Black Crow

Heresy 201 and onward we go...

406 posts in this topic

24 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

Everything which Bran may do in the past has happened. If he influenced anything in the land of way back when, the story we know is happening because he did influence it - or failed to influence it.

This is precisely what I mean by causal loops--Bran is not changing history as he knows it, nor the story as we know it, but he may, in some instances, have caused what has already occurred. 

As an example of something that I think Bran cannot do, he cannot save Eddard; to return to what I said to JNR days ago, Bran saving Eddard is contingent upon Bran existing in a timeline where he "knows" that Eddard needs to be saved. Similarly, Bran cannot stop himself from falling, because stopping his fall is contingent upon Bran becoming a greenseer to stop himself from falling, and Bran becoming a greenseer is contingent upon him falling...and so on. Weirnet won't allow a paradox.

To use a speculative example of the sort of interventions that I think GRRM might allow (and, to be clear, I don't think this is something that happened, it's just an easy example): Let's say Bran wants to go back in the weirnet, and try to find out who sent the assassin after him. In doing so, he observes the killer heading to his room, and notes that Summer, outside, doesn't appear to be coming to his rescue.

He panics, and screams "Summer," or whatever, and Summer "hears" future Bran, and springs into action--Bran is causing what has already occurred, Summer's timely arrival to save him while he's in a coma. 
_________

Once again, I don't really like any of that, or find it to be much better than Bran altering the past in more profound ways, but I can't convince myself it's impossible, because I'm already pretty unhappy with the way that GRRM has utilized prophecy. What is prophecy, if not the future interacting with the present.

For example, what does the text suggest with Maggy the Frog's extremely specific prophecy to Cersei? Does Cersei live in a world where she could have saved herself a lot of grief by figuring out Maggy the Frog's prophecy, and refusing to marry Robert? Or, does Cersei live in a deterministic universe, where the prophecy was always destined to be fulfilled, and Cersei's choices never mattered?

What of Melisandre foiling Davos' attempt to kill her, and saying that the flames always warn her when she's in danger? Do we accept this only because we assume that the flames offer their "aide" arbitrarily, rather than according to someone's design? 

Edited by Matthew.

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2 hours ago, Matthew. said:

Two times he whispers, and two times Eddard reacts

The premise that Eddard reacts to Bran (a cause and effect idea) is difficult to establish because we don't know what's in his head.   He only reacts to... something.

If we want to believe that Bran did something -- created some sort of sound -- that made Eddard react, we must provide some reasonable explanation for it.   How?  Greenseers do not, as far as we've been told, have the ability to make weirwood mouths move... create weirwoood tongues inside them, and make them move too...  or do anything else that might generate sound to which Ned might react.  

At the very best we might guess some sort of psychic thing is happening that Ned perceives as sound, but the problem with that idea is that we've only ever seen it manifest in (a) the immediate present and (b) the dreams of the person the greenseer's communicating with.  Examples being Jon in ACOK (when Bran contacts him from the crypts) and Bran, also in ACOK, (when Bloodraven communicates with him on multiple occasions).  

Since Ned isn't dreaming and he definitely isn't the present, I'm not sure how well even this notion of psychic contact works.   Also, of course, Bloodraven... the greenseer who communicated with Bran in dreams by his own admission... says outright that it can't be done as Bran imagines. I think Bloodraven's right.

However, it does seem possible that Bran might have communicated with Theon in the present using the weirnet, as Theon seems to think happened in ADWD.  Theon's state of mind is so constantly broken in that book he might as well be dreaming.    

2 hours ago, Matthew. said:

A better author wouldn't merely write about a strange idea, and hope that the reader finds it strange, they would evoke strangeness through their style. 

I think it's not really GRRM's goal to evoke strangeness in the weirwood memories bit, though.  I think it's his goal just to establish that Bran can use the weirnet to research the past, achieving greater control over what he sees over time, and this GRRM accomplishes just fine.     

The limited control Bran has right now is enough to justify to me why the visions we saw worked the way they did.   Bran was essentially alternating between rewinding the memory tape at high speed, and then playing it forward at normal speed; this is why he noticed  between iterations that the trees were shrinking and his own POV from the weirwood was falling.  I also consider it very suggestive that Bran never once saw anything from the future.

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2 hours ago, JNR said:

 I also consider it very suggestive that Bran never once saw anything from the future.

I would agree that most of what Bran sees in his crow dreams are vistas of the present when he surveys the land.  He definately sees people he recognizes where they happen to be in the moment.  Then the visions takes on a kind of dreaminess when he sees shadows of figures  and finally he is shown something that causes him to cry.  The reason why he must live.  We still don't know what he saw.  That could be a future vision of something.

Jojen green dreams are visions of the future and I suspect there is some element of green dreaming in Ned's fever dream as well.  Can greenseers see the future?  I don't know, but if they can, I suspect they will take on something of the character of a green dream. 
 

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Bran I

"No," said Jojen, "only a boy who dreams. The greenseers were more than that. They were wargs as well, as you are, and the greatest of them could wear the skins of any beast that flies or swims or crawls, and could look through the eyes of the weirwoods as well, and see the truth that lies beneath the world.

"The gods give many gifts, Bran. My sister is a hunter. It is given to her to run swiftly, and stand so still she seems to vanish. She has sharp ears, keen eyes, a steady hand with net and spear. She can breathe mud and fly through trees. I could not do these things, no more than you could. To me the gods gave the green dreams, and to you . . . you could be more than me, Bran. You are the winged wolf, and there is no saying how far and high you might fly . . . if you had someone to teach you. How can I help you master a gift I do not understand? We remember the First Men in the Neck, and the children of the forest who were their friends . . . but so much is forgotten, and so much we never knew."

There are stranger elements to Bran's dream:

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Bran III

Finally he looked north. He saw the Wall shining like blue crystal, and his bastard brother Jon sleeping alone in a cold bed, his skin growing pale and hard as the memory of all warmth fled from him. And he looked past the Wall, past endless forests cloaked in snow, past the frozen shore and the great blue-white rivers of ice and the dead plains where nothing grew or lived. North and north and north he looked, to the curtain of light at the end of the world, and then beyond that curtain. He looked deep into the heart of winter, and then he cried out, afraid, and the heat of his tears burned on his cheeks.

 

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Bran VII

When the shadows moved, it looked for an instant as if the dead were rising as well. Lyanna and Brandon, Lord Rickard Stark their father, Lord Edwyle his father, Lord Willam and his brother Artos the Implacable, Lord Donnor and Lord Beron and Lord Rodwell, one-eyed Lord Jonnel, Lord Barth and Lord Brandon and Lord Cregan who had fought the Dragonknight. On their stone chairs they sat with stone wolves at their feet. This was where they came when the warmth had seeped out of their bodies; this was the dark hall of the dead, where the living feared to tread.

Quote

A Feast for Crows - Samwell IV

""Death should hold no fear for a man as old as me, but it does. Isn't that silly? It is always dark where I am, so why should I fear the darkness? Yet I cannot help but wonder what will follow, when the last warmth leaves my body. Will I feast forever in the Father's golden hall as the septons say? Will I talk with Egg again, find Dareon whole and happy, hear my sisters singing to their children? What if the horselords have the truth of it? Will I ride through the night sky forever on a stallion made of flame? Or must I return again to this vale of sorrow? Who can say, truly? Who has been beyond the wall of death to see? Only the wights, and we know what they are like. We know."

So I'm not sure if Jon is dead or alive in Bran's vision and if what Bran's sees north past the curtain of light is something that occurs after Jon's death.

 

Edited by LynnS

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3 hours ago, Black Crow said:

The other is the entirely conventional folk tradition warning against raising the dead, because you don't get the living person you fondly remember but the corpse it is now cf Bran's mother.

Yes, raising the dead comes with a warning label.  We still don't know much about Coldhands. 

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GRRM seems to have given the weirwoods/greenseers a non-linear sense of time. Fate works like the anglo-saxon Wyrd or the greek Moirai. Out-of-time beings weave the destiny of mortals, but the destiny is maleable by other weavers or heroes. Bran seems to have similar weaving abilities when being out-of-time via the WeirNet.

The prophecies in the books also work in a similar way to the prophecies from the Wierd Sisters in Macbeth. Their prophecies are real but ambigous and are used to subtly manipulate Macbeth's and Scotland's future.

Edited by Tucu

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49 minutes ago, Tucu said:

GRRM seems to have given the weirwoods/greenseers a non-linear sense of time. Fate works like the anglo-saxon Wyrd or the greek Moirai. Out-of-time beings weave the destiny of mortals, but the destiny is maleable by other weavers or heroes. Bran seems to have similar weaving abilities when being out-of-time via the WeirNet.

The prophecies in the books also work in a similar way to the prophecies from the Wierd Sisters in Macbeth. Their prophecies are real but ambigous and are used to subtly manipulate Macbeth's and Scotland's future.

I'm still curious about Bran seeing himself? as a weirwood.
 

Quote

 

A Game of Thrones - Bran III

At the heart of the godswood, the great white weirwood brooded over its reflection in the black pool, its leaves rustling in a chill wind. When it felt Bran watching, it lifted its eyes from the still waters and stared back at him knowingly.

 

The crow sees what Bran sees and either directs Bran's vision or supresses certain memories.  Bran can't remember what Ned's ghost tells him about Jon for example and this:

Quote

 

A Game of Thrones - Bran III

Bran was staring at his arms, his legs. He was so skinny, just skin stretched taut over bones. Had he always been so thin? He tried to remember. A face swam up at him out of the grey mist, shining with light, golden. "The things I do for love," it said.

Bran screamed.

The crow took to the air, cawing. Not that, it shrieked at him. Forget that, you do not need it now, put it aside, put it away. It landed on Bran's shoulder, and pecked at him, and the shining golden face was gone.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Matthew. said:

 < snip >

For example, what does the text suggest with Maggy the Frog's extremely specific prophecy to Cersei? Does Cersei live in a world where she could have saved herself a lot of grief by figuring out Maggy the Frog's prophecy, and refusing to marry Robert? Or, does Cersei live in a deterministic universe, where the prophecy was always destined to be fulfilled, and Cersei's choices never mattered?

< snip >

 

Maggy the Frog saw something, but Cersei tried to manipulate the prophecy by pushing her friend Melaria down a well so that it couldn't be repeated. Repeating it would make it come true like telling your birthday wish after blowing out the candles. The prophecy likely influenced her actions in a self-fulfilling sort of way. Was it Maggy that also warned her about the "valonquar", which has been translated as "younger brother"? Cersei is so convinced that the valonquar is Tyrion that it has influenced the way she views him. She already hated him for their mother's death, but she may not have feared him had she not been warned against a younger brother. Of course Jaime is also her younger brother since Cersei was born first, but she doesn't view him that way, because of their incestuous relationship.

 

4 hours ago, JNR said:

The premise that Eddard reacts to Bran (a cause and effect idea) is difficult to establish because we don't know what's in his head.   He only reacts to... something.

If we want to believe that Bran did something -- created some sort of sound -- that made Eddard react, we must provide some reasonable explanation for it.   How?  Greenseers do not, as far as we've been told, have the ability to make weirwood mouths move... create weirwoood tongues inside them, and make them move too...  or do anything else that might generate sound to which Ned might react.  

At the very best we might guess some sort of psychic thing is happening that Ned perceives as sound, but the problem with that idea is that we've only ever seen it manifest in (a) the immediate present and (b) the dreams of the person the greenseer's communicating with.  Examples being Jon in ACOK (when Bran contacts him from the crypts) and Bran, also in ACOK, (when Bloodraven communicates with him on multiple occasions).  

Since Ned isn't dreaming and he definitely isn't the present, I'm not sure how well even this notion of psychic contact works.   Also, of course, Bloodraven... the greenseer who communicated with Bran in dreams by his own admission... says outright that it can't be done as Bran imagines. I think Bloodraven's right.

However, it does seem possible that Bran might have communicated with Theon in the present using the weirnet, as Theon seems to think happened in ADWD.  Theon's state of mind is so constantly broken in that book he might as well be dreaming.    

I think it's not really GRRM's goal to evoke strangeness in the weirwood memories bit, though.  I think it's his goal just to establish that Bran can use the weirnet to research the past, achieving greater control over what he sees over time, and this GRRM accomplishes just fine.     

The limited control Bran has right now is enough to justify to me why the visions we saw worked the way they did.   Bran was essentially alternating between rewinding the memory tape at high speed, and then playing it forward at normal speed; this is why he noticed  between iterations that the trees were shrinking and his own POV from the weirwood was falling.  I also consider it very suggestive that Bran never once saw anything from the future.

 

IMO speaking the language of tree, rock, and other forms of nature is the talent of the Children and was learned by Brandon the Builder. It's implied that it's a language that the greenseers learn as well. Osha pointed out to Bran that the rustling of the leaves was the old gods talking, so Bran was speaking this language to Ned, but his father didn't understand. Theon is a broken man, which we understand that physical injury seems to help open the third eye. He's more sensitive and may be able to understand the language.

 

1 hour ago, Tucu said:

GRRM seems to have given the weirwoods/greenseers a non-linear sense of time. Fate works like the anglo-saxon Wyrd or the greek Moirai. Out-of-time beings weave the destiny of mortals, but the destiny is maleable by other weavers or heroes. Bran seems to have similar weaving abilities when being out-of-time via the WeirNet.

The prophecies in the books also work in a similar way to the prophecies from the Wierd Sisters in Macbeth. Their prophecies are real but ambigous and are used to subtly manipulate Macbeth's and Scotland's future.

 

I agree that prophecies are used to manipulate the future, and Quaithe is a good example. She keeps whispering to Daenerys, so I think we should assume she has an ulterior motive for doing so.

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50 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

I agree that prophecies are used to manipulate the future, and Quaithe is a good example. She keeps whispering to Daenerys, so I think we should assume she has an ulterior motive for doing so.

Yes, Quaithe also seems to be one of these weavers of fate. The others are Bloodraven, the Undying Ones, possible Euron and whoever is manipulating Melisandre.

Edited by Tucu

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1 hour ago, LynnS said:

I'm still curious about Bran seeing himself? as a weirwood.
 

The crow sees what Bran sees and either directs Bran's vision or supresses certain memories.  Bran can't remember what Ned's ghost tells him about Jon for example and this:

 

It might not be Bran in the Winterfell weirwood in that vision; Bloodraven was also looking for Bran at that point

The forgotten dream could just be a side effect of Bran inexperience with the weirwoods. Although Bloodraven also seems a bit out of touch with reality when disconnected.

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12 hours ago, Tucu said:

It might not be Bran in the Winterfell weirwood in that vision; Bloodraven was also looking for Bran at that point

The forgotten dream could just be a side effect of Bran inexperience with the weirwoods. Although Bloodraven also seems a bit out of touch with reality when disconnected.

Yes, Bran doesn't know where dreams start and end.  The other thing is that Bran can taste the blood sacrifice. You wouldn't expect that if he is only viewing something that has occurred.

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Bran III

Then, as he watched, 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.

"No," said Bran, "no, don't," but they could not hear him, no more than his father had. The woman grabbed the captive by the hair, hooked the sickle round his throat, and slashed. And through the mist of centuries the broken boy could only watch as 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.

 

Bran has tasted blood in his mouth many times.  So is Bran actually tasting the victim's blood or does this trigger his own memories of what blood tastes of?  They can't hear him, but...

Bran most often remembers the taste of blood in his wolf dreams and how satisfying it is to the starving boy.  I wonder if Bran is being conditioned to crave hot blood.   The wights we are told are attracted to hot blood or perhaps the memory of warmth?

I'm guessing that Bran's vision North beyond the curtain is in fact the cave of the greenseer. Whatever Bran sees is very personal to him.  I can't help feeling that those who are with him, Summer, Hodor, Jojen and Meera are in danger of being offered up as the next hot meal.

Perhaps, the soul of ice and heart of darkness resides in the wierwood itself; the dead dreamers impaled on icy spears represented by the wights outside the cave and anyone hapless enough to be impaled on weirwood roots below.   That ultimately, Bran must stop the cold gods.

There is a bit of a suggestion of this:
 

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Tyrion II

"Then why do I have this bitter taste in my mouth?" He pressed his fingers into his temples. "I told them to throw Allar Deem into the sea. I am sorely tempted to do the same with you."

"You might be disappointed by the result," Varys replied. "The storms come and go, the waves crash overhead, the big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling. Might I trouble you for a taste of the wine that Lord Slynt enjoyed so much?"

 

Where warm sea currents and cold currents meet or stirred up by the storm; small fish are attracted to the availability of forage; the big fish rise up from the cold depths to prey on the small fish and the fisherman/the mermen catches them all. Weirs are enclosures to trap fish.

Patchface puts another spin on it:

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Davos V

 "Under the sea the old fish eat the young fish," the fool muttered at Davos. He bobbed his head, and his bells clanged and chimed and sang. "I know, I know, oh oh oh."

 

This seems to be the case when Bran passes through the Black Gate and perhaps at Whitetree where Craster's boys are sacrificed.

The old fish seems synonymous with Weirwood trees.  They are perhaps the Kraken of the story.  Trees that will live forever if left undisturbed.

Quote

 

A Dance with Dragons - Jon X

 "Under the sea the mermen feast on starfish soup, and all the serving men are crabs," Patchface proclaimed as they went. "I know, I know, oh, oh, oh."

 

The mermen or fishermen would seem to be the CotF.  Starfish are creatures with no brain, who can't think for themselves and if they lose a limb, they grow another.  Othor's disconnected are wriggling around like a snake or a worm comes to mind.   The serving men with their hard outer shell, the white walkers.  The wights outside the cave of the greenseer, a larder.  The cotf don't have cat's eyes and carnivorous teeth for nothing.  The seem equipped as nocturnal predators. With the long night coming; a winter as long as the summer of fifteen years (a generation); they will have to secure a food supply.

Edited by LynnS

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11 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

Osha pointed out to Bran that the rustling of the leaves was the old gods talking, so Bran was speaking this language to Ned, but his father didn't understand.

Well, fundamentally, IMO, what greenseers do is skinchange:

Quote

The greenseers were more than that. They were wargs as well, as you are, and the greatest of them could wear the skins of any beast that flies or swims or crawls, and could look through the eyes of the weirwoods as well

What Bran is really doing in "marrying the trees," as Jojen tells us above, is skinchanging weirwoods.  

But skinchanging a weirwood is not going to give Bran the power to make the wind blow or the leaves rustle... because a weirwood hasn't got muscles and can't shake its limbs.  So I can't really see how Bran could create sounds in the past for Ned to hear, even if his consciousness were actually in the past and not the present.

Skinchanging a weirwood does, however, give Bran access to the information the tree has stored, and possibly that information includes future events too, because of the strange way weirwoods apparently perceive time.  We'll see.

(Even if that proves true in the next two books, comprehension of future events, for all characters who can prophesy in these books, is difficult, limited, and fuzzy... so I don't think Bran will ever be able to say "I'd like to see the events from two months in the future inside the throne room of the Red Keep" and watch those events play out with perfect clarity as he does the memories he sees from the past, with word-for-word dialogue, etc.)

There are a couple of other implications worth discussing, probably:

1. If Bran was even able to see through the heart tree at Winterfell, it seems to confirm beyond doubt that the weirwoods do (as so often imagined in Heresy) form a network -- because Bran sure didn't skinchange the Winterfell tree, he skinchanged the one at the cave.

2. GRRM is likely to continue using these visions to drop clues for us, as he almost certainly did with all the visions we got in Bran's last ADWD chapter.  So this is going to be a bit like watching as random pieces of a huge jigsaw are dropped on a table in the correct locations... bit by bit we should get a more complete idea of Westeros's true past, as the picture is gradually filled in.

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1 hour ago, LynnS said:

Yes, Bran doesn't know where dreams start and end.  The other thing is that Bran can taste the blood sacrifice. You wouldn't expect that if he is only viewing something that has occurred.

Bran has tasted blood in his mouth many times.  So is Bran actually tasting the victim's blood or does this trigger his own memories of what blood tastes of?  They can't hear him, but...

Bran most often remembers the taste of blood in his wolf dreams and how satisfying it is to the starving boy.  I wonder if Bran is being conditioned to crave hot blood.   The wights we are told are attracted to hot blood or perhaps the memory of warmth?

I'm guessing that Bran's vision North beyond the curtain is in fact the cave of the greenseer. Whatever Bran sees is very personal to him.  I can't help feeling that those who are with him, Summer, Hodor, Jojen and Meera are in danger of being offered up as the next hot meal.

Perhaps, the soul of ice and heart of darkness resides in the wierwood itself; the dead dreamers impaled on icy spears represented by the wights outside the cave and anyone hapless enough to be impaled on weirwood roots below.   That ultimately, Bran must stop the cold gods.

There is a bit of a suggestion of this:
 

Where warm sea currents and cold currents meet or stirred up by the storm; small fish are attracted to the availability of forage; the big fish rise up from the cold depths to prey on the small fish and the fisherman/the mermen catches them all. Weirs are enclosures to trap fish.

Patchface puts another spin on it:

This seems to be the case when Bran passes through the Black Gate and perhaps at Whitetree where Craster's boys are sacrificed.

The old fish seems synonymous with Weirwood trees.  They are perhaps the Kraken of the story.  Trees that will live forever if left undisturbed.

The mermen or fishermen would seem to be the CotF.  Starfish are creatures with no brain, who can't think for themselves and if they lose a limb, they grow another.  Othor's disconnected are wriggling around like a snake or a worm comes to mind.   The serving men with their hard outer shell, the white walkers.  The wights outside the cave of the greenseer, a larder.  The cotf don't have cat's eyes and carnivorous teeth for nothing.  The seem equipped as nocturnal predators. With the long night coming; a winter as long as the summer of fifteen years (a generation); they will have to secure a food supply.

I am not sure Bran "must" stop the cold gods, but it seems that there will be an inversion of roles and the young fish will eat the old fish: new "gods" will rise and erase the old ones. Take these quotes from The Forsaken:

Spoiler

“I am your king, I am your god. Worship me, and I will raise you up to be my priest.”

....

Then Euron lifted a great horn to his lips and blew, and dragons and krakens and sphinxes came at his command and bowed before him. “Kneel, brother,” the Crow’s Eye commanded…

“Never. No godless man may sit the Seastone Chair!”

“Why would I want that hard black rock? Brother, look again and see where I am seated.”

Aeron Damphair looked. The mound of skulls was gone. Now it was metal underneath the Crow’s Eye: a great, tall, twisted seat of razor sharp iron, barbs and blades and broken swords, all dripping blood.

Impaled upon the longer spikes were the bodies of the gods. The Maiden was there and the Father and the Mother, the Warrior and Crone and Smith…even the Stranger. They hung side by side with all manner of queer foreign gods: the Great Shepherd and the Black Goat, three-headed Trios and the Pale Child Bakkalon, the Lord of Light and the butterfly god of Naath.

And there, swollen and green, half­-devoured by crabs, the Drowned God festered with the rest, seawater still dripping from his hair.

The gods impaled in the swords remind me of the dreamers impaled in the ice spires.

Edited by Tucu

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17 hours ago, JNR said:

The premise that Eddard reacts to Bran (a cause and effect idea) is difficult to establish because we don't know what's in his head.   He only reacts to... something.

If we want to believe that Bran did something -- created some sort of sound -- that made Eddard react, we must provide some reasonable explanation for it.

Feather already beat me to the punch here, but I took those scenes as implying that when Bran attempted to speak, what came out was the True Tongue.
 

17 hours ago, JNR said:

However, it does seem possible that Bran might have communicated with Theon in the present using the weirnet, as Theon seems to think happened in ADWD.  Theon's state of mind is so constantly broken in that book he might as well be dreaming.  

Not only do I think that you're right about Theon being more receptive to Bran's communications, but it may even be that things go further than that; Theon's chapters begin to take on an odd characteristic during his "Ghost of Winterfell" phase, such as his encounter with the hooded man. There's also the mystery of Little Walder's murder, which the spearwives do not claim credit for, and seems atypical in relation to the other deaths in Winterfell. If I'm not mistaken, Bran was not terribly fond of Little Walder.
 

17 hours ago, JNR said:

I think it's not really GRRM's goal to evoke strangeness in the weirwood memories bit, though.  I think it's his goal just to establish that Bran can use the weirnet to research the past, achieving greater control over what he sees over time, and this GRRM accomplishes just fine.     

Yes, but I think that's damning with faint praise. "It's fine, because GRRM wasn't aspiring to write well, only to write coherently." I'm saying he failed here because he should aspire to more--plot is not a unique element of his chosen medium, the medium of prose and verse.

If it should seem that I'm being overly critical of GRRM, it's because this whole line of discussion about the greenseers is causing me to look at the series in a slightly different light. Some readers seem to feel that it would ruin the story if Bran is able to significantly alter the past - a notion I agree with -, but what does that say about ASOIAF? That its literary merits cannot transcend a 'bad' plot revelation--that ASOIAF can be retroactively ruined?  

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46 minutes ago, JNR said:

But skinchanging a weirwood is not going to give Bran the power to make the wind blow or the leaves rustle... because a weirwood hasn't got muscles and can't shake its limbs.

This is reasonable, but I suspect we haven't seen the full extent of what it means to be a greenseer--especially as relates to the present crisis looming over Westeros. What role is Bran to play against the Others, if he truly will be fighting against them? 

If nothing else, the Hammer of the Waters strongly suggests that the CotF have more in their arsenal than just skinchanging and viewing the past; even the wards in the Wall and BR's cave must require magic that is, as of yet, unexplored.

Edited by Matthew.

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21 minutes ago, Tucu said:

I am not sure Bran "must" stop the cold gods, but it seems that there will be an inversion of roles and the young fish will eat the old fish: new "gods" will rise and erase the old ones. Take these quotes from The Forsaken:

  Reveal hidden contents

“I am your king, I am your god. Worship me, and I will raise you up to be my priest.”

....

Then Euron lifted a great horn to his lips and blew, and dragons and krakens and sphinxes came at his command and bowed before him. “Kneel, brother,” the Crow’s Eye commanded…

“Never. No godless man may sit the Seastone Chair!”

“Why would I want that hard black rock? Brother, look again and see where I am seated.”

Aeron Damphair looked. The mound of skulls was gone. Now it was metal underneath the Crow’s Eye: a great, tall, twisted seat of razor sharp iron, barbs and blades and broken swords, all dripping blood.

Impaled upon the longer spikes were the bodies of the gods. The Maiden was there and the Father and the Mother, the Warrior and Crone and Smith…even the Stranger. They hung side by side with all manner of queer foreign gods: the Great Shepherd and the Black Goat, three-headed Trios and the Pale Child Bakkalon, the Lord of Light and the butterfly god of Naath.

And there, swollen and green, half­-devoured by crabs, the Drowned God festered with the rest, seawater still dripping from his hair.

The gods impaled in the swords remind me of the dreamers impaled in the ice spires.

Yah, there's a friggin monster if there ever was one. LOL.  Far worse than Ramsey and scares the bejeezus out of me.  He means to destroy all the gods including the small gods of the weirwood.  He is mocking them by imitation.   

 

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1 hour ago, JNR said:

...because a weirwood hasn't got muscles and can't shake its limbs.

Sorry to revisit this so quickly, but this observation immediately raises another: the weirwood doesn't have muscles, but it also doesn't have eyes. No biological mechanism to receive reflected light, no nerves to transfer that data, no brain to interpret and store that data...yet the weirwoods watch, and remember. It may be that biological realism is not a reliable guide for what is magically feasible.

Incidentally, if the greenseer could 'move' the weirwood, what would happen if they were to attempt to shake that massive, interconnected root system? Would they wake sleeping giants beneath the earth? OK, OK, I'm not proposing that seriously. I think that sitting around and waiting for Irma is making me go stir crazy. 

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While not trying to be clever here, it is always worth remembering that we are talking about magick ... great magick

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1 hour ago, Black Crow said:

While not trying to be clever here, it is always worth remembering that we are talking about magick ... great magick

K.

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On 9/6/2017 at 8:04 PM, Matthew. said:

In a typical novel, you might jump between Winterfell chapters, Meereen chapters, King's Landing chapters, Wall chapters, each composed of a shifting set of major and minor POVs. To use Meereen as an example, you might have a Meereenese chapter after Dany departs that focuses on Tyrion's machinations among the Yunkish, with interludes from Barristan in the great pyramid, and perhaps a very minor Meereenese character who releases Viserion and Rhaegal to aide Dany (as opposed to spending several chapters on Quentyn).

Within Martin's structure, to convey the same information, you have four (originally unplanned!) Barristan chapters, and because Martin doesn't want to seem as though he's taking shortcuts, he attempts to give Barristan an arc of his own, and explore his regrets (Ashara Dayne), and just generally adds a bunch of bloat, all so that he can have "eyes" inside of the great pyramid to convey the necessary plot information.  And that's just Barristan, as there are also the Tyrion, Quentyn, and Victarion chapters.

When do we get the part about the plague?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ghost_Map

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22 hours ago, Matthew. said:

This is reasonable, but I suspect we haven't seen the full extent of what it means to be a greenseer--especially as relates to the present crisis looming over Westeros. What role is Bran to play against the Others, if he truly will be fighting against them?

That's a really good question.  My answer is "I don't know, but I strongly suspect researching the past for powerful information, plus skinchanging entities in the present to achieve extraordinary effects."

People have suggested Bran may skinchange a dragon.  This doesn't seem to me like something we can rule out -- Varamyr clearly establishes that some skinchangers really are far stronger than others, and furthermore, can skinchange multiple entities simultaneously, and Bran looks likely to be stronger even than Varamyr.  So there seems to be obvious potential there.

And if GRRM made Bran Stark a "head of the dragon" in this sense, I would find that very well set up and fitting -- Bran would literally be getting in a dragon's head! -- particularly if his family member Jon Snow never became a head of the dragon in any sense.

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