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JNR

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  1. JNR

    Heresy 209 Of Ice and of Fire

    Well, it's not that much of a coincidence unless you assume Craster has no parallel going back thousands of years. But we know that in all forms of society there are religious nutjobs, and many have parallel notions that suit their outlook of the world. For instance: "I should get to sleep with whatever women I want, and I personally should determine truth and religious belief for my submissive audience." (This actually reminds me of the current American president.) So it seems possible to me that for thousands of years, there were, here and there through that endless history, wildlings who sacrificed to the Popsicles -- wildlings of the Craster type -- and yet in all that time, the Popsicles never returned. If so, there was no coincidence. However, when you say "all circumstantial evidence reinforces his belief," I can't say I agree. I think the circumstantial evidence is that the Popsicles were never anywhere near his keep until quite recently... that he was sacrificing his baby sons long before that... that that's how the "heavy curse" Ygritte mentions pertaining to him became so widely known among the free folk (it spread slowly -- it's not like they have newspapers or the Web)... and that his baby/sheep sacrifices would never have kept him or his people safe at all. You can ask yourself what the Popsicle that Sam killed would have done, given the option. Would it, for instance, have murdered Sam and then strolled off, leaving Gilly unharmed because after all she was one of Craster's people? I doubt it. I don't think it has any idea who she is, or who Craster is, or who any of the wives are. And I don't think Craster ever cut a deal with the Popsicles, nor had the means to do so whether we're talking about a common language or physical proximity or interest on the part of the Popsicles.
  2. JNR

    Heresy 209 Of Ice and of Fire

    Not sure what this means. If you mean there literally were no Popsicles until Craster started having sons, what was the mechanism by which the first Popsicle was created? Do you mean that Craster is secretly a great sorcerer who transformed his early babies into Popsicles... then spent the rest of his life sacrificing all future infants sons to them? Seems like it would have been simpler not to create them in the first place.
  3. JNR

    Heresy 209 Of Ice and of Fire

    What you think of as plausible, I think of as a rather flimsy cover story (red herring) that GRRM drummed up. If you ask yourself simple questions such as "Where did the first Popsicle come from?" or "Why is is that the entire rest of the free folk doesn't agree with or believe Craster (hence joining Mance) and instead (per Ygritte) considers Craster to be bearing a heavy curse?" no persuasive answer presents itself. Craster looks instead like an isolated nutjob. This is rather similar from a narrative standpoint to the cover story GRRM provided for Jon's parentage, except that R+L=J is (IMO) quite a bit more plausible. You have to ignore quite a few obvious logical problems to believe R+L=J (example: "How could Ned know at the TOJ that Jon would never grow up to resemble his incredibly recognizable father Rhaegar and thus get them both killed?") but it can't be ruled out either. Not quite yet.
  4. JNR

    Heresy 209 Of Ice and of Fire

    I think he is skillfully recreating the broad nonexistence of applied reason in a Middle Ages world (which hasn't much improved in the modern world). He tips the reader off multiple times that this is what he is doing, too, and leaves it to us to deduce the truth. The tale of the Sealord's Cat is an early instance; ADWD also provides a lesson in epistemology to Arya: That's a lesson to the smart reader, too. A thing said is not a truth. Truth remains to be seen. But re criticism, I also think GRRM relies way too much on coincidence... such as Tyrion and Jorah just happening to bump into each other in a whorehouse in the vast expanse of Essos in ADWD, or rather similarly, Cat and Tyrion bumping into each other in an inn AGOT. Not all those joints dovetail very well.
  5. JNR

    Heresy 209 Of Ice and of Fire

    See above. Don't you find it interesting that the rangers never detected the presence of ice demons picking up babies so close to the Wall, going back multiple decades (which we know because there isn't a single son at the keep, but multiple generations of wives)? "Text" is nearly meaningless per se. In this world, virtually all the characters, if asked, would express the confident belief that the sun flies around the world every day; they would virtually all be wrong. They would say the world is flat. Wrong. They believe what it pleases them to believe, or what seems most obvious, and routinely even believe things that a moment's reflection should demonstrate are silly. Even the best-informed characters, whose information is most thoroughly vetted -- the maesters -- are routinely, constantly wrong about some awfully important stuff (the existence of the Popsicles, the existence of the CotF, the reality of magic). Science and objectivity have yet to be invented. So I can't say I'm very surprised that the wives, who greatly remind me of brainwashed cult victims, should all believe without evidence Craster's bizarre religion... which no one else among the free folk shares. It's quite similar to what brainwashed cult victims in our world do too -- find a way to believe that which really makes no logical sense. David Koresh's victims did not have truth justifying their worldview.
  6. JNR

    Heresy 209 Of Ice and of Fire

    None of the wives, or Craster himself, are in doubt. But as for "the chraracters," it's obvious quite a few of them are full of doubt about any sort of Craster/Popsicles connection. 100% of the rangers, for instance, knew Craster was dumping his sons in the woods. But 0% of the rangers knew there were ice demons picking the babies up for multiple decades. This complete contrast seems quite striking -- apparently the rangers were incredibly observant of babies, but completely blind to ice demons. Also, of course, there's Sam. We need only consider: 1. Sam was standing right there when Craster's wife said the sons are the Popsicles 2. Sam was subsequently commanded by his best friend and LC to learn all he could about the Popsicles 3. Sam failed to mention Craster or his wives or his sons in any way in his report on the Popsicles 4. We know this not just from Jon's POV, but Sam's --Sam didn't even think of Craster or his wives It's perfectly obvious Sam doesn't believe there's any Craster/Popsicle link meriting so much as a sentence, which is why he doesn't utter one. He's a bright boy; it's no wonder GRRM frequently says in interviews that Sam is probably the best representation of himself in canon.
  7. JNR

    Does Alliser Thorne know about Jon's true parentage?

    Yes, AGOT is quite clear on this point: Naturally Thorne has less appreciation for Jon as LC than Jon as rookie recruit... but this, too, is not really personal. Had Pyp become LC I have no doubt Thorne would have reacted similarly. And if Thorne had somehow managed to solve the puzzle of Jon's true parentage, it would be a miracle of accurate analysis matched by very few in either his world or ours.
  8. JNR

    Heresy 209 Of Ice and of Fire

    Oh, and at about 3:20 in that video he starts talking about how Dany is "making her way back to Westeros." Well, that's certainly an interesting and very flat statement.
  9. JNR

    Heresy 209 Of Ice and of Fire

    Yes, it would, and more to the point (since the huge majority of show fans have never read the books) it will basically just be a repeat of GOT. Except, probably, no Wall... and definitely none of the characters who are the primary draw for current show fans... and a governmental structure of dozens of petty kingdoms instead of one realm ruled from an Iron Throne. I'm skeptical this is going to work out very well, and I still think Dunk and Egg would have been a better idea. Yes, it does appear to... though I'm sure LmL will come up with some extraordinary justification so he can continue to believe his version of reality. However, with respect to ...your phrasing is a little unfair. It was not GRRM's cash grab, but his publishers', to which he agreed because they pitched it as involving no new work for him, and therefore, not something that would delay TWOW. Then the publishers realized the maps in certain areas were mostly empty and asked him to fill them in... and because he had signed a contract he agreed to do this... which required thinking through huge areas such as everything east of Qarth... and this in turn did drag him away from the canonical writing. Well, I'm not going to blame him for that. He also admits openly something we all already knew, which is that some of the place names and mythology of eastern Essos are directly yoinked from Lovecraft, which he intended as a form of homage, and also reflect his weariness at drumming up half a continent on demand.
  10. JNR

    Heresy 209 Of Ice and of Fire

    In both the scenarios you dropped, the return of the Popsicles is quite recent relative to the full history of the Watch. The old Heretical case was often that the Popsicles had been hanging around in the forest -- all of it -- for decades, centuries, or even millennia... and in recent decades, had been picking up Craster's baby sons. And the Watch was observant enough that (per Jeor Mormont), all the rangers knew Craster was dumping his sons into the woods, and none of the rangers knew the Popsicles were picking the babies up. This struck me as preposterous, and still does, and is essentially ruled out by any theory in which the Popsicles have only just begun (as of AGOT) to move into the territory where the Watch ventures, which is at least as far as nine days' ride north by northwest from the Wall. Such as both of the concepts you posited. This has been discussed many times. Jon (like many readers) is fooled by Gilly's knowledge of the Popsicles' eye color into thinking she has seen them. But Jon also knows their eye color, and Jon has never seen a Popsicle in his life. Somehow Jon fails to realize this, and he also fails to realize that Craster is a religious nutjob with a very dubious comprehension of the Popsicles that's shared by no one outside his keep. For instance, the concept that by sacrificing sheep he can keep himself safe from the Popsicles is manifestly absurd, but Craster believes it anyway and so do his wives. These are not informed authorities.
  11. JNR

    Heresy 209 Of Ice and of Fire

    Amen. Though I hope, and expect, that GRRM will be putting this failed concept out of its misery with TWOW before such a show ever airs.
  12. JNR

    Heresy 209 Of Ice and of Fire

    That sounds interesting. Link? That's exactly the idea I'm putting out there too... though I'm getting more specific that the Popsicles are moving south, from the far north, whereas I'm not clear that's what you mean. And there is a sound logical reason why they're doing this now, and never did it before (since the Long Night). Well, if that's a pitch for a new project, then it apparently suggests that an earlier project known to us all got it completely wrong on the subject of the "true origin of the white walkers." What an interesting and completely novel idea that is. Who could ever have seen that coming?
  13. JNR

    Heresy 209 Of Ice and of Fire

    Well, you don't have to do any math to see, with certainty, that the Popsicles were encountered at an extreme northern point on the map. GRRM knew what he was doing when he said the Watch rode nine days and specified north by northwest. You can also combine that knowledge with Bran's coma vision, which doesn't provide numbers, but is all the same quite clear about just how far north the heart of winter is: "Nothing grew or lived." Certainly no human beings. And then much further north even than that. We sometimes ask where the Popsicles have been, for thousands of years, that the free folk and Watch haven't encountered them... but it seems a curious question given such a direct and obvious possibility as GRRM ponies up here. And the reason we encounter the Popsicles now is that they have moved south and the very first thing we find them doing is murdering the free folk they encounter and creating wights. Here, too, GRRM seems to have a clear plan in mind to me.
  14. JNR

    Heresy 209 Of Ice and of Fire

    The pioneers, as you point out, had wagons and certainly weren't chasing anybody to bring them to justice. And a human being walking four miles an hour can walk 20 miles in five hours. However, let's say the Watch only went ~40 miles per day. If you reduce the total distance to 350 miles, it's still much further north than the story has ever gone except in Bran's coma dream. It's also notable that the raiders chose to go there to escape the Watch. The implication is that these raiders didn't yet know, at that time, that the Popsicles were coming down from the uttermost north and that the far north was therefore the last place they'd be safe.
  15. JNR

    Heresy 209 Of Ice and of Fire

    I think that's a great question and indeed you seem to have identified some good exceptions. Bloodraven and Coldhands definitely do know and both do certainly seem to qualify in a sense as NW, though obviously not current ones. We can add to them whatever number of rangers have encountered the Popsicles, and yet survived, and did not elect to return to service. I can imagine that there might possibly have been a few. However, I think it stands to reason that the Watch has not, for an incredible period of time, known as a military order -- a body of men, chartered with making decisions to defend the realms of men -- that the Popsicles were real. Because if it had, that knowledge, and the basis for it, would have come to Benjen as First Ranger, and from him to Ned. Even if the Watch had fought the Popsicles a thousand years ago, still I'd expect that battle to be remembered. Its place, its outcome, etc. Ned has no idea of any such thing. We can also consider the circumstances of the prologue as... suggestive. We know Royce's party was chasing a band of raiders, for nine days, on horseback, riding north by northwest. How far is that? Imagine they only rode 50 miles/daily, which seems low for a chase; that's 450 miles, almost as far north of the Wall as Winterfell is south of it. We're talking roughly the latitude of Thenn. It's the most northerly location the story has ever gone in any book so far, unless you count Bran's coma vision. If the Popsicles came from further north yet than that, I don't think they'd have encountered many people en route.
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