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The Error of Her Ways

Melisandre has tremendous talent at seeing things in her fires, visions of events to come. She’s not perfect however—she predicted that Stannis could preemptively alter fate and avoid being crushed by Renly at that Blackwater, only to be instead crushed by Garlan Tyrell (in Renly’s armor) at the Blackwater.

At the Wall, Melisandre’s penchant for ‘misintepretation’ endures. She predicted Arya’s rescue, ‘a grey girl on a dying horse’, yet Alys Karstark appeared instead.

But there are underlying insights in her visions which cannot be ignored. Melisandre did predict Stannis’s defeat by a man in Renly’s armor, and that was correct. She also predicted the arrival of the grey girl, and that was correct.

By all appearances, Melisandre’s powerful visions are most vulnerable to error when she takes that extra step to apply proper names to the objects in her visions—to find their applicability. The ‘grey girl’ became Arya. The man in green armor became Renly. Towers by the sea became Eastwatch. In her obsessive quest to match vision to reality, she errs—a lot.

It seems obvious then that Melisandre’s visions do possess great value, but we must be wary of her attempts to apply them. We must look at all of the possible interpretations in the books.

When you do so however, an extremely bizarre pattern emerges: all of the visions that Melisandre has had since arriving at the Wall have more than one manifestation. In the case of Renly’s green armor, the resulting scenario where Garlan Tyrell wore the armor is the only observed manifestation of Melisandre’s visions. Compare that to her ‘grey girl’ vision, where there are perhaps a half-dozen candidates, all of extreme viability.

With that out of the way, here is what I want to do with this essay:

Reveal the errors in Melisandre’s recent predictions and identify other manifestations of the predicted outcomes.

Identify the failures of other seers and perhaps a root cause.

Analyze a vision Melisandre experiences but does not interpret.

Speculate on a major prediction from A Dance with Dragons.

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Lyanna the Grey

Several times have I argued that there are often multiple candidates that fulfill the visions and prophecies we encounter throughout A Song of Ice and Fire.

This phenomenon is particularly prominent with regards to Melisandre and her visions in A Dance with Dragons. From the eyeless faces to the arrival of the Pink Letter, from the visions of “Snow” to her vision of the ‘grey girl’, we can identify at least two candidates for each prediction. Let’s call this phenomenon ‘multiple candidacy’.

NOTE: This claim of ‘multiple candidacy’ was originally articulated in another essay of mine, “Prophecy: A Cipher for Readers”. You can read that essay if you wish to explore this idea in detail before continuing. That said, I provide a simplified analysis of the same concepts in the footnotes below.

NOTE: Footnotes pending.

A few months ago I proposed a hypothesis concerning the grey girl in Melisandre’s vision:

Lyanna Stark is the grey girl.*

This statement is not entirely correct, but I express it this way in order to earn your attention. Continue reading

Dragonsilver: The True Nature and Purpose of Lightbringer

“I found one account of the Long Night that spoke of the last hero slaying Others with a blade of dragonsteel. Supposedly they could not stand against it.”
SAMWELL TARLY — JON II, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

“Sam, we tremble on the cusp of half-remembered prophecies, of wonders and terrors that no man now living could hope to comprehend . . . or . . .”
“Or?” said Sam.
“. . . or not.” Aemon chuckled softly.
AEMON TARGARYEN — SAMWELL IV, A FEAST FOR CROWS

What is dragonsteel? This has been a mystery ever since it was first mentioned in A Feast for Crows. Jon Snow and Sam both suggest that it is most likely a reference to Valyrian steel, but that is all it is – a suggestion, a hypothesis.

Can we actually determine what it is? If so, can we derive any compelling speculations on just what kind of weapon we’re looking for?

I believe the answer to both questions is a definitive and resounding YES. I believe in three ideas:

Dragonsteel is actually silver.

Lightbringer is not a weapon at all.

Yet it is the key to ending the conflict with the Others.

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Howland’s Great Lie: The Myth of the Laughing Tree

“Artists use lies to tell the truth. Yes, I created a lie. But because you believed it, you found something true about yourself.”
— ALAN MOORE, V FOR VENDETTA

I’m quite certain that readers of A Song of Ice and Fire have been misled regarding one of the central mysteries of the entire series: the story of the Knight of the Laughing Tree. The misdirection was intentionally executed by our dear author George R.R. Martin and willfully consumed by his audience.

In particular I believe in the following ideas:

There was no Knight of the Laughing Tree.

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I Dream of Ramsay Snow

I would like to regale you with an absurdity. And yet, an absurdity that makes a profound amount of sense.

Jon Snow’s dreams are cryptic visions of events that actually happen to Ramsay Bolton.

Futher, Melisandre’s central prediction about Jon’s death could actually have been about Ramsay.

Can I prove it? Depressingly, no. Can I at least provide an interesting read? I certainly hope so. I hope that some of the things I share herein cause your brain juices to flow. There is certainly something eerie between Jon’s dreams and Ramsay Bolton. Continue reading