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JNR

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  1. Well, it isn't now. If it wasn't solid then... when this impressive curtain wall made of mighty basalt blocks that each took a hundred men to lift was first built... you have to laugh at the stupidity of whoever built the wall. I mean, seriously, maybe you don't build such a structure on unstable turf. "We built a third castle. It burned down, fell over, and sank into the swamp." -- Holy Grail
  2. LmL says it was rained down on the planet, was perceived as dragons because it left fiery trails in the sky as it fell, thus inspired the myth of the two moons and dragons, and also caused the Long Night. That it would have exterminated all human life... well, he doesn't get into that.
  3. No, it doesn't, but it's a lot easier to believe because GRRM has overtly set it up and provided evidence in the Neck that there was indeed some sort of mind-boggling event. Such as: Something -- some staggering force -- destroyed that curtain wall, and scattered those gigantic black stone blocks. Because I refuse to believe human beings arbitrarily decided to pull down the curtain wall and toss those blocks willy-nilly in random places. It would just defy all human nature to do a kooky thing like that, given the enormous effort required and the loss of what had been an impressive defensive fortification. And finally, the canon says the Hammer(s) happened via magic. GRRM said the weather has a magical basis. So there's no contradiction there... whereas there is a contradiction if the Long Night was caused by a comet somehow shattering an imagined moon (for which there's no evidence except a myth). It's a little hard to believe there were once two moons in the sky and the only reference to it we ever get is this one dubious myth.
  4. That's because we have some foundational text to support the idea of greenseers causing earthquakes or tsunamis (by which I mean every reference to greenseers and Hammers). There isn't any text to support the idea of sorcerers steering comets into moons... and even the myth associated with the trader from Qarth, that seems to have inspired LmL at a basic level, just says: A moon wandering into a sun doesn't sound like sorcery to me. (It sounds like bullshit, given what we know of the distance between a planet's moon and the sun, that the trader evidently did not know). Well, it seems pretty apparent that GRRM has based his planet on ours, his sun on ours, his moon on ours, etc. I think it's pretty clear from LmL's belief in solar eclipses in GRRMworld that he is assuming this too. He's not picturing a tiny moon, that could never cause a solar eclipse. But if you like, let's imagine GRRM's moon really is in fact much smaller than ours... which is more than two thousand miles across. Imagine GRRM's moon is only 5% as wide as ours. That would make it somewhat more than a hundred miles wide. Well, the bolide that struck Earth 65m years ago and, we think, ended the age of dinosaurs was an estimated 3-9 miles across. So this tiny, tiny moon in GRRM's world we have imagined, only 100 miles across, would still be more than ten times wider than that one. Might be thirty times wider. So you can see that GRRM's moon could be very small compared to ours -- dinky and wee, even -- and yet still absolutely destroy all human life on the face of the planet, should it ever (somehow, against all odds) be shattered by a comet. But beyond all this, it still doesn't seem likely to me that a shattered moon would create an invasion of Popsicles and wights (the most notable aspect of the historical Long Night).
  5. JNR

    Poll: Is Jon Snow the son of a Dayne?

    Well, let's divide this into two areas: 1) what Winterfell staff believed and 2) who Jon's parents actually are. Re 1), there is really no way to know what they believed or said. We just do not have enough information. Gallup did not take a poll, the Times did not do an investigation, etc. However, in my opinion, that I think you also share, the Winterfell rumor about Ashara was that Ned knocked her up during the war. This is because Catelyn surely has a far superior concept of the timeline of Harrenhal, the war, etc., than the ordinary Winterfell staff, because of her investment in Robb v. Jon. And she knows how old Robb is, and she knows when she got married. And if she still had to ask Ned about Ashara possibly being Jon's mother, as we know she did, that means she had reason to think it was possible that Ned could have knocked up Ashara at the right time. In fact, she thought it was believable enough that she actually mustered up her courage -- for a fortnight, the text says -- and explicitly brought it up with Ned. Re area 2), Jon's actual parents, it's clear to me Jon was not conceived at Harrenhal at all, whether involving Ned or Ashara or any other pair of parents you care to name. Whether Jon has a Dayne parent is a logically separate question, though. There are other ways that could turn out to be true that cannot be ruled out as far as I can see. Assigning them probabilities is awkward because GRRM has fogged the whole area over completely for five giant books.
  6. JNR

    Poll: Is Jon Snow the son of a Dayne?

    That's true, but that passage also shows how easily people leap to conclusions and get things wrong. Because we can be pretty damned sure Ned did not defeat Ser Arthur Dayne, deadliest of Aerys' KG, in single combat. Yet that's what Cat heard, all the same. Harwin certainly might know better than to think Jon was conceived at Harrenhal. But it's very hard to say what kinds of ideas are in other heads at Winterfell, because people often just don't put facts together properly. Rumors evolve like bacteria, and soon develop an immunity to reason or logic. What people repeat to each other trumps all that. We see this kind of thing on this very site, in fact. I recall arguing with a well-known forum theorist, and pointing out we can't (using the canon) put Rhaegar and Lyanna together at any time in the war, anywhere, even for ten seconds. He asked me if I was serious and then he pointed out that they were together at Harrenhal. And I realized in that instant that he didn't know Harrenhal was quite a few months before the war even began... he just hadn't learned that yet... and there are many other users are just like him. People at Winterfell in the books might make the same error, if they aren't paying close attention.
  7. JNR

    Poll: Is Jon Snow the son of a Dayne?

    Yes, this is true. However, the Platypus argument (as I understand it) is that people at Winterfell are sufficiently confused about the timeline that they still believe Jon might have been conceived there. This would make them pretty dense. But then, people are dense (both in life and in these books), and often do believe remarkably stupid things. (Quite a few people in my country really did believe it was a good idea to give a childish reality TV star personal control over four thousand nuclear weapons.) When Littlefinger pitches the story that Shireen is Selyse's bastard by Patchface, and says the proof is in her face, we get this: So I'm not at all sure what Winterfell people would believe or not believe. Though I am sure Jon was not conceived at Harrenhal.
  8. Charbroiled and dead. (But his corpse will be FedExed to the CotF to grind into paste.)
  9. Grenn was there too. You seem to imply here that Dawn cannot be an Other's sword, and I agree.
  10. Another interesting point is that we never hear what happened to the sword of Ser Puddles. Before his big melting routine, there was this, re Small Paul: But there is zero reference to this sword after the fight. So was it that: 1) Sam just forgot about it, and then didn't notice it on the ground next to the corpse-puddle, etc., and neither did Grenn 2) It was simply gone, like Ser Puddles, and hence, wasn't there to notice Odds seem good of 2. In which case it's hard to imagine any Other's sword ever being captured and used by any human beings. Or, if you believe 1), it's remarkable nobody ever thought to go back and retrieve it after Sam told his story to the Watch. Surely it would have come up.
  11. It's possible it often happened like this, but the canon doesn't say so that I recall. Instead we're told that Ice was four hundred years old as of AGOT. It seems likely House Stark knew that because it had bought Ice a hundred years before the Conquest. The other obvious thing is that Valyrian steel was not just a symbol of Targ political power, but flat-out superior to conventional steel in all respects, and that wasn't a new situation. I wouldn't be surprised if Valyrian steel was coveted in Westeros for centuries before the Targs ever came to Dragonstone. They definitely go back a long ways. From Bran's tour of the crypts, we get: I don't see any particular reason to think they'd be entrusted as the safekeepers of the original Ice, though. However, Jojen does say things that suggest crannogmen have knowledge of the Long Night that we've not heard yet. Such as: He seems to be taking it for granted that indeed ice can burn. That seems rather reminiscent of: Of course, the story of Azor Ahai does not spell out that the monster was made of ice. We can read it and decide for ourselves based on what we've observed in Sam's chapter from ASOS.
  12. Well, first, that is not one of the SSMs in which GRRM wrote an answer, but is a paraphrase. It's also a curious thing that GRRM would even say that for the reasons the true author of that SSM provides... which I see are quite similar to the ones I provided above: He's right; it doesn't fit the facts. However, the larger point is that this logic obviously doesn't apply to Dawn. Dawn could be, and was, wielded quite successfully in battle. And not just by Arthur Dayne on multiple occasions, but by who knows how many other Swords of the Morning through the millennia, in how many situations. So the bottom line is that there's no particular reason to think it couldn't be the legendary blade we see referenced twice, independently in the eastern tales of AA and the western accounts of the Watch, which was certainly used in combat according to both accounts.
  13. This is an interesting area indeed, and if I had to guess I would say you are right: We're told, outright, that the weirwoods are immortal and that they perceive time differently: And the shade of the evening, we know, also comes from trees in Essos. So the premise that the weirwoods (not just trees, but immortal trees, that can introduce information from far in the future if they aren't killed) are the ultimate source of all forms of prescience seems quite plausible. We can look at the Ghost of High Heart as the best prophet of the series (she is IMO anyway). It might be her location -- High Heart, a grove of weirwoods -- is directly related. Will GRRM ever spell this out? Maybe. I doubt it. Or perhaps different in that GRRM absolutely had to have her dragons hatch... or his whole story would implode.
  14. Well, I think it's pretty indisputable that greatswords are often wielded effectively in combat in ASOIAF, in quite a few cases. It's beyond any possible doubt that Arthur Dayne did so, wielding Dawn. He was successful even against super-skilled swordsmen like the Smiling Knight. GRRM, when asked, also said Dayne would beat Barristan Selmy (also super-skilled), if Dayne had Dawn and Selmy had a regular steel sword, and that says a lot. It's easy to find other cases, and some include Valyrian steel greatswords. Off the top of my head, there's the Lannister greatsword, Brightroar, which was used to decapitate Harrald Halfdrowned in battle according to the World book, and there's Heartsbane, that Sam's father wore in battle, and Tarly is not a particularly huge guy going by his description. And finally, we even have Mance just murdering Jon in personal combat in ADWD using a normal steel greatsword, while Jon, no slouch with a blade himself, is using a much lighter, but shorter, everyday longsword: So I think it's quite a reasonable guess that whatever smith forged Dawn... however many thousands of years ago it was.. could have extrapolated what a formidable weapon a greatsword made of such a strong but light metal would be. You get the reach, you get the edge, it's all but indestructible, and you pay very little price, if any, when it comes to weight. Never been such a situation in our world, because there was never any metal like that (well -- when people were fighting with swords, I mean -- perhaps now it might be possible).
  15. Well, I don't think it's limited to them, by any means. I would sooner say that dreams are constantly delivering obscured or hidden or useful information to characters in various ways. Obvious additional instances include: • Bran and Rickon dreaming of Ned being dead in AGOT. Luwin tries to tell them it's kooky talk... but he soon learns they're simply correct. • Virtually all of Jon's dreams, such as the ones in which he's in the crypts, or the one in which he's on the wall wielding a burning blade while wearing black ice -- obviously we think these are meaningful, given how much time we've spent discussing them in Heresy! • Virtually all of Dany's dreams in AGOT, which seem to be the fundamental means by which she realizes how to hatch the dragon eggs (though no Targ had been able to do it for the past 150 years) And I brought up the Ghost of High Heart and Jojen earlier. I don't consider them fundamentally different. Broadly speaking, the various means by which information comes to characters supernaturally (dreams, visions, prophecies, etc) seem to be one of the most common and overt forms of magic in this world.
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