Black Crow

Heresy 202 and still going

405 posts in this topic

2 hours 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

That would rule out fire sorcery for Coldhands, but I still think Lynn raises an interesting question with Beric. His choice to make one of the hollow hills of the CotF (?) his base of operations has raised this line of speculation before, the notion that the sorcery resurrecting Beric is actually coming from the old gods (or Bloodraven), and I'm not entirely inclined to dismiss it. "The land is one," and all that.

Edited by Matthew.

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9 hours ago, Matthew. said:

That would rule out fire sorcery for Coldhands, but I still think Lynn raises an interesting question with Beric. His choice to make one of the hollow hills of the CotF (?) his base of operations has raised this line of speculation before, the notion that the sorcery resurrecting Beric is actually coming from the old gods (or Bloodraven), and I'm not entirely inclined to dismiss it. "The land is one," and all that.

Yes this is it.  Beric is associated with High Heart:

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High Heart is a very tall hill sacred to the children of the forest in the riverlands. Around its crown stands a ring of thirty-one weirwood stumps. The hill is considered a safe place due to its relative height compared to the very flat surrounding land, making it nearly impossible to be approached unseen.

Thirty-one stumps is quite a large grove although I suspect that it is the roots of the weirwood tree that are more important than the tree itself.  The larger part of the organism is the root system underground and although the trees are cut; the roots are still living and connected in a larger network. 

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Aspens are also aided by the rhizomatic nature of their root systems. Most aspens grow in large clonal colonies, derived from a single seedling, and spread by means of root suckers; new stems in the colony may appear at up to 30–40 m (98–131 ft) from the parent tree. Each individual tree can live for 40–150 years above ground, but the root system of the colony is long-lived. In some cases, this is for thousands of years, sending up new trunks as the older trunks die off above ground. For this reason, it is considered to be an indicator of ancient woodlands. One such colony in Utah, given the nickname of "Pando", is estimated to be 80,000 years old,[2] making it possibly the oldest living colony of aspens. Some aspen colonies become very large with time, spreading about 1 m (3.3 ft) per year, eventually covering many hectares. They are able to survive forest fires, because the roots are below the heat of the fire, and new sprouts appear after the fire burns out. The high stem turnover rate combined with the clonal growth leads to proliferation in aspen colonies. The high stem turnover regime supports a diverse herbaceous understory.

Bran is able to travel the root system from BR's cave to Winterfell:

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A Dance with Dragons - Bran III

"Close your eyes," said the three-eyed crow. "Slip your skin, as you do when you join with Summer. But this time, go into the roots instead. Follow them up through the earth, to the trees upon the hill, and tell me what you see." 

Bran closed his eyes and slipped free of his skin. Into the roots, he thought. Into the weirwood. Become the tree. For an instant he could see the cavern in its black mantle, could hear the river rushing by below.

Then all at once he was back home again.

High Heart is in the vicinity the God's Eye.  (BTW, this is a mystery that I anticipate in the upcoming book.)  Why Beric and Thoros would use the hollow hill as an HQ is curious. The Ghost of High Heart tells Thoros that his god has no power there.  If it's not R'hllor, then who is answering Thoros' prayers?  

In addition, there is the incident when Bran and BR break into Melisandre's fire vision.  Fire seems to be less a barrier to a greenseer than we might think.  Although BR warns Bran not to bring the dead back to life;  Thoros brings Beric back again and again.  It seems entirely possible that a powerful greenseer can bring the dead back to life using ice or fire through one agency or another.

Returning to weirwoods propagating by rhizome; JNR has pointed out that Whitetree is directly north of the Black Gate.  The tree at the Night Fort seems more root-like than tree-like.  Bran describes it as 'queer':
 

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A Storm of Swords - Bran IV

The Reeds decided that they would sleep in the kitchens, a stone octagon with a broken dome. It looked to offer better shelter than most of the other buildings, even though a crooked weirwood had burst up through the slate floor beside the huge central well, stretching slantwise toward the hole in the roof, its bone-white branches reaching for the sun. It was a queer kind of tree, skinnier than any other weirwood that Bran had ever seen and faceless as well, but it made him feel as if the old gods were with him here, at least.

A tree that has come up through the slate floor hasn't been planted with a weirwood nut.  I think it more likely an appendage of the monstrous tree at Whitetree.   I also think it unlikely that BR is the only greenseer sitting a weirwood throne.  He's just the only one we know about.  Whatever occupies Whitetree is far older and powerful than Brynden Rivers.

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A Clash of Kings - Jon II

Whitetree, the village was named on Sam's old maps. Jon did not think it much of a village. Four tumbledown one-room houses of unmortared stone surrounded an empty sheepfold and a well. The houses were roofed with sod, the windows shuttered with ragged pieces of hide. And above them loomed the pale limbs and dark red leaves of a monstrous great weirwood. 

It was the biggest tree Jon Snow had ever seen, the trunk near eight feet wide, the branches spreading so far that the entire village was shaded beneath their canopy. The size did not disturb him so much as the face . . . the mouth especially, no simple carved slash, but a jagged hollow large enough to swallow a sheep.

Those are not sheep bones, though. Nor is that a sheep's skull in the ashes.

"An old tree." Mormont sat his horse, frowning. "Old," his raven agreed from his shoulder. "Old, old, old."

"And powerful." Jon could feel the power.

Thoren Smallwood dismounted beside the trunk, dark in his plate and mail. "Look at that face. Small wonder men feared them, when they first came to Westeros. I'd like to take an axe to the bloody thing myself."

Bran's famous description of the Black Gate:

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A Storm of Swords - Bran IV

It was white weirwood, and there was a face on it.

A glow came from the wood, like milk and moonlight, so faint it scarcely seemed to touch anything beyond the door itself, not even Sam standing right before it. The face was old and pale, wrinkled and shrunken. It looks dead. Its mouth was closed, and its eyes; its cheeks were sunken, its brow withered, its chin sagging. If a man could live for a thousand years and never die but just grow older, his face might come to look like that.

The door opened its eyes.

They were white too, and blind. "Who are you?" the door asked, and the well whispered, "Who-who-who-who-who-who-who."

"I am the sword in the darkness," Samwell Tarly said. "I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers. I am the shield that guards the realms of men."

"Then pass," the door said. Its lips opened, wide and wider and wider still, until nothing at all remained but a great gaping mouth in a ring of wrinkles. Sam stepped aside and waved Jojen through ahead of him. Summer followed, sniffing as he went, and then it was Bran's turn. Hodor ducked, but not low enough. The door's upper lip brushed softly against the top of Bran's head, and a drop of water fell on him and ran slowly down his nose. It was strangely warm, and salty as a tear.

Although the weirwood at the Night Fort doesn't have a face; Whitetree has a face with a mouth that consumes just as the Black Gate is a mouth that opens to consume whomever passes.  Or as Patchface would put it "the old fish eat the young fish".  I don't know if Martin can be any more direct in connecting the ghost face on the Wall and the weirwood at Whitetree.

How does a greenseer stay alive for a thousand years, never die and only grow older?  Brynden is almost consumed by his weirwood throne.  I doubt that blood and burnt offerings maintain Whitetree.  It seems more likely that the Black Gate draws it's power or is preserved by the great lore of the Wall itself.

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A Dance with Dragons - Jon VI

The direwolf looked at him as if he were a stranger.

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

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

 

When the first men came with fire in their fists and burned the weirwood groves; does that mean the memory or alchemy of fire is stored in the weirnet?  What do we have at Whitetree?  Something that both consumes fire and is preserved by ice?

 

Edited by LynnS

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2 hours ago, LynnS said:

Bran is able to travel the root system from BR's cave to Winterfell:

As with other conclusions, I'm not there yet. Simply because we have visions in the story, visions that require no root system. Bloodraven, a guy on a weirwood throne, can send visions. Someone connected to the Winterfell tree could send visions. Maybe even Maester Luwin. 

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3 hours ago, SirArthur said:

As with other conclusions, I'm not there yet. Simply because we have visions in the story, visions that require no root system. Bloodraven, a guy on a weirwood throne, can send visions. Someone connected to the Winterfell tree could send visions. Maybe even Maester Luwin. 

That fine SirArthur.  I don't have a conclusion, but rather a lot of questions.  Sly Wren's essay on the Dawn Sword also raises questions we've all been asking for a while.

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A Clash of Kings - Bran III

"Was there one who was best of all?"

"The finest knight I ever saw was Ser Arthur Dayne, who fought with a blade called Dawn, forged from the heart of a fallen star. They called him the Sword of the Morning, and he would have killed me but for Howland Reed." Father had gotten sad then, and he would say no more. Bran wished he had asked him what he meant.

 

Her premise is that the sword is made from the heart tree of a fallen Stark and

-she identifies the NK as the Stark in question and

-the wierwood at the Night Fort as the heart tree in question.

I agree with the definition that a fallen star isn't the same as a falling star and given the characteristics of the sword; it appears to be made from weirwood.  Arthur Dayne is called the morningstar; it's likely that the fallen star or falling star has an identity as well: the ice dragon or it's blue eye... the north star or the Starks.

A fallen Stark implies a fall from grace and the notoriety of the Night's King comes to mind of course. Although I don't come to the same conclusion, yet, that the Night's King is a thing of evil. Only that Old Nan's scary stories portray him that way.

Bran is a fallen Stark.  He climbed too high and was struck down.  The test of a greenseer; falling and flying are the same thing.  He is shown something of his purpose by the 3EC when he looks into the heart of darkness and cries hot tears.  His purpose may be to succeed where the NK failed.  Being entombed alive in a weirwood throne may not be a punishment as much as it is a sacrifice.  The curse of the NK may be that his seed is bound to that purpose.  And so when Bran passes through the Black Gate it also sheds a tear (for Bran).

A sword as mysterious and magical as the Dawn sword must derive it's power from something and it seems more likely to me that the White Sword is made from the White Tree.

Some people think there are elements of Lyanna's story in both Arya's and Sansa's narratives.  I think the same thing about the Night's King.  That there are elements of that story in both Jon and Bran's narratives.

Edited by LynnS

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55 minutes ago, LynnS said:

Sly Wren's essay on the Dawn Sword also raises questions we've all been asking for a while.

I found my religion in that essay. However in a very different way. I believe that the Night's King is Azor Ahai and that Whitetree is the location where Lightbringer hit Nissa Nissa, his Other Queen, in the Heart. Thus the flame (from Lightbringer) in the heart tree.And that may be the reason why Dawn is milky. It was not made from the White Tree. It turned white because Nissa Nissa, the Night's Queen, was milky. 

However, there is no connection to the Daynes. And as long as there is no connection I don't believe in Dawn = Lightbringer. 

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22 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

I found my religion in that essay. However in a very different way. I believe that the Night's King is Azor Ahai and that Whitetree is the location where Lightbringer hit Nissa Nissa, his Other Queen, in the Heart. Thus the flame (from Lightbringer) in the heart tree.And that may be the reason why Dawn is milky. It was not made from the White Tree. It turned white because Nissa Nissa, the Night's Queen, was milky. 

However, there is no connection to the Daynes. And as long as there is no connection I don't believe in Dawn = Lightbringer. 

Ultimately, it comes down to whatever someone thinks the prophecy means at this point, but as JNR has pointed out; we don't have a frame that makes any sense or clarifies what it means or if various prophecies mean the same thing.

There is a certain brutality to AA plunging a fiery sword into the heart of his beloved.  Do I really believe Euron about his beloved bride?  We've been told a story about a hero's blade apparently but I'm not so that this is about a hero but rather a monster.   Or that Lightbringer, the red sword and the pale sword are the same thing.  

 

Edited by LynnS

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1 hour ago, LynnS said:

Ultimately, it comes down to whatever someone thinks the prophecy means at this point, but as JNR has pointed out; we don't have a frame that makes any sense or clarifies what it means or if various prophecies mean the same thing.

We could try to find stable prophecies that fit together. Example: The Night's King and the Storm King could fit together. While "Storm and Night's King Bran the builder, Azor Ahai, the wielder of Lightbringer, the last hero" most likely clashes. 

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2 hours ago, SirArthur said:

However, there is no connection to the Daynes.

There is a connection to the Daynes.  How did the white sword come into their possession and why are they are the keepers of the sword?  What does it mean that only someone worthy of the sword can claim it?  If the Night King is the keeper or guardian of the Black Gate; why are the Daynes the keepers and guardians of the sword made from the NK's heart tree?   Does it mean that if the Wall should fall; then the sword will be needed?  I take it that since Jon still sees the morningstar hanging in the south, that the wall has not yet fallen.

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A Storm of Swords - Jon IV

Ghost was gone when the wildings led their horses from the cave. Did he understand about Castle Black? Jon took a breath of the crisp morning air and allowed himself to hope. The eastern sky was pink near the horizon and pale grey higher up. The Sword of the Morning still hung in the south, the bright white star in its hilt blazing like a diamond in the dawn, but the blacks and greys of the darkling forest were turning once again to greens and golds, reds and russets. And above the soldier pines and oaks and ash and sentinels stood the Wall, the ice pale and glimmering beneath the dust and dirt that pocked its surface.

I think @Sly Wrenhas made an astute observation that the Dawn sword can only be claimed by a just man or woman.  It's the first lesson that Bran receives from Ned, while Jon is an old hand at justice. 

Edited by LynnS

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25 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

We could try to find stable prophecies that fit together. Example: The Night's King and the Storm King could fit together. While "Storm and Night's King Bran the builder, Azor Ahai, the wielder of Lightbringer, the last hero" most likely clashes. 

I like to view all the legends of the heroes/villains of the Long Night as local warlords that help their tribes survive the resource wars caused by the cataclysm. So I don't really look for connections between them apart from some magical abilities and their survival skills.

I don't expect any of them to be reborn, but for new heroes to rise and we have already been following the stories of many of them. Take for example Samwell The Slayer, who rode on a giant elk, killed wights and white walkers, rescued ladies from keeps and was able to talk to the dead.

 

Edited by Tucu

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7 hours ago, LynnS said:

Returning to weirwoods propagating by rhizome; JNR has pointed out that Whitetree is directly north of the Black Gate.  The tree at the Night Fort seems more root-like than tree-like.  Bran describes it as 'queer':

These are all great observations about Whitetree and the Nightfort, and all I have to offer as a matter of perspective is that I'm probably closer to Black Crow's point of view on the Others and the CotF (though we still differ on significant details). With that in mind, I'm inclined to look at Whitetree's location, as well as the fact that Craster's mother might have been a woman of Whitetree as important clues.

Proceeding from an interpretation that the WWs may have been first created by the CotF as a final act of desperation to defend the deep forest that remained to them - the Haunted Forest - if the LN were ended in some sort of agreement or truce, then those WWs present in the Haunted Forest during the era of the NK would be more like sentinels than an apocalyptic threat, their ranks swelled by offerings from  "godly" men and women in places such as Whitetree, who are forced to pay the toll for living in lands that rightfully belong to the CotF.

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1 hour ago, Matthew. said:

Proceeding from an interpretation that the WWs may have been first created by the CotF as a final act of desperation to defend the deep forest that remained to them - the Haunted Forest - if the LN were ended in some sort of agreement or truce, then those WWs present in the Haunted Forest during the era of the NK would be more like sentinels than an apocalyptic threat, their ranks swelled by offerings from  "godly" men and women in places such as Whitetree, who are forced to pay the toll for living in lands that rightfully belong to the CotF.

Possibly.  I don't know what to make of the cotf at this point.  Although I just can't see BR's cave as the heart of winter. Bran's description seems much further north.  This seems an entirely different place.

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A Game of Thrones - Bran III

He lifted his eyes and saw clear across the narrow sea, to the Free Cities and the green Dothraki sea and beyond, to Vaes Dothrak under its mountain, to the fabled lands of the Jade Sea, to Asshai by the Shadow, where dragons stirred beneath the sunrise.

Finally he looked north. He saw the Wall shining like blue crystal, and his bastard brother Jon sleeping alone in a cold bed, his skin growing pale and hard as the memory of all warmth fled from him. And he looked past the Wall, past endless forests cloaked in snow, past the frozen shore and the great blue-white rivers of ice and the dead plains where nothing grew or lived. North and north and north he looked, to the curtain of light at the end of the world, and then beyond that curtain. He looked deep into the heart of winter, and then he cried out, afraid, and the heat of his tears burned on his cheeks.

 

The similarities in these two passages are interesting.  I wonder if we are being given the distance between the Wall and the heart of winter in Sansa's passage.
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A Game of Thrones - Sansa VI

From the high battlements of the gatehouse, the whole world spread out below them. Sansa could see the Great Sept of Baelor on Visenya's hill, where her father had died. At the other end of the Street of the Sisters stood the fire-blackened ruins of the Dragonpit. To the west, the swollen red sun was half-hidden behind the Gate of the Gods. The salt sea was at her back, and to the south was the fish market and the docks and the swirling torrent of the Blackwater Rush. And to the north …

She turned that way, and saw only the city, streets and alleys and hills and bottoms and more streets and more alleys and the stone of distant walls. Yet she knew that beyond them was open country, farms and fields and forests, and beyond that, north and north and north again, stood Winterfell.

 

 

 

 

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Has Mance's secret stronghold from AGoT Jon IX ever been found ?

"I do," said Lord Commander Mormont. "The cold winds are rising, Snow. Beyond the Wall, the shadows lengthen. Cotter Pyke writes of vast herds of elk, streaming south and east toward the sea, and mammoths as well. He says one of his men discovered huge, misshapen footprints not three leagues from Eastwatch. Rangers from the Shadow Tower have found whole villages abandoned, and at night Ser Denys says they see fires in the mountains, huge blazes that burn from dusk till dawn. Quorin Halfhand took a captive in the depths of the Gorge, and the man swears that Mance Rayder is massing all his people in some new, secret stronghold he's found, to what end the gods only know. Do you think your uncle Benjen was the only ranger we've lost this past year?"

 

concerning north and north and north: I assume Bran sees polar lights. Then he gets afraid and somehow his tears become warm ? huh ? Is his face becoming cold ? Why this emotional outburst ? 

Is he seeing someone he knows and loves ? But whom ?

Edited by SirArthur

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3 hours ago, LynnS said:

Possibly.  I don't know what to make of the cotf at this point.  Although I just can't see BR's cave as the heart of winter. Bran's description seems much further north.  This seems an entirely different place.

I agree that what Bran is seeing is to the far, far north--not just in metaphorical terms, but in literal geography.

However, I don't know that it necessarily follows that white walkers must be created in the heart of winter; if the magic of the old gods is at work here, and the weirwoods are interconnected through some monstrous root system, it may be that any site where there is a heart tree will serve to perform the (theoretical) ritual. Thus, one might be able to utilize the sorcery of 'the heart of winter,' without actually being in the physical location--especially if the source is, itself, a massive tree, or perhaps a sacred grove like the Isle of Faces.

To use Bran as a point of comparison, he is able to to "tap into" the Winterfell heart tree, in spite of the distance.

It may also be that Bran's "heart of winter" is not actually a magically important site, but just the place that the Others have gathered after they were defeated, especially if there was a prolonged period where their magic lay fallow. In particular, one might characterize the far north as the "heart of winter" in much the same way that one might call Vaes Dothrak the 'heart' of the Dothraki sea, or the heart of Dothraki culture, or whatever--just a bit of flowery language. "Heart of winter," after all, is a phrase that has appeared only once, and not even as a proper noun.

Edited by Matthew.

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1 hour ago, Matthew. said:

It may also be that Bran's "heart of winter" is not actually a magically important site, but just the place that the Others have gathered after they were defeated, especially if there was a prolonged period where their magic lay fallow. In particular, one might characterize the far north as the "heart of winter" in much the same way that one might call Vaes Dothrak the 'heart' of the Dothraki sea, or the heart of Dothraki culture, or whatever--just a bit of flowery language. "Heart of winter," after all, is a phrase that has appeared only once, and not even as a proper noun.

I've seen several posts that seem to put much more emphasis on this "heart of winter" concept than the text suggests. Maybe it will be important, but the significance attached to that Bran chapter always comes across as unjustified to me.

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8 hours ago, Matthew. said:

I agree that what Bran is seeing is to the far, far north--not just in metaphorical terms, but in literal geography.

However, I don't know that it necessarily follows that white walkers must be created in the heart of winter; if the magic of the old gods is at work here, and the weirwoods are interconnected through some monstrous root system, it may be that any site where there is a heart tree will serve to perform the (theoretical) ritual. Thus, one might be able to utilize the sorcery of 'the heart of winter,' without actually being in the physical location--especially if the source is, itself, a massive tree, or perhaps a sacred grove like the Isle of Faces.

To use Bran as a point of comparison, he is able to to "tap into" the Winterfell heart tree, in spite of the distance.

It may also be that Bran's "heart of winter" is not actually a magically important site, but just the place that the Others have gathered after they were defeated, especially if there was a prolonged period where their magic lay fallow. In particular, one might characterize the far north as the "heart of winter" in much the same way that one might call Vaes Dothrak the 'heart' of the Dothraki sea, or the heart of Dothraki culture, or whatever--just a bit of flowery language. "Heart of winter," after all, is a phrase that has appeared only once, and not even as a proper noun.

I'm not sure that there is an ancient army of the dead shuffling around or that they haven't long since rotted away and crumbled into dust. I think whatever Bran saw there is something forever howling alone in the dark to quote Dany.  I think this place is a prison containing one thing:

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A Storm of Swords - Davos III

"The war?" asked Davos.

"The war," she affirmed. "There are two, Onion Knight. Not seven, not one, not a hundred or a thousand. Two! Do you think I crossed half the world to put yet another vain king on yet another empty throne? The war has been waged since time began, and before it is done, all men must choose where they will stand. On one side is R'hllor, the Lord of Light, the Heart of Fire, the God of Flame and Shadow. Against him stands the Great Other whose name may not be spoken, the Lord of Darkness, the Soul of Ice, the God of Night and Terror. Ours is not a choice between Baratheon and Lannister, between Greyjoy and Stark. It is death we choose, or life. Darkness, or light." She clasped the bars of his cell with her slender white hands. The great ruby at her throat seemed to pulse with its own radiance. "So tell me, Ser Davos Seaworth, and tell me truly—does your heart burn with the shining light of R'hllor? Or is it black and cold and full of worms?" She reached through the bars and laid three fingers upon his breast, as if to feel the truth of him through flesh and wool and leather.

 

I think that looking into the 'heart of winter' is the same thing as looking into it's soul. I imagine what Bran saw was the thing created by the cotf to prosecute their war.  The thing that turned on them as well.  Looking into it's heart and soul would be like looking into madness.  So I don't think we are shown anything because what Bran sees isn't something on the physical plane - a tree or any undead army - he sees the enemy he will face. The thing that can create an undead army and hold them as thralls.  

There does seem to be a connection between the WW and the cotf.  I'm just not sure that they would seek to release something they couldn't control or that would destroy them as well.  So I don't know why the WW's are being created.

 I look to Euron for an idea of what the ancient enemy might look like in it's heart and soul if it was seeking to escape and be reborn.

There is an old heresy that the last hero paid a heavy price to defeat the enemy and the Starks are bound to that legacy.  It seems to me that the Wall and it's keeper were created to keep the enemy in it's prison.    

Edited by LynnS

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9 hours ago, SirArthur said:

Has Mance's secret stronghold from AGoT Jon IX ever been found ?

"I do," said Lord Commander Mormont. "The cold winds are rising, Snow. Beyond the Wall, the shadows lengthen. Cotter Pyke writes of vast herds of elk, streaming south and east toward the sea, and mammoths as well. He says one of his men discovered huge, misshapen footprints not three leagues from Eastwatch. Rangers from the Shadow Tower have found whole villages abandoned, and at night Ser Denys says they see fires in the mountains, huge blazes that burn from dusk till dawn. Quorin Halfhand took a captive in the depths of the Gorge, and the man swears that Mance Rayder is massing all his people in some new, secret stronghold he's found, to what end the gods only know. Do you think your uncle Benjen was the only ranger we've lost this past year?"

 

concerning north and north and north: I assume Bran sees polar lights. Then he gets afraid and somehow his tears become warm ? huh ? Is his face becoming cold ? Why this emotional outburst ? 

Is he seeing someone he knows and loves ? But whom ?

Yes and no; it was the valley in the Frostfangs which Jon discovers with Ghost's eyes. So technically they didn't, but Jon saw it.

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11 hours ago, SirArthur said:

concerning north and north and north: I assume Bran sees polar lights. Then he gets afraid and somehow his tears become warm ? huh ? Is his face becoming cold ? Why this emotional outburst ? 

Is he seeing someone he knows and loves ? But whom ?

We are told that magic is weaving and sewing with light. 

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Melisandre I

Jon Snow turned to Melisandre. "What sorcery is this?"

"Call it what you will. Glamor, seeming, illusion. R'hllor is Lord of Light, Jon Snow, and it is given to his servants to weave with it, as others weave with thread."

A Dance with Dragons - The Ugly Little Girl

"Mummers change their faces with artifice," the kindly man was saying, "and sorcerers use glamors, weaving light and shadow and desire to make illusions that trick the eye. These arts you shall learn, but what we do here goes deeper. Wise men can see through artifice, and glamors dissolve before sharp eyes, but the face you are about to don will be as true and solid as that face you were born with. Keep your eyes closed." She felt his fingers brushing back her hair. "Stay still. This will feel queer. You may be dizzy, but you must not move."

A Storm of Swords - Bran IV

"Why not?"

"The Wall. The Wall is more than just ice and stone, he said. There are spells woven into it . . . old ones, and strong. He cannot pass beyond the Wall."

So I suspect that the northern lights really represent a magic barrier, another form of wall.  Piercing the wall of light would be akin to lifting the veil.

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Tyrion XV

Lies, he thought, all feigned, all for gold, she was a whore, Jaime's whore, Jaime's gift, my lady of the lie. Her face seemed to fade away, dissolving behind a veil of tears, but even after she was gone he could still hear the faint, far-off sound of her voice, calling his name. ". . . my lord, can you hear me? My lord? Tyrion? My lord? My lord?"

A Dance with Dragons - Tyrion VI

Afterward the wine was done and so was he, so he wadded up the girl's clothing and tossed it at the door. She took the hint and fled, leaving him alone in the darkness, sinking deeper into his feather bed. I am stinking drunk. He dare not close his eyes, for fear of sleep. Beyond the veil of dream, the Sorrows were waiting for him. Stone steps ascending endlessly, steep and slick and treacherous, and somewhere at the top, the Shrouded Lord. I do not want to meet the Shrouded Lord. Tyrion fumbled back into his clothes again and groped his way to the stair. Griff will flay me. Well, why not? If ever a dwarf deserved a skinning, I'm him.

A Dance with Dragons - The Sacrifice

"Lord of Light, defend us," the queen's men chanted, "for the night is dark and full of terrors."

Ser Godry raised his head toward the darkening sky. "We thank you for the sun that warms us and pray that you will return it to us, Oh lord, that it might light our path to your enemies." Snowflakes melted on his face. "We thank you for the stars that watch over us by night, and pray that you will rip away this veil that hides them, so we might glory in their sight once more.

It's interesting the Tyrion has the same fear of sleep and dreaming as Melisandre and the red lot.  Sleep is full of night terrors.

Edited by LynnS

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2 hours ago, LynnS said:

I think that looking into the 'heart of winter' is the same thing as looking into it's soul. I imagine what Bran saw was the thing created by the cotf to prosecute their war. 

Or it is simply Bran seeing himself lying in his bed and realizing he will never climb again. Thus the tears. 

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2 hours ago, SirArthur said:

Or it is simply Bran seeing himself lying in his bed and realizing he will never climb again. Thus the tears. 

I think he sees something that frightens him, some nightmare vision.  Hot tears comes up in the prophecy: amidst salt tears and smoke.  So too, the veil of tears and tears of (hot) blood in relation to death and conflict.  Several characters have visions of weirwoods weeping hot tears (of blood).  

Bran is shown things that perhaps he doesn't yet understand.  The wall shining like a blue crystal, places of significance: the wall, the mother of mountains, Braavos, Asshai.   And there are some things, that are suppressed or he doesn't remember, like the heart of winter.   A terror he isn't equipped to deal with yet. If you saw your enemy and the enemy saw you; that would be quite frightening especially if you were shown what he had in store for you. 

Spoiler

From the Foresaken chapter:  Pyat Pree with his legs cut off hanging from the rafters like a trophy, a mockery of Bran.  Euron's express intent to kill all the gods and impale them on his thrown, including the small gods of the wood who cannot stop him (the cotf, children like Bran and Jon).  His pursuit of 'holy blood' for sacrifice:  wizards, sorcerers,septons, holy men/holy blood - Bran.  You could say that Bran experienced an assault on the mind, heart and soul.

 

Edited by LynnS

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Building on some of what's been said above I'm certain dubious of the Heart of Winter being a geographical location, and given the Scooby Gang's journey into the Heart of Darkness, I'd equate it with the heart of the house of the undying. Its a vision or rather series of visions of past and present, or futures that will happen and futures that may not and its those futures which make Bran cry out in terror

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