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AGoT Prologue Question - Something left unsaid?


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#1 Nucky Thompson

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 11:21 AM

While rereading the AGoT prologue, I noticed something odd. It may have been brought up previously on the forums, it may even have been resolved, but if not, I thought that it deserves an analysis.

Whe Will describes to Ser Waymar Royce what it is that he has seen with regard to the dead Wildlings, he mentions that their group had posted a sentry up high on a tree branch. He goes on to explain how he sneaked past her line of sight only to discover that she wasn't moving either. Now, my question is: How was she killed? The Others were described as armed with their weird swords only and not being equipped with any sort of projectile weapons. I don't really see how they could kill someone perched atop a tree. Sure, they could try throwing one of their swords at him, but it doesn't seem like an effective tactic. The wights are the other alternative, but I don't see them as being agile enough to climb a tree. I haven't paid the necessary attention to all the other parts of the series where wights are described attacking someone - so I might have overlooked evidence to the contrary, but if this was the case, said sentry would have most likely fallen on the ground and not remained atop the tree branch. Ser Waymar Royce didn't think twice about it since he was assuming that a Wildling detachment murdered them - and they were likely to use arrows while at that - unlike the Others/wights faction. All this seems to suggest that the Others did something else, which wasn't described in their encounter with Ser Waymar Royce. What might have it been?

#2 RumHam

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 11:38 AM

Huh I never thought about that. It's possible the Others have some kinda ranged weapon and we just haven't seen it yet. Maybe only the one's who ride the ice spiders have them.

#3 Bright Blue Eyes

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 11:42 AM

Probably freezing to death. Ser Waymar rules that out since the warm temperature, the thick clothes and the means of making fire at hand made it pretty much impossible, but we learn later that the Others are linked with a sudden drop in temperature and fire being (almost) impossible to start or being outright extinguished.

#4 Apple Martini

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 11:42 AM

It's an interesting thing to ponder, but what makes it stand out to me as especially creepy is that they knew someone was in the tree. We've seen people like Wex use trees to hide and as a means of safety, so this — a sentry, someone who is trying to stay hidden and out of sight, being killed despite being in a "safe" place — is pretty chilling.

#5 KhalDrogoReborn

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 11:43 AM

I think that they froze to death and than the other wighted them.
That's what Will thinks before the others come too.
Also, if wildings had killed her than she must have had an arrow in her body.

#6 King of Winters

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 11:43 AM

Probably freezing to death. Ser Waymar rules that out since the warm temperature, the thick clothes and the means of making fire at hand made it pretty much impossible, but we learn later that the Others are linked with a sudden drop in temperature and fire being (almost) impossible to start or being outright extinguished.

That's what I always thought.

#7 Nucky Thompson

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 12:00 PM

Also, if wildings had killed her than she must have had an arrow in her body.


Something a smarter ranging party should have at least considered before investigating from up close. But truly, what happens if a bunch of Others circle a big tree and someone wrapped in a warm cloak is high in its branches and refuses to die of the weather simply being cold? Say, Ser Waymar Royce hadn't been that honourable and had climbed to avoid being cut to pieces. What would the Others do? Chop the tree down? They surely can't light it on fire, and with swords only, their range is severely limited.

It is specifically pointed out that at that particular time it wasn't really cold enough for someone to die. Moreover, the cold which comes with the Others seems to be with a short range and is probably not deadly itself, since the Others would kill anyone caught in it themselves. It doesn't really seem logical that they would sit around doing nothing while somebody 10 metres away gets colder and colder until is finally dead.

The way I see it, with the sounds made when their swords hit steel, it is hinted even further that they aren't real biological entities, but are summoned in a way (by the COTF, by the way) and the requirements for their appearance are that it is cold around. That's why they are said "to bring the cold" - it is a precondition for their "production". When it is cold apriori - as in the prologue - many of them can appear simultaneously. Otherwise, apparently, a warm weather would counter the "coldness" which brings them about and the drop in quality would lead to a drop in quantity. Cold weather is associated with a higher atmospheric pressure, which would make it easier to "compress" whatever they are made of - instead of remaining "thin air". What is more, the said high-pitched sounds suggest some sort of apparition, or - more technically - a hologram. Its main purpose seems not to "fight the good fight" as is, but to produce wights out of the dead. If the COTF are truly behind it, this would be the ultimate anti-human weapon which uses the very humans against themselves - thus countering their numerical and physical advantages. If the Others were truly an independent faction, they would be going into battle on their own and at their own peril - and not using some lesser pawns such as the wights. It seems that they are somehow made by the real faction behind them which benefits from their invasion - most likely the COTF. In the beginning of AGoT, the COTF are regarded as "vanished" - and not as "killed" or "dead". It seems that their tactic of the good cop/bad cop with the Others being the bad cop and they helpfully lending an obsidian dagger to mankind and casually suggesting that a wall is built across the continent, leaving them in de facto control of the bigger part of it (the northernmost one), is not a coincidence.
The direwolves were probably sent by Bloodraven by means of Coldhands, who had used some of the gates at the Wall - or by the Weirwood network - and their purpose (so far) has been to save Bran from the murderer and make sure that he becomes the new guy running things. In that regard, Joffrey's hired blade may have saved the realm from outworldly invasion, had it not been for Summer's interference. Nevertheless, if Bloodraven can counter such future problems, the question of free will and is it present at all, arises.

Edited by gendarme, 18 August 2013 - 12:06 PM.


#8 Morienthar

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 01:06 PM

It would be unlikely that a hunting or scouting party leaves without Archers.Maybe the others have archers too,It isn't exactly inconceivable,They did take holdfasts the last time around.

#9 Nucky Thompson

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 02:18 PM

It is logical, yes. However, the interesting part is - why was it omitted from the description? If it was a mundane detail - "they had glittering blueish bows and shot arrows through the snow", it wouldn't make much of an impact. Could there be something more to it, though? Could it have something to do with the very essence of what the Others are? So far into the series, the limited number of encounters with the Others make the impression that they are a race of creatures which is hellbent on the destruction of humanity. And they are pretty much depicted as strange humanoids - they, too, have swords. Could there be something else to them - something which was left by GRRM until after the arrival of Bran into the base of the COTF and Bloodraven? It seems that the story will continue in a rather unconventional way and not simply as a battle between inherently evil creatures and humanity, which is aided by inherently good creatures who happen to be altruistic and generous.

If the Others do, indeed, affect people (e.g. Waymar Royce in his ringmail) through some high-frequency "cuts" unlike the normal way a steel sword cuts (through a physical blow), it would lead to some conclusions about them and their origins. If that were the case, the Others couldn't fire projectile weapons at all - and that would be why no such weapons are included in their description. And the Others couldn't shoot arrows, because they actually are some sort of a "field" - which has different properties than matter (or energy) and is something in between those two. Arrows, on the other hand, are mundane matter. So the small detail of their projectile-weapon capabilities may be quite consequential, after all.

Edited by gendarme, 18 August 2013 - 02:24 PM.


#10 Bright Blue Eyes

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 02:21 PM

It is specifically pointed out that at that particular time it wasn't really cold enough for someone to die. Moreover, the cold which comes with the Others seems to be with a short range and is probably not deadly itself, since the Others would kill anyone caught in it themselves. It doesn't really seem logical that they would sit around doing nothing while somebody 10 metres away gets colder and colder until is finally dead.

The general warmness is that - general. Warm at the Wall, warm the couple miles the rangers were away at the time, but probably cold where the Wildlings died. Furthermore, "short range" means several miles at the least, since in Tormund's band a large amount freezed to death in the middle of a big camp.

The way I see it, with the sounds made when their swords hit steel, it is hinted even further that they aren't real biological entities, but are summoned in a way (by the COTF, by the way) and the requirements for their appearance are that it is cold around. That's why they are said "to bring the cold" - it is a precondition for their "production". When it is cold apriori - as in the prologue - many of them can appear simultaneously. Otherwise, apparently, a warm weather would counter the "coldness" which brings them about and the drop in quality would lead to a drop in quantity. Cold weather is associated with a higher atmospheric pressure, which would make it easier to "compress" whatever they are made of - instead of remaining "thin air". What is more, the said high-pitched sounds suggest some sort of apparition, or - more technically - a hologram. Its main purpose seems not to "fight the good fight" as is, but to produce wights out of the dead. If the COTF are truly behind it, this would be the ultimate anti-human weapon which uses the very humans against themselves - thus countering their numerical and physical advantages. If the Others were truly an independent faction, they would be going into battle on their own and at their own peril - and not using some lesser pawns such as the wights. It seems that they are somehow made by the real faction behind them which benefits from their invasion - most likely the COTF. In the beginning of AGoT, the COTF are regarded as "vanished" - and not as "killed" or "dead". It seems that their tactic of the good cop/bad cop with the Others being the bad cop and they helpfully lending an obsidian dagger to mankind and casually suggesting that a wall is built across the continent, leaving them in de facto control of the bigger part of it (the northernmost one), is not a coincidence.
The direwolves were probably sent by Bloodraven by means of Coldhands, who had used some of the gates at the Wall - or by the Weirwood network - and their purpose (so far) has been to save Bran from the murderer and make sure that he becomes the new guy running things. In that regard, Joffrey's hired blade may have saved the realm from outworldly invasion, had it not been for Summer's interference. Nevertheless, if Bloodraven can counter such future problems, the question of free will and is it present at all, arises.

A lot of unfounded assumptions piled on unfounded assumptions.

#11 Crannogman Pride

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 02:32 PM

The cold killed them. That's not to say they don't have projectiles, or other long range weapons. We don't know.

Royce was pretty smart, and extremely brave. But he had no idea how the others operate, so he was totally wrong, while Will's unfounded fear was the correct route.

#12 Wise Fool

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 03:23 PM

Perhaps she died of fright? You know, pretty much like how I would in that situation.

#13 Summerqueen

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 03:24 PM

1. She died of the Others-derived cold. Seems plausible.
2. She was wighted after dying on the ground and climbed the tree as a wight lookout for the Others. (most unlikely, I would think. For all we know, the Others have some sort of heat-seeking ability and do not need lookouts.)
3. She died of fright. (That is some scary shit, and she may have been at her physical limits anyway if her band had been running from NW or Others.) (ETA: ninja'd like a second ago!)
4. The Others have ranged weapons or creatures to do the distance slaying for them (arrows, spiders). (I find this plausible as well).


It's interesting that we don't really know, but I'm not sure that a big reveal about the Others is in the works just because of this mysterious death. We come to know about the cold they seem to bring and the spiders at their command from Nan and the Wildlings.

Edited by Summerqueen, 18 August 2013 - 03:24 PM.


#14 Stannis Eats No Peaches

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 03:48 PM

/dunno.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':dunno:' /> Hypothermia? Maybe the Others can climb trees or maybe they have ranged weapons.

#15 Queen‍‍‍‍‍‍ Alysanne‍‍

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 03:55 PM

While rereading the AGoT prologue, I noticed something odd. It may have been brought up previously on the forums, it may even have been resolved, but if not, I thought that it deserves an analysis.

Whe Will describes to Ser Waymar Royce what it is that he has seen with regard to the dead Wildlings, he mentions that their group had posted a sentry up high on a tree branch. He goes on to explain how he sneaked past her line of sight only to discover that she wasn't moving either. Now, my question is: How was she killed? The Others were described as armed with their weird swords only and not being equipped with any sort of projectile weapons. I don't really see how they could kill someone perched atop a tree. Sure, they could try throwing one of their swords at him, but it doesn't seem like an effective tactic. The wights are the other alternative, but I don't see them as being agile enough to climb a tree. I haven't paid the necessary attention to all the other parts of the series where wights are described attacking someone - so I might have overlooked evidence to the contrary, but if this was the case, said sentry would have most likely fallen on the ground and not remained atop the tree branch. Ser Waymar Royce didn't think twice about it since he was assuming that a Wildling detachment murdered them - and they were likely to use arrows while at that - unlike the Others/wights faction. All this seems to suggest that the Others did something else, which wasn't described in their encounter with Ser Waymar Royce. What might have it been?

The graphic novel illustrates this part well to some extent.

#16 Sordelor

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 05:23 PM

If you just needed to climb into a tree to be protected against the Others, it would be very easy to esape from them and they wouldn't be that dangerous.

#17 kissdbyfire

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 08:09 PM

The cold mists...

Remember what Tormund says to Jon in Dance? 'Can you sword cut cold?', or something to that effect. /uhoh.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':uhoh:' />

#18 BranBrokeLegs

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 08:16 PM

Froze to death. As Will states, they were all just lying around (or up a tree dead). No sign of violence, and the big guy had an axe that was just laying next to him unused. The Wildings weren't dressed for extreme code as Will mentions it hadn't been that cold lately. However, it got extremely cold when the Others arrived.

#19 The Drunkard

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 09:56 PM

It's an interesting thing to ponder, but what makes it stand out to me as especially creepy is that they knew someone was in the tree. We've seen people like Wex use trees to hide and as a means of safety, so this — a sentry, someone who is trying to stay hidden and out of sight, being killed despite being in a "safe" place — is pretty chilling.


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

#20 Lady Beyond the Wall

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 10:02 PM

I noticed that as well when I read it the first time. I guess I always assumed she died up there, afraid to come down. Hypothermia, starvation, etc.