300 H&H Magnum

The Others: Why now?

108 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

I read a lot of theories and honestly, I have not found a satisfactory answer to this question.  Why are the White Walkers/the Others attacking now?  I will try to tackle this question tonight. 

  1. Birth of the Dragons.  I don't buy into this theory.  Dragons are not rare in Westeros.  The Targaryens brought their dragons over from Valyria long ago.  There were already dragons nesting on Dragonstone even before the arrival of the Targaryens.  Dragon eggs hatched regularly right until the last one died.  Dragons were present and reproducing all that time and no reaction from the others.  Besides, the timing is wrong.  The Others became active before Drogon, Viserion, and Rhaegal were born.  Dragons lived in high numbers in the past and the Others didn't seem to feel threatened, so why would three dragons upset them enough to mobilize them now.
  2. Birth of Jon Snow.  This is possible, but we need to further explore why his birth would have meaning to the Others if we are to assume this is the cause.  It is clear the Others are not on a mission of peace so it is safe to assume they're mad about something.  The reaction is delayed by 14 years since the birth of Jon.  Perhaps, if you believe R+L=J, the mixing of fire and ice is offensive to the Others.  Some fans prematurely assume that a hybrid of ice and fire is a good thing.  It may not be.  The Others are coming for him.
  3. Human sacrifice.  The north stopped killing people and offering their blood to the trees.  We don't have anything that tells us the Others worship the Old Gods.  I am not so sure why the stopping of human sacrifice to the tree roots would concern them.  It would concern the greenseers and perhaps that might cause them to weaken.  If the gs and the Others oppose one another, this is a possible reason the Others would think they can now oppose the gs.
  4. There must always be a Stark in Winterfell.  The Starks perform a ritual that either appeases the Others or repels them.  This could relate to #3.  But Ned was not the kind of man who would kill people for sacrifice.  We know then that human sacrifice had not been practiced by the Starks for at least as long as the time Lord Rickard has been dead and maybe even long before then. The timing is wrong unless the Others are just slow to react.  I will not rule this out, yet.  After all, Rickard expected to live longer and he had Brandon backing him up.  He could have shared the secret ritual with Brandon but both got executed and had not the chance to pass the information to Ned.
  5. Night's Queen/Night's King.  This theory proposes the body of someone important to the Others is held hostage by the humans.  This could relate to #4.  The body of one of these or both, lie hidden beneath Winterfell.  The Stark on duty can destroy the body should the Others attack.  The lord of the castle holds the threat over the Others.  The Starks lost sight of their duty and started looking south.  The Others practice necromancy and they can bring their king or queen back to life.  The dead direwolf and the cubs were warning signs that the Starks failed to heed.  The direwolf ventured south and died.  The Stark parents ventured south and died.  They were meant to stay in the north and should have stayed in the north to keep watch.  No one is watching now. 
  6. The Others follow the weather.  The Others have no power to affect the weather.  They are moving now because the cold weather will permit them to do this.  Their weatherman predicted long winter and they follow the cold.
  7. The Doom of Westeros.  There exists a cyclical purge.  The method alternates.  Fire and ice.  Fire wiped out the Valyrion Freehold, who practiced fire magic.  Perhaps ice will wipe out the followers of the Old Gods who hold cold in reverence.  Fire destroyed fire.  Maybe Ice will destroy ice.  One noble family survived fire.  Maybe one family will survive ice.
  8. The wildlings are united.  The wildlings are united under one king and that makes them an enemy to be reckoned with.  I don't believe this.  The wildlings had been united before and the Others didn't feel the need to act.
  9. An ancient pact was violated.  Mance spent time searching for the horn of Joramun.  He lied about its purpose.  Perhaps this horn is sacred to the Others.  Horns can communicate long distances and command armies in battle.  If so, why not attack while Mance and the horn was still on the far side of the wall.  I don't believe this one.  But I won't rule out the  wildlings may have done something to anger the Others.  Maybe they stopped giving their boys to the Others.  Craster kept them happy by giving them sons. 

The most probable reason to me is #6, they follow the weather.  Followed by 7, 4, 2, and 5.  Let me know what you think. 

Edited by 300 H&H Mag

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To be honest, because it is Martin, it could simply be 6. As you said it seems the most probable. Though at the same time because it is Martin it could be something much more complex.

I enjoyed your write up, though I don't have much else to offer beyond I feel that 6 is most probable..  Followed by 2 with the others very far behind.

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I would say that out of all the options you've posted, it'd be #6.

We can reasonably predict that the coming winter will be longer and colder than the previous ones in the last couple of hundred years. If the Others attacked every winter, people would prioritise fighting them instead of each other. Hell, if they had attacked every winter, especially while the Targaryens had dragons, they'd all be long dead a long time ago. Attacking every winter simply does not make strategic sense what so ever, especially since their numbers appear to be incredibly small already.

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I'm still saying they have noticed that the Night's Watch has dwindled to practically nothing. So they have decided that now would be a good time to attack.

Of the reasons you named I only see 6 happening.

4 is only slightly less stupid than the "theory" that they come because "nasty awful" Catelyn despoiled the "pure purity pureness" of the "Perfect Northerners(tm)" with her "awful nasty Southron" Sept in Winterfell. 

I still say those words amount to nothing more than "someone has to hold down the fort"

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6.  They have no more control of the climate than the humans do. 

7.  Nature's way of controlling and renewing the number of people as well as animals.  Winter is when things die. 

5.  The Night's Queen frozen corpse.  The future bride of Jon or Bran? 

2.  Jon Snow.  Ice and Fire are two opposing elements.  It's safe to assume he's the son of Lyanna but it is far from proven in the books who sired him.  But let's assume Rhaegar is the father.  Ice and Fire mixing would anger both R'hllor and the Great Other, two opposing forces. 

3.  Blood sacrifice keep the trees strong and the trees feed the magic folks below.  Weaken the trees, you weaken the guys holding the Others back.  I think Valyria had their own magic people holding back the volcano.  They weakened somehow and nature got away from them.  Sort of like a nuclear meltdown.  Nature under control but only for so long.  Nature is not a dragon or a direwolf that can be domesticated.  Nature is greater than man and should be respected.  Expect to get cooked if you choose to live near the volcano.  Likewise expect to get stiffed if you choose to live in a frozen land.  A snowball doesn't have much chance in hell and a candle doesn't have much chance in ice.

I choose 3

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4 hours ago, Steelshanks Walton said:

Ice and Fire mixing would anger both R'hllor and the Great Other, two opposing forces. 

Mel seems to think so.  She believes two powerful entities are locked in a struggle.  One entity represent fire and one represent ice.  There are no traditional all-powerful gods in aSoIaF but any creature significantly more powerful than man can be seen as a god for lack of a better understanding. 

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My guess is as good as yours, but you do have a good list of potentials.

 

I would add the return of the red comet to the list though.

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What about the whole part of the "so long as the men of the NW are true"? In the prologue of AGOT we see the WW already in action - and the one thing we know is the NW numbers have dwindled and most people aren't joining up because of honor. They're going as punishment. It's full of rapists, thieves and murderers. I don't know - but, I do lean towards something sacred about "always having a Stark in Winterfell" since their house words are specific to the "ice" component of it all.

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My crackpot theory has always been to do with the crypts of Winterfell and how only the Lords of Winterfell are buried there.  When Ned buried Lyanna there he weakened or broke a spell of some sort that kept the others at bay.  I have no evidence to support this theory on hand.  It just always seemed to fit nicely.

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29 minutes ago, Bawn said:

My crackpot theory has always been to do with the crypts of Winterfell and how only the Lords of Winterfell are buried there.  When Ned buried Lyanna there he weakened or broke a spell of some sort that kept the others at bay.  I have no evidence to support this theory on hand.  It just always seemed to fit nicely.

This also applies to Brandon as he was never Lord of Winterfel.  Twice the motivation for The Others!

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Just now, Tom Cruise said:

This also applies to Brandon as he was never Lord of Winterfel.  Twice the motivation for The Others!

It might not apply to Brandon.  I don't know that he died before his father.  If not, then he was technically Lord of Winterfell for a few seconds before he died.

 

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I think we can safely blame queen allysanne for this one...

The amount of politicking and meddling she did with the lords of north and the NW tome indicates that the lords of the north were probably still sacrificing to the others up until her and jahearys' reign.  It took the others sometime to realize craster was giving them damaged DNA and they could no longer properly reproduce.

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1 hour ago, The Dragon has three heads said:

I think we can safely blame queen allysanne for this one...

The amount of politicking and meddling she did with the lords of north and the NW tome indicates that the lords of the north were probably still sacrificing to the others up until her and jahearys' reign.  It took the others sometime to realize craster was giving them damaged DNA and they could no longer properly reproduce.

You could take a step back from that and blame Torrhen.  The North with its unique culture provides a buffer zone of a sort against the forces of winter.  Even though the Targaryens didn't invade the North or suppress their religion, the Southernization of the North proceeded apace during their reign, culminating in the Stark involvement in Southern politics during the last three generations. Ned may worship the old gods but he's a southerner in many ways and that's the fault of Rickard and Jon Arryn, not Catelyn.

So what if Torrhen had fought? Do we have any evidence of how dragons fare in the teeth of a harsh winter? I guess that's something we'll find out soon....

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I would discount # 6. If the Others were moving south because the cold is allowing them to, then they wouldn't be moving yet because the entire continent, including north of the wall, is experiencing record warmth. They wouldn't move south until winter actually comes. And I believe the World Book mentions unusually long summers and winters since the Conquest with no mention of walkers.

My guess is #2, the mixing of Ice and Fire in Jon. This was why the Pact of Ice and Fire was never consummated, probably after a warning from the Green Men. Warging and dragon-riding is simply too powerful a combination for anyone to withstand. 

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3 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

I would discount # 6. If the Others were moving south because the cold is allowing them to, then they wouldn't be moving yet because the entire continent, including north of the wall, is experiencing record warmth. They wouldn't move south until winter actually comes. And I believe the World Book mentions unusually long summers and winters since the Conquest with no mention of walkers.

My guess is #2, the mixing of Ice and Fire in Jon. This was why the Pact of Ice and Fire was never consummated, probably after a warning from the Green Men. Warging and dragon-riding is simply too powerful a combination for anyone to withstand. 

It doesn't have to be the mixing of ice and fire in Jon.  I don't support RLJ.  The white walkers may have a prophecy that a day will come when another lord commander (Jon)of the Night Watch will betray his responsibilities and vows over a woman (Arya) causing the defense of the wall to weaken.  Jon's efforts to help Arya caused chaos at the wall at the worst possible time.  He didn't stay true to his job when he sent his wildlings to attack the Boltons. 

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The series is called a song of ice and fire.  The two supernatural powers in this story are the others and dragons. They are the ones who can almost singlehandedly beat kingdoms to a pulp. 

We all know who have an affinity to fire. The Targ’s words are ‘Fire and Blood’, they ride dragons and their ancestral sword is called Blackfyre. Using the same argument then the Starks have an affinity to ice. They were once the Kings of Winter, their words are ‘Winter is coming’ and their ancestral sword is called ice.  So using such logic we can determine that somehow the Starks are linked to the others just as the Targs are linked to dragons.


So what caused the Others to attack now? There are many theories


a-    The death or rebirth of magic which is linked to the death and rebirth of dragons. In my opinion that doesn’t make sense, at least in isolation.  Dragons died over a century ago and there was no proof of the others whatsoever. By the time they returned the Others were already there.
b-    Jon Snow’s birth – the bloodraven is also a bastard whose got blood of the first men (not Stark) and the targs. That didn’t caused the Others from suffering from a meltdown
c-    The Starks losing Winterfell. That doesn’t make sense either. By the time the last Stark left Winterfell (Bran and Rickon) the Others were already marching South
d-    Lack of Human sacrifice – Well that stopped centuries ago
e-    If the Night King is held hostage then surely one between Ned (Lord of Winterfell), Mance (king beyond the wall) or Jorah Mormont (Lord Commander of the NW) would know where he is. 
f-    Could be. However there were other winters before. The others didn’t try to move south in them
g-    There’s no doom this time round
h-    The others is what caused the wildlings to unite not the other way round
i-    I believe he searched for the horn because of the others threat

 I answer that question  with another question. Well how do you know that they are attacking now? At the beginning of GOT, we know that a member of the NW deserted after meeting them. Soon enough, we meet the Wildlings army under Mance Rayder. 
Now we know that the wildlings are not very friendly to one another. Everything is fought for, even women so I can’t see these guys just meeting up and decide to forge an alliance without being absolute desperate. And they really had to be desperate to allow a former crow to become their king, especially since

a-    The crows are hated by the wildlings
b-    Mance Rayder is a deserter, South of the wall and seriously risks of losing his head

So what had probably happened?

a-    One clan first encountered the Others
b-    They fought against them in numerous occasions and they failed to win
c-    Being in such weak position (ie others at the front and possible rival clans at their back) they hid
d-    The rival clans ended up encountering the Others and the same loop occurred
e-    When most of the clans suffered from the same event, they decided to unite themselves under Mance
f-    Mance unified army fought against the Others and were defeated
g-    At that point, the army decided to assault the wall in a desperate bid to save themselves

That means that the others were around at least a generation before ie during Robert’s rebellion
Now let’s return to my equivalence theory. What resurrected the dragons? Danny ‘sacrificed’ herself and her dragon eggs by burning herself. Prior to that, 2 other Targ kings had done the same ie Aegon V Targeryan (King of Westeros) and his son and heir Duncan Targeryan. Three sacrifices, three eggs, three dragons. We know from Melisandre that king’s blood is very powerful and blood sacrifice. So Targ blood (fire) burned with fire create pure fire

Now what would happen if the direct descendent to the King of Winter is sacrificed through baptism of fire?

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Preston Jacobs had the same theory.  Queen A visited the north and saw horrific practices.  The north disposed of bastard babies by leaving them out in the cold to freeze to death.  The Others were taking these babies as their own.  It would be awesome if these bastards just grew up and now want to take some lands from their fathers.  I'm in the camp who believe Jon the bastard will turn against man and join the White Walkers.  An army of frozen bastards marching through the wall. 

12 hours ago, The Dragon has three heads said:

I think we can safely blame queen allysanne for this one...

The amount of politicking and meddling she did with the lords of north and the NW tome indicates that the lords of the north were probably still sacrificing to the others up until her and jahearys' reign.  It took the others sometime to realize craster was giving them damaged DNA and they could no longer properly reproduce.

 

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Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, Rosetta Stone said:

It doesn't have to be the mixing of ice and fire in Jon.  I don't support RLJ.  The white walkers may have a prophecy that a day will come when another lord commander (Jon)of the Night Watch will betray his responsibilities and vows over a woman (Arya) causing the defense of the wall to weaken.  Jon's efforts to help Arya caused chaos at the wall at the worst possible time.  He didn't stay true to his job when he sent his wildlings to attack the Boltons. 

This is pretty good too.  (a) The watch killed Jeor Mormont and violated guest rights at Craster's Keep.  (b) Craster, a friend to the Others, was killed in his own home by the watch.  (c)  Lord Commander Jon Snow failed the watch and committed treason when he attacked the Boltons.  You don't need magic to see why the defense at the wall would be weakened by those mistakes.  If man has prophecies the Others likely would have them also.  Their prophecies predicted a chain of events would happen that would cause the wall's defense to weaken.  This is an opportunity from the White Walker perspective to attack a weakened defense. 

Edited by Teenage Wasteland

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2 hours ago, devilish said:

The series is called a song of ice and fire.  The two supernatural powers in this story are the others and dragons. They are the ones who can almost singlehandedly beat kingdoms to a pulp. 

We all know who have an affinity to fire. The Targ’s words are ‘Fire and Blood’, they ride dragons and their ancestral sword is called Blackfyre. Using the same argument then the Starks have an affinity to ice. They were once the Kings of Winter, their words are ‘Winter is coming’ and their ancestral sword is called ice.  So using such logic we can determine that somehow the Starks are linked to the others just as the Targs are linked to dragons.


So what caused the Others to attack now? There are many theories


a-    The death or rebirth of magic which is linked to the death and rebirth of dragons. In my opinion that doesn’t make sense, at least in isolation.  Dragons died over a century ago and there was no proof of the others whatsoever. By the time they returned the Others were already there.
b-    Jon Snow’s birth – the bloodraven is also a bastard whose got blood of the first men (not Stark) and the targs. That didn’t caused the Others from suffering from a meltdown
c-    The Starks losing Winterfell. That doesn’t make sense either. By the time the last Stark left Winterfell (Bran and Rickon) the Others were already marching South
d-    Lack of Human sacrifice – Well that stopped centuries ago
e-    If the Night King is held hostage then surely one between Ned (Lord of Winterfell), Mance (king beyond the wall) or Jorah Mormont (Lord Commander of the NW) would know where he is. 
f-    Could be. However there were other winters before. The others didn’t try to move south in them
g-    There’s no doom this time round
h-    The others is what caused the wildlings to unite not the other way round
i-    I believe he searched for the horn because of the others threat

 I answer that question  with another question. Well how do you know that they are attacking now? At the beginning of GOT, we know that a member of the NW deserted after meeting them. Soon enough, we meet the Wildlings army under Mance Rayder. 
Now we know that the wildlings are not very friendly to one another. Everything is fought for, even women so I can’t see these guys just meeting up and decide to forge an alliance without being absolute desperate. And they really had to be desperate to allow a former crow to become their king, especially since

a-    The crows are hated by the wildlings
b-    Mance Rayder is a deserter, South of the wall and seriously risks of losing his head

So what had probably happened?

a-    One clan first encountered the Others
b-    They fought against them in numerous occasions and they failed to win
c-    Being in such weak position (ie others at the front and possible rival clans at their back) they hid
d-    The rival clans ended up encountering the Others and the same loop occurred
e-    When most of the clans suffered from the same event, they decided to unite themselves under Mance
f-    Mance unified army fought against the Others and were defeated
g-    At that point, the army decided to assault the wall in a desperate bid to save themselves

That means that the others were around at least a generation before ie during Robert’s rebellion
Now let’s return to my equivalence theory. What resurrected the dragons? Danny ‘sacrificed’ herself and her dragon eggs by burning herself. Prior to that, 2 other Targ kings had done the same ie Aegon V Targeryan (King of Westeros) and his son and heir Duncan Targeryan. Three sacrifices, three eggs, three dragons. We know from Melisandre that king’s blood is very powerful and blood sacrifice. So Targ blood (fire) burned with fire create pure fire

Now what would happen if the direct descendent to the King of Winter is sacrificed through baptism of fire?

I don't think the WW care about Rickard's execution.  Besides, why would they continue to advance even after Robert had taken the throne?  It doesn't make sense.  The Others were active at the start of AGOT while Robert's ass had been warming the throne for 15 years or more and the Starks had a secure hold on Winterfell. 

I'm choosing the Op's #6.  The climate shift.  They are creatures of the cold and follow the cold.  The shift in climate to a prolonged Ice Age will allow them to go to lands that were formerly too warm for them, too inhospitable, for them in the past.

 

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