Dragons, Wyrms, and Wyverns: Their Unnatural History
In the wake of the death of Princess Aerea Targaryen, and the horrors he witnessed while assisting Grand Maester Benifer in treating the diseased princess, Barth began the researches and investigations that would lead him to write the Unnatural History.
The Citadel condemned the book as "provocative but unsound". On account of Barth's alleged practice of the higher arts and his studies, King Baelor I Targaryen ordered the book expunged and destroyed during his reign, although some fragments have survived.
In his book, Septon Barth considers various legends examining the origins of dragons and how they came to be controlled by the Valyrians. His theories include the speculation that the bloodmages of Valyria used wyvern stock to create dragons. This claim is considered highly dubious by most maesters.
Septon Barth also claims that dragons are neither female nor male, but shift sexes, "as changeable as flame". Barth further dispels the myth that a dragon can be slain by attacking down its gullet.
A fragment of Unnatural History that has proved controversial among maesters concerns the speech of ravens. Claiming to have consulted with texts preserved at Castle Black, Barth stated his theory that the children of the forest could speak with ravens and make them repeat their words. According to Barth's speculations, the children taught this art to the First Men, which was later passed down to the maesters in a degraded form, as the maesters do not know how to speak to the birds. Most in the Citadel believe that ravens are incapable of true speech; a few maesters who specialize in the higher mysteries have argued that Barth was correct, but have not been able to prove it.
A Dance with Dragons
While writing his dragonlore, Tyrion Lannister recalls that ten years previously he had acquired a fragment of Unnatural History that had eluded Baelor's book burnings. He doubts any of Barth's work had found its way across the narrow sea.
While enslaved outside of Meereen, Tyrion watches the Yunkish defensive preparations in the eventuality that Drogon should return. They are angling their scorpions and mangonels upward at the sky. Tyrion knows that they are wasting their time, and his thoughts turn to Barth's words about the futility of attempting to slay a dragon via its gullet.
Death comes out of a dragon's mouth, but death does not go in that way.—A fragment of Barth's Unnatural History
- Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Baelor I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Rise of Valyria.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: Sothoryos.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 35, Samwell IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 57, Tyrion XI.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Dawn Age.