Hello, I was just reading twoiaf, the part about the Valyrians conquering the Rhoyne, and I'm curious about the water magic that's mentioned. How much do we know about? Do they still do it in Dorne? Can it cause greyscale? Thanks
Hey! We don’t know much about water magic, as the mystical power of the Rhoynar was only first alluded to in ADWD, and what details there are in TWOIAF are not that detailed. (And written by a skeptic maester, so deliberately not much help there.) But here’s what we do know:
While the magic of the Valyrians was based in fire and blood, the magic of the Rhoynar was based in water.
“It was said the Mother Rhoyne herself whispered to her children of every threat, that the Rhoynar princes wielded strange, uncanny powers, […] and that their cities were protected by “watery walls” that would rise to drown any foe.”
During the wars between the Rhoynar and the Valyrian cities that had been founded on the Rhoyne, the Rhoynish water wizards called upon the power of the Rhoyne and flooded the city of Volon Therys, washing away half the city.
In the last war between the Rhoynar and Valyrians, Prince Garin the Great’s water wizards fought the Valyrian dragons with gigantic waterspouts.
After Garin’s army was slaughtered by the Valyrians, Garin was captured and locked in a cage to witness the enslavement of his people. That night, Garin called upon the power of Mother Rhoyne to curse the Valyrian conquerors… and the Rhoyne flooded hugely, out of season, and a thick fog fell upon Chroyane, and the Valyrians began to die of greyscale… presumably grey plague, by its speed.
To this day, Chroyane, now known as the Sorrows, is a place of evil fogs and mysterious events. A leper colony of “stone men”, those suffering from the last stages of greyscale, haunts the ruins of the city. It’s not known if it’s the fog or the river that carries Garin’s curse of greyscale, or neither, or both, but contact with the stone men is extremely not recommended.
When Princess Nymeria of the Rhoynar and her ten thousand ships of refugees finally made it to Westeros and settled in Dorne, it is said that the Rhoynish water witches “knew secret spells that made dry streams flow again and deserts bloom.”
If the Dornish still know water magic, it’s not mentioned at all in the main books – and considering that the deserts of Dorne are still huge and overwhelming, I think it’s probable that the last practitioners died out long ago. If anyone still knows anything, it’s probably the Orphans of the Greenblood, who live on the river like their ancestors once did, but probably more in the sense of cultural traditions rather than powerful “magic”.
The Children of the Forest also had a form of water magic – when their greenseers gathered and called upon the Old Gods to bring down the Hammer of the Waters to break the landbridge from Essos into the Stepstones, and later attempted to break north and south Westeros apart but were only able to flood the Neck. It is highly unlikely that the few remaining Children could ever summon such power again… but who knows what the last greenseer and his heir could do, if they truly needed to.
Also note that there are various water gods of Westeros – both the ancient First Men gods like those of storm and sea (worshipped by Storm’s End and in the Sisters islands) and the Drowned God and Storm God of the Iron Islands. It may be that their power was a form of water magic… and perhaps it was an example of such magic that allowed Patchface to survive being drowned for three days, and come back a prophet.
And then there’s the Deep Ones, semi-human eldritch creatures of the sea who may have worked with the oily black stone found in strange places of the world… who may have destroyed the ancient Lorathi mazemakers… and, well, if these eldritch fish creatures didn’t use water magic, I’d be very surprised. There are legends of horns that can summon krakens and stranger things from the waters too…
So, water magic is a strange and mysterious thing, possibly extinct… or possibly it could still affect the course of ASOIAF. We’ll just have to see. And for more about greyscale, please check this tag.