Kushluk of Skagos

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  1. I agree with you, but I guess my answer is: Why? They don't seem to need to eat or breathe, since they are all semi-undead, so the practical explanation is out. What's next is that it is a magical barrier for them, or that they will be opposed by forces too strong for them to easily overcome. As an army, they will strike at the targets that are the weakest link: humans on land rather than sea beasties. Many people have also wondered why they don't just freeze whatever part of the sea they need to cross. This might be for the same reason, they expect some opposition, are magically blocked from doing so, or their magic is simply not powerful enough (yet). Edit: I am reminded of that patchface quote: "Malegorn: Lord Snow, who will lead this ranging?Jon: Are you offering yourself, ser? Malegorn: Do I look so foolish? Patchface: I will lead it! We will march into the sea and out again. Under the waves we will ride seahorses, and mermaids will blow seashells to announce our coming, oh, oh, oh." I dunno, something going on underneath the sea that is more complex than animated wights. I think the others are able to wightify sea-dwellers in a manner similar to what they do to Humans and CoTF.
  2. The "dead things in the water" always confused me in a way that caused me to simply ignore the sentence. Let's think about it for a minute with what we knew while reading up to Dance. 1. Others make wights, which are undead. Wights, it seems, cannot pass the wall simply by walking through it. They are not animated while they are inside the wall. 2. By the time the Night's Watch goes north, there are a lot of wights. They seem to be directed by the Others to a degree, but also they are just dangerous zombies that will generally kill anyone they encounter. They are generally headed south. 3. No data shows if they can swim, or if they can just walk beneath the sea. Logic seems to argue they cannot, since if they could, the Others could just accompany them underneath the waves and ignore the wall. In fact, the whole building of the wall in the first place would be pointless, since the Others/Wights are essentially amphibious. 4. Cotter Pyke has seen wights. He may well have just said wights in the water, but no, he rather said things, indicating they are not humanoid or he didn't recognize what they were. OK. So wights in the water can be tentatively rejected as a hypothesis of "Dead things in the water." So now we must look at more exotic possibilities. 5. The dead things are krackens. I considered this first because Cotter Pyke is an Iron islander and it makes sense for him to be keen enough to keep his eyes on the water and notice unusual activity. Krakens get mentioned a lot, and exist as giant squid, etc. in the real world. It is not a leap to believe Westeros has them too, just maybe larger or more threatening. What is significant is that the "things" are "dead." Okay, so that means he saw zombie Krackens? The Others kill krackens and zombify them? They others can zombify other species that are not human and bend them to their will? This is very strange. 6. The dead things in the water may be any of the other sporadically mentioned sea-dwellers, such as mermen or selkies, but we know very little about these races, and any affinity or emnity they may have towards others, should they exist. That said, for the reasons outlined above, it does seem Others fare poorly inside liquid water. In fact, the hammer of the waters may not have been meant to keep humans out, but keep Others in. . . Now we have new data from The World of Ice and Fire, which allows additional speculation. 7. Evidence strongly supports the existence of some amphibious race in various areas of Planetos, expecially Lorath, the Thousand Isles, and the Isle of Toads. For whatever reason, these waterfolk retreated to the depths or died out. Perhaps they are the reason why others cannot freely pass the sea to westeros, not so much because they are magically barred from doing so, but because these realms are strongly guarded by their own elemental races with their own Kingdoms and societies that prohibit it. As a result, the others are simultaneously at war with the seafolk as they seek to push south and exterminate organic life. As a resulk, what Cotter Pyke saw and did not recognize was not a dead kracken but a dead fishfolk, killed in one of the battles between the others, perhaps testing a sea route, and the sea peoples who want nothing to do with them.
  3. I am currently re-reading The World of Ice and Fire, and re-examining the hypothesis that Deep ones were a previously existing race in Westeros, that for some reason, retreated from it to wherever they came from. From the text of the book, we can see numerous examples of their existence across the known world, and their seeming persistence in the Hundred Isles, where the inhabitants seem to be locked into some sort of subservient relationship to them. It is therefore possible that the the surges and retreats of this Deep One race are one and the same with those of the Others, the CoTF and Giants. BTW, I am extremely pleased that many forum posters are equally fascinated with this topic. There is certainly some weird stuff going on in this world, and it turns out the most normal stuff is the stuff on Westeros!
  4. I wonder if those were external barriers maintained by non-human civilisations towards the wastes. Later, once they collapse, clueless humans manned the 5 forts/the wall and crafted fantastical explanations of how they achieved that level of technology. In fact, they only reason they exist is because very ancient non-humans had much more advances societies that collapsed for possibly the same reason that Old Valyria did - the magic they used to fuel their greatness was at the core, very dangerous.
  5. Well we do not know they never erupted. All we know is that the "14" (there may have been more, or less) erupted all at once one day and wiped everything out. I would liken it to a place like Chile, which is on a major fault line. There can be an 8.5 here or a 7.9 there one day, but if there is ever a 8.8 everywhere we are all fucked.
  6. Not sure where this goes, but the giant black stone brought for worship by the Emperor of Yi Ti has a historical antecedent. Emperor Elegabulus of 3rd century Rome brought the Emessa stone, often described as a black conical stone, to Rome and forced everyone (including Senators) to worship it. Those that did not were often condemned to death. He was considered one of the worst emperors ever, and was eventually killed by his Praetorian Guards.
  7. I think we need to look at these massive cities and consider how they are related to catastrophe. In the North we have the uninhabitable Lands of Always winter and the Others, near Asshai we have the Shadowlands which are uninhabitable... near Valyria we have the smoking sea, uninhabitable, and then around Yeen we have a creepy jungle. Perhaps the forces of magic are controllable up to a point, but it is like a nuclear power plant. The power is so much, that if it explodes or gets out of control... your civilisation is history. Places like K'Dath and Carcossa, if they exist, seem to have survived the environmental catastrophes of their high level magic use, but only through adopting some sort of weird society adjusted to the environment (much like Asshai).
  8. I agree entirely with you. Given what we know if the Citadel, he is making the smallest leaps of logic possible so that he is not seen to be propounding unscientific theories. Those additional hypotheses may (or may not) be correct, but by simply not mentioning them he is avoiding the debate and potential negative consequences of being right or wrong.
  9. Well there might be a *tiny* amount of support for the conduit theory in the story of Nymeria. Nothing seems to be present in Yeen according to the tales, and the settlers there disappear. We are also told "all attempts to resettle Yeen end in horror." Perhaps it is the case that the inhabitants were teleported somewhere else, wherever the black oily stone takes you - basically making it an evil stargate. This would also explain why no animals or plants wander in there. If they get inside, they are eventually teleported away.
  10. Butterbumps has an interesting idea. But if it is so, how did the Valyrians get to be such primitives that were sneered at by the Ghiscari and others? It seems too unlikely to me, speaking in terms of geography. As indicated by the wonderful map that someone just created (sorry, slow internet won't load previous comments for me at the moment), all these sites are scattered in weird corners of the world as far from Valyria as you can possibly get ... and close to water with the exception of the 5 Forts.
  11. So I just finished a re-read of this. Chiefly, I think the Valyrians had nothing to do with the stones, oily or not. For a number of reasons. 1. The author himself dismisses most of the "Valyrian thesis" for several reasons. A) dates do not line up. All of this predates Valyria. B) Stylistically, the Valyrians do not make the "block architecture" characteristic of Yeen or the Battle Island fortress. 2. In actual scholarship, these objections would be likewise fatal. In such a thing as simple as pottery, any number of civilisations might possess the same technique, but their style is what sets them apart. If two peoples have radically different styles, they are probably not the same thing. 3. We have many Valyrian ruins and Valyrian descendants. The blood runs strong in some of the free cities, the Targaryens, the Velayrions, and perhaps in other isolated communities we may not have heard of (Valyrian nobles in Slaver's bay perhaps? Whatever remnants survive in Valyria? Mantarys? Perhaps Yi Ti?). The blood does not run strong in Oldtown, Sothoryos, the Iron Islands, Toad Island, or Asshai (we do not know about the 5 Forts). Therefore the Valyrians never settled the areas, nor did they every build anything there. Rather all of those places mentioned are notorious because no one knows who built them - pointing to an unknown predating civilisation to all of those, perhaps a race of non-humans. 4. Other Civilizations are older than Valyria, though less magically adept. Chief among these we have Old Ghis. In Dance we are reminded repeatedly that "Old Ghis was there when Valyria was still shepherding sheep" (i.e. before they discovered dragon riding). In other words, in these very early times, Valyrians were not riding all over the world to make weird buildings to puzzle Maesters thousands of years later. They are relatively young, moreso than the Ghiscari. 5. Valyria is too convenient. It seems an easy explanation to tell people, something more likely to come from "Singers and old wives tales" than fact. And in fact, every time the Maester dissects the Valyrian theory, it turns out to be only superficially viable, but in reality is too anachronistic to be true.
  12. Another fact: no quarries seem to exist for this oily stone, so far that anyone has discovered. If the blocks of Yeen are so big that even an elephant can't move them.... then there must exist somwhere where the stone occurs naturally. As of yet, no place exists. As a result, the stone may be conjectured to be 1) purely supernatural or 2) imported from a very distant place.
  13. One other thing I would like to bring up. In this book we get the hint that the seasons were not always as irregular as they are now. These "very ancient texts" suppose a natural order that the Maesters explain in their normal factual and Copernican way. So... what changed? What did the peoples of that time, the Mazemakers, the Deep ones, the Old ones and whoever else were around - do to alter the seasons so? It is suppose that the dragons are related to this, but I think that is only a half truth. King Robert's long summer is just as abnormal as an extra-long winter - both are alterations of the natural order. Therefore, magic was present at some level to detract from the normalcy of life somehow. I think in this regard we can look at the hugeness of the map. and the fact that the sunset seat remains unknown to us. Just because magic in the known world is at a low ebb, we do not know that crazy magical stuff is not happening in some other zone of the world. It is also possible that one of these very ancient socieities - K'Dath or Carcossa or one of these "first cities" has some ability, which is close to magic/science, to influence the seasons for their own gain, perhaps to take energy from different parts of the world to store up for their own use, somehow. That always seemed to be the implicit argument behind the "long summer, longer winter" idea of the commonfolk - that there was only X energy to be had, and it was distributed in a finite manner.
  14. As do I. Valyrian Dragonlords are ostentatious people, and prideful to a fault. Making roads is peon work. Perhaps they had some kind of sorcery to do that exercised by the priests mentioned in this book. Also I think, more than ever before, Valyria does not equal ancient Rome. As (I actually forget who) pointed out, that while people often admire the power of Valyria, it is not generally held up to be a time of optimal economic and moral good times as the Roman empire was to medievals. Rather it is viewed as more of a cruel dominance thing - so maybe we should examine those straight roads in this light. Hoards of semi-trained slaves operating under a few fire mages, or something - nothing a dragonrider would stoop to doing. As to the these various objects of stone not arising from the Valyrians, they seem intimately linked with ancestral, cthonic, or oceanic forces, primal entities or civilisations - perhaps old ones and deep ones as mentioned, but also other kinds of humans mixed with those who no longer exist. The possibilities are interesting, especially when we consider "the bloodless men", the ichthyic thousand islanders, and other freaks on the fringes of the map. Also, forgive me if I am wrong, but we never got to Ulos/Ulthos...
  15. All the stone stuff predates Valyria and the Dragons. I am pretty sure they represent a different, and much lesser (and more human), kind of magic.