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Mourning Star

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  1. But, by the time the coup was happening, this is exactly the status he was gaining. Because I don't think he was trying to build a career as a dance teacher. I think he was there to watch, gather information, and possibly even kill Ned, if it came to that. "What would you have me do?" asked the torchbearer, a stout man in a leather half cape. Even in heavy boots, his feet seemed to glide soundlessly over the ground. A round scarred face and a stubble of dark beard showed under his steel cap, and he wore mail over boiled leather, and a dirk and shortsword at his belt. It seemed to Arya there was something oddly familiar about him. "If one Hand can die, why not a second?" replied the man with the accent and the forked yellow beard. "You have danced the dance before, my friend." Because being with Yoren's party would have placed him with Ned. I am suggesting Syrio escaped Trant and then took the place of one of the men in the Black Cells intentionally. I see no reason to believe Yoren would have taken the prisoners from the Black Cells until the day of Ned's execution and his planned departure. The point is that with the Red Keep and King's Landing on lockdown, one could not simply walk out. Faceless Men do not seem able to take any face they imagine (glamors aside, I mean the real faceless thing that one can touch), only the ones they have physically removed from someone. "Mummers change their faces with artifice," the kindly man was saying, "and sorcerers use glamors, weaving light and shadow and desire to make illusions that trick the eye. These arts you shall learn, but what we do here goes deeper. Wise men can see through artifice, and glamors dissolve before sharp eyes, but the face you are about to don will be as true and solid as that face you were born with. Again, I see no reason to believe that Yoren would have picked up the other men in the Black Cells until the day of Ned's execution and his departure. "Rugen was here when need be, my lord. That must be said. The black cells are little used. Before your lordship's little brother was sent down, we had Grand Maester Pycelle for a time, and before him Lord Stark the traitor. There were three others, common men, but Lord Stark gave them to the Night's Watch. I did not think it good to free those three, but the papers were in proper order. I made note of that in a report as well, you may be certain of it." No make up in existence will give you fake stubble that can be rubbed. Rugen/Varys's face here is true and solid. The voice was strangely familiar, yet it took Ned Stark a moment to place it. "Varys?" he said groggily when it came. He touched the man's face. "I'm not … not dreaming this. You're here." The eunuch's plump cheeks were covered with a dark stubble of beard. Ned felt the coarse hair with his fingers. Varys had transformed himself into a grizzled turnkey, reeking of sweat and sour wine. "How did you … what sort of magician are you?" Ned recognized the voice. Which, it turns out, is probably a good way to identify a faceless man. "A man does not choose his companions in the black cells," the handsome one with the red-and-white hair said. Something about the way he talked reminded her of Syrio; it was the same, yet different too. "These two, they have no courtesy. A man must ask forgiveness. You are called Arry, is that not so?" I disagree with you. "Sansa," the queen said. "I've given it out that I have the younger brat as well, but it's a lie. I sent Meryn Trant to take her in hand when Robert died, but her wretched dancing master interfered and the girl fled. No one has seen her since. Likely she's dead. A great many people died that day." A Clash of Kings - Tyrion I
  2. I disagree. I think this is the best explanation for the story at hand. I think it answers some questions and raises others. So, timing is important. The idea that a Faceless man would come to Kings Landing just to train Arya doesn’t seem likely, I agree. However, it does give him access to Ned, and he does not agree to go to Winterfell until the coup is planned. I’m suggesting he took the place of Jaqen in the Black Cells exactly because Ned had promised them to Yoren. A detail only provided to the reader after the fact when Jaime is investigating Varys. Once the coup was under way, the Red Keep and King’s Landing were on lockdown. Yoren had a way out. Remember the plan as far as Varys and the Queen were concerned was for Ned to take the Black and go to the Wall with Yoren. And yet Varys tells Ned he is a dead man, before making every effort to convince him to take the black and “live”… The same Varys who comes to Ned in the Black Cells wearing a face that is not his own. The same black cells that were occupied by Jaqen and the other men who would end up on the road with Yoren. Because I think there is an obviously problematic conclusion to Syrio being a Faceless Man (or even there being a Faceless Man, Jaqen, in Kings Landing at all), who was he there to kill? Not to mention the logistical question of if he kept the face used to be Syrio at all, which may have been problematic if he took the place of a prisoner. Finally, the Faceless Men seem to want to divorce their recruits from their own identities, “who are you? No one.”, and if Arya’s reason for going to Braavos was Syrio then this would seem counterproductive to this end. I think it is no coincidence that the Old Gods are referred to as faceless gods. Much like being a skinchanger or greenseer is tied to one’s blood, I would suggest face changing also requires this talent. This makes Arya a precious resource when it comes to potential recruiting, and why I believe Jaqen sticks around before heading to Oldtown. The fact that Arya is later told that becoming a faceless man involves giving up one’s sex parts only adds additional intrigue to Varys’s story of how he lost his manhood, especially considering Arya is sent to train with mummers. I agree it could be written another way, but I’m suggesting this as an existing coherent story driven reason for a choice many think fairly likely. I would speculate that for a trainee to leave the Faceless Men they would incur a debt to the organization, and it may be that Varys was once such a trainee. I don’t think this is being honest. The fact that Cersei refers to Syrio without saying he died is literally a textual hint that he is alive. There are so many examples of gotcha seemingly dead characters coming back in the story it’s almost reliable. So rather than insisting he is dead without any evidence, I think it’s more likely he has been part of the story, it just hasn’t been so obvious.
  3. Don't you think both of these are more a reference to Venice? There are so many examples in myth and legend of shapeshifting going back to Gilgamesh I don't even know where to start. Perhaps given my reference above to Greek myth, Dionysus, the masked god, would be appropriate. In Euripides play, The Bacchae, Dionysus appears disguised as a stranger to take vengeance on the house of Cadmus. First he travels the land and gathers virgin female followers (Arya), the whole thing was about his own birth and heritage (Want to bet the first Faceless Man was a Valyrian himself?), a big plot point is his cult being banned (see the Braavosi relation to religions), and obviously Dionysus is know for his drink (We see the House of White and Black also offers it's own beverage of escape). Is it all a stretch, absolutely. Parallels abound going back as far as we have stories. Taking advantage of parallels new and old is something GRRM does extremely well, in my opinion. George does an interesting thing separating the Septons from the Maesters, but both parallel well to the clergy of the middle ages. One could enjoy a dive into any one of these rabbit holes of references, but to declare ASoIaF a direct rip off of Dune seems pretty misguided to me. We could keep going all day, but again, the idea of consuming a magic plant to awaken sight/powers is ancient, all the way back to Gilgamesh and the herb of immortality. I think what you are doing is taking two relatively recent reflections of old motifs and seeing them in a vacuum rather than part of a much older tradition.
  4. I think parallels and inspirations abound, but I do not think your statement here is true. At best it seems like hyperbole.
  5. Likeable joking captain who dies defending his lord. Yep. To be honest I think the parallel game is fun, but these are all pretty shallow. Want another one? Dr. Yueh to prisoner Leto: You are already dead. Varys to prisoner Ned: I trust you realize that you are a dead man And since we are playing, frankly my favorite comparison involving ASoIaF and Dune would be the Starks to the Atreidai (which means "sons of Atreus") and the curse of Atreus, which really goes back to ancient greek myth (with which ASoIaF parallels abound). I think it no coincidence that the myth of the Night's King, includes Stark brother fighting brother. He was a Stark, the brother of the man who brought him down. And how about this fun little detail... Zeus, however, was displeased with this outcome, wishing for Atreus to become king. He sent Hermes down to Atreus, telling him that he should reach an agreement with Thyestes, that should the sun ever reverse its course and set in the east, Thyestes would abdicate his throne in favor of his brother. Atreus did as he was told, and went to Thyestes with the proposal. Laughing at the absurdity of such a suggestion, Thyestes agreed and promised that he would abdicate if that impossible event were ever to occur. Following this agreement, Zeus ordered Helios to reverse his course in the sky, and "for the first and last time, the sun set in the east" Really worth reading about the House of Atreus if you are into this sort of thing, but enough of a tangent for now. As soon as Thyestes accepted this offer, Atreus murdered Aglaus, Orchomenus, and Callileon, Thyestes' three sons, slaughtering them on the altar of Zeus where they had sought refuge. He then dismembered them and boiled them in a cauldron. When Thyestes arrived, Atreus treated him to a magnificent feast in his honor, in which he was served a stew made with the remains of his sons. After Thyestes had eaten heartily, Atreus had a second dish brought out, which contained the severed heads, hands, and feet of Thyestes' sons
  6. I don't think anyone is suggesting he killed Trant... Just that he delayed him and escaped. And there were the defeated armored guards' swords available. Saying one thing like, "the first sword of Braavos does not run", and doing another is literally one of the lessons he teaches Arya. Never do what they expect, Syrio once said. And it is this bit of advice that saves Arya when she is running. Like who? I think Jory is a better parallel to Duncan Idaho. Well you say that... You may drop your sword, your shield, your lance. Others have done the same. Pick it up and go on fighting. First, I would suggest that he has, as Jaqen Hagar. Second, this is a story full of gotcha. The shoe fits. I honestly have no idea how you can claim GRRM doesn't play that game... these books are full of it. Arya's plotline is largely entangled with the Faceless Men. And the Faceless Men are tied to the Doom of Valyria. The question of why there was a Faceless Man in Kings Landing, and how he ended up in the Black Cells are legitimate. More specifically, I would suggest that Arya discovering these truths will be what sparks her departure from Braavos. Syrio died in the same way Jaqen died, the faceless man lived on.
  7. I actually think we have a clue to answer this... Egg stopped their destruction after Rodger Reyne killed seven captive Peakes after the Storming of Starpike. It seems like this is only a few years after Lady Rohanne disappeared, her son (Egg's squire) would die at Starpike as well. This is after Gerold Lannister, her latest husband, became Lord of Casterly Rock after the suspicious deaths of his brother and niece. Gerold would go on to be a major supporter of Aegon becoming king. All this is to say, I suspect there are personal motivations involved with the Peake Uprising and a story here we just don't have enough information to make sense of it yet. That said, I bet it was somehow Bloodraven's fault!
  8. I'd wager that in both cases, Dany's memories and Arya's teacher, Darry and Syrio, the men are not who they seemed. I'm of the opinion that the real Syrio Forrel was dead before the series began and we have already met the faceless man who used his identity and taught Arya, he and Jaqen Hagar are one and the same person. And since you brought up Darry, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that the deaths of the old Sealord (who signed the marriage agreement between Viserys and Dorne), his First Sword, and Darry were all related. I suspect this event is when Illyrio gained control of the Targaryen children and the Dragon Eggs which had been sold to Braavos by Elissa Farman. However, I'm not convinced that the house with the red door and lemon tree were in Braavos, and I suspect that Dany may have been brought to Braavos by Oberyn at this point (in a ship with green sails), and the grey bear protector she remembers was not Willem Darry. I also think there is a fun connection between the lesson of Syrio about seeing what is there, and the gender of both Arya and the cat in his story, and Aemon's realization that the "prince" who was promised is actually originally a gender neutral prophesy, and Arya chasing the cat Balerion ("the real king of the castle") when she overhears Illyrio and Varys under the Red Keep.
  9. (AGoT Ch 2 Catelyn I) I’m suggesting that this comment by Cat could be read as telling us that Ned’s Valyrian Steel Ice is not the original sword of house Stark. I’m suggesting that the original sword was actually Dawn.
  10. So are love and kindness. You are repeatedly making wild reductionist claims about existence, and if you don’t think free will exists who even cares. This is a great example of anecdotal evidence that means literally nothing. Kids can also be incredibly sweet to each other. Kindess is inherent to humanity. If there is no free will who cares anyways. I disagree. No discussion needed. When you make wild claims the burden of proof is on you. A bunch of bold undefended claims. Not even saying you are wrong about them all, but it’s not relevant or a convincing case. If you mean returning to the state it started in, then no, it never goes back to what it was, it’s always something different. As opposed to what? Anarchy? Democracy? This is such a reductionist and simplistic view of governments and history it’s silly. Again just being wildly reductionist. No… It wasn’t more of the same. You might draw parallels or say some things didn’t change or reverted later, but to say they stayed the same is willful ignorance of the obvious differences. No, it doesn’t. This back and forth is now far off topic and not productive. Let’s just stop.
  11. If this is the case then discussion is pointless, there are no choices and reality isn't any more decided at a macro level then a micro level, just one predestined system. Determinism. I have to wonder why you bother commenting on morality or works of fiction at all, but I suppose you believe you have no choice. I think there is a fundamental issue with assuming that everything in existence works like a mathematical function, one set of inputs resulting in only one possible output. While this may often be true, it isn't always true even in math, we just have to look beyond functions. A given set of inputs can result in multiple possible outputs, and perhaps this is analogues to free will. I'm inclined to think we lack understanding to explain free will rather than that it doesn't exist. I agree that technology has a large impact on society, I'm unwilling to say it determines it. This is an old aggressive theory I have never seen convincingly defended. I do not think slavery is an inherent part of humanity. Can't be an idiot if you don't have a choice, any more than a rock that's dropped is stupid for falling. I disagree with the undying principles you are using. If you don't have free will it's all irrelevant. Is progress through time correlated to both technological and social development in humanities history? Of course. This does not show a causal relationship between technology and social development, nor even time. I think by definition a successful revolution has to precipitate change. I believe even failed ones can have lasting societal impacts. I don't think there is any setting that necessitates slavery, nor any amount of technology that precludes it, and rather the biggest root cause is how people see one another and this perception tends to be driven by moral judgements of individuals (and in aggregate, society). Of course, this is predicated on the existence of free will.
  12. I'm here for fun, not because I have to be. Just don't say nobody ever warned you!
  13. Not a big believer in free will it seems. Sort of makes any discussion of morality pointless if you do not think individual choices matter. Not sure what you are trying to say here. Are you suggesting that the horse collar didn't make slavery obsolete?!?! hahaha. I like my contradictions in my literature more than in my analysis. You seem to just be defining practicality by how long a system lasts and then saying practical systems last longer. This is just circular logic. I can only speak for myself, but "these guys are idiots" is a pretty fair reaction to most of human history right up to and including today. I don't think a system existing, and it working are the same thing. But again, definitions matter and circular ones help nobody. I think this sort of circular logic becomes common when you over simplify and try to apply overly reductionist conceptions to history. I can't tell if you are being pedantic or actually asking... If you mean "revisionist history" as questioning preconceived notions you have been taught about the past, then great, I'm all for it. If you mean the intentional changing or ignoring of events to suit a theory or argument, then I think that's bad. I think technologist arguments tend to selectively ignore a lot of facts to suit their theories. Technology has had large impacts on the history of man, no doubt, but actual history is a lot more complicated than a string of technological advances. The same can be said for a lot of economic thought, it often relies on the oversimplification of complex systems. I don't know how quickly you think societal ideas shift, but one or two generations is pretty quickly, in my opinion. There tend to be some people who do not give up power peacefully. You can look at tons of examples of this, it's as true for slavery as it is for monarchy. Violence, or the threat of violence, is usually (if not always) the spark, if not direct compulsion, for change. There are no absolute keys here, not horse collars and not revolts, what there are are a lot of moving parts, including but not limited to technology and violence, which are attributable for change.
  14. Ok, still not seeing it? Let me try a little more... How about this... ask yourself why do you think Bloodraven is interested in helping Mankind? I think you will find it relies on inference and assumption, rather than the text. The hour is late? Late for what? For Men? For the Singers? For Bloodraven? For a very important date? It's all extra dressing anyway, since Bran asked Bloodraven point blank if he was the three eyed crow and Bloodraven didn't understand the question any more than Sam. I have never herd anything close to a convincing explanation for that piece of writing other than it proving Bloodraven is not the three eyed crow. Honestly, I think the comparison to the child's story "Are you my mother?" is a great one here, you may remember that the hatchling wanders all over looking for its mother, asking everyone, until finally returning home to find her. But, let's look at what you quoted. Was he doomed to lose the rest too, to spend all of his years with a weirwood growing in him and through him? Do you think that is Bran's fate? I do not. Bloodraven sleeps, dreams and watches. Again, I'll point out nowhere does it say he can speak through dreams. He had thought the three-eyed crow would be a sorcerer, a wise old wizard who could fix his legs, but that was some stupid child's dream Is Old Nan a wise old wizard who could fix his legs? I am too old for such fancies, he told himself. A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees. That was as good as being a knight. Almost as good, anyway. Bran is not very old, and this is just another fancy. Stories and dreams are repeatedly associated. Even early on: Bran, that is only a story, like the tales of Florian the Fool. A fable from the Age of Heroes." The maester tsked. "You must put these dreams aside, they will only break your heart." The mention of dreams reminded him. "I dreamed about the crow again last night. The one with three eyes. He flew into my bedchamber and told me to come with him, so I did. We went down to the crypts. Father was there, and we talked. He was sad." "And why was that?" Luwin peered through his tube. "It was something to do about Jon, I think." The dream had been deeply disturbing, more so than any of the other crow dreams. "Hodor won't go down into the crypts." The maester had only been half listening, Bran could tell. He lifted his eye from the tube, blinking. "Hodor won't …?" "Go down into the crypts. When I woke, I told him to take me down, to see if Father was truly there. At first he didn't know what I was saying, but I got him to the steps by telling him to go here and go there, only then he wouldn't go down. He just stood on the top step and said 'Hodor,' like he was scared of the dark, but I had a torch. It made me so mad I almost gave him a swat in the head, like Old Nan is always doing." He saw the way the maester was frowning and hurriedly added, "I didn't, though." "Good. Hodor is a man, not a mule to be beaten." "In the dream I flew down with the crow, but I can't do that when I'm awake," Bran explained. I would point out that this also connects the crow, Ned, and the lesson that men should not be treated like animals. The last being doubly relevant when it seems possible for a skinshifter to take the body of another person. Note below the same use of the Greenseer description you quoted above, and how the larger quote is reinforcing the point that the powers of a greenseer are rare and tied to their body: "In a sense. Those you call the children of the forest have eyes as golden as the sun, but once in a great while one is born amongst them with eyes as red as blood, or green as the moss on a tree in the heart of the forest. By these signs do the gods mark those they have chosen to receive the gift. The chosen ones are not robust, and their quick years upon the earth are few, for every song must have its balance. But once inside the wood they linger long indeed. A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees. Greenseers." Bran did not understand, so he asked the Reeds. "Do you like to read books, Bran?" Jojen asked him. "Some books. I like the fighting stories. My sister Sansa likes the kissing stories, but those are stupid." "A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one. The singers of the forest had no books. No ink, no parchment, no written language. Instead they had the trees, and the weirwoods above all. When they died, they went into the wood, into leaf and limb and root, and the trees remembered. All their songs and spells, their histories and prayers, everything they knew about this world. Maesters will tell you that the weirwoods are sacred to the old gods. The singers believe they are the old gods. When singers die they become part of that godhood." Bran's eyes widened. "They're going to kill me?" "No," Meera said. "Jojen, you're scaring him." "He is not the one who needs to be afraid." Let me ask you this, when has Jojen, the little grandfather who takes himself too seriously, ever correctly interpreted one of his own dreams? The visions themselves are one thing, people's interpretations another. "He wants to go home," Meera told Bran. "He will not even try and fight his fate. He says the greendreams do not lie." "He's being brave," said Bran. The only time a man can be brave is when he is afraid, his father had told him once, long ago, on the day they found the direwolf pups in the summer snows. He still remembered. "He's being stupid," Meera said. "I'd hoped that when we found your three-eyed crow … now I wonder why we ever came." Why did they come? Because they were led there. We are repeatedly told how prophesy and it's interpretation are a funny business. It's really easy to draw the parallel between Jojen saying "greendreams do not lie" and all the times we are told the "flames do not lie". The flames do not lie, Davos. Yet they require me to make them true, he thought. It had been a long time since Davos Seaworth felt so sad. "Sweetling," said Thoros, "the flames do not lie. Sometimes I read them wrongly, blind fool that I am. "The Lord of Light sent Melisandre to guide you to your glory. Heed her, I beg you. R'hllor's holy flames do not lie." "There are lies and lies, woman. Even when these flames speak truly, they are full of tricks, it seems to me." "This man will serve you faithfully. The flames do not lie, Lord Snow." Perhaps not, Jon thought, but you do. I think we would be better served to be like Davos, full of doubt. Old Nan told scary stories of beastlings and shapechangers sometimes. In the stories they were always evil. "I'm not like that," Bran said. "I'm not. It's only dreams." "The wolf dreams are no true dreams. You have your eye closed tight whenever you're awake, but as you drift off it flutters open and your soul seeks out its other half. The power is strong in you." Old Nan's stories are Bran's story. Although it's worth mentioning that Bran liked the scary stories (about the shapechanger villians), the fighting stories, as opposed to the kissing stories Sansa liked. Besides that Howland knows too much for the readers at this point? He was commanded to hold the Neck, but sends his children to swear oaths to Winterfell in his stead. Jojen telling him about his dream seems to be the impetus for this. I would remind you that Howland is not a greenseer, nor does he dream like Jojen. Bran was almost certain he had never heard this story. "Did he have green dreams like Jojen?" "No," said Meera, "but he could breathe mud and run on leaves, and change earth to water and water to earth with no more than a whispered word. He could talk to trees and weave words and make castles appear and disappear." But, he can "talk to trees", which is presumably what he did on the Isle of Faces. I'm willing to bet the farm that we haven't seen the last of Old Nan, assuming we see more books at all. Talking about Old Nan made him sad. "Do you think the ironmen killed her?" They hadn't seen her body at Winterfell. He didn't remember seeing any women dead, now that he thought back. He's being a fool. This is the classic example, given a vision of your death and misinterpreting it, even used by the author himself when describing the follies of believing prophesies. Prophecies are, you know, a double edge sword. You have to handle them very carefully; I mean, they can add depth and interest to a book, but you don’t want to be too literal or too easy... In the Wars of the Roses, that you mentioned, there was one Lord who had been prophesied he would die beneath the walls of a certain castle and he was superstitious at that sort of walls, so he never came anyway near that castle. He stayed thousands of leagues away from that particular castle because of the prophecy. However, he was killed in the first battle of St. Paul de Vence and when they found him dead he was outside of an inn whose sign was the picture of that castle! [Laughs] So you know? That’s the way prophecies come true in unexpected ways. The more you try to avoid them, the more you are making them true, and I make a little fun with that. Accepting death because you think it is prophesized is equally foolish. We have not been told what vision Jojen has seen of his own death, and we cannot entirely trust his own interpretation. "You were gone too long." Jojen Reed was thirteen, only four years older than Bran. Jojen wasn't much bigger either, no more than two inches or maybe three, but he had a solemn way of talking that made him seem older and wiser than he really was. At Winterfell, Old Nan had dubbed him "little grandfather." It's unclear to me if there are still Singers walking around the isle of faces, or only in the trees, or if it is only Green Men who have taken up their mantel. But I expect that when we get another book or two we will eventually find out. This is a major location, introduced at the series start, and often referenced, that we have not actually seen yet. We have no idea what Howland Reed knows. I'm suggesting that Old Nan was there in Winterfell the whole time, and that she came there to serve as a teacher for a Brandon Stark, just like her story says. I suspect that she is aligned with the green men. Metaphorically, I think we see this reflected in the opposition of "crows" and "ravens" throughout the story. And of course, there is the wonderful expression invented here, and used in every book so far as well as Dunk and Egg, a play on the pot and kettle: "The crow calls the raven black, and you speak of betrayal." Duty to whom? Duty to what? The Targaryen Dynasty? It has been overthrown. The Golden Company has landed on the shores of Westeros bearing the skull of his nemesis Bittersteel. I think the Singers, who have been driven close to extinction by Men, have a clear motivation for bringing the Others down on Mankind. Bloodraven is the last (legitimized) son of the male Targaryen line (potential Tower of Joy secrets aside). From his perspective, it's easy for me to see his story of one of service and loyalty (past the point of morality and honor even) to the Targaryens which was only rewarded with exile and shame. His father's house has been deposed and the descents of his ancient rival Bittersteel have invaded once again, with a possible Blackfyre in tow. I think he may see it as his duty to rule, by any means necessary. The gathering gloom put Bran in mind of another of Old Nan's stories, the tale of Night's King. He had been the thirteenth man to lead the Night's Watch, she said; a warrior who knew no fear. "And that was the fault in him," she would add, "for all men must know fear." ... Night's King was only a man by light of day, Old Nan would always say, but the night was his to rule. And it's getting dark. The Night's King "knew no fear", and that "was the fault in him" but it did give him the power to rule the night. And, I would point out that "not fearing" is the opposite of Ned's lesson "a man can only be brave when he's afraid". There he sat, listening to the hoarse whispers of his teacher. "Never fear the darkness, Bran." The lord's words were accompanied by a faint rustling of wood and leaf, a slight twisting of his head. "The strongest trees are rooted in the dark places of the earth. Darkness will be your cloak, your shield, your mother's milk. Darkness will make you strong." Bloodraven is teaching Bran the opposite of the lesson from Ned, and Old Nan. "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."
  15. I think he does connect it at some level, and hears his father's words in his mind just like in the dream. Obviously, I do think he is under misconceptions about Bloodraven and his hollow hill beneath the frozen Weirwoods. But, I think there have been lots of indications that Bran knows something isn't right. For instance: A three-eyed crow should have three eyes. He has only one, and that one red. Bran could feel the eye staring at him, shining like a pool of blood in the torchlight. He liked it better when the torches were put out. In the dark he could pretend that it was the three-eyed crow who whispered to him and not some grisly talking corpse. One might note that Bran only refers to the three eyed crow in the cave when the light has been explicitly put out, when he is "in the dark". Absolutely, and I don't think Bran's story will end in Bloodraven's cave. I do think he is pretty clearly afraid. He's trying to be brave. Also, Bran does repeatedly question their journey. Bloodraven isn't even the first person he asks if they are the three eyed crow. "I'm a brother of the Watch." He had one cord under his chins, forcing his head up, and others digging deep into his cheeks. "I'm a crow, please. Let me out of this." Bran was suddenly uncertain. "Are you the three-eyed crow?" He can't be the three-eyed crow. "I don't think so." The fat man rolled his eyes, but there were only two of them. "I'm only Sam. Samwell Tarly. Let me out, it's hurting me." He began to struggle again. It's worth noting the similarities between this scene and Bran asking Bloodraven if he is the three eyed crow. This repetition indicates to me that Bloodraven isn't any more the three eyed crow than Sam is. But make of it what you will. Howland sent Meera and Jojen to Bran in Winterfell, there is no indication he intended any field trip beyond the Wall. In fact, it's worth noting that why Jojen thinks the Crow is beyond the Wall is not at all clear. After Winterfell is sacked he says the crow is north. I would point out that if Old Nan was taken to the Dreadfort with the other prisoners, she was north of Winterfell. I think that by the end of Dance, Jojen is realizing he made a terrible mistake. I'm of the opinion that there is no reason to expect the Singers or Weirwoods to all share the same aims any more than one would expect all Men to have the same aims. The wisest of both races prevailed, and the chief heroes and rulers of both sides met upon the isle in the Gods Eye to form the Pact. I think we will find that the Singers and Weirwoods who kept to the pact, and seek peace, on the Isle of Faces. Fair enough, it is only one bread crumb, make of it what you will. I think it is extremely important that we learned from Varamyr that the ability to Warg or Skinshift, and presumably that of greenseers as well, is tied to the body not the soul. Once a skinshifter's body dies, and they inhabit an animal, or person without powers themselves, they can no longer skinshift. For Jon, it may be relevant that Ghost has the greenseer coloring itself, possibly indicating powers. But for Bran's story, this detail provides us with a motive for Bloodraven bringing Bran to his cave and awakening his powers. I suspect that Bloodraven intends on skinshifting into Bran and taking his body, freeing him to walk the world of men again, while not giving up having powers. And now you are come to me at last, Brandon Stark, though the hour is late.
  16. It's a book. Reality is decided on the individual level. It's a book, they don't have to be anything. So I think this is a good example of how you are being too reductionist. History is a lot more complicated than that, and not nearly so linear. Slavery existed during feudalism on a large scale. What you are doing is overgeneralizing. Glad we agree on this. But, you lost me here. All systems tend to fail eventually. And people have done some weird, not at all practical, shit for long periods of time. Still do. If you are describing progress generally, then sure, I'd like to believe in progress, but history has not been without civilization collapse and periods of regression. I don't think it's worth diving into this rabbit hole. Eh, it's been used to justify slavery too. Obviously I agree that religion plays it's part, but I'm skeptical that Still does. Revisionist in in reference to history means changing the telling of what happened, and is not a good thing. That is a single generation after Sparticus. I don't think that is a fair summary of the source you sited there or that there had been an estimation here. Were slaves 40% of the population? were they 10%? over 50%? We can make educated guesses at best, but however you cut it, even that source notes that "there is little doubt that slavery was and important and pervasive part of Roman culture." One could debate all the baby steps along the way, and what led to what and how much it contributed to something else, but I think there is a very real case to be made that the Third Servile War changed the perception of slavery and slaves in ancient Rome. Where there was slavery there was violence, I don't think I'm implying anything more or less. Of slavery in Europe? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_medieval_Europe
  17. I disagree. I think we will find that the Weirwoods are inextricably tied to the return of the Others. Have you ever asked yourself why the Night's Watch swear to be the "watchers on the walls", plural? At the center of the grove an ancient weirwood brooded over a small pool where the waters were black and cold. "The heart tree," Ned called it. The weirwood's bark was white as bone, its leaves dark red, like a thousand bloodstained hands. A face had been carved in the trunk of the great tree, its features long and melancholy, the deep-cut eyes red with dried sap and strangely watchful. They were old, those eyes; older than Winterfell itself. They had seen Brandon the Builder set the first stone, if the tales were true; they had watched the castle's granite walls rise around them. It was said that the children of the forest had carved the faces in the trees during the dawn centuries before the coming of the First Men across the narrow sea. A Game of Thrones - Catelyn I I would suggest it is because the First Men built walls around the Weirwoods, creating what are now called godswoods. More directly to the point, the vision Bran is given when he falls: Finally he looked north. He saw the Wall shining like blue crystal, and his bastard brother Jon sleeping alone in a cold bed, his skin growing pale and hard as the memory of all warmth fled from him. And he looked past the Wall, past endless forests cloaked in snow, past the frozen shore and the great blue-white rivers of ice and the dead plains where nothing grew or lived. North and north and north he looked, to the curtain of light at the end of the world, and then beyond that curtain. He looked deep into the heart of winter, and then he cried out, afraid, and the heat of his tears burned on his cheeks. Now you know, the crow whispered as it sat on his shoulder. Now you know why you must live. "Why?" Bran said, not understanding, falling, falling. Because winter is coming. Bran looked at the crow on his shoulder, and the crow looked back. It had three eyes, and the third eye was full of a terrible knowledge. Bran looked down. There was nothing below him now but snow and cold and death, a frozen wasteland where jagged blue-white spires of ice waited to embrace him. They flew up at him like spears. He saw the bones of a thousand other dreamers impaled upon their points. He was desperately afraid. "Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?" he heard his own voice saying, small and far away. A Game of Thrones - Bran III Is a vision of Bloodraven's cave and the Weirwood grove above it. Something about the way the raven screamed sent a shiver running up Bran's spine. I am almost a man grown, he had to remind himself. I have to be brave now. But the air was sharp and cold and full of fear. Even Summer was afraid. The fur on his neck was bristling. Shadows stretched against the hillside, black and hungry. All the trees were bowed and twisted by the weight of ice they carried. Some hardly looked like trees at all. Buried from root to crown in frozen snow, they huddled on the hill like giants, monstrous and misshapen creatures hunched against the icy wind. "They are here." A Dance with Dragons - Bran II The Weirwoods, covered in ice, are the jagged blue white spires of ice. And below: "Bones," said Bran. "It's bones." The floor of the passage was littered with the bones of birds and beasts. But there were other bones as well, big ones that must have come from giants and small ones that could have been from children. On either side of them, in niches carved from the stone, skulls looked down on them. Bran saw a bear skull and a wolf skull, half a dozen human skulls and near as many giants. All the rest were small, queerly formed. Children of the forest. The roots had grown in and around and through them, every one. A few had ravens perched atop them, watching them pass with bright black eyes. A Dance with Dragons - Bran II The bones of a thousand other dreamers, impaled on the roots of the ice covered Weirwoods above.
  18. This was where the old gods ruled, the nameless gods of the trees and the wolves and the snows. A Storm of Swords - Samwell I
  19. But what they think is not objective fact, and there is no reason to expect people to consistently make rational judgements even about their own self intertest. Also, some people do abuse power for shits and giggles. This is kind of the point. People make choices for many reasons and motives, profit is one of these, not the only one. Again bold claims. People defend and keep inefficient systems going for very long periods of time. Lots of times people oppose change because it's change, change is hard. And that doesn't even touch on things like religion or cultural tradition. The idea that human behavior boils down to economic behavior ignores that there are a lot of other factors to human decision making. I'm not sure what you are trying to say here? For there to be an effect there had to be a cause? Sure... but you are talking about retrospective analysis and not real time decision-making. No. This just sounds like the imagination of academic hindsight and reductionist thinking. While there may be some people who are genuinely making profit based judgements about some things, this is not how most day to day decisions are made. There are lots of other motives besides profit, and people do not reliably make rational self interested decisions at the best of times. Ok. We can speculate about the story's direction and hypotheticals, honestly I think the author himself struggles with this question. This is such a revisionist perspective, and what do you mean "even Christianity"? It's a story, author just has to write it so, he could take inspiration from any number of historical or literary examples. It's really not, what you are describing is an incredibly simplistic view of history. This is objectively false. Even the failed revolts of slaves did have effects. We could get into the impacts of slave revolts on the Roman Empire, a topic of it's own, but in short the Third Servile War devastated Southern Italy and undermined the existing latifunda system. This precipitated a shift to an essentially proto-feudal system. It could even be argued that this revolt fundamentally changed the Roman perception of slaves. To claim that the Spartacus revolt accomplished nothing is nonsense. I have no idea where you are getting this. It's hard to rebel, I never suggested this was an easy choice or action for any group. But, pretending it accomplished nothing in history is silly, and to pretend that revolts never happened is willful ignorance. Objectively false, and an absolutely wild claim. Again, this sounds blind to history. We could look at the history of slavery in almost any part of Europe and see the impact of violence. This is an incredibly bold claim that, I think, relies heavily on reductionist thinking and a pigeonhole view of history, as well as potentially misguided judgments of classical technologies. This theory, largely propagated by Richard Lefebvre des Noëttes, is something that has been openly debated, and some might say debunked, by modern scholars like Georges Raepsaet. Maybe. That's a possible hypothetical for some alternate history I suppose. We won't know because of what actually happened, the Civil War.
  20. Once again, not everything in the world is black and white, but slavery is bad. Slavery didn’t start as some well conceived economic plan. It’s just one of the more basic forms of abusing power. This is just objectively untrue. People condone things all the time that aren’t the best way, or most efficient. There is no reason to expect people to make the best choice for themselves, let alone for other people or a society as a whole. Even if we could agree that free labor can always do the job better, in slavery the few in power would still likely object to such a change, wether it’s in their own long term interests or not. Only in so far as it’s economical for one group to go enslave another… it’s never beneficial for the group enslaved, and honestly the idea that there is some economic calculation comparing viable options for labor, going on in the heads of either party, isn’t realistic. Only better for the few in power, not the society as a whole. Even then it seems more of a case that it’s simpler rather than “better”. Easier for the masters to just make the slaves do it than deal with having a free society (where they would no longer be slave masters). People choose the obvious path all the time, regardless of if it makes the most sense. The assumption that people are making informed and reasonable choices is wildly out of touch with the reality of humanity. Bold claim. I don’t think it’s true though. The reason slavery wasn’t as viable was because slaves revolted repeatedly, escaped, and killed their masters. Violence and the threat of violence are what you seem to be translating as “economic factors”, but it’s worth remembering that in reality nobody for most of history was adding up the numbers and making informed decisions. I don’t know why you are so obsessed with the horse collar here, it’s weird but super funny. Except for freeing slaves. Cotton gin’s don’t fight battles, and while you can talk about economic factors, the South wasn’t giving up slavery without a war. Same as it ever was.
  21. Given that there were twelve Olympians and more gods and goddesses besides, I don't think we can necessarily draw one to one parallels. Persephone was also called Kora, literally meaning "the maiden", although she was not an olympian, having been abducted by Hades. Hestia was also a maiden goddess, and the first born child of Cronos and Rhea, and goddess of the hearth and sacred flame. Artemis and Athena were the second and third of the three Olympian maiden goddesses, over whom Aphrodite had no power. Persephone's mother Demeter is another candidate for "the mother", along with Hera and Aphrodite. Although I would argue Hera is more a goddess of marriage and Aphrodite lust/love. The feud between Aphrodite, Hera and Athena was the mythic cause of the Trojan War. Eris, goddess of strife, wasn't invited to the marriage of Achilles's parents, so she rolled a golden apple into the party with kallistēi, "To the fairest", written on it. Mayhaps this was the inspiration for the title Khaleesi in ASoIaF?
  22. A servant is not necessarily a slave. Illyrio has slaves. Illyrio will send the slaves to bathe you. A Game of Thrones - Daenerys I He had collected a fortune in horses and slaves for his part in selling her to Khal Drogo. A Game of Thrones - Daenerys II Illyrio's servants entered, bowed, and set about their business. They were slaves, a gift from one of the magister's many Dothraki friends. There was no slavery in the free city of Pentos. Nonetheless, they were slaves. A Game of Thrones - Daenerys I It's made explicitly clear that Illyrio's servants are, in fact, slaves. I did not contradict myself. If you are unwilling to condemn slavery, you are acting the slave apologist. No one is asking for submission, I'm arguing against dangerous rhetoric. It's a common recourse for those being called out as wrong to complain about being oppressed themselves, but it's still pretty embarrassing. For anyone who considers slavery to be wrong, or really just anyone who considers anything to be morally wrong, the idea that there is no such thing as a moral wrong presents a fundamental problem. I disagree. You focus on a single aspect of humanity and arbitrarily claim it to be some fundamental foundational truth. Just because people abuse power doesn't make abuse of power people's defining trait. This is usually phrased as "power corrupts", which obviously implies the base nature it is corrupting is not one of abuse of power. No, I'm opposing slavery and the rhetoric of those who would excuse it. Trying to portray expressions of thought, especially in defense of the existence of morality, as an abuse of power is ridiculous and dishonest. No, I've learned enough from previous disagreements to be able to spot this rhetoric when I see it. The fact that you seem to want to paint yourself as some sort of victim here is shameful. And yet, you still defend it. Ok, but he coined the term and it's use is defined by his book, entitled Beyond Good and Evil. So if you mean something other than the commonly understood meaning, you should probably be clearer about that. As I said, if you are simply espousing this rhetoric out of ignorance, I've been happy to try and help educate you. Remember to breath. I think you are conflating a lot of ideas here and it comes out confused and incoherent. Viewing the world as black and white is dangerous, as is pretending there is no morality at all or that it is purely cultural. I'm not interested in your silly hypotheticals, but I did respond, they kick out Illyrio and take the house, you just don't seem interested in actually addressing what I wrote and instead go off on these silly rage word salads. I genuinely think you just don't understand the philosophy you are espousing, let alone the alternative. Saying something is so is not a convincing case. I do not believe that slavery is some de facto state of nature for man, and I think claiming such as fact is ridiculous. Again, I don't think your interpretations are based in reality. You repeat unfounded claims as if they are fact. It's just silly to claim that the only valid way to make a society is using the philosophy of will to power. It's outright preposterous. This is an even more ridiculous claim. Again, the fact that people abuse power is not what defines morality. Checks and balances against abuse of power are great, but are an attempt to solve practical problems and secure morality, not denying the existence of morality or replacing it. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed The men who founded America were largely slave owning hypocrites, but even they recognized certain moral principles as being "self-evident". This is the moral basis for the new American Government, not the practicalities of checks and balances in the system they set up. Those checks and balances against abuse of power, and the entire government itself, exist to secure the preceding morals. Really depends what part of Nietzsche you are referring to, he's clearly opposed to "slave morality" but not nearly as harsh on the "master morality" bit. He also did not develop his ideas into a coherent system, and even disparages making such an attempt in "Beyond Good and Evil". The man didn't present a coherent system of moral judgement at all, while he seemed to be trying to fend off Nihilism while denying inherent morality. You are entitled to whatever interpretation you would like, but I just don't see what you are saying reflected in ASoIaF. You are wrong, a theme is simply a subject or topic. "Slavery is bad" may not be a particularly interesting theme to you, but it certainly can be a theme. The heart in conflict with itself, or "Exploring the internal conflicts that hard choices cause people", is both a theme, and in my opinion an interesting one that does say a lot about life. The fact that you are comparing belching to slavery sort of shows how far you are missing the point. Belching is not inherently wrong, slavery is. Denying that there is a distinction here is extremely problematic, and again, shows that you are missing the crux of the issue. There is a fundamental difference. And, equating slavery with bad table manners sure sounds like a slavery apologist. You don't seem to understand the plot either. He was in Essos because he fled Ned after selling slaves. He worked as a sellsword to try and provide for his wife, who then leaves him. Then Jorah becomes a spy in hopes of a pardon. When Dany finds out an banishes him, he does not return to the Dothraki Sea like you are suggesting. These questions are incoherent given that the presuppositions are your inventions. I think there is a lot of moral judgement directed at the behavior of the Dothraki in this story, just look at Mirri Maz Dur. I don't think your argument here holds any water at all. I disagree. I don't think there is any case here for morality to be based on culture. You also continue to conflate things like belching and monogamy with slavery, which is obviously intellectually dishonest. Slavery is inherently wrong, I've never heard anyone claim the same about belching. This existence of societal customs and standards does not mean that morality is entirely relative to culture, this is a ridiculous and illogical leap. The reason "slavery is bad" is the point here, is that it is inherently so. Unlike say, the method and timing of how one removes air from one's digestive tract, or monogamous marital customs. I'm glad you agree on that much, I guess, but what you are writing here does not reflect this understanding. The idea that morality is entirely relative to culture is an extreme view. You are using the rhetoric of nazi's and slave apologists. Quack like a duck... I've been very consistent in what I've said. I'm literally just here for recreation, and trying to show you the error of your ways and to highlight the dangerous rhetoric being spewed. I didn't realize we were getting points! It's not the only choice. For example, we see Barristan presented as an example of the opposite. He chooses duty over love. So, I think you're just objectively wrong here. Again, this is just not true. Lord Tarly is willing to kill Sam to prevent him from "dishonoring" his house. As an example of choosing honor over one's children. Making the case that slaves are better off as slaves is a problem. Making the "Uncle Tom's Cabin" case that some slaves choose to be slaves is a problem. These are examples of being a slavery apologist. Slavery is morally wrong even if there are practical difficulties to be faced in changing a society with slaves in it.
  23. I disagree, Dunk and Egg absolutely affect how we perceive the main story, and are critical to the back story. You seem set on willfully ignoring them though, so be it, this isn't productive.
  24. If you are refusing to discuss the stories where we learn that Brynden Rivers is Bloodraven then this is a pointless discussion. That Bloodraven's mother was a Blackwood is absolutely relevant to the plot of the story.
  25. I would contend that the Others are the ice equivalent of Dragons. Both are extreme embodiments of an element that destroys life, yet they are also elements that are essential parts of our earth. I would also contend that like Dragons, Others can be used as a weapon. Valyria enslaved a large portion of the world, while the Others dominated Westeros during the Long Night. I think Leaf gives us some insight into the logic of using the Others against humanity. Before the First Men came all this land that you call Westeros was home to us, yet even in those days we were few. The gods gave us long lives but not great numbers, lest we overrun the world as deer will overrun a wood where there are no wolves to hunt them. That was in the dawn of days, when our sun was rising. Now it sinks, and this is our long dwindling. The giants are almost gone as well, they who were our bane and our brothers. The great lions of the western hills have been slain, the unicorns are all but gone, the mammoths down to a few hundred. The direwolves will outlast us all, but their time will come as well. In the world that men have made, there is no room for them, or us." She seemed sad when she said it, and that made Bran sad as well. It was only later that he thought, Men would not be sad. Men would be wroth. Men would hate and swear a bloody vengeance. The singers sing sad songs, where men would fight and kill. A Dance with Dragons - Bran III In this analogy of the wood (Westeros), the deer (humans) are overpopulating and pushing out the other animals (children, giants, etc.) In this analogy there are no wolves (Others) in the wood to cull the deer (human) herd. This provides us with a motivation for returning the Others to Westeros. We know from the ancient histories we've been told that the Singers are not an inherently peaceful people, and waged war with the First Men. As for the sad songs of the Singers, we are reading the Song of Ice and Fire. "He has a song," the man replied. "He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire." He looked up when he said it and his eyes met Dany's, and it seemed as if he saw her standing there beyond the door. "There must be one more," he said, though whether he was speaking to her or the woman in the bed she could not say. "The dragon has three heads." He went to the window seat, picked up a harp, and ran his fingers lightly over its silvery strings. Sweet sadness filled the room as man and wife and babe faded like the morning mist, only the music lingering behind to speed her on her way. A Clash of Kings - Daenerys IV I'm of the opinion that this is a story where mankind's woes will be of their own making, and Bloodraven is the prime suspect for being responsible for the return of the Others. I would also contend that the Others may not have always been hell bent on exterminating Mankind. I think there is reason to believe that Symeon Star Eyes and Serwyn of the Mirror Shield are stories about Others in Westeros before the Wall was built. Blue sapphires for eyes, a two bladed staff (a sword without a hilt aka sorcery), a mirror shield (the reactive camouflage of the Others), slaying a dragon, and being a member of the Kingsguard (White swords) long before there was a Kingsguard, could all be read as indications of their true nature. In addition, we also read of the Night's King, and whatever his relationship was with his corpse bride and the Others, the Long Night, Last Hero, House Stark and the Night's Watch. A discussion topic all its own. Finally, I would contend that war is not the solution to the problem of the Others, and never was. "Now these were the days before the Andals came, and long before the women fled across the narrow sea from the cities of the Rhoyne, and the hundred kingdoms of those times were the kingdoms of the First Men, who had taken these lands from the children of the forest. Yet here and there in the fastness of the woods the children still lived in their wooden cities and hollow hills, and the faces in the trees kept watch. So as cold and death filled the earth, the last hero determined to seek out the children, in the hopes that their ancient magics could win back what the armies of men had lost. He set out into the dead lands with a sword, a horse, a dog, and a dozen companions. For years he searched, until he despaired of ever finding the children of the forest in their secret cities. One by one his friends died, and his horse, and finally even his dog, and his sword froze so hard the blade snapped when he tried to use it. And the Others smelled the hot blood in him, and came silent on his trail, stalking him with packs of pale white spiders big as hounds—" A Game of Thrones - Bran IV
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