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Weirwoods (Old Gods) making a return south of The Neck?


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#1 Bellatrix Stark

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:20 PM

Been rereading the series and I made a note of something in A Feast for Crows that interested me.

Brienne of Tarth, Podrick Payne and Nimble Dick made camp at the Whispers. After they enter the bailey they find evidence that someone/ someones had been there recently. The place is mess, overgrown, looked to be uninhabited for many years except for the remnants of a fire, but Brienne makes note of something else as well. Just a passing thought really but maybe it means more than that.

A Feast for Crows, pg. 292
"In their midst was a pale stranger; a slender young weirwood with a trunk as white as a cloistered maid. Dark red leaves sprouted from its reaching branches."

Now I've thought on this and it seems clear to me that the weirwoods are making a comeback (maybe that's me being hopeful). After the Andals conquered much of Westeros (except the North), they cut down much of the weirwood forests (except for the Isle of Faces and random places in the south ie King's Landing). Now this young weirwood tree has seemingly sprouted from nowhere at the Whispers and it's blossoming. Winter is Coming, do perhaps the weirwoods grow during winter? Also Brienne thinks of it being a stranger. uhm?

When I think of the weirwoods/ heart-trees I automatically associate them with the Old Gods, which isn't a hard association at all. Obviously. But with this one weirwood tree growing, perhaps others are as well in the south. As the war against The Others is coming more to a head, maybe the Old Gods are planning on making a comeback? Are they the only true Gods? Is R'hllor evil, the Old Gods good; or the other way around?

I know most of this is allover the place, but this has been one thing that has nagged me endlessly. Any theories? Perhaps this has been discussed before? I tried to find a thread associated with this but I got mostly stuff about the Old Gods, but nothing about the weirwoods perhaps making a comeback below The Neck.

I'm a n00b, be gentle /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

#2 Arkantos

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:28 PM

Didn't that CotF called Leaf travel Westeros? Maybe she was planting weirwoods!

#3 Lord Flashheart

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:31 PM

I believe it goes something like "The cold winds are rising and the trees have eyes again"

#4 Cameron

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:45 PM

well the wildlings have been carving faces on trees in the north since they came south of the wall, perhaps northerners who hold to the old gods are surreptitiously planting them south of the neck? at the same time, i have the feeling martin is basing this off history, so it seems likely that, sadly, paganism (the old gods) is going to slowly fade. but we can always hope

#5 Lord Godric

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:57 PM

That is pretty far south to see a weirwood growing. I think it's beautiful symbolism but I'm not really sure what it symbolizes. Maybe just the return of the North?

Edited by Lord Godric, 19 February 2013 - 10:59 PM.


#6 jarl the climber

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 11:19 PM

There is nothing to keep a weirwood tree from growing South of the Neck. The Arryns actually tried to plant one at the Eyrie. Weirwood seems to have great value as an ornamental type wood and is extremly durable. On the other hand they are probaly slow growers so I do not think that they are planted and harvested for commercial purposes. As far as the Whispers go, it was an old abandoned castle and the Godswood had sort of taken over. The people who live in Cracklaw Point still worship the Old Gods and hold them sacred so they did not harvest the Wierwood trees there because it would have been sacreligious I suppose. Its right there at a smugglers cove and you figure somebody would have cut it down and made a pretty penny off the log selling it to the smugglers but they did not.

#7 Bellatrix Stark

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 11:29 PM

I believe it goes something like "The cold winds are rising and the trees have eyes again"


where's that from?

#8 jarl the climber

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 11:32 PM

where's that from?

I think Qhuorin Halfhand in a ACOK after Jon tells him about his wolf dream. I think he tells that to the one guy he sends off to warn Mormont.

#9 Bellatrix Stark

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 11:44 PM

I think Qhuorin Halfhand in a ACOK after Jon tells him about his wolf dream. I think he tells that to the one guy he sends off to warn Mormont.


That's right! And the winds are rising (Winter is Coming) and the trees do have eyes- Three-eyed Raven (Bloodraven lbr) and Bran.

To me the significance of the weirwood tree, being young and growing far below The Neck MEANS something. Perhaps in a Bran chapter in TWoW we could find out.

Edited by Bellatrix Stark, 20 February 2013 - 12:00 AM.


#10 Castellan

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 11:46 PM

Been rereading the series and I made a note of something in A Feast for Crows that interested me.

Brienne of Tarth, Podrick Payne and Nimble Dick made camp at the Whispers. After they enter the bailey they find evidence that someone/ someones had been there recently. The place is mess, overgrown, looked to be uninhabited for many years except for the remnants of a fire, but Brienne makes note of something else as well. Just a passing thought really but maybe it means more than that.

A Feast for Crows, pg. 292
"In their midst was a pale stranger; a slender young weirwood with a trunk as white as a cloistered maid. Dark red leaves sprouted from its reaching branches."

Now I've thought on this and it seems clear to me that the weirwoods are making a comeback (maybe that's me being hopeful). After the Andals conquered much of Westeros (except the North), they cut down much of the weirwood forests (except for the Isle of Faces and random places in the south ie King's Landing). Now this young weirwood tree has seemingly sprouted from nowhere at the Whispers and it's blossoming. Winter is Coming, do perhaps the weirwoods grow during winter? Also Brienne thinks of it being a stranger. uhm?

When I think of the weirwoods/ heart-trees I automatically associate them with the Old Gods, which isn't a hard association at all. Obviously. But with this one weirwood tree growing, perhaps others are as well in the south. As the war against The Others is coming more to a head, maybe the Old Gods are planning on making a comeback? Are they the only true Gods? Is R'hllor evil, the Old Gods good; or the other way around?

I know most of this is allover the place, but this has been one thing that has nagged me endlessly. Any theories? Perhaps this has been discussed before? I tried to find a thread associated with this but I got mostly stuff about the Old Gods, but nothing about the weirwoods perhaps making a comeback below The Neck.

I'm a n00b, be gentle /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

The Whispers is a feared, abandoned spot, isn't it? So maybe weirwoods sprout up from the old stock but are usually ripped out - except in the few wild or neglected southern areas. I wonder if any other new ones are mentioned in the books.

#11 Cameron

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 11:47 PM

the neck is like the main narrow point between scotland and england, it is supposed to be where the north and south meet. the mixing of fire and ice, so to speak

#12 Sevumar

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 11:54 PM

The people of Crackclaw point were never really displaced or defeated by the Andals. Their prior culture managed to survive to a great degree, so their weirwoods probably survived the violence that came in the wake of the Andal conquest. They also submitted to the Targaryens without resisting, so they have been largely left to their own devices as the area fell into decline.

It seems pretty reasonable that there would be new growth including weirwoods, especially in places where castles that once had heart trees were abandoned and reclaimed by the wilderness.

#13 Bellatrix Stark

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:02 AM

The Whispers is a feared, abandoned spot, isn't it? So maybe weirwoods sprout up from the old stock but are usually ripped out - except in the few wild or neglected southern areas. I wonder if any other new ones are mentioned in the books.

Of course I wouldn't had paid attention in the first 3 books for that, but I am rereading ADWD so I'll keep a eye out for something like that.

#14 Sevumar

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:13 AM

Of course I wouldn't had paid attention in the first 3 books for that, but I am rereading ADWD so I'll keep a eye out for something like that.


The weirwood at Riverrun is described as "a slender weirwood with a face more sad than fierce." This is not new growth, but it shows that there are weirwoods of various sizes and descriptions in places we might not have taken note of them early in the series.

#15 Lord Godric

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:29 AM

The weirwood at Riverrun is described as "a slender weirwood with a face more sad than fierce." This is not new growth, but it shows that there are weirwoods of various sizes and descriptions in places we might not have taken note of them early in the series.

Well, that's in the godswood, right?

#16 Bellatrix Stark

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:03 AM

Well, that's in the godswood, right?


Yeah that is.

There was only one weirwood tree at the Whispers that Brienne sees. She doesn't describe it as a godswood either. The other descriptions of the bailey they were in made me think it wasn't a godswood..

Would she even know what a godswood would look like because she's of the Faith right? Would Tarth have a godswood? I can't remember if Brienne ever said so or not.

I typed godswood way too much.

#17 Lord Flashheart

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:07 AM

“The cold winds are rising. Mormont feared as much. Benjen Stark felt it as well. Dead men walk and the trees have eyes again. Why should we balk at wargs and giants?”

ACOK Jon Chapter 53.

#18 Bellatrix Stark

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:25 AM

“The cold winds are rising. Mormont feared as much. Benjen Stark felt it as well. Dead men walk and the trees have eyes again. Why should we balk at wargs and giants?”

ACOK Jon Chapter 53.


/bowdown.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':bowdown:' />
Awesome, because I really didn't feel like searching through ACoK.

Interesting when you think about Mormont and Benjen being northerns and they "sensed" the, for lack of a better word, winds changing.


Didn't that CotF called Leaf travel Westeros? Maybe she was planting weirwoods!


Perhaps that did happen? /idea.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':idea:' />


well the wildlings have been carving faces on trees in the north since they came south of the wall, perhaps northerners who hold to the old gods are surreptitiously planting them south of the neck?


Now I'm just throwing out semi-crackpot ideas now: but the Northerns were sensing shit is about to go down. Winter is indeed Coming. The North is going to be ground zero, what with a war going on and winter descending and doing things that winter does. The North will not be habitable. So what do the Northerns gotta do, but move on down south. So in preparation of this, perhaps a few Northerns had planted weirwood trees? To make things more homey?

Crackpot I tell ya. But ideas?

#19 megamutt

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 01:13 PM

Weirwoods south of the Neck.

Isle of Faces.
godswood in Riverrun.
godswood in Storm's End (Burned by Melisandre).
godswood in Harrenhal.
young tree in Whispers.
godswood in Raventree Hall (For a thousand years it has not shown a leaf. Dead?)
Stone Garden in Castlery Rock
Citadel, Isle of Ravens (Half dead?)






Edit: cave/hideout of BWB.

Edited by megamutt, 14 May 2013 - 02:51 PM.


#20 Starfell

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 01:31 PM

Would she even know what a godswood would look like because she's of the Faith right? Would Tarth have a godswood? I can't remember if Brienne ever said so or not.

I typed godswood way too much.


Good point, I think that this is a little bit of a minor inconsistency, early in AGoT Cat's internal monologue makes it sound like the concept of a heart tree is something strange and specifically Northern, in fact the phrase "The heart tree" is even in quotation marks (this is page 20 of the UK paperback edition btw, Cat's first chapter) which seems out of place given the later implications that it's at least traditional for most godswoods (inclusing the one where she was raised) to have one