Dornish Neck Tie

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  1. 100% agree about lineage (not) determining the presence of magical traits. I think warging qualities in humans are necessarily introduced, if not during childhood, then during profoundly impressionable states of being. Something akin to whatever happens between dying/"breaking" and being reborn in the manner of such characters as Sandor, Aeron, and Davos (if any of them have received gifts from the gods, it probably isn't skinchanging, but a second chance at living). It fits with the idea that gifts from the gods come at a very steep price.
  2. Quite right. No matter what happens, the crows ain't going hungry.
  3. Really, really awesome OP, @Black Crow! You've had me pretty convinced for a while that the ravens and/or crows are players. While they may be aligned with the Old Races or Old Gods or something along those lines, I think it's more realistic to see any given species as in it for their own kind. If the ravens and crows are independent players, I think the explanation for their motive could be rather simple: As a carnivorous scavenger species, they'll ally themselves with whoever has the best chance to provide for them through the Long Night to come. I know there are Singers living second lives inside many or all of the ravens, but when you take the historical population of the Singers into account, it's pretty likely that most of them faded away almost entirely a very long time ago. Considering Westeros' recent epidemic of violence, as well as recent events North of the Wall, the Others seem like the current best bet for the birds. (Side note: I like the idea that Martin named one of his volumes "A Feast for Crows" for this very reason.)
  4. I think the forging of Lightbringer, which may be the first Valyrian sword, holds some clues. It seems a near certainty that blood sacrifice is required to forge Valyrian steel. Recall the line about Valyria's magic being rooted in "blood and fire." However, this does not really account for the near priceless value of Valyrian steel swords today. The small value placed on the average human life by Valyrians is proof enough of this. I think what's important about Nissa Nissa's sacrifice is that she was the forger's wife, i.e. someone likely very important to him. (Kind of recalls the prices demanded by those seeking the aid of the Many-Faced God...but that's off topic) Back in the days when Valyrian swords were still being forged, I think the price demanded by smiths of the intended wielders was, in addition to monetary payment, something far more costly and gruesome. I want to call it "the Iron price," but haven't found anything convincing enough to play that game... To answer the original question, there were definitely lords who were unable to come up with the money at the time, but I think some were simply unwilling to pay such a cruel additional price to have these swords forged.
  5. I would guess that Mance is illiterate. He is a low-born, possibly wildling bastard and so probably would not have learned to read before taking the black. He became a highly competent ranger, but was never stated to have held any senior leadership positions within the Watch. Rangers don't exactly need letter-carrying ravens to do their jobs; pulling a stunt like that will give up your location and betray your identity beyond the Wall. It's worth mentioning that two of the first three characters we meet in the whole series, Will and Gared, are veteran rangers. Unfortunately they are lowborn, and this results in the green boy Waymar Royce being given command of their ranging. When they argue with Royce, they both cite personal experience of the North along with old folktales, rather than the information that can be found by a learned man in Castle Black's library. I think it's reasonable to assume that rather than wasting resources to educate illiterate brothers, the Night's Watch just gives leadership positions to highborn brothers who happen to already be educated.
  6. Ah, no worries, I didn't take it that way. I honestly forgot about this thread, lol. Someone just mentioned this topic on yet another forum, and it brought me back to this one. This person had some interesting things to say re: Dany's dragon rebirth and Beric's resurrection. Not sure if you've been to the Last Hearth, but there are some wild and very cool ideas flying around there.
  7. We've heard of the queer "cold smell" that seems to be associated with the Others and their particular form of undead-ness. Maybe Varys has a similarly "hot smell" that he would rather remain hidden? Other than that, I'm willing to say that he is just a master of mummery and disguise who leaves no detail to chance.
  8. I have thought this at various points, as well as the Sorrowful Men, given his apologetic words to Kevan at the end of ADwD. (I'm not particularly attached to any theories or interpretations of this series, if that isn't obvious, lol) Right now, BryndenBFish has me pretty convinced that Varys is heading up a Blackfyre conspiracy with Illyrio.
  9. Beautifully put!
  10. I think it was the idea that the Stark kids might not be so special after all. Which would not necessarily be true, of course; the gods specifically chose the Stark children to receive the gifts.
  11. Posted this on Reddit a month or two ago and the reaction was quite...negative.
  12. Yes, I believe I remember when you first mentioned the idea of the crows as players, and that has definitely colored my thinking since then. The phrasing is always difficult when discussing the skinchanging phenomena since we don't fully understand it, but I agree that the ravens and crows are far from the servants of the CotF. It seems more like they've had a long-standing symbiotic relationship in which both parties have their own free will. Though it seems that mankind's proclivity for making war has presented a tasty new sort of symbiosis to the ravens and crows. As for the Iron Born, I'm thinking the connection would be from before the establishment of the "Iron man" identity, and only a very small minority of holdouts have remained worshipers of the old gods. There may not any sort of connection at this point even among potential Storm God worshipers, but I very strongly believe the Storm God moniker is a historical nod to the leafy Collective
  13. Ooh, that's a really interesting thought. I'll go ahead and twist that into evidence of a past link between the Iron men and the ravens/old gods that is now being suppressed by the powers that be. It would also tie in well with the rumors of skinchangers among the weirdo outcasts who live on the islands way out in the Sunset Sea (The Farwynds of Lonely Light, IIRC). Perhaps the initial split was a result of a few Iron men choosing to commune with the hivemind; isolation and the passage of time have led to suspicious tales of half-seal skinchangers, where in reality there are only men with their own version of faith and maybe a couple of historical skinchangers.
  14. To the first point, isn't it just as unlikely that the Iron Born originated on the Iron Islands? As to the second, I believe that the Old Gods do make an appearance in Iron Born religion, in the form of the Storm God. Though it occasionally seems a bit ambiguous, isn't the Storm God generally framed as the big baddie in their religion?