Black Crow

Heresy 197 the wit and wisdom of Old Nan

399 posts in this topic

Am happy to have found this thread and fellow heretics who believe tales heard at a woman's tit.

:cheers:

The Grey Mice shall freeze in their stone mazes beneath Old Nan's deepwinter.

:commie::commie::commie:

 

19 hours ago, Black Crow said:

A much closer parallel would be with the eponymous Ice Dragon, fatally wounded while killing three [!] fire dragons and finishing up as a very cold pond of water.

Yup. And I'd like to mention Bitterblooms' Ice Wagon constellation, for your consideration.

The stars were out; she could see them peeking through the bare black branches above her. The Ice Wagon dominated the sky, bringing cold into the world, as it had for as long as Shawn could remember. The driver’s blue eyes glared down at her, mocking.

It had been the Ice Wagon that killed Lane, she thought bitterly. Not the vampire. The vampire had mauled him badly that night, when his bowstring broke as he tried to draw in their defense. But in another season, with Shawn nursing him, he would have lived. In deepwinter, he never had a chance. The cold crept in past all the defenses she had built for him; the cold drained away all his strength, all his ferocity. The cold left him a shrunken white thing, numb and pale, his lips tinged with blue. And now the driver of the Ice Wagon would claim his soul.


The driver of the ice wagon is described in a bit more detail later:

It was blue, all blue; hazy, shifting blue. A pale blue, dancing, dancing, like the ghost light that had flickered on the sky. A soft blue, like the little flower, the impossible blossom by the riverbank. A cold blue, like the eyes of the Ice Wagon’s black driver, like Lane’s lips when last she kissed them. Blue, blue, and it moved and would not be still. Everything was blurred, unreal. There was only blue. For a long time, only blue.


Note the reference to the "eyes" of the Ice Wagon's "driver." It sounds familiar, no?

Bran V, Clash:

"Osha," Bran asked as they crossed the yard. "Do you know the way north? To the Wall and . . . and even past?"

"The way's easy. Look for the Ice Dragon, and chase the blue star in the rider's eye." She backed through a door and started up the winding steps.

 

Clearly, these terms are cognates for the same constellation. Not only that, the oral histories surrounding it also seem to mirror one another.

"Eye" of the Ice Wagon's "driver" = "Eye" of the Ice Dragon's "rider". A star blue as the eyes of death.

In Bitterblooms, the Ice Wagon's driver mocks the living and claims souls. I think Waymar Royce could relate to that.

It should also be noted that this star seems to be the Westerosi Polaris. The Ice Wagon/Dragon's driver/rider is akin to Ursa Minor, but with the head in the position of the tip of Ursa's tail.

 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3f/Sidney_Hall_-_Urania%27s_Mirror_-_Draco_and_Ursa_Minor.jpg/800px-Sidney_Hall_-_Urania%27s_Mirror_-_Draco_and_Ursa_Minor.jpg

 

I'm not sure if the pic will embed properly, so here's a link. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Anyhoo, GRRM's constellation makes a lot of sense, as the bear's head, body, and legs can be used as the driver/rider's legs and arms. The Ice Wagon/Dragon itself is akin to Draco, the dragon, which wraps around it. 

Thus in Bitterblooms, Draco is the Ice Wagon, and in ASOIAF, Draco is the Ice Dragon. Ursa Minor is quite beautiful, if you are fond of stargazing. Here's another pic. The rider/driver is right where you would expect.

 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c3/DracoCC.jpg

 

15 hours ago, JNR said:

It's closer in the sense that it's a dragon, but it's further in the sense that it's entirely outside the world of ASOIAF.

Fair point, but at least it's an outside world that was written exclusively by GRRM. The same cannot be said of the World Book or the fApp, of course.

 

9 hours ago, JNR said:

Certainly.  Obviously terms like "Shivering Sea" and "Haunted Forest" turn up in both works, for instance (though IMO they are not as well suited for adult fantasy as for the original children's book).

So this is a good example of two fundamentally different approaches to analyzing GRRM's fiction:

1. In-world logic.  This is my favorite approach, in which I examine the information within the fictional world on its own terms and ask questions like "How would X character know Y tidbit, and what does Z behavior imply?"  

In this case, that would be "How would sailors know that ice dragons melt when slain? And doesn't that seem interesting?  Given that the sailors' descriptions of ice dragon so closely parallel Popsicles, who definitely do melt when slain even though we never hear that in the myths about Popsicles."

Great point, and very interesting to consider.

If the Ice Dragon from, uhh, The Ice Dragon can be used as a reference, at least for the sake of discussion, then it should be remembered that it was far more fragile than an Other.

The Ice Dragon was the bane of Fire Dragons, but it wasn't exactly hostile toward humans, iirc. And, well, it melted pretty easily. Popsicles might quiver and melt, but only after being impaled with an obsidian dildo point.

The Ice Dragon required no obsidian blade to be wounded and killed. Fire alone did the job. If an Other or a northman/woman were to ride one, they might appear quite quite fearsome, at first. But the rider would likely soon suffer the fate of Icarus. (apologies to Elio for the esoteric comparison embedded within another esoteric comparison)

If we are spit-balling, I think this a possible reason for fisherfolk to have tales of Ice Dragons melting, while not having tales of Others melting. Ice Dragons are easy to kill, the Others are less so. And I would not expect many seafarers to have encountered (let alone impaled) an Other.

 

9 hours ago, JNR said:

2. External influences that may or may not have had an effect on ASOIAF.  Heresy has historically focused on these, in the form of mythology from our world, or other fiction written by himself or others, including both GRRM's known influences such as Marvel Comics as well as more esoteric potential influences.

Both systems yield useful insights.  It's a fault of asoiaf.westeros.org, as a site, that it has culturally discouraged and often even mocked the second system, as in the first AMA given on Reddit by the site admin.

What?

I LOVE that quote!

Quote

Most annoying: Anything with "heresy" in the title. Any theory that makes tenuous claims by making esoteric comparisons to mythology (sorry, guys, George really doesn't work that way).

It's seriously funny. And I get a kick out the the whole "most annoying" thing. It sounds so whiny. LOL

No need to tell you this, of course, but it needs to be said that GRRM recycles stories quite often. And not all of them are his own. This tendency is dismissed at the would-be theorist's peril.

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20 hours ago, JNR said:

It's closer in the sense that it's a dragon, but it's further in the sense that it's entirely outside the world of ASOIAF.  

The difference is clear from an epistemological standpoint: Inside this one fictional world of ASOIAF, you have two apparently independent groups of stories told about (1) creatures of living ice who (2) have blue eyes and (3) emit tremendous cold -- both Popsicles and ice dragons. Is this really a coincidence?

The ice dragons are also said to ( 4) melt when slain, something we know for sure happens to Popsicles. 

Well, that's interesting because it would have been just as easy for a storyteller who was making up bullshit about imaginary ice dragons to imagine a false death, like the death depicted in the show where the Popsicles shatter instead of melt

So one has to assign the ice dragon tales a little more credibility as a result. Odds of such a thing actually existing and putting in a future appearance climb slightly.

(Of course, the entire World book is noncanonical, primarily not written by GRRM, and explicitly characterized as untrustworthy by GRRM, who while chuckling said we don't know what to believe from it or not.  Which, as always, makes me wonder why anyone would buy it, except for the art.)

It is curious that the ice dragons so neatly fit the description for white walkers right down to their reflective armor.  It's also curious that those manning the Wall or climbing the Wall are referred to as riders.
 

Quote

 

A Storm of Swords - Jon IV

Ghost was gone when the wildings led their horses from the cave. Did he understand about Castle Black? Jon took a breath of the crisp morning air and allowed himself to hope. The eastern sky was pink near the horizon and pale grey higher up. The Sword of the Morning still hung in the south, the bright white star in its hilt blazing like a diamond in the dawn, but the blacks and greys of the darkling forest were turning once again to greens and golds, reds and russets. And above the soldier pines and oaks and ash and sentinels stood the Wall, the ice pale and glimmering beneath the dust and dirt that pocked its surface.

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

 

 

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5 hours ago, LynnS said:

It is curious that the ice dragons so neatly fit the description for white walkers right down to their reflective armor.  It's also curious that those manning the Wall or climbing the Wall are referred to as riders.
 

The reference I believe was to Nights Watch patrols riding along the top of the Wall

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Posted (edited)

13 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

The reference I believe was to Nights Watch patrols riding along the top of the Wall

Yes, I've come across it in that context a number of times.  I think once with the Wildlings when they were climbing the Wall.  I just haven't had time to search it thoroughly. 

Which calls the mind the blue flower growing from a chink in the Wall.

Edited by LynnS

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Posted (edited)

5 hours ago, LynnS said:

It is curious that the ice dragons so neatly fit the description for white walkers right down to their reflective armor.  It's also curious that those manning the Wall or climbing the Wall are referred to as riders.
 

Quote

 

A Storm of Swords - Jon IV

Ghost was gone when the wildings led their horses from the cave. Did he understand about Castle Black? Jon took a breath of the crisp morning air and allowed himself to hope. The eastern sky was pink near the horizon and pale grey higher up. The Sword of the Morning still hung in the south, the bright white star in its hilt blazing like a diamond in the dawn, but the blacks and greys of the darkling forest were turning once again to greens and golds, reds and russets. And above the soldier pines and oaks and ash and sentinels stood the Wall, the ice pale and glimmering beneath the dust and dirt that pocked its surface.

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

 

Nice catch.  Remember we also discussed the curious parallel between the number of Others in the Prologue and the number of Children of the Forest, direwolves and Stark children, in particular the mapping of the names of the former Children onto the latter children (Leaf -- Bran+Summer, Coals -- Rickon+Shaggy, Black Knife -- Arya+Nymeria, Scales -- Sansa+Lady, and last but definitely not least, Snowy=Jon Snow+Ghost!  ETA:  I forgot Asha -- Robb+Grey Wind)  It strikes me that several of those names evoke dragons (ash...the end product of fire; black knife...dragonglass; scales...dragon scales which is a dragon's natural armor; coals...dragon eyes are often likened to coals, e.g. besides the actual dragons, there's also Bloodraven essentially a dragon with his red eye 'glowing like the last coal in a dead fire').  So the Others can be understood as ice dragons which emerge from trees, or hatch from a tree-based wall!

I also found Voice's comment about the similarity of the motifs in GRRM's 'Bitterblooms' informative:

9 hours ago, Voice said:

And I'd like to mention Bitterblooms' Ice Wagon constellation, for your consideration.

The stars were out; she could see them peeking through the bare black branches above her. The Ice Wagon dominated the sky, bringing cold into the world, as it had for as long as Shawn could remember. The driver’s blue eyes glared down at her, mocking.

It had been the Ice Wagon that killed Lane, she thought bitterly. Not the vampire. The vampire had mauled him badly that night, when his bowstring broke as he tried to draw in their defense. But in another season, with Shawn nursing him, he would have lived. In deepwinter, he never had a chance. The cold crept in past all the defenses she had built for him; the cold drained away all his strength, all his ferocity. The cold left him a shrunken white thing, numb and pale, his lips tinged with blue. And now the driver of the Ice Wagon would claim his soul.


The driver of the ice wagon is described in a bit more detail later:

It was blue, all blue; hazy, shifting blue. A pale blue, dancing, dancing, like the ghost light that had flickered on the sky. A soft blue, like the little flower, the impossible blossom by the riverbank. A cold blue, like the eyes of the Ice Wagon’s black driver, like Lane’s lips when last she kissed them. Blue, blue, and it moved and would not be still. Everything was blurred, unreal. There was only blue. For a long time, only blue.

 

Especially this last passage struck me, the 'impossible blossom'...'the blue little flower' which is compared to the 'blue, blue...eyes of Ice'.  That particular 'bitter bloom' and 'impossible blossom' is also found here:

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Daenerys IV

. . . help her . . . the whispers mocked. . . . show her . . .

...

 . . . Her silver was trotting through the grass, to a darkling stream beneath a sea of stars. A corpse stood at the prow of a ship, eyes bright in his dead face, grey lips smiling sadly. A blue flower grew from a chink in a wall of ice, and filled the air with sweetness. . . . mother of dragons, bride of fire . . .

The blue flower inexplicably growing from the Wall is the eye of the 'ice dragon,' considering the whole construction of the Wall is an ice dragon of sorts, as is Jon himself, arguably.  It also makes me wonder if this is foreshadowing that Drogon is going to be wighted.

There are other references to flowers as eyes of ice -- e.g. the famous storm of petals 'blue as the eyes of death' of Ned's fever dream; the wighted Jafer Flowers with his blue blue eyes and his questionable smell which is pointedly discussed at length by the Night's Watch rangers beyond the Wall (the wights are 'no pansy flowers,' but smell surprisingly sweet after death, compared to other corpses); and the eyes of the wights in general are frequently compared to gemstones, in particular sapphires, which in turn are likened to flowers here:

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Eddard VII

When the Knight of Flowers made his entrance, a murmur ran through the crowd, and he heard Sansa's fervent whisper, "Oh, he's so beautiful." Ser Loras Tyrell was slender as a reed, dressed in a suit of fabulous silver armor polished to a blinding sheen and filigreed with twining black vines and tiny blue forget-me-nots. The commons realized in the same instant as Ned that the blue of the flowers came from sapphires; a gasp went up from a thousand throats. Across the boy's shoulders his cloak hung heavy. It was woven of forget-me-nots, real ones, hundreds of fresh blooms sewn to a heavy woolen cape.

There might be a pun on 'Knight of Flowers' with 'night of flowers' -- the Long Night of Flowers, in which the sea of blue 'flowers' can be understood as the wave of invading wights and Others with their blue eyes glittering in the dark.  They are 'forget-me-nots' because they 'remember'!

Reinforcing the metaphor, the sapphires 'wink' like eyes:

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Eddard VII

The Knight of Flowers saluted the king, rode to the far end of the list, and couched his lance, ready. Ser Gregor brought his animal to the line, fighting with the reins. And suddenly it began. The Mountain's stallion broke in a hard gallop, plunging forward wildly, while the mare charged as smooth as a flow of silk. Ser Gregor wrenched his shield into position, juggled with his lance, and all the while fought to hold his unruly mount on a straight line, and suddenly Loras Tyrell was on him, placing the point of his lance just there, and in an eye blink the Mountain was falling. He was so huge that he took his horse down with him in a tangle of steel and flesh.

Ned heard applause, cheers, whistles, shocked gasps, excited muttering, and over it all the rasping, raucous laughter of the Hound. The Knight of Flowers reined up at the end of the lists. His lance was not even broken. His sapphires winked in the sun as he raised his visor, smiling. The commons went mad for him.

 

Edited by ravenous reader

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7 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Nice catch.  Remember we also discussed the curious parallel between the number of Others in the Prologue and the number of Children of the Forest, direwolves and Stark children, in particular the mapping of the names of the former Children onto the latter children (Leaf -- Bran+Summer, Coals -- Rickon+Shaggy, Black Knife -- Arya+Nymeria, Scales -- Sansa+Lady, and last but definitely not least, Snowy=Jon Snow+Ghost!)  It strikes me that several of those names evoke dragons (black knife...dragonglass; scales...dragon scales which is a dragon's natural armor; coals...dragon eyes are often likened to coals, e.g. besides the actual dragons, there's also Bloodraven essentially a dragon with his red eye 'glowing like the last coal in a dead fire').  So the Others can be understood as ice dragons which emerge from trees, or hatch from a tree-based wall!

I also found Voice's comment about the similarity of the motifs in GRRM's 'Bitterblooms' informative:

Especially this last passage struck me, the 'impossible blossom'...'the blue little flower' which is compared to the 'blue, blue...eyes of Ice'.  That particular 'bitter bloom' and 'impossible blossom' is also found here:

The blue flower inexplicably growing from the Wall is the eye of the 'ice dragon,' considering the whole construction of the Wall is an ice dragon of sorts, as is Jon himself, arguably.  It also makes me wonder if this is foreshadowing that Drogon is going to be wighted.

There are other references to flowers as eyes of ice -- e.g. the famous storm of petals 'blue as the eyes of death' of Ned's fever dream; the wighted Jafer Flowers with his blue blue eyes and his questionable smell which is pointedly discussed at length by the Night's Watch rangers beyond the Wall (the wights are 'no pansy flowers,' but smell surprisingly sweet after death, compared to other corpses); and the eyes of the wights in general are frequently compared to gemstones, in particular sapphires, which in turn are likened to flowers here:

There might be a pun on 'Knight of Flowers' with 'night of flowers' -- the Long NIght of Flowers, in which the sea of blue 'flowers' can be understood as the wave of invading wights and Others with their blue eyes glittering in the dark.  They are 'forget-me-nots' because they 'remember'!

Reinforcing the metaphor, the sapphires 'wink' like eyes:

 

Oh, that's excellent!  The eye of the dragon and/or the eye of the rider.  Fantastic!  Then there is Monkshood or Wolfsbane, a deadly blue flower.

Yes, the symmetry between Starks/Wolves/CotF/White Walkers is interesting.  Of course, we lost Rob/GreyWind and one White Walker.  That must leave 5 remaining, that we know of so far.   I wonder if their purpose is to guard the weirwood at Whitetree and if that greenseer maintains the ward on the Black Gate.

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2 minutes ago, LynnS said:

Oh, that's excellent!  The eye of the dragon and/or the eye of the rider.  Fantastic!  Then there is Monkshood or Wolfsbane, a deadly blue flower.

Yes, the symmetry between Starks/Wolves/CotF/White Walkers is interesting.  Of course, we lost Rob/GreyWind and one White Walker.  That must leave 5 remaining, that we know of so far.   I wonder if their purpose is to guard the weirwood at Whitetree and if that greenseer maintains the ward on the Black Gate.

Oh sorry -- I forgot Robb!  He and poor Grey Wind are represented by 'Ash', signifying their untimely end (also another dragon-related concept, since ash is the end-product of fire).

Which White Walker died; when?  

I'm unsure of their purpose, but I think they were conjured by a Stark greenseer (represented by Will in the prologue, who whispers a prayer to the nameless gods of the woods -- whereupon they appear from the wood as if on cue and in response to his 'whispering'; and start mocking and then killing his 'brother.')  

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Posted (edited)

18 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Oh sorry -- I forgot Robb!  He and poor Grey Wind are represented by 'Ash', signifying their untimely end (also another dragon-related concept, since ash is the end-product of fire).

Which White Walker died; when?  

I'm unsure of their purpose, but I think they were conjured by a Stark greenseer (represented by Will in the prologue, who whispers a prayer to the nameless gods of the woods -- whereupon they appear from the wood as if on cue and in response to his 'whispering'; and start mocking and then killing his 'brother.')  

Sam the Slayer took out Ser Puddles.

Quote

 

A Storm of Swords - Samwell I

But that was wrong. They weren't alone at all.

The lower branches of the great green sentinel shed their burden of snow with a soft wet plop. Grenn spun, thrusting out his torch. "Who goes there?" A horse's head emerged from the darkness. Sam felt a moment's relief, until he saw the horse. Hoarfrost covered it like a sheen of frozen sweat, and a nest of stiff black entrails dragged from its open belly. On its back was a rider pale as ice. Sam made a whimpery sound deep in his throat. He was so scared he might have pissed himself all over again, but the cold was in him, a cold so savage that his bladder felt frozen solid. The Other slid gracefully from the saddle to stand upon the snow. Sword-slim it was, and milky white. Its armor rippled and shifted as it moved, and its feet did not break the crust of the new-fallen snow.

Small Paul unslung the long-hafted axe strapped across his back. "Why'd you hurt that horse? That was Mawney's horse."

Sam groped for the hilt of his sword, but the scabbard was empty. He had lost it on the Fist, he remembered too late.

"Get away!" Grenn took a step, thrusting the torch out before him. "Away, or you burn." He poked at it with the flames.

The Other's sword gleamed with a faint blue glow. It moved toward Grenn, lightning quick, slashing. When the ice blue blade brushed the flames, a screech stabbed Sam's ears sharp as a needle. The head of the torch tumbled sideways to vanish beneath a deep drift of snow, the fire snuffed out at once. And all Grenn held was a short wooden stick. He flung it at the Other, cursing, as Small Paul charged in with his axe.

The fear that filled Sam then was worse than any fear he had ever felt before, and Samwell Tarly knew every kind of fear. "Mother have mercy," he wept, forgetting the old gods in his terror. "Father protect me, oh oh . . ." His fingers found his dagger and he filled his hand with that.

The wights had been slow clumsy things, but the Other was light as snow on the wind. It slid away from Paul's axe, armor rippling, and its crystal sword twisted and spun and slipped between the iron rings of Paul's mail, through leather and wool and bone and flesh. It came out his back with a hissssssssssss and Sam heard Paul say, "Oh," as he lost the axe. Impaled, his blood smoking around the sword, the big man tried to reach his killer with his hands and almost had before he fell. The weight of him tore the strange pale sword from the Other's grip.

Do it now. Stop crying and fight, you baby. Fight, craven. It was his father he heard, it was Alliser Thorne, it was his brother Dickon and the boy Rast. Craven, craven, craven. He giggled hysterically, wondering if they would make a wight of him, a huge fat white wight always tripping over its own dead feet. Do it, Sam. Was that Jon, now? Jon was dead. You can do it, you can, just do it. And then he was stumbling forward, falling more than running, really, closing his eyes and shoving the dagger blindly out before him with both hands. He heard a crack, like the sound ice makes when it breaks beneath a man's foot, and then a screech so shrill and sharp that he went staggering backward with his hands over his muffled ears, and fell hard on his arse.

When he opened his eyes the Other's armor was running down its legs in rivulets as pale blue blood hissed and steamed around the black dragonglass dagger in its throat. It reached down with two bone-white hands to pull out the knife, but where its fingers touched the obsidian they smoked.

Sam rolled onto his side, eyes wide as the Other shrank and puddled, dissolving away. In twenty heartbeats its flesh was gone, swirling away in a fine white mist. Beneath were bones like milkglass, pale and shiny, and they were melting too. Finally only the dragonglass dagger remained, wreathed in steam as if it were alive and sweating. Grenn bent to scoop it up and flung it down again at once. "Mother, that's cold."

 

Aconite or Monkshood transforms someone into a spider:

Quote

Aconite has been understood as a poison from ancient times, and is frequently represented as such in fiction. In Greek mythology, the goddess Hecate is said to have invented aconite,[20] which Athena used to transform Arachne into a spider.[21]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arachne#/media/File:Pur_12_aracne.jpg

Edited by LynnS

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1 hour ago, LynnS said:
Quote

When he opened his eyes the Other's armor was running down its legs in rivulets as pale blue blood hissed and steamed around the black dragonglass dagger in its throat. It reached down with two bone-white hands to pull out the knife, but where its fingers touched the obsidian they smoked.

Sam rolled onto his side, eyes wide as the Other shrank and puddled, dissolving away. In twenty heartbeats its flesh was gone, swirling away in a fine white mist. Beneath were bones like milkglass, pale and shiny, and they were melting too. Finally only the dragonglass dagger remained, wreathed in steam as if it were alive and sweating. Grenn bent to scoop it up and flung it down again at once. "Mother, that's cold."

 

Aconite or Monkshood transforms someone into a spider:

Quote

Aconite has been understood as a poison from ancient times, and is frequently represented as such in fiction. In Greek mythology, the goddess Hecate is said to have invented aconite,[20] which Athena used to transform Arachne into a spider.[21]

That's interesting, especially in conjunction with @Pain killer Jane's catch that a spider like the Others has blue blood!  The Sidhe, upon which the Others are based, according to GRRM, are also known as 'the Gentry'...due to their 'tall, noble appearance and silvery sweet speech' as @Wizz-The-Smith has pointed out -- hence, blue-blooded in the figurative sense; and quite apt for our 'blue-blood'-undercover under-the-'snow' royal ice-dragon Jon!  Seen in a certain light, a spider might even resemble a flower -- or an eye...!  Think of that blue- and cold-blooded spider Varys sitting in the center of the web, like an all-seeing eye!

Then again, perhaps the flower in the Wall is a blue varietal of Anemone nemorosa, the poisonous windflower...Because remember:

'Under the sea...the merwives wear nennymoans in their hair and weave gowns of silver seaweed'!  :P

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Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, Black Crow said:

The reference I believe was to Nights Watch patrols riding along the top of the Wall

Here's a few more:

Quote

 

A Game of Thrones - Jon III

Tyrion Lannister was bundled in furs so thickly he looked like a very small bear. "There's much to be said for taking people unawares. You never know what you might learn."

"You won't learn anything from me," Jon told him. He had seen little of the dwarf since their journey ended. As the queen's own brother, Tyrion Lannister had been an honored guest of the Night's Watch. The Lord Commander had given him rooms in the King's Tower—so-called, though no king had visited it for a hundred years—and Lannister dined at Mormont's own table and spent his days riding the Wall and his nights dicing and drinking with Ser Alliser and Bowen Marsh and the other high officers.

A Storm of Swords - Jon III

"Mules?" The earless man frowned. "Mules are slow."

"Slow, but more surefooted on the ice. The patrols often ride atop the Wall, and aside from Castle Black, the paths up there have not been graveled for long years. The mules are bred at Eastwatch, and specially trained to their duty."

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

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

 

And this quote brings to mind Melsandre telling Jon that there is power in him and in the Wall, if only he would use it.

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Jon X

"Tormund Crowlover," Harma sneered. "You are a great sack o' wind, old man."

The skinchanger was grey-faced, round-shouldered, and bald, a mouse of a man with a wolfling's eyes. "Once a horse is broken to the saddle, any man can mount him," he said in a soft voice. "Once a beast's been joined to a man, any skinchanger can slip inside and ride him. Orell was withering inside his feathers, so I took the eagle for my own. But the joining works both ways, warg. Orell lives inside me now, whispering how much he hates you. And I can soar above the Wall, and see with eagle eyes."

 

Chasing or riding the dragon might mean drawing from the power of the Wall.

 

Edited by LynnS

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13 hours ago, LynnS said:

It is curious that the ice dragons so neatly fit the description for white walkers right down to their reflective armor.  It's also curious that those manning the Wall or climbing the Wall are referred to as riders.

Tying these ideas together is yet another ice dragon reference from ADWD, not cited in the OP because it's not from Old Nan but relevant nonetheless:

Quote

The road beneath the Wall was as dark and cold as the belly of an ice dragon and as twisty as a serpent.

Not the first time we've heard the Wall described in serpentine terms, as LynnS has pointed out before, and also rather similar to the description of the House of the Undying:

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Long and low, without towers or windows, it coiled like a stone serpent through a grove of black-barked trees whose inky blue leaves made the stuff of the sorcerous drink the Qartheen called shade of the evening. No other buildings stood near.

...which is nothing like the show's tower version.  Why was the HOTU built in this location, so far back in time no one knows when?  The trees seem like a good guess.  As Schoolhouse Rock told us, lo those many years ago, knowledge is power.  Perhaps there's a similar idea in Melisandre's head when she talks about the Wall's power.

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3 hours ago, JNR said:

Not the first time we've heard the Wall described in serpentine terms, as LynnS has pointed out before, and also rather similar to the description of the House of the Undying:

 

The Wall is not only described as serpentine, but as a cognate for the ouroboros, and the 13th Hero of the ecliptic whose name was erased from history. :devil:

@ravenous reader, this is the ouroboros reference I mentioned to you some time ago, and forgot to forward. Here's another I think you would enjoy, and a few more.

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12 minutes ago, Voice said:

 

The Wall is not only described as serpentine, but as a cognate for the ouroboros, and the 13th Hero of the ecliptic whose name was erased from history. :devil:

@ravenous reader, this is the ouroboros reference I mentioned to you some time ago, and forgot to forward. Here's another I think you would enjoy, and a few more.

A conversation between you and LmL...how fascinating is that!  ;)

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On The Wall,  I was talking about Euron and the 'prentice boys and The Thing that Came in The Night.  BC posted some interesting ideas, and then told me we'd get into it more when we got to Old Nan. 

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On 3/25/2017 at 2:21 PM, Black Crow said:

“I hate your stupid stories.”
The old woman smiled at him toothlessly. “My stories? No, my little lord, not mine. The stories are, before me and after me, before you too.
[...]
“I know a story about a boy who hated stories,” Old Nan said.
[...]

What do you suppose Old Nan means when says the stories are "before me and after me"?

"Before me" would indicate the story is older than she is, but if they happened "after" her then the story had to happen during her lifetime. So why add, "before you too"? Obviously before Old Nan would be before Bran's time too, so what gives? Is she hinting that Bran is one of the historical Brandons reborn?

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Posted (edited)

22 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

What do you suppose Old Nan means when says the stories are "before me and after me"?

"Before me" would indicate the story is older than she is, but if they happened "after" her then the story had to happen during her lifetime. So why add, "before you too"? Obviously before Old Nan would be before Bran's time too, so what gives? Is she hinting that Bran is one of the historical Brandons reborn?

I interpreted this simply as her saying the stories were around long before she was born and will be told long after she is dead.

I can see Bran being in the stories via time travel,  but I can't see Old Nan even guessing this is possible. 

Edited by Brad Stark

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1 hour ago, Brad Stark said:

I interpreted this simply as her saying the stories were around long before she was born and will be told long after she is dead.

:agree: I don't think its necessary to read more than that into it. They are not her stories, she's just telling them.

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3 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

On The Wall,  I was talking about Euron and the 'prentice boys and The Thing that Came in The Night.  BC posted some interesting ideas, and then told me we'd get into it more when we got to Old Nan. 

Well the stories are there to play with, make of them what you will B)

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On ‎3‎/‎25‎/‎2017 at 3:23 PM, Black Crow said:

She remembered a story Old Nan had told once, about a man imprisoned in a dark castle by evil giants. He was very brave and smart and he tricked the giants and escaped . . . but no sooner was he outside the castle than the Others took him, and drank his hot red blood.

This one has already been discussed, but an interpretation that I'd been considering - assuming that there's some Age of Heroes origin for that story - is that the "dark castle" is the Nightfort, and the man's "imprisonment" was service to the Wall/Night's Watch, with his ultimate fate being the consequence of either being an oathbreaker or finding himself in the Haunted Forest after his escape.

That said, I also like JNR's interpretation that it's a metaphor for Arya's ACOK plight, particularly since she was 'imprisoned' in the first place by the Mountain (the nearest thing the story has to an evil giant), and her escape set her on her path to the Faceless Men--metaphorically allowing her to be 'taken' by a cult of death, and drain her of her warmth.

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17 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

A conversation between you and LmL...how fascinating is that!  ;)

LOL! Would it help if I said it began as a conversation with @Sly Wren?

 

On 3/25/2017 at 0:21 PM, Black Crow said:

“Oh, my sweet summer child,” Old Nan said quietly, “what do you know of fear? Fear is for the winter, my little lord, when the snows fall a hundred feet deep and the ice wind comes howling out of the north. Fear is for the long night, when the sun hides its face for years at a time, and little children are born and live and die all in darkness while the direwolves grow gaunt and hungry, and the white walkers move through the woods.”
“You mean the Others,” Bran said querulously.
“The Others,” Old Nan agreed. “Thousands and thousands of years ago, a winter fell that was cold and hard and endless beyond all memory of man. There came a night that lasted a generation, and kings shivered and died in their castles even as the swineherds in their hovels. Women smothered their children rather than see them starve, and cried, and felt their tears freeze on their cheeks.” Her voice and her needles fell silent, and she glanced up at Bran with pale, filmy eyes and asked, “So, child. This is the sort of story you like?”
“Well,” Bran said reluctantly, “yes, only...
Old Nan nodded. “In that darkness, the Others came for the first time,” she said as her needles went click click click. “They were cold things, dead things, that hated iron and fire and the touch of the sun, and every creature with hot blood in its veins. They swept over holdfasts and cities and kingdoms, felled heroes and armies by the score, riding their pale dead horses and leading hosts of the slain. All the swords of men could not stay their advance, and even maidens and suckling babes found no pity in them. They hunted the maids through frozen forests, and fed their dead servants on the flesh of human children.”

For old times' sake, I must point out that Bran corrected Old Nan... and reminded her that there is a distinction to be made between "the Others" and "white walkers." :leaving:

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