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Black Crow

Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

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Welcome to Heresy 208, the latest version of the long-running and sometimes rather 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 Song of Ice and Fire and the true nature of apparent threat which lies in the North, hidden in the Haunted Forest and those magical Otherlands which lie beyond the Wall.

The thread is called Heresy because with The Wall, the Watch and a Heresy, back in 2011, we miserable heretics 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 the kindly elves Bran once thought them to be and above all question also the popular assumption that Jon Snow is some bloke prophesied way out east and known there as Azor Ahai, who is going to ride out of the sunrise on a dragon, save the world by immolating the Icy lot and then ascend the Iron Throne to reign over dust and ashes. Instead we’re increasingly wondering whether the Starks theselves might have a rather dark [but forgotten] secret in their past, which some of us are beginning to suspect may be tall and gaunt, with characteristic long Stark faces and are very very cold. Winter after all is coming and it aint going to be pretty when it does.

We don’t all of us agree on this, or anything else for that matter, but as a free-ranging discussion group within Westeros we can safely claim to have been around for a while now and discussed an awful lot of stuff over the years since the thread cycle started in late 2011. Some of the ideas have been overtaken by events and some seemingly confirmed by GRRM’s increasingly sparse SSMs and by the earlier stages of the mummers’ version before it firmly moved into weird fan-fiction.

However GRRM has also told us that when it comes to writing he is very much a gardener and this thread cycle follows that style, preferring the discussion to be free-ranging and organic in nature rather than fixed in tram lines.

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

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Winter is coming, and what happens next?

I'm curious as to whether there is anything in the text that suggests how this business is going to be resolved, By that I don't mean the simplistic suggestions that Jon Snow or Danaerys Targaryen will be revealed as Azor Ahai and will smite the Amalekites hip and thigh to win the Battle of the Dawn once again, or that the very fact of Jon being confirmed to be the son of Rhaegar Targaryen [Fire] and Lyanna Stark [Ice] will resolve it, or, hedging bets, Jon and Danaerys will join together to do the job...

Lets assume a great battle happens in the snow and the blue-eyed lot are somehow beaten, is the sun suddenly going to break through the clouds and flood the battlefield with warm spring sunshine?

GRRM has included a number of battle set-pieces but he doesn't seem comfortable writing them. He'll give us a POV involving some action up close and personal, but the battle itself will rely on messengers appearing from the wings or a more or less laconic summary by someone reporting on the result after its all over.

I'm not therefore expecting a grand climactic battle with the future of mankind swinging in the balance until the last moment. There may well be a battle and perhaps an exceptionally bloody one at that, but I'm more inclined to see it as a symptom rather than a solution, just as Craster's boys are thus far very thin on the ground.

There is of course a possible clue in the synopsis which speaks of a perilous journey into the Land of Always Winter, which may lead to a fateful encounter, but on balance I suspect we've already seen it in the Scooby Gang's trek north to the Cave of Skulls.

Either way we're still left with that fundamental question. Is this going to be resolved and how - and will that be the end of it, or will it just kick off another cycle. After all if the Battle for the Dawn was won way back when, why do we still have the dodgy seasons and why are we standing here now.

Personally I suspect that bringing the Wall down might do it:

Blood built it; Blood stopped the Building of it, and Blood will bring it down.:commie:

 

 

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I can't put my finger on anything in the text that would hint at the resolution or restoring the balance of nature.  Certainly the Wall sticks out like a sore thumb and the Citadel might be moving in that direction with the destruction of dragons.  I'm starting to think that the Wall, as a magical construct, uses both fire and ice magic, that can be used by sorcerers and necromancers.   Destroying the source, cuts off the power.  There does seem to be some inter-connection between the Wall, the House of Undying, the House of Black and White.  

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The end game?Hmm,well let's face it there will be battles,though I'd agree the resolution won't be found in those.

Ingredients for this recipe should include a trip to the crypts,a resurrected Jon Snow and maybe a return journey for the "last hero" and assorted pals.Bran to reveal what actually happened all those years ago and how to put it right this time.I'm hoping all magic/sorcery gets the axe because I can't see any good in it whatsoever.

 

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4 hours ago, LynnS said:

I can't put my finger on anything in the text that would hint at the resolution or restoring the balance of nature.  Certainly the Wall sticks out like a sore thumb and the Citadel might be moving in that direction with the destruction of dragons.  I'm starting to think that the Wall, as a magical construct, uses both fire and ice magic, that can be used by sorcerers and necromancers.   Destroying the source, cuts off the power.  There does seem to be some inter-connection between the Wall, the House of Undying, the House of Black and White.  

I'm not sure about interactions with other locations, but if the reason for the dodgy seasons doesn't lie in cosmology, eg: an eliptical orbit - as GRRM has very firmly declared, then we need to look elsewhere. If it isn't natural then its been induced and that means very powerful magic. To undo that magic is going to require something equally powerful, a magical event of similar or greater magnitude, or even something relatively small but precisely placed at a tipping point. 

Winning a battle aint going to do it, but bringing down the Wall on the other hand is something else entirely and I still maintain that the timing may provide the key. GRRM grew up during the 50-year long Cold War between two opposed forces separated by a Wall. Then the Wall came down and within months of its demolition GRRM had begun work on Ice and Fire 

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As an aside BC,do we accept the World book and other related books as canon?Well,I do anyway,bearing in mind the "unreliable" nature of their authors.

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19 hours ago, Black Crow said:

Winter is coming, and what happens next?

I'm curious as to whether there is anything in the text that suggests how this business is going to be resolved, By that I don't mean the simplistic suggestions that Jon Snow or Danaerys Targaryen will be revealed as Azor Ahai and will smite the Amalekites hip and thigh to win the Battle of the Dawn once again, or that the very fact of Jon being confirmed to be the son of Rhaegar Targaryen [Fire] and Lyanna Stark [Ice] will resolve it, or, hedging bets, Jon and Danaerys will join together to do the job...

Lets assume a great battle happens in the snow and the blue-eyed lot are somehow beaten, is the sun suddenly going to break through the clouds and flood the battlefield with warm spring sunshine?

Personally, I don't believe this is where the story is headed at all. Winter is coming all right, and the Others with it, but they will not be beaten. Stannis will try to face them on the field, as we all know he would, but he will fail miserably and from then on it will be a full on rout. By the time Jon regains his senses, the situation will already be hopeless (whether or not he could have changed anything if he was awake will probably be a point of contention both within the story and without), and his only choice will be to do what Mance did and flee with the survivors.

Only they won't flee south, into the desolation of the Riverlands and Cersei's war with Aegon. They will board the Manderly fleet at White Harbor and sail across the Narrow Sea to Braavos, where the two loans Tycho agreed to offer, the one to Jon and the one to the Baratheon family, which Justin Massey would have probably collected by this point, can be diverted towards buying food and supplies for the refugees as they attempt to settle on Essos.

As ravens fly with news of the invasion and the Others themselves make their way south, more will choose to flee, some with survivors, others with as many valuables their ships can carry, and Euron will prey on them relentlessly, either on his own, or with Cersei's blessing, since surely she would want to punish all these "traitors" for abandoning her kingdom and stealing from it men, food and treasures. Thus, Euron will probably be an antagonist for Sansa as the Vale and the Riverlands survivors attempt to cross the Narrow Sea, and eventually to Jon if catches wind of this and has any means to help.

By the end of the series, the south will evacuate as well, not before hundreds of thousands will die, and the entirety of Westeros will become the new "Land of Always Winter". What stops the Others from going even further? Imho, Jaime, Brienne and The Brotherhood Without Banners traveling to help Bran in a reenactment of the last hero story, but I doubt anyone other than the reader and Bran himself will find out about it.

During all this, the displaced Westerosi will inevitably encounter Dany as she sweeps across Essos with her Dothraki army, in a bid to eradicate slavery not only from Slaver's Bay, but from all of the Free Cities, and ultimately to unite the entire continent under her rule, Just like the first three books focused on the War of the Five Kings, the final two will primarily focus on the reshaping of Essos, with all the tensions, conflicts and alliances brought by Dany's conquest, the refugee crisis and the setting winter. Braavos will very likely play a very important role, since so many things gravitate around it: Jon's loan, Arya and the Faceless Men, Tysha/The Sailor's Wife, Dany's childhood memories, potentially the destruction of Valyria... hard to believe they won't be explored.

I've had this theory since last year, but as much as I managed to convince myself it's very plausible, it didn't seem to garner much support in the Winds of Winter subforum, so I'm really curious what you heretics think.

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2 hours ago, redriver said:

As an aside BC,do we accept the World book and other related books as canon?Well,I do anyway,bearing in mind the "unreliable" nature of their authors.

For lack of contradiction I'm inclined to regard it as canon, but with certain reservations.

Some stuff is flagged up as contentious and while it might in the end turn out to be true, at this stage who knows?

Secondly, GRRM is very fond of what he calls world-building. While the book gives a splendid picture of the world in which the story happens I think that the main issue is not whether a particular nugget of information is accurate but rather whether it is actually relevant to what's going on.

Ultimately the question of canonicity really comes down to a simple test. Is it necessary to read it or is everything we need to know in the novels?

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1 hour ago, The Coconut God said:

...I've had this theory since last year, but as much as I managed to convince myself it's very plausible, it didn't seem to garner much support in the Winds of Winter subforum, so I'm really curious what you heretics think.

There is no such thing as an official heretic view or much of a consensus come to that, but GRRM has stressed before that this is about Westeros and indeed he expressed the hope at the end of ADwD that he will get all of the characters back there in Winds of Winter. 

I think, however, that most of us here are anticipating that any resolution will be found up North, in Winterfell and on the Wall

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1 hour ago, The Coconut God said:

Personally, I don't believe this is where the story is headed at all. Winter is coming all right, and the Others with it, but they will not be beaten. Stannis will try to face them on the field, as we all know he would, but he will fail miserably and from then on it will be a full on rout. By the time Jon regains his senses, the situation will already be hopeless (whether or not he could have changed anything if he was awake will probably be a point of contention both within the story and without), and his only choice will be to do what Mance did and flee with the survivors.

Only they won't flee south, into the desolation of the Riverlands and Cersei's war with Aegon. They will board the Manderly fleet at White Harbor and sail across the Narrow Sea to Braavos, where the two loans Tycho agreed to offer, the one to Jon and the one to the Baratheon family, which Justin Massey would have probably collected by this point, can be diverted towards buying food and supplies for the refugees as they attempt to settle on Essos.

As ravens fly with news of the invasion and the Others themselves make their way south, more will choose to flee, some with survivors, others with as many valuables their ships can carry, and Euron will prey on them relentlessly, either on his own, or with Cersei's blessing, since surely she would want to punish all these "traitors" for abandoning her kingdom and stealing from it men, food and treasures. Thus, Euron will probably be an antagonist for Sansa as the Vale and the Riverlands survivors attempt to cross the Narrow Sea, and eventually to Jon if catches wind of this and has any means to help.

By the end of the series, the south will evacuate as well, not before hundreds of thousands will die, and the entirety of Westeros will become the new "Land of Always Winter". What stops the Others from going even further? Imho, Jaime, Brienne and The Brotherhood Without Banners traveling to help Bran in a reenactment of the last hero story, but I doubt anyone other than the reader and Bran himself will find out about it.

During all this, the displaced Westerosi will inevitably encounter Dany as she sweeps across Essos with her Dothraki army, in a bid to eradicate slavery not only from Slaver's Bay, but from all of the Free Cities, and ultimately to unite the entire continent under her rule, Just like the first three books focused on the War of the Five Kings, the final two will primarily focus on the reshaping of Essos, with all the tensions, conflicts and alliances brought by Dany's conquest, the refugee crisis and the setting winter. Braavos will very likely play a very important role, since so many things gravitate around it: Jon's loan, Arya and the Faceless Men, Tysha/The Sailor's Wife, Dany's childhood memories, potentially the destruction of Valyria... hard to believe they won't be explored.

I've had this theory since last year, but as much as I managed to convince myself it's very plausible, it didn't seem to garner much support in the Winds of Winter subforum, so I'm really curious what you heretics think.

I think it's fascinating overall and not improbable that Jaime and Brienne will trek north of the Wall.  Although I see a reforming of the ancient order of the star and the swords under the banner of the Dawn Sword involved in some way.  

I'm not so sure about Jon fleeing east; but the notion that Sansa and a large portion of the population will flee does make some sense.

Euron is something of an outlier since his expressed purpose is to kill all the gods including the small gods of the wood.  I'm expecting him to make an assault on the god's eye, as well as Kingslanding since Aeron sees him sitting on the iron throne in a vision. 

Dany may end up fighting the Red Lot who are heading towards some fiery ragnarok. 

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3 hours ago, redriver said:

The end game?Hmm,well let's face it there will be battles,though I'd agree the resolution won't be found in those.

Ingredients for this recipe should include a trip to the crypts,a resurrected Jon Snow and maybe a return journey for the "last hero" and assorted pals.Bran to reveal what actually happened all those years ago and how to put it right this time.I'm hoping all magic/sorcery gets the axe because I can't see any good in it whatsoever.

 

Broadly I agree and especially with the last, but in particular I'm mindful of Ygritte's view that the Wall is evil and Mel's claim about it being full of magic. There have been various theories ovwe the years about how there might be a weirwood hedge at the heart of it, but in the end if a tree can be sentient why not a Wall of Ice, which is full of magic, defends itself, accepts sacrifices and is ultimately evil.

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50 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

Some stuff is flagged up as contentious and while it might in the end turn out to be true, at this stage who knows?

What man can say?I think it's up to us to "sort the wheat from the chaff".

 

50 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

Secondly, GRRM is very fond of what he calls world-building. While the book gives a splendid picture of the world in which the story happens I think that the main issue is not whether a particular nugget of information is accurate but rather whether it is actually relevant to what's going on.

World building,in my opinion,is essential to any fantasy series worth its salt and in particular Martin has loaded his world building to such a real-world extent that the mythology and folklore are driving the behaviours and actions of the characters he has in play.The World book gives many examples of the Nissa Nissa prototype montage played out throughout Essos.It's a pattern that's played out in the stars-the only question is who started it all off.

Who brought down the Hammer of the Waters,the Shadow,the Dragon,the Horn of Winter,the Sea Dragon,Starfall?

All maybe the same event from differing perspectives.Just as Martin was watching the Wall falling in Berlin,he was probably watching Shoemaker-Levi break into 5 pieces and slam into Jupiter.

Substitute meteor myths for our flood myths and I think you'll be on the right path.

Edited by redriver

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1 hour ago, Black Crow said:

There is no such thing as an official heretic view or much of a consensus come to that, but GRRM has stressed before that this is about Westeros and indeed he expressed the hope at the end of ADwD that he will get all of the characters back there in Winds of Winter. 

I think, however, that most of us here are anticipating that any resolution will be found up North, in Winterfell and on the Wall

He doesn't say the characters will return to Westeros, but rather that they will start converging again, so he'll be able to write them all in the same book ("Next up, The Winds of Winter. Wherein, I hope, everybody will be shivering together once again"). Jon fleeing to Essos is still converging with Arya and Dany, and a lot more efficiently I might add.

A catastrophic event like the collapse of the Wall and an unstoppable wight invasion would justify an abrupt change in Jon's story in a very believable way, consistent with the envisioned size of the threat and the dreadful lack of resources and men the North suffers from. And the same event that motivates Jon can very easily determine Sansa to converge as well later on.

Meanwhile, neither Dany nor Arya have such powerful triggers to divert them towards Westeros. It's hard, very very hard to send them back quickly without making it feel forced. Especially in Dany's case, since GRRM seemingly had multiple good opportunities to send her to Westeros faster, but instead chose to give her reasons to stay. And even if they do go back, that's still far from converging, since they would both follow their own paths, neither of which is likely to pass through the North without yet another plot swerve.

Jon landing in Braavos and knocking at the Iron Bank's door for a loan instantly makes his story converge with Arya's, whether they meet or not. GRRM can show the arrival of the refugee fleet and the chaos and concerns it creates in Braavos from Arya's perspective, then switch to a Jon chapter where he treats with the Sealord to supply them with food and let them make camp outside the city gates. And later you can learn about the refugees' movements and the Free Cities' reactions to them from Dany or Tyrion's point of view, and learn about Dany's conquest from Jon's as they get closer and closer to each other and news spreads. What's more convergent than that?

2 hours ago, LynnS said:

I'm not so sure about Jon fleeing east; but the notion that Sansa and a large portion of the population will flee does make some sense.

Euron is something of an outlier since his expressed purpose is to kill all the gods including the small gods of the wood.  I'm expecting him to make an assault on the god's eye, as well as Kingslanding since Aeron sees him sitting on the iron throne in a vision. 

I actually think Jon fleeing east is the most believable part of the theory. We expect him to fight back against the Others because that's the fantasy trope he represents, but whenever he teased us with a trope, George always gleefully subverted it. We expected Ned to unmask the Lannister twincest because he was the protagonist, but he made mistakes and he got jailed and executed. We expected Robb to defeat Tywin because he was the good leader's heir, but he made mistakes and he got the Red Wedding.

We expected the obvious "fantasy" thing to happen and we got burned, but the hints to the real outcome were always there in the background. And the hints in the background regarding the invasion of the Others is that Westeros is woefully unprepared, with tons of soldiers dead and even more about to get killed, corpses strewn around everywhere in the Riverlands, ready to be raised, fractured government institutions on every level, poor communication between the isolated groups of people that managed to endure the horrors of the war, extreme mistrust, barely enough resources for a regular winter, if even that, and leaders that are either crazy, hated, inexperienced or freshly assassinated. The mistakes Ned and Robb made seem absolutely minor compared to the mistakes Westeros as a whole made in preparation for a zombie apocalypse.

And what's the upcoming state of the North? Probably worst of all. ADwD established they have mostly small armies with leftover troops, and these armies are going to slaughter each other in the Battle of Ice. Then Stannis the Mannis will face the Others alone and he will lose, because we all know that's what his arc is supposed to be, as much as we love him... and George only subverts heroes, not so much antiheroes and villains. What is there left for Jon to fight with? The Wildlings are clearly not enough, they are the ones who fled from the Others from the start. Let's face it, he has no chance to fight them, not if the Wall falls.

And once you accept that he has no chance to fight, that he has to flee, the bread crumbs start to become obvious. All those apparently superfluous world building details from ADwD start making sense: the Manderly fleet is the means they will use to escape, which is why George underlined at least twice that it exists. White Harbor will be that last safe point they have to defend until the women and children embark on the ships, which might remind you of a particular episode from the mummer's version (that ended up not making much sense because they ignored context and only put it there 'cuz it looked cool)... More importantly, why do you think George spent an entire chapter with Davos describing the streets, port and defenses of the city if nothing's going to happen there? Even the name is a nice play on words... Wight Harbor? Also, two ship captain PoVs gravitating in the area, meaning we can have multiple perspectives of the battle and the flight? Why not.

As for the destination, why else would George have introduced Tycho Nestoris? The Iron Bank could have declared its support for Stannis off-screen. We could have learned about it from one of the Davos, Arya or Asha chapters, but we didn't. Jon specifically had to meet the man, and they even arranged for a loan, which I sincerely doubt is going to play out the way it was set up. Either the loan agreement or Tycho himself can motivate Jon to head for Braavos. Hey, if he has to flee anyway, why not go straight to the place with the money? And if that's not enough let's not forget that as far as Jon is concerned his sister Arya will be in Braavos with Justin Massey. And then there's the whole thing about putting the entire Narrow Sea between themselves and the undead.

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The biggest mystery to me, is in the final conflict,  who is going to end up on which side.

The current direction of everything is that despite some conflicts and fighting,  all the POV characters are going to end up united under Jon against the evil Others.

Nothing could be further from what I expect from GRRM, and I think he is deliberately setting things up this way, only to have us find characters (Mel, Bran, Jon imo the most likely) on the Other side.  I wouldn't be surprised if we see a Night King exactly like on the show leading the Others, only to be replaced by some we know and love before the final battle. 

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1 hour ago, Brad Stark said:

Nothing could be further from what I expect from GRRM, and I think he is deliberately setting things up this way, only to have us find characters (Mel, Bran, Jon imo the most likely) on the Other side.  

I agree. Of the listed characters, I feel like Bran is the one that is the most at risk of ending up aligned with the Others--or, more accurately, I think the Others might end up aligned with Bran.

I find it worth repeating that, in terms of ethical usage of power, what Bran is doing to Hodor is horrific, a fact that might be somewhat occluded by Bran's 'crime' lacking the physical, visceral repulsiveness exhibited by some of the more violent and sadistic characters; nonetheless, Bran casually stealing a man's body (while he cowers in the corner of his own mind) because he's bored and feels like taking a stroll around BR's cave is pretty fucked up.

Back when I first read AGOT/ACOK/ASOS my suspicion was that the ultimate point of Bran's arc was to master his power and take another metaphysical flight, past the ice spires with their impaled dreamers, and once again enter the Heart of Winter--all toward the end of disrupting the enemy's power. Now, I still think he's going to take another dream flight, but I suspect the possible end point is Bran seizing control of the wight horde.

Edit: In particular, I'm being mindful here of the fact that Bran knows about what has happened to his family in mostly abstract terms; indeed, he was "off the grid" when the Red Wedding happened, and while he sensed Robb's death, I don't think he knows about his mother yet.

IMO, the capacity to personally witness what has happened (and what continues to happen) to his fellow Starks through weirnet will be an irresistible temptation; in turn, Bran might be tempted to embrace House Stark's words, and punish their enemies.

Edited by Matthew.

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1 hour ago, The Coconut God said:

We expected the obvious "fantasy" thing to happen and we got burned, but the hints to the real outcome were always there in the background. And the hints in the background regarding the invasion of the Others is that Westeros is woefully unprepared, with tons of soldiers dead and even more about to get killed, corpses strewn around everywhere in the Riverlands, ready to be raised, fractured government institutions on every level, poor communication between the isolated groups of people that managed to endure the horrors of the war, extreme mistrust, barely enough resources for a regular winter, if even that, and leaders that are either crazy, hated, inexperienced or freshly assassinated. The mistakes Ned and Robb made seem absolutely minor compared to the mistakes Westeros as a whole made in preparation for a zombie apocalypse.

It's very interesting and I like when people think outside the box.  We do have this passage that does suggest that Dany will confront ice in Westeros:
 

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Daenerys III

That night she dreamt that she was Rhaegar, riding to the Trident. But she was mounted on a dragon, not a horse. When she saw the Usurper's rebel host across the river they were armored all in ice, but she bathed them in dragonfire and they melted away like dew and turned the Trident into a torrent. Some small part of her knew that she was dreaming, but another part exulted. This is how it was meant to be. The other was a nightmare, and I have only now awakened.

 

Edited by LynnS

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4 hours ago, Black Crow said:

Broadly I agree and especially with the last, but in particular I'm mindful of Ygritte's view that the Wall is evil and Mel's claim about it being full of magic. There have been various theories ovwe the years about how there might be a weirwood hedge at the heart of it, but in the end if a tree can be sentient why not a Wall of Ice, which is full of magic, defends itself, accepts sacrifices and is ultimately evil.

I like the notion that the Wall has a consciousness.  If a WW is made of ice and serves as a receptacle for a soul; the Wall might do the same.  

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I still think that there will not be a final battle with the Others nor a peace treaty. Just survivors of Winter and the resource wars that come attached.  The cave systems will be key for the survival: shelter, water and food; wights being both foot soldiers and food reserves.

 

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Quote

"Oh, my sweet summer child," Old Nan said quietly, "what do you know of fear? Fear is for the winter, my little lord, when the snows fall a hundred feet deep and the ice wind comes howling out of the north. Fear is for the long night, when the sun hides its face for years at a time, and little children are born and live and die all in darkness while the direwolves grow gaunt and hungry, and the white walkers move through the woods."

Quote

Pyp let fly a whoop and thrust his sword into the air. Ser Alliser fixed him with a reptile stare. "They will call you men of Night's Watch now, but you are bigger fools than the Mummer's Monkey here if you believe that. You are boys still, green and stinking of summer, and when the winter comes you will die like flies." And with that, Ser Alliser Thorne took his leave of them.

Quote

"You know," Mormont grumbled. "How is it that everyone knows everything around here?" He did not seem to expect an answer. "It would seem there were only the two of … of those creatures, whatever they were, I will not call them men. And thank the gods for that. Any more and … well, that doesn't bear thinking of. There will be more, though. I can feel it in these old bones of mine, and Maester Aemon agrees. The cold winds are rising. Summer is at an end, and a winter is coming such as this world has never seen."

Question for native english speakers: What does "at a time" mean in context of the first quote ? Is there a reason to add that part to Old Nan's story ? Like the Long Night last several sun hides.

Another question: Is Allister just bullshit talking or does he know things ?

And what about Mormont ? How does he know that this long night will be harsher than the last ?

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26 minutes ago, LynnS said:

It's very interesting and I like when people think outside the box.  We do have this passage that does suggest that Dany will confront ice in Westeros:

Dreams, like prophecies, can be deceptive, and this wouldn't be the first time Dany had metaphorical dreams. It would be way too obvious and easy if this was really meant to be the Others... And, even if this is a prophetic dream, Dany never saw the Trident, so we can't know for sure it's hinting at Westeros.

If we are to take them seriously, we can just as easily say her frequent dreams about the House with the Red Door signify that her endgame has to do with Braavos. And indeed, the way Dany deals with Braavos if she does start a conquest of Essos will define who she really is. Will she leave it alone because it's not a slaver city and it protected her as a child? Or will she want to take it anyway because she is the Stallion who Mounts the World and her Dothraki would expect her to do it? What about if Braavos is supportive of Dany but wants to kill her dragons?

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