Black Crow

Heresy 197 the wit and wisdom of Old Nan

399 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

13 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

Other northmen would distinguish between them certainly, but to southerners all northmen eat babies for breakfast

An assertion that is absurd on its face, as the Lannister alliance clearly had to distinguish between those Northern houses that are ambitious, and those with unyielding loyalty to House Stark.

Leaf herself demonstrates the level of intelligence and knowledge necessary to make such distincitons, as per Bran III in ADWD:

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"Before the First Men came all this land that you call Westeros was home to us, yet even in those days we were few. "

Not, "before men came to this land," before the First Men came--what men call themselves, what men call the lands they occupy, these are not alien concepts to Leaf. For the CotF to view the coming of the Andals as a Pact violation requires a level of ignorance and unreason that does not align with what we've actually seen thus far from the CotF.

Edited by Matthew.

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We don't know the terms of the Pact.  If the first men promised trees would not be cut down,  they could have held them responsible for the Andals.  The Pact was probably between the Children and a few leaders of men.  If only kings agreed to the Pact, a peasant cutting down a tree would be a violation, regardless of whether or not the Children knew the difference between Kings and and peasants. 

I've tried putting these events in different orders.  Ultimately, the Andals are far too recent to have been part of the Long Night or raising the Wall or The Night's King. 

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9 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

If only kings agreed to the Pact, a peasant cutting down a tree would be a violation, regardless of whether or not the Children knew the difference between Kings and and peasants. 

That's kind of the point I'm getting at here, though--I'm interpreting the CotF with a degree of intelligence and reasoning skills, such that they're not shattering continents and unleashing the Green Men or w/e every time some random guy who has never even heard of the Pact decides to cut down a weirwood, or build his home in the deep forests, or whatever.

In addition to Leaf's comment, the lore of the Crannogmen and Howland being able to visit the Isle of Faces suggests that some men are still trusted by the CotF, even after all that has happened; again, this is all suggestive of a people who are intelligent, who can put things into context, who can distinguish between those men that are their allies and those men that are their enemies.

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

I thought the Pact was signed before the Long Night and that it lasted "even through the Long Night"? Which never made sense to me if the Children are responsible for creating white walkers in the first place, unless the Pact didn't hold?

Correct on all points... if you believe in a basically long and traditional timeline.

So why did D&D do it that way for the show?  Well.  These are the same guys who gave the CotF explosive fireballs.  These are the same guys who had Varys teleport from Dorne to Slaver's Bay in the last episode.  Thinking things through logically is not their strong suit.

Let's do them a kindness, and just say: "They're fans."

Edited by JNR

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3 hours ago, Matthew. said:

Leaf herself demonstrates the level of intelligence and knowledge necessary to make such distinctions, as per Bran III in ADWD

Yes, she does, and more subtly, consider that the CotF have greenseers and the greenseers can get virtually any level of insight into Westeros' past that they want.   "Well beyond the trees," we're told.   We see Bran looking a long, long, long way back in time and that's with no experience or training whatever.

Leaf also says she walked the world of men for many years!  She speaks the Common Tongue.  All sorts of signs the CotF have gleaned a thing or two.

I'm pretty sure they knew who the First Men were, and who the the Andals were, and who did what.

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Here's a timeline -- I call it the micro-timeline -- that I'm pretty sure no Heretics will agree is correct.

8am: First Men come over land bridge.  This is the Dawn Age.  Lasts about an hour.

9am: Pact is signed.

10am: Men settle in far North.

11am: Long Night.  (Ends two minutes later.)

Noon: Andals show up.

6pm: Andals have repeatedly tried to invade North by way of Moat Cailin.  (Never occurs to them to invade North by sea because they are shameless stoners and glue-huffers.)

9pm: Aegon does his conquery thing and becomes King of alllll Westeros.

10pm: ASOIAF officially begins.

11pm: Bran shows up at Bloodraven's cave.

Here's the proof of my timeline. Bloodraven says:

Quote

And now you are come to me at last, Brandon Stark, though the hour is late."

He says this 'cause it's 11pm -- literally a late hour as far as he's concerned.  Bloodraven is not looking his best and needs his beauty sleep.

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12 hours ago, JNR said:

'm pretty sure they knew who the First Men were, and who the the Andals were, and who did what.

I don't doubt it, but as I said earlier in looking at the terminologies, there is a whole world of difference between trusting individuals and families and trusting the human race generally. The Children and the other old races sought no refuge with the First Men of the North but instead fled beyond the Wall and beyond the ken of men, save some few Free Folk up there.

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2 hours ago, Black Crow said:

The Children and the other old races sought no refuge with the First Men of the North but instead fled beyond the Wall and beyond the ken of men, save some few Free Folk up there.

Do you mean when the Andals arrived?  This looks like another timeline-related issue to me. 

If you believe in the long/traditional timeline, then something like four to six thousand years have gone by since the Andals showed up, and we really have very little idea what the CotF did in that timeframe -- how quickly or how slowly they migrated north of the Wall.  So perhaps they did seek refuge in the sense that they were living south of the Wall, but north of the Neck, for quite a long time -- thousands of years.  We just don't know. 

If you believe in the short timeline, that's a much simpler issue because there's been so much less time since the Andal invasion -- perhaps only one or two thousand years.  So that's obviously much less time for the CotF to migrate entirely north of the Wall, and the case that they never sought refuge in the Winterfell-controlled North is stronger.

However, with respect to the free folk, do you see them as First Men descendents? 

Because if you do, and you also think the CotF couldn't distinguish between the First Men and the Andals, the CotF should not have had anything to do with the free folk either.  Yet they clearly did, as we hear not just from Osha, but also Sam, whose account of Redwyn tells us this:

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"This," he said reverently, "is the account of a journey from the Shadow Tower all the way to Lorn Point on the Frozen Shore, written by a ranger named Redwyn. It's not dated, but he mentions a Dorren Stark as King in the North, so it must be from before the Conquest. Jon, they fought giants! Redwyn even traded with the children of the forest, it's all here."

It also seems the CotF were cool with Redwyn, whatever he was (First Men, Andal, not sure).

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Posted (edited)

20 hours ago, JNR said:

Yes, as a secondary term -- a sort of synonym, and only one in a string, and only ever used by him once.

Let's take another look at that passage you quoted. I'll boldface things a little differently:

As I would expect, "Others" is his preferred term, the one that comes to his mind first.  This is no doubt why it's the term he uses all through the rest of the canon, whenever he thinks about or discusses the Popsicles, such as in the extended passage in which Sam and Jon discuss the Others (not the white walkers).

The only other instances of non-wildlings using the term "white walkers," in all of canon, are rangers.  Which is to say: people who hang around the free folk far more than the norm.  And, of course, Old Nan, whose background is uncertain, to say the least. 

I'd say that we'll surely find out more re the Popsicles in a book called The Winds of Winter, but of course, GRRM couldn't find room in A Dance with Dragons for the actual dance with dragons.  So I guess we'll wait and see...

Is it my preferred term if I call this place the W, then call it Heresy?

I don't think we can equate word order with preference. Nor can we equate Old Nan's antiquity with being a wildling. Might she be? Certainly. But we have been given no reason to think so. All wetnurses tell tales of the Others and white walkers. And if we accept Samwell's account as it is written, that includes his wetnurse at Horn Hill.

Still, I don't disagree with the argument entirely. I agree that a dialectic difference exists. It just seems that at a certain point, we have to dismiss three southroner uses of the term (Samwell, Old Nan, Jon) as northern influence, while also rationalizing Bran's reply:

You mean the Others,Bran said querulously.

And it seems cleaner to simply accept each for what it is. I completely agree that Jon's statement makes sense in your frame of reference. He's speaking to wildlings using their dialect of the Common Tongue. But the other uses of the term do not share that frame of reference. Samwell is afraid, and thinking to himself of tales he heard from his wetnurse. That he should use the term in his own thoughts in this capacity suggests to me that he grew up with it.

Old Nan is as mysterious, or not, as we choose for her to be. We have more reason to suspect she is a Frey than we have to suspect she's a wildling. "Walder" is far stranger name to use in the North than "white walker."

With Bran, I think we will have to agree to disagree. "You mean the Others," stated querulously, does not imply any lack of familiarity with the term. To the contrary, it implies that Bran knows it is wrong. Not a dialectic anomaly, just a different term with a different use. Like calling your work boots "flip flops." Sure, work boots might flip and flop if you walk a certain way, but that does not make them "flip flops."

And there is, of course, another very simple explanation as to why "white walker" is so rare to find in the mouths and minds of southroners:  they are in the South.

In the south, I think we'd all agree, people are far more insulated from the cold winds and the starry eyes that peer through them. In the south, they dismiss such absurdities far more easily... snarks and grumpkins.

Another thing I must bring up is capitalization. I know it matters little and less to most folks, but the proper term is the Others. This term includes white walkers and wights, which are always lowercase (unless in initial sentence position). Three blasts of the horn for all three:  Others, white walkers, wights.

We all agree that wights exist.

Yet, like white walkers, the term is used only once or twice in the south. Southerners are familiar with the term, they simply don't have a reason to use it. I you would accept this, I would argue we must also accept that they are familiar with the term "white walker," and simply have rare cause to use it. When the cause arises, they use it with first-language fluency. In fact, even as seven year olds, children are able to querulously identify improper uses of the term. This again suggests fluency, and that the term is a part of their dialect.

Those who take the Others seriously use a three-class taxonomy:

The Others > white walkers > wights

Those who do not take the Others seriously also use a three-class taxonomy:

The Others > snarks > grumpkins

The latter is certainly laughable, and it is intended to be, but it is used quite similarly to the former. We have a proper term for the Others that came in the Long Night, then we have terms of less formality and status.

What these two taxonomies share, and is of great interest to me, is that the Others are always treated as being of great antiquity, and given an almost religious reverence.

Both those who take the Others seriously, and those who do not, treat the first taxon as ancient and fearsome. The lower classes are less so.

And again, the lower taxon are treated as contemporaries, while the proper is treated as being something not seen for thousands of years.

That should raise a red flag.

Or maybe a comet?

 

19 hours ago, Black Crow said:

Once again its worth drawing a parallel with the European settlement or conquest of North America, which we've suspected before that GRRM may be invoking here. I've suggested in the past that in terms of breaking the Pact [like so many other similar historical treaties] the Children are unlikely to have distinguished between First Men and Andals - to them. both are White-Eyes.

Turn that particular viewpoint around and to Europeans, all Native Americans are collectively Redskins, Indians, Savages or other another pejorative term of choice. They are the Others. Those Whites living on the frontier or otherwise more familiar with them recognise distinctions, between say the Abenaki, the Crows, the Sioux and so on, just as those on the Wall recognise the difference between the wights and the white walkers - and the Children? Use of those terms needn't be confined to the frontier whether its marked by a Wall or not. I'm sure that more than a few New Yorkers were aware in 1876 that Custer and his command were taken out by the Sioux, just as young Samwell heard of the white walkers, but in the end they are all "Indians".

While I agree with your point that emic perspective yields far more informative distinctions than etic, the Others are not human. We red men are.

Sure, the dehumanization/Jungian-other effort made for good propaganda during the colonial era, and orientalization led to that funny dichotomy of red devil vs noble savage. But the reality was of course far more human and far less black and white.

GRRM gets that, BC. He's surrounded by native cultures, appreciates them, and has borrowed heavily from them in his magnum opus incompletam. And unlike the native peoples of the western hemisphere, the Others are not human. While we certainly had different languages, religions, and ideas regarding sustainable ecology, natives never rode dead horses or made the dead rise from their graves. Although, I must admit, I do want an ice spider.

So while I appreciate your point, and agree that Northmen and Others would have cause for far more specific language regarding their races, I must again disagree with your metaphor.

The Others are no more, or less, indigenous to Westeros than the First Men. Per canon, the Others came "for the first time" long after the immigration of the First Men. To suggest otherwise is beyond speculative, it relies upon alternative canon (once known as "fan fiction").

The Others are not Indians. If any race is akin to Native American in asoiaf, it would be the children of the forest. Obsidian points, true tongues, sustainable ecology, they had been singing their songs for thousands of years prior to the arrival of the First Men, yadda yadda yadda.

The Others are not human, BC. They are not even carbon-based forms of life.

The Others are no more indigenous to Westeros than The Twitter is bird native to England. (And it should be noted that twitter is a bird made of ice –– inorganic yet sentient, with eyes everywhere.)

Edited by Voice

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1 hour ago, Voice said:

I don't think we can equate word order with preference.

Well, that's hardly the only metric.

Go through the canon.  Count every reference Sam makes to either the white walkers or the Others.

Then get back to us with the total count for both terms, and the percentage of the time he chooses each.  

I think it will be perfectly clear which is his term of preference.  In this matter, he is typical of his culture.

1 hour ago, Voice said:

All wetnurses tell tales of the Others and white walkers.

This kind of remark isn't helping your case.  It requires you to cite every wet nurse in the series and demonstrate that each does this... which of course you can't do. 

Wylla, for instance, is a wet nurse who is never said to have done any such thing.

As for Old Nan, my case isn't that she must be a wildling.  My case is that in that particular scene, she is shown choosing by default a term for the Popsicles which is much more clearly associated with the free folk than those south of the Wall -- which, going by the numbers (see above), is all but irrefutable.

1 hour ago, Voice said:

"You mean the Others," stated querulously, does not imply any lack of familiarity with the term. To the contrary, it implies that Bran knows it is wrong.

It implies that Bran is whining about something he doesn't like. I'm not sure Bran, who is a child, is any authority on the origin and nature of the Popsicles, or whether they have a cultural or military hierarchy of any sort... so whether he would be in a position to know she is wrong is far from clear.

Re whether the white walkers are different from the Others, which I think is the case you're making, we'll certainly find out in due course. 

In the alternate reality of the show it seems like a stronger case than in the books, because the show has a Night's King who clearly seems a hierarchical step up from other Popsicles, whereas in the books, the Night's King isn't ever said to have been any type of ice demon at all.

Unfortunately, GRRM's routinely tardy book delivery and tendency to delay the primary plot in favor of doubtful POVs like Quentyn Martell or Brienne, and his obvious tendency to indulge in pit-stop chapters of minimal relevance, makes me wonder if we'll find out any time soon.   If he pushes the fall of the Wall out to ADOS, which then is deemed the second-to-last book, I won't be too surprised.

(Some even say he's finished writing novels altogether, but this isn't a case I can take seriously given that I've read about a seventh of TWOW via all the sample chapters.)

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I don't understand what is being argued here.  Either both terms are used equivalently,  or one is preferred in certain places.  How is that of any significance?

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53 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

I don't understand what is being argued here.  Either both terms are used equivalently,  or one is preferred in certain places.  How is that of any significance?

Ultimately the question is whether the Others and the white walkers are exclusively one and the same, or whether the Others include the white walkers?

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4 minutes ago, JNR said:

Well, that's hardly the only metric.

Go through the canon.  Count every reference Sam makes to either the white walkers or the Others.

Then get back to us with the total count for both terms, and the percentage of the time he chooses each.  

I think it will be perfectly clear which is his term of preference.  In this matter, he is typical of his culture.

I'll leave concordances to people with more time. This example is suggestive enough, as Samwell recalls white walkers in the tales he heard from his wetnurse.

And again, I am not dismissing your point. It is there to be made. Northerners use the term more often than Southerners. That much is plain to see.

But once we have evidence that the words "white walker" and "wight" exist in southern dialects, we must look for another explanation than the dialect itself for this rate of usage. I think proximity to vs distance from wights and white walkers accounts for this better than the dialectical argument.

For example, I don't often talk about baseball. I don't care for the sport. But I know what a third-baseman is. If I heard my wetnurse talk about a third-baseman throwing a fastball that struck out a batter, I'd know she had made an error. If I was a little shit, I might even point it out to her.

 

4 minutes ago, JNR said:

This kind of remark isn't helping your case.  It requires you to cite every wet nurse in the series and demonstrate that each does this... which of course you can't do. 

Wylla, for instance, is a wet nurse who is never said to have done any such thing.

As for Old Nan, my case isn't that she must be a wildling.  My case is that in that particular scene, she is shown choosing by default a term for the Popsicles which is much more clearly associated with the free folk than those south of the Wall -- which, going by the numbers (see above), is all but irrefutable.

I suppose. LOL. I guess I should have known better than to make such a broad statement.

Wylla aside, we have two POVs with wetnurses who told tales of "white walkers." One in Winterfell, the other in Horn Hill.

And, yet again, I am not refuting the idea that frequency of the term increases as one travels north. But, that does not a "dialect" make. People in the south still know the words "wight" and "white walker." The text bears that to be true. They simply have no reason to talk about them.

Likewise, we've heard precious little from Jon and Grenn regarding Dornish plums and lemon cakes. That does not mean they do not have those words in their language, nor that such words could only have been borrowed from the Dornish.

 

4 minutes ago, JNR said:

It implies that Bran is whining about something he doesn't like. I'm not sure Bran, who is a child, is any authority on the origin and nature of the Popsicles, or whether they have a cultural or military hierarchy of any sort... so whether he would be in a position to know she is wrong is far from clear.

I've made no argument regarding Bran's military understanding, nor of his understanding of the composition of a popsicle. Nice to see that term again, btw. And, it proves my point.

If I said that Jafer Flowers turned into a popsicle, and attacked in the night. You might offer a querulous correction and remind me that he was in fact a wight. While not entirely wrong, it isn't the term we use for meat puppets. We use popsicle for those who melt.

As it is with Bran and Old Nan.

Bran knows the story, he's heard it before. You will recall that the end of it is interrupted. Yet while in the Great Hall with Yoren, Bran recalls the end of it.

And it is Bran's familiarity with the story, and the terminology thereof, that is at the center of this discussion. I would not call Bran a reliable narrator on the topic of Other-culture or Other-hierarchy. But I would call him a reliable narrator regarding the details of Old Nan's stories.

 

4 minutes ago, JNR said:

Re whether the white walkers are different from the Others, which I think is the case you're making, we'll certainly find out in due course. 

Perhaps as an aside, but not my main point, no.

My point is that the terms "wight" and "white walker" are known to people both north and south. But, those in the north have far more reason to use and apply the terms accurately. Hence Bran's frustration with Old Nan's confusion.

Beyond that, and back to our aside, yes. The Others are spoken of in far more archaic terms, far more severe, and colored with lore. Though terrible, the wights and white walkers are described as being of somewhat less import. And, as you cited from Osha, white walkers can even be described as being contemporaneous with the giants she's seen and children of the forest she hasn't. The Others are not spoken of in a casual way. Don't take my word for it, though. Take Tormund's:

"Tormund," Jon said, as they watched four old women pull a cartful of children toward the gate, "tell me of our foe. I would know all there is to know of the Others."

The wildling rubbed his mouth. "Not here," he mumbled, "not this side o' your Wall." The old man glanced uneasily toward the trees in their white mantles. "They're never far, you know. They won't come out by day, not when that old sun's shining, but don't think that means they went away. Shadows never go away. Might be you don't see them, but they're always clinging to your heels."

"Did they trouble you on your way south?"

"They never came in force, if that's your meaning, but they were with us all the same, nibbling at our edges. We lost more outriders than I care to think about, and it was worth your life to fall behind or wander off. Every nightfall we'd ring our camps with fire. They don't like fire much, and no mistake. When the snows came, though ... snow and sleet and freezing rain, it's bloody hard to find dry wood or get your kindling lit, and the cold ... some nights our fires just seemed to shrivel up and die. Nights like that, you always find some dead come the morning. '

Less they find you

first. The night that Torwynd ... my boy, he ..." Tormund turned his face away.

"I know," said Jon Snow.

Tormund turned back. "You know nothing. You killed a dead man, aye, I heard. Mance killed a hundred. A man can fight the dead, but when their masters come, when the white mists rise up ... how do you fight a mist, crow? Shadows with teeth ... air so cold it hurts to breathe, like a knife inside your chest ... you do not know, you cannot know ... can your sword cut cold?"

We will see, Jon thought, remembering the things that Sam had told him, the things he'd found in his old books. Longclaw had been forged in the fires of old Valyria, forged in dragonflame and set with spells. Dragon-steel, Sam called it. Stronger than any common steel, lighter, harder, sharper ... But words in a book were one thing. The true test came in battle.

"You are not wrong," Jon said. "I do not know. And if the gods are good, I never will."

"The gods are seldom good, Jon Snow." Tormund nodded toward the sky. "The clouds roll in. Already it grows darker, colder. Your Wall no longer weeps. Look." He turned and called out to his son Toregg. "Ride back to the camp and get them moving. The sick ones and the weak ones, the slugabeds and cravens, get them on their bloody feet. Set their bloody tents afire if you must. The gate must close at nightfall. Any man not through the Wall by then had best pray the Others get to him afore I do. You hear?"

 

4 minutes ago, JNR said:

In the alternate reality of the show it seems like a stronger case than in the books, because the show has a Night's King who clearly seems a hierarchical step up from other Popsicles, whereas in the books, the Night's King isn't ever said to have been any type of ice demon at all.

We share frustration at the show's easy treatment of this idea. I don't like what they have done at all. I am happy to have a discussion on the humanity/lack thereof of the Night's King sometime, but it isn't necessary at all to demonstrate that the Others have a hierarchy. The Prologue takes care of that:

They emerged silently from the shadows, twins to the first. Three of them... four... five... Ser Waymar may have felt the cold that came with them, but he never saw them, never heard them. Will had to call out. It was his duty. And his death, if he did. He shivered, and hugged the tree, and kept the silence.

The pale sword came shivering through the air.

Ser Waymar met it with steel. When the blades met, there was no ring of metal on metal; only a high, thin sound at the edge of hearing, like an animal screaming in pain. Royce checked a second blow, and a third, then fell back a step. Another flurry of blows, and he fell back again.

Behind him, to right, to left, all around him, the watchers stood patient, faceless, silent, the shifting patterns of their delicate armor making them all but invisible in the wood. Yet they made no move to interfere.

Again and again the swords met, until Will wanted to cover his ears against the strange anguished keening of their clash. Ser Waymar was panting from the effort now, his breath steaming in the moonlight. His blade was white with frost; the Others danced with pale blue light.

Then Royces parry came a beat too late. The pale sword bit through the ringmail beneath his arm. The young lord cried out in pain. Blood welled between the rings. It steamed in the cold, and the droplets seemed red as fire where they touched the snow. Ser Waymars fingers brushed his side. His moleskin glove came away soaked with red.

The Other said something in a language that Will did not know; his voice was like the cracking of ice on a winter lake, and the words were mocking.

Ser Waymar Royce found his fury. For Robert!he shouted, and he came up snarling, lifting the frost-covered longsword with both hands and swinging it around in a flat sidearm slash with all his weight behind it. The Others parry was almost lazy.

When the blades touched, the steel shattered.

A scream echoed through the forest night, and the longsword shivered into a hundred brittle pieces, the shards scattering like a rain of needles. Royce went to his knees, shrieking, and covered his eyes. Blood welled between his fingers.

The watchers moved forward together, as if some signal had been given. Swords rose and fell, all in a deathly silence. It was cold butchery. The pale blades sliced through ringmail as if it were silk. Will closed his eyes. Far beneath him, he heard their voices and laughter sharp as icicles.

 

Do you see what I see? The watchers stayed at their posts, making no move to interfere. Then, the Other said something in a language Will did not know. Do we think the Other didn't realize Waymar Royce was speaking in a different language? Do we think the Other was speaking to Waymar Royce, or Will?

Hard to say, but it is rather convenient that the Others understood when they were supposed to move forward.

The fact that they moved forward together, alone, implies that there is a military hierarchy afoot. That one among them was in command also seems clear. At the very least, we know that the watchers understood that Ser Crackles was going to defeat this man alone, before they could come join in the fun.

That is a military hierarchy. It's been evident since the very beginning.

 

4 minutes ago, JNR said:

Unfortunately, GRRM's routinely tardy book delivery and tendency to delay the primary plot in favor of doubtful POVs like Quentyn Martell or Brienne, and his obvious tendency to indulge in pit-stop chapters of minimal relevance, makes me wonder if we'll find out any time soon.   If he pushes the fall of the Wall out to ADOS, which then is deemed the second-to-last book, I won't be too surprised.

(Some even say he's finished writing novels altogether, but this isn't a case I can take seriously given that I've read about a seventh of TWOW via all the sample chapters.)

I share your lack of faith. If we see another book anytime soon (and I see no reason to believe we will), I doubt it will reveal all that there is to be revealed. After all, this is the Trollmaster we're talking about:

Quote

 

'...it was great. George Martin is a funny guy! And I got to hear him say, in 1981: "If I were really cynical," (I've told this story twice), "If I were really cynical, I wouldn't write what I'm writing now - these novels. I would start some sorta medieval sword-and-sorcery thing, and say it's a trilogy," he said, "and then keep writing it for the rest of my life."

'And I said, "Well, you're not that cynical, are you George?"

'And he said, "No, I'll never do that."'

 

Video at: http://thelasthearth.com/thread/225/grrm-told-me-1981#ixzz4d1rHKSOj

Of that 1/7 TWOW you've read, how much of it was written for ADWD? ;)

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Posted (edited)

39 minutes ago, Voice said:

Bran knows the story, he's heard it before.

Yes Voice.  He heard it before -- from her.  Uncharacteristically, her tale diverged from the one she'd told him previously many times over -- which made him 'querulous' because he likes his stories 'just so,' and being crippled and confined to a room/bed with Old Nan and her incessantly clickety-clacking needles annoys him -- so he corrected her:

Quote

Just So Stories

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the anthropological sense, see Just-so story. For the genre of which Kipling's stories purport to be examples, see Pourquoi story.

Just So Stories

Just So Stories for Little Children is a 1902 collection of origin stories by the British author Rudyard Kipling. Considered a classic of children's literature, the book is among Kipling's best known works.

Kipling began working on the book by telling the first three chapters as bedtime stories to his daughter Josephine. These had to be told "just so" (exactly in the words she was used to) or she would complain. The stories describe how one animal or another acquired its most distinctive features, such as how the Leopard got his spots. For the book, Kipling illustrated the stories himself.

The stories have appeared in a variety of adaptations including a musical and animated films. Evolutionary biologists have noted that what Kipling did in fiction, they have done in reality, providing explanations for the evolutionary development of animal features.

The stories, first published in 1902, are origin stories, fantastic accounts of how various features of animals came to be.[1] A forerunner of these stories is Kipling's "How Fear Came", in The Second Jungle Book (1895). In it, Mowgli hears the story of how the tiger got his stripes.

The Just So Stories each tell how a particular animal was modified from an original form to its current form by the acts of man, or some magical being. For example, the Whale has a tiny throat because he swallowed a mariner, who tied a raft inside to block the whale from swallowing other men. The Camel has a hump given to him by a djinn as punishment for the camel's refusing to work (the hump allows the camel to work longer between times of eating). The Leopard's spots were painted by an Ethiopian (after the Ethiopian painted himself black). The Kangaroo gets its powerful hind legs, long tail, and hopping gait after being chased all day by a dingo, sent by a minor god responding to the Kangaroo's request to be made different from all other animals.

The Just So Stories began as bedtime stories told to his daughter "Effie" [Josephine, Kipling's firstborn]; when the first three were published in a children’s magazine, a year before her death, Kipling explained: "in the evening there were stories meant to put Effie to sleep, and you were not allowed to alter those by one single little word. They had to be told just so; or Effie would wake up and put back the missing sentence. So at last they came to be like charms, all three of them,—the whale tale, the camel tale, and the rhinoceros tale."[1]

 

Edited by ravenous reader

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1 minute ago, ravenous reader said:

Yes Voice.  He heard it before -- from her.  Uncharacteristically, her tale diverged from the one she'd told him previously many times over -- which made him 'querulous' because he likes his stories 'just so' and being crippled and confined to a room/bed with Old Nan and her annoying clickety-clacking needles annoys him -- so he corrected her:

Just so.

LOL

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Posted (edited)

12 minutes ago, Voice said:

Just so.

LOL

Quote

One fine morning in the middle of the Precession of the Equinoxes this 'satiable Elephant's Child asked a new fine question that he had never asked before. He asked, 'What does the Crocodile have for dinner?' Then everybody said, 'Hush!' in a loud and dretful tone, and they spanked him immediately and directly, without stopping, for a long time.

By and by, when that was finished, he came upon Kolokolo Bird sitting in the middle of a wait-a-bit thorn-bush, and he said, 'My father has spanked me, and my mother has spanked me; all my aunts and uncles have spanked me for my 'satiable curtiosity; and still I want to know what the Crocodile has for dinner!'

Then Kolokolo Bird said, with a mournful cry, 'Go to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, and find out.'

That very next morning, when there was nothing left of the Equinoxes, because the Precession had preceded according to precedent, this 'satiable Elephant's Child took a hundred pounds of bananas (the little short red kind), and a hundred pounds of sugar-cane (the long purple kind), and seventeen melons (the greeny-crackly kind), and said to all his dear families, 'Goodbye. I am going to the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, to find out what the Crocodile has for dinner.' And they all spanked him once more for luck, though he asked them most politely to stop.

Then he went away, a little warm, but not at all astonished, eating melons, and throwing the rind about, because he could not pick it up.

He went from Graham's Town to Kimberley, and from Kimberley to Khama's Country, and from Khama's Country he went east by north, eating melons all the time, till at last he came to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, precisely as Kolokolo Bird had said.

Now you must know and understand, O Best Beloved, that till that very week, and day, and hour, and minute, this 'satiable Elephant's Child had never seen a Crocodile, and did not know what one was like. It was all his 'satiable curtiosity.

So Best Beloved, GRRM better satisfy your 'satiable curtiosity soon regarding the hierarchy of humanity's grey-green projections -- or someone is going to spank you!

ETA:  Hopefully TWOW will have been published before the 'precession had preceded according to precedent' and 'there is nothing left of the Equinoxes'..!

P.S.  One last thing -- I don't think you can apply the same linguistic anthropological principles you use in your day job to this arena with any reliable fidelity, since a novel has not evolved organically in the same way (regardless of what GRRM may waffle about the difference between gardening and architecture)!

Edited by ravenous reader

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In all honesty I think that there is an important point which this discussion is obscuring.

In the beginning an Other and his twins stepped out of the shadows, slew Ser Waymar Royce and boody-trapped his body.

As the story progresses we hear a number of times of the Others as an ancient enemy and that a massive Wall was built to keep them at bay

Then, on the Wall a secondary character throws a curve-ball by referring to White Walkers

Who are they?

A few chapters down the pike Old Nan refers to them too and young Bran, being a smart-ass, tells us that the White Walkers and the Others are one and the same.

Mystery solved.

But why was it a mystery in the first place, why confuse matters by using two quite different terms, used in the same spoken language the length and breadth of Westeros?

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1 hour ago, Black Crow said:

A few chapters down the pike Old Nan refers to them too and young Bran, being a smart-ass, tells us that the White Walkers and the Others are one and the same.

Well, of course I agree about this.   It's just apparent.

I also agree with ravenous reader.  Old Nan normally told the story with the phrase "Others," often enough that Bran memorized it that way (much as the Reed kids have memorized the fantastically complex tale of the KotLT, about which they seem to have drawn different conclusions). 

But on this one occasion, very unusually, Old Nan slipped up and said "white walkers," and that's why Bran complained.  It may mean nothing, or it may mean something.

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7 hours ago, Black Crow said:

But why was it a mystery in the first place, why confuse matters by using two quite different terms, used in the same spoken language the length and breadth of Westeros?

Why use two different terms - skinchanger and beastling - to mean the same thing? It's giving the world and local cultures flavor, a sense that they have distinct vernaculars and biases. It's a worldbuilding choice.

I'm not really sure that I'd describe incomplete information as a "mystery," at least not in the sense of the term "white walker" being some exciting puzzle that the reader becomes engrossed in solving. Much as we initially lack enough information to fully understand Mormont and Tyrion's conversation, we also don't initially know what the "Long Night" was, though it's referenced on occasion--including in the aforementioned exchange where we also first see the white walkers mentioned.

Old Nan and Bran's conversation serves the storytelling function of giving the reader context, so we understand that what happened in the Prologue is extraordinarily important, so we understand that the report that Tyrion scoffed at was, again, extraordinarily important--Mormont's fears are justified.

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8 hours ago, JNR said:

But on this one occasion, very unusually, Old Nan slipped up and said "white walkers," and that's why Bran complained.  It may mean nothing, or it may mean something.

Not necessarily, for all we know - and I speak here as a father of two boys - it could have been and indeed sounds like a long running argument whereby she always calls them white walkers and Bran always insists on correcting her.

The reason for the passage is obviously intended to explain to readers who Mormont was talking about earlier, but notwithstanding Matthew's point about skinchangers, beastlings - and wargs I still reckon that there is a significance to the use of two different terms just as we've learned some of the distinctions within those other terms and usages.

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