My post regarding The World of Ice and Fire veers from the traditional posts on my site. I’ve decided to comprise a list of observations, questions, and discussions regarding the history of Westeros. Due to the complexity and detail of George R. R. Martin’s writing style I’ve decided to break my assessment of The World of Ice and Fire into various parts. Part 1 comprises Ancient History to the conclusion of Robert’s Rebellion. Of note, there are many, many SPOILERS throughout the following text, alongside several of my own theories. I’ve highlighted in RED several of my theories, as well as interesting insights garnered from the novel. Please let me know what you think! I’m early looking forward to hearing your theories, however you’d better be able to back them up with references to the text.
The World of Ice and Fire is written from the perspective of a Maester Yandel, as a result of his research various historical texts and other written histories. The Maester often adds legends or rumors, however often will discredit the wild stories. When hearing the disclaimer that such tales should not be taken seriously, I find myself making mental notes that these stories which might actually hold a kernel of truth. You’ll find several of these instances throughout my notes. I suspect that George R. R. Martin is littering crucial puzzle pieces throughout the text and waiting for them to be put back together.
- Essentially in the beginning of Westeros there were only Giants and the Children of the Forest. It is claimed that the Giants died out, however from Jon Snow’s forays with the Wildlings we know that the Giants were are in fact alive north of the Wall.
- The Children of the Forest were masters in manipulation of obsidian glass. One of two weapons known to wound the White Walkers. The other being Valyrian steel.
- Of the children of the Forest, their wisemen, the Greenseers were rumored to be able to see through the eyes of Wierwood faces. What does it mean that Bran also has this ability? Is he part Greenseer or does his Warg ability give him this skill?
- The tale of the brothers Gendle and Gorne mediating between the Giants and the Children over a cavern system that extends under the wall could very well be the set of caves that Bran and his cohort adventured north across the wall.
- Who built the Sea Stone Chair? The First Men who adventured to Old Wick claimed the Chair was already present.
Coming of the First Age
- What broke the Arm? Was it the powers of the Children as told in the tales or a natural geological progression?
The Long Night
- Is the Long Night of old a forewarning of what is to fall the Seven Kingdoms if the White Walkers are not stopped?
- There are four stories that detail the end of the Long Night. The first involves a Hero convincing the River Gods to stop bickering. Another story contains a woman with a monkey’s tale that brings back the sun. I can’t see an important thread of truths in the aforementioned stories. However, the second story is much more interesting which highlights a Hero with a red sword which defeats the white walkers. This Hero becomes known as Azor Ahai and was prophesied to rise again. Stannis Baratheon was claimed to be the risen Azor Ahai by Melisandre, however due to him dropping the Red Sword due to the heat we know that is not true. One of my favorite theories about the fate of Jon Snow involves his rebirth as Azor Ahai by Melisandre thereby freeing him from his Night’s Watch vows and allowing him to fully focus on fighting the White Walkers. The last of the tales tells of the struggles of a Hero and his party to travel to the Children while fending off White Walkers. There seems to be parallels to Bran’s journey North above the wall with the aforementioned Hero turning the tide of the Long Night upon reaching the Children. Does this signify that upon Bran reaching his destination will have a significant impact in the upcoming battle?
- While it is not known where the Others originated it is speculated that they came from the Land of Always Winter. Another tale claims the Others were in fact human descendants of the First Men who lived in the far north and were forced south due to the Long Night where the Night’s Watch and the Starks created embellished stories of evil.
The Rise of Valyria
- A great mystery lies with the origin of the dragons. One of the stories claim that hundreds of dragons emerged from a second moon that use to be in the sky. A second theory claims the dragons came from and were tamed by ancient people from the Shadow. Valyrians were supposibly taught dragon skills by these mysterious people. While I do not have an opinion on the beginnings of the dragons I do believe we will see the hatching of another dragon at Dragonstone by the end of the series.
The Arrivals of the Andels
- The Andels, in their religious fervor carved the seven point stars into their body much as the Faith Militant did in the books.
- Why did the Targaryens choose to fight against the Voltaire? With the numbers of the Valyrians failing it seems as though they would have banded together.
The Reign of Dragons
- The infamous Baratheons are traced back to Orys Baratheon who was Aegon the Conqueror’s only childhood friend and rumored base born bastard brother. Orys became the Lord of Storm’s End by marrying the Daughter of Argilac the Arrogant whom he killed in battle. Intriguing beginnings for the ancestors of Robert Baratheon who eventually overthrows the reign of the Targaryen’s and becomes King.
- Another family whom we are familiar with in Game of Thrones are the Tyrells who also have an interesting rise to power. The Tyrells for years and years were stewards and served the House of Gardner. When the Targaryen King wiped out the House of Gardner he granted the Tyrells’ Highgarden as a reward for surrendering at his arrival. Again, interesting beginnings for a house, which rose from mere servants, to presently fighting for the Iron Throne.
- The Iron Throne was constructed from the swords collected during the battles and Kingdoms that Aegon defeated during his conquest. Swords from Harrenhal and the Field of Fire were warped due to the heat from the dragon fire, whilst those of the North were unused.
Dance with Dragons
- During the Dance with Dragons, in King’s Landing a mysterious figure, the Shadow, began to preach to the hordes of townsfolk as to the evils of the dragons. The crowd, worked into a frenzy, killed five dragons in the Storming of the Dragonpit. Who was this Shadow individual, who disappeared from history after the riot?
King Aerys the Second
- My biggest Game of Thrones theory was alas debunked during my reading of the World of Ice and Fire. I posted the following response in a BuzzFeed article claiming Tyrion was a Targaryen: “No way. There is no reference to Tyrion being a Targaryen. There is a reference to the Mad King potentially raping Tywin’s wife on their wedding night by Barristan to Daenerys when posed with the question as to whether or not her father ever loved anyone. Therefore Jaime and Cersie, being older than Tyrion and as such are Targaryens. The ultimate irony being that Tywin’s only legitimate heir being Tyrion.” My theory was based on various conversations and comments made throughout the books as referenced above. However, upon reading the history of the seven kingdoms it has become apparent that my theory, regardless of how proud I was of it, doesn’t hold true. Tywin and his wife, Joanna, were married in 263 A.C. and the twins were not born until 266 A.C., therefore a bedding of Joanna by Aerys on her wedding night would not have produced Jamie and Cersie. However, the rumors of the liaison between Joanna and the Mad King, whether on the night of the wedding or after were fueled when the Queen dismissed Joanna from the Maids in Waiting as done for prior maidens who had caught the King’s eye. I’ve tried reasoning a way that the twins could still be of Targaryen decent, but unfortunately, and much to my disappointment, the theory becomes based more on speculation than concrete facts.
- Interestingly, Joanna and Aerys are placed in the same location to potentially affect Tyrion’s parentage. In 272 A.C,. Joanna traveled with young Cersie and Jamie to a Tournament, in which she presented her offspring to the King. He proceeded to humiliate Joanna in front of the whole crowd by making crude remarks regarding the effects of motherhood on her body. While there was no suggestion of further contact between Aerys and Tywin’s wife, Tyrion was born within the timeframe of the tournament, 273 A.C. While I still am not a fan of this GOT theory, there is no denying the timeframes outlines in The World of Ice and Fire.
- An interesting fact, Ser Ilyn Payne, who was the captain of the Hand’s personal guard, lost his tongue by boasting that it was, in fact the Hand, Tywin, that ruled the Kingdom, not King Aerys.
- The Uprising of Duskendale offered another interesting chapter of Aerys Reign. Upon being kidnapped by the would be revolters, and held captive for a year his mental stability never recovered. Upon being heroically rescued by Ser Barristan, Aerys ordered the deaths of the entire Duskendale family. Ser Dontos Hollard, Sansa’s savior from King’s Landing, was only spared at Ser Barristan’s request. Of note, Aerys never allowed a sword in his presence again unless in the hands of his Kingsguard.
- Robert Baratheon watched his parents’ ship flounder and sink off the coast of Storm’s End as they were returning from a quest to find King Aery’s son a bride.
- Varys make his entrance into the Seven Kingdoms once Aerys becomes suspicious enough to need an outsider without any internal allegiances. The Spider’s devotion to the preservation of the Seven Kingdoms as shown in the books doesn’t necessarily ring strong in this account. Why would he risk so much for a Kingdom he has only briefly resided in?
The Fall of Dragons
The Year of the False Spring
- The Tournament at Harrenhal in honor of Ser Jamie Lannister being named a Kingsgard, set the wheels in motion to eventually dethrone the Targaryens. There were several mysteries surrounding this tourney, even with ignoring the drama between Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. Which I might add, The World of Ice and Fire, very carefully ignored all aspects of this love/abduction story. Only the bare minimum details were addressed in the text.
- The first of the mysteries involves the benefactor for the tournament. The lavish tournament prizes offered by the Harrenhal host were beyond his financial ability. Rhaegar was the rumored supporter, if so what was his motivation other than potentially gaining favor against his father, which seems dangerous given his father’s instability?
- The second of the mysteries involves the Knight of the Laughing Tree. Upon the bullying of Howland Reed by three squires, a mysterious knight, in mismatched armor and a laughing wierwood sigil, emerged the second day in the tournament and defeated the knights of the three squires before disappearing the following day. Meera Reed also told Bran the story of the Laughing Tree Knight, shocked that he had not been told the tale before. Due to the small stature of the knight being significantly emphasized, the outrage of the Starks at the treatment of their bannerman and the weirwood sigil, it must have been one of the Stark children or Howland Reed. I’m going to wager guess it was Lyanna Stark, based on her tomboy nature. Eddard once told Arya that she reminded him of Lyanna and I believe we can all agree that Arya wouldn’t think twice about secretly entering a joust to defend the honor of the North. Perhaps, when Rhaegar was sent by his father to figure out the identity of the mysterious knight, he and Lyanna met, which ultimately lead to her being crowned the Queen of Love and Beauty. An act that feasibly was both an acknowledgment of her being the identity of the Knight of the Laughing Tree and his growing affection for this high spirited maid.