A Song of Symbol and Myth

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 a world-shaping global cataclysm – the Long Night – through the use of symbolism and metaphor. This is consistent with real-world mythology, which is quite often based on observation of the heavens and the cycles and characteristics of nature.

But it’s not just the ancient legends of A Song of Ice and Fire that tell the story of the Long Night and the War for the Dawn – George has cleverly paralleled the ancient myths with all of the most important and vivid scenes in the main story. Jon and Daenerys may perform deeds which parallel those of Azor Ahai and Nissa Nissa, but that’s only the beginning – Robert and Renly Baratheon are modern versions of Garth the Green, and more than a few characters show parallels to the Night’s King and Queen, just to name a few examples. The bread and butter of the Mythical Astronomy podcast is comparing the various legends and myths to the characters in the main story and their symbolism, and by doing so, we can discover many exciting scenes which contain metaphorical references to the Long Night events.

George R. R. Martin chooses his descriptive language with the utmost intention, and the reoccurring turns of phrase that we find throughout the books create a tapestry of symbolism which is remarkably consistent and highly 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.  Otherwise, just dive on in to the first essay, or you can listen to the podcast version wherever podcasts are found, or you can watch on YouTube (the YouTube versions are embedded at the top of the page of each essay). 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.

NEW! White Walkers of the Weirwoods

I’ve mentioned this theory in passing many many times, and now it gets a proper (dare I say ‘definitive’) write-up; this is my best presentation of the evidence that the white walkers come from the weirwoods than I can make. Bonus cameo by the green men 🙂

Garth the Green Man

Who are the green men? Why should anyone care (meaning what do they have to do with the main story)? What does this have to do with the origins of the greenseers and the weirwoods? What secrets does the Isle of Faces hold? Get ready to have you mind blown by the clever folkloric connections between Garth, the weirwoods, and the greenseers. This is some of George’s finest world-building and re-purposing of real world myth anywhere in the series.

The Doom Was an Abolition

In “The Doom was an Inside Job,” I proposed that Aenar Targaryen worked with the Faceless Men to cause the Doom of Valyria, that fiery cataclysm which brought the five thousand year-old Valyrian Empire to a sudden and violent end. The question now is why? Why did Aenar help to cause the destruction of his own nation, the effective genocide of his own people? I think I have the answer…

Shamanic Thunder Horse (Weirwood Compendium 9)

Astral Projection! Weirwoods! Dunk and Egg! Sleipnir and Yggdrasil! It’s all here in Weirwood Compendium 9!

The Others
White Walkers of the Weirwoods
Dawn is the Original Ice: the Last Hero
Dawn is the Original Ice: the Pale Sword
Symbolism of the Others: the Kingsguard
Origin of the Others: Night’s Queen
Night’s King Azor Ahai
A New Night’s King?
Euron, King of the Apocalypse
Night’s King Crowseye
Born to Burn the Others
Lord Snow
Promised to the Others

Great Empire of the Dawn
Dragonlords of Ancient Asshai
Origins of the Dothraki

King Bran
Greenseer Kings of Ancient Westeros
Return of the Summer King
The God-on-Earth

End of Ice and Fire
Burn Them All
The Sword in the Tree
The Cold God’s Eye
The Battle of Winterfell

Bloodstone Compendium
Astronomy Explains the Legends of I&F
The Bloodstone Emperor Azor Ahai
Waves of Night & Moon Blood
The Mountain vs. the Viper & the Hammer of the Waters
Tyrion Targaryen
Lucifer means Lightbringer

Sacred Order of Green Zombies A
The Last Hero & the King of Corn
King of Winter, Lord of Death
The Long Night’s Watch

Moons of Ice and Fire
Shadow Heart Mother
Dawn of the Others
Visenya Draconis
The Long Night Was His to Rule
R+L=J, A Recipe for Ice Dragons

The Blood of the Other
Prelude to a Chill
A Baelful Bard & a Promised Prince
The Stark that Brings the Dawn
Eldric Shadowchaser
Prose Eddard
Ice Moon Apocalypse

Weirwood Compendium A
The Grey King & the Sea Dragon
A Burning Brandon
Garth of the Gallows
In a Grove of Ash

Weirwood Goddess
Venus of the Woods
It’s an Arya Thing
The Cat Woman Nissa Nissa

Weirwood Compendium B
To Ride the Green Dragon
The Devil and the Deep Green Sea
Daenerys the Sea Dreamer
A Silver Seahorse
Shamanic Thunder Horse
The Stallion Who Mounts The World

Signs and Portals
Veil of Frozen Tears
Sansa Locked in Ice

Sacred Order of Green Zombies B
The Zodiac Children of Garth the Green
The Great Old Ones
The Horned Lords
Cold Gods and Old Bones

We Should Start Back
AGOT Prologue

LmL on Facebook

Now in PODCAST form!

Click to open in iTunes

• Tolkienic Song of I&F
• Echoes of I&F
• Plowman’s Keep
• Blue Winter Roses
• Pawn to Player
• Weirwood Leviathan
• Culture Wars of I&F

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featured on DiscoveryNews.com

307 thoughts on “A Song of Symbol and Myth

  1. Holy crap I just connect something huge that I think you’ve skipped over on accident. The symbolism for how the meteors reault in 3 different things. Dragons, sea dragons, and burning trees to represent the fire of God. This really all clicked when you informed me the comet was standing in for venus in the story. You might already see where I’m going here. Uranus’ youngest child attacked him and parts of his body was flug across the earth. Blood that landed on the land were werewood seeds, the water, tempered steal for dragonsteel the weapon made of the body, just how APHRODITE spawned! Venus!!! And , cannot be a mistake. The meteors that landed in fire or lava or volcanos make actual dragons. Or maybe just fire worms that allowed for the future creation of dragons!!


    • I’ve only recently started listening to your podcasts and I’m currently only on your first iron born / grey king myth so it’s entirely possible that you’ve been building up to this exact idea already but I don’t know. It just blew my mind because I keep hearing you struggle with the connection between the multiple things the meteors created. As you’ve said, the magic of Planetos is rooted in the elements. Ice = preserve so that’s what the trees do. Water is darkness and rebirth so dragonsteel is dark and slays the preserved others for rebirth, fire is consumption, destruction and wild = so dragons.


      • Also worth mentioning, the shade of the evening trees are the meteors that landed on warm / try / tropical land while werewood were frozen earth. So the grey king is the blood stone emperor or an ancestor doomed to follow his footsteps. Killing a moon maiden and undergoing a firy – grey transformation for kinslaying.


        • I’m definitely onto something here. Check it out. The moon blood fertilizes the meteor seeds. So we have our explanation for blood and sacrifice to the trees. In Greeley myth the blood on the earth created a group of female goddesses. This is pulled from Wiki and I swear to God these are the descriptions of “the old God’s” .. explains why they have no real need also, the Greeks never liked saying their names and often refered to them as the Kindly One. Hint hint. The Kindly man… Who seems to worship the same God’s but the ones symbolized by the black trees not the white trees.
          Alecto – Punisher of moral crimes (anger, etc.)
          Megaera – Punisher of infidelity, oath breakers, and theft
          Tisiphone – Punisher of murderers
          The old Gods everyone. The Weirwood trees are the Furys. The Giants are… Well the Giants …. The Meliae are the ash trees that raised and shapes Zeus. They nourished him with Goat milk and HONEY.
          The Telchines are the Iron Born who settled on islands and dredged up the sea dragon. Rhea trued them to raise Poeisodon which is a close match for what we’re talking about here


          • Ash trees = shade of the evening trees. A honey like sap that grants the knowledge of the gods to Zeus… Aka the Andals. So the furies ruled the north where, the Meliae ruled Essos and Cronos the kinslayer/kingslayer ruled the oceans and iron islands. I’m sure I can keep building off of this forever at this point.


            • All of this brings to mind that the curse is for kinslaying is to be burnt by fire and remade in the image of the sun. Dany was killed by solar king Jon and now both are undergoing a transformation due to it. Jon always had been…. Grey…. Kinslayer


  2. Two things I need to hear your thoughts on the latest episode. Also I was listening to an old video where you mentioned the Grateful Dead. I would love to give you ideas for a video pertaining to that if you’re ever interested in making it.


  3. I believe the others are more than just a non-player character or a metaphor. They are at least a dark mirror to our heroes, and thus ourselves. But I believe they have agency as well as a point of view of their own.
    Consider the passage in “A Game of Thrones” where Tyrian is reflecting on the Burned Men while riding to meet his father at the inn of the crossroads. One sentence leaps off the page.
    “Every clan in the Mountains of the Moon feared the Burned Men, who mortified their flesh with fire to prove their courage and, the others said, roasted babies at their feasts.” “A Game of Thrones” Tyrian VII italics added
    If we read the books, taking any use of the word “other” when the others themselves are not on page as a below-the-radar description of the others, This quote could be a glimpse into how the others see the living. To what extent is the others’ view of our heroes as villains justified?
    The rest of the imagery in the passages before and after the quote has mythical astronomy implications in themes you have been commenting on; so I won’t belabor them here.
    Thanks for taking the time to read this. Make whatever use of the idea you wish.
    I look forward to hearing what you have to say in future podcasts. Keep up the good work.


  4. HODOR is the Key

    I think Hodor is going to show up in the Nights King army going after Bran. Bran will accidentally warg into him again and then realize that he can control the army of the dead. It’ll be an accident like the first time, something he does out of necessity. It would be the best ending ever because Hodor would be a symbolic backdoor into the Nights King army. He’d be holding the door again!


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