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Craster: The reason the others came back?


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#1 RaidenSchumacher

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 10:58 AM

Just a wild idea really, not even a theory.

 

We know that Craster sacrifices his sons to... something... presumably the great other.

 

Do we even know that Craster is not the only reason for the return of the others?

 

I mean, maybe if he hadn't sacrificed his children there wouldn't be any others at all?



#2 Rahgh Neqaj

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 12:03 PM

Unlikely in my opinion. Craster was there to show us GRRM's opinion of people waiting for a hero and of the consequences of Jon's "I'm the hero who saves every maid" reflexes. Once this had been taken care of, GRRM got rid of Craster. End of that part of the story.

 

If the return of the Others is connected to any special character in the story then my bet is either on Roose Bolton or Benjen Stark (the latter along the lines of "the Night's King was a Stark") and will get some proper explanation while the corresponding character arc gets tied up. But most likely, the reason for the return of the Others will be put down to "shit happens, especially when magic returns" and no one in the novels can be bothered to research the why in any greater detail. The followers of R'hllor will spin their yarn, the North will spin its own old gods yarn, the High Septon either ignores it or praises the efficiency of his prayers and of the warrior, the Iron Islanders will eat celebratory squid stew and the lamb people will bleat in paise of the Great Shepard.



#3 Jon Weirgaryen

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 06:15 AM

We know that Craster sacrifices his sons to... something... presumably the great other.

 

Do we even know that Craster is not the only reason for the return of the others?

 

I mean, maybe if he hadn't sacrificed his children there wouldn't be any others at all?

 

We don't know. There are quite a few references pointing to the existence of Others than Craster feeling safe from the Others or the sacrifices of his sons (whatever meaning there is in that, we just don't know yet, we are simply getting programmed to make something up from the leads).

There seems to be no proof for it nor against it.

If you want to spend some more time with more Craster theories, use the search function, as there are some more on the board.



#4 Blood of the Flagon

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 06:20 AM

I've always thought of craster as simply an other enabler, for lack of a better term.  I think throughout beyond the wall there have been a lot of people like craster who have made faustianish bargains with the others that have allowed them to survive.  I can't say there is a lot of text evidence for this but I got the feeling craster was one in a long line of people the others have got to.



#5 TheLostStark

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 08:11 AM

I always assumed the other were released by Mance when searching for the horn. Ygritte said they released all those evils into the world or something like that.



#6 Tetrarch42

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 08:27 AM

I don't think the actions of any one person can bring the Others back into the world.



#7 Kienn

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 08:34 AM

IMO blood magic is blood magic and doesn't need to be "king's blood". So Craster's sacrifices are definitely a throwback to ancient Northern blood sacrifices that might have brought the original Long Night.

 

Craster sacrifices to ice and brings White Walkers...

 

Dany sacrifices to fire and brings Dragons...

 

I suspect Craster wasn't actually the only one doing it though. Other wildlings probably did, Bolton might have been since he likes old traditions (Lord's Right to First Night) and he's unnaturally young or healthy every time he's described... Bolton might just be sacrificing his own blood in leeches though...


Edited by Kienn, 10 December 2013 - 08:34 AM.


#8 Borsabil

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 08:41 AM

Just a wild idea really, not even a theory.
 
We know that Craster sacrifices his sons to... something... presumably the great other.
 
Do we even know that Craster is not the only reason for the return of the others?
 
I mean, maybe if he hadn't sacrificed his children there wouldn't be any others at all?

We don't know that the babies were sacrificed. We know that the Others came and took the infants and in return left Craster in peace to impregnate his own daughters. What that does tell us is that Craster was able to communicate with the Others in order to work out his deal with them, which is interesting as he's the only character in the book we know of that has been able to do that. It also shows that to some degree the Others are interested in human affairs. My own theory, again unsupported by anything in the way of evidence, is that the Others are human transformed by using the ice magic and that far from sacrificing the children they were recruiting new members. Why only male children though?

EDIT: the last part having been asked and answered in the books. As part of his deal Craster insisted he be left with the girls in order to grow his harem.

Edited by Borsabil, 10 December 2013 - 08:44 AM.


#9 Nobleman of Vaes Toloro

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 12:09 AM

Craster merely made best use of his circumstances. He gave up sons who could grow up and kill him and made peace with the Others. The Wildlings delved too greedily and too deep. They sought the horn but found something else.  You know what they awoke in the darkness of the Lands of Always Winter...shadow and ice.


Edited by Black Rider of the East, 11 December 2013 - 12:10 AM.


#10 corbon

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 02:27 AM

Just a wild idea really, not even a theory.
 
We know that Craster sacrifices his sons to... something... presumably the great other.


No we don't. We know that Craster's sons are taken out into the woods and don't come back. Craster claims they are sacrificed and his wives believe him. Unlike the wives, who use it as a salve to their conscience for killing their children for the sake of their own safety, we have no reason to believe Craster. Its not like he's an upright citizen of good moral standing, is it... ?
 

We don't know that the babies were sacrificed. We know that the Others came and took the infants and in return left Craster in peace to impregnate his own daughters.


We don't know this at all. Craster claims it, and it works usefully for him to help keep his wives/daughters in line and remove potential rivals. We do know (or have data that suggests) that the Others seem to have been around Craster's keep with some correlation to the babes (and sheep) being 'sacrificed'. Thats about it though. No actual data of any meeting, or communication, or dealing, just an uncorroborated claim by a sickeningly corrupt man which runs counter to the most of rest of the data we have.
 

What that does tell us is that Craster was able to communicate with the Others...
EDIT: the last part having been asked and answered in the books. As part of his deal Craster insisted he be left with the girls in order to grow his harem.


I don't believe there is any evidence at all Craster can communicate with the Others.

At very best I imagine his 'deal' with the Others is simply leaving a babe/sheep behind in the woods and scampering away and praying that he is safe - which seems to have been working for him, thus leaving him to perhaps believe that he has a 'pact' with the 'old, cold gods' through his 'sacrifice'.

At best.

At worst its just another manipulation of his women that fits partly by luck and partly by (his - taking out a sheep whenever the presence of an Other is noted and their are no sons available) design with the Others simply not destroying him for their own reasons.
 

I always assumed the other were released by Mance when searching for the horn. Ygritte said they released all those evils into the world or something like that.


No, definitely not.
First, the entire reason they were searching for the Horn is the Others.
- the Others were beating the individual wilding tribes
- then Mance reunited the wildlings
- the Others were still winning over the reunited wildlings
- Mance led the wildlings to the barrows to search for the Horn in order to have something to blackmail the Nights Watch into letting the wildlings through the wall (safe on the other side from the Others)
Ygritte is a fairly junior pleb and doesn't know much about this stuff, but Mance explained it to Jon later. Clearly what they supposedly 'released' was nothing to do with the Others, since the Others were already around, already beating them and they already knew to take precautions she doesn't mention (like burning bodies etc).

Second, what Ygritte thinks was released was 'shades' - ie incorporeal spirits of the dead.

Note that this fits with the Stark (same gods, similar culture, same First Man origins) belief that the iron swords and tombs prevent the restless spirits of the dead from bothering the living.

Note also that there is no perceived or mentioned or prepared for actual effect of these shades being released.

Its probably nothing more than a typical anti-grave-robbing superstition common to virtually all cultures that created tombs for their dead and included grave-goods. If there is any mystical reality to it, it clearly has had no actual effect anyone can perceive.



#11 corbon

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 02:29 AM

The Wildlings delved too greedily and too deep. They sought the horn but found something else.  You know what they awoke in the darkness of the Lands of Always Winter...shadow and ice.

 

They weren't delving greedily, or deeply. Nor were they at the Lands of Always Winter.



#12 mindchap

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 02:38 AM

Craster merely made best use of his circumstances. He gave up sons who could grow up and kill him and made peace with the Others. The Wildlings delved too greedily and too deep. They sought the horn but found something else.  You know what they awoke in the darkness of the Lands of Always Winter...shadow and ice.

Nice... :cool4:  Where is our Mithrandir now.....

 

As to the OP, I think there is more to the Craster story than we know but mainly because there is a complete lack of Craster on the SSM, just like the lack of the Isle of Faces.


Edited by mindchap, 11 December 2013 - 02:40 AM.


#13 BaseBornBastard

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 03:18 AM

I don't think that one guy sacrificing his kids is going to bring back an entire race of sentient supernatural humanoids. Plus, the Others would have likely come back before Craster starting making sacrifices, otherwise he would having originally been sacrificing his kids for no reason until they actually came back to receive those sacrifices. 

If anything, I think the death of the dragons may have something to do with the return of the Others. I know that happened 150 or so years before the events of the series, but maybe it just took a while before the Others marshaled their strength again. Considering that the Others may live incredibly long lives, 150 years might be nothing to them. 



#14 Jon Weirgaryen

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 03:50 AM

I'd like to hitch a ride on that thought...

Craster sacrifices to ice and brings White Walkers...

 

Dany sacrifices to fire and brings Dragons...

 

(...) Bolton might just be sacrificing his own blood in leeches though...

 

What is Melisandre doing then? She tells the world she is sacrifying to fire, but what she's actually getting is life prolongation, murder, strong storm winds, smoke and shadows. "Element" of air.

(Sorry to interrupt. I know nothing.)


Edited by Jon Starkaryaetheon, 11 December 2013 - 03:52 AM.


#15 The Iron Banker

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 04:20 AM

Craster doesnt sacrifice his sons to get the Others back, he sacrifices them to protect himself and his daughters from the Others, who had already returned



#16 Borsabil

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 01:30 AM

No we don't. We know that Craster's sons are taken out into the woods and don't come back. Craster claims they are sacrificed and his wives believe him. Unlike the wives, who use it as a salve to their conscience for killing their children for the sake of their own safety, we have no reason to believe Craster. Its not like he's an upright citizen of good moral standing, is it... ?
 


We don't know this at all. Craster claims it, and it works usefully for him to help keep his wives/daughters in line and remove potential rivals. We do know (or have data that suggests) that the Others seem to have been around Craster's keep with some correlation to the babes (and sheep) being 'sacrificed'. Thats about it though. No actual data of any meeting, or communication, or dealing, just an uncorroborated claim by a sickeningly corrupt man which runs counter to the most of rest of the data we have.
 


I don't believe there is any evidence at all Craster can communicate with the Others.

At very best I imagine his 'deal' with the Others is simply leaving a babe/sheep behind in the woods and scampering away and praying that he is safe - which seems to have been working for him, thus leaving him to perhaps believe that he has a 'pact' with the 'old, cold gods' through his 'sacrifice'.

At best.

At worst its just another manipulation of his women that fits partly by luck and partly by (his - taking out a sheep whenever the presence of an Other is noted and their are no sons available) design with the Others simply not destroying him for their own reasons.
 


No, definitely not.
First, the entire reason they were searching for the Horn is the Others.
- the Others were beating the individual wilding tribes
- then Mance reunited the wildlings
- the Others were still winning over the reunited wildlings
- Mance led the wildlings to the barrows to search for the Horn in order to have something to blackmail the Nights Watch into letting the wildlings through the wall (safe on the other side from the Others)
Ygritte is a fairly junior pleb and doesn't know much about this stuff, but Mance explained it to Jon later. Clearly what they supposedly 'released' was nothing to do with the Others, since the Others were already around, already beating them and they already knew to take precautions she doesn't mention (like burning bodies etc).

Second, what Ygritte thinks was released was 'shades' - ie incorporeal spirits of the dead.

Note that this fits with the Stark (same gods, similar culture, same First Man origins) belief that the iron swords and tombs prevent the restless spirits of the dead from bothering the living.

Note also that there is no perceived or mentioned or prepared for actual effect of these shades being released.

Its probably nothing more than a typical anti-grave-robbing superstition common to virtually all cultures that created tombs for their dead and included grave-goods. If there is any mystical reality to it, it clearly has had no actual effect anyone can perceive.

We know that the Others leave Craster and his daughters/wives alone. We know that he's the only person North of the Wall to go unmolested by the Others, everyone else scrambling south with Mance specifically to get away from them. What you're arguing is that the Others and Craster had some kind of unspoken arrangement, they'd take the babies and leave him alone, in a similar way to raccoons showing up on trash day to pick through folks garbage. More likely that Craster is able to communicate with them in some way, and this is the price they demanded for not killing him and his harem/family. The Others are inteligent beings after all.

 

If you're arguing that Craster doesn't sacrifice/give away his baby sons to the Others then you'll have to come up with another explanation as to why they leave hima alone.



#17 Morienthar

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 02:04 AM

Craster merely made best use of his circumstances. He gave up sons who could grow up and kill him and made peace with the Others. The Wildlings delved too greedily and too deep. They sought the horn but found something else.  You know what they awoke in the darkness of the Lands of Always Winter...shadow and ice.

No,They didn't it was the CotF and the First Men who delved too greedily and too deep and I don't think the Others are some sort of  "Eldritch Evil" which has to be woken up from it's slumber.The Others most likely were a sect of CotF or a cousin group of the CotF which got corrupted by the Land of Always Winter.



#18 corbon

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 03:37 AM

We know that the Others leave Craster and his daughters/wives alone.


We know it appeared that way. We don't know why and we don't know how many times the Other's have 'appeared, nor if they were in numbers, or singles glimpsed from afar. We don't know very much, period.
 

We know that he's the only person North of the Wall to go unmolested by the Others, everyone else scrambling south with Mance specifically to get away from them.


Craster's keep is significantly further south than most of the Other's previous presence. Their activity up until that stage was much much further north, apart from isolated events such as in the prologue, which were in the open. Craster's Keep is also somewhat fortified (its a keep/holdfast after all) and I very much doubt that he or his wives go out at night.
He's also not the only person north of the wall to go unmolested. Many NW Rangings have come back without finding any trace of the Others. Other scattered groups of wildlings have survived beyond Craster. Some have, some have not. The chief presence of the Others seems to have been much much further north (north west mostly, see below)

Take a look at the map on the wiki, for example. The Fist of the First Men is nearly twice as far north-west of Craster's Keep as Craster's Keep is north of the wall. And the main wildlings are still further north and west than that. Thenn, the Frostfangs, the Frozen Shore are much much much further north and west. Even Hardhome is 2-3 times further north, (but way out in the eastern tip of a peninsular, which is why it's been 'safe' until now).
Basically the Others appear to come out of the Lands of Always Winter in the far north west and their main effects have been gradually forcing those people south and east toward the Wall/Hardhome. Craster's Keep is 100s of leagues from the 'front line' as it were when the NW came through the first time.

Notice too that the Other's depredations have been marked only in relatively recent years, whereas Craster has presumably been giving his sons for a decade or two at least, given he has daughters producing sons already. Most people anywhere near Craster's Keep have been going unmolested by the Others for decades too, with no 'pact'.
 

What you're arguing is that the Others and Craster had some kind of unspoken arrangement, they'd take the babies and leave him alone, in a similar way to raccoons showing up on trash day to pick through folks garbage. More likely that Craster is able to communicate with them in some way, and this is the price they demanded for not killing him and his harem/family. The Others are inteligent beings after all.


I'm suggesting actually that Craster has no agreement at all with the Others. I 'm suggesting that actual communication is unlikely at all, if not impossible. They most likely don't share a language, nor the opportunity to learn from each other - I suspect humans probably can't even make half the sounds the Others use in their language. I'm interested to know what makes you think it likely that Craster can communicate with the Others?
I'm suggesting that Craster's 'agreement' was entirely in his own mind - he left the sons/sheep out and hoped it was enough, so far it seemed to be enough, so he assumed that it was enough and it 'was a deal'.
I'm not even sure that the Other's actually take the 'sacrifices'. Or at least not all of them. Never mind what the show did.

Its quite clear that the babies are not important in themselves, or the sheep wouldn't be doing the same role.

So, which is more likely?
i) the Others and Craster have a complex* arrangement for his safety despite
- no evidence suggesting even the possibility of common communication - their language isn't even made up of human sounds!
- no evidence anywhere (including Old Nan's stories) that the Other's are not basically out to destroy every living thing, and plenty that they are
*that covers not just the sons and the leaving alone, but also acceptable substitues when sons are not available, as well as Craster's wives and animals
OR
ii) Craster is full of cowardly-ass shit and takes his sons out in the woods to die anyway. A few times, perhaps the first time he did it, a scouting Other has been nearby and been noted. Possibly it even took a son he left behind. He uses that as an excuse for his actions, and claims 'protection' which actually comes down to having a defensible fort and being careful. That keeps his wives in line and salves their conscience about murdering their own kids, and allows him to think of himself as a 'godly man' when he's about as far from anything godly as it s possible to get.
 
I'll give you basically 1000:1 odds on ii) over i). ii) is credible in every way and lines up every piece of data we have, period, and also fits pyschology and motives for various parties. i) is not at all credible, runs contrary to much of the data we have on the Others and relies entirely on Craster's bullshit.
 
 

If you're arguing that Craster doesn't sacrifice/give away his baby sons to the Others then you'll have to come up with another explanation as to why they leave hima alone.


I'm suggesting that the Other's don't, or rather didn't, have the numbers or the resources, or perhaps even the plan (they are intelligent after all), to be operating in 'devastation mode' as far south as Craster's Keep at that time and that sightings there were more likely of scouts or scouting groups. They can pick off small groups in the open, but are not wiping out anything and everything this far south at that time.

Given how little we know about the Others, but what have seen elsewhere, thats infinitely more credible than a random deal with Craster.


Edited by corbon, 12 December 2013 - 03:43 AM.


#19 Borsabil

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 10:04 AM

We know it appeared that way. We don't know why and we don't know how many times the Other's have 'appeared, nor if they were in numbers, or singles glimpsed from afar. We don't know very much, period.
 

Craster's keep is significantly further south than most of the Other's previous presence. Their activity up until that stage was much much further north, apart from isolated events such as in the prologue, which were in the open. Craster's Keep is also somewhat fortified (its a keep/holdfast after all) and I very much doubt that he or his wives go out at night.
He's also not the only person north of the wall to go unmolested. Many NW Rangings have come back without finding any trace of the Others. Other scattered groups of wildlings have survived beyond Craster. Some have, some have not. The chief presence of the Others seems to have been much much further north (north west mostly, see below)
Take a look at the map on the wiki, for example. The Fist of the First Men is nearly twice as far north-west of Craster's Keep as Craster's Keep is north of the wall. And the main wildlings are still further north and west than that. Thenn, the Frostfangs, the Frozen Shore are much much much further north and west. Even Hardhome is 2-3 times further north, (but way out in the eastern tip of a peninsular, which is why it's been 'safe' until now).
Basically the Others appear to come out of the Lands of Always Winter in the far north west and their main effects have been gradually forcing those people south and east toward the Wall/Hardhome. Craster's Keep is 100s of leagues from the 'front line' as it were when the NW came through the first time.
Notice too that the Other's depredations have been marked only in relatively recent years, whereas Craster has presumably been giving his sons for a decade or two at least, given he has daughters producing sons already. Most people anywhere near Craster's Keep have been going unmolested by the Others for decades too, with no 'pact'.
 

I'm suggesting actually that Craster has no agreement at all with the Others. I 'm suggesting that actual communication is unlikely at all, if not impossible. They most likely don't share a language, nor the opportunity to learn from each other - I suspect humans probably can't even make half the sounds the Others use in their language. I'm interested to know what makes you think it likely that Craster can communicate with the Others?
I'm suggesting that Craster's 'agreement' was entirely in his own mind - he left the sons/sheep out and hoped it was enough, so far it seemed to be enough, so he assumed that it was enough and it 'was a deal'.
I'm not even sure that the Other's actually take the 'sacrifices'. Or at least not all of them. Never mind what the show did.
Its quite clear that the babies are not important in themselves, or the sheep wouldn't be doing the same role.
So, which is more likely?
i) the Others and Craster have a complex* arrangement for his safety despite
- no evidence suggesting even the possibility of common communication - their language isn't even made up of human sounds!
- no evidence anywhere (including Old Nan's stories) that the Other's are not basically out to destroy every living thing, and plenty that they are
*that covers not just the sons and the leaving alone, but also acceptable substitues when sons are not available, as well as Craster's wives and animals
OR
ii) Craster is full of cowardly-ass shit and takes his sons out in the woods to die anyway. A few times, perhaps the first time he did it, a scouting Other has been nearby and been noted. Possibly it even took a son he left behind. He uses that as an excuse for his actions, and claims 'protection' which actually comes down to having a defensible fort and being careful. That keeps his wives in line and salves their conscience about murdering their own kids, and allows him to think of himself as a 'godly man' when he's about as far from anything godly as it s possible to get.
 
I'll give you basically 1000:1 odds on ii) over i). ii) is credible in every way and lines up every piece of data we have, period, and also fits pyschology and motives for various parties. i) is not at all credible, runs contrary to much of the data we have on the Others and relies entirely on Craster's bullshit.
 
 

I'm suggesting that the Other's don't, or rather didn't, have the numbers or the resources, or perhaps even the plan (they are intelligent after all), to be operating in 'devastation mode' as far south as Craster's Keep at that time and that sightings there were more likely of scouts or scouting groups. They can pick off small groups in the open, but are not wiping out anything and everything this far south at that time.
Given how little we know about the Others, but what have seen elsewhere, thats infinitely more credible than a random deal with Craster.

There's one passage in the books that pretty much nailed it for me, that was in a SoS, when Mormont is murdered and Gilly is pleading with Sam to take her away.

"Gilly was crying. "Me and the babe. Please. I'll be your wife, like I was Craster's. Please, ser crow. He's a boy, just like Nella said he'd be. If you don't take him, they will."
"They?" said Sam, and the raven cocked its black head and echoed, "They. They. They."
"The boy's brothers," said the old woman to the left. "Craster's sons. The white cold's rising out there, crow. I can feel it in my bones. These poor old bones don't lie. They'll be here soon, the sons."

The boys brothers? The sons? Who is she referring to? Well most obviously it's the abandoned brothers of Gilly's newborn son who they think are coming to claim him. Note also it's the oldest woman in Craster's harem who's telling Sam, that's important I think, as she would have direct knowledge of any deal done between Craster's and the WWs. Note also she says 'the white colds rising' which can only mean the Others are coming. So not only are the women claiming that the 'dead' sons of Craster's are coming, they're also saying those dead sons are white walkers.

You're right the 'proof' that the babies are being scarified to the Others can be read in different ways, but I'm having a hard time to interpret that statement than any way other than what I've described. Now it might be some bullshit story that Craster has made up to explain who's taking the babies, but why would he bother? I mean it's not like his living situation could be any more fucked up and his women were so terrified of him I doubt he'd bother.

If the 'brothers' are still alive and were not killed by the Others, but somehow taken away and transformed into something no longer human, I reckon that tells us something about the origins and race of the Others.

Edited by Borsabil, 12 December 2013 - 10:07 AM.


#20 corbon

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 06:56 PM

There's one passage in the books that pretty much nailed it for me, that was in a SoS, when Mormont is murdered and Gilly is pleading with Sam to take her away.

"Gilly was crying. "Me and the babe. Please. I'll be your wife, like I was Craster's. Please, ser crow. He's a boy, just like Nella said he'd be. If you don't take him, they will."
"They?" said Sam, and the raven cocked its black head and echoed, "They. They. They."
"The boy's brothers," said the old woman to the left. "Craster's sons. The white cold's rising out there, crow. I can feel it in my bones. These poor old bones don't lie. They'll be here soon, the sons."

The boys brothers? The sons? Who is she referring to? Well most obviously it's the abandoned brothers of Gilly's newborn son who they think are coming to claim him. Note also it's the oldest woman in Craster's harem who's telling Sam, that's important I think, as she would have direct knowledge of any deal done between Craster's and the WWs. Note also she says 'the white colds rising' which can only mean the Others are coming. So not only are the women claiming that the 'dead' sons of Craster's are coming, they're also saying those dead sons are white walkers.


Indeed they are. And thats where the whole story collapses most thoroughly.
Its difficult, nay impossible, to believe they would actually know such a thing, even if it were true.

So, we know that the Others are inhuman and alien (they melt into water when stabbed with dragonglass! and their speech sounds like ice breaking). We have seen no evidence of 'baby' Others, or 'kid' Others, and no evidence of them being able to feed a small child and keep it alive in their icey world (indeed, we've seen extreme-cold-experienced humans frozen to death in their sleep by the icy cold the Other's bring).
So how do the son's become Others?
Some ritual of magic or something you say? So how do the wives know of it? I cannot imagine an even slightly credible scenario that has the Others inviting the wives, or even Craster, to witness such a ritual, or tell them about it. So no knowledge of any such ritual then.
And how to 'know' that a man-sized Other was once a specific tiny human baby only days old? No credible way.

And if they aren't believing such a thing from true knowledge, its almost certain that its false, even if they believe it.
 

You're right the 'proof' that the babies are being scarified to the Others can be read in different ways, but I'm having a hard time to interpret that statement than any way other than what I've described.

 

Oh the wife believes exactly what you say, no doubt. But there's just no credible way it could be true knowledge. So what it almost certainly is is a pyschological defense mechanism. "We don't murder our babies at all, we give them to the gods and they become gods. Its really not such a bad thing..."
 

Now it might be some bullshit story that Craster has made up to explain who's taking the babies, but why would he bother? I mean it's not like his living situation could be any more fucked up and his women were so terrified of him I doubt he'd bother.

 

If there is one thing that can drive a mother to any sort of desperate measure, including rising up against Craster, its murdering her babies. A mother's drive for her progeny is a very powerful thing. Craster is wise to have a way to temper that.
 

If the 'brothers' are still alive and were not killed by the Others, but somehow taken away and transformed into something no longer human, I reckon that tells us something about the origins and race of the Others.

 

Sure. But I just can't see, nor has anyone brought forward, a credible way for the wives to know that.
Instead most people just offer an uncritical acceptance of a beyond fantastical claim made by one person who is in a truly desperate situation.
Martin does fantasy, but its real, gritty, fantasy, easily believable.

I would very much like to see a reasonable explanation for the sons becoming Others, and the wives truly knowing about it, but until someone can think of one I cannot see any other acceptable explanation than that the old wife's claim is merely part of the same pyschological falsehood as the 'pact'.


Edited by corbon, 12 December 2013 - 06:58 PM.