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  1. Except it continued to work on Othor and Jaffer. I know we've said in the past that this was b/c the NW brought them across the Wall, but Sam similarly could have opened the black gate for Coldhands and invited him south. So it seems slightly inconsistent, if the Wall is a true magical wight barrier, for some wights to be stopped but not others. Especially if the ones that are not stopped are the Others' blue-eyed wights, rather than the friendly Coldhands. I would add that a magical barrier would have no need to be 700 ft tall and 40 ft across. The Wall's immense size strongly suggests that it is in fact a physical barrier - a barrier against the army of the dead. The ice wights are not coordinated enough to climb it, and they aren't going to build ships either. Against them, a physical structure is effective. (I am not disputing that it is also magically warded against the Others themselves - but its physical size, IMO, is not irrelevant, but rather serves as a complementary mechanism to the magic ward. And if the ward should fail, at least it would slow down the Others who couldn't bring their wights and undead horses across with them.) If wights do manage to cross the Wall (such as through the Castle Black tunnel), they continue to function on the southern side. That's why there shouldn't be tunnels in the Wall. Without them, it is virtually impossible for the dead to get across. Originally, the only crossing point would have been at the Nightfort - and that crossing is warded. In other words- I suspect that Coldhands could cross at Castle Black, if they opened the gate for him. And that Othor and Jaffer would not have risen, had they been brought south through the Black Gate. [An alternative explanation would be that Coldhands is not, in fact, an ice wight, and that the Wall is warded against whatever he is, rather than ice magic in general. Communication by dreams and weirwoods is not impeded, for example, and Othor and Jaffer remain ice-animated after crossing. This goes with the theory that the Wall was built by the Others, as it happens to be made of, well, ice, and that men at some point claimed it as their own and built castles along it. In this scenario, it would make no sense for it to block ice magic, but it may well block other types of wights.]
  2. Interesting! He's not the only one: Coincidence? Or did Dany have more than just a near miss with death? The memory loss fits as well...
  3. Sorry this is a little off topic, but I just noticed something curious. The following is from Bran I in ACOK, all within about 3 pages: No surprise here - after waking, and around the time the comet appears, Bran starts having wolf dreams. Summer and Shaggydog are locked up in the godswood. What's going on here? How is Bran climbing icy mountains in his wolf dreams when Summer is confined to the godswood? His description to Luwin moments later makes it sound like these are legitimate "wolf dreams" in which the sleeping warg shares the skin of a wolf: Just for comparison, in later wolf dreams, Bran finds himself appropriately enclosed within Winterfell's godswood. Here is the one from later that same day, within the same chapter: Doesn't this sound completely different from the earlier wolf dreams? In fact, even if Summer were not locked up in the godswood, he never would have had the opportunity to climb tall icy mountains in the area around Winterfell. So were Bran's earlier dreams somehow of Summer in the future (he hasn't even met the Reeds at this point in the story), or is he warging another wolf?
  4. I have always liked this theory, and still do! I encourage everyone to read "And seven times never kill man" by GRRM, for an interesting exploration of such a scenario.
  5. The blue and red have been throwing me off from the beginning. Blue seems mostly associated with ice and the Others, but then we see it in nice warm Qarth in the warlock's lips and the Undying heart. Here in the south, it's more indigo than the ice blue that we see beyond the Wall - so are these related, or no? Red is associated with the Red Priests and fire, but also weirwoods and as a mark for greenseers. I'm trying to draw the "battle lines" between red and blue, and failing. HOWEVER, your mention of splitting the soul- which originally contained both- to arrive at these colors is certainly intriguing, as is the idea of one perhaps being stronger than the other. Presumably, such a split could not occur in just anyone, but only someone who starts out with both red and blue. And here it may come together, because when we combine red and blue, we get... purple. I have believed for some time that there is something to the many Targaryen stillbirths - monstrous, seemingly long dead babies - and the fact that GRRM originally proposed an ice faction called the Neverborn. In Dany's fever dream before hatching the dragons, she escapes death by flying as a dragon, but her baby is "fed to the darkness". A darkness she also refers to as the "icy cold", and that is the reason she can't look back or she is lost. She chooses fire and escapes the cold darkness; from then on, she is on team fire, the mother of dragons. Nowhere else is the fire/ice split so obvious within one (purple-eyed) person. It would give a new meaning to Tyrion's (show) line, every time a Targaryen is born, the gods flip a coin.
  6. Do you think Qarth dates from before the fall of the Great Empire of the Dawn, like Asshai? That it was somehow spared Asshai's fate when the empire fell apart during the Long Night? It does have three walls, that may have helped... I had never thought to link the current inhabitants of Qarth to the original Asshai'i, but it makes a lot of sense. The two port cities are not far apart and would have been part of the same Empire. Of course there would be a mixing of people from both places (if they were not the same to begin with). I wonder if all the Qarthi are related to the ancient Asshai'i, or if it's just the Undying and their priests (the warlocks and the little rat men)? They are the ones said to drink shadows, and shadow magic is associated with Asshai by many different sources. Maybe they are the last remnant of Asshai left in the world, the way the Targaryens are the last remnant of Valyria? It really is too bad Dany never thought to visit the library while in Qarth... Funny that he would use the exact same sentence twice in two adjacent chapters. An editing mistake, or is this important information? If the warlocks and their dusty Undying are indeed the remnants of the great Asshai'i society, it would make sense that they are bitter. They were once very powerful, and (a bit like the pyromancers in Westeros) now they are often not even taken seriously, let alone feared and respected. Usually if someone is bitter it's because they have lost something and can't get over it. The drinking of shadows, again, reminds us of shadowbinders and Asshai. This also makes me think of Mel, Mirri Maz Duur, and Marwyn, and I can't help but wonder if any/all of them ever visited Qarth and specifically the Undying. Lastly, blue lips speak only lies sounds an awful lot like crows are all liars. I almost wonder if the two are part of a whole: the Undying are but shadows, the essence of who these people once were, but ice wights are only the body. Both are animated by a blue force long after they should be dead. But why stop there? Clearly the Others are familiar with this force as well, and can use it capably to their advantage. They are described as mists and shadows, and are not mindless like the wights - so would they perhaps be the better counterpart to the Undying? Or, more intriguingly, are they too somehow related to the ancient inhabitants of Asshai?
  7. Wow!! I never noticed this! Yes, it's definitely dead... very interesting! And it certainly seems reasonable to speculate that the dead tree is directly linked to how the COTF lost control. The question then becomes: who killed the tree? And is it significant that it seems physically "broken", as opposed to the poisoned tree at Raventree Hall?
  8. Wow!! I never noticed this! Yes, it's definitely dead... very interesting! And it certainly seems reasonable to speculate that the dead tree is directly linked to how the COTF lost control. The question then becomes: who killed the tree? And is it significant that it seems physically "broken", as opposed to the poisoned tree at Raventree Hall?
  9. I don't disagree with any of this - but what I was trying to say is that he is the "implacable evil" that GRRM says doesn't exist in the real world. Based on D&D's statement (and the bolded above), Jon will not be able to reason with him, he is not trying to avenge an old injustice, let alone having a deeper motivation behind his killing of humans who have seemingly done him no harm. He is like Sauron in that he is the enemy, and there is nothing our characters can do to change this. They must find a way to defeat him, not understand his perspective to reach a peace. I personally find this much less appealing than an antagonist who is a little more... grey. That's not to say there isn't still an interesting mystery regarding how he got away from the COTF's control, and why the Others in general are back now. It doesn't make the whole story crap, it just reduces the complexity behind the Others, IMO. As one who is still hoping they will not in fact be THE antagonist of the story, I find this disappointing. I truly don't mean this in a disrespectful way, but have you read GRRM's other works? Because I have - all of them except Wildcards. Every novel, short story, even some TV scripts he included in Dreamsongs. And I found them to be far from traditional. GRRM does mislead his readers, all the time, and he does actively destroy tropes. In one novel, a character goes through a long redemption arc like Jaime, only to be accidentally killed by his lover in the last chapter. The great banshee of his House is then killed by these little tree creatures in a tragic, gut wrenching scene. Oh, and the POV protagonist of that story? His fate is left open, but it's likely he dies within minutes of the end of the story. There's another book where the protagonist seemingly has to kill a singer returned from the dead, lest he unleash armageddon on the world. The whole story is about how someone will stop this man, and then the twist is that killing him is what leads to the great battle, and the hero has to learn this in time to let him live. Which means in the end, the hero saves the day by doing NOTHING. In one story, there are pyramids who are worshipped by COTF-like creatures. When a stronger race takes over their world, the pyramids gradually take control of the newcomers until they essentially self destruct, including hanging their own children from their city walls. Does any of this sound like traditional fantasy to you? Do you notice any promised princes, dark lords, great battles to save the world? GRRM's writing often focuses on seeing a story from multiple perspectives, and how different it all looks depending on where you're standing. He first shows his readers one viewpoint, and we think we know how it will go - but then he surprises us by letting us see the other side (Jaime's kingslaying being a perfect example), and we realize we knew nothing. It's the hippie in him, wanting us to try to understand the other - not just fight and defeat the evil that threatens to destroy us. There is no better demo for GRRM's work, IMO, than his short story Dark, dark were the tunnels. You can find it online, (here: ), and read it in 30 minutes. I very highly recommend it, as it offers a lot of insight into how GRRM views conflicts and their causes while also touching on the protagonist/antagonist dilemma. The COTF - we saw it happen. Sure, we may get more backstory, and I hope we do. But the NK himself, as a character, seems quite straightforward at this point in the story. The main question that remains, IMO, is how he got away from the COTF - and why apparently neither he nor any of his wights can get wet, despite the books having "dead things in the water". I'm going to have to rewatch this- I never noticed the tree being damaged! It had lost its leaves and its branches were heavy with snow, but that scene was in winter so that would make sense. If it truly is dead, then I agree that there may be a much greater mystery still to be solved. And wasn't someone here just wondering about why the Others don't destroy weirwoods? Maybe they do! This would certainly add a very interesting element to the story. But that's exactly what some of us having been saying: the show NK is not in any way more sympathetic than Sauron or Voldemort or Palpatine. He just wants to kill all humans, because that's his purpose. Now the heroes must defeat him to save the world. It's not original at all - it's tropey. Which is fine for the show - I'm not complaining - but seems a little too simplistic for the books, IMO.
  10. Good point. And it goes with the overall point I was making: that the books are just ambiguous enough to allow for the possibility that the Others aren't what they seem. Re: The NK as dark lord, I think what defines him as such in the show is this statement by D&D: This description, IMO, is what makes him a one-dimensional "dark lord". They don't even want to write dialogue for him, as he has nothing to say. He just wants to kill everyone, b/c that's what he is- death.
  11. The bolded, IMO, is specifically meant to imply the presence of white walkers. I agree that this looks bad. No way around it. LOL However, Cotter Pyke's letter (below) actually seems to suggest the Others didn't wipe out the entire colony in one night, as there are still many living wildlings around when he sends the letter. The letter sounds very ominous but really the problems are caused by the Braavosi captains not wanting to take men, by the wildling witches not trusting the NW, and at one point wildlings even trying to take over a ship. Additionally, Pyke has lost several ships to severe storms in the Narrow Sea, and the wildlings ran out of food some time ago. None of this has anything to do with the Others, and the "dead things in the woods/water" don't receive any special mention - they are one of many problems. Still, Pyke seems to think if Jon came by land, having to face the dead things, this would be safer than facing the stormy seas. And the wildlings think it's safer to stay than get on the NW's ships. Neither of these make me think that the wights are high on anyone's list of concerns. But if it's the weirnet sending the Long Night, that wouldn't make it a dark lord b/c it's motive wouldn't be "evil"- it would most likely be self defense. We've established that the COTF are apparently nearing extinction. We also know that when they die, they go into the weirnet, where they can live forever as a collective of sorts. It also seems likely that, in order for all those dead COTF to continue their afterlife, at least some weirwoods need to remain alive in the world. Ok, so if you were the last handful of COTF and you knew your days were numbered, wouldn't you try to put in place a safeguard to forever protect the weirwood trees, even after all COTF are gone from the world? And how better to do this than a winter that never ends, where everything dies except the weirwoods which will live forever regardless of the season. Fire consumes, but ice preserves. A frozen-over Westeros would protect the weirnet indefinitely, and allow the COTF a long, undisturbed afterlife.
  12. LOL. Yes, exactly. Gendry. While I don't necessarily disagree with your overall point that the presence of the NK doesn't "ruin" the Others as the antagonists in the mummer's version, I do think there are some subtle but important differences in terms of how evil they seem in books vs non-books. For example, the fact that in the books, ONE of the Others duels Ser Waymar, fairly, and the other Others (lol) don't move in until he is defeated, points to a code of honor. In the mummer's version, the NW men are essentially ambushed and there is no fair fight, we don't hear the Others talking or laughing or mocking. They are less "civilized", IMO. Then there is the scene where Sam kills an Other. In the books, Small Paul attacks first (as does Ser Waymar, by the way, and both times the NW is trespassing in Other territory), while the mummer-Other is going for Gilly and the baby with no provocation by any humans. Lastly, the massacre at Hardhome has only been hinted at in the books, and we don't know what exactly is happening there. In other words (no pun intended), the books leave room for the reader to imagine motives for the Others that might still justify their actions. Maybe there was an agreement that no humans were to go North of the Wall, and they are simply clearing their lands of trespassers. They do have a language, and maybe they told Ser Waymar some important truths that unfortunately he didn't understand. Maybe they are herding the wildlings south to save them from the winter, etc. Sure, they seem evil in both versions, but IMO the books are a bit more ambiguous than the mummer's version. You are certainly entitled to your opinion.... but if this is how you feel, and this is the tone you want to use to express it, you might be happier in the R+L=J threads with others more like you. No disrespect, but the title makes it clear that this is a place to consider/discuss non-typical outcomes and ideas. We all disagree from time to time, but describing another's ideas as "garbage" is not really appropriate. Couldn't agree more. For someone who doesn't like fantasy tropes, GRRM sure put the Prince of Ice and Fire front and center from the very start. He is also given the typical physically inferior but smart and loyal sidekick, and receives magical aides almost right away in Ghost and Longclaw (why wouldn't Mormont have given the sword to Benjen, if he wasn't going to send it back to Bear Island after his death? Why didn't Ned, an actual Stark, keep the special direwolf for himself?). Not to mention his future Queen - the most beautiful woman in the world- is in a parallel plot across the sea, raising dragons which they will fly together....
  13. Ooooh I love it!!!! The fact that the Others appear to consider the NW their primary opponent (judging by the effort they have spent on it, as you explained so well) is evidence in itself that they possess intelligence. They don't just go after anything with hot blood in its veins; if they did, they would be gorging themselves on wildlings, and wouldn't look twice at the NW until their human supply ran out in the far North. Instead, they are clearly aware that the Wall and NW are standing between them and most of Westeros, and they are working on trying to find a way to get across. It's also interesting that, unlike in the mummer's version, the Others do not appear to be actively building a large army of the dead North of the Wall (aside from, of course, the wights that will automatically be raised when someone dies). Their main goal is not to kill as many people as possible. Instead, they dueled Ser Waymar, sent trojan wights into Castle Black to attack the Lord Commander, attacked a well armed, well trained opponent who had the high ground rather than the extremely vulnerable wildlings nearby, and didn't even move in for the kill after the battle at the Wall, when the wildlings were trapped with their backs to the Wall- literally!, and with no means of escape. I remember various discussions, here and elsewhere, in which the idea was floated that the Others seemed to be herding the wildlings to the Wall deliberately. I don't think I remember anyone suggesting that they are doing it so the wildlings will attack the Wall for them though, and that fits so very well!! They harassed them just enough to get them to unite under Mance and then herded them to the Wall, essentially forcing them to attack it. Maybe they hoped that Mance would find the Horn of Joramun, but even without that, if the tunnel were breached, who knows.... Old Nan told us that the Others can't pass the Wall as long as the men of the NW are true - so what happens if the last NW brother is killed off?
  14. Don't forget the hidden prince (a sub-category of the protagonist hero). This character starts out as the apparently lowborn misfit with a mysterious/unknown backstory. He unwillingly gets involved in a plan to save the world, usually bringing his friends along, and it later it turns out he was the rightful king all along.
  15. Very interesting ideas! This goes well with the foreshadowing in Bran's observation that Men would not be sad. Men would be wroth. Men would hate and swear a bloody vengeance. The singers sing sad songs, where men would fight and kill. (Bran, ADWD) I agree with the idea that the weirnet fundamentally changed when humans were incorporated into it. Before this, it was shaped entirely by the peaceful COTF. Then men were added in, and suddenly, the vibe of the weirnet was altered. As for where this fits in the timeline, of course we don't know for sure, but I would bet it was during the formation of the Pact itself. After all, this is when the green men were put in charge of the weirwoods on the Isle of Faces- an event that also marked the beginning of the First Men accepting the Old Gods as their own. It would make sense that the First Men would be more inclined to accept a religion in which they, too, have representatives, rather than worshipping someone else's collective consciousness. However, I'm not sure it's critically important to know exactly who the first human greenseer was. Rather, the fact that over millennia, more and more human greenseers joined the collective is what resulted in a gradual change in the weirnet, IMO.