summitxho

Do you think there was anything special about Craster?

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His sons were the only ones shown to create white walkers, there was still plenty of wildlings beyond the wall in the first few seasons, but we were only shown Craster's sons being made into white walkers, is there any evidence in the book that white walkers are creating from any children, or specifically Craster's sons? From the legend of the Night's King falling in love with a female white walker, we know female ww supposedly exist, but we have only seen male white walkers to date, why? Is it because Craster only gave his sons away and only Craster children can create white walkers? I would think there may be some significance with this.

Upon his death, he took offense at being called a bastard, its what sets off the slaughter at Crasters Keep if I remember correctly. If he was indeed a wildling, then why was he offended? Ygritte and Tormund both made cases that wildling life is different than that of south of the wall, there are no bastards in wildling society and there is more "free loving" so to speak, so why would being called a bastard be so offensive to Craster? Its only supposed to be offensive to those south of the wall.

The night's watch and wildlings were bitter enemies, there did not seem to be any dialogue, just simple see the enemy, kill the enemy, so how did Craster make a sort of Truce with the Nights Watch? This all had me wondering if there was more to Craster than met the eye, which may tie in to his last known living son little Sam.

So do you think there is still some significance to Craster or Craster bloodline and how he fits into the white walkers? 

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1 hour ago, summitxho said:

is there any evidence in the book that white walkers are creating from any children, or specifically Craster's sons?

The part about Gilly being certain Craster will sacrifice her son to the Walkers, her sister-aunts call the Walkers his brothers, etc., that's all straight out of the books.

However, the books don't (at least not yet) have the unambiguous scene where we see the Others carry Craster's last son to an altar and turn him into one of them. So, it's possible that Craster's wives are just being superstitious, and Craster has no deal with the Others. Or maybe the Others eat the babies, who knows? But the story we've seen in the show seems most likely—it's what I think most of fandom expected even before the show did it. 

Meanwhile, Jon and Jeor Mormont have this discussion:

Quote
  • Jon: At Winterfell one of the serving women told us stories. She used to say that there were wildlings who would lay with the Others to birth half-human children.
  • Jeor: Hearth tales. Does Craster seem less than human to you?
  • Jon: He gives his sons to the wood.

That serving woman he's referring to is Old Nan, and GRRM has told us to pay attention to Old Nan because she often knows what she's talking about. So, that could actually be the primary way the Others reproduce (even if it's not true for the Walkers in the show).

If so, Craster could be one of those half-human children—Edd says his parents are a ranger and a wildling woman, but how would he know?—and he made a deal with the Others to take his own half-human sons instead of taking him.

1 hour ago, summitxho said:

From the legend of the Night's King falling in love with a female white walker, we know female ww supposedly exist, but we have only seen male white walkers to date

Well, Night's King's wife did have "skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars", and "her skin was cold as ice", which does sound like a female Other/WW, but Nan never actually said she was one. The Maesters think the story is true, but she's actually just a human daughter of the Barrow King. She could also be one of those half-human children again—if male Others can lay with human women, surely a half-human woman can lay with a human man.

Meanwhile, how do we actually know we've only seen males to date? Even in the show, they're all played by male actors, and half of them have beards, but they are a completely different species; that could be what their women look like. This doesn't seem likely, but it isn't completely impossible. And in the books, their description makes it even less open-and-shut.

And meanwhile, we've only seen a small handful of Walkers—some kind of "inner circle" that attends the Night King at the altar, and the generals of his army. If you only saw the high priesthood and the generals in many human societies, you'd conclude there were no female humans.

1 hour ago, summitxho said:

Upon his death, he took offense at being called a bastard, its what sets off the slaughter at Crasters Keep if I remember correctly. If he was indeed a wildling, then why was he offended? Ygritte and Tormund both made cases that wildling life is different than that of south of the wall, there are no bastards in wildling society and there is more "free loving" so to speak, so why would being called a bastard be so offensive to Craster? 

Craster's father was a ranger (at least according to Edd), and the book makes the point many times that Craster is as alienated from WIldling society as they are from Westerosi. He follows no Wildling laws, he has no love for Mance Rayder, he's never turned a ranger away from his fire, etc.

1 hour ago, summitxho said:

The night's watch and wildlings were bitter enemies, there did not seem to be any dialogue, just simple see the enemy, kill the enemy, so how did Craster make a sort of Truce with the Nights Watch?

The Watch and the wildlings know far too much about each other for there to be no friendly contact at all.

And their relationship probably ebbs and flows over the centuries, depending on how hardass the Lord Commander is, whether there's a King Beyond the Wall, whether there's more trade or raiding going on along the shores, etc.

1 hour ago, summitxho said:

So do you think there is still some significance to Craster or Craster bloodline and how he fits into the white walkers? 

On the show, I think we've learned all there is to learn: the Night King created his new army of White Walkers by turning Craster's children.

In the books, there could be more to it. I don't think anything will be that relevant to the big story, but it could be interesting. For example, maybe Craster's ranger father (assuming Edd is right and he actually had one) was a Stark, descended from the line of Joramun rather than Brandon the Breaker—but if so, I don't think that means Gilly has to blow the Horn of Winter or anything like that.

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17 hours ago, falcotron said:

The part about Gilly being certain Craster will sacrifice her son to the Walkers, her sister-aunts call the Walkers his brothers, etc., that's all straight out of the books.

However, the books don't (at least not yet) have the unambiguous scene where we see the Others carry Craster's last son to an altar and turn him into one of them. So, it's possible that Craster's wives are just being superstitious, and Craster has no deal with the Others. Or maybe the Others eat the babies, who knows? But the story we've seen in the show seems most likely—it's what I think most of fandom expected even before the show did it. 

Meanwhile, Jon and Jeor Mormont have this discussion:

That serving woman he's referring to is Old Nan, and GRRM has told us to pay attention to Old Nan because she often knows what she's talking about. So, that could actually be the primary way the Others reproduce (even if it's not true for the Walkers in the show).

If so, Craster could be one of those half-human children—Edd says his parents are a ranger and a wildling woman, but how would he know?—and he made a deal with the Others to take his own half-human sons instead of taking him.

Well, Night's King's wife did have "skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars", and "her skin was cold as ice", which does sound like a female Other/WW, but Nan never actually said she was one. The Maesters think the story is true, but she's actually just a human daughter of the Barrow King. She could also be one of those half-human children again—if male Others can lay with human women, surely a half-human woman can lay with a human man.

Meanwhile, how do we actually know we've only seen males to date? Even in the show, they're all played by male actors, and half of them have beards, but they are a completely different species; that could be what their women look like. This doesn't seem likely, but it isn't completely impossible. And in the books, their description makes it even less open-and-shut.

And meanwhile, we've only seen a small handful of Walkers—some kind of "inner circle" that attends the Night King at the altar, and the generals of his army. If you only saw the high priesthood and the generals in many human societies, you'd conclude there were no female humans.

Craster's father was a ranger (at least according to Edd), and the book makes the point many times that Craster is as alienated from WIldling society as they are from Westerosi. He follows no Wildling laws, he has no love for Mance Rayder, he's never turned a ranger away from his fire, etc.

The Watch and the wildlings know far too much about each other for there to be no friendly contact at all.

And their relationship probably ebbs and flows over the centuries, depending on how hardass the Lord Commander is, whether there's a King Beyond the Wall, whether there's more trade or raiding going on along the shores, etc.

On the show, I think we've learned all there is to learn: the Night King created his new army of White Walkers by turning Craster's children.

In the books, there could be more to it. I don't think anything will be that relevant to the big story, but it could be interesting. For example, maybe Craster's ranger father (assuming Edd is right and he actually had one) was a Stark, descended from the line of Joramun rather than Brandon the Breaker—but if so, I don't think that means Gilly has to blow the Horn of Winter or anything like that.

I appreciate the well thought out reply, it answered a lot of questions, I am half way through game of thrones book, looking forward to getting more into the details like this for sure, looks like there is a lot to learn still that did not make it to the show.

So focusing on the show, has there been any hints you know of that would point to other ways the white walkers can reproduce other than Craster? What is interesting to me, and again going off memory, other than the Night King and the original WW in E1S1, the white walkers all look the same in the show, same age, same look, same hair/beards. Could simply be a budget thing for GOT and I am reading too far in, or like you suggested simply the physical appearance of a WW can all look the same, we do not know, but I also wonder if there is a central connection they all share, like a clone of some sort, and how that relates to the boys Craster sacrificed since even human children are related but have different physical appearances, except identical twins that is. I would love to find out how or if a WW ages, we saw a baby turned into what appeared to be a WW, but how how long do they take to grow up? Do they age and then stop? Do they grow immediately into the WW we have seen on the show through some sort of magic? Guess we may never have an answer to that question, but I cannot help but wonder. Osha had mentioned the WW had been sleeping for thousands of years but had recently awoken, so I would assume some WW survived since the original invasion long before Craster offered up his sons, yet they all share the same physical appearance (from the ones we have seen thus far).

Being as WW existed long before Craster, there must be other ways of reproduction, which is why I am interested in Craster's bloodlines. Is there a connection there in which a blood relative of Craster was also responsible for the reproduction of WW after the original invasion I wonder once the COTF stopped creating them, and could this relate to little Sam being important in S8. Perhaps the Night King has lost his means of reproducing upon the death of Craster and no more male heirs of his bloodline. If Craster is indeed an outcast of the Wildlings and the Nights Watch, why? Do you think he could be a relative of something like the Night's King for example, or one of the other old tales of a disgraced westerosi/Nights watch who would then be outcast by both societies and harbor a bitterness towards humanity. Old Nan had mentioned Craster could come from Stark blood, the Night's King was also said to be possibly stark blood and also made human sacrifices. In the tales of the Night's King, it was said when he bed the women with skin as white as the moon and eyes blue like ice, he had given her his soul too. I had heard too that its important to pay attention to the old Nan tales, some of them must connect in the end I would think.

We do not know for sure we have only seen males to date I will concede, but I think its suggesting that on the show, they are supposed to be humanoid in appearance still, I think it would be more likely than not that they would make clear a female vs male WW, but you are correct, we do not know for sure. In the GOT world, women were known to also answer the call of battle, one only needs to look to house Mormont to see females can be warriors and leaders just the same as men, as well as Aegon the conqueror, were his sisters not considered generals in his army? I seem to remember something about that. Then you also have the maesters who is a male only establishment however, so while that could be a reason we have not seen a distinct female WW, I think the shows portrayal of women would contradict the statement that if you looked at generals or the upper echelons of society you would only see men. In our history? Absolutely, in the show history? While women are still held back, it seems quite a bit more empowering than our own history.

 

 

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9 hours ago, summitxho said:

So focusing on the show, has there been any hints you know of that would point to other ways the white walkers can reproduce other than Craster?

I don't think so.

Well, obviously the Night King must have had a way of producing Walkers 8000 years ago, and Craster is definitely not that old—but presumably he just had a different source of human babies back then.

9 hours ago, summitxho said:

What is interesting to me, and again going off memory, other than the Night King and the original WW in E1S1, the white walkers all look the same in the show, same age, same look, same hair/beards. Could simply be a budget thing for GOT and I am reading too far in, or like you suggested simply the physical appearance of a WW can all look the same, we do not know, but I also wonder if there is a central connection they all share, like a clone of some sort, and how that relates to the boys Craster sacrificed since even human children are related but have different physical appearances, except identical twins that is.

There's actually a third look. Go back and watch the S4 episode where they convert Craster's last son, and there's a group of Walkers wearing black armor, who look more like the Night King—horns instead of wispy hair, etc. At the time, people were trying to figure out if there was a "priest" type and a "warrior" type, but we haven't really gotten any more information since that episode. Still, having two different designs in S4 must be intentional and meaningful, unlike the change after S1 which is probably just the visual design guys changing their minds and assuming most fans won't even notice. It's possible that the "priests" are the 8000-year-old remnants of the Night King's original force and the "warriors" are his new recruits via Craster? But again, we have no info to go on.

As for them all looking so similar—remember that Craster's children are all sired on his own daughters, who are themselves sired on his own daughters… by the last generation, they're going to share a lot of DNA. Still not identical twins, but they should look more similar than normal brothers. And then changing them from humans into Walkers, which causes them to become gaunt and stretched out, could smooth out many of the differences they had.

There could be more to it, but I don't think we have any evidence there is. I mean, maybe (random wild idea here) Sheldrake's "morphic field resonance" pseudoscience is real on Planetos and… but why add that to the story? For it to matter, they'd have to explain that whole idea and then use it for some purpose in the resolution, and I don't see that as likely.

9 hours ago, summitxho said:

I would love to find out how or if a WW ages, we saw a baby turned into what appeared to be a WW, but how how long do they take to grow up? Do they age and then stop? Do they grow immediately into the WW we have seen on the show through some sort of magic? Guess we may never have an answer to that question, but I cannot help but wonder.

Yeah, we'll probably never know. It's plausible that they age normally, so the Night King's got a few recruits who didn't grow up in time for the Great War, but if so I doubt we'd see them. And it's also plausible that the magic turns them into grown Walkers overnight.

9 hours ago, summitxho said:

Being as WW existed long before Craster, there must be other ways of reproduction, which is why I am interested in Craster's bloodlines. Is there a connection there in which a blood relative of Craster was also responsible for the reproduction of WW after the original invasion I wonder once the COTF stopped creating them, and could this relate to little Sam being important in S8. Perhaps the Night King has lost his means of reproducing upon the death of Craster and no more male heirs of his bloodline. If Craster is indeed an outcast of the Wildlings and the Nights Watch, why? Do you think he could be a relative of something like the Night's King for example, or one of the other old tales of a disgraced westerosi/Nights watch who would then be outcast by both societies and harbor a bitterness towards humanity. Old Nan had mentioned Craster could come from Stark blood, the Night's King was also said to be possibly stark blood and also made human sacrifices. In the tales of the Night's King, it was said when he bed the women with skin as white as the moon and eyes blue like ice, he had given her his soul too. I had heard too that its important to pay attention to the old Nan tales, some of them must connect in the end I would think.

The most obvious other way of reproduction is just some other source of human babies 8000 years ago.

As for whose… Well, I don't think they're going to tell us. Especially since they decided to create the Night King for the show. If the casual viewers can't handle Osha and Asha in the same show, they can't handle Night's King and the Night King, so I doubt anyone will ever mention Night's King again.

Also, Night's King is too late for the original army, and way too early for the new one. My guess is that, if he was sacrificing sons to the Walkers, it was because he thought he could bring them back and use them for his own purposes, but he just failed because his nephews took him down too early.

You could make a cool story about a cycle of Crasters—say, each time their last son survives, and 200 years later a descendant tries again, and eventually they don't even remember that they're trying to create an army of the dead, they're just sacrificing their sons as an empty religious ritual. But I don't think they're going to do that. As you say, the Walkers have slept for 8000 years, and I think that's all there is to it.

9 hours ago, summitxho said:

I think the shows portrayal of women would contradict the statement that if you looked at generals or the upper echelons of society you would only see men. In our history? Absolutely, in the show history? While women are still held back, it seems quite a bit more empowering than our own history.

As you say, we see some institutions that are much more equal than in our world, and others that are even more segregated.

Which is why, for the Walkers, it could range all the way from "We are seeing females and they're completely equal to males" to "We're only seeing the generals, and the generals are males" and fit the series.

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Hi all,

I'm definitely on board with Craster being more than met the book words, but i also believe that in the show this will never be shown.

I also think the key to Craster's secret is not his father, but his mother, who is said to be a "witch from Whitetree". If the village name is somehow familiar, that's because that village is the one with the huge ancient tree with a mouth with sacrifice remains is. Also, the Whitetree inhabitants had disappeared probably about the time the new Other's army was assembling.

The Whitetree village was maybe home to an ancient wildling cult, which is close to the Other's cult. My broader ideas here:

In short, the witch from Whitetree who was also mother to Craster may be the famous female WW (or half-WW) who is key to Craster being obsessed with sacrificing to others, being outcasted by other wildlings, etc.

In fact, Craster's heritage sounds much like that of the son of the the 13th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch  who bred with the female Other. He can't be that old, of course, but there may be some sort of cult of the Others that was started by that Nights King.

 

 

Edit: this theory linked above also explains why the NW vow includes that they "father no children"!!

 

Edited by grufolo
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i assumed craster being part northern westerosi he could be a descendent from the first men, and didn't tcotf create the nk from one of the first men? maybe the ww have to be created from first men blood...

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20 minutes ago, ladysnowheart said:

i assumed craster being part northern westerosi he could be a descendent from the first men, and didn't tcotf create the nk from one of the first men? maybe the ww have to be created from first men blood...

As GRRM says, "… remember that there have been hundreds and in some cases thousands of years of interbreeding, so hardly anyone is pure Andal or First Man."

So, if they just need any First Men blood, they can use anyone at all; if they need pure First Men blood, they're out of luck.

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9 hours ago, ladysnowheart said:

i assumed craster being part northern westerosi he could be a descendent from the first men, and didn't tcotf create the nk from one of the first men? maybe the ww have to be created from first men blood...

Craster is almost definitely mostly First Men descended. All the Wildlings are.

 

9 hours ago, falcotron said:

As GRRM says, "… remember that there have been hundreds and in some cases thousands of years of interbreeding, so hardly anyone is pure Andal or First Man."

So, if they just need any First Men blood, they can use anyone at all; if they need pure First Men blood, they're out of luck.

I think that's more the case in the South, applies to a much lesser extent in the North, and even less beyond the Wall.

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1 hour ago, Kytheros said:

Craster is almost definitely mostly First Men descended. All the Wildlings are.

First, Craster isn't a wildling. His father was a Watchman.

More importantly, what good is "mostly"? If they can't use people with any Andal blood, they can't use Craster. If they can use anyone with any First Men blood, he's no better than anyone else. Is there some cutoff, where 72% First Men blood is good enough but 71% isn't? Or some recessive gene that mostly-First-Men types are more likely to have?

(These aren't rhetorical questions to dismiss your idea. Maybe there is actually an answer that works. But when I try to ask them, nobody answers, except for people who want to go off on tangents about their own pet tinfoil theories about whether Valyrians literally interbred with dragons, or argue that the question is stupid because of course there's no magical significance to First Men blood because only Targaryens are special so why am I asking about it… If you've got even a vague answer, I would love to hear it.)

1 hour ago, Kytheros said:

I think that's more the case in the South, applies to a much lesser extent in the North, and even less beyond the Wall.

It may apply less in the North, but it definitely does apply in the North. We can see just from the small fragment of the Stark family tree that they've imported Andal blood and spread it out among the other houses and clans. Even a peasant up in the mountains is probably no more likely to be a pure-blooded First Man than a Highlander in Scotland is to be a pure Pict.

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4 hours ago, falcotron said:

First, Craster isn't a wildling. His father was a Watchman.

More importantly, what good is "mostly"? If they can't use people with any Andal blood, they can't use Craster. If they can use anyone with any First Men blood, he's no better than anyone else. Is there some cutoff, where 72% First Men blood is good enough but 71% isn't? Or some recessive gene that mostly-First-Men types are more likely to have?

(These aren't rhetorical questions to dismiss your idea. Maybe there is actually an answer that works. But when I try to ask them, nobody answers, except for people who want to go off on tangents about their own pet tinfoil theories about whether Valyrians literally interbred with dragons, or argue that the question is stupid because of course there's no magical significance to First Men blood because only Targaryens are special so why am I asking about it… If you've got even a vague answer, I would love to hear it.)

It may apply less in the North, but it definitely does apply in the North. We can see just from the small fragment of the Stark family tree that they've imported Andal blood and spread it out among the other houses and clans. Even a peasant up in the mountains is probably no more likely to be a pure-blooded First Man than a Highlander in Scotland is to be a pure Pict.

Craster's mother was a Wildling. And we have no idea where his father came from before joining the Watch. His first-generation wives would also have been Wildlings.

As for what the difference is/where the line is drawn ... I'd like to point out that the way genetics, inherited traits, and bloodlines work in ASoIaF seems to be magic all on its own, and not like real-world genetics and inherited traits. When inherited traits are ruled/influenced by magic, rather than the rules of the real world, as seems to be the case in the ASoIaF universe, it's extremely complicated.

 

Actually, the Starks haven't married that many Andals. When they've gone outside the Northern Houses, it's been to Southern First Men Houses. There'll be an influx of some Andal blood there. And while the Manderlys are more Andalized, they're also a First Men House.

The point, however, is that if the South averages 50/50 Andal and First Men blood, the North probably averages 20/80 Andal and First Men blood, respectively, and beyond the Wall, it's probably 5/95, Andal and First Men blood, respectively. And I might be over-estimating the amount of Andal blood in the North and beyond the Wall.

The difference is a significant one - and almost certainly enough to matter.

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7 hours ago, falcotron said:

First, Craster isn't a wildling. His father was a Watchman.

More importantly, what good is "mostly"? If they can't use people with any Andal blood, they can't use Craster. If they can use anyone with any First Men blood, he's no better than anyone else. Is there some cutoff, where 72% First Men blood is good enough but 71% isn't? Or some recessive gene that mostly-First-Men types are more likely to have?

(These aren't rhetorical questions to dismiss your idea. Maybe there is actually an answer that works. But when I try to ask them, nobody answers, except for people who want to go off on tangents about their own pet tinfoil theories about whether Valyrians literally interbred with dragons, or argue that the question is stupid because of course there's no magical significance to First Men blood because only Targaryens are special so why am I asking about it… If you've got even a vague answer, I would love to hear it.)

It may apply less in the North, but it definitely does apply in the North. We can see just from the small fragment of the Stark family tree that they've imported Andal blood and spread it out among the other houses and clans. Even a peasant up in the mountains is probably no more likely to be a pure-blooded First Man than a Highlander in Scotland is to be a pure Pict.

In science, there is a discussion about bringing back the woolly mammoth, if memory serves me correct, using dna found in the tundra and breeding it with a present day elephant, gradually over time continuing to breed more woolly mammoth into it and less elephant, over generations theoretically you end up with almost a pure bread woolly mammoth, the question is, when is it considered pure enough blood to be considered a woolly mammoth? 

I am just using this as an example of where the mostly may fit in, at some point that mostly is considered first men blood, there very well could be a cutoff of first men purity in order to turn it into a while walker, there is specific mention of which houses share the most first men blood. If all of Westeros shares first men blood and its generally not that special, then why make mention that the North shares more? Could simply be a detail not to be read into, but its perhaps an argument why it could be. 

What if its not first men blood specifically but stark blood that they need, were you just throwing out there, about what if craster was of stark blood, or is there some hints towards that? Crater being of some stark blood as well as theories of the night king being of stark blood could have some significance in how the white walkers are created.

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2 hours ago, summitxho said:

In science, there is a discussion about bringing back the woolly mammoth, if memory serves me correct, using dna found in the tundra and breeding it with a present day elephant, gradually over time continuing to breed more woolly mammoth into it and less elephant, over generations theoretically you end up with almost a pure bread woolly mammoth, the question is, when is it considered pure enough blood to be considered a woolly mammoth? 

But that's just a matter of definition, and the answer you choose doesn't really matter to anything in the first place. (Well, it might matter for marketing if you were opening a Woolly Mammoth park…)

For example, by one definition, it's the same species as the woolly mammoth if and only if it interbreeds with woolly mammoths—which it doesn't and can't, because there are none to breed with, so it's not the same species. But that doesn't tell us anything about woolly mammoths, it just tells us that particular definition isn't a very good fit for the intuitions behind this project.

I don't think any biologist would ever be motivated to come up with a definition of species involving percentage of shared genotype or phenotype or anything like that, but of course you could always invent one just to use it for this purpose. But again, it doesn't tell you anything particularly meaningful.

Not that there couldn't be some kind of similarly legalistic definition that the magic depends on. It just doesn't seem like a very appealing prospect, or a very good fit for the way magic works in this world.

2 hours ago, summitxho said:

What if its not first men blood specifically but stark blood that they need, were you just throwing out there, about what if craster was of stark blood, or is there some hints towards that?

There aren't any hints to that. All they say is that his father was "a ranger", and you'd think if that ranger came from the same family as the guy Edd's talking to and nearly every hero and villain in Watch history, Edd would have mentioned it.

But still, that would be more interesting. Just because you can think of more plausible ways that the magic could be based on something magical—rituals, true names, belief, whatever—rather than bean counting. I can't think of anything specific that actually works and has support in the text (and I started a thread on that, but it's gone pretty far off topic without really having any relevant ideas, although it has some interesting irrelevant ones…), but it's just much easier to imagine there could be some reason that, e.g., being raised in Winterfell as the son and heir of the Stark in Winterfell could make a difference vs. just having enough of the right kind of ancestry.

2 hours ago, summitxho said:

Crater being of some stark blood as well as theories of the night king being of stark blood could have some significance in how the white walkers are created.

There's evidence that Night's King was a Brandon Stark (assuming you take Old Nan's stories as evidence, which I think you should), but no evidence that the Night King was.

If the story were going to do some kind of cyclical thing where Night's King's was the first in a line that ends with Craster, tying the whole cycle to the Starks would make lots of thematic sense. But I think it's unlikely they're going to do that. Craster's story is over, Night's King won't ever make it off the DVD extras and into the main show, and the Night King will have nothing to do with either of them.

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8 hours ago, falcotron said:

But that's just a matter of definition, and the answer you choose doesn't really matter to anything in the first place. (Well, it might matter for marketing if you were opening a Woolly Mammoth park…)

For example, by one definition, it's the same species as the woolly mammoth if and only if it interbreeds with woolly mammoths—which it doesn't and can't, because there are none to breed with, so it's not the same species. But that doesn't tell us anything about woolly mammoths, it just tells us that particular definition isn't a very good fit for the intuitions behind this project.

I don't think any biologist would ever be motivated to come up with a definition of species involving percentage of shared genotype or phenotype or anything like that, but of course you could always invent one just to use it for this purpose. But again, it doesn't tell you anything particularly meaningful.

Not that there couldn't be some kind of similarly legalistic definition that the magic depends on. It just doesn't seem like a very appealing prospect, or a very good fit for the way magic works in this world.

There aren't any hints to that. All they say is that his father was "a ranger", and you'd think if that ranger came from the same family as the guy Edd's talking to and nearly every hero and villain in Watch history, Edd would have mentioned it.

But still, that would be more interesting. Just because you can think of more plausible ways that the magic could be based on something magical—rituals, true names, belief, whatever—rather than bean counting. I can't think of anything specific that actually works and has support in the text (and I started a thread on that, but it's gone pretty far off topic without really having any relevant ideas, although it has some interesting irrelevant ones…), but it's just much easier to imagine there could be some reason that, e.g., being raised in Winterfell as the son and heir of the Stark in Winterfell could make a difference vs. just having enough of the right kind of ancestry.

There's evidence that Night's King was a Brandon Stark (assuming you take Old Nan's stories as evidence, which I think you should), but no evidence that the Night King was.

If the story were going to do some kind of cyclical thing where Night's King's was the first in a line that ends with Craster, tying the whole cycle to the Starks would make lots of thematic sense. But I think it's unlikely they're going to do that. Craster's story is over, Night's King won't ever make it off the DVD extras and into the main show, and the Night King will have nothing to do with either of them.

Without getting too far off topic about woolly mammoths, it was simply an example which can hint at why a certain amount of first men blood might be important, yes its not a pure blood woolly mammoth, nor is it a pure blood elephant, it will always be a hybrid like you say, but at some point that hybrid has more woolly mammoth DNA than elephant DNA despite still being a hybrid. Hypothetically, if there was something particularly special about the woolly mammoth, I would think you would have a better chance of extracting whatever that is, the more mammoth DNA they share, would you not agree? 

If you take the same example for the first men, at some point it becomes more first men bloodline than the other comparisons, and that could be significant as to specific northerners vs southern houses who share more first men blood and are closer to their ancestors than those in the south which the show did make a point of sharing. I am not saying it is, just saying it may be an example where "mostly" is important which you had asked about potential answers as to why mostly may be important. Its not a great answer, but I think its an answer that is possible. I am certainly not standing by them, nor think its likely, just things to throw out and ponder which was my original intent with my questions. 

I am not looking to shoot down theories, more listen to them, think about them, discuss the possibilities. Like you had mentioned there are a lot of hints from old nan, and other easter eggs, some I am sure are meaningless, others are not, its just putting them all together. I do however think and hope there will be more explanation on to how white walkers are created in the present and it will have some significance and connection, but that's simply a gut feeling for now, I am hoping this thread might dig up some evidence to support that from others who have more information that I. By all means share you own questions, I would love to have a look, end of the day its going to be a long wait for season 8 and I enjoy entertaining theories and coming up with new ones, expand on what I already know and try to tie together those legends and stories told with the reality of what we have seen.

 

As for the stark blood, I tend to agree, if there was stark blood in Craster it should be fairly known about after only one generation. The only counter point I would have is in Westeros, it seems if you bring shame to your family (like Jorah) you are basically forgotten about and banished. If that ranger was a stark, and he was blacklisted by his family due to bringing shame to the stark name, its possible it could be lost after a generation. Unlikely however, I think personally I will give up on that thought unless other concrete evidence comes to light. I think it would be a cool connection however and could tie into a lot of the mystery about the stark family.

My only evidence to the Night King being a stark was based on previous theories I have read about in which Bran is the Night King, while I do not like this theory personally, there does seem to be a few clues the night king could be stark blood in those theories, but admittedly nothing concrete, but it does go beyond the night's king vs the night king with that evidence.

Edited by summitxho

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I may reply to the rest of your post after I digest it (there's a lot of interesting stuff there), but first: 

As a quick semi-tangent, one reason the Starks could be important, without any kind of magic blood, is that "There must always be a Stark in Winterfell" could just be the remnant of an 8000-year-old prophecy that doom will come as soon as there isn't a Stark in Winterfell.

If that's true, I'd expect the books will eventually give us that prophecy, and then we'll see that some specific event (like the Others breaking the magic in the Wall by marking Bran) happened somewhere between Bran and Rickon's escape and the return of whichever Stark gets home first.

But the show's adaptation might not be that strict (e.g., Sansa was already home when the Night King marked Bran, right?).

6 hours ago, summitxho said:

My only evidence to the Night King being a stark was based on previous theories I have read about in which Bran is the Night King, while I do not like this theory personally, there does seem to be a few clues the night king could be stark blood in those theories, but admittedly nothing concrete, but it does go beyond the night's king vs the night king with that evidence.

In the books, we've seen hints of more Stark connections all over the legendary story, and I'm sure we'll see more. While there probably is no Night King, there could easily be a human subject or sacrifice, willing or unwilling, who was central to the original creation or summoning of the Others, and, if so, I wouldn't be at all surprised if he was a Brandon and an ancestor to Bran the Builder, the founder of the Stark line.

Meanwhile, on TV, unless they are going to go with the Bran=NK theory (which I find unlikely), I don't really see much point in making a connection. If the whole thing has been Starks vs. Starks back to the Last Hero vs. the Night King, that's something the books can build interesting themes on. But for S8 of the show, it seems like it would just be a factoid that doesn't really add anything. They did their simplified exploration of Stark vs. Stark with Sansa vs. Arya in S7, and nobody really cared that much, and now it's over.

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17 hours ago, falcotron said:

I may reply to the rest of your post after I digest it (there's a lot of interesting stuff there), but first: 

As a quick semi-tangent, one reason the Starks could be important, without any kind of magic blood, is that "There must always be a Stark in Winterfell" could just be the remnant of an 8000-year-old prophecy that doom will come as soon as there isn't a Stark in Winterfell.

If that's true, I'd expect the books will eventually give us that prophecy, and then we'll see that some specific event (like the Others breaking the magic in the Wall by marking Bran) happened somewhere between Bran and Rickon's escape and the return of whichever Stark gets home first.

But the show's adaptation might not be that strict (e.g., Sansa was already home when the Night King marked Bran, right?).

In the books, we've seen hints of more Stark connections all over the legendary story, and I'm sure we'll see more. While there probably is no Night King, there could easily be a human subject or sacrifice, willing or unwilling, who was central to the original creation or summoning of the Others, and, if so, I wouldn't be at all surprised if he was a Brandon and an ancestor to Bran the Builder, the founder of the Stark line.

Meanwhile, on TV, unless they are going to go with the Bran=NK theory (which I find unlikely), I don't really see much point in making a connection. If the whole thing has been Starks vs. Starks back to the Last Hero vs. the Night King, that's something the books can build interesting themes on. But for S8 of the show, it seems like it would just be a factoid that doesn't really add anything. They did their simplified exploration of Stark vs. Stark with Sansa vs. Arya in S7, and nobody really cared that much, and now it's over.

Yeah, that "There must always be a stark in Winterfell" tends to stick with me as well, its one of those things where I feel strongly in the end that it will have a reason, same with "winter is coming" to a lesser degree, but I do not believe they are simply red herrings. I think its suggested in the show that the white walker is somewhat a metaphor for winter, bringing a winter storm when they appear, having humanoid bodies but icy appearance and appearing in the long night. Winter is coming may not be referring to winter itself, but as a warning originating back with Bran that builder that winter (white walkers) is coming again in the future and it became a stark saying, just lost the original meaning over generations as WW faded from memory. Winterfell also sticks out for me, if the WW is indeed a metaphor for winter, then its not a stretch to say Winterfell is named because of the fact winter fell (white walkers) at that place which is why winterfell was built in the first place because they knew they would return some day and its some sort of weapon or something to defeat the WW threat for good upon its return, and ties into how there must always be a stark in Winterfell. I think those 3 are all connected in one way or another, just I have no real evidence as to how yet, but I think this is a Stark story for the most part.

As for Bran being marked and the timeline, "The Door" episode 55, was the episode where Bran was marked, at that time Sansa had fled Winterfell and was gathering forces for the battle of the Bastard, so to my recollection there was no Stark in Winterfell at that time, although on second thought was Rickon not being held prisoner at that time in Winterfell? Are you thinking there is a connection between Winterfell, a stark needing to be in Winterfell, and that the Night King was able to see Bran and mark him due to a Stark not being present in Winterfell? Like a Stark being in winterfell was important to keep another stark who was travelling through time cloaked from others who had the ability to travel through time? or something along those lines?

A Stark vs Stark would be interesting, I agree it would be tough to have on the show with the time left, but if you look at the story being told, it does show a lot of conflict between good and evil, and how people of the same family can be at opposite ends of the spectrum (Tarly's, Lannisters, Clegaine's) as well as a lot of old stories from Old Nan about some good Starks, but also if some theories come true bad Stark's. If the Night's King was indeed a Stark, then there was already a battle of Stark Vs Stark in the past as was it not a Stark who united with some other houses to bring down the Night's King in the old story? We also have Benjen who has stark blood and turned into a semi white walker, whatever we want to call him, there are just too many connections for there not to be some meaning there to the starks and the white walker threat.

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2 hours ago, summitxho said:

As for Bran being marked and the timeline, "The Door" episode 55, was the episode where Bran was marked, at that time Sansa had fled Winterfell and was gathering forces for the battle of the Bastard, so to my recollection there was no Stark in Winterfell at that time, although on second thought was Rickon not being held prisoner at that time in Winterfell? Are you thinking there is a connection between Winterfell, a stark needing to be in Winterfell, and that the Night King was able to see Bran and mark him due to a Stark not being present in Winterfell? Like a Stark being in winterfell was important to keep another stark who was travelling through time cloaked from others who had the ability to travel through time? or something along those lines?

I think it may be much simpler than that. Many prophecies can be averted if the relevant people know the prophecy and try to change their destiny.* It's not even that the Stark would necessarily have any magical effect, it's just that by a Stark being there, they would have changed history from the destined one to a different one that might be better. But, because the prophecy was lost and only the saying "There must always be a Stark in Winterfell" remained, nobody did that, so it came true.

The idea that the destiny being predicted is the Night King marking Bran is just a guess. There are obviously a lot of things a prophecy could have predicted that everyone would have wanted to avert, like the Walkers returning, the Walkers getting a dragon, the Walkers breaking the Wall, etc.; Bran's marking is just the first one I thought of that seemed like the timing might fit with Winterfell being Starkless.

2 hours ago, summitxho said:

A Stark vs Stark would be interesting, I agree it would be tough to have on the show with the time left, but if you look at the story being told, it does show a lot of conflict between good and evil, and how people of the same family can be at opposite ends of the spectrum (Tarly's, Lannisters, Clegaine's) as well as a lot of old stories from Old Nan about some good Starks, but also if some theories come true bad Stark's. If the Night's King was indeed a Stark, then there was already a battle of Stark Vs Stark in the past as was it not a Stark who united with some other houses to bring down the Night's King in the old story? We also have Benjen who has stark blood and turned into a semi white walker, whatever we want to call him, there are just too many connections for there not to be some meaning there to the starks and the white walker threat.

Yes, the King of Winter who brought down Night's King was another Stark—in fact, another Brandon Stark. And some fans think Joramun, who help the King of Winter, was also a Stark. And there's more Stark vs. Stark history in the novels, and more possible Stark vs. Stark that we don't know for sure yet.

And for other families to compare, just look at Bran's tutor, Bloodraven. He was centrally involved in defeating the Blackfyre rebellions, a series of wars between his half-brothers. And the reason he was sent to the Wall by one of his nephews is that he called a Great Council to choose the next king and used it to kill one of his other nephews to nearly end the Blackfyre line, leading to a generation of peace for the realm.**

So, there's definitely a theme going on.

But the Night King isn't going to be a Stark in the novels, because the Night King doesn't exist, and because the first Others came more than a generation before Brandon the Builder, who founded the Stark line. And D&D generally seem to borrow direct plot points a lot more often than they borrow themes.

---

* In the novels, there are a lot more prophecies, and things are a little confusing. For example, Quaithe's prophecy about the people who will come east to meet Dany seems to have changed when JonConn and fAegon decided to go west instead, even though Tyrion didn't know the prophecy when he redirected them—but that one may not really be a prophecy, it may just be that Quaithe saw who was coming in her glass candle, so she was reporting what was true at the time. There are a lot of cases like that to make things ambiguous. 

** But only one generation. 30 years later, a last Blackfyre showed up as one of the Ninepenny Kings. And many fans think fAegon is a maternal Blackfyre. But that just shows that ending violence with violence is often not as easy as it looks.

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6 hours ago, summitxho said:

Yeah, that "There must always be a stark in Winterfell" tends to stick with me as well, its one of those things where I feel strongly in the end that it will have a reason, same with "winter is coming" to a lesser degree, but I do not believe they are simply red herrings. I think its suggested in the show that the white walker is somewhat a metaphor for winter, bringing a winter storm when they appear, having humanoid bodies but icy appearance and appearing in the long night. Winter is coming may not be referring to winter itself, but as a warning originating back with Bran that builder that winter (white walkers) is coming again in the future and it became a stark saying, just lost the original meaning over generations as WW faded from memory. Winterfell also sticks out for me, if the WW is indeed a metaphor for winter, then its not a stretch to say Winterfell is named because of the fact winter fell (white walkers) at that place which is why winterfell was built in the first place because they knew they would return some day and its some sort of weapon or something to defeat the WW threat for good upon its return, and ties into how there must always be a stark in Winterfell. I think those 3 are all connected in one way or another, just I have no real evidence as to how yet, but I think this is a Stark story for the most part.

All this have a lot of sense IMO. Simply put, the allegoric and symbolic relations are too much to be random. 
In addition of all you said, it always intrigued me that the olds Kings in the North were also called Kings of Winter. Why? It has to be more to it than  normal winters  being harsher in the North than in the South . So I agree that the same word is used with two meanings: we have winters (seasons)  and Winter (WW, Long Night, etc)  and the second meaning is what we are meant to take when looking at names like Winterfell . The same can be said about Winter is coming (the only house's words that looks like a grim warning, and not something you're proud of, or a threat, like the other house's mottos) . It is a warning passed through generations, and a sentence  that has a  tacit end, which remains unsaid but it feels as natural as in music a dominant seventh chord needs to fall to the tonic, and is "... and we have to be ready to face it"

About Kings of Winter, the etymology of both words gives more curious associations
King: Possibly related to Old English cynn "family, race, tribe" (see kin)
Winter: Some etymologists think the word comes from the Proto-Indo-European *wind-, meaning “white”.
All this suggests that the Kings of Winter are also of the same “family” of “the White (walkers)”, or in other words, they have the same ancestors, pointing to the Stark vs. Stark theory. 

Edited by LucyMormont

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19 hours ago, LucyMormont said:

All this have a lot of sense IMO. Simply put, the allegoric and symbolic relations are too much to be random. 
In addition of all you said, it always intrigued me that the olds Kings in the North were also called Kings of Winter. Why? It has to be more to it than  normal winters  being harsher in the North than in the South . So I agree that the same word is used with two meanings: we have winters (seasons)  and Winter (WW, Long Night, etc)  and the second meaning is what we are meant to take when looking at names like Winterfell . The same can be said about Winter is coming (the only house's words that looks like a grim warning, and not something you're proud of, or a threat, like the other house's mottos) . It is a warning passed through generations, and a sentence  that has a  tacit end, which remains unsaid but it feels as natural as in music a dominant seventh chord needs to fall to the tonic, and is "... and we have to be ready to face it"

About Kings of Winter, the etymology of both words gives more curious associations
King: Possibly related to Old English cynn "family, race, tribe" (see kin)
Winter: Some etymologists think the word comes from the Proto-Indo-European *wind-, meaning “white”.
All this suggests that the Kings of Winter are also of the same “family” of “the White (walkers)”, or in other words, they have the same ancestors, pointing to the Stark vs. Stark theory. 

Very interesting, coming from the show I was not aware of the Kings of winter. I still have a lot of reading ahead of me to catch up with the books, but I wonder why they were referred to that indeed, especially since the "Kings of Winter" were established just past the original white walker invasion was it not? I did some research on the Kings of Winter and the Stark lineage and it hints at possibly more connections to House Stark and the WW. House Stark was founded by Bran the builder, but what is interesting is its rumored Bran the builder was the son of Brandon of the Bloody Blade who was known for his love of slaughtering the COTF, which could tie in to Leaf's remark about needing protection from "you" in reference to Bran, "you" could be referring to "your lineage". Is it a stretch to think this Brandon of the bloody blade was patient 0 who we saw on the show get the dragonglass to his heart due to his war on the COTF, and his son, Bran the builder was the one to rise up with others and help stop his father when it all went bad? Bran the builder then founds house Stark to get away from the shame his father brought to his name? Most likely coincidence, but again would tie into Jons determination to not punish a son for his fathers sins. House Stark seems to have some skeletons in its closet that is for sure and a long rumored history of very bad or very good Starks who have come to oppose one another.

You can even go further back to the father of Brandon the bloody blade, legend has it he was the son of Garth Greenhand who was rumored to be the very first man in Westeros even before the First Men with almost god like powers, when I read about it he reminds me of mother nature, or a representation of life itself, this would oppose the WW who is a representation of winter, and the death of life that Greenhand had given.

What I also find interesting is the crypts where these Kings of winter rest in Winterfell. I do not have much knowledge on the books yet, but there was talk about something important being in the crypts of Winterfell, a lot of hints in the books to this apparently and Jon having visions. The stone wolves lie at the bottom of the feet of these kings of winter in their place of rest, its interesting Jon is the only one with a dire wolf left.

There is a lot of tinfoil in there, but I am certainly looking forward to reading these books, so much I am missing which makes one wonder. All these connections to ponder, some will be important, others will not.

Edited by summitxho

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23 hours ago, LucyMormont said:

About Kings of Winter, the etymology of both words gives more curious associations
King: Possibly related to Old English cynn "family, race, tribe" (see kin)
Winter: Some etymologists think the word comes from the Proto-Indo-European *wind-, meaning “white”.
All this suggests that the Kings of Winter are also of the same “family” of “the White (walkers)”, or in other words, they have the same ancestors, pointing to the Stark vs. Stark theory. 

The Starks weren't called "Kings of Winter", they were called something in the Old Tongue that's been translated to "Kings of Winter".

Of course we know nothing about the Old Tongue, but for an example of what that would be like: If we knew some Celtic lineage had a title that translated to "Kings of Winter" in English, but didn't know the title or even the exact Celtic language, the best guess would be words that come from either *rixs (which means king, and traces back to a Proto-Indo-European steam meaning ruler) or *brigantines (which also means king, and traces back to a PIE stem meaning mountain), and *gyamo (which means winter all the way back to PIE). So, the etymological accident of Germanic "king" and "kin" being related would be irrelevant,* and the same for "winter" and "white".**

Also, this isn't the way linguistics works. The fact that "king" ultimately comes from a stem meaning "to give birth" doesn't mean English speakers have a connotation of motherhood in mind when they talk about the King of Jerusalem, and the fact that "kin" and "genus" come from that same stem means even less.

Anyway, even if the linguistics did work, this is GRRM we're talking about, not Tolkien. When he has a clue based on language, he doesn't hide it in the etymology of a word for us to work out, he has a character flat out tell us that some word in a language he hasn't made up that was translated "prince" really derives from "dragon" and therefore could mean "princess".

---

* Also, "king" comes from Old English "cyng", not "cynn". Of course the two come from proto-Germanic words that probably share a stem that goes back to a PIE stem meaning to give birth, but lots of words have that stem.

** As far as I know, the *windos etymology is not a serious proposal, it's just an example to show how bad the OED's water etymology is—"both are semantically meaningless, and at least this one sounds a little closer". But I could be wrong.

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5 hours ago, summitxho said:

Very interesting, coming from the show I was not aware of the Kings of winter. I still have a lot of reading ahead of me to catch up with the books, but I wonder why they were referred to that indeed, especially since the "Kings of Winter" were established just past the original white walker invasion was it not?

Yes, or at least pretty close—the Watch was started during the Long Night, and at least by the time of the 13th Lord Commander, there were Starks in Winterfell calling themselves King of Winter.

5 hours ago, summitxho said:

there was talk about something important being in the crypts of Winterfell

There's supposedly a statue for every Lord of Winterfell, King in the North, and King of Winter going back to the start. Many of them have stone direwolves. All of them have iron swords on their laps to keep vengeful spirits away—and notice that Old Nan says the Others fear iron. The oldest swords have rusted away into nothing, and of course Bran and friends took some of the newer swords (although Hodor took a very old one).

I think that last part could at least be symbolic of Bran later breaking the protection on the Wall (which I think happened on the show by him crossing through it and being marked by the Night King, and may happen in a different way in the books), even if it doesn't directly mean anything magical.

Some fans also make something of the fact that Ned broke with tradition and had statues made for Brandon and Lyanna as well as Rickard, but we know of at least one example before that, Artos the Implacable.

Meanwhile, there are lots of threads on the various crypt dreams in the book forums. For just one example of many, Jon walks past the stone kings, who tell him there is no place for him there. That's obviously yet another hint that he's a Targaryen, not a (paternal) Stark, but some fans think it also means that doom is coming to Winterfell before his death.

5 hours ago, summitxho said:

There is a lot of tinfoil in there, but I am certainly looking forward to reading these books, so much I am missing which makes one wonder. All these connections to ponder, some will be important, others will not.

You definitely should read the books, of course. (Also Dunk & Egg, WoIaF, and Fire & Blood—or, if that isn't out by the time you get there, the abridged Maester histories that are already out.)

I'd suggest that your first time through, you maybe look things up on the wiki to see all the connections that are unambiguously there and the very well established theories, but save searching the forums for crackpot theories until your second read.

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