I have been reading the Game of Thrones, and I am on the second book now; a Clash of Kings. Asides from the amazing level of detail that George R.R. Martin has put into the history and culture of his world, which I find truly inspirational, I think that there are lessons to be learned from a book such as this. I find that the story reflects elements of reality that we have in our own world, elements that are either simply interesting, or crucial to the understanding of society.
In the second book of the epic, called “a Clash of Kings”, the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros fall into chaos as three separate lords lay claim to an already occupied throne, and another lord aims to carve out a kingdom for himself through conquest.
However, high in the sky, a blood red comet is spotted. It’s presence seems to be like that of a second moon, prolonged and ever present, blood red as it spews fire from it’s tail. The most interesting thing about this is that many people look at this comet and see it as an omen:
Daenerys Targaryen, who used a witch to bring back to life three dragons after an age of their disappearance, believes that the comet is guiding her to a goal across a harsh desert. A goal leading to her reclaiming the throne in Westeros.
Balon Greyjoy, a lord to the sparse Iron Islands to the west of Westeros, sees it as an omen for blood and conquest, seeking out to carve himself a kingdom in the north. As their saying goes, “we do not sow”, implying that they don’t create, but take what is theirs.
Mellisandre, a priestess from the Far East, and advisor to Stannis Baratheon, another claimant to the throne, has brought her religion to the Lord and those who swear fealty to him. Unlike the polytheistic pantheons of the Old Gods and the New, she has a monotheistic vision of a fiery lord of light, R’hlor. The burning nature and red colour of the comet leads her to believe that it is a harbinger to the God’s prominence and rise of Stannis Baratheon to the throne.
These are just some of the interpretations as to the meaning of this sign. Yet what it reminds me most of is the concept of the Antichrist and return/coming of the Messiah that spans the Abrahamic religions, and also the more general concept of the “End Times”. Islam, Judaism and Christianity believe that there will be a particular sequence of events leading to the end of the world, and that there will be signs pointing to this. Yet each has their own interpretations of what the signs are, or who the Messiah will be and what he will do. I can’t help but notice a similarity here, as devout followers of all Abrahamic religions look at what they perceive to be rampant corruption and materialism around the world, which they see as a sign of the End Times, or maybe even a harbinger of God’s wrath.