A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3) A Storm of Swords question

The Comet
Timothy Timothy Nov 17, 2013 06:50PM
I am approximately 25% of the way through the novel (I'm listening to the audio book to take away the monotony of long drives)...and I'm just wondering what happened to The Comet? It was very prominent in the first novel and at least the first part of Clash of Kings, but then seemed to disappear (though I was stoked when it was briefly mentioned again in this novel). Anyway, I'm not looking for any spoilers, but I would like to know if Martin ever develops this element, or does it just kind of disappear altogether? Any comments about the comet (what it represents & etc...) are welcome as well, but please don't give anything away!

As we read in AGOT and ACOK the return of the dragons was supposed to symbolize (or herald) the bringing of magic back into the world. The comet, while in the real world has historically symbolized the death of an empire, was seen in the books as omens of all kinds for all of the characters. After reading some of the responses to the comet in this thread, I am beginning to wonder if the comet was merely a coincidence or if it was some magical phenomenon caused by the dragons and the return of magic. Maybe it was something to do with the Red God.

But omens, especially bad ones, are something some people just don't hold onto. I feel like almost all of the characters took the comet lightly (if they were in a good situation) and chose to think of it as a lucky fortune cookie from Mother Nature. Kind of like, "Oh, look, the gods must approve of whatever I'm doing, but right now I have things in my kingdom that I have to deal with."

I forget when they mentioned it in ASOS, but it would have been alike to reminiscing about the old days with your friends: "Do you remember that comet?" "Yeah, the red one? That sure was a sign that I was meant to be a king." "Hey, shouldn't we be talking about something that the reader wants to hear about, like marriages or murders?" "Nah, let's just talk about this comet for a little longer."

I thought the comet was very interesting, also, and would have liked to hear more about it in ASOS and hope they mention it in AFFC, but in reality there are far more pressing things that the characters would be talking about. I just don't think that it would have come up in the conversation.

Gary It would be a nice way of rounding out the project to end with some sort of mention of the comet. Of course, that means he'll have to actually finish. ...more
Dec 18, 2013 12:11PM · flag

Mitali (last edited Nov 23, 2013 04:12AM ) Nov 18, 2013 10:30PM   0 votes
Comets don't stick around forever - they come and go. This one came - and then went. Obviously, once it's no longer visible at all times, people would stop discussing it much.

Comets in pre-scientific times were considered portents. The purpose (from the narrative sense) of the comet in this series was to show that great historical changes are brewing. Also, it allows each faction to interpret its appearance to their own advantage. Dany, for instance, believes that it signifies the birth of her dragons, and was sent to guide her on her way to Qarth. In Westeros, the red colour of the comet is thought by the Lannister faction to symbolize a Lannister victory (as red is the Lannister colour). Melisandre takes it as a sign from her god. And so on.

Timothy I understand the historical view of comets as portents/omens... just feel like it had a lot of attention in the first couple of books, then just total ...more
Nov 28, 2013 05:20PM

Comets have long been deemed a sign that empires are going to fall, that death is on its way or, at least, of great change. In this case, the series is based loosely on the War of the Roses period of real world history. In 1456 Halley's Comet appeared, and garnered the typical amount of hysteria. GRRM is probably referencing that appearance.

Citra (last edited Dec 05, 2013 08:00PM ) Dec 05, 2013 08:00PM   0 votes
I think it actually does have a purpose, like the author said in the link below, however I hope he wouldn't use it in the book endings...


I never really understood the point of it and it does just sort of fade out of the book, never to be mentioned again (at least not up to the beginning of book 5 where I am).
I thought there was a reason for it as well as much as it was mentioned early on, but it feels like Martin forgot about it or something.

tangentially relevant: comet ISON will rip around the sun today and may not survive to escape back into the outer solar system.

back to top