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Who are the old gods?


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#1 tyrionstark

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 03:33 AM

Who, what are they? What are your most recent theories?

 

It has been said that they number beyond counting. Odd, unless it was an exaggeration. Because it would imply that the old gods are an entirety of a race of people somewhere.

 

It has also been said that nobody remembers their names. The word 'remember' is extremely important because it conveys that they once had names and people once knew them, and they were distinct individuals.



#2 Leap

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 03:40 AM

Best theory I've heard is that the Old Gods are the Children of the Forest. 

 

This could be as such:

 

1. The Children expressly lied about their beliefs to the First Men in order to retain some power over them after the peace treaty.

 

or

 

2. The Children do exactly the same as the First Men with regard to worship (i.e. blood sacrifice) but the actual nature of the Gods (i.e. sentient/not sentient) was mistranslated and the CotF accidentally fulfil the role of the Old Gods, all the while believing that the Old Gods are more the forces of nature and magic than a directly sentient being. 

 

 

I don't know how much I like this, because it would be nice for there to be a real God or two in play.



#3 ghosts in winterfell

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 03:41 AM

I don't think there are any actual gods in ASoIaF, just magic & religions.  But it would seem that the Greenseers are the forces behind the Old Gods.



#4 Kienn

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 03:49 AM

Greenseers, either only the living ones (BR and Bran soon, and maybe the ones down deep in the caves that Bran sees trying to talk), or the dead ones too (number beyond count). The "number beyond count" could just refer to past Old Gods rather than ones that still do anything... So they can be felt inside the trees just like skin changers in their animals, but don't have an active Will anymore so actual action is left to the living ones.



#5 tyrionstark

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 04:20 AM

Greenseers, either only the living ones (BR and Bran soon, and maybe the ones down deep in the caves that Bran sees trying to talk), or the dead ones too (number beyond count). The "number beyond count" could just refer to past Old Gods rather than ones that still do anything... So they can be felt inside the trees just like skin changers in their animals, but don't have an active Will anymore so actual action is left to the living ones.

Hmm. For some reason your post gave me this idea: maybe the old gods literally are the trees?



#6 north of the wall

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 04:26 AM

Hmm. For some reason your post gave me this idea: maybe the old gods literally are the trees?


i really like this idea... however that then says the old gods are pretty powerless to do anything really which is a bit upsetting. id like to think the old gods could do something if they wanted to

#7 tyrionstark

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 04:45 AM



i really like this idea... however that then says the old gods are pretty powerless to do anything really which is a bit upsetting. id like to think the old gods could do something if they wanted to

So would I. But why have so many forgotten them. Even their names. Seems like they don't get in the game that much. Or care about it. If they were the trees immune to the effects of time, they could just sit around and wait to assist the forces of good when needed, and contentedly be forgotten all of the rest of the time, like the children of the forest do.



#8 Free Northman Reborn

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 05:28 AM

They are the spirits of dead greenseers, that reside in the trees.

Their power resides in the immense knowledge they possess, which can be tapped into by living greenseers - effectively the priests of the Old Gods - and in the stored lifeforce of countless living creatures that have gone back into the Earth and added their life energy to the weirwood network.

Other religions make blood sacrifices to harness the lifeforce of a single creature to power a spell. The Old Gods have the lifeforce of all living creatures that died in areas where weirwood roots can extract it from the Earth, allowing them to power spells as awesome as the Hammer of the Waters.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn, 06 January 2014 - 05:29 AM.


#9 LionoftheWest

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 08:57 AM

I always thought that they were the greenseers that the Children venerated and then tricked the First Men into worshipping.



#10 RumHam

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 09:38 AM

They are the spirits of dead greenseers, that reside in the trees.

Their power resides in the immense knowledge they possess, which can be tapped into by living greenseers - effectively the priests of the Old Gods - and in the stored lifeforce of countless living creatures that have gone back into the Earth and added their life energy to the weirwood network.

 

:agree:

 

The singers of the forest had no books. No ink, no parchment, no written language. Instead they had the trees, and the weirwoods above all. When they died, they went into the wood, into leaf and limb and root, and the trees remembered. All their songs and spells, their histories and prayers, everything they knew about this world. Maesters will tell you that the weirwoods are sacred to the old gods. The singers believe they are the old gods. When singers die they become part of that godhood.”


#11 ckal

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 09:43 AM

I doubt the Old Gods are the Children of the Forest. There is no way they would worship the creatures they were fighting so countless years.

 

 

I think the Old Gods are similar to the gods of Norse mythology.



#12 RumHam

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 09:50 AM

I doubt the Old Gods are the Children of the Forest. There is no way they would worship the creatures they were fighting so countless years.

 

Well they spent a while cutting down and burning weirwoods and now consider them sacred, so why not?



#13 north of the wall

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 04:26 AM

So would I. But why have so many forgotten them. Even their names. Seems like they don't get in the game that much. Or care about it. If they were the trees immune to the effects of time, they could just sit around and wait to assist the forces of good when needed, and contentedly be forgotten all of the rest of the time, like the children of the forest do.

I agree the old gods must have something to do with the greenseers since the north worship the very trees that the grenseers can see through.

 

I have just thought, but have no real evidence to back this up however, what if the old gods are in fact northmen hearing greenseers like Theon heard Bran? I know this is not meant to have happened before but since greenseers can see into the past, present and future it could be possible a greenseer has spoken to a northman through a weirwood tree before isn't it? It could be a complete misunderstanding and perhaps the old gods have no power other than to see things others can't. But like I said I have zero prove to make this a very plausable agruement.



#14 Jon Weirgaryen

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 05:46 AM

The spirits of the dead. Children of the Forest and First men, and maybe more. Or what's left of them. We see them interact in Jon and Theon's dreams of the crypts in Winterfell. That's true religion in the sense of the word: Reminiscing.

We also get telegraphs through Hodoring and the Raven's "Snow, Corn, King," and they answer every prayer before a heart tree immediately.

 

Last we see ravens quork attempts at whole sentences iirc. The spirits of the dead in the ravens, the spirits of the dead in the trees, if we consider Bran and BR dead and buried in the cave, in the sense of dead as the word is being used throughout Jojen Reed's lingo (=Perfectly hidden, deep under the snow).

 

Some will argue, it is the last greenseer through a Winternetwork of interwoven weirwood roots. That would make one person omniscient and near-omnipotent, a god of hir own right.

 

Neuroscience and some psychology place emphasis on our conscient mind constantly tricking us into believing lots of fallacies. It may well be there's no Winternetwork and no greenseer but in the minds of our protagonists. But then, we have met the last greenseer.

Also it was neuroscience who found a receiver area for religious experience in our brains that has also been proven can be stimulated and in turn activated remotely. That combined with the above is a bit to chew that can start a vicious circle of revoluting recurring self-reference.

 

In the end, Martin allows us to choose a belief or another, as well as to doubt the power of the god(s) and religion(s). That's great!

 

I personally have quite some trouble imagining a sole former half-super-human greenseer to broker all the information this vast network of memories and senses and view and smell and taste an hearing from all over the world into useful understanding and choices and actions.

 

That's why I chose to believe the last greenseer in the heart of the grove has a lot of help, and the whole community of old gods beyond counting clockworks away of its own. The greenseer is there to sometimes lay the tracks and steer some course of action, but not the only great godfather-like puppeteer. But this again, is a belief, as happens to be just mine, you are warmly welcome to differ if you like.



#15 mindchap

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 06:21 AM

The trees themselves are what are referred to as old gods, since there are no actual gods in the series. They are a collection of memories that span there entire lives, and Greenseers are kind of like a conduit that connects the trees with the living(well the unrooted living anyway) I think they both absorb and emit memories, or at the very least they are capable of bringing out memories in people who are around them(Cat, Arya, Jaime) As to their true motive, if they have one at all, we have yet to uncover that, and I think it may be intentional(just try to search for the Isle of F*ces or the Gre*nmen on the SSM) I have thoughts about the Others as well but they are best kept quiet, they draw a lot of hate. :D



#16 joluoto2

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 08:27 AM

The Greenseers of the past seem to be connected to the Heart Trees, and Greenseers of the present can watch past events through them. My guess is the Old Gods are simply Greenseers.



#17 Jon Weirgaryen

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 09:06 AM

The Greenseers of the past seem to be connected to the Heart Trees, and Greenseers of the present can watch past events through them. My guess is the Old Gods are simply Greenseers.

 

So what about the crypt of Winterfell dreams,

what about the Kings of Winter speaking to Jon and Theon?



#18 joluoto2

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 10:37 AM

 

So what about the crypt of Winterfell dreams,

what about the Kings of Winter speaking to Jon and Theon?

Doesn't necessary come from the Old Gods. Also we don't know the full amount of Greenseer power yet. I think there are powerful spells cast in the Crypts of Winterfel, and those spells are activating with the coming of the Others.



#19 Jon Weirgaryen

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 02:01 PM

Doesn't necessary come from the Old Gods. Also we don't know the full amount of Greenseer power yet. I think there are powerful spells cast in the Crypts of Winterfel, and those spells are activating with the coming of the Others.

 

Good plan :-)



#20 tyrionstark

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 08:23 PM

The spirits of the dead. Children of the Forest and First men, and maybe more. Or what's left of them. We see them interact in Jon and Theon's dreams of the crypts in Winterfell. That's true religion in the sense of the word: Reminiscing.

We also get telegraphs through Hodoring and the Raven's "Snow, Corn, King," and they answer every prayer before a heart tree immediately.

 

Last we see ravens quork attempts at whole sentences iirc. The spirits of the dead in the ravens, the spirits of the dead in the trees, if we consider Bran and BR dead and buried in the cave, in the sense of dead as the word is being used throughout Jojen Reed's lingo (=Perfectly hidden, deep under the snow).

 

Some will argue, it is the last greenseer through a Winternetwork of interwoven weirwood roots. That would make one person omniscient and near-omnipotent, a god of hir own right.

 

Neuroscience and some psychology place emphasis on our conscient mind constantly tricking us into believing lots of fallacies. It may well be there's no Winternetwork and no greenseer but in the minds of our protagonists. But then, we have met the last greenseer.

Also it was neuroscience who found a receiver area for religious experience in our brains that has also been proven can be stimulated and in turn activated remotely. That combined with the above is a bit to chew that can start a vicious circle of revoluting recurring self-reference.

 

In the end, Martin allows us to choose a belief or another, as well as to doubt the power of the god(s) and religion(s). That's great!

 

I personally have quite some trouble imagining a sole former half-super-human greenseer to broker all the information this vast network of memories and senses and view and smell and taste an hearing from all over the world into useful understanding and choices and actions.

 

That's why I chose to believe the last greenseer in the heart of the grove has a lot of help, and the whole community of old gods beyond counting clockworks away of its own. The greenseer is there to sometimes lay the tracks and steer some course of action, but not the only great godfather-like puppeteer. But this again, is a belief, as happens to be just mine, you are warmly welcome to differ if you like.

I don't follow much of it, but I enjoy the cut of your jib quite a lot.