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Heresy 135 The Hammer of the Waters

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Welcome to Heresy 135 the latest edition of the thread that takes a sideways look at the Song of Ice and Fire.



It’s called Heresy because it questions above all popular assumptions that the Wall and the Nights Watch were created to keep the Others at bay - and that the story is going to end with Jon Snow being identified as Azor Ahai.



Instead, Heresy goes much deeper and wider and is about trying to figure out what’s really going on in the story, by looking at clues in the text itself with an open mind, and by identifying GRRM’s own sources and inspirations, ranging from Celtic and Norse mythology such as the Cu Chulainn cycle, the Morrigan and the Mabinogion, all the way through to Narnia and the original Land of Always Winter, and even perhaps ultimately to recognizing the Heart of Winter not as a place on a map but as Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, for in Westeros Winter and Darkness are one and the same.



Stepping into the world of Heresy might at first appear confusing. Normally we range pretty widely and more or less in free-fall, in an effort to try and reach an understanding of what may really be happening through the resulting collision of ideas. we are in other words engaged in an exercise in chaos theory. It’s about making connections, sometimes real sometimes thematic, between east and west, between the various beliefs and types of magick - and also about reconciling the dodgy timelines. However, beyond the firm belief that things are not as they seem, there is no such thing as an accepted heretic view on Craster’s sons or any of the other topics discussed here, and the fiercest critics of some of the ideas discussed on these pages are our fellow heretics



If new to Heresy you may want to start off with this link: http://asoiaf.wester...138-heresy-100/ where you will find a series of essays specially commissioned to celebrate our century by looking closely at some of the major issues. Links are also provided at the end of each of the essays to the relevant discussion thread, and for those made of sterner stuff we also have a link to Wolfmaid's essential guide to Heresy: http://asoiaf.wester...uide-to-heresy/, which provides annotated links to all the previous editions of Heresy.



Those essays were a very successful project orchestrated by Mace Cooterian to celebrate the centennial edition, and by popular request we’re currently running a follow-up with five new topics for the five kings; thus far we have looked at Azor Ahai and prophecy; the Wildlings; the Weirwoods; the Faceless Men and now Heresy 135 opens with Eira Seren’s essay on the Hammer of the Waters.



The purpose of these special edition threads is to benefit from concentrating on the chosen topic in hand. If there is a new and startling revelation by GRRM which needs to be laid before us, fair enough, but otherwise please stick to the point and normal service will resume in due course.



Don’t be intimidated by the size and scope of Heresy, or by some of the ideas we’ve discussed over the years. We’re very good at talking in circles and we don’t mind going over old ground again, especially with a fresh pair of eyes, so just ask, but be patient and observe the local house rules that the debate be conducted by reference to the text, with respect for the ideas of others, and above all with great good humour.




Apologies for the minor problem with the heading - it should of course be Hammer of the Waters, but I was watching Firefly and got distractificated.

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THE HAMMER OF THE WATERS - Eira Seren

The Breaking of the Arm of Dorne and the Hammer of the Waters are some of the earliest topics discussed among Heretics, making their appearance on pages 2 and 3 of Black Crow’s first thread, The Wall, the Watch and a Heresy. The Children of the Forest (or the Singers, as I’ll call them) are credited with breaking the Arm of Dorne in an attempt to prevent the First Men from migrating to Westeros. It was successful in breaking the land-bridge (and creating the Stepstones), but not in preventing the invasion. The Singers are also credited with a second attempt to divide the land sometime during the Andal invasion using the Hammer of the Waters at Moat Cailin. The effort failed and turned the Neck into bog and marshland.

Sources in Martin’s text are rather limited. One comes to us through Bran’s POV, courtesy of the Citadel, via Maester Luwin (that’s three times removed, before ever considering the factors of translations and elapsed centuries!):

“But some twelve thousand years ago, the First Men appeared from the east, crossing the Broken Arm of Dorne before it was broken. They came with bronze swords and great leathern shields, riding horses. No horse had ever been seen on this side of the narrow sea. No doubt the children were as frightened by the horses as the First Men were by the faces in the trees. As the First Men carved out holdfasts and farms, they cut down the faces and gave them to the fire. Horror-struck, the children went to war. The old songs say that the greenseers used dark magics to make the seas rise and sweep away the land, shattering the Arm, but it was too late to close the door. The wars went on until the earth ran red with blood of men and children both, but more children than men, for men were bigger and stronger, and wood and stone and obsidian make a poor match for bronze. Finally the wise of both races prevailed, and the chiefs and heroes of the First Men met the greenseers and wood dancers amidst the weirwood groves of a small island in the great lake called Gods Eye.

"There they forged the Pact. The First Men were given the coastlands, the high plains and bright meadows, the mountains and bogs, but the deep woods were to remain forever the children's, and no more weirwoods were to be put to the axe anywhere in the realm. So the gods might bear witness to the signing, every tree on the island was given a face, and afterward, the sacred order of green men was formed to keep watch over the Isle of Faces.

"The Pact began four thousand years of friendship between men and children. In time, the First Men even put aside the gods they had brought with them, and took up the worship of the secret gods of the wood. The signing of the Pact ended the Dawn Age, and began the Age of Heroes . . ."

"So long as the kingdoms of the First Men held sway, the Pact endured, all through the Age of Heroes and the Long Night and the birth of the Seven Kingdoms, yet finally there came a time, many centuries later, when other peoples crossed the narrow sea.

"The Andals were the first, a race of tall, fair-haired warriors who came with steel and fire and the seven-pointed star of the new gods painted on their chests. The wars lasted hundreds of years, but in the end the six southron kingdoms all fell before them. Only here, where the King in the North threw back every army that tried to cross the Neck, did the rule of the First Men endure. The Andals burnt out the weirwood groves, hacked down the faces, slaughtered the children where they found them, and everywhere proclaimed the triumph of the Seven over the old gods. So the children fled north—" (AGOT, Bran VII, (chapter 66) 737-739).

Excuse my mentioning it, but in terms of land appropriation, this pact seems to heavily favor the First Men! Perhaps the Singers didn’t care so much, as long as the forest was preserved, since we seem to have this primeval fear or notion of the forest as the heart of Westeros. Instead of the pattern of invasions on British soil, where the Celts are pushed to the fringes, west and north, in Westeros the Singer’s movement is ultimately north but began and continues to be more internal. The Singers are contracting inward, toward the center of the deep forests and into the earth (remember that Harrenhal probably deforested the region around the God’s Eye when it was built).

In Heresy, there’s also a lot of discussion about the Hammer causing the Long Night through imbalance, calling up a new ice age; an imbalance that possibly also gave rise to the Others as the Singers unleashed and/or lost control of ice magic. We might look at the moment the Andals displace the Singers north of the Wall as a locatable point on a trajectory, a continuation of balance going off kilter, as the magic of the Singers became more concentrated in certain areas instead of in a widespread manner throughout Westeros. Though what could be the problem of having it concentrate at the heart? It could additionally suggest that what happened at Moat Cailin further problematized the situation, an imbalance started by the breaking of the Arm of Dorne, and worsening over centuries in the subsequent wars and destruction of Singers and weirwoods.

If we accept the Citadel’s account, the Singers have a history of trying to hold back hostile invaders. When that didn’t work, they fought. Without going too much into the difficulty of timelines, there’s a deal of speculation that the Hammer of the Waters might not have been successful, but was effectively intimidating, which lead to a second, later pact with the Andals. Perhaps the Andals didn’t see it as a pact, whereas the Singers did, leading to its downplay –ok, downright lack of mention – in the Andal histories. I’m inclined to agree that the intimidation (and the precedent established by the Arm of Dorne) would have been rather effective to stop a war if the Andals were lined up again at the gates. The Andals, however, admit no such defeat. If it happened, it has been completely glossed over in any Maester’s account.

There’s also the matter of when Moat Cailin was built: before, or after the Hammer?

Just beyond, through the mists, she glimpsed the walls and towers of Moat Cailin . . . or what remained of them. Immense blocks of black basalt, each as large as a crofter's cottage, lay scattered and tumbled like a child's wooden blocks, half-sunk in the soft boggy soil. Nothing else remained of a curtain wall that had once stood as high as Winterfell's. The wooden keep was gone entirely, rotted away a thousand years past, with not so much as a timber to mark where it had stood. All that was left of the great stronghold of the First Men were three towers . . . three where there had once been twenty, if the taletellers could be believed.

The Gatehouse Tower looked sound enough, and even boasted a few feet of standing wall to either side of it. The Drunkard's Tower, off in the bog where the south and west walls had once met, leaned like a man about to spew a bellyful of wine into the gutter. And the tall, slender Children's Tower, where legend said the children of the forest had once called upon their nameless gods to send the hammer of the waters, had lost half its crown. It looked as if some great beast had taken a bite out of the crenellations along the tower top, and spit the rubble across the bog. All three towers were green with moss. A tree was growing out between the stones on the north side of the Gatehouse Tower, its gnarled limbs festooned with ropy white blankets of ghostskin.

"Gods have mercy," Ser Brynden exclaimed when he saw what lay before them. "This is Moat Cailin? It's no more than a—"
"—death trap," Catelyn finished. "I know how it looks, Uncle. I thought the same the first time I saw it, but Ned assured me that this ruin is more formidable than it seems. The three surviving towers command the causeway from all sides, and any enemy must pass between them. The bogs here are impenetrable, full of quicksands and suckholes and teeming with snakes. To assault any of the towers, an army would need to wade through waist-deep black muck, cross a moat full of lizard-lions, and scale walls slimy with moss, all the while exposing themselves to fire from archers in the other towers." She gave her uncle a grim smile. "And when night falls, there are said to be ghosts, cold vengeful spirits of the north who hunger for southron blood." (AGOT, Cat VIII, (chapter 55) 596-597)

It’s up for debate, but the building materials –wood, earth, even the cottage-sized basalt rocks, are not outside the realm of human capability. That said, it does seem to have an air of combined forces, particularly that “slender” and graceful Children’s Tower, which seems a bit at odds with the solid and imposing, if crumbling, architecture of the fortifications surrounding it. If it indeed had twenty towers, it must have been the type of place that Tyrion might like to visit, just so he could say he’d taken a piss off the top. We can compare Cat’s description with Theon’s:

Where once a mighty curtain wall had stood, only scattered stones remained, blocks of black basalt so large it must once have taken a hundred men to hoist them into place. Some had sunk so deep into the bog that only a corner showed; others lay strewn about -like some god’s abandoned toys, cracked and crumbling, spotted with lichen. Last night’s rain had left the huge stones wet and glistening, and the morning sunlight made them look as if they were coated in some fine black oil.

Beyond stood the towers.

The Drunkard’s Tower leaned as if it were about to collapse, just as it had for half a thousand years. The Children’s Tower thrust into the sky as straight as a spear, but its shattered top was open to the wind and rain. The Gatehouse Tower, squat and wide, was the largest of the three, slimy with moss, a gnarled tree growing sideways from the stones of its north side, fragments of broken wall still standing to the east and west. The Karstarks took the Drunkard’s Tower and the Umbers the Children’s Tower, he recalled. Robb claimed the Gatehouse Tower for his own. . .

He was being watched. He could feel the eyes. When he looked up, he caught a glimpse of pale faces peering from behind the battlements of the Gatehouse Tower and through the broken masonry that crowned the Children’s Tower, where legend said the children of the forest had once called down the hammer of the waters to break the lands of Westeros in two.

The only dry road through the Neck was the causeway, and the towers of Moat Cailin plugged its northern end like a cork in a bottle. The road was narrow, the ruins so positioned that any enemy coming up from the south must pass beneath and between them. To assault any of the three towers, an attacker must expose his back to arrows from the other two, whilst climbing damp stone walls festooned with streamers of slimy white ghostskin. The swampy ground beyond the causeway was impassable, an endless morass of suckholes, quicksands, and glistening green swards that looked solid to the unwary eye but turned to water the instant you trod upon them, the whole of it infested with venomous serpents and poisonous flowers and monstrous lizard lions with teeth like daggers. Just as dangerous were its people, seldom seen but always lurking, the swampdwellers, the frog-eaters, the mud-men. Fenn and Reed, Peat and Boggs, Cray and Quagg, Greengood and Blackmyre, those were the sorts of names they gave themselves. The Ironborn called them all bog devils. (ADWD, Reek II (chapter 20) 295, 296)

We are getting a Southerner’s and an Ironborn’s perspective here, both of whom see the same obvious message: insurmountable walls flanked by imminent death. At one point, I speculate that the First Men built Moat Cailin to keep the Singers and their possible allies at bay (I wonder if the Crannogmen with their legion of creepy crawlies might be among their number. Maester Luwin reminds Theon that “The histories say the crannogmen grew close to the children of the forest in the days when the greenseers tried to bring the hammer of the waters down upon the Neck,” suggesting that the Crannogmen and Singers didn’t start working together until the Andal threat (ACOK, Theon IV, (chapter 50) 733). Still think that the connection between Crannogmen, Singers and First Men may have been more varied until the presence of the Andals required greater cooperation).

The swampy creatures might have come later, though Moat Cailin seems to have always been fairly close to the coastline, where it would have been able to guard the area from north, south, west and from the sea on the East. Once the Andals arrived it became necessary for the First Men to join forces with the Singers and perhaps old adversaries. It seems to me that Moat Cailin was always meant for defense, and was probably built to guard a kingdom of First Men. I will add that a fortress of this size would have taken a long time to build, even if magic went into its construction. Before the Andals, who were the First Men building it against? And if it started as a defensible position for a smaller First Men kingdom, a wave of Andal invasions may have gradually contributed to its ending size.

While we’re essentially examining the Singer’s use of the Hammer to create a barrier, it may also be interesting to consider the ways in which Moat Cailin might have served other purposes. Roff Smith’s recent article, “Before Stonehenge,” discusses the excavation of the Neolithic structures on the headland known as the Ness of Brodgar in Orkney. The sites include two rings of standing stones (one with a causeway), a burial mound (Maes Howe), and a newly discovered temple which was “built to dominate the landscape—to impress, awe, inspire, perhaps even intimidate” (Smith, 32). All together, these landmarks form what is now conceived of as a religious site. They’ve found “volcanic glass” from the Arran Islands (Ireland) and “flints” from further afield, suggesting substantial trade routes. While every archaeologist likes to stake their claim to significance, still the most interesting piece may be that the patterns on the pottery they’ve found elsewhere in Britain suggest that it is ”ideas and inspiration” that have originated at the Ness of Brodgar and spread from Scotland to the south (46). Smith writes,

Traders and pilgrims returned home with recollections of the magnificent temple complex they had seen and notions about celebrating special places in the landscape the way the Orcadians did – ideas which, centuries later, would find their ultimate expression at Stonehenge. (47)

Do we see Moat Cailin as a religious site? I’m curious, even though I currently see it as more of a fortification with the curtain wall and towers, whose purpose ostensibly (and successfully) is to secure the main eastern route into the North. Yet in a sense, even if no Westerosi archaeologist uncovers some religious artifact, Moat Cailin is also much like the Wall and Eastwatch-by-the-Sea: heavily fortified, accessible by sea, lucrative for trade. Moat Cailin was probably one of few castles of that size in the area during the time in question. In sample from the soon to be published World of Ice and Fire book, we are reminded that for all its seeming isolation now, places like Moat Cailin (some much smaller) were not just some mysterious spot on a map in the middle of the wilderness, but at one time a destination for soldiers, entertainers, travelers, traders, ambassadors and adventurers:

The archives of Citadel contain a letter from Maester Aemon in the early years of the reign of Aegon V which reports on such an account from a ranger named Redwyn/Robeyn, written in the days of King Dorren Stark. It recites a journey to Lorn Point and the Frozen Shore, in which it is claimed the ranger and his companions fought giants and allegedly trained with the children of the forest. Aemon's letter claimed he found many such accounts in his examinations of the archives of the Watch at Castle Black and considered them credible. (http://www.reddit.com/r/asoiaf/comments/1ackff/spoilers_all_new_world_of_ice_and_fire_sample/c8w51lc)

While Moat Cailin may not represent a religious site, its inclusion of both First Men and Singers do represent a kind of joint effort and an exchange of both material and cultural goods, including ideas, magic and possibly other unions. We aren’t told exactly when or how the First Men met the Singers, but we know that they adopted some of their customs of worship and began to carve faces into the trees. Could that have translated somehow into the location and construction of Moat Cailin? In its heyday it surely functioned as a space where goals and ideas met and radiated out into Westeros.

At the time it became necessary to defend against the Andals, Moat Cailin became the obvious fortified location from which to strike. First Men and Singers must have known they would be, at least cosmetically, cutting off their connection to the southern part of Westeros and the Isle of Faces, and were willing to make that sacrifice. It would require relying on the weirwoods and the First Men who followed the old ways to sustain the exchange of ideas, but as the practices began dying out in the North, the weirwoods increasingly became about preserving or drawing on memory in order for the Singers to survive.

I’m left with lots of questions, but it intrigues me that the First Men and the Singers must have chosen Moat Cailin both for its physical location and possibly for other significant reasons when they decided to use the Hammer of the Waters there. Was it simply the most logical place to divide the continent, or was there something about it that the Singers felt would enhance the magical blow? Its partial failure is another matter for debate: why were the Singer’s magics not strong enough to achieve their goal? Was there something about the place, the alliance, or the imbalance that weakened them? Were the magics they used actually ‘dark,’ or is that a matter of the Citadel’s perspective? Was the Hammer made of ice? (Water and ice would both be strong enough to knock those blocks out of the curtain wall).

Who are all those knights in the water Jojen mentions in the boggy areas of the Neck. . . First Men? Andals? Surely they haven’t all been there since the Hammer smashed the land? They’re reminiscent of Tolkien’s ghoulies in the Dead Marshes. Did they go into the sacrifice somehow (or did someone else), fueling the water magic needed to douse the land? And who are the cold northern ghosts who supposedly haunt the ruin? Did the failure of the Hammer lead to something cold and nasty in the north, something that warranted building a bloody great wall across Westeros?

Works Cited

Crow, Black. The Wall, the Watch and a Heresy. Westeros.org: A Forum of Ice and Fire. http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/59571-the-wall-the-watch-and-a-heresy/?hl=%2Bwatch+%2Bwall+%2Bheresy.

Feldman10. New World of Ice and Fire Sample Pages. Reddit.com:ASOIAF. http://www.reddit.com/r/asoiaf/comments/1ackff/spoilers_all_new_world_of_ice_and_fire_sample/.

Martin, George R.R. A Clash of Kings. New York: Bantam Books, 2011

A Dance With Dragons: Part I Dreams and Dust. London: Harper Voyager, 2012.

A Game of Thrones. New York: Bantam Books, 2011.

Smith, Roff. Before Stonehenge: National Geographic. August 2014: 26-51. Print.

A selection of some earlier discussions

The Wall, the Watch and a Heresy

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/59571-the-wall-the-watch-and-a-heresy/?p=2842469

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/59571-the-wall-the-watch-and-a-heresy/?p=2854891

Heresy 2

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/60086-heresy-2/?p=2859953

Heresy 3

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/60387-heresy-3/?p=2892062

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/60387-heresy-3/?p=2902320

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/60387-heresy-3/?p=2902850

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/60387-heresy-3/?p=2902710

Heresy 4

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/60746-heresy-4/?p=2906183

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/60746-heresy-4/?p=2908954

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/60746-heresy-4/?p=2913031

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/60746-heresy-4/?p=2917360

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/60746-heresy-4/?p=2918005

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/60746-heresy-4/?p=2918293

Heresy 5

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/61158-heresy-5/?p=2951464

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/61158-heresy-5/?p=2954462

Heresy 85: The Christmas Edition

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/101465-heresy-85-the-christmas-edition/?p=5260301

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...Apologies for the minor problem with the heading - it should of course be Hammer of the Waters, but I was watching Firefly and got distractificated.

This heading will cause longtime confusion. Maybe an administrator could fix it?

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And so to the matter in hand. I've mentioned before that there seems to be something wrong with the "official" timeline for Moat Caillin, but I do like the suggestion of a religious site and in this context would cite my essay on Winterfell in the Centennial Seven project, where I suggested that it began as a Celtic style ringwork and may also have had some kind of religious or quasi religious purpose.


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And so to the matter in hand. I've mentioned before that there seems to be something wrong with the "official" timeline for Moat Caillin, but I do like the suggestion of a religious site and in this context would cite my essay on Winterfell in the Centennial Seven project, where I suggested that it began as a Celtic style ringwork and may also have had some kind of religious or quasi religious purpose.

Moat Cailin might have been the religious center for the unnamed gods of the First Men. When the Andals came, First Men and CotF were still following the pact so they jointly called the second hammer from there. When it failed, the site was destroyed, and as the Andals conquered the southern kingdoms the First Men quit their gods and followed those of the CotF.

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There's the matter of where the First Men made their way to Westeros, and the pattern of invasion/settlement. It appears they worked their way north (as opposed to some long-lost connecting piece, or sailing fleet landing on the coast in the Far North and making their way down).



Also there's FeatherCrystal's suggestion that the First Men may have worshipped R'hllor and thene converted. And Black Crow, your suggestion about Winterfell makes a lot of sense to me. And it seems to be connected to the Fist as well. Would GRRM have thought about the fact that the religious sites he's modelled his stone circtes and great stone structures after seem to be part of larger complexes (or related structures or sites) in the area? We've looked at these places in isolation, maybe we ought to be connecting them to other things. Or maybe they are isolated.



Sorry about the formatting, somehow the spacing didn't cooperate.


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First i want to ask or say for the purpose of clarifying "WHAT" the Hammer of the Waters is. I assume Hammer in this context equalls a BIG ASS WAVE(s)?


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I remember Feather Crystal's comment from the previous thread, but the excerpt in this essay says the FM burned the Weirwood faces. I take this to mean only the ones with faces and it seems Mel wants to burn all weirwoods.

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First i want to ask or say for the purpose of clarifying "WHAT" the Hammer of the Waters is. I assume Hammer in this context equalls a BIG ASS WAVE(s)?

I've always went with the idea it was a meteor that hit land. The surviving witnesses would have been a good distance away and perhaps didn't see anything as it was happening or the first thing they saw was this BIG ASS WAVE.

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First i want to ask or say for the purpose of clarifying "WHAT" the Hammer of the Waters is. I assume Hammer in this context equalls a BIG ASS WAVE(s)?

Thank you for bringing up the big hammer in the room, I am not wholly decided (and distracted by the Scottish poll results).

A wave seems in keeping with the flooding that supposedly created the marshes.

Ice also seems like it could have been the culprit. Something very large and hammer-like brought down those basalt walls, unless perhaps they came down later, once the ground became destabilized due to more water in the soil, in turn destabilizing the curtain wall. So the question remains as to whether the legend is aptly named, or not.

If we compare the destruction at Summerhall and the destruction at Moat Cailin, as well as Harrenhal, each seems to logically fit with the explanations for it. Mishandling of wildfyre, dragonfire, mishandling of water magic.

Thoughts?

Glascow for yes, btw. I called that one, I did.

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I remember Feather Crystal's comment from the previous thread, but the excerpt in this essay says the FM burned the Weirwood faces. I take this to mean only the ones with faces and it seems Mel wants to burn all weirwoods.

Maybe they didn't realize that all of the weirwoods function in the wiernet, they only thought it was once they had faces. Maybe Mel gets it, or she's taking no chances. Burn them all!

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Thank you for bringing up the big hammer in the room, I am not wholly decided

A wave seems in keeping with the flooding that supposedly created the marshes.

Ice also seems like it could have been the culprit. Something very large and hammer-like brought down those basalt walls, unless perhaps they came down later, once the ground became destabilized due to more water in the soil, in turn destabilizing the curtain wall. So the question remains as to whether the legend is aptly named, or not.

I'm broadly in agreement with this and as I've argued before an Ice-related disaster not only has the relevant historical pedigree which GRRM could draw on, but is rather more plausible than the sudden descent of a heavenly body.

The main problem with an asteroid or comet is that the impact is going to be circular, not directional. If we posit something nasty crashing into the Narrow Sea, the splash will radiate outwards and any tsunami capable of breaking the Arm will also result in massive damage and flooding all the way around the sea coasts. Yet we've no hint of that, and nor, similarly is there any real evidence of an impact crater in the region of the Neck, which in real world geographical terms is much more like the ancient Forth Valley in Scotland.

I also have doubts that terrestrial based magic users have the capacity to divert heavenly bodies.

On the other hand we do have very solid precedent for an ice-based solution. Ancient Britain was indeed joined by a land bridge exactly like the Arm of Dorne to the rest of Europe. At the time the northern end of the Narrow Sea/North Sea was closed off by the polar ice cap, but a massive calving of the ice created an equally massive tsunami which smashed the land bridge. Similarly there's a precedent for a westward tsunami caused by the Storrega Slide crashing over the Neck.

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I'm broadly in agreement with this and as I've argued before an Ice-related disaster not only has the relevant historical pedigree which GRRM could draw on, but is rather more plausible than the sudden descent of a heavenly body.

The main problem with an asteroid or comet is that the impact is going to be circular, not directional. If we posit something nasty crashing into the Narrow Sea, the splash will radiate outwards and any tsunami capable of breaking the Arm will also result in massive damage and flooding all the way around the sea coasts. Yet we've no hint of that, and nor, similarly is there any real evidence of an impact crater in the region of the Neck, which in real world geographical terms is much more like the ancient Forth Valley in Scotland.

I also have doubts that terrestrial based magic users have the capacity to divert heavenly bodies.

On the other hand we do have very solid precedent for an ice-based solution. Ancient Britain was indeed joined by a land bridge exactly like the Arm of Dorne to the rest of Europe. At the time the northern end of the Narrow Sea/North Sea was closed off by the polar ice cap, but a massive calving of the ice created an equally massive tsunami which smashed the land bridge. Similarly there's a precedent for a westward tsunami caused by the Storrega Slide crashing over the Neck.

Congrats or condolences, depending. I've got to get to bed, but. . .

When we talk about an ice hammer, what do we envision? A giant, frozen chunk of seawater, levatated inland and raised above the land? An attempt to turn the surrounding landscape into a sheet of ice, so that it would split open the cracks and fissures wider and cause the rift? And how did this plan go wrong, exactly?

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I'm no geologist, but it seems to me that Fae Magicians Who Identify Themselves as Singers of the Songs of the Earth are most likely to use a shift in local plate techtonics to do some real smashup work.



In other words, they created local earthquakes (on the land or under the nearby seas) which created the BIG ASS WAVES under discussion and broke up the land. Now, how they did that I don't know, but I have a guess.



One idea that strikes me as possible, given our recent discussions in Heresy 135 134 is that the Singers may have ridden/guided/lured Fyreworms back & forth through the selected earth to weaken it and cause it to suddenly collapse.



Do that under the Narrow Sea and the Arm of Dorne is smashed.



Do it even more widely and intensively under the land North of RiverRun and North of the Vale, and you get Iron Islands in the West, The Bite with the 3 Sisters in the East, and a very marshy Neck in the middle. (So vampirish, yes?)



In both cases, the most noticeable/memorable part of it all could well be the BAWs, rather than the collapse of the underlying earth itself.



This method also fits in with the idea that the Singers have only been able to do this twice, in all the millennia. They're very patient folks. It's a darned slow and labor intensive process to undermine the foundations of the earth, and if your people are few in number, you have to work slow and steady for a LONG time to get your results.



edited to correct Heresy #


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When we talk about an ice hammer, what do we envision? A giant, frozen chunk of seawater, levatated inland and raised above the land? An attempt to turn the surrounding landscape into a sheet of ice, so that it would split open the cracks and fissures wider and cause the rift? And how did this plan go wrong, exactly?

Nothing so cheesy, just a calving of the ice sheet creating a massive tsunami.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weald%E2%80%93Artois_Anticline and; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storegga_Slide

The first relates to the breaking of the Arm - see formation of the English Channel; and the second to Moat Caillin, which you'll recall I compared to the Forth Valley area

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The effect of the Hammer of Waters seems similar to Missoula Floods.

Yes indeed, very similar as you'll see by the links I've just posted and in particular about the breaking of the Arm/Wealden-Artois Anticline

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Wow. This subject has so much information and interpretations to discuss! I need more time to fully digest the OP.



Just a couple quick inserts: the text says the First Men "gave" the weirwoods to the fire which is a curious way to phrase it if you were simply burning them down. Giving implies something more, like to a god, to me. Just my opinion.



That the crannogmen grew closer to the Children during the time of the Hammer, seems to support the idea that Moat Caillin was there prior to the Hammer.



Lastly, for now anyway, that the Andals were the ones to bring iron seems to support the idea that they were part of the Pact, if the Reeds oath is indeed in rememberence of said Pact. If they brought iron, it didn't exist prior and seems to be a latter element anyways since the Rhoynar are credited with providing iron to the Andals.


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I'm no geologist, but it seems to me that Fae Magicians Who Identify Themselves as Singers of the Songs of the Earth are most likely to use a shift in local plate techtonics to do some real smashup work.

In other words, they created local earthquakes (on the land or under the nearby seas) which created the BIG ASS WAVES under discussion and broke up the land. Now, how they did that I don't know, but I have a guess.

One idea that strikes me as possible, given our recent discussions in Heresy 135, is that the Singers may have ridden/guided/lured Fyreworms back & forth through the selected earth to weaken it and cause it to suddenly collapse.

Do that under the Narrow Sea and the Arm of Dorne is smashed.

Do it even more widely and intensively under the land North of RiverRun and North of the Vale, and you get Iron Islands in the West, The Bite with the 3 Sisters in the East, and a very marshy Neck in the middle. (So vampirish, yes?)

In both cases, the most noticeable/memorable part of it all could well be the BAWs, rather than the collapse of the underlying earth itself.

This method also fits in with the idea that the Singers have only been able to do this twice, in all the millennia. They're very patient folks. It's a darned slow and labor intensive process to undermine the foundations of the earth, and if your people are few in number, you have to work slow and steady for a LONG time to get your results.

I like that.

Maybe "waking giants from Earth" fits in as well?

Not related to your post, but maybe worth remembering:

1) The war between the CotF and the First Men had a heavy toll on both sides, but more for the CotF

2) The CotF were always low in number

=> The CotF agreed on the pact or they would have been extincted then, but the First Men didn't realize how low their numbers were?

=> The second hammer failed because there weren't enough CotF left to make it successful?

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