Bloodraven

"His hands are scarlet with a brother's blood, and the blood of his young nephews too," the hunchback had declared to the crowd that had gathered in the market square. "A shadow came at his command to strangle brave Prince Valarr's sons in their mother's womb. Where is our Young Prince now? Where is his brother, sweet Matarys? Where has Good King Daeron gone, and fearless Baelor Breakspear? The grave has claimed them, every one, yet he endures, this pale bird with bloody beak who perches on King Aerys's shoulder and caws into his ear. The mark of hell is on his face and in his empty eye, and he has brought us drought and pestilence and murder. Rise up, I say, and remember our true king across the water. Seven gods there are, and seven kingdoms, and the Black Dragon sired seven sons! Rise up, my lords and ladies. Rise up, you brave knights and sturdy yeomen, and cast down Bloodraven, that foul sorcerer, lest your children and your children's children be cursed forever-more." The Hunchbacked Septon The Mystery Knight - A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms Lord Brynden Rivers, or as he was known, Bloodraven is, in my opinion, the most interesting and best-written character in the whole series. He was the youngest of three children from the union between king Aegon the Unworthy and his mistress Melissa. A unique individual from a strange relationship, he had the blood of Valyria and of the First Men in his veins, was the only boy from his parents' union, a greenseer, skinchanger and, as he was an albino with a wine-coloured, raven-shaped birthmark, he was visually as unique as his essence. His uniqueness makes one wonder how powerful the children of a Targaryen-Stark union can be. King Aegon the Unworthy, in my viewpoint, single-handedly brought the Targaryen Dynasty to its end and had it not been for his bastard son Bloodraven, that end would have come some 85 years earlier than it did. Obviously, as I was but a simple servant of the king when lord Rivers was sent to the Wall, I believed at the time that his actions were simply wrong and that he deserved the punishment. From this vantage point I currently have, however, I see that they were necessary. Wrong, of course, but equally right. He was properly sent to the Wall, but I understand now that, had he not done what he did, the dynasty we both tried to protect would have ended in the hands of Aenys Blackfyre and the Seven Kingdoms would have perished. I understand now that he saw the punishment at the Wall as his necessary next step and his rise as Lord Commander a tiny, borderline irrelevant passage in such remarkable life. When I was a hedge knight and when my adventures took place, I crossed paths with lord Bloodraven and he was a 37 year-old man. Still young and thin, he was a sinister figure. His future is foreshadowed continuously, by the birthmark, the weirwood longbow, his nickname and the entire mystery around him. We see him in A Dance with Dragons "alive" in symbiosis with a weirwood tree, making him 125 years-old and probably alive exclusively to make young Bran Stark his successor. If the story takes the tragic and horrible end of making young lord Stark become king, then lord Rivers's life will be written in a mirror trajectory with lord Stark's, where one is the most important political figure in King's Landing and goes north of the Wall towards the fantastic and the other starts fantastic and goes south of the Wall to become the most important political figure in King's Landing. It would be an unfortunate ending, however, as GRRM is a consistent writer who goes to great lengths to show that the throne is irrelevant and centers the story around two brilliant and inverted protagonists. Such shame to turn the fantastic into ordinary, but certainly an author of rather excellent skills is capable of making that path a worthy one. Brynden Rivers is an ambiguously evil character and yet, somewhat good. He's considered powerful enough to influence the weather itself and even lady Melisandre of Asshai, a fearless woman, is terrified of him. He was an archer of sniper-like caliber and yet, he was outstanding in close combat too. His wielding of Visenya's Valyrian steel sword Dark Sister brings many questions to the reader. His powers in King's Landing were admirable and he definitely could bring Varys (who is his foil - one fighting for Targaryen against Blackfyre and the other for Blackfyre against Targaryen) to shame, but at the same time, he used his powers to end all freedom of speech on the land. Parts of his story is written with an almost comic book-like quality, specially the parts pertaining to his lover/sister, Shiera Seastar and his arch nemesis/brother, Aegon Rivers. The septon's speech is another foreshadow of Bloodraven's true nature. Seeing the Three-Eyed Crow as a benevolent creature is ill-advised and his path opens that of Bran. He's a creature of darkness, he lives underground, he believes the ends justify the means, he sacrifices the innocent, and it seems he is often in Lord-Commander's crow screaming "corn". He's not honourable, he's not chivalrous, he's not just. As a matter of fact, he acts as to show that those concepts are stupid and he's more along the lines of "no quarter" to be given. Yet, his existence in his place of power brought relative peace and productivity to my beloved king Aegon "Egg" V's reign, of whom Lord Rivers was fond. He's written as some sort of parallel to lord Tyrion Lannister - both Hands of the King to their families, both in power through war, both wars for the throne over bastards, both instrumental in the victory of said wars, both distrusted over their physical appearance, both sustained injuries to their faces that made them more menacing, both imprisoned after being hand, both sent to the Wall, both kinslayers, both too smart for their own good. There's a parallel there to Jon Snow as well - a subtler one - one that comes from them being mistrusted due to them being bastards, sorcerers and lord commanders and both descendants of Valyrian/First Men. It's evident that he is Maynard Plumm, which is an exciting bit as it ties up glamour magic to greenseer magic and boy! Is he ever fantastic, because although he is wonderful and scary, a kinslayer and yet a loyal man to the throne, an evil pit-dweller and a guide, he is obviously not done playing the Game of Thrones, therefore tying our whole story together in a beautiful circle that never ends. Art by BellaBergolts


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