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About cgrav

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    Landed Knight
  1. I'm always surprised how many people hate the main characters but still read 5000+ pages and joined the discussion forum. Jon has experienced a number of symbolic deaths and resurrections - most notably climbing back over the wall - as well as had his fate foreshadowed. He's also got a unrevealed secret royal identity, a deed to Winterfell with his name on it, and appears as Azor Ahai in Mel's visions. He's kinda the main character, representing "ice and fire" on several levels. There's quite a bit of story left to tell. Like the character or not, it would be just terrible writing to leave all those loose ends. And that's worse than losing a character people like.
  2. A step back and a look at "time" in ASOIAF on the grand scale.

    oh I got an idea: if the weirwood looking at its own reflection is a process of self-realization... and we believe that the Others somehow came from the weirwoods... does that mean that the Others are a literal personification of the weirwood consciousness? Like, they got some souls put in them, got eyes, looked at themselves and realized they existed, and then willed their cold, raging selves into reality in the form of ice monsters? Somehow, this makes sense with the early descriptions of the Crypts and the dead Kings of Winter in it. "Cold and hard as the land they ruled", and we know that the cold of real winter is the cold of the Others. Add to that Ned's wondering if their spirits could leave the crypt and wander... I'm starting to think that the heart tree is the real crypt, and that the old Kings of Winter are wandering.
  3. A step back and a look at "time" in ASOIAF on the grand scale.

    @ravenous reader There's also two mentions very early in GoT about the Heart Tree "brooding" over its reflection in the pool. As in, actually staring at itself. I'm going to drive myself to distraction thinking just wtf that would mean when we factor in the past-ness of the dark pool reflections. Does this represent the self-awareness of the greenseer? And this is actually a wonderful confluence of symbolism. As established long ago, Ned's archetype is a King of the Underworld, King of Winter, etc figure, so if we accept that such a realm is timeless, then of course he can stab the past.
  4. A step back and a look at "time" in ASOIAF on the grand scale.

    yes, the wood = fire symbolism was given to us on three occasions, as GRRM likes to do: 1) Mel's mention of burning the heart tree at Storm's End 2) The giant weirwood at Whitetree with the charred remains in its mouth 3) The burning of weirwood sticks as the wildlings passed to the south But also, wood = fire because, well, that's what you light to make a fire. This is laughably obvious now, but it seemed like a huge revelation at the time we figured it out.
  5. A step back and a look at "time" in ASOIAF on the grand scale.

    Yeah I think we're meant to have that impression of Asshai and the area. It's convenient for symbolism because we'll never have a POV there in the story's present, according to GRRM himself. Melisandre herself is a "gate" that allows shadows to pass, so I think we're supposed to draw that connection. Considering she's got the weirwood coloring and lunar symbolism, as well, we can draw a pretty straight line between all of these objects/locations. The river through Asshai is also black, like the pond by the Winterfell godswood and the lake near Vaes Dothrak. Those are both meant to act as sort of looking glasses to the Long Night. In the Dany scene, she sees the reflected moon "shatter" on the ripples, and there's some graphic sexual stuff going on symbolizing the sun's penetration of the moon. In the godswood, we also see Ned dip his LB symbol Ice into the pond, which we know holds a reflection of the heart tree, and we know the heart tree symbolizes the moon in the moment of its destruction. And that scene lets me pivot gracefully back to the discussion of time. If these reflections are essentially images of the distant past, what does it mean that present-day Ned is sticking his present-day sword into an image of the moon's past destruction? He's completing a "Lightbringer forging" scene, but Lightbringer seems to be stabbing the past... Did the past send the comet to the future? Will Bran send the comet to the past? I wonder if this is some convoluted scenario in which the AA of the past figured out how to send the comet 10,000 years into the future in order to avert disaster, but then present day Bran sends it back to avert a disaster, thus creating the Long Night in the story's past. Though I honestly hope it's something cooler than what I can come up with.
  6. A step back and a look at "time" in ASOIAF on the grand scale.

    1) Agree. I think the different elemental objects of worship represent different means of access to the same "place" because they are all forms of death. 2) probably not, but possible. I think it ties up more neatly as a unified concept. 3) I think the Wall has that function symbolically. I see the Wall as a sort of figurative River Styx.
  7. A step back and a look at "time" in ASOIAF on the grand scale.

    @Slowpoke Martin @Macgregor of the North I think the Occam's Razor method of explaining things forces us to choose between conceptual and narrative complexity. "Magic" alone still requires characters to use it, and that leaves us with questions about motives, logistics, physical/magical possibility... information requires a very defined path between characters. And ultimately we are still left asking how the magic works. I am fond of the "Timeless Underworld" or "Well of time" theory because it provides a fairly unified explanation of prophecy. Characters with the ability need access only one gateway to see information. Some people like Jojen and Daenys get glimpses of this and just see the information, while others like Bran and BR can move through this realm as they please. The concept is also well established in literature and the real world mythology that GRRM draws from. The Greenseer and Weirwood ideas are taken straight from Odin and Yggdrasil. Odin can see the inevitable future and visit other realms by traveling up and down the axis mundi of Yggdrasil. And it's also a clean explanation because people aren't manipulating or traveling through time, rather they are just experiencing a different mode of time. It's like watching a movie versus having every frame laid in front of you at once.
  8. well that's a weird place to find "little finger"! Anyway, I like how the hole HotU scene is a Prometheus story. The Undying were people who sought immortality by stealing the life force from Dany and her dragons. They wanted to steal her fire, both literally and figuratively, so she let them have it. Whoever tries to usurp the gods gets burnt, just like Robert the Usurper was full of firewine when he died.
  9. It is really really conspicuous that the Others are referred to in the Prologue as "the Watchers", with the same term being in the NW vows. Like the NW are the Watchers on the Wall, while the rest are the Other Watchers. I'd say this all strongly corroborates your earlier hypothesis that the original NW were undead people like Coldhands. I'm definitely behind the possibility that the cold/winter was displaced by the fire when AA entered the trees. Makes me wonder if the opposite could happen - a "cold"'person entering the fire and creating cold/frozen fire (or dragons?) by displacing the heat. The wights are an interesting part of this equation, too. Perhaps the real abomination wasn't just entering the weirnet, but figuring out how to go back inside a body after being "sacrificed" to the tree. Such would represent an undoing of physical death, which fits well into the Prometheus theme. I picture entering the weirnet as an attempt at eternal life: a dying greenseer slips into the tree and then their physical body is killed. Of course that would also be a prison if done unwillingly. They'd be stuck on the cold, dead side of the gate, until someone like AA forces the hinges to swing backwards.
  10. There's actually a thought by Jon as they approach the grove, opening a paragraph, "The others were good men too." In the scene referring only to brothers Jon doesn't know very well. But of course the wording is just too conspicuous to overlook. The HotU scene almost seems like an inverse trip into the weirnet to me. Dany takes the "burnt" substance inside herself and then enters a structure that's bigger on the inside than outside. Most of the visions are symbolic, but the Rhaegar one specifically appears to be a literal scene from his life. There's all kinds of "Rhaegar lives" crackpottery, but given Dany's alchemical wedding, Rattleshirt's burning, the visions in the flames, and flaming Weirwood imagery, I wonder if Rhaegar (and more I'm sure) attempted to enter the weir-realm via his own pyre. What do you suppose are the chances that pyre contained Weirwood or one of its ashy symbols?
  11. I inquired in the latest Mythical thread, but it'd be cool to have a general discussion: do we think the ebony trees and Shade of the Evening could have similar function to the weirwoods and the paste?
  12. Just read this last night. Gotta do some digesting before I have any new thoughts. But, I did notice something cool about the Grove of Nine scene: it's like a prologue to the prologue, with the Night's Watchmen playing the role of the Others. They sneak up silently on a group of wildlings in a grove (complete with a small fire) and then "assimilate" them by force. That is, they gave them a manner of second life south of the Wall, which is the realm that represents life. It's just like how the Others give the undead a second life as zombies north of the Wall. @LmL I'm also curious if you will be investigating the Ebony tree as a transformed counterpart to the Weirwood. Knowing what we know about "gates" to the underworld and non-linear time, I've been thinking about the vision of Rhaegar in the House of the Undying.
  13. Who did Robert really fight at the Trident?

    Rhaegar's body was cremated. If glamors were involved, whoever was in that armor died and got burned to a crisp. Pretty hard to come back from that, let alone get back down to Dorne before Ned and company.
  14. Mance is Rhaegar, MR=RT

    M=R would be cool, but there are some pretty concrete logistical obstacles. Rhaegar having been cremated... people remembering Mance as a youth... Mance having been known as a Wildling leader before Rhaegar died. We shouldn't have to do plot gymnastics to get Rhaegar north of the Wall. I feel like the logistics of a theory should be pretty straightforward. Though to be fair, we do have an on-page instance of someone being burned and glamored at the same time. GRRM has left some loopholes that allow this theorizing, but even if Rhaegar is somehow alive, there's almost no plausible way that M could = R
  15. Winterfell is portrayed many times as an egg (with the word "shell" specifically), so it makes sense that we expect something to come out of it, or for it to act as a gate. Even outside of the symbolism discussions there's speculation to that effect. I mentioned in some other thread that Winterfell is not only an egg, but one that gets fertilized. Bael the Bard penetrated the castle and left a bastard there. Mance/Abel sneaks into Winterfell twice, the second time with a faux harem. We can probably think of Winterfell and the Eyrie (maybe just castles in general) as similar symbols, just on different timelines. The history of Winterfell is the present-day story at the Eyrie. For all it's reputation as "impregnable", Littlefinger still gets in and elicits some screams of "agony and ecstasy". And Lysa dies via the gate - given over to the beast outside the door - and the singer gets silenced for knowing too much. So I think we do see the full story of symbolic penetration and birth at both castles.