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  1. @Melifeather so do I. Honestly. But if Mel’s shadow baby, is the equivalent of a NQ’s and NK’s child, from what I get, that shadow baby wasn’t exactly a “baby” in the sense that it didn’t take the shape of an infant. To me it looks like a sort of adult. As a sort of... Other already grown. Plus he/it was a killer. Therefore, this kind of comparison imo works. I would also notice, that when the she-direwolf and the pups are found, someone speculates that maybe the beast gave birth while already dead. Which is a very strange thing to say... but the text, this very creepy line, is here. Why? However, the legend of the NK and Q adds that they used to sacrifice their children. And how is it possible to sacrifice shadows? Of course we don’t have to take every single word/detail of a legend at face value. Still the two things (shadow babies and sacrifices) don’t work together. It has to be one of the two. Or we have to “correct” one of the two. Which brings us again to the starting point.
  2. What I find interesting is that the NK is presented as someone “chasing” the corpse queen. “A woman was his downfall; a woman glimpsed from atop the Wall, with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars. Fearing nothing, he chased her and caught her and loved her, though her skin was cold as ice, and when he gave his seed to her he gave his soul as well” I think is possible, that he warged/skinchanged into a beast to chase and have sex with her. And this idea is presented to us twice in Varamyr’s pov. “Haggon would have called it abomination, but Varamyr had often slipped inside her skin as she was being mounted by One Eye. He did not want to spend his new life as a bitch, though, not unless he had no other choice. Stalker might suit him better, the younger male … though One Eye was larger and fiercer, and it was One Eye who took Sly whenever she went into heat.” And then of course he talks about sending his shadowcats to chase the women he wanted to have sex with. if we accept - for the sake of the argument - the Jojen past theory, then human flash is weirwood tree “seed”. And that “ritual” would also be a human sacrifice. It’s like going around in circles. Especially if we think about the fact that if the NK and Q, had children that they “ sacrificed” most likely they used the Blackgate. So the symbolism of heating human flesh is yet again presented to us. Not that I have answers, let alone certainties. But I feel like there’s something I miss that could make sense of it all. The possession of land and the rules of succession may play a part into this. Remember that our fist wight is Royce. Who was sent to the NW because he came from a family with “too many heirs”. In addition this idea of “not having” a castle or something alike is reiterated in all the 5 prologues. Beside Royce, we have Stannis blaming Robert because he gave Storm’s End to Renley. Then Chett planning not only to desert but to kill Craster so that he could take “his castle”, then Pate who dreamt about being sent into a Caste, finally Varamyr who killed and “usurped” his mentor taking possession of what we may call the free folk version of a castle. And of course fratricide more or less figuratively is another theme addressed in all these 5 chapters. As you may recall, I don’t think this is pure coincidence.
  3. Well... Mel and Stannis shadow baby, is not a baby. But somehow Stannis own dark consciousness. His shadow in Jung terms. The way I see it, is that the Others are Stark period. The nasty secret may be just that or whatever caused as a result their creation. When it comes to Craster, do we really know if the Others took those children? Yes, he offers them to “the gods”. And it looks like that wights and others leave him alone. But cold and... wolves may be the killers. Crows may eat that flesh too. And what we learn from Varamyr’s pov, is also that if you eat and drink the flesh and blood of a skinchanger, something of his/her consciousness is passed to you. I am under the impression that this detail is far more important than we think it is.
  4. Bran may be the Augustus of ASOIAF. We tend to apply the same parameters to things that overall look/are the same and go under the same category, but the empire that this 19 years old guy basically invented, technically speaking, worked differently than we generally think. First of all and as weird as it may sound, it was called empire (giving a new meaning to an exiting office/power in Rome) vs the idea of monarchy (that Romans loathed). For instance his propaganda vs Marc Anthony and Cleopatra, was also rooted on the conflict republic vs monarchy. However, he did that accumulating elected and with terms offices of the (former) republic into his persona and permanently. Particularly that of the Tribune of the Plebs/People (in ASOIAF terms that would be a sort of smallfolk representative) that served as a balance to the power of the Senate noble families and that of the Pontifex Maximus, the highest religious office. And in this empire, succession never became officially (and most of the times wasn't) a matter of bloodline. Same goes with the holy empire in the middle ages - the office remained an elected one for a long time - and to these days with the Papacy (that is also a head of State beside being - litterally - the christian evolution of the pontifex maximus office). So, young Bran - the 3EC, therefore the guy with a strongest connection with the Gods - might be chosen to rule in the interest of the smallfolk to balance the power of the noble families (that maybe will get their house of representatives) in a new Kingdom in which that of the King/Queen head of state will become an elected office. And now that I really think about it, if the comparison somehow works: Jon = Caesar, the guy who never became king and was murdered by peers too attached to tradition. If so, Bowen Marsh is our Brutus and the conspirators are going to flee. Possibly to the Nightfort. Bran = Augustus, the young man nobody pays attention to. Cousin/Half brother of Jon instead of nephew of Caesar. Daenerys and Young Griff = Cleopatra (even more) and Marc Anthony Tyrion may be our Cicero. The experienced, eloquent man who gave power to Augustus underestimating and by a long shot the youngest one.
  5. I also find interesting the fact itself that she's called Lady Stoneheart. Heart => heart tree => weirwood tree, and as we know weirwood trees morph into stone when dead. Therefore, to some extent, in "resurrection" she was turned into a "dead" weirwood (that we generally associate with ice magic) by fire magic. It's a very weird combination. And what about the line of the prophecy "to wake up dragons out of stones"? Not that she is a dragon, of course. But if prophecies have to be interpreted not literally but metaphorically/symbolically, then maybe the LSH storyline holds some clues, even more so because her story is connected to fire magic. On the other hand, that of ice magic (but - see above - are they really two separate things?) I am under the impression that the scene of Arya's direwolf - thus Arya herself - finding and speaking to the dead body of Cat may foreshadow not only the resurrection of Cat as LSH, but something else too. I believe I am alone on this (to my knowledge) but I highly suspect - for many reasons that I won't list here to stay on topic - that wargs and direwolves are somehow connected to the Others and their creation. Those words "rise and hunt with us" to me look like the sort of connection that there might be between Others and Whites. And if so, the relationship between Nymeria (thus Arya) and her pack may hint to the same thing.
  6. Fantastic idea. And I also find compelling what you’ve pointed out about about the knights and the kingsguards. I would add that the Others in the text are also called twins and brothers (of Gilly’s son). And the kingsguard is also... an order, a brotherhood. Just like the NW. Their vows ( not marring etc... ) are not that different, so, to some degrees they are the “other” face of the same coin. Brothers however are also quite often, wolves (that is how Varamyr call his wolves) and direwolves. I am under the impression that the recipe/equation is made of several ingredients. Direwolves and wargs included. As well as a meal made of human flesh. Interesting enough, Bran fits all the checkbox.
  7. Exactly... That’s how I always interpreted that event and these are the kind of things that I believe we can expect (or reinterpret like that, in retrospect) “at the very least”. Not to mention, that I believe there’s a good chance that Bran has always been the 3EC. For that to work, you only have to apply the same logic to other examples, circumstances etc.. It’s in addition to that, that I am just wondering if he may be able to do even more. If “everything happens now” past, present, future then there could be a sort of nexus, that allows him to effect even the physical world, to the point of - say - doing something now, that rises up the wall as it’s always been.
  8. It's not a bad idea. But I don't think this is the direction the story is going to go. The way I read George's words about Bran's powers, it's that if he does something in the current time line/in his present that may effect, have consequences in the past. But I am wondering, to what extent? Because, what we can expect at the very least, is for instance present/future Bran whispering something to his father in the past, something that Ned (in the past) hears. But, is it possibile that Bran the Builder is somehow, "our Bran"? Or to rephrase, that the Wall is built - and it is in the past - by our Bran doing something magical in the current time line?
  9. The triplet is about people who believe to be Azor Ahai. And I agree that it doesn’t matter if Aegon is a fake or not. The point is just that he’s not Azor Ahai / the PtwP. The stone dragon is about Euron. Whatever sorcery he’s practicing in Old Town, that would result in the stone dragon. Still a “fake” just like Stannis’ Lightbringer. Overall the pattern I see is - Daughter (figurative) of death (keyword): 3 dead princes with Targaryen blood - Slayer (figurative) of lies (keyword): 3 false prince that was promised - Bride (figurative) of Fire (keyword): 3 Targaryen princes/princesses (herself, Aemon, Jon). Aemon dies. But because of his last words to Sam, Dany will start to understand what this PtwP thing is about. Not seizing the throne or ruling (1st triplet) not about being a divine ruler per se (2nd triplet) but about the fight vs the Others.
  10. Sorry if I am late, but unfortunatelly this fashinating debate is particularly challenging for my not so good for the task English. Speacking of which, apologies if this at times won't come that smooth. I still owe @sweetsunray a reply. Well... two really, but I'll do it in a following post because I think that addressing the maw/sandkings novel prior might be useful. Anyways, I have to admit that I didn't read the novel but only the plot summary. Still, what an amazing chatch @LynnS! But before digging further I'd notice something about crystals and spider webs. By wikipedia - to use one source - a snowflake is in fact "a single ice crystal that has achieved a sufficient size". And if you look at it with a microsope, it looks - at least to me - like the miniature of a spider web. A tiny, icy spider web. However, they may also look like insects: Chett got to his feet. His legs were stiff, and the falling snowflakes turned the distant torches to vague orange glows. He felt as though he were being attacked by a cloud of pale cold bugs. They settled on his shoulders, on his head, they flew at his nose and his eyes. Cursing, he brushed them off. - ASOS prologue Still - and I am sorry guys, because I really appreaciate your findings - I am not convinced that the Ice Queen is a spider-like creature. The parallels insects-snow or snowflakes-spider webs and the like, are there. They surely are. But we may read them as "snow = spider webs" or the contrary "spider webs = snow" and so on. And I still find more plausible the latter. But that's me. If I have to articulate why - and moving to the Sandkings novel - I'd say that although I agree with Sweetsunray that "Others and the wights aren't operating to make a meal out of humans for their ice maw/ice queen" - as you probably know by now - I don't agree that Others are "the sole intelligence in asoaif that combines a swarming hive mind with weird lifeform with intelligence". We also have direwolves and their packs of wolves (hunting animal and human preys). That's Nymeria's - a she-direwolf Stark of Winterfell - story. And if a direwolf can't mindcontrol other wolves, a human mind can control a direwolf that leads a pack: we see Bran/Summer taming One Eye/Varamyr's pack. So the parallel I see is: Ice Queen+Others leading the wights on one side, on the other a warg human being+a direwolf leading a pack of wolves. Or Night's Queen+Night's King bonding the men of the Nightfort. Therefore, if we don't look for one-to-one comparisons between that novel and ASoIaF - and I think we never should, examining other works as source of inspiration - in the Sandkings the mobiles hunt to bring food to the maw, who has to be feed etc... because that is the way they operate, plain and simple. In ASoIaF the hunting/feeding aspect may not be the purpose, but the origin of the problem. A hunt and a meal of human flesh (or of animals hosting skinchangers) may have had the side effect of creating the Others (I'd bet it wasn't intentional) and now that they existe or are brought back to a sort of life, they keep on pursuing their goal: vengange or whatever else. And maybe, maybe, it may not be a concidence that the first "resurrected" character we are introduced with, is a man - Dondarrion - who was sent by Edd (a Stark) to go and catch someone else - Gregor Clagene - who was raiding with his men the Roverlands, foreshadowing Nymeria and her pack and Lady Stoneheart, etc... it looks like going around/teasing about the same thing. Anyways, I also find interesting that the insect-like mobiles build castles: as I said in a previous post I believe that the foundation of Houses/Castles - after the Pact - could be what lead to feuds within or wars among some fisrt men families/houses and that this may be the context in which that fateful meal took place. Plus, the maws/mobiles castles take the likeness/faces of human beings. And as you probably recall - we discussed it elsewhere - I believe that the foundation of each one of these castles required/was accompagned by the consecration of a weirwood via human sacrifice and that the face of the weiwoord tree is that of the man sacrified to it. It could be the same basic idea, reinvented. Apart from that, sorry but I can't quote so I'll past and copy this one: [...] Dany comments about being chased by the icy breath and dying a death that is worse than death, leaving her howling alone in the dark, should she be caught;" Another way to read it, is that the death worse than death comes before Dany being left alone in dark howling. In other words, she's might be a sort of prey, hunted, caught and eaten and that - being eaten - is what transforms her into something/someone howling (like a wolf). Something worse than death... because it's not true death but a transformation and not a nice one. And: "The door to the HoU is described as an open mouth which is another reference to the maw" I was sure that there was at least one door described precisely as a maw and in any case I was so intrigued that I searched for this word in all the 5 books and we only have 4 entries in total. The first one, is the one I remembered. "The doors to the Great Hall were set in the mouth of a stone dragon. [...] Leaning heavily on his cane, Cressen climbed the last few steps and hobbled beneath the gateway teeth. A pair of guardsmen opened the heavy red doors before him, unleashing a sudden blast of noise and light. Cressen stepped down into the dragon's maw." - ACOK prologue A dragon-like maw. The main difference between Dany and Cressen, is that Dany enters the HoU because she acknowledges the power of magic and in fact she is seeking answers, knowledge. Cressed enters the dragon's maw to fight and deny that power/knowledge represented by Melisandre (who's also obssessed by prophecies/visions). And of course their fates are different as well. Take note of the blast of light and of the two guardsmen and keep in mind, that once inside, Crassen is crowned with Patchface's helm by Melisandre, the red-fiery woman. Then we have two quotes about Morroquo's staff. His iron staff was as tall as he was and crowned with a dragon's head; when he stamped its butt upon the deck, the dragon's maw spat crackling green flame - ADWD Tyrion III Again a dragon maw, on top of something tall (and I think it's fair to assume that the doors of Cressen's chapter, were as well), a flame (that sparkles light). A fake crown. But look what happens in the next quote.. The wind returned as a whispered threat, cold and damp [...] In the space of three heartbeats the little breeze became a howling gale. Moqorro shouted something, and green flames leapt from the dragon's maw atop his staff to vanish in the night. [..] Then he [Tyrion] heard a crack. Oh, bloody hell, he had time to think, that had to be the mast. [...] Then the mast burst. Tyrion never saw it, but he heard it. That cracking sound again and then a scream of tortured wood, and suddenly the air was full of shards and splinters. - ADWD Tyrion IX A cold wind is howling (like a wolf) and that's a threat. The flames of the dragon-maw vanish, and they are not the cause of the fire: the mast is most likely hit by a lighting. Like some of the towers we meet in the series. Still... the sound is that of tortured wood. The 4th quote, that I find this super amazing, is this one: Jon dismounted.[...] He knelt and reached a gloved hand down into the maw. The inside of the hollow was red with dried sap and blackened by fire. Beneath the skull he saw another, smaller, the jaw broken off. It was half-buried in ash and bits of bone. When he brought the skull to Mormont, the Old Bear lifted it in both hands and stared into the empty sockets. "The wildlings burn their dead. We've always known that. Now I wished I'd asked them why, when there were still a few around to ask." - ACOK JON II Not a dragon maw, this time. The description is that of the weirwood tree - and weirwood trees are also known as heart trees - of the Whitetree village. The largest/taller weirwood three Jon has ever seen. So tall and large that its its branches shade the entire village. The skulls are inside its red maw/mouth. One is bigger than the other and they've been burnt. Talking about weirwoods, we can add the Balckgate of the Nightfort. Bran and his friends and Sam and Gilly - like Cressen before - enter its maw and - figuratively - they are eaten by it. But pay attention to the text: "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. It's a sword in the darkness, that burns and lights the way and it's also a watcher that opens it. In addition, the Blackgate is located at the bottom of a well. If you think about it, a well - going from the ground deep into the underground - is the opposite of a tower, that rises from the ground to the sky. And if you add the queer beam of light shining from the BG, then it's the same symbolism of Morroquo's staff (or of the Hightower, etc...) only that in this case, the Blackgate and it's shining face/mouth "crowns" the bottom, not the top of the structure. Same concept as "the last door on the left = the first door on the right" that we meet in the HoU chapter. At the same time, the Nightfort is the place where the story of Rat Cook took place and that is a tale about human people being eaten (the king's sons) and transformed (the cook into a rat). And when the Reeds decide they all should sleep in the kitchens, here's what Bran thinks: The roof was mostly there, so they'd be dry if it rained again, but he didn't think they would ever get warm here. You could feel the cold seeping up through the slate floor. Bran did not like the shadows either, or the huge brick ovens that surrounded them like open mouths, or the rusted meat hooks, or the scars and stains he saw in the butcher's block along one wall. That was where the Rat Cook chopped the prince to pieces, he knew, and he baked the pie in one of these ovens. - ASOS BRAN IV Shadows, ovens that look like open mouths and butchery... of human beings. It's also worth noticing the weirwood tree that emerges beside the well. I take it as another example of the connection human flesh/weirwoods. Finally, there's a sort of spider web in this chapter, in the hands of a she-hunter. I am talking about the net that Meera casts to trap Sam when he finally emerges from the well (another ring and another mouth, on top of the Blackgate's mouth). Overall, however, I'd notice two things. 1. Except for Morroquo's staff, the main point seems to be the eating symbolism. 2. At the same time, especially in the Morroquo's staff and in the Blackgate cases, I see too many things tall, light and/or fire, watchers/guards (two guardsmen at the side of the drangon-maw door, men of Night's Watch). Fake crowns/weird rings (the tree of whitetree included: it embraces the village and it's next to a... well). And I think that this another symbolism/pattern, intertwined at times to that of eating, but they're not the same. And this second/separate symbolism/pattern includes/relates to... our dragonglass candles. And... @sweetsunray the more I think about it, the more I think that a connection between Old Town/Citadel/Hightower - Old Gods/Long Night/First Men/Last Hero and Braavos/Titatan/Faceless Men existes and as such is an anciente one. And if so, that the Faceless Man formerly known as Jaqen is now involved in the Old Town/Citadel plot would make even more sense. But I'll try to explain why, in the next post.
  11. I think that the hero's journey can be applied to most of our characters. Bran, Dany, Arya etc... Especially because the path doesn't have to follow precisely that scheme. Some things may come in a differente sequence. There are in short few variations. Altrough each act has to reach its apex. The main difference between ASoIaF and other works of fiction is precisely that. At the same time, just because George in all evenidence knows about that book, the idea of , in-universe different religions/myths/traditions revolving around the same basic concepts became a theme itself.
  12. I see why people believe that she was an Others-like figure. However, the story goes that the Night’s King glimpsed her from the atop the Wall and “Fearing nothing, he chased her and caught her and loved her”. To me, it looks like that he “stalked” her. Pretty much how Varamyr used to stalk the women form the villages nearby. So, if she’s a corpse Queen... maybe that is because he mind controlled her body. Maybe the point is how much a powerful skinchanger he was, not that she was an Others-like figure. And if so... maybe it's not that he sacrified the children. He simply didn't care about them. But she?
  13. It wasn’t stupid. It was strategic. Stannis is a good leader so you don’t give him lordship on lands that control powerful assets. The less he has, the less chances he has to become another powerful man to deal with, to cause “problems”, to try to influence the crown, to ever try to seize the throne. The question I have is if that came from Robert himself, Jon Arryn or Tywin.
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