JordanJH1993

Do the Others have knowledge of the rest of Westeros?

66 posts in this topic

1 minute ago, cpg2016 said:

... 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

Sure, but Cat is the first to be raised in the Andal culture. Every other Lady Stark has come from a family that keeps the Old Gods... and families that have over the years taken their own fair share of Stark brides themselves.

And, point of fact, Starks do marry Starks. Eddard's mother's maiden name was "Stark". They were second cousins IIRC.

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38 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

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

Do we?  I'm not debating you, I just never remember hearing this.

39 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

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

The Others are out to kill and enslave all life.  That's it.  It's why the Children are assisting Bran and Bloodraven.  It's why various wildlife appear as wights.  

39 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

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.

You don't understand the history here, clearly.  The Children live on both sides of the Wall, it's just that men multiply and spread more quickly over the more fertile southern reaches, and more quickly overrun and wipe out the children and other "magical" beasts.  Men are their enemies as well, especially the Andals who didn't sign the Pact.

Both thematically and from the information we're given, the Others are a naturally occurring species, like dragons.  Why or when they come is irrelevant; the point is that they represent the true threat, and the political squabbles over the Iron Throne are distracting from that.  That's the thematic point of the series; Martin himself has said that while the book titles represent periods of the Wot5K, the series title is a reminder about the true battle/threat.  It just doesn't make sense that the Children of the Forest create this superweapon, and do it so incredibly poorly that their weapon immediately turns and wipes them out.  We already know they had a superweapon that failed - the Hammer of the Waters, which destroys the Arm of Dorne and maybe also the Neck.  It also removes a lot of the thematic resonance of the Others, which is that this isn't about relative lists of grievances, or the inner evil of men coming back to haunt them, or something grimdark like that.  The Others are winter given sentience; they kill because it's their nature, and we don't need to ask why.

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11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

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.

 

What you are saying links to my original point about the Others knowing what is going on in the south. The Dragonlords came and went thousands of years after the Others first came and the dragons were 'extinct' long before they prepared their second assault. How exactly would the Others know that dragons were in Westeros and how would they know dragons were a threat to them? Because if they are a threat and if they do know, they'd be aware that a Targaryen girl intends to land in Westeros with three more dragons, which surely would put the Others off descending.

I am trying to work out whether Others are - to put in simple terms - more animal-like or human-like. Animals remember things from their ancestors; a domestic cat will be let out of the house for the first time and see a bird and know exactly how to kill it. Humans would need a reason and would need to learn how to do something like that first. Are Others almost programmed like animals to instinctively want to kill their prey (humanity)? Or is it something they choose to do?

11 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

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.

The only counter to that would be that they may have wanted to keep an eye on their enemy, but then who is their ally to keep informed of the Others' movements? As far as we are aware, they haven't made contact with humanity in thousands of years. But perhaps that could be Bran's role? Has he been called north to be a go between for the Children and humanity?

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10 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

It also removes a lot of the thematic resonance of the Others, which is that this isn't about relative lists of grievances, or the inner evil of men coming back to haunt them, or something grimdark like that.  The Others are winter given sentience; they kill because it's their nature, and we don't need to ask why.

So you believe the Others' are nothing but a humanity killing machine? There is no reason behind what they do, they are just programmed to do it?

That's part of the point I was trying to discover, whether they are all that they appear to be - a humanoid species designed for no other reason than to wipe out humanity, which they will do without flinching or thinking - or whether they had reasons, designs or conscience regarding what they are doing. Is each Other the same as another Other? Or are they all unique? Could some be reluctant, say?

You seem to be on the side of the first suggestion.

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19 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

Do we?  I'm not debating you, I just never remember hearing this.

It is mentioned in 'The Hedge Knight', the first Dunk & Egg story. Ser Arlan of Pennytree, Dunk's knightly master, saw the last dragon at KL a year before its death. The people of that age apparently were able to measure and notice the difference between the winters in the dragon era days and the winters thereafter.

19 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

The Others are out to kill and enslave all life.  That's it.  It's why the Children are assisting Bran and Bloodraven.  It's why various wildlife appear as wights.  

I agree that the Others' ultimate victory might include the destruction of all life. But if the Others were created to destroy mankind at a point in the time when the Children were very pissed that they are going to be extinct by the First Men this would make complete sense. Why should the Children care what happens to the world if their species are going to be extinct? Why not take everything with them if that's going to allow them to avenge themselves on their enemies?

In addition, you have to keep in mind that nothing indicates the Others are actively killing animals. They just make wights out of dead animals. The only creatures they actively kill are humans.

19 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

You don't understand the history here, clearly.  The Children live on both sides of the Wall, it's just that men multiply and spread more quickly over the more fertile southern reaches, and more quickly overrun and wipe out the children and other "magical" beasts.  Men are their enemies as well, especially the Andals who didn't sign the Pact.

Sure, but if the Others were among their main enemies it would still be very odd that they put themselves at their mercy by retreating to their lands.

19 hours ago, cpg2016 said:

Both thematically and from the information we're given, the Others are a naturally occurring species, like dragons.  Why or when they come is irrelevant; the point is that they represent the true threat, and the political squabbles over the Iron Throne are distracting from that.  That's the thematic point of the series; Martin himself has said that while the book titles represent periods of the Wot5K, the series title is a reminder about the true battle/threat.  It just doesn't make sense that the Children of the Forest create this superweapon, and do it so incredibly poorly that their weapon immediately turns and wipes them out.  We already know they had a superweapon that failed - the Hammer of the Waters, which destroys the Arm of Dorne and maybe also the Neck.  It also removes a lot of the thematic resonance of the Others, which is that this isn't about relative lists of grievances, or the inner evil of men coming back to haunt them, or something grimdark like that.  The Others are winter given sentience; they kill because it's their nature, and we don't need to ask why.

No, there is no hint that the Others are natural creatures. George himself has said that the Others have 'no culture of their own', and we know from Craster's wives that Craster's sons are the Others. If that's true then the Others are male men that have been magically transformed somehow. They are no natural species.

We also know that the freak seasons have magical origins. It seems very likely that the existence of the Others is the reason why there are so long and cold winters in this world. Winter is not some natural principle there. It is unnatural, created by foul magic, and when things go back to normal Martinworld will have normal seasons again as it did in ancient days.

8 hours ago, JordanJH1993 said:

What you are saying links to my original point about the Others knowing what is going on in the south. The Dragonlords came and went thousands of years after the Others first came and the dragons were 'extinct' long before they prepared their second assault. How exactly would the Others know that dragons were in Westeros and how would they know dragons were a threat to them? Because if they are a threat and if they do know, they'd be aware that a Targaryen girl intends to land in Westeros with three more dragons, which surely would put the Others off descending.

I assume they have magical means to find out what's going on out of their lands. Or the mind/power behind them has such means. In addition, they might be able to feel the presence of dragons due to them embodying fire magic.

Dany's three dragons might become a problem for them, but we don't know how far they can look to Essos or whether they can or all willing to postpone their plans any further. They may have worked since the death of the last dragon to prepare for the coming winter and the new Long Night they are going to cast over the world. They might not be willing to wait until the dragons have killed each other again. Especially since they might end up procreating again. Three dragons came to Westeros with the Targaryens and in the end there were over twenty dragons on the continent.

8 hours ago, JordanJH1993 said:

I am trying to work out whether Others are - to put in simple terms - more animal-like or human-like. Animals remember things from their ancestors; a domestic cat will be let out of the house for the first time and see a bird and know exactly how to kill it. Humans would need a reason and would need to learn how to do something like that first. Are Others almost programmed like animals to instinctively want to kill their prey (humanity)? Or is it something they choose to do?

They can talk and wield swords. They are more like humans than animals, that much is clear. And they are pretty subtle, very patient, and able to use longterm stratagems. I mean, putting the wights close to the weirwood grove wasn't just a means to kill the leadership of the Watch but also a way to draw the NW out behind the Wall to butcher them all at the Fist. A plan that began in AGoT and only came to fruition in ASoS. They can bide their time. And they will continue to do so until winter has set in south of the Wall.

8 hours ago, JordanJH1993 said:

The only counter to that would be that they may have wanted to keep an eye on their enemy, but then who is their ally to keep informed of the Others' movements? As far as we are aware, they haven't made contact with humanity in thousands of years. But perhaps that could be Bran's role? Has he been called north to be a go between for the Children and humanity?

Again, one imagines that they can perceive things somehow. Or at least the power behind them can. If there is some corrupted greenseer working with them in the Heart of Winter he or she certainly should be able to see the world in a similar way as Bran sees it in his dream back in AGoT.

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On 8/11/2017 at 3:39 AM, JordanJH1993 said:

So you believe the Others' are nothing but a humanity killing machine? There is no reason behind what they do, they are just programmed to do it?

That's part of the point I was trying to discover, whether they are all that they appear to be - a humanoid species designed for no other reason than to wipe out humanity, which they will do without flinching or thinking - or whether they had reasons, designs or conscience regarding what they are doing. Is each Other the same as another Other? Or are they all unique? Could some be reluctant, say?

You seem to be on the side of the first suggestion.

I think they are supernatural slavers.  Like, why did the Valryians conquer and enslave everyone they came across?  If you are one of the many people ground under the heel of Valyria to work the Fourteen Flames, you probably feel much like Westerosi do about the Others.

The Others want to dominate all life.  For them, that means killing them and raising them as undead zombies.  We know the Others cannot exist without bitter cold and have an aversion to fire.  Why can't they just be winter made flesh, come south to conquer and enslave until they cover the world?

On 8/11/2017 at 0:26 PM, Lord Varys said:

But if the Others were created to destroy mankind at a point in the time when the Children were very pissed that they are going to be extinct by the First Men this would make complete sense

I mean... what is your argument?  That the Children of the Forest knowingly created an enemy so powerful that it immediately burst their ability to control it?  All I know is we have evidence of one supernaturally powerful weapon the Children have; it doesn't really make thematic sense that they have another.  And plotwise, it seems silly that they create this weapon, no knowledge of that is passed down, and they immediately stop fighting with the First Men in order to ally with them to beat the Others.

Besides, geographically, why create the Others in the far far north of the continent when the fight is in the south?  None of this really makes sense.

On 8/11/2017 at 0:26 PM, Lord Varys said:

Sure, but if the Others were among their main enemies it would still be very odd that they put themselves at their mercy by retreating to their lands.

Well, the Others haven't been in the Haunted Forest and the general environs of the wildlings for thousands upon thousands of years.

And if your choice is face immediate extinction in the face of the Andal invasion (and maybe residual First Man conflict) or go north of the Wall where you are safer but risk dying in a couple thousand years, that's... a pretty easy choice?  Look at how many people today would rather make a quick buck exploiting the earth than contemplate the possibility that it might cost infinitely more down the road?  People are bad at understanding long term costs and consequences.  Maybe the Children of the Forest are different, but the choice between death today and death tomorrow seems an easy one to me.

On 8/11/2017 at 0:26 PM, Lord Varys said:

No, there is no hint that the Others are natural creatures

Actually, what there is no hint of is that the Children created the Others.  The default assumption for any species is that it is naturally occurring.  It doesn't warrant pointing out - we have no hint that horses or humans or chickens are "natural" creatures either, for the same reason.

On 8/11/2017 at 0:26 PM, Lord Varys said:

It seems very likely that the existence of the Others is the reason why there are so long and cold winters in this world.

I don't think we have enough evidence to say, but it's a reasonable theory.  Unfortunately, it implies that the Others create the weird weather, and not the other (lol) way around.  Which means it's far more likely the Others are the source of foul magic, rather than the result of it (e.g. the Children creating them).

On 8/11/2017 at 0:26 PM, Lord Varys said:

we know from Craster's wives that Craster's sons are the Others. If that's true then the Others are male men that have been magically transformed somehow. They are no natural species.

I want to point out that we know nothing of the sort.  Craster's wives, who have no reason to believe it besides superstition, have this opinion.  But we have no evidence.

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On 10/08/2017 at 6:55 PM, 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.

Yes, the supposed pact with the CoTF is really just a Racial Pogrom that the Perfect, Pure and Superior Northern Masterrace(tm) must stay Perfect, Pure and Northern. Because the Others are really just Ice Zombie Nazies who would really give a damn about human bloodlines.

Let's not forget that that "nasty UnStarky Woman" is nor only a dirty, mongrel southerner, but also defiled, perfect, pure, superior, northern Winterfell's perfect superior northerness by building a blasphemic shrine to her effeminate, filthy Southerner Gods.

Seriously :rolleyes: I really don't get people who support that theory. besides I wouldn't call Catelyn particularly "UnStarky" by the time of GoT she has integrated quite well into her new home.  Plus, I still say "there Must always be a Stark at Winterfell"(TM) merely means something to the effect "Someone must hold down the fort" from a time when the Starks weren't the undisputed Kings in the North/Wardens of the North.

Aside from the Stark blood connection just being beyond silly (particularly because GRRM has already said that the population of Westeros has pretty much mixed and there aren't any "pure" Andal and First Men lines left) and full of unfortunate implications there's just too many factors we don't know:

1) Why do the Others want to go South?

2) What are the origins, purpose (if any) and agenda (if any) of the Others

3) Do the Others cause long winters, or do long winters merely give the Others a  chance to launch their invasions

4) Does this whole thing have to do with the return of magic and/or the Dragons?

5) Might it just be a natural circle.

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1 hour ago, cpg2016 said:

I mean... what is your argument?  That the Children of the Forest knowingly created an enemy so powerful that it immediately burst their ability to control it?  All I know is we have evidence of one supernaturally powerful weapon the Children have; it doesn't really make thematic sense that they have another.  And plotwise, it seems silly that they create this weapon, no knowledge of that is passed down, and they immediately stop fighting with the First Men in order to ally with them to beat the Others.

I never said the Others broke free of the control of the Children or that the Children ever controlled them. Could be that they just created them knowing fully well that would hasten and/or seal their own demise. If you know you are going to die no matter what taking your enemy (or everyone else) with you can give you a certain satisfaction.

Note that Bran is confused by the fact that the Children apparently have accepted the fact that they are going to go extinct. But nobody ever said they did accept that back when the Others first appeared, yes?

In addition, there is no reason to assume 'the Children of the Forest' were ever a unified bloc. The First Men aren't, either. They warred against each other continuously just as the Westerosi do till this day. The Children may have had less infighting than human cultures but they may have had a different opinions of how to deal with the First Men threat. Some might of created the Others, others may have opposed that idea. And those creating the Others might still be up in the Heart of Winter while those in Bloodraven's cave may have cut ties with these people.

1 hour ago, cpg2016 said:

Besides, geographically, why create the Others in the far far north of the continent when the fight is in the south?  None of this really makes sense.

How so? Perhaps the Others could only be created at a place where ice (magic) was strong? Or, perhaps even more likely, the First Men began driving the Children up into the far north even this early?

1 hour ago, cpg2016 said:

Well, the Others haven't been in the Haunted Forest and the general environs of the wildlings for thousands upon thousands of years.

Have they? We don't know. They could have been there the entire time, just not made a lot of trouble. And they do not really trouble the Children. There are no Children wights among their thralls, nor is there any indication that the Others try to attack the Children or the Children do anything to stop the Others. The Children could have offered their help to Mance and the wildlings. But they did not.

It is Bloodraven who called Bran to the cave, not the Children. The Children follow his guidance and advice because he is the last greenseer but if a Child of the Forest was the last greenseer I doubt he or she would care much about Bran or humanity in general.

1 hour ago, cpg2016 said:

And if your choice is face immediate extinction in the face of the Andal invasion (and maybe residual First Man conflict) or go north of the Wall where you are safer but risk dying in a couple thousand years, that's... a pretty easy choice?  Look at how many people today would rather make a quick buck exploiting the earth than contemplate the possibility that it might cost infinitely more down the road?  People are bad at understanding long term costs and consequences.  Maybe the Children of the Forest are different, but the choice between death today and death tomorrow seems an easy one to me.

The First Men apparently were the allies of the Children during the Long Night. If we assume the Others were their common enemy. Under those circumstances it is odd that they should not want to enjoy the protection of the Wall they helped to build and imbued with their ancient and powerful spells. It is the spell of the Children that makes the Wall work, not something the First Men came up with.

1 hour ago, cpg2016 said:

Actually, what there is no hint of is that the Children created the Others.  The default assumption for any species is that it is naturally occurring.  It doesn't warrant pointing out - we have no hint that horses or humans or chickens are "natural" creatures either, for the same reason.

We have every reason to ignore that default assumption here because we know that the Others have no culture of their own. George himself said that. A species that has no culture isn't a normal species at all.

1 hour ago, cpg2016 said:

I don't think we have enough evidence to say, but it's a reasonable theory.  Unfortunately, it implies that the Others create the weird weather, and not the other (lol) way around.  Which means it's far more likely the Others are the source of foul magic, rather than the result of it (e.g. the Children creating them).

That isn't really clear, either. If the Children created the Others the first part there could have been some sort of foul spell disrupting the natural balance and creating the freak seasons. Once the natural order of things was thus weakened they could have created those ice demons working with human specimens as carriers of that 'sickness'. That is hardly impossible. 

It might also be possible that the Others are responsible for the freak seasons but I doubt that this is something they could pull off all by themselves. They fulfill a specific function - destroy mankind - but they don't seem to have any goals of their own besides that.

1 hour ago, cpg2016 said:

I want to point out that we know nothing of the sort.  Craster's wives, who have no reason to believe it besides superstition, have this opinion.  But we have no evidence.

You cannot dismiss them so easily. Those women lived with Craster. They sure as hell could have witnessed Craster handing his sons to the Others. Hell, they could even have participated in such exchanges. The idea that Craster's wives didn't ask their (grand-)father-husband where all their sons were going isn't exactly very likely, especially not in the early stages of this unnatural pact. Craster's own father didn't hand him over to the Others, did he? So this whole pact has a beginning, and stretches back a couple of decades. Craster's first wives - the old women - might even have been there when the first Others showed up at their keep reaching the understanding with Craster.

And I doubt he was the only wildling to accept this kind of thing. What else should people do in the middle of winter? Especially if the Others grant you a less horrible winter in return for your compliance. You want to live, after all.

We also have never seen a female Other up to this point. And we do know they all look alike. That's very evident in the Prologue of AGoT.

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On 8/11/2017 at 11:26 AM, Lord Varys said:

George himself has said that the Others have 'no culture of their own', and we know from Craster's wives that Craster's sons are the Others.

Actually, GRRM said he didn't know if they had a culture.  Not quite the same thing.

As for Craster's wife on the left, what we know is merely that she says that.  This is roughly as reliable a statement as "The sun orbits the world," which any character in canon might say as derived from the personal experience of watching the sun appear to cross the sky every day.  A character who says such a thing does not automatically qualify as an expert, but only as a human being with an idea.

Here's a subtle point on this topic.  Sam, who was standing right there when she said that, obviously considered her authority and decided not to believe her.  

We know this because he was chartered by his Lord Commander and personal friend to learn all he could on the Others and report back, and it never even occurred to him to mention the incredibly salient point that the Others come from Craster's wives' uteruses, which would surely be of interest to Jon.

Sam's a pretty bright lad, and I think he made the right call.  Those wives also claim that the Others are satisfied with sheep sacrifices, whenever babies aren't handy.  This, I have to say, strikes me as a deeply dubious notion.

Or perhaps it really is true, in which case we should expect a murderous ice-sheep with blue eyes and a bad attitude to come trotting out of the forest in the next book...

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55 minutes ago, JNR said:

Actually, GRRM said he didn't know if they had a culture.  Not quite the same thing.

No, not at all the same thing. 

55 minutes ago, JNR said:

As for Craster's wife on the left, what we know is merely that she says that.  This is roughly as reliable a statement as "The sun orbits the world," which any character in canon might say as derived from the personal experience of watching the sun appear to cross the sky every day.  A character who says such a thing does not automatically qualify as an expert, but only as a human being with an idea.

:agree:

 

55 minutes ago, JNR said:

Here's a subtle point on this topic.  Sam, who was standing right there when she said that, obviously considered her authority and decided not to believe her.  

We know this because he was chartered by his Lord Commander and personal friend to learn all he could on the Others and report back, and it never even occurred to him to mention the incredibly salient point that the Others come from Craster's wives' uteruses, which would surely be of interest to Jon.

:lol:

 

55 minutes ago, JNR said:

Sam's a pretty bright lad, and I think he made the right call.  Those wives also claim that the Others are satisfied with sheep sacrifices, whenever babies aren't handy.  This, I have to say, strikes me as a deeply dubious notion.

Or perhaps it really is true, in which case we should expect a murderous ice-sheep with blue eyes and a bad attitude to come trotting out of the forest in the next book...

Perfect! :lmao:

 

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1 hour ago, JNR said:

Actually, GRRM said he didn't know if they had a culture.  Not quite the same thing.

As for Craster's wife on the left, what we know is merely that she says that.  This is roughly as reliable a statement as "The sun orbits the world," which any character in canon might say as derived from the personal experience of watching the sun appear to cross the sky every day.  A character who says such a thing does not automatically qualify as an expert, but only as a human being with an idea.

Here's a subtle point on this topic.  Sam, who was standing right there when she said that, obviously considered her authority and decided not to believe her.  

We know this because he was chartered by his Lord Commander and personal friend to learn all he could on the Others and report back, and it never even occurred to him to mention the incredibly salient point that the Others come from Craster's wives' uteruses, which would surely be of interest to Jon.

Sam's a pretty bright lad, and I think he made the right call.  Those wives also claim that the Others are satisfied with sheep sacrifices, whenever babies aren't handy.  This, I have to say, strikes me as a deeply dubious notion.

Or perhaps it really is true, in which case we should expect a murderous ice-sheep with blue eyes and a bad attitude to come trotting out of the forest in the next book...

Well, Kissdbyfire beat me to it, but, yup to all of this. 

By the way, I have two sheep. I will have to ask them what the lamblore says about ice resurrection. 

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Just now, The Fattest Leech said:

Well, Kissdbyfire beat me to it, but, yup to all of this. 

By the way, I have two sheep. I will have to ask them what the lamblore says about ice resurrection. 

Remember that convo about you making elk's antlers for them? Now I'm intrigued... how would they look as evil ice sheep? :eek:

 

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3 minutes ago, kissdbyfire said:

Remember that convo about you making elk's antlers for them? Now I'm intrigued... how would they look as evil ice sheep? :eek:

 

Hahaha. I DO! 

I was just at the craft store about two hours ago looking at armature wire after looking at pet Halloween costumes, and none were sheep sized antler racks :D

(yes, Halloween stuff is out already :ack:)

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1 hour ago, JNR said:

Actually, GRRM said he didn't know if they had a culture.  Not quite the same thing.

Still, they should have a culture if they were a proper species, should they not? And George sure as hell should know (and does know) whether they have a culture or not. He created them. He knows everything that's to know about them.

1 hour ago, JNR said:

As for Craster's wife on the left, what we know is merely that she says that.  This is roughly as reliable a statement as "The sun orbits the world," which any character in canon might say as derived from the personal experience of watching the sun appear to cross the sky every day.  A character who says such a thing does not automatically qualify as an expert, but only as a human being with an idea.

Here's a subtle point on this topic.  Sam, who was standing right there when she said that, obviously considered her authority and decided not to believe her.  

We know this because he was chartered by his Lord Commander and personal friend to learn all he could on the Others and report back, and it never even occurred to him to mention the incredibly salient point that the Others come from Craster's wives' uteruses, which would surely be of interest to Jon.

Sam's a pretty bright lad, and I think he made the right call.  Those wives also claim that the Others are satisfied with sheep sacrifices, whenever babies aren't handy.  This, I have to say, strikes me as a deeply dubious notion.

Or perhaps it really is true, in which case we should expect a murderous ice-sheep with blue eyes and a bad attitude to come trotting out of the forest in the next book...

I really don't care about your attempts to discredit the source material here. It might be that Craster's wives don't have the full picture on the whole thing, but you don't know more about this whole thing than they do. They live in this world and their father-husband interacted with the Others just as they may have done. They know infinitely more about the Others than you or I.

Sam's interpretation of this whole thing is worth pretty much nothing.

It is true that rumors and hearsay are often not worth much in this series. But those are not rumors (and even rumors may contain some truth). The wives expect their sons - the Others - to come back. Perhaps they are wrong in their belief that they will come (after all, they don't, or at least they don't arrive in time) but this doesn't mean they are wrong about what happened to their sons. They might actually have confirmation about what happened to them because they may have seen them transform. We don't know exactly what happens when Craster handed his sons to the Others. He and his wives may have witnessed or even participated in the magical rituals that transformed the children. The idea that this are just some blood sacrifices is far from confirmed. George deliberately keeps quiet about this whole thing.

As to the animal sacrifices to the Others - there is no reason to believe the point behind those is the same as the point behind them demanding male children. Nobody but you seems to conflating these two things.

In fact, one wonders why the Others only take male children in the first place. Craster has enough wives to give them the occasional daughter, too, doesn't he? And what is the point behind them demanding human children from Craster anyway? They must have a need for those. Why take them at all?

In any case - we have certain hints indicating that the Others are not, in fact, a natural species.

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On ‎13‎/‎08‎/‎2017 at 1:42 AM, Lord Varys said:

In fact, one wonders why the Others only take male children in the first place. Craster has enough wives to give them the occasional daughter, too, doesn't he? And what is the point behind them demanding human children from Craster anyway? They must have a need for those. Why take them at all?

In any case - we have certain hints indicating that the Others are not, in fact, a natural species.

On ‎12‎/‎08‎/‎2017 at 8:11 PM, Lord Varys said:

 

We also have never seen a female Other up to this point. And we do know they all look alike. That's very evident in the Prologue of AGoT.

Do you believe, then, that the Others are a species of only men, or are they a species beyond gender?

Say, if Craster's sons are turned into Others, do they turn into a male Other or just an Other? If so, that would suggest they can't mate and can't reproduce, which is why they would need to 'turn' humans into Others. But if they could simply turn people into Others, would they not have wanted to capture people as opposed to kill them or try to kill them, as they did with Waymar Royce and Sam Tarly, especially when Waymar Royce was on his own and outnumbered (Will was up in a tree).

If Others become Others by being turned into an Other, maybe the procedure needs to be done early in the person's life, which could be the reason Craster's babies are taken, as opposed to letting them grow into men before being taken. Which begs the question, do the turn into 'baby Others' and grow up from there, or are they magically transformed from a baby human into a fully grown Other?

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On 8/12/2017 at 3:11 PM, Lord Varys said:

I never said the Others broke free of the control of the Children or that the Children ever controlled them. Could be that they just created them knowing fully well that would hasten and/or seal their own demise. If you know you are going to die no matter what taking your enemy (or everyone else) with you can give you a certain satisfaction.

This would make a weird kind of twisted sense, if the Children didn't immediately start fighting the Others.  Saying "they wanted to die on their own terms so they created a super powered magical ice enemy, but then immediately decided they didn't want to die" is an awful argument.

On 8/12/2017 at 3:11 PM, Lord Varys said:

In addition, there is no reason to assume 'the Children of the Forest' were ever a unified bloc. The First Men aren't, either. They warred against each other continuously just as the Westerosi do till this day.

We are never given even the slightest hint that this kind of factionalism exists among the Children.  And the First Men, who did fight each other, are entirely unified when it comes to their war with the Children, so your argument doesn't really hold here.  That people may fight among themselves, and then unify in the face of an external threat, is a well-accepted fact.

On 8/12/2017 at 3:11 PM, Lord Varys said:

How so? Perhaps the Others could only be created at a place where ice (magic) was strong? Or, perhaps even more likely, the First Men began driving the Children up into the far north even this early?

We know the Pact was signed at the Isle of Faces in the God's Eye.  Which means that was almost certainly right along the contested border between "First Man" and "CotF" areas of influence.  That's how pacts work, generally - the two sides come together in a neutral place.

On 8/12/2017 at 3:11 PM, Lord Varys said:

It is Bloodraven who called Bran to the cave, not the Children. The Children follow his guidance and advice because he is the last greenseer but if a Child of the Forest was the last greenseer I doubt he or she would care much about Bran or humanity in general.

The Children are actively assisting Bran.  I'm not sure how this could be more clear.  They had to have taught Bloodraven about the full extent of his powers in turn.  As usual, your argument falls flat on even the most cursory examination.  The Children are helping humanity defeat the Others.  That's all there is to it.  I'm not sure why you feel the need to question that motive, especially when you consider that at some point, they helped Bloodraven gain access to his full power.  So why help him, in that case?

On 8/12/2017 at 3:11 PM, Lord Varys said:

The First Men apparently were the allies of the Children during the Long Night. If we assume the Others were their common enemy. Under those circumstances it is odd that they should not want to enjoy the protection of the Wall they helped to build and imbued with their ancient and powerful spells. It is the spell of the Children that makes the Wall work, not something the First Men came up with.

Alright, you need to understand geography and history here.  The Children DID enjoy the protection of the Wall, for many thousands of years.  They got the forests, and the First Men the fields, and all was well (more or less).  Then the Andals come, who aren't party to the Pact, and start killing the Children (and the First Men).  So, if I'm a not-idiot Child of the Forest, I think "I can die today at the hands of some Andal warrior, or I can go North of the Wall, where the Andals can't/won't go, and live to see tomorrow, even if the Others might come back tomorrow and kill me".  This is really, really simple logic.  Your utter inability to comprehend that thousands of years have passed and conditions change is astounding.

On 8/12/2017 at 3:11 PM, Lord Varys said:

They fulfill a specific function - destroy mankind - but they don't seem to have any goals of their own besides that.

Actually, it's broader than this.  They are supernatural slavers.  They are out to enslave not only humanity but all life.  After all, they've turned various wildlife into wights to serve their own ends.  Which is why the whole "created by the Children" theory breaks down.  Unless your assertion is that the Children didn't understand what they were doing to such an extent that they created omnicidal ice zombies instead of a targeted and servile weapon against the First Men, the argument doesn't hold up.  And if that is your position - well, it's pretty stupid.  Why not say that the Others are god, and created the world, so they'd have some random people and animals to torment and enslave?

On 8/12/2017 at 3:11 PM, Lord Varys said:

They sure as hell could have witnessed Craster handing his sons to the Others.

He doesn't.  He leaves them in the woods, which is not at all the same thing.  You gotta stop watching the show.

 

On 8/12/2017 at 3:11 PM, Lord Varys said:

We also have never seen a female Other up to this point. And we do know they all look alike. That's very evident in the Prologue of AGoT.

Why do they have to be male and female?  They are ice zombies, they don't need to have a culture or complex motives to serve their part in the story.  The dragons seem to change sex (according to Septon Barth, who is basically GRRM weighing in on mystical stuff), why do you assume the Others must have fixed sexual dimorphism?'

On 8/12/2017 at 8:42 PM, Lord Varys said:

Still, they should have a culture if they were a proper species, should they not? And George sure as hell should know (and does know) whether they have a culture or not. He created them. He knows everything that's to know about them.

Tell us all about the culture of manticores, please. And maybe the culture of common worms, too, while you're at it.

Can't?  Oh, right, because despite being existing species, whatever passes for culture is unimportant to the story.  All we need to know is that the Others are out to eliminate all life - and mind you, they clearly have a sense of humor, which implies strongly a shared set of values (twisted as they may be).

On 8/12/2017 at 8:42 PM, Lord Varys said:

They live in this world and their father-husband interacted with the Others just as they may have done. They know infinitely more about the Others than you or I.

First off, Craster has never interacted with the Others.  He is acting on superstition as much as anyone else.  So at the end of the day, Craster's wives have less information on the Others than anyone else in the story, because they alone are being given an entirely circumstantial set of facts (that the Others can be bargained or reasoned with), told it's gospel, and making conclusions based on that.  Your average person who doesn't even believe in the Others is better informed, because they don't hold a bunch of baseless beliefs about the motivations of the Others.  Like, if I don't believe humans have walked on the moon, I am less uninformed than someone who does believe it, but that the moon is made of Gouda and Q-Tips.

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On 8/12/2017 at 10:49 AM, Orphalesion said:

Yes, the supposed pact with the CoTF is really just a Racial Pogrom that the Perfect, Pure and Superior Northern Masterrace(tm) must stay Perfect, Pure and Northern. Because the Others are really just Ice Zombie Nazies who would really give a damn about human bloodlines.

Bloodlines as a source of psychic power is a major plot element in the novels as regards the Targaryens. The Starks are brought into this via Rhaegar's abduction of Lyanna with apparent mythic overtones. Given that, it seems reasonable to assume that the Stark bloodline is similarly important.

Further, I don't suggest that the Others "care" about the Stark bloodline. Perhaps Stark genes include a psychic anathema to the Others that keeps them at bay. Or maybe the Others are on a deadman's switch set to trigger if the weirnet can't detect a psychic imprint unique to the Stark bloodline.

 

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On 12/8/2017 at 8:49 PM, Orphalesion said:

 

1) Why do the Others want to go South?

2) What are the origins, purpose (if any) and agenda (if any) of the Others

3) Do the Others cause long winters, or do long winters merely give the Others a  chance to launch their invasions

4) Does this whole thing have to do with the return of magic and/or the Dragons?

5) Might it just be a natural circle.

I think this is the most pertinent question of all. Impressive and ominous as they look, the Others, the wights and their ice swords and whatnot, the real killer is winter and the resulting famine. The Others can be dealt with. The winter looks to be an extinction level event.

As it has been hinted that the seasons were once of regural duration, it seems likely that someone at some point fucked up the cycle. If the Others could affect the length and severity of the Winter the question is why they haven't done so before.

As for the Others' agenda, while they may have other reasons, simple expansion will do.

In any case it looks to me like the Others are the symptom and not the problem. Whether they caused the winter or not it is that that needs fixing. The Others' potential for destruction hinges on that. This then would the objective of the series' magical aspect; to fix the seasons. The Others would stop any such attempts though.

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Even now, I'm still pretty surprised when I think about how just how little we know for sure about who the Others or the Undying of Qarth were or ever wanted to accomplish, and yet how natural it is to come to the conclusion that killing them before they kill you is your only option. That's good writing right there.

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If dragons are fire made flesh the WWs are ice made flesh. Well, not fleshy flesh but metaphorical flesh. :D

 

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