Lord Varys

The Starks and the Children

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TWoIaF makes no mentioning of any Children of the Forest living (and thriving) in the North after the end of the Long Night (outside, perhaps, the Neck).

This is odd because in light of the absence of Andal power in the North the Children should not only found refuge there (after they were driven out of the Riverlands, the Stormlands, the Reach, the Vale, and the Westerlands in the wake of the Andal conquest) and thus increased in number, but they should also still have the deep forests for their own (i.e. the Wolfswood and the forest around Karhold), regions that were granted to them by the Pact.

It is doubly odd since we actually know that the Gardener, Durrandon, and some River Kings of the First Men were actually on pretty good footing with the Children as late as the arrival of the Andals. A Gardener and Durrandon king turned to the Children for help to push the Andals back, and in the Riverlands the First Men came to the help of the Children when the High Heart was attacked.

Instead we learn about the Starks that actually killed the Warg King of Sea Dragon Point (who fought with the Children against the Starks) and his greenseers and skinchangers.

All knowledge about the history of the Starks we have indicates that the houses was only founded after the Long Night and the War for the Dawn (by Brandon the Builder), meaning that this particular slaughtering of Children of the Forest in the North did not take place before the Pact or even the Long Night but after it was over.

Where are all those weirwood groves and hallow hills in the North the Children kept in the South? Down there we have seen remnants of those in the Riverlands and the Stormlands, and while most weirwoods have been cut down in the South by the Andals nobody but the First Men would have laid hands on the weirwoods in the North. Where are they in the Wolfswood and elsewhere?

Has anybody an idea?

If we go with the Others being creatures of the Children it might make sense to assume the First Men (Northmen included) eventually broke the Pact leading to the creation of the Others. Is that plausible?

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Perhaps the cotf in the north being relatively close to the lands beyond the wall simply viewed it as a safe haven, better for their long run, and so migrated there.

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First we don't know that the Starks killed the Warg King. We know they killed his greenseers and his beasts and took his daughters, but they could have just run him out of the North. Living after all of that would have been worse than death anyway so if the Kings of Winter were as cruel as has been suggested, that might have been their MO.

Second, even if they did kill the Warg King, I don't recall any mention of them killing the Children of the Forest, either those who fought with WK, or just CotF in general. And since what they did to the WK was mentioned, it would make little sense to leave out the slaughtering all of his allies when that would have taken only a few more words to include. Can't be a printing cost consideration because it wouldn't have lengthened the book enough to change the page count. Though do correct me if I'm wrong.

Third House Stark could have been founded right before or during the Long Night and still be 8,000 years old. We don't have exact figures on this stuff, per the author and the in-world discrepancies.

When was it that the children decided to go underground for safety reasons? And when was the Warg King defeated in relation to the Long Night and the Andal Invasion, somewhere between them I'd imagine but do we have anything that indicates a better time period than 2,000 years or so?

 

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Yes, this is an interesting topic, and one I have touched on before. I think it is a more nuanced and complex issue than a mere black and white situation.

We know after all that Brandon the Builder built the wall with the help of the Children. Certainly, the spells that went into it would have been based on the magic of the Children. Considering the power and size of the Wall, as referenced by Mellisandre, it seems evident that it required major blood sacrifices to cast those spells. We know that the Children sacrificed a thousand of their own people to cast the Hammer of the Waters. By the time the Long Night arrived we are told that the Children had retreated to their hollow hills and were largely absent on the surface, leaving mankind to face the Long Night alone. Until the Last Hero won them to mankind's side. So, what if the Children in the North - always less numerous than those in the South due to the harsher environment - agreed to sacrifice a thousand of their own kind or more, to power the 300 miles of the Wall, turning it into one of the hinges of the World.

And that most of those who remained in the North thereafter, were the ones who had not agreed to go along with this plan and were of the faction that were enemies of humans from the start. Perhaps from the faction that created the Others in the first place.

So then, the "good Children" in the North would have sacrificed themselves to raise the Wall, while the remnants that remained were the "bad Children", for want of a better term. Hostile to humans. Hence the Starks' relentless wars against the Warg King and his greenseer and Children allies at Sea Dragon point and perhaps in other parts of the North.

The relatively few Good Children who remained in the North were then too few to sustain a viable long term population, and gradually died out until Leaf and her clan in the far North were the only ones remaining today.

That is a viable scenario in my opinion, to reconcile Brandon the Builder's close relationship with the Children with the apparently more hostile relationship of his descendants.

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9 hours ago, aryagonnakill#2 said:

Perhaps the cotf in the north being relatively close to the lands beyond the wall simply viewed it as a safe haven, better for their long run, and so migrated there.

But that would then mean that the Pact was worth nothing (anymore) in the North, right?

9 hours ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

First we don't know that the Starks killed the Warg King. We know they killed his greenseers and his beasts and took his daughters, but they could have just run him out of the North. Living after all of that would have been worse than death anyway so if the Kings of Winter were as cruel as has been suggested, that might have been their MO.

That is a technicality. The fact that the Warg King had skinchangers and greenseers (and both apparently in large enough members to warrant specific meaning) suggests that some (or all) of those might have been Children. If so, then the stories indicate that they were killed.

9 hours ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

When was it that the children decided to go underground for safety reasons? And when was the Warg King defeated in relation to the Long Night and the Andal Invasion, somewhere between them I'd imagine but do we have anything that indicates a better time period than 2,000 years or so?

The Starks apparently ruled all of the North by the time the first Andal ships arrived. Whether that's really true or not is difficult to say but I daresay that Sea Dragon Point must definitely have been subdued long before the last of the powerful Red Kings of House Bolton. After all, it is considerably closer to Winterfell.

44 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

We know after all that Brandon the Builder built the wall with the help of the Children. Certainly, the spells that went into it would have been based on the magic of the Children. Considering the power and size of the Wall, as referenced by Mellisandre, it seems evident that it required major blood sacrifices to cast those spells.

Not all magics do require blood sacrifices, though. The spell in the Wall might essentially be the same type of ward that protects the cave of the Children beyond the Wall. And I don't think they needed a blood sacrifice for that one, either. The Wall slowly grew to its present size. That has nothing to do with magic. Magic might help prevent it from melting, and contribute to that 'the Wall protects itself' mechanism but essentially the Wall is nothing but a huge structure the Others and their creatures apparently cannot get through.

44 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

We know that the Children sacrificed a thousand of their own people to cast the Hammer of the Waters.

We don't know that, actually. There are stories claiming they sacrificed their own children and stories claiming they sacrificed First Men they captured. Perhaps they didn't sacrifice anybody. Nobody would have been there on the Isle of Faces or Moat Cailin to know what they actually did.

44 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

By the time the Long Night arrived we are told that the Children had retreated to their hollow hills and were largely absent on the surface, leaving mankind to face the Long Night alone. Until the Last Hero won them to mankind's side. So, what if the Children in the North - always less numerous than those in the South due to the harsher environment - agreed to sacrifice a thousand of their own kind or more, to power the 300 miles of the Wall, turning it into one of the hinges of the World.

First, during and before the Long Night the North wouldn't have been as harsh and cold a long as it later was because we had, most likely, no freak seasons, which means no years long winters and no summer snows in the North but normal seasons and temperatures.

Second, it is very likely that there was a lot more wood in the North than in any of the other regions of Westeros at that time (just as there is to this day beyond the Wall), giving the Children much more space to live (according to the Pact) than the Children down in the South. It makes little sense to assume there were fewer Children in the North than in the South. They simply were everywhere, just as the giants once were. There bones, too, are found everywhere.

Third, the assumption that the Children would sacrifice thousands of their own to build a magical Wall and then not stay on the correct/safe (i.e. the southern) side of the Wall makes no sense whatsoever.

The problem of the Last Hero to find the Children might have to do with the fact that they perhaps did not want to be found (if they were the ones behind the Others) or that the man began his search at a place where there simply were no Children. We have no idea where the guy lived when he began his search, nor have we any idea how harsh the conditions were he found himself in, or how well he was provisioned and protected against the insane cold. It could be that he scarcely was able to walk more than ten leagues from the place where he started his search.

44 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

And that most of those who remained in the North thereafter, were the ones who had not agreed to go along with this plan and were of the faction that were enemies of humans from the start. Perhaps from the faction that created the Others in the first place.

If not all the Children created the Others - say, because the First Men eventually broke the Pact and failed to mention that in their runes and songs (which would make a lot of sense because, you know, they had no reason to be proud of such a betrayal) - then whatever Children created the Others either became Other-like creatures themselves (using the spell to create on themselves first, because they used it on the First Men) or they are at the place where the Others rule with impunity to this day (the so-called Heart of Winter, presumably in the middle of the Lands of Always Winter).

I honestly think it is more likely that all the Children agreed to make the Others (that adds more tragedy to the entire thing) and some of them ended up regretting what they did. Or perhaps even all of them (if it turned out that the Others were basically uncontrollable, or very different to control) aside from those who themselves became Others (if any such exist).

44 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

So then, the "good Children" in the North would have sacrificed themselves to raise the Wall, while the remnants that remained were the "bad Children", for want of a better term. Hostile to humans. Hence the Starks' relentless wars against the Warg King and his greenseer and Children allies at Sea Dragon point and perhaps in other parts of the North.

That doesn't make a lot of sense, especially not in light of the fact that those in the cave beyond the Wall clearly are no 'bad Children' in any meaningful sense. They really want to help Bran to hone is powers. Nothing indicates that they are (still?) angry. They clearly have accepted the fact that they are dying race, and even Bran notices that this is strange. He would have been angry and would have fought if he found himself in their position.

Presumably they help people like Bloodraven and Bran because they still feel responsible for the Others. If they were the ones who created them. If they did not they could ignore everything that happens outside of their cave.

44 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

The relatively few Good Children who remained in the North were then too few to sustain a viable long term population, and gradually died out until Leaf and her clan in the far North were the only ones remaining today.

That makes no sense for two reasons. First, there is the fact that the Children really are very long-lived creatures. Even if only a handful of them remained (meaning if we buy your scenario that they sacrificed thousands of their own for the building of the Wall which I don't buy for a moment) then those would have lived very long lives.

This talk about the Children 'disappearing' most likely is a euphemism of the First Men continue to kill them. I mean, their population grew and grew and grew even after the Pact, so they would eventually have continued to cut down trees and claim forests for their. We even see this in the history of the Stormlands where, also after the Long Night because it is one of the early kings named Durran, took the Rainwood from the Children. That would have clearly violated the Pact. A successor restored it to them, but another king took it for good.

Second, once the Andals came - and assuming the Pact was still honored in the North - those Children who fled the Riverlands, the West, the Vale, the Reach, and the Stormlands could have found refuge not just beyond the Wall but also in the Neck and the North, increasing the numbers up there.

I mean, the impression we get from this whole 'the First Men took the gods of the Children' thing always suggested that these peoples eventually grew rather close. But considering that there are, right now, none in the North and there is no hint that the Stark kings and the Children were ever close in recorded history strongly indicates that the Pact might not have been as great an achievement as human history seems to paint it.

Another odd thing is that there is a pretty good chance that there are still Children on the Isle of Faces, and that place is in the Riverlands not the North. If the Isle of Faces could remain that secret and unconquered place for thousands of years one should expect similar enclaves of the Children to have survived in the North and the Neck as well. Just as they did beyond the Wall.

44 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

That is a viable scenario in my opinion, to reconcile Brandon the Builder's close relationship with the Children with the apparently more hostile relationship of his descendants.

The Children helping with the building of the Wall doesn't mean Brandon and the Children were close. The giants allegedly helped with the building of the Wall, too, and nothing indicates the Starks (or Brandon, personally) were ever close with them. Just because of a group of disparate people agreed that the Wall had to be build for the good of all doesn't mean they were particularly close. I mean, you see how hundred kingdoms could support the NW yet that did not prevent them from warring amongst each other. Even the later wildlings might have been on board with building the Wall at first.

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

But that would then mean that the Pact was worth nothing (anymore) in the North, right?

That is a technicality. The fact that the Warg King had skinchangers and greenseers (and both apparently in large enough members to warrant specific meaning) suggests that some (or all) of those might have been Children. If so, then the stories indicate that they were killed.

The Starks apparently ruled all of the North by the time the first Andal ships arrived. Whether that's really true or not is difficult to say but I daresay that Sea Dragon Point must definitely have been subdued long before the last of the powerful Red Kings of House Bolton. After all, it is considerably closer to Winterfell.

Not all magics do require blood sacrifices, though. The spell in the Wall might essentially be the same type of ward that protects the cave of the Children beyond the Wall. And I don't think they needed a blood sacrifice for that one, either. The Wall slowly grew to its present size. That has nothing to do with magic. Magic might help prevent it from melting, and contribute to that 'the Wall protects itself' mechanism but essentially the Wall is nothing but a huge structure the Others and their creatures apparently cannot get through.

We don't know that, actually. There are stories claiming they sacrificed their own children and stories claiming they sacrificed First Men they captured. Perhaps they didn't sacrifice anybody. Nobody would have been there on the Isle of Faces or Moat Cailin to know what they actually did.

First, during and before the Long Night the North wouldn't have been as harsh and cold a long as it later was because we had, most likely, no freak seasons, which means no years long winters and no summer snows in the North but normal seasons and temperatures.

Second, it is very likely that there was a lot more wood in the North than in any of the other regions of Westeros at that time (just as there is to this day beyond the Wall), giving the Children much more space to live (according to the Pact) than the Children down in the South. It makes little sense to assume there were fewer Children in the North than in the South. They simply were everywhere, just as the giants once were. There bones, too, are found everywhere.

Third, the assumption that the Children would sacrifice thousands of their own to build a magical Wall and then not stay on the correct/safe (i.e. the southern) side of the Wall makes no sense whatsoever.

The problem of the Last Hero to find the Children might have to do with the fact that they perhaps did not want to be found (if they were the ones behind the Others) or that the man began his search at a place where there simply were no Children. We have no idea where the guy lived when he began his search, nor have we any idea how harsh the conditions were he found himself in, or how well he was provisioned and protected against the insane cold. It could be that he scarcely was able to walk more than ten leagues from the place where he started his search.

If not all the Children created the Others - say, because the First Men eventually broke the Pact and failed to mention that in their runes and songs (which would make a lot of sense because, you know, they had no reason to be proud of such a betrayal) - then whatever Children created the Others either became Other-like creatures themselves (using the spell to create on themselves first, because they used it on the First Men) or they are at the place where the Others rule with impunity to this day (the so-called Heart of Winter, presumably in the middle of the Lands of Always Winter).

I honestly think it is more likely that all the Children agreed to make the Others (that adds more tragedy to the entire thing) and some of them ended up regretting what they did. Or perhaps even all of them (if it turned out that the Others were basically uncontrollable, or very different to control) aside from those who themselves became Others (if any such exist).

That doesn't make a lot of sense, especially not in light of the fact that those in the cave beyond the Wall clearly are no 'bad Children' in any meaningful sense. They really want to help Bran to hone is powers. Nothing indicates that they are (still?) angry. They clearly have accepted the fact that they are dying race, and even Bran notices that this is strange. He would have been angry and would have fought if he found himself in their position.

Presumably they help people like Bloodraven and Bran because they still feel responsible for the Others. If they were the ones who created them. If they did not they could ignore everything that happens outside of their cave.

That makes no sense for two reasons. First, there is the fact that the Children really are very long-lived creatures. Even if only a handful of them remained (meaning if we buy your scenario that they sacrificed thousands of their own for the building of the Wall which I don't buy for a moment) then those would have lived very long lives.

This talk about the Children 'disappearing' most likely is a euphemism of the First Men continue to kill them. I mean, their population grew and grew and grew even after the Pact, so they would eventually have continued to cut down trees and claim forests for their. We even see this in the history of the Stormlands where, also after the Long Night because it is one of the early kings named Durran, took the Rainwood from the Children. That would have clearly violated the Pact. A successor restored it to them, but another king took it for good.

Second, once the Andals came - and assuming the Pact was still honored in the North - those Children who fled the Riverlands, the West, the Vale, the Reach, and the Stormlands could have found refuge not just beyond the Wall but also in the Neck and the North, increasing the numbers up there.

I mean, the impression we get from this whole 'the First Men took the gods of the Children' thing always suggested that these peoples eventually grew rather close. But considering that there are, right now, none in the North and there is no hint that the Stark kings and the Children were ever close in recorded history strongly indicates that the Pact might not have been as great an achievement as human history seems to paint it.

Another odd thing is that there is a pretty good chance that there are still Children on the Isle of Faces, and that place is in the Riverlands not the North. If the Isle of Faces could remain that secret and unconquered place for thousands of years one should expect similar enclaves of the Children to have survived in the North and the Neck as well. Just as they did beyond the Wall.

The Children helping with the building of the Wall doesn't mean Brandon and the Children were close. The giants allegedly helped with the building of the Wall, too, and nothing indicates the Starks (or Brandon, personally) were ever close with them. Just because of a group of disparate people agreed that the Wall had to be build for the good of all doesn't mean they were particularly close. I mean, you see how hundred kingdoms could support the NW yet that did not prevent them from warring amongst each other. Even the later wildlings might have been on board with building the Wall at first.

So we have two scenarios. Lord Varys feels that the Starks alone of the First Men kings broke the pact, while the southron kings remained good friends with the Children.

Alternatively, we have a scenario where:

The combined factions of the Children unite at the Isle of Faces and sacrifice a thousand of their own kind in a blood magic spell to bring down the Hammer of the Waters on the Arm of Dorne around 11500 years ago. This fails to stop the First Men, and the Children continue to be wiped out in the North and in the South.

The majority of the remaining Children then make the Pact with the First Men, on the Isle of Faces, around 11000 years ago. But not all agree, and those who don't agree flee to the North, where the First Men haven't settled in great numbers yet.

This faction who wish to continue the War with the humans, build their strength, and grow close to some humans in the Neck (who perhaps share their view that the Children need a separate land of their own), until around 10,000 years ago this hostile faction of Children attempt to call down a second Hammer of the Waters to separate the North from the South. This happened at a time when human Stone Towers had already been erected at Moat Cailin.

This second Hammer fails, however - probably because the faction of Children who called it down were not large enough and therefore lacked the necessary blood sacrifices to power it. The enemy Children were then forced to abandon this plan and scatter into the North. Their third and last plan was then to create the Others in desperation. But 8000 years ago, this leads to the Long Night, and as a result some of the enemy Children regret their actions, sacrificing themselves to raise the Wall and end the Long Night.

Those that remain in the North, are the die hard remnants of the hostile Children and the Starks focus on eradicating them. The small number of remaining friendly Children in the North are too few to rebuild their population, and retreat to isolated spots all across the North, where they gradually die out over the centuries, until only one enclave is left by the time of the current series.

This seems to fit pretty well with what we know to have happened.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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@Free Northman Reborn

Are you even reading the stuff I write? I think I was pretty clear that I think the southern kings also broke the Pact. It is obvious with the Durrandon kings. But in light of the Andal threat the Gardeners and Durrandons remembered their old alliance with the Children when it became convenient. For the Starks is no such thing - nor any other sort of continued alliance and friendship mentioned.

That is the oddity I wanted to point. Another oddity is the fact that nowhere in the North do we see weirwood groves like the one that one grew on High Heart or beneath the cave beyond the Wall. If the Northmen and the Children continued to live in friendship and peace in the years after the Long Night the caves beneath the weirwood groves might be empty - like the caves in the Rainwood apparently are - but the weirwoods themselves would still exist.

17 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

The combined factions of the Children unite at the Isle of Faces and sacrifice a thousand of their own kind in a blood magic spell to bring down the Hammer of the Waters on the Arm of Dorne around 11500 years ago. This fails to stop the First Men, and the Children continue to be wiped out in the North and in the South.

Please stop using precise dates. We don't know anything in that department for certain.

I'd also advise you to go back and reread stuff. One version claims the Children sacrificed a thousand captured, another that they used the blood of their own young (no specification how many, though, so stop claiming that it were a thousands). And it is not even confirmed that they really sacrificed anybody. Could very well be. But it is not confirmed.

Further, we have no idea when exactly the Neck was created - if it was created. Could be that this happened before the Pact, could be that it happened after the Pact. It seems reasonable to assume it would have happened before the Long Night, though. After all, whatever we know indicates that there were swamps in the Neck in the years thereafter.

17 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

The majority of the remaining Children then make the Pact with the First Men, on the Isle of Faces, around 11000 years ago. But not all agree, and those who don't flee to the North, where the First Men haven't settled in great numbers yet.

Again, stop that dating crap. We don't know anything about that. We also don't know where the Others were first created. The fact that they now live in the Lands of Always Winter doesn't mean they were created there. Could be, but perhaps they just retreated to those lands at the end of the Long Night and established themselves there?

While there was opposition to the Pact on both sides (implicit in the talk that the wisest on both sides of the conflict prevailed, suggesting that there unwise warmongers on both sides) this isn't a confirmation that the Children on the unwise side left their fellows. In fact, they could have stayed, only finally to win the day with an 'We have told you so' argument once (some of) the First Men decided to break the Pact a few centuries later, continuing to butchering Children and taking lands that were supposed to be theirs for all time. Just like the European colonists (and later the citizens of the various independent states in the Americas) did to the natives there (and in Australia, etc.).

17 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

This faction who wish to continue the War with the humans, build their strength, and grow close to some humans in the Neck (who perhaps share their view that the Children need a separate land of their own), until around 10,000 years ago this hostile faction of Children attempt to call down a second Hammer of the Waters to separate the North from the South. This happened at a time when human Stone Towers had already been erected at Moat Cailin.

That doesn't make a lot of sense at all. The Neck could easily have been created before the Pact. 

17 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

This second Hammer fails, however - probably because the faction of Children who called it down were not large enough and therefore lacked the necessary blood sacrificed to power it. The enemy Children were then forced to abandon this plan and scatter into the North. Their third and last plan was then to create the Others in desperation. But 8000 years ago, this leads to the Long Night, and as a result some of the enemy Children regret their actions, sacrificing themselves to raise the Wall and end the Long Night.

We also don't know whether the Others were a plan the Children came up with rather late. Perhaps they made the first such creatures before the Pact was even made but never used them in large numbers, or the Others themselves sort of developed into the menace they became during the Long Night only after they had cast off the magical shackles of the Children to a large degree. We have no idea whether the were originally designed as the super weapon they have now become. Did the first Other already know how to create wights? We don't know. Was the point of the Others to bring/create a cold that will essentially extinguish all life (the Children included) already a part of the plan when they were first created? I don't think so.

It could be that they were sort of conceived as a Terminator-like infiltrators. Stealing and transforming children also is resembling the whole changeling myth. Perhaps the plan was to transform the First Men into something different, something more akin to the Children themselves so that they would no longer multiply the way they did, destroying the world of the Children in the process?

17 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

This seems to fit pretty well with what we know to have happened.

Certainly not. Man, it is not even clear that the First Men (or anyone) knows that the Children are behind the creation of the Others. If they had known, then they had wiped them out (everywhere in Westeros) immediately after the Long Night, long before the Andals ever came. They would not even have trusted them with the building of the Wall. In that sense your idea of the First Men/Starks making any difference between 'good' and 'bad' Children (and then forgetting about all of that) doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

That doesn't mean that there were no factions amongst the Children - there could have been - but there is no reason to believe that the First Men really made a difference between them.

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16 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

TWoIaF makes no mentioning of any Children of the Forest living (and thriving) in the North after the end of the Long Night (outside, perhaps, the Neck).

This is odd because in light of the absence of Andal power in the North the Children should not only found refuge there (after they were driven out of the Riverlands, the Stormlands, the Reach, the Vale, and the Westerlands in the wake of the Andal conquest) and thus increased in number, but they should also still have the deep forests for their own (i.e. the Wolfswood and the forest around Karhold), regions that were granted to them by the Pact.

It is doubly odd since we actually know that the Gardener, Durrandon, and some River Kings of the First Men were actually on pretty good footing with the Children as late as the arrival of the Andals. A Gardener and Durrandon king turned to the Children for help to push the Andals back, and in the Riverlands the First Men came to the help of the Children when the High Heart was attacked.

Instead we learn about the Starks that actually killed the Warg King of Sea Dragon Point (who fought with the Children against the Starks) and his greenseers and skinchangers.

All knowledge about the history of the Starks we have indicates that the houses was only founded after the Long Night and the War for the Dawn (by Brandon the Builder), meaning that this particular slaughtering of Children of the Forest in the North did not take place before the Pact or even the Long Night but after it was over.

Where are all those weirwood groves and hallow hills in the North the Children kept in the South? Down there we have seen remnants of those in the Riverlands and the Stormlands, and while most weirwoods have been cut down in the South by the Andals nobody but the First Men would have laid hands on the weirwoods in the North. Where are they in the Wolfswood and elsewhere?

Has anybody an idea?

If we go with the Others being creatures of the Children it might make sense to assume the First Men (Northmen included) eventually broke the Pact leading to the creation of the Others. Is that plausible?

There probably was 2 factions of children

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Posted (edited)

45 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

@Free Northman Reborn

Are you even reading the stuff I write? I think I was pretty clear that I think the southern kings also broke the Pact. It is obvious with the Durrandon kings. But in light of the Andal threat the Gardeners and Durrandons remembered their old alliance with the Children when it became convenient. For the Starks is no such thing - nor any other sort of continued alliance and friendship mentioned.

That is the oddity I wanted to point. Another oddity is the fact that nowhere in the North do we see weirwood groves like the one that one grew on High Heart or beneath the cave beyond the Wall. If the Northmen and the Children continued to live in friendship and peace in the years after the Long Night the caves beneath the weirwood groves might be empty - like the caves in the Rainwood apparently are - but the weirwoods themselves would still exist.

Please stop using precise dates. We don't know anything in that department for certain.

I'd also advise you to go back and reread stuff. One version claims the Children sacrificed a thousand captured, another that they used the blood of their own young (no specification how many, though, so stop claiming that it were a thousands). And it is not even confirmed that they really sacrificed anybody. Could very well be. But it is not confirmed.

Further, we have no idea when exactly the Neck was created - if it was created. Could be that this happened before the Pact, could be that it happened after the Pact. It seems reasonable to assume it would have happened before the Long Night, though. After all, whatever we know indicates that there were swamps in the Neck in the years thereafter.

Again, stop that dating crap. We don't know anything about that. We also don't know where the Others were first created. The fact that they now live in the Lands of Always Winter doesn't mean they were created there. Could be, but perhaps they just retreated to those lands at the end of the Long Night and established themselves there?

While there was opposition to the Pact on both sides (implicit in the talk that the wisest on both sides of the conflict prevailed, suggesting that there unwise warmongers on both sides) this isn't a confirmation that the Children on the unwise side left their fellows. In fact, they could have stayed, only finally to win the day with an 'We have told you so' argument once (some of) the First Men decided to break the Pact a few centuries later, continuing to butchering Children and taking lands that were supposed to be theirs for all time. Just like the European colonists (and later the citizens of the various independent states in the Americas) did to the natives there (and in Australia, etc.).

That doesn't make a lot of sense at all. The Neck could easily have been created before the Pact. 

We also don't know whether the Others were a plan the Children came up with rather late. Perhaps they made the first such creatures before the Pact was even made but never used them in large numbers, or the Others themselves sort of developed into the menace they became during the Long Night only after they had cast off the magical shackles of the Children to a large degree. We have no idea whether the were originally designed as the super weapon they have now become. Did the first Other already know how to create wights? We don't know. Was the point of the Others to bring/create a cold that will essentially extinguish all life (the Children included) already a part of the plan when they were first created? I don't think so.

It could be that they were sort of conceived as a Terminator-like infiltrators. Stealing and transforming children also is resembling the whole changeling myth. Perhaps the plan was to transform the First Men into something different, something more akin to the Children themselves so that they would no longer multiply the way they did, destroying the world of the Children in the process?

Certainly not. Man, it is not even clear that the First Men (or anyone) knows that the Children are behind the creation of the Others. If they had known, then they had wiped them out (everywhere in Westeros) immediately after the Long Night, long before the Andals ever came. They would not even have trusted them with the building of the Wall. In that sense your idea of the First Men/Starks making any difference between 'good' and 'bad' Children (and then forgetting about all of that) doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

That doesn't mean that there were no factions amongst the Children - there could have been - but there is no reason to believe that the First Men really made a difference between them.

Look, I've been deliberately restrained in my response, deleting my original reply which was that your entire post makes no sense, and that you continue to focus on nonsensical sub-arguments surrounded by large amounts of fluff to divert the discussion into meaningless side arguments if one wants to point out your flawed logic. But given your reply above, I will point out a few of these flaws, randomly selected:

Such as:

Your flawed logic earlier that just because the Children are long lived  that would mean that they are not subject to minimum viable population sizes for long term survival. In fact, Leaf specifically states that their long lives are balanced  out by slow rates of procreation and that they have been in their long dwindling phase since the First Men wiped them out in large numbers.

Also, the fact that Leaf's remnant group are friendly to humans means nothing, considering that they are many generations removed from the original group who created the Others. So to use that as some kind of argument for or against ancient Children in the North being from a certain faction is ridiculous. We know that the Last Hero ventured into the "Dead Lands" (meaning the cold lands), to find the Children who aided him. So these factions could have lived intermingled with one another geographically, for all we know. Maybe the issue even split individual clans in two, brother against brother, father against son.

Next, I just KNEW you would jump on the irrelevant issue of the specific dates I used, which was merely used to illustrate the order of theorized events according to me. Whether the First Men arrived 12000 years ago, the Hammer was 11900 years ago, the Pact was 11800 years ago and the 2nd Hammer was 11700 years ago, or whether all of that happened millennia apart, or millennia later or whatever, is utterly irrelevant. What matters is the order in which I proposed they happened.

Which would fit with a scenario that explains why the Children in the North were more hostile to humans than in the South. In fact, even if the Pact happened AFTER the 2nd Hammer, as you propose, the very existence of the 2nd Hammer suggests that Children in the North were more hostile to humans than in the South, else why would they have tried to separate the North from the South, knowing that the majority of humans were in the South? Thus, even after the Pact, these resentments could have lingered. And after all, we strongly suspect that the Others were created by the Children, so it would make sense that these were a faction hostile to humans by definition, if they went so far as creating the Others.

In any case, your entire argument is an attempt to justify a prejudged position which is that the Starks broke the Pact, whereas that is by no means proven or even suggested. And in fact, as I have pointed out, very plausible alternative scenarios exist.

The way which you choose to pick and choose which parts of history to believe is just another aspect of your argument which I find weak. It is clear that the very nature of the Old God religion focused greatly on blood sacrifices to trees. And that the stronger the spell, the greater the blood sacrifice needs to be.

When the WOIAF then states how a blood sacrifice of multitudes was required to power the Hammer of the Waters, you decide that because this runs counter to your latest theory, you are going to judge that as an unreliable record. Meanwhile, the idea that the Wall required major blood sacrifices to create the spiritual boundary that keeps the Others out makes a lot of sense. Whether the Wall was 1 foot or 100 feet high at that point. It is the magical barrier that required the spell. Martin himself has said that power comes at a cost, and we see that blood sacrifices are pretty much required for every major spell in the series.

Magic is not free in this series. It comes at a cost.

In any case, this entire argument makes little sense. The Starks would not have chopped out weirwood groves in the North, even if they were at war with the Children. They WORSHIP the weirwoods, after all. Their own Heart Tree goes back to the founding of Winterfell itself. How is that for giving the "enemy" access to the very interior of your stronghold.

So the lack of specifically mentioned weirwood groves in the North would be for a different reason than the Starks actively destroying them. Either Martin has just not bothered to show us the depths of the Wolfswood, Neck, Karhold forests, Sea Dragon Point and other isolated places where these groves exist, or the lush South was always the centre of the Children's civilization to the extent that the North was always a lesser settled region even for the Children.

In any case, as you can probably gather by now, I don't think your position holds much water, and I regret that this discussion has escalated in heat somewhat.  

 

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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22 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Look, I've been deliberately restrained in my response, deleting my original reply which was that your entire post makes no sense, and that you continue to focus on nonsensical sub-arguments surrounded by large amounts of fluff to divert the discussion into meaningless side arguments if one wants to point out your flawed logic. But given your reply above, I will point out a few of these flaws, randomly selected.

You should randomly select stuff, but form concise arguments. Don't target my weaker arguments or the stuff where I err but try to strike at the core of the idea.

And that here is just (1) the First Men have broken the Pact. The Durrandon kings prove that. (2) The Starks also were not friendly towards the Children of the Forest allied with the Warg King (perhaps those were corrupted evil Children who deserved to be killed by the Starks, we do not know). (3) That it is odd that there are no Children in the North to this day if we presupposed that the people did not break it. After all, the Andals never gained a foothold in the North.

From that oddity doesn't follow a fancy theory. I just wanted to point that out. It is just an odd fact, perhaps something that's going to become relevant in relation to the origin of the Others. If the First Men kings could break the Pact after the Long Night they could easily enough do so before the Long Night, right? 

22 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Your flawed logic earlier that just because the Children are long lived  that would mean that they are not subject to minimum viable population sizes for long term survival. In fact, Leaf specifically states that their long lives are balanced  out by slow rates of procreation and that they have been in their long dwindling phase since the First Men wiped them out in large numbers.

This was not what I've said. I recognize the fact that the population growth of the Children is very slow. But we don't know how long the average lifespan of the Children is. What, if it is thousands of years? Leaf claims she was born in the time of the dragon but we have no idea what this means. Is she talking about Aegon the Conqueror (as 'the Dragon'), the time of the Valyrian dragons in Westeros (from 2 BC to 153 AC) or about the time in which the Valyrians essentially ruled the western world with dragonflame (from the beginning of the Freehold to, essentially, either the Doom or 153 AC). We don't know how old she is, nor how old she is comparison to her fellow Children.

If only a few dozen Children survived the Long Night in the North and the Northmen had no reason to kill them, and the Children grew very old, then there would still be, most likely, more than five Children live in the North during the series.

22 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Also, the fact that Leaf's remnant group are friendly to humans means nothing, considering that they are many generations removed from the original group who created the Others. So to use that as some kind of argument for or against ancient Children in the North being from a certain faction is ridiculous. We know that the Last Hero ventured into the "Dead Lands" (meaning the cold lands), to find the Children who aided him.

If you had actually read my posts you would have realized that I pretty much said the same thing about the Children Bran is with now. They could have been involved in the creation of the Others and feel responsible for that very reason. There could have been factions in the past (some wanting peace when the Pact was made, some not), but it is just as likely that in the end all Children agreed to create the Others and destroy mankind.

Spoiler

That, as you well know, is how the show portrays the origin of the Others. Leaf herself was involved in the creation of the first Other, no?

 

22 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Next, I just KNEW you would jump on the irrelevant issue of the specific dates I used, which was merely used to illustrate the order of theorized events according to me. Whether the First Men arrived 12000 years ago, the Hammer was 11900 years ago, the Pact was 11800 years ago and the 2nd Hammer was 11700 years ago, or whether all of that happened millennia apart, or millennia later or whatever, is utterly irrelevant. What matters is the order in which I proposed they happened.

Well, but the order is not clear. For instance, it could be that the Breaking of the Arm of Dorne and the creation of the Neck happened around the same time. We just don't know. And should say so.

22 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Which would fit with a scenario that explains why the Children in the North were more hostile to humans than in the South.

We don't know anything about the Children of the North being more hostile than those of the South. We have no reason to even assume such an idea. And the argument you used above when discussing the possible change of heart of Leaf's group also hits home here - those 'Children of the North' could have changed their mind later, right?

We should always keep in mind that aside from the Pact neither the First Men nor Children would have been a collective group. The Children living in the Stormlands would not necessarily have been friends with those living in the North or the far north. Perhaps those conducting the second Breaking - if it was second breaking - were just more determined and strong enough to continue the fight while those in the South had already given in? We just don't know.

22 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

And after all, we strongly suspect that the Others were created by the Children, so it would make sense that these were a faction hostile to humans by definition, if they went so far as creating the Others.

Still, it could be that all of them were on board with them in the end, precisely because the First Men had apparently no intention of stopping their genocide.

22 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

In any case, your entire argument is an attempt to justify a prejudged position which is that the Starks broke the Pact, whereas that is by no means proven or even suggested. And in fact, as I have pointed out, very plausible alternative scenarios exist.

No, you did not. Your scenarios are not very plausible. Theories that invent facts don't really explain that the facts are there. And even if the Starks had a good reason to fight against the Warg King (which I do not necessarily doubt) if they killed or fought against Children of the Forest in the process (which the stories claim they did) they sure as hell broke the Pact by doing so. Just as the Durrandon kings did when they took the Rainwood from the Children.

Now, it might be that the Children broke the Pact first but we don't know if that was the case. And I don't think they would since, you know, whatever we know about the Children is that they were always a gentle and peaceable folk, even the legends and songs Yandel refers to suggest as much (and those go back to the First Men, the enemies of the Children). They had no problems allowing the First Men to share their lands, and conflict only broke out when the First Men began to take everything from the Children, basically. And even then the Children were content with being restricted to the deep forests if that was the price for peace. It doesn't strike me as likely that they would have broken the Pact after the Long Night.

22 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

The way which you choose to pick and choose which parts of history to believe are just another aspect of your argument which I find weak. It is clear that the very nature of the Old God religion focused greatly on blood sacrifices to trees. And that the stronger the spell, the greater the blood sacrifice needs to be.

Still, you can't just invent a lot of blood sacrifices when it is convenient for you when nothing indicates that such blood sacrifices took place. Else we could also claim that Durran Godsgrief and Brandon the Builder also sacrificed hundreds of people to build Storm's End and Winterfell, right? But we don't do that unless we have good evidence to do so.

In addition, you have to keep in mind that stories about the Breaking are amongst the oldest stories there are in Westeros. That's before the Long Night and before the Pact. Those stories are by definition the least trustworthy. And you know they don't even add up. They are not good evidence.

By the way - why shouldn't the Children have sacrificed thousands of First Men to create the spell protecting the Wall? That could have worked, too, right?

We see that Leaf and her group can live in lands where the Others roam freely without having to fear them all that much. Why should the Children kill many of their own just to build a Wall to profit the First Men if they can protect themselves much more easily? Do you think the Children don't want to live? During the Breaking they were pretty desperate, but the point was still to save their race. The building of the Wall clearly was to save the First Men, not the Children.

22 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

When the WOIAF then states how a blood sacrifice of multitudes was required to power the Hammer of the Waters, you decide that because this runs counter to your latest theory, you are going to judge that as an unreliable record.

No, I did not. I corrected your false claim that it is a fact that the Children sacrificed thousands of their own children to cause the breaking when in fact there are multiple conflicting stories about the Breaking not all of which mention blood sacrifices at all.

22 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Meanwhile, the idea that the Wall required major blood sacrifices to create the spiritual boundary that keeps the Others out makes a lot of sense. Whether the Wall was 1 foot or 100 feet high at that point. It is the magical barrier that required the spell. Martin himself has said that power comes at a cost, and we see that blood sacrifices are pretty much required for every major spell in the series.

Not all magic in Martinworld is rooted in blood sacrifices. And again, we may have stories about the Children sacrificing people to cause the Breaking, but there are no stories about anybody sacrificing anyone to build the Wall. You don't get to invent things out of thin air.

22 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Magic is not free in this series. It comes at a cost.

But not every cost is paid in blood sacrifices.

22 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

In any case, this entire argument makes little sense. The Starks would not have chopped out weirwood groves in the North, even if they were at war with the Children. They WORSHIP the weirwoods, after all. Their own Heart Tree goes back to the founding of Winterfell itself. How is that for giving the "enemy" access to the very interior of your stronghold.

I never said they did chop them down.

The lack of talk about empty weirwood groves and the like in the North is just odd. I don't know what that means. But I certainly could see various Northern houses - not just the Starks, but also the Starks - expanding their territories by driving the Children out. Else the Wolfswood and the Karhold forest would still belong to them (and most likely still be much larger).

There is nothing inherently wrong with that. All the First Men stole lands that originally belonged to the Children and the giants. They committed not one but essentially two genocides, and that's, most likely, the crime at the heart of the entire story. The Others come back now to kill the First Men because they basically deserve it.

And I'm pretty sure there might be still former residences of the Children in both those woods. But there should also be remnants of those in the plains and elsewhere.

22 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

So the lack of specifically mentioned weirwood groves in the North would be for a different reason than the Starks actively destroying them. Either Martin has just not bothered to show us the depths of the Wolfswood, Neck, Karhold forests, Sea Dragon Point and other isolated places where these groves exist, or the lush South was always the centre of the Children's civilization to the extent that the North was always a lesser settled region even for the Children.

Even if the latter was true if the Andals did not kill all the Children that lived in the South they would have lived in the North thereafter, at least of a time. They could not teleport from the South to the lands beyond the Wall, after all.

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Posted (edited)

38 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

You should randomly select stuff, but form concise arguments. Don't target my weaker arguments or the stuff where I err but try to strike at the core of the idea.

And that here is just (1) the First Men have broken the Pact. The Durrandon kings prove that. (2) The Starks also were not friendly towards the Children of the Forest allied with the Warg King (perhaps those were corrupted evil Children who deserved to be killed by the Starks, we do not know). (3) That it is odd that there are no Children in the North to this day if we presupposed that the people did not break it. After all, the Andals never gained a foothold in the North.

From that oddity doesn't follow a fancy theory. I just wanted to point that out. It is just an odd fact, perhaps something that's going to become relevant in relation to the origin of the Others. If the First Men kings could break the Pact after the Long Night they could easily enough do so before the Long Night, right? 

This was not what I've said. I recognize the fact that the population growth of the Children is very slow. But we don't know how long the average lifespan of the Children is. What, if it is thousands of years? Leaf claims she was born in the time of the dragon but we have no idea what this means. Is she talking about Aegon the Conqueror (as 'the Dragon'), the time of the Valyrian dragons in Westeros (from 2 BC to 153 AC) or about the time in which the Valyrians essentially ruled the western world with dragonflame (from the beginning of the Freehold to, essentially, either the Doom or 153 AC). We don't know how old she is, nor how old she is comparison to her fellow Children.

If only a few dozen Children survived the Long Night in the North and the Northmen had no reason to kill them, and the Children grew very old, then there would still be, most likely, more than five Children live in the North during the series.

If you had actually read my posts you would have realized that I pretty much said the same thing about the Children Bran is with now. They could have been involved in the creation of the Others and feel responsible for that very reason. There could have been factions in the past (some wanting peace when the Pact was made, some not), but it is just as likely that in the end all Children agreed to create the Others and destroy mankind.

  Reveal hidden contents

That, as you well know, is how the show portrays the origin of the Others. Leaf herself was involved in the creation of the first Other, no?

 

Well, but the order is not clear. For instance, it could be that the Breaking of the Arm of Dorne and the creation of the Neck happened around the same time. We just don't know. And should say so.

We don't know anything about the Children of the North being more hostile than those of the South. We have no reason to even assume such an idea. And the argument you used above when discussing the possible change of heart of Leaf's group also hits home here - those 'Children of the North' could have changed their mind later, right?

We should always keep in mind that aside from the Pact neither the First Men nor Children would have been a collective group. The Children living in the Stormlands would not necessarily have been friends with those living in the North or the far north. Perhaps those conducting the second Breaking - if it was second breaking - were just more determined and strong enough to continue the fight while those in the South had already given in? We just don't know.

Still, it could be that all of them were on board with them in the end, precisely because the First Men had apparently no intention of stopping their genocide.

No, you did not. Your scenarios are not very plausible. Theories that invent facts don't really explain that the facts are there. And even if the Starks had a good reason to fight against the Warg King (which I do not necessarily doubt) if they killed or fought against Children of the Forest in the process (which the stories claim they did) they sure as hell broke the Pact by doing so. Just as the Durrandon kings did when they took the Rainwood from the Children.

Now, it might be that the Children broke the Pact first but we don't know if that was the case. And I don't think they would since, you know, whatever we know about the Children is that they were always a gentle and peaceable folk, even the legends and songs Yandel refers to suggest as much (and those go back to the First Men, the enemies of the Children). They had no problems allowing the First Men to share their lands, and conflict only broke out when the First Men began to take everything from the Children, basically. And even then the Children were content with being restricted to the deep forests if that was the price for peace. It doesn't strike me as likely that they would have broken the Pact after the Long Night.

Still, you can't just invent a lot of blood sacrifices when it is convenient for you when nothing indicates that such blood sacrifices took place. Else we could also claim that Durran Godsgrief and Brandon the Builder also sacrificed hundreds of people to build Storm's End and Winterfell, right? But we don't do that unless we have good evidence to do so.

In addition, you have to keep in mind that stories about the Breaking are amongst the oldest stories there are in Westeros. That's before the Long Night and before the Pact. Those stories are by definition the least trustworthy. And you know they don't even add up. They are not good evidence.

By the way - why shouldn't the Children have sacrificed thousands of First Men to create the spell protecting the Wall? That could have worked, too, right?

We see that Leaf and her group can live in lands where the Others roam freely without having to fear them all that much. Why should the Children kill many of their own just to build a Wall to profit the First Men if they can protect themselves much more easily? Do you think the Children don't want to live? During the Breaking they were pretty desperate, but the point was still to save their race. The building of the Wall clearly was to save the First Men, not the Children.

No, I did not. I corrected your false claim that it is a fact that the Children sacrificed thousands of their own children to cause the breaking when in fact there are multiple conflicting stories about the Breaking not all of which mention blood sacrifices at all.

Not all magic in Martinworld is rooted in blood sacrifices. And again, we may have stories about the Children sacrificing people to cause the Breaking, but there are no stories about anybody sacrificing anyone to build the Wall. You don't get to invent things out of thin air.

But not every cost is paid in blood sacrifices.

I never said they did chop them down.

The lack of talk about empty weirwood groves and the like in the North is just odd. I don't know what that means. But I certainly could see various Northern houses - not just the Starks, but also the Starks - expanding their territories by driving the Children out. Else the Wolfswood and the Karhold forest would still belong to them (and most likely still be much larger).

There is nothing inherently wrong with that. All the First Men stole lands that originally belonged to the Children and the giants. They committed not one but essentially two genocides, and that's, most likely, the crime at the heart of the entire story. The Others come back now to kill the First Men because they basically deserve it.

And I'm pretty sure there might be still former residences of the Children in both those woods. But there should also be remnants of those in the plains and elsewhere.

Even if the latter was true if the Andals did not kill all the Children that lived in the South they would have lived in the North thereafter, at least of a time. They could not teleport from the South to the lands beyond the Wall, after all.

In an effort to reduce the width of this argument I will focus on three issues for now.

1. I absolutely do believe that the wards on Storms End, Winterfell and any other place that has magical protections woven into the walls were created by blood magic. It is pretty obvious that any powerful, long lasting spell would require that. And I absolutely include the ward on the cave mouth in this.

2. The point of my scenario is that it explain precisely what you are raising as a mystery - why the Children did not endure in the North after the Andals arrived and wiped them out in the South. And my answer is that they largely died out in the North in their attempt to end the Long Night and raise the Wall. With the remnants remaining being those that were enemies of humans, and therefore did not participate in raising the Wall. These were then justifiably wiped out by the First Men in the early years after the Long Night.

3. As for the breaking of the Pact, I'm sure that it was not a pacifist endeavour in absolute terms. Meaning that if some Children hypothetically joined with some warg king to fight your House, then the Pact would likely not have prohibited you from making war with that particular group of Children allied to an enemy of yours. What if two human kings each had Children as allies? Would the Pact prohibit you from engaging in war against each other then at all? Highly unlikely.

In any case, a situation where a blood sacrifice was required for every hundred yards that the Wall covered, or perhaps for every decade that it would need to last, well, I don't see some such sacrificial requirement as unlikely at all.

The greatest spells require blood magic. That is a well established theme by now.

 

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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20 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

1. I absolutely do believe that the wards on Storms End, Winterfell and any other place that has magical protections woven into the walls were created by blood magic. It is pretty obvious that any powerful, long lasting spell would require that. And I absolutely include the ward on the cave mouth in this.

Nothing in the series establishes anything of that sort, though. There is a wide variety of magic in this world, and it is, very much, magic not some roleplaying game magical system. It is not a craft or technology with magical rules, it is magic and thus mysterious.

If there was any reason to assume that all magic was rooted in blood magic I'd consider that possibility but there is no reason to do so.

20 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

2. The point of my scenario is that it explain precisely what you are raising as a mystery - why the Children did not endure in the North after the Andals arrived and wiped them out in the South. And my answer is that they largely died out in the North in their attempt to end the Long Night and raise the Wall. With the remnants remaining being those that were enemies of humans, and therefore did not participate in raising the Wall. These were then justifiably wiped out by the First Men in the early years after the Long Night.

You are just providing a convenient ad hoc excuse by inventing a faction of bad Children living in the North when it could just as well work - or even better - for plot purposes to have all the Children agree on the Others plan and then all (surviving) or most of the Children regret what they did afterwards, resulting in them helping the Last Hero and later Brandon the Builder. Those who helped with the building of the Wall could very well have been those who actually created the Others. Why else should they have had any reason to help them? The Others never were a threat to them, apparently.

By the way - do you think those Children in the South were also 'evil' and deserved to be killed or is that only the case for those who were, apparently, killed by the Starks (and possibly other Northmen)? I mean, surely those Children in the South had no hand in the building of the Wall, too, right?

And again - you fail to provide an explanation why the Children would have sacrificed their own to build that stupid Wall and not some of the children of the First Men. The purpose of the Wall was to protect the realms of men, not the realms of the Children.

20 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

3. As for the breaking of the Pact, I'm sure that it was not a pacifist endeavour in absolute terms. Meaning that if some Children hypothetically joined with some warg king to fight your House, then the Pact would likely not have prohibited you from making war with that particular group of Children allied to an enemy of yours. What if two human kings each had Children as allies? Would the Pact prohibit you from engaging in war against each other then at all? Highly unlikely.

Oh, come on, that's ridiculous take on the whole thing.

The Pact was a highly religious and ceremonial treaty done hundreds or thousands of years before the Warg King Stark war. It granted the Children rights to territories they clearly no longer had by the time the Starks began to conquer the North. Else the Starks would not have interfered with those Children living on Sea Dragon Point nor would there have lived humans in the Wolfswood (or any other forest in the North). Not even the Blackwoods would have lived there before the Starks threw them out (if that's true).

The destruction of the Children on Sea Dragon Point would have come after the eradication of whatever Children lived at or near Winterfell itself, of course. Surely there would have been some hollow hills and the like in the near vicinity of that place, especially if it was a very special magical place.

20 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

The greatest spells require blood magic. That is a well established theme by now.

That simply is not true. Qyburn and Thoros can resurrect people without blood magic, shadowbinding has nothing to do with blood magic, glamors neither. Fire magic is a different kind of magic, and skinchanging and greenseeing, too. Greenseers can apparently also do blood magic and profit from it, but that is a different thing.

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Posted (edited)

43 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Nothing in the series establishes anything of that sort, though. There is a wide variety of magic in this world, and it is, very much, magic not some roleplaying game magical system. It is not a craft or technology with magical rules, it is magic and thus mysterious.

If there was any reason to assume that all magic was rooted in blood magic I'd consider that possibility but there is no reason to do so.

You are just providing a convenient ad hoc excuse by inventing a faction of bad Children living in the North when it could just as well work - or even better - for plot purposes to have all the Children agree on the Others plan and then all (surviving) or most of the Children regret what they did afterwards, resulting in them helping the Last Hero and later Brandon the Builder. Those who helped with the building of the Wall could very well have been those who actually created the Others. Why else should they have had any reason to help them? The Others never were a threat to them, apparently.

By the way - do you think those Children in the South were also 'evil' and deserved to be killed or is that only the case for those who were, apparently, killed by the Starks (and possibly other Northmen)? I mean, surely those Children in the South had no hand in the building of the Wall, too, right?

And again - you fail to provide an explanation why the Children would have sacrificed their own to build that stupid Wall and not some of the children of the First Men. The purpose of the Wall was to protect the realms of men, not the realms of the Children.

Oh, come on, that's ridiculous take on the whole thing.

The Pact was a highly religious and ceremonial treaty done hundreds or thousands of years before the Warg King Stark war. It granted the Children rights to territories they clearly no longer had by the time the Starks began to conquer the North. Else the Starks would not have interfered with those Children living on Sea Dragon Point nor would there have lived humans in the Wolfswood (or any other forest in the North). Not even the Blackwoods would have lived there before the Starks threw them out (if that's true).

The destruction of the Children on Sea Dragon Point would have come after the eradication of whatever Children lived at or near Winterfell itself, of course. Surely there would have been some hollow hills and the like in the near vicinity of that place, especially if it was a very special magical place.

That simply is not true. Qyburn and Thoros can resurrect people without blood magic, shadowbinding has nothing to do with blood magic, glamors neither. Fire magic is a different kind of magic, and skinchanging and greenseeing, too. Greenseers can apparently also do blood magic and profit from it, but that is a different thing.

Well hang on, now you are raising a broader issue. If according to you even the Blackwoods could not have inhabited the Wolfswood due to the Pact, then you are basically saying that the Children were eradicated from the North prior to or during the Long Night. Because the Greenwoods, Blackwoods,  Glovers and the like were forest dwelling First Men who were established in their woods very early after the Long Night. So then you are pushing back the eradication of the Children in the North to BEFORE the Long Night, which we have no information on whatsoever.

And you are also implying that no First Men could have inhabited the Rainwood, Kingswood, Westerland Woods, Snakewood or Riverland Woods of the time without breaking the Pact. Which seems unlikely.

Most likely the Children were so few by the time of the Long Night that they did not have the numbers to occuppy any but a tiny part of the forests of the day, allowing the First Men to encroach and make use of woodlands without intruding on the Children at the time.

As to why the Children sacrificed themselves to save the First Men - why out of regret, guilt, compassion or a recognition that their creation would wipe out all life on the planet, not just humans.

And while we are scenario building, it could just as well be that the blood sacrifice to build the Wall required both human AND Children as sacrifices, seeing as the Others were a combination of Children's magic and human beings.

But, my overall point is, I don't see the First Men in the North eradicating the Children to any greater degree than those in the South. If the Children were absent from the North it was likely due to some other underlying reason. Like there being very few of them left in the North after the Long Night in any case. And that the size and sparsely populated nature of the North - which would have been even more sparsely populated back then than today - meant that those enclaves of Children who did survive peacefully in the North, did so largely unseen and off the map.

There might well have been dozens of hidden dwellings such as Leaf's cave spread across the North, without it being obviously marked on the map. Just like almost none of the thousands of human villages that we know exists in the North today are revealed to us. And over thousands of years, these groups dwindled until none remain today.

Lastly, I find your suggestion that Leaf's reference to the time of the Dragon might refer to the Valyrian or Age of Heroes dragons highly unlikely. It seems quite obvious that she is referring to the time of the Targaryen dragons. The lifespan of the Children are almost certainly numbered in centuries, not millenia. Meaning that many generations would have passed since the Long Night. And over these generations, they dwindled and disappeared after the initial culling that happened around the time of the Long Night and before.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

<snip

That is a technicality. The fact that the Warg King had skinchangers and greenseers (and both apparently in large enough members to warrant specific meaning) suggests that some (or all) of those might have been Children. If so, then the stories indicate that they were killed.

<snip

A technicality that could be rather important. And no, that does not suggest that, unless someone wants it to suggest that. Yes, some of them could have been CotF, but even killing some CotF who were allies of the Warg King is a far cry from perpetrating a slaughter upon the race as a whole.

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Posted (edited)

6 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

A technicality that could be rather important. And no, that does not suggest that, unless someone wants it to suggest that. Yes, some of them could have been CotF, but even killing some CotF who were allies of the Warg King is a far cry from perpetrating a slaughter upon the race as a whole.

Also, my reading of the Pact is not that no First Man shall ever shed the blood of a Child of the Forest again, but rather that the Children would be allocated certain areas and the First Men others. But it seems obvious that this would not prevent all conflict between individuals of either race for all time.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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3 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Well hang on, now you are raising a broader issue. If according to you even the Blackwoods could not have inhabited the Wolfswood due to the Pact, then you are basically saying that the Children were eradicated from the North prior to or during the Long Night.

I'm not saying they were all eradicated at all. I'm saying that the First Men seem to have broken the Pact and taken lands (the deep forest) into their possession. That doesn't mean that all the Children would have been gone or dead all throughout Westeros by the time of the Long Night. Obviously they weren't.

By the way, Old Nan's story does not say that the Last Hero searched for the Children in some desolate place where nobody lived (those dead lines). She earlier stipulates where the Children still lived, and the fact that the First Men were putting an end to them is actually in her tale because she states that at that time there were still places where the Children lived, indicating that they were working towards a time when they would no longer be living anywhere.

3 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Because the Greenwoods, Blackwoods,  Glovers and the like were forest dwelling First Men who were established in their woods very early after the Long Night. So then you are pushing back the eradication of the Children in the North to BEFORE the Long Night, which we have no information on whatsoever.

We actually don't know how far back those stories we have go. I mean, we do know that all the contemporary sources we have from the earliest times come either from runic inscriptions (which should not be all that detailed) or from septons and maesters who put oral traditions to paper centuries or millennias later.

We don't even know who the first Stark king was. Was Brandon the Builder ever a king? We don't know. Lann the Clever apparently wasn't. TWoIaF keeps the origins of House Stark pretty obscure (in comparison to the origin myths we get on some of the other houses), suggesting that we get a pretty detailed and correct description on that from Bran later on. And I still think he could be Brandon the Builder.

It could be that the Greenwoods, Blackwoods, and Glovers ventured into the forests in those early days. But we don't know how far back that was or how much time passed between Brandon the Builder and, say, Theon Stark. And other men might done so at a later point in time, prior to the Long Night.

But, to be clear - some First Men houses having established themselves in the forests doesn't equal the complete eradication of the Children.

3 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

And you are also implying that no First Men could have inhabited the Rainwood, Kingswood, Westerland Woods, Snakewood or Riverland Woods of the time without breaking the Pact. Which seems unlikely.

How so? The Pact is clearly defined, and one assumes that it resulted in the First Men living when the Pact was made leaving whatever villages and keeps they had established in the forests. They were given to the Children. Some generations later the First Men may have changed their minds, though. As men often do when they smell weakness.

3 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Most likely the Children were so few by the time of the Long Night that they did not have the numbers to occuppy any but a tiny part of the forests of the day, allowing the First Men to encroach and make use of woodlands without intruding on the Children at the time.

Even if that was the case, that doesn't justify some deciding that I don't need my land for myself and mine, and then taking it for himself and theirs. All the forests were granted to the Children, not 'as much as they need to feed themselves' nor 'four square miles of wood per Children family'. It was all the forests. And the fact that the forests no longer belonged to the Children in the days before the Andals makes it clear that the First Men as a whole didn't uphold the Pact.

There is no question about that.

3 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

As to why the Children sacrificed themselves to save the First Men - why out of regret, guilt, compassion or a recognition that their creation would wipe out all life on the planet, not just humans.

We actually don't know if that's the goal of the Others. In fact, it might be that they still do as the Children instructed, but the Children changed their mind in the meantime but are unable to stop the Others.

But in any case, if the Children actually had sacrificed in huge numbers to build the Wall people would not have forgotten that. They would have wondered why - just as I do right now, and the answer you give might have been uncovered then, too, resulting in the utter destruction of all the Children in a concentrated holocaust, from Dorne to the Lands of Always Winter. The memory of the Long Night would have been rather fresh around the time the Wall was built.

Not to mention that a knowledge like that is not something the First Men would have ever forgotten. Women like Old Nan would tell horror stories of the wood devils who created the Others to wipe out all life to this very day. But nobody does.

3 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

And while we are scenario building, it could just as well be that the blood sacrifice to build the Wall required both human AND Children as sacrifices, seeing as the Others were a combination of Children's magic and human beings.

Well, honestly, I think the Wall is just kept together by one big spell concentrated in the Black Gate. If that's gone, the Wall will be gone/useless. Could be that somebody had to die for the creation of that thing. But certainly not hundreds or thousands of beings. That would have been overkill. I mean, depending how the war ended there was no guarantee that the Others would ever come back. And they did not, for thousands of years.

3 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

But, my overall point is, I don't see the First Men in the North eradicating the Children to any greater degree than those in the South.

I never said that they did. I just pointed out that the histories tell us more about the relations between the Children and the kings of the South than about what they did in the North. As I've repeatedly said, the First Men took the forests from the Children everywhere. In the Stormlands, Durran II the Devout restored the Rainwood to the Children (after his father had taken it, presumably through war) but Durran Bronze-Axe retook it a century later, this time for good. His very name suggests that he used his bronze axe to show the Children whom the Rainwood belonged.

A similar thing seemed to have happened in the North. The Warg King was friendly with the Children living in his domains (possibly under his protection) but the Starks wanted that land for themselves.

3 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

If the Children were absent from the North it was likely due to some other underlying reason. Like there being very few of them left in the North after the Long Night in any case. And that the size and sparsely populated nature of the North - which would have been even more sparsely populated back then than today - meant that those enclaves of Children who did survive peacefully in the North, did so largely unseen and off the map.

Or because the Northmen broke the Pact just like the First Men everywhere else did. That is a much easier explanation. Keep in mind that I've already said that the other kings only remembered the Children when their own rule was threated by the Andals. Then they searched them out.

The Northmen never had to. Thus I'd say they continued to push the Children further and further back until they had no other chance but leave those lands that once had been all theirs. It could be that the Children survived in the North much longer than in the South - but if this is the case, then TWoIaF unfortunately never discusses that.

It is certainly possible that some pitiful enclaves of the Children survived very long in the Wolfswood or the other forests in the North but if that's the case then we don't know anything about that.

3 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

There might well have been dozens of hidden dwellings such as Leaf's cave spread across the North, without it being obviously marked on the map. Just like almost none of the thousands of human villages that we know exists in the North today are revealed to us. And over thousands of years, these groups dwindled until none remain today.

Sure, there might. But it is odd that none such have been mentioned as of yet.

And it sure as hell is odd that - if we were to assume that the First Men in the North honored the Pact - there are First Men living in the forests there. Those would belong to the Children, no?

Not even the wildlings honor the Pact anymore as hundreds of villages in the Haunted Forest prove.

3 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Lastly, I find your suggestion that Leaf's reference to the time of the Dragon might refer to the Valyrian or Age of Heroes dragons highly unlikely. It seems quite obvious that she is referring to the time of the Targaryen dragons. The lifespan of the Children are almost certainly numbered in centuries, not millenia. Meaning that many generations would have passed since the Long Night. And over these generations, they dwindled and disappeared after the initial culling that happened around the time of the Long Night and before.

I never mentioned the Age of Heroes dragons. I don't think she was born that far back. But we simply don't know what 'the time of the dragon' means for her. And even if she was born during the reign of the Conqueror this still doesn't restrict the lifespan of the Children to a few hundred years. She could be rather young compared to really old Children.

There is no reason to believe the Children suffered any losses during the Long Night, by the way. The Others were not killing them, as far as we know.

And again, the population of a species that has no natural enemies is inevitably going to recover rather than decline. Only if the Children were still harassed and killed (which we know they were) explains why they disappeared from the lands south of the Wall.

3 hours ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

A technicality that could be rather important. And no, that does not suggest that, unless someone wants it to suggest that. Yes, some of them could have been CotF, but even killing some CotF who were allies of the Warg King is a far cry from perpetrating a slaughter upon the race as a whole.

I never said the Starks slaughtered the Children as a whole. But they certainly are responsible for pushing the Children further and further back. The Starks can't rule the entire North and grant the Children some space to live.

3 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Also, my reading of the Pact is not that no First Man shall ever shed the blood of a Child of the Forest again, but rather that the Children would be allocated certain areas and the First Men others. But it seems obvious that this would not prevent all conflict between individuals of either race for all time.

Nobody has said that. But the Pact seems to be pretty clear. The First Men can have all the land save the deep forests. The Children would not come out of there. Which means the First Men went in, and that in itself might be more than enough reason for another war. You enter my house at your peril.

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Posted (edited)

I seem to recall one of the original references to the Pact - from before the WOIAF was written - stating that it lasted until the Long Night. Maybe it was just a choice of words to indicate the period of peace until the Others arrived, or maybe it hinted at more, something forgotten and largely airbrushed out of history. Namely that the First Men abandoned the Pact or at least neglected it, after the Long Night. 

I may be misremembering. I will see if I can find anything along those lines

EDIT

Nope. Certainly the current wiki is quite clear that the Pact lasted until the arrival of the Andals. I guess individual violations such as that in the Stormlands could still have occurred without the associated chopping down of weirwoods. Maybe that was what the Andals added to the mix, in service to their Seven. The chopping down of weirwoods.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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@Free Northman Reborn - does this help?

GOT, Bran VII:

"Oh, very well," Luwin muttered. "So long as the kingdoms of the First Men held sway, the Pact endured, all through the Age of Heroes and the Long Night and the birth of the Seven Kingdoms, yet finally there came a time, many centuries later, when other peoples crossed the narrow sea.

"The Andals were the first, a race of tall, fair-haired warriors who came with steel and fire and the seven-pointed star of the new gods painted on their chests. The wars lasted hundreds of years, but in the end the six southron kingdoms all fell before them. Only here, where the King in the North threw back every army that tried to cross the Neck, did the rule of the First Men endure. The Andals burnt out the weirwood groves, hacked down the faces, slaughtered the children where they found them, and everywhere proclaimed the triumph of the Seven over the old gods. So the children fled north—"

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38 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

I seem to recall one of the original references to the Pact - from before the WOIAF was written - stating that it lasted until the Long Night. Maybe it was just a choice of words to indicate the period of peace until the Others arrived, or maybe it hinted at more, something forgotten and largely airbrushed out of history. Namely that the First Men abandoned the Pact or at least neglected it, after the Long Night. 

I may be misremembering. I will see if I can find anything along those lines

EDIT

Nope. Certainly the current wiki is quite clear that the Pact lasted until the arrival of the Andals. I guess individual violations such as that in the Stormlands could still have occurred without the associated chopping down of weirwoods. Maybe that was what the Andals added to the mix, in service to their Seven. The chopping down of weirwoods.

Don't trust the wiki. The Pact wouldn't have been ended by the Andals since they never made it. Nothing indicates that the First Men actively joined the Andals in their crusades against the Children and the weirwoods. In fact, the Andals had to stop targeting the latter early enough.

Of the top of my head I don't recall any passages stating how long the Pact lasted. I don't think that was ever mentioned, nor is there any reason to believe we would have any good information on that even if it was mentioned. It may be an inference that it did as long as the coming of the Andals since only then the concentrated effort to eradicate the Children and to chop down the weirwoods resumed. The First Men have killed and pushed back the Children occasionally as early as a few centuries after the Pact, but there clearly was no concentrated effort to kill them all - and most definitely not to cut down the weirwoods.

However, they might have still effectively have been on the best way to kill all the Children even if that wasn't their goal. We also don't intentionally won't exterminate a lot species but our actions still cause such exterminations.

Keep in mind that there must be a good explanation as to why the Children created the Others if they did it. The best outline for such an explanation is to be looked for in the years and centuries after the Pact, a time we basically know nothing. There is a reason that we don't know where the Others came from, what they are, and what they want. But that blank space will be filled with information soon enough.

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2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

<snip

I never said the Starks slaughtered the Children as a whole. But they certainly are responsible for pushing the Children further and further back. The Starks can't rule the entire North and grant the Children some space to live.

<snip

They can if the Children have already relocated underground. That's why I asked if we know when they made that move.

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