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About MaesterSam

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  1. MaesterSam

    Heresy 214 The Last Heretic

    I think this is a great idea. And if this is the case, then the "weaknesses" in the Wall are real - but can only be exploited with an invite. Old Nan said the monsters can't cross the Wall as long as the men of the NW are true. But if one of them is not true, if he invites the Others... then they can come through the Gorge or around Eastwatch. Maybe even the Black Gate?
  2. MaesterSam

    Heresy 214 The Last Heretic

    Oooh, nice idea!! The one potential problem I see is that the First Men have firm rules prohibiting kinslaying of any kind. On the other hand, we hear about the Rat Cook who was white with red eyes and could only eat his own young. That could refer instead to feeding your own young to the weirwood. Two, actually. Melisandre claims Edric Storm's king's blood will wake the stone dragon, and Euron impregnated the bastard girl on the Shield Islands - and now has her tied to the prow of his ship, where she (and her king's blood baby) will likely be sacrificed to call krakens. It's also suspicious how Roose Bolton's children had a tendency to die in infancy. Not to mention Craster, who was a NW bastard. The NW has included its share of lords over the years, so he may well have king's blood that he is passing on to his sons and then sacrificing.
  3. MaesterSam

    Silverwing and the Dying of the Dragons

    Yes and no. Even after the Dance, there were still a few living dragons: Morning, the Cannibal, Sheepstealer and Silverwing. That's one more than Aegon the Conqueror had when he came to Westeros, and there were no problems hatching dragons back then. Also, based on FAB, it seems the hatching difficulties started during the Dance, when there were still lots of dragons. Speaking of the Cannibal though, we learn in FAB that he liked to visit the hatcheries on Dragonstone and eat eggs and hatchlings. So perhaps that's what happened to a lot of the "extra" eggs that seem to be lost after the Dance.
  4. Yes, that's a great way to look at it. Whatever amount of time has passed since the Long Night, we can expect the Andals arrived (or more accurately, reached the Wall) about 2/3 of the way through that time period. Assuming the list starts with LC#1. In other words - any theories linking the arrival of the Andals to the Long Night can be safely discarded. (No offense to anyone who likes them - but really all the info we have, from all sources, places thousands of years between the LN and the Andal arrival). Excellent point! I feel much better about the list now.
  5. Oooh very interesting point! You're completely right - even Bran the Broken isn't thrilled when he learns of his future; now imagine asking a healthy Stark to descend into the crypts and spend his life sitting in the dark. (What if this is Jon's destiny? That's why he dreams about the crypts calling to him...). If "marriage with the tree" is required, then being a greenseer is not a privilege but a curse. I could totally see them refusing and running away. I think that's a lot of names to memorize. I can't even name all the US presidents, and there are only 40-something. Sure, I could learn them, but I don't really care. And who would care enough to spend the time memorizing all those LC names? NW members don't have a long life expectancy on average, so they would constantly have new arrivals having to memorize "the list". That seems a LOT more challenging than simply keeping track of which number you are on. (Unless they still had human greenseers when the first septon arrived with a pen. In that case, names and numbers could be expected to be accurate). And they did care about numbers, otherwise we wouldn't know that the NK was #13.
  6. While I would agree that the number of LCs won't confirm the date of the LN, I actually feel fairly confident that the number itself (998) is correct (which isn't what I said earlier, but I've thought on it some more). Here's why: the first LC would have known he was the first, and after him it would have been the second, and so on. Every LC would have known his predecessor's number (ex: Jon knows Mormont is the 997th LC, in fact the whole NW knows this) and their own number would have simply been one more. Even without written lists, this "counting up by one" each time would have been extremely hard to mess up. A whole group of people learns one number, then when a new guy is elected the number increases by one. Seriously, I think they were capable of managing that. I don't know how it could possibly get messed up unless somehow the entire Watch was wiped out, to the last man, at a time before lists, and was re-started with a complete new set of people who had no knowledge of prior LCs. We hear of no such event, so I conclude that the number is correct (or at least reasonably close).
  7. They might not have given it up voluntarily - mayhaps the greenseers rebelled when they saw the evil that man was capable of all around the world. Or mayhaps the greenseers grew to be too powerful, and men began to fear them. We see how Bloodraven is regarded in the D&E books, for example. My favorite explanation, of course, is that human greenseers misused the weirnet to gain more power for themselves and their House, and ultimately created the Others. After that, I have no idea, but it seems possible they were unable to control what they had unleashed, requiring the Children's help to contain them. After that, man was banned from the trees.
  8. Yes, that's what I meant. I thought of it like this: the NW keeps records of its Lord Commanders, and they likely have a list they are currently adding to. That list would include Jeor Mormont, for example, and Jon Snow would have just been added. We have no idea how many LCs are on that list, but we do know that (since it's actively being added to) it's not hidden away somewhere in the back of the library. It is a current document; the "newest" list so to speak. Since it clearly doesn't include all LCs from the start of time, this strongly suggests that the NW every so often sends a list to the library and starts a new list. The list Sam found was somewhere in the library collecting dust, and was the oldest list he could find. He doesn't tell us when it was written, but the context (along with Jon's interruption of "long ago") suggests it was quite some time ago. He doesn't say "someone started this list long ago" - but that it was written during a specific time. To me, that sounds like someone wrote that list (possibly many someones over centuries), and at some point it was placed in the library and a new list was started. Between the day this happened and the present, it would not have been added to; newer lists would simply join it every so often. (The fact that Sam calls it the oldest list he's found also suggests he found multiple lists, which wouldn't make sense if the one master list kept being added to).
  9. Indeed, and neither do the last. Sam says this is the oldest list he has found, so it was written .... "long ago", according to Jon who interrupts him. We don't know how long ago, but we know that all the LCs between then and the present are not on that old list. While I applaud your creative way of measuring time, in order to have any degree of accuracy we would have to assume that the duration of the average regency of a pope was very close to that of an LC. Even an 18-month difference in the average length of rule (multiplied by 674 rulers) will distort the timeline by roughly a thousand years. If that difference is in favor of the popes (so they rule longer than LCs), we can fit all the 674 LCs into 4000 years instead of 5000. That being said, I am not at all certain that the point Sam was trying to make was that the NW is younger than we think. He is in the middle of making the point that all histories before the Andals came are suspect, and that some archmaesters at the Citadel question all of it. He then gives examples, citing heroes that lived for hundreds of years and legends like Bran the Builder. That's where he finishes with our passage: You know the tales, Brandon the Builder, Symeon Star-Eyes, Night's King . . . we say that you're the nine hundred and ninety-eighth Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, but the oldest list I've found shows six hundred seventy-four commanders, which suggests that it was written during . . ." It sounds to me like what Sam is questioning is whether Jon is truly the 998th commander, because the list somehow suggests he may not be. It is the oldest list he found, so it may be from the time when septons were first arriving at the Wall and writing down information. So then it would be thousands of years old. But even if it's "only" 2000 years old, going by your pope timeline, that would add another 200-something LCs, bringing us very close to the 1000 we're supposed to be at ... except that we are reminded that the oldest LCs aren't on the list b/c there was no writing back then. So in other words, there may have been significantly more than 1000 LCs in the NW since its founding. I have long enjoyed a crackpot theory that the NW predates the Wall and the Long Night. I won't get into it all here, but evidence includes the black garb against a backdrop of white which is the opposite of camouflage, and the "I am the fire that burns against the cold" when they are just a bunch of shivering single men on a freezing Wall of ice. There are also no weirwoods or godswoods on the Wall, which would be expected if the Watch was indeed founded by the First Men. Something is off here, and I suspect an entirely different origin for this order. But I digress. My point was that, if we uncouple the founding of the NW from the Long Night, the LC list can't be evidence for the date of the LN .
  10. As I think about it more, I am leaning more toward #2. At the time, all the great Houses would have had a weirwood and a greenseer, so it would have been a normal thing. Why would the First Men suddenly fear them after (presumably) benefitting from the greenseers for centuries or millennia? Unless of course something happened that caused them to mistrust the greenseers. We see the parallel in Lady Barbrey's distrust of the maesters who, come to think of it, were the ones who replaced the greenseers within the households. Maesters are now the source of information about the world, they offer counsel and advice, and importantly are solely responsible for long-distance communication. They also know all the family secrets, and educate the children. Come to think of it, they are excellent candidates for making the First Men "forget" the greenseers: all it would take is one generation in which the parents died young and the maester thus raised the children from an early age. He simply wouldn't teach them about the benefits of having a greenseer, or tell them it was an abomination. Over the years, all the FM Houses would gradually move away from the tradition, while the helpful maester took over the greenseer's responsibilities. And why would the maesters go to all this trouble? Probably for the same reason they got rid of the dragons and are hiding those books: as you suggested, the trees know too much about the Others. And they can't let that info back into the world.
  11. Yes, excellent point! This often gets overlooked when we talk about the "illiterate" First Men/ Northmen and their "inaccurate" histories. The First Men didn't need to write down histories or other knowledge because after the Pact they should have had their own greenseers - most likely residing under the castle's heart tree - to access all knowledge accumulated by that House and very likely communicating with the entire weirnet. Who needs books when you have the internet? So the real question we need to ask is when did the First Men lose the ability to access knowledge from the weirnet? Clearly, greenseer blood is still found in some FM families (Bran and BR being proof of that), and the ancient weirwoods are still standing in many godswoods. So especially in a place like Winterfell, which combines greenseer genetics with a living, ancient weirwood and plenty of underground access to the root system .... how could such a superior form of storing and accessing knowledge be completely forgotten?? And not only forgotten - I would argue that weirnet access was deliberately closed off within the crypts, based on the absence of white roots anywhere down there. We know from Bran's cave and Berric's cave that weirwood roots extend deep underground and form a dense network all throughout the walls of any caves or passages. From Bran's cave we learn that they like to snake their way through greenseers and also bones that are stored down there. So at one point, it seems very likely that the crypts resembled this cave, with roots in the walls and the dead being brought there not just for burial but for a reason (like the dead Singers and other bones in Bran's cave). There also would have been a greenseer down there, on a throne like Bran's, and likely many "dead" greenseers like the one Bran sees when he explores his cave system as Hodor. But at some point, someone built an inner wall, closing off the natural earth walls and hiding the weirwood roots (along with the dead & the greenseers they snaked through). I am not the first to suggest that if one were to open a crypt, inside would be roots consuming the dead. But why hide this? And what happened to the weirwood throne(s) that should have been down there? Now the tombs are sealed with heavy stones and warded with iron swords... suggesting a certain fear of the dead or the greenseers. A fear so great that it justified the price that was paid: loss of access to all the knowledge in the world. I suspect this was the time the FM stopped building round towers and magical structures like Storm's End, and regressed to their current medieval state from a society that was clearly more advanced once. And this is probably when they stopped communicating with the COTF, as the weirwoods would have been the primary means by which this was done - explaining why the Last Hero had to go searching for them, and thus placing this loss of weirnet access before the Long Night. ETA: It may not have been fear of the dead or the greenseers, but fear of the knowledge itself that caused the weirnet to be sealed off and intentionally "forgotten". Maybe something happened that needed to be hidden from later generations, or some power accessed that should have been left alone. This would be a parallel to how the Citadel hides certain scrolls in its deepest vaults (cough cough, Unnatural History, cough cough) because the knowledge within them is too dangerous to share. The maesters don't want anyone replicating the process by which Valyrians created dragons, and someone decided long ago that the trees, too, harbored knowledge best forgotten.
  12. MaesterSam

    Heresy 207 :skinchanging

    Ah, I see - so we are in agreement after all. It's also funny how things come back around; in light of Ghost potentially not being part of the litter, there would then indeed be a need to have killed the mother direwolf, after all. ... and a clear affinity for the hot faction: Ghost comes to Mel when called but refuses Jon, his eyes exactly match her ruby (which just so happens to be referred to as her third eye - wow, I never caught that before, has this been discussed?), and he is literally licking her face. Mel doesn't seem surprised and explains to Jon that "warmth calls to warmth".
  13. MaesterSam

    Heresy 207 :skinchanging

    Exactly! And with his eyes being open, with normal pups that would mean he is up to 2 weeks older than the others. The way the direwolves think about each other (in Jon & Bran POVs) does make it seem as though they at least think they are siblings or otherwise connected. Then again, the Stark kids think Jon is their half brother and it's entirely possible that this is not the case. Hmmm. Do we dare believe this? In the same passage, GRRM claims Jon is a bastard and a half-brother to the Starks, neither of which is necessarily the case. Not to mention that Greywind never characterized Ghost as anything, given that we don't have Robb POVs.
  14. MaesterSam

    Heresy 207 :skinchanging

    Does it have to be the old gods using Ghost to access Winterfell? JNR makes a good point, the weirwood is the heart of the castle and the Starks have worshipped the old gods for millennia. They should already have access, and they would have sent the other 5 pups. Ghost was separate from the start; Jon thinks he crawled away but Ned ominously suggests he was driven away. Driven away by who? Surely not the blind other pups, so ... by the mother? But why? The old gods are the gods of the woods and the streams, the gods of nature. But Ghost is not natural, he is silent and apart. He was the one to discover Othor and Jaffer; if not for him, Jon and Sam would have said their vows and ridden home and the wights would have remained beyond the Wall where they belong. Perhaps most disturbingly, Ghost seems to really like Melisandre, and that certainly doesn't fit with him representing the old gods! He looks the part, certainly, but so does BR and we're not at all sure of where he stands. Long story short, I suspect Ghost was not sent by the Old Gods like the other pups; he was planted by someone/something else like a trojan wolf amid the Old Gods' gift to the five Stark children.
  15. MaesterSam

    Heresy 207 :skinchanging

    This is officially my favorite new theory!!! I'm not sure about the Mel vision, but everything else fits like a glove. It's dark and unexpected and with plenty of foreshadowing - perfect GRRM style! Speaking of Jon switching back and forth, there is also this here passage, taking place in ADWD when Jon rides out to the weirwood grove for new recruits to say their vows. They encounter some wildlings who yield, then start their words: This might be a hint at what to expect if the two truly mingle in a resurrected Jon.