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Brewmaster

[ADWD SPOILERS] Prologue p. 3-15 US HC

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I also really enjoyed the prologue; it was chilling to catch those little glimpses of the shattered wildling hosts - the promises and rumors that various secondary characters offered up as potential salvation. These unfortunate folks are trapped on the wrong side of the wall, their stores exhausted by the long gather/camp/march of the wildling host, prey to anyone stronger, facing an implacable enemy as night gathers.

Oh: and, loved Lump's memory about the wood-witch's assurance to his mother about Bump's fate, and neat to see a glimpse of that in the moment where Varamyr died.

I agree with the consensus, by the by: I think he tried to warg into Thistle as she came to save him from the wights (!! speaking of which: boo! poor Thistle); she fought him. This distracted her long enough that the wights killed/wightified her. He was expelled in the interim and had a dizzying moment where he got to be a transparent eyeball (<i>Standing on the bare ground, -- my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, -- all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God. </i> - Ralph Waldo Emerson) and then managed to somehow contain his scattered consciousness before slipping into One-Eye.

**longtime lurker, first time poster! So glad to have ADWD in my hands.

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We have a witch-woman who seems to accurately describes what death is like.

We also have a witch-woman prophesying boats for the wildlings at East Watch.

Seems like it's meant to show that the witches know their business and we'll have to keep our eyes open for goings on at East Watch.

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My reading was much closer to luizfar's

Anyways, I don't know where else to post this, but it would be very helpful if someone could post a sticky in this forum with the full list of all chapters and enumerate them (Jon, Dany, Tyrion, Jon 2, Dany 2, etc). Props if it includes page count &/or Kindle %. Would make finding the thread I want to discuss much easier.

Done. See here:

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Am I interpreting correctly that as a six-year-old, Varamyr killed his brother Bump? He lists Bump alongside Haggon (whom we know Varamyr murdered) as one of "the wrongs he had done". We know that the dogs who killed Bump were his "friends", and immediately after Bump's death he seems afraid that Bump "sees... is watching me... he knows".

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His father killed the dogs for killing his brother (he didn't know which dog did it so he killed the lot) and after the dogs were killed Varamyr reacted (since that's what happens when an animal you warg into dies) and then they knew that Varamyr had killed his brother by warging into a dog.

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I really like this prologue as well.

One interesting bit is that Varamyr (after dying and seeing things as One-Eye), sees Thistle after being transformed to a wight, but doesn't notice his former body. The way it's written can be implied that he was transformed as well, but wouldn't someone notice at first his own body becoming a blue-eyed zombie rather than someone else's? If his former body wasn't "wightified" - though he definitely seems to have been killed by wights/Others - we could conclude that "uninhabited" corpses can't become wights. Maybe because their spirit is still living, though in another body?

From what we've seen, skinchangers can't seem to be able to "inhabit" a corpse, otherwise they would just ping-pong at the moment of death between their own bodies and another backup one. Maybe, for the Others, it works the other way around. I don't agree with the theory that the Others skinchange into wights, because they definitely are fast and well armed enough as they are, but perhaps they're only able to animate a body after it's original person/spirit is definitely dead.

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Varamyr's attempt to sneak into Thistle was very reminiscent to me of Bran's attempt to grab Hodor (something about shoving a boot onto the wrong foot, and the boot was scared, iirc) during their flight to the Wall. Could this be GRRM paving the way for Bran and Hodor to merge a little more fully down the road?

The prologues in these books seem to have deeper meaning once they're used as wraparounds with the epilogues - I think we're being shown more than a just a glimpse beyond the Wall and the unenviable fate of a minor wildling captain here. I think we're being shown some hints as to what may happen to a crippled boy we know...

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I also really enjoyed the prologue; it was chilling to catch those little glimpses of the shattered wildling hosts - the promises and rumors that various secondary characters offered up as potential salvation. These unfortunate folks are trapped on the wrong side of the wall, their stores exhausted by the long gather/camp/march of the wildling host, prey to anyone stronger, facing an implacable enemy as night gathers.

Oh: and, loved Lump's memory about the wood-witch's assurance to his mother about Bump's fate, and neat to see a glimpse of that in the moment where Varamyr died.

About a half hour before reading this part of the Prologue, I had learned a close family friend had just passed away, so I found the wood-witch's passage especially moving. When Varamyr became one with the animals and the very earth beneath him as his spirit was unbound felt oddly reassuring.

His father killed the dogs for killing his brother (he didn't know which dog did it so he killed the lot) and after the dogs were killed Varamyr reacted (since that's what happens when an animal you warg into dies) and then they knew that Varamyr had killed his brother by warging into a dog.

I didn't interpret that Lump actually killed his brother by warging into the dog and doing the deed, just that that's how his parents discovered his warging ability ~ because he felt and reacted when the dog itself was killed. I honestly thought one of the dogs killed Bump on their own (without Lump's urging), or possibly that he simply died of an accidental fall or something, the dogs were blamed just because they found them with the body.

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Varamyr tried to warg into Thistle by the time a bunch of Others were approaching them. She says "Get up, we have to go. There are hundreds of them. they're coming."

So what I understood was that Varamyr didn't succeed in warging into her, then fell back to One Eye. When he sees her again, she's become a wight.

Interestingly it seems that she recognized him in the wolf, or that is the impression I had. What has come up a couple of times is the question of how much "consciousness" (intelligence and memory) do wights have? Jon Snow has asked that question a couple of times.

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About a half hour before reading this part of the Prologue, I had learned a close family friend had just passed away, so I found the wood-witch's passage especially moving. When Varamyr became one with the animals and the very earth beneath him as his spirit was unbound felt oddly reassuring.

I didn't interpret that Lump actually killed his brother by warging into the dog and doing the deed, just that that's how his parents discovered his warging ability ~ because he felt and reacted when the dog itself was killed. I honestly thought one of the dogs killed Bump on their own (without Lump's urging), or possibly that he simply died of an accidental fall or something, the dogs were blamed just because they found them with the body.

It seems that we can assume hunger to be a regular aspect of Free Folk life (man and beast). If Bump were sickly and weak, wouldn't hungry/starving dogs take advantage of his vulnerability?

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(Another first-time poster here. *waves*)

I also saw this chapter, more than anything else (besides allowing us to sympathize more with the wildlings), as a big hint as to what might become of Bran in the future. What Bran might be learning beyong the wall. That even if Bran the Boy might die, he could live on as Summer the Wolf. :)

That Thistle recognized Varamyr I see as a hint that a lot of the human remains in the animal partner even when the human body has died. If Bran should face the same situation as Varamyr, body dead, but living in Summer I hope Varamyr's teacher was wrong about the human spirit fading fast and leaving only the animal in the end.

It was also pretty cool to have it confirmed that Jon is a warg himself. I assumed earlier that he'd simply piggy-backed along with Bran's ability when he entered Ghost. Now I know he's just a warg who needs a lot of training. I still wonder if Arya is a warg too, since she's also had wolf dreams. But maybe those were just dreams.

(It would be nice to have warging as a Stark family trait though. :P)

(Uh, I also kind of saw it as Lump killing his brother while inside one of the dogs, but kind of by accident. But now I'm not so sure.)

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Interesting prologue. We learn that when a skinchanger/warg's body dies, he loses his gift, but can still make one final jump into the body of an animal, what the wargs call Second Life. However we also learn that as time passes by, they become more and more the animal until there is no human consciousness left. So really not that desirable a move, but for some preferable to death.

Also interesting that the snowbear and the shadowcat constantly resisted Varamyr, whereas wolves and dogs especially are much pliable to a Warg. Birds are not recommended, nor are prey animals. One man is described as looking very much like his boar.

The prophetic woods witch is described in the appendice ( Mother Mole I believe). It's clear that we have here another Ghost of High Heart character who actually speaks truth. So it would be interesting that she is trying to get Wildlings to go the sea, where she says ships are awaiting.

Varamyr's description of what happened when he dies and that being in tune with what the witch had said was moving. Varamyr was a nasty piece of work, that much was clear, and evil man. Especially him relating that he took Haggon's wolf companion away from him just before he died, even though the wolf was useless to him because the old wolf died soon after.

I wonder if we will see the 3 wolves again in this series. There is no reason to assume the wights took them after all.

Finally, interesting that he notes he wanted to inhabit Ghost, but Mance Rayder prevented him from doing so. He was sure that he could, though he confirms that the warging powers are strong in Jon, but untrained.

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Windchaser

It was also pretty cool to have it confirmed that Jon is a warg himself. I assumed earlier that he'd simply piggy-backed along with Bran's ability when he entered Ghost. Now I know he's just a warg who needs a lot of training. I still wonder if Arya is a warg too, since she's also had wolf dreams. But maybe those were just dreams.

(It would be nice to have warging as a Stark family trait though

All the remaining Stark children are wargs. GRRM notes in correspondence in the SSM that Bran and Summer are a special case though. We knew Jon was a warg from earlier books already, same as we knew about Arya and her Nymeria dreams.

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Ok, my comment is actually about the Maps before the prologue, but this seems like the best place to put it. If I read them correctly, Essos has the Narrow Sea to it's west, and the Summer Sea to the east. Qarth is across the Summer Sea. So how exactly did Dany get from Pentos to Qarth by land? The Red Waste is not on either map, but I don't see where it could be.

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Ok, my comment is actually about the Maps before the prologue, but this seems like the best place to put it. If I read them correctly, Essos has the Narrow Sea to it's west, and the Summer Sea to the east. Qarth is across the Summer Sea. So how exactly did Dany get from Pentos to Qarth by land? The Red Waste is not on either map, but I don't see where it could be.

I'm just speaking from my memories here and don't have any proper citations at hand, but I think Qarth isn't across the Summer Sea. As in, if you imagine Essos to be Eurasia, then Qarth would be somewhere on the Chinese coast (like Beijing or Hong Kong). The Red Waste would be the central Eurasian steppes; Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and so on. I'm not so sure about the division between "Summer Sea" and "Jade Sea", as on the maps we're given the Summer Sea lies to the south of Essos; could be that it reaches all the way to Qarth and beyond, and would in the Eurasia metaphor become the Pacific Ocean. The Jade Sea could be a secluded part or bay area of the Summer Sea, like the Yellow Sea which is really just a part of the Pacific Ocean. Anyway, that's how my global ASOIAF geography plays out in the head, and the new maps from ADWD don't oppose that as far as I can see.

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Regarding the prologue and its focus on warging, anyone else got a strong feeling of Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy from reading this? The central character of that series is also a warg, and starts "doing" dogs before "graduating" to wolves. Warging is also seen as a dark and unnatural kind of skill, or an "abomination" in this world. And I won't spoil the end of the Farseer trilogy for anyone who hasn't read it, but (mild and very unspecific spoiler)

it does involve dragons...

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I love the detail about wargs becoming more like their totem animals - like Rickon getting shaggier.

He and Shagga should get along splendidly. Shagga should adopt him.

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This was a well done Prologue and a great start to the book. After reading it, I knew that it was going to be an awesome book.

After Varamyr had that out of body experience, when he was in the air, I imagined that the intense "cold" that the living feel when The Others are near may be wargs that have gone beyond just slipping into animals or living creatures. Perhaps these ancient wargs are the ones who control the wights.

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Bit late getting the book but well worth the wait!

I wonder if the information about warging with dogs was also a small hint about similarities between warging and the magic of the faceless men. The story about Lump killing his brother made me think about what happened with Jaquen and the dog at Harrenhal.

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Varamyr's attempt to sneak into Thistle was very reminiscent to me of Bran's attempt to grab Hodor (something about shoving a boot onto the wrong foot, and the boot was scared, iirc) during their flight to the Wall. Could this be GRRM paving the way for Bran and Hodor to merge a little more fully down the road?

The prologues in these books seem to have deeper meaning once they're used as wraparounds with the epilogues - I think we're being shown more than a just a glimpse beyond the Wall and the unenviable fate of a minor wildling captain here. I think we're being shown some hints as to what may happen to a crippled boy we know...

I also thought about Bran and Hodor when I read that. But, as I remember it Bran was successful at least for a short time. I wonder if it has something to do with the will or the intelligence of the person one tries to warg in to.

It was interesting to see that Jon has strong warg powers like Bran, according to Sixskins anyway.

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