Fri
Jun 15 2012 2:00pm
A Read of Ice and Fire: A Clash of Kings, Part 23

Welcome back to A Read of Ice and Fire! Please join me as I read and react, for the very first time, to George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.

Today’s entry is Part 22 of A Clash of Kings, in which we cover Chapter 48 (“Daenerys”).

Previous entries are located in the Index. The only spoilers in the post itself will be for the actual chapters covered and for the chapters previous to them. As for the comments, The Powers That Be at Tor.com have very kindly set up a forum thread for spoilery comments. Any spoileriffic discussion should go there, where I won’t see it. Non-spoiler comments go below, in the comments to the post itself.

And now, the post!

Chapter 48: Daenerys

What Happens
Daenerys is surprised to find that the House of the Undying Ones looks like a ruin from the outside. Daxos, Jorah, and her bloodriders all plead with her again not to go, or at least not to go alone, but Dany is resolute. Pyat Pree appears and leads her into the grounds, and explains the rules: when she is presented with a choice of doors, always take the one to her right, and where there are stairs, climb up, never down. He warns her she will see many things through the other doors, but she must not enter any room except the audience chamber, where he advises her to be patient and “write each word upon [her] heart.” She is given a glass of “shade of the evening” to drink before entering.

Dany enters and follows Pree’s directions for several chambers, disturbed by the sounds she hears coming from behind the other doors. Then she sees some are open, and sees terrible and disturbing sights within the rooms: a woman being raped and eaten by tiny men, a dead man with a wolf’s head and an iron crown presiding over a feast attended by slaughtered corpses. Then she sees a room she knows, from the house she’d lived in in Braavos. Her old guardian Ser Willem appears and entreats her to come to him, but she remembers the dear old man is long dead, and flees.

She comes to another huge pair of bronze doors, which open to reveal a hall lined with dragon skulls. An old man sits on a barbed throne and says to another man, “Let him be king over charred bones and cooked meat. Let him be the king of ashes.” At another door she sees a man who reminds her of Viserys:

“Aegon,” he said to a woman nursing a newborn babe in a great wooden bed. “What better name for a king?”

“Will you make a song for him?” the woman asked.

“He has a song,” the man replied. “He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire.” He looked up when he said it and his eyes met Dany’s, and it seemed as if he saw her standing there beyond the door. “There must be one more,” he said, though whether he was speaking to her or the woman in the bed she could not say. “The dragon has three heads.”

Dany keeps walking, but cannot find another right-hand door, and she is filled with fear until she realizes that the last door on the left is also the first door on the right. She goes through and finds Pyat Pree on the other side, who tells her she has taken a wrong turn, but she ignores him and goes for the door on the right, and he crumbles away. She climbs a very long flight of stairs and finds a beautiful yet frightening door on her right; inside are a group of beautiful men and women, who tell her they are the Undying and invite her in with promises of knowledge and magic weapons to aid her. But Drogon begins chewing at the door, and Dany moves it to find another plain door hidden behind and to the right, and goes through that one instead.

Inside she finds a stone table with a rotted-looking human heart floating above it, and shadowy figures surrounding it who look withered and dead. Voices float out of the darkness, calling her “mother of dragons.” Dany asks them if the things she had seen through the other doors were real or not, and the voices whisper that they are “the shape of shadows” and “morrows not yet made.”

. . . mother of dragons . . . child of three . . .

‘Three?” She did not understand.

. . . three heads has the dragon . . . the ghost chorus yammered inside her skull with never a lip moving, never a breath stirring the still blue air. . . . mother of dragons . . . child of storm . . . The whispers became a swirling song. . . . three fires must you light . . . one for life and one for death and one to love . . . Her own heart was beating in unison to the one that floated before her, blue and corrupt . . . three mounts must you ride . . . one to bed and one to dread and one to love . . . The voices were growing louder, she realized, and it seemed her heart was slowing, and even her breath. . . . three treasons will you know . . . once for blood and once for gold and once for love . . .

She sees visions upon visions, and Dany is almost lost in them, but Drogon calls her back to herself and she realizes the Undying Ones are sucking the life out of her and beginning to bite at her. Drogon flies up and begins to rip apart the heart floating above the table, and then breathes fire upon it. The Undying shriek and burn, and Dany runs from the room as it catches on fire and escapes down a long passage until she finds a door leading outside. Pyat Pree is outside, and he howls and attacks her with a knife, but Jhogo and Rakharo and Jorah are there, and take the warlock down.

Commentary
Wow, that was… a lot. A lot of a lot. But I’m guessing it was pretty important, seeing as the name of the entire series was repeated at least twice. Which is great, and all, except for how I pretty much don’t understand a word of it.

Well, I can make guesses (as you’ll see), but I ain’t committing to the accuracy or wisdom of any of it. Probably it’ll all come back to bite me in the ass later, but hey, that’s why doing it this way is fun, right?

I know one thing for sure: the House of the Undying Ones makes your average haunted house tour look like an episode of Dora the Explorer. Yeesh. Though I guess they’ll have to rename the place now that Dany and her dragon removed that little “Un-” prefix, eh? You go, Drogon, learning how to breathe fire just in the nick of time!

And I guess I owe at least a little bit of an apology to Daxos, who apparently was totally not lying when he said that she shouldn’t trust the warlocks – although I still think he’s lying about other things. And also, he was wrong (or lying) about the part where they had nothing to give her.

I mean, yes, they also tried to eat her, but they did also give her lots and lots of really confusing probably-prophetic imagery to have nightmares about! So that’s… er.

Well, it’s not nothing. Technically.

As for the really confusing probably prophetic imagery itself… well. It was… really confusing, and probably prophetic? Yes, you’re welcome.

Okay fine. Um, lessee:

A tall lord with copper skin and silver-gold hair stood beneath the banner of a fiery stallion, a burning city behind him.

Um. Nope, no idea.

Rubies flew like drops of blood from the chest of a dying prince, and he sank to his knees in the water and with his last breath murmured a woman’s name.

Well, this is Rhaegar, right? And the woman’s name was Lyanna. Still don’t know exactly what went down with all that…

Glowing like sunset, a red sword was raised in the hand of a blue-eyed king who cast no shadow.

Stannis? He’s got a sort of flaming sword, and Melisandre having maybe stolen his shadow for magical assassin baby purposes, and all…

A cloth dragon swayed on poles amidst a cheering crowd.

*shrug*

From a smoking tower, a great stone beast took wing, breathing shadow fire.

Gargoyles! Okay, probably not.

A corpse stood at the prow of a ship, eyes bright in his dead face, grey lips smiling sadly.

Theon? I’m really just pulling this out of my ass at this point – Theon and the other pseudo-Vikings are the only characters I associate with ships at the moment.

A blue flower grew from a chink in a wall of ice, and filled the air with sweetness.

Well, who knows. It sounds hopeful, which is probably a pretty good sign that it isn’t.

Shadows whirled and danced inside a tent, boneless and terrible.

Renly’s murder, perhaps?

A little girl ran barefoot toward a big house with a red door.

Well, Dany said that her house in Braavos had a red door, so maybe this is just a memory.

Mirri Maz Duur shrieked in the flames, a dragon bursting from her brow.

That one’s pretty obvious.

Behind a silver horse the bloody corpse of a naked man bounced and dragged. A white lion ran through grass taller than a man. Beneath the Mother of Mountains, a line of naked crones crept from a great lake and knelt shivering before her, their grey heads bowed. Ten thousand slaves lifted bloodstained hands as she raced by on her silver, riding like the wind. “Mother!” they cried. “Mother, mother!

Yeah, I really have no idea on any of this. I’m assuming this is stuff that is at least symbolically going to happen in the future, so I’m probably not meant to get what it’s about at this point anyway.

…three fires must you light… one for life and one for death and one to love…

…three mounts must you ride… one to bed and one to dread and one to love…

three treasons will you know… once for blood and once for gold and once for love…

Well, so, this is all very vague and prophecy-ish, like you do, but if I had to guess I’d say Dany’s already dealt with at least one of each of these: fire for life is the birth of her dragons, the “mount to ride to bed,” heh, is Drogo, and the treason for blood is Viserys. And then the rest probably haven’t happened yet. But hey, I’m just guessing here.

It’s interesting that all three of them end with “love,” though.

I’m also raising my eyebrow a little at that one thing Dany saw with the king with the wolf’s head presiding over a feast of corpses, because naturally any time you invoke wolves in this series the immediate association is with the Starks. But I am laboring under the impression that the people in those rooms are probably folks who came into the House of the Undying and didn’t follow the rules and so got trapped in whatever room they were stupid enough to go into, and so I’m not entirely positive that that particular vision was relevant to the Starks in the real world.

Then again, the old guy talking about “Let him be the king of ashes” in what was obviously (in my opinion) the old throne room of the castle in King’s Landing seems likely to have been Dany’s father (Aeron? Dammit, I suck at names… no, Aerys! Right?), talking about Robert/Ned/Jaime coming in to sack the city, so maybe the room people are not actually just poor saps who got trapped in there, but all visions of either the future or the past.

If so, then the wolfs-head guy thing is… ominous, for the Starks, and particularly Robb, who’s the only Stark to have declared himself royalty recently. Because the Starks didn’t have enough crap rained down on their head already. Sheesh.

Then there is what is most likely the most important prophecy/foreshadowing of the bunch, which is the “child of three” and “three heads has the dragon” business.

And crap, I’m away from my book right now and can’t check the dramatis personae at the back (and I don’t dare search online, because that way certain spoilage lies), but Daenerys is the third of three siblings, right? Rhaegar, Viserys, and her. So, okay, but that seems… fairly obvious, and I don’t think there would have been such a point made of it if there weren’t more to that. Plus, I’m really confused about “Aegon” and where he comes in. Is Aegon the guy who ended up becoming a Black Brother on the Wall who Jon talked to, or is that another Aegon?

Gah. When I rule the world, I swear I’m going to make a rule where no one can have the same name, ever, fictionally or otherwise. We will just have to come up with five billion or so totally unique names, okay, because this is annoying AND I SAID SO. Right, glad we’ve cleared that problem up.

And it’s pretty frustrating, because if this Aegon is the guy who is The Song of Ice and Fire, as the visions seem to suggest, well, that seems like it would be pretty significant, and yet I can’t place this kid, or whether I even should be able to place him at this point.

I could clear this up with a three-second Google search, I know, but that would be cheating. And I figure, if I were just reading this like a normal person I would likely be just as confused (probably even more confused, honestly), so I think it behooves me to just let it ride. At some point down the line, hopefully, a lot of this will get a lot clearer.

And now I’ve got it all laid out in this post so that when other stuff happens I can refer back to it, and be embarrassed at how wrong/clueless I was. Yay?

Random notes—

“Shade of the evening”: Nightshade, no doubt of the strain that causes delirium. Heh. Yeah, I guess Dany did see some crazy shit in there, huh?

A “splendor of wizards”: Is that their official group name, like a murder of crows or a mischief of mice? Because that’s pretty awesome, if so. (Also, I am randomly amused that “a plague of locusts” is actually the official name for a group of locusts.)


And on that cheery note, we out! Have a marvelous weekend, y’all, and try not to snicker at my prognostications, and I’ll see you next time!

65 comments
OtherAndrew
1. OtherAndrew
Here I'll post the dramatis personae for you:

{PRINCESS ELIA MARTELL}, wed to Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, slain during the Sack of King’s Landing,
—Elia’s daughter, {PRINCESS RHAENYS}, a young girl murdered during the Sack of King’s Landing,
—Elia’s son, {PRINCE AEGON}, a babe, murdered during the Sack of King’s Landing,
Stefan Mitev
2. Bergmaniac
The guy Jon talked on the Wall was Aemon, not Aegon. Both Targaryens.
Steven Halter
3. stevenhalter
Here are the various prophecies that are mentioned. Going through them, some seem to make sense as visions of the past or future. I don't think we (or Dany) have enough info to make sense of most of it at this point. Here's what I get anyway:
"In one room, a beautiful woman sprawled naked on the floor while four little men crawled over her. They had rattish pointed faces and tiny pink hands, like the servitor who had brought her the glass of shade. One was pumping between her thighs. Another savaged her breasts, worrying at the nipples with his wet red mouth, tearing and chewing."
No idea what this one means. Doesn't seem good though.
"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. Severed hands clutched bloody cups, wooden spoons, roast fowl, heels of bread. In 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."
This one looks bad also. Wolves are associated with Starks and I think Robb's crown had iron. I don't know if this is foretelling some doom that is supposed to happen to Robb or if Robb is causing something very bad to happen or Bran maybe. Or something entirely different.
" I know this room, she thought. She remembered those great wooden beams and the carved animal faces that adorned them. And there outside the window, a lemon tree! The sight of it made her heart ache with longing. It is the house with the red door, the house in Braavos. "
This seems like a vision from her past designed to lure her off the path.
"Beyond loomed a cavernous stone hall, the largest she had ever seen. The skulls of dead dragons looked down from its walls. Upon a towering barbed throne sat an old man in rich robes, an old man with dark eyes and long silver-grey hair. “Let him be king over charred bones and cooked meat,” he said to a man below him. “Let him be the king of ashes.” "
Probably a past scene. The throne sounds like the Iron Throne.
"Viserys, was her first thought the next time she paused, but a second glance told her otherwise. The man had her brother’s hair, but he was taller, and his eyes were a dark indigo rather than lilac. “Aegon,” he said to a woman nursing a newborn babe in a great wooden bed. “What better name for a king?
“Will you make a song for him?” the woman asked.
He has a song,” the man replied. “He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire.” He looked up when he said it and his eyes met Dany’s, and it seemed as if he saw her standing there beyond the door. “There must be one more,” he said, though whether he was speaking to her or the woman in the bed she could not say. “The dragon has three heads.” He went to the window seat, picked up a harp, and ran his fingers lightly over its silvery strings. Sweet sadness filled the room as man and wife and babe faded like the morning mist, only the music lingering behind to speed her on her way."
Birth of one of the Aegon's. Maybe the first or the last?

The Pyat Pree vision is clearly a trick.

The first group of Undying ones seems to be a trick, but maybe that is what they once looked like?
" . . the shape of shadows . . . morrows not yet made . . . drink from the cup of ice . . . drink from the cup of fire . . .
. . . mother of dragons . . . child of three . . "
Confirms visions of the past and future. Seems clear that Dany is the mother of dragons. How she is the child of three is odd. Another ice and fire ref.
" . three heads has the dragon . . . the ghost chorus yammered inside her skull with never a lip moving, never a breath stirring the still blue air. . . . mother of dragons . . . child of storm . . . The whispers became a swirling song. . . . three fires must you light . . . one for life and one for death and one to love . . . Her own heart was beating in unison to the one that floated before her, blue and corrupt . . . three mounts must you ride . . . one to bed and one to dread and one to love . . . The voices were growing louder, she realized, and it seemed her heart was slowing, and even her breath. . . . three treasons will you know . . . once for blood and once for gold and once for love . . "
Lots of threes. Dany lit the fire that caused the dragons to hatch so that could be the fire of life. Drago seems like a "mount" she rode to bed. Mirri Maz Duur used the blood to betray her so, that could be the "blood treason".
"Viserys screamed as the molten gold ran down his cheeks and filled his mouth. A tall lord with copper skin and silver-gold hair stood beneath the banner of a fiery stallion, a burning city behind him. Rubies flew like drops of blood from the chest of a dying prince, and he sank to his knees in the water and with his last breath murmured a woman's name. . . . mother of dragons, daughter of death . . . Glowing like sunset, a red sword was raised in the hand of a blue-eyed king who cast no shadow. A cloth dragon swayed on poles amidst a cheering crowd. From a smoking tower, a great stone beast took wing, breathing shadow fire. . . . mother of dragons, slayer of lies . . . Her silver was trotting through the grass, to a darkling stream beneath a sea of stars. A corpse stood at the prow of a ship, eyes bright in his dead face, grey lips smiling sadly. A blue flower grew from a chink in a wall of ice, and filled the air with sweetness. . . . mother of dragons, bride of fire . . "
Viserys death is past. Don't know about the tall lord or the one being killed (I like Leigh's guess of Rhaegar--starting to wonder if maybe he isn't an evil rapist.). Stannis has his sword and his shadow is being used to assassinate people.
"A little girl ran barefoot toward a big house with a red door. Mirri Maz Duur shrieked in the flames, a dragon bursting from her brow. Behind a silver horse the bloody corpse of a naked man bounced and dragged. A white lion ran through grass taller than a man. Beneath the Mother of Mountains, a line of naked crones crept from a great lake and knelt shivering before her, their grey heads bowed. Ten thousand slaves lifted bloodstained hands as she raced by on her silver, riding like the wind. “Mother!” they cried. “Mother, mother!” "
The little girl seems like Dany. The crones are probably the Dothraki ones.
Rafael
4. Ryamano
Can't ... post ... spoilers ... holding me back ... must ... write ... what's happening to me ... argh
Anyway, awesome. This is why I come to read this series.
OtherAndrew
5. Black Dread
At the stage you are at, don't bother trying to figure out more than you already have. Just bookmark or photocopy those pages and refer back to them at the end of the next book - some will make sense then.
Steven Halter
6. stevenhalter
I do like that the magic seems to be increasing by leaps and bounds--probably due to the return of the dragons.
Pat .
7. dolphineus
Aemon, Aegon, Aerys ...
How long did GRRM have to play around with the Scrabble tiles to come up with all these 'Ae' names? If you dig into the family tree you find Aelinor, Aenys & Aenar!
OtherAndrew
8. Lsana
"A tall lord with copper skin and silver-gold hair stood beneath the banner of a fiery stallion, a burning city behind him."

I've always assumed that this was Rhaego, Dany and Drogo's son, and what might have been if he'd lived.

"Shadows whirled and danced inside a tent, boneless and terrible."

Rather than Renly's murder, this one probably refers to Mirri Maz Duri's magic in "healing" Drogo. The shadow in Renly's tent pretty much just murdered and went; I don't think there was much dancing involved.
Vincent Lane
9. Aegnor
Keep in mind that it is visions of things in the past, and future.

Double checked that there are no spoilers and all this is from aGoT.

Aerys had 3 children: Rhaegar, Viserys, and Daenerys.

Rhaegar had two children with his wife Elia Martel of Dorne: Aegon, and Rhaenys. Gregor Clegane dashed the infant Aegon's head against the wall and then raped and killed his mother Elia. Rhaenys (a little girl) was also killed by the Lannisters when they sacked King's Landing. The maester on the wall is Aemon Targaryen.

"Behind a silver horse the bloody corpse of a naked man bounced and dragged."

Remember the wine merchant that was dragged naked behind her horse after trying to kill her.

"Shadows whirled and danced inside a tent, boneless and terrible."

I always assumed this was the Drogo resurection scene.

"A tall lord with copper skin and silver-gold hair stood beneath the banner of a fiery stallion, a burning city behind him."

This one I interpret as being the Rhago (Dany and Drogo's child) that would have been. Notice the fiery stallion banner. He was to be the stallion that mounts the world.
OtherAndrew
10. DrBlaise
These types of prophesies in fantasy books are cool and all, but I never understand why they so often try to kill the person at the end. Doesn't killing the person invalidate all the prophesies they just gave about them? I guess that's why they always fail to kill ???
Gary Singer
11. AhoyMatey
Thanks for an entertaining recap as always, Leigh.

"In one room, a beautiful woman sprawled naked on the floor while four little men crawled over her. They had rattish pointed faces and tiny pink hands, like the......"

I wonder if this is meant to be the four kings ravaging Westeros?
Jim
12. JimmyMac80
You definitely don't want to Google Aegon, it would be bad. You could also argue that Jorah is one of her three treasons, for gold, afterall he's the reason the small council learns that she is with child and Robert orders her death.
Vincent Lane
13. Aegnor
Yeah, I don't think Jorah fits. He didn't do it for gold, but a trip home.
OtherAndrew
15. Herb777
It's like GRRM got through reading The Wheel of Time and said, "I like what Jordan did there with the mass quantity of indecipherable foreshadowing prophecy, but why spread it over 4MM words when you can stick it all in a single chapter?"
OtherAndrew
14. NightWatcher
I find it interesting that Raeghar had two kids, and both of them were killed. But the dragon has THREE heads... It would make sense if Jon was the third son of Raeghar, born from Lyanna Stark. We know Eddard is a man who upholds his honor even when faced with certain death... it's unlikely that he would betray his wife with any generic woman... And he entered Kings Landing BEFORE Robert. Wouldn't it be logical that he would lie to protect his sister's son? If Robert found out Jon had Targaryen blood, he'd kill him for sure. And Eddard did make a promise to his sister...
OtherAndrew
16. faiz Imam
SO MUCH interesting stuff here, and i'm surprised how clear and obvious some of them are if you know what to look for, it really comes off as blatant forshadowning.

I've always thought the 4 dwarfs refer to the 4 kings, which would then suggest how important the universe thinks they are "in the grand sceme of things"
OtherAndrew
17. My Amyrlin > Your Amyrlin
Clearly, the power of warlocks is growing. Look at #15 before #14. Amazing!
OtherAndrew
18. Black Dread
If #14 is a spoiler and not wild speculation, I totally missed something in the later books - which is very much a possibility.
Steven Halter
19. stevenhalter
@15:Lots of obscure prophecy in literature. Ambiguity is the heart's blood of any good oracle.
OtherAndrew
20. faiz Imam
14: That's exactly what the most accepted theory is, but its funny that despite getting most of the hints pretty early on, as of DwD we STILL don't have any concrete proof that its the case.

sigh, I just hope WoW comes quickly enough.

It shoudn't be 5 years, since resolving the gordian knot around one city was the only reason that book took as long as it did...
Aaron Miller
21. altarego
Putting massive spoilers (as above), even if whited out, is anathema. Why would you even bother putting something like that in a spoiler-free forum for people to comment on (also, as above)?

Talk about lacking good judgement.
Vincent Lane
22. Aegnor
altarego@21,

It's even worse than that. It wasn't even whited out. A moderator came later and whited it out. The original poster posted it completely out in the open.
OtherAndrew
23. Lsana
@21, 22,

The contents of Post 14 are speculation, not spoiler. There's not a single fact in there that isn't in Book 1, just an interpretation of the facts that hasn't been either confirmed or denied by GRRM.

I find it amusing that people have become so certain of this particular hypothesis that mentioning it is referred to as a spoiler. I agree it's a plausible one, the most likely one even, but that's still all it is: speculation.
Aaron Miller
24. altarego
@23 That's like saying you had all of the information to figure out who killed Asmodean from the books prior to his death. Whether or not it's pure speculation, that speculation is *not* available to the casual reader the moment they finish the narrative.
lake sidey
25. lakesidey
However, #20 is a spoiler for sure - hinting at things to come. Avoid!!
Peter Stone
26. Peter1742
And what actual useable information did Dany learn from her time in the House of the Undying? "Don't trust warlocks!" comes to mind, but the prophecies themselves seem pretty obscure, especially without the extra information the readers know and Dany doesn't.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
27. tnh
Lsana @23, it's still unwelcome. One of your fellow readers flagged it.
OtherAndrew
28. NightWatcher
Oh, 14 isn't a spoiler. I've just begun reading A Storm of Swords.
Steven Halter
29. stevenhalter
Peter1742@26:It does seem like she went through a lot for not an awful lot of gain. It will be interesting how or if she reacts to the "knowledge". There are a few classic paths to take:
1) Ignore it. This doesn't usually work out--Cassandra
2) Act on what one thinks it contains. In this way generally lies doom--Oedipus.
3) Try to parse it very carefully and only act on it when you are certain. Usually characters end up acting late.
In general it isn't a good idea to consult oracles.
Sky Thibedeau
30. SkylarkThibedeau
“Will you make a song for him?” the woman asked.
“He has a song,” the man replied. “He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire.”

This is the most important of the prophesies since the whole thing is "The Song of Fire and Ice". Who are these parents and who is Baby Aegon???
OtherAndrew
31. TG12
Yeah, this chapter is probably the source of more ink/electrons spilled by rabid fans in speculation and theorizing than any other chapter in the series.

Much as I'd like to comment on it, I don't think I can really, because so much of it affects what's yet to come... some of the "visions" are clearly of the past; some are clearly fulfilled in subsequent books; some are still indeterminate.

All things considered, though, I think this chapter is an awesome and atmospheric bit of prophetic foreshadowing...lots of grist for the discussion mill to grind through.
OtherAndrew
32. Looking Glass
DrBlaise @10: Well, neither of the dangers here are just “I’ll kill you just because I don’t like you”. The false visions/distractions/traps of the house are actually warned against by the warlocks- likely either they’re tests with a clearly defined pass condition, or just a hazard of the vision quest itself. Then, the warlocks themselves want to consume her on some more-than-mundane level; that may benefit from, or even require, this little supernatural journey/vision quest first.

Or they may just favor Portentious interior decorating, and every visitor sees some, potential meal or otherwise.

Also, Mirri Maz Dur, at least, did manage to preemptively abort a prophecy. Though it’s possible she really just ended up moving the world-violation into vessels other than the original.
--

Aegnor @13: Still personal benefit, and “once for blood and once for an amnesty with complementary boat tickets and once for love” doesn’t have quite the same cadence. He’s plausible, at least.
Vincent Lane
33. Aegnor
@14 is definitely a spoiler, but not in the typical sense. On other boards where they talk about the series, even in forums that are for those who have read the books, that piece of information is treated differently, and only refered to with first initials.

It is similar to back in book one regarding Joffrey's parantage. There is definitely enough information to realize that Joffrey is not a Baratheon well before it's actually revealed. Now many people don't connect the dots, and someone connecting the dots for them is a type of spoiler for something that is that big of an element in the story.
OtherAndrew
34. faiz Imam
Whoa, I didn't expect that reaction to my post.
I was certain that it was fine, and even in hindsight I don't see myself as having been irresponsible.

I never referred to 14's whited out text, I made sure to be absolutley generic.

I don't see how saying "its funny how that hasn't been resolved." is a dangerous spoiler when one would have to purposely read another whited out post to have any conception of what I was talking about.

If I am to assume that someone who reads whited out text should still get the white glove treatment for newer material then OK, I apologise and take full responisbility.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
35. tnh
Faiz Imam, I respect your assumption of responsibility, but I don't think you were that careless. Different people have different senses of what's a spoiler. For instance, readers who have a gift for connecting the dots don't want any additional information, and they have a broader sense than most of what's included in the term "information". By contrast, readers who go through a book quickly, taking in the experience as it happens, may not see anything short of an outright description of events as a spoiler. There are other styles and variants, but I'm sure you get the idea.

Commenters are sure to err once in a while. I've done it myself, and been called on it. Reminding each other where the lines are is one of the recurring themes of these threads.
alex
36. jerec84
This chapter will be a lot clearer on a re-read. Best to just move on at this point. :P
Rob Munnelly
37. RobMRobM
I think it's clear now why I asked Leigh to give extra attention to this chapter. It is incredibly content filled, and I'm not going to discuss any of the specifics of the HOTU visions because of the serious risk of spoilers, under the standards we try to meet in the re-read. No doubt some will be clearer later in the tale.

I liked how Dany "cheated" by taking in Drogon. I like the creepiness of the set up - with everyone saying don't do it, PP being bizarre and Dany drinking the nightshade. I liked how ticked off PP was when she came out and that PP got schooled by the bloodriders. And I loved how GRRM did the prophecies - no easy answers here. Continuing to read the story and Google can be helpful tools....but not for Leigh, at this point anyway.

I hope all enjoyed it as much as I did.

Rob
Katie McNeal
38. Katiya
I think the most common interpretation of the woman with the four men raping/savaging her is, as AhoyMatey @ 11 pointed out, what the war and the four kings are doing to Westeros. Dany would probably see the land as a beautiful woman because it has so much promise for her, and has been idealized her entire life. I especially like the touch of the men being small and "rat-like" as a representation for the small-minded pettiness that drives so much of what is tearing Westeros apart.
OtherAndrew
39. faiz Imam
@ Katiya: while that interpretation made complete sense to me, it also made me very uncomfortable, because it means that our "heroes" Cat, Robb, and by extension(at least initially) all the other Starks are as complicit in the destruction of westeros as the Lannisters or the Beratheons.

Obviously there is more nuance to this, but its still unsettling.
OtherAndrew
40. Punchdrunk
@39 From Dany's perspective the Stark's are equally complicit.
OtherAndrew
41. Nick S.
Well if Ned had declared himself King of the North following the rebellion like he should have, then I don't think things would have got so bad. But Ned's a pansy, and didn't do his proper duty to his people and to the north, instead bowed to the no dragon having, non-Targaryan southern lord buddy of his, and rightly lost his head for not doing his duty and dabbling in southern politics. The black brother who lost his head at the beginning of aGoT demonstrated the proper penalty for deserting your post in the north.
OtherAndrew
43. JoeNotCharles
I’d say Dany’s already dealt with at least one of each of these: fire for life is the birth of her dragons, the “mount to ride to bed,” heh, is Drogo, and the treason for blood is Viserys
Woah. WOAH. Mind blown!

I'd always assumed that the first two treasons were Mirri Maz Duur, for blood, and Jorah Mormont, for gold. But what if "know" means you will COMMIT three treasons? She betrayed Viserys for blood - chose to put her hopes of regaining Westeros in her son instead of him.
Maiane Bakroeva
44. Isilel
Nick S @41:
Well if Ned had declared himself King of the North following the rebellion like he should have, then I don't think things would have got so bad.
Eh, why would you think so? All of 7 kingdoms have prospered from unification, their populations have increased drastically, etc. It is, generally speaking, not in the interest of people of the North to be independant.
Robb's proclamation was a result of uncertainity, ambition of his self-important bannermen and happened in very specific circumstances.
Ned going for independance would have seriously undermined Robert and might have provoked a war between them.

Re: House of the Undying - this is not a spoiler, since it occured to me immediately after reading this chapter for the first time (I got into ASOIAF a few weeks before publication of ACoK) :

Blue flower in the wall of ice. The character who has been constantly associated with blue roses in AGOT? Late Lyanna Stark.
Pat .
45. dolphineus
@44 Isilel
Blue flower in the wall of ice. The character who has been constantly associated with blue roses in AGOT? Late Lyanna Stark.
Whoa, thats deep. If you take what we think happened with Lyanna, plus what happened up there, and then that thing in the other book? Mind=blown.

No, really! But how do I say any of it without being toally partially potentially spoilery. Spoilerish?

Cause we have rumors, and we know the guy did the thing. And if she is the rose, wow!

PS: Can you point me to something that mentions Lyanna and blue roses? Love to re-read it to refresh my conspiracy theory :)
OtherAndrew
46. Stenbuck
Hmm, I'm pretty sure this is information we had since book 1 from Ned's memories so I'll say it - the Aegon you got confused with is the son of Elia Martell and Rhaegar Targaryen. They had 2 children, Aegon and Rhaenys. During the sack of King's Landing in Robert's Rebellion, Amory Lorch stabbed Rhaenys about 50 times and Gregor Clegane smashed Aegon's head against the wall before raping and then murdering Elia Martell.
OtherAndrew
47. KathrynM
No spoilers.. but I'm loving the image of all the light bulbs coming on! Keep up the good work Leigh
Rob Munnelly
48. RobMRobM
@45. Re-read several of Ned's chapters in AGOT, starting with when he and Robert go into crypt - blue flowers on Lyanna's grave. Also some dreams re Lyanna in later chapters in which blue flowers are mentioned.
Steven Halter
49. stevenhalter
I was thinking about the prophecies over the weekend and had a few diverse thoughts.
The woman being ravished by the 4 creatures could be allegorical as some have mentioned as a theory or she could be someone who wandered off the path (or both).
If the tall copper colored lord was Rhaego, Dany and Drogo's son then it is representative that these prophecies can be defeated--they only might happen. Or the warlocks are toying with Dany.
The really important part seems to be concerning a song of ice and fire--it is the name of the series after all. Now, as I've said I haven't read ahead but I think I'll white out this next bit. It is only a theory based on what I've read so far but it could be a spoiler in some fashion for someone who doesn't try to unravel things as they go.

Theory portion:
There is the whole metaphorical interpretation of Ice & Fire--Winter's coming, Dragons are returning, ... but I think there is probably a more immediate interpretation.
I recall that blue flowers were layed upon the grave of Lyanna (and I see that others had this thought over the weekend). So, we have blue flowers out of ice. We don't know exactly how/why Rhaegar "kidnapped" Lyanna but I'm guessing he got her pregnant. Maybe he was an evil rapist as Robert portrays or maybe they ran off together. Maybe Robert actually killed her and that's why he drank so much. Total guesses on those parts and not real important to the main outcome.
Lyanna is pregnant and she has a son and it is Jon. Ned finds him and for some reason (protecting from enemies???) declares that Jon is his own bastard son from some unamed woman. Jon Snow goes off to be a ranger on the ice wall, fighting the ice people. Since he is Rhaegar's son, he is a Targaryen and maybe in line for the throne from that side. So he is Ice and Dany is obviously Fire (she has dragon's) and Targaryen's like to marry within the family, so Jon & Dany seem like a good bet for Ice & Fire.


:End theory portion
If anyone cares to comment on the theory, please use only info from what we have read so far. If it is either confirmed or denied in future material, don't mention it. If people think it's totally non-spoilerific, I can un-white it also.
Vincent Lane
51. Aegnor
Stenbuck@46,

You definitely have a spoiler there. Or at least you have a piece of info that you definitely don't find out in book 1. I believe it hasn't been discussed yet in book 2 either, but I haven't confirmed that. Check my post @9 for exactly what has been revealed on the subject through book 1.
Rob Munnelly
53. RobMRobM
shalter - nice work on the theory. I'm of course constrained from opining on the merits of it but way to try to draw together pieces from the text.

Rob
OtherAndrew
55. EvilClosetMonkey
shalter - if you are inclined to reread a chapter from book 1 that may be related to your theory, read chapter 39 (Ned's weird dream chapter)

Food for thought.
OtherAndrew
56. EvilClosetMonkey
bah, can someone please white out the chapter part.
Steven Halter
57. stevenhalter
EvilClosetMonkey@55:Ned's dream is interesting.
(@56:Mentioning a chapter from Book 1 doesn't seem to need a white out.)
It does seem like:
(engage white out)
The Kingsguard that Ned meets there could have been sent there by Rhaegar to watch over Lyanna while she has the kid. The bed of blood could definitely have been the result of a bad child birth. And there are the blue rose petals here.
I was thinking of this chapter as part of the puzzle when I wrote @49 but didn't have my Book #1 around.
(disengage white out)
Rob Munnelly
58. RobMRobM
@shalter - keep 'em coming. Just like the movie Being There, we like to watch....
Aimee Powalisz
59. longhairedspider
Ack - I'm lagging behind, but I can't wait to get to this chapter. I don't know what's more fun: reading Leigh's section or reading the comments! I often miss little things when I read a book for the first time, so this close reading is very helpful.
OtherAndrew
60. EvilClosetMonkey
@ 57, It probably doesn't need a whiteout but I like to err on the side of caution. My thought being that even if someone didn't want to read your theory they might see me directing you to reread a specific chapter and thus know that there is something of interest in that chapter that relates to a theory. Mild spoiler for sure but possible spoiler territory.

Which is why I don't usually post on this thread. It's too hard for me to be sure that I'm not spoiling. I'm fairly good at limiting my viewpoint to what has been read so far but extra stuff creeps in at the edges and the spoiler line is subjective.
Steven Halter
62. stevenhalter
EvilClosetMonkey@60:It is an interesting exercise in self control to not read ahead or just google for some answers. It is useful seeing things from the POV of the first time reader in these online read throughs.
OtherAndrew
63. EvilClosetMonkey
@62 I understand the temptation, stay strong. It's worth the wait.
I didn't start arguing the fine points of various theories (some crackpot) online until after my 2nd read of the series (only 3 books at that point). I'm glad I waited to look at anything online because I was introduced to a lot of stuff I hadn't considered up until then.

I'm definitely impressed by the self control of anyone that reads 1-3 chapters per week of this series. I don't think I could do that. I'm rereading Storm of Swords (book 3) right now and I still can't do that.
Rob Munnelly
64. RobMRobM
shalter - one of my online guilty pleasures is reading the Completely Unspoiled Speculation forum for the GoT television show by HBO at the Television without Pity website. The forum participants have committed (and some even swear an oath) not to get any info other than from the actual episodes of the TV show - no books, no online, not even previews (in some cases). As expected, many theories and speculations are way off base but the focused attention to each episode at a time has allowed for some remarkably perceptive analyses. I look forward to your insights, and Leigh's, based on the two at a time approach.

Rob
Francesco Paonessa
65. ErrantKnave
"Because the Starks didn’t have enough crap rained down on their head already. Sheesh."

A very apt wording.
Francesco Paonessa
66. ErrantKnave
"'A blue flower grew from a chink in a wall of ice, and filled the air with sweetness.'

Blue flowers... wall of ice... I did not remember that being one of the visions. As far as I'm concerned, that further cements one particular theory that I see some people have already posted about in these comments.
OtherAndrew
67. AllHailTheDragonQueen
Love your summaries Leigh, and heard alot of good speculation in the comments, but there is one huge thing everyone seemed to miss, and as alot of the prophecies are really symbolic, I'd thought I go through them.

1) The door visions:
- Women being raped by dwarfs: Generally agreed to represent Westeros and the kings battling over her.
- Feast of dead, Wolf head guy: not touching that one
- King in hall of dragon skulls: King Aerys (dany's dad) talking about robert. As to what he meant, keep reading.
- New born room, guy who looks like viserys: Prince Rheagar and his wife Elia with new born son Aemon. Can't really say anything else yet.
- House with red door: the place dany stayed at in Bravos, represents home to her
- Others: visions to mess with Dany

2) 3 fire, 3 mounts, 3 betrayals
- Leigh summarized these pretty good but has some commenters have noted, the betrayal for blood is likely mirri maz door killing Drogo and Rheago (dany's son) as revenge for her village.

3) Child of 3 Prophecies.
*This is the big miss no one seemed to notice. Besides mother of dragons, the undying give Dany three other names, and each name connects to a group of three visions that relate to that. Grouping these visions together is a big help figuring them out.

Daughter of Death - these show visions of the three deaths that have lead to Dany being on the path she is on now, the path to queendom

1) Viserys getting his molten gold crown - Women can inherit titles after the males relatives are gone (I think sisters trump cousins and aunts and uncles, but sons trump aunts). When Viserys died, Dany became the legal Targeryn heir, so those in westeros who still hold some loyalty to targaryns will accept Dany having the legal claim.

2) Guy with fiery stallion banner - two theories. Less likly in my mind is that in the future dany will have a kid with a dothraki and thats this guy. The one I think is more likely is that its a possible future where danys son survived and grew up to be the stallion that mounts the world. If he had lived, Dany would basically be another catelyn, but his and drogos death spurred her to take power herself.

3) Balck armor falling, losing rubies/ - Rheagar losing at the trident to Robert. This was the turning point in Roberts Rebelion, leading to Dany and Viserys fleeing across the sea.

Slayer of Lies - These visions are things Dany or Danys existance will prove to be false

1) King with no shadow - Yes, generally agreed to be stannis. As to what exactly Dany will disprove, read Davos chapters again.

2) Shadow Beast - can;t say, no spoilers

3) Cloth Dragon - can't say, no spoilers

Bride of Fire - Relating to Dany's husbands/potential loves

1) Silver Horse in front of sea of Grass - Drogo's wedding gift to Dany. Drogo was first husband and funeral pyre hatched the dragons

2) Ship with grey corpse like figure smilling - not saying

3) Blue flower at the wall - the fact that its showing the wall at all should be obvious (in my opinion). Not saying anything else.

And then a couple more random visions that are either spoiler materials or fairly obvious. Man behind the horse - guy that tried to poison dany. White lion - drogo killed it and gave the skin to dany, it becomes somthing of a security blanket for her.

And yeah, I think that covers it. Keep up the good work leigh!
Tabby Alleman
68. Tabbyfl55
Blue flower, Wall of Ice: Doesn't anyone else think maybe it's the blue-eyed zombies that are going to break through/overrun The Wall and start the zombie apocalypse?

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