Black Crow

Heresy 196 and a look at the Wall

410 posts in this topic

11 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

Is it possible The Wall grew passively?  I.e. 300 years of slaves placing ice blocks, and whatever magic keeps The Wall from becoming a big pile of slush is also making it taller,  giving us the thousands of years to reach its present height without thousands of years of labor?

Apparently this is the case which would make a great deal more sense.

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The Lord Commander took no notice of the irritating bird. "Gared was near as old as I am and longer on the Wall," he went on, "yet it would seem he forswore himself and fled. I should never have believed it, not of him, but Lord Eddard sent me his head from Winterfell. Of Royce, there is no word. One deserter and two men lost, and now Ben Stark too has gone missing." He sighed deeply. "Who am I to send searching after him? In two years I will be seventy. Too old and too weary for the burden I bear, yet if I set it down, who will pick it up? Alliser Thorne? Bowen Marsh? I would have to be as blind as Maester Aemon not to see what they are. The Night's Watch has become an army of sullen boys and tired old men. Apart from the men at my table tonight, I have perhaps twenty who can read, and even fewer who can think, or plan, or lead. Once the Watch spent its summers building, and each Lord Commander raised the Wall higher than he found it. Now it is all we can do to stay alive."

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The order of builders provided the masons and carpenters to repair keeps and towers, the miners to dig tunnels and crush stone for roads and footpaths, the woodsmen to clear away new growth wherever the forest pressed too close to the Wall. Once, it was said, they had quarried immense blocks of ice from frozen lakes deep in the haunted forest, dragging them south on sledges so the Wall might be raised ever higher. Those days were centuries gone, however; now, it was all they could do to ride the Wall from Eastwatch to the Shadow Tower, watching for cracks or signs of melt and making what repairs they could.

So when the Watch was strong they kept making the wall high, or so it is said.

 

One thing I have always mystified me that the Watch has existed for thousands of years (or so it is said). We know that when Aegon landed (300 years ago) there were 10,000 men on the wall. What has happened since the rise of the Targaryens in Westeros to drop the numbers of the Night's Watch from 10,000 to under 1,000?

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Posted (edited)

The problem I have with this business of the Watch raising the Wall higher is the sheer effort involved.

We're told in the stories how it was raised by Bob the Builder - a warning sign according to GRRM and rendered more explicit by Bran's recollection that "Thousands and thousands of years ago, Brandon the Builder had raised Winterfell, and some said the Wall." That's straightforward enough as to Winterfell, but he doesn't sound convinced about connecting his most famous ancestor and namesake with the Wall.

Other than retelling the possible involvement of Giants - with or without seven league boots - we don't know anything about the physical construction of the Wall, but lets say for the sake of argument that as originally built it was 100 feet high.

Then Lord Commander X decides to add another 10 feet. In the first place why? Have white shadows been spotted on the shore by Eastwatch? Adding 10 feet, let alone more, to a structure 100 feet high and 300 miles long is in itself a massive undertaking. Simply cutting blocks of ice from lakes isn't enough.

Back in the dim and distant past may not leave records but progressively greater engineering works in more recent times have to leave them - but seemingly don't

Hence my "organic" solution 

Edited by Black Crow

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14 hours ago, Black Crow said:

Thank you. I like to think of it as an elegantly simple and straightforward solution which fits what we know and doesn't raise more questions than it answers

:commie:

I do prefer a more straightforward solution although there are still too many open questions about the Wall's purpose and what it was that Bran saw in the heart of winter.  I'm not sure which came first, the wall or the black gate or why the R'hllorists have a shared past with events in the north.  But I sure do like the idea that the Wall is like a living thing defending itself and growing on it's own.  That's fits with the idea that the Wall has the characteristics of a glacier.  

There is Jon's observation that Bran the Builder placed his foundation blocks on the very heights and along the ridges, on the tops of sheer cliffs that calls into question one location as the source of ice given that glaciers often have their source at the tops of mountains or along the heights.  I still can't get away from the notion that magic was applied to existing features to lock them in place and make them grow with the ice joining up together along the thin blue line.

It seems more logical to me that the Black Gate is a tunnel through the Wall to who knows where.  I think this quote by Bran is very interesting:

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A Storm of Swords - Bran III

"I couldn't even close it. The wood's too warped. They won't get past those iron gates, though."
 
"They might. They could break the lock, or the hinges. Or climb up through the murder hole as we did."
 
Lightning slashed the sky, and Hodor whimpered. Then a clap of thunder rolled across the lake. "HODOR!" he roared, clapping his hands over his ears and stumbling in a circle through the darkness. "HODOR! HODOR! HODOR!"

 This is taken from the passage at Queenscrown before Bran and Co arrive at the Night Fort and it falls into the category of things that come out of the mouths of babes not unlike Sansa's comment to Ned about giving Joffrey kids with golden hair.

I recall previous discussions likening wells to murder holes and Bran's fear that something might climb out of the well in the Night's Fort. You can either break the lock or the hinges (the Wall) or you can climb up through the murder hole (the well).   The Black Gate seems to be placed to prevent something from climbing up the murder hole.   

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4 hours ago, Lord Wraith said:

Apparently this is the case which would make a great deal more sense.

So when the Watch was strong they kept making the wall high, or so it is said.

 

One thing I have always mystified me that the Watch has existed for thousands of years (or so it is said). We know that when Aegon landed (300 years ago) there were 10,000 men on the wall. What has happened since the rise of the Targaryens in Westeros to drop the numbers of the Night's Watch from 10,000 to under 1,000?

Do we know there were 10,000 men at the Wall at any one time or does this fall into the category of 999 Lord Commanders.

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37 minutes ago, LynnS said:

Do we know there were 10,000 men at the Wall at any one time or does this fall into the category of 999 Lord Commanders.

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"They kept their pledge. When Aegon slew Black Harren and claimed his kingdom, Harren's brother was Lord Commander on the Wall, with ten thousand swords to hand. He did not march. In the days when the Seven Kingdoms were seven kingdoms, not a generation passed that three or four of them were not at war. The Watch took no part. When the Andals crossed the narrow sea and swept away the kingdoms of the First Men, the sons of the fallen kings held true to their vows and remained at their posts. So it has always been, for years beyond counting. Such is the price of honor.

Jon VIII - GOT

 

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15 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

Is it possible The Wall grew passively?

Yes, it is, following same natural process than a glacier, if global temperature permit it (= if it's to warm, the glacier disappear slowly instead of growing) : rain or snow is falling, it freezes and joins the ice of the wall and offsets the ice naturaly vanishing/dissolving. Plus, if you look some glaciers, they seam like huge walls and water/wind erosion (and also natural movement) break pieces of ice and it look like huge blocks agenced together without order. 

 

13 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

The idea of the Wall being some form of glacier is suggested by GRRM himself when he explicitly likens the Milkwater glacier to the Wall in Jon's warging reconnaissance 'dream' via Ghost:

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A Clash of Kings - Jon VII

And suddenly he was back in the mountains, his paws sunk deep in a drift of snow as he stood upon the edge of a great precipice. Before him the Skirling Pass opened up into airy emptiness, and a long vee-shaped valley lay spread beneath him like a quilt, awash in all the colors of an autumn afternoon.

A vast blue-white wall plugged one end of the vale, squeezing between the mountains as if it had shouldered them aside, and for a moment he thought he had dreamed himself back to Castle Black. Then he realized he was looking at a river of ice several thousand feet high. Under that glittering cold cliff was a great lake, its deep cobalt waters reflecting the snowcapped peaks that ringed it. There were men down in the valley, he saw now; many men, thousands, a huge host. Some were tearing great holes in the half-frozen ground, while others trained for war. He watched as a swarming mass of riders charged a shield wall, astride horses no larger than ants. The sound of their mock battle was a rustling of steel leaves, drifting faintly on the wind. Their encampment had no plan to it; he saw no ditches, no sharpened stakes, no neat rows of horse lines. Everywhere crude earthen shelters and hide tents sprouted haphazardly, like a pox on the face of the earth. He spied untidy mounds of hay, smelled goats and sheep, horses and pigs, dogs in great profusion. Tendrils of dark smoke rose from a thousand cookfires.

The description of a glacier as a 'river of ice' is also suggestive of a greenseer potentially using 'water magic' to 'raise' the Wall -- as Garin did when he raised the Rhoyne.  Let's remember that ice is just the solid phase of water -- so if you can magically manipulate water, you can manipulate ice!

Indeed, that's exactly what I think the wall is, at least for the east part (and I had precisely your quote of the text in mind) : a river araised by magical. Here, my hypothesis is that the magic was to freeze the water with some blood sacrifice (according to the fact that a greenseer staying all the time in his tree is a sacrifice : he renounces to a secular life, just as wards of the Night Watch do), and trapp it in trunks, roots and branches of trees (weirwood, of course, one very ancient is attested at Nightfort, but also sentinels and soldier pines for sure ^^) : trunks roots and branches are a physical weave. Yes, finally it's a Snow White's story ^_^

The Wall made by a gardener rather than an architect, that's so true ! :D

 

4 hours ago, Lord Wraith said:
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Once the Watch spent its summers building, and each Lord Commander raised the Wall higher than he found it. Now it is all we can do to stay alive."

 

4 hours ago, Lord Wraith said:
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Once, it was said, they had quarried immense blocks of ice from frozen lakes deep in the haunted forest, dragging them south on sledges so the Wall might be raised ever higher.

(...)  or so it is said.

In fact, Lord Mormont has no proof of that : it is just what is said, a tale, as you say, just like people dreaming of a "golden age" are saying, and repeating this without end that times before were better, even if the facts are always more complicated. This affirmation of Mormont take place in a specific context : the Watch is effectively loosing men and don't recruit as much to offset the losts. So, believing to some actions of the past who could be "daily" accomplished when now they are just impossible is also natural (even if in reality, these actions were impossible too in the past). Like many old men, Mormont tell the truth about the actual hard situation of the Night Watch, but he exagerates about a past he don't know (see the archives with Sam : nobody cares for them from very long time. It significates also that nobody cares about how really was the life at the Wall centuries, nor just decades before^^)

 

As we are with the Wall, I would like to note some parallelisms with other walls. I think to the walls in Essos, with Daenerys. All that follows is speculative (but based on the text, of course) : 

- The walls of the city in Red Waste : 

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but the white walls, so beautiful from afar, were cracked and crumbling when seen up close.(Daenerys I, ACOK)

These white walls enclose a white empty city, a "city of bones" or a city of dead, a tomb. Curiously, the khalasar can find good food and water here and Daenerys is tempted by staying in this sweet tomb. Staying little time give forces, but staying to long could just give death. 

- The walls of Qarth : 

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Dany took the warlock's words well salted, but the magnificence of the great city was not to be denied. Three thick walls encircled Qarth, elaborately carved. The outer was red sandstone, thirty feet high and decorated with animals: snakes slithering, kites flying, fish swimming, intermingled with wolves of the red waste and striped zorses and monstrous elephants. The middle wall, forty feet high, was grey granite alive with scenes of war: the clash of sword and shield and spear, arrows in flight, heroes at battle and babes being butchered, pyres of the dead. The innermost wall was fifty feet of black marble, with carvings that made Dany blush until she told herself that she was being a fool. She was no maid; if she could look on the grey wall's scenes of slaughter, why should she avert her eyes from the sight of men and women giving pleasure to one another? (Daenerys II, ACOK)

I always wonder about these 3 walls and I suspect they are telling a particular story. I have no answer yet, but we can note some elements : the animals could be a transposition of "blazes" of Westeros (not exactly blazes but representativ animals, I mean) : snakes for Dorne, kites for Vale (and perhaps also the stag of Baratheon, because in french a kite is a bird of prey but also a "cerf-volant" - cerf = stag - and in french royal mythology, linked to the wild hunt, the stag wears very often wings), fishes for Riverlands, red wolves for the North (and also the Lannister, I suspect, Stark and Lannister both are linked to predators and the red is a Lannister's color), and elephants instead mammouths for beyond the Wall. 

The middle wall wear the colors of Winterfell, "grey granite", and is associated with very violents war's scenes ("clash of swords", it remains nothing ?^^). The slaughters scenes themselves recalls some westerosis wars : "arrows in flught" => I think to BR killing Daemon Blackfyre and his sons; "babes being butchered" => babies Aegon and Rhaenys with Gregor and Amory Lorch; "heroes at battle" => Rhaegar and Robert at the Trident (this isn't an exhaustive example ^^); pyres of the dead => pyre of Rhaegar. For me, the idea is that the first reason of Winterfell was a war, and same reason for the Wall. And a war between humans, not a war against CotF, or Giants, nor the legendary Long Night.

But curiously, the black color of the 3rd wall representing men and women making love could be a Long Night too : a bit disturbing, no ? Ok, let's speculate there is also a love story at the origins of the Wall and Winterfell. 

In one word, where the white walls of Vaes Tolorro could represent the Wall as a tomb, the 3 walls of Qarth could be a metaphor for the story of the Wall (and Winterfell, because the 2 are linked). 

 

- Let's have a look to Astapor's walls : 

this time, all the city is a wall, in the text : the "red brick" is really all over. 

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 All the streets were made of the same red brick that had paved the plaza. So too were the stepped pyramids, the deep-dug fighting pits with their rings of descending seats, the sulfurous fountains and gloomy wine caves, and the ancient walls that encircled them. So many bricks, she thought, and so old and crumbling. Their fine red dust was everywhere, dancing down the gutters at each gust of wind. Small wonder so many Astapori women veiled their faces; the brick dust stung the eyes worse than sand.(Daenerys II, ASOS)

Daenerys expresses several times that Astapor's bicks are made with blood, and effectively, the Unsullied are the result of many horrible sacrifices. In the same chapter, Dany evokes with Jorah Mormont the sack of Kingslanding, and in Daenerys 4th chapter (ASOS), Astapor will be sacked too. Further, Astapor's story continues in great violence, with a Butcher king and a Whore queen (with perhaps the wordplay worm/whore), and finally the destruction by fire and sickness. 

The quote I noted in red interests me and I would purpose a possible interpretation : the dust is here like a curse : everybody is cursed in its contact, and all the Astapori (slaves and slavers, all) will pay a huge price just to live at Astapor. It could be a new metaphor for the Wall and the "universal" curse he could bring to all Westeros : this is a tradition to send to the Wall criminals or vainquished ennemies (or others). The "Brothers" are coming from all Westeros. At the Wall, they live in direct contact with the Wall, his ice... and its magic. If it was "built" with blood (at least the blood of the greenseer from the Black Gate), so they are all contaminated with this blood, and could be with the time really brother of blood (to go further, I think this is a blood Stark). Paradoxally, defending the realm against what is beyond the Wall, the Wall is also cursing all the realms and perhaps changed a private and local story into a universal story.

To resume, Astapor would be a metaphor for Westeros.

I don't stop with Yunkaï nor Meereen walls, because I actually think they repeat the same sheme that Astapor : they work together and tell the same story. 

- Finally, the last wall in Essos that come in my mind is the Black Walls of Volantis, that I think Daenerys will break down (Daenerys or the slaves who will insurge before she arrives there and will claim her as their "queen") : 

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Across the wide blue expanse of the Rhoyne, he could see the Black Wall that had been raised by the Valyrians when Volantis was no more than an outpost of their empire: a great oval of fused stone two hundred feet high and so thick that six four-horse chariots could race around its top abreast, as they did each year to celebrate the founding of the city. Outlanders, foreigners, and freedmen were not allowed inside the Black Wall save at the invitation of those who dwelt within, scions of the Old Blood who could trace their ancestry back to Valyria itself. (The merchant's man, ADWD)

First view, the Black Walls of Volantis is the reverse of the Wall in the North : 

- the black color // the white

- the stones "sculpted" with dragonfire // the ice

- the "old blood"/ the "free people" (= the "behind the wall") is enclosed // "beyond the wall" (the "free people") is enclosed and "prisoner"

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"The best calumnies are spiced with truth," suggested Qavo, "but the girl's true sin cannot be denied. This arrogant child has taken it upon herself to smash the slave trade, but that traffic was never confined to Slaver's Bay. It was part of the sea of trade that spanned the world, and the dragon queen has clouded the water. Behind the Black Wall, lords of ancient blood sleep poorly, listening as their kitchen slaves sharpen their long knives. Slaves grow our food, clean our streets, teach our young. They guard our walls, row our galleys, fight our battles. And now when they look east, they see this young queen shining from afar, this breaker of chains. The Old Blood cannot suffer that. Poor men hate her too. Even the vilest beggar stands higher than a slave. This dragon queen would rob him of that consolation." (Tyrion VI, ADWD)

The Old Blood lives like a permanently siege. In fact, the Night Watch does the same... and Westeros too, without knowing if. But at Volantis, the reader is openly invited to consider that Old Blood is injust and oppressive, when he is invited to feel oppressed by Others and Wildlings. The change of the perspective forces us to question this Wall : the Black Wall is fundamentaly "evil". Could it be the same with the White Wall at Westeros ? Are they opposite or different faces of exactly the same coin (the coin of Volantis has a crown on a face, and a skull on the other// crown of the North at Winterfell behind the Wall, and Others beyond the Wall ?) ? 

The following question is : is the Wall could be "evil", why was it built ? what is the real reason ? 

Behind the Black Walls, we find the heart of Volantis ( = parallelism with "heart of Winter" ?): 

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I may find a better copy there, if I can find a way inside the Black Walls to the city's heart.(Tyrion IV, ADWD)

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One looked toward the Long Bridge and the black-walled heart of Old Volantis across the river (Tyrion VII, ADWD)


 

Now I wonder which side of the Wall could be the "heart of Winter" ? Beyond, or behind ?

 

Before I leave, a last quote. It describes the huge tempest in Tyrion IX ADWD : 

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The western sky went green, then grey, then black. A wall of dark clouds loomed up behind them, churning like a kettle of milk left on the fire too long. 

(...)

The wind returned as a whispered threat, cold and damp, brushing over his cheek, flapping the wet sail, swirling and tugging at Moqorro's scarlet robes. Some instinct made Tyrion grab hold of the nearest rail, just in time. In the space of three heartbeats the little breeze became a howling gale. Moqorro shouted something, and green flames leapt from the dragon's maw atop his staff to vanish in the night. Then the rains came, black and blinding, and forecastle and sterncastle both vanished behind a wall of water. Something huge flapped overhead, and Tyrion glanced up in time to see the sail taking wing, with two men still dangling from the lines. Then he heard a crack. Oh, bloody hell, he had time to think, that had to be the mast.

 

I have no more time to comment, but I wonder if there isn't here a foreshadowing for the "beast taking wings" "in a smoking tower", or also the doom of the Wall who liberate all its water and... huh

 

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6 hours ago, Lord Wraith said:

One thing I have always mystified me that the Watch has existed for thousands of years (or so it is said). We know that when Aegon landed (300 years ago) there were 10,000 men on the wall. What has happened since the rise of the Targaryens in Westeros to drop the numbers of the Night's Watch from 10,000 to under 1,000?

And the brother of the most powerful man in Westeros chose to become Lord Commander,  as I said before.  

The Night's Watch is dramatically less important now than it was 300 years ago.  There are only 2 possible reasons for this in a 8000 year old organization.  Either Others were a very real threat 300 years ago, or The Night's Watch isn't 8000 years old.

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  Yes, it is, following same natural process than a glacier, if global temperature permit it (= if it's to warm, the glacier disappear slowly instead of growing) : rain or snow is falling, it freezes and joins the ice of the wall and offsets the ice naturaly vanishing/dissolving. Plus, if you look some glaciers, they seam like huge walls and water/wind erosion (and also natural movement) break pieces of ice and it look like huge blocks agenced together without order. 

No.  A nautral glacier would be a mound that moves.  It could have a wall for a front edge, but it would either be a mound or sheet, and it would move.  A tall narrow stationary piece of ice is a very unnatural thing that can only exist in a world of magic. 

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56 minutes ago, Lord Wraith said:

"They kept their pledge. When Aegon slew Black Harren and claimed his kingdom, Harren's brother was Lord Commander on the Wall, with ten thousand swords to hand. He did not march. In the days when the Seven Kingdoms were seven kingdoms, not a generation passed that three or four of them were not at war. The Watch took no part. When the Andals crossed the narrow sea and swept away the kingdoms of the First Men, the sons of the fallen kings held true to their vows and remained at their posts. So it has always been, for years beyond counting. Such is the price of honor.

Jon VIII - GOT

This all seems very sentimental to me.  lol  I think this probably accounts for a workforce building of the forts along the Wall more than the Wall itself.

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8 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

And the brother of the most powerful man in Westeros chose to become Lord Commander,  as I said before.  

The Night's Watch is dramatically less important now than it was 300 years ago.  There are only 2 possible reasons for this in a 8000 year old organization.  Either Others were a very real threat 300 years ago, or The Night's Watch isn't 8000 years old.

I'm still not sure that the story of the last hero and the story of the long night are the same event but two similar events.  I think the Wall was raised as a consequence of the original conflict. 

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A Clash of Kings - Jon VII

And suddenly he was back in the mountains, his paws sunk deep in a drift of snow as he stood upon the edge of a great precipice. Before him the Skirling Pass opened up into airy emptiness, and a long vee-shaped valley lay spread beneath him like a quilt, awash in all the colors of an autumn afternoon.

A vast blue-white wall plugged one end of the vale, squeezing between the mountains as if it had shouldered them aside, and for a moment he thought he had dreamed himself back to Castle Black. Then he realized he was looking at a river of ice several thousand feet high.

@RavenousReader  I think 3rd eye observations are important and it does make a connection to the Wall.  I'd add Bran's visions of various locations on Planetos, the Wall, Braavos, Vaes Dothrak, Asshai focus in on places of power and sorcery.  So Jon's observation of the glacier like the Wall is telling us something about the Wall.  Indeed it is a river of ice with all the connotations relating to time or perhaps even things that are frozen in time.

I'm inclined to abandon the idea that magic was applied to an existing ice sheet in favor of fixing glaciers instead but whatever the situation, I think the CotF used the natural resources available to them growing glaciers along a predetermined line of defense.  You could consider the curtain of light from Bran's vision;  a wall without the ice .  It is a ward that Bran can see with the 3rd eye with something similar woven into the Wall with ice growing along it's course.   This is the great lore that Melsandre refers to - the woven light.  I think Dany sees something similar in the HoB&W when she describes the woven carpet she travels along the great hall.  A magic carpet in other words. LOL 

If the Wall can be likened to a living thing; then it's heart is a heart tree but I'm torn as to whether this is the weirwood at the Black Gate or the weirwood at Whitetree.  This is the only weirwood tree that we have seen so far with a mouth to receive offerings bloody or otherwise and the Black Gate itself is a mouth that opens to consume whomever passes.  

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53 minutes ago, LynnS said:

I think the Wall was raised as a consequence of the original conflict. 

I thought the same until I read this thread.  GRRM says the wall was raised over hundreds of years.  If the Wall was started when The Long Night ended, people would have lost interest before it was finished. 

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Perhaps the wall really was to stop wildlings - if they had greenseers and Children for allies and possibly even commanded Others, we could have had a long war against the other First Men, and the Wall was raised as a boundary, possibly by the North side. 

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1 hour ago, Brad Stark said:

I thought the same until I read this thread.  GRRM says the wall was raised over hundreds of years.  If the Wall was started when The Long Night ended, people would have lost interest before it was finished. 

Yes, raised over hundreds of years, but how and by whom?   The Wall doesn't appear to have had a large influx of men until much later.  So if you think only men could build the wall according to legend; then the wall is much younger.  The Night's Watch has been Andalized to some extent and the prevailing religious forces of that culture; first denying the old gods and second replacing them with the new gods perhaps hiding the true history of Wall built by magic.  Not unlike expunging the name and history of the Night King and the events around it.  Anyone who still honors the old gods would be seen as the enemy where once they were friends of the Night's Watch.  So the purpose of the wall is reframed to keep the wildlings out.  Although the men of the north still honor the old gods; it's not the prevailing religion.  The wildlings are a different matter because they refuse to kneel.

I think that the story of the last hero and the night's king have become conflated or there may be similar recurring long nights for some reason.  The wall was built specifically to contain the killing cold that raises the dead and kills indiscriminately, men and CotF alike.   We know that the wildlings are capable of bypassing the Wall.

There seems to be a series of defenses starting at Winterfell:

1) Winterfell

2) the wall of ice

3) soldier pines and sentinel trees growing up against the wall - anything climbing the wall and falling off is speared by the trees

The dead plains and then in reverse:

4) ice spears that fly up to impale flyers that fall

5) a ring wall or curtain of light, a wall without the ice

6) the heart of winter

 

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A Clash of Kings - Daenerys I

Dany gave him charge of a dozen of her strongest men, and set them to pulling up the plaza to get to the earth beneath. If devilgrass could grow between the paving stones, other grasses would grow when the stones were gone. They had wells enough, no lack of water. Given seed, they could make the plaza bloom.
 
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.

 

 

In the above passage,the significance of spears impaling bones is a ward and the living dare not enter.  Vaes Tolorro; the city of bones is not warded in the same way; but the meaning of ring of skulls mounted on iron spears is clear to Aggo and so he doesn't enter.  I wonder what this says about the heart of winter and what it contains.  

    

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56 minutes ago, LynnS said:

Yes, raised over hundreds of years, but how and by whom?   The Wall doesn't appear to have had a large influx of men until much later.  So if you think only men could build the wall according to legend; then the wall is much younger. 

Or men were there sooner.   Except Moat Catlin,  we don't have any large structure potentially built by the Children.   It wouldn't be out of character for the Children waving a magic wand and making The Wall appear if they had that power, but carrying blocks and building by hand is out of character.  And why would they want the Wall except to defend against men?

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Could The Others have built The Wall?

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  The Others can do things with ice that we can't imagine

From GRRM 

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5 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

The Night's Watch is dramatically less important now than it was 300 years ago.  There are only 2 possible reasons for this in a 8000 year old organization.  Either Others were a very real threat 300 years ago, or The Night's Watch isn't 8000 years old.

The most likely cause for the falling off in numbers is the very simple fact that after the imposition of the Pax Targaryena the supply of recruits dried up dramatically; no more wars between the kingdoms and so no more kings and nobles, no more large bodies of prisoners taken in battle to fill that accommodation in the Nightfort - just common criminals and the odd traitor.

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5 hours ago, GloubieBoulga said:

In fact, Lord Mormont has no proof of that : it is just what is said, a tale, as you say, just like people dreaming of a "golden age" are saying, and repeating this without end that times before were better, even if the facts are always more complicated. This affirmation of Mormont take place in a specific context : the Watch is effectively loosing men and don't recruit as much to offset the losts. So, believing to some actions of the past who could be "daily" accomplished when now they are just impossible is also natural (even if in reality, these actions were impossible too in the past). Like many old men, Mormont tell the truth about the actual hard situation of the Night Watch, but he exagerates about a past he don't know (see the archives with Sam : nobody cares for them from very long time. It significates also that nobody cares about how really was the life at the Wall centuries, nor just decades before^^)

I have long suspected that this tale originates in the dumping of grit and gravel on top of the Wall but over the years has grown from a jocular remark to an article of faith

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53 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

Could The Others have built The Wall?

An old heresy :commie:

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4 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

The most likely cause for the falling off in numbers is the very simple fact that after the imposition of the Pax Targaryena the supply of recruits dried up dramatically; no more wars between the kingdoms and so no more kings and nobles, no more large bodies of prisoners taken in battle to fill that accommodation in the Nightfort - just common criminals and the odd traitor.

I'd expect Pax Targaryena to have the opposite effect.  7 kingdoms at war with each other needed men to fight.  Look at the Crusades, as we had fewer squables between smaller forces we had a surplus of restless troublemakers who needed a cause to be shipped off to fight.

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