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[Book Spoilers] "Crueler Gods"?


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#1 Bride of Winter

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 05:25 PM

This may be a dumb question. if so, I apologize

I'm kind of confused as to why Mormont told Jon "The wildlings serve crueler gods than you and I". Mormont, Jon, and the readers are all fully aware that the wildlings, Starks, and Mormonts all follow the old gods. even if the old gods turn out to be a bit crueler than imagined, the fact remains that the wildlings serve the same gods as the rest of the North.

It could just be a really poor way of wording that Craster's "serving" the Others. But one, he really isn't - a shady deal to stay alive hardly counts as worshiping. and two, it doesn't bode well with the fact that Craster's hardly even considered a wildling, and the rest of the wildlings look down on him. It also doesn't fit the theme of realizing that the wildlings are just as human as the people below the wall who shun them. Unless maybe they're intentionally making the wildlings seem more barbaric than they actually are to make their 'humanization' that comes later more clear?

Still, there must have been a better way to word it.

#2 Ferrum Aeternum

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:51 AM

I don't think he meant anything about the old gods. I just took it as a figure of speech, i.e. they have a much harder life and sacrifices have to be made. Some, as in Craster's case, in the literal sense.

#3 Greywolf2375

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:02 AM

It's not intended to be literal as worshipping The Seven or any other god. It's meant in the same way as "money is a cruel god" - he has something more powerful than he is directing how his life is led. He doesn't provide the offering...he gets taken sort of situation.

#4 Blisscraft

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:13 AM

I don't think he meant anything about the old gods. I just took it as a figure of speech, i.e. they have a much harder life and sacrifices have to be made. Some, as in Craster's case, in the literal sense.


/agree.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':agree:' />

#5 HyacinthGirl

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:56 AM

I was confused about this at first too, but someone reminded me that there is actually an identical line in the book (Jon and Mormont are having a similar conversation only on the Fist) that uses the "crueller gods" phrase. Ferrum Aeternum is right, I think.

#6 boojam

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:58 AM

I don't think he meant anything about the old gods. I just took it as a figure of speech, i.e. they have a much harder life and sacrifices have to be made. Some, as in Craster's case, in the literal sense.


Or a teleplay writer's slip, it's nit anyway.
I mean the wildings don't worship the Others that I have ever seen.
In fact , when reading the novels, I keep thinking , the Others are on the move, and yeah they get talked about by the wildings, who know them well, but why not more? They seem a greater threat than the Watch.

Edited by boojam, 18 April 2012 - 08:59 AM.


#7 TheWanderer

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 10:52 AM

Although both the Northmen and the wildlings worship the Old Gods, it seems to me that most Northmen have toned down their worship. It seems that human sacrifice is part of the religion in some (more northern) regions, such as Skagos and possibly north of the wall as well. So while the gods may be the same on both sides of the Wall I think its still fair to say that they're crueler north of it.

In fact , when reading the novels, I keep thinking , the Others are on the move, and yeah they get talked about by the wildings, who know them well, but why not more? They seem a greater threat than the Watch.


Presumably because they have been sleeping for thousands of years. The wildlings appear to lack a writing system, and certainly lack a stable culture, so really the fact that they still know what they are at all speaks to the scope of the threat.

#8 _Oberyn_

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 11:00 AM

There is subtle indications throughout the books that in the distant past there were human sacrifices tho the weirwoods.

Edit: TheWanderer said it better while i was making coffee /tongue.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' />

Edited by _Oberyn_, 18 April 2012 - 11:05 AM.


#9 The Bastard of Bolton

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 11:23 AM

Doesn't Melisandre speak of The Great Other which is everything that the Lord of Light stands against?
I always thought that it was some sort of odd religion linked to White Walker culture.

I guess one of the problems is that apart from Craster I don't recall anyone at all worshiping these Others. The wildings that gather to cross south of the wall seem mostly affixed to the Old Gods. Might be the ones that aren't present need not escape because they pay homage to the Others?

#10 Envie

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:25 PM

Doesn't Melisandre speak of The Great Other which is everything that the Lord of Light stands against?
I always thought that it was some sort of odd religion linked to White Walker culture.

I guess one of the problems is that apart from Craster I don't recall anyone at all worshiping these Others. The wildings that gather to cross south of the wall seem mostly affixed to the Old Gods. Might be the ones that aren't present need not escape because they pay homage to the Others?


I think you're coming closer to the truth in this topic than anyone else has so far.

I think what Mormont was meant to convey was that there are 'worse' things out there than the Old Gods who are just seen as benign nature spirits who live in the weirwood trees and were worshipped by the children of the forest and then later by the men of the north and the wildlings.

I believe by 'serving crueler gods' he meant the Others. Think about it. Craster willingly gives over his infant sons as a sacrifice in order to keep the Others from killing him and his wives. It's his peace offering - and in that way, he is in fact serving the Others regardless if they are really Gods or not, they are being revered as Gods because they have the power to destroy.

"The Great Other" Melisandre refers to is the other half of the Fire in a Song of Ice and Fire... its the cold, dark, ice side of the equation. Like the ying and the yang, the light and the dark. Of course, its arguable whether or not this so-called "Lord of Light" is in fact a good God at all by comparison. Seems to me there's definitely no good and evil and that the fire god is as cruel as the ice god.

The Others are a manifestation of The Great Other in Melisandre's view.

#11 Valkyrist

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:29 PM

There are hundreds of "Old Gods". The Wildling culture is much closer to the First Men, than the Northmen. The North worship the Old Gods in a quiet, mediattive way, whereas the First Men would often offer human sacrifices to the Weirwoods; pouring blood into its roots and hanging entrails across its branches. True, Mormont and Craster technically follow the same faith, but the Wildling faith seems much harsher and savage.

Also, the Wildlings do not worship the Others/White Walkers. Craster merely offers sacrfices to them, so that they'll leave him alone. Mormont probably just though he was just offering sacrifices to the Weirwood, as the First Men used to. If he had any notion that Craster was helping the Others, he would have him hanged.

Edited by Valkyrist, 18 April 2012 - 07:30 PM.


#12 Envie

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:07 PM

Also, the Wildlings do not worship the Others/White Walkers. Craster merely offers sacrfices to them, so that they'll leave him alone. Mormont probably just though he was just offering sacrifices to the Weirwood, as the First Men used to. If he had any notion that Craster was helping the Others, he would have him hanged.


Would he really? Think about it. Mormont has known for a long time that Craster has been sacrificing his sons, but perhaps not exactly what he was sacrificing them to. Maybe he even has a slight unsettling suspicion that these are somehow connected to the rumors of the Others starting to 'wake up' as the wildlings (including Osha) are saying. IF he knows Craster is somehow able to hold the Others at bay because of his sacrifices, do you think Mormont would willingly remove that one final barrier between the Wall and the rest of the north? Mormont knows he doesn't have enough men to defend the wall - he's know that for a long time too. He's been playing a delicate waiting game, with ever rising suspicion that there's something very wrong going on north of the wall. That's why he keeps sending more and more messages to King's Landing pleading for more men. While the rest of the southern kingdoms believe its just wildlings and therefore no big threat... I have a sneaky suspicion Mormont's known for awhile that its much worse than wildlings but is completely handicapped by lack of fresh men.

If you knew that the only thing left standing between your post on the wall and the Others was Craster's Keep...would you be eager to destroy the man holding that border line?

#13 Bastard of the White Knife

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:12 AM

Although both the Northmen and the wildlings worship the Old Gods, it seems to me that most Northmen have toned down their worship. It seems that human sacrifice is part of the religion in some (more northern) regions, such as Skagos and possibly north of the wall as well. So while the gods may be the same on both sides of the Wall I think its still fair to say that they're crueler north of it.



Presumably because they have been sleeping for thousands of years. The wildlings appear to lack a writing system, and certainly lack a stable culture, so really the fact that they still know what they are at all speaks to the scope of the threat.

I agree. As stated above, Mormont's line does come from the books, albeit at a different point. We know from various stories such as the history of the "Old Castle" at White Harbor (cannot remember the name) and Bran's flashbacks that the first men engaged in blood rituals and/or sacrafices to the old Gods. It may be that this "purer" form of worship has been lost over the centuries but is retained by more isolated communities that worship the old gods. I do think that the white walkers share a connection to the COTF and the Old Gods. We know the COTF worshipped the Old Gods and we know that the first men adopted them. We know that the COTF used magic and obsidian weapons which could not match the bronze armor and weapons of the first men. Of course, obsidian is actually useful against the Others which would indicate that there was historical animus betweeen the Others and the COTF - the latter of which are dying out just as the former returns.

#14 Leuf

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:51 PM

Would he really? Think about it. Mormont has known for a long time that Craster has been sacrificing his sons, but perhaps not exactly what he was sacrificing them to. Maybe he even has a slight unsettling suspicion that these are somehow connected to the rumors of the Others starting to 'wake up' as the wildlings (including Osha) are saying. IF he knows Craster is somehow able to hold the Others at bay because of his sacrifices, do you think Mormont would willingly remove that one final barrier between the Wall and the rest of the north? Mormont knows he doesn't have enough men to defend the wall - he's know that for a long time too. He's been playing a delicate waiting game, with ever rising suspicion that there's something very wrong going on north of the wall. That's why he keeps sending more and more messages to King's Landing pleading for more men. While the rest of the southern kingdoms believe its just wildlings and therefore no big threat... I have a sneaky suspicion Mormont's known for awhile that its much worse than wildlings but is completely handicapped by lack of fresh men.

This doesn't track because if Mormont knows earlier then so does Benjen. As First Ranger, he would be the one to tell Mormont in the first place. If Benjen knows, then why doesn't Mormont send Benjen to personally explain this to Ned to get the men he needs? If Benjen knows, why doesn't he try harder to keep Jon from joining when he comes down to Winterfell?

If you knew that the only thing left standing between your post on the wall and the Others was Craster's Keep...would you be eager to destroy the man holding that border line?

If you knew the Others were out there, would you ride out to find out what's out there? I mean Others > Anything else that might be out there. You don't really need to know anything else.

Mormont doesn't know. He's more concerned with what Mance is up to.

#15 Envie

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 03:21 PM

Certainly possibilities. But with the changes made to the screenplay vs. the book, its getting a little more confusing to understand the motivations. I felt like in the books, I was fairly positive until AFTER the Night's Watch left Craster's Keep and then proceeded to be chased and killed off little by little by Others (where Sam kills one with the dragon glass) that Mormont and the others in charge of the Night's Watch did not know about the Others or at least didn't believe it for certain. The addition of the scenes in the series with Craster leaving the baby offering out in the snow, and Mormont's words to Jon, I'm now wondering if they're trying to hint that the Others are more well known than is suggested in the books.

Perhaps its just being sped up in the series out of necessity to prepare the audience for their existence and the battles with them to come.

#16 Jon Snows Ghost

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 01:47 PM

The Great Other that Melisandre was refering to.

#17 GraveWorries

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:23 PM

First post and spoiler alerts!



I'm reading the books again and have reached the end of Feast for Crows. From what I remember there is a scene in ADWD where somebody discovers bones inside a heart tree.
Since those are worshipped is it not possible that the ," Crueller Gods" could include sacrifices to the trees and not just to the Others.? The trees do drink blood when they can get it after all.

#18 Volantis

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 05:06 AM

This may be a dumb question. if so, I apologize

I'm kind of confused as to why Mormont told Jon "The wildlings serve crueler gods than you and I". Mormont, Jon, and the readers are all fully aware that the wildlings, Starks, and Mormonts all follow the old gods. even if the old gods turn out to be a bit crueler than imagined, the fact remains that the wildlings serve the same gods as the rest of the North.

It could just be a really poor way of wording that Craster's "serving" the Others. But one, he really isn't - a shady deal to stay alive hardly counts as worshiping. and two, it doesn't bode well with the fact that Craster's hardly even considered a wildling, and the rest of the wildlings look down on him. It also doesn't fit the theme of realizing that the wildlings are just as human as the people below the wall who shun them. Unless maybe they're intentionally making the wildlings seem more barbaric than they actually are to make their 'humanization' that comes later more clear?

Still, there must have been a better way to word it.


The writers thought it sounded very cool. Thats all.

#19 theriveryeti

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 06:39 PM

First post and spoiler alerts!



I'm reading the books again and have reached the end of Feast for Crows. From what I remember there is a scene in ADWD where somebody discovers bones inside a heart tree.
Since those are worshipped is it not possible that the ," Crueller Gods" could include sacrifices to the trees and not just to the Others.? The trees do drink blood when they can get it after all.


To go along with your post, in ASOS Craster said, "A godly man's got no cause to fear such [wights or Others]/ I said as much to that Mance Rayder once, when he come sniffing round. He never listened, no more'n you crows with your swords and your bloody fires. That won't help you none when the white cold comes. Only the gods will help you then. You best get right with the gods."

This doesn't sound like a figure of speech to me.