JordanJH1993

Do the Others have knowledge of the rest of Westeros?

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Posted (edited)

I am aware this topic may have been discussed before, but I was thinking about it today so thought I'd ask...

A Game of Thrones opens with a sighting of an Other. It may well have been the first sighting of an Other in eight-thousand years.

Not long after this sighting, King Robert Baratheon dies, Joffrey is crowned King of the Seven Kingdoms. Ned Stark is beheaded and Robb Stark is crowned King in the North. Stannis and Renly Baratheon crown themselves. Balon Greyjoy crowns himself. The clash of the five Kings begins while a Targaryen girl rises from the flames unburnt with three dragons, declaring herself Queen.

Is it a random coincidence that the Others emerge as the realm is thrown into its own kind of chaos and the Lords are fighting amongst themselves? Or do the Others' perhaps have some knowledge of what is happening? A kind of foresight, even, that the time to strike is nigh, for Westeros is about to become most vulnerable?

From what I have researched, at the time of the first Long Night, all seemed to be well in Westeros. The First Men and the Children of the Forest lived peacefully for thousands of years after their war and the Pact of the Isle of Faces, so when the Long Night first came, it seemed to come at a time of peace. Have the Others learned from that time and decided to chose to come at a moment of chaos? I know there were plenty of other wars and times of crisis in Westeros that they could have descended, but have they been biding their time for this one? Or is it all just a mere coincidence?

Edited by JordanJH1993

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10 minutes ago, JordanJH1993 said:

Is it a random coincidence that the Others emerge as the realm is thrown into its own kind of chaos and the Lords are fighting amongst themselves? Or do the Others' perhaps have some knowledge of what is happening? A kind of foresight, even, that the time to strike is nigh, for Westeros is about to become most vulnerable?

Lords have always fought amongst themselves. This period of Westerosi history isn't unique in that.

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1 minute ago, Damon_Tor said:

Lords have always fought amongst themselves. This period of Westerosi history isn't unique in that.

In the paragraph after the one you quoted, I did mention that there were plenty of other times of chaos in Westeros that they could have chosen to descend upon, which does suggest it is random, but doesn't answer whether they have any kind of knowledge on what is going on in Westeros.

I'm not suggesting they have scouts ranging up and down the country. But they are a species of humanoid beings that have a language they can communicate in. We haven't seen much of them to know if they have a near human way of planning and organising things, but surely there has been some kind of plan put into place. I can't see it being a 100% random event that they have decided to make a move.

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Posted (edited)

12 minutes ago, JordanJH1993 said:

In the paragraph after the one you quoted, I did mention that there were plenty of other times of chaos in Westeros that they could have chosen to descend upon, which does suggest it is random, but doesn't answer whether they have any kind of knowledge on what is going on in Westeros.

I'm not suggesting they have scouts ranging up and down the country. But they are a species of humanoid beings that have a language they can communicate in. We haven't seen much of them to know if they have a near human way of planning and organising things, but surely there has been some kind of plan put into place. I can't see it being a 100% random event that they have decided to make a move.

I suspect the Others are a doomsday weapon on a deadman's switch left over from the last war between the CotF and humans. When humans broke a specific part of the pact, knowingly or unknowingly (my money is on "There must always be a Stark in Winterfell") it reactivated the weapon. The CotF had no direct role in making that decision and likely can't stop it.

Edited by Damon_Tor

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4 minutes ago, Damon_Tor said:

I suspect the Others are a doomsday weapon on a deadman's switch left over from the last war between the CotF and humans. When humans broke a specific part of the pact, knowingly or unknowingly (my money is on "There must always be a Stark in Winterfell") it reactivated the weapon. The CotF had no direct role in making that decision and likely can't stop it.

I like the sound of that theory, actually. Maybe it still does tie in with the idea that the Others are striking at a time where humans are vulnerable, that time being when there isn't a Stark in Winterfell. Again, I don't believe they are just a machine that has been shut down for 8,000 years and randomly switched on again. There has to be a reason as to why they have chosen now. Obviously, we are not far enough down the line of the story to know the real reasons, I am just curious what others thought of the Others. But, yeah, I do see the sense in your theory.

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31 minutes ago, JordanJH1993 said:

Not long after this sighting, King Robert Baratheon dies, Joffrey is crowned King of the Seven Kingdoms. Ned Stark is beheaded and Robb Stark is crowned King in the North. Stannis and Renly Baratheon crown themselves. Balon Greyjoy crowns himself. The clash of the five Kings begins while a Targaryen girl rises from the flames unburnt with three dragons, declaring herself Queen.

Is it a random coincidence that the Others emerge as the realm is thrown into its own kind of chaos and the Lords are fighting amongst themselves? Or do the Others' perhaps have some knowledge of what is happening? A kind of foresight, even, that the time to strike is nigh, for Westeros is about to become most vulnerable?

 

I think the only one of these significant to happen is Dany being unburnt and hatching three dragons.

Robert dying, Ned beheaded for thinking about putting Stannis on the throne which leads to Robb crowning himself and declaring the North to be an independant kingdom, Joffrey crowned, Stannis (who in the Baratheon dynasty is the true heir) crowns himself, Renly crowns himself for being better liked and Balon crowning himself because he is oppertunistic.

These are all things that could've happened regardless of whether the Other's are coming or not. The lords of Westeros have always been skirmishing amongst themselves and the War of the Five Kings is simply just a larger scale of that.

There has just been a long summer and if some people are right, then after a long summer comes an even longer winter, which means that this summer will last around 100 years. The Others could just simply be oppertunists and the reason why they haven't come in over 8000 years is because no winter has been long enough for them. Remember, they melt in daylight and when it's too warm.

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12 minutes ago, Vaedys Targaryen said:

I think the only one of these significant to happen is Dany being unburnt and hatching three dragons.

Robert dying, Ned beheaded for thinking about putting Stannis on the throne which leads to Robb crowning himself and declaring the North to be an independant kingdom, Joffrey crowned, Stannis (who in the Baratheon dynasty is the true heir) crowns himself, Renly crowns himself for being better liked and Balon crowning himself because he is oppertunistic.

These are all things that could've happened regardless of whether the Other's are coming or not. The lords of Westeros have always been skirmishing amongst themselves and the War of the Five Kings is simply just a larger scale of that.

There has just been a long summer and if some people are right, then after a long summer comes an even longer winter, which means that this summer will last around 100 years. The Others could just simply be oppertunists and the reason why they haven't come in over 8000 years is because no winter has been long enough for them. Remember, they melt in daylight and when it's too warm.

I agree to an extent that the War of the Five Kings is an extreme case of the usual bickering among Lords, but it also laid to significant consequences, especially in the North. As @Damon_Tor points out, it lead to no Stark being in Winterfell. The First Men, the men of the Night's Watch and the Children of the Forest came together to defeat the Others in the Battle of the Dawn. The blood of the First Men runs strongly through the Starks, if the North is in chaos and the Starks have crumbled, the Others could have seen that as an opportunity to strike, when their greatest foe, the blood of the First Men, are in turmoil.

So everything that happened in the build up to the War of the Five Kings, such as the Ned, Sansa and Arya going south when Ned becomes Robert's Hand, the beheading of Ned, Robb taking an army south, Theon taking Winterfell and Bran and Rickon fleeing north could have impacted on the Others choosing their time to make a move.

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Well they clearly weren't triggered by a lack of Stark in WF since they were active before that was the case.

I have always been inclined to say that they simply know the Long Night is coming, and that the Long Night is their chance.

The other possibility is that they simply needed that time to replenish their numbers, Old Nan tells us they sleep in ice for centuries.  If it really takes that long to "grow" them or whatever, then thousands of years to replenish the ranks makes sense.

The last possibility I see is kind of linked to the first, in that when the last dragon died the Long Night began approaching.  We are told by the maesters that after the last dragon died the winters became longer and harsher while the summers became shorter and cooler.  It is possible they sensed this and began their activity, and that the growth of their power brings the Long Night in and of itself, or it is possible that the Long Night occurs due to the irregular seasons, and is inevitable.

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1 hour ago, JordanJH1993 said:

I like the sound of that theory, actually. Maybe it still does tie in with the idea that the Others are striking at a time where humans are vulnerable, that time being when there isn't a Stark in Winterfell. Again, I don't believe they are just a machine that has been shut down for 8,000 years and randomly switched on again. There has to be a reason as to why they have chosen now. Obviously, we are not far enough down the line of the story to know the real reasons, I am just curious what others thought of the Others. But, yeah, I do see the sense in your theory.

It's also entirely possible that the Others aren't the weapon: Winter is the weapon.

So 8000 years ago the CotF and humanity were at war. The CotF developed a doomsday curse and told us we had to make peace under certain terms or face Fimbulwinter, mutually assured destruction. But not all humans agreed that peace and capitulation was the way forward, or maybe they just thought it couldn't possibly last forever: using blood magic they altered themselves so that the curse couldn't harm them: they adapted themselves for the world the winter would create.

So now that the pact is broken, Fimbulwinter is coming, and the Others are preparing to do what they had always intended: survive, carry out the legacy of humanity despite the apocalypse.

Just an idea.

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1 hour ago, aryagonnakill#2 said:

Well they clearly weren't triggered by a lack of Stark in WF since they were active before that was the case.

I have always been inclined to say that they simply know the Long Night is coming, and that the Long Night is their chance.

The other possibility is that they simply needed that time to replenish their numbers, Old Nan tells us they sleep in ice for centuries.  If it really takes that long to "grow" them or whatever, then thousands of years to replenish the ranks makes sense.

The last possibility I see is kind of linked to the first, in that when the last dragon died the Long Night began approaching.  We are told by the maesters that after the last dragon died the winters became longer and harsher while the summers became shorter and cooler.  It is possible they sensed this and began their activity, and that the growth of their power brings the Long Night in and of itself, or it is possible that the Long Night occurs due to the irregular seasons, and is inevitable.

Ned married a very UnStarky woman. His kids aren't Starky enough. Stark levels grew critical, and the Others started waking up, with Ned being the only really properly Starky guy. Then when Ned left they started getting really jumpy and then even his questionably Starky kids left Winterfell they were well and fully woke.

That's my interpretation anyway.

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It is seems pretty likely that the Others were created by the Children after the (or some of the) First Men broke the Pact. It was not welcomed by all and we see where the Children are after the Long Night - pretty much gone and still being persecuted by such First Men kings as the Starks (who fought against the Children allied with the Warg King) and the Durrandons (taking the Rainwood from them).

How it comes that the Others only make their move is completely unclear at this point. If they were some sort of weapons program running amok I doubt they would have had the patience they show. Even if they were down to a handful of Others back after the Long Night they should have been able to really built up their numbers in just a couple of decades simply by creating themselves some wights and using those to get their hands on living human children.

They could have made their second major attack just a couple of centuries after the Long Night, not thousands of years later.

And how does the whole thing work? Are the Others literally immortal? Are there still some out there that remember the Long Night? Do they make longterm plans, etc.?

Hints are that there might be a controlling mind behind them, though. There is something supposed to be in the Heart of Winter, and that's not necessarily just the Others. The Others not just there, they are also in the Haunted Forest and elsewhere. But the Heart of Winter would be the birthplace and 'home base' of the Others, where the Children who created the Others did work their spell and where, perhaps, some of those Children yet live, transformed/kept alive by the same spell that animates the Others themselves.

Chances are that the mind behind the Others is going to turn out to be a corrupted greenseer 'living' beneath a weirwood grove covered by ice in the center of the Heart of Winter. The Others only really make sense if they are driven by true hatred and ultimate vengeance. We know that the North remembers and cold preserves - the people remembering things best should be the Others, and if there is a Child of the Forest behind them then this person most likely has the best reason/motivation to destroy humans as the short-lived vermin that they are we can think of. After all, chances are that the First Men treated the Children very, very badly.

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25 minutes ago, Damon_Tor said:

Ned married a very UnStarky woman. His kids aren't Starky enough. Stark levels grew critical, and the Others started waking up, with Ned being the only really properly Starky guy. Then when Ned left they started getting really jumpy and then even his questionably Starky kids left Winterfell they were well and fully woke.

That's my interpretation anyway.

Jon Snow went to the Wall and Benjen went to beyond the Wall. Not enough?

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9 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

It is seems pretty likely that the Others were created by the Children after the (or some of the) First Men broke the Pact. It was not welcomed by all and we see where the Children are after the Long Night - pretty much gone and still being persecuted by such First Men kings as the Starks (who fought against the Children allied with the Warg King) and the Durrandons (taking the Rainwood from them).

How it comes that the Others only make their move is completely unclear at this point. If they were some sort of weapons program running amok I doubt they would have had the patience they show. Even if they were down to a handful of Others back after the Long Night they should have been able to really built up their numbers in just a couple of decades simply by creating themselves some wights and using those to get their hands on living human children.

They could have made their second major attack just a couple of centuries after the Long Night, not thousands of years later.

And how does the whole thing work? Are the Others literally immortal? Are there still some out there that remember the Long Night? Do they make longterm plans, etc.?

Hints are that there might be a controlling mind behind them, though. There is something supposed to be in the Heart of Winter, and that's not necessarily just the Others. The Others not just there, they are also in the Haunted Forest and elsewhere. But the Heart of Winter would be the birthplace and 'home base' of the Others, where the Children who created the Others did work their spell and where, perhaps, some of those Children yet live, transformed/kept alive by the same spell that animates the Others themselves.

Chances are that the mind behind the Others is going to turn out to be a corrupted greenseer 'living' beneath a weirwood grove covered by ice in the center of the Heart of Winter. The Others only really make sense if they are driven by true hatred and ultimate vengeance. We know that the North remembers and cold preserves - the people remembering things best should be the Others, and if there is a Child of the Forest behind them then this person most likely has the best reason/motivation to destroy humans as the short-lived vermin that they are we can think of. After all, chances are that the First Men treated the Children very, very badly.

If they are in fact immortal beings, if we apply the saying 'the North remembers,' it could be meaning that these Others remember, as some of them are still alive that survived the Battle of the Dawn.

If the immortal Others survived and they have been recreating more Others since the Long Night, the potential amount of Others could be endless. For some reason, I've been picturing the Others as a rather small group - perhaps because of their army of the dead - but in realty, the army of Others alone could be big enough to take on the humans. It also depends on what happens to the baby boys that Craster has been giving up to Others. 

I guess part of the allure of the Others are that they are an enigma, to us and to the characters in the story. Five books in and still only a few believe in them and even less have seen them. The idea that there is no way to know how big their army is or what their true goal is is part of the terror they bring. All we can assume so far is that they want to destroy humanity, which is as ambiguous as it is sinister.

You've touched on it with the idea that some greenseer deep within the Heart of Winter could be the mind behind the Others, which is something I like. The idea that they are being lead by some ultra-Other would be very unlike something we'd expect from GRRM. But I do wonder what people's opinions are on the 'Great Other' that Mellisandre has spoken of, and what kind of relationship - if any - this God would have with the Others?

 

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42 minutes ago, JordanJH1993 said:

If they are in fact immortal beings, if we apply the saying 'the North remembers,' it could be meaning that these Others remember, as some of them are still alive that survived the Battle of the Dawn.

I think at least one Other must have survived the Battle of the Dawn, perhaps as many as a handful of them. Perhaps even more. It depends how that war ended exactly - which we still don't know. The building of the Wall strongly suggests that the Children helping the First Men there knew they would come back and that, in turn, means that they knew they weren't completely gone.

Even if we go with the 'guiding mind behind the Others' idea I doubt such a person - if it is some sort of 'icified greenseer', preserving himself the same way the Others may be 'immortal' - would have been able to create new Others considering that those greenseers usually are not exactly all that mobile. He or she would have had a small contingent of Others as foundation to rebuild.

42 minutes ago, JordanJH1993 said:

If the immortal Others survived and they have been recreating more Others since the Long Night, the potential amount of Others could be endless. For some reason, I've been picturing the Others as a rather small group - perhaps because of their army of the dead - but in realty, the army of Others alone could be big enough to take on the humans. It also depends on what happens to the baby boys that Craster has been giving up to Others. 

Yeah, that is the question. But depending how far up north the Heart of Winter is there is a chance that the Others and the mind behind them were effectively cut off from human settlements for a long time. On the other hand - humans living this far up north (and we know there are people in the Lands of Always Winter as per the reports of Corlys Velaryon's expeditions) most likely would have been the first to strike the kind of deals with the Others Craster struck, too. They would have taken them as their gods, essentially.

How many Others there are in total is a very interesting question. It could be pretty few but it could also be a lot. We simply do not know. The fact that they don't show themselves doesn't mean they are not there.

42 minutes ago, JordanJH1993 said:

I guess part of the allure of the Others are that they are an enigma, to us and to the characters in the story. Five books in and still only a few believe in them and even less have seen them. The idea that there is no way to know how big their army is or what their true goal is is part of the terror they bring. All we can assume so far is that they want to destroy humanity, which is as ambiguous as it is sinister.

The original outline said something along the lines that they are watching how things unfold south of the Wall with cold satisfaction. That makes it pretty likely that they do know what's going on.

42 minutes ago, JordanJH1993 said:

You've touched on it with the idea that some greenseer deep within the Heart of Winter could be the mind behind the Others, which is something I like. The idea that they are being lead by some ultra-Other would be very unlike something we'd expect from GRRM. But I do wonder what people's opinions are on the 'Great Other' that Mellisandre has spoken of, and what kind of relationship - if any - this God would have with the Others?

We won't get some Dark Lord guy leading the Others to battle from George. If such a person existed we would already have seen glimpses of him or her. But an unseen mind like a greenseer is a different matter. Bloodraven also doesn't exactly show his face a lot. He was there throughout the books but only on a very subtle level. A sort of anti-Bran directing the Others would sure as hell do nothing to alert the humans to his or her presence. Just as the Others themselves are very cautious in that regard.

The Great Other could, in a sense, turn out to be such a greenseer. But the idea that there is really some sort of evil divine power behind the Others makes little sense. The world view of the red priests is just their religious fantasy. It is very unlikely that it is correct picture of the metaphysical realities in Martinworld.

Melisandre is most likely correct that this is a battle of life vs. death, fire vs. ice, etc., but it is not as easy as she makes it, with her god representing the good guys and the evil demons serving the evil gods. As things stand the good guys created the evil demons because they simply could no live in peace with their neighbors. The First Men forced the Children to create the Others. Something that was, most likely, wrong, but not something that came out of nowhere or is not understandable from the point of view of the Children involved.

In a very real sense humanity seems to deserve what the Others are planning to do to them. It comes somewhat late but it is not exactly that they ways have changed. They did they best to eradicate the Children and the giants, etc. and now they have spent millennia trying to kill each other.

If there is a guiding mind behind the whole thing the creature might not only be motivated by hatred but also by a twisted sense of compassion, going with the idea of doing humanity a favor by putting them out of their misery. That might be the point where Jon (if he is the one eventually going to the Heart of Winter on dragonback and confronting that creature) might be able to stop the whole thing. George has indicated that POVs will explore the Lands of Always Winter in future books. Bran will be able to do it mentally but there is no chance that he'll ever go physically up there.

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1 hour ago, Grazdan zo Azer said:

Jon Snow went to the Wall and Benjen went to beyond the Wall. Not enough?

Nope. That castle, in particular, must be manned by a Stark at all times. There are a number of fairly good guesses as to why.

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4 hours ago, Damon_Tor said:

When humans broke a specific part of the pact, knowingly or unknowingly (my money is on "There must always be a Stark in Winterfell") it reactivated the weapon.

Problem with this theory is that the Others have been mobilizing long before the series starts.  IIRC, Mance is making his play to become King Beyond the Wall specifically to unite the wildlings in the face of the threat of the Others.  Also, when Benjen visits Winterfell, the Others are already moving - this is one of the reasons why he visits.  It's implied very strongly that the rangers know a good deal more about what's going on beyond the Wall than most of the NW.

Presumably, there are plenty of other times there hasn't been a Stark in Winterfell.  For example, if Rickard Stark went hunting during the Tourney at Harrenhal.  And if it isn't literal, then we get a lot of issues about what consitutes a "Stark in Winterfell".

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It is seems pretty likely that the Others were created by the Children after the (or some of the) First Men broke the Pact.

Its extremely unlikely.  Why, exactly, do the Children create an army of omnicidal ice demons, immediately after which they are forced to ally with the very enemy they created said demons to fight against in order not to be exterminated by their creations?

This seems like another oversimplification of the show that can be safely ignored.  

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Posted (edited)

18 minutes ago, cpg2016 said:

Problem with this theory is that the Others have been mobilizing long before the series starts.  IIRC, Mance is making his play to become King Beyond the Wall specifically to unite the wildlings in the face of the threat of the Others.  Also, when Benjen visits Winterfell, the Others are already moving - this is one of the reasons why he visits.  It's implied very strongly that the rangers know a good deal more about what's going on beyond the Wall than most of the NW.

The idea here most likely is that the Others may only have begun their preparation after the dragons were gone. If they knew about the dragonlords of Valyria this may have kept them in check for thousands of years, and the after the Doom the dragons came to Westeros. Yes, it was much fewer dragons but they were multiplying up until the Dance and they were a lot closer.

But we know that winter supposedly grew longer and harder after the last dragon died in 153 AC and thus it is not that far-fetched to say that the preparation for the final eradication of mankind began around that time. The Others can be very patient.

Quote

Its extremely unlikely.  Why, exactly, do the Children create an army of omnicidal ice demons, immediately after which they are forced to ally with the very enemy they created said demons to fight against in order not to be exterminated by their creations?

The thing is - we don't know whether they allied with the Last Hero or the First Men during the Long Night. We know the Last Hero looked for them and then the story ends. We don't know what really happened. And there is no hint whatsoever that the Others were ever a threat to the Children. Perhaps those Children who the Last Hero finally found took a pity on him and mankind.  Perhaps some of them had a change of heart and helped him to deal a blow to the Others. As their creators they would have known how to destroy them and how to defend against them.

Also notice that they decided to live on the northern side of the Wall they helped to create. Why is that? If the Others were their enemies it makes no sense for them to stay in the lands the Others have easy access to.

Edited by Lord Varys

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4 hours ago, JordanJH1993 said:

I agree to an extent that the War of the Five Kings is an extreme case of the usual bickering among Lords, but it also laid to significant consequences, especially in the North. As @Damon_Tor points out, it lead to no Stark being in Winterfell. The First Men, the men of the Night's Watch and the Children of the Forest came together to defeat the Others in the Battle of the Dawn. The blood of the First Men runs strongly through the Starks, if the North is in chaos and the Starks have crumbled, the Others could have seen that as an opportunity to strike, when their greatest foe, the blood of the First Men, are in turmoil.

So everything that happened in the build up to the War of the Five Kings, such as the Ned, Sansa and Arya going south when Ned becomes Robert's Hand, the beheading of Ned, Robb taking an army south, Theon taking Winterfell and Bran and Rickon fleeing north could have impacted on the Others choosing their time to make a move.

Considering that Mance Rayder has been uniting the different tribes of the Free Folk, which would logically take years, it says that the Others have been active for quite a while, far before our story starts.

I admit that I am a little bit confused over the "there must always be a Stark in Winterfell" line and what it could mean, but unless it is directly tied to the seasons, I'm unconvinced that the coming of the Others is anything other than the simple changing of the seasons.

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44 minutes ago, cpg2016 said:

Problem with this theory is that the Others have been mobilizing long before the series starts.

About the same time Catelyn took up residence in Winterfell, you say?

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4 minutes ago, Damon_Tor said:

About the same time Catelyn took up residence in Winterfell, you say?

... no, I don't think there is any evidence of that.  Besides, Starks marry non-Starks all the time... literally all the time, in fact, because they aren't Targaryens and aren't incestuous

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