Weirwood of Raventree Hall, causing it to become petrified, causing it to shed it’s fiery leaves, while the regular gathering and dispersal of ravens reminds us of the shower of black meteorites.
    Following on the theme of bastards being poisonous, Domeric Bolton also dies of a sickness of the bowels, in which his bastard brother Ramsay is implicated. Ramsay’s actions also serve as a catalyst for a climatic scene which is full of long night symbolism and which results in Roose expelling the Freys and Manderlys to fight stannis, which may very well lead to Roose’s defeat in the war to come.
    The butchered body of Little Walder, (who has served as a moon symbol through his knocking into the winterfell pool by shaggy during a game of “lord of the crossing”), is brought into the great hall, the likely perpetrator: Ramsay (as explored by Bran Vras as part of the winterfell huis clos). The moon symbol Wyman Manderly is filling himself with sausages (wyrm symbols) when Hosteen kicks the table into his paunch, scattering said sausages which are fought over by Ramsay’s bitches (hell hound symbols in accordance with their reincarnation from slain women symbolising the moon). During this fight we also witness Wyman’s wounding at the neck which reddens ser Hosteen’s sword and causes Wyman to flop on flop “on the floor like a clubbed walrus in a spreading pool of blood”, sufficient for a bloody tide. To complete the symbolism for wounding of the neck and arm, Hosteen slices the arm from one of Wyman’s retainers. In case sausages weren’t sufficient as dragon symbols in this scene, we also have this passage:
    “one of the Bastard’s Boys, Luton, was dying noisily, crying for his mother as he tried to shove a fistful of slimy entrails back trough a gaping belly wound. Lord Ramsay silenced him, yanking a spear from one of Steelshanks’s men and driving it through Luton’s chest”
    Here we see the spilling of entrails as a symbol for dragons issuing from the broken moon, having been described as “glistening blue snakes” as they are pulled from the wildling Hali by Summer, turning his muzzle red, as part of the Wolfswood encounter which serves an extended metaphor for the long night (for instance bringing down the wildlings in the stream). Returning to the scene in winterfell, Ramsay weilds spear representing the comet, which he uses to finish off Luton who also acts as moon symbol through the spilling of his entrails and the cries for his mother.
    Luton’s attempts to shove his entrails back inside his wound represent the futility of attempts made to restore the moon following it’s destruction, like how the restoration of Gregor Clegane takes the form of Ser Robert Strong. There also seems to be a religious/ sacrificial aspect to this interpretation of the moon’s fate. For instance Ser Bartimus tells of how the entrails of slavers were hung in the branches of the Wolf’s Den Heart tree as an offering to the Old Gods, representing the heart tress (and therefore the moon) as the source of entrails, or an attempt to appease the gods by restoring that which was lost to them.
    Robert Baratheon also succeeds in defeating the skin-changed boar in during their bout of mutual destruction, in spite of his entrails spilling out of his wound, which is contrast to the long night event itself in which it is the moon’s “guts” themselves which causes the death of the sun.
    I would also be remiss if I didn’t make mention of Sansa as a moon maiden who feels a fluttering in her tummy in response to challenging ideas during her storyline.
    Lastly in the latest Arianne excerpt from the winds of winter the hostler at the Weeping town offers her the following advice on the conduct of the golden company:
    “Some will make a mark upon a paper if you ask for payment, but there’s others who would just as soon cut your belly open and pay you with a handful of your own guts.”
    Here we have guts as a substitute for coinage, the most famous piece being the golden dragon, which is adequate currency for the horses of her party given the value of horses is said to be up five fold since the previous year.
    To summarise a rather haphazard essay (written during revision for finals), I propose that a subset of the poisons which cause the death of moon symbol characters in fact take the form of biological agents be they bacterial spores or eggs (in the case of Aegon IV) which cause death through pathology which is either confined to the guts, or likely spreads from in the case of Aegon being parasitized, with the emphasis placed on poisoning of the guts which are symbolic of the dragons as serpentine creatures, which are coiled up within the moon, and which spill out on it’s breaking. This is provided through numerous images, perhaps the most derivative and amusing being the spilling of Wyman Manderly’s breakfast sausages (which are encased in the intestinal lining) which sets the hounds to fighting, fellow moon meteor symbols.
    I have also considered the link between bastards as poisoners. What I haven’t touched on is the idea of poison flowing in the veins of bastards, for instance Jon Snow may have been given regular doses of sweetsleep by his squire Sattin (as proposed in Cantuse essay) in the run up to his murder, we know Robert Arryn is something of a smokehound when it comes to the very same drug. We are also informed by Roose that Ramsay’s behaviour is a manifestation of his bastard blood, which could be alleviated by leaching. Another bastard who potentially falls under the influence of a drug is Robb Stark, who I believe is the bastard of Brandon Stark owing to the behaviour of Catelyn and his actions which parallel those of his father, a rash attack on the crown for the sake of family, death at a young age and the bedding of a maiden outside of wedlock (which brings about his downfall) which may have occurred while under the influence of a drug administered to him by Maggy the Frog’s granddaughter to treat his infection.

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  30. A few more thoughts on entrails symbolising dragons:
    I performed a literature search for Gut and Entrails, there are ton of passages that corroborate my hypothesis that entrails symbolise dragons and gutting being symbolic of destruction of the moon to unleash dragon meteors:
    Firstly we have entrails which are described in terms of the colours of Drogon Rhaegal and Viserion:
    Black: “a nest of stiff black entrails dragged from it’s open belly” (horse ridden by the Other slain by Sam), the horse is also relavent as you alluded to “Riding” as representing movement in orbit.

    Green: “Throat and chest had been torn apart, and glistening green entrails and ribbons of ragged flesh dangled from where the belly had been opened. One arm had been ripped right off the shoulder” (chained corpse in the village occupied by the mountain), bonus points for arm and neck wounds

    “Swordfish split the rotted hulk asunder. She burst like an overripe fruit, but no fruit had ever screamed that shattering wooden scream. From inside her Davos saw green gushing from a thousand broken jars, poison from the entrails of a dying beast, glistening, shining, spreading across the surface of the river . . .” A sword strikes a poisoned vessel and unleashes the Wildfire with a scream, which also results in the destruction of the Swordfish and a great cloud of smoke.
    In addition we have Arichbold Yronwood’s moniker: Greenguts

    Cream: ” They found Squint floating facedown in the moat, his entrails drifting behind him like a nest of pale snakes.” An iron born slain by a spear wielding women and cast from the walls of winterfell (moon symbol) into the moat.

    Returning to my other idea’s about guts and poison, Robert’s description of Jon Arryn’s sickness:
    “If you had seen Jon then, you would have sworn he would live forever. A fortnight later he was dead. The sickness was like a fire in his gut. It burned right through him.” His change in health is described in terms of half a lunar cycle, and the poison as a fire in his guts. A moon poisoned by drinking the Sun’s fire.

    There are no less than 72 mentions of gut, guts or gutted in all of ASOIAF and it’s related work (along with 38 for entrails). I’ve picked a few passages i think are particularly relevant:
    “Mormont had taken up residence in the King’s Tower after the fire had gutted his own” Jon Snow causes the fire that guts the lord commander’s tower (a moon symbol as you stated), forcing mormont to relocate to the King’s tower, a candidate for the remaining moon.

    “he smashed them apart on the rocks to suck the meat from their claws and the guts from their shells” Here Davos uses a rock to break the crab’s shell to gut them, additional relevance for moon symbolism includes the fact the crabs are washed ashore, while describing their exoskeleton as a shell as fit’s with the image of the moon as an egg.
    Jon’s assassination involves the most decisive blow being delivered to his belly:
    “For the Watch.” He punched Jon in the belly. When he pulled his hand away, the dagger stayed where he had buried it.
    Jon fell to his knees. He found the dagger’s hilt and wrenched it free. In the cold night air the wound was smoking.
    A moon symbol, stabbed in the guts, brought to his knees, with smoke issuing from the wound.
    This isn’t the only gutting that involves one or more component of the long night mythos such as smoke or a spear:
    Chiggen’s butchering of Tyrion’s horse:
    “Steam rose from inside the carcass when the squat sellsword opened the belly with his skinning knife”
    Eddards rumble with the Lannister guards:
    “Heward was hacking at the hands that had seized his bridle when a spear caught him in the belly”
    “Needle went through his leather jerkin and the white flesh of his belly and came out between his shoulder blades”
    The act turns Needle red, while the horses scream and blood gushes from his wound where he lies on the ground.

    The Wights attack on Sam and Gilly at Whitetree:
    “They had torn the poor garron apart, and were pulling out her entrails with dripping red hands. Pale steam rose from her belly.”
    In addition to the steam as smoke, the black hands of the Wights are turned red by the blood of the garron, which recalls the first comet (potentially black in terms of chemical composition), turned red by it’s destruction of the moon.

    I also neglected Dany in many previous analysis of bellies and guts as the site of dragons and serpents:
    Dany’s affliction with the Pale Mare: “Her guts were full of writhing snakes biting at her bowels.”
    The contents of Dany’s swollen belly also proves to be a poisoned dragon, which contains thousands of fellow dragon symbols in the form of graveworms.
    “He was scaled like a lizard, blind, with the stub of a tail and small leather wings like the wings of a bat. When I touched him, the flesh sloughed off the bone, and inside he was full of graveworms and the stink of corruption. He had been dead for years”

    There are plenty more examples you can find through such searches, I definitely think that moon content is symbolised by both entrails and wombs, such as Oberyn’s planting of (sand) snakes in the bellies of his paramours.

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  31. I should also add that two of the key wounds associated with the destruction of the moon: decapitation and disembowelment, feature in the historical practice of being hung, drawn and quartered, a punishment for high treason. The practice of disembowelling the body may have originated in the medieval belief that treasonable thoughts were housed there, requiring that the convict’s entrails be “purged by fire”, something which Randyll Tarly promises to do to the Berric Dondarrion and the Hound. I also think that the idea of dismemberment is also important in terms of the splitting of the Moon into the three most substantial meteors.
    I think that this mode of execution has certainly inspired our author and could form the basis for structuring an essay, especially if the idea of the moon committing high treason were explored. Could the death of the first moon be seen as punishment for trying to usurp the Sun or surpass it’s sister moon?

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  32. I’ve stated the case for disembowelment as a key symbol in the destruction of the moon, one which also factors into the concept of the moon being, drawn, hanged, disembowelled (with the entrails subsequently burned), decapitated, and split into pieces which can be distributed throughout the land, in the manner of execution by being hanged, drawn and quartered as a the highest form of capital punishment in English history (one of George’s specialties), it was introduced during the reign of Henry III, perhaps the first incidence was the execution of an man at arms who tried to kill the king and was hung, drawn and split into three pieces. There are many other historical incidences one could cite such as Dafydd ap Gruffydd who turned against Edward I and proclaimed himself Prince of Wales and Lord of Snowdon. For killing English nobles he was hanged alive. For killing those nobles at Easter he was eviscerated and his entrails burned. For conspiring to kill the king in various parts of the realm, his body was quartered and the parts sent across the country.
    As a fulfilment of the symbolism of entrails as the serpentine dragons of our story, I shall now consider sausages as dragon symbols, the most potent of which is the black sausage, in accordance with it’s similarities with the shower of black moon meteors.
    Black sausages, in addition to their colou are often associated with blood or blood sausages which fits with the image of moon meteors coated in the moons blood. Is Azor Ahai reborn a sausage? Dry cured sausages are certainly born amidst salt and smoke. Another notable feature of black sausages is that they are described in terms consistent with the moon meteors as hard black stones, as well as metaphorical, long black swords:
    “Craster gnawed on his hard black sausage. He had sausages for himself and his wives, he said, but none for the Watch. “
    “Sausage,” said Dirk. “Them long black ones, they’re like rocks, they keep for years. I bet he’s got a hundred hanging in some cellar.” (The mutineers on Craster’s larder)
    “Nothing was left but a few black sausages, as hard as wood. Sam sawed off a few thin slices for each of them. The effort made his wrist ache”
    “a rock-hard garlic sausage he’d been saving since the Wall”
    In addition we have this passage as Arya contemplates Sandor’s demeanour:
    ‘They sat on damp rocks beneath an oak tree, listening to the slow patter of water dripping from the leaves as they ate a cold supper of hardbread, moldy cheese, and smoked sausage. The Hound sliced the meat with his dagger, and narrowed his eyes when he caught Arya looking at the knife. “Don’t even think about it.”
    “I wasn’t,” she lied.
    He snorted to show what he thought of that, but he gave her a thick slice of sausage. Arya worried it with her teeth, watching him all the while. “I never beat your sister,” the Hound said. “But I’ll beat you if you make me. Stop trying to think up ways to kill me. None of it will do you a bit of good.”
    She had nothing to say to that. She gnawed on the sausage and stared at him coldly. Hard as stone, she thought.’
    While the thought is directed at sandor, the feature of the sausage and it’s toughness throughout the passage gives the remark a second meaning, relavent to the symbol of sausages as meteors.

    Under the wall we encounter a store of black sausages number in the thousands, just as the moon meteors are a thousand dragons pouring forth from the broken moon:
    “Three hundred hams and three thousand long black sausages hung from ceiling beams below the smokehouse.”
    As well as recalling the number three, this description also provides an impression of the smoke that is consequent to their grounding, with the smoke house above the sausages. Their hanging from the ceiling also recalls the decent of the meteors from the sky, and the description of Dany’s dragons as a sword above the world.
    In returning to the image of the moon meteors as the fingers of a spreading fist, we have the following passage:
    “Beyond those canvas walls, each man got a heel of bread and a chunk of black sausage no longer than a finger”
    The reciprocal of this is the description of Samwell, along with Wendel and Wyman Manderly (all three being moon symbols):
    “Sam’s hand swept over the table, fingers plump as sausage”
    “He held out a shaky hand, the fingers white and soft and fat as little sausages”
    Wendel:
    “Five.” He ticked them off on fingers plump as sausages.”
    Wyman:
    “If I had thought to see war again in my lifetime, I should have eaten a few less eels,” he’d told Catelyn when he met her ship, slapping his massive belly with both hands. His fingers were fat as sausages.
    This passage also uses eels as a symbol of a serpentine creature, residing in the belly of a moon symbol.
    Jon IIV (ADWD) also involves multiple mentions of sausages, Dolerous Edd offers Jon the following advice as he breaks his fast, ahead of the arrival of the high officers:
    ” You’ll want to watch your sausages with this lot, though. They have a hungry look about them.”
    Definite foreshadowing for the treatment Jon’s sausages (which is to say entrails) will receive from the knives of the high officers:
    “Mormont’s raven muttered his annoyance as the door opened beneath him, heralding the return of Dolorous Edd with a flagon of wine and a plate of eggs and sausages.”
    ‘Othell Yarwyck stabbed a sausage with his dagger. Bower Marsh sat red-faced. The raven flapped its wings and said, “Corn, corn, kill.”
    It would seem even blood raven is in agreement as to the threat posed to Jon’s sausages. Note also the juxtaposition of eggs and sausages, moon and meteor symbols respectively.
    We also see sausages intersect with another important meteor symbol, hounds being sold to revellers around Daznak’s Pit:
    “Around them peddlers were selling dog sausages”
    Lastly I draw attention to this sentence as a text book GRRM tip of the hat:
    “he knew Ty by the tangled rope of greasy black hair falling down his back and Owen by the sausage stuffed into the scabbard at his hip.”
    Perhaps Owen the Oaf recognises how a good sausage is a fine replacement for a blade of valerian steel.

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  33. Hey Robert! I see you’ve got the bug! My compliments on your work here. You’ve certainly got the idea, and I’m pretty much nodding along as I’m reading here. I’ve noticed the entrails like snakes before, certainly, but never made a point to trace out the occurrences as you have done and oddly I didn’t think to connect it with illness, which seems obvious in retrospect. I’ve always said that other people can write mythical astronomy essays if they want to because there are a ton of different symbolic motifs and I can’t possibly follow them all.

    The one that interests me I particular is the single white worm, such as we see in Bloodraven’s eye. This must surely have to do with the Dawn meteor, I am thinking. You’ve picked up on several examples of the three moon meteors as three heads of the dragon, and I have wondered if maybe one of those children was a pale child, the Dawn meteor. There’s a running connection between the white dragon idea and weirwoods. Bloodraven’s sigil is a white dragon and he’s turning into a white weirwood, for example. The weirwood roots are white worms quite often, as you noticed.

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  34. Thanks for the feedback LML, iv’e come up with some other ideas (much more focused than my first scribblings), particularly around sausages as entrails, removed from the moon when it is hanged, drawn and quartered:
    A storm of sausages:
    “Writing is like sausage making in my view; you’ll all be happier in the end if you just eat the final product without knowing what’s gone into it.”
    George RR martin
    In this mini essay I provide evidence that in line with george’s motif of disembowelment, sausages as derivatives of entrails are representative of the shower of black moon meteors and all of the symbols that entails.
    Of all the sausages, the black are the most potent symbol of moon meteors. On addition to their colour are often associated with blood sausages which fits with the image of moon meteors coated in the moons blood. Black sausages are also described in terms consistent with the moon meteors as hard black stones, as well as metaphorical, long black swords:
    “Craster gnawed on his hard black sausage. He had sausages for himself and his wives, he said, but none for the Watch. “
    “Sausage,” said Dirk. “Them long black ones, they’re like rocks, they keep for years. I bet he’s got a hundred hanging in some cellar.” (The mutineers on Craster’s larder)
    “Nothing was left but a few black sausages, as hard as wood. Sam sawed off a few thin slices for each of them. The effort made his wrist ache”
    “a rock-hard garlic sausage he’d been saving since the Wall”
    In addition we have this passage as Arya contemplates Sandor’s demeanour:
    ‘They sat on damp rocks beneath an oak tree, listening to the slow patter of water dripping from the leaves as they ate a cold supper of hardbread, moldy cheese, and smoked sausage. The Hound sliced the meat with his dagger, and narrowed his eyes when he caught Arya looking at the knife. “Don’t even think about it.”
    “I wasn’t,” she lied.
    He snorted to show what he thought of that, but he gave her a thick slice of sausage. Arya worried it with her teeth, watching him all the while. “I never beat your sister,” the Hound said. “But I’ll beat you if you make me. Stop trying to think up ways to kill me. None of it will do you a bit of good.”
    She had nothing to say to that. She gnawed on the sausage and stared at him coldly. Hard as stone, she thought.’
    While the thought is directed at Sandor, the feature of the sausage and it’s toughness throughout the passage gives the remark a second meaning, relevant to the symbol of sausages as meteors. More over this scene involves the hound as a moon symbol, and concomitantly, a dispenser of sausages.
    Furthermore there are plenty of descriptions of sausages as greasy, much like the greasy black moon meteors:

    “Hobb’s sausages were made of grease”
    “bit a sausage in half. “I confess …” He wiped the grease from his lips”
    “sausages cooling in a puddle of grease”

    Under the wall we encounter a store of black sausages number in the thousands, just as the moon meteors are a thousand dragons pouring forth from the broken moon:
    “Three hundred hams and three thousand long black sausages hung from ceiling beams below the smokehouse.”
    As well as recalling the number three, this description also provides an impression of the smoke that is consequent to their grounding, with the smoke house above the sausages. Their hanging from the ceiling also recalls the decent of the meteors from the sky, and the description of Dany’s dragons as a sword above the world.
    In returning to the image of the moon meteors as the fingers of a spreading fist, we have the following passage (which also describes the sausage as a chunk, like a large fragment of the greater moon):
    “Beyond those canvas walls, each man got a heel of bread and a chunk of black sausage no longer than a finger”
    The reciprocal of this are these descriptions of Samwell, along with Wendel and Wyman Manderly (all three being moon symbols):
    “Sam’s hand swept over the table, fingers plump as sausage”
    “He held out a shaky hand, the fingers white and soft and fat as little sausages”
    Wendel:
    “Five.” He ticked them off on fingers plump as sausages.”
    Wyman:
    “If I had thought to see war again in my lifetime, I should have eaten a few less eels,” he’d told Catelyn when he met her ship, slapping his massive belly with both hands. His fingers were fat as sausages.
    This passage also uses eels as a symbol of a serpentine creature, residing in the belly of a moon symbol.
    Sausages are also used to describe penises, and in doing so, brings to mind the recurrent theme of penises as swords, especially those covered in maidens blood becoming even stronger moon meteor symbols:
    “The cock’s the choicest part, all crisped up on the spit. A fat little sausage.”
    “Alas, all I have is a plump pair of teats. Though with Ser Lyn, a plump sausage under my skirts would serve me better.”
    We are also reminded as in terms of their closest derivative sausages, Dolerous Edd offers Jon the following advice as he breaks his fast, ahead of the arrival of the high officers:
    ” You’ll want to watch your sausages with this lot, though. They have a hungry look about them.”
    Certain foreshadowing for the treatment Jon’s sausages (which is to say entrails) will receive at ends of the high officer’s knives:
    “Mormont’s raven muttered his annoyance as the door opened beneath him, heralding the return of Dolorous Edd with a flagon of wine and a plate of eggs and sausages.”
    ‘Othell Yarwyck stabbed a sausage with his dagger. Bower Marsh sat red-faced. The raven flapped its wings and said, “Corn, corn, kill.”
    It would seem even Bloodraven is in agreement as to the threat posed to Jon’s sausages. Note also the juxtaposition of eggs and sausages, moon and meteor symbols respectively.
    We also have the scene that helped me to recognise sausages as dragon symbols: the assault on Wyman manderly by Ser Hosteen, which occurs while the former, a moon symbol is filling himself with sausages. The attack which symbolises the breaking of the moon sees the sausages scatter to the floor, setting the hounds to fighting (fellow moon meteor symbols).
    We also see sausages intersect with hounds in the run up to Daznak’s Pit:
    “Around them peddlers were selling dog sausages”
    Lastly we have Owen the Oaf, the only man who appreciates the true value of a sausage and knows them to be a good substitute for a blade of valyrian steel:
    “he knew Ty by the tangled rope of greasy black hair falling down his back and Owen by the sausage stuffed into the scabbard at his hip.”
    Im content in sausages having pertained to almost all aspects of the black dragon meteors: hard, black and greasy; made from blood, smoke and salt (through the production of hard dry cured sausage) ; representative of cocks and the fingers of a fist; hard swords, as well as representative of entrails.
    We also see Craster drowned in his own blood (like a dead moon) by the mutineers in pursuit of his sausages. With the coming of the long night, a good dry cured sausage will be just as sought after as a good blade or fallen moon meteor. Much like Azor Ahai, the humble sausage must be considered sceptically, is he a bringer of poison (high cholesterol), or a deliverer from suffering (and famine).

    I’ve certainly stated the case for disembowelment as a key symbol in the destruction of the moon, one which also factors into the concept of the moon being, drawn, hanged, disembowelled (with the entrails subsequently burned), decapitated, and split into pieces which can be distributed throughout the land. I believe that George has tried to integrate each aspect of the execution style of being hanged drawn and quartered into his symbolism, hence the use of sausages as substitutes for entrails, it certainly helps to make up for the greater wealth of symbolism pertaining to the act of decapitation.

    I’d also like to point out the style of execution is a feature of English history (one of George’s fascinations). It was introduced during the reign of Henry III, perhaps the first incidence was the execution of an man at arms who tried to kill the king and was hung, drawn and split into three pieces. There are many other historical incidences one could cite such as Dafydd ap Gruffydd who turned against Edward I and proclaimed himself Prince of Wales and Lord of Snowdon. For killing English nobles he was hanged alive. For killing those nobles at Easter he was eviscerated and his entrails burned. For conspiring to kill the king in various parts of the realm, his body was quartered and the parts sent across the country.

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  35. apologies for the double posting of the sausage essay, feel free to delete my former of the two
    My hypothesis that sausages can represent dragons also factors nicely into your interpretation of the fight between ser Gregor and Oberyn:
    “There was a sickening crunch. Ellaria Sand wailed in terror, and Tyrion’s breakfast came boiling back up. He found himself on his knees retching bacon and sausage and applecakes, and that double helping of fried eggs cooked up with onions and fiery Dornish peppers.”
    Another moon symbol, disgorging dragons from his belly to complete the long night metaphor. I struck me that a scene which you have shown to be rich in symbolism, seemed to be lacking an immediate reference to disembowelment, but it would seem Tyrion’s vomiting of sausages is the fulfilment.

    I should also note that the act of frying a sausages, is greatly reminiscent to the act of burning the entrails during execution by being hanged drawn and quartered, which may have served a ritual purpose of purging the site of treasonous thoughts, just as the entrails of the moon and many moon characters are poisoned.

    There might be a few more sausage puns hidden the books, such as Danyaers: mother of dragons, breaker of chains. In a similar vein we have the Umber sigil, a giant wearing shattered chains, in both cases we have moon symbols in association with broken [sausage] chains, the fragmented innards of the moon (individual sausages).
    other examples of broken chains which can be related to disembowelment and burning:
    ‘His father slid his fingers under the necklace and gave it a yank so hard it was like to take Theon’s head off, had the chain not snapped first. “My daughter has taken an axe for a lover,” Lord Balon said. “I will not have my son bedeck himself like a whore.” He dropped the broken chain onto the brazier, where it slid down among the coals. “‘
    The scene also earns points for alluding to decapitation.

    Bran’s description of the corpse Winterfell:
    ” there was Winterfell as well, grey with drifting smoke, the massive oak-and-iron gates charred and askew, the drawbridge down in a tangle of broken chains and missing planks.”

    Jon’s thought’s on the destruction wreaked by Mag the Mighty (moon like in terms of being a giant with a silvery coat)
    ‘Still the giant found the strength to reach through, twist the head off Spotted Pate, seize the iron gate, and wrench the bars apart. Links of broken chain lay strewn across the floor. One giant. All this was the work of one giant.’

    The Dragons beneath great pyramid are also associated with broken chains:

    ”Viserion had shattered one chain and melted the others. He clung to the roof of the pit like some huge white bat, his claws dug deep into the burnt and crumbling bricks.’

    ‘Rhaegal roared in answer, and fire filled the pit, a spear of red and yellow. Viserion replied, his own flames gold and orange. When he flapped his wings, a cloud of grey ash filled the air. Broken chains clanked and clattered about his legs.’

    ‘Viserion launched himself from the ceiling, pale leather wings unfolding, spreading wide. The broken chain dangling from his neck swung wildly.’

    ‘He could see the green dragon ripping at the smoking carcass of the sheep, his long tail lashing from side to side as he ate. A thick iron collar was visible about his neck, with three feet of broken chain dangling from it. Shattered links were strewn across the floor of the pit amongst the blackened bones—twists of metal, partly melted. Rhaegal was chained to the wall and floor the last time I was here, the prince recalled, but Viserion hung from the ceiling.’

    “The dragons were too wild. The chains … there were bits of broken chain everywhere, big chains, links the size of your head mixed in with all these cracked and splintered bones.”
    These last passage is a recounting of the former, placing special emphasis on the broken chains as dragon meteors, due to their partial melting, their size, scattering across the floor of the pit, as well as their association with the destruction of life symbolised by the cracked and splintered bones.

    preceding these descriptions of the dragons in shattered chains, we have Yronwood breaking the lock with his hammer:
    “Sparks flew when the hammmerhead struck the lock. And then again, again, again. On his fifth swing the lock shattered, and the chains fell away in a rattling clatter so loud Quentyn was certain half the pyramid must have heard them.”

    The clatter of the chains certainly reminds us of the noise the dragon meteor impacts must have made.

    There are plenty of examples of chains as meteor symbols in association with moon archetypes:
    “I dreamed of a winged wolf bound to earth with grey stone chains,”
    I dont have time to get into all of them, as they are likely more numerous than the examples of broken chains.

    I guess the point of this short analysis was to propagate the idea that boken chains represent moon meteors and intact chains represent entrails, as well as further corroborating the notion that sausages are used jokingly to reference the long night mythos.

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  36. Very nice; tying the broken chains to the sausages. I did note the Tyrion throwing up in the fight, and there’s another scene coming in a future essay where Tyrion vomits into the river while on the Rhoyne in book 5. You’re sausage connections make the link (pun intended). I wonder if all the broken chains might refer to the broken chain of islands known as the broken arm of Dorne? Btw sweet catch on the arm and neck wounds in your last comment. 🙂

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  37. Great point about the Arm of Dorne. Could it be that the battle of the Blackwater is a microcosm of the events that take place in the narrow sea as a consequence of the sea dragon? The broken arm of Dorne as a chain of islands would parallel Tyrion’s great chain closing the black water. (I should also note that Bronn’s sigil of a green chain on a smoking grey feild, another connection between chains and dragons, namely Rhaegal).

    ‘As the second line swept past the twin towers, Davos took a closer look. He could see three links of a huge chain snaking out from a hole no bigger than a man’s head and disappearing under the water. The towers had a single door, set a good twenty feet off the ground. Bowmen on the roof of the northern tower were firing down at Prayer and Devotion. The archers on Devotion fired back, and Davos heard a man scream as the arrows found him.’

    The towers represent the two moons, which are the source of the chains (described as glistening with mud and dripping wet, like entrails), as well as flight of meteor arrows (which are met with retaliation). the towers could also represent Essos and Westeros, linked by the arm of dorne, which is represented by the bridge of ships, used by stannis’s brave men as stepping stones
    The bombardment of the bridge leads to it’s disintegration:
    ‘Stones began to plummet down, crashing through the decks and turning men to pulp, until the whole bridge gave a shudder and twisted violently underfoot’
    Followed by the breaking of the bridge:
    ‘A groaning filled the air, like the death cries of some enormous beast. The ship, he had time to think, the ship’s about to tear loose. The broken galleys were ripping apart, the bridge breaking apart. No sooner had he come to that realization than he heard a sudden crack, loud as thunder, the deck lurched beneath him, and he slid back down into the water.’
    This breaking presumably leaves some ships flush against the persisting chain, while others fragments are cast downstream, reinforcing the appearance of island.
    Could it also be that the Stepstones were also raised from the water like Tyrion’s chain, either emerging when the flood waters receded, or being raised from the depths by aftershocks that occur after the tsunami in the narrow sea.

    Also any thoughts on the idea of the moon being hanged drawn and quartered?

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  38. A few more ideas on chains: an island chain could resemble a many humped sea serpent.
    I believe GRRM may be making reference to the Hawaiian archipelago: the volcanic arc resembling a sea dragon, with the northwestern islands the tail and the southeastern islands the head according to their size and fire breathing volcanism. the geology of the islands also makes the vulnerable to tsunami, another connection with the step stones.
    One can also draw upon George’s homage to Norse mythology, in particular Loki’s children by the jötunn Angrboða: the world serpent: Jörmungandr, Fenrir and Hel.
    Jörmungandr thrown into the sea by Odin (BR parralells), and it’s nemesis is Thor, a wielder of the hammer of the waters who slays it during Ragnarok only to perish himself from the poison of Jörmungandr’s venom. Prior to this Thor goes fishing for the Midgard serpent using the head of an Ox as bait (more decapitated moon symbolism), Thor attempts to slay the serpent but it’s line is cut.
    The connection between Fenrir and Brann is well established, both are wolves that are chained, both events involving a great warrior who loses his right hand (Tyr/Jaime).
    Fenrir is considered the most dangerous of Loki’s children and is chained in Asgard with Gleipnir, in preference to killing him as “so greatly did the gods respect their holy places and places of sanctuary that they did not want to defile them with the wolf’s blood even though the prophecies say that he will be the death of Odin”
    Fenrir as the moon is preserved within the celestial realm through a chain, but one which is eventually broken during Ragnorak:
    ‘after Fenrir’s son Sköll has swallowed the sun and his other son Hati Hróðvitnisson has swallowed the moon, the stars will disappear from the sky. The earth will shake violently, trees will be uprooted, mountains will fall, and all binds will snap – Fenrir will be free. Fenrir will go forth with his mouth opened wide, his upper jaw touching the sky and his lower jaw the earth, and flames will burn from his eyes and nostrils.’

    Odin throwing Jörmungandr into the sea is also accompanied by Hel being thrown into Niflheim, the world of mist (smoke obscuring the sun), a realm of primordial ice and cold. In the context of ASOIAF we can appreciate this in terms of Planetos being in a state of always winter. The Norse creation myth involves mixing of Niflheim with Muspelheim (the fire realm) to create the Ginnungagap, the steaming water also forms the giant Ymir, from whom the world is formed, this carries over into the Planetos which is a product of the balance between these two elements, with a more polarised state more comparable to it’s respective realm.

    This is only a cursory view of the connection between Norse mythology and the mythical astronomy of ASOIAF, there are doubtless many other connections between Ragnarok and the our story, such as the breaking of Bifröst, the fiery rainbow bridge connecting Midgard to Asgard, a good match for the arm of Dorne, connecting the realm of Men (essos) to the realm of the [old] Gods (westeros).

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  39. Really great bridge connections here, thanks so much for taking the time to point them out. I’ve been reading and enjoying all of your comments the past couple days. I’ve been super busy with work and trying to edit the next podcast (Tyrion Targaryen). But you definitely have the makings for an entire essay about sausages and innards. I’m most excited about the link between sausages and links (heh heh) as in bridges. I totally agree about the sea serpent / island chain thing. That’s a bloodstone sea serpent.

    All of that about Thor and Jormungandr – he mutual annihilation – is very like the sun and moon killing each other. The hammer dropper was the solar figure, as Odin is, but was killed by the snake he struck. The sun killed the moon but was poisoned by its dragon bite – it’s very similar. Fenrir’s wide jaws are a great example of mythical astronomy – clearly, celestial concepts are being alluded to here, with all the calamities and swallowing of heavenly bodies. Obviously there’s a heavy natural disaster element in Norse myth, but that’s not unique by any means. I mean crap, read Revelation a bit and you will see epic mythical astronomy going on. These violent incidents in our planet’s history leave a mark on our consciousness as well as the planet.

    There’s a huge set of correlations between the greenseer / weirwood thing and Odin and Yggdrasil, and I am going to get to those very soon. Th naming of the Stepstones island called “Grey Gallows” is a clue about this, just as the island named Bloodstone is.

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  40. thanks for taking the time to critique my ramblings.
    Im going to write an essay once I’ve finished my exams (albeit on a topic that won’t address mythical astronomy, although the themes are supportive). I’m looking forward to a Tyrion T essay, I definitely subscribe to the idea and have given it a lot of thought.
    In a similar vein, my essay is going to be about the secret, secret targaryeans (at least a branch that hasn’t been given prior consideration) and attempting to explain how ASOIAF relates to the war of the roses, not through the wars that have already occurred but in those which I anticipate. I also have an good idea as to how the hereditary madness afflicting later generations was introduced. I also intend to use historical precedent to explain my hypothesis especially on the topic of mental health. I would recommend reading up on the houses of York and Lannister as cadet branches of house Plantagent, there are definite tropes such as kingship delivered to the fourth son of the fourth son (and heaps more going back to the William II). Looking even further back I think the GEOTD is comparable to the Frankish empire under the Merovingians and Carolingians, which is divided by civil war between the sons of Louis the pious (amongst other factors).

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  41. I should also mention that being able to use your understanding of mythical astronomy as a cipher (along with Preston Jacob’s work on genetics) allowed me to make my realisation, so big props.

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  42. Hey Rob B here, just thought I’d let you know I’ve made a wordpress for some of my theories, mainly Hodor and Bloodraven stuff so far but Ive managed to incorporate some Norse Mythology. Thanks for being an inspiration.

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