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Cowboy Dan

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  1. In this post, I'll be focusing on the extreme parallels between Miro Ribeira of the Ender Quartet and Bran Stark. I have also included two other works which make nods to this archetype of "the crippled wizard". I believe this all serves to work as a sort of Science Fiction/Fantasy-steeped meta-mythology. It's a bit like the Marvel comics Martin grew up on: the same blueprint is kept but the specific materials and interior design are different. To use Martin's 'gardening' motif, they have the same seed but it is grown differently based on location, sunlight, water, etc. It also depends on how much a creator has been entrusted to re-tell and I cannot say how the inner workings of this process occur. On to the archetype of the crippled wizard: As we see in ADWD, Bran's journey to the Three-Eyed Raven involves learning to become part of the Old Gods, to live through his dreams as a tree would, as a greenseer would. The pequeninos have a similar ritual where a piggy will be turned into a tree in their next life by doing some great deed for their tribe. In this manner he is learning to speak as a tree, to use whispers on the wind and the rustling of leaves to communicate across vast distances, as we see from the other side in Theon's chapters at Winterfell. That said, I don't think Bran's ultimate fate is to literally become a tree. As usual for these parallels, they are not direct but an example of the descolada-like re-purposing I wrote about recently. We see the same concept in both places: both think of learning to speak with the trees. Whereas Bran seems unable to speak from the trees at first, he does seem to gain this ability a la Theon as previously mentioned. Miro, on the other hand, cannot use tree language due to the way the fathertrees communicate with those not attached to their philotic twine (or the weirnet in ASOIAF terms). They do so by taking two sticks and knocking them against the tree itself and listening to the sounds produced. The connections to Miro and trees do not stop there, however. As we see in Bran III ADWD, Bloodraven is nestled in the roots of his weirwood throne in his cave, so we can see here the seed that was planted long before ADWD was ever written. The nature of magic users having prolonged lives appears throughout the series: the warlocks in the House of the Undying, Bloodraven in his cave, and the Black Gate. The Black Gate, one of the Old Gods, is described as neither living nor dead. The AI Jane similarly tells Miro he won't live forever despite Miro making a promise that would last forever. While not forever, Bran will live an elongated life as a weirwood magic user, assuming the other examples hold true for Bran. Miro's crippling occurs at a key moment in the story, when the colony of Lusitania is deciding whether they should rebel and help the piggies or not. Miro decides to climb the fence which encapsulates Milagre in order to join the piggies. He does so because he believes the grass will work as an anesthetic to dull the pain from climbing over. While the anesthetic works for the piggies, Miro is not so lucky. At the height of his climb, his pain is described: This pain cripples Miro in a way that mirrors Bran's climb to the top of The First Keep and becomes crippled after being thrown by Jaime. Both are characters who climb too high and nearly get themselves killed. As a quick aside I would like to introduce "Endymion", another Hugo-winning Sci-Fi novel and the third book in The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons. In it we see this same motif play out. But first, the similarity between the description of the deathwands and Miro's pain climbing the fence. Now on to Raul Endymion's tower climb in which he traverses a blocked up silo to reach a singular window at the top: The inside of the building as an empty silo mirrors the description of The First Keep after Winterfell is burned by Theon, described by Bran "as more of a shell than ever". Once inside Raul finds an old ship which has an AI inside. This ship seems to know everything about Raul because it has been monitoring worldwide communications such as microwave and satellite transmissions. This mirrors Bran's journey and how Bloodraven tells him he will eventually "see well beyond the trees themselves". Miro likewise seeks this nigh-omniscient knowledge. The similarities between the three boggle the mind when treated as a coincidence. But the connections between Miro and Bran do not stop there. The excitement of Ned being named Hand and the (then believed) murder of Jon Arryn by the Lannisters causes too much excitement for anyone to stay with Bran other than Robb. Similarly, Bran shows this same difficulty with speech throughout his journey after waking from different wolf dreams. Miro leaves the world on a relativistic flight to burn about 20 years and be prepared to help the colonists when Ender's sister Val will arrive in Lusitania. Miro thinks how this is similar to dying and ruminates on the nature of his family and town completely changing while he was away, as if the world moved on. Bran thinks along the same lines after waking from his own flight with Bloodraven in his coma dream. After Miro's fall and flight he is mentioned to be both broken and a cripple. But most interesting to me are the similarities between their extreme intelligence and their need to look, to be watchers in their journey to understand everything. The Stark kids' direwolves mimic their owners as is shown throughout their descriptions. Summer is similar to Bran in that he is the smartest of the direwolves, implying Bran is the smartest of the Stark kids. Bran notes Summer sees all there is to see and his direwolf is the smartest. Dancer is similarly described as being too smart for a horse, likely due to the skinchanger link between Bran and the two animals. The nature of Bran's high intelligence is then directly stated by Maester Luwin, the most learned man in Winterfell. Returning to seeing everything, Bran and Miro are both characterized by their ability to look. Bran follows this same motif as a watcher, as one who looks closely. There are more instances but I'd rather keep this from running any longer than it needs to be. This is from Ender's perspective. Ender and Miro both serve as witnesses just as both Bran and Jon are watchers. This is most clearly evidenced in the first chapter of the book when Jon tells Bran not to look away from the beheading since Ned will know, just as Ender does not look away from a piggy's death in Xenocide. In Theon's chapters, we see another connection tying the two together through the weir when describing the rustling that whispers Theon's name. He says it is either a God's voice or a Ghost's. As I stated recently Bran will become the child-lord of the Weirwood, a god in essence, and the connection between Jon and ghosts is blatant. Last we have one more archetype: Danny from the animated show Bravest Warriors. As I have stated in the past, I believe Adventure Time plays into this meta-mythology as well by way of the webcomic Homestuck. The creator of Adventure Time, Pendleton Ward, created Bravest Warriors as well and we see a highly specific piece of symbolism in it at one point: two space rocks knocking together. This is shown in the animated machinima Red Versus Blue (albeit one of the rocks break into three pieces) and the album art of The Sword's Warp Riders as well. The Sword is a band that has long been influenced by and homaged ASOIAF with songs like "To Take the Black", "Winter's Wolves", "Barael's Blade" and "Maiden, Mother, and Crone". In Bravest Warriors there is an episode in which three celestial beings control the wills of the main characters, excepting Danny. Danny is referred to as a wizard and we see his mana and intelligence stats are maxed out, paralleling Miro and Bran's high intelligence among their respective groups. This is typical for anyone who's played D&D or any class-based RPG: Wizards are an intelligence-based class. Danny is likewise a cripple albeit not a physical cripple. He deals with severe depression, which is referenced throughout the show's run. Last and most interesting, as I have speculated on Bran in the past, Bran will likely travel through time and skinchange individuals such as Samwell. Danny also has a recurring motif of making time travel machines that rarely work out the way he hopes they will. This concludes the exploration of the archetype of the crippled wizard. A crippled, time-traveling boy who climbs too high, gets crippled, goes on a flight, has extreme intelligence, and holds the role of a watcher, of one who sees all. Although I do not believe his status as a watcher is the only role Bran will have by the end of the series.
  2. Cowboy Dan

    Valyrian Sphinxes, the Descolada and the Others

    An interesting take but I suppose it makes sense. Leaf does talk about their long dwindling in Bran's chapters. In your conception do you think one greenseer is enough to accomplish that aim, provided events work in their favor? Or would they need further assistance from the faction that seems resigned? I can't speak for anyone else but I know I would rather fight than fade away, whatever that may take. As for the Others, I think that is how it seems from their perspective but killing everyone to get what you want is not copacetic. I really don't think that's what Martin has in store for the outcome of the series. Speaker for the Dead is probably the best of the series so I'd certainly recommend checking that one out. It is a Hugo and Nebula winner for a reason.
  3. Cowboy Dan

    Valyrian Sphinxes, the Descolada and the Others

    The series is definitely worth the read in my opinion. Plenty of good stuff to unpack. Should be noted we don't see the piggies go to war, it's not as much about the action as it is about the ideas and abstractions involved. It's very philosophical in style and treats ethical/moral dilemmas as central to the literary journey.
  4. Cowboy Dan

    Bran is a Weirwood Child

    Bran is the youngest POV we have in the books, beginning the series at the age of seven. He is repeatedly referenced as both a baby and a child. Compared to everyone else who exerts agency on the narrative he is still only a child. Bran likes to state that he is almost a man grown but this is only his wishful fancy early on. He becomes disillusioned by the realities he is forced to confront, most directly evidenced by how he thinks he will get his legs back upon reaching the Three-Eyed Crow. But, as he states himself, this was only a child's dream. Bran is heavily ensconced in dreams as well, both through learning from Jojen's green dreams and his time spent in Summer during his wolf dreams. His retreat into dreams is understandable, as a child who wanted to be a knight and becomes a cripple. Bran feels most alive not in his own skin but when dreaming as Summer or slipping into Hodor's skin. But this is ultimately an escape from his current reality and he spends far too much time dreaming as both Jojen, and later he himself, points out. His dreams are powerful but his reliance on them is a sign of why Bran is a child, despite his initial disagreements on the matter. Due to his reliance on magical dreams, Bran is a child of the weirwood. He may be a child but will become an extremely strong greenseer through these same weirwood powers he handles as a child. The first mention involving Bran, he is seated in Robb's place as the lord of Winterfell. Bran is told several times how he would make a good lord and mentions how he knows secrets of Winterfell's layout that makes him feel like the lord of the castle. Although Bran is not becoming a traditional lord but the lord of the weirwood. The weirwood in Winterfell is described as a "monstrous stone tree". The roots are described "as thick around as a giant's legs" and Bloodraven's weirwood throne is even larger. Hodor as a giant is symbolic of the weirwood here and in turn the weirwood is symbolically carrying Bran as its baby. After the sea comes to Winterfell and Bran faces the harsh realities of war and running for his life, he admonishes himself for his own behavior as a child. But the kid's only eight at the time. He is still a child. That doesn't mean he won't have big responsibilities in the future, as a child of the weirwood would. Here we have Bran recalling Catelyn babying Bran quite literally, solidifying the connection between Bran's status as a dreamer and a baby. The phrase is so important this is a repetition of almost the same words Bran recalls in Bran IV, ASOS. Moving on to Bran as a child: Bran is called a child fifteen times during his stay at Winterfell so I won't provide all those quotes. I'm sure you get the idea by now. When he does make it to Bloodraven's cave all this child/baby symbolism pays off by coming full circle. The first mention of Bran as a baby is when Robb sets him in the great seat of Winterfell. Bran encounters Bloodraven in a great seat of his own. A seat not of polished stone but of white wood. Here we get the overt link to Bran as a child of the weirwood. From my experience analyzing these books, this seems typical for Martin's style. He will harp on a specific thematic or symbolic connection over and over then use that already established connection to tie into a new concept. But a single connection, while promising, is not definitive. In the next chapter, Martin drives home the connection between Bran as a child of the weirwood by giving Bran his own weirwood cradle similar to Bloodraven's. The repetition of phrasing is a telltale sign Martin is leaving a clue for us to inspect. This throne makes Bran both a child and a lord of the weirwood.
  5. Cowboy Dan

    Valyrian Sphinxes, the Descolada and the Others

    Terraforming. They speculate the species that created the virus would need a specific environment to live in so they send the descolada to essentially pave the way for them, incorporating what they can coexist with and destroying what they can't. The Piggies also go to war, planting trees in their dead as a form of forcing the greenhouse effect or removing it to cause a form of planetary homeostasis when it becomes too hot or cold.
  6. Cowboy Dan

    Valyrian Sphinxes, the Descolada and the Others

    There's no definitive answer in the text although they do have some speculations on what the purpose of such a virus would serve. The series ends with their group presumably continuing the mission to contact and coexist with those who originally created the descolada virus.
  7. Throughout ASOIAF we see a number of mythical hybrid creatures in the text, most prominently shown with dragons and Valyrian Sphinxes. The Targaryens believe themselves to be hybrids of the same variety, making a quite literal interpretation of the phrase "blood of the dragon". We see this with Dany's miscarriage in AGOT, which we are told had small leathery wings. There are a number of scenes showcasing hybrid creatures matched together with dragons in the series. Valyrian Sphinxes are another example of these amalgamated creatures, not having a uniform make up. This amalgamation is spelled out in describing Alleras, who is also nicknamed 'the Sphinx'. Tyrion spots a different sphinx described as having a dragon's body and a woman's face. Dragons themselves, it's pointed out in-universe, have been speculated as a hybrid amalgam creature. How would this amalgamation take place? For those who have been reading my previous posts regarding the Ender Quartet, there is a mechanism involving the descolada virus which would explain this process. It should be noted I'm not saying the descolada exists in Westeros. I'm saying the process that drives the descolada is essentially the same archetypal meta-mythological process behind these amalgamated beasts in ASOIAF. The key difference between the two is that the descolada serves as a transition from one genetic state to another. The limited life on Lusitania undergoes this transformation process, notably in the piggies and their transition into the third life as a tree. Tying another concept from both these works to the descolada seems to bridge this divide from a transitional process to a process of hybridization. In the Ender series, marriage is a way to metaphorically merge two people into the same entity. Magical marriages serve the same purpose by way of a much more direct process in ASOIAF. As we see with Bloodraven, greenseers quite literally become part weirwood, with the worm-like roots and tendrils extending throughout the body. In this strange way, they become married to another. Bloodraven explains to Bran how he begins to perceive time through his growing tree powers, not as a man, but as a weirwood. What is the purpose of this combination process? In the Quartet the overall point is to not only humanize but also preserve and coexist with alien species. The difficulty and only unsolved problem of coexistence lie with the descolada since their language lies beyond current human capacity to translate. This echoes the Others and their untranslateable language. The crew agrees to take as long as it needs, even millennia, to solve this dilemma and incorporate the descolada into the several already coexisting species. The Others themselves haven't been seen for a similar amount of time, eight millennia if the histories are correct. This incorporation is precisely how the descolada can learn: by fusing completely alien species into a single form. This also occurs throughout Martin's work in terms of narrative. The same events play themselves out over and over in Westerosi history in slightly differing fashions. In the Quartet, one of the metaphysical quandaries that crop up is the idea of reality-as-information. All reality in that conception can be boiled down to behavior through the philotic twine. The descolada would not only incorporate genetic material but human behavior as well, treating the narrative as a source of genetic material. If we think as a Speaker for the Dead does, to think as the descolada does, we can witness this process in the behavior of these replayed narratives. If we think of the narrative structure as a form of DNA, each scene or key conflict can be split down the middle and re-fashioned into a new scene or conflict. I showed how this process can take the same archetypal scene but is replayed by analyzing Waymar's and Daenerys' trials in AGOT and I have added a link below.. Although I am certainly not the only person to talk about this narrative process in the community. For those who cannot be tied together by the descolada, the process results in the death of the rejected. This is what has reduced the ecosphere of Lusitania to the state it is in, with so few thriving species. The descolada is described as more destructive to the ecology of the colony than a collision with an asteroid. The descolada serves as a tyrant-like god that requires all under its rule to be tamed in accordance with its will. The connection to the descolada as gods is directly stated in the text: The most interesting part of this process is that it may hold the original seed for the race of the Others and their wights. The Others are likewise treated as gods, called the "Cold Gods" by Craster, who sacrifices to them in exchange for protection. Thus the descolada and the Others are both treated as deadly gods with no means of communication to humans. This conversation takes place between one of the fathertrees and the buggers' hive queen. An interesting idea -- but in practice how would a bugger-human hybrid behave? Perhaps similar to the wights. Ender, early in Speaker, points out the buggers behave as a hive mind and treat individual life no different than nail clippings. When they would kill a human or two, it was their method of letting humans know they were 'in the neighborhood'. We see this same behavior in the prologue: the dead wildlings serve as a warning that says KEEP OUT, which Waymar ignores. The idea that these dead humans are a form of communication is evidenced more overtly in the show, with the dead positioned into some sort of strange rune. I am going to get a bit speculative on the nature of the Others by way of the descolada. Speculation in this meta-mythological manner should be taken with a heavy eye for the symbolic/abstract ideas tying the two concepts together across narratives. Otherwise one runs the risk of taking a connection literally meant to be symbolic or vice versa. The descolada works solely on genetic lines of survival and we may be able to glimpse why the Others behave in such an odd way compared to the survival traits of humans. The Others in a sense could be following this same train of thought regarding genetic survival. They aren't trying to destroy humanity because they hate humans or are some 'dark lord' trying to rule humanity with an iron fist. They are essentially forcing their genetic trait of a cold, prolonged life after death onto everyone in order to create a world they can survive and thrive in. The Others would be trying to tame humanity into a form they can live with, without the threat of destruction due to their existential differences. I treat this last speculation as a possibility and interesting food-for-thought due to the connections between the descolada and Others, not a hard-line prediction regarding the behavior of the Others in ASOIAF.
  8. Cowboy Dan

    Poll: Is Jon Snow the son of a Dayne?

    One of Tyrion's pithy aphorisms by way of Jaime.
  9. In my last thread, I made a response to a user pointing out the parallels between Cat's death and Qing-jao's trial. It's not only that the creative idea is being used or borrowed but very specific language/beats from different scenes play out in this paralleled/mirrored fashion. It passes the point of homage and borders on plagiarism, which is why I tend toward the notion there's some sort of tacit collaboration. It's like walking into houses with the same floor plan: the paint and flooring may differ, the furniture and artwork suit the style of the different houses, but they're ultimately using the same floorplan. With the pequeninos we see a ritual in which they literally plant a seed in a dead piggies' heart. The origin of 'heart trees'. Miro serves as a prototypical Bran, a broken self-loathing boy who climbs too high, becomes crippled, and whose arc brings him to try and 'understand everything'. This pastiching of story elements into new stories get mentioned regularly in the community in regards to Martin's work internally. I am only taking this a step further, suggesting the method is also going on externally between works. Whether you should read it or not is down to your own taste. The series delves a lot into people and their behaviors. Why we do the things we do. Why do aliens with different cultures and biology do the things they do. As the series goes on it gets into its own metaphysical concepts pretty heavily in order for the cast to use their discoveries to solve the problems they're faced with. If that sort of philosophically-oriented style suits you, then yes, I would say it's worth checking out.
  10. In my recent Names of Legend post, I pointed out the similarities between Orson Scott Card's Ender Quartet and Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. This post expands upon these similarities with an eye for the language of the Children of the Forest/pequeninos. Both Jon and Ender show initiative in wanting to speak with a species alien to themselves. From Tyrion, to the Free Folk, to the Others, Jon has shown a natural tendency toward understanding his enemies. A Speaker for the Dead's profession revolves around the same understanding of people. Ender seeks out the Pequeninos to seek aid in a manner akin to the Last Hero, without the whole being chased by ice demons thing. He also creates a treaty, similar to the Pact forged between First Men and Children. We see both the similarities and differences between the two events. They both 'divide up' the lands between their two races and the humans take on the Children/pequeninos as their own kind. The First Men and Children combine their gods, serving only the Old Gods and taking on their enemy's beliefs as their own. The pequeninos and Lusitanians don't mix gods but treat their two species as a shared tribe facing the same problems. Ender and his crew also play into Brandon the Builder, learning the language and behavior differences between humans and pequeninos. We see a couple of these peculiar language differences during key moments in ASOIAF. Here we have a callback to the First Men and Children's fighting with the cutting down of trees. The reaction it provokes is unsettling but most importantly occurs during a high magic moment in the fighting pits of Meereen. I've postulated before that the fighting pits and this "mad dance" is some sort of aberrant behavior of the magical godheads we witness in ASOIAF, controlling everyone during that moment. We see this idea shown directly by the piggies in their silent insanity, seemingly losing control of their own bodies. This same mechanism is evidenced by the buggers' hive queen and their control over their workers in a form of mind control. Returning to the language differences: In a post a few months ago I identified the similarities between Waymar's encounter with the Others and the birthing of dragons. I pointed out the similarities between Waymar's and the Other's keening clash and Mirri Maz Duur's singing. Here we see the keening and the singing as one and the same. The grief of the piggies is again indirectly tied to mind control in the ASOIAF text through the use of the Dragonbinder horn. The same horn Euron uses to sway the men of the Iron Islands at the Kingsmoot makes the same cacophonous cry. The last piece of 'language' I will touch on here is a cry of pain. Throughout ASOIAF there are a number of scenes using heavily symbolic language and certain actions or behaviors serving as signposts in the narrative scenery. Some of these signposts include laughter in battle, a weapon too cumbersome to wield, a character holding up a gauntlet or severed arm to an opponent, or as shown above: an animalistic cry. During the Battle of Whispering Wood, Cat has a moment where she sees magic, blinks, and it's gone. As the fight commences we get: During the Battle of the Blackwater we see the pain of the trees. We keep seeing the same motif of this animalistic cry. Should the original intent hold true this is a sign of the Children's grief, specifically regarding the destructive nature of men towards their own and other species. For a final piece of evidence on this language in ASOIAF, there is a threat to hang Ender so that he gets no third life. 'The third life' is the piggies' form of transformation into their next life as a tree. This ties in with Bloodraven's promise to Bran of 'the second life' in the weirwood consciousness. Lastly, let's look at a quote tying together hanging and the breaking of a tree in a thunderstorm. We see the invoking of a tree killed by lightning and a hanging. This could be interpreted as the Children's anger at the destruction of their trees, the 'breaking of trees in a thunderstorm', thus lashing out and denying someone the next life. But this is the difficulty of looking across these works and transplanting ideas. They are always cut up and mixed around in a mythological re-purposing/re-telling of story beats. Using Martin's song motif we could refer to these changes to the same core melody as variations on a narrative theme.
  11. Cowboy Dan

    Unable to edit topic

    I'll be sure to follow the steps if the issue occurs again. Simply using Chrome on a desktop. Looking into my files I noticed more folders in my extensions then I have extensions installed -- along with some other strange folders elsewhere in Chrome. Deleted and re-install the offending extensions/folders. Hope that fixes the issue.
  12. Cowboy Dan

    Unable to edit topic

    Thanks for the assistance but it seems it happened again. Same post. Here's a link.
  13. Cowboy Dan

    Names of Legend: The Stranger and Ender the Xenocide

    I remember reading about that when the Ender's Game movie was being released. While I don't agree with his personal stances I don't see a need for that to influence what the work itself says. So long as the author doesn't start preaching their personal views and I didn't see that in the series. The series definitely gets into esoteric and metaphysical ideas. Personally, that's what I really liked about the series as it went on: the philosophical bent it possessed. I made a post on reddit recently pointing out the use of keywords in Martin's series to tie meaning to a phrase or connect different passages in a post I titled Jon Snow and the Flexed Hand: Preparing for War. This is similarly employed across Card's work to link concepts together. The pervasiveness and specificity of the connections make me say it's not coincidental archetypal overlap. A couple of examples: A promise made on a death bed regarding a child affects the outcome of both stories. In ASOIAF we have Lyanna and Ned's promise regarding Jon. Han Fei-tzu makes a similar promise on his wife's deathbed regarding the raising of their child Qing-jao. Martin's guiding principle of writing is at the core of the third book in the series, Xenocide. The tagline on the back of my copy of Xenocide states: The promise is the key conflict of the heart for Qing-Jao, whether she sides with her father's teachings of 'the Gods' and Starways Congress, or the colonists of Lusitania. Qing-jao's initiation to discover if she is Godspoken almost directly corresponds to Catelyn's behavior at the Red Wedding. For the unaware: during the initiation, the initiate has their hands shoved in grease. They are then put in a clean room and unable to wash their hands. The Godspoken show an extreme, pathological need to wash their hands, to 'be clean in the sight of the Gods', which Card modeled after OCD behavior. Catelyn similarly gouges at her own face, feels helpless at the situation she finds herself in, dirties her hands (with blood), cries intensely, wants to ease her agony, and finds a way to die. Whereas Qing-jao accepts her punishment by the gods and tries to die, Catelyn invokes the gods to stop her torment. Her hands are dirty but instead of grease, there is blood. Then comes the kicker: as Cat had her throat slit, so does Qing-jao think of slitting her own throat on a statue's blade. I don't find it reasonable these sorts of parallels and variations are incidental.
  14. Cowboy Dan

    Unable to edit topic

    I just began a new topic and noticed a couple of strange formatting issues that cropped up with quotes. I am trying to edit the post but neither the edit nor quote buttons can be clicked -- while the multi-quote button seems to be working. Any help on how I can edit my post?
  15. From what I can gather there is a large meta-narrative game between creators which involves A Song of Ice and Fire as an early progenitor or participant. This has been going on for over three decades, perhaps longer. I'll begin by using Orson Scott Card's Ender Quartet (of Ender's Game fame) to evidence some cross-narrative connections. Warning: spoilers will be involved due to sourcing quotes and concepts from the Ender Quartet. This is the first in a series of posts I'll be writing on the similarities. As an introduction, there will be a fair amount of set-up familiarizing readers with plot points and key concepts for those who have not read the Ender Quartet. The Stranger Ender is essentially a non-entity in the files of the ruling Hegemony, as his identity is protected by the highest security possible. Despite being Ender the Xenocide his students only know him as Andrew Wiggin, itinerant Speaker. He never puts roots down on any of the planets he visits or makes concrete connections aside from his sister Valentine, thus making him 'unknown and unknowable'. A man named king in Stark calls the stranger a bastard, invoking Jon Snow. The difference between the two is worth noting, however. Jon, assuming R+L=J, is a king passed off as a Stark bastard and has the shadow imagery of the stranger. This exemplifies how the cross-narrative concepts used are often split apart and re-assembled throughout the different series taking part in this meta-game. Ender is a long-time outcast of the Hegemony, the ruling worlds of Card's universe. Card's Hegemony is the Hundred Worlds while Martin has his Thousand Worlds. Ender's role as the Stranger and the Speaker for the Dead concerns death as a funerary rite. He decided to take on the name in response to the events of Ender's Game in which he killed an entire species known as the buggers. After being philotically linked (psychic magic) with the only remaining Hive Queen cocoon, he writes a book, the Hive Queen and the Hegemon, indicting the Xenocide Ender committed and spreading understanding of the dead species. As a Speaker Ender performs this same role throughout many different worlds over many thousands of years due to the effect of relativistic travel times in universe. This eventually brings him to the colony of Lusitania to determine if the Pequeninos (also called piggies) are 'raman' or 'varelse', a species we can coexist with or not. His hope is to use the mostly untouched world to rebirth the last Hive Queen. In this sense Ender is much like the Stranger of the Seven, identifying and commiserating with the non-human alien species as much as with his fellow humans. Only Half Man Both Jon and Ender are described as being unhuman in the manner of ghosts. To further the connection of a Speaker not being fully human is the novel's initial insights into Novinha Ribeira. Novinha originally put out the call for a Speaker for the Dead that drew Ender to Lusitania. A small, great-hearted community seems to invoke the magical communities we sometimes see in ASOIAF: most directly with the Warlocks of Qarth around their fiery indigo heart and the greenseers in Bloodraven's cave connected to heart trees. The matter of community seems to be at the center of an archetypal stranger -- or more accurately of otherization and alienation, the exclusion from or lack of participation in a community. Ender becomes associated less and less with the stranger as he becomes part of the town of Milagre and a member of the Ribeira family. This transition arises due to his reason for arriving: to learn if the Hive Queen can be born on Lusitania and if the piggies are raman or varelse. We learn that both the xenobiologist and xenologer of Lusitania have been aiding the piggies, interfering with their cultural development, in direct violation of Hegemony law. This spurs Ender to appeal to the leaders of Milagre to rebel against Hegemony intervention and allow further contact with the piggies. Ender, as well as playing the Stranger, plays a variation on the roles of the Last Hero, the creator of the Pact between First Men and Children, and Brandon the Builder. This seems to raise many questions: How long has this been going on? What is the purpose? Is Martin the originator and gave the ideas to other creators then re-purposed their use in his own series? Or is Martin one of a group that is working some sort of co-operative meta-narrative project? Ender's Game is the oldest entry in this tradition that I am aware of and it was published in 1985, over a decade before AGOT. Are there examples that predate Card's work? Most importantly: What other series are involved and where have you seen this use of cross-narrative collaboration? What information can we take from these different series to help suss out certain issues in ASOIAF? These aren't rhetorical questions I'm asking. I want to hear what people have to say on the matter.