Sunday, May 5, 2013

Ragnarök - The Song of Ice & Fire



What is Ragnarök? It is, quite literally, the song of ice and fire.

But what is a song? Is a song a battle? Do notes fight one another for dominance, with no care or concern for the overall sound? No. That is discord. A song is harmony -- notes working together in unison.

And that is Ragnarök -- the forces of ice & fire uniting as one to attack the world of gods and men.

And that is key to understanding what's really going on in George R. R. Martin's epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, upon which the popular HBO show, Game of Thrones, is based (assuming my theory is correct, of course. If it's not, then I'm just delusional, but it should be entertaining either way, so, by all means, read on). The battle is not Dragons vs. White Walkers. It's Dragons & White Walkers vs. Mankind.

Prior to Ragnarök, the world is plagued by civil war, rampant immorality, patricide/fratricide and disease. A "long winter" then engulfs the world, known as Fimbulvetr (i.e. three simultaneous winters without end -- Winter Is Coming) before the ensuing apocalypse erupts. At Ragnarök, giants (i.e. jötnar -- not giants as we think of them, but elemental beings) who inhabit the realms of ice & fire unite under the leadership of the bound god Loki -- the trickster -- and his monstrous offspring -- Fenrir, the Bound Wolf -- Jormungandr, the World Serpent -- and Hel, the Queen of the Dead -- to do battle with, and slay the gods. All the major figures of the Norse pantheon are foretold to perish in the ensuing chaos -- Odin, the Mad God, shall be swallowed by Fenrir -- Thor, the Storm Lord who wields a mighty war hammer, shall fall to Jormungandr -- Tyr, the one-handed god of single combat, shall be torn to shreds by Garmr, Hel's Hound -- Freyr, the phallic lord of virility, shall fall to the fire giant Surtr, the Black, and his fiery sword -- and Heimdallr, the Watcher, shall die at the hands of Loki himself. When all is said and done, only the children of the gods shall remain, and Odin's son, Vidarr, in particular, whose name means Vengeance, shall tear Fenrir's jaws asunder and avenge his father, after which, the world shall be rejuvenated, and life shall start anew.




To see how this relates to A Song of Ice & Fire, we must first identify who is who and which side they're playing for. It's not quite as straightforward as you may think:

Gods
Odin - Aerys Targaryen
Thor - Robert Baratheon
Tyr - Jaime Lannister
Freyr - Walder Frey
Heimdallr - Samwell Tarly
Frigg - Cersei Lannister
Freyja - Margaery Tyrell
Idunn - Sansa Stark
Brynhildr - Brienne of Tarth
Njördr - Theon Greyjoy
Kvasir - Jojen Reed
Baldr - Joffrey Baratheon
Vidarr - Tommen Baratheon

Giants
Loki - Bloodraven
Fenrir - Bran Stark
Jormungandr - Danaerys Targaryen
Hel - Melisandre
Surtr - Jon Snow
Hati - Arya Stark
Fafnir - Tyrion Lannister
Garmr - Rickon Stark
Hrym - Victarion Greyjoy

At the heart of the story lies the trickster god, Loki. Although he's occasionally depicted favorably, he's generally a devious character in Norse mythology who works against the gods. He is a shapeshifter, and is able to take the form of birds, fish, insects and even the mist. In addition to this, he is the embodiment of fire (i.e. sometimes helpful, sometimes harmful), and is the father of "wargs" -- which is an old Norse word meaning, "monstrous wolf" (in reference to his son, Fenrir). Due to his part in murdering Baldr -- Odin & Frigg's favorite son -- Loki was banished from Asgard and bound in a cave as punishment, where he is to remain until he breaks free at Ragnarök. Also of interest, the mother of his three monstrous children, Angrboda, is a giantess who lives in an "ironwood", where she raises Fenrir.



If you have read up to the most recent book in the series, A Dance with Dragons, you might have already figured out that Lord Brynden, aka the Three-Eyed Crow, aka Bloodraven -- Bran's mentor -- is Loki. Bloodraven is an extremely old Targaryen bastard living under the roots of a weirwood tree far beyond the Wall. He had been banished and condemned to the Night's Watch for committing an unknown crime (I happen to think he was blamed for the death of Aerion Targaryen, much the same as Loki was blamed for the death of Baldr -- and Tyrion, in a case of "history repeating itself", was blamed for the death of Joffrey -- but GRRM has yet to reveal Bloodraven's "crime"), and possesses the ability to "warg" (which in GRRM's world essentially means "bodysnatching", rather than "monstrous wolf") with a whole host of animals, including a flock of ravens and many other creatures. It is even rumored by the peasants in the Dunk & Egg books that he can warg with the mist (exactly like Loki).

Bran, who Bloodraven is mentoring, represents monstrous Fenrir -- the Bound Wolf (Bran's dreams of the "bound wolf" make this pretty straightforward). The word Fenrir means "of the fens, or marshlands", and this is represented by Bran's relationship to Meera & Jojen Reed, who are bog people. Similarly, Fenrir is said to feed on the flesh of men in his cave, which would seem to confirm the theory that Bran cannibalized Jojen as part of the "weirwood paste" he was fed by the Children of the Forest.

And, the conflict upon which the whole story is centered on is between Bran & Jaime -- not Jon & his mother, or Daenerys and her "children". When Bran catches Jaime having sex with Cersei in the beginning of A Game of Thrones, and subsequently gets pushed from the window, it sets off a chain of events. The culmination is the loss of Jaime's hand to the mercenary Vargo Hoat (who was changed to the character Locke on the TV show -- a Bolton man, rather than a sellsword). These two incidents are representative of the story of Fenrir's binding by the god Tyr -- the one-handed god of single combat -- the champion of mankind (i.e. Jaime -- or, as the Asshai'i call him, Azor Ahai). When Tyr first binds Fenrir, he still has both of his hands. Fenrir bites off his hand as a result of his binding. And even though Bran isn't directly responsible for chopping off Jaime's hand, it does come about as a result of his crippling (i.e. a war was started over it). And in this sense, Bran's paralyzation represents Fenrir's "binding".




Side note: Jaime's role as Tyr is hinted at in the names of his [half] brother TYRion, and [foster] father TYwin (Ty is Norwegian for Tyr). And, the etymology of those names could be of possible interest (stress possible... Ok, probably not, but try to bear with me here). The word "ion" is of Greek origin, and once meant "the road to" or "the path to" in its ancient usage, making Tyr-ion "the road" or "the path to Tyr".  Conversely, "win" is of proto-Germanic origin and has always meant pretty much the same thing, more or less --  "to gain by struggling" -- making Ty-win "to gain Ty[r] by struggling [with Aerys]". More etymological connections appear in the names TYRell and PeTYR Baelish. The root of the word "ell" in Greek means "length of the arm", making the name Tyr-ell "the length of Tyr's arm". Similarly, PeTYR Baelish could mean "Tyr's favorite child", as "pet" is of Scottish origin, meaning "favored" or "indulged child". Admittedly, I'm probably digging a little too deep there, but at the very least it shows how often the word "Tyr" is used in the names of characters.

But back to Loki's children -- Bran may not be Bloodraven's actual flesh and blood son, as Fenrir is Loki's, but he is under his influence. The relationship is not to be taken literally. Which leads me to believe Loki's other two children -- Jormungandr, the World Serpent -- and Hel, the Queen of the Dead -- will fall under Bloodraven's spell as well.



But who are they in relation to the books? And what is their connection to the bound trickster, Loki? It all comes down to fire. Not to be confused with Logi, who is a fire giant, Loki is similarly related to fire, as he is thought to have originated from a trickster/fire spirit, in the same vein as Lucifer and Prometheus. Mind you, his role and character have changed over time, so he is no longer the "god of fire", strictly speaking. But it is believed that he may have been exactly that when the religion was in its infancy -- a fallen "Light Bringer" figure. And this is key to understanding Bloodraven's role as the Lord of Light, and the role of the Red Priests in the coming battle.

Jormungandr -- the World Serpent -- is represented by Daenerys Targaryen, who is obviously linked to dragons/serpents, and is in exile, forced to wander the world (the TV show also makes note of how many different languages she speaks as well). Jormungandr is supposedly so massive, he can circle the world and swallow his tail, which is represented by Quaithe's prophecy to Daenerys -- "to go West, you must go East, etc". Another aspect of Jormungandr's character can be seen in Daenerys' relationship to Robert Baratheon, i.e. the Storm Lord with the war hammer -- Thor. In Norse mythology, Jormungandr & Thor are archenemies, slated to kill one another at Ragnarök, and in A Song of Ice & Fire, Daenerys & Robert Baratheon are archenemies (I happen to think Dany will meet her demise at Robert's ancestral castle, Storm's End -- i.e. Stormborn dies at Storm's End -- but that's for a different post). Dany's family was murdered and her throne usurped by Baratheon, and the enmity even followed her across the sea, as Robert tried to have her assassinated, contrary to honorable Ned's advice. What's more is Jormungandr is not just a serpent, but a sea serpent. Dany's relationship to the sea is represented by her need for ships, and future marriage to Victarion Greyjoy. But it is Victarion's Red Priest, Moqorro, who will bring Daenerys, and her dragons, to Bloodraven's side.

Which brings me to Loki's third child -- Hel, the Queen of the Dead. Hel rules over the dead in an icy underworld called Niflheim (reserved for those unfortunate souls who didn't get into Valhalla). She wears a face that is both half-beautiful, and half-dead, and in her role as Sinmara, she's the consort of Surtr, the fire giant.

Surtr, whose name means "the Black", lives at the Bifrost Bridge -- a bridge separating the world of giants from the world of the gods -- and wields a fiery sword, which he will use to set the world ablaze during Ragnarök. It is foretold that Surtr will break the Bifrost Bridge and lead the Sons of Muspell into the realm of the gods to do battle. The Sons of Muspell are fire giants who live beyond the Bifrost Bridge.



Hel & Surtr are represented by Melisandre & Jon Snow. Melisandre currently resides in an ice world, at the Wall (i.e. the Bifrost Bridge), and wears a glamor to hide the fact that she is either extremely old, or already dead (i.e. two faces). She is also an enemy of the Seven, and obsessed with death and sacrifice, constantly searching for king's blood to feed to her fires. And, up until this point, she has provided Stannis with his fiery sword.

Similarly, Jon Snow has "taken the Black" and lives at the Wall, which separates the realm of the Others from the realm of men. And, even though he too lives in an ice world, his relationship to fire is symbolized by Ygritte, who was "kissed by fire".

This probably means that Melisandre will raise Jon Snow from the dead, similar to the way Thoros resurrects Beric Dondarrion -- and Beric, in turn, raises Catelyn -- and convert him to the Lord of Light. She will then become his "wife", much the same as she was Stannis', and Jon will then assume his role as the Night's King (the Son of Craster Jon & Melisandre are holding will draw the White Walkers to them). And in that role, he will knock down the Wall and lead the "Sons of Muspell" (i.e. the Sons of Craster -- the Others -- White Walkers) into the realm to do battle with mankind (i.e. those who worship the Seven -- which is an allusion to Norse numerology -- although it should be noted, the Norse held the numbers three and nine holy, rather than seven. But it's a subtle difference).

We already know that Melisandre feels more powerful when she is at the Wall (closer to Bloodraven), and Bloodraven & Bran have already appeared to her in her fires (the exact quote from A Dance With Dragons is, "A face took shape within the hearth. Stannis? she thought, for just a moment... but no, these were not his features. A wooden face, corpse white. Was this the enemy? A thousand red eyes floated in the rising flames. He sees me. Beside him, a boy with a wolf's face threw back his head and howled" -- Ch. 31. I'm assuming that was the first time Bloodraven tried to contact her directly. But it seems likely he probably communes with the High Priest of R'hllor in a similar fashion). And now, she, and her counterpart, Moqorro, are in perfect position to wrest control of both the forces of Ice & Fire in the name of Bloodraven (i.e. the Lord of Light -- who is a sorcerer -- or rather, the "Last Greenseer". I'm assuming the title was passed down to successive generations of greenseers, and is somehow connected to the Asshai'i legend of Azor Ahai -- which they shouldn't even know, being that Azor Ahai was from Westeros, where the Long Night was fought, far from Asshai. I imagine "R'hllor" first started appearing to them in their fires around the same time the First Men started worshipping the Children and their "Old Gods". Or, at least, that's my best guess, at the moment. Because, I'm pretty sure Azor Ahai is a ruse -- at least in the context that the Asshai'i speak of him. Because, if the Children & Humans really fought the Others together, why did the Children end up on the wrong side of the Wall, with the Others?). Also a subtle clue -- in A Dance With Dragons we meet Benerro, the High Priest of R'hllor, whose skin is milk white (just like Bloodraven's -- perhaps he's trying to emulate his "god"?). He delivers a sermon in Volantis that Tyrion happens upon, and rails against Danaerys' enemies, who he singles out as those who "pray to false gods in temples of deceit" (i.e. those who worship the Seven in Westeros/Asgard -- human gods for humankind, rather than sorcerers and necromancers who grant their followers magical powers).

The role of the Red Priests in the upcoming battle is foretold in another prelude to Ragnarök -- the Three Roosters. It is said that three roosters will sound when Ragnarök begins -- a Crimson Rooster, a Golden Rooster (which will raise heroes from the dead) and a Red Rooster (which will crow at the gates of Hel).




In A Song of Ice and Fire, these roosters are symbolized by the 3 armies that remain in control at the end of the War of the Five Kings. The Crimson Rooster is symbolized by the Lannister army, which is in control of Westeros. The Golden Rooster (which raises heroes from the dead) is symbolized by the Golden Company, which is led by Aegon Targaryen & Jon Connington (i.e. heroes from the dead), and is contesting the Lannister army for power. And lastly, the Red Rooster that crows at the gates of Hel is symbolized by the Red Priests, who are working to control the forces of Ice & Fire (i.e. Jon Snow & his White Walkers by way of Melisandre, and Daenerys Targaryen & her dragons by way of Moqorro, respectively).

Also of interest, the first person to hear these roosters -- the first person to know that Ragnarök has begun -- is a herdsman and harpist named Eggther who is a "ward of giants". He is sitting on a mound, playing his harp when the roosters crow. He is represented by Mance Rayder -- a musician-king who rules over giants and attempts to herd them into the Realm after he sees the first signs of the coming conflagration.

Other Gods & Monsters Represented:

Odin
-Although Odin has many roles and epithets, one of them is the Mad God -- as he is associated with fits of madness & rage -- and is usually depicted as an old man with a long white beard, and shaggy white hair. In the earliest incarnations of Norse mythology, Odin wasn't even worshipped as a god. Tyr is equivalent to Indo-European Dyaeus (the god from which Zeus & Jupiter evolved), and was once the primary god of the pantheon, while Odin was probably a real king who only came to be deified and mythologized much later in the history. Because of this, Odin is not present in the earliest tellings of Ragnarök (same story for Thor). So, I believe it is in this capacity that Odin serves in the ASOIAF novels, and is represented by the Mad King Aerys (who was killed by Jaime -- i.e. Tyr -- another clever twist). Aerys, like Odin, is known as the Mad King, and dies before the events of Ragnarök take place. However, Odin was also known for fathering bastard children, which is the one legacy Aerys left behind. Jaime & Cersei are his bastard twins, by way of the rape of Joanna Lannister (which Barristan Selmy alludes to in his conversations with Dany). This is the real reason why Ilyn Payne had his tongue cut out (for witnessing the incident), and that's why Ilyn Payne laughed at Jaime when he admitted his love for his sister to him. This is also important to the story of Tommen -- the Prince Who Was Promised. Because, Tommen is all 3 gods in one: Odin, Thor & Tyr. Odin (Aerys) is his grandfather. Thor (Robert Baratheon) is his supposed father. And Tyr (Jaime) is his real father, making Tommen Vidarr -- Vengeance -- slayer of Fenrir (which is foreshadowed in A Game of Thrones, when Tommen & Bran spar with each other out on the training grounds of Winterfell).



Thor
-The Storm Lord with the war hammer who hates Jormungandr (Dany) is obviously Robert Baratheon. But in this regard, GRRM is following the same model as with Odin. Thor was not a part of the Norse pantheon when the religion was in its infancy. He was likely a real king who was only deified later in history, and would not have been present in the earliest tellings of Ragnarök. And for this reason, King Robert didn't survive the wild boar that gored him. But, in Robert Baratheon, GRRM also added another story from Norse mythology -- that of Hoenir and Mimir. Hoenir was a "large and powerful" king who was sent to rule over the Vanir after a civil war between the gods (FYI: the Norse pantheon is divided into two Houses -- that of the Vanir & that of the Æsir. Most of the major gods belong to the Æsir, so the Vanir were usually the losers in any kind of conflict or contest between the two). But, unfortunately for the Vanir, Hoenir never wanted to govern. He always wanted others to make decisions for him. And his responsibilities were often dumped on Mimir, his wise counsel, who was forced to rule in his place. Feeling cheated by this arrangement, the Vanir decided to behead Mimir and send his bones back to the Æsir. This is symbolic of the story of King Robert & Ned Stark. Robert was the large & powerful king who came to power after a civil war, but never wanted to rule, and Ned was his wise counsel, who often ruled in his place, but ended up getting his head chopped off after joining the Small Council in King's Landing. Clever how GRRM fit these subplots into the larger story.

Freyr
-Freyr, the phallic deity of male virility, is represented by none other than Walder Frey and his many children (it's even in the name). This goes to show that GRRM has a good sense of humor, because there's very little about him that comes off as "godlike". He's a cruel, conniving weasel... but it's Cersei who says on the TV show that "The gods are cruel. That's why they're gods". That was a big hint as to what's really going on, because GRRM is portraying the gods as oppressive and the giants/monsters as oppressed, which I think is clever. Freyr is foretold to die at the hands of the fire giant Surtr, who is represented by Jon Snow. This makes sense because when Catelyn is resurrected by Beric Dondarrion and converted to the Lord of Light, she becomes obsessed with revenge against the Freys for carrying out the Red Wedding. So, it stands to reason that once Jon is raised, killing Walder Frey will become his primary concern as well (funny too that Jon & Cat will finally see eye-to-eye). Another clue can be found in Walder's ancestral castle -- "the Twins" -- which is an allusion to Freyr & Freyja.

Heimdallr
-Heimdallr is the Watcher. He lives opposite Surtr at the Bifrost Bridge and is symbolized by the horn he sounds to warn the gods at the outset of Ragnarök. What's more is Heimdallr doesn't have a father (he was "born of nine mothers") and is described as the "whitest" or "palest of gods". Samwell Tarly lives with Jon Snow at the Wall and was born on Horn Hill. He was disowned by his father because he's such a cowardly momma's boy (fyi: to "turn white" or "turn pale" is an expression for cowardice). So, I'm assuming Samwell will be the first to notice the changes in Jon Snow, and might also come across some kind of lost information about Bloodraven & the White Walkers while doing his research. He may even find the Horn of Winter as well, which Jon Snow will steal from him and use to knock down the Wall, at which point Samwell will finally send his ravens and warn the people of Westeros of the danger. He will then go on to kill and be killed by Bloodraven, because he will feel guilty for having aided in his capture of Bran, by way of Coldhands (fyi: Heimdallr & Loki are foretold to kill each other at Ragnarök -- which is foreshadowed by the business with "Sam the Slayer". The TV show even took it a step further. Bloodraven's flock signals and draws the White Walker to Samwell, and subsequently chases him after he kills it).
Edit -- I should also clarify why I think Samwell has been portrayed as a "coward" (even though he most definitely is not, judging by the way he blindly charged that White Walker). I think this is largely due to the fact that Heimdallr is the first god to encounter Surtr after the Bifröst is broken, yet he fails to engage him in battle. Surtr bypasses Heimdallr in order to fight Freyr instead. So, if you're turning the figure of Heimdallr into a fantasy character, you've got to explain why exactly he shies away from Surtr. And, in my opinion, GRRM has done this quite well, by not only making Samwell a "coward", so to speak, but a friend of Surtr to boot. And as bold as Samwell was against the Walker, I simply can't see him turning on Jon, regardless of Jon's actions (I can see him warning the rest of Westeros about Jon, but I can't see him attacking Jon himself).



Frigg
-Frigg is the Queen of Asgard who has the power of prophecy, which she chooses not to share with anyone. She begins to lose it when her son Baldr is killed, and is jealous of Freyja for being more beautiful than she is. She is represented by Cersei Lannister, who is the Queen of Westeros, and has never shared the prophecies she learned from "Maggy the Frog" with anyone. She is driven to madness when her beloved son Joffrey is killed, and is jealous of Margaery Tyrell's youth and beauty... so much so that she ends up framing Margaery for infidelity to Tommen.

Freyja
-Freyja is the goddess of beauty, love, fertility, gold, death & war. She owns two cats, and wears a cloak made of falcon feathers. She is married to Odr, whose names means "madness" or "furious", or "the frenzied one", and is always absent, and her own name (i.e. fruvor) was also a title bestowed on noble ladies in ancient times. And, it is noted that the common people considered her to be the most approachable of the gods. Margaery Tyrell is both renowned for her beauty and is associated with love, as she's been wed and re-wed three different times. She gave Tommen kittens as wedding gifts, and likes to take her noble ladies out falconing. Similarly, she is associated with gold (the Tyrells are rich), death (she and her grandmother poisoned Joffrey) and war (her family saved the Lannisters from Stannis). Plus, in both Joffrey and Renly she married men very much like Odr -- the former a sadistic madman, the latter always absent. And, as is made clear on the Game of Thrones TV show, the small folk consider her the most approachable of the nobility, by far in a way. It should also be said, flowers were often used to symbolize Freyja -- and, of course, a rose is the sigil of House Tyrell. Another interesting connection can be seen in Freyja's often conflicting character -- i.e. according to certain myths, she's the goddess of fertility, whereas in others, she's related to virginity. And, in ASOIAF this is represented by Margaery's trial for infidelity to Tommen. Is she promiscuous or is she a virgin? A question often asked of Freyja.



Idunn
-Idunn is a goddess of youth and beauty associated with apples. She is married to Bragi,  who is the god of poetry -- the most eloquent of the gods. Bragi supposedly has the most "skill and fluency with words", but is accused of cowardice by both Loki, and his own mother, Frigg. The most well-known story relating to the pair is that of Thjazi (pronounced Theyazi) the giant, who kidnaps Idunn. With the help of Loki, Thjazi is able to lure Idunn out of Asgard with the promise of a fresh apple, before turning himself into an eagle and snatching her up, stealing her away, back to his mountain stronghold. The gods eventually force Loki to rescue her (which he does by transforming into a falcon) and they then kill Thjazi when he comes chasing after the two. And in another story -- the Lokasenna -- Loki accuses Idunn of marrying her brother's killer (the brother goes unnamed, but whoever he was, Bragi apparently killed him, because she does not refute the charge). Which set me on the trail of Sansa Stark. But I just couldn't figure out how she was related to apples (because that's a major aspect of Idunn's character -- she's always symbolized by apples). Until I googled "Sansa Apple". Bingo. Turns out, a "Sansa" is a type of apple, just like a Fuji or a Red Delicious. So there you have it, a youthful beauty, whose name means "Apple" marries her brother's/father's killer (or almost does), and is subsequently stolen away to a mountain stronghold (the Eyrie), which is symbolized by a falcon (granted, a Sparrow took her there, rather than an Eagle, but same idea). So, we know who Sansa is. And, while it's possible Littlefinger is Bragi (i.e. he uses words as his weapon), I'm pretty sure he's Thjazi. Thjazi is a giant who turns into a bird (i.e. an eagle) and kidnaps Idunn, hiding her away in a mountain stronghold. Similarly, the sigil of Littlefinger's House was a giant (i.e. the Titan of Braavos) before he changed it to a bird (i.e. a swallow). And likewise, he steals Sansa from King's Landing and hides her away in a mountain stronghold. As for her rescuer -- whereas it's possible Loki (in falcon form) is represented by Bloodraven, I'm pretty sure Harrold Hardyng (aka the Young Falcon) represents Sansa's "savior". And, this could mean that she'll eventually be returned to King's Landing (i.e. Asgard) to live amongst the gods (i.e. the Lannisters), and Littlefinger will die at their hands when they discover his treachery.

Njördr
-Njördr is a god of the Vanir who was sent to live amongst the Æsir as a hostage following a civil war between the gods. He's a sea god associated with sailing but was sent to live amongst the "wolves" in the mountains, which he came to resent ("Hateful for me are the mountains, I was not long there, only nine nights. The howling of the wolves sounded ugly to me after the song of the swans". --Prose Edda). Similarly, in the Lokasenna, Loki calls Njördr a pervert, which was a major aspect of Theon's character prior to his imprisonment. And, Njördr's association with priesthoods can be seen in Theon's baptism into the cult of the Drowned God. What's more is Njördr is said to have coupled with his sister, which Theon unwittingly attempted to do with Asha, and was thoroughly humiliated for it. But, the problems with this connection arise with Theon's transformation into Reek. That could be related to the legend of the Danish hero Hadingus, who is basically Njördr personified, although there are some differences there as well (i.e. Hadingus was a hero, namely, which Theon clearly is not). Possibly of interest, Hadingus was said to have travelled to hell and ended up hanging himself in front of his subjects upon his return. And, in the earliest times, Njördr was thought to be a genderless god, related to the goddess Nerthus, and was neither male nor female, which could be a reference to Theon's castration. What this could mean for his future is hard to say. Hadingus, for one, married his sister and became a king, only to commit suicide in the end (as I previously mentioned). And, if nothing else, Theon definitely seems a likely candidate for suicide. But we'll have to see how GRRM works that out.

Kvasir
-Following a civil war fought between the gods, the Æsir and Vanir called truce, and affirmed their pact by spitting into a vat. From this spit, a being called Kvasir was born, already fully grown. Sound weird? Yeah. But, anyway, he was supposedly the wisest of the "gods" (although, it's not exactly clear whether he was considered a god or not. He's more akin to a godlike being -- and some texts even refer to him as a "man"), and could answer any question posed to him. He travelled throughout the world, spreading his knowledge, and acting as a teacher to both gods and men... that is, until two dwarves invited him into their home. Rather unwittingly, he accepted their invitation and was subsequently murdered by them upon entering (which, of course, was ironic, being that his knowledge was so vast, yet he was totally naive when it came to street smarts). The dwarves then drained his blood into a vat and mixed it with honey, creating the "Mead of Poetry", which conferred great wisdom upon those who drank it. In ASOIAF, Jojen Reed was a precocious boy who possessed wisdom far beyond his years, so much so, he was called the "Little Grandfather". He was born after Robert's Rebellion, and travelled beyond the Wall with Bran, acting as his teacher and guide along the way. Although not a greenseer like Bran, the gift of greensight was strong in him, and he answered all of the questions Bran posed to him about it. That is, until he was invited to the cave of Bloodraven and the Children of the Forest, where he was murdered and drained of his blood. The Children then mixed his blood with weirwood seeds, creating the wisdom-imbuing "weirwood paste" they fed to Bran. Or, at least, I think that's how (and why) it went down. Because, even though GRRM has yet to reveal Jojen's fate, all signs point to him being direwolf chow.



Hati
-Hati is a warg (i.e. a monstrous wolf) and a son of Fenrir. His name means "He Who Hates", and he is said to chase the moon through the night's sky. Come Ragnarök, he is foretold to swallow the moon. In ASOIAF, Hati is represented by Arya Stark, who is both a warg and a wolf. She clearly hates her enemies, more so than any of the other Stark children, as she recites a list of names of the people she wants to murder each night before she goes to bed. She is also "chasing the moon" in her quest to become a Faceless Man (FYI: a moon is carved on the door of the House of Black & White, which is where the Kindly Old Man trains her to become an assassin). So, her becoming a Faceless Man is a sign that Ragnarök has begun (i.e. she has finally caught the moon -- Valar Morghulis). On a side note, I believe Arya is destined to be killed in her sleep, while dreaming her wolf dream. Her soul will then be transferred to the body of Nymeria, who is stalking the Trident with a massive pack of wolves (i.e. the pack Arya has always wanted). Nymeria was a legendary warrior queen in Westerosi history who crossed the Narrow Sea with a fleet of ships in ancient times to conquer Dorne. Her relationship to Arya is symbolic in the sense that Arya's soul will transmigrate across the Narrow Sea into her wolf's body when she dies, to conquer the Riverlands and/or Winterfell. This will also be the opposite of what happens to Jon Snow, as his wolf -- Ghost -- will die when he is killed by the Night's Watch, as foreshadowed on the TV show, when Jon threatens the Wildling warg, Orell (i.e. "When I kill you, what happens to your eagle? Does it drop dead from the sky?" -- paraphrasing).

Fafnir
-Fafnir is a dwarf whose father is the richest man in the world. In an act of treachery, Fafnir murders his father and steals his gold. He then flees with the treasure and transforms into a dragon in order to protect it. And, although Fafnir is not involved in the Ragnarök mythology, he is the central antagonist in the tales of the legendary hero Sigurd (and, I have yet to identify Sigurd). So, it's difficult to say what role he will play in future events, but Fafnir is clearly Tyrion Lannister. Like Fafnir, Tyrion is also a dwarf who slays his wealthy father and then flees across the Narrow Sea to the protection of a dragon (Danaerys Targaryen). He then uses his supposed status as "heir of Casterly Rock" to join the Second Sons mercenary company, which in itself is a clue -- Tyrion is the heir of Casterly Rock... NOT a Second Son. He is Tywin's only son. But Jaime is a second son (second to Rhaegar), as is Jon Snow (second to Aegon), Bran (second to Robb) and Stannis (second to Robert). So, there is clearly something to that. But it's funny that the clues in both Tyrion's name (i.e. Tyr) and the Second Sons allude to Jaime rather than Tyrion. Perhaps Jaime is Sigurd? If GRRM used Thor as a platform for Hoenir, it's possible he could combine the stories of Tyr & Sigurd as well.



Garmr
-[Edit: see post "Direwolves, Wargs & the Stark Children" for information about Rickon as Garmr. I had Garmr tentatively identified as Gregor Clegane in this post, but a commenter was able to make a much better connection to Rickon.] Garmr is the "bloodstained watchdog who guards Hel's gate". He is described as a massive dog, the "greatest of dogs", who will similarly slip his bonds at Ragnarök and attack the god Tyr. What's interesting about Garmr is that he was only added to the mythology in the 12th - 13th century by the Icelandic poet, Snorri Sturluson (inspired by the hellhound Cerberus, from Greek mythology) and was not present in the earliest tellings of Ragnarök. It is believed he is akin to Fenrir, and was substituted as an adversary for Tyr after Tyr was supplanted as the primary god in the pantheon by Odin. Prior to this switch, Tyr was foretold to prevail over Fenrir in his role as "the Mighty One" (i.e. Azor Ahai). And since Aerys & Robert Baratheon have already been killed off in ASOIAF, I believe GRRM is adhering to the earlier versions of the mythology. With that being said, we do seem to have a match for Garmr in Gregor Clegane -- the Mountain. While it's possible Garmr is Sandor Clegane -- the Hound -- Sandor is not quite as big as his older brother, and Garmr is described as the "greatest of dogs". Not to mention the fact that Sandor has a deep-seated fear of fire -- because of Gregor -- and is unlikely to back the Lord of Light under any circumstances (and, it appears he now walks in the light of the Seven, if we are to believe he's the monk Brienne sees on the Quiet Isle). However, Gregor is in perfect position to be converted to the Lord of Light, as he was killed by Oberyn Martell and subsequently resurrected by Qyburn. And, even though Qyburn is a disgraced Maester, rather than a Red Priest, the assumption here is that Gregor's zombified condition creates an avenue for the Lord of Light to manipulate. So, this could mean that Gregor will "slip his bonds" by breaking the hold that Qyburn & Cersei have over him and going rogue (not rogue, per se, since he's being controlled by Bloodraven, but rogue in the eyes of Qyburn & Cersei).

Hrym
-Hrym is the captain of the ship Naglfar, which sets sail from the lands of the east to ferry hordes of giants into Asgard during the battle of Ragnarök. There isn't much to him other than that, but he's represented by Victarion Greyjoy, who has taken the Iron Fleet east to pick up Danaerys Targaryen and her dragons.



The Kraken
-The Kraken is a massive cuttlefish from Norse mythology that is foretold to surface during the events of Ragnarök. Though it does not figure prominently into the story, and was likely a later invention, much the same as Garmr, it is said to appear out of nowhere and pull ships into the sea off the coasts of Midgard & Asgard. And, it was said to be so large in size that the sailors who supposedly came across it often mistook it for an island. Obviously, House Greyjoy represents the kraken in ASOIAF. It is the sigil of their house, and they are raiders who live on an island off the coast of Westeros. Plus, they are infamous for their stealth tactics, having burned the Lannister fleet at Lannisport during the Greyjoy Rebellion. What's more is, unlike the other peoples of Westeros, they sail Viking longships rather than galleys and carracks, like the Lannister, Baratheon & Tyrell fleets. So, their "resurfacing", after Euron takes the Seastone Chair and invades the Reach, is a sign that Ragnarök has begun.

The Spider
-The Norse believed women called Norns wove the fates of gods & men under the World Tree Yggdrasil. Each of their threads represented a person's life, and the patterns they wove represented the relationships people had with one another. In addition to weaving fate, the Norns were also responsible for watering Yggdrasil, so it wouldn't die. Because of this mythology, the Norse held spiders to be holy -- nature's weavers. It was believed they held the power to link the past to the future. In ASOIAF, the character Varys, who is called "the Spider", is a weaver of the fates of men, working behind the scenes to connect the past to the future (i.e. to install Aegon Targaryen upon the Iron Throne). And, even though he's not female, as the Norns always are, he was castrated in his youth. And, it's possible he "waters the World Tree" by warring against black/blood magic (which is a tool Loki will use to rot the World Tree). But then again, not all Norns were good. People who suffered calamity and misfortune were said to be under the thrall of bad, or evil Norns. And, when one considers the wild goose chase Varys sent Danaerys on (i.e. marrying her off to a brutal nomadic warlord, and subsequently commissioning Jorah Mormont to assassinate her), he may not be such a good Norn. However, if Dany represents the World Serpent, Varys may have been trying to preserve the World Tree by casting her into the Dothraki Sea (much the same as Odin casts Jormungandr into the sea).


The Fool
-Now, this may seem cruel (because it is), but the ancient and medieval Norse used to force the mentally ill and the mentally handicapped to act as court jesters. They usually weren't overly abusive to these "fools", but they did find their humiliation amusing, and would force them to "perform" (i.e. to make fools of themselves) at feasts and festivals, and the like. We see this same practice in ASOIAF, as the court jesters of most of the major houses are either mentally ill or handicapped in some way (i.e. Moon Boy, Butterbumps, Patchface Jinglebell, etc.). The exception we see is in Dontos Hollard, who was a disgraced knight-cum-fool in King's Landing. But that fits the culture as well. Because, alcoholics and disgraced members of society were often employed as court jesters as punishment.


In any case, I've only just touched upon the surface of it. But I think this is enough info for my first post. Stay tuned for further details. Granted, I may be completely wrong about all of this, or certain conclusions that I've drawn from it, or what have you. So, take it for what it's worth. And don't let it discourage you from your own theories about the books/show. Your guess is as good as mine.


Fun Fact: It wasn't Tyr[ion] or Walder Frey[r] who clued me in to this theory. It was Hodor. In the story of the death of Baldr, Loki tricks Baldr's blind & dim-witted brother, Hodr (also spelled Hodur), who is noted for his strength, into killing Baldr. The name piqued my interest, and the somewhat similar description really got me curious -- dim-witted Hodor & blind Hodur, and the two are both associated with a shapeshifter -- Loki (i.e. Bloodraven). But it was initially nothing more than the name itself that put me on this trail and got me thinking.



I should also add that an anonymous commenter pointed out that the name Eddard Stark could be an allusion to the Prose Edda (i.e. our main source for Ragnarök mythology -- which is most definitely a grim, or a "stark" Edda). Similarly, commenter Southron brought it to my attention that the names for the books in the series are kennings (i.e. metaphors in Old Norse poetry -- i.e. A Game of Thrones = Power Struggle. A Feast for Crows = Armistice, etc.). I think both are right on the money, and pretty clever at that. Nice work.

FYI: I've posted a number of my theories on the message boards at Westeros.org under the screen name "BrosBeforeSnows", and on WinterIsComing.net under the screen name "Varamyr Fourskins", if anyone cares to look them up. I haven't posted on Westeros in a while, but I still drop by WiC on a fairly regular basis. However, I did post what essentially amounts to the building blocks, or the blueprints for this theory over at Westeros in a thread titled "Jaime & Bran" (there was another one as well, but I can't remember what it was called -- maybe, "A Guide to Norse Mythology" or "The Ragnarok Connection", or something like that). I'd identified a few of the characters and their significance back then, but it wasn't nearly so comprehensive as this. But, you can see the evolution of it, if you want to read more about it. I'd also recommend the "Heresy" thread. They've gone in a different direction than I have, but "Black Crow" first posted it around the same time I posted "Jaime & Bran", not long after A Dance with Dragons was released, and there's a lot of good stuff in there (I mentioned in the comment section below that it wasn't until after ADwD came out that we could begin to piece this together, since the identity and motives of the 3-Eyed Crow hadn't been revealed yet).


Disclaimer: Not for commercial use. Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire are registered trademarks and copyrights, as are the images used in this post. I do not own them, nor do I stand to profit from this site. For educational purposes only.

334 comments:

  1. Just one short question: Doesn't Sam already hold the horn? Remember the cracked horn that Jon gave him when he found it in the stash of dragonglass?

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    1. I'd forgotten all about that. I was thinking of Mance's fake horn. But I like it. The real horn isn't an eight foot long mammoth tusk (or whatever it was Mance had), it's a dinky little thing no one even thinks to look at twice... and Sam already has it. Thanks for pointing that out.

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    2. Sadly he does not possess the horn, he had to trade it along with all Sam, Gilly and Maester Aemon owned in order to pay for passage to Oldtown from Braavos

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    3. Oh yes Mikael! Who did he give it to? A Ship Captain? Could that mean the horn is on its way to Victarion? (Long stretch..just a thought. I should reread those chapter before I theorize, I suppose.) I need to create my own outline for this series!

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    4. Sam still has the horn.

      "By the time the dealing was done, Sam was down to his boots and blacks and smallclothes, and the broken horn Jon Snow had found on the Fist of First Men."

      Feast for Crows, Samwell IV

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    5. Claudia who is anonymous:

      and SAM = Heimdallr:
      Ere Small Paul comes to get Gilly's baby; Sam sees himself in his dream at party with the nightswatch, but as lord of his father's keep Horn Hill, cuts meat for them with Heartsbane, and they're all dressed in bright, colourful clothings, all his friends jon and even mormont are at the feast, ere he goes to see Gilly with milkgiving breasts awaiting him as his lover.

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  2. Interesting parallels, but I just can't believe that GRRM would rip off Norse mythology that much. Some things yes, but not as much as you have alluded to. That said I really enjoyed this analysis. Fascinating stuff. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I wouldn't say he's ripping off the mythology any more so than an historical-fiction writer rips off history. I'd say he's bringing it to life and tying it all together (assuming that is in fact what he's doing, of course). The mythology that's been passed down is both incomplete and vague. It's not like Shakespeare, or anything like that. There's no character depth whatsoever, and it's not at all realistic (it's mythology).

      So, I'd see it as more of a public service than anything. And he wouldn't be the first writer to do it. Far from it. A fairly recent example off the top of my head would be the Coen Brothers' "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?", which is based on Homer's Odyssey, but is set in Depression-era America and treated satirically. The mythology itself is symbolic rather than literal (and consider, what we've been passed down from Greek mythology is far more comprehensive than what the Norse left us, so someone using the latter as their template would have to do a lot more legwork). I'd call it mythological-fiction, instead of historical-fiction. But it's the same idea.

      Thanks for commenting though. I appreciate the feedback.

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    2. Hi Elisa, I don't think you can call GRRM a "ripoff". I'd call his work an interpretation or an adaptation of Greek & Norse Mythology, which both actually expand to other cultures such as Romam & Hebrew for the Greek and I believe Anglo Saxon and Celtic Mythology can be linked to Norse as well. (Different names, similar stories always).
      There are many adaptations that are extremely successful. Can you say that every adaptation of Shakespeare's work is a ripoff? I once heard someone tell me that ALL stories are derived from the 1st stories told of the same base. Love stories, war stories, stories of greed, of power struggles, etc.
      How many great screenplays have been written based off Shakespeare or Jane Austen?
      :)

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    3. http://www.reddit.com/r/asoiaf/comments/1fozul/

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  3. Where do you see Stannis fitting into this?

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    1. You know, that's a really good question. And I wish I could give you a better answer. Because I know there are legions of Stannis fans out there who are expecting something big from him, but unfortunately, I don't think that will be the case. Granted, I'm not the be-all end-all on this, so he could very well be someone I haven't identified. But the best connection I could make is with the god Forseti. It's too vague of a connection to include in this post, and there is no real conclusion to draw from it, but Forseti was the god of justice who lived on a sacred island. He stands opposite Tyr in the pantheon, as Tyr is the god of war, and Forseti is the god of "settling scores". He doesn't figure into the Ragnarök mythology, which I personally believe means Ramsay did in fact get the better of him. Of course, I could be wrong, so take it with a grain of salt. But I'm pretty sure Ramsay will be fed to Surtr, not Stannis. Stannis was more or less a vehicle used to deliver Melisandre to Jon Snow.

      However, there are said to be 4 stags who eat away at the World Tree Yggdrasil -- Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr and Durathrór. Their names mean "The Dead One", "The Unconscious One", "Thundering in the Ear" and "Thriving Slumber" respectively. Of course, there are only 3 Baratheon brothers, not 4. But the Grímnismál (a poem from the Poetic Edda) mentions only one stag:

      Yggdrasil's ash
      hardship suffers
      greater than men know of
      a stag bites it above
      and in its side it rots
      Nidhögg beneath tears it.

      FYI: Nidhögg is a dragon who eats at Yggdrasil's roots.

      Clearly, Stannis is the only Baratheon left (other than Robert's bastards, of course), and this would seem to imply he's a "monster", rather than a god -- working with Nidhögg to destroy the World Tree. So, it could be that Stannis will join Jon Snow, and maybe even swear allegiance to him. But again, the connection is too vague to say one way or the other.

      On a side note, I just figured out who Sansa & Littlefinger are. And I will add that to this post soon.

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    2. Hey, thanks for the reply! Such a detailed breakdown. I imagine there must be quite a few characters whose specific roles and importances are not entirely clear (Euron, Sandor, Marwyn, Lady Stoneheart, etc). Dragonstone is somewhat tempting to identify as the sacred island but that place too has had a fair few inhabitants, and Stannis is currently there anyway.

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    3. No problem. I'm really interested in Davos. I've been trying to figure out who he is for a while now, because I'm pretty sure he will be connected to the battle in some way. But, at least one thing is for sure -- he's a monster. Because he's not nearly cruel enough to be a god.

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    4. Maybe Gendry or Edric Storm WILL return to be the 4th Baratheon? There's also the Storm girl living in the Vale; The oldest of Robert Baratheon's Bastards.

      As for Davos, don't you think he is some sort of human being who struggles with the mistakes the GOD's make? He's the "humble lowly servant" with the true voice of human reason who questions the decisions of the greats! I have always thought he's very significant in the story to show who are rational humans. A counterpart to Tyrion I think. If that makes sense.
      I have NO idea how or if my input can relate to your brilliant juxtaposition of the Norse Mythology. :)

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    5. "However, there are said to be 4 stags who eat away at the World Tree Yggdrasil -- Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr and Durathrór. Their names mean "The Dead One", "The Unconscious One", "Thundering in the Ear" and "Thriving Slumber" respectively. Of course, there are only 3 Baratheon brothers, not 4. But the Grímnismál (a poem from the Poetic Edda) mentions only one stag: "

      Perhaps you are not looking for a fourth Baratheon, some of the other houses have Stags in their heraldry and for a while Coldhands rides a giant Elk. One of the Stags is called the "Dead One" Could this be a hint at the Coldhands being some long dead Baratheon, Durran or a member of another house that uses/used a stag in their sigil?

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  4. I must say, this has me all turned around on what I was expecting based on the story's own internal mythos. I had Jon Snow picked as Azor Ahai and he and Melisandre/The lord of Light would fight against the Others/White Walkers. Bloodraven being both the Lord of Light and the leader of the Others is a bit of a conflict, don't you think? Unless you mean for it to be a Loki-eque trick. It just seems like everyone is so set against the threat of the Others that it's highly unlikely that anyone would join them, much less Jon Snow or any of the Red Priests.

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    1. I think the TV show actually hinted at it last night -- i.e. the flock of ravens that led the White Walker to Samwell. That was Bloodraven's flock, guiding a White Walker to Craster's son (Gilly says as much -- "He's come for the baby"). But, of course, if you see the story the way GRRM wants you to see it, then you might think Bloodraven was trying to warn Samwell, or something like that. But, the ravens didn't seem too happy with him after he killed the Other. So keep that in mind.

      And, yes. Melisandre talks a good game (as does Bloodraven... as does Loki), but, consider, who has she targeted in her wars? Has she fought the Others? Nope. Rather, her fires told her to fight the Wildlings instead -- the Others' enemies. And, there's some major foreshadowing going on there when she burns the Seven on the beach of Dragonstone. That is the true battle the Red Priests are fighting -- a holy war against the Seven (as Benerro, the High Priest makes implicitly clear. Dany's war is not against the Others, but rather, against the people who "pray to false idols in temples of deceit").

      And, yes. It does seem like a contradiction for the Red Priests to be concerned with the Darkness, and then be an instrument of it (but then again, it's Melisandre who says it is the light that creates shadows). And that's where Loki comes in -- the Trickster. The "greenseers" (or rather, the continuous line of greenseers) function as the Lord of Light, and the Red Priests are their earthly emissaries (even though they don't completely understand how they're being manipulated themselves). Bloodraven is mentoring Bran to replace him as the Lord of Light, just as Bloodraven replaced the greenseer before him. And the priests are connected by way of Asshai, which is the center of blood magic. That's how sorcery, and in particular, the Children's sorcery, works -- blood magic (which is why Bran had to cannibalize a greenseer, like Jojen, to become more powerful).

      cont...

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    2. cont...

      The missing link here is the Children of the Forest -- the original, non-human, sorcerous inhabitants of Westeros. They warred against BOTH the First Men and the Andals to keep them out of Westeros, but failed (most people forget that the First Men fought the Children too, because they eventually adopted the Old Gods as their own. But they only did that after the Children were defeated. Prior to that, they didn't pray to weirwood trees -- they burned them, in fear of the Children's "blood magic"). So, we know for a fact that the Children don't like humans, and have a good reason for hating them (see Native Americans & Europeans). And this is who Bloodraven (i.e. a sorcerer who is also disillusioned with humanity, much the same as Bran is) is working for -- the real battle he is fighting -- to reclaim Westeros for the Children.

      I think the White Walkers are a weapons race created by the Children's sorcery. And yes, the histories claim the Children joined the First Men to battle the Others during the Long Night, but I don't think that's as simple as it seems, or even entirely accurate (GRRM has implied as much, by saying the histories may not be entirely accurate). I think it's quite possible the White Walkers have a mind of their own, much the same as Dany's dragons do (i.e. Dany has had a pretty hard time controlling them). That's probably why Bloodraven had to guide the Walker to Samwell, rather than control it himself. And, if Moqorro's dragon horn is any indication, that could be why the White Walkers turned against the Children (if they actually did). The Night's King blew the Horn of Winter and summoned them to his side. They work for whoever blows the horn.

      But, again, this is just my opinion. I could be dead wrong about all of this, and Dany & Jon will get married and bathe the Others in dragon fire. I'm just offering a different point of view. Only GRRM knows for sure what's really going on (I suppose you could throw D&D into that mix as well, assuming GRRM has told them). So, take it for what it's worth.

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  5. Very interesting blog. For a while now, I have thought of Brienne of Tarth was an embodiment of Brunnhilde (and Jaime as Siegmund), but when I read your post I went and checked out the Nordic variation of Brynhildr. According to Norse legend, Brynhilr is a shieldmaiden who is cursed when she chooses to support the wrong king, and imprisoned in a ring of fire on a remote mountain until rescued by Sigurd. In GoT, we have Brienne's story kicking off with her being awarded the Rainbow Cloak due to her loyalty and love of Renly. With his assassination, Brienne swears fealty to Catelyn, and is entrusted with the quest of bringing Sansa and Arya back. As we find out, this quest is essentially futile- other forces at work keep Brienne from ever getting close to completing her sworn vow. Essentially she is a prisoner to this vow- cursed to wander the kingdom on a quest that only she, Catelyn and eventually Jaime honor. At the end her loyalty is questioned by Lady Stoneheart- a force of the Lord of Light. The problem I have with this theory is the absence of the savior (Sigurd). In some ways, Jaime represents this character, but we also see Gendry come to her aid before she is captured by the Brotherhood. Is Gendry Sigurd?

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    1. That's a good one. I've been trying to figure out who Brienne is for a while now, and Brunnhilde makes perfect sense. Although, I'm still leaning towards Jaime as Sigurd, rather than Gendry.

      The TV show has really thrown me off of Gendry's trail. I was pretty sure he, Edric Storm and Mya Stone represented Magni, Modi and Trud, respectively (i.e. the children of Thor), but I don't know what to think anymore. I also thought Gendry could've been Wayland the Smith, but the TV show seems to be veering away from that angle as well. So, I think more of his storyline will have to be revealed before we can say with any kind of certainty who he is, or isn't.

      And that's the thing about this theory. It didn't come about (in my mind, at least) until the latest book was released. Because, prior to that, there was no Loki to connect everything. We had no idea who the 3-Eyed Crow was, or what his intentions were. Which may be the case for some of the periphery characters as well, like Gendry, Davos and Osha. We may still need more info on them before we can identify them (that, or I just need to brush up on my Norse mythology -- one or the other).

      But thanks for commenting. I'll have to add something about Brienne in my next post.

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  6. This is really a great read, please keep updating it, especially with theories of what might happen.
    I think Jaime is Sigurd. He saved Brienne and he really looks the part. Sigurd is the archetype hero with long blonde hair.

    Sigurd is also known as the Dragonslayer, while Jaime is known as the kingslayer. And the king he killed was a dragon.

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    1. Will do. I've updated this post a few times, but I'll have to start another one soon. Thanks for reading. Glad you like it.

      And I agree, by the way, that Jaime is Sigurd, as much as it pains me to say. Because, in all likelihood, that means he'll kill Tyrion, which I'm not exactly rooting for. But that is how the story goes. Which leads me to believe Tyrion will in fact be Cersei's "valonqar" rather than Jaime (because, even though Jaime & Cersei aren't technically Lannisters, Tyrion would still be their half-brother). Perhaps Jaime will kill Tyrion after Tyrion kills Cersei? It's hard to say. I've always assumed Jaime is the valonqar, because Tyrion seems too obvious. But I suppose it's like reverse psychology (i.e. GRRM tends to gravitate toward the unexpected, so people will be surprised by how obvious it was -- I mean, it's been foreshadowed about a thousand times. Yet, no one believes it because of that).

      In any case, one thing is for certain -- in the Lokasenna, Loki taunts Tyr will cuckoldry, much the same as Tyrion taunts Jaime after he's freed from prison ("She's fucking Lancel, and Osmund Kettleblack, and probably Moonboy too, for all I know" --paraphrasing). So, I think it's pretty clear Tyrion has gone over to Loki's side, one way or another. Which leads me to believe that Dany is destined to travel beyond the Wall (which is foreshadowed on the TV show, during the House of the Undying scene, when she meets Khal Drogo and her son on the wrong side of the Wall). Because, I'm assuming, in his role as Fafnir, Tyrion will be riding one of those dragons.

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    2. The whole prophecy about Cercei is about her and Robert, what if the "valonquar" is not her little brother but Roberts, Stannis?

      If he ever gets that far, I'm sure he would love to do it!

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    1. We are all Roman.

      But, no, not technically. I am really in to Roman history, though -- the Regal Period, specifically, prior to the advent of the Republic. Very little is known about that era, comparatively-speaking (which might be why I like it so much -- I get to invent it myself). But it was a pretty chaotic time of upheaval. Caesar's assassination, for example, was a direct result of the Tarquin dynasty's misrule.

      With that being said, I like pretty much anything Roman. I've visited the Eternal City several times. And Octavian is my idol. I even wear SPQR t-shirts.

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    2. No, I meant : Are you Romanian ? As in from Romania ?
      I guess, you're not, because you would've understood.
      I asked because your blog is _____.ro, which is the extension of Romania. :)

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    3. LOL. I thought you were talking about my fake profile (which says Rome is my hometown -- and to be clear, it's not. I'm really from Los Angeles).

      But, you could probably guess I'm American by the fact that I only translated half of your question. I ran "Esti" through google translate, but figured "Roman" meant the same thing over there as it does here (which, admittedly, was awfully American of me).

      As for my blog coming up .ro -- that's crazy. I have no idea why that is. I created it as a .com, which is what it comes up as on my screen. So, I'm not sure why you're getting it as .ro, but, now that you mention it, I have been getting an unusual amount of traffic from Romania on my site. I just thought I'd really struck a chord with GoT fans in Bucharest, for some reason. But, I'll have to check that out. Thanks for pointing that out.

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    4. I guess Blogspot translates the domain's extension in each user's country.

      Concerning the traffic from Romania, I may be guilty for part of that, as I recommend this blog to everyone I know.

      Great job, keep up the good work.

      Winter is coming !

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    5. You're correct about the domain extension, Lucifer - I'm in Canada, and the domain extension is .ca for me.

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    6. LOL, i'm Croatian and it's .in for me (Croatian domain extensions are .hr)... weird

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  8. Anonymous2nd again: The Brienne story originally took me a bit of wonder I thought Brienne of Tarth sounded a lot like Jeanne d'Arc and I wondered desperately who Gilles de Rais might be. But this makes more sense. I'm still very happy with your theory.

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  9. How about Thrym (king of Frost Giants, killed by Thor) = Coldhands? Also, just to go all wild, Coldhands = Night's King... who is actually Bran the Builder, first KotN, builder of the Wall, and Storm's End. He built Storm's end for Durran Godsgrief who was having a bit of trouble with the gods knocking over his castles. Relatedly, Durran becomes the first Storm King, founding House Durrendon, which eventually is destroyed/assimilated when Durran's descendent Argilac is killed by Orys Baratheon (the champions of Thor!).

    A bit rambly but hey... since we're going there.

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    1. Actually, I meant NK was the son/grandson of Bran the Builder; he fought against his brother the KotN and the KBtW Joramun (the first incarnation of Heimdall).

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    2. I like that. I've gone back and forth on Coldhands, but I've always suspected he's the Night's King. The Thrym connection is interesting. I'll have to check that out, but it sounds like you might be on to something.

      I actually went off on a tangent not long ago, in an effort to link Coldhands to Bittersteel (by way of Loki's horse, Svadilfari). But I've kind of backed off of that theory now. It's a weird story, first of all (i.e. Loki is impregnated by a horse after taking the form of a mare). Plus, the Children claim Coldhands "died long ago". And, given the fact that they live for hundreds of years, Bittersteel & Bloodraven's era probably doesn't seem all that long ago to them. So, the Night's King is probably much more on the mark (he supposedly lost his soul when he married the Other, so that could explain how he came to be that way).

      As for Bran the Builder -- I really don't know what to make of his story. Seems more legend than reality to me. But, he may have been a real person who founded House Stark, and built Winterfell, and possibly even Storm's End (although, that would seem impossible over the course of a single lifetime, given how long it takes to build castles), but I'm pretty sure he didn't build the Wall... that is, unless he was a sorcerer (which, admittedly, he might have been).

      As for his son/grandson being the Night's King -- I like the idea. But, if the story is moving in the direction I think it is, perhaps he was a bastard son? History repeating itself...

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    3. I thought about this a little more. Maybe Bran the Builder was a sourceror, as you said, and used blood-magic in a constructive way, where the CoF used it in destructive ways (Arm, failure at the Neck). In this way he could have built large things like Winterfell, Storm's End, and finally the Wall. And, having bastards is a good way to have a source of powerful blood around for harvest without threatening the lineage.

      The legend has Bran gaining help from giants, so, I have another theory. Maybe the Wall was built to keep the Andals South, NOT to keep the Others et al North. Maybe, after the CoF failed at Moat Cailin, then failed to shatter the Neck, it was the only way to save what was left. Maybe the giants, children, and Others all banded together to seal themselves away from the invaders. Maybe Bran the Builder had something to do with it, or not. Maybe the KotN, knowing the Andals would eventually take over, helped, and then sacrificed his land and kin to "assimilation". Maybe the NW was originally formed for defense of the North... from the South.

      Unrelatedly, are the CoF the dark-elves of Norse mythos?

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    4. To address your last question first -- yes, I think it's more than likely the CoF are modeled on dark elves (sinister beings who live within the earth). However, it should be noted, there are several different types of elves in the mythology, including light elves and black elves, and we don't seem to have a match for either of them (unless there are different factions within the CoF's ranks).

      As for your Andal theory -- that's actually very plausible. I've kind of neglected Bran the Builder, but there's probably something there, especially since he's the legendary founder of House Stark. And, it makes sense that the Children would've wanted to shut themselves off from the Andals, since they couldn't convert them, like they had the First Men. And that may have been what ultimately soured the CoF on the First Men -- they ended up becoming too much like the Andals.

      Plus, that's a really good point about the Neck and Moat Cailin. Because, we know for a fact the CoF tried to seal off the North when they fought the First Men. So, it stands to reason they would've tried again when fighting the Andals, who were even more formidable. And consider, when we read that the CoF used to supply the NW with a hundred obsidian daggers per year, we automatically assume they were used to fight the Others. But, according to the histories, the CoF used obsidian to fight humans, not Others. So, could it be that the Others are "allergic" to obsidian BECAUSE the CoF make their blades out of it? In other words, the CoF don't use obsidian because they're afraid of the Others -- the Others are vulnerable to obsidian because the CoF use it. Just throwing it out there.

      But, whether or not Bran the Builder really did help build the Wall, I don't know. There's all kinds of theories about him over at Westeros.org -- that he was a sorcerer, or a giant (i.e. Hodor's lineage), or some kind of half-human, half-Child hybrid (which is why the Starks can warg). But, I'm not sure if we're supposed to take Westeros' legendary history literally (i.e. the "Age of Heroes").

      However, there is one legend from Norse mythology that may relate to him -- that of the hrimthurs. Hrimthurs were a tribe of ice giants, called "Builders", renowned for their skills at carpentry. The gods end up getting ripped off by one of them, after they hired him to build the walls of Asgard, and agreed to trade the sun & moon in exchange. Only realizing their blunder after the fact, the gods then betrayed the Builder by commissioning Loki & Thor to distract and kill him, respectively. Which the two did (the gods then finished building the wall themselves, presumably). So, perhaps Bran the "Builder" either betrayed the CoF and/or giants, or was a CoF and/or giant who was betrayed by the Starks? Makes you wonder.

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    5. from ThrymAsColdhands
      Got another one for you. I was thinking about the Wall, and the last episode of this season's show, and whether Bran and Sam would pass through, when it occurred to me that the Black Gate, in the Nightfort, could be significant. I thought, I wonder if there are any Norse myths pertaining to wells... Sure enough, the World Tree sprouts from the Well of Urd. I thought, okay, if there is any association between the well and a Godswood, then I am on to something. Going back and reading, the Black Gate IS MADE OF WEIRWOOD! BR must be the one who asks "Who are you"! Chills... down my spine.
      I am 100% in to your theory, especially when I can make associations like this. I can't wait to see how they do this in the TV show. And I have to say, even if all is revealed through your theory, I can't wait to see how GRRM writes it!

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    6. Sorcerer sounds like the best bet, the walls of Storm's End are old and magical, Melisandre's magic cannot pass through its walls, she has to be inside the walls to birth the Shadow-baby that kills the knight holding Storm's End. So if he helped build Storm's End, and he did it with magic, having him build both the Wall and Winterfell isn't such a crazy idea either.

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  10. This. Is. F**king. Awesome.

    This is by far the best theory that I've read. All other theories have been pretty cliche and pale in comparison.

    If even half of this is truth GRRM is one of the most incredible writers of all time. To be able to weave Norse mythology into a such a huge tapestry of characters and storylines.

    I commend you for coming up with this theory. When I read the books again, I'll be reading them under a new light. I pray that this theory is truth cause it'll make this series even more awesomer.

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  11. Walter Frey is obviously Freyr and very apparent after tonight's episode 9 of GOT season 3. ""The gods are cruel. That's why they're gods" - a human phallic symbol.

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    1. We have to take into account that, as opposed to Christians, Muslims, and Jews, the ancient Norse didn't love their gods -- they feared them. The Æsir & Vanir were basically like gods & devils all rolled into one, in a sense. I mean, they called Odin the "Mad God" after all, because he was a murderous psychopath who would occasionally wreak havoc on the world for no apparent reason whatsoever -- just because he found it amusing.

      "Sin" usually didn't even enter into the equation. Sometimes it did, but it wasn't in a Christian-sense. It was more of a personal thing. Thor didn't really care how you treated your fellow man, so long as you didn't disgrace his name, but he might kill you with a lightning bolt just for the hell of it... because he thought your suffering was funny. Meaning, the ancient Norse never really questioned "Why hast thou forsaken me!?" after a tragedy. They thought "I hope you're happy, you bastards".

      So, keep that in mind when I call Walder Frey a "god". We're not talking about a "loving god", here.

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  12. I wanted to chime in and say I am thoroughly impressed and entertained by your post here. I am not an easily swayed person and remain skeptical, but with what you've put together, you have me practically 100% convinced that your theory is correct.

    I haven't studied this at all but I've always been a Norse mythology 'casual' fan [the book Rhinegold was the first fantasy I ever read as a kid]. I don't even feel spoiled if this is true, great stuff! Any clues on Sandor at all?

    Anyways, props for the hard work and intelligence. If things happen like this, the series is going to be truly epic in the last few books. Not to mention that, as long as GoT ratings don't drop on HBO, the final seasons will be batshit crazy and go down as one of the craziest shows in TV history.

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  13. This really has been quite wonderful to read, well done Dorian. I do have a couple of character fate questions though.

    GRRM may have weaved Norse mythology within each character and each plot line, but there are two characters that stand out to all readers: Ayra and Tyrion.

    He makes every character good and bad. This obviously fits, I can't tell who the goodies and baddies are in your list either!

    However, for all their good character traits and bad character traits (plus GRRM's confessed fondness with the character Tyrion), but readers will forgive Tyrion and Arya anything. We all know Tyrion is a conniving bugger, and that Arya will be some sort of assassin, but we will all still back her, whatever her crimes.

    Surely their suggested fates in Norse mythology will not befall the book characters.

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    1. I think Arya's death was actually foreshadowed in the "Rains of Castamere" episode. Sandor says to Arya "You're very kind. Someday it will get you killed", which, if I'm correct, is a reference to her death at the hands of the Kindly Man, who will kill her in her sleep, while she's in her wolf dream. At least, that's how I think GRRM plans to lessen the sting of Arya's death. She'll get her "2nd life" in Nymeria, and will finally get the pack she's always wanted. That's what I think Jojen meant when he said "The wolves will return" -- i.e. Arya will lead thousands of wolves back to Winterfell during Ragnarök.

      As for Tyrion -- I don't know if GRRM plans on lessening that sting. I think he's a tragedy waiting to happen (as Lazarus mentioned). And, yes, it will be a bummer when he goes down (I don't suspect it will happen until the very end). But just imagine how intense it will be when Tyrion is chasing Jaime through Casterly Rock on the back of a dragon.

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  14. I don't know about Arya, but even without the mythology behind it, I think that Tyrion is sure to die.

    Magic or no magic, good or evil, he was always despised by many. Now he killed his own kin, cursed among his kind. Add in the fact that he is horribly disfigured.

    I'll be amazed if he survives the series, no matter how much we all enjoy him.

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  15. Also to Dorian, this is a complete shot in the dark and likely 100% incorrect, but just doing some reading I was left potentially tying Davos Seaworth to Ratatoskr.

    I can't put much behind it, but it is a messenger, essentially Davos's role. Not to mention he does scurry all over the damn place, I think he has traveled the most of any character, has he not? He does spread word of many things, which could be considered slanderous gossip [especially the incest, though it is true].

    Though this leads me to: If Mel were Hel, Stannis could be Nidhoggr. This leads to Ratatoskr [Stannis] being the messenger between Nid [controlled by Hel] and Hresvelgr [whom I wouldn't place at this time].

    This is a random idea based off little research so take it only as that. I just wanted to shoot out a thought to possibly contribute another line of thought for you.

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    1. That's an interesting theory. I've been trying to place Stannis & Davos for some time now, and haven't found much. But they could be matches for Nidhoggr and Ratatoskr, respectively, now that you mention, although, their roles are pretty vague. I'll have to check that out.

      The closest match I could find for Stannis and/or Davos (on the jötnar side of things) is the Lindworm. In English heraldry, lindworms were just plain old serpents -- but in Norwegian heraldry, they were sea serpents, specifically. And, according to their folklore, they were created when pregnant women at onion skins (i.e. they'd give birth to a lindworm). Which makes me wonder about the "Onion Knight". I'm not entirely sure what the connection is -- but the dragon Fafnir (i.e. Tyrion), was said to be a lindworm. So, it's possible that Stannis or Davos represents the 3rd dragon. Because, if Dany/Drogon represent the Midgard Serpent -- the other two dragons could represent Lindworms.

      But, in any case, I think Davos will ultimately prove more important to the story than Stannis. Could be wrong about that. Especially since Stannis is a "Second Son" (which seems important -- somehow). The thing is, I could actually see them ending up on opposite sides. Because, there's no way Davos is cruel enough to be a "god", whereas Stannis is pretty much the definition of "unapproachable". So, that could play into it as well. But I think we're going to need more info before we can say for sure.

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  17. Very nicely done. However, I'd like to know your thoughts on three things:

    1) The Horn of Joramun; and
    2) Val
    3) Jon as Surtr

    I do not think any are unimportant and do pertain to Ragnarok. In the books, the Horn of Joramun blows and the wall comes crashing down. In the legend of Ragnarok, Heimdall blows his horn Gjallarhorn to signal the beginning of Ragnarok. Some scholars think the word "Gjallarhorn" means "horn of the river Gjöll", and in Norse myth Gjoll was one of the rivers of the Underworld and a place to acquire wisdom. I've long suspected that the horn Sam found was the Horn of Joramun, except that in the books, the horn is broken.

    Val is more difficult. She could be Skadhi, the Queen of Winter. Or it could simply be a reference to the Valkyries. However you cut it, she is important to the story. If Jon survives, I'll bet anything he marries Val.

    Thirdly, Jon as Surtr. I think you are bang on the money here. Surtr is a jotunn or Jötnar who live in Jötunheimr which separated from Midgard (the world of humans).

    Surtr is the Giant with the Flaming Sword. Enough said.

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    1. Someone pointed out in the comments above, Sam and Maester Aemon ended up trading away the horn that was found with the dragon glass, in order to gain passage to Oldtown from Braavos. So, if that was Gjallarhorn, Sam doesn't have it anymore.

      But, I'm not entirely sure Gjallarhorn is an actual horn. The more I think about it, the more I think the Horn of Winter is related to Surtr, rather than Heimdall. Because, if Jon Snow really is Surtr, he's going need to bring down the Wall, somehow. And, if the Horn of Joramun actually does what people say it does -- i.e. knock down the Wall -- then that would provide Jon with the means with which to do it. Therefore, Gjallarhorn could be symbolic -- either the ravens Samwell will use to warn Westeros of the danger, or the actual place of his birth -- Horn Hill. It's hard to say.

      As for Val being Skade, that actually could work. But it will hinge on Stannis. If Stannis survives Ramsay's onslaught (which is a big IF in my eyes), then it's possible he could represent the sea god Njördr (given his association with naval warfare). Because, I got the impression Stannis was looking for an excuse to marry Val himself. And if that were to happen, it would undoubtedly be an unhappy marriage -- which would mirror Njördr and Skade's relationship to a tee (i.e. Njördr & Skade were married, but hated each other and divorced).

      Then again, Val the Valkyrie makes sense etymologically. And we've seen GRRM do that before, in the case of Walder Frey/Freyr. But I think we'll need more info before we can say for sure. That may sound like a cop-out, but consider -- if I had posted this theory after the 1st book was released (which would've been impossible), no one would've seen the connections (Jaime still had his hand, Bran wasn't bound in a cave yet, etc..) So, it may be that as we learn more about Val, her role will come more clearly into focus.

      But as for Jon Snow -- I really don't see him "surviving" the attack. Granted, I don't think he's "dead", but I don't think he's going to be the same old Jon anymore after Melisandre resurrects him. I actually base that on an interview GRRM gave several years back, in which he said Jon Snow's character is bound to get a lot "darker" as the series goes on. At the time, most people took that to be a reference to the Mance/Gilly baby swap. But, I don't think he was talking about "making tough decisions". I think he was talking Lady Stoneheart-esque. And, obviously, he'll have to die first, before that can happen.

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    2. I'm fairly certain the horn that Jon found was kept by Sam. From the wiki: "By the time the dealing is done Sam is down to boots and blacks and smallclothes - and the broken horn Jon Snow had found on the Fist of the First Men." This is in reference to Sam trading all of his posessions away. After all, who would buy a broken horn?

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  18. "Thjazi is a giant who turns into a bird (i.e. an eagle) and kidnaps Idunn, hiding her away in a mountain stronghold. Similarly, the sigil of Littlefinger's House was a giant (i.e. the Titan of Braavos) before he changed it to a bird (i.e. a swallow). And likewise, he steals Sansa from King's Landing and hides her away in a mountain stronghold."

    There's something I remember that might back up the connection to Thjazi...

    When Littlefinger takes Sansa away to the Eerie, isn't he already married (or soon to be married to) Lysa Arryn? This would further connect him to the Eagle, since a falcon is the Arryns' sigil (As High as Honor), and in marrying her he effectively becomes regent for the new Lord of the Vale (Robert Arryn) even adopting Robert as his ward after Lysa's death.

    (I haven't read all the comments so sorry if this has been mentioned before - also: Wonderful article! Really enjoyed reading it!)

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  19. I'm speechless. You sir, are a god! Wow........just wow!

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  20. One other thing that's been bugging me: Rickon is more like Fenrir than Bran. Even his wolf Shaggy more closely matches the description. And Rickon is an angry and untamed child, just like his wolf and just like Fenrir. Also, in ancient Germanic languages, the first part "Ric" means strong, powerful, or mighty. In the Celtic languages, it's cognate "rig" or "rix" is associated with kings.

    On the other hand, Meera and Jojen described Bran as "the chained wolf." That certainly fits.

    Hmm.

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    1. The thing to consider with Fenrir is -- not only was he bound, but he was bound by Tyr (i.e. Jaime). And, in most of the artwork, chains around the legs are used to depict this.

      But, that etymological connection could actually lend credence to the theory (in the comments below) that Garmr is represented by Rickon instead of Gregor. Because, Garmr is described as the "mightiest" or "most powerful of dogs", which is connected to Rickon's name. So, you might be on to something there. But, I can say with confidence, Bran is definitely Fenrir, without a doubt.

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  21. Ok I find all the theory very good and too al the fans, the hradcore ones just like yourself, I ask...what about Rickon Stark? I mean he is always hardly mentioned and hardly remembered, but he is a Stark, he has his own wolf...he must be important to he greater story is he not?

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    1. It could go either way, really. A commenter suggested below that Garmr -- Hel's Hound -- may be represented by Rickon, rather than Gregor. Which, is a pretty good theory, actually.

      Here's the thing -- before any of this Ragnarök stuff ever occurred to me, I thought Rickon was destined to play a big role in the story. But, since then, I've gone back and forth. A part of me thinks he has to play a role -- especially since Davos is going to get him -- but another part of me thinks he's just an avenue to reveal the island of Skagos to the readers. Because, Skagos is, for all intents and purposes, frozen in time. It's one of the only places south of the Wall where First Man culture has been preserved, uncorrupted by Andals. And, as opposed to the Iron Islanders, I think it's safe to assume the Skagosi did adopt the Children's "Old Gods" (if their reputation as cannibals is to be believed). Meaning, Skagosi culture may be a snapshot of what the North used to be like way back when -- prior to the Andal invasion.

      So, on one hand, I think showing the true colors of Northmen is more important to the story than any role Rickon might play. But, on the other hand, I can't imagine that GRRM doesn't have something cooked up for the "heir of Winterfell" (cannibal pun intended). If he didn't have Shaggy Dog to protect him, I might even think he got the Varys treatment -- i.e. the Skagosi used his "king's blood" in their blood magic (FYI: I'm pretty sure Varys descends from the Blackfyre branch of House Targaryen -- which is why he shaves his head... to hide his silver hair... which is also why the sorcerer who castrated him wanted his "king's blood" in the first place. And, if the Boltons, who supposedly still hang Stark hides in the Dreadfort, are anything to go on, there may be a similar demand for Stark blood as well).

      Which is not to say that's how I believe it will go down. Just throwing it out there.

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  23. Bloodraven makes a lot more sense as Odin than Aerys does...

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    1. Except, Odin wasn't bound in a cave, or convicted of a crime, like Loki was. And, in all likelihood, Odin was a real king -- which Bloodraven was not. But that's a good point you bring up. Because, one of Odin's many names is "Vinr Lopts", which means "Friend of Lopt", or "Friend of Loki", as Odin was said to be one of Loki's only friends. The two were said to share many of the same traits as well. And, since Odin was a later invention, and wasn't present in the earliest tellings of Ragnarök, it stands to reason that the dead king with the long white beard who people referred to as "mad" was Odin. He even dabbled in sorcery -- i.e. wildfire. But it's that whole "bound in a cave" thing that does it for me (not to mention that Bran -- Fenrir -- is bound in the cave with him. Plus, Bloodraven is a "warg", which was one of Loki's names -- i.e. Father of Wargs. Something Aerys was not -- as far as we know).

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    2. I have to agree with Anonymous above. The assumption that Bloodraven is Loki seems really shaky to me, at best. Odin makes much much more sense:
      - They are both 1-eyed.
      - They are both associated with ravens who gather information for them from all over the world. Bloodraven is only associated to wolves through Bran (although Odin is also associated with two wolves). His connection with ravens runs far far deeper, as the Three-Eyed Crow, as his "eyes and ears" throughout Westeros (much as Huginn and Muninn, literally Thought and Memory, do for Odin), and even his birthmark is shaped like a raven. Loki has no association with ravens whatsoever, as far as I'm aware.
      - Bloodraven may be "bound" underground, but it's a voluntary binding rather than an involuntary one like Loki. Furthermore, he's bound by a tree which brings him great knowledge, much more like Odin's voluntary hanging on Yggdrasill to gain intimate knowledge of the workings of the universe than Loki's being bound for his crimes.
      - We don't know why Bloodraven was imprisoned or sent to the Wall. In a kingdom like Westeros, it may have simply been so that Aegon could neutralize a potential rival, which would make that aspect of the "Loki" connection moot. Any speculation at this point is just that, and speculation can't be used as definitive evidence until it's proven true.
      - Odin was associated with shamanism (ie, sorcery)
      - Odin was associated with prophecy (ie, greensight)
      - Odin was associated with shapeshifting (ie, "warging" in the ASOAIF sense)
      - Odin was associated with trickery and deception (which seems to be the main point linking Bloodraven to Loki, though that's still merely assumed rather than actually revealed).
      - Even Bloodraven's preferred attire points to Odin: "Because his skin was sensitive to light, he usually went about cloaked and hooded." (From A Wiki of Ice and Fire).
      - Aside from your theory that Odin was an actual man (a theory which is by no means certain), it's also thought that Odin originated as a guide of the dead to the other realm (eg, Tacitus also mentions Mercury as being among the foremost of the Germanic gods. It's usually thought that this "Germanic Mercury" refers to Odin.) Brynden Rivers' deathly white appearance and blood-stain-like birthmark are both strong associations with death, and his current abode underground is reminiscent of a trip to the underworld.
      - Odin was known by literally hundreds of names, so picking one (ie, the Mad God") out of the hundreds to support your theory is disingenuous.

      (continued below)...

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    3. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but it seems that the connection with Loki is built mainly on the reasons you believe Bloodraven ended up in the black cells, and later the Wall, which so far are merely speculation. I noticed a similar fallacy in the argument regarding the role of the Children of the Forest and the Doom of Valyria (in the canon material, they have associations with water when they broke the Arm of Dorne and when they flooded the Neck, but there is no indication of large-scale fire manipulation like would be required for the Doom. Furthermore, the vast majority of "evidence" in that post is speculation within the post itself, which is later offered as evidence that the final conclusions must be true).

      Similarly, in the post about Jaime & Azor Ahai, you assert that the "star" in the AA prophecy must refer to a literal star (even though a Medieval society such as Westeros would view a comet as much more similar to a star than their own sun), yet later claim that the steam from baths represents the "smoke" from that same prophecy... WHAT?!?! Smoke and steam are nothing alike, and a Medieval society definitely would know the difference between the two. It makes no sense that the "star" must be meant literally, but the "smoke" from the same prophecy can mean basically whatever the hell you want it to in order to fit the interpretation you've already decided on. Likewise, Cersei's prophecy indicates her children will all die before her (their "golden shrouds", leading her "tears to drown her"), so Tommen couldn't possibly be the PwwP.

      Furthermore, Martin himself has stated, numerous times, that he's not a language guy. Because of this, the "hidden meanings" of names from all sorts of disparate languages (eg, Tyrion and Tywin meaning the same thing in Greek and Norwegian) appears to be quite the red herring.

      I will admit, while this attempt at synchretization is interesting, thoughtful, and you have clearly put a lot of work into it, I do not believe Martin would write a story based so directly on a single source. There are too many loopholes, half-explored ideas, assumptions, and giant leaps of logic for this to satisfy me, especially when the one character whom Martin seems to take great pains to associate with Norse mythology (as I've outlined above) is given an assignment which ignores half the evidence thus far gathered. You've got an interesting product, but I'm not buying it.

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    4. I'll address Jaime first. He was in the "steamy stone bathhouse" at Harrenhal, and I'll assure you, that water didn't heat itself. It was heated by a hypocaust, which is basically an underground furnace. That means fires were raging under Jaime as he was taking his bath and "coming clean" about Aerys. Perhaps I should've been a little more clear about that. But Jaime was basically being cooked in that bath, more or less.

      As for BR -- those are all good points you bring up, and without a doubt, Bloodraven does share similarities with Odin, but I'm still not buying it. If anything, I'm actually leaning toward Euron Greyjoy as "Odin returned from exile" (i.e. one eye, "the maddest of them all", returns from exile over a woman, dabbles in sorcery, becomes a king, etc.).

      But, as for BR's crime, that's not speculation. We know for a fact that Maekar kept him in the black cells for much of his reign (perhaps even for the entire duration of it), and Aegon only sent him to the Wall upon coming to power (which always struck me as more of a mercy than anything... i.e. Better to rot on the Wall than in the black cells). That much, we know. What crime he committed, we don't know, but he did end up in those cells somehow (which is similar to Loki... was he bound for the death of Baldr -- which could be related to BR being a "kinslayer" -- or was he bound for insulting the gods in the Lokasenna? We don't know). As for BR becoming the Last Greenseer by choice, I'm not so sure we know that either (in Norse mythology, Dökkalfár -- dark elves -- who live within the earth, and are often confused for wights -- were sometimes said to kidnap humans against their will -- so, I'm not so sure the CotF didn't force him into that role).

      As for the ravens -- I've thought about that as well. If anything, in my mind, that's the biggest plus for BR as Odin. But, although Loki didn't have anything like Huginn & Munin, he could shapeshift just the same as Odin. And, in fact, he was often referred to as "Odin's blood brother" because the two shared so many similarities.

      As for the wolves -- yes, Odin did have wolves too, but he didn't have any that were "bound" by Tyr. So, that's pointing me in the direction of Loki, more than anything. Bran, is undoubtedly (in my mind) Fenrir, and, IMO, BR/the three-eyed crow hasn't been completely straight up with him -- he's been "tricking" him, so to speak, in order to get him into that cave. And, to the same extent, Loki & Fenrir were both bound in caves. Odin may have hanged himself on Yggdrasil, but he didn't do it inside of a cave (and, he was able to come down whenever he wanted).

      But again, all good points. You very well could be right. As you can see, this theory is pretty extensive (due to all of the players involved), so I could have easily mixed up certain roles, or whiffed on them completely (assuming this is correct in the first place). As for speculation -- yes, much of this is based on speculation, because we don't have all the information yet. I've made certain assumptions about BR that have led me to believe he's Loki rather than Odin. Could those assumptions be wrong? Of course. But, I base them on my sense of where the story is going. Again, I'm not writing the story. So, I have no clue. But I try to support my theory with as many facts as possible. Is it a perfect, fool-proof theory? Not by any means. But, it's what I've got.

      Thanks for commenting though. Glad you found it of interest.

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    5. Also, I just made another connection (that I should've made earlier):

      Loki was the 13th god of the Norse pantheon. This is at least partly why the number is considered "unlucky" in Western culture. And this is illustrated in the Lokasenna, which is basically the story of Loki's downfall -- he's the 13th guest to arrive at the party.

      Similarly, Bloodraven served as Hand of the King to the 13th Targaryen King -- Aerys I. And, mind you, he wasn't the king himself -- he was the 13th king's right hand man, who just so happened to be named Aerys (i.e. Odin). And, in Norse mythology, Loki was basically Odin's sidekick. Hmm... Is it sheer coincidence GRRM made BR sidekick to the 13th Targ king (who just so happens to share the same name as the king I identify with Odin), or did he pick that number out on purpose? Makes you wonder.

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    6. One last thing -- I wouldn't say GRRM is drawing from a single source. I think he is telling the story of Ragnarök, as he envisions it, and is interspersing all kinds of different ideas over the mythology, such as scenes inspired by historical events -- like the Red Wedding/Black Dinner, for example -- and his own philosophy. Mythology is merely the platform upon which to explore different ideas... especially over the course of seven 1,000+ page doorstoppers.

      And, from a practical perspective, you generally need some kind of a blueprint when there's so many different pieces involved. We all know he has a thousand characters in his books, but has anyone ever asked why? Is it just because he can't stop creating them -- he's addicted to Freys & Florents -- or could they serve some kind of larger purpose? Granted, that may seem conspiratorial, but it's not as if ASOIAF came about organically in nature. There really is someone behind it, and odds are that that someone probably is trying to convey some sort of message. I could be wrong about that. But, I have a gut feeling.

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    7. BR fits very well as Odin, without a doubt. The tree similarity in particular sticks out to me as being important. However, if BR were Odin, then absolutely nothing else makes sense. Bran, Jon, Arya, and Rickon fit exceptionally well in their roles as Loki's four wolves, but that requires a Loki to bind them all together. Considering the only person Bran actually has contact with anymore is Bloodraven, we're pigeonholed into assuming that if Bran is Fenrir, then BR must be Loki. The other argument against Odin that strikes me is considering how the story of Ragnarok could progress if this were true.

      Now, of course, this is all predicated on the Ragnarok parallel being accurate. If it isn't, then we can't make ANY of these assumptions, and this blog is entirely moot. The only thing blatantly obvious at this point is that some of Martin's characters have very strong connections with Norse mythological figures and stories, which suggests that Martin used them either as inspiration, or as a blueprint.

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    8. Your logic is working backwards, and this is where I find fault with your assertions. Because you already assume the Ragnorok analogy to be correct, you are trying to find evidence to fit your model, and ignoring evidence that doesn't fit. You speculate on what "could" be true and later use that speculation as evidence to support your theory, even though the speculation derives from the theory itself. This is backwards and fallacious reasoning. The evidence should lead you to the conclusion, not the other way around.

      The ONLY connection BR has to wolves at all is through Bran. If we're going based on the "great wolves" theory, then all of the wolf-children should have a strong connection to him from the beginning, since they are supposedly the children of Loki. But except for Bran, none of them have any known connection to BR.

      It also wilfully ignores other lines of evidence. I think it's absolutely disingenuous to explain away the evidence of the ravens as merely an indication of shapeshifting abilities when BR has such a deep and longstanding connection to them and when their role so clearly and directly parallels that of Odin's ravens, most especially when BR has no previous tangible connection to wolves whatsoever. Why is the evidence of BR being "bound" more important than this line of evidence? Why is his current abode under the earth more important than his association with a "tree of knowledge" like Yggdrasill? It ignores good evidence pointing in one direction in order to make a fit to a pre-conceived idea.

      Let's assume that BR's being bound is a central part to your theory in support of his identification as Loki. If so, where is the venom that drips onto his face? Where is Sigyn to catch the venom? What about the earthquakes when she goes away to empty the basin? These are important details in the myth of Loki, and would make a much better association with the Norse god, yet all of them are absent.

      And if Loki is the father of these great wargs, then why couldn't that be fulfilled with Ned? Yes, he's terrible at being a trickster (perhaps more of an "anti-Loki"), but it's his actions and those of his family which set these events in motion. He's the literal father of the wolf-warging characters (with the probable exception of Jon Snow). His wife becomes associated with the underworld through her reanimation as Lady Stoneheart. The Stark ancestors are bound in their underground tombs by steel so their ghosts do not roam. I'll admit it's a weak association, but in some ways, it makes more sense to me than some of your assertions. (Personally, I believe Littlefinger is the most Loki-like character, though there's not much else to tie him to this identification besides his personality).

      As for your explanation of Jaime and the "smoke", it is utterly unsatisfying. "Smoke" and "heat" and "steam" are not the same thing. Saying that smoke was necessary byproduct to heat the baths so that they steamed does not in any way satisfy the prophecy of AA being born *amidst* smoke. Jaime himself was amidst steam (well, more liquid water than steam even), a substance that is very dissimilar to smoke.

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    9. In your third reply, you've actually hit upon my biggest problem when it comes to these connections and this blog: The speculation along with circular and self-supporting reasoning needed to make the evidence fit your theories reminds me very much of conspiracy theories. These mostly fall apart when you take a hard look at all the evidence, precisely because they only accept evidence which supports the theory, and they use "internal" evidence to justify more and more outlandish assertions.

      And I agree that Martin uses many materials to inspire his writing, but seldom does he model so much so directly on any particular source. The Wall is modeled after Hadrian's Wall, yet its form and function are not simply a direct copy of that wall. The Red Wedding is largely inspired by the Black Dinner in Scottish history, yet the way the two play out is completely different. You can't look at the Red Wedding and say "obviously the events match 1-to-1 with the Black Dinner", because they don't. Martin has acknowledged the Wars of the Roses as being influential in the War of the Five Kings, and yet the two play out completely differently, just as the two conquests (Aegon's and William's) are mostly different but for the "broad strokes" (ie, guy brings in army to take over island kingdom). And characters are frequently influenced by historical figures, mythological entities, and other characters in literature, yet there is rarely a fully 1-to-1 correlation.

      Your claim is that Ragnorok is, "quite literally", ASOIAF. Your blog goes to great lengths to show how many of the major characters and events are lifted directly from Norse mythology. They are retold in a different manner, but the correlations you make are 1-to-1 with no opportunity for overlap or reinterpretation. I cannot believe this is the way Martin would write his work. There are clearly connections with Norse mythology (though I doubt they're nearly as extensive as you claim), as there are with many other mythologies and histories and literature. But I cannot believe that he would use one source so extensively as a "blueprint" for his entire work, trying to replicate every important detail of it in both subtle and not so subtle ways. To claim he must steal his blueprint from Norse mythology because otherwise there's simply no way he could possibly come up with all this on his own, or keep the plan for his story organized, I think belittles not only Martin as an author, but all authors who undertake to write such grand works.

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    10. Wow Duke. I've apparently touched a nerve. I'm sorry that my theory offends you. If you're appalled by the possibility that GRRM might be adapting the story of Ragnarök into a fantasy series, I don't know how to help you. I guess all I can say is I hope you don't end up hating the series if it turns out to be the case.

      But as for my "speculation" -- I thought I made it clear that my speculation about future events is exactly that -- speculation. And, it's all based on my own unique interpretation of the story (i.e. the way I see it, which is different from the way you see it). You're totally free to view ASOIAF as a love story between Jon & Dany, or a heroic epic about the Stark children rising from the ashes to reclaim all that was taken from them, or anything you want (because we don't know how it ends yet). But I choose to view it as an apocalyptic tragedy -- in the vein of Ragnarök -- and have made an effort to explain why I see it like that. If my reasoning is flawed and loathsome in your opinion, tough shit. But I do base it on what I see as very clear and compelling evidence #1. I have interpreted the conflict that kicks the story into motion as being representative of the binding of warg Fenrir by the god Tyr. #2. Winter is Coming -- which I interpret to mean "Fimbulvetr is Coming". #3 Civil war and immorality plague the world -- including fratricide, patricide and incest, which are major plot points in ASOIAF, and are very specific to Ragnarök mythology. #4. The forces of Ice & Fire are gathering -- to what ends, we don't know. And that's where my speculation comes in. Are the Others gathering to attack Westeros, only to be defeated by Dany's dragons like most fans think? Perhaps. But I don't see it like that.

      In addition to laying out that basic foundation, I've attempted to connect the major players involved to the Ragnarök mythology. If those connections don't meet your standards, you don't have to buy what I'm selling. And it makes little difference to me whether I'm right or wrong. I'm merely raising the possibility. That's how ideas grow. If you're too afraid to even raise the possibility because it might not be perfect, you're selling yourself, and everyone else, short.

      But as for the Children of Loki -- Fenrir, Jormungandr & Hel are the children of Loki. Hati & Sköll are the children of Fenrir (Loki's grandchildren -- they're only connected to him through Fenrir). So, the fact that the other Stark kids haven't made contact with BR yet doesn't stray from the mythology, IMO. Dany, who represents Jormungandr, is another story. We know Mel has made contact with BR through her fires, so I'm assuming he will contact Dany at some point as well. Could I be wrong about that? Yes. But, as I've explained, I see Dany as the World Serpent. Bran as the Bound Wolf. Melisandre as the Queen of the Dead. And Bloodraven as the Bound Trickster who brings them all together.

      As for belittling GRRM, as if he's "stealing the mythology", that's where I think you're laughably wrong. If this is indeed what he's doing, he's fitting it together like a jigsaw puzzle and turning it into a realistic story that people can relate to. That's not lazy. That's ingenious, IMO. Merely creating the world in which it's set is a feat with in and of itself, let alone tying together all the different characters and story lines. So I have no idea how people can say that pulling off such an epic undertaking is less than -- as if failing to connect a story to something greater than your own imaginings is more honorable. I see it as the exact opposite. Anyone can make up their own story. But it takes something more to do this (if this is in fact what he's doing -- it ain't easy).

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    11. @Dorian

      Your theory has given me a new perspective. I hope you are right.

      Delete
  24. I made a mistake in my previous comment and put 'Stannis' next to Ratatoskr, only meant Davos there.

    Hel [Melisandre] controls Nidhoggr [maybe Stannis?] in the mythology. Ratatoskr [Davos] carries messages [considered slanderous/causing envy] between Nidhoggr and Hraesvelgr [who survives everything and is a giant that took the form of an eagle].

    I'm likely wrong, because there is no slander/envy currently between Stannis and Rickon, but the fact remains that Davos is a messenger who has gone back and for for Stannis [Nidhoggr]. He is going to get Rickon, who may in the end be an enemy of Stannis.

    Just something to propose as far as who Rickon could be, Hraesvelgr.

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  25. Fascinating! I had 2 thoughts: (1) Where does Quaithe fit in as a red priestess and possible prophetess or conveyer/interpreter of prophecy? And (2) the material in ADWD relating to the supposed goals of the Maesters of the Citadel to rid the world of magic seems to fit your concept of the magic ice/fire powers working together vs humans. How do you see the Maesters fitting in?

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    1. The Maesters may represent the form of "magic" that the Gods (effectively the Lannisters, but more broadly, the 'politicians' who hold the Iron Throne) have at their disposal, often taking the form of wisdom or technology. For instance: milk of the poppy (created by Maesters), wildfire (created by the Alchemists' Guild), tears of Lys (created, according to 'semi-canon', by alchemists in Lys), etc.

      On the other hand, the Giants use magic and mysticism: pyromancy, shapeshifting, resurrection, blood magic, greensight, dragons (which are more or less magic incarnate), etc. Although many of the Giants did at one point use the Gods' technologies, they have all drifted away from it: Jon is now without a Maester, Stannis's committed suicide in an attempt to murder Mel, Maester Luwin died long before Bran embraced warging, and so on.

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  26. Great post. Pretty mind-boggling, but I like it. Very much in line with the "If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention" sort of storytelling that GRRM uses.

    About Rickon: He may be Garmr. GRRM has characterized Rickon as growing increasingly wild as he grows further from his family. Consider also that Garmr is bound to Gnippahellir, the "mountaintop cave." Rickon is currently stranded on Skagos (a mountainous island with a dangerous coastline) with Osha, so this fit is almost perfect. Add in that Garmr howls as one of the precursors to Ragnarok and you've got a dead ringer for the Rickon/Shaggydog pair filling this role. I'd forecast his 'unbinding' coming as a result of either, or a combination of, his death, Osha's death, or being taken from Skagos to the Wall (Hel's gate, where Garmr is watchdog) by Davos. The bloody part, well, that could come from anything at all...may be that unicorn for all I know.

    Three other questions I'd like to pose:

    First, where does Robb fit in? Is this just posturing for what's to come? Or, in other words, are there any stories about the civil war period right before Ragnarok that could be related to the Young Wolf? I'd be surprised if Robb is the only purposeless, fabricated portion of the Stark family (ignoring Rickon as GRRM's way of saving the Stark legacy), since the story does effectively center on them.

    Second, what about the Giants? This is a tough one since we know so very little about them, but it's worth noting that they seemingly sided against the Others (i.e., with the wildlings). Odd for the literal Giants to side against the figurative giants in this whole scheme, unless this is another indication of the Others being a loose cannon only loosely controlled by the Children.

    Third, since Rickon is so attractive for the role of Garmr, then I suspect the Hound/Mountain pair fill some sort of small subplot, similar to that filled by Robert/Ned (Hoenir/Mimir). Any idea what this might be? If we can figure out which it is, we may have an idea of what exactly Robert Strong is.

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    1. I do really like your Rickon/Garmr theory, the more I think about it. And, if that's the case, he might have led me to Robb. I've got to check it out some more, but I'm considering writing my next post about it. I'll get back to either way and let you know (and, I'll be sure to credit you if I do decide to use the Rickon-Garmer connection).

      As for the giants -- I obviously don't see them as representative of the Norse "giants" (i.e jötnar -- which weren't necessarily "giants" as we think of them today, especially in the earlier texts. They were a sort of elemental race, on par with the gods. The association with size only came about later), but, based on what little information we have, I'm pretty sure the CotF aren't too friendly with them, given the fact that Leaf describes them as their "bane" in ADwD. So, it could be they're in the same boat as the humans -- fleeing from the CotF. But again, I'm not too sure where they fit in beyond that, until more is revealed.

      However, I am interested in Hodor's background. Because, it's been implied several times that he might have "giant's blood", so I wonder if there's something to that.

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    2. Hey Bram, just wanted to let you know I used your theory about Rickon/Garmr in my latest post -- "Direwolves, Wargs & the Stark Children" (and I credited it to you, by the way). So, thanks for that. It led me to a connection for Robb -- i.e. Sköll. So, check out the post when you get a chance, and thanks again.

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    3. About the Mountain/Hound: Modi and Magni are the sons of Thor whose names mean "Angry" and "Strong," respectively. There doesn't seem to be much more about them than that. Loose connection, but it's something.

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    4. I was thinking about Bloodraven & Odin -- and to be clear, I still strongly believe BR is Loki (because, as I've mentioned, I believe GRRM is putting more of a historical spin on the mythology, and is portraying Odin as he's portrayed in the Gesta Danorum & Gesta Hammaburgensis -- i.e. a real king who was the Furious One/Mad God), but, if BR is Odin, that wouldn't necessarily stray from the mythology.

      It could be that BR is a "good" guy and is working to defeat the Others, and that Bran (i.e. Fenrir) will "swallow Odin" and usurp his place as the Last Greenseer and subvert his plans (just as his father, Ned, usurped Aerys).

      Again, I don't think that will be the case. Because, as you know, I identify BR as the bound trickster/father of wargs who was betrayed by the gods and banished from Asgard, only to be bound in a cave, where he plots Ragnarök with his "son" Fenrir (much the same as Angrboda raises Fenrir in the "Ironwood"). And, given the fact BR was imprisoned around the same time Aerion Brightflame died and King Maekar took the throne, I think it's very well possible that those two events represent the Lokasenna -- i.e. the death of Baldr, and Loki's flyting with the gods, respectively (i.e. I'm assuming BR was blamed for Aerion's death, and subsequently insulted and/or threatened Maekar, which would run parallel to Tyrion's story). Plus, as I've pointed out, BR served as Hand of the King/right-hand-man to Aerys I (the namesake of the character I've identified with Odin), and ended up virtually ruling the kingdom in his stead, since Aerys was so withdrawn and introverted (which would match stories of Odin's perpetual absence from Asgard). The significance? Aerys I (and, in effect, Bloodraven) was the 13th king of Westeros. Loki was the 13th god of the Norse pantheon (which is largely why the number is considered unlucky in Western culture). So, yes, I think there's more than enough evidence to link BR to Loki.

      But, as for the traits he shares with Odin (i.e. one eye, ravens, tree, etc.) I base that on the fact that Loki & Odin were "blood-brothers" (hence "Blood"raven -- it's in the name). That might not seem like a big deal, but in Norse mythology, it was. The bonds between blood-brothers were oftentimes stronger than those between real brothers. And, it always entailed sharing. For example, if Odin was offered a drink at a feast, Loki -- his blood-brother -- had to be offered the exact same drink. Whatever Odin had, Loki had to have as well. So, it could be that GRRM has interpreted this connection in a literal sense -- that Odin & Loki are "brothers" -- two sides of the same coin.

      To quote the Lokasenna:

      "Do you remember, Odin, when in bygone days
      we mixed our blood together?
      You said you would never drink ale
      unless it were brought to both of us".

      What purpose would that serve? Duplicity, of course. Is he "good" or is he "bad"? Is he Odin or is he Loki? We don't know... yet. If nothing else, slyness was one of Loki's foremost traits. And, it wouldn't be very sly of Bloodraven to blatantly announce himself as Loki to the reader. We question his intentions just as we question his role. Or, at least, that's my interpretation.

      Could I be wrong? You bet. But given the direction I feel the story is moving in, I think it makes sense.

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  27. Hey your theories are great. I'd really like to know where Roose Bolton fits into your schema.

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  28. What about Eddard Stark? Perhaps just a sly nod to Edda as the source?

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    1. Holy shit. Good call. That totally went over my head (probably because I always think of him as Ned, instead of Eddard). But, yeah. You nailed it.

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  29. So I posted a link to this (brilliant) blog on the ASOIAF Facebook page. And in doing so I caused mass hysteria and crushed worlds. I'm blaming YOU. (I'm only half kidding.)

    Go look at it. You'll see.


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    1. Thanks! I appreciate it. And, no worries. I get that all the time. I'm pretty much public enemy #1 in the eyes of Dany & Jon Snow fanboys/fangirls (and to be clear, it's not that I dislike Dany, Jon Snow or Bran. I'm just telling it like I see it). But, I can't even count how many hopes and dreams this blog has destroyed. And it's only been up for a month (I'm only half kidding too).

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  30. This is a wonderful blog! I would like to hear more about your theories on Daeny dying at Storm's End.

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  31. A light dig and some thoughts.

    If you group the Targs under Odin, then you have multiple parrallels
    1 eye, shapeshifter, seer, attended by ravens and wolves, maaay have fathered Hodor, mead of poetry, linked to Saga (maggy the frog), ‘the wild hunt’ - bloodraven.
    I also think the Loki theory holds incredible weight. Composite?)
    Mad, crazed God - Aerys



    Could Mel be Heidi from the 'Song of the Sybil'.... “farsight, witch, wise in talismans, caster of spells, cunning in magic. She has a necklaces with power...
    Could Mel be Shiera Seastar, alive by magic, old beyond her years, tricked by Bloodraven into doing his work?

    If so, have we met Hel yet? Could Hel be Bloodravens ‘Other’ mistress? GRRM said next book will take us further north than we have ever gone...


    Gendry = Himinhrjot. Giant bull.... used as bait to catch dragons...


    CoF = composite of Huldru-folk - ‘The "hidden folk" ... peoples of the mound and forest... who often try to capture mortals by tricks and magic. They can be both helpful and harmful to humans. They are keepers of magical wisdom. AND Svartalfr, slew Kvasir and made the mead from his blood, subterranean workers (Your Valyrian Theory). Miserly and grudging, ill-tempered... The word dwarf is etymologically connected to the idea of harming, oppressing or maliciously deceiving. they are skilled in magic, .... not uncommon for the Svartalfar to curse things that they are forced to make, such as the sword Tyrfing (Who makes Valyrian steel blades? CoF smiths? Who wields them? Ned, dies, Joffery, dies, Old Bear, dies, Jon, dies.... cursed much? “They are also said to steal human women and children... (Others?) Yet, although they are often untrustworthy, viciously vengeful, and malicious, they can be surprisingly loyal and friendly to humans who treat them well (Reeds)”

    Rickon = Manegarm, - mighty wolf, chases the Moon every night. Eventually eats her. Who is the moon?

    Maggy the Frog = Sága, Daughter or consort of Odin (Aerys, she is clearly a fan of the Targs). Recollections and memory. She resides by the stream of time and events. She was an attendant to Frigg (Cersei)


    This is the strongest thing I found

    Varys = Mirmir = "The Murmuring" = [THE MUMMER]
    - Mirmir is Odin's mother's brother [ie loosely tied to the Targs, ie Blackfyre]
    - Mirmir is Giant (working against the gods) and the wisest of all beings, holder of all knowledge that has ever existed (Vary’s is the Spider (a despised creature nowadwayd but a sacred creature to the Norse), who lived by Mirmir's Well. (There is that giant pit underneath the Red Keep where Arya overhears him. Pit = well.
    - Odin (Aerys) came to the Mirmir well (came to power in Kings Landing) and asked for a single drink from the spring (asked for help with spying and subterfuge), but he did not get it until he had given one of his eyes to Mírmir (He gave too much weight to Vary’s counsel (Vary’s is Anti-God). I still think your Var tie to Vary’s also holds weight. Composite?
    At the end of the war with the Vanirs, Mirmir was sent as a hostage. The Vanirs chopped off his head and sent it back to Asgard. (Hasn’t happened yet or is fulfilled by Eddard. Also, Eddard and Vary’s were somewhat ‘close’, or at least tied by the story)

    Love all your theory and bow to the genius of it. Just skimmed some things and thought I’d throw them out to see if you’d considered them.

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    1. Did more digging. Mirmir = murmuring, murmuring = whispers, Varys = Lord of whisperers.

      also found this " One of the more intriguing etymologies of his [Loki's] name connects it to the Swedish dialect-word Locke ("spider"), which places Loki in the world continuum of Trickster Gods with animal forms." This could tie BlRv to Varys. Spiders are also thought to WEAVE PEOPLE'S FATES and CONNECT THE PAST AND THE FUTURE (Vary's MO)

      My Swedish knowledge is only modern so current words for Spider include spindel spider, mandrel, mandril .... which could connect it to Manderly who is of the North, also a tricky bastard... is working against the Boltons and Freys (gods). Still can't place the goddamn Boltons.


      The lay of Thyrm has some similarities to the Red Wedding (Thor goes crazy and kills everyone) but the ASoIAF doesn't line up. George said he drew from English history for that, so maybe I'm just fishing, but you certainly proved Norse is good waters for such work.



      Other Stuff.... Baldr as Rhaegar... Beautiful, clean, noble, undergoes a change, becomes moody/depressed.... vulnerable only to flowers (mistletoe.... vs blue roses he gives to Lyanna). After that it gets weak... unless you look at the Danish chronicles where there is a Hother who kills Balder (Rhaegar) and pursues Odin (Aerys) and Thor (.... weak since Thor = Robert)....


      Feel like there is some tie to the Grímnismál but can't place it. Dogs... Second Son wanders and comes to power... etc etc.


      I feel like there has to be more to Thor... since he is supposed to kill Jormungandr... Gendry? Stannis?

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    2. from ThrymAsColdhands
      I subscribe to the Rhaegar == Baldur idea also.

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    3. Rhaegar as Baldr is possible, but the reason I identify him with Joffrey is because #1. Joffrey is cruel. #2. His death sends Cersei into a tailspin. And, given the fact that Frigg forced all things on earth to swear not to harm her son, Baldr (except for mistletoe, which she forgot about), that reminds of when Cersei told Joffrey "Everyone who isn't us is an enemy".

      And, as far as we know, Rhaegar was actually a pretty decent guy. So, if Cersei's quote "The gods have no mercy. That's why they're gods" is foreshadowing something -- then Joffrey has to be a god. He's basically the king of ruthlessness.

      But then again, I think Tyrion may be on to something when he says, "It all goes back and back, to our mothers and fathers and theirs before them. We are puppets dancing on the strings of those who came before". Because, if "history repeating itself" is also a theme GRRM is working with, that could mean each successive generation has their own Odin, and Thor, and Tyr, etc.. For example, someone pointed out that Joramun may have been the first incarnation of Heimdall. Or that Orys Baratheon may have been the first incarnation of Thor, etc. So, it's possible there is more than one Baldr -- i.e. that Rhaegar was the last incarnation of Baldr before the current age. And the "Young Dragon" was the Baldr before him, etc.

      Now, I'm not saying that's the case. Just throwing it out there.

      As for Varys & Mimir -- that's a pretty cool connection. I'll check it out and get back to you. I'm really big on the Varys = Blackfyre theory, so you've definitely got me thinking.

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    4. This just occurred to me... What if Ned Stark & Varys both represent Mimir? As in a continuation of the story. Because, obviously, GRRM can't include a talking head if he wants to keep it realistic. So, what if Ned represents part of Mimir's story, up to his beheading -- and Varys carries on that story -- by way of his role as counselor to Ned while on death row?... a sort of "passing the torch", if you will.

      Because, I think Ned fits Mimir in the sense that he was the "holder of all knowledge" in regards to past events central to the story that the reader is left in the dark about -- i.e. who is Jon Snow's mother, and what happened with Lyanna at the Tower of Joy. Only Ned knows these things (granted, it's possible Howland Reed knows as well, but he may not know the whole story, because, correct me if I'm wrong, he stayed outside of the Tower fighting the Kingsguard, while Ned went inside -- so he wouldn't have heard what Lyanna told Ned, unless Ned told him what she said). And, obviously, he's the "wise counsel" who gets beheaded. Plus, his bones were even sent back to Winterfell (just like Mimir's were sent back to the Æsir).

      And, as for Varys, perhaps it's just a coincidence that he comes to counsel Ned, the "headless counsel", while Ned's on death row, but it could represent Varys' role as "Mimir's head". Because, the vast majority of Mimir's mythology takes place AFTER his beheading. And, obviously, GRRM can't very well turn Ned Stark into a talking head and still keep it believable. So, perhaps that was his solution? Could be.

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    5. Unfortunately we don't know a thing about the fight at the tower except five died. So I sincerely doubt Ned left the fight for a split second given then five of his men died to three Kingsguard.

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    6. Anonymus who is Claudia:

      Who was the head Qyburn put upon Gregor Clegane's corpse? his own head was sent to Dorne. I haven't been attentive - wasn't Robb Starks headsent to king's landing by Frey? the name ROBERT STRONG gives this a bit away.

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    7. who is Claudia again:

      AND: Maggy the Frog is the mother to Sybill Spicer, and Grandmother to Jeyne Westerling. There might come something evil to Cersei out of that.

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    8. who is Claudia again and can't get her wild swhirling thoughts into one post:

      Where does TYrek fit in, that had Cersei's golden locks? Varys abduced him, and I imagined he might be the firstborn of Jaime and Cersei, and the reason Rhaegar didn't take Cersei as second wife, after Elia couldn't have any more children and miscarried. I wondered if Elia, who was said to be clever and generous perhaps heard from Varys, that Aerys had an Affair with Joanna, and Cersei with Jaime, showed mercy and took the baby in instead of a stillborn. (I thought I read, the dead baby Aegon was goldenhaired, and Elia being black and Rhaegar silver, I wondered where that came from. Jaimes friend Addam Marbrand, whose aunt was widow to Tygett raised Tyrek could have been quicker by the door behind the throne into Maegors Holdfast, that was still climbed by the murderers.)

      I guess, the Young Gryff is Varys mummer's dragon Dany dreamed off, and not Rhaegar's son. He had no use for Tyrek, that was a heir too many.

      Asides Elia's daughter isn't exactly dead: the princess warged into that nasty tomcat Balerion, that was caught and kissed by Arya, and most likely 'fathered' the kittens from the black cat that Joffrey slew to Roberts disgust. - I think it funny, Arya turns a murderer and faceless afterwards. Well, she always was a fan of Nymeria and the dornish are descendants of Nymeria, that share the karstark-sun-emblem, only in different colours without a spear.
      But the Braavosi confuse me too: I still think Syrio who ordered Arya to catch ALL cats of the keep, was actually Jaquen, paid by the Dornish to get the princess' soul out of the cat and sent her on the way to Braavos to learn revenge at the house of black&white, and he is that boy that is in Oldtown now with Oberon's daughter Sarella and Sam, working magic - they might make Sam blow the horn he still holds, to break the wall.

      Elia's brother Oberyn who poisoned Gregor Clegane is clearly the dark-elf-king, deceiver and magician and poisoner. And like Craster he kills his sons and has only daughters.

      And where fit all the halffaced creatures of Hel in: The Hound is halffaced from the start, Catelyn is half faced, and Brienne is now halffaced, too. ad all of them drag Jaime to battle a halffaced hound... - he might not survive that.

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    9. false only masked hound, my thoughts got knotted up.

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    10. Claudia again:

      I actually wondered about Ned's head for a while. Catelyn didn't 'recognize' it she had the feeling it was false and could be anyones: we have three loose heads: Neds, Robbs and Gregor Cleganes.

      And Ned's bones never made it to Winterfell: they're stuck in the Crannogs with Howland Reed, and Reed actually holds an army of undead bogmen - knights that drownded in his swamps and lizard-lions, besides.

      And in one of Bran's visions there was a faceless rotten knight who was watching as Jaime faught the Hound.

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  32. What do you think of Jon as Sigurd, Val as Brynhildr, and Stannis as Surtr?

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    1. That's interesting... and it could work. But, what leads me to believe Jon Snow is Surtr is the name -- Surtr -- the Black. Granted, Stannis is at the Wall, but it's Jon who has "taken the black".

      But that's a good theory. You could very well be right.

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    2. Thanks for the response. The parallels I see between Stannis and Surtr are Stannis is a tall man and he has black hair. Which are both the dominating traits of the Baratheons and not necessarily throwaway features. And there's the whole fire thing and flaming sword. Stannis' in book story also seems to be heading towards a conflict with the Freys (if he survives the Boltons).
      As for Jon as Sigurd, I was thinking that Sigmund could be Rhaegar. He dies before Jon is born, the reason of his death being Odin (Aerys).

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    3. Oh that is good actually! You are right that Stannis is the one with the flaming sword, AND Jon/Sigurd being the son of Rhaegar/Sigmund. I'd like to point out that Sigurd and Sigmund are descended in the end, from Odin. You say Aerys, but as I have just written, and just read theDuke arguing for, Bloodraven is Odin, too many similarities to ignore, and not enough to tie him to Loki. Could Bloodraven's crime that got him sent to the wall be that he had sex with someone important, so that Rhaegar and Jon are descended from him?

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  33. My mind has been properly blown by this blog.......GREAT job! I think GRRM gives us clues along the way. One that comes to mind is when Shae repeatedly calls Tyrion "my GIANT of Lannister" but perhaps this passage from AGOT is even more prophetic:

    “Oh, I think that Lord Tyrion is quite a large man,” Maester Aemon said from the far end of the table. He spoke softly, yet the high officers of the Night’s Watch all fell quiet, the better to hear what the ancient had to say. “I think he is a giant come among us, here at the end of the world.”

    Tyrion answered gently, “I’ve been called many things, my lord, but giant is seldom one of them.”

    “Nonetheless,” Maester Aemon said as his clouded, milk-white eyes moved to Tyrion’s face, “I think it is true.”

    For once, Tyrion Lannister found himself at a loss for words. He could only bow his head politely and say, “You are too kind, Maester Aemon.”

    The blind man smiled. He was a tiny thing, wrinkled and hairless, shrunken beneath the weight of a hundred years so his maester’s collar with its links of many metals hung loose about his throat. “I have been called many things, my lord,” he said, “but kind is seldom one of them.”

    "A GIANT come among us AT THE END OF THE WORLD" That pretty much clinces it for Tyrion, for me at least. Needless to say, I will be reading this blog regularly and recommending it to every diehard ASOIAF fan.

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  34. My problem is between inspiration and identification.

    I mean, we think Brienne is Brynhildr, and it makes sense, because she chose to serve the wrong king and she fits the description. But we don't assume that Stannis is Hjalmgunnar and Renly is Agnar just because those were the kings in Brynhildr's story...

    Similarly, Littlefinger looks like Thjazi in this bit where he kidnaps Sansa and because he "turned into" a mockingbird. But again, that doesn't mean everything that happens to him will be Thjazi-related or Thjazi-inspired. Example: Thjazi is the storm-giant, and Littlefinger comes from the Vale, not from the Stormlands. Example 2: I've never heard of Thjazi being deceitful or cunning, or having a specific tie to Mirmir (maybe the shame's on me). If in the next book Littlefinger does something that has been inspired by a completely different part of the mythology, that wouldn't mean he hasn't been Thjazi there. Inspiration isn't copy.

    Gesar

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    1. I've wondered about the relationships as well, i.e. why is it that Walder Frey is Freyr, yet Margaery Tyrell, who has no relation to Walder whatsoever, is Freyja -- Freyr's sister.

      But I think it comes down to two things: 1. practicality, and 2. history.

      As for practicality -- If he hadn't mixed up the relationships, the story would be totally unrealistic, because virtually all of the gods would be children of Odin, or identical twins, or what have you.

      As for history -- Some scholars believe that the inspiration for the gods, and the legendary heroes from Norse mythology came from real people. For example, Odin & Thor were thought to be real kings. And, while it's possible Thor was Odin's son, that was probably a later invention. And we know for a fact Tyr predates Odin in the mythology, so he can't possibly be Odin's son, like the latter writers claimed (but he could've been a real person, dating back to pre-Scandinavian times). So, the relationships between the gods only came about much later in history. For example, Freyr and Freyja were probably given similar names because of the functions they served, and these names led later generations to believe they were brother & sister.

      And, you must consider, Norse mythology is not uniform like most modern religions are. Meaning, in different regions and in different eras, people told different stories about the same gods and/or heroes (only a fraction of which have survived the centuries). And much of what has been passed down is only in fragments. The most complete works we have came from the 12th - 13th centuries, at the very end of the Viking age, when Scandinavians were converting to Christianity. But, this mythology probably predated that era by at least a thousand years, so there are a lot of unknowns.

      And, assuming this is actually what GRRM is doing, he not only has to tie it all together in a believable fashion, but has to fill in the blanks as well. And, as opposed to Greek or Roman mythology, there are a lot of blanks to fill in (for example, we know Heimdall's role and function, but we know next to nothing about his character -- so a writer would have to invent most of it himself). And, of course, I'm sure GRRM is adding his own original ideas, and taking inspiration from historical events as well (which he must, given the fact there are 1,000 characters involved, and we only have a handful of stories from Norse mythology -- so, it's going to take some imagination to write 7 1,000 page books about it).

      That's my best guess, at least. And, consider, GRRM is pretty keen on history, so it stands to reason that he'd treat the mythology historically.

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    2. This isn't what I meant, though, my english isn't as clear as I would wish it were :/

      I'm saying that while Sansa going away with Littlefinger is certainly inspired by that episode where Thjazi kidnaps the apple girl, it doesn't mean that Littlefinger is Thjazi. It just means that this specific episode of Littlefinger's life was inspired by Thjazi's life. The foreshadowing seems to indicate that Littlefinger is going to march on Winterfell at some point, and that Sansa might kill him there. Now that wouldn't fit with Thjazi's life at all. But it doesn't matter, because this is an inspiration process and not a copy process.
      Another example where you had trouble is with Jaime, you seemed to hesitate between Tyr and Sigurd, because of certain characteristics indicative of both hypothesis. Well, there's no reason to care: there's no reason Jaime can't be both at the same time. We don't have to go head to head.

      I think your work is extremely interesting when you're comparing the two stories, and you've obviously discovered a source, but I don't like the parts where you're sort of warging the first story into the second.

      Gesar

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    3. I'm not sure if I follow. I don't see why GRRM would keep to the Ragnarök mythology so closely (i.e. Fimbulvetr, Loki bound, Fenrir bound by Tyr, Jormungandr cast into the [Dothraki] Sea, Hel raising the dead, Heimdall with the horn, Tyr loses his hand, death of Baldr, etc.) and invoke so much symbolism (ravens, wolves, serpents, the Wall, ice & fire, incest, patricide, fratricide, long ships, dark elves, etc), if he didn't mean to tell the story of Ragnarök. That's how adaptations generally work. It would be one thing if he were using a character or two, but there are so many, and their paths all seem to match their dominant roles. So, I'd say it's probably more than coincidence.

      But, as for Littlefinger/Thjazi -- You may expect him to march on Winterfell (and that does seem to be what he's preparing for), but I don't think he'll make it. I expect him to be betrayed by the rebel lords who oppose him. I'm proposing that Harold Hardyng (the Young Falcon) won't end up being his puppet, but rather, in his role as Sansa's "rescuer" (which I'm using sarcastically) will betray him to the Lannisters, and return him to King's Landing, where he'll be beheaded in the same place Ned Stark was in book 1. How exactly that will take place, I'm not sure. But, if he is indeed Thjazi, his big plans may very well go awry.

      Now, I could be wrong about that, and you could be right, but that's my story, and I'm sticking to it (for now). But, that would fit with Thjazi's story, mind you -- he's lured back to Asgard (King's Landing) by a falcon (Harold Hardyng).

      Anyway, I hope that answers your question. Thanks for commenting and reading the blog. I appreciate your feedback. Feel free to comment any time.

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  35. I'm curious as to where Euron Greyjoy might fit in. As the series moves on, he looks like an increasingly bigger player. Given the one-eye, his "wandering" background, his dabbling with sorcery and the sheer scope of his ambitions, I would have pegged him as Odin if the mad king wasn't already plugged into that role. Also, in some stories, wasn't Odin banished from his own hall for a time?

    Then again, maybe he's some kind of proxy for the 3ec.

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    1. You're actually right on with that. And I completely overlooked Euron, but he does seem to be a match for Odin (in the present age). However, I can't quite place his significance, especially in regards to Bran (Fenrir). The potential conflict could have something to do with his dragon horn, I suppose, but I think we'll need to learn more about his intentions before we can say for sure. Good call though. You're definitely on to something there.

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  36. What about Stoneheart?

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    1. Does Sinmara work as Stoneheart? On her wiki it says there are theories she was Mimir's wife and Surtr's wife. Mimir works for Ned and Surtr could represent R'hllor in general (and Stannis specifically). Her wiki also says her name could mean pale nightmare, and that fits Stoneheart.

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    2. Oh wow, it just hit me. Sinmara is often associated with Surtr, and is said to be "sharpening Surtr's blade for Freyr". As in, she would aid Surtr (Snow) in taking down Freyr (Walder Frey).

      Thoughts, Dorian?

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    3. This is an interesting connection I've given quite a bit of thought to. And, I like it, personally. I know quite a few people will not (in fact, they'll absolutely hate it, unequivocally). But I could see GRRM doing it, for what it's worth. Which could mean all that business about Catelyn hating Jon Snow was foreshadowing... eww, gross.

      However, I will say that we're not entirely sure if Hel & Sinmara are the same person. I'd say a majority of scholars probably assume that to be the case, but it's by no means a consensus. So, it could be GRRM is portraying Hel & Sinmara as two different characters.

      And, of course, detractors could always point out that the theory can't possibly be right if there are multiple matches for each mythological figure -- but I'm of the opinion that's part of the riddle. Many of the gods in Norse mythology did share similar characteristics and had similar stories told about them. And, we'll only be able to say for sure, one way or the other, as more of the story is revealed. So, to be clear, I'm not officially backing this... yet... but I'm not shooting it down, either.

      As for Stoneheart's future -- I'm under the impression Jaime is going to break up the Brotherhood somehow, just as Arthur Dayne defeated the Kingswood Brotherhood. Why do I think that? Tyrion says at one point that "It all goes back and back, to our mothers and fathers and theirs before them. We are puppets dancing on the strings of those who came before us, and one day our own children will take up our strings and dance in our steads" -- which I interpret as more than just "history repeating itself", but that people are destined to fall into certain roles in each successive generation. IMO, Jaime is Arthur Dayne (the Sword of the Morning), Tyrion is Bloodraven (i.e. the "demon monkey" Hand) and Tommen is Aegon V (the prince who was promised), etc. And, one of Arthur Dayne's most famous accomplishments was breaking up the "Kingswood Brotherhood" -- a group that was very similar to the "Brotherhood Without Banners". In the past, I always assumed that meant Jaime would kill Stoneheart, but if your theory holds, and she really is Sinmara, he may just scatter them. And, if we take a look to Dayne, he personally killed the "Smiling Knight" (who's probably akin to Thoros), but no one knows what happened to the "White Fawn" (who was the only female member in the group -- just like Stoneheart... although, it should be said, she probably wasn't a zombie). So, it could be that Stoneheart is driven north, back towards home.

      But, I can only imagine how much Jon Snow fanboys/fangirls are going to hate this theory. You're lucky you're anonymous on here, because they'd really let you have it for this one. You're not only flipping Jon Snow (like I have, by connecting him to Surtr), you're making him creepy as all hell. No, they're not going to like that at all.

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    4. Also, this could be related to Stoneheart, in regards to Loki/Bloodraven:

      Loki ate some of the heart -- the thought-stone of a woman,
      Roasted on a linden-wood fire -- he found it half-cooked;
      With child from the woman -- Lopt soon was,
      And thence among men -- came the monsters all.

      --Lay of Hyndla (Stanza 43)

      Commentary from Sacred-Texts.com: "Nothing further is known of the myth here referred to, wherein Loki (Lopt) eats the cooked heart of a woman and thus himself gives birth to a monster. The reference is not likely to be the serpent, as, according to Snorri, the wolf, the serpent and Hel were all the children of Loki and Angrboda".

      Could that monster have been unCat? Makes you wonder...


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  37. Quote: "The Kraken is a massive cuttlefish from Norse mythology that is foretold to surface during the events of Ragnarök. Though it does not figure prominently into the story, and was likely a later invention, much the same as Garmr, it is said to appear out of nowhere and pull ships into the sea off the coasts of Midgard & Asgard."

    Another connection, actual krakens did appear in Winds of Winter (arianne's chapter):
    "'And krakens off the Broken Arm, pulling under crippled galleys,' said Valena. 'The blood draws them to the surface, our maester claims. There are bodies in the water. A few have washed up on our shores.'"

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  38. Regarding Stannis: Perhaps you might be able to resolve this problem with he and Davos if one (or both?) combines two or more figures from the mythology. Stannis could be both Nidhoggr and Forseti / Njördr. A few weak points of support for this theory would be:

    - He has fought for and against Gods (or if you prefer, with and not with the giants) and this seems a point of introspective conflict for him
    - Nidhoggr's gnawing habit might be analagous with his habit of grinding his teeth. Gnawing at the roots of a tree might point to him being a pest of sorts for tree-associated parties (principally Bloodraven and the Children). The bit of lore concerning limbless burrowing dragons who had no love for men might be a connection here; they were indiscriminately dangerous. Stannis could be a disruptive entity to both gods and monsters, which does not bode well for his life.
    - According to wikipedia (admittedly a poor source) Nidhoggr was once described as a "serpent bright". The sword Stannis wields is bright but without heat.

    As you're the expert here, I can only fumble. But I do wonder if there were weapons in norse mythology famous for being forgotten or abandoned, or not recognised for what they are? As I recall, his sword was left behind in the dirt after the burnings on Dragonstone, and there is too the issue of his sword not demonstrating the seemingly requisite heat.

    I also agree that Davos will probably be more important, but the ambivalence around Stannis makes me doubtful as to any one particular outcome. Davos has strong moral fibre and is one of the few characters in the series who could probably be called untarnished good, except insofar as he continues to serve Stannis. His qualities so far do not seem founded through leadership or martial / magical skills; he is a good man who sails well and has a talent for maritime stealth. Conveyance and perhaps some very critical decision-making are the admittedly obvious suggestions as to critical roles he might play. Whereas Stannis might survive, and might not, and might be significant sooner or later or not, or he might just be a survivor god who persists through ragnarok but never comes to any great personal success.

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    1. It's hard to say with Stannis, because, as another commenter pointed out, he's currently occupying the role of Surtr (i.e. he's the guy with the fiery sword -- not Jon Snow). However, I simply can't imagine Stannis knocking down the Wall, nor do I see how he's connected to Samwell (Heimdall), Bran (Fenrir) or Bloodraven (Loki), not to mention Craster's Son and the Others, but clearly, Jon is connected to all of those characters in some fashion (Jon's connection to Bloodraven being they're both Targ bastards). And, if the story is moving in the direction I think it is, then Jon is about to replace Stannis in Melisandre's eyes. So, I think it's safe to say Stannis isn't Surtr.

      As for Njördr -- I'm actually starting to lean towards Theon over Stannis. Because, firstly, Njördr was one of the Vanir given to the Æsir as a hostage after the civil war. Similarly, in the Lokasenna, Loki calls Njördr a pervert, and clearly, that was a big aspect of Theon's character prior to his imprisonment (though, he didn't father a son... which Stannis did, if you count the "shadow baby"). And, in the Prose Edda, we find the following passage in reference to Njördr:

      "Hateful for me are the mountains
      I was not long there,
      only nine nights.
      The howling of the wolves
      sounded ugly to me
      after the song of the swans".

      And, as we all know, Theon clearly resented his time as a hostage with the "wolves". Similarly, Njördr was said to have coupled with his sister, which Theon unwittingly tried to do with Asha, and his association with priesthoods can be seen in Theon's "baptism" and worship of the Drowned God.

      But, there are obvious problems with this connection, given Theon's transformation into Reek. I suppose there are parallels with Hadingus (a legendary Danish hero related to Njördr), but there are also some major differences (similarities: Hadingus visits hell and ends up hanging himself in front of his subjects, but he was a king who married his sister and achieved great renown in battle, winning many victories). However, in the earliest times, Njördr was thought to be a genderless god, which could be related to Theon's castration, perhaps. But again, it's hard to say.

      As for Nidhogg -- that connection could work. Nidhogg is said to live in a "hall far from the sun" where "Venom drops through the smoking vent, For around the walls do serpents wind", which sounds an awful lot like Dragonstone to me. Similarly, Nidhogg is said to live with "treacherous men" (i.e. rebels) where he "sucks the blood of the slain" (which could be related to Melisandre's leeches). Not to mention, Nidhogg means "Malice Striker", and Stannis is intensely bitter for how many times he's been "wronged". And, as you said, his gnawing at Yggdrasil could be represented by grinding his teeth. There's also the fact that above Nidhogg, on ground level, a stag was said to eat away at Yggdrasil's leaves, while Nidhogg gnawed at the roots. And, as you've pointed out, Davos could represent his messenger Ratatoskr.

      But the problem with that is Nidhogg really isn't found in any of the ancient sources, except for the Eddas. So, he doesn't really have a clearly defined role in the events of Ragnarök, but I suppose that's where GRRM's brilliant imagination might come into play. I do like where you're going with this, though, and I've been trying to make a connection for Stannis/Davos for some time now. So I appreciate your input. Keep on it.

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    2. That bit about the nine nights of howling wolves reminds me of the hornblowing that drove Theon nuts. Of course, the Boltons are not wolves. Plu, wolves generally represent the kin of Fenrir, which are Giants, and the Boltons are decidedly against that faction.

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    3. Yeah, I agree. I mentioned the Nidhoggr/Ratatoskr connection a few days back. That is what I would currently lean toward.

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    4. that is Claudia:
      WAIT: I'm just rereading book three, and take it from the Oldtownshipper that shipped theon and returned to Robb's court, Theon actually has a child, or it wouldn't make much sense, that Balon Greyjoy forbid the Oldtownshipper to set sails again for over six months: The Oldtownshippers daughter was pregnant with his grandchild. The oldtowner and his daughter, Theon's saltwife, escaped after Balon was kicked off the bridge by a faceless with a dead crow on his shoulder, as Jenny of Oldstone's old white woodwitch saw in her dreams.

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  39. looked up the origins of Weir. in old English and norse it is a fishing place.... in old high german it is Defend/defense.

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    1. You've got to wonder with some of the words he's come up with. All I can say is I give thought to things like that when I write stories, so I wouldn't be totally surprised if GRRM does too (it's not that hard to do, really. Some people seem to be under the impression it's rocket science, but it's not).

      And those definitions are interesting, especially that bit about defense, because if we look to Westerosi history, the Children's greenseers basically served as their battle commanders. So, it stands to reason that they were somehow using their weirwoods to defend their homeland... which explains why the First Men & Andals would've wanted to cut them down. So, you could be on to something there.

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    2. I've been thinking about this, and I have a sneaking suspicion "weirwood" is related to the word "weird"... but I'm not talking about the modern usage, i.e. "strange" or "unnatural". I'm talking about its archaic usage, which meant "fate".

      Because, in Old English, Ragnarök was commonly referred to as the "Weird of the Gods". And, if weirwoods are the instrument the greenseers use to bring about the "Weird of the Gods", that would make sense (i.e. weir[woo]d).

      That may sound like an obscure reference, but in virtually all the old translations you read of the Prose Edda, Ragnarök is called the "Weird of the Gods". So, given the fact that GRRM is an English-speaker, I'd say it's fairly likely he's familiar with that phrase... assuming he really is basing his story on Ragnarök, of course.

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  40. Got tired of bringing you down, figured I could help you out for once.

    Þrúðr seems to make a lot of sense as Lyanna

    This is all wiki so can't really vouch for it:

    In Ragnarsdrápa, the Jötunn Hrungnir is called "thief of Þrúðr", but there is no direct reference to this myth in any other source.
    (She has been abducted, but we don't know how and why it happened)

    Hrungnir is slain by the god Thor with his hammer Mjölnir.
    (Her abductor is killed by Thor)

    In Þórsdrápa, Thor is called "he who longs fiercely for Þrúðr"
    (Self explanatory)

    I doubt Hrungnir is Rhaegar, however.

    Gesar

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    1. I think this is getting mixed up with the Þrymr-myth, where Þrymr threatens Loki to get him to help him steal the hammer Mjölnir, and then he wants to use the hammer to trade it with Freya, whom he wants to marry, so Loki comes up with a plan, and they send Thor disguised as Freya (Thor in a bridal gown with a veil, basically), and then in the end, Thor gets his hammer back, and kills everyone at the wedding feast, including Þrymr.

      So Lyanna, Robert's love, is his hammer Mjölnir here, and Thor needs it back. He kills Þrymr/Rhaegar (as I've said, a character can have many parallels depending on what subplot they play a part in), but in this version, tragically, Robert doesn't get his beloved possession back.

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  41. Amazing read..........and amazing ability to tie in so many of the story lines and characters..... by far the most sophisticated understanding/interpretation of ASOIAF I have ever come across.

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  42. I recently warged over from the Forum of Ice and Fire to this blog. I am thrilled to know that someone has undertaken such a literary analysis: thank you!

    I must admit, I know extremely little about Norse mythology; the only thing close to it I've gotten is the history channel's new show Vikings haha!

    When we were introduced to Melisandre and the CotF in the novels, I sensed ulterior motives if not outright manipulations. Melisandre is certainly a pawn meant to act out a greater whim of some god in the story, and she's misinterpreting her visions to the end of benefiting that god. When she sees the eyes of BR looking at her, I was greatly perturbed: I envisioned for this story that the forces of ice and fire were outright antagonistic but ultimately to be reconciled to defeat some great destructive force. However, with characters like Qyburn, CotF, and other references to blood magic, I ultimately decided that there is a dark magic at work. I, essentially, perceived the forces as a spectrum, light and darkness being apart of the same coin, which in turn resonates with ice and fire being reconciled (through whom I thought were the protagonists, Jon (whom is ice and fire),Bran (whom is ice) and Dany (fire). Now, after reading your blog posts, I am at odds to think there is a true "protagonist," given the gray areas in which most of these characters operate, and how, based on the parallels made to Norse mythology, there really is no winner at the story's end. Aside for the unlikely heroes (Tommen) and redeemed monsters (Jaime), I really no longer see an uplifting outcome for the race of men in this series.

    A few things I would like to ask about are(and perhaps this is because I didn't read well enough the minutia of the stories): how is BR the last Greenseer? I thought the prophecy explaining how the eyes of the chosen indicate a few characters' sorcery prowess as being both a warg and a true greenseer. The characters to which I am referring are Bran and Jon (the eye colors being green/hazel and red, which are the eye colors of their wolves). I thought the two of them in that one instant are indicated to be prophetically very powerful characters in the story. However, with Jon being dead and his possible resurrection at hand, I assume he will sacrifice one side of his magic blood for another and become AA. Bran is clearly being utilized as a tool by BR, lured with the promise of being the wolf that flies. I envisioned Bran as being a powerful force for good in this story, but again, good is only relative for Martin. I want to know what evidence denotes that BR is the last greenseer, and how does the eye-color-prophecy reflect Norse mythos?

    I guess in terms of your descriptive analyses, Bran and Jon are both pawns of BR?

    Also, what is the significance of the Others' only weakness thus far being dragonglass? Why isn't ice a fire/dragon killer?

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    1. I believe the Children call Bloodraven the Last Greenseer. As for the dragonglass thing, we know dragonglass (and valyrian steel?) epitomizes fire and thus destroys the Others, but we haven't seen any Others interact with dragons, so whose to say there's no parallel? Maybe those fancy ice-swords they have are based on ______ just as valyrian steel is based on magic/dragonglass/whathaveyou.

      As for their significance with relation to Norse mythology, here's a quick excerpt about Muspelheim (The 'realm of fire') from wiki:

      'Muspelheim... is a realm of fire. This realm is one of the Nine Worlds and it is home to the fire jötunn or the "sons of Muspell", and Surtr, their ruler. It is fire; and the land to the North, Niflheim, is ice. The two mixed and created water from the melting ice in Ginnungagap.'

      Dorian's mentioned before that fire is actually ice (and vice versa) in Martin's world, but the important part is the mixing. When the realms come together, the result is water. And what happened when Samwell stabbed an Other with dragonglass? He turned into a puddle.

      In Norse mythology, the fire jotunn and the ice jotunn counter each other, but both fight against the Gods during Ragnarok.

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    2. Some more food for thought:

      Norse cosmology is split into nine worlds: Midgard (men), Asgard (Aesir), Vanaheimr (Vanir), Jotunheimr (Giants), Alfheimr (Light Elves), Helheim (Hel), Svartalfarheimr (Dark Elves, which are basically Dwarves), Niflheim (Primordial Ice), Muspelheim (Primordial Fire).

      Midgard is a land of men surrounded by an impassable ocean which Jormungandr (Dany) inhabits. Reminds me of the Dothraki Sea. Asgard has an incomplete wall, and is the home of the Gods. Reminds me of King's Landing with its Mud Gate. Roiugh connections, but the cosmology may be worth investigating if anyone cares to.

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  43. "Dany's relationship to the sea is represented by her need for ships, and future marriage to Victarion Greyjoy."

    I would say that Dany's strongest connection to the sea is her sojourn on the Dothraki Sea.

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  44. Where does Benjen Stark fit into your theory... Howland Reed?

    p.s. Made an account just to comment on this, best theory ive come across. Hands down.

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    1. Also, and may have missed this, but to whom do Dany's dragons go to?

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    2. Those are good questions. And I don't doubt Benjen or Howland's importance to the story, I just haven't given them much thought yet.

      Someone raised the possibility that Benjen, rather than Jojen, could be the "Mead of Poetry" (i.e. Benjen was in the weirwood paste fed to Bran). I'm not sure if I buy that, but it is a plausible theory. And, given the similarity in their names (i.e. Benjen/Jojen), they could've ended up in the same weirwood paste together. Again, I don't know if I buy that, but I'll throw it out there.

      But, we can be fairly certain he isn't Coldhands (given the fact that the CotF tell Bran that "they killed him long ago". And, since the CotF live incredibly long lives, I'm assuming "long ago" means a little further back in time than A Game of Thrones to them).

      I do wonder about the Others though, because I'm not entirely sure what they are -- whether they are elemental ice creatures, like dragons are to fire, or if they have something to do with the white-haired/blue-eyed people Bran saw making human sacrifices to weirwood trees in his visions. I think it's possible (mind you, not necessarily likely, but possible) that the Others are humans (which could explain why they want Craster's sons -- not for sacrifice -- but to add to their ranks -- which could explain what happened to Benjen). Plus, the story of the Night's King depicts what most people believe to be a female Other, which would seem to imply they're at least close enough to humans physically to fall in love with them (and we assume, have sex as well). So, there could be something to that. Then again, the very fact there are female Others would seem to point towards a "race" of them, similar to dragons, or the CotF, or the giants. But, in any case, I'll have to think on Benjen. Because, I think it's safe to assume he serves some sort of purpose to the overall story. I just don't know what that is.

      As for Howland -- I can't say if or when we'll ever meet him, but I'm sure he practices blood magic in some form, and is basically a remnant of First Men culture from earlier times (i.e. a link to the past -- Jon Snow's as well as the First Men in general). I base this on something Ned said about Arthur Dayne -- the Sword of Morning -- who was defending the Tower of Joy when he came for Lyanna. Ned claimed, unequivocally, that Dayne was the best swordsman he'd ever met and would've easily killed him if it hadn't been for Howland Reed.

      Really? Howland Reed? So you're telling me Jojen's tiny little father defeated the Sword of the Morning in hand-to-hand combat? Somehow, I doubt that. I have a feeling he wasn't exactly fighting fair. But what weapon he was using, we don't know, other than it probably wasn't a sword & shield. Could it have been the poisoned darts the "bog devils" are infamous for? Perhaps. Or it may have been something a little crazier than that (i.e. blood magic). We don't know, but I'm fairly certain Howland is a link to the past -- and not just Jon Snow's past at that, but the forgotten history of the First Men as a whole -- which is one of CotF-worship, cannibalism and "dark sorcery". So, it's possible he's a little more sinister than people realize.

      I know that's aren't very satisfactory answers, but we have too little information to go on. More will have to be revealed, IMO.

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    3. This just occurred to me, but dragons are genderless, whereas the Others appear to have genders. This makes me think they aren't the elemental ice we're looking for. Of course, there's all manner of things in the far north that we haven't been exposed to, so...

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  45. What would you recommend for someone who is trying to start studying Norse Mythology?

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    1. Snorri Sturluson is basically the godfather of Norse mythology. He wrote the Prose Edda, which, along with the Poetic Edda, is our main source for Ragnarök. I know there are several English translations online, and Penguin Classics publishes an edition as well. I'd also recommend the Völsunga Saga. It tells the story of Sigurd & Fafnir, which both Wagner and Tolkien used as inspiration for their respective works, "Der Ring des Nibelungen" and "The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún".

      If you're looking for a commentary, the big one is "Teutonic Mythology" by Jacob Grimm (i.e. the same guy who wrote all the fairy tales). However, I'd caution, not only was it written in 1835, it was written in German, so it can be pretty dry reading.

      "The Norse Myths" by Kevin Crossley-Holland is a little more modern (ok, a lot more). And, it's perfect for those who are just starting to get into the mythology.

      Anyway, hope that helps. Thanks for reading the blog.

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  46. I think you are mostly spot on with this theory. But i think I should toss in some thoughts as well.

    I think its Benjen thats in the paste. When he disapears Bran says "The children of the forest will look after him". Forshadowing. Besides, Jonjen Reed knows how he will die, and its told that he gets sad when he thinks about returning home. This is because when he does return, everyone he knows is dead. Líf and Lífþrasir, however, hide when it all happens, and returns to repopulate the world. Jonjen and Meera Reed.

    Loki\Bloodraven is pretty much a tree. A stag gnaws at the roots of the tree. This is Stannis. Several times in the books he doesn`t follow Melisandre`s instructions. He is basically a pain. Melisandre has also mistaken him for being the champion of light. This sets back Loki`s plans. Just an idea though.

    Garmr is Clegane though. A watchdog that breaks his chains. He is a bodyguard that runs off, basically. He also brutally kills people thoughout the series. Bloodstained. Note that the dog also guards hell. He fears fire, because he knows whats in them. His face is also burned. Been staying too close to the furnace.

    Here is another one I thought of. Baldur\Joffrey. Baldur dies before Ragnarok, but comes back to life. Remember Cercei`s vision? A younger brother will choke her life out. Geoffrey is Cercei`s second son. she had one with Robert as well, but that child died. I belive its zombie Joffrey that kills her.


    Thoughts?


    PS: Dunno if its important. But Coldhands describes the interior, somewhat, of the cave Bran enters. And yet he can`t enter it since its warded. He has been there before he died, is my guess.

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    1. I don`t think Melisandre is Hel, either. Its Catelyn. The lord of Light ressurects Berric over and over again. Ending with Catelyn being ressurected. Then Berric stays dead. Stoneheart also speaks the language of the dead, wich is fitting if she is the guardian of the land of the dead in mythology. Right now she is also obsessed with causing death (to the Freys). This also makes her a direct "child of Loki", since he created her this way. If you look at the pic someone posted further up.

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    2. Another thought. Dany`s dragons got hatched in FIRE. The lord of light has power over fire and death. I belive the dragons were dead. When Miri Mas Duur`s life was given as payment, the dragons got ressurected\hatched. Abit like Berric - Stoneheart. I don`t belive Dany is immune to fire either. Its the lord of light protecting her from it, to keep her alive for Ragarok. Kind of making her a child of Loki as well. Wich the great srpent needs to be.

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    3. All very interesting theories, and you could very well be right. Stoneheart does seem to be a good match for Hel, but the reason I connect Melisandre to Hel/Sinmara is because #1) She's the Lord of Light's biggest advocate. #2) She too, like Catelyn, is dead. She just wears a glamor to hide her appearance (she mentions on the TV show that she was a slave before the Lord of Light "raised her up" -- hence the "shadow baby"). And #3) she supplies Stannis with his fiery sword (i.e. Sinmara is said to "sharpen Surtr's sword for Freyr" -- and mind you, Surtr's sword is "fiery"). But, clearly, Catelyn is related to Frey(r) as well, and would seem to have a much better reason for attacking the Freys than Melisandre would. But, that would mean unJon "marries" unCat (assuming Jon is Surtr... eww, gross). Of course, that could mean that all that business with Catelyn "hating" Jon was foreshadowing... but that seems pretty gnarly. Which might be right up GRRM's alley. We shall see.

      As for Jojen, that's a good theory as well. Lif and Lifrathsir are two humans who survive Ragnarök while hiding out in a cave. But I'm not so sure Jojen represents a "human" (given his inhuman abilities, i.e. greensight). And, I think it's possible that "the Children will take care of him" is foreshadowing the exact opposite -- i.e. they'll turn him into the Mead of Poetry.

      And, it could be that Jojen doesn't know quite as much as he thinks he does -- because, if my theory is correct, that means he was "tricked" into bringing Bran to Bloodraven. He thought he knew what he was doing, but he was being manipulated. Granted, I could be wrong, and he could end up returning to Greywater Watch, like he predicted, but given Meera's reaction to his disappearance, I'm not so sure that will be the case. But, if Bran didn't eat him, you could very well be right about Lif and Lifthrasir. It makes sense.

      As for Dany, that's a pretty cool theory as well. I definitely like the idea of "resurrected dragons" (because, that could fit with what the Others are). And I really like the idea of the LoL protecting Dany from fire. Because that clearly wasn't the case for other Targaryens (like Aegon V, who supposedly died while attempting to hatch dragon eggs in fire -- i.e. it's not her Targ blood, it's that she was "chosen" by Bloodraven). But, then again, it could be that there is something in Targaryen blood, similar to the warging-nature in the Stark family. It's hard to say, but I do like where you're going with this.

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    4. You know. If these are "Loki`s Children", it would make sense if he looked after them somewhat. Keep them in check. Wich could be what th e red priests are doing. Dany has a red priest headign straight for her. Catelyn has a red priest with her. Melisandre is close to Bran. She also saw Bran and Bloodraven in a vision recently. So one red priest for each of the children of Loki? Just a thought.

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    5. That makes sense symmetrically -- i.e. rather than just one of the red priests being Loki's child, they are all the "baby sitters" (in a sense) of Loki's children -- Mel is stationed in the North, near Bran. Thoros is stationed in the South, with Catelyn. And Moqorro is stationed in the East, with Dany.

      But, with that being said, I'm not sure what to make of Thoros. Because, in my opinion, his story arc seems to be leaning toward a break with the Lord of Light (granted, I could be wrong about that. But that's the impression I get).

      Then again, I have theorized that Jaime will break up the Brotherhood Without Banners, much the same as Arthur Dayne (i.e. the Sword of the Morning -- which is the role Jaime fills in the current cycle) broke up the Kingswood Brotherhood. So, it could be that either the death of Thoros, or the destruction of the Brotherhood in general could send Catelyn north, back towards Winterfell (& Jon Snow). Because, if we take the Kingswood Brotherhood as an example, Dayne killed the "Smiling Knight" but let the "White Fawn" escape. So, if that story is supposed to parallel something Jaime does, and if the "Smiling Knight" and the "White Fawn" are akin to Thoros & Catelyn, that could explain how/why Stoneheart ends up in the North with Jon Snow.

      Just a thought.

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    6. I suspect Thoros serves as a "warning" to the readers. He seems to get depressed and losing his confidence, whenever he\the brotherhood does something "wrong". He is also the only red priest thats not a fanatic.

      As for Mel...Loki\Bloodraven actually shows her Bran in the flames. I am pretty certain he wants her to come looking for Bran sooner rather than later.

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  47. I am almost as excited about this theory as I am about the release of WoW (key word being "almost").

    I found this on Wikipedia:

    "In Norse mythology, Móði (anglicized Módi or Mothi) and Magni are the sons of Thor. Their names mean "Angry" and "Strong," respectively. Rudolf Simek states that, along with Thor's daughter Þrúðr ("Strength"), they embody their father's features."

    Could they be referring to Edric (Storm=Angry), Gendry (Strong) and Mya Stone, woo all very much resemble Robert? Although it's said that they survive Ragnarok, I can't seem to get any information if they play any major roles in Ragnarok. Do you have any theories regarding Edric, Gendry and Mya?

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    1. *who all very much

      I also wanted to add that with Mya at the Eyrie, perhaps she could aid in Sansa's escape from Littlefinger's grasp.

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    2. I've wondered about that as well. But the show has really thrown me off, since they decided to remove Edric Storm from the equation. I suppose he's not very important, in the grand scheme of things, but you have to wonder. Because, even though GRRM mentions that Robert has 16 bastards (or something like that), we really only meet 3 of them. Gendry obviously seems important. But I'm not sure if he represents a child of Thor in the current cycle, or Thor himself (because, if you recall, Gendry was a hammer-wielding blacksmith before Yoren helped him escape from King's Landing. And he wore the bull-helmet, which is a symbol of strength).

      As for Mya Stone -- I'll quote Wikipedia for you:

      "In Bragi Boddason's Ragnarsdrápa, the Jötunn Hrungnir is called "thief of Þrúðr" (Þrúðar þjófr). But there is no direct reference to this myth in any other source. The Skáldskaparmál (17), in which Snorri relates the fight between Thor and Hrungnir, mentions a very different cause, and Þjóðólfr of Hvinir's Haustlöng only describes the fight without giving the reason for it. This poem depicts two mythological scenes painted on a shield, the first being Iðunn's abduction by the giant Þjazi. Margaret Clunies Ross suggested that the two episodes might be complementary, both dealing with the abduction of a goddess by a giant, its failure and the death of the abductor".

      So, it's very well possible that Mya Stone represents Thrudr, given the fact that Thrudr is related to the story of Idunn & Thjazi, and Mya Stone just so happens to live at the Eyrie. Could it be coincidence? Perhaps. But I think not.

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    3. Something to think about in this respect, is they had someone impersonate Renly at the Blackwater. Maybe to rally the south they need someone who looks and acts like a Baratheon in the vain of Robert and Renly. They give Gendry Renly's armor and Robert's hammer, they now have a symbol that the Southerners will fight for.

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  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  49. Thought, could the smoke relate to Jaime getting his wound cauterized?

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    1. I like that, actually. Jaime is reborn amidst "smoke" before he "comes clean" to Brienne in the bath. Makes sense. Good call.

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  50. Children of the IllusionJune 18, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    I think the identity of Sigurd will revolve around Ice.

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  51. I like your post. But a couple of comments. One another character that could be Njord is Tywin Lannister to some extent. Njord was the god of wealth and was connected with a port. This resembles Tywin's own holdings. I GRRM is mixing and reusing characters. Jamie and Cersei also match Frey and Freya and Breine could be Gerd Frey's wife which means that Jon will kill Jamie if Jamie is also Frey. I think Lysa Arryn is Skadi, she lives in the mountians and is unhappy with her marriage. The Blackfish is Hoenir he noted as being the swift As and associated with mud, the Tully banner shows a muddy bank. The Blackfish is said to be too fast to catch.

    Another thing to look at is their banners. The Direwolf is pretty clear though it did make me think Eddard might be Tyr in that he is the Hand of the King when the story starts and has a famous sword. The stag could be switched for the goat. The fish for the stork, the eagle and moon for the falcon and stars of Skadi. The lion is a cat which was the symbol of Freya, The sun and spear of Dorne is clearly pointing at Baldur with Doran being Baldur and Oberyn being Hodur. Margery and Lyanna could be related to Sif. Both were loves of the "storm lord". Also Margery is associated with crops like Sif, was married before and has been accused of adultery, Sif by Loki and Margery by Cersei. Another point that came to mind, Cersei is tormented by dwarfs like Freya when she wanted to get a magical necklace.

    But going with Ragnarok, I think Euron has replaced Aerys as Odin, that means that someone Bran will kill him. But is Dany is now the Midgard Serpent, like how Raegar was the midgard serpent. Killed but Thor, but Thor was wounded. Then I have to ask who kills Dany? And for that matter who kills Thajzi/Littlefinger. I think Mya and Gendry as new versions of Thor kill them. Or Gendry somehow ends up in Kings Landing and kills both. It should also be noted that Thor was the god of the common man and Gendry is a commoner.

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  52. Same post as up top. Another thought I had was Aeron being Vidar, after Ragnarok Vidar rules as king. Vidar is in hiding till the time or ragnarok similar to Aeron. If Aerys is Odin then it makes sense that his second son after Thor would rule, i.e Aeron. And one last thought could Willas Tyrell be Bragi who is married to Idunn?

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    1. In this vain it is possible that Mance Rayder is another incarnation of Odin. If Jamie is Tyr/Frey the third god in the Norse trinity then it makes sense he would need Odin and Thor to fight Ragnarok. Mance can rally the wildings who are now in the gift, while as stated up top they can use Gendry to rally the South. Then Frey/Tyr/Jamie has his trinity.

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  53. Great post. BUT
    What about Martells? I doubt they will be completely irrelevant in the story. Also, they are much connected to snakes. Your thoughts?

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    1. Oh well, I found out their role in prophecy written in another part of the blog. Outstanding reading.

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  54. I was wondering how Surtr's fire imagery could be reconciled with Jon, but then I noticed this dream of his in Dance: "Jon was armored in black ice, but his blade burned red in his fist." Granted, in this vision, he's at the top of the wall fighting dead men, not quite the same as breaking down the wall to let the Others through. All the same, his blade is dragonsteel, which has more fire imagery.

    I look forward to reading more posts, and I'm confident the broad strokes of the series will more or less match your theory, but I feel some stuff is just seeing what you choose to see. For example, with the Three Roosters, there is also the Tyrell/Tarly strength at King's Landing, Bolton's army and the Night's Watch in the North, and Euron's men in the southwest. Aaanyway I look forward to hearing more! This theory definitely blew my mind, and I see all the references to gods (and there are many in Dance) in a different light now.

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  55. let's say arya really dies and parts of her remain in nymeria, so would it be possible that she meets her siblings, could they just warg into nymeria too?? like bran, who spotted another soul, a dead person in a raven...

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  57. Anonymous who is Frog - not Maggy, just Frog ;-)

    @Dorian: You make a compelling case. I have fantasized about most the characters' fates and hardly anything I came up with comes close to what you've laid out here.
    Having read all of this, I have come to realize how silly it was of me to believe in Jon&Dany, and the dragons defeating the Others and so on. All of that seemy ridiculously childish in contrast to what you reveal. The way you've cast this light on the story, ASOIAF is truly literature, while all those romantic notions I tended to have would ultimately degrade ASOIAF to pulp.
    Thanks for this amazing read.
    Now I want your stuff to come true and will be disappointed if not at least some of it comes true.
    Except for the Arya part - I just hate that idea, but what do I know, I'm a hopeless romantic...

    P.S.: Whether or not Jacob Grimm is a dry read, i cannot say (wouldn't put it past him though), but attributing that to his Germanness that's just hurtful ;-).

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    1. Thanks for your comment. But I must admit, I was just like everyone else until ADwD was released. I thought the story was Jon+Dany, Dragons vs. Others, etc... until Bran met the 3-eyed crow.

      And I was somewhat surprised by the fan-response to ADwD, which seemed to be luke-warm, at best. Because I thought it revealed much more about the story than any of the other books in the series. I suppose fans were frustrated with the "Meereenese Knot" and Dany's seemingly pointless adventures in the Slaver Cities, far away from where all the action is in Westeros, but I thought that in and of itself was revealing (i.e. she might not be quite as important to the story as we've always thought).

      As for Arya, I hear ya, but you've got to remember what she is now. She's not the cute little tomboy she was in the beginning of AGoT anymore. She's a hardened, faceless killer, completely jaded to the world. I mean, she's pretty much been ruined as a human being (i.e. Q - "Who are you?", A - "No one"). As much as I'd like to believe she can somehow overcome all that (because I have always liked her as a character), I'm just not seeing it. But, with that being said, I personally would get a sense of satisfaction if Arya was finally united with the "pack" she's always wanted. Because, I got chills every time those wolves in the Riverlands were mentioned in the books -- i.e. thousands of them being led by a massive monster-wolf (Nymeria). And, given the fact that Arya wargs with Nymeria, I'd imagine she's going to be involved with that in some capacity. Whether she'll die or not, I can't say one way or another, but if I remember correctly, I believe her death was foreshadowed in her ADwD chapter (I'll have to look it up and get back to you on that, but I'm pretty sure it's in there).

      As for Grimm -- I wouldn't necessarily say his fairy tales are dry, but Teutonic Mythology is a treatise. So it's pretty much bound to be boring. And, certain German dialects can be particularly tricky to translate into English. But no worries, I'm German too (or, at least partly). And I'd like to think I have a sense of humor, but then again, that's probably the English in me ;-)

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    2. Anonymous who is Frog.

      I don't have a problem with Arya dying. But her being killed by the kindly man while wolf dreaming made it seem to me that she won't (bodily) reenter the Game in Westeros. She has left some loose ends behind that I'd find just sad (and a waste) to never come together again. But that's me reading something into your words that you didn't actually write, after all you didn't say when or where she'd be killed.
      I can almost see her now, as Nymeria, with Sansa, almost redeeming her involvement in Lady's death. And finally, the setup for the wolves roaming the North is there. And I'm not sure

      As for German English translations (and vice versa), I know what you mean - IMHO it's not so much the dialects but phrasing and imagery. I'm 100% German and I like English so much more than my own language.
      Most Germans, I'd think, believe they have a sense of humor, too, which is a tragic misconception. But some of my people have been known to sometimes have something resembling a *good* sense of humor - sometimes (it's just pathetic ;-) ).

      And let's face it, Jacob and Wilhelm's fairy tales are dry reads, it's the stuff that goes on in your head that makes them worthwhile - aside from their cultural value as a collection.

      Thanks again. I hope you'll figure out more. I'll definitely check back here.

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    3. I say dialects, because my family (on the German side) is from Swabia, and Swabian can even be difficult for Standard German speakers to understand, let alone translate into compelling English. I assume it's the same case for Bavarian, Franconian, etc. but I know Swabian is almost like a different language. And even in Swabia the dialects differ pretty drastically from town to town. The Swabian spoken in Stuttgart, for example, isn't quite the same as the Swabian spoken in the little village where my family comes from.

      As for the Grimm fairytales -- definitely dry reads if you read them in the old-timey language they were written in (which, admittedly, some people do like). But I'd say children today still find the more modern interpretations fairly entertaining.

      And as for humor in Germany -- I know it does exist, and to say that it doesn't is obviously a stereotype, but it is a different sense of humor from English & American humor. We don't always find the same things funny, which can definitely get lost in translation.

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  58. Anonymous who is Frog... again, because I had a thought and deemed it fit to run it by you:

    It's kinda (too) obvious for me because I kinda know the story of the Thidrekssaga and did a little lazy research (i.e. Wikipedia):

    about who Gendry might represent:
    Wayland the Smith.
    Any ideas?
    Wayland had a son, Witige, who owned a sword and helmet forged by his father. And the helmet just screams Gendry, who's just now forging a sword.
    Also: Robert = Thor => Hammer => smith

    No idea about him being hamstrung though, or who might be Nidhad, unless you consider the TV series' leeching, he hasn't been harmed - yet.

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  59. I think you are on to something. The book has tow main arcs, one political and one magical. The political arc is obviously the war of the roses. I have been looking for parallels to this in the ending.

    I think, however, the the magical arc will finish out the story. I also think your theory is right on for the basis of that arc. All of the good political machinations are pretty much over at this point, and the last two books are going to be about the "big battle".

    I hate magical stories in books. I understand that naked girls with dragons get certain people to read books, and fantasy books sell better than alternative history books. I have been dreading the swap to a magical story, though. In my opinion the smartest thing GRRM did with the battle over the iron throne was keep Dany out of it.

    Making Jon, Dany and the others all the same team while making the Lannisters the saviors of mankind would be genius. Best of all (almost) nobody would see it coming.

    This theory has given me hope for the last two books, I really hope you're right.

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  60. Random thoughts,

    assuming its Men vs Magic

    what if Stannis is thor?

    Mel and Stannis could be on the side of men.

    the prince that was promise and azor ahai could be diametrically opposed messianic figures.

    the prince being the champion of magic (maybe bran or bloodraven)

    azor ahai the champion of men (stannis or more likely jammie)

    just going off of the fact that Mel states the great other as her god's mortal enemy, and it is implied when she sees bran and bloodraven that they are the others champions.

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    1. Your last comment touched on something I've wondered about. If Melisandre is being tricked by BR, and he is actually the Lord of Light, I can't imagine that she would suddenly come to accept that the one she thought was the Lord of Light's enemy is actually the Lord of Light and that she should be fighting on the side of the White Walkers and wights. Even if she's an undead, as Dorian suggests, she is different from the wights in that she seems capable of independent reasoning and action. So she might not be willing to change sides, and might instead become an apostate, joining with the Lord of Light's enemies. That is, unless BR has the power to kill her first.

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  61. Interesting conclusions you have here, but I disagree with a few things. I read your post once before, and shook my head at some things, and smiled at some things. I'm now reading it again, second read-throughs are more enlightening, I'm shaking my head at less things now, but I'm still hesitant at some things.

    I can agree with this:

    Thor - Robert Baratheon
    Tyr - Jaime Lannister
    Freyr - Walder Frey
    Frigg - Cersei Lannister
    Freyja - Margaery Tyrell
    Brynhildr - Brienne of Tarth

    I can agree with

    Maybe:

    Idunn - Sansa Stark (she has things coming, and Idunn pretty much stayed innocent, Sansa is no longer innocent)
    Jojen - Kvasir (if the Jojen paste theory is correct, I don't remember Jojen disappearing though, I'll have to re-read the last Bran chapters)

    I have some trouble agreeing with these though:

    Odin - Aerys Targaryen... you emphasise Mad God, Odin is more wise god than mad god, but odin has like 400 names, a few of which are ambiguous and could either mean gelded one, or gelding one, which might make Varys or Theon Odin, or Ramsay Snow Odin, I'd rather go with his main aspect, rather than some minor one, if anyone is Odin, it is Bloodraven, old and one-eyed, wise, with ravens as his eyes and ears, and wolves as his pets, hung himself from yggdrasil, sits on his throne watching the world, god of magic, and no less trickstery than Loki (god of war, not honourable war like Tyr (Jaime) but dishonourable war, ambushes and such (Robb, the wolf, tended to use trickery and tactics in his war, such as at the whispering wood, making him Geri or Freki, Odin's two wolves that sit at his side), has his army of dead warriors, and is killed by Fenrir (Bran seems pretty well seated to usurp Bloodravens place, don't you think?).

    Heimdallr - Samwell Tarly Heimdallr is brave and wise, and can hear and see everything, and fathers the great races of man, Sam is the exact opposite, I think, and he closes his eyes and holds his hands over his ears. Heimdallr is also supposed to kill Loki, I think if you are right about Samwell being Heimdallr, the watcher, who has the horn (the one Jon gave him, rathern than him being from horn hill), then you are wrong about Loki being bloodraven. This might tie better in with Bloodraven being Odin though, as noted above.

    Njördr - Theon Greyjoy - I have some issue with this... Njörðr is a hostage, yes, and bound to the sea, yes, but he isn't totally a captive, he lives in Nóatún, by the sea, but is married to the giantess Skaði, godess of skiing, and therefore spends.. what was it, 9 nights by the sea, and 9 nights in the mountains? that's why he's forced to live in the mountains, not because the aesir make him.

    Baldr - Joffrey Baratheon
    Vidarr - Tommen Baratheon... if anyone is Baldr, it is Tommen, not Joffrey, Baldr was fairhaired and kind and innocent, that isn't Joffrey.
    Viðarr has iron boots, and slays Fenrir the bound wolf. I get that you argue that Tommen will fill this function, but Tommen is the young and fair and naive and innocent one, more fitting to be Baldr than Vidarr. Baldr reappears when the world is reborn though, IIRC, so he might survive, and Tommen won't die (totally plausible) but I don't see him killing things.

    You're also mistaken about jötnar, some are ice-giants from niflheim, and some are fire giants from muspellheim, but some are giants the way we think of them.

    I'm not sure what the argument about Rickon being the great hound are, wouldn't Sandor Clegane fit that better... Gregor is a mountain, not a hound, and Rickon is a wolf. Sandor is the dog in this story, and if you are arguing that the giants are the good guys and the gods are the bad guys, Sandor going from the bad guys to the good guys makes sense.

    continued in reply below

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    1. Though I don't see why, if Bran was trying to get to Bloodraven because bloodraven wanted it, why did the white walkers keep trying to stop him, if they are doing Bloodraven's will? Was that Bloodraven putting on a show to fool bran into thinking that the white walkers are bad and bloodraven is good? wouldn't it make more sense that Bloodraven, stuck in the north, is actually in fact fighting against the white walkers? The dead being unable to enter his cave.

      Also, as far as I know, Hoður is just blind, not dumb, but exchanging blind for dumb seems appropriate if he has to carry bran around.

      As for Jormungandr, Dany, this is also good, but Dany bringing fire from another world, she could equally be Surtr, she might in fact be Jormungandr and Surtr and Niðhögg all in one, dragon, fire, and more dragon, from another world. Surtr leads the host of muspellheim, of fire, in the south, the white walkers must be the host of niflheim, in the north. The host of fiery muspelllheim coming from the south also makes sense regarding Dorne, the warmest climate, which is allied with the Targaryens, and probably won't march until she makes it to Westeros.

      As for Loki, if Bloodraven is Odin instead of Loki, then who is Loki? I'm gonna go with Petyr Baelish. You say he's Þjassi, steals Iðunn away and brings her to his mountain fortress, but I would rather say he was Loki, Petyr is the trickster in this story, he lies and he cheats, and he manipulates, all to serve his own ends, more so than anyone else in this story, and he rescues Sansa from her captivity in King's landing, much as Loki rescues Iðunn from Þjassi's fortress.

      But one question is, if Thor is dead, as you say, who will kill Daenerys/Jormungandr (because even though Dany has a lot of Surtr in her, you aren't wrong when you say she's Jormungandr), what about Gendry? He's the son of Robert, he's a bit shy, but that can change, and as a smith (Volundr the smith, perhaps?) he's good with a hammer, but a great two-handed warhammer in his hands, and I'm sure he would be great with it, and that would also be thematically nice, the son of Robert Baratheon kills the Daughter of Mad King Aerys (another dragon), and as in Ragnarök, the sons of Thor, Magni and Móði, (Gendry and Edric?) will carry the hammer after he falls in battle.

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    2. and if you are thinking that Bloodraven can't be Odin, he's loki, odin doesn't fit, he should be on the other side of things, then I'd have to point out that they are blood-brothers, and many things Odin and Loki did together (the story of Fafnir, Regin, and Andvari's gold, for example, the prelude to Sigurd's tale).

      Have you read American Gods? Neil Gaiman has that aspect of Odin and Loki down, I think.

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    3. I've read the comment on littlefinger being inspired by Þjassi, but perhaps not being him, and therefore doesn't have to follow the same route, and there I would like to add something to my Littlefinger = Loki thing, Littlefinger was considered by Catelyn and Ned, to be on their side, but he betrayed them, and caused trouble, and then he fixed it, by rescuing Sansa from King's landing, and Loki, the trickster, always caused trouble for the Aesir, but he was usually the one who had to fix it (usually to avoid violence, and now I'm thinking of the scene in the show where Eddard threatens littlefinger... reminiscent of Thor/Loki interraction, fix it or I'll beat you up), so littlefinger as Loki fits in there as well. This explains why Littlefinger rescues Sansa, to make up for the trouble he caused (that after all got the love of his life killed), and the Eddard = Mímir analogy in a comment above worked because Winterfell where his bones were to be sent back to, is Asgard, where the gods lived. This further adds weight to the Stark wolves being the agents of Odin (Bloodraven).

      And I agree with the interpretation as opposed to copying. He may be telling the story of Ragnarök, but he doesn't have 1-to-1 characters. We might both be right, Bloodraven might be Odin AND Loki wrapped up in a single character, in the same way Eddard might be Mimir, but also something else, and Jaime can be both Sigurd and Tyr, as there is more than JUST Ragnarök going on (you've already made the Tyrion-Fafnir connection, but Fafnir is not a part of the Ragnarök story, so there is obviously other subplots as well, so many book characters can fit into one mythological character, and one mythological character can fit into several book characters.

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    4. Thanks for your comment, and I'll try to address some of your concerns. But again, this is how I see the story falling into place -- i.e. how GRRM chose to interpret Ragnarök. Not necessarily how I would if I were writing it.

      But firstly, to Odin. Perhaps I wasn't too clear on this, but I think GRRM is combining different elements of Odin's mythology, but mostly focusing on the "semi-historical" Odin depicted in the Gestas. And in those sources (i.e. the Gesta Danorum and the Gesta Hammaburgensis, for example), Odin is explicitly called the "Furious" or "Mad One".

      This excerpt, from the Hammaburgensis, basically sums the dynamic he's set (the way I see it):

      "In this temple, entirely decked out in gold, the people worship the statues of three gods in such ways that the mightiest of them, Thor, occupies a throne in the center of the chamber; Odin and Freyr have places on either side. The significance of these gods is as follows: Thor, they say, presides over air, which governs the thunder and lightning, the winds and rains, fair weather and crops. The other, Odin -- the Furious One -- wages war and imparts to man strength against his enemies. The third is Freyr, who bestows peace and pleasure on mortals. His likeness, too, they fashion with an immense phallus".

      So, in this, I believe GRRM has chosen to discard much of the mythological Odin in favor of the legendary Odin (i.e. a real king who was violent and brash). Aerys also inspired men to war (or rather, provoked them -- which is an example of the semi-satirical spin I think GRRM is giving the mythology). Similarly, with Thor -- he's the "stormlord" and is mightier than Odin (i.e. Robert was the Stormlord who usurped Aerys). And Freyr is a bit beneath them, which is symbolized by Walder's envious nature (plus, GRRM fashioned his likeness in the form of an immense phallus... or should I say, a huge dick... which is what Walder is).

      And, the reason I peg Bloodraven as Loki is because he's undoubtedly tricked Bran into that cave, in my mind. He wasn't straight up with him to begin with, and the first impression Bran has of both him & Coldhands isn't a good one (which is the same for Melisandre... who wonders if he's the Great Other). And, given the fact that BR served as Hand to the 13th King (he wasn't the king himself, mind you, but rather the king's right-hand man... and the Hand to Aerys I, no less -- who I have pegged as Odin's namesake) and was convicted of a crime, and ended up bound in a cave beyond the wall, I think it's fairly safe to say BR is the Sly One, and is either imitating Odin in his role as the Trickster, or is being depicted as Odin's blood-brother, as he is in the mythology. One thing I think is interesting is the fact that GRRM used the term "three-eyed crow", rather than "three-eyed raven". A crow is NOT a raven. I guess you might say they're a cheap imitation. Ravens are much bigger than crows (and much more auspicious in Norse mythology as well). Crows were associated with carnage and the bloody aftermath of battle -- and that's how BR chose to contact Bran in his dreams -- in crow-form (at least in the books). Maybe it's nothing, but I'm convinced BR isn't who he claims to be. Perhaps I'm wrong, but that's how I see it. He's lying.

      cont...

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    5. cont...

      Heimdallr - Firstly, you must understand, if I'm right, GRRM has chosen to present the gods in a negative light. He's focused upon their worst aspects. And, that doesn't necessarily stray from the mythology, mind you. Because, if anything, the Norse gods were gods of opposites. In other words, there was no such thing as the devil in their religion. So, a god like Thor, for example, was the god of good weather AND the god of bad weather (as mentioned in the excerpt above), because if you didn't have good weather, it was because Thor was withholding it from you. So, the same god presided over both ends of the spectrum. And as for Heimdallr fathering a great race -- Sam's story isn't finished yet, and he still has Gilly. And as for his great wisdom, he is in Oldtown training to become a Maester. And as for Loki/BR -- I see it going down like this -- Sam uncovers lost information about the Others and Bloodraven's banishment from the Night's Watch, making him the first to figure what he's all about (i.e. plus, the first to truly notice the changes in Jon... convenient that he's absent for Jon's resurrection, and will likely return after he's already been "reborn"). And, I believe his title "Sam the Slayer" foreshadows his role in Ragnarök... because, whoever kills BR/Loki ends the war (I'm assuming both the Others & the Dragons will be bound to him, so when he dies, the "Monsters" will lose much of their advantage). Plus, I can see him feeling guilty for not trying to stop Bran from going to him (i.e. he'll feel as if he has to save Bran). Granted, the TV show has left out his interactions with Coldhands, but I think it's fairly likely that he'll figure out where Bran went.

      And as for his cowardice, I think that stems from the fact that he is the first to encounter Surtr, after he breaks Bifröst, but for whatever reason, he fails to engage him in battle. Surtr bypasses Heimdallr for Freyr. So, it could be that GRRM has interpreted this to mean that Heimdallr was either 1) A coward for not fighting Surtr or 2) Friends with Surtr. Again, could I be misinterpreting things? Yes. But that's how I see it.

      Njördr - Yes, he married Skadi & switched time in between the sea & the mountains... but he WAS in fact surrendered as a hostage to the Æsir by the Vanir after the Æsir/Vanir War:

      "In Vanaheim the wise Powers made him
      and gave him as hostage to the gods;
      at the doom of men he will come back
      home among the wise Vanir". ---Vafthrudnismal, Prose Edda

      And, again, I think it's possible GRRM has combined elements of "historical/legendary" Njördr (i.e. Hadingus) to create his story arc (i.e. he was given over as a hostage after a civil war, resented his time with the wolves, and has since gone to hell & back, figuratively speaking). So, that's why I identify him with Njördr (not to mention his association with the sea). Again, you can pretty much throw any of his positive aspects out the window, because that's not how GRRM is portraying the gods (the way I see it. The "gods" in ASOIAF are either merciless, sadistic, cruel, arrogant, greedy, cowardly, perverted, ignorant, cold-hearted, etc... just like Loki claims in the Lokasenna).

      cont...

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    6. cont...

      Baldr -- again, this comes back to GRRM's satirical take on the mythology. He's depicting Baldr as a spoiled brat (which he would've been, if he was a real person). He was spoiled rotten by his mother, who forced all things in the world to swear an oath to him (which I think is represented by Cersei's quote, "Everyone who isn't us is an enemy", and her insistence that Ned swear to Joffrey). He's also been allowed to do whatever he wants, and has run amok with little to no supervision whatsoever. He was always Cersei's favorite child (until he became king) and she never tried to reign him in at all. Plus, it's his death which drives Cersei over the edge (perhaps Tommen's will as well, if he is killed, but Joffrey already has been. And that, I think, is a signal that Ragnarök has begun -- Cersei's precious, spoiled brat-king was murdered).

      As for the giants -- I am not mistaken, because I said that the jötnar in the mythology are mostly elemental beings -- like the frost & fire jötnar (key word -- "mostly"). Some giants, like Ymir for example (the giant from which the world was formed) were large in size, as we might imagine a giant to be. But those who are supposed to play a major role in Ragnarök, for the most part (i.e. the elemental jötnar), are not necessarily equated with size... especially in the earlier mythology.

      As for Muspelheim & Niflheim -- I believe GRRM has given Ice to Surtr & Fire to Jormungandr, given the way the story is set up. Why do I think he did that? Because an ice world is much more believable than a fire world. If Jon Snow presided over a volcano world of fire & magma, the wildlings couldn't live there (and neither could he, unless he was superhuman). Plus, Jormungandr is supposed to fill the sky with fire as well (and the frost giants are pretty much left out of it. They don't play as big of a role as the fire giants in Snorri's version). So, that's how I think GRRM evened it out (i.e. Surtr comes out of the north and shatters an ice wall rather than coming out of a south and shattering a rainbow bridge). But, Jon Snow's relationship to fire has been hinted at in subtle ways (i.e. Ygritte -- wildlings believe red hair is lucky and call those who have it "kissed by fire". Plus, he also figures out how to burn the wights, and has several lines referencing fire... like when he tells Alliser Thorne "I build my own fires" in A Game of Thrones).

      cont...

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    7. cont...

      As for Sandor - I'm pretty sure he's turned to the light of the Seven... which is definitely a "human" religion. And, he and Gregor both are pretty well in line with the side of the gods -- i.e. they both kill for killing's sake, and are completely merciless. Plus, neither of them are "wargs" or have direwolves. They don't have any magical abilities (i.e. no less a magical ability that just so happens to be named after Fenrir, Garmr, Hati & Skoll -- which all the Stark children do). And Garmr may be described as a monstrous hound, but that fits the description of "warg". Plus, Garmr was nothing more than an aspect of Fenrir's character, invented by Snorri Sturluson in order to provide Tyr with an adversary in lieu of Fenrir. And, if Rickon is a warg who is being held on the "Rock" (which is what Skagos means in the Old Tongue) and is engaging in cannibalism (i.e. blood magic), I think it's likely that all those quotes about Rickon being "as wild as that wolf of his" are in reference to his being Garmr. Plus, if Davos does retrieve him from Skagos, I think there's a good chance he'll end up at the Wall with Jon & Melisandre (i.e. Hel/Hel's Hound). How Sandor or Gregor would get to the Wall, I don't know. Because, even if Robert Strong did break his "bonds", Westeros is roughly the size of Brazil, so it's unlikely he'd be able to make the trip from King's Landing to the Wall in time for Ragnarök (again, that's my IMO. Could be wrong, of course).

      As for the Walkers -- they're like dragons, I'm assuming. And, BR clearly hasn't found the Horn of Winter yet, which means he hasn't bound the White Walkers to his will yet (just as he has yet to bind the dragons). He can only influence them (which he does with his flock when he signals the Walker over to Gilly's son). But the same behavior can be seen in dragons. They know not to attack their mother (just as the Others know not to attack BR), but they're incredibly dangerous around everyone else, because they have minds of their own (until they're bound). Dany explained how that all worked in ADwD (I believe), when she mentioned that the Valyrians controlled dragons with magical horns, which is what I assume the Horn of Winter is (i.e. a dragon horn for White Walkers). That's what the Night's King used to bind the Others to his will, and that's what the Long Night actually was. It wasn't a war against the Others, per se. It was a war against the man who had bound the Others to his will.

      As for Loki -- I think it's possible Littlefinger is being manipulated by BR -- even likely -- but I find it hard to believe that LF himself is Loki (being that he has no connection to Bran, Melisandre or Dany, doesn't have any special powers, and probably isn't the Lord of Light). Because, I think it's fairly likely that Loki is the Lord of Light (being that Loki was originally a "Lightbringer" figure... which is the exact name of Azor Ahai's sword, according to the Red Priests). And, the only person I see who could possibly be the LoL is BR (given the fact he already has contacted Melisandre through her fires, it would seem likely he has the ability to do that). Whereas Baelish? I somehow doubt it. I think LF is an instrument of chaos, and possibly an earthly manifestation of Loki in that regard, but not Loki himself. Unless he's arrested, bound and revealed to be a warg/greenseer in TWoW, I'm just not seeing it.

      cont...

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    8. cont...

      As for Thor -- this really did have me stumped for a while. Because Robert Baratheon is obviously Thor, without question. Yet, he is definitely dead. So what gives? I think it's in the name: Storm's End. Granted, I'm not 100% sure about this, and I have no idea who will be holding the Storm's End when Stormborn attacks (Aegon, I presume, although it could be Dolorous Edd for all I know) but it seems to me that there's something about that castle that heralds the end of Stormborn. Because, if we look at the various castle names, they each say something about the lord (god/monster) who holds it -- King's Landing is a reference to Odin. Storm's End is a reference to Thor. Winterfell is a reference to Fenrir. The Eyrie is a reference to Thjazi. The Twins is a reference to Freyr (& and Freyja). Highgarden is a reference to Freyja (i.e. flowers). And Dragonstone is a reference to Jormungandr. Plus, I just realized, Jon Snow was born in Dorne (in the scorching hot south). So there's that too.

      Granted, I think it's very well possible that Gendry, Edric & Mya Stone represent Magni, Modi and Trudr, but the TV show has really thrown me off that trail, since they chose to discard Edric. But again, you'd have to think they represent children of the gods, but what role they'll play in Ragnarök, I really can't say. Could they end up holding Storm's End? Perhaps. But that would take a lot of maneuvering on GRRM's part in order to account for it.

      But in any case, I'm guessing Storm's End is the solution to the "Thor Problem". But you've got to wonder why there is a Thor Problem at all. And that's what's led me to conclude he's centering the story around Tyr (plus, Jaime is a pretty major character, whose actions kicked the entire conflict into motion. So, it makes sense, in my mind, that he'll finish things as well).

      Hope that answers some of your questions. Again, these are just my opinions, so take it with a grain of salt.

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    9. Oh, and back to Rickon, if the Hound is Garmr, then who is Rickon? Simple, with Bloodraven being Odin, and we have all the ravens, and Bran is Fenrir who will usurp Bloodravens place, Robb and Rickon are Geri and Freki, names that mean the greedy or ravenous ones, Robb certainly bit off more than he could chew with becoming king, and then greedily marrying the woman he wanted to marry instead of the one he was promised to, and Rickon certainly is ravenous and savage. They are wolves (Rickon is a wolf not a dog), and they ride with Odin into battle. Odin being the god of war, but not honourable war as tyr was, treacherous war. Robb's victories were all based on deception, the whispering wood, tricking his way past the golden tooth, so he certainly takes after Odin rather than Tyr, and he defeats Jaime-who-is-tyr in the Whispering wood. So BR is Odin, one-eyed, enthroned at Hliðskjalf, watching the world, having the ravens bring news to him, barely leaving his high seat, his wolves Robb and Rickon fighting his wars for him out in the world (I assume Rickon will fill this function over the course of the next two books), the weirwood trees being yggdrasil from which Odin/Bloodraven gains his knowledge and magic, and he will be replaced by Bran, who is Fenrir who will devour Odin.


      and Fenrir wasn't chained in a cave, what are you talking about? Fenrir roamed freely in Asgard before he became too large, so he is basically chained up in the god's back yard.

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    10. I don't find that particularly likely, I think that Bloodraven is Odin, and he is actually trying to combat the white walkers. Could it be that Bloodraven raped/seducted someone important and that is why he was sent to the wall? Odin was big on rape/seduction. Someone mentioned Jon perhaps being Sigurd and Rhaegar being Sigmund, and Stannis actually being Surtr (so he's the one coming to Asgard/Winterfell with a flaming sword. If Jon is Sigurd and Rhaegar is Sigmund, then Aerys is Völsung, and they are all descended from Odin/Bloodraven. The crime that got him sent to the wall all hush-hush was seducing the king's wife and getting her with child? In the Volsungasaga, Völsung is killed and Sigmund captured, Sigmund escapes, and much later after marrying another woman, dies, telling her that she is pregnant with his child, and that he will be a great hero, Sigurd. Aerys is killed, and Rhaegar is killed (admittedly before, but the timeline doesn't need to follow exactly), and his new woman later gives birth to the main hero. Rhaegar is the great Sigmund, Aerys is völsung, and Jon is Sigurd, born after his great father's death. So he is descended from Odin/Bloodraven through this. That would make Val the Valkyrie Jon's Brynhildr, that Sigurd/Jon rescues from the fire. Though the fans might be in for a disappointment, as Sigurd never gets Brynhildr to wife, only once to bed, and gives her a child, if I recall correctly. As for Jaime being Sigurd and Brienne his Brynhildr, there is nothing preventing there from being many potential Sigurds/Last Heros/Azor-Ahais, but only one is the true one. We've already have several different priests spout different names for different Azor Ahais, Stannis, Dany, Victarion (doesn't mocorro call him Azor-Ahai, the one who will wield the dragons with the horn), maybe Jon too.

      As for Littlefinger, obviously littlefinger isn't magical in any way, but he does play the part of Loki in all the subplots, the human loki. I think when it comes to the magical side of things Bloodraven is Odin and Loki combined into a single character, Bloodraven.

      As for the horn of winter, someone har clearly found the horn of winter, because the white walkers are back and have an agenda, after so long. Admittedly, we never saw Bloodraven until the 5th book, it is entirely possible that there is another character, perhaps the night king, who has bound the walkers to him, and is the actual Loki character, but I'd rather think that Bloodraven is a Loki/Odin hybrid.

      I don't think Sandor Clegane needs to get to the wall in order to be Gramr, and Sandor Clegane WAS serving the side you call the gods, he was serving the Lannisters, but he changed sides... he may have gone over to the light of the seven, but he is now in opposition to the side you are calling the gods, I'd say that is enough.

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    11. Magni and Modi aren't really necessary to be two characters, Magni we know something of, but we know nothing of Modi, we don't even know who his mother was, and the only thing we know is that he wields mjölnir together with Magni at ragnarök, melding them into a single character is actually not that strange, when you think of it. So Show Gendry is BOTH Magni AND Modi, whereas in the books we'll have Edric and Gendry, but they'll be together, otherwise merging them wouldn't make much sense for the show-writers. They will also function as Thor reborn, who will kill Jormungandr (Dany and/or her dragons), and they might possibly die of their wounds from doing so, like Thor did, and they will probably do so at Storm's End, there I agree. Dany will most likely land there and try to join up with Aegon.

      But as for fire world vs. ice-world, we do have both a fire world and an ice-world. We have Hot Sandy Dorne in the south, which is allied with the Targaryen host, and we have Beyond the wall, which is the land of Ice. This speaks against Jon being Surtr.
      In fact, another candidate for Surtr could be Darkstar. He is a lightbringer, he resides in hot Dorne, the land of fire, he probably carries the bright sword that his family member Arthur Dayne carried.

      Yeah, giants do have a size-thing in norse mythology too, but it can vary, when Thor and Loki and them Journey to Utgard where the giants live, they run into utgarðarloki in disguise, and he's a huge giant, and Thor smashes his head with his hammer, but in fact makes huge dents in the landscape. What you mustn't forget is that all the Aesir are giants too. Odin is the son of Bor and Besla, and besla at least was a giantess, Thor is the son of Odin and Gaia, also a giantess, they weren't frost or fire-giants, just giants, that is why there isn't necessarily a huge difference in size between them, but giants can also vary in size themselves, Loki is 100% giant blood. It can vary.

      Theon could be Njörðr, but there must be something more to it, Theon has been a Stark hostage, but Njörðr never resented it the way Theon does.

      Also, when you say that Loki was the 13th god of the norse pantheon, how are you counting? what list are you using, and who put Loki last? I don't think you can count them in that way, you have to count them by their significance, which would clearly put Loki either 3rd, after Odin and Thor, or 5th after Odin, Thor, Frey and Freya. Iðunn, Bragi, Forseti, Baldr and the rest would have to be placed AFTER Loki in any official count.

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    12. oh, and I completely forgot, Odin gave his eye to Mimir's well of knowledge, which contained knowledge because one of yggdrasil's roots lay in the well. Bllodraven's empty eye-soccet has a weirwood root groing into or out of it, he seems to have litterally given his eye to the tree of knowledge. I don't see how you can in good conscience not interpret Bloodraven as Odin.

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    13. Again, I'm just not seeing it. In my eyes, Jaime is Sigurd & Brienne is Brynhildr (she is literally a shieldmaiden and it fits her name just as well as it does Val's i.e. Brienne = Brynhildr; Val = Valkyrie. Tyrion is Fafnir & Tywin is a combination of Hreidmar & Regin.

      And again, I really think Jon will end up with Melisandre -- not Val.

      Val, in my opinion, represents Skuld -- who is a Valkyrie mentioned in Völuspá, who comes from "far away to ride to the realm of the gods" -- a "lad[y] of the War Lord, ready to ride, valkyries, over the earth". This I could interpret of one of two ways -- 1) Val will turn against Jon & Melisandre, after he's raised by the Lord of Light. 2) Val is a Valkyrie who serves and accompanies Surtr in his role as world-destroyer.

      As for the Horn of Winter -- I don't think it's been found. I think Bloodraven's promotion to the position of "Last Greenseer" in combination with blood magic is what woke them from their long slumber. So, he is their "mother" much the same as Dany is the mother of dragons. The Walkers reemerged when he was plugged into that ice-world tree, just like dragons reemerged when Dany stepped into that fire (and made the three sacrifices -- blood magic).

      And here's the problem I see with Stannis or the Darkstar or anyone other than Jon being Surtr -- he's the MAIN CHARACTER IN THE STORY. Surtr OWNS Ragnarök. He's the star of the show, even more so than Fenrir. So, if Bran is Fenrir, and Dany is Jormungandr, I find it hard to believe Jon isn't Surtr, since he's one of the main characters in the books. Because, the way I see it, GRRM is portraying the "monsters" as downtrodden and oppressed, but inherently good at heart. But it is not their intent or former actions that count, it is the choices they make that turn them into the people they become. How "good" they are is irrelevant.

      ... cont

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    14. ... cont

      To quote GRRM himself:

      "The battle between Good and Evil is a theme of much of fantasy. But I think the battle between Good and Evil is fought largely within the individual human heart, by the decisions we make... We all have good in us and we all have evil in us, and we may do a wonderful good act on Tuesday and a horrible, selfish, bad act on Wednesday, and to me, that's the great human drama of fiction. I believe in gray characters, as I've said before. We all have good and evil in us and there are very few pure paragons and there are very few orcs. A villain is a hero of the other side, as someone once said, and I think there's a great deal of truth to that, and that's the interesting thing. In the case of war, that kind of situation, so I think some of that is definitely what I'm aiming at".

      and

      "An awful lot of fantasy, and even some great fantasy, falls into the mistake of assuming that a good man will be a good king, that all that is necessary is to be a decent human being and when you're king everything will go swimmingly".

      and

      "There are some examples of medieval kings who were terrible human beings but were nevertheless good kings".

      And what better way to illustrate those ideas than to make all the characters that we've rooted for this entire time make poor decisions that put them in a bad place, and all the "evil" characters we've hated all along make all the right decisions that put them in a good place?

      That's what I think GRRM is getting at, and that's at least partly why I think BR, Bran, Dany, Jon & Tyrion are the "Cripples, Bastards & Broken Things" who represent the monsters of Ragnarök.

      ... cont

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    15. cont...

      As for Loki & the #13 -- to quote National Geographic News:

      "So how did Friday the 13th become such an unlucky day?

      [Donald] Dossey, also a folklore historian and author of Holiday Folklore, Phobias and Fun, said fear of Friday the 13th is rooted in ancient, separate bad-luck associations with the number 13 and the day Friday. The two unlucky entities ultimately combined to make one super unlucky day.

      Dossey traces the fear of 13 to a Norse myth about 12 gods having a dinner party at Valhalla, their heaven. In walked the uninvited 13th guest, the mischievous Loki. Once there, Loki arranged for Hoder, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow.

      'Balder died and the whole Earth got dark. The whole Earth mourned. It was a bad, unlucky day', said Dossey. From that moment on, the number 13 has been considered ominous and foreboding".

      And, in addition to the Lokasenna (which is the reason I think BR was imprisoned by Maekar, by the way, who had already hated him for being a bastard -- as mentioned in Dunk & Egg) -- Loki was commonly listed as the last god of the pantheon (much like the Stranger of the Seven) because he was thought of as unlucky. And, other than Loki, there are 12 major gods in the pantheon:

      1. Odin
      2. Thor
      3. Freyr
      4. Vidar
      5. Baldr
      6. Vali
      7. Heimdall
      8. Tyr
      9. Njord
      10.Bragi
      11. Hodr
      12. Foreseti
      (+ Loki)

      So, that's where that comes from. In that respect, the Norse didn't necessarily think the number 13 unlucky, per se, just Loki himself. He just happened to be the last of 12 gods commonly named (which also fits with his snub at the Lokasenna).

      But, I have no doubt I've misidentified certain characters, or could be off the mark completely with the entire theory. Wouldn't surprise me. We really have no idea what GRRM will do. He's under no obligation whatsoever to follow any "blueprint" at all if he doesn't want to.

      Again, I'm just telling it like I see it. I very well could be wrong, and you could be right about BR/Odin. The possibility is definitely there. Or we could both be wrong. Who knows, really? I'm just throwing this out there to offer people a different perspective. If I'm misinterpreting things and or it all turns out to be wrong, I really don't mind because that was never my intention to begin with. To be perfectly honest, I only started this blog after commenters on WiC.net asked me to (probably so they could try to understand what the hell I was talking about in my comments).

      But, anyway, these are all interesting points you raise. You've definitely got me thinking. Thanks for commenting.

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    16. Well, duh! If Val is Brynhildr, and Jon is Sigurd, it would also make sense for Jon to be the main character, AND it would make sense for Jon NOT to end up with Val, seeing as Sigurd didn't end up with Brynhildr either. And yeah, I see Jaime and Brienne too, but as I said, there can be many potential such heroes. Skuld is one of the three Norns... Urd, Verdandi, and Skuld.

      and no, that's not how it went down, Loki came to the party, invited as everyone else was, then he slew one of the servants in a fit of jealousy, and the gods drove him away, then he came back, uninvited, and when they told him he wasn't welcome he invoked the oath he and Odin had sword together. Odin made room for him, and Loki proceeded to insult everyone else of the aesir in the hall. It was not until Thor arrived that Loki left, because Thor threatened to beat the shit out of him, as always.
      But checking the attendance sheet on the wikipage of lokasenna, I count only ten aesir attending, not 12.

      That count of 12 is a strange one... Why is Hodr there? we barely know anything of him, the only time he shows up in the mythology is to kill Baldr, and Vali pretty much only shows up at the end of Ragnarök, if I recall correctly. Vidar also only appears in connection to the Ragnarök story. You can't claim them to be "major gods of the old norse pantheon"... also, you've left out all the goddesses. If you're gonna count the major gods and goddesses in Old Norse Mythology, you'll have to go:

      Odin
      Thor
      Frey
      Freya
      Tyr
      Njord
      Frigg
      Bragi
      Forseti
      Baldr
      Loki

      That gives me 10, with Loki as number 11. I've left out those that are minor characters that aren't really gods of anything... such as Vidar and Váli and Iðunn... Iðunn fills the function of being the helpless maiden in that one story... you don't really pray to Iðunn, as far as I know. Your lists includes minor characters, but leaves some out at random, like Hænir, which would make Loki the 14th god by your theory. Your 13th theory makes absolutely no sense.

      Also, I see your argument about Jon having to be Surtr to coincide with Dany, but really, Bloodraven as Odin, and Jon as one of his agents seems to make a lot more sense. I can buy Bloodraven wanting the return of Dragons, him being a Dragon and all, but I don't see him in league with the White walkers, everything indicates the opposite. Bran is really the only one of the humans beyond the wall that is without a doubt Fenrir, everyone else in his family are on the god's side instead.. Robb, Rickon, Sansa, Eddard. Arya and Jon are perhaps giants, hati and surtr, but how do you explain this division?

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    17. I really don't know what to tell you. I've sited sources, and have even quoted GRRM himself.

      As for the Lokasenna -- Loki's the 13th amongst Gods & Goddesses, and amongst the gods listed in the Thula in the Prose Edda, he is the 13th.

      Lokasenna:

      1. Bragi
      2. Idunn
      3. Gefjun
      4. Odin
      5. Frigg
      6. Freyja
      7. Njordr
      8. Tyr
      9. Freyr
      10. Heimdallr
      11. Skadi
      12. Sif
      13. Loki

      Thor is the 14th guest to arrive. As for the 13 gods -- there are 13 Snorri lists in the Thula. A "Thula" is the name of a "metrical name-lists or lists of poetic synonyms compiled, mainly, for oral recitation. The main function of thulas is thought to be mnemonic. Thulas can be considered sources of once canonic knowledge, rooted in prehistoric beliefs and rituals.

      "Thulas occur as parts of longer poems, too; Old Norse examples are found in various passages of the poetic and prose Edda, the Rigsthula as well as in the Völuspá".

      Which is what I listed for you -- the 13 gods Snorri names in his Thula.

      As for BR being obviously good -- that's your interpretation. In my opinion, he's clearly not who he says he is -- 1) for tricking Bran into throwing his life away -- 2) for convincing him to embrace the darkness. 3) for keeping wights like guard dogs outside his cave (as for their behavior, I'd point you to dragons once again. In the Dunk & Egg books, for example, a dragon is said to have once eaten a Targaryen king's mothers on accident. Which shows dragons are just as dangerous as the Others. But they're wild and predatory until they're bound). Not to mention, he's sided with the Children of the Forest, who warred with mankind twice, and attempted for over two thousand years to keep humans out of Westeros by use of "dark magic" (according to the First Men). But now they're suddenly the good guys and want to save humanity after desperately trying to destroy them for millennia? I think not.

      Plus, if my theory is correct, that would explain the 3 heads of the dragon (i.e. the 3 "children" of Bloodraven -- the Dragon). Littlefinger, on the other hand, isn't much of a dragon.

      As for the Stark family -- I think it makes sense. Ned wasn't a warg, but did lose his head after counseling a stout king who didn't want to rule (i.e. Mimir & Hoenir). And Sansa was essentially kidnapped by the Lannisters and forced into becoming one of them (which I relate to the accusation, by Loki, that Idunn slept with her brother's killer -- i.e. she was traitorous to her own kin). Plus, her wolf was killed, so even if she is a warg, she doesn't have a "warg" to "warg" with anymore -- which I think is symbolic of her severing from the Stark "pack". Arya & Rickon, however, are both wargs, with wargs, and are described as hateful & wild respectively (much the same as Hati & Garmr). So, that's why I view the Stark family as split between gods & monsters.

      But again, this is just my interpretation. I could very well be wrong.

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    18. I looked up that Dossey fellow, not exactly respectable... works for the "Stress Management Center/Phobia Institute", sounds like quackery to me.
      You could quote me the actual stanzas from lokasenna that name the gods, rather than compiling your own list.

      Also, your new list is different from your first list...

      In the Dunk and Egg story, Bloodraven is also an Odin figure, a wandering knight disguised in plain sight, and coming in to save the day at the end. And you just said it, Sansa was kidnapped from the Starks (the Aesir), who worship the old gods (the norse gods), by the Lannisters, (so they must be Þjassi), who worship the new gods, the christian gods (several aspects being one), and Littlefinger, the trickster, rescues her from them.

      Also, what about Tyrion? Your argument that Jon must be Surtr because he's a main character, and must therefore tie in with the Ragnarök plot, whereas Tyrion is a main character, and he is Fafnir, who is NOT tied in with the Ragnarök plot at all, but is a part of the Sigurd plot, and he in fact has connections to all the possible Azor-Ahais/Last Heroes/Sigurds (Jon, Jaime, and Dany, with Val, Brienne, and Jorah as the possible Brynhildrs). You can't say Jon is a main character and must therefore be a Ragnarök character, while Tyrion is a main character but is not a Ragnarök character. Can't both have your cake and eat it too.

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    19. Not sure if you saw this, but I'd also point that some commenters have connected Euron Greyjoy to Odin (i.e. who occupies Odin's role in the current cycle -- or "Odin Returned" [from exile]).

      I totally overlooked Euron when I was writing this, but I actually think he fits pretty well.

      And consider the description of Euron from A Wiki of Ice & Fire (it's almost an exact description of the "semi-historical/legendary" Odin depicted in the Gestas, minus the dark hair, of course):

      "Appearance and Character
      Euron is pale and handsome with black hair and a dark beard. He wears a patch over his left eye, and is nicknamed "Crow's Eye".

      According to his nephew, Theon, the patch conceals a "black eye shining with malice". His right eye is as blue as summer sky and is regarded as his "smiling eye". In addition, his lips are a pale blue, due to his propensity to drink shade of the evening.

      He is a wildly unpredictable man, known for his delight in playing vicious mind games and waging psychological warfare on anyone around him. He is hated by all his brothers for this reason. He is a skilled warrior and manipulator, and is cunning, shrewd and ruthless.

      History
      ... Some time after the [Greyjoy Rebellion], he was sent away from the Iron Islands by Balon Greyjoy as punishment for seducing/raping Victarion's salt wife, and was warned never to return while Balon was alive. Victarion wanted to kill Euron and would have if not for the taboo against kinslaying. He has several bastard children but does not have any regard for them.

      Since his banishment the Silence has sailed, pillaged and raped all over the world. Euron claims to have travelled to Asshai and even sailed the Smoking Sea and walked the smoking ruins of Valyria. He once owned a dragon egg that he claims he tossed into the sea during one of his foul moods".

      So there's your Odin, IMO. And, Baelor Breakspear even calls him "the maddest of them all" (which I think is an allusion to Euron filling the void left by Aerys).

      What's his significance to the story? Well, he did give Victarion a dragon horn, and keeps wizards in his company (i.e. dabbles in sorcery... just like Aerys kept pyromancers in his company). So, he must have at least some kind of understanding of the forces at work, whereas no one else, other than Bloodraven, does (i.e. how to use the horns).

      And keep in mind, Odin was exiled, not imprisoned. Similarly, Euron was exiled (over a woman), which led to him traveling the world, whereas Bloodraven was kept in the Black Cells for over 10 years, until Egg finally freed him and sent him to the Watch (where he ended up bound in a cave, somehow, which he does not have the ability to leave). Plus, Euron has fathered bastard children, just like Aerys (i.e. Allfather), whereas to the best of our knowledge, Bloodraven never did.

      And, it's fairly likely BR was using a glamor disguised as Maynard Plumm in the Mystery Knight, which links him to Melisandre, IMO. And granted, Odin was known to shape shift, but so was Loki (see: Thokk -- i.e. the old giantess who refuses to weep for Baldr, who Snorri identifies as Loki in disguise). And given the fact that I've linked Melisandre to Hel/Sinmara, I think it's fairly likely that he taught the Red Priests how to use glamors in his role as the Lord of Light.

      So, again, while I admit that it's possible BR is Odin, I'm still in the Loki camp, for sure.

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    20. As for Tyrion -- no Fafnir's not central to the Ragnarök mythology, but he is central to the legend of Sigurd. And since Sigurd is directly linked to Tyr in the Eddas, I link him to Jaime as well (in addition to the characteristics he shares with Sigurd).

      From Wikipedia:

      "Sigrdrífumál tells that Sigurd has slain the dragon Fafnir and arrives at a fortress of shields on top of a mountain which is lit by great fires. In the fortress, he finds an enchanted sleeping Valkyrie whom he wakes by cutting open her corslet with his sword. The grateful Valkyrie Sigrdrífa offers him the secrets of the runes in return for delivering her from the sleep, on condition that he shows that he has no fear. The Valkyrie begins by teaching him that if he wants to achieve victory in battle, he is to carve "victory runes" on his sword and twice say the name "Tyr" - the name of the Tiwaz rune".

      FYI - the Tiwaz rune, or the "Tyr" rune (which is what Tiwaz means) is the "victory rune" the Valkyrie is talking about.

      And, given the parallels between Jaime/Tyrion and Sigurd/Fafnir, I think it's fairly likely that's Tyrion's role in the story -- i.e. Jaime Tyrionsbane (plus, Tyrion is connected to Loki in that he's the one to accuse Jaime of cuckoldry, just like Loki in the Lokasenna. Not to mention, he works with Littlefinger -- the agent of chaos -- during his time as Hand of the King, by giving him Harrenhal, and sending him both to the Tyrells and the Arryns).

      But as for why GRRM chose to write it like this (if in fact he actually did), I can't say. I have no idea why he chose to include certain aspects of certain gods and leave others out, or why he mixed up the relationships, or combined certain legends with the mythology, etc. All I'm saying is that it appears to me, based on what I know about both the mythology and the history (and his own personal philosophy), that he did. I can see all the pieces falling into place. But I can't speak as to why he chose to put it together in the way he did. Your guess is as good as mine.

      As for the Lannisters being Thjazi -- I don't see that connection at all. Idunn either married her brother's killer, or at the very least slept with him (since she doesn't refute Loki's accusations), which is represented by Sansa's betrayal of her family for the "love" of Joffrey (before she learns to hate him), not to mention her marriage to Tyrion (who is one of the highest ranking members of the Lannister family when her brother is murdered). The mythology presents this as being done willingly on Idunn's part, but GRRM, IMO, has depicted Sansa as being forced into it (which is much more realistic). And, similarly, Thrymheimr, where Idunn is taken, is in the mountains (it's the home Skadi inherits after Thjazi is killed). So, I'd definitely link that to the Eyrie, especially since the Eyrie is symbolized by a falcon. And Loki "saves" Idunn (if dragging her back to King's Landing can be considered "saving" in GRRM's take on things) in falcon form -- which is represented by Harold Hardyng, the Young Falcon (I wouldn't be surprised if Hardyng somehow ends up connected to Margaery Tyrell, given the fact that Loki borrowed her falcon cloak in order to retrieve Idunn). Or, at least, that's my best guess. All the imagery is there, and Sansa, in my mind, very clearly is Idunn, given the fact she's so naive about the world, has her first period during the story (which are both symbolic of her youthfulness), and has a name that literally means "apple". Yeah, I'm pretty confident about that one.

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    21. I agree with the sansa, and the euron is an interesting Odin, but I think he'd the "wordly" Odin the way littlefinger is the "worldly" Loki, and not at all being connected to the magic odin, which is Bloodraven. I don't consider the mad thing to be a good indicator of Odin, I don't agree with you that Odin = Mad, but if this is the case, how will Euron or dead king Aerys comfort Margaery after the death/disappearance of her husband Odr? and when will Euron and Margaery field a host of undead warriors to combat the others?

      Why would Harold Hardyng of the erie drag Sansa back to king's landing though? you'd take her back to winterfell to save her. I disagree with that prediction, that she'll be taken back to king's landing. That would also be terrible storytelling.

      I agree that Tyrion is Fafnir, I'm just pointing out the flaw in your argument that Jon must be Ragnarok-related because he's a main character, and therefore must be surtr, instead of Sigurd. Jon could equally, and very likely, be Sigurd/Azor-Ahai, and he also has a special connection with Tyrion.

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    22. One last thing, I'll point out that Bloodraven only saved the day in the Mystery Knight if you were on his side. If you were on Daemon Blackfyre II's side, then he was a sly trickster (which is exactly how BR's described in battle -- sly & cunning).

      Daemon Blackfyre, on the other hand, Daemon II's father, was pretty much always described in favorable terms -- by virtually everyone, including his enemies. If not for being born a bastard, he would've been king without question, since his father gave him Blackfyre, and most of the realm worshipped him (and even with all the taboos against bastards in Westerosi culture). So, the Blackfyres were by no means "villains". As GRRM said, "A villain is a hero of the other side", and that's exactly what Daemon Blackfyre was -- a hero of the other side. So much so that Bloodraven was actually cursed by his own allies for killing him in the backhanded way that he did (i.e. by shooting him in the back with arrows from 300 yards away, much like Loki kills Baldr with the mistletoe). He was even blamed for the Great Spring Sickness by the peasantry because of the way he'd killed Daemon I.

      What I'm getting at is this -- the world comes in shades of grey and everything boils down to perspective. If we'd been reading the story through the eyes of some happy-go-lucky, good-at-heart Lannister bannermen, we'd hate the "savage Stark traitors" and their "barbarian" ways. Meaning, just because we read the story through the eyes of the Starks, or the eyes of Dunk & Egg, it doesn't mean that their side is inherently good.

      And the same is true even for the humans vs. Children of the Forest. The Children aren't evil for wanting their land back. Conflict was simply inevitable in the struggle for land & resources. We, of course, perceive it as evil since we're 100% biased for the human-side. But just as Jaime (or whoever the "savior" figure ends up being) will be a hero for humanity, he'll also be a villain to the CotF. Just like Bloodraven was at Whitewalls. And, if you're of the opinion that Daemon Blackfyre was the true king, which many Westerosis were, you certainly wouldn't have viewed Bloodraven as a savior, for tricking the last surviving son of "the Warrior himself" into surrendering his forces without a fight. You just have to be open to that different perspective to see it.

      Take Robb for example. The way it's presented to us, he's heroic. But the way a peasant living in the Westeros might see it (who could be just as good of a person as anyone else), he's a murderous terrorist who turned what essentially amounted to a personal feud into a full-blown war -- taking thousands to the grave just because his father was executed (whereas plenty of peoples fathers are executed all the time, but they don't go about tearing up the realm apart and drawing completely innocent, uninvolved parties into the conflict).

      Same can be said for Robert's Rebellion. Firstly, we nor Robert know for sure whether Lyanna was really taken against her or not (which I suspect she wasn't), and even if she was, does Rhaegar kidnapping his betrothed justify the slaughter of Martells, and Tyrells, and Lannisters, and even other Targaryens who aren't Rhaegar (not to mention all the peasants)? I think not. We only see it as heroic because of the perspective we've been given. From a different point of view, we wouldn't feel the same way. And that's a philosophical theme I think GRRM is exploring in ASOIAF. I could be wrong, of course, but that's how I see it.

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    23. Ive been followingg your conversation and damn Dorian, you just blew my mind with that Damon Blackyre shit. At first I was thinking BR was Odin, but its all so clear now. How did you figure all this shit out? It took me a while to see it even after you explained it. I cant thank you enough for posting all this. You da man.

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    24. @Anonymous

      Lol. Thanks. I don't know why I didn't mention that before. I guess it slipped my mind, but that's definitely a big clue, IMO.

      And, you've got to figure that it probably played at least a part in BR's imprisonment by Maekar, who was disgusted by the way the war had ended, and resented BR for being both a sneaky kinslayer & a bastard at that (which the D&E stories make abundantly clear -- Maekar hated the "Great Bastards").

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  62. That's an interesting interpretation! D: You have some data there that I hadn't read before, though, admittedly, I've only read the two popular eddas and a few sagas... could you please give me some of the bibliography you used? I really like norse mythology, but I can't find much about this in Mexico, so I need the exact titles to buy them online :)

    I hope you don't mind me saying that I might consider this theme for my professional thesis, and that's why I would like to consult these books :)

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    1. Thanks! Glad you found the blog of interest. As for sources, you may want to check out Grimm's Teutonic Mythology, Paul Bauschatz' The Well and the Tree, Rudolf Simek's Dictionary of Northern Mythology, E.O.G. Turville-Petre's Myth and Religion of the North, and JP Mallory & Douglas Adams' Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture (if you want to go back to the very beginning). Also, from an historical perspective, I'd recommend reading Tacitus' Germania. There are also some good introductory books to the mythology by authors like John Lindow and Kevin Crossley-Holland as well.

      Hope that helps. Good luck!

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  63. I am totally amazed by the houses and the sigils and the tie-in to the Norse mythology etc.. The Twins and Walter Frey really made it for me. I wish I had the time to re-read all the books now because I have a feeling they are full of these hints and winks and nods. What a great job you are doing on this blog. For those that have a different point of view maybe they should be blogging their ideas. You seem to take it all with a grain of salt and I enjoy the fact that you have said it's your belief and may not actually come to pass but I certainly hope it does, would be a great ending and set GRRM apart from the fantasy writers of our time.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. I appreciate it. I definitely feel like I'm on the right track, but it's obviously not perfect. And everyone is free to make their own interpretations from it, or disregard it completely, or believe in it 100%, etc. I really never expected this kind of response, so it's all been pretty overwhelming.

      But again, I'll reiterate, I'm just calling it like I see it, and I'm not exactly all-seeing Heimdallr, so we will all just have to wait and see what GRRM does with it (hopefully not for too much longer. It would be nice to get at least a new D&E story sometime soon).

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    2. Does Aegon / Young Griff have any significance in Ragnarok? You haven't assigned him to any mythological character. Is that because you think he's a fake or just not worth discussing?

      Also, it may be that Dany encounters something at Storm's End that causes a major change in her (i.e. quelling the storm in Stormborn), rather than killing her. Contrarian that GRRM may be, I find it hard to believe that none of his main characters would be left standing in some kind of victory at the end.

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  64. I had an idea about Tyrions fate as Fafnir:

    1)"He then flees with the treasure and transforms into a dragon in order to protect it."

    2)"A small man who cast a large shadow"

    3)Melisandre wanting to raise a shadow-stone-whatever-dragon

    1+2+3 = Tyrion is sacrificed or transformed in order for Melisandre to raise Nidhoggur (?)

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  65. I like the posts and the ideas behind it but you've got a couple of them terribly wrong. I don't have time to go into it as I have to leave for work in 2 minutes but here are the ones that you have wrong.

    Bloodraven is most certainly yggdrasil.
    Loki is 110% absolutely Tyrion.

    Hel is possibly Caetlyn.
    Jormungandr is possibly Oberyn.
    Gregor Clegane possibly Thor.

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    1. Thanks. I appreciate your comment. But I actually explained this yesterday; the key to understanding Bloodraven as Loki, IMO, is Daemon Blackfyre (i.e. "the Warrior himself", who Bloodraven shot in the back with arrows from 300 yards away, and was forever cursed as a kinslayer for it ... even though he ended the war -- i.e. saved the day, much like Loki always does in the mythology, but was cursed for it nonetheless -- which is probably at least part of the reason why Maekar threw him in the Black Cells for over a decade, given how disgusted he was with the way the war had ended).

      Plus, Bloodraven had a reputation for trickery and slyness on the battlefield (see Daemon Blackfyre II -- who he defeated by wearing a glamor, like Melisandre, and spying on him). So, without a doubt in my mind, BR is most definitely Loki.

      And, no, I don't think the weirwood BR is bound to is Yggdrasil. If anything, Westeros & Essos (i.e. the world itself) is Yggdrasil. Weirwoods are weapons (which is why the First Men & the Andals cut them down -- which is very un-Godlike thing for the gods to do, if weirwoods really do represent Yggdrasil). Plus, Odin could leave Yggdrasil, whereas Bloodraven cannot leave his weirwood -- he is bound to it for good (much like Loki in his cave) and he's also attended to by the Children of the Forest -- similar to Sigyn, who attended to Loki.

      I'm pretty sure Odin (in the new cycle) is represented by Euron Greyjoy, who was banished from the Iron Islands over a woman and then travelled the world, raping and pillaging along the way (plus, Baelor Blacktyde even calls him "the Maddest of them all" -- which implies he has supplanted the role of Aerys in the current cycle -- and his ship is even called the "Silence", which is an allusion to Vidarr). So, combined with Aerys, this is what makes me think GRRM is portraying the semi-historical/legendary Odin portrayed in the Gestas (rather than the mythological Odin portrayed in the Eddas). Because, the human side is exactly that -- human. Odin, at best, dabbles in sorcery (which explains why both Euron & Aerys kept warlocks & pyromancers in their company, respectively). And, they are "Allfathers" in the sense that they fathered numerous bastard children.

      Tyrion, on the other hand, is clearly Fafnir. But I do think it's possible Catelyn is Hel. However, her face isn't half-beautiful, like Melisandre's, and she hasn't supplied anyone with a fiery sword. Plus, I find it hard to believe she'll end up "married" to Jon Snow (and she certainly won't make it to the Wall in time to raise Jon from the dead. Plus, I highly doubt Davos will take Rickon to her -- i.e. Hel's Hound -- whereas it seems fairly likely he will take him back to Jon Snow & Melisandre, who are also holding Craster's Son, which attracts White Walkers like a magnet). Because, as commenters on Reddit have pointed out after doing a reread of AGoT, Jon Snow is definitely Surtr:

      "Outside, Jon looked up at the Wall shining in the sun, the melting ice creeping down its side in a hundred thin fingers. Jon's rage was such that he would have smashed it all in an instant, and the world be damned".

      And given the fact that Mel is already with Jon, has provided Stannis with his fiery sword, and has the ability to resurrect Jon from the dead (I'm assuming), I'd definitely peg her as Hel. Plus, she's the most fanatical advocate of R'hllor that we've met so far, whereas Catelyn is not (she might be the most revenge-minded, but I'm not too sure if she cares much about R'hllor at all).

      So, that's how I see it. Probably should've explained some of this better in my original post (especially that bit about Daemon Blackfyre), but there's so much to go over, some of it was bound to slip my mind.

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  66. Saw this yesterday on another post and thought it made it quite obvious that Jon is Sutr: from GRRM's first book Game of Thrones "Dareon and Sam left with him. They descended to the yard in silence. Outside, Jon looked up at the wall shining in the sun, the melting ice creeping down its side in a hundred thin fingers. Jon's rage was such that he would have smashed it all in an instant, and the world be damned."

    No wonder it takes GRRM so long to write these if he uses all the foreshadowing, hints, clues etc. that now seem so apparent.

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