Black Crow

Heresy 202 and still going

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Welcome to Heresy 202, and the third century of the quirky thread where we take an in-depth look at the story and in particular what GRRM has referred to as the real conflict, not the Game of Thrones, but the apparent threat which lies in the North, in those magical Otherlands beyond the Wall. The thread is called Heresy because we were the first to challenge the orthodoxy that the Wall is the last best hope of mankind; to question whether the three-fingered tree-huggers really are kindly elves and question too whether the Starks might have a dark secret in their past, which we’re beginning to suspect may be gaunt, with characteristic long Stark face and very very cold.

 

We can safely claim to have been around for a while now and discussed an awful lot of stuff over the last five going on six years. Some of it has been overtaken by events and some of it seemingly confirmed by the earlier stages of mummers’ version before it firmly moved into fan-fiction. Heresy 201 was a bit slow and we may never again get through a full 20 pages in 48 hours as we once did way back in the centential, at least not until Winds of Winter appears, but we’re still going strong with a couple of enigmatic interviews and blog posts to keep us on tippy-toes.

 

So dig in, enjoy yourself and if it comes to a fight just remember the local house rules; stick to the text, have respect for the ideas of others and above all conduct the debate with great good humour.

 

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So I just went through A Search of Ice and Fire:  There is not a single mentioning of house Durrandon in the entire series. The name is all semi-canon. And only two mentions of the Storm King. One of them is the passage we discussed:

The songs said that Storm's End had been raised in ancient days by Durran, the first Storm King, who had won the love of the fair Elenei, daughter of the sea god and the goddess of the wind. On the night of their wedding, Elenei had yielded her maidenhood to a mortal's love and thus doomed herself to a mortal's death, and her grieving parents had unleashed their wrath and sent the winds and waters to batter down Durran's hold. His friends and brothers and wedding guests were crushed beneath collapsing walls or blown out to sea, but Elenei sheltered Durran within her arms so he took no harm, and when the dawn came at last he declared war upon the gods and vowed to rebuild.

There is really not much evidence about Durrandon in the books and some mentions in semi-canon. 

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13 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

So I just went through A Search of Ice and Fire:  There is not a single mentioning of house Durrandon in the entire series. The name is all semi-canon. And only two mentions of the Storm King. One of them is the passage we discussed:

The songs said that Storm's End had been raised in ancient days by Durran, the first Storm King, who had won the love of the fair Elenei, daughter of the sea god and the goddess of the wind. On the night of their wedding, Elenei had yielded her maidenhood to a mortal's love and thus doomed herself to a mortal's death, and her grieving parents had unleashed their wrath and sent the winds and waters to batter down Durran's hold. His friends and brothers and wedding guests were crushed beneath collapsing walls or blown out to sea, but Elenei sheltered Durran within her arms so he took no harm, and when the dawn came at last he declared war upon the gods and vowed to rebuild.

There is really not much evidence about Durrandon in the books and some mentions in semi-canon. 

Most of the information about the Durrandons come from the The World of Ice and Fire book.

Edited by Tucu

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Going back to Leaf, the clothing of the children and the Glamor. Shouldn't it be possible to smell them (even with a human nose in case of rotten or fresh child's clothing) ? I mean Melisandre uses a Glamor and every wolf should be able to identify her. 

Which brings me to Summer's smell and Coldhands: "dead meat, dry blood, a faint whiff of rot. And cold. Cold all over".

Of course we already know that Coldhands is dead. But could he wear a Glamor ? Which brings me back to my rotten cloth theory. "whiff of rot" ? Weren't we just talking about icy cloth ? I assume cloth does not smell rotten when cold enough. So he smells even when Cold all over ? Is it possible that Coldhands is much older ? And that his eyes are not black but blue and the black is just a disguise. 

And then his cloth:  mottled blacks and greys. And there is only one other mention of mottled blacks and greys: as a description of Shireen's greyscale. And now I'm intrigued. 

It this the official clothing of the Night's Watch ? And on top of that cold, damp climate is prone to this disease according to the wiki that's targeting ... children.  

Am I going crazy with the cross-references ?

Edited by SirArthur

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13 hours ago, SirArthur said:

Going back to Leaf, the clothing of the children and the Glamor. Shouldn't it be possible to smell them (even with a human nose in case of rotten or fresh child's clothing) ? I mean Melisandre uses a Glamor and every wolf should be able to identify her. 

Which brings me to Summer's smell and Coldhands: "dead meat, dry blood, a faint whiff of rot. And cold. Cold all over".

Of course we already know that Coldhands is dead. But could he wear a Glamor ? Which brings me back to my rotten cloth theory. "whiff of rot" ? Weren't we just talking about icy cloth ? I assume cloth does not smell rotten when cold enough. So he smells even when Cold all over ? Is it possible that Coldhands is much older ? And that his eyes are not black but blue and the black is just a disguise. 

And then his cloth:  mottled blacks and greys. And there is only one other mention of mottled blacks and greys: as a description of Shireen's greyscale. And now I'm intrigued. 

It this the official clothing of the Night's Watch ? And on top of that cold, damp climate is prone to this disease according to the wiki that's targeting ... children.  

Am I going crazy with the cross-references ?

Probably, its an occupational hazard of playing on the Westeros site

At this stage in the game I'm not much inclined to read more into Coldhands than what we've already got; that he's the Russian to Bloodraven's Kurtz.

As to what Summer smells, again I think that's straightforward - but interesting

"dead meat, dry blood, a faint whiff of rot. And Cold, cold all over"

The first is simple enough. He is dead meat and dry blood - we saw that with Othor and Jafer. Sam and Dywen reckoned there was no corpse stink about them, but the faint whiff about Coldhands could simply be down to Summer having a more powerful nose, and yes it might refer to his clothing. There's no significance to the mottled black and grey colour. Black is not a reliable colour and fades and discolours quite easily, becoming shabby rather than smart or dashing - which is what I think GRRM is getting at.

What's interesting is the "cold" smell, which Dywen also detects in Craster. It associates both of them with the blue-eyed lot and pretty explicitly rules out any theories that he may have been raised a la Beric by Fire magic.

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14 hours ago, Tucu said:

Most of the information about the Durrandons come from the The World of Ice and Fire book.

Yes, its background filler and therefore not of direct relevance that what's happening now, and I'd suggest that the same goes for the Baratheons too.

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31 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

What's interesting is the "cold" smell, which Dywen also detects in Craster. It associates both of them with the blue-eyed lot and pretty explicitly rules out any theories that he may have been raised a la Beric by Fire magic.

What's also strange is that shadowbabies are cold:
 

Quote

 

A Clash of Kings - Catelyn IV

"I beg you in the name of the Mother," Catelyn began when a sudden gust of wind flung open the door of the tent. She thought she glimpsed movement, but when she turned her head, it was only the king's shadow shifting against the silken walls. She heard Renly begin a jest, his shadow moving, lifting its sword, black on green, candles guttering, shivering, something was queer, wrong, and then she saw Renly's sword still in its scabbard, sheathed still, but the shadowsword . . .

"Cold," said Renly in a small puzzled voice, a heartbeat before the steel of his gorget parted like cheesecloth beneath the shadow of a blade that was not there. He had time to make a small thick gasp before the blood came gushing out of his throat.

 

Sounds strangely familiar.  I wonder if this is why white shadows leave no tracks in the snow.  They have glamored armor and a bit more substance.

Edited by LynnS

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Renly feels cold, Summer smells cold. The feeling of smelling cold in real world is caused by a very dry air. So absence of water in the air. Plus Coldhands wants to avoid the Others. So if our water - earth assosiation holds:

Is Coldhands resurrected by earth ? 

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44 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

...The feeling of smelling cold in real world is caused by a very dry air. So absence of water in the air. Plus Coldhands wants to avoid the Others. So if our water - earth assosiation holds:

Is Coldhands resurrected by earth ? 

More precisely its because its too cold for water to exist as a vapour.

As to Coldhands, his behaviour, like that of the Russian's, is ambiguous. Is he genuinely apprehensive of the blue-eyed lot or is he deliberately ramping up the tension so that when the ambush is sprung the Scooby Gang run for the cave without thinking, and remember too that in the original the ambush was orchestrated by Kurtz.

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Your are right with the water and I now that I think about it, I somehow doubt that cold should indicate an absence of water.  

What I find fascinating is that it seems to smell colder than the surrounding temperature. So no lifeless body that moves arround, an actual cold thing that is not cold through the cold through winter. Maybe that inner cold than Renly feels means something. As Loras sayed about Renly's body:

"I buried him with mine own hands, in a place he showed me once when I was a squire at Storm's End. No one shall ever find him there to disturb his rest."

Sounds like Cold Renly could become a thing. 

Edited by SirArthur

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4 hours ago, Black Crow said:

There's no significance to the mottled black and grey colour. Black is not a reliable colour and fades and discolours quite easily, becoming shabby rather than smart or dashing - which is what I think GRRM is getting at.

I don't have the text right now, but I think I remember the wights outside BRs cave also having grey and black, but no other references to grey clothing among the watch.  I agree this isn't that significant except:

1) His clothes are older than the living watch and therefore he isn't a character like Benjen that we met alive in the novels.

2) These are originally his clothes,  any theory he isn't from the watch or is stealing from deserters or other watch members is wrong, or he'd be wearing all black.

3) Mottled black and grey indicates something that sat in one position without moving for a long time.  Faded clothes worn by a creature moving around would be uniformly grey.

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I agree. Fading should be more or less evenly spread. Unless another object on top (partially) prevents the fading. The sun also moves so the object has to be fairly close. 

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Re Matthew's quotes from last editiion -- perhaps we should do a different thread if it's ongoing, so as not to hijack Heresy, but I'll answer since I was asked.

In general, I don't particularly care if somebody ranks X stylist over Y stylist, so if you (Matthew) want to do that, hey... knock yourself out.  I'm just saying I don't think ranking styles is an objective thing to do at all.  

The quality of prose, or lack of it, is quite different from something like a Rubik's Cube -- a puzzle, that has an objectively correct solution.  You can look at a solved Cube and know it to be solved or not solved, period.  That's going to be the case for many of GRRM's puzzles as well, because we're going to get the solutions in many cases and we can then see if it was solved or not solved.

Quote

Out of curiosity - and this is not meant as a challenge, but out of sincere interest - what do you feel is a mystery that is under analyzed?

By the fandom as a whole?  The odd seasons and their relationship to magic comes to mind immediately.  GRRM's told us enigmatically that they have a magical basis, so we can be pretty damn sure this is a deliberate puzzle inserted into the text.

And yet people continue to talk about things like comets smashing moons (even though comets can't smash moons like ours -- as the craters on our four-billion-year-old Moon bear objective witness -- and if a comet were to smash a moon like ours, it would lead to the extinction of life on the planet, not a Long Night).

There are many small mysteries of small consequence that are just... fun.  I think the odds are good for instance that Westeros had a population of humans prior to the First Men who lived on the coasts and had a distinctively fishy appearance, and they are remembered in myths as "Squishers," and the Borrells and Codds on the east and west coasts of Westeros are their descendants.  GRRM does not spell this out, and I doubt he ever will.

Quote

What of a work that has a clever puzzle, but cannot reach the level of pop culture saturation that surrounds ASOIAF and GOT? By default, regardless of how well the puzzle builder has written, they are not fooling the largest number of people.

That's very true.  For instance, someone could do a Cube-like puzzle that is even harder and better, and yet it would remain unknown if it just sat in the inventor's room instead of being sold.  

What I'm saying is just that as far as I know, there has never been, in literature, a deliberate puzzle that reached the level of mass analysis and mass certainty as the puzzle of Jon's parents.  And if those people all prove wrong, and yet it was a fair puzzle, GRRM will be understood as a remarkably skilled puzzle builder... whereas right now people like the Lost producers hilariously think there are no puzzles in his fantasy series.  So he will get the credit he deserves.

Quote

I can't really relate to this thing where people (such as RLJ fanatics) attach weight and significance to the idea that it is Very Good and Important to be numbered among those that have correctly predicted who-was-fucking-who in the Books with Dragons and Ice Faeries, that it sorts the worthy from the unworthy.

As usual, you're putting the emphasis on the few people who can independently solve a Rubik's Cube.   

I'm just saying: "I think there are Cubes in these books, I think they have solutions, and I think Rubik -- GRRM -- was an excellent puzzle-builder, to dream them up."  I'm not knocking the people who try and fail to solve a Cube one side at a time (which will never work), except in the sense that they are foolish and arrogant to insist that that's the only possible way to solve a Cube (if they do insist that).

I do agree with you that it's weird people have put so much emphasis on Jon's parents as a mystery.  This overemphasis seems to stem from the belief Jon is the song of ice and fire and hence the key element of the plot, and the protagonist of the series.  But I think it's pretty clear he is just one major character of many, and there is no protagonist in these books.  And his parentage is just one of many good mysteries.

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4 hours ago, SirArthur said:

I agree. Fading should be more or less evenly spread. Unless another object on top (partially) prevents the fading. The sun also moves so the object has to be fairly close. 

I can assure you that fading of outdoor clothing is rarely even. Its not just a matter of strong sunlight, rain, dews and damps play their part as does dust and lack of access to a steam laundry. All sorts of things contribute to mottling and fading unevenly, including the quality of the dye used in the first place, which is why I reckon GRRM is trying to convey shabbiness rather than anything significant far less sinister.

Edited by Black Crow

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Something else occurs to me about Whitetree.  This is a tree that on occasion has fire in it's mouth.  That kind of puts a spin on the common wildling idiom "kissed by fire".  Now I wonder who exactly raised Beric Dondarrion and who Jaqen H'gar is referring to when he makes his oath to all the gods including 'him of fire' and placing his hand in the mouth of the weirwood.   The only weirwood we know of so far that receives burnt offerings.   

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8 hours ago, Black Crow said:

Yes, its background filler and therefore not of direct relevance that what's happening now, and I'd suggest that the same goes for the Baratheons too.

That section of the world book is mainly filler, but I like the hints it gives about the relationship between First Men and the CoTF. Durran's wife could be a CoTF or one of the other old races, their son returns the Rainwood to the CoTF and their grandson takes it back for good.

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1 hour ago, LynnS said:

Something else occurs to me about Whitetree.  This is a tree that on occasion has fire in it's mouth.  That kind of puts a spin on the common wildling idiom "kissed by fire".  Now I wonder who exactly raised Beric Dondarrion and who Jaqen H'gar is referring to when he makes his oath to all the gods including 'him of fire' and placing his hand in the mouth of the weirwood.   The only weirwood we know of so far that receives burnt offerings.   

And yet Coldhands has a "cold smell" about him, which would rule out a connection to fires, whether in weirwoods or anywhere else

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can someone give me a heresy "wrap-up" concerning the possibility that the Night's King is Azor Ahoi and if Nissa Nissa is his "cold skin "queen ?  And what Lightbringer would be in that case. This entire Coldhands discussion spins way out of control in my head. 

Edited by SirArthur

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1 hour ago, Black Crow said:

And yet Coldhands has a "cold smell" about him, which would rule out a connection to fires, whether in weirwoods or anywhere else

No question about that.  I wouldn't completely dismiss the symbolism of a god with fire in his mouth though. 

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7 hours ago, JNR said:

The quality of prose, or lack of it, is quite different from something like a Rubik's Cube -- a puzzle, that has an objectively correct solution.  You can look at a solved Cube and know it to be solved or not solved, period.  That's going to be the case for many of GRRM's puzzles as well, because we're going to get the solutions in many cases and we can then see if it was solved or not solved.

Even then, depending on the puzzle, there will not be consensus on objective truth--there are readers that not only embrace the Death of the Author, but will go full on post-structuralist in their interpretations.

In general, I'm not one of them, but there are times that I understand the appeal. A few Heresys ago, PrettyPig presented a read of the "Dying Prince" vision as Littlefinger and Brandon's duel, which raised in me two immediate reactions: "That's really clever," followed by "...too clever for GRRM." Which, itself, raises a question--if the contents of ASOIAF support such an interesting read, then why should I let the intent of the Sixty Eight Year Old Man from Santa Fe steer me toward a less interesting read? Why should I allow him to define my experience with his art?

Which is a long-winded way of warning that, even if the series were completed, I doubt it'll bring an end to vehement fan disagreements.

Even leaving aside Death of the Author weirdness, ASOIAF will live under the cloud of the show, and Martin's own gardener tendencies; expect to see "he changed X because of the show" for a great many topics, even where there is demonstrable foreshadowing.
 

7 hours ago, JNR said:

And yet people continue to talk about things like comets smashing moons (even though comets can't smash moons like ours -- as the craters on our four-billion-year-old Moon bear objective witness -- and if a comet were to smash a moon like ours, it would lead to the extinction of life on the planet, not a Long Night).

Ah, I have to admit that I'm one of those readers that is guilty of intermingling magical and scientific explanations, though I don't buy into the comet theories. Nonetheless, the Hammer of the Waters is an example of something caused by magic with effects that can still be explained in scientific terms; my own overly scientific speculation for the Long Night being that it was a volcanic winter (fueled by an underlying magical event), with GRRM taking real world inspiration from The Year Without a A Summer.

With a sense of defeat, I admit that that explanation might work in isolation for the Long Night, but fails as an explanation for ~8,000 years of broken seasons. 

7 hours ago, JNR said:

There are many small mysteries of small consequence that are just... fun.  I think the odds are good for instance that Westeros had a population of humans prior to the First Men who lived on the coasts and had a distinctively fishy appearance, and they are remembered in myths as "Squishers," and the Borrells and Codds on the east and west coasts of Westeros are their descendants.  GRRM does not spell this out, and I doubt he ever will.

Speaking of Westerosi humans of unknown origin, would you lump Moat Caitlin in along with the fun mysteries?

In the spirit of the question I raised, here are two things that I think the fandom is potentially sleeping on: Tyrek Lannister's disappearance, and Lord Celtigar's kraken summoning horn.

Edited by Matthew.

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