Thursday is Theory Day!
This is the fourty-third article of the series. Since there are a lot of theories floating out there and I'm asked often enough what I think of them, I thought I write it down. You can then laugh about me when I am totally proven wrong by "The Winds of Winter" or something like that. Rules are as follows: you put a question about any theory or plot element (really, let's stress "theory" a bit for the sake of interesting questions) either in the comments of any theory post or by mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will answer them in an upcoming post. And if you now ask "Stefan, isn't this a shameless rip-off of Sean T. Collin's "Ask me anything"?", I would tell you to shut up, because you are right.Prepare for part 43. Spoilers for "A Song of Ice and Fire", obviously.
Is the world of “A Song Of Ice And Fire” part of apocalyptic future?
This is certainly one of the weirdest theories I ever heard. You find it in full here: http://www.middlemind.org/index.php/literature/88-why-a-song-of-ice-and-fire-is-set-in-a-post-apocalyptic-future. However, I think it doesn’t hold any water. Sure, you can explain a lot of the elements in “A Song of Ice and Fire” and much of what happened around Valyria with stuff like genetic engineering and nuclear experiments, and there certainly have been stories built on that premise (R. A. Salvatore’s “Echo of the Fourth Magic” comes to mind). But I can practically guarantee that we don’t have such a story here. Martin is a good writer, and he knows that he has to stick to certain things. What he wants to create is a revisionist fantasy story, and he totally succeeded in this. So why would he throw everything away and render it basically meaningless by the reveal that it “was earth all along” and a mighty roar “What have you done?” by some character kneeling beside the Statue of Liberty? The idea is not new or interesting anymore, but has been explored hundreds of times. It would add nothing to the story Martin wants to tell. And everybody would only talk about that stupid reveal that ruined the whole story for them. No, Westeros is not a post-apocalyptic world. It’s what it seems to be.
Did Lord Hightower raise krakens from the deep against the Ironborn?
The krakens simply don’t go away, do they? But Lord Hightower is a new one. I can only guess that the idea behind it is that some members of the family are rumored to have been involved in magic or at least some nerdy studies up in their high tower (heh). I think the most realistic explanation for what happened to the third of the Iron Fleet that never met with Victarion was attacked by Aurane Waters new pirate fleet in the Stepstones. It’s a bit tight regarding the timeline, but certainly possible, and if the brand-new fleet with its mighty dromonds engaged the Ironborn while they recovered from the autumn storms, I know who I put my money on. I don’t think that someone in this world possesses the power to summon and control a giant kraken; it would diminish Danaerys’ status as the one person in the world having really large and dangerous pets.
Do you think there are dragons in the North, and if so, how will they be awakened?
The idea for this seems to come from two sources: first, the “Wormways” the Night’s Watch built in Castle Black (and, presumably, other castles as well) and second, the prevailing fantasy notions of Ice Dragons. First things first. The wormways don't have anything to do with dragons. They're clearly built for people (and pretty small) and I haven't heard anyone refer to dragons as "wyrms" or anything like it (yet). It seems like that analogy is not a Westerosi/Essosi one but exists only in our culture. Second, while it may be possible, I somehow doubt there's a dragon in Winterfell. It wouldn't really feel right in my opinion, just from the whole flow of the story. I can't put my finger on it. There’s another element to consider as well: it’s the “Song of Ice and Fire”, and we have multiple references by now that associate the dragons with fire. Both elements are set in sharp contrast to each other, so the idea of Ice Dragons seems wrong somehow. The only imaginable thing is that the Others have something like that in their arsenal, but since dragons are “fire made flesh”, it seems unlikely that there’s such a thing as a whight dragon. And why would they create one just for the fun of it? Doesn’t seem like what the Others are. So, no dragons in the North. They are a thing of the East.