Aemon Targaryen

Winterfell questions

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2 obvious Winterfell questions:

1.  Why must there "always be a Stark in Winterfell"?

- - Given the centrality of this phrase, there must be something more to it.  Is there any dominant theory?

- - I had always taken it to mean something like "Starks have the strongest sense of the responsibilities of the NW, Wall and protecting the realm of men from the WW".  But, GRRM being GRRM, it seems highly unlikely to me that there is not a deeper meaning attached to it, given its centrality to the definition of a Stark. That is, in a sense the essence of being a Stark is being responsible for being the protector of men re: the North.  

-- I guess the real point is the stress on the word "always".  It suggests that as soon as there is not a Stark in Winterfell, something bad happens in a direct causal way -- as if there is something dangerous at Winterfell that needs to be 'maintained' by the Starks somehow.

-- I note a theory that somehow blood sacrifice was involved with this.

-- I note further in that regard the heavy emphasis on blood in the first few chapters of GOT .... apart from being a nice continuation of the Prologue, in Ned executing the King's justice on Gared, is there possibly a more abstract linking of the Starks with blood sacrifice in respect of the (C)old Gods?  

Rereading the start yesterday, I noticed that Ned cleans Ice in the Winterfell weirwood cold pool, as he always does --- is that perhaps the (or part of the) crucial upkeep that Starks must do at Winterfell in order to "maintain" the magic block against the others or uphold some deal with them?

2.  What is the true import of the name "Winterfell"?

- - Apart from "fell" in the sense of hill/place, or "fell" in the sense of "fell place", is there some further meaning -- this is where the winter of the long night fell, because of something that occurred at that place -- and equally that it might be where this second Long Night may also fall?

(I've tried and failed to find threads - apologies if the answers are obvious or there are threads.  But it does seem to me that Winterfell, just like at the start of GOT, will itself be a fundamental part of the ultimate resolution of the plot of asoiaf).

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I tend to think that this quote is a bit overrated (as far as theories on this forum go). In all of the books, it is only mentioned twice, and only in Catelyns chapters:

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Catelyn II

"Yes," Ned said, in words that would brook no argument. "You must govern the north in my stead, while I run Robert's errands. There must always be a Stark in Winterfell. Robb is fourteen. Soon enough, he will be a man grown. He must learn to rule, and I will not be here for him. Make him part of your councils. He must be ready when his time comes."
Quote

A Game of Thrones - Catelyn III

"No," she told him. "Your place is here. There must always be a Stark in Winterfell." She looked at Ser Rodrik with his great white whiskers, at Maester Luwin in his grey robes, at young Greyjoy, lean and dark and impetuous. Who to send? Who would be believed? Then she knew. Catelyn struggled to push back the blankets, her bandaged fingers as stiff and unyielding as stone. She climbed out of bed. "I must go myself."

So, Ned says it when he needs to leave for Kingslanding, and later Cat repeats that sentence to Robb. And that's it.

I think that the main reason Ned said this, is because he knows (from warnings by Robert), that Kingslanding is nothing like Winterfell (Robert being surrounded by flatterers and fools. Of course there are also a lot of risks when travelling, so Ned wants to be sure that the Stark line will continue should things turn for the worse down south. That is why he left his heir and youngest son in Winterfell, while taking the girls (Sansa to be married to Joff, and to find a suitable husband for Arya) and Bran (he always dreamt of being a knight) with him.

Cat mentions it to Robb, when the assassination on Bran fails. She also realises that it is too risky for Robb to go, but she thinks she still has friends in Kingslanding. It makes more sense for Cat to go, then to send Robb. Nowhere else has this quote been mentioned anywhere.

During RR, Benjen was still in Winterfell, which makes sense, since he and Ned were the only remaining heirs to the Stark name. If both died in battle, then the Stark line would become extinct, ending a lineage of thousands of years. And I think that is key in this quote.
The Starks are proud and bold, but also a very ancient house, probably the oldest still remaining house in the North and one of the oldest houses in all of Westeros. They want their lineage to continue, therefore, there must always be a Stark at Winterfell, if not and things go bad. Our heritage will be destroyed. It is not for some ancient agreement, not to guard some ancient dormant (ice)Dragon, but to keep the family name alive.

As far as the name Winterfell, I really do not have any serious thought about that.

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27 minutes ago, Ser Walter of AShwood said:

I tend to think that this quote is a bit overrated (as far as theories on this forum go). In all of the books, it is only mentioned twice, and only in Catelyns chapters:

During RR, Benjen was still in Winterfell, which makes sense, since he and Ned were the only remaining heirs to the Stark name. 

Thank you for responding.  It didn't even occur to me that the phrase was not significant.  It is very surprising that the exact phrase is only mentioned twice, and only in GOT - you seem to be right about that.  

Imo, that does weaken the point, but perhaps doesn't completely explain it away.  

As we see from the Prologue, there is a lot of symbolic weight in stuff early on in GOT. Also, variants of the phrase do recur.

In many of Bran's chapters, there is reference to him as "the Stark in Winterfell".  And Ygritte and Meera also use this phrase. I think this is why I just took it for granted --- while these later usages don't recapitulate the full phrase, it is certainly reiterated throughout the books.

That Benjen was in Winterfell during, and despite, RR also seems to add rather than detract from the point that there is something more than mere pragmatics of survival going on.

Though I completely agree that it is explicable as survival of the Starks; it just seems to be more than that.

There is also this passage in ASOS:

 "It was different when there was a Stark in Winterfell. But the old wolf's dead and young one's gone south to play the game of thrones, and all that's left us is the ghosts."
"The wolves will come again," said Jojen solemnly.
 
Later in the chapter Bran says "One day there would be Starks in Winterfell again...".  The chapter as a whole seems to weighted with significance (also the story of the HH tourney).

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I can't remember the thread, but there was a good analysis that theorized that the "Stark in Winterfell" mandate had to do with the pact between the First Men and the Children of the Forest.

If I remember correctly, I think some of the speculation was that the Starks become a series of "Winter King" sacrifices who die and go into the underworld, represented by the Winterfell crypt. If you re-read the harvest feast scene with Bran arriving on his horse and leaving on Hodor's back, you can see a symbolic Stark death after Bran sits on his father's stone chair and drinks from his silver direwolf cup. (Silver on a maester's chain represents both medical arts and killing.)

Also on a long-ago discussion in the forum, we discovered that the "fell" in Winterfell might also represent a seam - the place where two pieces of fabric are joined. There is a lot of symbolism around fabric, sewing, dying, cutting and tearing of cloth. Where a seam comes together appears to be a place that the regular world and the magic world or underworld meet. Castle Black is apparently also located at a seam.

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4 hours ago, Ser Walter of AShwood said:

I tend to think that this quote is a bit overrated (as far as theories on this forum go). In all of the books, it is only mentioned twice, and only in Catelyns chapters:

So, Ned says it when he needs to leave for Kingslanding, and later Cat repeats that sentence to Robb. And that's it.

I think that the main reason Ned said this, is because he knows (from warnings by Robert), that Kingslanding is nothing like Winterfell (Robert being surrounded by flatterers and fools. Of course there are also a lot of risks when travelling, so Ned wants to be sure that the Stark line will continue should things turn for the worse down south. That is why he left his heir and youngest son in Winterfell, while taking the girls (Sansa to be married to Joff, and to find a suitable husband for Arya) and Bran (he always dreamt of being a knight) with him.

Cat mentions it to Robb, when the assassination on Bran fails. She also realises that it is too risky for Robb to go, but she thinks she still has friends in Kingslanding. It makes more sense for Cat to go, then to send Robb. Nowhere else has this quote been mentioned anywhere.

During RR, Benjen was still in Winterfell, which makes sense, since he and Ned were the only remaining heirs to the Stark name. If both died in battle, then the Stark line would become extinct, ending a lineage of thousands of years. And I think that is key in this quote.
The Starks are proud and bold, but also a very ancient house, probably the oldest still remaining house in the North and one of the oldest houses in all of Westeros. They want their lineage to continue, therefore, there must always be a Stark at Winterfell, if not and things go bad. Our heritage will be destroyed. It is not for some ancient agreement, not to guard some ancient dormant (ice)Dragon, but to keep the family name alive.

As far as the name Winterfell, I really do not have any serious thought about that.

I agree with this completely, although I really want it to be significant somehow.  I love the idea that in order to maintain some sort of magical barrier between WW and mankind a Stark must lord over Winterfell, I agree that you must look at the situation in which it was said, and by whom. Both times it was said by a Stark, it could just be a thing they say because as Starks, it benefits them. 

That being said I'm holding out hope that it has a deeper meaning.

As for the name, my gut reaction is that it's quite literal.  Winterfell is very far north, so when winter spreads from the north Winterfell would be the first major hold where winter hits (fell).  Or it could mean the White Walkers, were they to make an assault southerly, Winterfell would again be the first significant place to be hit.  And since winter is analogous for WW, it could mean that.

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If Starks die out there will be either civil war among their bannermen about who will rule North or the North is divided to petty kingdoms.

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10 hours ago, Aemon Targaryen said:

2.  What is the true import of the name "Winterfell"?

It is probably where the final battle for the dawn was fought or at least where the battle turned in favor of life and warmth. The hot springs helped keep the fighters warm, the heart tree was the connection to the weirnet. 
check out the watch vows:
"Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come"
Notice the highlighted part. It mentions more than one wall. Now, the watch has one wall to watch over.  Barring the extreme crackpottery of wannabee shade drinkers, the builder of the wall, Brandon the builder, built at least one other structure in the north, Winterfell. 
My pet theory is that what would become the watch originated at what would become Winterfell during the battle for the dawn

10 hours ago, Aemon Targaryen said:

1.  Why must there "always be a Stark in Winterfell"?

Bloodlines are very important in the series. The idea is that Brandon the builder's magic depends on the stark line being present 

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32 minutes ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

It is probably where the final battle for the dawn was fought or at least where the battle turned in favor of life and warmth. The hot springs helped keep the fighters warm, the heart tree was the connection to the weirnet. 
check out the watch vows:
"Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come"
Notice the highlighted part. It mentions more than one wall. Now, the watch has one wall to watch over.  Barring the extreme crackpottery of wannabee shade drinkers, the builder of the wall, Brandon the builder, built at least one other structure in the north, Winterfell. 
My pet theory is that what would become the watch originated at what would become Winterfell during the battle for the dawn

Bloodlines are very important in the series. The idea is that Brandon the builder's magic depends on the stark line being present 

There is also Storm's End.  Another place that Brandon either built or warded.   And Moat Cailin which once had twenty castles:

Quote

 

A Game of Thrones - Catelyn VIII

Just beyond, through the mists, she glimpsed the walls and towers of Moat Cailin … or what remained of them. Immense blocks of black basalt, each as large as a crofter's cottage, lay scattered and tumbled like a child's wooden blocks, half-sunk in the soft boggy soil. Nothing else remained of a curtain wall that had once stood as high as Winterfell's. The wooden keep was gone entirely, rotted away a thousand years past, with not so much as a timber to mark where it had stood. All that was left of the great stronghold of the First Men were three towers … three where there had once been twenty, if the taletellers could be believed

 

The Wall itself has nineteen castles.  So perhaps the 'walls' refer to the castles of which only three are now manned on the Wall.

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20 minutes ago, LynnS said:

There is also Storm's End.  Another place that Brandon either built or warded.   And Moat Cailin which once had twenty castles:

Storm's end is a Maybe. Moat Cailin had twenty castles but there is no mention of who built them. It could have been Brandon, or another King of winter 

 

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9 hours ago, Ser Walter of AShwood said:

I tend to think that this quote is a bit overrated (as far as theories on this forum go). In all of the books, it is only mentioned twice, and only in Catelyns chapters:

So, Ned says it when he needs to leave for Kingslanding, and later Cat repeats that sentence to Robb. And that's it.

I think that the main reason Ned said this, is because he knows (from warnings by Robert), that Kingslanding is nothing like Winterfell (Robert being surrounded by flatterers and fools. Of course there are also a lot of risks when travelling, so Ned wants to be sure that the Stark line will continue should things turn for the worse down south. That is why he left his heir and youngest son in Winterfell, while taking the girls (Sansa to be married to Joff, and to find a suitable husband for Arya) and Bran (he always dreamt of being a knight) with him.

Cat mentions it to Robb, when the assassination on Bran fails. She also realises that it is too risky for Robb to go, but she thinks she still has friends in Kingslanding. It makes more sense for Cat to go, then to send Robb. Nowhere else has this quote been mentioned anywhere.

During RR, Benjen was still in Winterfell, which makes sense, since he and Ned were the only remaining heirs to the Stark name. If both died in battle, then the Stark line would become extinct, ending a lineage of thousands of years. And I think that is key in this quote.
The Starks are proud and bold, but also a very ancient house, probably the oldest still remaining house in the North and one of the oldest houses in all of Westeros. They want their lineage to continue, therefore, there must always be a Stark at Winterfell, if not and things go bad. Our heritage will be destroyed. It is not for some ancient agreement, not to guard some ancient dormant (ice)Dragon, but to keep the family name alive.

As far as the name Winterfell, I really do not have any serious thought about that.

Great post!  The words sound like they may be a family motto or policy but your quotes suggest they were simply expressed by a father thinking about the preservation of his family line before taking on a potentially dangerous assignment.

52 minutes ago, LynnS said:

There is also Storm's End.  Another place that Brandon either built or warded.   And Moat Cailin which once had twenty castles:

The Wall itself has nineteen castles.  So perhaps the 'walls' refer to the castles of which only three are now manned on the Wall.

 

Twenty towers.  The quote you provided states that there are now only three towers remaining of the Moat Cailin castle  when once there were twenty.

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13 hours ago, Aemon Targaryen said:

Why must there "always be a Stark in Winterfell"?

There is a fascinating theory somewhere in this forum that attempts to answer this.  Basically, the saying got misunderstood after thousands of years.  Understandable and reasonable.  The idea goes something like this:

  1. The Night's King was a Stark.  History is innacurate about many of the details.  Legend goes he fell in love with an ice princess.  They lived at the Nightfort, made human sacrifices to the gods, maybe even fathered Nephilim-like offsprings.  
  2. Lord Stark and Joramun suppose to have worked together to take down the NK.  
  3. The body of the Night's King and the Night's Queen, both or just one, were (was) taken down to the Winterfefell crypts.  This is the threat that the Starks hold over the Others.  They can burn those bodies if the Others cross the wall.  Hence, there must always be a Stark at Winterfell to carry out the threat should the White Walkers start to attack.  
  4. Mance Rayder agreed to the Arya Rescue Mission (ARM) because he wanted to search the crypts.  If he can get those bodies, he can exert influence over the Others.  He can get them to rid the north of the lords, ladies, and kneelers to create a safe haven for his wildlings.  

I find it interesting and it would be compelling if true.  

Why do they feel safe to attack now?  Because the elder wolves are dead and failed to pass the information on down to their cubs.  

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@Seams - thanks, I will re-read the harvest feast scene.  Something to do with a FM-CotF pact is a nice idea. The seam idea is interesting ... something volcanic a la Valyria?  In that sense, Winterfell could be "the" song of ice and fire, as well as Jon Snow. That's why I suspect there are still big reveals to come about Winterfell .... Winterfell itself is one of the major characters of the series.

@Dorian Martell's son - I really like the idea that Winterfell was the turning point of the Long Night, that feels right. The idea of Winterfell being the start of the NW during the battle of the dawn also has intuitive logic. So Winterfell is "the first wall" - even if the Wall comes down, there is still Winterfell. I also agree that the importance of a Stark in Winterfell may depend on magic involving Brandon the builder -- I just really want to know/find a good guess for the exact mechanism -- how, exactly, does it work that a Stark "being present" maintains Brandon's magic?  It seems to me it likely depends on some apparently innocuous custom that the Starks do.  Something involving the crypts, or something involving the old weirwood and its pool (such as cleaning blood from Ice in it).

@Widowmaker 811 -- That is cool.  I will look for it.  It seems to make sense that NK was a Stark and that his or his queen's (paralleling Lyanna Stark?) body is at Winterfell.  It makes sense that the ice magic that sustains the WW depends on that body being maintained and not burnt, and that is a permanent threat the Starks have.  Perhaps even that body can come back to some kind of life if winter truly overcomes Winterfell.  This gives a potential motivation to the WW's coming south of the Wall -- it is not 'because of winter', but because winter simply allows them to make this attack.  And it is not necessarily total destruction that is their primary goal, but self-preservation.

If I find any of the threads alluded to, I will post links. 

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The Starks are Ice and they would support the Others instead of holding corpses hostage.  The Others are coming south to meet their kinds, the Kings of Winter.  Their necromancy will give them power to awaken the dead bodies in the crypts.  One idea I came across says the Others are the souls of the King's of Winter and they are coming to take back their kingdom of the north from the impure races that live on the land.  An ancient pact of peace was with the First Men so only the First Men gets to live in the north.  Andals and Rhoynar are not welcome. 

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2 hours ago, Rosetta Stone said:

The Starks are Ice and they would support the Others instead of holding corpses hostage.  The Others are coming south to meet their kinds, the Kings of Winter.  Their necromancy will give them power to awaken the dead bodies in the crypts.  One idea I came across says the Others are the souls of the King's of Winter and they are coming to take back their kingdom of the north from the impure races that live on the land.  An ancient pact of peace was with the First Men so only the First Men gets to live in the north.  Andals and Rhoynar are not welcome. 

The Others are clearly evil, and the Starks would never support them, even if the Others are somehow related to the Starks.

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Posted (edited)

 

22 hours ago, Aemon Targaryen said:

2 obvious Winterfell questions:

1.  Why must there "always be a Stark in Winterfell"?

- - Given the centrality of this phrase, there must be something more to it.  Is there any dominant theory?

- - I had always taken it to mean something like "Starks have the strongest sense of the responsibilities of the NW, Wall and protecting the realm of men from the WW".  But, GRRM being GRRM, it seems highly unlikely to me that there is not a deeper meaning attached to it, given its centrality to the definition of a Stark. That is, in a sense the essence of being a Stark is being responsible for being the protector of men re: the North.  

-- I guess the real point is the stress on the word "always".  It suggests that as soon as there is not a Stark in Winterfell, something bad happens in a direct causal way -- as if there is something dangerous at Winterfell that needs to be 'maintained' by the Starks somehow.

-- I note a theory that somehow blood sacrifice was involved with this.

-- I note further in that regard the heavy emphasis on blood in the first few chapters of GOT .... apart from being a nice continuation of the Prologue, in Ned executing the King's justice on Gared, is there possibly a more abstract linking of the Starks with blood sacrifice in respect of the (C)old Gods?  

Rereading the start yesterday, I noticed that Ned cleans Ice in the Winterfell weirwood cold pool, as he always does --- is that perhaps the (or part of the) crucial upkeep that Starks must do at Winterfell in order to "maintain" the magic block against the others or uphold some deal with them?

2.  What is the true import of the name "Winterfell"?

- - Apart from "fell" in the sense of hill/place, or "fell" in the sense of "fell place", is there some further meaning -- this is where the winter of the long night fell, because of something that occurred at that place -- and equally that it might be where this second Long Night may also fall?

(I've tried and failed to find threads - apologies if the answers are obvious or there are threads.  But it does seem to me that Winterfell, just like at the start of GOT, will itself be a fundamental part of the ultimate resolution of the plot of asoiaf).

  1. Like others have said, I think it's just as likely that it's a practice of all the Great Houses. There must always be a Tully in Riverun, a Lannister in Casterly Rock, etc. If you leave your seat of power unmanned by someone of your family, then someone else can take it for themselves. It's pointed out in ACoK that Theon taking Winterfell was a boon to the Lannisters because now Robb has to take it back or look weak for not being able to hold his own seat.
  2. To answer your second question, I think it's significant to actually take a step back and look at Winterfell. Most odd is how there is a moat between the two walls protecting the castle and how there are significantly more turrets for archers on the inner wall. Yes, maesters say the outer wall was built long after, but I don't agree with that. It seems to have been built under the assumption that the outer wall will not break the enemy and that fighting will take place from the second line (i.e., the inner wall)... The outer wall and moat are just there to slow them down. Who do we know that can swarm like that? So, to me, it's a literal name, and that the first time the Others came there likely wasn't a Wall yet. Winterfell was the wall, and the place where the demons of winter... well, fell. It's also interesting how food could be maintained within the castle walls, including warmth from piping in the walls and the greenhouse. People, animals, and crops could survive in this castle even during a long harsh winter. It's not hard for me to believe that Winterfell was built to survive the Others.

To be honest, going over my answer to the second point makes me want to try and spot some details like that in all the other castles we know about. Storm's End is also another odd castle. The walls don't have spots for archers, and the thickest part of the wall is facing the sea... where a human army wouldn't be assaulting from.

Edited by Traverys

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@ Traverys, thanks.  I really like your second point.  I think it fits with my recent response to Dorian Martell's son above, that Winterfell might be the first wall.  

Essentially, the basic "literary" logic of the name "Winterfell" is two-fold: first, it is beautiful, noble-sounding and fits the winter theme of the Starks, "winter is coming" -- this is how it appears at first sight (and to all non-demented general readers who aren't close readers who participate in forums such as these ;)); but, secondly, that it is where winter (WW/Long Night) fell. 

As for point 1 -- and this comment really replies to most of the responses on my question about the saying -- there is absolutely no doubt that the literal expression is correct.  So making that point really doesn't answer the question.  The question is really that -- bearing in mind GRRM often uses 'literal' cover (i.e. a literal explanation that makes sufficient sense in itself) to mask symbolic significance (as all good writers do in different ways) -- and, in particular, bearing in mind the emotional resonance Winterfell has for most of the main characters of the series (and readers of the series), in particular Bran but also all of Ned's children -- and the fact it will likely come to further prominence at the end of the series -- and the focus on it at the start of GoT -- and its possible historical importance re: war for the dawn -- and the clear intimation by GRRM that their are unknown mysteries surrounding Winterfell, which does not seem adequately explained by RL=J .... then at least the possibility of it meaning something more than "it is important for an ancient house's lineage not to die, and important for an ancient house to actually hold its house" seems pretty likely to me.

Simply put, and to my ears, there is magic in the phrase "There must always be a Stark in Winterfell", and that makes that possibility all the more tantalising.  

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Posted (edited)

Some suggestive stuff about Winterfell's godswood's black pool - visions Bran has about past events in ADWD Bran II, Bran's first experience of being a greenseer, after he eats the weirwood paste.

1. He sees Ned cleaning Ice in front of the blackpool.

2. He sees/dreams Lyanna fighting Benjen, who falls into the black pool and Lyanna says "It's just water". 

3. "a woman heavy with child emerged naked and dripping from the black pool, knelt before the tree, and begged the old gods for a son who would avenge her"

4. "a bearded man forced a captive down onto his knees before the heart tree. A white-haired woman stepped toward them through a drift of dark red leaves, a bronze sickle in her hand ... The woman grabbed the captive by the hair, hooked the sickle round his throat, and slashed ... the man's feet drummed against the earth ... but as his life flowed out of him in a red tide, Brandon Stark could taste the blood." 

Spoiler

Possible echoes of creation of first WW? It seems there is no description of what hair colour the CoTF have and the only other character said to be a white-haired woman is the Lady of the Leaves ... who may be a CotF imo, though many disagree.

 

All in all, it seems very significant that Bran's first greenseer vision is of Winterfell, of the pool by the great weirwood in the godswood.  All the visions in his first greenseer "trip" involve only that very location.  And all involve blood -- except the one with Lyanna.  But doesn't it?  The context means that Lyanna's comment that "it's only water" - with water italicised - can be read as a suggestion that the black pool is not in fact water.

So we have a fundamental link between Winterfell - blood sacrifice - the godswood - the great weirwood - ancient incidents - Ned cleaning Ice.

It also seems important that the first-in-time blood sacrifice (i.e. the last of the visions) - occurs even before the Kings of Winter. 

Though the pregnant woman suggests Lyanna, that doesn't really fit and I can't work out what it is alluding to.  That vision is also interesting as the pregnant woman comes out of the black pool.  

I can't really think who this is ... the only thing that comes to mind is the NQ, after NK is killed by Brandon, and she gives birth to the current NK or at least the second one?

Edited by Aemon Targaryen
typo mistake

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5 hours ago, Aemon Targaryen said:

All in all, it seems very significant that Bran's first greenseer vision is of Winterfell, of the pool by the great weirwood in the godswood.  All the visions in his first greenseer "trip" involve only that very location.  And all involve blood -- except the one with Lyanna.  But doesn't it?  The context means that Lyanna's comment that "it's only water" - with water italicised - can be read as a suggestion that the black pool is not in fact water.

So we have a fundamental link between Winterfell - blood sacrifice - the godswood - the great weirwood - ancient incidents - Ned cleaning Ice.

And you can add 2 important details :

- the black pool is the only cold pool in the godswood. Winterfell is known for its warm springs and warm pools, but the blackpool is cold water. 

- black is the color for bastard's blood. 

 

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Posted (edited)

On 5/8/2017 at 3:31 AM, Ser Walter of AShwood said:

I tend to think that this quote is a bit overrated (as far as theories on this forum go). In all of the books, it is only mentioned twice, and only in Catelyns chapters:

So, Ned says it when he needs to leave for Kingslanding, and later Cat repeats that sentence to Robb. And that's it.

 

Well, yes, and no. It is true that those are the only two direct, verbatim quotes of that in the books. However... in aCoK, Bran II: 

Quote

Besides, it was his duty. "You are your brother's heir and the Stark in Winterfell," Ser Rodrik said, reminding him of how Robb used to sit with their lord father when his bannermen came to see him.

 

aCoK, Bran III:

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He looked up and down the benches at all the faces happy and sad, and wondered who would be missing next year and the year after. He might have cried then, but he couldn't. He was the Stark in Winterfell, his father's son and his brother's heir, and almost a man grown.

 

aCoK, Bran IV: 

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He was making Bran angry. "I don't have to tell you my dreams. I'm the prince. I'm the Stark in Winterfell."

 

aCoK, Bran VI:

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Yes, that's so." In the heavy ironbound chest at the foot of Bran's bed the maester found smallclothes, breeches, and tunic. "You are the Stark in Winterfell, and Robb's heir. You must look princely." Together they garbed him as befit a lord.

 

 

aCoK, Jon VI:

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That's all in where you're standing too," Ygritte said. "The Stark in Winterfell wanted Bael's head, but never could take him, and the taste o' failure galled him. One day in his bitterness he called Bael a craven who preyed only on the weak. When word o' that got back, Bael vowed to teach the lord a lesson. So he scaled the Wall, skipped down the kingsroad, and walked into Winterfell one winter's night with harp in hand, naming himself Sygerrik of Skagos. Sygerrik means 'deceiver' in the Old Tongue, that the First Men spoke, and the giants still speak.

 

aSoS, Bran II:

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The Liddle took out a knife and whittled at a stick. "When there was a Stark in Winterfell, a maiden girl could walk the kingsroad in her name-day gown and still go unmolested, and travelers could find fire, bread, and salt at many an inn and holdfast. But the nights are colder now, and doors are closed. There's squids in the wolfswood, and flayed men ride the kingsroad asking after strangers.

...

He poked at the fire with his stick. "It was different when there was a Stark in Winterfell. But the old wolf's dead and young one's gone south to play the game of thrones, and all that's left us is the ghosts.

One day there would be Starks in Winterfell again, he told himself, and then he'd send for the Liddles and pay them back a hundredfold for every nut and berry.

 

aSoS, Jon VII:

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And when the Lord Commander tried to stop them, they joined forces to murder him? The Stark in Winterfell had to take a hand . . . and both their heads. Which he did easily, because their strongholds were not defensible. 

 

 

So, there are quite a few references to "the Stark in Winterfell", or "a Stark in Winterfell". And, if you open your eyes more, the phrase "Stark OF Winterfell" is everywhere. Does anyone say "the Lannister at Casterly Rock"? Or, does Jaime ever say "I'm Jaime Lannister of Casterly Rock"? Or, do you ever hear "I'm the Hightower in Oldtown"? Or, "he's the Martel at Sunspear?"

 

No. You just don't. It is a very peculiar turn of phrase, and it's everywhere in the books. I think it is significant, even if only to kind of illustrate some plot point. It doesn't have to mean that the Starks in the crypts are connected to weirwoods, or any such theory. But it is clearly important, and GRRM shoved it in our faces.

 

 

Edited by HaeSuse
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19 hours ago, Widowmaker 811 said:

There is a fascinating theory somewhere in this forum that attempts to answer this.  Basically, the saying got misunderstood after thousands of years.  Understandable and reasonable.  The idea goes something like this:

  1. The Night's King was a Stark.  History is innacurate about many of the details.  Legend goes he fell in love with an ice princess.  They lived at the Nightfort, made human sacrifices to the gods, maybe even fathered Nephilim-like offsprings.  
  2. Lord Stark and Joramun suppose to have worked together to take down the NK.  
  3. The body of the Night's King and the Night's Queen, both or just one, were (was) taken down to the Winterfefell crypts.  This is the threat that the Starks hold over the Others.  They can burn those bodies if the Others cross the wall.  Hence, there must always be a Stark at Winterfell to carry out the threat should the White Walkers start to attack.  
  4. Mance Rayder agreed to the Arya Rescue Mission (ARM) because he wanted to search the crypts.  If he can get those bodies, he can exert influence over the Others.  He can get them to rid the north of the lords, ladies, and kneelers to create a safe haven for his wildlings.  

I find it interesting and it would be compelling if true.  

Why do they feel safe to attack now?  Because the elder wolves are dead and failed to pass the information on down to their cubs.  

Doesn't this seem pretty unlikely because neither  Ned or Catlyn ever said anything about this to any of their children?  If they were holding this big threat over the others the only way it remains a threat is if that knowledge is passed down.  There were multiple instances when that knowledge should have been shared, and wasn't. 

If this was the case it was awful planning by the Starks (read: GRRM) because they died without passing it on. 

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