Thursday, June 6, 2013

Direwolves, Wargs & the Stark Children

It's often said that two heads are better than one, and that definitely proved the case for me. On my original "Ragnarök" post (which I would recommend you read first, before any of the other posts, in case you haven't), I had identified Gregor Clegane -- the Mountain -- as the hellhound Garmr, who is said to "guard Hel's gate", and is destined to kill Tyr (Jaime) at Ragnarök (according to the later mythology). But I wasn't particularly satisfied with that connection. In fact, I wasn't too sure Garmr existed in GRRM's telling at all... Until commenter Bram Hannan pointed out the similarities between Hel's Hound and young Rickon Stark.

Excerpt from Bram's comment:

"About Rickon: He may be Garmr. GRRM has characterized Rickon as growing incrasingly 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 [note: Garmr is said to be the 'bloodstained hound who guards Hel's gate'], well, that could come from anything at all... may be that unicorn for all I know". (FYI: Skagos is said to be the ancient home of unicorns)

Or, could that "bloodstained" bit be in reference to cannibalism? Hmm...

I think he's on to something here. In fact, I like his theory so much, it led me to another connection, and a much larger connection overall, in regards to the Stark children, that, admittedly, has me feeling a little embarrassed I didn't see it before. Because, quite frankly, it's one of the more obvious connections in the series.

The 4 Stark kids with direwolves (Robb, Bran, Arya and Rickon) represent the 4 wargs from Norse mythology (i.e. Garmr, Loki's son Fenrir, and Fenrir's sons Hati & Sköll):

Garmr -- Rickon
Fenrir - Bran
Hati -- Arya
Sköll -- Robb

But before I get to that one name there at the end, let's review some of the connections we've already made for the Stark children:

If GRRM is in fact following the Ragnarök mythology, then Bran is almost certainly the warg (i.e. monstrous wolf) Fenrir -- the Bound Wolf. His binding (paralyzation), comes at the hands (pun intended) of Tyr (Jaime), who loses a hand as a consequence of his actions (FYI: Tyr's hand was bitten off after binding Fenrir's legs with a magical chain -- which will supposedly restrain him until he breaks free at Ragnarök). Similarly, Bran is now bound in a cave, much like Fenrir, and is in contact with Bloodraven, who represents Loki -- Fenrir's father. So, that one's pretty easy to figure out.

Arya's connection isn't quite so straightforward. And that's largely because Hati, one of Fenrir's two sons, doesn't have quite so large a role as Fenrir does in the mythology. But, Hati, whose name means "He Who Hates", is said to chase the moon through the night's sky, and will swallow it come Ragnarök. This is represented, firstly, by the intense hatred Arya displays for her enemies, as she recites a list of names of the people she wants to murder each night before she goes to bed, and secondly, by her quest to join the Faceless Men (FYI: a moon is carved on the door of the House of Black & White, where the Kindly Man trains her to become an assassin). So, in attempting to become a Faceless Man she is "chasing the moon", and in becoming one, she will have caught it (which is a sign that Ragnarök has begun).

Unlike Bran & Arya, Sansa is not a warg (i.e. a monstrous wolf), because her direwolf (i.e. Lady) was killed when Cersei ordered its destruction after Nymeria attacked Joffrey in A Game of Thrones. I therefore linked Sansa, whose name means "apple" (FYI: if you google "Sansa apple", you'll find it's a type of hybrid, much like a Fuji), to Idunn, the goddess of youth and beauty. Sansa is clearly associated with youth, given the silly romantic ideals she dreams of in the beginning of the series, and the fact that we've witnessed her transition into womanhood, by way of her "first blood". What's more is she married her brother's killer (or almost did), which is what Loki accuses Idunn of doing in the Lokasenna (granted, we're not quite sure who this brother was, but Idunn doesn't refute the charge). And, above all, she is smuggled out of King's Landing by Littlefinger and hidden away in a mountain fortress that's represented by a falcon -- almost exactly like the story of Idunn & the jötnar Thjazi. So, given the apples and the Eyrie, I think she's a pretty safe bet.

-Jon Snow
Jon says it himself in A Game of Thrones -- "I'm not a Stark" -- and I think we're all familiar with the Rhaegar + Lyanna theories linking him to House Targaryen. And, if my theory is correct (that Jon Snow, and Ghost, really are dead), that would send Jon Snow down the path of the fire giant Surtr -- the Black -- who is foretold to break the Bifröst Bridge and lead the Forces of Muspell into Asgard to do battle with the gods. Granted, I should point out that an anonymous commenter suggested that Stannis, rather than Jon, may be Surtr, and Jon may represent Sigurd -- which is a credible theory, but I'm not quite convinced. Because, firstly, Surtr will be working with Fenrir during Ragnarök, and I see Jon as a much more obvious connection to Bran than Stannis. Not to mention, Surtr is destined to attack Freyr (Walder Frey) during Ragnarök, and Jon Snow would have obvious reasons for doing so, whereas Stannis' motivations wouldn't be quite so clear. Plus, Jon was "kissed by fire" in regards to Ygritte, and could be the "song of ice & fire" Rhaegar had mistakenly named Aegon in the House of the Undying prophecy (which would fit Surtr's role -- given the fact he basically serves as Loki's general during Ragnarök -- i.e. Jon would "sing" the "song" of ice and fire). And, A Dance with Dragons has led me to believe he's beginning to replace Stannis in Melisandre's eyes. What's more is I personally believe Ramsay Bolton's letter to be real (i.e. claiming that he killed Stannis & captured Mance Rayder). I know that's controversial, and I could very well be wrong, but if I'm right about that, then Jon Snow will undoubtedly become Mel's latest flavor of the month. And his death at the end of ADwD creates an avenue for her to convert him to the Lord of Light. Of course, if it doesn't play out like that, then Stannis could be a candidate for Surtr. But, for now, I'm sticking with Jon Snow. And, if Jon Snow is dead, the TV show may have foreshadowed the death of Ghost when Jon threatened the wildling warg Orell early in season 3 by saying "When I kill you, what will happen to your eagle? Will he drop dead from the sky?" (paraphrasing). This, of course, didn't happen when Jon killed Orell a few episodes later, because Orell was able to warg into his eagle as he was dying, gaining his "second life" (which Varamyr Sixskins explains in the prologue of ADwD). But, since Ghost is locked up, far away (just as Grey Wind was when Robb was killed at the Red Wedding), and Jon isn't asleep in his wolf dream when he's killed, I'm under the impression he won't be able to warg into Ghost before he dies, and Ghost will drop dead when his warging-bond with Jon is severed.

So, to sum up -- Rickon, Bran & Arya are "wargs" (in the Norse sense -- i.e. "monstrous wolves"), whereas Sansa & Jon Snow are not (I know Jon is technically a "warg" in the Westerosi sense, but as I just explained, he may not be for long -- so bear with me). Which leads me to:

The warg Sköll is the counterpart to Hati. His name means "Treachery" and he is said to chase the sun through the sky, which he will swallow come Ragnarök. I think that bit about treachery is pretty obvious in regards to Robb, given the fact the Red Wedding is still fresh in everyone's minds. And, the phrase "chasing the sun" could be in reference to Robb's war with Joffrey -- if Joffrey represents Baldr -- the Shining One (although it should be said Baldr isn't the embodiment of the sun, strictly speaking, but he is associated with the sun, and light in general, hence his name "the Shining One". And, his hall is said to "shine brighter than the sun". Plus, Baldr's premature death is said to be a precursor to Ragnarök. Supposedly, Baldr's mother, Frigg -- i.e. Cersei -- made everything in the world, animals and inanimate objects included, swear an oath never to harm her precious "shining" son. But, she ends up overlooking the plant mistletoe, which Hodr, Baldr's blind brother, uses to shoot him with after he's tricked into doing it by Loki. The oaths Frigg forces out of all the world's things is representative of Cersei's warning to Joffrey, "Everyone who isn't us is an enemy" -- i.e. she sees everyone as potentially harmful to her precious little "Shining One", just like Frigg feared for Baldr. And Baldr's death, which basically causes Frigg to have a nervous breakdown, is represented by Joffrey's death by poison at his wedding). So, if Joffrey is Baldr, and Baldr represents the sun, then Robb was "chasing the sun" in his war with Joffrey. Or, "the sun" could be a reference to House Karstark, whose sigil is "the sun of winter" (i.e. the beheading of Rickard is a sign Ragnarök has begun).

And, because Sköll & Hati are brothers/counterparts, I theorize that Arya's death will mirror Robb's. Meaning, if Robb's death (i.e. his "catching the sun") is a sign of Ragnarök, then Arya's death (i.e. her "catching the moon") should be the same. So, I'm guessing she'll be killed in her sleep at some point down the line by the Kindly Man after getting inducted into the Faceless Men (i.e. catching the moon), while inside her wolf dream. And, her death will run counter to Robb's in this sense -- Robb was unable to warg into Grey Wind when he was killed, but Arya will be connected to Nymeria via the wolf dream, and will gain her "second life" on the Trident, with a pack of thousands of wolves at her back (the pack she's always dreamed of -- which she will use to reconquer Winterfell during Ragnarök -- i.e. Jojen's prophecy, "The wolves will come again"). This may have been foreshadowed on the most recent episode of Game of Thrones, The Rains of Castamere, when Sandor tells Arya, "You're very kind. Someday it will get you killed" (i.e. someday the Kindly Man will kill her).

Which brings us back to the first connection:

As mentioned by commenter Bram, Garmr is said to be the "greatest" or "most powerful" of wargs, and in Germanic languages, the name "Ric" means "powerful". Similarly, Rickon is being held on the island of Skagos, which means "stone" in the Old Tongue. And it is said to be both mountainous and populated with cannibals (which could be in reference to the mountainous cave in which Garmr resides, and his "bloodstained" teeth, respectively). And, what's more, Rickon's role as Garmr may have been foreshadowed on the Rains of Castamere episode as well, when he tells Bran, "I'm your brother. I have to protect you", being that Garmr's role is to attack the god Tyr (i.e. Jaime) during Ragnarök. As for his "unbinding", I'm assuming Davos will eventually take him to the Wall (i.e. Hel's Gate), where he'll assist Bran & Jon Snow during the events Ragnarök. I'm almost certain he'll survive now that I know he's Garmr, because, as opposed to Hati & Sköll, he does play a prominent role in Ragnarök, like his counterpart Fenrir. So, I'm guessing he too, like Bran, has partaken in cannibalism (while on Skagos), and has thusly strengthened his warging abilities by way of blood magic. Perhaps even more so than Bran, given the fact that he may be doing it regularly, whereas Bran has only eaten Jojen so far (assuming he actually has). That's my best guess for now, at least.

So, add it all up and it makes perfect sense -- the four Stark children, minus Jon Snow (who's not a Stark) and Sansa (whose wolf is dead) represent Loki's pack of wargs. And, when you think about it, it's really the most basic connection to be made -- the foundation upon which the entire story is written. And, now that we've uncovered this much, perhaps some of the other connections may fall into place as well.

And, like I said, two minds are always better than one. So I appreciate your input. Given the fact I hadn't come to this conclusion on my own as of yet, I may never have, so don't hold back with your theories and suggestions in the comment section. I welcome all feedback. And thanks again to commenter Bram Hannan for coming to my aid on this one. I owe you one.

Clarification: Commenters have pointed out that Stannis still appears to be alive, given the Theon sample-chapter from TWoW GRRM posted on his website. But, to clarify, GRRM said that the chapter is supposed to be retroactive to about the middle of ADwD, before Ramsay sends the letter. The chronology is all messed up because of the way he had to split the stories for AFfC and ADwD. Because, if you recall, ADwD does not pick up from where AFfC left off. It starts at the end of ASoS, with Varamyr Sixskins fleeing from the Battle at the Wall. TWoW will start in similar fashion -- rewinding in time to tell Stannis' story on his march to Winterfell.

Edit: In the comment section down below, you'll find that Bram raised an interesting possibility -- What if Jon Snow, or rather Ghost, is Sköll instead of Robb? What if when Jon gets killed at the end of ADwD, he does manage to warg into Ghost and gain his "second life", right before Melisandre resurrects him via R'hllor? In other words, what if Ghost -- with Jon's soul in him -- becomes Sköll, and Jon's resurrected, soulless corpse becomes Surtr? It would firstly fit Melisandre's prophecy, of seeing Jon as both a wolf & a man -- and it would make sense in regards to the mythology, given the fact that treachery was a big part of Jon's storyline (i.e. being first forced to betray the Watch, then subsequently choosing to betray his vows, and Ygritte, etc..). And, although Robb did betray the vows he made to Walder Frey (which ended up being his downfall), Robb was usually the one betrayed, rather than the traitor himself (see: Theon Greyjoy, Catelyn Stark, Rickard Karstark, etc.). So, I'm actually really digging this connection. And, I think that could play out well if that's how it goes down -- Jon & Arya, in the form of Ghost & Nymeria (i.e. Sköll & Hati) retake Winterfell from Ramsay Bolton (i.e. Jojen's prophecy "The wolves will come again") while soulless unJon (Surtr) sets House Frey ablaze with his fiery sword. I'd say you did it once again Bram. If nothing else, that's how I hope it plays out. So, good show.

Another Edit: Granted, that may sound like a pretty far out idea... and it is. But, all I'll say is this -- if you had just finished reading A Game of Thrones for the first time, and I had told you that Arya was going to remove her face, and Bran was going to plug himself into the roots of a weirwood tree, and Renly was going to get killed by a "shadow baby" birthed by a "red woman", would that have sounded pretty far out to you too? So, just keep in mind what we're talking about here. As real as ASOIAF seems sometimes, it is ultimately a fantasy series. The very idea that Jon can even gain a "second life", or be raised from the dead by Melisandre is bizarre in and of itself, so I'm not so sure a "glitch" in that [biological?] process would be as out of left field as you might think. But, of course, I could be wrong about that.

On a side note, here's a tapestry I wove depicting the Red Wedding:

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.

*Excepting my exquisite tapestry, of course. 


  1. Fascinating article, just like your others! You've opened my eyes to a new way of looking at ASoIaF, and for that I thank you.
    I would point out, though, that in the Theon chapter that GRRM released as a teaser for The Winds of Winter, Stannis is still alive, so there has been confirmation that Ramsay was at least lying about that.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Glad you like the post. I know I tend to see things a bit differently from most people, so I'm glad I could add to your perspective.

      As for that Stannis chapter -- GRRM said it was retroactive to about the midpoint of ADwD, meaning he did a rewind in time for the beginning of TWoW, just like he did for ADwD (because, if you recall, ADwD does not pick up where AFfC leaves off -- it backtracks). So, that Stannis chapter takes place before Ramsay sends the letter, and Stannis could still be dead (again, I know that's a controversial theory. But, GRRM technically hasn't been debunked it yet).

    2. Ah, I had not read that, that makes more sense. I thought the chapter was fitting in oddly to the chronology, but I figured it was more because I was reading the chapter out of context. Thanks!

    3. I was reading about Norse mythology and made a few connections as I watch the tv show. I have not had the opportunity to read any of the books (I didn't even know they existed till I started watching the show). I did a search to see if there was a like to Norse gods and that's how I ended up here. It's very good reading. I must admit I've had quite a few ah ha moments.

      That being said there is a squirrel that lives the the tree Yggdrasil. (I can't remember his name) there is an eagle that lives at the top and a dragon that lives at the bottom. The two hate each other. This is furthered by the squirrel because when the eagle insults the dragon the squirrel runs down to tell the dragon. When the dragon insults the eagle, he runs to tell the eagle thus keeping their discord alive. You said in a previous post the the giants called "the children" the squirrel people, and it seems they are manipulating things a little.

  2. This is a great post. I'm also glad that you and others are making people actually think and not just accept another fantasy with good and evil. I now know more about Norse mythology that I ever imagined I would and that is thanks to you no matter what GRRM is writing. (I do believe he is using Norse Mythology though).

  3. Stannis is still alive according to a Theon chapter planned for Winds of Winter. GRRM had it on his website until he took it down and replaced it with an Arianne chapter for unknown reasons. I'm sure it's floating around the internet somewhere, if you want to look for it.

    1. Thanks for your comment, but I mentioned above that GRRM said that the Stannis chapter in TWoW that was on his website was supposed to be retroactive to the middle of ADwD, before Ramsay sends the letter. I imagine he took it down because it was confusing people. But, he did the same thing for ADwD (i.e. ADwD doesn't pick up where AFfC left off. It backtracks to the Battle at the Wall, which Varamyr Sixskins is fleeing from. So, TWoW will similarly backtrack to tell Stannis' story on his march to Winterfell). But the chronology is all messed up because of the way he had to split the stories for AFfC & ADwD.

    2. Yeah, you're absolutely right. Sorry about that. GRRM explains the weird chronology here:

  4. Having been inspired by your blog and utilizing Google to connect Sansa with applies, I decided to do some sleuthing myself. It appears that the name Bran itself is a clue to his purpose.

    "Ravens were also associated with the Welsh god Bran the Blessed (the brother of Branwen), whose name translates to "raven.".

    Coincidence that we have Bloodraven and Bran?? I don't think so.

  5. Happy to help! I'll be sure to poke in with anything else I can figure out. Nice work, as usual.

  6. I've been thinking about Robb as Skoll, and something occurred to me. Taking the case of Arya, we see that hatred has been the underlying drive throughout her entire arc. Hatred has been the impetus for all character development - hence, her fit as Hati. On the other hand, Robb's arc (in addition to being a secondary arc), only ends with treachery: his arc is defined, like Ned's, by honor. If Hati and Skoll are indeed counterparts, then I would expect Skoll's story to be as defined by treachery as Hati's is by hatred. This, in turn, leads me to Jon Snow.

    Everything important that has happened with Jon Snow has been about making and breaking oaths. He joined the Night's Watch, only to desert to the wildlings; swore to be celibate, only to sleep with Ygritte; claimed to be a raider, only to betray the wildling's to the Watch; loved Ygritte, yet planned her demise; and, finally, led the Night's Watch, only to betray his oaths and declare a march against the Boltons. His storyline is treachery, just as Arya's storyline is hatred. The final tipping point here, for me, is that both Arya and Jon adhere to these negative principles for good, honorable reasons. Just like Rickon for Garmr, this ties up too nicely to be coincidence.

    1. That's a good point, but Robb's story doesn't simply end with treachery. It's spread throughout, at all the pivotal points in his life (i.e. Theon taking Winterfell, Catelyn freeing Jaime, Rickard Karstark killing of the hostages, etc.. not to mention the Freys & the Boltons). So, I'd say there's more than enough treachery to go around.

      But, I do like where you're going with Jon -- he was the traitor, rather than the one betrayed -- and he does Arya share a connection with Arya, by way of Needle (and always seemed to relate to her more so than any of his other siblings). So, that could be, given that Hati & Sköll are counterparts.

      I think what will make the difference for Jon is 1) whether he's really dead or not. 2) Whether he can warg into ghost before he dies, in order to gain his "second life", or whether he's resurrected by Melisandre. If he wargs into Ghost, he may very well be Sköll, rather than Surtr. But, if he's resurrected by Melisandre, and subsequently becomes an ardent follower of the Lord of Light -- like Beric -- then I'd imagine he's Surtr. But a lot will depend on that... and Stannis' fate as well.

    2. Also, I'd add -- the reason I'm still leaning toward Surtr for Jon is 1) his connection to Samwell (Heimdall). 2) His connection to Bran (Fenrir). And 3) his relation to the Others (i.e. he discovers Craster has been giving his sons to them on the TV show -- which is alluded to in the books, but not made so blatantly obvious as that).

      So, all the pieces fit together pretty nicely. We can see why Samwell might be concerned about Jon (if he were to be resurrected by Melisandre), and we can see why Bran (Fenrir) & Bloodraven (Loki) might want to contact him. And, if the business with Old Craster & the Others is foreshadowing, we can see how he might eventually become linked to the Others... not to mention the "Son of Craster" he's holding (i.e. Gilly's son) -- which is sure to draw the Others to him (i.e. during the "Sam the Slayer" scene on the TV show, Gilly seems to know that the White Walker has come for the baby, specifically).

      Of course, your guess is as good as mine, but it seems to me Jon is in perfect position to become Surtr (which, in a backhanded way, could be connected to the Azor Ahai prophecy, I suppose -- i.e. Lightbringer is Surtr's fiery sword). Plus, I just can't get over the fact that's he's not only taken "the black", but is now the Lord Commander of "the black". Seems like there's got to be something to that.

    3. Ah, I did forget about the other betrayals Robb had. But as you mentioned, we expect Robb to betray, not be betrayed, just as Arya hates, and is not hated. And I do still like the similarities between Surtr and Jon Snow. Plus, if someone breaks the wall, I couldn't see it being Stannis. Seems odd to give a huge dramatic role like that to a guy we barely care about. And this actually makes me think of a crazy idea.

      So, let's say Jon Snow is dead, and that he warged into Ghost after his death. A lot of people believe this to be the case already. If this happens, his role as Skoll can be fulfilled - as the direwolf Ghost. But what about his body? What if Mel were to resurrect the body of Jon Snow while the spirit is gone? We already know that people brought back from death are not the same as the people who died. Beric became obsessed with justice (his goal when he died), and Stoneheart with vengeance (her goal when she died). This resurrected Jon Snow could become Surtr, while his second life as Ghost - which would be an entirely different portion of his being - carries on as Skoll.

      Now wouldn't THAT be something. We've never seen different magics interfere or interact with each other. Who's to say that the spirit that lives on in a warg is the same as that brought back by the priests of R'hllor?

    4. That would be something. I'm really digging this idea. And it makes perfect sense -- Jon's soul (in Ghost) is Sköll and his soulless body is Surtr. That would be INCREDIBLE. Good call on that. I really hope that's where he's going because that would just be too cool.

    5. One last thing about Robb -- it didn't really occur to me, but he was technically a traitor in regards to the vow he made to marry one of Walder Frey's daughters... which ended up being his downfall.

      But, even so, I'm still going with your Surtr/Sköll connection. The symmetry works much better with Jon & Arya. And, it's just an awesome concept -- i.e. mixing the "second life" of wargs with Red Priest necromancy.

    6. It started off as a wonky idea in my head, but it does sound like something Martin would do, doesn't it? He'd throw everyone for a loop, and the reveal of what exactly happened would be a great bit of story.

      There's one other way Jon could act as both Surtr and Skoll - one more widely theorized. If he were to warg into Ghost, and then later regain his human form - as in Mel's vision - then he could have the Skoll storyline while warging, and later complete the Surtr storyline while a man. But I'm hoping it's not as simple as that.

    7. I tend to think it's likely that Jon will warg Ghost right before he died, and then Melisandre will raise his corpse, creating an "UnJon" similar to the "UnCat". I never believed that the R'hllor resurrections were genuine. But I posted not just to say that I agree, but to offer a possible clue that has been overlooked.

      Most people agree that this bit of Undying is about the Red Wedding:

      "Farther on she came upon a feast of corpses. Savagely slaughtered, the feasters lay strewn across overturned chairs and hacked trestle tables, asprawl in pools of congealing blood. Some had lost limbs, even heads. Savaged limbs clutched bloody cups, wooden spoons, roast fowl, heels of bread. On a throne above them sat a dead man with the head of a wolf. He wore an iron crown and held a leg of lamb in one hand as a king might hold a scepter, and his eyes followed Dany with mute appeal."

      Mostly the argument is that there's a feast, people are dead, and there's someone with the head of a wolf instead of his head. I don't really think that works.

      "wooden spoons". Catelyn mentions silver cutlery at the RW.
      "roast fowl". Catelyn complained about the poor meals that were served.
      "On a throne above them". Walder Frey presided the RW, not Robb. Robb had explicitly been told not to sit on a throne.
      "he wore an iron crown". Robb's crown is bronze, with iron ornaments only.
      "his eyes followed Dany". Why would Grey Wind's dead eyes follow Dany, exactly? Why would Dany be involved in this scene at all? She has no connexion to it.

      If this isn't the RW, it could very well fit with UnJon. "A dead man with the head of a wolf" could mean that he wears Jon Snow's skin, except he isn't Jon Snow, he's a dead man that has been invoked by R'hllor. His eyes could follow Dany because well, he is undead, so his eyes can move.

      It's hard to theorize this without knowing exactly what will happen to Jon after his "death" at the end of adwd. But I could see it working in the favor of a dissociation of Jon's body and Jon's mind.

    8. Hmm. If the Undying wedding vision isn't about the Red Wedding, then it's a hell of a red herring. If the wolf-headed man is indicative of a ward, then yes, we would expect the prophecy to be about Jon. But what if it's about someone else? What if Frey's eventual fate that Robb himself suffered: his body being desecrated at a feast of betrayal?

      Just speculation either way, but I'm glad you agree about Martin doubling up on Jon.

    9. I don't see the theory of Robb as Skoll holding much water. Chasing Joffrey as the Sun seems a bit of a stretch, and never comes to fruition.

      Meanwhile, Jon as Stoll opens a whole range of possibilities to chase the sun. Whether literally, in his fleeing south from the Long Night, or something more symbolic to do with the Martell's banner.

  7. First time replier...

    My personal theory re: Jon Snow was that he survives in Ghost for a time before he is reborn as a man (foreshadowed by Melisandre's vision of Jon Snow as a man then wolf then man again and the Prologue of the book).

    I like your theories in general and think there'a a pretty decent chance you've got the right idea even if some of the specifics aren't quite right. The big one for me is I think Crow's Eye as Odin makes a lot of sense considering the 'missing' eye (patch at least), his consorting with wizards, drinking the shade of the evening, and being exiled for some years could correspond with the tale of Odin gaining the rune magic, and the red priest on the boat with Tyrion (Maquotto?) had a vision of him saying (paraphrasing), "The greatest one will be one with one eye and ten arms" (reference to Odin being greatest of the gods). Also, I believe you pointed out Odin was also called The Mad God, and Euron is referred to as 'the maddest of them all' by Baelor Blacktyde in AFFC.

    1. I really like you're idea for Euron/Odin. It fits perfectly with the way I think GRRM has laid it out (i.e. Odin returned from exile -- the "maddest of them all"). I completely overlooked Crow's Eye, and I'm not sure what his conflict with Bran might be, but I'm pretty sure you hit the nail on the head. It could be that his dragon horn causes problems for Bran, or the sorcerers he keeps, etc. It's hard to say, but Euron definitely fits the mold. Good call.

  8. Also, assuming you're right about Bran, the foreshadowing by Coldhands of 'You're the monster Brandon Stark' is well done.

  9. Deafth of Arya (Hati ) could be more symbolic ,she is starting to lose her identity us a Stark and Kindly Man is responsible for that.By "catching the moon"getting inducted into the Faceless Men persona of Arya Stark could die , and second life maybe isn't connected to her warging ability .She still can use her connection to Nymeria for inducting vengeance in Westeros after her return (or rather the new her :P )

    1. I agree. Arya Stark is dead already. In her final ADWD chapter, at the very end, the Kindly Man asks her who she is and she replies, "No one." And finally, he agrees with her. At least, he doesn't contradict her.

    2. Claudia again:
      Arya/Nymeria is indeed faceless by now.

      I doubt she's still Arya, she's been shifting identities for a while. Her kissing the vile tomcat Balerion that was actually the keeper of Princess Rhaenys soul might have gotten the other descendant of Queen Nymeria into her body.
      It was fitting: her wolf called Nymeria and Rhaenys being descendant of the original Nymeria. She turned a murderer afterwards, when the two Nymerias had unified their strength.
      Rhaenys' uncle Oberon learned a while in Braavos at the faceless, too. He was a sourcerer, too, like Craster fathers no sons and he perhaps sent Syrio - another faceless, I imagine - to find a suiting girl and to tell Arya to kiss ALL the cats in the keep.

      Cat of the canals is a cat link there, a cat is often refered to as a 'hairy snake'. In that sense Arya dies, and turns into Rhaenys, and she could team up with her AND Rhaenys' 'brother' Jon Snow again.

      Parting Jon said they might only take different roads and end up in the same castle ere the end. I'm very curious about that.

    3. sorry misswrote not kiss: CATCH.

      I imagine the magician Oberyn or his messenger Syrio were very aware, that Rhaenys Soul might jump from the old cat into a similar spirited girl the very moment she found a soul matching herself, who'd master her vicious media of transport.

      That she KISSED this one cat by an unexplainable impulse, and leaves the cat confused and spitting, while she feels elated and triumphant is extremely important to the story.

      Afterwards it happens the first time she is no longer recognized: Myrcella and Tommen come upon her, and all believe her a ragged boy, as Rhaenys was in a ragged tomcat, she could be anyone and her identity is questioned throughout.

      She uses her cat skills for flight at once, and is a bit of a cat afterwards.

    4. forgot: second animal refered to as hairy snake is actually a weasel - only think on the weasel-soup.

      With the dragons and the sandsnakes of dorne there's a very tight network of linking knots that make a Dornish born Targaryen Jon 'Sand' link to an heiress of Nymeria of Dorne, they share more southern & dragon links than 'their' other siblings.

  10. Went on wiki and found this... "At Ragnarök, both Sköll and Hati will succeed in their quests." If wiki's right, that seems problematic :/


  11. I think you are having tunnel vision on Jon = Surtr, especially combined with Ghost-Jon = Sköll. Jon's soulless body being revived by Melissandre to become Surtr is really, really far out there imo.

    Lets summarize your reasons for Jon = Surtr
    1 Surtr = black, the color of the night's watch
    2 Connection with fire (Ygritte was "kissed by fire")
    3 Connected with Fenrir (Bran)
    4 Supposed to attack Freyr (Frey)
    5 Connected with Heimdall (Sam)
    6 his relation to the Others

    Out of those I think reason 1 is the strongest, but Stannis can easily be connected with darkness as well (for example, by making him become the Night King). The connection with fire (reason 2) is very weak, especially compared with Stannis. Fire burns Jon (twice now), it does not make sense that he would turn around completely and start wielding suddenly.

    The other four reasons are connections with other characters: Sam, Walder Frey, Bran and the Others. I am gonna dismiss the latter two outright. Bran and the Others are already connected to Bloodraven, there is no reason to connect them directly to Surtr as well, Melissandre can provide the link back to bloodraven as you discussed in an earlier post.

    Then there is the connection to Sam. While I think Heimdallr = Sam is a very good fit, I don't see a real connection between Surtr and Heimdallr other than guarding the border of their respective region. You claim Surtr lives at the Bifrost bridge, which source are you basing that on? AFAIK he guards the border of Muspell, but I am not aware of this being physically next to the Bifrost bridge.

    Finally there is the whole Frey = Freyr thing. Your reasoning here makes no sense. Walder Frey is Jon's nemesis because he killed his half brother? Come on, you can do better than that. The whole motivation for Walder Frey = Freyr is weak anyway, you can just as easily connect him with Tyrion (phallic symbols & paying gold for his wife) or Jaimie (physically attractive, sleeping with his sister). Obviously Tyr and Fafnir are better fits for them, but there is no reason they can't have a double role (as you yourself propose with Ghost-Jon and soulless body). I personally like Tyrion = Freyr, as he is obviously an important character, but Fafnir has no connection with Ragnarok. Now if only I could find a link to a Freyr's sword.

    Just my speculative input, do with it what you will

    1. IMO, you're looking at it the wrong way. Firstly, the gods are cruel. Tyrion and Jon Snow are not cruel. Stannis is -- so he could very well be a god. But Jon & Tyrion are two of the most good-natured characters in the series, so they're clearly monsters -- "Cripples, Bastards & Broken Things" (throw Bran in there as well, a "grotesque cripple"). The monsters are the nice guys (good guys finish last). They're empathetic. They can sympathize with the Children, who have been totally fucked, and nearly driven to extinction. I base this not only on Cersei/Tywin's definition of the what it means to be a god -- merciless, but what the Norse actually believed the gods to be -- merciless. So that's the clue -- the gods are not to be loved, they are to be feared. They are unapproachable (as the Norse largely believed for much of their history). But, there was at least one exception to this rule -- Freyja (Margaery Tyrell -- who helps the little street urchins of Westeros -- which is what we are to the gods -- street urchins). And, if I'm correct, GRRM has interpreted Heimdallr (Samwell) to be approachable as well (much of Heimdallr's character is largely unknown, but if he's using descriptions of him being "the palest of the gods" as a metaphor for cowardice, that would explain that).

      Ok. So, Freyr, firstly, is obvious. If he were the god of phalluses, perhaps Tyrion would make sense (even though, Tyrion's not nearly cruel enough to be a god). But Freyr is the god of "phallic fertility" -- which is virtually the only aspect of Walder Frey's character that matters -- other than jealousy, spite and outright cruelty (i.e. Cersei's exact definition of a "god"). "Phallic fertility" simply means "male fertility" -- i.e. a male god of pregnancy. And, GRRM goes to great lengths to stress how large Walder Frey's brood is -- and it is freakishly large, far more so than any of the others in Westeros. Similarly, he's a miserable, broke old man -- which is the reverse of what Freyr is known for (pleasure & wealth). It's not a coincidence, IMO. It's satirical. Yet, on the other hand, he does possess some of the most important land in all of Westeros, and has married into the richest family (i.e. the Lannisters). And, similarly, given the fact he's been married 1,000x over and has multitudes of children & grandchildren, it stands to reason that there must've been some pleasure in there somewhere. So, is Walder Frey the [cruel] god of pregnancy? Yeah, I'd say so.


    2. cont...

      As for Jon -- the bit about Bifröst -- it's assumed the border of Muspellheim is somewhere near the Bifröst bridge, given the fact that Heimdallr is specifically watching for him in Himinbjörg (heaven's castle). Surtr is foretold to break the Bifröst, which is why Heimdallr is there, waiting for him. But, what's weird about the mythology is Heimdallr & Surtr are not destined to fight one another -- even though Heimdallr is the first to see Surtr (because Himinbjörg is located at the top of Bifröst).

      As for the fire connection, it's a metaphor, because GRRM has, IMO, flipped the forces of Ice & Fire around. He's given fire to Jormungandr, and ice to Surtr (who guards an ice realm filled with ice jötnar instead of a fire realm full of fire jötnar). And Jon is connected to the Others because , 1) He's the one who discovered the "sacrifices" to them (which may not be what it seems). And 2) He's holding the White Walker magnet (i.e. Craster's Son) that Bloodraven wants. Stannis doesn't know anything about the Others.

      As for Sköll/Surtr -- perhaps it won't happen, but I like the idea of mixing warging/animal necromancy with red priest necromancy. It would certainly explain why Melisandre sees Jon as both a wolf and a man, and it would make sense in regards to his interactions with Orell (who gains his 2nd life in his eagle after Jon kills him). But, as I stated, it's something I'd personally like to see. Perhaps it is too far out there, I don't know.

      But thanks for chiming in. I appreciate your input. You may very well be right. I could have gotten certain aspects of it wrong, or could be wrong about all of it. We will soon find out (hopefully, if he ever gets done writing it).

    3. One last thing -- Jon's relationship to Walder Frey... he's already beheaded Janos Slynt for betraying his "father", and was preparing to march against Ramsay before he got killed by the Watch (presumably). And, much of Jon's personality was shaped by Robb -- his guilt whenever he'd dream of inheriting Winterfell, he'd instantly feel guilty about it because of Robb (i.e. "The dream was sweet... but Winterfell would never be his to show. It belonged to his brother, the King in the North. He was a Snow, not a Stark. Bastard, oathbreaker, and turncloak..."), and his first betrayal was due to Robb, when he tried to leave the Watch to go to his side when the War of the 5 Kings broke out, and his Black Brothers had to drag him back to the Wall. So, there's that.

      But, more importantly, it comes down to logistics. Because, even if Jon really does end up becoming a soulless R'hllor-zombie, a Surtr-figure (whoever he is, whether he's Jon, or Stannis, or Dolorous Edd, for all I know), will have to cross through the Twins in order to invade the South. And, House Frey is the largest House in Westeros, by far, so they really do pose a pretty major threat, even if people tend to underestimate them (which is why Robb was willing to risk the Red Wedding in the first place -- because Frey numbers would've instantly put him back in the game). So, whoever, or whatever comes out of the North will have to get through Walder Frey first. And, obviously, Jon has reason enough for killing old Walder, whereas Stannis doesn't -- other than that he broke the law and killed guests under his roof -- which Bran did say the "gods" frown upon. So, I guess anything is possible.

    4. What about catlyn as heimdall? She's really white from being in the river and everyone always tells her to watch for them ( hoster tully, brandon stark etc.)

    5. I think GRRM is using a few different characters for the same god. This is clearly seen in Odin with Harren the Black, Aerys, Euron, and Mance Rayder all being versions of Odin. I think Walder Frey is not Freyr, he is another version of Heimdall. But Sam as the holder of the horn is also Heimdall. Why Frey is Heimdall is because Heimdall gave birth to the three classes of man, so Heimdall has numerous decendents. Also Frey is lord of the crossing a bridge, Heimdall was the watcher at Bifrost another bridge. GRRM does this with others as well. Njord is Theon and Tywinn Lannister. Theon represents the captured or hostage Njord while Tywinn represents the version of Njord that is the god of Plenty and the father of Freyr-Jamie and Freya- Cersei. I think Jamie is both Freyr and Tyr. His close relationship to his sister and the loss of his magic sword for a woman. Freyr lost his to Skirnir to get his wife Gerd who was a giant and Jamie gave Oathkeeper to Breinne.

    6. I agree: it's important to remember that Martin's first goal is to write compelling fiction. All of the mythology, history, archetypes and archetype-breakers only serve that purpose, in the long run. If we look for the parallels to match down to the finest detail, that's probably going to far. Multiple characters probably represent certain legendary characters, or some details may have ben changed, or swapped, or changed in a way necessary to the plot. If it was a literal, detail-for-detail retelling of one legend, then we would be able to see the end of the story to easily, IMO. I think the broad strokes of the norse-ASOIAF parallels are clearly there, I just think that throwing out or accepting an theory because of the matching of fine detail is misguided. I'm not saying speculation isn't healthy - quite the opposite, Martin is inviting it. Just remember writing good fiction is the #1 goal.

  12. Its an interesting theory and well supported. However, even if Norse mythology does work as a framework for the story, I'd hardly think that justifies some of the leaps you guys make. Lets not forget, GRRM can change his direction at any time. There are also major parallels to actual Brit history, but I don't think that means I can open up a book on the War of the Roses and start telling you what's going to happen next. That the beauty of ASoIaF, GRRM draws on all these different sources to great effect, so that what you're reading feels authentic. Like you found a history of a lost civilization, rather then a series started during the Clinton administration. Its fun to find the hidden allusions, but George is writing his own story, and the clues for where it will go next are in the text itself, not mythology.

    1. That could very well be true -- but, I'd say if he is following Ragnarök, it wouldn't be the first time a fantasy author has adapted mythology.

      And, as I said, when I first started thinking of this (i.e. Jaime & Bran), I thought it was just a coincidence, or that he was using little bits & pieces here and there. But the more connections I made, the more I started to believe he's adapting the mythology (and, mind you, it goes deeper than just the characters -- it's the setting itself -- Winter Is Coming).

      But, again, even if he is telling the story of Ragnarök, GRRM is still his own man and can do whatever he wants with his story. Anything is possible. I'm just telling it like I see it, and the way I see it may not necessarily be the way GRRM is writing it. I have no inside information, or anything like that. So your guess is as good as mine. But thanks for commenting and reading the blog! I appreciate it.

    2. Having studied history most of my life with a few degrees to show for it I understand that some believe GMMR is using a little history here, a little history there. I don't think that's the case though with the direwolves, wargs, dragons, white walkers etc. These are almost certainly straight out of Norse mythology and with the importance they have in the story the relation to Norse mythology is more than just happenstance. Character studies can be drawn from various historical periods but seeing this exhaustive blog you've put together you've more than convinced me that we are moving toward Ragnarok. Can GRRM change his mind, of course, but why would he with such a masterpiece on his hands. Why revert to a fantasy between good and evil that everyone writes. Ragnarok and the characters from mythology that have been brought to life in this series are beyond the realm of most writers.

  13. I always thought that the Norse vibe I was getting from ASOIAF was due to GRRM's comment that Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow & Thorn series (with its distinctly Norse flavour) was an influence on ASOIAF - if you're correct, that was a very subtle red herring on his part. It would be just like GRRM to bring the whole saga around in a twisted circle and make us all wish that Bran had died when Jamie pushed him out that window.

  14. Your Samwell/Heimdall comparison in particular caught my attention due to the fact that my pet, well not theory, more like gut feeling, is that the Horn of Winter is not an object but rather a person, specifically a member of the Night's Watch, but all I had to back me up was the wording of the Night's Watch oath ("I am the horn that wakes the sleepers"). Now that I know that Heimdall is the Watcher (on the walls) it seems far more plausible that he is also the horn that wakes the sleepers. Thank you for all your posts - they're fascinating.

    1. My pleasure. Thanks for reading.

      I'm leaning that way as well, with one difference. I do believe the "Horn of Winter" is a real object, but I don't equate it with Gjallarhorn (i.e Heimdallr's horn). As you mentioned, I too believe Samwell himself to be the "horn" (i.e. born on Horn Hill). However, I have a feeling the "Horn of Winter" is akin to a Valyrian dragon horn. But, instead of summoning giants "from the earth", as legend has it, it actually summons the Others and binds them to the will of whoever has the horn (i.e. the Night's King/Surtr/Melisandre's false Azor Ahai/etc.). IMO, that mix up is a clever allusion to the modern mistranslation of the word "jötunn" into "giant". Because, jötnar were not giants as we think of them today. They were elemental beings born of the earth, on par with the gods. The association with tremendous size only came about later. So, keep in mind, when we refer to "giants" in Norse mythology, we're referring to "jötnar" (i.e. ice giants & fire giants). Not giant-giants.

      But, the reason why I think the Horn binds the Others is because in Ragnarök mythology, the forces of ice & fire mirror one another. So, if dragons are controlled with a horn, it stands to reason that the Others are too. And, if that's the case, Sam obviously won't be the one to blow it. His "horn" will be the figurative alarm he sounds when he realizes what's actually going on (i.e. he's the first to figure Bloodraven out).

      What's strange about the mythology is Surtr doesn't kill Heimdallr, even though he's the first god he encounters. He inexplicably moves on to Freyr instead, and leaves Heimdallr to Loki. That never really made much sense before, but if GRRM has set it up the way I think he did (i.e. Jon = Surtr, Sam = Heimdallr) it would make perfect sense (assuming this theory is correct, of course).

    2. Thank you for your detailed reply! What you say makes sense.

      Your posts have inspired me to do some reading, and while doing so I stumbled across a feature of skaldic poetry called a "kenning". One of the examples used was a "din of spears" meaning a battle which struck me as being oddly familar. Do you think that the titles of the books are in fact kennings?
      A Game of Thrones = a power struggle
      A Clash of Kings = a disputed succession etc.
      If the titles are kennings, the working titles we have for the upcoming books would seem to support your Ragnarok theory quite nicely:
      The Winds of Winter = Ragnarok
      A Dream of Spring = Rebirth.

    3. Love the idea that GRRM is using kennings. Makes it come full circle. Well done Southron.

    4. Thanks Queen Rose! I'll admit to being quite taken with the idea myself.

    5. Good call on the kennings. I should've caught that myself.

      My favorite -- A Feast for Crows = Armistice.

    6. Thanks Dorian!

    7. Bran Vras's amazing Winterfell Huis Clos can shed some light on this topic regarding Sam and horns. In all liklihood, Mance has obtained and sounded twice the horn of Winter (horn of Jerramun). So Sam is not the horn of winter. Instead, Sam likley represents the horn of plenty, according to Vras.

  15. I really enjoyed the article, congratulations and thank you! Can you recommend me some book or author that explicitly addresses on this matter of the four Loki Wargs ?

    1. Thanks, glad you like the blog.

      As for the wargs -- it's 4 wargs of Ragnarök. Loki only has 3 (technically, but I'll get to that).

      Fenrir, who is a central player in the events of Ragnarök, is the son of Loki (who is sometimes called "the Father of Wargs"). Fenrir's sons are Hati & Sköll (making them Loki's grandchildren). They are attested in the Prose Edda, written by Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century (and Fenrir is attested in many more than that, dating all the way back to some of the earliest texts we have).

      Garmr, however, is another matter entirely. Snorri largely based his writings on earlier texts, most of which have since been lost to history, but it's widely believed he created Garmr himself, in order to provide Tyr with an adversary, in lieu of Fenrir (who was foretold to battle Tyr in the earlier poems). However, he probably based Garmr on an aspect of Fenrir's character from earlier texts, because the two were often thought to be one in the same. So, even though he is not a child of Loki in a literal sense (as envisioned by Snorri), he is clearly an extension of Fenrir.

  16. I'd just like to say I found out about your blog through Sherdog - a mixed martial arts discussion board, of all things. Really enjoying your articles.

    1. Thanks, glad you like it. That's a trip, though. I've been noticing all kinds of different sites linking to my blog on my stats. Which just goes to show how popular ASOIAF/GoT is. It bridges all kinds of barriers -- from mixed martial artists to Trekkies. Everyone wants to know what's going to happen. A testament to GRRM's genius.

  17. First and foremost I would like to thank you as sarcastically as I can for giving me more grief and woe then Ned's beheading, the RW and Stoneheart combined :'( I am seriously grieving for the characters I have held in the highest esteem (Starks of course) and to think they maybe (more likely than not) the ones to usher in the downfall of man is so encredibly sad and totally barking up GRRM's tree. *sniffle sniffle* I agree most of your theory is solid, and geniusly solid at that! However when you mention Stannis would have no impetus to go after the Freys and add to your reasons why he can not be Sutre, I would have to remind you of how lawful and just Stannis is known to be. The Freys have broken one of the most sacred man laws they have. The Guest Right. By going after the Freys he would also gain the Twins to continue the march southward and also, more importantly gaining the respect of fellow men (remaining Robb loyalists, Manderly, maybe even the Vale) who view the RW as an atrocity (as they should). Lack of respect is what lost him his battles, the gain of respect is what can win him his war. To a point. All that being said depends on if Stannis is really dead and stays that way. As far as Melisandres vision of Jon being a man, wolf and man again, that could easily be explained as if he were to die, warg into Ghost and take the body of another, or his own again. As you say I say also, strictly my opinion only. Just thought I could paste some mortar on what you thought were weak spots in the possible theories. I look forward to your future posts...I think ;)

    1. "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds" -- J. Robert Oppenheimer (quoting the Bhagavad Gita after the detonation of the first atomic bomb).

      That may be hyperbole, but I can kind of see where he was coming from, assuming my theory is correct, of course -- or at least moving in the right direction. I hate to be the bearer of bad news... but.

      In all seriousness though, thanks for reading the blog. Glad you found it of interest. And, no worries. I really do get that a lot.

      But it's funny, because, without a doubt, I was once a Stark loyalist too, believe it or not. I identified with Ned, and Jon Snow, and Bran, and thought the Young Wolf was a badass just like everyone else (and still do, to a certain degree -- but I do pride myself on being able to see other points of view, so, perhaps it was inevitable that I eventually came around).

      As for Stannis -- yes, it's very well possible Stannis is Surtr, rather than Jon Snow. But, Surtr plays a pretty major role in Ragnarök, which leads me to believe he's going to be one of the main characters from AGoT (as Bran & Dany are to Fenrir and Jormungandr).

      But what throws me off with Frey is Bran's story about the Rat King -- i.e. the "gods" don't forgive those who murder guests under their roof (not the jötnar, mind you, but the "gods"). Which could mean the Lannisters will ultimately abandon the Freys. But, then again, Stannis strikes me as much more of a god than a monster (i.e. strict & ruthless) -- maybe even a god of justice, like Forseti, perhaps. Because, I'm of the opinion the "monsters", like Surtr, are the "Cripples, Bastards & Broken Things" (i.e. freaks & outcasts). They're the ones who will sympathize with the CotF's plight. And, even though it can be said Stannis is somewhat of an outcast, I simply can't imagine him sympathizing with the Children of the Forest and breaking the Wall. I can see Jon Snow doing that, but not Stannis. So, there is that.

      But, at the same time, it's possible Stannis is a monster rather than a god, given the fact he always seems to get the shit end of the stick. That may qualify him as a "broken thing" (much like Dany, who was an orphaned exile), since he's been defeated so many times, and is pretty much despised by the other nobility. So, that could work.

      However, it's Surtr's role that leads me to Jon Snow -- he's one of the major figures in the mythology, and Jon Snow is one of the main characters in the books. Plus, Jon has a much better connection to Bran & Dany than Stannis does (and to Bloodraven, as well). So, if Dany represents the forces of fire, it stands to reason that Jon Snow represents the forces of ice (because, in GRRM's story, he's given Surtr the role of ice, rather than fire -- i.e. he stands guard over an ice realm of ice jötnar, rather than a fire realm of fire jötnar. That's probably because the role of the ice jötnar in Ragnarök isn't so clearly defined. So, in GRRM's telling, Jormungandr became fire, and Surtr became ice -- assuming I'm on the right trail).

      But, in any case, you've definitely got the right idea. And, again, I could easily be wrong about Stannis (or any of it, for that matter). It will all depend on Ramsay.

  18. Children of the IllusionJune 17, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    I was thinking about Jon being alive both in Ghost and his resurrected body. The idea presented to fans about losing parts of oneself when brought back from death is an ominous use of foreshadowing: if Jon is AA and his Nyssa is Ghost, then killing Ghost is certainly a major way of "losing" a part of himself!

  19. May be a moot point, but Sansa is definitely a warg, I also didn't read through all the comments to see if someone brought this up, but GRRM confirmed all the Stark kids are warns.

    1. True. But she no longer has a wolf to warg with... which, correct me if I'm wrong, is something Bran can sense as soon as it happens (I believe it actually wakes him up from his coma). So, IMO, there's something to that.

      As for the mythology, Idunn was a goddess who married her brother's killer. But no one ever said she was happy about it. And given the fact that she's so heavily associated with abduction (and apples -- which is what a "Sansa" is... if I haven't mentioned that before), it makes sense (in my mind) that she's the Stark who was forced into the Lannister family, before she was smuggled off to the Eyrie by Littlefinger.

      But, it could be that she'll find another animal to warg with again (a "little bird", perhaps?). There's obviously something unique about Stark blood, so I don't doubt your point. I guess we shall see. Thanks for commenting.

    2. (Claudia, the anonymous)

      Sansa turns indeed a bird:

      The hound calls her little bird.
      Petyr, who adopts her is a mocking bird.
      The Eyrie is a bird's nest.
      At the moment she kills/poisons slowly the giant cousin Robin, that destroyed her snowcastle winterfell, just as the ancient white woodwitch saw it.
      And she's going to marry Harry the Heir of the vale, once Robin is and Tyrion is declared dead, or her marriage nullified. That would make her the successor of her ount Lysa as Lady of the Vale there is a halfmoon and a bird in the vale's shield.

      - And then Petyr will most likely remove Harry too, and try to marry all the regions north of the Trident in her person (it would be best, if Jaime, Tommen and all the other Lannisters would be - reportedly - dead by then, to make Sansa as Tyrions wife heir to the west, too. Petyr would own more than half of the kingdom by that, and he's a titan, too: His family came from Braavos and had a giant in their shield, ere he replaced it with a mockingbird.

      But as King Robert suggested: a wolf is no pet, get her a dog, she'll be the happier for it ... she has a half faced hel-dog in wait, that might rip her hopeful king off for her, as I very much hope.

      And asides, LADY isn't completely dead: wargbonding works both ways: when Bran is in Summer in teh mountains after winterfell, SUMMER thinks that his sister lost contact, was killed/transformed and is walking twolegged and silkclad in a palace of men, forgetting about her nature.

  20. great! a red herring is that he uses a different name without the Tyr in the beginning of the name as in Tyrion Tyrrell etc
    Jaime (life) is the equal in spanish of James

  21. This is incredible. Great work, and I hope you plan on posting more.

    Question: Tyrion and Mormont were placed on a ship to Meereen (immediately after Tyrion was attacked by that other dwarf) by an old female who had "reptilian" eyes and said more than once that she was "not a lady," and who knew who Tyrion was. Was she a child of the forest? What is her significance? And why did she send them to get captured if Tyrion is to join forced with Daenerys?

    Thanks a lot,

    1. Thanks. Glad you like the blog. I do plan on posting more eventually, but I think I'll let this sink in for a while. As you can see, there's a lot here to digest.

      As for the CotF -- I've often wondered the same thing -- did they either intermix with humans (if that's even possible), or are they able to disguise themselves as humans? Because, we see the same kind of thing with Maggy the Frog, who is described as a yellow-eyed woodswitch. Again, I doubt it's possible for humans to intermix with the Children, but it could be that they've undergone training of some sort (much like Bran), and essentially function as the Children's emissaries amongst humankind. Or, they could possess some kind of CotF-like ability that was passed down through their blood -- similar to Jojen, who was born with "greensight" and has bright green eyes.

      As for why she would've sent Tyrion to get captured -- I think the meeting with Moqorro was the key to that sequence. Assuming my theory is correct, that would mean Moqorro is Bloodraven's emissary (whether he knows it or not) and the prophecy he revealed plays into Tyrion's role as Fafnir:

      "Dragons old and young, true and false, bright and dark. And you. A small man with a big shadow, snarling in the midst of it all".

      That pretty much sets up his final act in the series. And, since the CotF can see the future, they must've known Tyrion wouldn't stay a prisoner for long. Plus, his enslavement only brought him closer to Daenerys and the "Second Sons". So, in the end, it got him where he needed to go.

      That's my best guess, at least.

    2. Consider the little old lady whom the Brotherhood without Banners consult on the top of the hill for her greenseeing. I think it's pretty clear that she's not quite human, and not quite Child either, but some kind of hybrid, no? She'd have to be absolutely freakish if she were human, thoroughly weird in a distinctly CotF-leaning direction, to the point of utter transformation.

      Likewise, Hodor is plausibly implied to have some Giants blood in him, through both his attributes and the story of Nan, which implies at least that Giants can hybridize with humans (and this is furthermore accepted as an explanation by Osha, who probably is the most knowledgeable authority on Giants we've heard address the subject). How is that relevant to Children? Giants are described by Leaf to be "their bane and their brothers", IE of the same genus and element. And if Giants - mythological creatures, of the same status - may have spawn with humans, so might their cousins. Giant admixture is implied about a few other bloodlines as well (the Clegane family), albeit IMHO less substantiated.

      We seem to know at least that Giants and Children have children in the same way as humans... a straightforward enough point, on the surface, until you consider that I don't think we know this to be true of Others or Dragons. The Nights King fell in love with an Other, but I don't see any reason that this implies that they procreate through childbirth, as is implied about Children and Giants.

  22. Right or wrong, re-reading the books now with your theory in mind is a fun experience. For example, just came across this, which seems rather perfect:

    "Oh, I think that Lord Tyrion is quite a large man," Master 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."

    Anyway, thanks again.

    1. Have a feeling the books are full of these types of foretelling. Have fun.

    2. Yeah, that does seem like a pretty major clue. The books are full of stuff like that, IMO.

      I actually just watched the "Inside the Episode" features for Season 3 on HBO Go, and if this Ragnarök theory is correct, then the producers, D&D, are almost surely in on it.

      One thing they mention that struck me was that "As Dany's empathy increases, so does her capacity for cruelty" (paraphrasing) -- i.e. the more she sympathizes with the powerless, the more she starts to hate those in power. They mention how she's now doing violence against people who haven't done anything to her, personally. Which can be heroic -- so long as slavers (i.e. other humans) are the enemy. But if non-humans are the enemy, then she's barking up the wrong tree entirely.

      Similarly, they explain what's going on with Bran, Jon Snow & Arya as well (i.e. that they've all been pretty much ruined as human beings). It's funny, because I just created a Tumblr account a week or two ago, and I'm shocked by how many people seem to think Arya will grow up to look like Lyanna, and reconquer Winterfell. It's almost as if they haven't read the books. Because we know for a fact, Arya isn't going to grow up to look like Lyanna.


    3. cont...

      But yes, the books and TV show are full of foreshadowing. And, of course, the better you understand the mythology, the better you'll understand what GRRM is doing. For example, people often ask why I identify Odin with the "Mad God" when he has countless other names. Or, why I identify Walder Frey with Freyr, or why Samwell Tarly (Heimdall) is a coward, etc... But it's all in the mythology. For example, I identify Odin with the "Mad God" because that's how he's described in one of the most famous inscriptions that's been passed down from history.

      "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 (Robert Baratheon), occupies a throne in the center of the chamber; Odin (Aerys) and Freyr (Walder Frey) have places on either side. The significance of these gods is as follows: Thor, they say, presides over the air, which governs the thunder and lightning, the winds and rains, fair weather and crops (i.e. Stormlord). 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 upon mortals. His likeness, too, they fashion with an immense phallus". --Gesta Hammaburgensis

      i.e. Robert Baratheon was the Stormlord who prevailed over Mad Aerys, proving himself the mightier of the two. Yet it was Aerys who "inspired" (read: provoked) men to war. And, similarly, Walder Frey bestowed peace upon the realm when he ended the War of the Five Kings by killing Robb Stark and his bannermen at the Red Wedding. Oh yeah, he's also a huge dick too (i.e. an immense phallus).

      Similarly, if you're looking at it from a Judeo-Christian perspective, you're not really going to understand why the gods are such assholes. Because Christians, and monotheists in general, have been taught that "God is good" and all "evil" in the world is the work of other forces, separate from this "one true God", like demons or the devil. But the Norse didn't see it like that. They thought the gods were responsible for everything -- from peace & prosperity, to senseless murder and disaster. There was no "Devil" figure in their mythology. Freyr was the god of pleasure and childbirth -- which also meant he was the god of misery and miscarriage, because if you weren't happy, and your babies kept dying, that was because Freyr was denying you his "gifts" (which you can see above in the description of Thor -- he's the god of fair weather & crops, which also means he's the god of storms -- because if you don't have fair weather, that means Thor is denying it to you).

      So, anyway, it's sometimes difficult to explain some of these concepts to people who are unacquainted with the mythology. Because it requires a completely different way of thinking (i.e. it challenges our definitions of "good & evil").

  23. First, I'd like to commend you for all the effort you put into this. Personally, I find your theory very convincing, maybe some details need some ironing out (e.g. you could be wrong when it comes to some ASOIAF characters and their Ragnarok counterparts), but your grand analogy seems to fit pretty well, nonetheless.

    Secondly, I've got some ideas of my own as regards your theory. Is it possible that there is more to the fact that history seems to be repeating itself in cycles and the fact that there seem to be specific character archetypes in each generation or so? I'm talking about e.g. Aerys and Crow's Eye both being Odin. Could it be that each generation had the potential of ending in Ragnarok (i.e. CotF were working on their revenge for a long time), but only in this generation pieces somehow happened to fall right into place, and subsequent events were triggered by Jaime pushing Bran from the tower? That would, imo, require Bloodraven to somehow do that. Is there any hint of that in the books? Maybe Bran having a particular reason to climb that particular tower, planted in his mind by Bloodraven?

    Another idea is that GRRM is making an adaptation on the Norse mythology, but will once again subvert a popular trope, making Ragnarok end not in the way presented in the mythology, but rather with "gods" prevailing? After all, it seems to be a common theme in ASOIAF for vengeance leading vengeance-driven characters to their own demise.

    Last but not least, I think I've found some more connections between Norse mythology and ASOIAF. Excuse my extensive use of Wiki, but I am not otherwise versed in Norse myths...

    1) "The Jötnar are a mythological race that live in Jötunheimr, one of the nine worlds of Norse cosmology, separated from Midgard, the world of humans. They were banished there by the Æsir who refuse them entry to their world, Asgard." "When the giant Ymir subsequently was slain by Odin, Vili and Vé (the grandsons of Búri), his blood (i.e. water) deluged Niflheim and killed all of the jötnar, apart from one known as Bergelmir and his spouse, who then repopulated their kind."

    So, contrary to what I believe you said (that giants attacked gods pretty much unprovoked), CotF and such share a common motivation with jotnar. They were banished from land that was once theirs and were forbidden from entry. In case of AFOIAF Midgard and Asgard would both be Westeros south of the Wall, with humans and gods lived amongst one another but at the same time separately (due to the feudal structure of the society).

    I think this may be telling a forgotten story of why CotF ended up on the other side of the Wall. Like you said, the conflict/invasion of Others did not go quite as it's currently depicted.

    What all the characters from the jotnar camp have in common is the fact that they're all some sort of outcasts, who lost their former position because of the gods camp, with House Stark nearly completely destroyed and replaced by Boltons as the rulers of the North, Tyrion being practically disowned (Tywin refused to acknowledge him as the heir to Casterly Rock) and losing his position as King's Hand, and Victarion losing to the ungodly Crow's Eye at the kingsmoot.

  24. 2) "The giants frequently interact with the Æsir, as well as the Vanir. They are usually in opposition to, or in competition with, them but also interact with them in a non-hostile manner."

    That sounds awefully similar to how CotF interacted with the First Men - opposed them, there was contempt on both ends, but they also interacted with each other in a non-hostile way (CotF converting the First Men to their faith, teaching them some of their practices, possibly building the Wall together).

    3) "The Jötunn are an ancient race, being the first beings created, they carry wisdom from bygone times."

    That's also similar to CotF.

    4) "Many giants play greatly influence the natural world; they could even equate with gods of nature.[11] Odin and his brothers used Ýmir’s body to make the physical world. Hræsvelgr, a jötunn in the form of an eagle, flaps his wings to create the wind. The giantess Jörð, the mother of Thor, is the mother of animal and plant life and has fertility powers. Thor sees Gjálp, a giantess, straddling a river and urinating, raising the water level. Ægir is the sea personified in the shape of a giant. Also, summer, winter, night, the sun, and the moon all claim Jötnar heritage. In folklore, people have attributed violent weather and even land formations to giants. Stories tell that giants can move and create mountains, form lakes, move islands, and uproot trees."

    This sounds a lot like CotF, their connection with nature and how they were able to reshape landmasses with their magic.

    5) Could the Æsir–Vanir War have its analogy in either the Andal invasion or Robert's Rebellion?

    I also think that calling them "titans" rather than "giants" is more suitable. They share some resemblance to Ancient Greek titans, imo, who were also conflicted with gods, and for similar reasons, too.

    1. Thanks, glad you like you like the blog. Of course, my theory isn't 100% fool-proof (just consider how many characters there are -- it really is like a jigsaw puzzle), but I'd like to think I'm on the right path.

      Those are all very good points you make. And I pretty much agree with you on all of them.

      But, I should clarify, I believe I said the jötnar were "largely" unprovoked... and perhaps I should've been a little more clear about that, but I was thinking more along the lines of Loki's children rather than the ice & fire jötnar (perhaps I made a mistake in my comment?). Fenrir/Jormungand/Hel's conflict with the gods seems to have been a self-fulfilling prophecy -- i.e. the gods were told Loki's children would attack them, so they then proceeded to give Loki's children reason to attack them, by binding and exiling them. But yes, the gods & giants had a rather complex relationship. And, in addition to the reasons you've mentioned, there are quite a few stories about the gods breaking oaths that they made to jötnar -- like the story of the Rime-Giant hired to build the walls of Asgard (i.e. the gods ended up killing him rather than paying him). So, I suppose I should've said that Loki's children & the jötnar do in fact have reasons for attacking the gods, but those reasons aren't quite as clear as they are in ASOIAF.

      To your specific points.

      1) Bingo. And I'd throw Daenerys in there as well. She was an exiled-orphan who powerful men wanted dead. So, she wasn't exactly welcomed into the world with open arms (i.e. "Stormborn"). Not to mention, Melisandre (i.e. she was a slave before the LoL "raised her up"), and the red priests in general, who are all slaves/outcasts (throw the Faceless Men in there as well, who started out as slaves in the volcanic mines of Valyria). So, yes, the "outcast" seems to be a common theme in ASOIAF (Cripples, Bastards & Broken Things -- i.e. "monsters").

      2) Another good point. Even though, I should add, it sounds like the CotF only interacted with First Men, whereas the Andals were never converted, but there was obviously a fairly large cultural exchange that must've occurred with the First Men, given what we know about wargs & weirwoods, and messenger ravens, etc.

      3 & 4) More good points. And, what's more is the jötnar themselves were elemental. The first jötnar, Ymir, was actually born of the mixing of ice & fire. And given what we know about the CotF's relationship to nature (i.e. how they can manipulate the elements and go "deep into the earth"), it seems fairly likely that they were also created in a similar fashion.

      5) I would say so, and since history repeats in cycles, it's likely an analogy to both (and maybe even the War of the Five Kings as well). Definitely Robert's Rebellion, though. In my mind, Robert & Ned are akin to Hœnir and Mimir respectively. And Theon is Njördr, and Jojen is Kvasir, etc. So, I'm pretty sure GRRM combined the Æsir/Vanir War with the stories of civil war preceding Ragnarök, which is pretty clever, if you ask me.

      And finally, I agree yet again. The term "giant" is a bit misleading. Because, in the earliest times, size didn't necessarily define them (granted, it did for some of them, like Ymir -- the first jötunn -- from which the world was created, but that wasn't always the case). So, I think that term alone throws a lot of people off, because they're looking for giant-giants, rather than elemental "jötnar". If you're not hep to the mythology, Mag the Mighty probably seems more like a "jötunn" than the CotF.

    2. Come to think of it, the reason why CotF ended up on the wrong side of the Wall could mirror the story of building the great wall in Asgard, i.e. CotF offered to help the First Men to build the Wall, but for a great price (possibly human sacrifice?). Had CotF not managed to finish the Wall before next winter, the First Men would have no obligation to pay that horrible price, though. Seeing as CotF were about to finish their job in time, the First Men got rid of them, and CotF ended up on the other side of the Wall.

  25. Hi Dorian,

    Hi Dorian,

    I've been re-reading GoT and came across something that may or may not provide some textual evidence for your assertion that the Starks may be unwittingly involved with blood magic.

    In Daenaerys' chapters, when Khal Drogo is dying and Dany asks Mirri Maz Duur to perform her magic to keep him alive, something interesting happens. When Dany is outside the tent and the shadows appear with Mirri, one of them is a wolf.

    "She glimpsed the shadow of a great wolf, and another like a man wreathed in flames." (p 717, US paperback)

    I don't know what that means, if anything, but I haven't seen any mention of it here and just thought I'd point it out.

    IMO the man wreathed in flames is Stannis. Another interpretation is that the burning man is Othor and the wolf is Ghost.

  26. Greetings, you brilliant genius, you!

    I'm just blown away ever since I've started to read your blog. And sometimes I ask myself, what surprises me more: George R.R. Martin, having in mind such a huge, twisting story, or you, Dorian, having found out about the intrigue so damn soon. [Btw: Has Ol'George already heard about this blog? I bet he'll be flipping tables, when he finds out!)

    Anyway, I wanted to ask - what weapon do men have, speaking of the greater, historic struggle between magic and men?

    I mean, we have dragons ("fire made flesh" - equivalent to a nuclear weapon), the Others (something like 'ice' made flesh, who seem to bring something of an ice age over the realms of men), the armies of the undead whights (making every fallen soldier on the side of men to a new horror - zombie apocalypse!), the Children of the Forest (with greenseers and their bloodmagical power of 'elemental hammers', i.e. Dorne, Valyria), the red priests (with their magic to return life and heal through fire - Berric, Victarion, etc.), the faceless men (best assassins ever heard of), the wargs of the North (making nature itself to spies and enemies), not speaking of Dany with her Unsullied on the 'wrong' side of the field.

    On the other hand, we have men. Men being legion (the reason they once won against the CotF) but far from united. The seven kingdoms falling into pieces (maybe someday reunited by "Tommen, the blessed"? - but when will that be?), Essos too divided by means of slavery (Dany didn't succeeded in solving that problem), with the Dothraki living their life as ever, riding around and not giving a flying shit about the "khal" on the "chair of steel" in his "tent of stone", and Asshai with apparantly nothing but warlocks and wizards (making them 'enemies'). I forgot the Summerislands, with their sex-goddess, but they don't care about anything either.

    So: The chessboard seems to be in a disequilibrium.

    I liked your theory very much, with Jaime as Azor Ahai. But what can he do? Besides, Tyr dies in killing Garmr. How is he supposed to do that? How are men ever supposed to stand a chance?
    Is there a possibility, that Tommen becoms the greatest king ever? Or will he just be the last king?

    Remeber: Bran - in the first chapters of A Game of Thrones - threw Tommen into the dirt, when they fought with sticks. Speaking of foreshadowing...

    I hope you'll enlighten me once more and, in any case, I'd like to thank you very much, for sharing your knowledge with the world!


    1. Hey thanks, that's really nice of you to say. I appreciate it. But I imagine GRRM reading this and thinking to himself, "Isn't that cute. He thinks he knows what's going to happen".

      TWoW is released -- Chapter 1: Jaime dies. Chapter 2: Bran dies.


      But in all seriousness, these are excellent questions you raise. And I'm not entirely sure how it will resolve itself, but keep in mind, humanity is pretty much wiped out during Ragnarök. Only 2 people and a handful of gods survive (and presumably Surtr as well).

      But, the question is, how will they even stand a chance? Because, it sure sounds like the "Monsters" are going to run roughshod over humanity. And that could be the case. I wouldn't put it past GRRM to turn Ragnarök on its head, and make it a victory for monster-kind (it would also mirror the conflict that is central to the story -- Jaime won rd. 1 with Bran, when he pushed him out the window. But Bran will get his revenge in the end).

      Then again, it would seem awfully strange to me to keep so much of the Ragnarök mythology in tact, only to change the ending. So I'm assuming, humans will level the playing field by doing the following:

      1) Kill the holder of the Dragon Horn & the Horn of Winter. Because, if the horns bind Dragons & Others, killing the horn holders will send their ranks into chaos. The dragons will fly away, and the White Walkers will go back to their haunts in the far north.

      2) Samwell "the Slayer" (aka Heimdall) kills Bloodraven (aka Loki). I imagine him discovering all of BR's secrets and chopping down his weirwood tree. He already knows how to defend himself against the Others, and presumably wights as well. And, if the White Walkers are bound to BR, rather than Jon Snow, that could be what throws them into disarray. But even if they're not, I'd imagine their ranks will crumble without the "Last Greenseer" to coordinate them all.

      3) The Maesters & technology. Even though it took rather underhanded tactics, and a number of years to accomplish, the Maesters had ridded the world of magic & dragons once before. So, I imagine Samwell's chapters will reveal an "army of Maesters" that is working behind the scenes to combat dragons/magic. How exactly that will work, I'm not sure. But I'd imagine GRRM has something up his sleeve.

      4) If we look to the legend of Sigurd, he killed a dragon by hiding in a ditch. That may seem mundane, but another commenter pointed out that the bowels of Casterly Rock are perfectly set up for Sigurd vs. Fafnir showdown. The big question is whether an ASOIAF dragon can even be killed in such a fashion (since they are elemental fire creatures, whose skin is hot to the touch). It could be that Jaime's/Tommen's/Brienne's sword "Ice" is the key (which I imagine is Lightbringer "on ice" -- i.e. what they called Lightbringer when the light went out -- Ice). Stab a dragon with "Ice" and it dies.


    2. cont...

      But, in any case, I think knowledge is the key. The faster they uncover "Loki", "blood magic" and the "binding horns", the quicker they can act to defeat them. Because that's the thing. They all have weaknesses -- BR, the Others, the Dragons, the Children of the Forest, etc. The key will be discovering what those weaknesses are (i.e. chopping down weirwoods kills greenseers. Killing horn-holders destroys the bonds between the dragons and Others. Killing a warg's animal pretty much destroys the warg's mind, etc..).

      At least, that's my interpretation of events.

      And mind you, if this theory is in fact true, we still need more of the story to develop in order to see exactly what's going to go down. But I'd imagine Samwell's chapters in the coming books will shed a lot of light on that (i.e. about who & what Bloodraven is, and the greenseers, and the Others, and the red priests, etc..). I could be wrong, of course, so take it with a grain of salt.

      But thanks again for your comment. Hope that answers at least some of your questions.

    3. I find the idea of 100% of the magic being on one side to be compelling as a theme for a final battle. The ultimate vindication of Varys' prejudice, and a very different flavor from what we're used to with Fantasy. It would not be the usual fare of good magic vs. bad magic, it would be Humans vs. The Magic Weilder As Alien, an ultimate kind of fantasy xenophobia, very much in line with Norse myth, where magic is almost always a force of the non-human. I don't think we've ever seen anything quite like that, and find the idea of humans throwing nothing but superior numbers and mediaeval siege weaponry against the beautiful and carnival forces of sorcery and elemental monstrosity in a genocidal war of M.A.D. to be pretty compelling, particularly because I think a lot of viewers would feel very unsure about who the good guys are, and sad regardless because everyone awesome on both sides is dying.

      Bring on Dorians Ragnarok, I say.

    4. @Dorian, the prodigy: Thank you very much, you've proven yourself as helpful and surprising as always, coming up with the Citadel, a detail I've been neglecting all the time. I like the idea, and I like how it gives some (foreshadowing) sense to those bizarre chapters in Oldtown. Anyway: I agree with you, that knowledge should be the key!

      I also would like to thank redzengenoist, for the input. It makes 'Asoiaf' indeed to a absolutely different kind of fantasy and it'll collide in some ways with the understanding/expectation of the readers. For Aliens (unnatural forces) have always been the enemy against which ALL humanity came together, united in fear. And G.R.R.Martin (blessed may he be, the damned genius!) makes us sympatize since the very beginning of the story with the 'wrong' side. But I expect things to turn in the viewpoint, just as they have it has turned around Jaime (incest-murder to saviour is a drastic change, after all).

      I also expect that, with the fading of all magic from the world, things will return(?) or come to a equilibrium. Maybe it was the remaining force of the past, the magic of the Children of the forest, that made the seasons so long and unpredictable - and hard for men. Maybe there will be a 'normal' world, after the great real war; in some way the world after Ragnarök?

      Well, Dorian, keep doing your thing, stay thirsty for more and let us know, whatever you may find out!


  27. Baldr=Tommen, then it fits.

  28. It seems to me that this series is indeed a riddle, or a "mystery" novel not unlike Harry Potter in the way that the text, while seeming to be filled with a multitude of seemingly inane details which must be pieced together by the reader. I have to admit that until I read your blog I was starting to wonder whether this novel was rather more like The Wheel of Time; a long, drawn out series where a bunch of stuff happens. But no, it is a riddle, and I believe you have pretty much solved it.

    The Lord of Light and his followers are the key. I was uncertain of Milisandre, going back and forth trying to understand whether she was the savior of humanity of just a very evil puppet master. She is so quick to burn people and yet her ends seemed to be to very good, helping Stannis restore order and protect the realm from the north. Comparing her to Thoros of Myr gave me a headache; here was a follower of the same God who appeared to be operating on a more Up and up level. Either way, it was clear that the two were wielding real power that could effect the real, mundane world in powerful ways.

    Bringing back the dead in the case of Belric and Catelyn really makes sense if you see it as the same thing as raising Wights. Once I read you blog it all clicked into place. Undead zombie soldiers and undead main characters are really the same thing. We are lead to believe that the Others control the zombies and the Lord of Light reincarnates holy warriors, but it is clear to me that it is all the same thing.

    In my house we all assumed it would end with Dany + Dragons + all the wayward POV characters VS Others and Zombies in a Battle to save the world. Dany + Dragons + all the wayward POV characters + Others and Zombies VS all the rest of Humanity is such a great left turn ending, clearly and cleverly foreshadowed throughout the novels.


  29. Great analysis and insight! I'm curious what you think about Young Griff / Aegon. You haven't identified him as a mythological character. Does that mean you think he's unimportant to Ragnarok, and a fake?

    1. Good question. Granted, I'm not entirely sure what to make of Young Griff, but I think it's possible he's the "real deal" (in the sense he's really Rhaegar's son... not that he's "Azor Ahai").

      But consider, Dany refers to him as the "mummer's dragon", which many have taken to mean he's a fake. But that could be referring to Varys (i.e. Varys performed as a traveling actor -- a mummer -- when he was a child, making Aegon the "mummer's" or Varys' dragon).

      And, there are two poems in the Poetic Edda I've loosely related to Rhaegar that could be of possible interest: "Helgakvitha Hjörvarthssonar" and "Helgakvitha Hundingsbana I" that mention a hero called Helgi.

      Helgi was a king who had children with different women and made a vow to possess the most beautiful woman in the world -- Sváfa. He does eventually marry her, but she must remain in the castle while he's out fighting. And his death comes about after he's cursed by a "troll woman riding a wolf" and killed in a duel.

      And, if Varys "the Spider" is the Norn (i.e. the weaver of fate), this fragment of Helgakvitha Hundingsbana could be in reference to Varys' interactions with Rhaegar/Aegon:

      In olden days, when eagles screamed
      And holy streams from heaven's crags fell,
      Was Helgi then, the hero-hearted,
      Borghild's son, in Bralund born.

      'Twas night in the dwelling, and the Norns there came,
      Who shaped the life of the lofty one;
      They bade him most famed of fighters all
      And best of princes ever to be.

      Mightily they wove the web of fate,
      While Bralund's towns were trembling all;
      And there the golden threads they wove
      And in the moon's hall fast they made them.

      East and west the ends they hid,
      In the middle the prince should have his land;
      And Neri's kinswoman northward cast
      A chain, and bade it firm ever to be.

      Granted, this is referring to Helgi, rather than Helgi's son, but it could be that Varys came in the night to rescue Aegon while King's Landing was "trembling", and then hid him in the East, while training him in sword craft and princely etiquette. All the while casting Dany -- Aegon's rival -- into the Dothraki Sea (much the same as Odin casts Jormungandr into the sea).

      So, if Young Griff does turn out to be the real deal, that's probably what I'd relate it to. But it is a fairly obscure passage from the Edda, so I might be reaching here. However, if Varys really is the "Spider" (i.e. the Norn -- the weaver of fate), I'd say it's fairly likely Young Griff really is who he says he is. And, I'm fairly certain the Golden Company of Griffin's Roost represents Gollinkambi, the Golden Rooster of Ragnarök. But what that means for Aegon's future, I can't say. I imagine he will capture Storm's End, so perhaps he will play a role in Stormborn's demise. We shall see.

    2. Wonderful blog!

      I would like to point to two mistakes you could have made in your post above.

      1. We don't know that Aegon is the mummer's dragon. Quaithe said the mummer's dragon would come to Dany but Aegon didn't. Here is a theory that the Tattered Prince is the mumer's dragon:

      2. Varya didn't realyy cast Dany in the see, imo he helped her ascending the thron, but she slipped out of his hands (Arya heard him talking to Ilyrio about a new Targ whom he was helping)

      Otherwise my only other doubts are about Tommen and the PTWP.

  30. Who in Ragnarok do you think Melisandre thinks is The Lord of Light's enemy, whose name can't be spoken?

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  32. One thing that bothers me about all of this: If your thearies are correct, why would Milisandra burn down Weirwood trees?

    1. Well, because she's still under the impression that she worships the Lord of Light. And the weirwood trees are objects of worship for a heretic religion.

      She can't know the true will of her "god", only her interpretation thereof.

  33. Any chance for a new post in the near future? I find this blog so enlightening.

  34. imo, Osha is Morrigan:

    with emphasis on this section:
    From Game of Thrones Wiki:
    Osha then explains to them the reason she fled south of the Wall. She once had a husband named Bruni, a good man who loved her. One day he disappeared, and everyone said he'd simply left her, but she knew him better than that. One night he did return to their hut - as an undead wight, with skin pale as a dead man's and his eyes bluer than clear sky. Brune began to strangle her to death. Somehow she managed to get hold of a knife, and rammed it deep into his heart, but he didn't even seem to notice. Osha ultimately managed to get away by burning down their hut with Brune inside it. She didn't ask the gods for that, she says, but their message was clear: north of the Wall is no place for living men to be anymore.

    as compared to Morrigan:
    From Pantheon:
    The Morrigan and Cu Chulainn
    She appeared to the hero Cu Chulainn (son of the god Lugh) and offered her love to him. When he failed to recognize her and rejected her, she told him that she would hinder him when he was in battle. When Cu Chulainn was eventually killed, she settled on his shoulder in the form of a crow. Cu's misfortune was that he never recognized the feminine power of sovereignty that she offered to him.


  35. Are there going to be more entries? Your ideas are interesting, I'm interested in hearing more about Dany, as I haven't seen anything 'solid' yet.

  36. I'm wondering if Bloodraven would try to get an undead Jon on the Iron Throne, and how that might impact the outcome of the story vis a vis Jaime, Bran and Tommen. Bloodraven would probably know if Jon is a Targaryen and if Rhaegar married Lyanna to make Jon a legitimate Prince. Bloodraven could lead Jon to claim that Aegon's a fraud and set up a fight between Jon on the one side and Aegon on the other. Dany could end up on either side of that fight.

    1. I was thinking that is very possible since Jon likely jumped into Ghost after he was stabbed. If Mel attempts to bring him back, she could be opening the gates for a BR warging.

  37. Interested in how that would affect Tyrion, too.

  38. Whoa! i did saw a striking amount of signs indicating Jaime and Bran as Tyr and Fenrir. Just couldn't link the others properly within the mithology.
    And i believe you really DID it. Even Sansa doesn't look so off now... Also, what you describe would put Jaime in the "Gods' side", and the Starks something like "the bringers of Doom", and idea still very disturbing to me... But, i'm aware Martin is pretty much the "Plot Twister" so...
    Congrats!!! excelent article!

  39. Any chance of a new post, Dorian? I seem to remember you mentioning that you were planning on writing a post about the maesters. Are you still working on that? Give us an update sometime!

  40. Modi and Magni = Edric and Gendry?

  41. These posts are fantastic, I can't wait for the next book now, if only to see if these theories get more or less support.

    Incidently, have you considered making these into videos, maybe in the style of these:

    Less dramatic of course but I couldn't help but get the same sense of narrative from these posts as I did from the videos. It would deffinitely give you a lot more exposure!

  42. Any thoughts on Jaqen H'gar's role w/in the Ragnarok framework? Simply a tool of Loki/Bloodraven or can a more significant connection be found?

  43. Wait.. you're saying Ghost will die now that Jon is dead because Jon wasn't close enough to him to warg into him upon death, and Robb couldn't warg into Grey Wind because he was locked up in another part of the castle, yet you think Arya will be able to warg into Nymeria from another continent if/when she dies?

    1. If you read it carefully. The author said that Arya will die while she's asleep and having a 'wolf dream'. She's already in Nymeria's body when she was killed, she was not even aware she is going to be killed.

  44. Here's a stretch.... (and I HATE 'we will see benjen again' theories, cuz I think he's dead buuuut....) could Benjen be Garmr?
    GRRM said we'd see him again.
    We HAVEN'T seen him since AGoT (the beginnings of ragnarok).
    He was a true guardian of Hels Gate (the wall) and first ranger (best of hounds/wolves)
    He could be somehow being bound by death/others/CF/loki in Bran's cave or a similar cave (the only way to really survive beyond the wall for so long)
    Also i just find it tricky figuring out how Rickon would beat Jaime... albeit a boy who can warg vs a knight w.o a hand might be easier than I want to believe.

    again, it's a stretch...

  45. "Robb was unable to warg into Grey Wind when he was killed"........Now I maybe wrong but in the book, didn't Robb get his second life inside Grey Wind, before the Freys killed Grey Wind?? Also, although I don't disagree with ALL that your saying, I think you're trying really really hard to connect George's story to a story already told.....why would George just be re-writing another story??

    I enjoy this blog though, like most fans, I'm just looking for interesting stuff to read until WoW hits the shelf

  46. Hmm interesting ideas Dorian. Are you going to be making new posts?

  47. They are totally setting Jamie up to be the "hero" of the entire story arch. In S4E1 Joffrey is teasing him about what great deeds will a 40 year old one-handed knight have left to accomplish. Seeing what the producers choose to put in the show says a lot about what GRRM thinks is important.

    1. This is something I had been considering as I watch the show. Knowing that Martin has shared the ASOIAF endgame with the show producers, you can watch the show and try to glean from it which plot aspects are sacred, which are not, and how divergent story elements might point to a singular story arc progression (like Jamie, or possibly Sandor Clegane).

  48. I enjoyed this blog very much and it blew my mind with all the connections that have been made;))
    But, I (as most of the readers) have a soft spot for the Starks, so my question is: do you think Martin will stay true to the events of Ragnarok (the Giants=the Bad guys fighting and ultimately defeating the Mankind=the Heroes, the Good guys) but the readers will find themselves rooting for the Bad guys in the end???
    I mean, Martin has lead us to sympathise and care for most of the Bad guys characters throughout the books, altough they have clearly made awful things (a 12year old girl full of hatred kills people, Jon takes away woman's baby from her and makes her to take care of another child while pretending it's hers, Tyrion kills his father etc...) but in our minds we've always found the way of justyfying their deeds?
    I think it's all about perspective and we're following the story arc from the Bad guys POV making them the Good guys from where we stand ;)

  49. Does this whole theory get thrown out the window after last night's Game of Thrones episode (Oathkeeper)? Semi-Spoiler: the White Walkers are apparently sentient and have their own city with a king. One of the keys to this theory is that the White Walkers are semi-mindless like dragons, and can be manipulated by beings of higher intelligence. If this isn't the case, and they have their own ambitions and plans, this would seem to throw the ball back in the court of them being the ultimate big bad.

  50. I'm sure GRRM is bored with "the ultimate Big Bad". The Others do seem as sentient as the Dragons. What is important to note is the role of magic and binding these beings with their respective Horns or whatnot.

  51. I found this on this website, watched it and its freaking awesome! I thought I should share it with here as well, it's shame that it was banned from TV! Best episode so far!

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  52. Hey, nice blog ! I don't agree with all your theories though.
    When I read this one, it made me wonder : what if Arya's death happened in a metaphorical way ?
    She seems to be losing her humanity (she may be influenced by Nymeria if warging works in both ways) throughout the story so what if her becoming a FM marked the end of this process ? If she loses all of her humanity, isn't it a sort of death ?

  53. Mistletoe is a poison, Joff dies of poison...

  54. A great read and mind-stretching! Your blog is fun and made me look into Norse mythology for the first time!

    Please forgive me for playing around with the jigsaw-puzzle myself now - the temptation is just irresistible.

    One thing I couldn't help thinking was that Melisandre as Hel feels a little forced. Melisandre is fire-obsessed, not death-obsessed to start with. She doesn't seem to care for death - or for the dead - at all really, except as the occasional sacrifice of preferrably 'kingly' blood.
    But even then death seems to be purely a means to an end for her, nothing that in and of itself holds any interest for her and even then the sacrifice really is fire-centric, not death-centric.

    That Melisandre has a dual personality and that one of those marries Surtr is pure speculation. So far Melisandre hasn't shown any secondary ID and her and Jon marrying, even in a metaphysical sense, seems a little forced.

    On the other hand ASOIAF does have a character who fits the description of death goddess really well: Arya.

    Arya is death-obsessed. Arya lives in a kind of underworld even, behind a magical (weirwood) door, a place to which people come to die. Arya then goes even further: She actually cares for the dead, the dead bodies, the belongings etc.
    Also Arya fulfills the other role of a death goddess: She not only takes the dead in, she also deals out death. Her murder list is a central part of her being.

    Arya ('Arya' rather) also fulfills the requirement of being married. And she has a secondary ID. In fact she has a surfeit of secondary IDs but the one I am thinking of here specifically is Jeyne/Arya. A whole other role in which she is married to Ramsay Snow.

    Now if Arya were Hel then Arya's wolf would be - Hel's dog. Garmr. Another piece of the puzzle that kind of then seems to fit into the picture practically on its own.

    That of course would open up a whole lot more avenues (or should I say: can of worms?) to what could be happening. With Garmr supposedly killing Tyr, with Surtr - as Hel's husband - then being Ramsay, not Jon and so on.

    Probably all wrong but a lot of fun to think through.


  55. I love your theory! Even if not true, bravo! Bravo! I recently wrote up a theory for how Jon becomes evil, similar to your ideas but expanded. It has some speculation, but I back it up as much as is textually possible.

  56. In support of Robb being Skoll, couldn't his capture of Jamie during the battle of the five kings be is capturing the sun? From Brans vision: One shadow was as dark as ash, with the terrible face of a hound. Another was armored like the sun, golden and beautiful.

    ie Jamie represents the sun.

    No one ever becomes both his animal he wargs with and retains their origional identity from what I can examples from real life or in some kind of vision/foreshadowing. Also, those who are resurrected don't become like the mountain/Robert Strong, that was all qyburn's work. they're not quite the same but not completely different. I haven't read the books close enough to know if I am accurate in this, or any of the outside material like the dunk and egg stories. So I may be off on the last part.

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  58. Great work and great article.. But I want to add a few points... Loki is the main 'Trickster" or mastermind for Ragnarök has been happening..
    So he is using others to fulfill his motives.. So here Bran is being used by Bloodraven... And Bloodraven? By Children of forests, i.e. Loki..
    Who is Loki? He is the weakest and shorter among all of God and Giants-so are the Childrens compared to Men.. He can't fight against god and giant.. So he has to set a war between God and giants so that he can achieve what he want to achieve- here Children are doing so by making Mankind go for a war against the others..
    Also, I think, not only one person or persona represents one God or Giant.. They, are, like distributed to complete each other as a story of one God..
    Eg- Children of Forests and Petyr Beilesh both represents Loki, ­ Danaerys Targaryen and Bloodraven -Jormungandr, Odin by Bloodraven and Aegon...
    so what do you think?

  59. Hi Dorian,

    This might be too much to ask for but can you do a detailed write up of how you think the series ends???


  61. I haven't read all the comments, but I just found this blog and noticed a few things (besides being blown away and fascinated by the idea). The CoF definitely aren't buddy buddy with the Others because the dead do try to stop coldhands from delivering Bran to Bloodraven. So maybe they fight each other if one gets onto the other's turf.

    Now we know Stannis is dead, or really close to dead and loses.

    Rickon is super young in the show still. Is his power in the direwolf? So how does that play on the show, Jon, Rickon and Arya characters really just become wolves? Super cool idea but hard to portray.

    Didn't Bran the Builder build the wall? If so, why would the humans that were winning the war build a wall to keep them out? Why would the CoF agree to help with their magic?

    Does the show putting Sansa in Winterfell change things for you? Or do you think the TV show is going to cut some of the mythology for expediency while GRRM tries to toss in a few clues to help along?

    super cool ideas. I can't begin to imagine watching Dany and unJon go to war with Jaime. In a funny way, I kind of think the shaming walk in the series finale for Cersei made me think the Lannisters are purposefully being redeemed. We go from visceral hatred for them to slowly liking them more and more.

  62. Sorry, where I was going with Jon and the others being the wolves is how then do they have power over the dragons? If Jon is split into unJon and Ghost with Jon's soul, he would seemingly lose his ability to relate to dany and work with the dragons, unless his 'soul' can somehow be identified and jump back and forth between Ghost and a dragon, right?

  63. I think there are more arguments for at least Bran and Arya being on Odin's side. Yggdrasil has 3 roots. One ends in Niflheim (the mist world of 9 frozen rivers) and Hel being beneath that root. Hel, Loki's daughter, was thrown in Niflheim (aka into a frozen river) and is the ruler of these frozen riverlands, and Hel iswhere the dead live (those that do not go to Walhalla or Folkvangr). Catelyn's corpse is thrown into the Green Fork, and she ends up being the resurrected ruler of the Brotherhood, only half flesh colored. Hollow Hill is an underground cave with weirwood roots growing everywhere. And it's in the Riverlands that is turned into a winter wonderland by the end of DwD. So, LS is Hel the person, Hollow Hill is Hel the place, the Riverlands are Niflheim. No wonder Ser Beric and Catelyn could be resurrected. The dead dwell in the land of the dead anyway. BTW Braavos too has a connection to Niflheim: always misty and canals for rivers.

    The second root ends in the land of the frost giants, and there's a well of wisdom beneath it. It is this well where Odin sacrifices himself onto himself for 9 days, hanging from a tree with a spear in his body, to gain knowledge, wisdom (the runes). Bloodraven's cave beneath the weirwood tree and with the weirwood roots is in the always frozen world norht of the wall, where giants dwell and the Others (creatures of always winter). Odin has sacrificed one eye, is as much a trickster as Loki, using disguises and many names and faces to acquire knowledge and manipulate events, get artifacts etc for his side. While the well of wisdom may be in 'enemy country', Odin still goes there to learn the runes and sacrifices himself to the tree. That is exactly what we see Bloodraven do.

    And what many seem to forget is that aside from ravens, Odin has 2 wolves serving him: Geri and Freki (ravenous and greedy). Warg simply means 'wolf' and there are wolves serving Odin, or benevolent giants that help the Aesir on wolf mounts as well. So wargs and direwolves do not automatically only mean Fenrir and his sons. If Bloodraven is like Odin hanging from the tree to stare into the well of knowledge in the frost giant lands, then Bran is one of the two wolves by Odin's side.

    Who could be Odin's second wolf be? Imo that's Arya. The weasel soup chapter could have come straight out of a saga, what with kettles, and haggling and tricking a genie and such. What are Arya's powers in Harrenhall: she gets to choose who lives and who dies, she witnesses and manipulates events during a battle in favor of the wolves taking over Harrenhall, and she becomes a cupbearer to a warrior while there is no battle. Arya is a Valkyrie in that chapter, and Valkyries are Odin's helpers. The choose who lives and who dies in battle, they can manipulate the battle to have one side win over the other, and when there's no battle they serve the warriors in Walhalla as cupbearers.

    As I mentioned: Odin is the god of many names and disguises (aka faces). Jaqen reveals himself to have been in disguise, wearing another face, just before he leaves. Odin sometimes reveals he's actually Odin instead of his disguise. Jaqen is a faceless man 'serving' the Many Faced God with Many Names. The god that the FM serve thus is Odin. They are his norns (fates) and valkyries. So, we have the FM serving Odin, and Arya as a Valkyrie and Valkyries are Odin's servants as well. Note too, how Arya functions as a cupbearer again whenever she's not out spying or preparing a hit in Braavos. This makes Arya the second wolf by Odin's side.

  64. The third root ends in either the land of men or Aesir and the well at the third root is the well of man's law and justice. We find that well and root at Winterfell where people used to be executed at the weirwood tree and Eddard still cleans Ice after dispensing justice. Beneath Winterfell we find dead kings with swords, as if kept at readiness to do battle, much like the slain warriors at Walhalla prepare for Ragnarok.

    Jon fits Baldr more than Joffrey does. Yes, Joffrey had his mother weep for him, but she's the only one. Nobody else weeps for Joffrey, not the people, not the readers. And nobody certainly hopes for Joffrey to be resurrected and released by Hel to return to the living. But almost every reader would hope Jon gets to live instead of dying prematurely. Unfortunately he has no mother, but every reader would weep for his death and beg for him to return. Also Drogo fit the Baldr motif as well, with Dany wanting him to be resurrected and like Nanna she joins him in his funeral pyre.

    Surtr is a fire giant, the black fire giant, coming from the South. This could be unJon as Azor Ahai (but Jon has Fire and Ice coming together in him, which means steam and the survival of Westeros after Ragnarok), could be black haired Stannis marching for the Twins and destroy the crossing and Walder Frey (but he's a false Azor Ahai), or it could be Drogon bringing with him fire and blood, the mount to dread.

  65. Here's a wild theory: No posts have been made on this blog for two years because HBO started paying Dorian the Historian a bunch of hush money.

    1. You have me thinking the same thing. Come on now, Dorian, it's about time you posted something further! I can only reread your blog and the comments so many times.

  66. Nice article in Esquire Magazine about your theory Dorian. ta

  67. While reading some of the comments, I just had a thought...not sure if there's any support in ASOFAI or Norse mythology but what if when Jon dies, he wargs into ghost and Bloodraven enters Jon's body. He wouldn't want to just enter anyone and maybe he'd need their soul/consciousness outta there to do it. Maybe he'd be able to influence events more easily in human form,

  68. I'm not sure Rhaegar had mistakenly named Jon Aegon in the House of the Undying prophecy. I think Aegon is Jons true name and Ned changed it for obvious reasons. BTW I just found your page and it is very interesting! Thanks!

  69. Hi fellas,
    Thank you so much for this wonderful article really!
    If someone want to read more about that norse mythology I think this is the right place for you!

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