Black Crow

Heresy 201 and onward we go...

406 posts in this topic

5 hours ago, Matthew. said:

I find it, in general, a bit odd to attempt to define the fandom and their beliefs when we're talking about a series that has sold at least 60 million copies, as of the 2015; such an approach seems narrow and reductive, and all but ensures strawman arguments.

Nobody's allowed to make generalizations about fan beliefs?  Really, now.  Ask yourself how many posts you read, day in and day out, that include sentences beginning "We know that..." followed by pure speculation that we don't know is true at all. 

I said I would enjoy it if GRRM did something the fans didn't so clearly expect.  The fans might like being surprised too -- after all, GRRM's stated goal is to "surprise and delight" his audience.

On the subject of narrow and reductive statements, though, you might consider the premise that when it comes to mysteries, "GRRM is no Gene Wolfe."   Such a position makes it sound like you think you've worked out all the solutions to all the mysteries in all the works of both writers, and therefore are in a position to contrast the two.  

If someone asked you to prove that GRRM was the lesser puzzle-builder by predicting the true solutions to his mysteries, what would you say?  I wonder.

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I wanted to believe Coldhands came from the crypt.  If they killed him long ago, how else would his face be recognizable?  The problem is the dead in the crypt seem to all be just bones, and Coldhands has flesh.  Brandon also doesn't fit "they killed him long ago" if "they" is the Others or the wights.  Coldhands seems to be a member of the Night's Watch, no watch members we know of are in the crypt.

Othor and Flowers were specifically mentioned as lacking the smell of decay and not having decayed in general.  Other than the lack of blue eyes, their bodies are in the same state as Coldhands,  and it seems doubtful the state they are in would change, even after hundreds of years. 

I can't come up with any explanation for Coldhands other than him being a character we haven't met in another form.  Of course, that doesn't fit with him covering his face. 

 

Edited by Brad Stark

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From what we've seen of the walking dead in whatever form [and I don't include white walkers], they move around in the condition their corpses were when first raised, ie; some more rotted than others - and that might apply to brain cells and cognitive function. Leaving aside any question of whether Coldhands may have been a skinchanger and thereby avoided being taken over by the blue light, his physical condition suggests he was dead for no more than a couple of hours before being raised.

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So .... will the clothing of undead (Uncat, Coldhands, Others) decay over time ? The clothing of Gared from the prologue did. 

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In the north the dead rise soon after death thus the tradition of burning the dead, so what is the explanation for rotted or skeletal wights? Are you asserting their bodies lay rotting somewhere before being resurrected? Or are you thinking the degraded bodies were dug up and then resurrected? IMO the various degrees of decay indicate that they've been wights for an extended period of time, thus Coldhand's preserved appearance suggests that "long ago" wasn't thousands or even hundreds of years ago. The decaying process would be extended due to the cold temperatures, but I wouldn't think that becoming a wight would stop decomposition from happening.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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56 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

In the north the dead rise soon after death thus the tradition of burning the dead, so what is the explanation for rotted or skeletal wights? Are you asserting their bodies lay rotting somewhere before being resurrected? Or are you thinking the degraded bodies were dug up and then resurrected? IMO the various degrees of decay indicate that they've been wights for an extended period of time, thus Coldhand's preserved appearance suggests that "long ago" wasn't thousands or even hundreds of years ago. The decaying process would be extended due to the cold temperatures, but I wouldn't think that becoming a wight would stop decomposition from happening.

I think of Bran I in aGoT, of Gared and his ragged and greasy outfit. And the more I think about all the decay the more I am confused. Coldhands has no problems with the outfit but Gared's is so "dirty" and worn out that Robb thinks him a wildling. It was summer back then and Gared had to walk maybe 2 month to Winterfell. But shouldn't the undead all look like wildlings even with black cloth ?

I get cold temperatures stop the process if there is no movement and a wind protection. Lady Stoneheart and Beric can change cloth if they want. But (fresh) Night's Watch cloth that is recognizable is very specific. 

Maybe I'm just overthinking things. 

Edited by SirArthur

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30 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

In the north the dead rise soon after death thus the tradition of burning the dead, so what is the explanation for rotted or skeletal wights? Are you asserting their bodies lay rotting somewhere before being resurrected? Or are you thinking the degraded bodies were dug up and then resurrected? IMO the various degrees of decay indicate that they've been wights for an extended period of time, thus Coldhand's preserved appearance suggests that "long ago" wasn't thousands or even hundreds of years ago. The decaying process would be extended due to the cold temperatures, but I wouldn't think that becoming a wight would stop decomposition from happening.

Or could it be that there is something in the magick that sustains Coldhands not unlike Melisandre.  Something that keeps him preserved rather than just being raised and rotting away over time like the wights.   If he has been around for some time; he would need a new wardrobe before approaching Sam and Gilly.  ^_^

- a flock of crows and ravens attend him scouting in advance for him

- he seems to understand their speech

- he can see through their eyes (?)

- he rides and elk, controls it how (?)

- he prays over the elk before killing it

- speaks a language Bran doesn't understand 

- he keeps his face concealed and doesn't answer questions about who he is

- he knows the land and the location of the Black Gate and other entries to the cave of the greenseer 

- he is most concerned about those that leave no tracks in the snow (the white walkers)  and avoiding detection by them (why?)

- he is not concerned about killing men of the Watch who are foes or that they might be raised as wights

- was once a man of the Night's Watch and knows the old vow to open the Black Gate

- is able to bind Sam with an oath of silence which Sam can't break - in exchange for the life that he owes to Coldhands

- Sam makes the oath of silence three times; once each to Bran, Jojen and Coldhands (why?)

- Bran the greenseer, Jojen the green dreamer and Coldhands the green man?

- Sam passes through the black gate three times  - The wall, the wall, the wall...

- Coldhands can't pass through the gate

- Coldhands names the 3EC and/or Bloodraven a friend and/or wizard. Are they one in the same?

- he is Bran's monster (?) which monster - the thing that comes in the night?

- he was sent to find 'the One' - who sent him?  Does he still answer to an LC of the watch?

 

 

 

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There were wights outside BRs cave dressed similar to Coldhands.  Maybe they were rangers also killed relatively recently, but my interpretation is they all died hundreds of years ago.  I used to think Coldhands and the Wights were BRs men when he found the cave, maybe Coldhands was his friend or first ranger.  But now I see Coldhands as Bran's not BR's.

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15 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

There were wights outside BRs cave dressed similar to Coldhands.  Maybe they were rangers also killed relatively recently, but my interpretation is they all died hundreds of years ago.  I used to think Coldhands and the Wights were BRs men when he found the cave, maybe Coldhands was his friend or first ranger.  But now I see Coldhands as Bran's not BR's.

I would say that CH was a ranger while alive and still a ranger.  I can see him still answering to a lord commander of the watch whether that's BR or someone else.  It doesn't seem his watch is ended even though he's dead.

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8 minutes ago, LynnS said:

I would say that CH was a ranger while alive and still a ranger.  I can see him still answering to a lord commander of the watch whether that's BR or someone else.  It doesn't seem his watch is ended even though he's dead.

Bad news for Jonny boy should he choose to resurrect. No gates for him then. 

Edited by SirArthur

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3 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

Bad news for Jonny boy. 

LOL!  Yes, it seems you can still be called back into service whether you are dead or alive.  So I'm not sure what this says about BR's prohibition about bringing the dead back or whether BR is the one giving the orders.

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To go back to Bran's vision of Jon, there are some things about this that seem to connect with other visions:

Bran sees Jon lying in a cold bed as all memory of warmth flees from him.  That seems to point to Jon's death if you consider the context of the words in other passages mentioned upthread.  Then Bran sees something north of the Wall that scares the hell out of him.  This seems to be a vision of the near future; something that happens after Jon's death.

Then we have Ned's memory of Lyanna lying in her bed of blood clutching a rose black and dead.  That could certainly be symbolic of Jon who takes the black and ends up dead.

The image of the rose petals spilling from her hands shows up in Ned's fever dream as a storm of rose petals blue as the eyes of death.  A reference to the WW and the wights.  So we could say that Jon's death unleashes the storm.

We have Melisandre telling Jon this:

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Jon VI

Jon frowned in disbelief. "That's … queer."

"You think so?" She knelt and scratched Ghost behind his ear. "Your Wall is a queer place, but there is power here, if you will use it. Power in you, and in this beast. You resist it, and that is your mistake. Embrace it. Use it."

 

And we have Dany's vision:  A blue flower grew from a chink in a wall of ice, and filled the air with sweetness.

I'm inclined to think that the blue flower is Jon (the rose of Winterfell) drawing power from the Wall and through him the air is filled with 'sweetness' which could be interpret as the smell of death. So it seems to me that the great lore or magick of the Wall is the source of the magick that raises the wights or sustains the WWs. 

The necessity of Jon's death to unleash the storm could also be something that is tied to the prologue of GoT. It may not be only Bran who is expected but Jon as well.  Waymar's appearance and physical characteristics, so obviously a son of a lord, very similar to Jon.

Perhaps the difference is that if Others killed Jon first; he would be raised as a wight under their control.  Instead he is killed on the south side of the Wall which may stop this from happening.  If he is raised by ice through other means; CH and Jon could be armored from control by the Others.

Which brings me back to CH's fear of the Others.  Should they get to Bran (or Jon) first; they might either neutralize Bran as a threat or have control over him.

It could also be said that the power to preserve is concentrated in the Wall and there are those who can access and use that power in different ways.

To go a step further, who is in control of the wights and WW's now and is that thing in league with Euron?

Spoiler

I find it chilling that Pyatt Pree is hung from the rafters without his legs at Euron's feast in the Foresaken Chapter of WoW.  Given Euron's intent to kill all the gods and stick them on his tree of thorns (the iron throne) and kill the small gods of the wood who he deems no match for him;  Pyat Pree seems a sadistic mockery of Bran on his weirwood throne.

 

Edited by LynnS

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13 hours ago, JNR said:

Nobody's allowed to make generalizations about fan beliefs?  Really, now.  Ask yourself how many posts you read, day in and day out, that include sentences beginning "We know that..." followed by pure speculation that we don't know is true at all. 

I didn't say anything about 'allowed,' just that I think it's silly--yes, including the examples you cite.

Nonetheless, there's a distinction between people projecting their personal interpretations onto the fandom with the presumptuous "everyone knows" moniker (eg, "we all know Lyanna was in Dorne") and generalizing fans in a way that is meant to impugn their relationship with the text, the conclusions they draw, or the way that they arrive at those conclusions. In the latter, discussing the text is secondary to discussing the people that discuss the text.
 

13 hours ago, JNR said:

On the subject of narrow and reductive statements, though, you might consider the premise that when it comes to mysteries, "GRRM is no Gene Wolfe."   Such a position makes it sound like you think you've worked out all the solutions to all the mysteries in all the works of both writers, and therefore are in a position to contrast the two.  

If someone asked you to prove that GRRM was the lesser puzzle-builder by predicting the true solutions to his mysteries, what would you say?  I wonder.

Not at all. If my "spaghetti against the wall" approach to theorizing hadn't already made it apparent, there are very few unresolved mysteries where I think I have The One True Answer. What we can compare, however is that which has already been resolved or completed. 

The comparison between the two was one of both style and the nature of their use of ambiguity. The former is subjective, but it's not even in question to me--Martin is the inferior stylist.

When it comes to the cleverness of mysteries, I think that is overstated when it comes to ASOIAF. Very few of the surprises within the story thus far are "puzzles." This is also subjective, but for me, the greatest surprise I've experienced in ASOIAF was the first time I read Jaime's ASOS chapters, getting to know him as a character.

In that regard, I think that ASOIAF's actual strength lays in characterization, and the sheer amount of work and detail that goes into the build up that precedes a "big moment"--to use a cliche, Martin's destinations are appealing by virtue of how well he handles the journey. One need only look at the 1993 letter to appreciate why a list of plot ideas doesn't do justice to what actually makes ASOIAF appealing.

To return to ambiguity, and actual "puzzles," this to me is also not in question. Those mysteries that have been resolved within ASOIAF are, IMO, crystal clear--the process by which Joffrey was poisoned, Littlefinger's role in the War of the Five Kings, etc. For the latter, the revelation is literally delivered in the form of exposition, holding the reader's hand.

Assessing the way Martin has told his story thus far, I don't think there will be much left in the story that is unsolved, or left ambiguous--whereas we're over 30 years removed from the completion of The Book of the New Sun, and people are still making discoveries in their rereads. 

This is not really a "good" vs "bad" comparison, merely an observation that treating ASOIAF as some sort of force for intellectual vindication, as though it sorts the Worthy from the Unworthy, is ridiculous. 
____

You might think it is incorrect, or smug for me to characterize ASOIAF as pulp (and, to be clear, I love pulp), yet implicit in the way you discuss ASOIAF is that you yourself are treating it as pulp: emphasis is placed on plot, mystery, failures of prose are by the author's design, because his greater priority is that the plot have mainstream comprehension.

Indeed, it was only a page ago where you were seemingly dismissing the value of symbolism in understanding the text, a practice that suggests it is better to discuss ASOIAF as though it were a historical document, rather than a work of literature. 

Edited by Matthew.

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23 hours ago, JNR said:

An in-world walkthrough can't possibly discuss GRRM's various touches in various books, because nobody in-world has read GRRM's books

We don't know... what we don't know.  AMIRITE? :D

 

Edited by LynnS

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1 hour ago, Matthew. said:

Nonetheless, there's a distinction between people projecting their personal interpretations onto the fandom with the presumptuous "everyone knows" moniker (eg, "we all know Lyanna was in Dorne") and generalizing fans in a way that is meant to impugn their relationship with the text, the conclusions they draw, or the way that they arrive at those conclusions. In the latter, discussing the text is secondary to discussing the people that discuss the text.

Yes Matthew.  This sums up my own objections in a nutshell.  I've been on the receiving end of such tender mercies a number of times. That is less likely to occur when you go along with the prevailing view or the consensus as you describe it. 

Edited by LynnS

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5 hours ago, SirArthur said:

I think of Bran I in aGoT, of Gared and his ragged and greasy outfit. And the more I think about all the decay the more I am confused. Coldhands has no problems with the outfit but Gared's is so "dirty" and worn out that Robb thinks him a wildling. It was summer back then and Gared had to walk maybe 2 month to Winterfell. But shouldn't the undead all look like wildlings even with black cloth ?

I get cold temperatures stop the process if there is no movement and a wind protection. Lady Stoneheart and Beric can change cloth if they want. But (fresh) Night's Watch cloth that is recognizable is very specific. 

Maybe I'm just overthinking things. 

 

4 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

There were wights outside BRs cave dressed similar to Coldhands.  Maybe they were rangers also killed relatively recently, but my interpretation is they all died hundreds of years ago.  I used to think Coldhands and the Wights were BRs men when he found the cave, maybe Coldhands was his friend or first ranger.  But now I see Coldhands as Bran's not BR's.

 

Bloodraven is a magical being as well. He's married to the trees and I suspect "undead". Recall that in order to remain in your host via a second life you have to be dead first. His body cannot leave the cave, and it's wasting away. The Children said he's nearly gone - he's going into the trees. Soon there will be nothing left but bones and scraps of cloth.

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4 hours ago, LynnS said:

To go a step further, who is in control of the wights and WW's now and is that thing in league with Euron?

In relation to this, it does put me in mind of a passage that is occasionally a subject of debate, from Victarion II in AFFC:

 

Quote

Balon was mad, Aeron is madder, and Euron is maddest of them all. Victarion was turning to go when the Crow's Eye said, "A king must have a wife, to give him heirs. Brother, I have need of you. Will you go to Slaver's Bay and bring my love to me?"

I had a love once too. Victarion's hands coiled into fists, and a drop of blood fell to patter on the floor. I should beat you raw and red and feed you to the crabs, the same as I did her. "You have sons," he told his brother.

"Baseborn mongrels, born of whores and weepers."

"They are of your body."

"So are the contents of my chamber pot. None is fit to sit the Seastone Chair, much less the Iron Throne. No, to make an heir that's worthy of him, I need a different woman. When the kraken weds the dragon, brother, let all the world beware."

Straightforwardly, Euron could just be referring the Iron Throne as a "him" rather than it, but there are some believe that the "him" may reference an unrevealed ally, a figure to which Euron is loyal, or some prophetic idea.

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1 hour ago, Matthew. said:

Straightforwardly, Euron could just be referring the Iron Throne as a "him" rather than it, but there are some believe that the "him" may reference an unrevealed ally, a figure to which Euron is loyal, or some prophetic idea.

I'm very much on board with this possibility.  Consider Euron's personal sigil, two crows and a blood eye.  I think this really represents three eyes; two crows eyes and one blood eye.  In the wiki, the red eye has been changed from something that used to be like the eye of sauron.  So I think we are taking about another 3EC to go to a previous question of Brad Starks. I don't think this is the first time in Westerosi history that a 3EC has been in the picture. Possibly something that has been able to extend it's life over and over again in the same manner as Varamyr or by some other means we don't know about yet.

I think it's entirely possible that Euron is an abomination housing the soul of another at certain times.  Something that wants to be reborn and all of Euron's efforts are bent in that direction. Some thing that identifies itself as the first storm and the last.

Edited by LynnS

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8 hours ago, SirArthur said:

I think of Bran I in aGoT, of Gared and his ragged and greasy outfit. And the more I think about all the decay the more I am confused. Coldhands has no problems with the outfit but Gared's is so "dirty" and worn out that Robb thinks him a wildling. It was summer back then and Gared had to walk maybe 2 month to Winterfell. But shouldn't the undead all look like wildlings even with black cloth ?

I get cold temperatures stop the process if there is no movement and a wind protection. Lady Stoneheart and Beric can change cloth if they want. But (fresh) Night's Watch cloth that is recognizable is very specific. 

Maybe I'm just overthinking things. 

Gared wasn't dead - at least not until Lord Eddard cut his head off

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7 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

Gared wasn't dead - at least not until Lord Eddard cut his head off

You mean the human body is a greater factor in the decay of cloth than the environment (north of the wall) ? 

(The sample of continously worn black clothing decay in an icy environment is not exactly huge)

Edited by SirArthur

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