Black Crow

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  1. Welcome to Heresy 205, the latest version of the quirky thread where we take an in-depth look at the story and in particular what GRRM has referred to as the real conflict, not the Game of Thrones, but the Song on Ice and Fire and the apparent threat which lies in the North, hidden in those magical Otherlands which lie beyond the Wall. The thread is called Heresy because we miserable heretics were the first to challenge the orthodoxy that the Wall is the last best hope of mankind; to question whether the three-fingered tree-huggers really are kindly elves and question too the popular assumption that Jon Snow is some bloke prophecied out east known as Azor Ahai, who is going to ride out of the sunrise on a dragon, save the world by immolating the lot and then ascend the Iron Throne to reign over dust and ashes. Instead we’re increasingly wondering whether the Starks might have a dark secret in their past, which we’re beginning to suspect may be gaunt, with characteristic long Stark face and is very very cold. Winter after all is coming and it aint going to be pretty. We don’t all agree on this, or anything else for that matter, but as a free-ranging discussion we can safely claim to have been around for a while now and discussed an awful lot of stuff over the years since the thread cycle started in late 2011. Some of the ideas have been overtaken by events and some seemingly confirmed by the earlier stages of mummers’ version before it firmly moved into weird fan-fiction, but this remains very firmly a book-based thread no matter what might happen in that parallel but very different story told by the mummers. So dig in, enjoy yourself and if it comes to a fight just remember the local house rules; stick to the text, have respect for the ideas of others and above all conduct the debate with great good humour.
  2. Then again the answer might simply be that Cottar Pyke doesn't bear a bastard name at all but takes it from the Island of Pyke
  3. The word pike or pyke is used in a number of ways but at its root means something pointy whether that's a long spear, a pointy hill or mountain [eg: Langdale Pike], it can also as you say refer to a type of freshwater fish but that itself gets its name from its pointy mouth
  4. Exactly so. The passage in full [from the very earliest synopsis] reads: The greatest danger of all, however, comes from the north, from the icy wastes beyond the Wall, where half-forgotten demons out of legend, the inhuman others, raise cold legions of the undead and the neverborn and prepare to ride down on the winds of winter to extinguish everything that we would call "life." The only thing that stands between the Seven Kingdoms and and endless night is the Wall, and a handful of men in black called the Night's Watch. Their story will be the heart of my third volume, The Winds of Winter. The final battle will also draw together characters and plot threads left from the first two books and resolve all in one huge climax. In narrative terms we have three groups: 1. "half-forgotten demons out of legend, the inhuman others" raising: 2. cold legions of the undead and the neverborn As actually written the names change a little; the Children of the Forest are never mentioned in either of the synopses, but fit category 1. very closely, ie; they are beyond the Wall, they are half forgotten figures of legend and the epithet demons is certainly applicable given what we know of their demands for blood sacrifice. The cold legions of the undead, are the clearly wights And the equally cold neverborn fit the walkers, very closely associated with the undead and raised or created by magic rather than birthed
  5. Being one for the simple life I've simply interpreted it as the Others being the tree huggers [they are after all referred to as inhuman] and the neverborn as the walkers. GRRM did after all first characterise them as a "different form of life" and then later refer to Ser Puddles being held together by magic - so no, he was never born
  6. I'd disagree, but as JNR noted earlier we also need to consider the nature of friendship. So far as the Pact is concerned it divided up the land. We get this bit, you get that bit and so long as nobody crosses the line we're friendly; cross it and its red war. Luwin says that in time the First Men took up the gods of the wood. Was that a gradual process or was it the price for intervention - a price which men eventually revolted against?
  7. The impression I get is that Winterfell was built around an existing tree rather than first building the place and then planting a sapling in the middle of it - they tried that with the eyrie of course, but its a bit unique - and it failed.
  8. That's what Luwin says, that in time they adopted the gods of the wood and put aside the gods they had come over with, or words to that effect. I think, however, that in the light of events that might need qualifying, ie; the First Men did take up the gods of the wood, but then some revolted; overthrowing the Nights King and joining with the Andals in rejecting the blood sacrifices and cruelty - while others, such as the Boltons didn't. There's also that fearfully ambiguous reference by the Halfhand to the old gods of the Starks
  9. Leading on from that but in a slightly different direction I'm still inclined to wonder about the Starks part in all of this. Jaqen Hgar's conversation with Arya makes it pretty clear that "the old gods" are a pretty broad church, while the "new" refers only to the Seven. What intrigues me, as I said earlier, is that irrespective of the argument as to how fast and how far the surviving tree-huggers ran, we have the stories of the Starks killing the Warg King "and his inhuman allies" the tree-huggers, which doesn't sound very Children-friendly at all and I wonder whether Luwin's statement about the King in the North holding back the Andals shouldn't be treated literally, ie there's no reason to doubt it but it was a matter of politics rather than beliefs, ie; the old gods defended by the Starks weren't the trees, but their own, original old gods
  10. Aux contraire, he said the Pact held until the Andals came along "So long as the Kingdoms of the First Men held sway, the Pact endured, all through the Age of Heroes and the Long Night and the birth of the Seven Kingdoms, yet finally there came a time, many centuries later, when other people crossed the Narrow Sea. "The Andals were the first... The Andals burnt out the weirwood groves, hacked down the faces, slaughtered the children where they found them, and everywhere proclaimed the triumph of the Seven over the old gods. So the children fled north- At this point Summer starts howling because the raven is coming, so we don't know for certain whether they fled straight beyond the Wall as Osha implies or stopped for tea and blinis on the way, but there's absolutely no doubt that they fled long before Harren turned up.
  11. More to the point they ought to have found a refuge with the Stark kingdom in the North if they were so "right" with the Old Gods as they at first appear, but they didn't and instead I'm inclined to read the Nights King story rather more broadly; that the Starks were once "right" with the Old Gods but at some point revolted and broke the Pact, not only overthrowing the Nights King and bringing Andal soldiers north to hold the Wall, but locking their dead in the crypts with cold iron. The Boltons on the other hand have retained their old allegiances and their behaviour gives us a possible insight as to why the Nights King was overthrown and the Pact broken.
  12. As it happens I don't recall any mention of the Nights King amassing an army, but broadly that's how I see it. As you say, however, there's a lot of potential in here for the histories being mince. The Andal takeover is a classic tale of killing or marrying the ruling families rather than conquering the population at large, and its also tied in with the breaking of the Pact and the massacre of the tree-huggers, which may have been a reaction to their demands for human sacrifice. The Starks, we're told, held the Andals at bay, yet we're also told of how their grip on the North was accomplished by the conquest, amongst others of the Warg King and his inhuman allies, the tree-huggers. We also know that the Wall was manned in the early days by thousands of prisoners from the wars down south. While there's evidence enough in the text for this Brad Stark rightly draws attention to the practical implications. Was this because the Starks, the Storm Kings and the Andal kings were all engaged in the same struggle? This would also, of course explain why the Children of the Forest fleeing the Andal pogroms found no refuge in the North but fled beyond the Wall.
  13. Yes, as I said, there are the stories of the Kings being sent there - and in golden chains as I recall
  14. Yet that's exactly what we're repeatedly told in text happened, with kings and princes sent to the Wall with their followers, and those dungeons capable of holding 500 men. By contrast the centralised Targaryen regime is all about retrenchment and consolidation.
  15. That's fairly explicit in Maester Luwin's history; the Pact held until the Andals tooled up. Its not quite as simple as that of course, the Andal "invasion" and the pogroms against the tree-huggers were only possible through the active assistance of the local population, but conversely some families held true to the Pact. Whether the tree-huggers recognised the distinction is also uncertain. Have they done so or do all white-eyes look the same? As to allegiances, again they may not be so straightforward as they at first appear. Were the Andals assisted by the Riverlands families because they offered liberation from sacrifices to the trees? The Starks appear at first sight to be "right" with the Old Gods, but their deadly rivals, the Boltons, appear to be truer to the old ways.
  16. Don't forget that although the road is obviously a great help in supplying the Wall it also has another and more important function in linking the kingdoms. Think of it as a transcontinental freeway; yes it might be possible to drive on it from San Francisco to New York, but how many people do? Most of the traffic is going from place to place along the road. Or in British terms the A1 links London and Edinburgh but how many travel the length of it, rather than say from Newcastle to York or Peterborough.
  17. Gods this one moved fast overnight with barely time to read the posts before tumbling out to work. There are, however, a few points I'd like to address in due course, starting with the Watch. If we take the calendar out of it to avoid confusion, we have three "ages" to consider. In the beginning there's no evidence that the Wall was manned. Notwithstanding the legends of ice being dug from frozen lakes this was raised by magic and blood; and in the beginning the Watch may have comprised no more than the 13 guardians of the Black Gate. Then we have the overthrow of the Nights King and a whole rash of castles, though not necessarily all being built and manned at the same time, while the Watch itself is fed by huge numbers of captives taken in the wars of the Seven Kingdoms. Then comes Aegon the Conqueror and the Pax Targaryena; all of a sudden the war prisoners dry up along with the wars; and then quite abruptly, without those war prisoners the present dire situation. There'll be more wrinkles in there I've no doubt but the changing circumstances are abrupt, not a long slow decline
  18. A little kid who's been physically wasting away while in a coma
  19. I agree that they are connected and closely connected at that, but GRRM's answer to the very specific question which was asked does very strongly suggest that they are not geographically connected
  20. I think that we're probably talking at cross purposes here. SirArthur questioned whether the giant bats could have been dragons; I responded that dragons don't hang upside down; then you provided a reference to Viserion hanging downwards... For the record I think at this stage that bats are bats and dragons are dragons; then question is whether the bats adopted as a sigil by both the Lothsons and the Whents of Harrenhal have any significance and in particular do we have any clues that might link them to the three-fingered tree-huggers?
  21. OK I can't spell, German isn't my first language, but the point remains that Shadrich is talking about a mouse with wings rather than a knight with wings, hence the bat-Lothston connection and talking about Westerosi heraldry rather than "great black bats". As you say, it all comes down to what GRRM is trying to convey.
  22. That's the point. Ser Shadrich ["of the Shady Glen" - someone hiding in the shadows?] is the Mad Mouse and when Sansa/Alayne asks him whether he's going to try out for the order of Winged Knights, he responds that a mouse with wings would be ridiculous. However as I pointed out long ago, in German a bat is der fleidermaus, a winged mouse. That makes him either a Whent or a Lothston. The first have vanished from Westerosi history too soon to have lost one of their number, while on the other hand he shares red hair with Mad Danelle Lothston. Of itself that might be straightforward enough but his boyish stature, his age and the Harrenhal connection raise the question that he might have been the Knight of Laughing Tree - hence the discussion anent the possible significance and allegiances of bats
  23. I'm afraid I'd disagree with that interpretation because context is everything. GRRM's comments were made in response to a specific question and whilst I agree that a fight took place and ended as described, GRRM's warning about dreams not being literal, given the context of that question strongly suggests that Lyanna's death took place somewhere else. http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/Concerning_the_Tower_of_Joy January 02, 2002 CONCERNING THE TOWER OF JOY I have a question which I'm sure you can (and will?) answer. It's about the Tower of Joy. The image we get from Ned's description is pretty powerful. But it doesn't make sense. The top three kingsguards, including the lord commander and the best knight in ages, Ser Arthur Dayne are present there. Lyanna is in the tower, she asked Ned to promise him something. This, so says the general consensus us little Jon Snow, who is Lyanna's and Rhaegar's. No sense denying this However, what are the Kingsguards doing fighting Eddard? Eddard would never hurt Lyanna, nor her child. The little one would be safe with Eddard as well, him being a close relative. So I ask you, was there someone else with Lyanna and Jon? GRRM: You'll need to wait for future books to find out more about the Tower of Joy and what happened there, I fear. I might mention, though, that Ned's account, which you refer to, was in the context of a dream... and a fever dream at that. Our dreams are not always literal.
  24. My bad, although there's a bit of a problem in envisaging how this works - where does the tail go for a start? Bats hang upside down or can hang upside down because they have no forelegs on account of their having evolved into wings. On the other-hand if GRRM says Viserion is hanging like a bat then he's hanging like a bat, but does that then point to a connection?
  25. We're never told of dragons hanging upside down, but on the other hand legend has it that dragons originated as fire worms. We do know that they are creatures of magic - fire made flesh. Perhaps back in the day they were created as fire wyrm/bat hybrids, using magic to combine the fire with wings.