Aemon Targaryen

Winterfell questions

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7 hours ago, Aemon Targaryen said:

@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).

For the stark in winterfell, it really is more of a literary device.  Yes, northerners made blood sacrifices to the old gods at the weirwood tree so cleaning blood off a blade at the heart tree could be considered one kinda, if there is no prayer, what is the sacrifice for? If it were a physical thing, It would have to do with magic instilled at it's construction. There are undeniably magical things that happen in the book, like the shadow baby assassin and the secret door under the nightfort,  and then there are deliberately ambiguous plot points such as  the direwolf killed by a stag for the starks to see. The latter is deliberately left up to interpretation by the reader. the same goes for Syrio being alive or dead. 
The stark in winterfell requirement could be symbolic, or it could be literal. the starks are gone and winterfell has been burned. Is this magic or the deeds of evil men? 

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On 5/8/2017 at 1:20 AM, Aemon Targaryen said:

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?

...it does seem to me that Winterfell... will itself be a fundamental part of the ultimate resolution of the plot of asoiaf).

Here are a few ideas that might give us clues about Winterfell and its role in the future plot:

Jeyne Poole. As you point out, there seems to be something special about the cold pool before the weirwood tree in the Winterfell gods wood. We know that weirwood trees are revered in the north and by followers of the old gods, but is a tree more special if it is connected to this pool? In ancient Celtic mythology, there was often a lady of the lake - not just one lady, but a unique lady for each body of water. Sometimes these ladies would retrieve a sword from the depths of a pond and give it to a hero with a destiny. Theon has a couple of really significant scenes at the cold pool in the gods wood, possibly connecting with Bran, possibly being reborn after his horrible existence as Reek and, if your read into the symbolism, possibly marrying Jeyne Poole at the ceremony where she ostensibly marries Ramsay Bolton. I really see a lot of deeper meaning in this passage where Theon seems to unconsciously recognize that Jeyne will save him:

Snow was falling on the godswood too, melting when it touched the ground. Beneath the white-cloaked trees the earth had turned to mud. Tendrils of mist hung in the air like ghostly ribbons. Why did I come here? These are not my gods. This is not my place. The heart tree stood before him, a pale giant with a carved face and leaves like bloody hands.

A thin film of ice covered the surface of the pool beneath the weirwood. Theon sank to his knees beside it. "Please," he murmured through his broken teeth, "I never meant …" The words caught in his throat. "Save me," he finally managed. "Give me …" What? Strength? Courage? Mercy? Snow fell around him, pale and silent, keeping its own counsel. The only sound was a faint soft sobbing. Jeyne, he thought. It is her, sobbing in her bridal bed. Who else could it be? Gods do not weep. Or do they?

The sound was too painful to endure. Theon grabbed hold of a branch and pulled himself back to his feet, knocked the snow off his legs, and limped back toward the lights. There are ghosts in Winterfell, he thought, and I am one of them.

(ADwD, The Turncloak)

I write more about this in an old thread (scroll down to "The Poole in Winterfell" section for the most directly relevant points about the importance of the connection between Jeyne and Theon). For the purpose of this thread, I think the point is that Theon feels he has become "a Stark at last" during the wedding of fArya / Jeyne and Ramsay. When he helps Jeyne escape from Winterfell at the end of ADwD, he is taking the "Poole" out of Winterfell, depriving the Boltons of a key piece of the magic at that castle.  So keep your eye on Jeyne.

P.S. I suspect she is pregnant, and it would not surprise me at all if she is the pregnant woman that Bran envisioned rising from the pool and praying for a son who can help her achieve revenge.

Beth Cassel. We know very little about Beth, but her father was the Master-at-Arms for Winterfell, in charge of defense when Ned and Robb went on their journeys away from home. In other words, his job was to protect the castle. Just as Jeyne symbolizes the pool, I suspect that Beth may symbolize the castle itself. As far as the reader knows, Beth is a prisoner at the Dreadfort. This seems logical, since Ramsay Snow currently holds Winterfell. If the castle is liberated or conquered by someone else, perhaps we will see Beth re-enter the story by leaving the Dreadfort. For what it's worth, Arya uses the name Blind Beth during her blind period in Essos.

Wolf / Flow. In the Puns and Wordplay thread, there are several discussions of the mirror image words of wolf and flow. I am still operating on the assumption that the two ideas balance each other - that Ned represents a wolf and Catelyn represents a river (House Tully of Riverrun) so their marriage created a good yin / yang duality that made for a peaceful existence. But flow also probably represents breast milk, tears, the sea flowing over the walls of Winterfell - i.e., the invasion of the Ironborn - and the air flow necessary for breathing, so it is a very complex symbol. Anyway, I bring this up on this thread because there are so many mentions of the two defensive walls around Winterfell, and whether they symbolize the Wall defended by the Night's Watch or otherwise play a role in the return of the Long Night. But I haven't yet seen any comments about the hot water that flows through the walls of the Winterfell keep. Brandon the Builder somehow figured out how to use the thermal pools to heat the castle during the winter and this seems like an important part of the wolf / flow duality, as well as another hint about the spiritual importance of the water at Winterfell, in addition to the weirwood tree.

And just one more thing.

The library. For the direwolf re-read, I just read the ACoK chapter where Catelyn confronts Jaime in the dungeon at Riverrun. Jaime admits that he pushed Bran out the window of the old keep, causing Bran's severe injury and nearly killing him. Then Catelyn accuses him of sending the catspaw to finish the job:

". . . Believe what you will, Lady Stark, but if I had wanted your Bran dead I would have slain him myself."

Gods be merciful, he's telling the truth. "If you did not send the killer, your sister did."

"If so, I'd know. Cersei keeps no secrets from me."

"Then it was the Imp."

"Tyrion is as innocent as your Bran. He wasn't climbing around outside of anyone's window, spying."

(ACoK, Catelyn VII)

But here's the thing. Tyrion spent a night in the library at Winterfell, reading rare old books. Was this a form of spying? Was he reading Stark secrets? For some reason, the staircase to the Winterfell library tower is on the outside of the tower. GRRM describes Tyrion making his way down the steep library steps - maybe the reader is supposed to compare the climbing up or down this external staircase to Bran climbing on the exterior of the old keep. Just as we know that Cersei does keep secrets from Jaime, perhaps Jaime's declaration of Tyrion's innocence is also ironic. What will the library and its stairs and its fire reveal when the plot returns to Winterfell?

Edited by Seams

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10 hours ago, spauldo17 said:

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. 

Yeah, but it is "old Nan" level knowledge - it would not be consciously known by Ned, let alone Cat. (I don't really buy a theory that the knowledge just wasn't passed to Ned effectively because Brandon was the heir and he didn't get to pass it on to Ned).

In other words, there is a habit or custom at Winterfell that is still performed but people don't know the older historical significance of it.  The two obvious candidates are - the Crypts and cleaning Ice in the Godswood pool.

Edited by Aemon Targaryen
sense

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2 hours ago, Seams said:

Here are a few ideas that might give us clues about Winterfell and its role in the future plot:

 

Quote

Jeyne Poole. As you point out, there seems to be something special about the cold pool before the weirwood tree in the Winterfell gods wood. We know that weirwood trees are revered in the north and by followers of the old gods, but is a tree more special if it is connected to this pool? In ancient Celtic mythology, there was often a lady of the lake - not just one lady, but a unique lady for each body of water. Sometimes these ladies would retrieve a sword from the depths of a pond and give it to a hero with a destiny. Theon has a couple of really significant scenes at the cold pool in the gods wood, possibly connecting with Bran, possibly being reborn after his horrible existence as Reek and, if your read into the symbolism, possibly marrying Jeyne Poole at the ceremony where she ostensibly marries Ramsay Bolton. I really see a lot of deeper meaning in this passage where Theon seems to unconsciously recognize that Jeyne will save him:

Snow was falling on the godswood too, melting when it touched the ground. Beneath the white-cloaked trees the earth had turned to mud. Tendrils of mist hung in the air like ghostly ribbons. Why did I come here? These are not my gods. This is not my place. The heart tree stood before him, a pale giant with a carved face and leaves like bloody hands.

A thin film of ice covered the surface of the pool beneath the weirwood. Theon sank to his knees beside it. "Please," he murmured through his broken teeth, "I never meant …" The words caught in his throat. "Save me," he finally managed. "Give me …" What? Strength? Courage? Mercy? Snow fell around him, pale and silent, keeping its own counsel. The only sound was a faint soft sobbing. Jeyne, he thought. It is her, sobbing in her bridal bed. Who else could it be? Gods do not weep. Or do they?

The sound was too painful to endure. Theon grabbed hold of a branch and pulled himself back to his feet, knocked the snow off his legs, and limped back toward the lights. There are ghosts in Winterfell, he thought, and I am one of them.

(ADwD, The Turncloak)

I write more about this in an old thread (scroll down to "The Poole in Winterfell" section for the most directly relevant points about the importance of the connection between Jeyne and Theon). For the purpose of this thread, I think the point is that Theon feels he has become "a Stark at last" during the wedding of fArya / Jeyne and Ramsay. When he helps Jeyne escape from Winterfell at the end of ADwD, he is taking the "Poole" out of Winterfell, depriving the Boltons of a key piece of the magic at that castle.  So keep your eye on Jeyne.

P.S. I suspect she is pregnant, and it would not surprise me at all if she is the pregnant woman that Bran envisioned rising from the pool and praying for a son who can help her achieve revenge.

That's really brilliant Seams, especially the part about 'taking the Poole/pool out of Winterfell', smuggling out a piece of the magic, as it were!  I think we've already seen something analogous with the 'cross-border' smuggling, across the magical 'tear' of the Black Gate, of the 'bundles' with Bran stolen from Winterfell by some 'singers' going north and Gilly's baby stolen from the Others by Sam (also a gifted singer!) going south in the opposite direction of the exchange or 'deal'.  

I have a theory that the weirwood or hollow hill -- your 'seam' of magic -- has two symbolic doors, namely a 'front door' -- the red door of fire, represented by the bloody weirwood face; and a 'back door' -- the blue/black door of ice, represented by the bottomless pool.  Exiting via the cold portal or pool produces the cold gods/Others.  You can see evidence of this symbolism via the descriptions of all the women emerging from bottomless black pools of water, who GRRM pointedly depicts having prominent characteristics of the Others/Night's Queen (pale, white, cold, icy, 'goosprickles,' sharp, angular, hard, etc). -- including Osha inexplicably emerging from the pool on a 'windless' day, Dany emerging from the womb of the world at Vaes Dothrak after the heart feast, and of course the mysterious pregnant woman in Bran's greenseeing vision. In addition, Craster's sons surreptitiously shuffled out the back door of Craster's keep in a figurative sense and left for the c/old gods can be understood within this paradigm.  

I also believe the same symbolism is at work in the Eyrie, in which the 'back door' is represented by the icy sky cells honeycombing the rear face providing passage, along with the 'Moon Door,' another 'back door' of sorts, into the 'bloody blue' -- the 'bloody blue' is basically a pool (just like the bottomless pool at Winterfell suffused with the blood of those beheaded to Ice)!  Notice that the Poole sigil resembles a blue pool as well as a full blue moon, a 'traitor's moon,' underscoring the inverse alignment of water and sky.

In terms of Jeyne specifically, it's noteworthy that she too develops Other symbolism, especially following her escape from Winterfell, e.g. the frostbite of her nose/knows..the tears freezing on her cheeks (as you've identified, the 'tears' indicate that an important life-death magical boundary has been crossed)...

Spoiler

The Winds of Winter - Theon I

She has to understand. She is my sister. He never wanted to do any harm to Bran or Rickon. Reek made him kill those boys, not him Reek but the other one. "I am no kinslayer," he insisted. He told her how he bedded down with Ramsay's bitches, warned her that Winterfell was full of ghosts. "The swords were gone. Four, I think, or five. I don't recall. The stone kings are angry." He was shaking by then, trembling like an autumn leaf. "The heart tree knew my name. The old gods. Theon, I heard them whisper. There was no wind but the leaves were moving. Theon, they said. My name is Theon." It was good to say the name. The more he said it, the less like he was to forget. "You have to know your name," he'd told his sister. "You... you told me you were Esgred, but that was a lie. Your name is Asha."

"It is," his sister had said, so softly that he was afraid that she might cry. Theon hated that. He hated women weeping. Jeyne Poole had wept all the way from Winterfell to here, wept until her face was purple as a beetroot and the tears had frozen on her cheeks, and all because he told her that she must be Arya, or else the wolves might send them back. "They trained you in a brothel," he reminded her, whispering in her ear so the others would not hear. "Jeyne is the next thing to a whore, you must go on being Arya." He meant no hurt to her. It was for her own good, and his. She has to remember her name. When the tip of her nose turned black from frostbite, and the one of the riders from the Night's Watch told her she might lose a piece of it, Jeyne had wept over that as well. "No one will care what Arya looks like, so long as she is heir to Winterfell," he assured her. "A hundred men will want to marry her. A thousand."

The memory left Theon writhing in his chains. "Let me down," he pleaded. "Just for a little while, then you can hang me up again." Stannis Baratheon looked up at him, but did not answer. "Tree," a raven cried. "Tree, tree, tree."

About the 'sobbing sound too painful to endure', which I interpret as Bran; it's also reminiscent of the sound of the Other in the Prologue, particularly the sound of that strange pale sword:

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Prologue

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 Other's danced with pale blue light.

Then Royce's 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 Waymar's fingers brushed his side. His moleskin glove came away soaked with red.

...

 

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.

When he found the courage to look again, a long time had passed, and the ridge below was empty.

ETA:  About the 'white lady' of Celtic mythology who delivers a sword from the depths of the lake, this might dovetail with your hypothesis of Theon as Ice (he's been symbolically baptised in the exchange), or at least Theon as the midwife delivering the saviour sword ('Theon brought forth the sword'), who might be another (as we've previously discussed, Theon prays for a 'sword' at the heart tree -- and receives his name instead).

 

Quote

 

Beth Cassel. We know very little about Beth, but her father was the Master-at-Arms for Winterfell, in charge of defense when Ned and Robb went on their journeys away from home. In other words, his job was to protect the castle. Just as Jeyne symbolizes the pool, I suspect that Beth may symbolize the castle itself. As far as the reader knows, Beth is a prisoner at the Dreadfort. This seems logical, since Ramsay Snow currently holds Winterfell. If the castle is liberated or conquered by someone else, perhaps we will see Beth re-enter the story by leaving the Dreadfort. For what it's worth, Arya uses the name Blind Beth during her blind period in Essos.

Wolf / Flow. In the Puns and Wordplay thread, there are several discussions of the mirror image words of wolf and flow. I am still operating on the assumption that the two ideas balance each other - that Ned represents a wolf and Catelyn represents a river (House Tully of Riverrun) so their marriage created a good yin / yang duality that made for a peaceful existence. But flow also probably represents breast milk, tears, the sea flowing over the walls of Winterfell - i.e., the invasion of the Ironborn - and the air flow necessary for breathing, so it is a very complex symbol. Anyway, I bring this up on this thread because there are so many mentions of the two defensive walls around Winterfell, and whether they symbolize the Wall defended by the Night's Watch or otherwise play a role in the return of the Long Night. But I haven't yet seen any comments about the hot water that flows through the walls of the Winterfell keep. Brandon the Builder somehow figured out how to use the thermal pools to heat the castle during the winter and this seems like an important part of the wolf / flow duality, as well as another hint about the spiritual importance of the water at Winterfell, in addition to the weirwood tree.

I see Winterfell as a giant heart tree, therefore an organism with a heart, which contains the analogous 'arterial circulation' running through the walls feeding the 'body' and sustaining it (this is the equivalent of the feed-forward 'front door' I've been musing on, as above).  The 'venous side of the circulation' is represented by the black/blue pool.  The disruption of the glass gardens with the removal of the symbolic blue rose and blue pool(e) represents a breach of security at Winterfell; in fact you could see it as a broken heart or unshackling of the chained wolf to release the flow -- it signifies that the Others are on the loose beyond the high double security walls; and Winter is Coming!

 

Quote

And just one more thing.

The library. For the direwolf re-read, I just read the ACoK chapter where Catelyn confronts Jaime in the dungeon at Riverrun. Jaime admits that he pushed Bran out the window of the old keep, causing Bran's severe injury and nearly killing him. Then Catelyn accuses him of sending the catspaw to finish the job:

". . . Believe what you will, Lady Stark, but if I had wanted your Bran dead I would have slain him myself."

Gods be merciful, he's telling the truth. "If you did not send the killer, your sister did."

"If so, I'd know. Cersei keeps no secrets from me."

"Then it was the Imp."

"Tyrion is as innocent as your Bran. He wasn't climbing around outside of anyone's window, spying."

(ACoK, Catelyn VII)

But here's the thing. Tyrion spent a night in the library at Winterfell, reading rare old books. Was this a form of spying? Was he reading Stark secrets? For some reason, the staircase to the Winterfell library tower is on the outside of the tower. GRRM describes Tyrion making his way down the steep library steps - maybe the reader is supposed to compare the climbing up or down this external staircase to Bran climbing on the exterior of the old keep. Just as we know that Cersei does keep secrets from Jaime, perhaps Jaime's declaration of Tyrion's innocence is also ironic. What will the library and its stairs and its fire reveal when the plot returns to Winterfell?

The serpentine steps -- which might be of special interest to @Pain killer Jane, since she is 'Mistress' of those selfsame steps, so I'll tag her here :) -- is related not only to climbing the keep but to climbing the 'vaulting sentinel' which Bran used in order to vault himself onto the walls on the fateful day of the transgression, which kickstarted the opening of his 'third eye' capacity.  Given that sentinel trees are related to weirwoods symbolically, 'climbing the serpentine steps' can be read as a metaphor for a greenseer entering the 'weirnet'.  

There are several converging lines of symbolism of Tyrion intruding on the magic of the Starks, including in this chapter where Tyrion is caught masquerading as a Stark by 'whistling' (in the vein of the special call Robb used to summon Grey Wind), grinning 'wolfishly', and eavesdropping like a gargoyle or greenseer on people's conversations (e.g. the one Joff and the Hound are having, deliberating over whether someone ought to send 'a dog to kill a dog').  In addition, as PKJ has highlighted, there is the symbolism of Tyrion mounting a fool, Dontos, in order to cloak Sansa.  In both scenarios, we're seeing someone tricking a greenseer figure in order to take possession of either a woman or a skinchanging host (e.g. like Varamyr and Haggon duelling in the 'weirnet' over the wolf).  The library is a symbol of the 'weirnet' as I've described previously, so Tyrion infiltrating the library in order to read the 100-year old discourse about the changing of the seasons by a long-dead maester is like someone stealing the magic inherent in the weirwood.  I think it indicates someone in the past appropriating the Stark warg/skinchanging/greenseeing power for himself somehow.

Perhaps @GloubieBoulga can fill us in on the details as to how this happened...I suspect a 'bastard' and a 'bird' are involved...;)

Edited by ravenous reader

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10 hours ago, GloubieBoulga said:

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. 

 

Thanks - I think the first point is very significant.  The pool is old, the pool is cold, and a pregnant woman, who is not seen going in, comes out of that old and cold.  As RR has noted, we also see a wilding, Osha, do the same.

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10 hours ago, HaeSuse said:

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.

Thanks HaeSuse, those quotes are exactly what I meant, and your last sentence sums up my position.  I also agree it does not currently align with any particular theory -- that is what I am trying to work out!

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3 hours ago, Seams said:

snip

Interesting about Jeyne Poole, in particular, and Beth Cassel - will keep this in mind during my current re-read.  Not really with you on the Tyrion point though.

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55 minutes ago, Aemon Targaryen said:

Yeah, but it is "old Nan" level knowledge - it would not be consciously known by Ned, let alone Cat. (I don't really buy a theory that the knowledge just wasn't passed to Ned effectively because Brandon was the heir and he didn't get to pass it on to Ned).

In other words, there is a habit or custom at Winterfell that is still performed but people don't know the older historical significance of it.  The two obvious candidates are - the Crypts and cleaning Ice in the Godswood pool.

I could see that, but it seems like super important information to just let be "old Nan" level knowledge.  If Old Nan had information about this deal, and it was a no joke "Hey guys if there ever isn't a Stark in Winterfell giving babies to the WW then we all gonna die" then I feel like she would've passed that information on to the interested parties.

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3 minutes ago, spauldo17 said:

I could see that, but it seems like super important information to just let be "old Nan" level knowledge.  If Old Nan had information about this deal, and it was a no joke "Hey guys if there ever isn't a Stark in Winterfell giving babies to the WW then we all gonna die" then I feel like she would've passed that information on to the interested parties.

Yeah, I see your point, but isn't that the whole deal at the start of the series?  Thanks perhaps to the Maesters, or the cycles of magic, magic is at its lowest point --- so all these things are old wives' tales.  Someone like Ned sees stories of the Others as mere children's stories.  Of course, thanks to the Prologue, we readers are in the know from the start - which is part of the tragic irony.  So even someone like Ned does not know the true meaning of the words "Winter is coming", let alone what deeper meanings there may be in there always being a Stark in Winterfell, and any historical obligations of the Starks.

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1 hour ago, ravenous reader said:

a 'back door' -- the blue/black door of ice, represented by the bottomless pool.  Exiting via the cold portal or pool produces the cold gods/Others.  You can see evidence of this symbolism via the descriptions of all the women emerging from bottomless black pools of water ... the 'bloody blue' is basically a pool (just like the bottomless pool at Winterfell suffused with the blood of those beheaded to Ice)!  

RR, your mind is a fecund source of association and metaphor ... have you ever considered writing something like asoiaf?! :o

This sword angle, opened up by Seams and you via Theon, certainly seems a possibility to be kept in mind re: the pool.

I love the arterio-venous metaphor.  Winterfell itself is ice and fire ... recapping my feeling that Winterfell can also be said described to be the key locus of the song of ice and fire.

Re: my quote of your post above -- ice water and old blood will make a black pool.

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On 08/05/2017 at 0:45 PM, Widowmaker 811 said:
  1.  
  2. 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.

So why wouldn't they just burn the bodies and eliminate the threat once and for all?

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On 5/8/2017 at 1:20 AM, 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).

I'm just going to go out on a limb here... and I'm by no means married to this idea.. But maybe it has something to do with Theon. 

It's not to say that Theon is literally a Stark. But he is often defensive and saying "II was never one of them," to alleviate some of the guilt. Maybe the "Always a Stark in Winterfell," line is a reference to that.

I've thought of this myself and that's the best I can do. I don't buy the Benjeninja, hiding in the castle..

 

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A post by Lord Melnibonean (thank you!) on another thread (Jaime's dream thread) on the Ghost of High Heart scenes posts some fantastic quotes that reminded me of the white-haired woman in Bran's vision and raises interesting things.

Lord Melnibonean quotes the following critical passages, which seem to link long white-hair with greenseers, suggesting that the Ghost of High Heart is extremely old and weirnet connected, to perhaps Bloodraven levels of greenseer-ness.  Further comments to follow in next post.

Here are the quotes:

 

The next day they rode to a place called High Heart, a hill so lofty that from atop it Arya felt as though she could see half the world. Around its brow stood a ring of huge pale stumps, all that remained of a circle of once-mighty weirwoods. Arya and Gendry walked around the hill to count them. There were thirty-one, some so wide that she could have used them for a bed.

. . .

Beside the embers of their campfire, she saw Tom, Lem, and Greenbeard talking to a tiny little woman, a foot shorter than Arya and older than Old Nan, all stooped and wrinkled and leaning on a gnarled black cane. Her white hair was so long it came almost to the ground. When the wind gusted it blew about her head in a fine cloud. Her flesh was whiter, the color of milk, and it seemed to Arya that her eyes were red, though it was hard to tell from the bushes. "The old gods stir and will not let me sleep," she heard the woman say. "I dreamt I saw a shadow with a burning heart butchering a golden stag, aye. I dreamt of a man without a face, waiting on a bridge that swayed and swung. On his shoulder perched a drowned crow with seaweed hanging from his wings. I dreamt of a roaring river and a woman that was a fish. Dead she drifted, with red tears on her cheeks, but when her eyes did open, oh, I woke from terror. All this I dreamt, and more. Do you have gifts for me, to pay me for my dreams?"

Arya IV, Storm 22

Before them a pale lord in ebon finery sat dreaming in a tangled nest of roots, a woven weirwood throne that embraced his withered limbs as a mother does a child.

His body was so skeletal and his clothes so rotted that at first Bran took him for another corpse, a dead man propped up so long that the roots had grown over him, under him, and through him. What skin the corpse lord showed was white, save for a bloody blotch that crept up his neck onto his cheek. His white hair was fine and thin as root hair and long enough to brush against the earthen floor. Roots coiled around his legs like wooden serpents. One burrowed through his breeches into the desiccated flesh of his thigh, to emerge again from his shoulder. A spray of dark red leaves sprouted from his skull, and grey mushrooms spotted his brow. A little skin remained, stretched across his face, tight and hard as white leather, but even that was fraying, and here and there the brown and yellow bone beneath was poking through.

"Are you the three-eyed crow?" Bran heard himself say. A three-eyed crow should have three eyes. He has only one, and that one red. Bran could feel the eye staring at him, shining like a pool of blood in the torchlight. Where his other eye should have been, a thin white root grew from an empty socket, down his cheek, and into his neck.

Bran II, Dance 13

"In a sense. Those you call the children of the forest have eyes as golden as the sun, but once in a great while one is born amongst them with eyes as red as blood, or green as the moss on a tree in the heart of the forest. By these signs do the gods mark those they have chosen to receive the gift. The chosen ones are not robust, and their quick years upon the earth are few, for every song must have its balance. But once inside the wood they linger long indeed. A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees. Greenseers. "

Bran III, Dance 34

"The trees will teach him," said Leaf. She beckoned, and another of the singers padded forward, the white-haired one that Meera had named Snowy locks. She had a weirwood bowl in her hands, carved with a dozen faces, like the ones the heart trees wore. Inside was a white paste, thick and heavy, with dark red veins running through it. "You must eat of this," said Leaf. She handed Bran a wooden spoon.

The boy looked at the bowl uncertainly. "What is it?"

"A paste of weirwood seeds."

Something about the look of it made Bran feel ill. The red veins were only weirwood sap, he supposed, but in the torchlight they looked remarkably like blood. He dipped the spoon into the paste, then hesitated.

"Will this make me a greenseer?"

"Your blood makes you a greenseer," said Lord Brynden. "This will help awaken your gifts and wed you to the trees."

Bran III, Dance 34

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On 5/9/2017 at 6:03 PM, Aemon Targaryen said:

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." 

Lord Melnibonean's was in the "weirwood and Jamie's dream" thread.

White hair links to greenseers, the Ghost of High Heart and Bloodraven ...

I had never taken jojenpaste too seriously, but I now see it - the last words of the chapter could be a literal reference to Bran tasting the blood in the paste [i.e. returning to the frame reality, after the vision, or reality/vision mixing.]

And, if the greenseers are still part of the weirwoods, isn't eating weirwood paste inevitably cannibalistic or involving blood sacrifice (a la eating Christ's body and blood in Christianity, and older religions)?

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Libraries.

Libraries in the Citadel, and in Winterfell.

Both in towers.

The library in WF has been burnt, destroyed, but a few volumnes Tyrion saves, CMIIW.

I see an obvious nod to the Name of the Rose and I wonder just how that reference is meant to go in ASOIAF.

I can't help wondering if the destruction of the library at WF is meant to be a foreshadowing of a similar fate for the library at the Citadel.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Prof. Cecily said:

Libraries.

Libraries in the Citadel, and in Winterfell.

Both in towers.

The library in WF has been burnt, destroyed, but a few volumnes Tyrion saves, CMIIW.

I see an obvious nod to the Name of the Rose and I wonder just how that reference is meant to go in ASOIAF.

I can't help wondering if the destruction of the library at WF is meant to be a foreshadowing of a similar fate for the library at the Citadel.

 

 

 

 

I caught that ec(h)o, too! 

 

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On ‎5‎/‎9‎/‎2017 at 7:23 PM, Aemon Targaryen said:

the knowledge just wasn't passed to Ned effectively because Brandon was the heir and he didn't get to pass it on to Ned).

That would be correct.  The knowledge is not for general consumption.  The Starks kept it secret. 

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15 hours ago, SeaWitch said:

I caught that ec(h)o, too! 

 

I doubt if I've caught a third of the references in that masterpiece.

One thing I've noticed about Winterfill is that it's the only castle  with glass gardens.

How would such a subtle technology have arrived at Winterfell?

Other than it being a nod to Dune, of course.

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1 hour ago, Prof. Cecily said:

One thing I've noticed about Winterfill is that it's the only castle  with glass gardens.

What would you say it means that the glass gardens were smashed, disrupting the water circulation in the walls, before Bran our latest blue rose stolen by some 'singers' made his getaway from Winterfell?

On 5/9/2017 at 8:39 PM, Aemon Targaryen said:

RR, your mind is a fecund source of association and metaphor ... have you ever considered writing something like asoiaf?! :o

Ha ha...'fecund'...I have thought of writing, but not a fantasy novel.  In any case, I would probably bore my audience to tears with my longwinded accounts.  At the very least, I would need a trustworthy editor!  ;)

On 5/9/2017 at 8:39 PM, Aemon Targaryen said:

This sword angle, opened up by Seams and you via Theon, certainly seems a possibility to be kept in mind re: the pool.

When Theon kneels at the pool for the communion via 'Branding', there is a thin layer of white ice on the surface of the black pool -- the counterintuitive paradoxical 'yin-yang' pattern of the 'white' emerging from the 'black' I've been noticing recently.  The ice emerging from the pool parallels the Others emerging from the toxic 'back door' of the weirwood, as well as the mythological accounts of the sword presented by the 'white lady of the lake.'

On 5/9/2017 at 8:39 PM, Aemon Targaryen said:

I love the arterio-venous metaphor.  

Thank you.  That's one of my favourites of my original ideas!  If you find 'front door-back door' too unsavoury for your taste, the arterio-venous metaphor is in the same vein (since the venous side is tasked with excreting the toxic waste products of metabolism).

On 5/9/2017 at 8:39 PM, Aemon Targaryen said:

Winterfell itself is ice and fire ... recapping my feeling that Winterfell can also be said described to be the key locus of the song of ice and fire.

It's both the place where Winter fell (Long Night) and where Winter is felled (the Dawn).

On 5/9/2017 at 8:39 PM, Aemon Targaryen said:

Re: my quote of your post above -- ice water and old blood will make a black pool.

Yes, indeed.

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On 5/8/2017 at 1:20 AM, Aemon Targaryen said:

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

It's the capital of winter.  The place where the kings of winter ruled from and controlled the north.

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