Black Crow

Heresy 196 and a look at the Wall

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Welcome to Heresy 196, the latest edition 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 apparent threat which lies in the North, in the magical otherlands beyond the Wall. It’s called Heresy because we 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 whether the Starks might have a dark secret in their past.

 

The strength and the beauty and ultimately the value of Heresy as a critical discussion group is that it reflects diversity and open-ness. This is a thread where ideas can be discussed – and argued – freely, because above all it is about an exchange of ideas and sometimes too a remarkably well informed exchange drawing upon an astonishing broad base of literature ranging through Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and so many others all to the way to the Táin Bó Cúailnge and the Mabinogion.

 

If new to the thread, don’t be intimidated by the size and scope of Heresy, or by some of the many ideas we’ve discussed here over the years since it began in 2011. This is very much a come as you are thread with no previous experience required. We’re very welcoming and we’re very good at talking in circles and we don’t mind going over old ground again, especially with a fresh pair of eyes, so just ask. You will neither be monstered, patronized nor directed to follow links, but will be engaged directly. Just be patient and observe the local house rules that the debate be conducted by reference to the text, with respect for the ideas of others, and above all with great good humour

 

We’ve been around for a while now and discussed an awful lot of stuff over the last five years. Some of it has been overtaken by events and some of it seemingly confirmed by the mummers’ version, but notwithstanding the occasional crack-pottery on the whole its been pretty good stuff and we’re pleased enough with what we’ve done to have a bit of a celebration. In the run-up to Heresy 100 we ran a series of specially commissioned essays focused on discrete aspects of heresy. Now, in the run-up to the Heresy bicentennial we are running a series of essays summarizing what we’ve been discussing on particular aspects of Heresy. Some of it goes over old ground again, but other essays bring some new ideas to the table. The essays are just starters for 10 so while its hoped that we can focus the discussion on them, that’s not to be considered as prescriptive, to paraphrase GRRM himself, Heresy is a matter of gardening, not architecture.

 

And for the latest essay, by Lynn S, its time to take a look at the Wall.

 

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The Wall – Deconstructing the Myth

Introduction


"The gods made seven wonders, and mortal man made nine," quoted the Halfmaester. "Rather impious of mortal man to do the gods two better, but there you are. The stone roads of Valyria were one of Longstrider's nine. The fifth, I believe."

The Wall, of course is one of the wonders made by man according to Lomas Longstrinder although we are not told what Longstrider thought when he gazed upon the Wall. It is a colossal fixture in the story, a character in itself. Its antiquity, presence and purpose largely forgotten; its true history shrouded in the mists of time; the subject of legend and fanciful oral tradition of the Dawn Age and the Long Night, of heroes and monsters.

When and how the Wall was built, by whom and why is open for discussion. The Wall isn’t just a massive construct of ice cutting across the land, 300 miles long and 700 feet high, as wide or wider on top as the Kingsroad, a bridge that spans the horizons with an abyss on either side. It is a magical construct; one of the hinges of the world as well as a physical construct. It is shaped like a sword east of Castle Black and a serpent to the west; in other words a sword without a hilt. It is one of the crossroads of the world; a bridge east and west and doorway between north and south.

The Wonders made by Man

A Game of Thrones - Jon III

The largest structure ever built by the hands of man, Benjen Stark had told Jon on the kingsroad when they had first caught sight of the Wall in the distance. "And beyond a doubt the most useless," Tyrion Lannister had added with a grin, but even the Imp grew silent as they rode closer. You could see it from miles off, a pale blue line across the northern horizon, stretching away to the east and west and vanishing in the far distance, immense and unbroken. This is the end of the world, it seemed to say.

Viewed by Jon from a distance; the Wall is a thin blue line which calls to mind the modern symbol of police forces.

The idea that the Wall and the Watch represents a police force between chaos and order is an apt description; harkening back to Black Crow’s essay on Winterfell as a prison and the Starks as wardens not only of Winterfell but the North in general including the Wall and the lands beyond the Wall. 

The Night’s Watch original purpose of guarding the realm against the darkness, lost and replaced with Wildling population as the enemy.  Something that occurs with the usurpation of the Night’s Watch by the Andals who view the wildling population and the old gods with extreme prejudice; expunging and replacing the true history in the process.

It will be obvious to the reader at this point that containing the wildlings cannot be the purpose of the Wall and the raison d’etre for the Nights Watch in the larger scheme of things.  Nor is it likely to have been built by men and giants.  The Wall is as much a magical construct as a physical construct.

 Ravenous Reader explains:

I'd say the existence of the Black Gate made out of weirwood is suggestive of a magical foundation.  That also seems to be a very old weirwood, judging from the face of the greenseer inhabiting it, as Bran observes.

A Storm of Swords - Bran IV

It was white weirwood, and there was a face on it.

A glow came from the wood, like milk and moonlight, so faint it scarcely seemed to touch anything beyond the door itself, not even Sam standing right before it. The face was old and pale, wrinkled and shrunken. It looks dead. Its mouth was closed, and its eyes; its cheeks were sunken, its brow withered, its chin sagging. If a man could live for a thousand years and never die but just grow older, his face might come to look like that.

The door opened its eyes.

Coldhands also confirms that there's some kind of ward woven into the Wall preventing the dead/undead from passing, hinting that the Wall is not merely a physical barrier but a metaphysical one.

The fact that the word 'weaving' is used in conjunction with the Wall is significant in itself -- see a few quotes below -- but the word 'weaving' is 'code' for magic, specifically that of the Children whose special art it was to 'weave snares of grass'...and there's always my favorite example of 'weaving silver seaweed' which I believe refers to the magic of the Children, particularly as it pertains to weirwoods.  Storms End and Winterfell -- the other two constructions also attributed to Brandon the Builder -- are magically woven structures, so by association perhaps one could speculate that the Wall is unlikely to be an ordinary structure either.

 'Brandon the Builder' learnt his architectural/engineerial skills from the Children, specifically receiving from them the instruction regarding how to build the Wall.  Seeing as the Children's own dwellings are hardly very sophisticated structures requiring vast armies of construction workers, and that it's confirmed that the reason they were defeated by the First Men is that they lacked the ability to forge metals of war , these techniques learnt from them by Brandon were likely to involve magic rather than a more prosaic definition of 'building construction'-- just as in the case of our 'Bran' who is currently acquiring shall-we-say 'unorthodox' methods of navigating the world in Bloodraven's cavern.

A Clash of Kings - Davos II

Together they tied off the sail as the boat rocked beneath them. As Davos unshipped the oars and slid them into the choppy black water, he said, "Who rowed you to Renly?"

"There was no need," she said. "He was unprotected. But here . . . this Storm's End is an old place. There are spells woven into the stones. Dark walls that no shadow can pass—ancient, forgotten, yet still in place."

"Shadow?" Davos felt his flesh prickling. "A shadow is a thing of darkness."

A Storm of Swords - Bran IV

"Why not?"

"The Wall. The Wall is more than just ice and stone, he said. There are spells woven into it . . .old ones, and strong. He cannot pass beyond the Wall."

GoT – Bran IV

"I could tell you the story about Brandon the Builder," Old Nan said. "That was always your favorite."

Thousands and thousands of years ago, Brandon the Builder had raised Winterfell, and some said theWall. Bran knew the story, but it had never been his favorite.

While the age of the Wall is in dispute; I believe Bran when he tells us that the Wall is thousands and thousands of years old. It’s size and span alone gives pause to the notion that it was built by man, hewing blocks of ice from frozen lakes over generations.  But where is the workforce to build it?  The forts along the Wall came much later; the Night’s Watch has both grown and dwindled and we know nothing of it’s original workforce..  The men of the Watch at Castle Black no longer maintain or increase the Wall; the current number inadequate to maintain such a task.  The Wildling population is sparse and scattered.

A Storm of Swords - Jon IV

 The Wall was often said to stand seven hundred feet high, but Jarl had found a place where it was both higher and lower. Before them, the ice rose sheer from out of the trees like some immense cliff, crowned by wind-carved battlements that loomed at least eight hundred feet high, perhaps nine hundred in spots. But that was deceptive, Jon realized as they drew closer. Brandon the Builder had laid his huge foundation blocks along the heights wherever feasible, and hereabouts the hills rose wild and rugged.

He had once heard his uncle Benjen say that the Wall was a sword east of Castle Black, but a snake to the west. It was true. Sweeping in over one huge humped hill, the ice dipped down into a valley, climbed the knife edge of a long granite ridgeline for a league or more, ran along a jagged crest, dipped again into a valley deeper still, and then rose higher and higher, leaping from hill to hill as far as the eye could see, into the mountainous west.

 Jarl had chosen to assault the stretch of ice along the ridge. Here, though the top of the Wall loomed eight hundred feet above the forest floor, a good third of that height was earth and stone rather than ice; the slope was too steep for their horses, almost as difficult a scramble as the Fist of the First Men, but still vastly easier to ascend than the sheer vertical face of the Wall itself. And the ridge was densely wooded as well, offering easy concealment. Once brothers in black had gone out every day with axes to cut back the encroaching trees, but those days were long past, and here the forest grew right up to the ice.

In the above passage we are given a more accurate observation of the Wall by Jon which creates some skepticism to my mind that the entire Wall was built by men and giants and I doubt there was ever a population captive or otherwise large enough for such a feat of engineering even over a span of thousands and thousands of years.  Or that the CotF had such knowledge to impart to Brandon the Builder.

 A plausible explanation might be that the Wall builders used resources that were already available in the form of a massive glacier or ice sheet.  It makes sense to me that magic was applied to the leading edge to fix it in place across the landscape to form the barrier, rather than cutting and moving massive blocks of ice from frozen lakes; to place on top of hills, rising ever higher into mountainous terrain, an unbroken line across the horizon. 

There is a suggestion that the Night’s Watch increased the Wall in places or maintained it after a fashion.  But I think this is a much later development and I question whether increasing the height was even necessary or feasible after a certain point.  Maintenance of the Wall becoming nothing more than adding crushed gravel along the top or maintaining the tunnels beneath the fortifications and perhaps increasing it’s height along specific points.

When Jon first sees the wall, there are catapults and wooden cranes along the top and we get a sense of the immensity of the Wall:

A Game of Thrones - Jon III

The largest structure ever built by the hands of man, Benjen Stark had told Jon on the kingsroad when they had first caught sight of the Wall in the distance. "And beyond a doubt the most useless," Tyrion Lannister had added with a grin, but even the Imp grew silent as they rode closer. You could see it from miles off, a pale blue line across the northern horizon, stretching away to the east and west and vanishing in the far distance, immense and unbroken. This is the end of the world, it seemed to say.

When they finally spied Castle Black, its timbered keeps and stone towers looked like nothing more than a handful of toy blocks scattered on the snow, beneath the vast wall of ice. The ancient stronghold of the black brothers was no Winterfell, no true castle at all. Lacking walls, it could not be defended, not from the south, or east, or west; but it was only the north that concerned the Night's Watch, and to the north loomed the Wall. Almost seven hundred feet high it stood, three times the height of the tallest tower in the stronghold it sheltered. His uncle said the top was wide enough for a dozen armored knights to ride abreast. The gaunt outlines of huge catapults and monstrous wooden cranes stood sentry up there, like the skeletons of great birds, and among them walked men in black as small as ants.

As he stood outside the armory looking up, Jon felt almost as overwhelmed as he had that day on the kingsroad, when he'd seen it for the first time. The Wall was like that. Sometimes he could almost forget that it was there, the way you forgot about the sky or the earth underfoot, but there were other times when it seemed as if there was nothing else in the world. It was older than the Seven Kingdoms, and when he stood beneath it and looked up, it made Jon dizzy. He could feel the great weight of all that ice pressing down on him, as if it were about to topple, and somehow Jon knew that if it fell, the world fell with it.

The Wall is a mountain of ice with all the characteristics of a glacier in it's size and blue white color; a remnant from a past age when massive ice sheets covered the land. It is described in several passages as shining like a blue crystal; an analog to Melisandre’s ruby on an immense scale.

A Game of Thrones - Bran III

He saw the Wall shining like blue crystal...

The Wall could look like stone, all grey and pitted, but then the clouds would break and the sun would hit it differently, and all at once it would transform, and stand there white and blue and glittering. It was the end of the world, Old Nan always said. On the other side were monsters and giants and ghouls, but they could not pass so long as the Wall stood strong.

Sam squinted up at the Wall. It loomed above them, an icy cliff seven hundred feet high. Sometimes it seemed to Jon almost a living thing, with moods of its own. The color of the ice was wont to change with every shift of the light. Now it was the deep blue of frozen rivers, now the dirty white of old snow, and when a cloud passed before the sun it darkened to the pale grey of pitted stone. The Wall stretched east and west as far as the eye could see, so huge that it shrunk the timbered keeps and stone towers of the castle to insignificance. It was the end of the world.

 “It was the end of the World” is a description often repeated by different characters in reference to the Wall and on first read it means: the end of the world as we know it; or the end of life as we know it. Literally it means as far north as one can go before meeting a massive barrier and I think in this case an ice sheet or glacier for which the Wall is all that remains without travelling further north and north and north.  An anomaly since it should have melted and receded along with the main body of ice.

Ultimately, I think that the purpose and origin of the Wall is tied to whatever it was that Bran saw in the heart of winter, the reason that he must live. I have no real notion of what that might be, although Voice has suggested that Bran saw a frozen Khalasar. It’s an intriguing idea that would push the origin of long night eastward. There is some additional speculation from the World Book that supports that notion.

The World of Ice and Fire - Ancient History: The Long Night 

As the First Men established their realms following the Pact, little troubled them save their own feuds and wars, or so the histories tell us. It is also from these histories that we learn of the Long Night, when a season of winter came that lasted a generation—a generation in which children were born, grew into adulthood, and in many cases died without ever seeing the spring. Indeed, some of the old wives' tales say that they never even beheld the light of day, so complete was the winter that fell on the world. While this last may well be no more than fancy, the fact that some cataclysm took place many thousands of years ago seems certain. Lomas Longstrider, in his Wonders Made by Man, recounts meeting descendants of the Rhoynar in the ruins of the festival city of Chroyane who have tales of a darkness that made the Rhoyne dwindle and disappear, her waters frozen as far south as the joining of the Selhoru. According to these tales, the return of the sun came only when a hero convinced Mother Rhoyne's many children—lesser gods such as the Crab King and the Old Man of the River—to put aside their bickering and join together to sing a secret song that brought back the day. 

It is also written that there are annals in Asshai of such a darkness, and of a hero who fought against it with a red sword. His deeds are said to have been performed before the rise of Valyria, in the earliest age when Old Ghis was first forming its empire. This legend has spread west from Asshai, and the followers of R'hllor claim that this hero was named Azor Ahai, and prophesy his return. In the Jade Compendium, Colloquo Votar recounts a curious legend from Yi Ti, which states that the sun hid its face from the earth for a lifetime, ashamed at something none could discover, and that disaster was averted only by the deeds of a woman with a monkey's tail.


We have echoes of Old Nan’s tale when the snows fell hundreds of feet deep and according to the World Book the waters dwindled and rivers froze as far south as the Rhoyne. This sounds very suspiciously to me like the effects of an ice age or mini-ice age with sea levels falling; the water captured in glaciers and ice sheets to form land bridges. We are given something of a hint of this when Martin includes such ice age fauna as the woolly mammoth and the aurochs. Animals that are dying out at the end of our own ice age 12,000 or so years ago; remnants of the old races. 

We also have George Martin’s comment:

If time is permitting would you mind giving a brief description on how the wall was constructed?

Much of those details are lost in the mists of time and legend. No one can even say for certain if Brandon the Builder ever lived. He is as remote from the time of the novels as Noah and Gilgamesh are from our own time.


It’s curious that Martin references Noah and Gilgamesh in the above quote, since both stories tell the tale of great floods; vast cataclysms that are in evidence in our own geological history. Oceans recede, land bridges appear, then the bursting of glacial dams and massive flooding, the Hammer of the Water in other words. It is my contention that Brandon of legend was both the builder and breaker dams and that the CotF used what was available to them in the natural landscape. 

Whether the long night is an unnatural extension or acceleration of this cold period; it comes to an end; the waters released back into the seas and with the disappearance of land bridges; perhaps the capture and containment of an undead khalasar of grim reapers in the far north; surrounded by the poison waters which they cannot cross and the only land available to the south in Westeros. The Wall becomes a thin blue line of defense between order and chaos.

As to the antiquity of the Wall; I lean towards a great age; that the Wall is both the beginning and ending of things, a consequence of the long night which appears to have been a global catastrophe. We have the red lot with the nightly prayers echoing the vow of the Night’s Watch; Melisandre’s vigil at the wall as much her place as it is Jon’s; her search for the ancient enemy. The Great Other in opposition to Dany, the Great Mother.

There is also the question of the hinges the world; doorways to the otherworld or underworld; moving backwards and forwards in time and place. The seeming interconnection between The Wall, The House of Undying and The House of Black and White and the old gods. All places of power and sorcery that can be accessed either to consume magic or be consumed by it. 

And finally, the Wall itself a character in its own right, subject to moods and weeping; gloomy desolation; the personification of the ice dragon constellation.

The Wall defends itself

The Wall defends itself so we are told by Jon, that it is built with blood according to Ygritte and it may also build itself.
 

A Storm of Swords - Jon IV 

"It's made of ice," Jon pointed out.

"You know nothing, Jon Snow. This wall is made o' blood." 


Nor had it drunk its fill. By sunset, two of the Thenns had fallen from the ladder to their deaths, but they were the last. It was near midnight before Jon reached the top. The stars were out again, and Ygritte was trembling from the climb. "I almost fell," she said, with tears in her eyes. "Twice. Thrice. The Wall was trying t' shake me off, I could feel it." One of the tears broke free and trickled slowly down her cheek.

As a glacial wall it is subject to the seasonal melts and ice accumulation. We know that it is subject to ice storms and freezing rain and over thousands of years, it would increase in size on its own and shed its outer skin of rotting ice like a great serpent.

A Game of Thrones - Tyrion III :

It was bitingly cold up here, and the wind pulled at his clothes like an insistent lover. The top of the Wall was wider than the kingsroad often was, so Tyrion had no fear of falling, although the footing was slicker than he would have liked. The brothers spread crushed stone across the walkways, but the weight of countless footsteps would melt the Wall beneath, so the ice would seem to grow around the gravel, swallowing it, until the path was bare again and it was time to crush more stone.

His bare cheeks were ruddy with the cold, and his legs complained more loudly with every step, but Tyrion ignored them. The wind swirled around him, gravel crunched beneath his boots, while ahead the white ribbon followed the lines of the hills, rising higher and higher, until it was lost beyond the western horizon. He passed a massive catapult, as tall as a city wall, its base sunk deep into the Wall. The throwing arm had been taken off for repairs and then forgotten; it lay there like a broken toy, half-embedded in the ice.

A Game of Thrones - Catelyn V :

Catelyn had almost forgotten. In the north, the rain fell cold and hard, and sometimes at night it turned to ice. It was as likely to kill a crop as nurture it, and it sent grown men running for the nearest shelter. That was no rain for little girls to play in

A Dance with Dragons - Jon XII :

"Did they trouble you on your way south?"
"They never came in force, if that's your meaning, but they were with us all the same, nibbling at our edges. We lost more outriders than I care to think about, and it was worth your life to fall behind or wander off. Every nightfall we'd ring our camps with fire. They don't like fire much, and no mistake. When the snows came, though … snow and sleet and freezing rain, it's bloody hard to find dry wood or get your kindling lit, and the cold … some nights our fires just seemed to shrivel up and die. Nights like that, you always find some dead come the morning. 'Less they find you first. The night that Torwynd … my boy, he …' Tormund turned his face away. 
"I know," said Jon Snow.

A Dance with Dragons - Jon XIII :

"Six. Mully and the Flea look in need of something warm. So will you."
When Satin left, Jon seated himself and had another look at the maps of the lands north of the Wall. The fastest way to Hardhome was along the coast … from Eastwatch. The woods were thinner near the sea, the terrain mostly flatlands, rolling hills, and salt marshes. And when the autumn storms came howling, the coast got sleet and hail and freezing rain rather than snow. The giants are at Eastwatch, and Leathers says that some will help. From Castle Black the way was more difficult, right through the heart of the haunted forest. If the snow is this deep at the Wall, how much worse up there? 


An additional characteristic of the Wall is that Sentinels trees and Soldier pines grow up and abut the Wall on the northern side wherever the Watch allows them to grow. While on the southern side, the Wolfswood turns to grassland with no source of firewood near to hand.  

A Storm of Swords - Bran III :

It was the first village they had seen since leaving the foothills. 
The ground from here to the Wall was grasslands, Bran knew; fallow fields and low rolling hills, high meadows and lowland bogs. It would be much easier going than the mountains behind, but so much open space made Meera uneasy. "I feel naked," she confessed. "There's no place to hide." 


The norther side of the Wall would seem to have a second defensive wall of trees. As Ygritte tells us the Wall is built o’blood and the ascent the wildlings make explains why 

A Storm of Swords - Jon IV:

 And when they looked up Jarl and his team were gone. Men, ropes, stakes, all gone; nothing remained above six hundred feet. There was a wound in the Wall where the climbers had clung half a heartbeat before, the ice within as smooth and white as polished marble and shining in the sun. Far far below there was a faint red smear where someone had smashed against a frozen pinnacle.

The Wall defends itself, Jon thought as he pulled Ygritte back to her feet. 
They found Jarl in a tree, impaled upon a splintered branch and still roped to the three men who lay broken beneath him. One was still alive, but his legs and spine were shattered, and most of his ribs as well. "Mercy," he said when they came upon him. One of the Thenns smashed his head in with a big stone mace. The Magnar gave orders, and his men began to gather fuel for a pyre
.

The imagery of the climbers falling to their death, impaled on soldier pines and sentinel trees seems to have its analog in Bran’s vision of icy spears flying up towards him and the curtain of light surrounding the heart of winter.

A Game of Thrones - Bran III :

He lifted his eyes and saw clear across the narrow sea, to the Free Cities and the green Dothraki sea and beyond, to Vaes Dothrak under its mountain, to the fabled lands of the Jade Sea, to Asshai by the Shadow, where dragons stirred beneath the sunrise.

Finally he looked north. He saw the Wall shining like blue crystal, and his bastard brother Jon sleeping alone in a cold bed, his skin growing pale and hard as the memory of all warmth fled from him. And he looked past the Wall, past endless forests cloaked in snow, past the frozen shore and the great blue-white rivers of ice and the dead plains where nothing grew or lived. North and north and north he looked, to the curtain of light at the end of the world, and then beyond that curtain. He looked deep into the heart of winter, and then he cried out, afraid, and the heat of his tears burned on his cheeks. 

Now you know, the crow whispered as it sat on his shoulder. Now you know why you must live.

"Why?" Bran said, not understanding, falling, falling.

Because winter is coming.

Bran looked at the crow on his shoulder, and the crow looked back. It had three eyes, and the third eye was full of a terrible knowledge. Bran looked down. There was nothing below him now but snow and cold and death, a frozen wasteland where jagged blue-white spires of ice waited to embrace him. They flew up at him like spears. He saw the bones of a thousand other dreamers impaled upon their points. He was desperately afraid

The dead plains where nothing grew or lived and the dreamers impaled upon the points of spears calls to mind Jorah’s tale of ghost grass and the dead city encountered by Dany’s bloodrider in the desert surround by spears and bones that he does not enter.

A Game of Thrones - Daenerys III :

Down in the Shadow Lands beyond Asshai, they say there are oceans of ghost grass, taller than a man on horseback with stalks as pale as milkglass. It murders all other grass and glows in the dark with the spirits of the damned. The Dothraki claim that someday ghost grass will cover the entire world, and then all life will end." 

A Clash of Kings - Daenerys I :

Aggo was back next. The southwest was barren and burnt, he swore. He had found the ruins of two more cities, smaller than Vaes Tolorro but otherwise the same. One was warded by a ring of skulls mounted on rusted iron spears, so he dared not enter, but he had explored the second for as long as he could. He showed Dany an iron bracelet he had found, set with a uncut fire opal the size of her thumb. There were scrolls as well, but they were dry and crumbling and Aggo had left them where they lay.

A Clash of Kings - Daenerys I 

Other searchers returned with tales of other fruit trees, hidden behind closed doors in secret gardens. Aggo showed her a courtyard overgrown with twisting vines and tiny green grapes, and Jhogo discovered a well where the water was pure and cold. Yet they found bones too, the skulls of the unburied dead, bleached and broken. "Ghosts," Irri muttered. "Terrible ghosts. We must not stay here, Khaleesi, this is their place." 

It may be that the fortifications begin at the Wall, the thin blue line between order and chaos; with a second defensive ring of trees; a dead zone, followed by a ward which Bran can see with the third eye as a curtain of light or containment wall and icy spears impaling the bones of ‘dreamers’ another defensive wall. A clear warning in the Dothraki culture that terrible ghosts reside within and the living should not enter.

This is formidable magic or great lore as Meliasndre puts it and altogether the ancient enemy must be very frightening indeed.

There is an old heresy in these parts that during the battle for the Dawn that the Cotf and First Men were forced into an alliance; that the Children’s own weapon turned on them; that they had lost control of it. Joramun warns that sorcery is a sword without a hilt with no safe way to grasp it.
Moqorro gives a good explanation of the consequences:

A Dance with Dragons - Tyrion VIII :

"I know some sailors say that any man who lays eyes upon that coast is doomed." He did not believe such tales himself, no more than his uncle had. Gerion Lannister had set sail for Valyria when Tyrion was eighteen, intent on recovering the lost ancestral blade of House Lannister and any other treasures that might have survived the Doom. Tyrion had wanted desperately to go with them, but his lord father had dubbed the voyage a "fool's quest," and forbidden him to take part.

And perhaps he was not so wrong. Almost a decade had passed since the Laughing Lion headed out from Lannisport, and Gerion had never returned. The men Lord Tywin sent to seek after him had traced his course as far as Volantis, where half his crew had deserted him and he had bought slaves to replace them. No free man would willingly sign aboard a ship whose captain spoke openly of his intent to sail into the Smoking Sea. "So those are fires of the Fourteen Flames we're seeing, reflected on the clouds?"

"Fourteen or fourteen thousand. What man dares count them? It is not wise for mortals to look too deeply at those fires, my friend. Those are the fires of god's own wrath, and no human flame can match them. We are small creatures, men."


"Some smaller than others." Valyria. It was written that on the day of Doom every hill for five hundred miles had split asunder to fill the air with ash and smoke and fire, blazes so hot and hungry that even the dragons in the sky were engulfed and consumed. Great rents had opened in the earth, swallowing palaces, temples, entire towns. Lakes boiled or turned to acid, mountains burst, fiery fountains spewed molten rock a thousand feet into the air, red clouds rained down dragonglass and the black blood of demons, and to the north the ground splintered and collapsed and fell in on itself and an angry sea came rushing in. The proudest city in all the world was gone in an instant, its fabled empire vanished in a day, the Lands of the Long Summer scorched and drowned and blighted.

An empire built on blood and fire. The Valyrians reaped the seed they had sown. "Does our captain mean to test the curse?"

On the icy side of the equation; it’s the killing cold that is the unseen enemy; entering the body and raising an army of the dead. The dead that hate the living and can’t be controlled; something that destroys all life indiscriminately. The reason why Bloodraven warns Bran not to raise the dead. 

The Wall is a stop-gap measure acting as both a physical and magical barrier. To be effective, it must consume and contain the killing cold, locking it within the ice itself; tooling up during the winters and consuming itself during the summers; the dragon that swallows its own tail. 

A Storm of Swords - Bran IV 

But he was a broken boy with useless legs, so all he could do was watch from below as Meera went up in his stead.

She wasn't really climbing, the way he used to climb. She was only walking up some steps that the Night's Watch had hewn hundreds and thousands of years ago. He remembered Maester Luwin saying the Nightfort was the only castle where the steps had been cut from the ice of the Wall itself. Or maybe it had been Uncle Benjen. The newer castles had wooden steps, or stone ones, or long ramps of earth and gravel. Ice is too treacherous. It was his uncle who'd told him that. He said that the out
er surface of the Wall wept icy tears sometimes, though the core inside stayed frozen hard as rock. The steps must have melted and refrozen a thousand times since the last black brothers left the castle, and every time they did they shrunk a little and got smoother and rounder and more treacherous. 

And smaller. It's almost like the Wall was swallowing them back into itself. Meera Reed was very surefooted, but even so she was going slowly, moving from nub to nub. In two places where the steps were hardly there at all she got down on all fours. It will be worse when she comes down, Bran thought, watching. Even so, he wished it was him up there. When she reached the top, crawling up the icy knobs that were all that remained of the highest steps, Meera vanished from his sight.

Conclusion 

Although it is generally accepted that the Cotf and their greenseers raised the Wall and for good reason; I doubt that the Wall was physically built by men and I question whether or not other agencies were involved given the metaphysical connections between the Wall, the House of Black and White and the House of the Undying. I think these connections or doorways between suggest a great age rather than a more recent development.

And I wonder what Dany has released into the world when she woke the old powers in Mirri Maaz Duur’s ritual; brought dragons back into the world and destroyed the House of the Undying. 

That is the subject of part II of this discussion to follow: the Hinges of the World; the Wall as a magical construct and the personification of the Ice Dragon. 

Many, many thanks to Ravenous Reader, Crystal Feather and Yield for assistance and support.  Their generosity is boundless! 

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20 hours ago, Black Crow said:

It is shaped like a sword east of Castle Black and a serpent to the west; in other words a sword without a hilt.

Well done!  I love it!  :bowdown: This is still my fave part.  It makes me wonder what fate the Wall has in store.  I doubt it's a good one. 

22 hours ago, Black Crow said:

It was the end of the world, Old Nan always said. On the other side were monsters and giants and ghouls, but they could not pass so long as the Wall stood strong.

There is so much in her tales. 

22 hours ago, Black Crow said:

It’s curious that Martin references Noah and Gilgamesh in the above quote, since both stories tell the tale of great floods; vast cataclysms that are in evidence in our own geological history. Oceans recede, land bridges appear, then the bursting of glacial dams and massive flooding, the Hammer of the Water in other words. It is my contention that Brandon of legend was both the builder and breaker dams and that the CotF used what was available to them in the natural landscape. 

Curious indeed!  Nice connection.  An image is starting to take shape in my mind.  Whether the cause is a meteor, magic, melting glaciers, dam breaking, doesn't matter.  A wall of water that is redirected upwards and frozen by either magic or a mighty wind howling from the north.  Something like Noah...

23 hours ago, Black Crow said:

All places of power and sorcery that can be accessed either to consume magic or be consumed by it. 

I think of the Wall "drinking in the light" and weeping to be a balance of it's magic.  Taking in the light, expelling moisture.  Almost like a breathe. 

23 hours ago, Black Crow said:

As a glacial wall it is subject to the seasonal melts and ice accumulation. We know that it is subject to ice storms and freezing rain and over thousands of years, it would increase in size on its own and shed its outer skin of rotting ice like a great serpent.

I really like this. 

23 hours ago, Black Crow said:

An additional characteristic of the Wall is that Sentinels trees and Soldier pines grow up and abut the Wall on the northern side wherever the Watch allows them to grow. While on the southern side, the Wolfswood turns to grassland with no source of firewood near to hand.  

Very interesting.  I always attributed that to the Wall blocking the northern winds.  I like your idea about defense. 

23 hours ago, Black Crow said:

One was still alive, but his legs and spine were shattered, and most of his ribs as well.

This is very interesting.  I recall Bran's spine and ribs being broken but no I am curious about his legs.  Do you recall?

23 hours ago, Black Crow said:

and to the north the ground splintered and collapsed and fell in on itself and an angry sea came rushing in

I think this is something to look our for in the future. 

Again, well done @LynnS!

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Yes indeed, and for the avoidance of doubt: Whilst I posted that essay and am consequently being "quoted" it is all Lynn's work.

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1 hour ago, DarkSister1001 said:

 

There is so much in her tales. 

 

As to Old Nan's tales: I am in possession of a complete transcript of her tales and asides, kindly prepared by a long vanished heretic a few years ago [yes we have been going that long] and have it in mind to re-publish them as the OP for either Heresy 197 or Heresy 198, depending on how Lynn gets on with Part 2 of the Wall.

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Thank you Dark Sister!  Writing is not an easy thing for me, certainly not like LML for example, or Ravenous Reader who seem to be able to knock this stuff out with one hand tied behind their backs.   Among many others that have I read here with interest and amazement, frankly.  And I love me some good tinfoil.   I've puzzled and wondered about the Wall for a long time and I'd like to hear any other ideas about how it was built.  I'm inclined to think at this point that magic was applied to the existing ice to fix it place.  Or at least the front edge of a massive ice sheet; with the main body having receded northwards.  I have the intuitive sense that it is as old as 10 or 12,000 years.

Black Crow, me hip bone is mending or least the pinched nerve from the hip bone, connected to the trick knee bone.  Hell, that pain went right down my leg to my ankle bone.  But I'm better now. :) 

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1 hour ago, Black Crow said:

Yes indeed, and for the avoidance of doubt: Whilst I posted that essay and am consequently being "quoted" it is all Lynn's work.

I figured so I made sure to tag her.  :)

1 hour ago, Black Crow said:

As to Old Nan's tales: I am in possession of a complete transcript of her tales and asides, kindly prepared by a long vanished heretic a few years ago [yes we have been going that long] and have it in mind to re-publish them as the OP for either Heresy 197 or Heresy 198, depending on how Lynn gets on with Part 2 of the Wall.

I would LOVE that! 

22 minutes ago, LynnS said:

Writing is not an easy thing for me, certainly not like LML for example, or Ravenous Reader who seem to be able to knock this stuff out with one hand tied behind their backs. 

I completely understand.  I get a little intimidated joining in some of the discussions bc I often have a hard time translating from what I would say to a person face-to-face to the written word.  I think you did beautifully! 

https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/glaciers/quickfacts.html

I found this part very interesting...

Quote

Glacial ice often appears blue when it has become very dense. Years of compression gradually make the ice denser over time, forcing out the tiny air pockets between crystals. When glacier ice becomes extremely dense, the ice absorbs a small amount of red light, leaving a bluish tint in the reflected light, which is what we see. When glacier ice is white, that usually means that there are many tiny air bubbles still in the ice.

Do you suspect that the glacier was formed during the Long Night? 

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, Black Crow said:

As to Old Nan's tales: I am in possession of a complete transcript of her tales and asides, kindly prepared by a long vanished heretic a few years ago [yes we have been going that long] and have it in mind to re-publish them as the OP for either Heresy 197 or Heresy 198, depending on how Lynn gets on with Part 2 of the Wall.

:blink: That would be wonderful. I have recently been mulling over certain phrases of hers such as Little Grandfather for Jojen.

Edited by The Fattest Leech
clarified

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Posted (edited)

34 minutes ago, DarkSister1001 said:

https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/glaciers/quickfacts.html

I found this part very interesting...

Do you suspect that the glacier was formed during the Long Night? 

I guess I'm suspicious that Martin has thrown in paleolithic animals like the woolly mammoth, the aurochs and perhaps this is what Leaf meant when she refers to the old races, with only a few surviving and doomed to die out.  If there is an analog in the timeline; the receding ice sheets caused the demise of some of these animals that couldn't survive in a warmer climate.  So I tend to think that fixing the leading edge of the ice sheet where we now find the Wall gives it an antiquity greater than 8,000 years.   The story of Gilgamesh and Noah fix a date of the great floods around 6,000 years, I think and I tend to equate that with the hammer of the waters or a bursting glacial dam.  If water is trapped with ice sheets and glaciers covering a large part of the planet, sea levels and land bridges make it possible for nomadic people to move into Westeros from Essos early in it's history. 

I think the long night was a consequence of the magic that was used in the first conflicts between the CotF and the First Men and the Wall was built as a containment for that magic when it couldn't be controlled.  The Wall is a defensive perimeter for whatever lies north of the Wall; whatever it was that Bran saw in the heart of winter; the soul of ice.

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Davos III

 

"The war?" asked Davos.

"The war," she affirmed. "There are two, Onion Knight. Not seven, not one, not a hundred or a thousand. Two! Do you think I crossed half the world to put yet another vain king on yet another empty throne? The war has been waged since time began, and before it is done, all men must choose where they will stand. On one side is R'hllor, the Lord of Light, the Heart of Fire, the God of Flame and Shadow. Against him stands the Great Other whose name may not be spoken, the Lord of Darkness, the Soul of Ice, the God of Night and Terror. Ours is not a choice between Baratheon and Lannister, between Greyjoy and Stark. It is death we choose, or life. Darkness, or light." She clasped the bars of his cell with her slender white hands. The great ruby at her throat seemed to pulse with its own radiance. "So tell me, Ser Davos Seaworth, and tell me truly—does your heart burn with the shining light of R'hllor? Or is it black and cold and full of worms?" She reached through the bars and laid three fingers upon his breast, as if to feel the truth of him through flesh and wool and leather.

"My heart," Davos said slowly, "is full of doubts."

  

.     

Edited by LynnS

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Well done, LynnS!  The Wall is a huge subject and breaking it into two was definitely necessary. I look forward to the magical part of it. 

There's a nagging thought in the back of my mind that seems to recall that blocks of ice can be seen in the Wall and that they fit together perfectly and without gaps. Am I just imaging this or can anyone find a passage describing the Wall as being made of huge blocks of ice?

I've also noticed that you are now leaning towards the Wall originating from a glacier. I hate to sound like a broken record, but I still really love your older theory about a more magical origin with the construction of the Wall developing from the drawing in of the cold unto itself, consuming it, and growing that way.

I do wonder if there is a difference between entering the north through the openings cut through the ice at Castle Black versus using the Black Gate? But I suppose this discussion should wait for part two?

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This is the second reference I've seen to Aurochs being cold weather animals.   This is not true, the mammoths are the only animal present more suitable to a colder climate than we have on Earth now.  

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I do wonder if we have a link between The Long Night and the hammer of waters.  An ice age would lower the water level,  and maybe The Children manipulating these is what threw the seasons out of balance. 

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59 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

Well done, LynnS!  The Wall is a huge subject and breaking it into two was definitely necessary. I look forward to the magical part of it. 

There's a nagging thought in the back of my mind that seems to recall that blocks of ice can be seen in the Wall and that they fit together perfectly and without gaps. Am I just imaging this or can anyone find a passage describing the Wall as being made of huge blocks of ice?

I've also noticed that you are now leaning towards the Wall originating from a glacier. I hate to sound like a broken record, but I still really love your older theory about a more magical origin with the construction of the Wall developing from the drawing in of the cold unto itself, consuming it, and growing that way.

I do wonder if there is a difference between entering the north through the openings cut through the ice at Castle Black versus using the Black Gate? But I suppose this discussion should wait for part two?

Thank you Feather.  I still think the Wall draws the cold to itself and contains it.  That it functions to stop the killing cold, consumes it in other words.  I've only changed my mind about how it was built.  I don't think the CotF had any engineering expertise; but they could apply the magic that is woven into the wall to the leading edge of a glacier to fix it in place.  That makes more sense to me that the entire thing built by men and giants.  It may be that portions of the Wall were maintained at the various forts and castles for a time but built on an existing structure.

As far as the Black Gate, sure go ahead, that doesn't have to wait.  Whatever happens to be on someone's mind.  My view of the Black Gate is that it is one of the gates of the moon and that all these ensorceled doors we encounter lead to the same otherworldly place.     

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Brad Stark said:

This is the second reference I've seen to Aurochs being cold weather animals.   This is not true, the mammoths are the only animal present more suitable to a colder climate than we have on Earth now.  

They were depicted in cave paintings during the last ice age but survived right up to the roman era.  The last ice age opened up large areas of land to grazing.

 

Edited by LynnS

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49 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

I do wonder if we have a link between The Long Night and the hammer of waters.  An ice age would lower the water level,  and maybe The Children manipulating these is what threw the seasons out of balance. 

I don't actually know what the long night means.  Are we meant to take it figuratively as Black Crow suggests or literally as LML suggests?  If the snows fell hundreds of feet high for a generation and children lived and died without ever seeing daylight; does this mean that the population retreated to cave systems with heat sources to survive, essentailly living in darkness.  Molestown for example is mainly underground; the wildlings take advantage of cave systems with hot springs.  Winterfell, Harrenhal and Castle Black all have hot springs.  Bloodraven's cave is strewn with bones of every type including children.

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Eloquent and interesting introductory essay by Lynn S, which can come as no surprise to those who have read her posts over the years. In particular, I think this:

On 2/27/2017 at 3:10 PM, Black Crow said:

these techniques learnt from them by Brandon were likely to involve magic rather than a more prosaic definition of 'building construction'-- just as in the case of our 'Bran' who is currently acquiring shall-we-say 'unorthodox' methods of navigating the world in Bloodraven's cavern

...would make GRRM himself smile.  And I think it's beyond serious debate that the Black Gate in particular was the work of the CotF.  (Magical face carved into weirwood... come on.)

Also:

On 2/27/2017 at 3:10 PM, Black Crow said:

It is shaped like a sword east of Castle Black and a serpent to the west; in other words a sword without a hilt.

Cleverly said.

Now on the subject of how the Wall was built, I also agree in a sense with:

On 2/27/2017 at 3:10 PM, Black Crow said:

Nor is it likely to have been built by men and giants.  The Wall is as much a magical construct as a physical construct.

It more or less has to be, because of (1) the Black Gate's irrefutable magic, (2) the warding magic as hinted in various ways and explicitly stated by Coldhands, and (3) whatever magic mechanism I choose to believe GRRM included to stop the Wall from collapsing into a big fat mound... which is what a 700-foot wall of ice would inevitably do otherwise because ice lacks adequate strength.

However, I do think it was built by men and giants as well (the above magic likely having come from the CotF, and magic not being responsible for most of the physical mass). 

Why?  Two reasons, mainly.  The first comes right from GRRM himself:

Quote

For me, GRRM's very few direct statements on such topics trump any other information or analysis. So I believe the above statement to be both literal and true.  This being the case, I also think either:

1. The Wall did not require thousands of years to reach its present height (that is: GRRM is lying), or

2. The magic that built the Wall was the slowest magic the world has ever known, or

3. The Wall took thousands of years to reach its present height because Jeor Mormont was right when he said the First Men made it, and Jon was right when he talked about seeing its "foundation blocks," in ASOS, and thus, men had a lot to do with its construction.

Additionally from ASOS, as Jon climbs the Wall, we have this:

Quote

Grigg's section was darker to the eye, with more obvious features; long horizontal ledges where a block had been imperfectly positioned atop the block below, cracks and crevices, even chimneys along the vertical joins, where wind and water had eaten holes large enough for a man to hide in.

So there are not only blocks at the foundation, but continually going up.  And some of those blocks were laid in an inaccurate way, as if by intoxicated First Men who perhaps weren't paying as much attention as they might have.  I suppose it's possible magic created these blocks, but I doubt it.

So for me, that's the answer to :

4 hours ago, LynnS said:

I've puzzled and wondered about the Wall for a long time and I'd like to hear any other ideas about how it was built.

1. I think the CotF supplied the magic properties.  2. As GRRM said outright, the initial version of the Wall then took hundreds of years to complete.  And subsequently, 3. it took thousands of years to reach its present height in the form of imperfect blocks, imperfectly laid... and probably not by magic.

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, JNR said:

Eloquent and interesting introductory essay by Lynn S, which can come as no surprise to those who have read her posts over the years. In particular, I think this:

On 2017-02-27 at 4:10 PM, Black Crow said:

these techniques learnt from them by Brandon were likely to involve magic rather than a more prosaic definition of 'building construction'-- just as in the case of our 'Bran' who is currently acquiring shall-we-say 'unorthodox' methods of navigating the world in Bloodraven's cavern

...would make GRRM himself smile.  And I think it's beyond serious debate that the Black Gate in particular was the work of the CotF.  (Magical face carved into weirwood... come on.)

Oh my!  Thank you JNR.  That particular eloquence belongs to Ravenous Reader.  LOL! 

I had to look up these quotes again since you reminded me of those observations:

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Jon III

"They often ride atop the Wall? Not always?"

"No. One patrol in four follows the base instead, to search for cracks in the foundation ice or signs of tunneling."

The Magnar nodded. "Even in far Thenn we know the tale of Arson Iceaxe and his tunnel."

A Storm of Swords - Jon IV

The Magnar sent a dozen men riding west and a dozen more east, to climb the highest hills they could find and watch for any sign of rangers in the wood or riders on the high ice. The Thenns carried bronze-banded warhorns to give warning should the Watch be sighted. The other wildlings fell in behind Jarl, Jon and Ygritte with the rest. This was to be the young raider's hour of glory.

The Wall was often said to stand seven hundred feet high, but Jarl had found a place where it was both higher and lower. Before them, the ice rose sheer from out of the trees like some immense cliff, crowned by wind-carved battlements that loomed at least eight hundred feet high, perhaps nine hundred in spots. But that was deceptive, Jon realized as they drew closer. Brandon the Builder had laid his huge foundation blocks along the heights wherever feasible, and hereabouts the hills rose wild and rugged.

He had once heard his uncle Benjen say that the Wall was a sword east of Castle Black, but a snake to the west. It was true. Sweeping in over one huge humped hill, the ice dipped down into a valley, climbed the knife edge of a long granite ridgeline for a league or more, ran along a jagged crest, dipped again into a valley deeper still, and then rose higher and higher, leaping from hill to hill as far as the eye could see, into the mountainous west.

First that the description of the Wall's foundation ice rather than foundation blocks and second that Brandon the builder had to lay the foundation blocks along the heights rather than men doesn't seem consistent to me for men and giants building the entire thing. Jon would naturally see cracks and crevices in the Wall and frame what he sees according to legend.

A reconstituted glacier or glacier remanie has the appearance of blocks of ice. The manner in which is was raised might not be entirely inconsistent with natural processes.  To reconstitute something is to add water to it and the Wall has been subjected to freezing rain on a regular basis.  So I wouldn't say that GRRM is lying so much as supplying a red herring perhaps.

http://farm9.static.flickr.com/8324/8088588633_2e0eb5478b.jpg

But it is hard to argue with GRRM.  LOL.

Edited by LynnS

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5 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

 

There's a nagging thought in the back of my mind that seems to recall that blocks of ice can be seen in the Wall and that they fit together perfectly and without gaps. Am I just imaging this or can anyone find a passage describing the Wall as being made of huge blocks of ice?

I've also noticed that you are now leaning towards the Wall originating from a glacier. I hate to sound like a broken record, but I still really love your older theory about a more magical origin with the construction of the Wall developing from the drawing in of the cold unto itself, consuming it, and growing that way.

 

JNR has quoted the passage about the blocks, although I'd caution that its not unknown for some natural stone formations to assume a "built" appearance. The theory of the Wall as glacier has certainly come up before with supporting evidence from the real world, but on the whole I still lean to it having been raised by magic rather than men and therefore, however improbable, the stacking of massive blocks of ice - not unlike those cottage sized blocks of basalt used in constructing Moat Caillin - can't be ruled out.

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5 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

I do wonder if we have a link between The Long Night and the hammer of waters.  An ice age would lower the water level,  and maybe The Children manipulating these is what threw the seasons out of balance. 

As Lynn says, this is something we've discussed before. GRRM's description of the Hammer of the Waters appears very to be modelled on the breaching of the Weald-Artois anticline, which separated what is now the island of Britain from the continent. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weald–Artois_Anticline

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, Black Crow said:

As Lynn says, this is something we've discussed before. GRRM's description of the Hammer of the Waters appears very to be modelled on the breaching of the Weald-Artois anticline, which separated what is now the island of Britain from the continent. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weald–Artois_Anticline

I've wondered if Lomas Longstrider got it wrong when he named the Wall one of the wonders made by man rather than one of the un-named wonders made by the gods.

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Tyrion III

"Lomas Longstrider?" asked Duck.
"A scribe, long dead," said Haldon. "He spent his life traveling the world and writing about the lands he visited in two books he called Wonders and Wonders Made by Man."
"An uncle of mine gave them to me when I was just a boy," said Tyrion. "I read them until they fell to pieces."
"The gods made seven wonders, and mortal man made nine," quoted the Halfmaester. "Rather impious of mortal man to do the gods two better, but there you are. The stone roads of Valyria were one of Longstrider's nine. The fifth, I believe."

The Wall could represent a terminal moraine stopped from advancing; where the glacier continued to act as a conveyor belt of ice and stone before receding leaving the foundation ice of the Wall in place.  I'm still inclined to think that the CotF use what is available to them in the landscape.

Quote

A terminal moraine, also called end moraine, is a type of moraine that forms at the snout (edge) of a glacier, marking its maximum advance. At this point, debris that has accumulated by plucking and abrasion, and has been pushed by the front edge of the ice, is driven no further and instead is dumped in a heap. Because the glacier acts very much like a conveyor belt, the longer it stays in one place, the greater the amount of material that will be deposited. The moraine is left as the marking point of the terminal extent of the ice.[1]

Examples

Terminal moraines are one of the most prominent types of moraines in the Arctic. One famous terminal moraine is the Giant's Wall in Norway which, according to legend, was built by giants to keep intruders out of their realm.

 

Edited by LynnS

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